The Royal Navy, a History from the Earliest Times to the Present/Volume 1/Chapter 8
MILITARY HISTORY OF THE NAVY, 1154–1399.
THE naval expeditions of Henry II. are not of great interest, although at least one of them, that having for its object the completion of the conquest of Ireland, was of extreme importance.
The king was in Normandy at the moment of his accession and did not come to England until six weeks after Stephen's death. Having settled his English inheritance he proceeded to France in 1156 to do homage for his French possessions, and to recover Anjou from his brother Geoffrey of Nantes, Earl of Martel, who had seized it, but who soon submitted and relinquished his claims in return for an annual pension of one thousand pounds.
In the following year the king began naval preparations on considerable scale against Wales, in order to put a stop to border raids and to piracies which had become troublesome, but the Welsh made the requisite concessions before hostilities actually broke out.
The death of Geoffrey of Nantes, in 1158, induced Conan IV. of Brittany to take possession of the County of Nantes in defiance of the claims of Henry II., whereupon the latter, apparently in 1159, fitted out a large fleet and army, and, crossing the Channel, not only compelled Conan to abdicate, but also obliged him to betroth his daughter Constance to Henry's infant son Geoffrey, known thence-forward as Geoffrey of Brittany. Thus Brittany was, for the time, practically made a part of the king's continental dominions. The campaign, and an unsuccessful expedition against Toulouse, detained Henry abroad until 1163. No naval operations of any moment occurred, however, during the period; nor do we read of much naval activity having been shown by England until 1167, when the country was threatened with a formidable invasion by the Counts of Boulogne and Flanders, who are said to have collected six hundred ships for the purpose. Henry was again abroad, but Richard de Lucy, one of the Justiciars or Regents, and a most able and devoted minister, promptly assembled so large a military force on the south coast that the attempt was abandoned, although there seems to have been no naval force ready and able to dispute the passage of the enemy. Probably because he realised how narrowly he had escaped the danger, Henry deemed it wise to purchase the future alliance of the Count of Boulogne with an annual subsidy.
On the king's return from the continent, early in March, 1170, a violent storm overtook his fleet in the night, and dispersed it. Henry himself, with some difficulty, made Portsmouth, but all the ships were not equally fortunate; and one especially, conveying the royal physician, a great noble named Henry de Agnellis, the latter's two sons, and several personages of the king's household, foundered with all on board.
The conquest of Ireland had been for some years a cherished project with Henry, but his continental preoccupations, and his long quarrel with Becket, had prevented him from putting it into execution. Excuses were not lacking, though the leading motive was doubtless a desire for extended dominion, coupled with statesmanlike consciousness that Ireland, so long as it remained congeries of petty principalities in normal condition of anarchy, must be a permanent source of trouble to England. One of the ostensible excuses was that certain Irish had taken some English men prisoners and sold them as slaves.
But while Henry thus desired the conquest of Ireland, he might still have postponed action had he not been drawn into it in 1171 by forces which have since on innumerable occasions brought about the extension of the British Empire. These forces were set in motion by the conduct of private adventurers. Ireland was at the time divided into several small kingships, one of which was Leinster. Dermot, King of Leinster, being expelled by his oppressed subjects, aided by two of his royal neighbours, applied for aid to Henry, who was then engaged in France. Assistance, but at some indefinite time, was promised; and Dermot, unwilling to wait until the Greek Calends, came to England, and laid his case before several of the nobles, who agreed to help him at once. First among his sympathisers was Robert FitzStephen, a son of Stephen de Marisco by Nesta, sometime a mistress of Henry I. In 1169 FitzStephen led thirty knights, sixty men-at-arms, and three hundred archers to Ireland, and took Wexford, though he subsequently had to surrender at Carrig. Other adventurers followed, among them Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, surnamed Strongbow. Henry had forbidden him to go, but he was anxious to marry Eva, daughter of Dermot; and in defiance of the prohibition, he sailed with an expedition from Milford Haven, gained some success, and eventually succeeded to the kingdom of Leinster.
