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The History of England - From the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
by T.F. Tout
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The broad lines of Edward's policy during the thirty-five years of his kingship had already been laid down for him during his rude schooling. The ineffectiveness of his father's government inspired him with a love of strong rule, and this enabled him to grapple with the chronic maladministration which made even a well-ordered medieval kingdom a hot-bed of disorder. The age of Earl Simon had been fertile in new ideals and principles of government. Edward held to the best of the traditions of his youth, and his task was not one of creation so much as of selection. His age was an age of definition. The series of great laws, which he made during the earlier half of his reign, represented a long effort to appropriate what was best in the age that had gone before, and to combine it in orderly sequence. The same ideals mark the constitutional policy of his later years. The materials for the future constitution of England were already at his hand. It was a task well within Edward's capacity to strengthen the authority of the crown by associating the loyal nobles and clergy in the work of ruling the state, and to build up a body politic in which every class of the nation should have its part. Yet he never willingly surrendered the most insignificant of his prerogatives, and if he took the people into partnership with him, he did so with the firm belief that he would be a more powerful king if his subjects loved and trusted him. Though closely associated with his nobles by many ties of kinship and affection, he was the uncompromising foe of feudal separatism, and hotly resented even the constitutional control which the barons regarded as their right. In the same way the unlimited franchises of the lords of the Welsh march, the almost regal authority which the treaty of Shrewsbury gave to the Prince of Wales, the rejection of his claims as feudal overlord of Scotland, were abhorrent to his autocratic disposition. True son of the Church though he was, he was the bitter foe of ecclesiastical claims which, constantly encroaching beyond their own sphere, denied kings the fulness of their authority.

Edward's policy was thoroughly comprehensive. He is not only the "English Justinian" and the creator of our later constitution; he has rightly been praised for his clear conception of the ideal of a united Britain which brought him into collision with Welsh and Scots. His foreign policy lay as near to his heart as the conquest of Wales or Scotland, or the subjection of priests and nobles. He was eager to make Gascony obey him, anxious to keep in check the French king, and to establish a sort of European balance of power, of which England, as in Wolsey's later dreams, was to be the tongue of the balance. Yet, despite his severe schooling in self-control, he undertook more than he could accomplish, and his failure was the more signal because he found the utmost difficulty in discovering trustworthy subordinates. Moreover, the limited resources of a medieval state, and the even more limited control which a medieval ruler had over these resources, were fatal obstacles in the way of too ambitious a policy. Edward had inherited his father's load of debt, and could only accomplish great things by further pledging his credit to foreign financiers, against whom his subjects raised unending complaints. Yet, if his methods of attaining his objects were sometimes mean and often violent, there was a rare nobility about his general purpose.

Every precaution was taken to secure Edward's succession and the establishment of the provisional administration which was to rule until his return. Before leaving England in 1270, Edward had appointed as his agents Walter Giffard, Archbishop of York, Roger Mortimer, and Robert Burnell, his favourite clerk. The vacancy of the see of Canterbury after Boniface's death placed Giffard in a position of peculiar eminence. Appointed first lord of the council, he virtually became regent; and he associated with himself in the administration of the realm his two colleagues in the management of the new king's private affairs. Early in 1273 a parliament of magnates and representatives of shires and boroughs took oaths of allegiance to the king and continued the authority of the three regents. By the double title of Edward's personal delegation and the recognition of the estates, Giffard, Mortimer, and Burnell ruled the country for the two years which were to elapse before the sovereign's return. Their government was just, economical, and peaceful. Even Gilbert of Gloucester remained quiet, and, save for the refusal of the Prince of Wales to perform his feudal obligations, the calm of the last years of the old reign continued. It is evidence of constitutional progress that the administration was carried on with so little friction in the absence of the monarch. Roger Mortimer, the most formidable of the feudal baronage, was himself one of the agents of this salutary change. The marcher chieftain put down with promptitude an attempted revolt of north-country knights which threatened public tranquillity.

Edward first heard of his father's death in Sicily, but the tidings of the maintenance of peace rendered it unnecessary for him to hasten his return, and he made his way slowly through Italy. In Sicily he was entertained by his uncle, Charles of Anjou. Thence he went to Orvieto, where the new pope, Gregory X., who, as archdeacon of Liege, had been the comrade of his crusade, was then residing. From king and pope alike Edward earnestly sought vengeance for the murder of Henry of Almaine. Proceeding northwards, he was received with great pomp by the cities of Lombardy, and made personal acquaintance with Savoy and its count, Philip, his aged great-uncle. Crossing the Mont Cenis, he was welcomed by bands of English magnates who had gone forth to meet him. He was soon at the head of a little army, and in the true spirit of a hero of romance halted to receive the challenge of the boastful Count of Chalon. The tournament between the best knights of England and Burgundy was fought out with such desperation that it became a serious battle. At last Edward unhorsed the count in a personal encounter, which added greatly to his fame. This "Little Battle of Chalon" was the last victory of his irresponsible youth.

The serious business of kingcraft began when Edward met his cousin, Philip III., at Paris. The news from England was still so good that Edward resolved to remain in France with the twofold object of settling his relations with the French monarchy and of receiving the homage and regulating the affairs of Aquitaine. Despite the treaty of Paris of 1259, there were so many subjects of dispute between the English and French kings that, beneath the warm protestations of affection between the kinsmen, there was, as a French chronicler said, but a cat-and-dog love between them.[1] The treaty had not been properly executed, and the English had long complained that the French had not yielded up to England their king's rights over the three bishoprics of Limoges, Cahors, and Perigueux, which St. Louis had ceded. New complications arose after the death of Alfonse of Poitiers in the course of the Tunisian crusade. By the treaty of Paris the English king should then have entered into possession of Saintonge south of the Charente, the Agenais, and lower Quercy. But the ministers of Philip III. laid hands upon the whole of Alfonse's inheritance and refused to surrender these districts to the English. The welcome which Edward received from his cousin at Paris could not blind him to the incompatibility of their interests, nor to the impossibility of obtaining at the moment the cession of the promised lands. He did not choose to tarry at Paris while the diplomatists unravelled the tangled web of statecraft. Nor would he tender an unconditional homage to the prince who withheld from him his inheritance. Already a stickler for legal rights, even when used to his own detriment, Edward was unable to deny his subjection to the overlord of Aquitaine. He therefore performed homage, but he phrased his submission in terms which left him free to urge his claims at a more convenient season. "Lord king," he said to Philip, "I do you homage for all the lands which I ought to hold of you." The vagueness of this language suggested that, if Edward could not get Saintonge, he might revive his claim to Normandy. The king appointed a commission to continue the negotiations with the French court, and then betook himself to Aquitaine.[2]

[1] "Hic amor dici potest amor cati et canis," Chron. Limov., in Recueil des Hist. de la France, xxi., 784.

[2] C.V. Langlois' Le Regne de Philippe le Hardi (1887), and Gavrilovitch's Le Traite de Paris, give the best modern accounts of Edward's early dealings with the French crown.

It was nearly ten years since the presence of the monarch had restrained the turbulence of the Gascon duchy. Edward had before him the task of watching over its internal administration, and checking the subtle policy whereby the agents of the French crown were gradually undermining his authority. Two wars, the war of Bearn and the war of Limoges, desolated Gascony from the Pyrenees to the Vienne. It was Edward's first task to bring these troubles to an end. Age and experience had not diminished the ardour which had so long made Gaston of Bearn the focus of every trouble in the Pyrenean lands. He defied a sentence of the ducal court of Saint Sever, and was already at war with the seneschal, Luke of Tany, when Edward's appearance brought matters to a crisis. During the autumn and winter of 1273-74, Edward hunted out Gaston from his mountain strongholds, and at last the Bearnais, despairing of open resistance, appealed to the French king. Philip accepted the appeal, and ordered Edward to desist from molesting Gaston during its hearing. The English king, anxious not to quarrel openly with the French court, granted a truce. The suit of Gaston long occupied the parliament of Paris, but the good-will of the French lawyers could not palliate the wanton violence of the Viscount of Bearn. The French, like the English, were sticklers for formal right, and were unwilling to push matters to extremities. Edward had the reward of his forbearance, for Philip advised Gaston to go to England and make his submission. Gratified by his restoration to Bearn in 1279, Gaston remained faithful for the next few years. Edward was less successful in dealing with Limoges. There had been for many years a struggle between the commune of the castle, or bourg, of Limoges and Margaret the viscountess. It was to no purpose that the townsfolk had invoked the treaty of Paris, whereby, as they maintained, the French king transferred to the King of England his ancient jurisdiction over them. They were answered by a decree of the parliament of Paris that the homage of the commune of Limoges belonged not to the crown but to the viscountess, and that therefore the treaty involved no change in their allegiance. Edward threw himself with ardour on to the side of the burgesses. Guy of Lusignan, still the agent of his brother abroad, though prudently excluded from England, was sent to Limoges, where he incited the commune to resist the viscountess. In May, 1274, Edward himself took up his quarters in Limoges, and for a month ruled there as sovereign. But the French court reiterated the decree which made the commune the vassal of the viscountess. To persevere in upholding the rebels meant an open breach with the French court in circumstances more unfavourable than in the case of Gaston of Bearn. Once more Edward refused to allow his ambition to prevail over his sense of legal obligation. With rare self-restraint he renounced the fealty of Limoges, and abandoned his would-be subjects to the wrath of the viscountess. This was an act of loyalty to feudal duty worthy of St. Louis. If Edward, on later occasions, pressed his own legal claims against his vassals, he set in his own case a pattern of strict obedience to his overlord.

