Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/40

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
Lancaster
Lancaster
34


father's death, was received with rejoicing by the Londoners, and went to his mother at Windsor. His crusade, during which he is said to have accomplished liitle or nothing' (Annales Winton. ii. 110), seems to have gained him the nickname of Crouchback (or crossed back). It is said, however, to have been asserted by John of Gaunt in 1385 that the name implied deformity, that Edmund was really the elder son of Henry III, but had been passed over by his father as unfit to reign (Eulogium, iii. 361, 370), and a desire of spreading this fable appears to have been entertained by Henry of Lancaster, Henry IV, and was perhaps implied in his cballenge of the crown (Constitutional History, iii. 11, with references). For the expenses of his crusade the pope demanded a tenth from the clergy. In November 1273 Lancaster's wife died childless, and in 1275 he married Blanche, daughter of Robert I, count of Artois (d. 1270), a younger son of Louis VIII of France, and widow of Henry, count of Champagne and king of Navarre (d. 1274), a beautiful woman, who brought him the county of Champagne, her dower on her former marriage, to be held until her daughter Jeanne, afterwards queen of Philip IV, married or attained her majority. He was accordingly styled Count of Champagne and Brie, and resided much at Provins (dept. Seine-et-Mame), whence he is said to have brought the roses, incorrectly called Provence roses, into England. When in London he lived in the Savoy Palace. His marriage displeased his wife's brother. Count Robert of Artois, who believed that he was unfriendly to France, and feared that he would endeavour to hinder the lung's designs with regard to Jeanne's inheritance. In 1276 he brought his new wife to England.

During the Welsh war of 1277 Lancaster commanded the king's forces in South Wales, and the following year acted as ambassador at the French court. Provins being at this time pledged to Philip III, the king laid an unwonted impost on the town, and the townspeople having risen and slain their mayor, Lancaster was sent to quell the insurrection. He disarmed the burghers, quashed the privileges of the town, and broke the common bell. A letter sent by him to King Edward in 1383. and described in the 'Fœdera' (i. 631) as 'de negotio Provinciæ,' refers to his rights over Provins. He meditated undertaking another crusade, for in 1280 Archbishop Peckham wrote to Nicolas III, and in 1281 to Martin IV, recommending that the money raised in England for the expected crusade should be handed to Lancaster, as he was popular with soldiers, devout, and eager in the cause of the cross. Martin, however, refused to accept him as a substitute for the king. In 1282, in company with Roger Mortimer, he defeated Llewelyn and sent his head to London, and in that year, and again in 1292, he received grants of castles and lordships in the Welsh marches. In 1291 Lancaster was appointed lieutenant of Ponthieu during the minority of Edward, prince of Wales, and in this year and the next held commands at Jedburgh and Norham. He was sent as ambassador to France early in 1294. assisted in arranging terms of peace, and in accordance with Edward's commands put the officers of Philip IV in possession of the strong places and towns of Gascony. When the war broke out between England and France he received the French king^s leave to go to England, and, as he took back his allegiance, lost Champagne. An English army having been sent into Gascony, Lancaster sailed with the Earl of Lincoln and reinforcements to take the command in January 1296. He sent messengers asking to be allowed to pass through Brittany in order to rest his forces and gather previsions. His messengers were hanged by the Bretons, and in revenge he plundered the country. On landing in Gascony he stayed for a while at Bourg and Blaye, where he was joined by many Gascons, so that his forces amounted to more than two thousand men-at-arms ; he gained one or two small places, and being then appointed lieutenant of Gascony, advanced on 2S March to the neighbourhood of Bordeaux, and made an unsuccessful at tempt on the town. Langon was surrendered to him, and the town of St. Machrure, and be was besieging the castle when five citizens of Bordeaux came to him offering to let him into their city. On their return their conspiracy was found out, and when Lancaster and his forces appeared before Bordeaux they found the gates shut. A French army under Robert of Artois was approaching, and Lancaster found that his money was exhausted, and that he no longer bad the means to retain the army which he had gathered. Deeply mortified at his inability to make head against the French he retired to Bayonne, and died there on or about 6 June. By his second wife, who survived him until 1302, he bad three sons, Thomas [q. v.], who succeeded him, Henry [q.v.}, who succeeded Thomas, and John, and one daughter. He was religious, gay, and pleasant in disposition, open-handed, and a popular commander. He founded the Grey Friars priory at Preston, Lancashire, and a house of minoresses of the order of St. Clara outside Aldgate. When be was dying he ordered that his body was not to he buried