In the meantime Henry, perceiving that his adventurous subjects were forestalling him, set about making preparations for his own expedition, and formally recalled all Englishmen from Ireland. The adventurers, instead of complying, humbly placed all their present and future conquests at the king's disposal. This was not entirely satisfactory; yet Henry, while pushing on his preparations, concluded an agreement that he should have all the seaports, and granted the rest of the country, to hold of him and his successors, to the conquerers. It would appear that Strongbow returned for a time to England, probably to take part in these negotiations.
A fleet of four hundred large ships, with an army embarked in them, was at length assembled in Milford Haven. Henry went on board, and on October 18th, 1171, landed at Crook, near Waterford. The greater part of the island submitted without resistance, even Roderick O'Connor, King of Connaught, the most powerful of all the kinglets, doing homage; and Henry celebrated Christmas in Dublin with much splendour and magnificence. The real conquest, indeed, so far as it was effected by force of arms, was effected by the adventurers and not by the king, who, having established garrisons in the principal seaports, and consigned the administration of his new possession to a Justiciary, returned to England on the following Easter Monday.
A rebellion, headed by the queen and her sons, drew Henry into war with the Kings of France and Scotland, the Counts of Flanders, Boulogne and Blois, and many of his own subjects. There is no record, however, of any important naval operations having been undertaken in the course of the campaign, from which Henry emerged victorious in 1175. There were, nevertheless, some naval incidents. In July, 1174, the king, with numerous prisoners, embarked at Barfleur for Southampton, and, perceiving from the countenances of the seamen that there was in their minds some question as to the wisdom of attempting the passage while the weather continued as threatening as it then was, is reported to have said: "If the Supreme Ruler designs by my arrival in England to restore to my people that peace which He knows I sincerely have at heart, may He mercifully bring me to a safe port; but if His will has decreed to scourge the realm, may I never be permitted to reach its shore." And the English fleet seems to have kept the Narrow Seas clear of the enemy, while, on the other hand, bad weather contributed to the discomfiture of the foe.
It was in the last quarter of the twelfth century that the nobles of England first began to take an active interest in affairs in the Holy Land. Some writers assert that the resultant Crusades exerted, upon the whole, less direct influence upon England than upon most of the other countries of Europe; and this is perhaps true; but there can be no question that, indirectly, the Crusades have affected the destinies of the country ever since; for it was they which first caused her to become a Power in the Mediterranean, and which first led a large volume of English trade thither. Indeed it was they which first induced England to essay the exercise of her naval force in water anywhere outside her own seas; which showed her her aptitude for distant adventure; and which taught her wherein lay the secret of her strength.
Henry took great interest in the Eastern question, and designed to himself assume the Cross; but, though he was never able to carry out his intention, at least one private crusading expedition was fitted out in England during his reign, and the king, more than once, furnished ships, arms and money for the assistance of Christendom against the Infidel.
The most noteworthy private expedition was one headed by William de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, who, accompanied by many nobles, knights and gentlemen of several nationalities, sailed from Dartmouth in 1177, with thirty-seven ships. Touching at Lisbon, Essex was invited by the King of Portugal to aid him against the Moors, and, acquiescing, contributed greatly to their defeat and to the slaughter of forty thousand of them.
Henry's intention to take the Cross was frustrated by the rebellion of his son Richard, who, in alliance with Philip Augustus, attacked the continental possessions of the Crown. Upon the death of Henry II., a proposition, which had originated with him, that the Kings of England and France should go together upon a Crusade, was revived by Richard, his successor, and was agreed to by Philip Augustus. Preparations upon large scale were at once begun in both countries.
Concerning the expedition which followed, Campbell has some remarks that appear to deserve reproduction: "Our historians," he says, "speak of this according to their own notions, and without any respect had to the then circumstances of things; hence, some treat it with great solemnity, and as a thing worthy of immortal honour, while others again consider it as a pure effect of bigotry, and blame the king exceedingly for being led by the nose by the Pope, and involving himself in so romantic a scheme, to the great danger of his person, and the almost entire ruin of his subjects. I must own that to me neither opinion seems right; yet I should not have expressed my sentiments on this subject, if it did not very nearly concern the matter of this treatise. The power of the Saracens was then exceeding great, and they were growing no less formidable at sea than they had been long at land; so that if the whole force of Christendom had not been opposed against them in the East, I see very little or no room to doubt of their making an entire conquest of the West; for, since they were able to deal with the joint forces of these princes in the Holy Land, they would undoubtedly have beaten them singly, if ever they had attacked them."