While Edward was still abroad, his friend Gregory X. held from May to July, 1274, the second general council at Lyons, wherein there was much talk of a new crusade, and an effort was made, which came very near temporary success, towards healing the schism of the Eastern and Western Churches. At Gregory's request Edward put off his coronation, lest the celebration might call away English prelates from Lyons. When the council was over, he at last turned towards his kingdom. At Paris he was met by the mayor of London, Henry le Waleis, and other leading citizens, who set before him the grievous results of the long disputes with Flanders, which had broken off the commercial relations between the two countries, and had inflicted serious losses on English trade. Edward strove to bring the Flemings to their senses by prohibiting the export of wool from England to the weaving towns of Flanders. The looms of Ghent and Bruges were stopped by reason of the withholding of the raw material, and the distress of his subjects made Count Guy of Flanders anxious to end so costly a quarrel. On July 28 Edward met Guy at Montreuil and signed a treaty which re-established the old friendship between lands which stood in constant economic need of each other. There was no longer any occasion for further delay, and on August 2 Edward and his queen crossed over to Dover. Received with open arms by his subjects, he was crowned at Westminster on August 19 by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Kilwardby, philosopher, theologian, and Dominican friar, whom Gregory X. had placed over the church of Canterbury, despite the vigorous efforts which Edward made to secure the primacy for Robert Burnell. He had been absent from England for four years.

Edward's sojourn in France was fruitful of results which he was unable to reap for the moment. Conscious of the inveterate hostility of the French king, he strove to establish relations with foreign powers to counterbalance the preponderance of his rival. When the death of Richard of Cornwall reopened the question of the imperial succession, Charles of Anjou had been anxious to obtain the prize for his nephew, Philip III., on the specious pretext that the headship of Christendom would enable the King of France to "collect chivalry from all the world" and institute the crusade which both Gregory X. and Edward so ardently desired. But the most zealous enthusiast for the holy war could hardly be deceived by the false zeal with which the Angevin cloaked his overweening ambition. It was a veritable triumph for Edward, when Gregory X., though attracted for a moment by the prospect of a strong emperor capable of landing a crusade, accepted the choice of the German magnates who, in terror of France, elected as King of the Romans the strenuous but not overmighty Swabian count, Rudolf of Hapsburg. As Alfonso of Castile's pretensions were purely nominal, this election ended the Great Interregnum by restoring the empire on a narrower but more practical basis. Though Gregory strove to reconcile the French to Rudolf's accession, common suspicion of France bound Edward and the new King of the Romans in a common friendship.

Family disputes soon destroyed the unity of policy of the Capetian house. Philip III., well meaning but weak, was drifting into complete dependence on Charles of Anjou, whom Edward distrusted, alike as the protector of the murderers of Henry of Almaine and as the supplanter of his mother in the Provencal heritage. Margaret of Provence, the widow of St. Louis, had a common grievance with Edward and his mother against Charles of Anjou. She hated him the more inasmuch as he was depriving her of all influence over her son, King Philip. It was easy in such circumstances for the two widowed queens of France and England to form grandiose schemes for ousting Charles from Provence. Rudolf lent himself to their plans by investing Margaret with the county. Edward's filial piety and political interests made him a willing partner in these designs. In 1278 he betrothed his daughter Joan of Acre to Hartmann, the son of the King of the Romans. The plan of Edward and Rudolf was to revive in some fashion the kingdom of Arles[1] in favour of the young couple. Though Rudolf was unfaithful to this policy, and abandoned the proposed English marriage in favour of a match between his daughter and the son of the King of Sicily, the two queens persisted in their plans, and new combinations against Charles and Philip for some years threatened the peace of Europe.

[1] Fournier's Le Royaume d'Arles et de Vienne (1891) gives the best modern account of Edward's relations to the Middle Kingdom.

It is unlikely that Edward hoped for serious results from schemes so incoherent and backed with such slender resources. Besides his alliance with the emperor, he strove to injure the French king by establishing close relations with his brother-in-law, Alfonso of Castile, who since 1276 was at war with the French. Earlier than this, he made himself the champion of Blanche of Artois, the widow of Henry III. of Navarre and Champagne. He wished that Joan, their only child, should bring her father's lands to one of his own sons, and, though disappointed in this ambition, he managed to marry his younger brother, Edmund of Lancaster, to Blanche. Though the French took possession of Navarre, whereby they alike threatened Gascony and Castile, they suffered Blanche to rule in Champagne in her daughter's name, and Edmund was associated with her in the government of that county. The tenure of a great French fief by the brother of the English king was a fresh security against the aggressions of the kings of France and Sicily. It probably facilitated the conclusion of the long negotiations as to the interpretation of the treaty of Paris, and the partition of the inheritance of Alfonse of Poitiers. Edward's position against France was further strengthened in 1279 by the death of his wife's mother, Joan of Castile, the widow of Ferdinand the Saint and the stepmother of Alfonso the Wise, whereupon he took possession of Ponthieu in Eleanor's name. Scarcely had he established himself at Abbeville, the capital of the Picard county, than the negotiations at Paris were so far ripened that Philip III. went to Amiens, where Edward joined him. On May 23 both kings agreed to accept the treaty of Amiens by which the more important of the outstanding difficulties between the two nations were amicably regulated. By it Philip recognised Eleanor as Countess of Ponthieu, and handed over a portion of the inheritance of Alfonse of Poitiers to Edward. Agen and the Agenais were ceded at once, and a commission was appointed to investigate Edward's claims over lower Quercy. In return for this Edward yielded up his illusory rights over the three bishoprics of Limoges, Perigueux, and Cahors. It was a real triumph for English diplomacy.

No lasting peace could arise from acts which emphasised the essential incompatibility of French and English interests by enlarging the territory of the English kings in France. The undercurrent of hostility still continued; and the proposal of Pope Nicholas III. that Edward should act as mediator between Philip III. and Alfonso of Castile led to difficulties that deeply incensed Edward, and embroiled him once more both with France and Spain. Under Angevin influence, both Philip and Alfonso rejected Edward's mediation in favour of that of the Prince of Salerno, Charles of Anjou's eldest son. Disgust at this unfriendliness made Edward again support the plans of Margaret of Provence against the Angevins. In 1281 Margaret's intrigues formed a combination of feudal magnates called the League of Macon, with the object of prosecuting her claims over Provence by force of arms. Edward and his mother, Eleanor, his Savoyard kinsfolk, and Edmund of Lancaster all entered into the league. But it was hopeless for a disorderly crowd of lesser chieftains, with the nominal support of a distant prince like Edward, to conquer Provence in the teeth of the hostility of the strongest and the ablest princes of the age. The League of Macon came to nothing, like so many other ambitious combinations of a time in which men's capacity to form plans transcended their capacity to execute them. Margaret herself soon despaired of the way of arms and was bought off by a money compensation. The league mainly served to keep alive the troubles that still separated England and France. In 1284 Philip gained a new success in winning the hand of Joan of Champagne, Count Edmund's step-daughter, for his son, the future Philip the Fair. When Joan attained her majority, Edmund lost the custody of Champagne, which went to the King of France as the natural protector of his son and his son's bride. With his brother's withdrawal from Provins to Lancaster, Edward lost one of his means of influencing the course of French politics.

A compensation for these failures was found in 1282 when the Sicilian vespers rang the knell of the Angevin power in Sicily. When the revolted islanders chose Peter, King of Aragon, as their sovereign, Charles, seeking to divert him from Sicily by attacking him at home, inspired his partisan, Pope Martin IV., to preach a crusade against Aragon. It was in vain that Edward strove to mediate between the two kings.

The only response made to his efforts was a fantastic proposal that they should fight out their differences in a tournament at Bordeaux with him as umpire, but Edward refused to have anything to do with the pseudo-chivalrous venture. At last, in 1285, Philip III. lent himself to his uncle's purpose so far as to lead a papalist crusade over the Pyrenees. The movement was a failure. Philip lost his army and his life in Aragon, and his son and successor, Philip IV., at once withdrew from the undertaking. In the year of the crusade of Aragon, Charles of Anjou, Peter of Aragon, and Martin IV. died. With them the struggles, which had begun with the attack on Frederick II, reached their culminating point. Their successors continued the quarrel with diminished forces and less frantic zeal, and so gave Edward his best chance to pose as the arbiter of Europe. Though Edward's continental policy lay so near his heart that it can hardly be passed over, it was fuller of vain schemes than of great results. Yet it was not altogether fruitless, since twelve years of resolute and moderate action raised England, which under Henry III. was of no account in European affairs, to a position only second to that of France, and that under conditions more nearly approaching the modern conception of a political balance and a European state system than feudalism, imperialism, and papalism had hitherto rendered possible.

In domestic policy, seven years of monotonous administration had in a way prepared for vigorous reforms. Edward's return to England in 1274 was quickly followed by the dismissal of Walter of Merton, the chancellor of the years of quiescence. He was succeeded by Robert Burnell, who, though foiled in his quest of Canterbury, obtained an adequate standing by his preferment to the bishopric of Bath and Wells. For the eighteen years of life which still remained to him, Bishop Burnell held the chancery and possessed the chief place in Edward's counsels. The whole of this period was marked by a constant legislative activity which ceased so soon after Burnell's death that it is tempting to assign at least as large a part of the law-making of the reign to the minister as to the sovereign. A consummate lawyer and diplomatist, Burnell served Edward faithfully. Nor was his fidelity impaired either by the laxity which debarred him from higher ecclesiastical preferment or by his ambitious endeavours to raise the house of Shropshire squires from which he sprang into a great territorial family. Edward gave him his absolute confidence and was blind even to his defects.

