POLITICAL HISTORY southern castles, including those of Surrey. The earls of Arundel and Surrey were still with him. De Clare under the pressure of the excom- munication was seeking to make his peace. The landing of Louis at Stonor on May 21 changed matters. John's French mercenaries could not be trusted to fight against him. The king retreated hurriedly through Kent and Surrey to Winchester. Louis took the damaged keep of Rochester, which John had breached by a mine the year before, and went to London. Thence he proceeded to secure the other castles on the road between Kent and Winchester. Perhaps Blechingley had always been held by de Clare. Reigate, de Warenne's castle, surrendered ; Farnham, belonging to the Bishop of Winchester, Peter des Roches, followed ; Guildford, the royal castle, was taken. We do not know if there was any siege of Guildford. The castle is first named in 1202. The earthworks are probably much older ; the keep probably rather older than this. But it had been a favourite abode of John, who was often there. Like his son Henry he resided in the buildings outside the keep, which was a prison and a citadel. The fortunes of John became worse and worse. He was driven from Winchester too. De Warenne thought it time to secure his possessions by a change of sides. He went over to the French about June or July. The scene changed rapidly after this. The pope died in July. John died in October. The English barons and their French ally distrusted each other. The papal legate felt himself at liberty to concur in a reissue by the young king's advisers of the charter which Inno- cent III. had condemned. In a few months Louis was successful in reducing the eastern counties, but he had to return to France for a time, and concluded a truce. He returned to England in April to find his side falling to pieces. Gilbert de Clare his father Richard was an old man and died in the following November had made his peace with Henry's regent on March 27. De Warenne in a lordly style had made a truce with his king on April I6. 1 Farnham Castle was retaken for Henry and its lord the bishop. Guildford probably remained in the hands of Louis' party till the defeats at Lincoln and off Dover compelled them to give up the contest. The final peace was negotiated in Surrey. The regent, the Earl of Pembroke, conducted the young king as near to London as Kingston and Lambeth. Negotiations began at the former place. The final treaty was concluded at the latter on September 1 1 , 1217. On September 14 a safe conduct was issued from Kingston for Louis himself to depart out of the kingdom. On September 19 a similar safe conduct was granted to his followers at Merton. 2 The court was at Lambeth in October ; in November it had crossed the river and royal documents are dated from Westminster or London. De Warenne had secured his own position in Surrey. He was sheriff of the county from 1217 to 1226. In spite of his temporary lapse he was looked upon as a far safer support to the young king's government than de Clare, a pronounced baronial leader. In 1227 both 1 FaeJera, i. 216. * Ibid. i. 221, 222. 343
Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/411
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