By the beginning of December, 1189, a considerable squadron was assembled at Dover to transport the king and his principal followers to the continent; and on the 11th of that month, Richard embarked for Calais, his design being to proceed leisurely overland to Marseilles, meeting Philip Augustus by the way, and there to pick up his fleet, which was, meanwhile, being collected at Dartmouth.
Richard kept Christmas at Bures, near Dieppe, joined Philip at Reims—where, on January 13th, 1190, a solemn treaty was entered into between the two sovereigns,—went into Gascony and Anjou to settle various affairs there, visited Tours to obtain from the archbishop the scrip and staff of pilgrimage, and rejoined the French king at Vézelay in June. Thence the allied monarchs, with their armies, marched together as far as Lyon, where they separated, Philip proceeding to Genoa and Richard to Marseilles, the intention being that the two armadas should make rendezvous at Messina, previous to sailing in consort for Palestine.
The Dartmouth fleet comprised ships as well from Normandy, Poitou, Brittany and Aquitaine as from England. Part, if not the whole of it, sailed in April, 1190, having on board, in addition to men, stores, engines and other provisions for the army. But many of the vessels were ill suited for Atlantic weather, and when, on the 3rd of May, in the Bay of Biscay, it blew a south-westerly gale, the fleet was dispersed, and four ships would seem to have been lost, if Peter of Langtoft be correct in saying that 110 ships sailed, and if other historians rightly state the number of vessels that later assembled at the mouth of the Tagus at 106 only.
One ship belonging to London, and carrying a hundred passengers, is declared to have been favoured with a miracle. When, at the height of the storm, the terrified crew invoked divine aid St. Thomas of Canterbury thrice appeared to them and assured them that he and the martyrs, St. Edmund and St. Nicholas, had been appointed protectors of the ship, and would conduct her in safety, if only the people would repent of their sins and do penance. The terms being accepted the tempest instantly ceased, and the ship proceeded on her voyage until she reached Silves, on the south coast of Portugal. Silves had been taken from the Moors a few years earlier, by the help of William de Mandeville, but they were endeavouring to regain possession of it. Eighty soldiers from the vessel were landed as a reinforcement for the besieged; but the town's people, not content with this aid, seized the ship herself, and broke her up, in order to utilise her timbers for the defence, promising, however, that the King of Portugal would provide compensation.
Of the other ships two detachments, one of nine and the other of sixty-three sail, got into Lisbon. There their crews committed great outrages, until the King of Portugal closed the gates of the city against them and imprisoned the seven hundred offenders who were found inside, pending the making of an arrangement with the commanders, Robert de Sabloil and Richard de Camville, for securing peace. These detachments sailed again on July 24th, and found at the mouth of the Tagus the remainder of the fleet under William de Fortz. A further voyage of twenty-eight days brought the fleet safely to Marseilles on August 22nd.
But King Richard, who had reached Marseilles about the end of July, expecting to find the fleet already there, had waited for only eight days. He had then hired ten large busses and twenty galleys to convey his immediate followers and himself to Messina, and had sailed on August 7th in a galley called the Pumbo. He was at Genoa on August 13th, and had an interview with Philip, who lay ill there. His next place of call was Portofino, where he remained for five days, and where he received a request from Philip for the loan of five galleys. Richard offered three, and Philip thereupon preferred to accept none. From Portofino Richard reached the mouth of the Arno on August 20th, and Porto Baratto on the 23rd. At Piombino he went on board another galley, belonging to Fulk Postranti, with the intention of proceeding in her, but as she split her sail on the 25th, he returned to the Pumbo, and that day anchored in the Tiber. The Cardinal Bishop of Ostia came from Rome to receive him, but by asserting a claim to some money on the part of the Holy See, his Eminence so angered the hot-tempered king that Richard accused the Papal court of simony, declined to go to Rome and sailed again on the 26th. On the 28th he landed at Naples, and, after a brief stay, continued his journey down the coast on horseback until he reached Scylla. On the way, when but a single knight happened to be with him, he was attacked by peasants, from the house of one of whom he had attempted to take a hawk, and the King of England compelled to cover his retreat by throwing stones at his assailants. From Scylla, Richard crossed to Messina, and entered the port on September 23rd.
