Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Henry III
HENRY III (1207–1272), called Henry of Winchester, king of England, elder son of John [q. v.] by his queen Isabella [q. v.] of Angoulême, was born at Winchester on 1 Oct. 1207, and was named after his grandfather, Henry II (Wendover, iii. 219; Ann. Winton. p. 80). In 1209 his father caused an oath of fealty to be taken to him throughout England. When John lay on his deathbed at Newark in October 1216 he again declared him his heir, and all present took an oath to him. John's death on the 18th completely changed the position of the two contending parties in England [see under John, king]. The king's adherents may be said to have become the constitutional party, while the barons of the opposition ceased to appear as the upholders of the national cause against an intolerable tyrant, and were committed to an attempt to deprive an innocent child of his inheritance, and to place a foreign prince, Louis of France, on the throne. A similar change was effected in the relations between the kingdom and the papacy. Innocent III had used his suzerainty to quash the great charter of liberties; Honorius III, who had just succeeded him, was, as the proper guardian of the heir to the throne, bound to protect the kingdom. Gualo, the pope's legate, caused Henry to be crowned without delay. The ceremony took place at Gloucester on the 28th, and in the absence of Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, of the Archbishop of York, and of the Bishop of London, the crown was placed on the king's head by Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester, in the presence of a small number of bishops and barons; the crown used was a plain hoop of gold, the crown of the kingdom no doubt being out of reach at the moment (Ann. Dunst. p. 48; Wykes, p. 60; Wendover, iv. 2). All present did homage to the young king, and he did homage to his suzerain the pope in the person of the legate. A council was summoned to meet at Bristol on 11 Nov., and was largely attended by bishops and barons of the king's party, who swore fealty to him. The lords chose as regent William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, with the title of ‘rector regis et regni,’ gave him charge of the king's person, and associated with him as his chief counsellors the legate and the Poitevin bishop of Winchester (cf. Stubbs, Select Charters, p. 329; Constitutional History, ii. 20). Henry remained at Bristol until after Christmas, and thence went to Oxford, where a council of his party was held in the middle of January. He received tuition from Philip of Albini, who did his duty faithfully (Wendover, iv. 75). On 20 May Louis's army was totally defeated by William Marshall and the Earl of Chester at Lincoln. The probability that Louis would receive reinforcements from France vanished, when towards the end of August William of Albini brought Henry news of the destruction of the French fleet by Hubert de Burgh [q. v.] [for account of the fight], for which he offered up thanksgiving. He accompanied the regent to the siege of London, and went with him to Kingston, where a peace was arranged which was finally settled at Lambeth on 11 Sept. All on the side of Louis were to swear fealty to Henry, and all places occupied by the French, special mention being made of the Channel islands, were to be surrendered and all hostages were to be restored (Fœdera, I. i. 148, the articles were sealed first by Gualo, as representing the pope, then by the king, and thirdly by the regent). A sum of 10,000l. was promised to Louis nominally in payment of his expenses, and he almost immediately left England. Progress was made in the work of restoring order. The legate, the regent, and the chief justiciar, Hubert de Burgh [q. v.], were loyal and capable; the legate, although greedy, worked heartily with William Marshall (for a harsher estimate of Gualo see introduction to Royal Letters, ed. Shirley). Many lords and Alexander II of Scotland did homage to the king. Henry spent Christmas at Northampton, where the expenses of the court were borne by Falkes de Breauté [q. v.] In the following autumn the council decreed that no charter or grant should be sealed to hold good longer than the king's minority (Fœdera, i. 152), and probably at the same time (6 Nov.) the king's seal was first used (Ann. Wav. p. 291). Gualo left England on the 23rd, and his place as legate was taken by Pandulf [see under John], a meddlesome and imperious intriguer, who upheld the interests of the foreign party in the kingdom. Henry spent Christmas at Winchester, the bishop, Peter des Roches, bearing the expenses of the court. In May 1219 the regent died, after having secured the king's position, established order, and given permanence to the liberties guaranteed in the Great charter. No one was appointed exactly to fill his place; the care of the king's person being in the hands of Bishop Peter, a bold, clever, and unscrupulous man, while the foremost place in the council was filled by the justiciar. On 20 July the peace between England and France was renewed, and on 3 March 1220 a truce was arranged to last for four years (Fœdera, i. 156, 158).
In accordance with the pope's directions Henry was crowned at Westminster by Stephen Langton on Whitsunday, 17 May 1220, in the presence of a large number of prelates and barons, and again repeated the coronation oath (Walter of Coventry, ii. 244). This second coronation proclaimed that the king's government was fully established. In his French dominions constant quarrels went on between his subjects and the subjects of Philip II, and were apparently fomented by Louis. In the spring his mother Isabella announced to him her marriage with Hugh of Lusignan, count of La Marche, and as the king refused to satisfy a demand which she and her husband made in respect of her dower from her late husband, the count made war on some of Henry's possessions in Poitou (Royal Letters, i. 22, 25, 134, 155; Fœdera, i. 169; Bernard of Limoges). A truce was made in the autumn. At home there was a division in the council; Hubert de Burgh endeavoured to put the executive, and especially the custody of castles, in the hands of Englishmen, and was supported by Archbishop Langton, while Peter des Roches and the Poitevins were determined to place all offices in the hands of foreigners. The royal castles were in the hands of the men who had received them from John, many of them foreigners, and their power endangered the royal authority (Constitutional Hist. ii. 32). Honorius commanded that the king's castles and domains should be surrendered (Royal Letters, i. 121, 535), and on the day after the coronation their holders swore to obey the command. Henry was taken by his governors to receive the surrenders, and in the course of his progress met Alexander II of Scotland at York on 11 June, and agreed to give him his sister Joan in marriage. At Rockingham William of Aumale refused to give up his castle; its surrender was enforced and another of his castles was taken on the 28th. Henry then went to Canterbury and was present at the translation of St. Thomas on 7 July. He kept the Christmas festival at Oxford in, as it seemed, profound peace. William of Aumale, however, suddenly left the court, and began a revolt by making war on his neighbours from his castle at Biham in Lincolnshire. Several powerful lords secretly sent the earl help. In company with the legate and the Earl of Chester, Henry marched to Biham, and the castle was taken on 2 Feb. 1221. At midsummer he spent four days at York, and married his sister to the Scottish king. Langton obtained a promise from the pope that no more legates should be sent to England during his life, and Pandulf was recalled in July. Soon afterwards Peter des Roches left the kingdom on a pilgrimage. The foreign party which was represented by the bishop had evidently been defeated, and Hubert de Burgh gained the absolute direction of the royal policy. He had many difficulties to face. In Ireland the king's power seems to have been declining, and on the Welsh border there was constant war. After some attempts to persuade Llewelyn ap Iorwerth [q. v.] to keep the peace, Henry was taken to relieve Builth, in the present Brecon, and a castle was built at Montgomery (Wendover, iv. 71; Fœdera, i. 166). A more serious danger arose from the insubordination of a party among the baronage, and their constant endeavours to thwart the justiciar and set up a state of anarchy. In the course of an insurrection raised in London in 1222 there were signs that a large body of the citizens felt no attachment to the king, and were ready to welcome another French invasion [see under Breaté, Falkes de]. Henry held a council at London in the second week of January 1223, at which Langton required him to confirm the Great charter, and a dispute arose between the archbishop and William Brewer [q. v.] on the subject. The king ended the scene by declaring his intention to abide by the charter, and sent letters to all the sheriffs commanding them to hold an inquest as to the liberties enjoyed in the days of his grandfather, and to send the return to London. In April the pope, probably in order to deprive the malcontent barons of all excuse for rebellion, declared that the king, though not of full age, was of an age to assume the government, and charged all who had the custody of the royal castles to deliver them up (Royal Letters, i. 430).
The war which was perpetually going on between Llewelyn and the lords of the marches now became of more than usual importance, for the Welsh prince received supplies from the discontented party in England, and acted on their prompting. The success of Llewelyn drew the king to Worcester, where he held a great council. His army met at Gloucester, entered Wales, and Llewelyn was compelled to make peace. At the close of the campaign an attempt was made by Randulph de Blundevill [q. v.], earl of Chester, William of Aumale, and other lords, to surprise the Tower of London, for they were determined to overthrow the justiciar before he could compel them to surrender the royal castles. On hearing that the king was approaching they abandoned their design and retired to Waltham. Some of them appeared before the king and demanded the dismissal of the justiciar. At Christmas 1223 Henry held his court at Northampton, while the malcontents assembled at Leicester; the archbishop interfered, and by threats and persuasions prevailed on them to make peace with the king and place all that they held in charge in his hand (Ann. Dunst. pp. 83, 84). In the September of this year John of Brienne, king of Jerusalem, visited Henry and received many rich gifts from the king and the nobles. A general contribution for the crusade was demanded, but it is probable that the money was not paid. In July Philip II of France died, and was succeeded by his son Louis VIII. Henry sent ambassadors to the new king to demand the restoration of Normandy and the other ancient possessions of his house, apparently on the ground that they were covered by the provision for restoration of lands in the treaty of Lambeth. In reply Louis alleged several causes of grievance (Wendover, iv. 86); and when the truce ended in May 1224 invaded Poitou and Gascony, and the English lost nearly all the French provinces. On 16 June Henry held a council at Northampton to consider the state of Poitou, but nothing came of it, for Falkes de Breauté revolted, and the king was occupied in besieging his castle at Bedford until 14 Aug. The fall of Falkes [see under Breauté, Falkes de] put an end to the power of the foreign adventurers brought into the kingdom by John (Constitutional History, ii. 36).