The first general parliament of the reign to which the king summoned the commons was held at Westminster in the spring of 1275. Its work was the statute of Westminster the First, a comprehensive measure of many articles which covered almost the whole field of legislation, and is especially noteworthy for the care which its compilers took to uphold sound administration and put down abuses. Not less important was the provision of an adequate revenue for the debt-burdened king. The same parliament made Edward a permanent grant of a custom on wool, wool-fells, and leather, which remained henceforth a chief source of the regular income of the crown. The later imposition of further duties soon caused men to describe the customs of 1275 as the "Great and Ancient Custom". It was significant of the economic condition of England that the great custom was a tax on exports, not imports, and that, with the exception of leather, it was a tax on raw materials. Granted the more willingly since the main incidence of it was upon the foreign merchants, who bought up English wool for the looms of Flanders and Brabant, the custom proved a source of revenue which could easily be manipulated, increased, and assigned in advance to the Italian financiers, willing to lend money to a necessitous king. A new step in our financial history was attained when this tax on trade steps into the place so long held by the taxes on land, from which the Normans and Angevins had derived their enormous revenue.

The statute of Westminster the First had a long series of fellows. Next year came the statute of Rageman, which supplemented an earlier inquest into abuses by instituting a special inquiry in cases of trespass. In 1277 the first Welsh war interrupted the current of legislation. The break was compensated for in 1278 by the passing of the important statute of Gloucester, the consummation of a policy which Edward had adopted as soon as he set foot on English soil. The troubles of Edward's youth had made clear to him the obstacles thrown in the path of orderly government by the great territorial franchises. He had been forced to modify his policy to gratify the lord of Glamorgan, and win over the house of Mortimer by the erection of a new franchise that was a palatinate in all but name. But such great "regalities" were, after all, exceptional. Much more irritating to an orderly mind were the innumerable petty immunities which made half the hundreds in England the appendages of baronial estates, and such common privileges as "return of writs," which prevented the sheriff's officers from executing his mandates on numerous manors where the lords claimed that the execution of writs must be entrusted to their bailiffs.[1] These widespread powers in private hands were the more annoying to the king since they were commonly exercised with no better warrant than long custom, and without direct grant from him.

[1] See on "return of writs" and a host of similar immunities, Pollock and Maitland's History of English Law, i., 558-82.

Bracton had already laid down the doctrine that no prescription can avail against the rights of the crown, and it was a commonplace with the lawyers of the age that nothing less than a clear grant by royal charter could justify such delegation of the sovereign's powers into private hands. Within a few months of his landing, Edward sent out commissioners to inquire into the baronial immunities. The returns of these inquests, which were carried out hundred by hundred, are embodied in the precious documents called the Hundred Rolls. The study of these reports inspired the procedure of the statute of Gloucester, by which royal officers were empowered to traverse the land demanding by what warrant the lords of franchises exercised their powers. The demand of the crown for documentary proof of royal delegation would have destroyed more than half the existing liberties. But aristocratic opinion deserted Edward when he strove to carry out so violent a revolution. The irritation of the whole baronage is well expressed in the story of how Earl Warenne, unsheathing a rusty sword, declared to the commissioners: "Here is my warrant. My ancestors won their lands with the sword. With my sword I will defend them against all usurpers." Nor was this mere boasting. The return of the king's officers tells us that Warenne would not say of whom, or by what services, he held his Yorkshire stronghold of Conisborough, and that his bailiffs refused them entrance into his liberties and would not suffer his tenants to answer or appear before them.[1] Edward found it prudent not to press his claims. He disturbed few men in their franchises, and was content to have collected the mass of evidence embodied in the placita de quo warranto, and thus to have stopped the possibility of any further growth of the franchises. A few years later he accepted the compromise that continuous possession since the coronation of Richard I. was a sufficient answer to a writ of quo warranto. In this lies the whole essence of Edward's policy in relation to feudalism, a policy very similar to that of St. Louis. Every man is to have his own, and the king is not to inquire too curiously what a man's own was. But no extension of any private right was to be tolerated. Thus feudalism as a principle of political jurisdiction gradually withered away, because it was no longer suffered to take fresh root. The later land legislation of Edward's reign pushed the idea still further.

[1] Kirkby's Quest for Yorkshire, pp. 3, 227, 231, Surtees Soc.

In 1278 it had been the turn of the barons to suffer. Next came the turn of the Church. Though Edward was a true son of the Church, he saw as clearly as William the Conqueror and Henry II. the essential incompatibility between the royal supremacy and the pretensions of the extreme ecclesiastics. The limits of Church and State, the growth of clerical wealth and immunities, and the relations of the world-power of the pope to the local authority of the king, were problems which no strong king could afford to neglect, and perhaps were incapable of solution on medieval lines. Edward saw that the most practical way of dealing with clerical claims was for him to stand in good personal relations to the chief dispensers of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. With a pope like Gregory X. it was easy for Edward to be on friendly terms; but it was more difficult to feel any cordiality for the dogmatic canonists or the furious Guelfic partisans who too often occupied the chair of St. Peter. Yet Edward was shrewd enough to see that it was worth while making sacrifices to keep on his side the power which, alike under Innocent III. and Clement IV., had given valuable assistance to his grandfather and father in their struggle against domestic enemies. Moreover the enormous growth of the system of papal provisions had given the papacy the preponderating authority in the selection of the bishops of the English Church. It was only by yielding to the popes, whenever it was possible, that Edward could secure the nomination of his own candidates to the chief ecclesiastical posts in his own realm.

In the earlier years of his reign Edward was luckier in his relations to the popes than to his own archbishops. But he found that his power at Rome broke down just where he wanted to exercise it most. He was disgusted to find how little influence he had in the selection of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Gregory X. sent to Canterbury the Dominican Robert Kilwardby, the first mendicant to hold high place in the English Church. Kilwardby was translated in 1278 to the cardinal bishopric of Porto, a post of greater dignity but less emolument and power than the English archbishopric. A cardinal bishop was bound to reside at Rome, and the real motive for this doubtful promotion was the desire to remove Kilwardby from England and to send a more active man in his place. Edward's indiscreet devotion to Bishop Burnell led him again to press his friend's claims, but, though he persuaded the monks of Christ Church to elect him, Nicholas III. quashed the appointment, and selected the Franciscan friar, John Peckham, as archbishop. Peckham, a famous theologian and physicist, had been a distinguished professor at Paris, Oxford, and Rome. He was high-minded, honourable and zealous, a saint as well as a scholar, an enthusiast for Church reform and a vigorous upholder of the extremest hierarchical pretensions. Fussy, energetic, tactless, he was the true type of the academic ecclesiastic, and alike in his personal qualities and his wonderful grasp of detail, he may be compared to Archbishop Laud. Though received by Edward with a rare magnanimity, Friar John allowed no personal considerations of gratitude to interpose between him and his duty. Reaching England in June, 1279, he presided, within six weeks of his landing, at a provincial council at Reading. In this gathering canons were passed against pluralities which frightened every benefice hunter among the clerks of the royal household. Orders were also issued for the periodical denunciation of ecclesiastical penalties against all violators of the Great Charter in a fashion that suggested that the king was an habitual offender against the fundamental laws of his realm.

Edward wrathfully laid the usurpations of the new primate before parliament, and forced Peckham to withdraw all the canons dealing with secular matters, and particularly those which concerned the Great Charter. The king set up the counter-claims of the State against the pretensions of the Church, and the estates passed the statute of Mortmain of 1279 as the layman's answer to the canons of Reading. Like most of Edward's laws the statute of Mortmain was based on earlier precedents. The wealth of the Church had long inspired statesmen with alarm, and a true follower of St. Francis like Peckham was specially convinced of the need of reducing the clergy to apostolic poverty. By the new law all grants of land to ecclesiastical corporations were expressly prohibited, under the penalty of the land being forfeited to its supreme lord. The statute was not a mere political weapon of the moment. It had a wider importance as a step in the development of Edward's anti-feudal policy, and may be regarded as a counterpart of the inquest into franchises, and as a means of protecting the State as well as of disciplining the Church. A corporation never died, and never paid reliefs or wardships. Its property never escheated for want of heirs, and, as scutages were passing out of fashion, ecclesiastics were less valuable to the king in times of war than lay lords. The recent exigencies of the Welsh war had emphasised the need of strengthening the military defences of the crown, and the new statute secured this by preventing the further devolution of lands into the dead hand of the Church. But all medieval laws were rather enunciations of an ideal than measures which practical statesmen aimed at carrying out in detail. The statute of Mortmain hardly stayed the creation of fresh monasteries and colleges, or the further endowment of old ones. All that was necessary for the pious founder was to obtain a royal dispensation from the operation of the statute. There was little need to fear that the new law would stand in the way of the power of the ecclesiastical estate.

A more distinct challenge to the Church was provoked by a further aggression of Peckham in 1281. In that year the primate summoned a council at Lambeth, wherein he sought to withdraw from the cognisance of the civil courts all suits concerning patronage and the disposition of the personal effects of ecclesiastics. To extend the jurisdiction of the forum ecclesiasticum was the surest way of exciting the hostility of the common lawyers and the king. Once more Edward annulled the proceedings of a council, and once more the submission of Peckham saved the land from a conflict which might have assumed the proportions of Becket's struggle against Henry II. Four years later Edward pressed his advantage still further by the royal ordinance of 1285, called Circumspecte agatis, which, though accepting the supremacy of the Church courts within their own sphere, narrowly defined the limits of their power in matters involving a temporal element. Again Peckham was fain to acquiesce. His policy had not only irritated the king, but alienated his fellow bishops. He visited his province with pertinacity and minuteness, and he was the less able to stand up against the king as he was engaged in violent quarrels with all his own suffragans. The leader of the bishops in resisting his claims was Thomas of Cantilupe. Restored to England by the liberal policy of Edward, Montfort's chancellor after Lewes had been raised to the see of Hereford, where his sanctity and devotion won him the universal love of his flock. Involved in costly lawsuits with the litigious primate, Thomas was forced to leave his diocese to plead his cause before the papal curia. He died in Italy in 1282, and his relics, carried back by his followers to his own cathedral, won the reputation of working miracles. A demand arose for his canonisation, and Edward before his death had secured the appointment of the papal commission, which, a few years later, added St. Thomas of Hereford to the list of saints.[1] Thus the chancellor of Montfort obtained the honour of sanctity through the action of the victor of Evesham.