"As soon," says Vinesauf, "as the people heard of his arrival, they rushed in crowds to the shore to behold the glorious King of England, and at a distance saw the sea covered with innumerable galleys; and the sound of trumpets from afar, with the sharper and shriller blasts of clarions, resounded in their ears; and they beheld the galleys rowing in order nearer to the land, adorned and furnished with all manner of arms, countless pennons floating in the wind, ensigns at the ends of lances, the beaks of the galleys distinguished by various paintings, and glittering shields suspended to the prows. The sea appeared to boil with the multitude of the rowers; the clangor of their trumpets was deafening; the greatest joy was testified at the arrival of the various multitudes; when thus our magnificent king, attended by crowds of those who navigated the galleys, as if to see what was unknown to him, stood on a prow more ornamented and higher than the others and, landing, displayed himself, elegantly adorned, to all who pressed to the shore to meet him."
Richard found his fleet in the harbour of Messina. It had remained eight days at Marseilles to refit, and had reached port on September 14th. He also found Philip, who had arrived a few days before him. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Salisbury, and Ranulf de Glanvill, Chief Justice of England, who had accompanied Richard as far as Marseilles, had gone thence direct to the Holy Land.
In those days, even in the Mediterranean, the winter was considered to he no season for ships to be anywhere save in port, and as the autumn was nearly over, Richard and Philip wintered at Messina.
Richard spent the winter in quarrelling both with his ally Philip and with Tancred, King of Sicily. He repudiated a contract of marriage which he had made with the Princess Alice, Philip's sister, and contracted himself instead to Berengaria, daughter of Sancho VI of Navarre; and having a grievance against Tancred, who had imprisoned the Queen Dowager of Sicily, Princess Joan of England, he forcibly demanded reparation from him, going even to the length of occupying Messina. But the difficulty with Philip, though it afterwards broke out afresh, did not then assume a dangerous complexion, and the difficulty with Tancred was at length composed by the latter agreeing to pay Joan's dowry, and to contribute to the expedition four great ships called "vissers," and fifteen galleys.
During the winter the ships suffered extensively, especially from the depredations of worms, and many had to be careened and repaired. Moreover, one galley was struck by lightning and sunk.
On Saturday, March 30th, 1191, Philip, with his contingent, sailed for Palestine. Richard, who had been joined, apparently late in February, by Philip, Count of Flanders, and by thirty busses from England, with reinforcements of men and provisions, still awaited his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his betrothed bride, Berengaria; nor had he quite completed his preparations. He crossed, however, to Reggi, on the mainland, and carried the royal ladies, whom he found there, over to Messina. Either because it was Lent or because he was unwilling to further delay his voyage, he did not celebrate his wedding at Messina, but consigned his destined wife to the care of his sister, Queen Joan, and placed both on board a dromon commanded by Sir Stephen de Turnham, commanding the fleet. This vessel subsequently sailed in the van.
On Wednesday, April 10th, the large ships weighed and put to sea, and as soon as Richard had dined, he followed them with the galleys.
The fleet, the most formidable which had ever been fitted out by England for any foreign service, seems to have consisted of about 230 vessels, with possibly some small craft as well, although different writers give slightly different accounts of it. All the ships were stored for one year, and distributed among them, so as to minimise risk of loss, were the necessary supplies of money for the payment of the officers, men, and troops. Vinesauf describes the order of sailing: "In the van were three large ships, filled with soldiers and stores, and in one of them were the Queen of Sicily and Berengaria, the two others being laden with the most valuable part of Richard's arms and treasure. The second line consisted of thirteen ships, dromons, and busses; the third, of fourteen; the fourth, of twenty; the fifth, of thirty; the sixth, of forty, and the seventh, of sixty vessels. The eighth line, in which was the king himself, was formed of the galleys, which are said by some to have numbered fifty-three, and by others, fifty and fifty-one. The lines were so close that a trumpet could be heard from one to the other, and each ship was near enough to the next on each beam to communicate by hailing."