Matters were still going badly in Ireland, for Hugh de Lacy, who had helped Llewelyn in his last war, was gaining great power, and it was rumoured that a Norwegian invasion was probable (Royal Letters, i. 219). The rest of the year was taken up with preparations for an expedition to France. Henry kept Christmas 1224 at Westminster, and there asked an aid for the war. Hitherto the taxation had chiefly been by way of scutage, and levies of this kind had been made for the siege of Biham in 1221, for the Welsh war of 1223, and for the siege of Bedford (Constitutional History, ii. 36). On this occasion the justiciar asked for a fifteenth of all moveables both from clergy and laity. In return the king confirmed the charters, stating that he did so ‘of his own motion and goodwill,’ a somewhat dangerous precedent (ib. p. 37). Having knighted his brother Richard in February 1225, and created him Earl of Cornwall and Count of Poitou, he sent him and William, earl of Salisbury, in March with an army to Gascony, where Bordeaux still remained faithful to him. The earls soon reduced the whole of Gascony to submission (Fœdera, i. 177; Wendover, iv. 100). Towards the end of 1225 a papal envoy named Otho visited England, and tried to persuade Henry to pardon Falkes de Breauté, but was unsuccessful. He also told the king that he had come to demand that a prebend should be assigned to the pope in every cathedral church, and a like provision from every bishopric, from every abbacy, and from every monastery. Henry replied that the matter must be laid before the great men. After spending Christmas at Winchester he removed to Marlborough, and there fell dangerously ill. He sent to the council of prelates held at Westminster on 13 Jan. 1226, bidding them not to grant the envoy's demands, which were finally set aside with an excuse. On his recovery Henry was eager to invade France. As, however, Louis was at war with the Count of Toulouse and the Albigensian heretics, Pope Honorius wrote to him on 27 April forbidding him to make an alliance, which he was then negotiating with Count Raymond, or to go to war with the French king (Recueil des Historiens, xix. 772). He laid the letter before the magnates, and they decided that the expedition should be postponed. On 8 Nov. 1226 Louis VIII died, and on the accession of his son Louis IX, who was a minor, many lords of the great fiefs began to conspire against the regent, Queen Blanche. Henry took advantage of this, and sent embassies to the nobles of Normandy, Anjou, Brittany, and Poitou, urging his claims. With the Duke of Brittany, Peter of Dreux, he was already in alliance, and in December he satisfied the demands of the Count de la Marche, and made a treaty with the viscount of Thouars (Fœdera, i. 183). On 8 Jan. 1227 he held a council at Oxford, where, by the advice of Hubert de Burgh, he declared that he was of full age, and dismissed Peter des Roches and his other governors. Taking an unfair advantage of the ordinance of the council of 1218 relating to grants in perpetuity, he declared that all charters granted during his minority needed confirmation; and he also threatened to quash the forest charter. A large sum was paid for the renewal of charters, a heavy tallage was laid upon the towns, and the clergy were forced to pay the fifteenth which had been demanded at Christmas 1224. During the minority of Henry the permanent council of the king's advisers, consisting of the great officers of state, with certain bishops and lords, appears as a body distinct from the king's court, and from the common council of the kingdom. It was ‘continual,’ and from it descend the later privy council and the still later cabinet. There is reason to believe that in some cases the great officers of state were, during the minority, appointed in the common council, which must to some extent have brought in the idea of a responsible ministry (Const. Hist. ii. 40, 41).
With a view to securing allies in the event of a war with France, Henry entered into several negotiations for his own marriage, sending ambassadors to treat for Iolenta, daughter of Peter, duke of Brittany, for Margaret, daughter of Leopold VI, duke of Austria, and for a daughter of Premysl, king of Bohemia (Fœdera, i. 176, 180, 185; Royal Letters, i. 252, 295; Ann. Wigorn. p. 240). He also treated for alliances with the Emperor Frederick II, with Lewis, duke of Bavaria, and with the princes of the empire. The ambassadors whom he had sent to the French lords, however, returned in April, and announced that the Duke of Brittany, the Count of La Marche, and other malcontent lords had, on 16 March, made peace with Louis, and that their embassy had therefore failed; the truce was renewed with France in July until the following midsummer. In the same month the king had a violent quarrel with his brother, Richard of Cornwall, about the earl's right to a manor. Henry thought of seizing his person, but Richard, warned of his intention, fled from the court, and at Stamford was joined by William Marshall, the Earl of Chester, and other earls, with a large force. The confederates sent to the king demanding justice, imputing his action to the justiciar, and bidding him with threats restore the forest liberties. A meeting was arranged for 2 Aug. at Northampton, and there the king yielded to their demands, was reconciled to Richard, and gave him large grants (Wendover, iv. 141). Henry held his Christmas court this year at York. In August 1228, hearing that Llewelyn was besieging the castle of Montgomery, he marched thither with a small force and relieved it. He burnt the Cistercian abbey of Kerry, which the Welsh used as a place of arms, and began to build a castle there. While the work was in progress the Welsh attacked his men, slew many of them, and took William of Braose a prisoner. Provisions failed, and it is said that many in his army were secretly well-wishers of Llewelyn. At last, after wasting nearly three months, Henry made a disgraceful peace, and left William in the hands of the Welsh. A scutage of two marks was levied for this campaign. On the death of Stephen Langton in July 1228, the king was displeased at the election of Walter Eynsham by the monks of Canterbury, and used his influence with Gregory IX to get it quashed; the pope virtually gave the see to Richard Grant [q. v.], and in 1229 took advantage of Langton's death to demand a tenth of all property (ib. p. 201; Matt. Paris, iii. 128; but Ann. Theok. p. 73, and other authorities incorrectly limit the demand to the property of the clergy, see Const. Hist. ii. 42). Henry held a council of his tenants in chief at Westminster on 29 April 1229 to consider the demand; the clergy yielded, the lords resisted, the king, to whom all looked to support them in resistance, kept silence, for he had already agreed to the pope's scheme in order to get his way about the archbishopric. The pope's collector, Stephen, raised the money from the clergy; and his exactions excited general indignation.
While Henry was keeping the Christmas of 1228 at Oxford, a message was brought to him from the nobles of Normandy, Poitou, and other parts of the former possessions of the crown in France, inviting him to invade the kingdom; but he deferred action by the advice of the justiciar, who was always in favour of peace. At Michaelmas he gathered his forces at Portsmouth, but on the point of embarking found that he had not enough ships, and fell into a great rage with the justiciar [see under Burgh, Hubert de]. Soon after this the Duke of Brittany visited him and advised him to put off his expedition until Easter; he restored to the duke his rights in England, received his homage, and gave him five thousand marks for the defence of Brittany. Christmas (1229) he again spent at York in company with Alexander of Scotland. A scutage of three marks was levied, a tax was laid upon the towns, and the Jews had to pay a third of their goods for the expenses of the forthcoming expedition. Henry embarked at Portsmouth with a large force on 30 April 1230, stayed in Guernsey on 2 May, and on the 3rd landed at St. Malo, where the Duke of Brittany met him (Royal Letters, i. 363, 364). On the 8th he proceeded to Dinant and thence to Nantes, where he hoped to meet his mother and the Count of La Marche. Several of the most powerful feudatories in France were hostile to the French crown, and Henry might have done much mischief if he had possessed any ability, military or diplomatic. As it was the French king marched with a large army to Angers in order to shut him out from Poitou, and, while Henry remained at Nantes waiting for reinforcements, to Oudon, a castle about four leagues distant. Many of the Breton nobles did homage to Henry, while some fortified their castles against him. The Poitevin lords generally did him homage, though the Count of La Marche showed some hesitation, and the Viscount of Thouars took the side of Louis. Towards the end of June, the French army being engaged elsewhere, Henry marched by way of Anjou, taking the castle of Mirebeau late in July, into Poitou and thence into Gascony, where he received many homages. He then marched back to Brittany, and after staying for several weeks at Nantes, where he and his lords wasted a vast amount of money in luxurious living, he returned to England, landing at Portsmouth on 27 Oct. 1230, having left a small force under the Duke of Brittany and the Earl of Chester, to act against the French in Normandy and Brittany (Wendover, iv. 917; Fœdera, i. 197, 198).
The failure of this expedition increased Henry's feeling of alienation from the justiciar (Royal Letters, i. 379). After keeping Christmas at Lambeth, where the justiciar entertained the court, Henry held a council of his tenants in chief at Westminster on 27 Jan. 1231, and asked for a scutage of three marks for the expedition of the previous year from all fees lay and clerical. The grant was opposed by Richard of Canterbury and the bishops, who declared that no scutage could be granted without their consent. The difficulty was overcome, and the king issued letters patent affirming the liberties of the clergy (ib. p. 394). In the spring Henry quarrelled with the Archbishop of Canterbury about a fief, and the archbishop went to Rome [see under Grant, Richard]. The king was much grieved at hearing of the death of William Marshall, which took place on 15 April 1231, and exclaimed, ‘Woe, woe is me! is not the blood of the blessed martyr Thomas fully avenged yet?’ (Matt. Paris, iii. 201). The death of the earl, who guarded the Welsh border, was followed by a fresh outbreak of the Welsh. Henry marched against them, and they at once retreated; but on his departure Llewelyn invaded the lands of the marchers. Henry summoned his forces to meet him at Oxford in July, and advanced to Hereford, Llewelyn's army being near Montgomery. He met with no success, and was deceived and out-generalled by the Welsh. He rebuilt and garrisoned Maud's Castle in the present Radnorshire, which had been destroyed by the enemy. While there he was visited by the Duke of Brittany and the Earl of Chester, who had been carrying on war with Louis IX, and had finally made a three years' truce between the two kings. With them came Richard Marshall, who claimed his brother's lands. Henry refused, and accused him of treacherous dealings with the French. But when the earl made arrangements to take forcible possession of his inheritance, the king restored him his rights. Henry returned to England in October 1231; he had some thoughts of marrying a daughter of the Scottish king, but was dissuaded by the Earl of Chester, on the ground that the justiciar had already married the elder daughter, and that it would not be seemly for him to take the younger. He spent Christmas at Winchester with Peter des Roches, who, lately come back from the crusade, had quickly regained his influence over him. The breach between the king and the justiciar was widened meanwhile by the rumour that Hubert was concerned in a series of attacks made on the persons and property of the papal agents and other Roman clerks; for Henry was devoted to the papacy, which had been his early protector. At a council at Westminster on 7 March 1232 the barons refused an aid for the Welsh war, on the plea that they had served in person, while the prelates objected, because some of their number were absent. The Welsh renewed their ravages, and Henry complained that he was too poor to stop them. By the advice of Bishop Peter he made a change in his ministers, and on 29 July dismissed Hubert, to whom he attributed all his difficulties, from the justiciarship, and gave it to Stephen Segrave. He brought a series of charges against Hubert, who fled to sanctuary, and was after a time taken and imprisoned [see under Burgh, Hubert de]. With the fall of the justiciar ‘Henry's own administration of government begins,’ and during the next twenty-six years he gave abundant proofs of his ‘insincerity and incapacity’ (Const. Hist. ii. 43).