[1] The processus canonisationis of Cantilupe, printed in the Bollandist Acta Sanctorum, Oct. 1, 539-705, illustrates many aspects of this period.

The second Welsh war interrupted both the conflict between Edward and the archbishop, and the course of domestic legislation. Yet even in the midst of his campaigns Edward issued the statute of Acton Burnell of 1283, which provided a better way of recovering merchants' debts, and the statute of Rhuddlan of 1284 for the regulation of the king's exchequer. The king's full activity as a lawgiver was renewed after the settlement of his conquest by the statute of Wales of 1284, and the legislation of his early years culminated in the two great acts of 1285, the statute of Westminster the Second, and the statute of Winchester. That year, which also witnessed the passing of the Circumspecte agatis, stands out as the most fruitful in lawmaking in the whole of Edward's reign.

The second statute of Westminster, passed in the spring parliament, partook of the comprehensive character of the first statute of that name. There were clauses by which, as the Canon of Oseney puts it, "Edward revived the ancient laws which had slumbered through the disturbance of the realm: some corrupted by abuse he restored to their proper form: some less evident and apparent he declared: some new ones, useful and honourable, he added". Among the more conspicuous innovations of the second statute of Westminster was the famous clause De donis conditionalibus, which forms a landmark in the law of real property. It facilitated the creation of entailed estates by providing that the rights of an heir of an estate, granted upon conditions, were not to be barred on account of the alienation of such an estate by its previous tenant. Thus arose those estates for life, which in later ages became a special feature of the English land system, and which, by restricting the control of the actual possessor of a property over his land, did much to perpetuate the worst features of medieval land-holding. It is a modern error to regard the legitimation of estates in tail as a triumph of reactionary feudalism over the will of Edward. Apart from the fact that there is not a tittle of contemporary evidence to justify such a view, it is manifest that the interest of the king was in this case exactly the same as that of each individual lord of a manor. The greater prospect of reversion to the donor, and the other features of the system of entails, which commended them to the petty baron, were still more attractive to the king, the greatest proprietor as well as the ultimate landlord of all the realm. Other articles of the Westminster statute were only less important than the clause De donis, notable among them being the institution of justices of nisi prius, appointed to travel through the shires three times a year to hear civil causes. This was part of the simplification and concentration of judicial machinery, whereby Edward made tolerable the circuit system which under Henry III. had been a prolific source of grievances.

While in the statute of Westminster Edward prepared for the future, the companion statute of Winchester, the work of the autumn parliament, revived the jurisdiction of the local courts; reformed the ancient system of watch and ward, and brought the ancient system of popular courts into harmony with the jurisdiction emanating from the crown, which had gone so far towards superseding it. This measure marks the culmination of Edward's activity as a lawgiver. During the five next years there were no more important statutes.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE CONQUEST OF NORTH WALES.

The treaty of Shrewsbury of 1267 had not brought enduring peace to Wales and the march. The pacification was in essentials a simple recognition of accomplished facts, but, so far as it involved promises of restitution and future good behaviour, its provisions were barely carried out, even in the scanty measure in which any medieval treaty was executed. Moreover, the treaty by no means covered the whole ground of variance between the English and the Welsh. like the treaty of Paris of 1259, it was as much the starting-point of new difficulties as the solution of old ones. Many troublesome questions of detail had been postponed for later settlement, and no serious effort was made to grapple with them. Even during the life of the old king, there had been war in the south between the Earl of Gloucester and Llewelyn. However, the Welsh prince paid, with fair regularity, the instalments of the indemnity to which he had been bound, and there was no disposition on the part of the English authorities to question the basis of the settlement. Even the marchers maintained an unwonted tranquillity. They had lost so much during the recent war that they had no great desire to take up arms again. Llewelyn himself was the chief obstacle to peace. The brilliant success of his arms and diplomacy seems somewhat to have turned his brain. Visions of a wider authority constantly floated before him. His bards prophesied the expulsion of the Saxon, and he had done such great deeds in the first twenty years of his reign, that a man of more practical temperament might have been forgiven for indulging in dreams of future success. Three obstacles stood in the way of the development of his power. These were his vassalage to the English crown, the hostility of the marcher barons, and the impatience with which the minor Welsh chieftains submitted to his authority. For five years he impatiently endured these restraints. He then took advantage of the absence of the new king to rid himself of them.

Five days after the accession of Edward I., the lieutenants of the king received the last payment of the indemnity which Llewelyn condescended to make. Their demand that the Welsh prince should take an oath of fealty to his new sovereign was answered by evasive delays. Arrears of the indemnity accumulated, and the state of the march became more disturbed. The regents showed moderation, though one of them, Roger Mortimer, had himself been the greatest sufferer from the treaty of Shrewsbury. In the south, Humphrey Bohun, grandson of the old Earl of Hereford and earl himself in 1275 by his grandfather's death, was engaged in private war with Llewelyn. In direct defiance of the terms of 1267, Humphrey strove to maintain himself in the march of Brecon, which had been definitely ceded to Llewelyn. It was to the credit of the regents that they refused to countenance this glaring violation of the treaty. Meanwhile Llewelyn busied himself with erecting a new stronghold on the upper Severn, which was a menace alike to the royal castle of Montgomery and to his own vassal, Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn, the tributary lord of Powys. Yet the regents were content to remonstrate, and to urge on all parties the need of strict adherence to the terms of the treaty. The Earl of Warwick was appointed in the spring of 1274 as head of a commission, empowered to do justice on all transgressions of the peace, and Llewelyn was ordered to meet him at Montgomery Ford. But Llewelyn was busy at home, where his brother David had joined hands with Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn in a plot against him. Llewelyn easily crushed the conspiracy; David, after a feeble attempt to maintain himself in his own patrimony, took flight to England, and Griffith of Powys, driven from his dominions, was also obliged to seek the protection of Edward. Henceforth Llewelyn ruled directly over Powys as well as Gwynedd. His success encouraged him to persevere in defying his overlord.

Rash as he was, Llewelyn recognised that he was not strong enough to stand up single-handed against England. Former experience, however, suggested that it was an easy matter to make a party with the barons against the crown. But times had changed since the Great Charter and the Barons' War; and a policy, which could obtain concessions from John or Henry III., was powerless against a king who commanded the allegiance of all his subjects. Yet there was enough friction between the new king and his feudatories to make the attempt seem feasible, and Llewelyn revived the Montfort tradition, by claiming the hand of Eleanor, Earl Simon's daughter, which had been promised to him since 1265. The alarm created by this shows that Edward perceived the danger that it might involve. But his policy of conciliation had now restored to their estates the last of the "disinherited," and, since the murder of Henry of Almaine, the name of Montfort was no longer one to conjure with. The exiled sons of Earl Simon welcomed Llewelyn's advances, and, in 1275, Eleanor was despatched from France to Wales under the escort of her clerical brother Amaury. On their way, Eleanor and Amaury were captured by English sailors. Edward detained the lady at the queen's court, and gave some scandal to the stricter clergy by shutting up Amaury in Corfe castle. He had foiled the Welsh prince's game, but he had given him a new grievance.

During these transactions negotiations had been proceeding between the English court and Llewelyn. In November, 1274, Edward went to Shrewsbury in the hope of receiving the prince, but he was delayed by illness, and Llewelyn made this an excuse for non-appearance. Next year the king journeyed to Chester with the same object, but his mission was equally fruitless. Summons after summons was despatched to the recalcitrant vassal. Llewelyn heeded them no more than requests to pay up the arrears which he owed the English crown. After two years of hesitation Edward lost all patience. Irritated to the quick by Llewelyn's offer to perform homage in a border town on conditions altogether impossible of acceptance, the king summoned a council of magnates for November 12, 1276, and laid the whole case before them. It was agreed that the king should go against Llewelyn as a rebel and disturber of the peace; and the feudal levies were summoned to meet at Worcester on June 24, 1277. As a preliminary to the great effort, Warwick was sent to Chester, Roger Mortimer to Montgomery, and Payne of Chaworth to Carmarthen. All the available marcher forces and every trooper of the royal household were despatched to enable them to operate during the winter and spring. Their movements were brilliantly successful. On the reappearance of its ancient lord, the middle march threw off the yoke of Llewelyn and went back to its obedience to Mortimer. Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn was restored to upper Powys; the sons of Griffith of Bromfield cast off their allegiance to Llewelyn and were received back as direct vassals of the king. A Tony was once more ruling in Elvael, a Gifford in Llandovery, and a Bohun in Brecon. Rhys ap Meredith yielded up Dynevor, and was content to be recognised as lord of the humbler stronghold of Drysllwyn. Chaworth's bands conquered all Cardiganshire. Thus the wider "principality" of Llewelyn was shattered at the first assault, and when the decisive moment came, Llewelyn was thrown back upon his hereditary clansmen of Gwynedd. Of all the acquisitions of the treaty of Shrewsbury, the four cantreds alone still held for their prince.[1]

[1] On the whole subject of this chapter Mr. J.E. Morris's Welsh Wars of Edward I. throws a flood of new light, especially on the military history, the organisation of the Edwardian army, and the political condition of the march.