It is difficult to understand the objects of this formation, since no enemy was likely to attack from the rear, and since, if there were a post of danger, it was apparently the van, where the princesses were; nor is the formation in accordance with the usual tactics of the period.
On April 11th, the fleet was becalmed off Etna, and was obliged to anchor; but on the following day, Good Friday, a breeze sprang up and progress was made, though it again fell calm in the night. On the 13th a heavy gale from the southward succeeded; seamen as well as passengers became sea-sick and terrified, and many of the ships were dispersed. Richard remained cool and collected, and encouraged those about him by his words and his example. Towards nightfall the gale abated, and the king's vessel, which was indicated by a light at her masthead, brought to to enable the scattered fleet to collect around her. In the morning the wind was fair, and the fleet proceeded for Crete, where it anchored on April 17th; but twenty-five vessels had not rejoined, and among them was the ship having on board the king's sister and his destined bride. Richard, nevertheless, waited only for a day, and continuing his voyage, was in sight of Rhodes on the morning of the 19th. There the fleet lay to until the 22nd, when Richard landed, and, being taken ill, was detained for some days. He utilised the enforced delay by sending galleys in all directions to look for his missing ships, but nothing was seen of them.
Of the dispersed ships three had been wrecked on the rocks of Cyprus, and nearly all on board, including Roger Malchien, the Vice-Chancellor, drowned. The survivors were ill-treated and imprisoned, their effects stolen, and their vessels destroyed by the subjects of Comnenus, who had proclaimed himself independent sovereign of the island in opposition to the Greek Empire. About twenty more of the missing vessels did not rejoin until the second week of May. The ship having on board the two princesses also made Cyprus, but was more fortunate. She entered the Bay of Limasol about a week earlier, and made inquiries as to whether the king had passed; but Sir Stephen de Turnhan, perceiving four galleys about to issue from the port, and suspecting their intentions, weighed again promptly, and stood out to sea, lying to, however, when he had made an offing.
On May 6th, the king with the rest of his fleet arrived from Rhodes, and learnt from Sir Stephen de Turnham of the manner in which the princesses had been treated by Comnenus, and how the wrecked crews had suffered at the hands of his subjects. Richard, very indignant, sent two knights on shore to demand satisfaction. Comnenus returned an offensive reply, and provoked the king to make an immediate attack upon the town. Richard himself was the first to land, and the first to strike a blow. The Crusaders came ashore in small craft from their great ships and galleys, and after a very brief contest, Comnenus fled to the mountains. On the day following, the fleet, including the ship of the two princesses, anchored in the harbour. The English pressed their advantage so energetically that on or about May 11th, Comnenus sued for peace, appearing for the purpose before Richard, who was mounted on a Spanish charger, and dressed in a tunic of rose-coloured silk, embroidered with golden crescents. Comnenus undertook to do homage to the king, to resign all his castles, to serve in the Holy War with five hundred knights, to pay 20,000 marks of gold as compensation, to restore the imprisoned crew and their effects, and to hand over his daughter as a hostage. But he had scarcely concluded the treaty ere he broke it, and fled to the interior.
In the meantime Guy de Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, the Prince of Antioch, and others, had arrived to offer their services to Richard, and to swear fealty to him. The king put his army under the command of the Prince of Antioch, ordered him to pursue Comnenus, and divided the galleys into two squadrons. One he led himself, and the other he entrusted to Sir Stephen de Turnham, and the two, starting in different directions, swept the coasts of the island, and captured or destroyed every craft they encountered. By these methods, Comnenus was again induced to sue for peace; but Richard would trust him no longer. He ordered him to he thrown into chains of silver, and confined in a castle in Palestine.