In September 1232 the king held a council at Lambeth, and obtained the grant of a fortieth on all moveables, except spiritualities, for the payment of his debts to the Duke of Brittany. At Christmas he completed the change in the administration by turning out all his English officers and replacing them by Poitevins. The predominance of the Poitevins offended the nobles at home, and was unacceptable to Rome. It partly explains the renewed papal interference in the election to the see of Canterbury, when, after the death of Richard Grant, three archbishops-elect were set aside by Pope Gregory [see Blund, John le]. By the death of the Earl of Chester in October 1232 the baronage lost their leader; his place was taken by Richard Marshall, who, in 1233, told the king that if he chose to have Poitevins as his advisers he and the nobles generally would withdraw from his court. Henry was frightened and answered meekly; but the Bishop of Winchester spoke saucily to the earl, and he and his associates left in anger. Henry summoned his lords to a council at Oxford on 24 June, but they refused to attend. He was violently angry, and took counsel with his courtiers. The lawyers advised that the lords should be summoned three times, and a council was called to meet at Westminster on 5 July. To Henry's dismay the associated nobles refused to come to Westminster. By Bishop Peter's advice he summoned all to attend at a conference on 14 Aug. on pain of being declared traitors. Many came and were won over by bribes. Richard Marshall and a few others who believed that the king designed to seize them stayed away, and nothing was settled. Henry and the bishop had, however, sent for a number of foreign troops, and determined to compel the lords to submission. The king gathered his military tenants at Gloucester on 17 Aug. 1233; was joined at Hereford by the Poitevin mercenaries, and ravaged the lands of the associated lords, obtaining possession of the earl-marshal's castle (at Usk?) by a disgraceful piece of deceit on 2 Oct. (Wendover, iv. 268–73; Matt. Paris, iii. 241–9). He held a council at Westminster on 9 Oct., and there all present besought him to make peace with his lords, the Franciscan and Dominican friars to whom he generally paid deference urging the wrong he was doing in thus wasting the lands of nobles who had not been judged by their peers. Bishop Peter answered for him with the insolent remark that there were no peers in England as there were in France. On this the bishops threatened to excommunicate the king's evil counsellors by name. Henry now again proceeded to Gloucester on 2 Nov., and invaded the lands of the earl-marshal. Richard retook his castle, and though he would not fight against the king, his allies, Welsh and English, despoiled the royal camp at Grosmont on 11 Nov. Henry returned to Gloucester, and on the 25th the mercenary captain whom he left in command was defeated with great loss before Monmouth Castle. On 22 Dec. the king offered terms to the earl without result. A few days later, while he was still at Gloucester, another body of his troops was defeated by the earl. Thereupon he went to Winchester, and entered into a truce with the earl. At a conference with the magnates which he held at Westminster on 2 Feb. 1234, the bishops, with Edmund Rich, the archbishop-elect of Canterbury, at their head, made a formal complaint to him of Bishop Peter and his other evil counsellors, and of the ill-government of the kingdom, and declared that, if he did not amend matters shortly, they would, when the archbishop was consecrated, proceed to spiritual censures. He answered humbly and asked for time. Then he went by St. Edmund's to Bromholm to pray before the holy cross there, and as he came back through Huntingdon the associated lords fired Alconbury, a town belonging to Stephen Segrave, his chief justiciar, in the immediate neighbourhood. On 9 April the archbishop came to the council at Westminster, attended by his suffragans, and threatened Henry with excommunication. He gave way, sent Bishop Peter to his diocese, and dismissed the bishop's nephew, Peter de Rievaulx, from the treasurership with passionate reproaches. All the Poitevins were driven from the court, and he sent the archbishop to make terms with the earl-marshal. He had no part in the wicked plot which led to the earl's destruction, and was grieved when he heard of his death. He was reconciled to the other lords, and among them to Hubert de Burgh, who had escaped from confinement and joined the earl-marshal, and he called his late ministers to account, imprisoning Peter de Rievaulx for a while in the Tower. From this time he filled the ministerial offices with men of scarcely higher rank than clerks, and became his own minister.
Although he had sent some help to Peter of Brittany in May, when the truce with France ended he refused to go to his succour, and the count therefore withdrew his homage and gave up some places which he held for Henry to Louis. Henry was anxious for peace with France, for Louis was growing more powerful. The Count of La Marche hindered the arrangements for a truce by demanding the Isle of Oléron, which the English nobles would not allow the king to surrender. Finally the matter was settled in July 1235 by the grant of an annuity to the count in lieu of the island (Royal Letters, i. 476), and a five years' truce was made in the following February (Fœdera, i. 221). In May 1235 the king sent his sister Isabella to be married to the emperor Frederic II, who promised to help him against the French king. A marriage was also arranged between Henry and Joan, daughter of Simon de Dammartin, count of Ponthieu, but though the negotiations were completed, the count was persuaded by the French king to change his mind (ib. pp. 216, 218; Matt. Paris, iii. 328). Before this match was broken off Henry wrote on 22 June to Amadeus IV, count of Savoy, proposing marriage with his niece, Eleanor, daughter of Raymond Berenger IV, count of Provence [see Eleanor of Provence]. Her elder sister, Margaret, had lately been married to Louis IX. She was brought over to England by her uncle William, bishop-elect of Valence, and was married to the king at Canterbury by Archbishop Edmund on 14 Jan. 1236. As soon as the marriage festivities in London were over, Henry went to a great council held at Merton on the 28th, at which the celebrated assize of Merton was passed (Stat. Merton, 20 Hen. III, c. 9, ap. Statutes at Large, i. 31; Stubbs, Lectures, p. 351). William of Valence at once gained complete influence over the king, and it was believed that he and eleven others had formed themselves into a kind of secret council, and that the king had sworn to be guided by them (Ann. Dunst. p. 146). Indignation waxed so hot that Henry took shelter in the Tower. The nobles refused to attend him there. He therefore returned to Westminster, and consented to appoint a new set of sheriffs sworn to take no bribes. However, he made several changes in his household, apparently by the advice of the foreign clique, and recalled to court two of his late ministers, Stephen Segrave and Robert Passelew. Later in the year Henry went to York, where an attempt was made to settle the claim of the King of Scots on the Northumbrian districts. He was in want of money, and had lately been forced to pay the emperor the portion assigned to Isabella on her marriage. Accordingly at a council of nobles and prelates held at Westminster on 13 Jan. 1237, his clerk, William of Raleigh, requested an aid, offering on his behalf that the money when collected should be paid over to a committee of magnates, to be spent by them on the necessary expenses of the kingdom. The demand was ill received, and the king promised with an oath that if he obtained a thirtieth he would cease to quarrel with or molest his nobles; offered to authorise the excommunication of all who infringed the charters; and took three lords nominated by the magnates into his council. He obtained the aid, but continued to follow the guidance of William of Valence, and to lavish gifts on him and other foreigners. Further offence was given to the magnates, and specially to Archbishop Edmund, by his inviting the pope to send the legate Otho into England. Edmund rebuked him, but he went to meet Otho on landing, and knelt before him. His brother Richard chided him severely for his subservience to the pope and the legate, and for the favour which he showed to certain unpopular councillors, among whom was Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester. On 14 Sept. he held a council at York, and there by the mediation of Otho a final agreement was made with Alexander of Scotland, who gave up his claims on the northern districts in consideration of receiving Penrith and other manors, of the value of 200l. a year, in Northumberland and Cumberland, to be held of the English king by the service of delivering a goshawk each year at Carlisle Castle. This agreement was carried out in 1242 (Fœdera, i. 233).