When the baronial levies mustered at Worcester, the work was already half accomplished. Of the thousand lances that there assembled, small forces were detached to help Mortimer in mid Wales and to reinforce the marcher army in west Wales, which was now commanded by Edmund of Lancaster, the king's brother. The mass of the troops followed Edward to Chester, whence the main attack was to be made. Edward's plan of operations was simplicity itself. He knew that the Welsh desired no pitched battle, and he was indisposed to lose his soldiers in unnecessary conflict. Swarms of workmen cleared a wide road through the dense forests of the four cantreds. The route chosen was as near as possible to the coast, where a strong fleet, mainly from the Cinque Ports, kept up communications with the land forces. The advance was cautious and slow, with long halts at Flint and at Rhuddlan, where hastily erected forts secured the king's base and safe-guarded a possible retreat. By the end of August the king was at Deganwy, and the four cantreds were conquered. During all this time fresh forces were hurried up. Some 15,000 infantry, largely drawn from southern and central Wales, swelled the king's host.

Llewelyn was closely shut up in the Snowdon country. His position was safe enough from a direct assault, and his only fear was want of provisions. He trusted, however, that supplies would come in from Anglesea, whose rich cornfields were yellowing for the harvest. But the fleet of the Cinque Ports cut off communications between Anglesea and the mainland, and ferried over a strong detachment of Edward's troops, which occupied the island. English harvest-men gathered for Edward the crops of Welsh corn, and left Llewelyn to face the beginnings of a mountain-winter without the means of feeding his followers. By September the real fight was over. Edward withdrew to Rhuddlan and dismissed the greater part of his followers. Enough were left to block the approaches to Snowdon, and Llewelyn, seeing no gain in further delay, made his submission on November 9.

The treaty of Aberconway, which Edward dictated, reduced Llewelyn to the position of a petty North Welsh chieftain, which he had held thirty years before. He gave up the homage of the greater Welsh magnates, and resigned all his former conquests. The four cantreds thus passed away from his power, and even Anglesea was only allowed to him for life and subject to a yearly tribute. He was compelled to do homage, and ordered to pay a crushing indemnity, twice as much as the expenses of the war. But Edward was in a generous mood. After Llewelyn's personal submission at Rhuddlan, the king remitted the indemnity and the rent for Anglesea. It was a boon to Llewelyn that the treacherous David received his reward not' in Gwynedd itself but in Duffryn Clwyd and Rhuvoniog, two of the four cantreds of the Perveddwlad. Llewelyn's humiliation was completed by his enforced attendance at Edward's Christmas court at Westminster. Next year, however, he received a further sign of royal favour. He was allowed to marry Eleanor Montfort, and Edward himself was present at their wedding. But on the morning of the ceremony, Llewelyn was forced to make a promise not to entertain the king's fugitives and outlaws.

The treaty of Aberconway left Edward free to revive in the rest of Wales the policy which, when originally begun in 1254,[1] had, like a rising flood, floated Llewelyn into his wider principality. The lords marchers resumed their ancient limits. Princes like Griffith of Powys and Rhys of Drysllwyn sank into a position which is indistinguishable from that of their Anglo-Norman neighbours. David, in the vale of Clwyd had no better prospects. The heirs of lower Powys were put under the guardianship of Roger Mortimer's younger son, another Roger, who, on the death of his wards by drowning, received possession of their lands, and henceforth, as Roger Mortimer of Chirk, became a new marcher baron. Meanwhile Edward busied himself with schemes for establishing settled government in the conquered territories. To a man of his training and temperament, this meant the establishment of English law and administration. He could see no merits in the archaic Welsh customs which regarded all crimes as capable of atonement by a money payment, treated a wrecked ship as the lawful perquisite of the local proprietor, and hardly distinguished legitimate from illegitimate children in determining the descent of property. He convinced himself that the land laws of Wales were already those of Anglo-Norman feudalism. He subjected the cantreds of Rhos and Englefield to the Cheshire county court, and breathed a new life into the decayed shire organisation of Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire. Flint and Rhuddlan dominated the two former, Aberystwyth and Carmarthen the latter. Round the king's castles grew up petty boroughs of English traders, who would, it was believed, teach the Welsh to love commerce and peaceful ways.

[1] See page 76.

For five years all seemed to go well, though underneath the apparent calm a storm was gradually gathering. The Welsh of the ceded districts bitterly resented the imposition of a strange yoke and complained that the king had broken his promise to respect their laws. "Are the Welsh worse than Jews?" was their cry, "and yet the king allows the Jews to follow their own laws in England." But Edward coldly answered that, though it would be a breach of his coronation oath to maintain customs of Howel the Good, which were contrary to the Decalogue, he was willing to listen to specific complaints. It was, however, a very difficult matter to persuade Edward's bailiffs and agents to carry out his commands, and many acts of oppression were wrought for which there was no redress. Nobles like David and Rhys found their franchises threatened by the encroachments of the neighbouring shire-courts. Lesser Welshmen were liable to be robbed and insulted by the workmen who were building Edward's castles, or by the soldiers who were garrisoning them. At last even the Welsh who had helped Edward to put down Llewelyn saw that they had been preparing their own ruin, and turned to their former enemy for the redress refused them at Westminster. David himself made common cause with his brother, and the spirit of resistance spread among the half-hearted Cymry of the south. Edward's oppression did more than Llewelyn's triumphs to weld together the Welsh clans into a single people. A rising was planned in the strictest secrecy; and on the eve of Palm Sunday, March 21, 1282, David swooped down on Hawarden, a weak castle in private hands, and captured it. Llewelyn promptly crossed the Conway and turned his arms against the royal strongholds of Flint and Rhuddlan, which withstood him, though he devastated the countryside in every direction. Meanwhile David hurried south and found the local lords in Cardigan and the vale of Towy already in arms. With their help he captured the castles of the upper Towy, but lower down the river Rhys remained staunch to the king, whereupon David hurried over the hills to Cardiganshire and took Aberystwyth. North and south were in full revolt.

Edward, taken unawares, prepared to reassert his authority. Certain faithful barons were "affectionately requested" to serve the king for pay, and a fairly large army was gathered together, though the scattered character of the rebellion necessitated its acting in small bands. Meanwhile the military tenants and the Cinque Ports were summoned to join in an attack on Llewelyn on the lines of the campaign of 1277. Edward's task was more difficult than on the previous occasion. Though Rhuddlan, not Chester as in 1277, had become his starting-point against Gwynedd, he dared not advance so long as David threatened his left flank from Denbigh, and the rising in the south was far more formidable than that of five years before. A considerable part of the levies had to be despatched to the help of Earl Gilbert of Gloucester, who was charged with the reconquest of the vale of Towy. On June 17 as the earl's soldiers were returning, laden with plunder, to their headquarters at Dynevor, they were suddenly attacked by the Welsh at Llandilo, and were driven back on their base. Gloucester hastily retreated to Carmarthen. He was superseded by William of Valence, whose activity against the Welsh had been quickened by the loss of his son at Llandilo. Llewelyn then came south, and pressed the English so hard that for several weeks nothing of moment was accomplished.

The advance against Gwynedd was delayed until the late summer. Edward still tarried at Rhuddlan, with a host constantly varying in numbers, for his soldiers had long overpassed the period of feudal service. Every effort was made to bring fresh troops to the field, and Luke de Tany, seneschal of Gascony, came upon the scene with a small levy of the chivalry of Aquitaine. To Tany was assigned the task of conquering Anglesey, but it was not until September that he was able to occupy the island. In the same month a strenuous effort was made to dislodge the hostile Welsh in the vale of Clwyd; the Earl of Lincoln at last took Denbigh from David; Reginald Grey, justice of Chester, captured Ruthin, higher up the valley, and Earl Warenne seized Bromfield and Yale. Each noble fought for his own hand, and Edward was forced to reward their services by immediately granting to them their conquests, and thus created a new marcher interest which, later on, stood in the way of an effective settlement. But things were getting desperate, and it was well for Edward that the security of his left flank at last enabled him to advance to the Conway. Thereupon Llewelyn returned to Snowdon, where he was joined by the homeless David. Meanwhile Tany, then master of Anglesey, opened up communications with the coast of Arvon by a bridge of boats over the Menai Straits. Winter was already at hand when Llewelyn and his brother were at last shut up amidst the fastnesses of Snowdon.

Late in October Archbishop Peckham appeared on the scene. He had excommunicated Llewelyn at the beginning of the war, but was still anxious to negotiate a peace. Edward did his best to put him off, but Peckham's importunity extorted from him a short truce, during which the primate visited Snowdon, taking with him an offer of an ample estate in England if the prince would surrender his patrimony. Llewelyn furnished Peckham with long catalogues of grievances. He was quite willing to gain time by discussing his wrongs.

Edward's army shared his irritation at Peckham's interference, and, while the archbishop was still in Snowdon, a breach of the truce destroyed any hopes of peace. On November 6 Tany led his troops over the bridge of boats at low water and marched inland. But his operations were ill-planned, and the Welsh came down from the hills and easily put him to flight. Meanwhile the tide had risen and the flood cut off access to the bridge over the Menai. In their panic the soldiers rushed into the water rather than face the enemy. Many leading men were drowned, including Tany himself, the author of the treachery. Flushed with this success Llewelyn rejected Peckham's terms. In great disgust the archbishop went back to England, bitterly denouncing the Welsh. But defeat only strengthened the iron resolution of Edward. He issued fresh summonses for men and money. Contrary to all precedent, he determined to continue the campaign through the winter.

