Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 47.djvu/293

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Coucher, vol. ii. f. 445). Stephen clearly had to bide his time, but in 1144 felt strong enough to make an attack on Lincoln, which, however, was defeated (Hen. Hunt. p. 277; Will. Newb. i. 48). Meanwhile, Randulf had been vigorously assailed by Robert Marmion (who was on Stephen's side) from Coventry, but Robert was slain there in a sally against Randulf's attack (Will. Newb. i. 47). Harrying the king's supporters (Gesta, p. 107), and seizing on crown property (ib. p. 118), he practically ruled over ‘a third part of the realm’ (ib. p. 117), represented by a triangle, with its apex at Chester and its bases at Coventry and Lincoln. Alarmed, however, in 1146 at the growing power of Stephen, he suddenly renewed friendship with him, joined vigorously in the siege of Bedford, and, on its fall, assisted the king with three hundred knights in pushing the siege of Wallingford (ib.; Hen. Hunt. p. 279; Will. Newb. i. 49). But the firm hold he kept on his castles, and his proved instability, alarmed the king and his advisers (Gesta, p. 118). The earl seems to have incurred the suspicion of treachery by urging the king to join him in repelling the inroads of the Welsh (ib. pp. 123–4); and, while in the king's court at Northampton, he was suddenly accused, arrested, and thrown into prison unscrupulously enough (ib. p. 125; Hen. Hunt. p. 279; Will. Newb. i. 49). He was released, as in similar cases, only at the cost of surrendering his castles. He also swore to keep the peace, and gave hostages (Gesta, p. 126), his nephew, the Earl of Hertford, also pledging himself and his castles for his uncle's good behaviour (ib. p. 127). Stephen, proud of his questionable triumph, kept his Christmas court in 1146 at Lincoln (Hen. Hunt. p. 279).

Panting for revenge, and heedless alike of the oaths he had sworn and the safety of his hostages, Randulf flung himself against Lincoln as soon as Stephen had left it, only to be driven back by the burgesses of that populous and wealthy city, with the assistance of Stephen's garrison (Gervase, i. 132; Gesta, p. 126; Hen. Hunt. p. 279). He then laid siege to Coventry, but Stephen, hurrying thither, relieved it, and engaged the earl's forces, unsuccessfully at first, but finally with better fortune, Randulf narrowly escaping death (Gesta, pp. 126–7). The king then pursued his advantage, attacking the earl's strongholds (ib.) He had already seized his nephew, the Earl of Hertford, and extorted from him his castles (ib. pp. 127–8).

Randulf's only hope of revenge lay now in the empress and her son; but they had left England in despair. Henry, however, returned at length in the spring of 1149, and the earl hastened to join him (Gervase, i. 140; Sym. Dunelm ii. 235). On 22 May 1149 Henry was knighted at Carlisle, and the earl, who was present, agreed to abandon his old claim in favour of the Scottish prince, receiving the honour of Lancaster instead (Sym. Dunelm ii. 323). A powerful triple alliance was formed by this compromise, and the earl agreed to confirm it by a marriage between his son and a daughter of Henry of Scotland (ib. p. 323). He failed, however, to join his allies at the promised time, and so brought the whole enterprise to naught (ib. p. 323). It is probable (Engl. Hist. Rev. x. 91) that Stephen, whom the scheme had seriously alarmed, had detached the earl on this occasion by granting the remarkable charter (Dep.-Keeper Publ. Rec. 31st Rep. p. 2) of which an English paraphrase is given by Dugdale (Baronage, i. 39). By this charter Lincoln was to be restored to him under certain elaborate conditions, and he was to receive large grants of escheated and crown lands, including the land ‘between Mersey and Ribble,’ together with Belvoir Castle and its appendant estates. Besides lands in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Warwickshire, he obtained Torksey and Grimsby in Lincolnshire, his dominion thus practically extending from sea to sea, with a port on both coasts. Meanwhile he was assisting Madog, son of Maredudd, to rise against Owain of Gwynedd, but his auxiliaries were defeated at Consyllt pass (Brut, p. 179).

When Duke Henry landed in England in January 1153 he saw the necessity of gaining over so powerful a noble at any cost. Hence his charter granted at Devizes (Cott. Chart. xvii. 2; Dugdale, i. 39), which outbid even the enormous concessions of Stephen. As Duke of Normandy he was able to add power and possessions over-sea, while the grant of Staffordshire to be annexed to Cheshire firmly connected the earl's dominions on the west and the east of England. Such concessions, extorted by necessity, would doubtless have been resumed later, but they served their purpose in gaining the earl (Gervase, i. 155), who is found with the duke at Wallingford (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 419). He died, however, before the close of the year (Rob. Tor. p. 177; Sym. Dunelm), on 16 Dec. (Dugdale, i. 40), poisoned, it was believed, by William Peverell [q. v.] of Nottingham (Gervase, i. 155), whose lands had been granted him by Henry. He was buried near his father, in St. Werburg's Abbey, Chester (Monast. Angl. ii. 218), though Dugdale has a story that he