On 7 Jan. 1238 Henry was present at the secret marriage of Simon, earl of Leicester, to his sister Eleanor, the widowed countess of Pembroke. The wealth and power which this marriage gave an alien, as Simon was, roused the anger of the magnates, and Richard of Cornwall again reproached Henry for his action in the matter, and for giving his ward, Richard of Clare, in marriage to the daughter of John de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, another of his friends, without asking the assent of his lords. The matter was taken up by nobles and people alike, and specially by the citizens of London. Earl Richard took arms, but the king was persuaded to appoint a conference for 2 Feb. He agreed to submit to the requisitions of a body of prudent councillors. A scheme of reform was drawn up, and received the assent of the legate and the rest of the magnates. All, however, ended in nothing, because Earl Richard deserted the cause of reform. While the king was at Abingdon on 12 March the legate came to him complaining of the treatment of his servants by Oxford students. He accordingly sent an armed force to Oxford to protect the legate. On 22 April he allowed the emperor of the East, Baldwin II, who had come to England against his wish, to enter London. He entertained him at Woodstock, and gave him 500l. (ib. i. 235). He sent some troops to help his brother-in-law, the Emperor Frederic, in his war in Italy, and wrote to the pope on the emperor's behalf. This so angered the pope that for a while he stopped all English business in the curia. On 8 Sept. a crazy clerk, who declared that he was the rightful king, made an attempt to kill Henry in his palace at Woodstock. The man declared that he had been set on by certain persons, naming especially William de Marisco, who had been outlawed by Henry, and was living as a pirate on Lundy Island. He was pulled limb from limb by horses at Coventry.
On the death of Peter des Roches (9 June 1238), Henry made strenuous efforts to procure the election of the bishop-elect of Valence to the vacant see of Winchester. The monks of St. Swithun's resisted; he quashed two elections which they made, and forced an alien prior on the convent. As they remained firm he kept the see vacant, took the revenues into his own hands, and spent his Christmas there. At the festival he grossly insulted Gilbert, the earl-marshal, probably on account of some suspicion relating to the attempt at Woodstock. The earl left the court in anger. In the course of the year Henry dismissed the chancellor bishop, Ralph Neville, and committed the seal to two keepers. In April 1239 he tried to persuade the bishop to accept the seal again, but he refused to do so. His heir Edward [see Edward I] was born on 17 July. At the queen's churching in August he had a sudden and violent quarrel with Simon de Montfort, whom he accused of having seduced his sister before marrying her, and of having used his name as the security for the payment of money as bribes to the Roman court to procure a dispensation for his marriage. The earl and countess fled to France. On 15 July Henry received another of the queen's uncles, Thomas of Savoy, count of Flanders, and when he left, gave him five hundred marks, granted him a tax on English wool passing through his territories, and dismissed the keeper who refused to seal the writ. The news of the death of the elect of Valence on 1 Nov. threw him into violent transports of grief.
The years 1240 and 1241 show little beside continued wastefulness and bad government. To pay the expenses of the war against the emperor procurations were levied by the legate, and a fifth of all the goods of the clergy was taken by the pope. Henry, as he plainly declared, had neither the power nor the courage to contradict the pope in anything. Rights of patronage were set at naught, and in 1240 Gregory, in order to bind the Roman citizens to his side, ordered that three hundred English benefices should be provided for distribution among their sons and nephews. Archbishop Edmund, after vainly remonstrating with the king, left the kingdom in despair, and died abroad. Frederic II was highly displeased at the help which the pope was allowed to receive from the spoils of the English church. On his side Henry used the church for the benefit of his foreign favourites. After the death of the elect of Valence he tried to obtain the see of Winchester for another of his wife's uncles, Boniface of Savoy [q. v.], and shamefully oppressed the convent because the chapter persisted in the election of William of Raleigh. He succeeded in procuring Canterbury for Boniface in 1241, and the see of Hereford for another foreigner, for whom he also tried in vain to procure first Durham and then London. Foreigners, chiefly Provençals, swarmed about the court and lived on the country. Another of the queen's uncles, Peter of Savoy, came over and received the earldom of Richmond, and the citizens of London were compelled to attend the festivities held in his honour. The departure of Richard of Cornwall on a crusade removed the check which he had from time to time put on the king's doings. Large sums of money were squandered, and the Londoners were specially irritated by the new works which were added to the fortifications of the Tower. The Jews were compelled to find money to meet the royal expenses. Meanwhile the king's foreign possessions were neglected, and lay at the mercy of Louis. One success the king had. On Llewelyn's death his son David adopted an independent and hostile attitude. Henry summoned all his military tenants to assemble at Gloucester in the summer of 1241; marched to Shrewsbury on 2 Aug., and so overawed the prince that without a blow having been struck he submitted by the end of the month.
In 1242 Henry received a message from the Count of La Marche urging him to come to his help with a numerous force, and promising him the assistance of the Poitevins, the Gascons, the king of Navarre, and the Count of Toulouse. The king summoned a council of the magnates for 28 Jan., and Richard of Cornwall came back in time to help him. A report of the proceedings, ‘the first authorised account of a parliamentary debate,’ is preserved (Matt. Paris, iv. 185; Const. Hist. ii. 58). The king sent his message, requesting an aid for the recovery of his French possessions, by the Earl of Cornwall, the Archbishop of York [see under Gray, John de], and the provost of Beverley. In reply the lords spoke of the aids, subsidies, and scutages which he had received, of the wealth which he had gained by escheats and wardships, of the revenues of vacant sees, and of the absence of all accounts, which made it probable that the last thirtieth granted in 1237 was still in his hands, and refused to make him a fresh grant while the truce remained unexpired. On the next day he called several of them into his private chamber one after another, talked to them separately, with great craftiness, and so obtained by persuasion no small amount of money, though not nearly so much as a general aid would have yielded. Having appointed the Archbishop of York guardian of the kingdom, he sailed from Portsmouth on 13 May 1242 with thirty casks of money, his queen and his brother, seven other earls, and about three hundred knights, and, after being obliged to put back for a day to wait for a wind, reached Finisterre on Sunday the 18th, and on the following Tuesday landed at Royan at the mouth of the Gironde. After staying there some days he went to Pons in Saintonge, where he held a conference with the Count of La Marche and other lords of his party, and by their advice sent messengers to Louis, and, failing to obtain satisfaction, decided that the truce was at an end. Thence he marched to Saintes, where, on 8 June, he wrote a declaration of war, and so on to Tonnay, and on the 30th took up a position outside Taillebourg, and to the south of the Charente. Meanwhile Louis took Fontenay and many castles in Poitou, and having made himself master of the country north of the Charente, led his army to Taillebourg, which was surrendered to him, though its lord had made Henry believe that he would give up the city to him. On the morning of 20 July the English position was threatened by Louis. Earl Richard obtained a truce until the following day, and as soon as the sun set Henry and his army fled to Saintes. On the 22nd Louis pursued him, and a skirmish between the Count of La Marche and a French foraging party led to an indecisive engagement outside Saintes. Two days later, finding that the king of France was likely to attack him, Henry retreated to Pons, and thence to Barbesieux. There the Count of La Marche, who had made terms with Louis, deserted, after having so nearly delivered the army into the hands of the French king, that the English only saved themselves by a forced march of a day and a night to Blaye. The king neither ate nor slept for nearly forty-eight hours, and a good part of the baggage train was lost. At Blaye he remained some days to refresh himself and his men (Royal Letters, ii. 25). He then retreated to Bordeaux, where, though a truce was made with France in April 1243, he remained wasting his time and his money until 1 Oct. A scutage was paid him by the barons who did not accompany him, and he tried to force those who left him at Bordeaux to pay a fine. He reached Portsmouth on the 9th, and arranged that he should be received at Winchester and London with ridiculous pomp.
The expedition of Henry led to the coming into England of more of his Poitevin relations, and to a visit from his mother-in-law, Beatrice, countess of Provence, and her daughter Sanchia. He spent much money in entertaining the countess, to whom he paid four thousand marks a year for keeping his castles in Provence. The marriage of Sanchia to Richard of Cornwall detached the earl from the baronial interest, and gave Henry a rich and prudent ally (Const. Hist. ii. 60). He recommenced his persecution of William of Raleigh, bishop-elect of Winchester, and was sharply reproved by three of the bishops. William fled to France, where the king's conduct was severely condemned; his cause was taken up by Innocent IV; he was recalled, and on 9 Sept. Henry was reconciled to him. The second marriage of Alexander II to Mary, daughter of Enguerrand de Coucy, led to a breach between him and Henry [see under Alexander II]. Henry summoned the Count of Flanders to help him, and marched to Newcastle with a large army, in which was a strong Irish contingent (Fœdera, i. 256). At Newcastle a peace was made between the two kings. Henry was specially willing to avoid war with Scotland, because David, the son of Llewelyn, was making war on the Welsh border. In a great council held at Westminster, probably after the march to the north, Henry in person requested an aid, on the ground that he had contracted debts during the expedition to Gascony, which had been undertaken by the advice of the magnates. The magnates appointed to consider his request a committee composed of prelates and lay lords, who complained of abuses, and demanded the appointment of a justiciar and chancellor. After an adjournment they promised that if the king would agree to their request they would recommend a grant, provided that they might direct the expenditure of it for the good of the realm. He tried to influence the prelates by producing a letter of Innocent IV, urging them to grant the king an aid. He used personal influence, entreaty, and artifice in endeavouring to win over the committee. A scheme was drawn up for reform; as the Great charter was so often broken, a new one embodying its provisions was to be granted; four magnates were to be chosen to be of the king's council, with the special office of ‘guardians of liberties,’ to see that the charter was observed; a justiciar and chancellor were to be chosen by the common council; and certain judges were also to be elected (Matt. Paris, iv. 366). Finally a scutage was granted for the marriage of the king's eldest daughter, but no aid was granted (Const. Hist.). The magnates were angered by the coming of a papal nuncio, Martin, who made enormous demands on the prelates. Even Henry, finding that it was difficult to get money for himself, was irritated at the sums which were taken from the church by Italian ecclesiastics; he encouraged the prelates to resist the papal demands, and for a time checked the levy of money for the pope. About 30 June 1245 Martin came to him complaining that he had received a message from a company of lords bidding him leave the kingdom at once or he would be torn in pieces. ‘For the love of God, and the reverence of my lord the pope,’ prayed Martin, ‘grant me a safe-conduct.’ ‘May the devil give you a safe-conduct to hell and all through it!’ was the answer of the irritated king. The English envoys at the council of Lyons vainly represented the grievances of the kingdom, and threatened that the submission of John should be cancelled; and Henry expressed much indignation when he heard that the bishops had been prevailed on to sign the charter of tribute. In September 1245 the king made an expedition against the Welsh, encamped in the neighbourhood of Snowdon, and fortified Gannoch Castle. No decisive action took place, the Welsh keeping out of the way until they saw an opportunity of taking the enemy at a disadvantage, and Henry's army suffered from cold and shortness of provisions. His Irish allies ravaged Anglesey, whence the Welsh obtained their corn, and he also laid waste much country. When he returned to England he forbade all trade with Wales, and as he had destroyed the crops the Welsh were brought to starvation. The money for this fruitless campaign was supplied by Richard of Cornwall on the security of the crown jewels, and a scutage of three marks was obtained for it the following year. The demands made by Innocent on the clergy in 1246 were exorbitantly large; Henry forbade the prelates to collect the required subsidy, but, as Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, showed him, they could not refuse. At a great council held in the spring he, in common with men of every order in the kingdom, sent a remonstrance to Innocent concerning the oppressions of the church. The answer was received in a great council held at Winchester in July. The pope urged his claim. For a while Henry forbade anything being paid to him, but he grew terrified, listened to the persuasions of Richard of Cornwall, and gave way. In the spring Henry levied a heavy tallage from the Londoners, who indignantly declared that he was the ‘lynx with eyes that pierced all things’ of Merlin's prophecy.