Llewelyn was probably ignorant of the perilous plight into which the king had fallen. With the approach of bad weather he became afraid that he would be starved out in Snowdon. Any risk was better than being caught like a rat in a trap, and, fearing lest a cordon should be drawn round the mountains, he made his way southwards, leaving David in command. His enemy, Roger Mortimer, was just dead, and Mortimer's eldest son Edmund, a youth brought up for the clerical profession, was not likely to hold the middle marches with the same strong grasp as his father. Thither accordingly Llewelyn made his way, hoping that on his approach the tribesmen of the upper Wye, over whom he had ruled so long, would abandon their English lord for their Cymric chieftain. A force gathered round him, and he occupied a strong position on a hill overlooking the river Yrvon, which flows into the right bank of the Wye, just above Builth. The right bank of the Yrvon was held by the English of Builth. But the only way over the stream was by Orewyn bridge, which was held by a detachment of the Welsh. Their position seemed so secure that, on December 11, Llewelyn left his troops to confer with some of the local chieftains. The English were, however, shown a ford over the river; a band crossed in safety, and, taking the defenders of Orewyn bridge in the rear, opened up the passage over it to their comrades. The English ascended the hill, their mail-clad squadrons interlaced with archers, in order that the Welsh infantry might be assailed by missiles before they were exposed to the shock of a cavalry charge. In the absence of their leader, the Welsh were a helpless mass of sheep, and were easily put to flight. Meanwhile Llewelyn, hearing the din of battle, hurried back to direct his followers. On the way he was slain by Stephen of Frankton, a Shropshire veteran of the Barons' War, who fought under the banner of Roger l'Estrange. The discovery of important papers on the body first told the conquerors the rank of their victim.

Thus perished the able and strenuous chief, who had struggled so long to win for himself in Wales a position similar to that occupied by the King of Scots in the north. His death did not end, but it much simplified, the struggle. The south and midland districts were entirely subdued, and the interest of the war again shifted to the mountains of Snowdon, where David strove to maintain himself as Prince of Wales. His best chance lay in the exhaustion of his enemy, but Edward stuck grimly to his task. His coffers were exhausted, and his army for the most part went home. Yet Edward tarried at Rhuddlan for over six months, dividing his energy between watching the Welsh and replenishing his treasure and troops. His treasurer, John Kirkby, wandered from shire to shire soliciting voluntary contributions. Then in January, 1283, an anomalous parliament was summoned, consisting mainly of ecclesiastics, knights of the shire, and burgesses, and meeting in two divisions, at York and at Northampton, according as the members came from the northern or southern ecclesiastical provinces. The grant of a thirtieth so little satisfied the king that he laid violent hands on the crusading-tenth, which was deposited in the Temple. Meanwhile the chivalry of Gascony and Ponthieu were tempted by high wages to supply the void left by the retirement of the English.

Early in 1283 a gallant force from beyond sea, among which figured the Counts of Armagnac and Bigorre, reached Rhuddlan. After their arrival the king took the offensive, crossed the Conway and transferred his headquarters to the Cistercian abbey of Aberconway. Fearful once more of being enclosed in the mountains, David sought a new hiding-place among the heights of Cader Idris. He shifted his quarters to the castle of Bere, hidden away in a remote valley sloping down from the mountain to the sea. The unwearied Edward once more issued summonses for a fresh campaign. David was at the extremity of his resources. Before the new arrivals enabled Edward to move, William of Valence marched up from the south, and in April forced Bere to surrender. David fled before the siege began; but he was a fugitive without an army, and the campaign was reduced to a weary tracking out of the last little bands that still scorned to surrender. In June David was betrayed by men of his own tongue, and Edward summoned for Michaelmas at Shrewsbury a parliament whose chief business was the trial of David. On October 3 the last Cymric Prince of Wales suffered the ignominious doom of a traitor, a murderer, and a blasphemer. The magnates then adjourned to the chancellor's neighbouring seat of Acton Burnell, where the rejoicings incident to the king's visit to his friend's new mansion were combined with passing the statute of Merchants.

Edward's love of thoroughness made him linger in Wales to settle the government of the newly won lands. His first care was to hold Snowdon with the ring of fortresses which, in their ruin, still bear abiding witness to the solidity of the conqueror's work. Round each castle arose a new town, created as artificially as were the bastides of Aquitaine, within whose walls English traders and settlers were tempted by high privileges to take up their abodes, and whose strictly military character was emphasised by the general provision that the constable of the castle was to be ex officio the mayor of the municipality. Chief among these was Aberconway, whose strategic importance Edward understood so fully that he forced the Cistercian monks to take up new quarters at Maenan, higher up the valley, in order that there might be room for the castle and town which were henceforth to guard the entrance to Snowdon. Equally important was the future capital of Gwynedd, Carnarvon, where on April 25, 1284, a son was born to Edward and Eleanor, who seventeen years later was to become the first English Prince of Wales. Elsewhere fortresses of Welsh origin were rebuilt and enlarged to complete the stone circuit round the mountains. Such were Criccieth, the key of Lleyn; Dolwyddelen, which dominated the upper Conway; and Harlech and Bere, the two strongholds that curbed the mountaineers of Merioneth. In the south the same policy was carried out. Alike in Gwynedd and in the vale of Towy, both in his castle building and in his town foundations, Edward was simply carrying on the traditions of earlier ages, and applying to his new lands those principles of government which, since the Norman Conquest, had become the tradition of the marcher lords. Even in his architectural schemes there was nothing novel in Edward's policy. Gilbert of Gloucester at Caerphilly, and Payne of Chaworth at Kidwelly, had already worked out the pattern of "concentric" defences that were to find their fullest expression in the new castles of the principality. In each of these strongholds an adequate garrison of highly trained and well-paid troops kept the Welsh in check.

The civil government of the Edwardian conquests was provided for by the statute of Wales, issued on Mid-Lent Sunday, 1284, at Rhuddlan, Edward's usual headquarters. It declared that the land of Wales, heretofore subject to the crown in feudal right, was entirely transferred to the king's dominion. To the whole of the annexed districts the English system of shire government was extended, though such local customs as appealed to Edward's sense of justice were suffered to be continued. Gwynedd and its appurtenances were divided into the three shires of Anglesey, Carnarvon, and Merioneth, and were collectively put under the justice of Snowdon, whose seat was to be at Carnarvon, where courts of chancery and exchequer for north Wales were set up. The shires of Cardigan and Carmarthen were re-organised so as to include the southern districts which had been subject to Llewelyn, or to the Welsh lords who had fallen with him. These were put under the justice of west Wales, whose chancery and exchequer were established at Carmarthen. It is significant that Edward prepared the way for making these districts into shires by persuading his brother Edmund, to whom they had been granted, to abandon his claims over them in return for ample compensation elsewhere. Without this step the new shires would only have been palatinates of the Glamorgan or Pembroke type, and the creation of such franchises was directly contrary to Edward's policy. It was different in the vale of Clwyd, where it would have been natural for Edward to have extended the shire system to the four cantreds. Military exigences had, however, already erected most of these lands into new marcher lordships, and Edward was perforce content with the union of some fragments of Rhos to the shire of Carnarvon, and with joining together Englefield and some adjoining districts in the new county of Flint. This arrangement secured the strongholds of Flint and Rhuddlan for the king. But the district was too small to make it worth while to set up a separate organisation for it, and Flintshire was put under the justice and courts of Chester, so that it became a dependency of the neighbouring palatinate.[1]

[1] For the shires of Walessee my paper on The Welsh Shires in Y Cymmrodor, ix. (1888), 201-26.

The lordships of the march were not directly influenced by this legislation. They continued to hold their position as franchises until the reign of Henry VIII., and under Edward III. were declared by statute to be no part of the principality but directly subject to the English crown. Yet the removal of the pressure of a native principality profoundly affected these districts. The policy of definition made its mark even here. The liberties of each marcher were defined and circumscribed, and, while scrupulously respected, were incapable of further extension. The vague jurisdictions of the sheriffs of the border shires were cleared up, and if this process involved some limitation of the royal authority in districts like Clun and Oswestry, which virtually ceased to be parts of Shropshire, there was a compensating advantage in the increased clearness with which the border line was drawn and the royal authority consolidated. Gradually the marcher lordships passed by lapse into the royal hands, and even from the beginning there were regions, such as Montgomery and Builth, which knew no lord but the king. All this was, however, an indirect result of the Edwardian conquest. Strictly speaking it was no conquest of all Wales but merely of the principality, the ancient dominions of Llewelyn, to which most of the crown lands in Wales were joined.

Ecclesiastical settlement followed the political reorganisation. Peckham was as zealous as Edward in compelling the conquered to follow the law-abiding traditions of the king's ancient inheritance. He laboured strenuously for the rebuilding of churches, the preservation and extension of ecclesiastical property, the education of the clergy, and the extirpation of clerical matrimony and simony. Despite his unsympathetic attitude, he did good work for the Welsh Church by his manful resistance to all attempts of Edward and his subordinates to encroach upon her liberties. He quaintly thought it would promote the civilisation of Wales if the people were forced to "learn civility" by living in towns and sending their children to school in England. His assiduous visitation of the Welsh dioceses in 1284 did something to kindle zeal, and win the Welsh clergy from the idleness wherein, he believed, lay the root of all their shortcomings.

In the autumn of 1284 Edward went on an extended progress in Wales. He passed through the four cantreds into Gwynedd, and thence worked his way southwards through Cardigan and Carmarthen, ending his tour by visits to the marcher lords of the south. He crossed over from Glamorgan, where he had been entertained by Gilbert of Clare, to Bristol, where he held his Christmas court. Wales was to see no more of its new ruler for seven years. During that time the principality gave Edward little trouble, though the marchers, as will be seen, were a constant anxiety to him. In 1287, while Edward was in Gascony, the regent, Edmund of Cornwall, was called upon to deal with a revolt of Rhys, son of Meredith, the loyalist lord of the vale of Towy, who resented the authority of the justice of Carmarthen over his patrimony. His grievances were those of a marcher rather than those of a Welshman. Yet his rising in 1287 was formidable enough to require the raising of a great army for its suppression. The Welsh chieftain could not long hold out against the odds brought against him, and the confiscation of his lands swelled the district directly depending on the sheriff of Carmarthen. The support of the countryside enabled Rhys to evade his pursuers for nearly three years. At last he was captured, and with the execution of the last of the lords of Dynevor, the triumph of Edward became complete.