Richard's celerity in dealing with and capturing Comnenus is shown by the fact that although the search for that prince appears not to have begun until the 11th, the king was back in Limasol, and was indeed married there, on the 12th of May. On or about the 25th, Queen Berengaria, and Joan, Queen Dowager of Sicily, accompanied by the daughter of Comnenus, sailed from Cyprus, convoyed by all the busses and large ships, and arrived at the camp before Acre on June 1st; but Richard, with the galleys, remained ten days longer, to make arrangements for the government of the new foreign possession of England, which he entrusted to the administration jointly of Richard de Camville and Stephen de Turnham. On Wednesday, June 5th, he sailed, his force of galleys increased, by captures and otherwise, to one hundred, of which sixty were "of great excellence."
He steered for Acre, but before arriving there, fought the first sea-fight in which any king of England had commanded since the days of the Conquest. The account of this, chiefly compiled from Vinesauf, is here given, with but little alteration, as it is given by Nicolas:—
Ploughing their way across the seas, they made the coast of Syria, close to the castle of Margat, on June 6th, and then shaped their course along the land for Acre. On the 7th, when near Beirut, an immense ship was discovered ahead. The vessel, which was the largest the English had ever seen, excited their wonder and admiration. Some chroniclers call her a dromon, and others a buss, while one of them exclaims, "A marvellous ship! a ship than which, except Noah's ark, none greater was ever read of!" He also calls her "the queen of ships." This vessel was very stoutly built, with three tall, tapering masts, and her sides were painted, in some places green, and in others yellow, so elegantly that nothing could exceed her beauty. She was full of men to the number of fifteen hundred, and among them were seven emirs and eighty picked Turks for the defence of Acre. She was laden with bows, arrows, and other weapons, an abundance of Greek fire in jars, and "two hundred most deadly serpents, prepared for the destruction of Christians."
Richard ordered a galley, commanded by Peter de Barils, to approach and examine the stranger, and was told that the vessel reported herself to be bound from Antioch to the siege of Acre, and to belong to the King of France, but that the crew could not speak French, nor show a French or other Christian flag. Being again interrogated, the enemy varied his tale, and pretended to be a Genoese bound for Tyre. In the meanwhile, an English galley-man had recognised the ship as having been fitted out in Beirut while he was in that port, and in reply to the king's question he said, "I will give my head to be cut off, or myself to be hanged, if I do not prove that this is a Saracen ship. Let a galley be sent after her, and give her no salutation; her intention and trustworthiness will then be discovered." He meant, no doubt, "If you make for her as if with the intention of attacking, you will discover her nature." The suggestion was adopted. As soon as the galley went alongside the ship, the Saracens threw arrows and Greek fire into the Englishman. Richard at once ordered the foe to be attacked, crying, "Follow and take them, for if they escape, ye lose my love for ever, and if ye capture them, all their goods shall be yours." Himself foremost in the fight, he collected his galleys round the royal vessel, and animated everyone by his characteristic valour.
Showers of missiles flew on both sides, and the Turkish ship slackened her way; but although the galleys rowed round her in all directions, her great height and the number of her crew, whose arrows fell with deadly effect from her decks, rendered it extremely difficult to board her. The English consequently became discouraged, if not intimidated; but the king cried out, "Will ye now suffer that ship to get off untouched and uninjured? Oh shame! After so many triumphs, do ye now give way to sloth and fear? Know that if this ship escape everyone of you shall be hung on the cross, or put to extreme torture." Impelled by this threat, the English galley-men jumped overboard, and diving under he enemy's vessel, fastened ropes to her rudder, so that they could steer her as they pleased, and then, lying hold of ropes and swarming up, her sides, they succeeded in boarding her.