A fresh protest, in which the king joined, against papal exactions from the clergy was made in the council of 3 Feb. 1247, but at the Easter parliament at Oxford the opposition was withdrawn, and the clergy paid an aid of eleven thousand marks. In the course of the year more foreigners came to the court. Peter of Savoy brought over several young ladies that the king might give them in marriage to his noble wards, which much offended his own people. Henry's half-brothers, Guy of Lusignan, William de Valence, and Aymer de Valence [q. v.], and his half-sister Alicia, came over by his invitation, for their mother had lately died, and in their train came a crowd of greedy Poitevins. For William he at once found a rich heiress; his half-sister he married to the young Earl of Warrenne, and he gave Provençal brides to two young English nobles, his wards, who, it is said, were unwilling to receive them. He enriched all three of his brothers, providing for Aymer out of the revenues of the church. Before long Beatrice, the widowed countess of Provence, his mother-in-law, and Thomas of Savoy, came to replenish their purses at his expense. This influx of foreigners, and his lavish gifts to them, again stirred up opposition to his misrule; the coinage had suffered mutilation; robbery and violence were rife, and the loss of Gascony, from which a large revenue was received, seemed certain. When Henry asked the parliament of 9 Feb. 1249 for an aid, the lords reproved him for his extravagance and exactions, complaining chiefly of the aliens, of the disparagement of his noble wards by marriage, and of his governing without a justiciar, chancellor, or treasurer appointed by the common council of the realm. The king obtained a delay until 8 July, and had the coinage altered to prevent mutilation, effecting the change in such a manner as to cause much distress. Meanwhile Richard of Cornwall pressed his brother for payment of his debts to him, which amounted to 20,000l.; Henry satisfied him by farming the mint to him. In July he refused to allow the election of ministers, telling the nobles that they were trying to make a servant of their lord. They accordingly refused an aid, and he sold his plate to the Londoners. He said that the city was an inexhaustible well of riches, exacted large sums from the citizens, and aggrieved them in various ways. He borrowed wherever he could, and oppressed the Jews heavily, taking from Aaron of York between 1243 and 1250 three thousand marks of silver and two hundred marks of ‘queen's gold.’ In 1250 he made a short-lived effort to reform his ways; on 6 March he took the cross and asked pardon of the Londoners for his oppressions, and ordered that his household expenses should be curtailed, and that less money should be spent on alms and candles for shrines. At the same time he spent much on his half-brothers, and obtained the see of Winchester for Aymer by personal intercession. Gascony had been secured by Simon de Montfort, whom he had appointed his vicegerent in 1248. The earl had hard work to reduce the rebels to obedience, and received most insufficient supplies. He came to Henry in January 1251 and urged him to give him the needful help for carrying on his work. The king swore ‘by God's head’ that Simon had done him good service, and promised him supplies, though he told him that there were complaints against his government. His effort at economy seems to have ended; his gifts to his foreign relatives and friends went on; and he raised money by loans and extortions, chiefly from churchmen and religious bodies. Christmas he kept at York, where he gave his daughter Margaret in marriage to Alexander III of Scotland. Alexander did homage for ‘Lothian,’ the estates which he held in England in virtue of the treaty of 1230, the question of homage for Scotland being raised and laid aside.
Although Simon de Montfort was doing great things for him in Gascony, Henry readily listened to complaints against him from the disaffected party there, and in May 1252 held a kind of trial, in which he confronted the earl and his accusers. Hot words passed between the king and the earl; Henry called Simon a ‘usurper and a traitor,’ and the earl gave him the lie. Richard of Cornwall and other nobles took the earl's part, and he returned to Gascony and remained there a short time longer. In consequence of a letter from Innocent IV Henry showed much, probably sincere, interest in the crusade, and swore publicly that he would go in person in the course of the next three years. On 13 Oct. 1252 he laid before the prelates a papal mandate requiring them to pay him a tenth of the church revenues for three years for the expenses of his crusade. Led by Bishop Grosseteste they refused. Henry changed his tone, and asked for an aid as a favour. They spoke of the grievances of the church, and their desire to have the Great charter confirmed and a new one granted. When Henry received their answer ‘he swore horribly.’ As his custom was, he appealed to each personally, but to no purpose. On his asking his barons for money they said that they would be guided by the decision of the prelates, remarking one to another that it was absurd for him to go to the crusade, as he was utterly ignorant of martial exercises. He was determined to lead an army into Gascony, and they told him that the Gascons were rogues and rebels, and that Earl Simon had acted rightly towards them. He again had recourse to exactions from the Londoners, and when the citizens beat some of his servants who interrupted them at a game of quintain with abuse and violence, he laid a heavy fine upon them. In order to win over Richard de Clare [q. v.], earl of Gloucester, to his side, he promised that if the earl's son would marry his niece he should have five hundred marks with her. He had not the money, and tried to borrow it from certain abbeys, and failing in this tried to force the treasurers of the Temple and the Hospital to let him have it. Meanwhile matters were going badly in Gascony, chiefly because he listened to rebels, thwarted his vicegerent Simon, and failed to send him needful supplies. Gaston of Béarn and other lords were offering the land to Alfonso X of Castile, and after the departure of Earl Simon broke into rebellion. After much debate in 1253 the prelates and lay lords yielded in some degree to the king's wishes. The tenths from the church were promised when the crusade actually started, a demand being made at the same time for liberty of election; the tenants in chief granted a scutage. In return Henry confirmed the charters. A solemn ceremony was performed in Westminster Hall on 3 May 1253; the bishops excommunicated all who should transgress the charters, the original charter of John was produced, and as the bells sounded and the bishops ended their sentence by dashing their candles on the ground, the king swore to keep the charters unbroken ‘as a man, a Christian, a knight, a king crowned and anointed.’ In order to detach Alfonso from the side of the Gascons, ambassadors were sent to arrange a marriage between his sister and the king's elder son Edward, and a marriage was also proposed between Henry's daughter Beatrice and the eldest son of the king of Aragon.
Leaving the kingdom under the care of his queen and Earl Richard, Henry sailed for Gascony with his army from Portsmouth on 6 Aug. with a fleet of three hundred large and many smaller vessels, and landed at Bordeaux on the 15th. His army took Benauges, La Réole, and several other castles and places, but suffered much from want, and made little real progress. The campaign was mismanaged; as usual he was lenient when he should have been stern, and at the same time allowed his troops to inflict much needless hardship on the people, rooting up their vineyards and burning their houses, and so alienating them. Gaston fled to the king of Castile, but Henry neutralised Gaston's efforts by concluding the marriage treaty, and sent for the queen and his son. He persuaded Earl Simon to come to his aid, and the coming of the earl was enough to reduce the province to order. He also sent to England for reinforcements and supplies, and spent Christmas at Bazas, near La Réole. On 28 Jan. 1254 the prelates, while refusing an aid from the clergy unless the tenth for the crusade was remitted or postponed, decided to grant an aid from themselves in case the king of Castile invaded Gascony, and the lay lords declared themselves ready in that event to go to Gascony; but the regents gathered that no general aid could be granted unless a confirmation of the charters was published (Royal Letters, ii. 101). They called a council to meet at Westminster on 26 April, which is ‘an important landmark in parliamentary history,’ for to it were summoned two knights from each shire to grant an aid (Select Charters, p. 367; Const. Hist. ii. 68). After remaining at Bordeaux until late in the summer, spending vast sums and getting deeply into debt, Henry and his queen performed a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury, at Pontigny (Ann. Burton. p. 327). On recovering from a short sickness there, Henry went to Fontevraud, where he had the body of his mother moved into the church, was met at Chartres by Louis IX, and accompanied him to Paris, where he was lodged in the Old Temple. He stayed eight days, was sumptuously entertained, and spent about 1,000l. Then he went to Boulogne, whence he crossed to Dover, arriving in the last week of the year (1254). As soon as he landed he began to get money out of the Londoners and the Jews, and when the Jews remonstrated and asked to be allowed to leave the kingdom, he swore ‘by God's head’ that he might fairly set his debts at 300,000 marks; they were indeed 350,000 marks.