CHAPTER IX.

THE SICILIAN AND THE SCOTTISH ARBITRATIONS.

Edward I. had now attained the height of his fame. He had conquered Llewelyn; he had reformed the administration; he had put himself as a lawmaker in the same rank as St. Louis or Frederick II.; and he had restored England to a leading position in the councils of Europe. Moreover, he had won a character for justice and fairness which did him even greater service, since the several deaths of prominent sovereigns during 1285 left him almost alone of his generation among princes of a lesser stature. Of the chief rulers of Europe in the early years of Edward's reign, Rudolf of Hapsburg alone survived; and the King of the Romans had little weight outside Germany many. Edward had outlived his brother-in-law Alfonso of Castile, his cousin Philip the Bold, his uncle Charles of Anjou, and Peter of Aragon. But the conflicts, in which these kings had been engaged, were continued by their successors. Above all, the contest for Sicily still raged. The successors of Martin IV., though deprived of the active support of France, would not abandon the claims of the captive Charles of Salerno; and James of Aragon, Peter's second son, maintained himself in Sicily, despite papal censures and despite the virtual desertion of his cause by his elder brother, Alfonso III., the new king of Aragon. Each side was at a standstill, though each side struggled on. The personal hatreds, which made it impossible to reconcile the older generation, were dying out, and the chief obstacle in the way of a settlement was the stubbornness of the papacy. If any one could reconcile the quarrel, it was the King of England; and to him Charles' sons and the nobles of his dominions appealed to procure his release.

Edward was anxious to proffer his services as a peacemaker, dream of a Europe, united for the liberation of the holy places, had not been expelled from his mind by his schemes for the advancement of his kingdom. If he could inspire his neighbour kings with something of his spirit, the crusade might still be possible. Other matters also called Edward's attention to the continent. He had to do homage to the new French king; he had to press for the execution of the treaty of Amiens, and his presence was again necessary in Gascony. His realm was in such profound peace that he could safely leave it. Accordingly in May, 1286, he took ship for France. With him went his wife Eleanor of Castile, his chancellor Bishop Burnell, and a large number of his nobles. He entrusted the regency to his cousin, Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, the son and successor of Earl Richard; and England saw him no more until August, 1289. Edward first made his way to Amiens, where he met the new King of France, Philip the Fair. The two kings went together to Paris, where Edward spent two months. There he performed homage for Gascony, and made a new agreement as to the execution of the treaty of Amiens, by which he renounced his claims over Quercy for a money payment, and was put in possession of Saintonge, south of the Charente. The settlement was the easier as for the moment neither king had his supreme interest in Gascony. Edward's real business was to make peace between Anjou and Aragon, and Philip IV. showed every desire to help him. Before Edward left Paris, he had negotiated a truce between the Kings of France and Aragon. Soon afterwards he went to Bordeaux. He made Gascony his headquarters for three years, and strove with all his might to convert the truce into a peace.

Grave obstacles arose, chief among which was the determination of the papacy to make no terms with the King of Aragon so long as his brother still reigned over Sicily. Honorius IV., in approving Edward's preliminary action, and exhorting him to obtain the liberation of the Prince of Salerno, carefully guarded himself against recognising the schismatic Aragonese. Edward himself was no partisan of either side. He was heartily anxious for peace and desirous to free his kinsman from the rigours of his long imprisonment. His wish for a close alliance between England and Aragon was unacceptable to the partisanship both of Honorius IV. and his successor Nicholas IV. Papal coldness, however, did not turn Edward from his course. In the summer of 1287 he met Alfonso at Oloron in Bearn, where a treaty was drawn up by which the Aragonese king agreed to release Charles of Salerno on condition that he would either, within three years, procure from the pope the recognition of James in Sicily, or return to captivity and forfeit Provence. Besides this, an alliance between England and Aragon was to be cemented by the marriage of one of Edward's daughters to Alfonso. Delighted with the success of his undertaking, Edward, on his return to Bordeaux, again took the cross and prepared to embark on the crusade.

Nicholas IV. interposed between Edward and his vows by denouncing the treaty of Oloron.[1] Though well-meaning, he was not strong enough to shake himself free from partisan traditions, and though honestly anxious to bring about a crusade, he could not see that he made the holy war impossible by interposing obstacles in the way of the one prince who seriously intended to take the cross. While denouncing Edward's treaty, Nicholas encouraged his crusading zeal by granting him a new ecclesiastical tenth for six years, a tax made memorable by the fact that it occasioned the stringent valuation of benefices, called the taxation of Pope Nicholas, which was the standard clerical rate-book until the reign of Henry VIII. Despite the pope, Edward still persevered in his mediation, and in October, 1288, a new treaty for Charles' liberation was signed at Canfranc, in Aragon, which only varied in details from the agreement of 1287. Charles was released, but he straightway made his way to Rome, where Nicholas absolved him from his oath and crowned him King of Sicily. Edward was bitterly disappointed. He tarried in the south until July, 1289, usefully employed in promoting the prosperity of his duchy, crushing conspiracies, furthering the commerce of Bordeaux, and founding new bastides. At last tidings of disorder at home called him back to his kingdom before the purpose of his continental sojourn had been accomplished. But he still pressed on his thankless task, and in 1291 peace was made at Tarascon, between Aragon and the Roman see, on the hard condition of Alfonso abandoning his brother's cause. On Alfonso's death soon afterwards the war was renewed, for James then united the Sicilian and Aragonese thrones and would not yield up either. It was not until 1295 that Boniface VIII., a stronger pope than Nicholas, ended the struggle on terms which left the stubborn Aragonese masters of Sicily.

[1] For his policy, see O. Schiff, Studien zur Geschichte P. Nikolaus IV. (1897).

Things had not gone well in England during Edward's absence. Edmund of Cornwall had shown vigour in putting down the revolt of Rhys, but he was not strong enough to control either the greater barons or the officers of the crown. Grave troubles were already brewing in Scotland. A fierce quarrel between the Earls of Gloucester and Hereford broke out with regard to the boundaries of Glamorgan and Brecon, and the private war between the two marchers proved more formidable to the peace of the realm than the revolt of the Welsh prince. Even more disastrous to the country was the scandalous conduct of the judges and royal officials, who profited by the king's absence to pile up fortunes at the expense of his subjects. The highest judges of the land forged charters, condoned homicides, sold judgments, and practised extortion and violence. A great cry arose for the king's return. In the Candlemas parliament of 1289 Earl Gilbert of Gloucester met a request for a general aid by urging that nothing should be granted until Englishmen once more saw the king's face. Alarmed at this threat, Edward returned, and landed at Dover on August 12, 1289.

The whole situation was changed by the king's arrival. Edward met the innumerable complaints against his subordinates by dismissing nearly all the judges from office, and appointing a special commission to investigate the charges brought against royal officials of every rank. Thomas Weyland, chief justice of the common pleas, anticipated inquiry by taking sanctuary with the Franciscan friars of Bury St. Edmunds. A knight and a married man, he had taken subdeacon's orders in early life and sought to little purpose to be protected by his clergy. His refuge was watched by the local sheriffs; finally, he was starved into surrender, and suffered to abjure the realm.[1] He fled to France, whence he never returned. For some years the commission investigated the offences of the ministers of the crown. Though much that was irregular was proved against them, many charges broke down under inquiry, and, as time went on, the official class saw that their interest lay in condoning rather than in punishing scandals. Some of the worst offenders, such as the greedy and corrupt Adam of Stratton, were never restored to office;[2] but Hengham, the chief justice of the King's Bench, was soon reinstated. There were not enough good lawyers in England to make it prudent for Edward to dispense with the services of such a man. A rigorous maintenance of a high standard of official morality meant getting rid of nearly all the king's ministers, and any successors would have been inferior in experience and not superior in honesty. Edward had to work with such material as he had, and on the whole he made the best of it. Scandalous as were the proceedings of his agents, their iniquities are but trifles as compared with the offences of the counsellors of Philip the Fair.

[1] For the abjuratio regni see A. Reville in the Revue Historique, 1. (1892), 1-42.

[2] For Adam of Stratton see Hall, Red Book of the Exchequer, iii., cccxv.-cccxxxi. Extracts from the Assize rolls recording the proceedings of the special commission will soon be published by the Royal Historical Society.

Fear of Edward drove nobles into obedience as well as ministers into honesty. Gloucester desisted unwillingly from his attacks on Brecon, and was constrained to divorce his wife and marry the king's daughter, Joan of Acre. In becoming the king's son-in-law, he was forced to surrender his estates to the crown, receiving them back entailed on the heirs of the marriage or, in their default, on the heirs of Joan. Thus the system of entails made possible by the statute De donis was used by Edward to strengthen his hold over the most powerful of his feudatories and increase the prospect of his estates escheating to the crown. Considered in this light, Gilbert's marriage with the king's daughter seems less a reward of loyalty than a punishment for lawlessness. In the same year as this marriage, Edward passed another law directed against the baronage. This was the statute of Westminster the Third, called from its opening words, Quia emptores. It enacted that, when part of an estate was alienated by its lord, the grantee should not be permitted to become the subtenant of the grantor, but should stand to the ultimate lord of the fief in the same feudal relation as the grantor himself. This prohibition of further subinfeudation stopped the creation of new manors and prevented the rivetting of new links in the feudal chain, which were the necessary condition of its strength. Though passed at the request of the barons, it was a measure much more helpful to the king than to his vassals. It stood to the barons as the statute of Mortmain stood to the Church.