A desperate conflict followed, and the Turks were forced forward, but being joined by their comrades from below, they rallied, and drove their assailants back to the galleys. The resource of ramming alone remained. The galleys were drawn off a little and formed into line. Then with all the force of their oars, they charged down upon the Turk, stove in her sides in many places, and damaged her so severely that she quickly foundered. Of her crew only thirty-five (Peter of Langtoft says forty-six) were saved, and even these would probably have shared the fate of the rest had not the victors considered that they might be useful in the construction of engines to be employed against Acre. "If," concludes Vinesauf, "this vessel had succeeded in making her way to the succour of Acre, the place would have never been taken by the Christians." Most of the dromon's cargo seems to have gone down with her, but what was saved was given to the galley-men.
There is, of course, nothing particularly creditable to the arms of Richard in the record of this action. The Turks fought with the utmost gallantry, and were overpowered only by the weight of superior numbers, while it would appear that but for Richard's threat that if the dromon got away his men should be crucified, the English, at one period of the contest, would have been very glad to let her depart in peace. It is not said that she ever surrendered, and even if she did not go down, so to speak, with her colours flying, she deserves, although her name has unfortunately not been preserved, to rank with our "little Revenge," and the United States ship Cumberland, among the best-fought craft in the history of naval warfare.
Richard reached the camp before Acre on Saturday, June 10th, and on July 12th the town surrendered. After a year and two months' further service in Palestine, where the fleet, though useful had little or no fighting to do, the king decided to return to England. His buss, however, was so delayed by contrary winds, that he disguised himself and paid the master of a neutral galley to land him and his suite on the Dalmatian coast. On his overland journey homeward, he was, on December 20th, 1192, arrested by order of Leopold, Duke of Austria, and held prisoner for about seventeen months. When at length the terms for his release had been settled, he proceeded to Antwerp, and in March, 1194, embarked in a galley which, with other vessels under the command of Alan Trenchmer, he had ordered to meet him there. He seems to have travelled in this galley by day, but to have slept every night in a large ship belonging to Rye. Not until the sixth day did he reach the roadstead opposite Gadzand, and there he was detained for five days longer; but on Sunday, March 13th, 1194, he once more landed in England.
Philip Augustus, who, long before, had returned from the East, had chosen to forget the undertaking which he had concluded with Richard before setting out, and which he had continued in Palestine, and had attacked Normandy during Richard's absence.
The King of England took advantage of his restoration to liberty to immediately resent this breach of faith. By the third week of April, 1194, he had assembled a large army, and a fleet of one hundred sail at Portsmouth; but, the wind being contrary and the weather foul, he was delayed for several days. On May 2nd, although the circumstances were still adverse, his impetuosity induced him to order the troops and horses to embark, and to himself put to sea in a "long ship," in spite of all remonstrances. Happily, the fleet did not sail with him. Had it made the attempt, it is probable that part of it would have been lost, for Richard was obliged to take shelter in the Isle of Wight, and to return thence to Portsmouth. On May 12th, however, the weather being favourable, he embarked again, and crossed with all his force to Barfleur. He never returned to England; for although, after a five years' war, in which the navy did not participate, he concluded a truce with the French, he prolonged his stay on the continent in order to settle a petty quarrel with one of his nobles, and in the course of this he fell.
John became king by the will of his brother Richard, and by the wish of the people of England, rather than by hereditary right; for, though Richard left no legitimate issue, there was a nearer heir in the person of Geoffrey Plantagenet (son of Henry II.), by Constance, Duchess of Brittany. The cause of his son Arthur was espoused, feebly and half-heartedly by Philip Augustus, and more generously by the nobles of Anjou, Maine and Touraine, so that John's accession involved the almost immediate breaking of the truce with France, and the renewal of the war.
John, who was at Beaufort, in Anjou, at the time of his brother's death, crossed to England before the truce was actually broken, and, landing at Shoreham on May 25th, 1199, was crowned at Westminster on the 27th. In June, having raised an army and assembled a fleet to transport it, he re-embarked at Shoreham for Normandy, and landed without incident at Dieppe. On February 27th, 1200, he returned to England, landing at Portsmouth from Barfleur, but recrossed the Channel from Portsmouth on April 28th, and reached Valognes on May 1st. By this time Philip's championship of Prince Arthur had weakened; and later in the month peace was concluded between France and England, Arthur being obliged to do homage to John for Brittany. The arrangement was not a durable one, and eventually Arthur was captured by John, and imprisoned until his death, the circumstances of which remain in obscurity.