In April 1255 he complained of his debts to parliament, and asked for an aid. As usual he was met by a demand for elected ministers, irremovable except by the common council. This he again refused, and resorted to extracting the tenth from the clergy. Matters were now entering on a new stage. While he was in Gascony, Innocent IV, who was engaged in a struggle with Manfred, king of Sicily, the illegitimate son of Emperor Frederick II, offered Henry the crown of Sicily for one of his sons, in order to secure the wealth of England to assist him in his schemes. Henry accepted it for his second son, Edmund, and bound himself to bear the cost of the war. Pope Alexander IV confirmed the agreement on his accession. This business was regarded with great displeasure in England. In October 1255 the lords refused Henry an aid for the war, and the pope's envoy (Rustand) failed to obtain money from the prelates. Nevertheless on the 18th Edmund was invested with the kingdom of Sicily by the envoy, to the great joy of his father, who promised to go in person to Apulia, and was allowed to reckon the war as a satisfaction of his vow of crusade. By the advice of the Savoyard, for whom he had obtained the see of Hereford, he obtained blank forms sealed by some of the bishops, and filled them up, with promises to pay, and sent them to Rome to satisfy some of his Italian creditors. Among his quarrels with his subjects in this year (1255) he had a fierce dispute with the earl-marshal [see Bigod, Roger, fourth Earl of Norfolk], which ended by his declaring: ‘I will send and have your corn threshed out and sold, and so humble your pride.’ To which the earl replied: ‘And I will send you the heads of the threshers.’ In August Henry marched to Scotland to arrange some troubles there [see Alexander III]. On the 25th he put out a proclamation at Newcastle that he would do nothing to prejudice the liberties of the kingdom (Fœdera, i. 327). Alexander sent his queen to meet her father, and Henry was at Werk during most of September, for she fell ill while with him. He met Alexander at Roxburgh, and caused him to change his counsellors, and took several Scottish lords under his protection (ib. p. 329). In February 1256 Pope Alexander wrote that unless Henry paid what he owed for the war he would renounce the Sicilian arrangement; the amount owed at Rome about this time was 135,501 marks. Henry obtained a respite. Rustand pressed the prelates, who obtained a confirmation of John's charter of freedom of elections, but as pope and king were united in a scheme of plunder it was of no avail. They refused to contribute from their baronies. The king made many efforts to obtain money; he oppressed the Londoners and the Cistercians, fined those who neglected to receive knighthoods, fined all the sheriffs, and begged, borrowed, and extorted supplies from every quarter. Early in 1257 the pope sent the Archbishop of Messina to Henry apparently to get money. The election of Richard of Cornwall as king of the Romans put an end to his brother's chance of borrowing from him; Richard wanted all his money for his own schemes. At Mid-Lent Henry appeared before the parliament with Edmund in Apulian costume, declared that he had accepted the Sicilian crown for him, and incurred a debt of 150,000 marks by the advice of the English church, which the bishops denied; he asked for a tenth of ecclesiastical revenues for two years, and other grants from the church. The bishops unwillingly granted him 52,000 marks, stipulating for the observance of the Great charter. Many troubles came on him in this year (1257); he lost a daughter, Katharine—dumb but very pretty—on 3 May; his Sicilian project looked hopeless, and the Welsh, who had for some months been troublesome, were laying waste the border under their prince, Llewelyn, the son of Griffith. These mortifications threw him into a dangerous fever towards the end of May, and he lay some time sick at London. In September he marched to Chester, and thence to Gannoch, where he stayed about a month, and then, having made a discreditable peace with Llewelyn, returned home on 13 Oct. and levied a heavy scutage for the cost of his expedition. The pope sent several envoys and legates in succession to try to make Henry pay his debts to him, and the king was even threatened with excommunication if he failed.
He met his parliament on 9 April 1258; the nobles were not in a compliant mood, for there had been a terrible famine during the winter, and the Welsh were wasting the border, and had made alliance with the Scottish lords. He told them his difficulties, and asked for a large grant. They answered that his difficulties were the result of his own folly, and refused his request. Some recriminations passed between the king's friends and other lords, and the meeting was adjourned. After trying with only partial success to persuade the abbots of some great houses to become sureties for him, he on the 28th announced in parliament that he must have a third of all property. On the 30th the king was startled by the appearance before him of the barons in armour, their swords, however, being left at the door of Westminster Hall. ‘What is it, my lords?’ he cried; ‘am I your prisoner?’ That Roger Bigod denied, but said that the aliens must be banished, and that the king and his son must swear that he would be guided by a council of twenty-four elected magnates which should enforce reforms. Henry agreed, and on 11 June met the barons at Oxford. They came with their men armed as for war, for they had been summoned for an expedition into Wales. The assembly gained the name of the ‘Mad parliament.’ A schedule of grievances was drawn up, a council of twenty-four was appointed, half by the king from his party and half by the barons, to effect reforms in church and state, and a body of fifteen was chosen by an intricate process devised to secure fairness to both parties to be the king's permanent council. Parliaments were to meet three times a year, and were to consist of the fifteen and a committee of twelve chosen by the baronage, who were to discuss the proceedings of the council. Another body of twenty-four was chosen by the parliament to arrange an aid (Const. Hist. ii. 74–8; Select Charters, pp. 367 seq.). The two bodies of twenty-four were temporary institutions; their existence was to end with the performance of their work. As a whole the scheme meant the establishment of a direct control over the executive, and its character was oligarchic; the national council shrunk to a small committee of the chief men of the kingdom. A justiciar, treasurer, and chancellor were chosen; they and the sheriffs were to hold office only for a year, and were then to answer for their acts before the king and his council. One of the first resolutions of the new council was that the king should resume possession of those royal castles which he had alienated, and that he should make them over to the custody of nineteen English barons. Henry's alien relatives declined to obey this order, and many, leaving the court, flung themselves into the castle of Wolvesey, then held by Aymer de Lusignan, bishop of Winchester, who refused to deliver the castle to the barons. Henry accompanied the baronial force to besiege the castle, which was surrendered on 5 July 1258, and on 5 Aug. he declared the council of twenty-four empowered to reform the realm. For the time he was helpless and knew it. One sultry July day he was overtaken on the Thames by a thunderstorm, landed, and sought shelter in the Bishop of Durham's house (where the Adelphi now stands), then occupied by Simon de Montfort. The earl came out to meet him, and seeing him disturbed assured him that the storm was over. ‘I fear thunder and lightning exceedingly,’ the king answered, ‘but by God's head I fear thee more than all the thunder and lightning in the world’ (Matt. Paris, v. 706). On 18 Oct. he renewed his assent to the appointment of the twenty-four, in a proclamation published in English as well as in Latin and French (Select Charters, p. 387). When Richard, king of the Romans, landed in January 1259, Henry met him and persuaded him to take the oath to the provisions of Oxford. A truce was made with the Welsh, and a peace with Louis IX, which was completed during a visit paid to France by Henry. He crossed, accompanied by the queen, on 14 Nov., spent Christmas at Paris, and gave up the claim to Normandy and the other hereditary possessions of the crown, receiving some territories in Gascony which had been lost (Fœdera, i. 383, 389). Although the Sicilian scheme had been quashed by the new government, he wrote to the Archbishop of Messina on 16 Jan. 1260, announcing that he expected that the peace with France would enable him to prosecute it with more energy (Royal Letters, ii. 147). He was present at the funeral of Prince Louis, and on the 22nd married his daughter Beatrice to John, duke of Brittany. At Easter he was at St. Omers, and landed in England on 23 April 1260, his return being hastened by the report that his son Edward was plotting with Earl Simon to dethrone him. The baronial party was divided: one, and that the more unselfish section, was headed by Earl Simon, with whom Edward was for the time in alliance; the other section, which had oligarchical aims, was headed by Gloucester, who had been with the king in France, and was supported by him.
Henry took up his lodgings at St. Paul's, caused Gloucester to remain within the city, and had the gates closely watched. He was reconciled to Edward, and brought accusations against Earl Simon, probably before the barons at a meeting at St. Paul's, soon after his return. An arbitration was decided on. During the autumn of 1260 he fortified the Tower, and in the winter received a visit from the king of Scotland and his daughter the queen, who came to be delivered in February 1261 of her child Margaret, afterwards queen of Norway. Meanwhile, stirred up by his queen, he was taking measures to escape from his oath. Reports of his plan were spread abroad, and he thought it advisable to shut himself in the Tower, and on 14 March issued a proclamation against those who spread false rumours. He summoned a parliament to meet in the Tower, but the lords refused to attend, except at Westminster, according to custom (Ann. Dunst. p. 217; the date of this incident is uncertain). Then he went to Windsor, and thence to Winchester, where, as it was his birthplace, he had special claims on the loyalty of the citizens, and on 24 April dismissed the barons' justiciar, and appointed Philip Basset [q. v.] in his place. The government of 1258 had failed, and ever since Henry's departure for France he had been regaining the ground which he had lost. The personal quarrel between him and Earl Simon was referred to the arbitration of Louis IX, and as Louis was unwilling to act, his queen accepted the office of arbitrator, though the points were actually to be settled by two commissioners on either side, with two umpires nominated by the queen. On 18 May 1261 Henry felt strong enough to issue a proclamation against the aliens who were being introduced into the kingdom by Earl Simon. He made Hugh Bigod (d. 1266) [q. v.] give up Dover Castle, which had been entrusted to him by the barons, probably to prevent any troops being landed except such as were engaged by himself. All was ready for his great stroke. On 14 June he exhibited bulls obtained from Alexander IV just before his death, absolving him and every one else from their oaths to the Oxford provisions. Having done this he retired to the Tower, appointed new sheriffs, and ordered the surrender of castles. On 16 Aug. he issued a proclamation justifying his conduct, and laying all the blame of the troubles on the barons. Finding that Earl Simon and the Earl of Gloucester, who were again acting together, and other lords had summoned three knights from each shire to meet at St. Albans, he wrote to the sheriffs on 11 Sept., ordering that the knights should come to him at Windsor instead on the 18th, where, he said, he should treat with his nobles for a peace. Nothing seems to have been effected. The council ordered his sheriffs to vacate office, and appointed substitutes called wardens of counties. Henry ordered his sheriffs to continue. On 28 Oct., however, negotiations were opened at Kingston, and on 7 Dec. some kind of reconciliation was arranged. On 1 Jan. 1262 he wrote to the pope for a confirmation of the absolution granted by his predecessor. The question about the sheriffs was referred by the king and the parliament to the king of the Romans, who decided in favour of his brother. In Mid-Lent the absolution was received from Urban IV, was published in London and laid before the parliament. Matters were on the whole going well with the king, and Earl Simon was absent in France. Apparently with the idea of winning over Louis IX to his side, Henry and his queen with their private attendants crossed to France in July. Henry was seized with a fever which endangered his life, and on 30 Sept. wrote to his brother from St. Germains that he could only just walk a little about his room, and had therefore been unable to forward the business for which he came (Fœdera, i. 421). He did not return to England until Christmas 1262. He brought back many foreigners with him.