Edward was bent on showing that he was master, and his new son-in-law and the Earl of Hereford became the victims of his policy. He forced the reluctant Gloucester to admit that the pretensions of the lord of Glamorgan to be the overlord of the bishop of LLandaff and the guardian of the temporalities of the see during a vacancy were usurpations. Seeing that his marcher prerogatives were thus rapidly becoming undermined, Gloucester put the most cherished marcher right to the test by renewing the private war with the Earl of Hereford which had disturbed the realm during Edward's absence. The king issued peremptory orders for the immediate cessation of hostilities. These mandates Hereford obeyed, but Gloucester did not. Resolved that law not force was henceforth to settle disputes in the march, Edward summoned a novel court at Ystradvellte, in Brecon, wherein a jury from the neighbouring shires and liberties was to decide the case between the two earls in the presence of the chief marchers. Gloucester refused to appear, and the marchers declined to take part in the trial, pleading that it was against their liberties. The case was adjourned to give the recalcitrants every chance, and after a preliminary report by the judges, Edward resolved to hear the suit in person. In October, 1291, he presided at Abergavenny over the court before which the earls were arraigned. They were condemned to imprisonment and forfeiture. Content with humbling their pride and annihilating their privileges, Edward suffered them to redeem themselves from captivity by the payment of heavy fines, and before long gave them back their lands. The king's victory was so complete that neither of the earls could forgive it. In 1295, Gloucester died, without opportunity of revenge; but Hereford lived on, brooding over his wrongs, and in later years signally avenged the trial at Abergavenny. Meanwhile the conqueror of the principality had shown unmistakably that the liberties of the march were an anachronism, since the marchers had no longer the work of defending English interests against the Welsh nation.[1]

[1] Mr. J.E. Morris in chap. vi. of his Welsh Wars of Edward I. has admirably summarised this suit. See also G.T. Clark's Land of Morgan.

Another measure that followed Edward's home-coming was the expulsion of the Jews. Despite constant odium and intermittent persecution, the Jewish financiers who had settled in England after the Norman conquest steadily improved their position down to the reign of Henry III. The personal dependants of the crown, they were well able to afford to share their gains from usury with their protectors. They lived in luxury, built stone houses, set up an organisation of their own, and even purchased lands. Henry III.'s financial embarrassments forced him to rely upon them, and the alliance of the Jews and the crown stimulated the religious bigotry of the popular party to ill-treat the Jews during the Barons' War. Stories of Jews murdering Christian children were eagerly believed; and the cult of St. Hugh of Lincoln and St. William of Norwich,[1] two pretended victims of Hebrew cruelty, testified to the hatred which Englishmen bore to the race.

[1] See for this saint, Thomas of Monmouth, Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich, ed. Jessopp and James (1896).

Under Edward I. the condition of the Jews became more precarious. The king hated them alike on religious and economical grounds. He rigorously insisted that they should wear a distinctive dress, and at last altogether prohibited usury. Driven from their chief means of earning their living, the Jews had recourse to clipping and sweating the coin. Indiscriminate severities did little to abate these evils. Meanwhile active missionary efforts were made to win over the Jews to the Christian faith. They were compelled to listen to long sermons from mendicant friars, and their obstinacy in adhering to their own creed was denounced as a deliberate offence against the light. Peckham shut up their synagogues, and Eleanor of Provence, who had entered a convent, joined with the archbishop in urging her son to take severe measures against them. There was a similar movement in France, and Edward, during his long stay abroad, had expelled the Jews from Aquitaine. In 1290 he applied the same policy to England, and their exile was so popular an act that parliament made him a special grant as a thankoffering. But though Edward thus drove the Jews to seek new homes beyond sea, he allowed them to carry their property with them, and punished the mariners who took advantage of the helplessness of their passengers to rob and murder them. Though individual Jews were found from time to time in England during the later middle ages, their official re-establishment was only allowed in the seventeenth century.[1]

[1] For the Jews see J. Jacobs, Jews in Angevin England; Tovey, Anglia Judaica; J.M. Rigg, Select Pleas of the Jewish Exchequer; and for their exile B.L. Abrahams, Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290.

Two generations at least before their expulsion, the Jews had been outrivalled in their financial operations by societies of Italian bankers, whose admirable organisation and developed system of credit enabled them to undertake banking operations of a magnitude quite beyond the means of the Hebrews. First brought into England as papal agents for remitting to Rome the spoils of the Church, they found means of evading the canonical prohibitions of usury, and became the loanmongers of prince and subject alike. To the crown the Italians were more useful than the Jews had been. The value of the Jews to the monarch had been in the special facilities enjoyed by him in taxing them. The utility of the Italian societies was in their power of advancing sums of money that enabled the king to embark on enterprises hitherto beyond the limited resources of the medieval state. The Italians financed all Edward's enterprises from the crusade of 1270 to his Welsh and Scottish campaigns. From them Edward and his son borrowed at various times sums amounting to almost half a million of the money of the time. In return the Italians, chief among whom was the Florentine Society of the Frescobaldi, obtained privileges which made them as deeply hated as ever the Hebrews had been.[1]

[1] See on this subject E.A. Bond's article in Archaeologia, vol. xxviii., pp. 207-326; W.E. Rhodes, Italian Bankers in England under Edward I. and II. in Owens Coll. Historical Essays, pp. 137-68; and R.J. Whitwell, Italian Bankers and the English Crown in Transactions of Royal Hist. Soc., N.S., xvii. (1903), pp. 175-234.

Among the troubles which had called Edward back from Gascony was the condition of Scotland, where a long period of prosperity had ended with the death of Edward's brother-in-law, Alexander III., in 1286. Alexander III. attended his brother-in-law's coronation in 1274, and the irritation excited by his limiting his homage to his English lordships of Tynedale and Penrith did not cause any great amount of friction. But the homage question was only postponed, and at Michaelmas, 1278, Alexander was constrained to perform unconditionally this unwelcome act. "I, Alexander King of Scotland," were his words, "become the liege man of the lord Edward, King of England, against all men." But by carefully refraining from specifying for what he became Edward's vassal, Alexander still suggested that it was for his English lordships. Edward with equal caution declared that he received the homage, "saving his right and claim to the homage of Scotland when he may wish to speak concerning it". Both parties were content with mutual protestations. Edward was so friendly to Alexander that he allowed him to appoint Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, his proxy in professing fealty, so as to minimise the king's feeling of humiliation. The King of Scots went home loaded with presents, and for the rest of his life his relations with Edward remained cordial.

The closing years of Alexander's reign were overshadowed by domestic misfortunes and the prospects of difficulties about the succession. His wife, Margaret of England, had died in 1275, and was followed to the tomb by their two sons, Alexander and David. A delicate girl, Margaret, then alone represented the direct line of the descendants of William the Lion. Margaret was married, when still young, to Eric, King of Norway, and died in 1283 in giving birth to her only child, a daughter named Margaret. No children were born of Alexander's second marriage; and in March, 1286, the king broke his neck, when riding by night along the cliffs of the coast of Fife. Before his death, however, he persuaded the magnates of Scotland to recognise his granddaughter as his successor. The Maid of Norway, as Margaret was called, was proclaimed queen, and the administration was put into the hands of six guardians, who from 1286 to 1289 carried on the government with fair success. As time went on, the baronage got out of hand and a feud between the rival south-western houses of Balliol and Bruce foreshadowed worse troubles.

William Eraser, Bishop of St. Andrews, the chief of the regents, visited Edward in Gascony and urged the necessity of action. The best solution of all problems was that the young Queen of Scots should be married to Edward of Carnarvon, a boy a few months her junior. But both the Scots nobles and the King of Norway were jealous and suspicious, and any attempt to hurry forward such a proposal would have been fatal to its accomplishment. However, negotiations were entered into between England, Scotland, and Norway. In 1289 the guardians of Scotland agreed to nominate representatives to treat on the matter. Edward took up his quarters at Clarendon, while his agents, conspicuous among whom was Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham, negotiated with the envoys of Norway and Scotland. On November 6 the three powers concluded the treaty of Salisbury, by which they agreed that Margaret should be sent to England or Scotland before All Saints' Day, 1290, "free and quit of all contract of marriage or espousals". Edward promised that if Margaret came into his custody he would, as soon as Scotland was tranquil, hand her over to the Scots as "free and quit" as when she came to him; and the "good folk of Scotland" engaged that, if they received their queen thus free, they would not marry her "save with the ordinance, will, and counsel of Edward and with the agreement of the King of Norway". In March, 1290, a parliament of Scots magnates met at Brigham, near Kelso, and ratified the treaty. Fresh negotiations were begun for the marriage of Edward of Carnarvon and the Queen of Scots, resulting in the treaty of Brigham of July 18, which Edward confirmed a month later at Northampton. By this Edward agreed that, in the event of the marriage taking place, the laws and customs of Scotland should be perpetually maintained. Should Margaret die without issue, Scotland was to go to its natural heir, and in any case was to remain "separate and divided from the realm of England".

The treaty of Brigham was as wise a scheme as could have been devised for bringing about the unity of Britain. In the care taken to meet the natural scruples of the smaller nation we are reminded of the treaty of Union of 1707. But a nearer parallel is to be found in the conditions under which the union between France and Brittany was gradually accomplished after the marriage of Anne of Brittany. In both cases alike, in France and in England, the stronger party was content with securing the personal union of the two crowns, and strove to reconcile the weaker party by providing safeguards against violent or over-rapid amalgamation. It was left for the future to decide whether the habit of co-operation, continued for generations, might not ultimately involve a more organic union. Unluckily for this island, the policy which ultimately made the stubborn Celts of Brittany content with union with France, never had a chance of being carried out here. Edward made every preparation for bringing over the Maid of Norway to her kingdom and her husband, and neither the Scots nor the Norwegians grudged his leading share in accomplishing their common wishes. But the child's health gave way before the hardships of the journey. Before All Saints' day had come round, she died in one of the Orkneys, where the ship which conveyed her had put in.

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