Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/414

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A HISTORY OF SURREY leaders, but it was crowned with complete success by their victory at Lewes on May 1 4, a victory which was rendered decisive by the capture of the king, his son and his brother. But what a risk was run by the victors is shown by the events in Surrey. The Tonbridge garrison, no doubt acting on a pre-arranged plan of Edward's, made their cross march into Surrey and got on to de Montfort's rear, in a position which might well have caused his destruction if the fight at Lewes had gone the other way, and would have seriously embarrassed him had his success there been less complete. Across their front straggled the retreating Londoners, who had been driven off the field by Edward at Lewes and who never rallied till they reached Croydon far back on the road by which they had advanced. Here the Tonbridge garrison came upon them and further routed them, 1 having also, it is said, mastered de Clare's castle at Blech- ingley. But what might have been a decisive movement was rendered of no avail by the complete collapse of the main royalist army ; and the Tonbridge men went westward, no doubt by the Pilgrims' Way, past their friend's strongholds at Reigate and Guildford. The spoils passed to the victors. De Warenne, who was specially an object of enmity to the baronial party, fled abroad for a time. His estates passed into the custody if not into the possession of de Montfort and de Clare. The former took his Surrey castle at Reigate. A tenant of Gloucester's, Sir John d'Abernon, became guardian of the royal castle at Guildford, and the earl was gratified by another grant of Surrey lands at Sheen. But the royalist party got the upper hand next year. Not that it was a mere royalist victory, for the baronial party divided and Gloucester himself took the part of the king, and fought at Evesham against his old leader Leicester. De Warenne returned from the continent in 1265. He was not at Evesham, but was in joint command of the force which at Chesterfield in 1266 overthrew the irreconcilable remnant of the baronial party under the Earl of Derby. De Warenne, a turbulent, probably selfish, and not very capable man, was uncompromisingly royalist unless it suited his own passion or interest to oppose the forces of law and order as represented by the Crown. De Clare was not improbably the best statesman of his age among the barons now that Leicester was gone. By a change of sides he incurred the charges of treachery and ingratitude, but he was a moderating force representing a true popular party. He acted as a young man with de Montfort against the king's foreign favourites and incapable government. He opposed the grasping ambition of the younger de Montforts another foreign influence and the strong meas- ures of their father, who was being irresistibly impelled into the position of dictator. Then, after that by his help Edward had won the victory, de Clare helped, in 1267, to check the excesses of the royalist party, took decisive steps to enforce the compromise arrived at, even threat- ened civil war again if the terms were not observed. His action in 1 Nicholas Trivet, p. 261, E. Hist. S. ed. 346