During Henry's absence troubles had broken out on the Welsh border; the Earl of Gloucester had died, and his successor [see Clare, Gilbert de] had thrown in his lot with Earl Simon. Henry had made no progress with Louis, and he therefore in January 1263 renewed his assent to the Oxford provisions. He sent urgent letters to Louis and his queen with reference to the establishment of peace between him and Earl Simon, for which he was sincerely anxious, but was informed on 16 Feb. that the earl had told Louis that, though he believed that the king wished well, he was under the influence of counsellors who would not willingly see a reconciliation, and that therefore arbitration was for the present useless (Royal Letters, ii. 242). The ravages of the Welsh still continuing, he sent for Edward, then in France, to come and check them. While Edward was carrying on hostilities on the Welsh border against certain of the baronial party who were evidently acting in concert with Llewelyn, Henry remained at Westminster; he was still in weak health, and it was feared that a fire which broke out in the palace and did much mischief would retard his recovery (Fœdera, p. 424). In March he required a general oath of allegiance to Edward as his successor (ib. p. 425). This brought matters to a crisis; the barons demanded that he should swear to stand by the provisions of Oxford; he shut himself in the Tower and refused, and Earl Simon openly revolted. On 29 June the king of the Romans was engaged in mediating a truce, which was completed on 15 July; the aliens were banished, and the king agreed that the baronial justiciar, Hugh le Despenser, should hold office, gave up the Tower to him, and returned to Westminster. An attempt was made to settle the dispute by reference to the king of France. The barons refused to allow Henry to leave the kingdom until Louis gave security for his speedy return. When this was done the king sailed on 19 Sept.; met Earl Simon in the presence of Louis at Boulogne on the 22nd; and, no arrangement being made, returned to England on 7 Oct., leaving his queen in France. A week later he and the lords of his party had a violent altercation with Earl Simon in parliament. Henry demanded that the appointment of the officers of the household should rest with himself, and that a judicial inquiry should be made as to the damage done by the baronial party. He left Westminster, and occupied Windsor with the earls and barons who adhered to him. On 3 Dec., in company with the king of the Romans, he made a sudden attempt on Dover Castle, and being refused admittance marched, deeply annoyed, towards London, in the hope of gaining the city, but his friends among the citizens were not as strong as the baronial party, and he found the gates closed against him. On 16 Dec. it was agreed to submit the provisions to the arbitration of Louis, and in the last days of 1263 Henry sailed to Wissant, and met the French king at Amiens, where on 23 Jan. 1264 Louis made his award, by which, in accordance with the papal decree, he declared the provisions null and void; the castles held by wardens appointed by the barons were to be delivered to the king; he was to have the appointment of all officers of state, might employ aliens in the work of government, and was to be restored to full power (ib. i. 433). The award was confirmed by Urban IV, who promised to send a legate.
Henry returned to England on 15 Feb. 1264 with a strong force and a good supply of money, and found that the barons rejected the award, and that Llewelyn and Earl Simon were in alliance, and were fighting against Edward on the border. About 18 March 1264 he held a conference at Oxford with the barons who were assembled at Brackley; but the negotiations came to nothing. While he was at Oxford he dismissed the university, in consequence of a riot which had taken place on the first Thursday in Lent. On 20 March he summoned his forces to meet there on the 30th, and marched in person against Northampton, then held by Simon de Montfort the younger, and took it on 5 April. Simon and many others were made prisoners. Thence he marched to Leicester, and on to Nottingham, which was delivered up to him [see Bardolf, William]. Meanwhile the Londoners broke into open revolt, slew many Jews who were on the king's side, and seized the royal treasure. Henry and his son marched south to the relief of Rochester Castle, which was besieged by Earl Simon, found the siege raised, took Tonbridge on 1 May, visited Winchelsea, and tried to compel the Cinque ports to aid him; then finding provisions run short he marched into Sussex, and on the 12th took up his quarters at the priory of Lewes. The baronial army was a few miles distant, and the bishops of London and Worcester, who were with Earl Simon, came to the king to treat about peace, and are said to have offered fifty thousand marks for the confirmation of the provisions. In the battle of Lewes on 14 May [see under Edward I] the king fought in person with the royal ensign, the dragon, displayed. His army was more numerous than that of the barons, but the imprudence of Edward left him exposed to the attack of the larger part of the enemy's forces. He displayed great courage, his charger was slain under him, his army was completely routed, and he took shelter in the priory. His son became hostage for him, and the next day an agreement or mise was made. Commissioners were appointed as arbitrators; they were to choose counsellors who were to be Englishmen to direct the king in all matters, and see that he did not live expensively; Edward and his cousin Henry were to be hostages, and the final agreement was to be made the following Easter.
The king now ceased to reign except in name; he was virtually the captive of Earl Simon, who took care to keep him always with him, and used him simply to give authority to his own acts. He was treated with personal respect, but was led about at the earl's will, and had to seal letters which were contrary to his interests. On 17 May 1264 he was taken to Battle, and thence by way of Canterbury and Rochester to London, where he arrived on 27 or 28 May, and was lodged with the bishop at St. Paul's; on 4 June he was caused to summons a parliament to meet on the 22nd, to which four knights were to be sent from each shire. At this parliament a scheme of government was settled, by which the king was to act in accordance with the advice of nine counsellors. An invasion was expected from Flanders. Henry's queen had gathered for the relief of her husband an army which had been reinforced by many of his adherents from England, and was ready to embark at Damme. He was made to write repeated letters to Louis to prevent troops being raised, and summoned a force to meet on a down near Canterbury, whither he was taken by Simon in August, and remained during September. The invasion did not take place; the wind was contrary, and Simon was careful to have the coast thoroughly defended. On 2 Oct. the king was at Westminster, and on 18 Nov. at Windsor, where he was made to write to the queen, forbidding her to raise money for his cause by selling or pledging any of his French fiefs (ib. p. 448). An attempt of the marchers on behalf of Edward, and their renewal of the war with Llewelyn, caused Earl Simon to direct the king to summon a conference at Oxford on 30 Nov.; he took Henry with him to Gloucester, and on 13 Dec. to Worcester, where certain of the marchers agreed to go into exile. While at Worcester Henry sent out writs for the earl's famous parliament, which met in his presence at Westminster on 20 Jan. 1265, and to which representatives were summoned from the shires, cities, and boroughs [for the earl's government, see under Montfort, Simon de]. Henry stayed at Westminster until after the parliament broke up, giving his assent to the new constitution on 14 March. A quarrel having arisen between the Earls of Leicester and Gloucester, he was taken by Earl Simon to Northampton, and thence to Worcester, Gloucester, and Hereford, where he was during the larger parts of May and June 1265. While at Hereford a writ was issued in his name to summon an army against his son, who had escaped from Earl Simon's custody at Hereford. When the earl found himself shut in behind the Severn he took the king to Monmouth on 28 June, and was forced to retire to Hereford again. On 2 Aug. Henry crossed the Severn with the earl, and though Simon was anxious to press on to Kenilworth, obtained his wish to have breakfast before leaving the abbey of Evesham on the 4th. In the battle of that day he was sharply wounded on the shoulder-blade by his son's men, who did not know him, and would have killed him had he not cried out, ‘I am Henry of Winchester, your king; do not slay me.’ A baron named Roger of Leyburne is said to have saved him. Edward heard his voice, ran towards him, and had him led to a place of safety. He allowed the mutilated remains of Earl Simon and the body of his son Henry to be buried in the abbey church at Evesham.
His son's victory restored him to power, and on 7 Aug. he issued a writ at Worcester, revoking all grants made by the late earl under his seal since the battle of Lewes (ib. p. 458). On 8 Sept. he held a great council at Winchester, where the forfeiture of the lands of all the rebel lords was decreed. The Londoners submitted on 6 Oct.; Henry imprisoned some of the leaders of the rebel party for a short time at Windsor, and made the city pay twenty thousand marks for peace. Some discontent was felt at his rapid disposal of the material fruits of his victory; forfeited lands were distributed among his adherents, and large sums were paid to creditors in France on account of debts incurred by the queen on his behalf. At Canterbury he met his queen, who landed on 1 Nov. With her came the legate Ottoboni, who was sent by Clement IV to punish the bishops of the baronial party, excommunicate those who still held out against the king, help to restore order, and put the tenth levied on the clergy in the king's hand. In company with the legate Henry held a council at Northampton at the end of December, and received the submission of the younger Simon de Montfort [for particulars of the reduction of the rebels to submission, see under Edward I]; negotiations were also set on foot with Llewelyn. Although the victory at Evesham was not followed by any executions, the sweeping sentence of confiscation drove many of the defeated party to resistance. A strong body of them shut themselves up in Kenilworth, did much mischief to the neighbouring country, and sent back one of the king's messengers with his hand cut off. Accordingly, on 15 March 1266, Henry summoned his military tenants to meet at Oxford in three weeks; on 6 May he was at Northampton, probably to complete his muster, and then advanced to Kenilworth. During the course of the siege he held a parliament, at which on 24 Aug. the ‘Ban of Kenilworth’ was drawn up [see under Edward I]. The terms offered in this settlement were accepted by the garrison on 20 Dec. A dangerous outbreak of rebellion in the isle of Ely forced Henry to hold a council at Bury St. Edmunds on 21 Feb. 1267, to summon his forces, and to march to Cambridge. He made no head against the rebels, and in April was called away by the news that the Earl of Gloucester [see Clare, Gilbert de, (1243–1295)] had occupied London, and was besieging the legate in the Tower. He marched to Windsor, and thence to London, where he was refused admittance. Alarmed at the height to which matters had grown, he contented himself by delivering the legate from the Tower, and reinforcing the garrison, and then fell back on West Ham in Essex, and took up his quarters in the Cistercian abbey of Stratford Langthorne. Terms were finally arranged on 16 June, through the mediation of the king of the Romans, and three days later the king entered the city. No penalties were exacted, and Henry remained there until 25 July. During his stay the isle of Ely was reduced by Edward, and he dismissed nearly all his foreign mercenaries (Wykes, p. 207). Difficulties having arisen in the negotiations with Llewelyn, he proceeded to Shrewsbury with the legate, and made peace with him at Michaelmas.
The country was at last in a state of order, and on 18 Nov. 1267 Henry held a parliament at Marlborough, to which probably representatives from the counties were summoned, and in which a statute was passed enacting many of the reforms demanded at the beginning of the late troubles, and, save that it left the appointment of ministers and sheriffs to the king, conceding nearly everything asked for in the ‘Mad parliament’ (Const. Hist. ii. 97). He spent Christmas in company with the legate at Winchester, the city to which he was deeply attached. In the spring of 1268 he allowed the legate to hold a national council at St. Paul's, at which Ottoboni promulgated a number of constitutions, and at midsummer he held a parliament at Northampton, at which Edward and a crowd of nobles took the cross. Ottoboni left England on 1 Aug. Henry held a parliament at Winchester in November, in which he conferred divers honours on his son [see under Edward I], and in that and each remaining year of his life spent Christmas there. He gratified his people by assenting to a statute forbidding the Jews to acquire the land of their debtors, at a parliament held in London at Easter 1269 (ib.). In August he made a treaty with Magnus of Norway, containing provisions respecting trade and the protection to be accorded to shipwrecked persons of either country (Fœdera, i. 480). On 13 Oct. he held a great assembly at Westminster, which was attended by all the prelates and magnates of his kingdom, and by men from all the cities and boroughs. During many years he had been rebuilding the abbey church of Westminster. It was at last in a state to be used for service, and the gorgeous shrine which he set up for the body of the Confessor being complete, he caused the saint to be translated and laid within it. The ceremony was performed with magnificence. He intended to ‘wear his crown’ as kings did at their solemn festivals in older days, but finding that there was a dispute between the citizens of London and of Winchester as to the right of acting as cupbearers gave up his design (Ann. Winton. p. 108; Liber de Antiquis Legibus, p. 117). After the ceremonies were over the magnates discussed his request for a twentieth of moveables and granted it. A parliament of magnates, which met on 27 April 1270, and was adjourned until after midsummer, arranged the collection of the twentieth, and set the king's mind at ease with respect to his vow of crusade by forbidding him to fulfil it. While he was still under his vow, on 12 May he addressed a letter to the clergy, asking them to grant a twentieth, as the bishops had done, for the crusade, which he declared he was about to undertake. On 5 Aug. he took leave of Edward at Winchester.
In the winter he was very ill at Westminster, and wrote to Edward on 6 Feb. 1271 to say that his physicians had no hope of his recovery, and that his son would do well to return. By 16 April his health had mended. He was grieved at the death of Edward's son John on 1 Aug. After Christmas he was detained at Winchester by sickness, and was unable to leave until after Epiphany. In May 1272 he wrote to Philip III, the new French king, excusing himself from coming to do homage for the duchy of Aquitaine, on the ground of serious ill-health. In August he was expecting to cross to France for that purpose, and borrowed a large sum for his expenses from certain merchants, to whom he made over the fines and judicial profits of six counties for their repayment. A dangerous riot breaking out at Norwich in the same month, he went thither in person, and severely punished the offenders. On 4 Nov. he ordered preparations to be made for his spending the ensuing Christmas at Winchester, but he died on Wednesday the 16th, the day of St. Edmund of Canterbury, at Westminster (so Ann. Winton. p. 112; Ann. of Worcester, p. 461; John of Oxenedes, p. 242, and decisively Liber de Antiq. Leg. p. 115; but, by a double confusion between time and place and between the two Sts. Edmund, Rishanger (p. 74) has at Bury St. Edmunds). He was in his sixty-sixth year, and had reigned fifty-six years and twenty days. On the 20th his corpse, richly dressed and wearing a crown, was borne to the grave by his nobles, and was buried in Westminster Abbey church, which he had himself built, being laid in the tomb from which he had translated the body of the Confessor, before the high altar. Edward I prepared a more splendid tomb for his father, and had his body placed in it; this tomb stands on the north side of the altar, and presents an effigy, once gilded, the work of William Torell [see under Eleanor of Castile]. In 1292 the abbot of Westminster delivered Henry's heart to the abbess of Fontevraud, to whom the king had promised it when he visited her house in 1254 (Monasticon, i. 312). His queen survived him [see under Eleanor of Provence for his children].
Henry was of middle height, had a well-knit frame, and much muscular strength; one of his eyelids drooped so as partly to hide the eye; the forehead of his effigy is much and deeply lined. He had a refined mind and cultivated tastes; and was liberal and magnificent. The arts and elegance of Southern Europe were brought within his reach by his marriage, and his delight in them had no doubt much to do with his disastrous attachment to his queen's family. He took interest in the work of Matthew Paris, and enjoyed his society. His love of art is exemplified by the orders which he gave for paintings to be executed at Westminster, Windsor, Woodstock, and the Tower, and in a higher degree by the abbey church of Westminster, which he erected at his sole cost. The work of pulling down the church of the Confessor was begun in 1245, and the rebuilding was continued during the rest of the king's life. Other religious houses also were enriched by his bounty: St. Albans, which he visited eight times, staying there a week in 1257, Whitby, and Chertsey; while he founded Netley Abbey, Hampshire, for Cistercians in 1239 (Monasticon, v. 695), Ravenston, an Austin priory, Buckinghamshire, about 1255 (ib. vi. 497), the Domus Conversorum, or House for Converts from Judaism, now the chapel of the Rolls, in 1231 (ib. p. 682), houses for Dominicans in Canterbury and Bamburgh, Northumberland, and for Franciscans, perhaps at Winchester and Nottingham, besides some hospitals. He was sincerely religious, and when nothing else could force him to give up his own way, he would yield to a threat of ecclesiastical censure. He regularly attended three masses a day, would press and kiss the hand of the celebrant, and would sometimes come in quietly to witness other celebrations. Religious ceremonies delighted him, and he showed extreme pleasure at receiving the Holy Blood in 1247, carrying the relic in his own hands from St. Paul's to Westminster. One of the few sentiments which kept a firm place in his heart was a grateful veneration for the Roman see. His life was moral, and he seems to have been a good deal under the influence of his clever and accomplished queen. To Dante, who placed him in the valley where they sat who had been careless of the great reward, and yet had not been unfruitful or evil, he was ‘il Re della simplice vita.’ Nevertheless he was inordinately extravagant, and squandered his subjects' money recklessly in gratifying his private tastes and ambitions, and on his foreign relatives and favourites. Utterly un-English in feeling, he loved to be surrounded by foreigners, and had no sympathy with the tendencies of the nation. His religion was rather that of a Roman than an Englishman, and he did not hesitate to injure the national church by conferring bishoprics and other benefices on foreign adventurers, ignorant of the language of the people, and unfit to be their spiritual guides. Though obstinate, he was infirm of purpose, and no dependence could be placed upon him. The union of pertinacity and weakness in his character rendered him irritable. When crossed or in difficulties he had no self-command, although in ordinary circumstances he was not devoid of wit or courtesy of manner. His nobles did not fear or respect him. Faithful service never won his gratitude; he was incapable of valuing his best and wisest counsellors, and was always ready to believe slanders against them. Physically brave, he was morally a coward, easily frightened, and quick to lean on others for support. Shifty and false, he met open opposition with evasion and secret influence, and the most solemn oaths failed to bind him. He had no talent for administration; in affairs of state he was content with a hand-to-mouth policy, and his campaigns were disgracefully mismanaged. Most of his difficulties were of his own making; some part of them, however, arose from the change which was passing over the spirit of the constitution. If he had been a capable king he might have taken advantage of this state of change, and of the party jealousies and struggles which accompanied it, to found a new despotism. As it was his long reign was a period during which the checks placed on the monarchy in his father's days had time to gather strength, so that when he was succeeded by such an able ruler as Edward I all danger that they might be broken up had passed away.