In the meantime the king had created trouble for himself both in England and in France by divorcing his wife, Hadwisa of Gloucester, on the ground of consanguinity, and by marrying Isabella of Angoulême, in defiance of the fact that she was betrothed to Hugh de Lusignan, Count of La Marche. These steps, and John's refusal to submit the question of Arthur's death to the inquisition of the peers of France, cost him the lands which he held of Philip by homage. Normandy was conquered by the French without much difficulty, and Anjou and Maine were also annexed; but, though John was very apathetic in defending his continental dominions, a few naval episodes of this period demand notice.
In July, 1202, the king informed the barons of the Cinque Ports that he believed the King of France to be preparing vessels to convey provisions by sea to the French army at Arques; and ordered them so to guard the sea that no provisions could be so sent. If the barons fell in with two of the king's galleys, which were then at sea, they were to speak them, for the commanders of the galleys would do anything that was expedient for maintaining the honour of the King of England. After the relief of Mirabeau, where Eleanor, the Queen Dowager, had been  to find "good and secure ships" to convey to England some of the prisoners, who included Arthur's sister Eleanor, known as "the Beauty of Brittany," Hugh de Lusignan, and two hundred knights, twenty-two of whom were subsequently starved to death in Corfe Castle. And, on December 5th, 1203, John, having lost his lands, himself embarked at Barfleur for England, arriving at Portsmouth two days later.by her grandson Arthur, the bailiffs of Barfleur and Estreham were, on August 13th, 1202, ordered
The king had been remiss in his efforts to defend his possessions in France. It cannot be said that he was remiss in his efforts to regain them, although it is true that, first his differences with the Papacy, and then his domestic difficulties, prevented him from achieving success.
Towards the end of 1204 he began great preparations by sea and land. At the beginning of October, when knights and money were about to he sent to La Rochelle, the sheriff of Devonshire was ordered to send to Dartmouth three of the best ships that could be procured to defend them on their passage. At the same time, the wages of the seamen of the ships conveying some of the king's knights and servants to Poitou were paid. And on December 4th John invited Hilary de Wateville and his companions to enter his service, with their galleys and as many followers as they could bring, promising them an honourable reception, and such terms as might be agreed upon with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
To secure shipping for his object, John, early in February, 1205, issued an order forbidding the bailiffs of the ports to permit any ship, vessel, or boat to depart without the king's special license, but that these directions did not apply to vessels belonging to neutral Powers is shown by a further order of May 13th in the same year, whereby the king's galley-men at Sandwich, who had detained two ships, the property of the King of Scotland, were enjoined to release the captures.
By the beginning of June, a large army and fleet were assembled at Portsmouth. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earl of Pembroke, and others prophesied ill of the projected expedition, probably because they knew better than the king the true temper the nobles upon whom he mainly depended; but John did not listen to the warnings, and on June 13th put to sea with a few followers. But, perhaps because he found he was not followed, he proceeded to Studland, in Dorsetshire, instead of to Normandy, and, after visiting Dartmouth and Dorchester, abandoned for the moment his purpose. There can be little doubt that the lukewarmness of the nation was the cause of the change of plan, for, soon after his return, John levied large sums of money from the earls, barons, knights, and ecclesiastics who, he alleged, had refused to accompany him.
In the meantime the war was being prosecuted at sea, although few particulars of its progress have been preserved; for it is on record that some sailors of Normandy, who, under Peter de Auxe, had captured one of the enemy's galleys, and apparently retaken an English ship, were, in August, 1205, thanked by the king for their services, and directed to deliver galley, ship, stores, and prisoners to John de Kemes.
It was in the same year that the celebrated adventurer, Eustace the Monk, a thirteenth-century prototype of the far more famous Paul Jones, began to affect the course of English naval history. He was then in the service of John, and he made some kind of capture at sea; for, on November 13th, 1205, the bailiffs of Sandwich were directed to deliver to the Archdeacon of Taunton the money which Eustace the Monk and the men of justice had arrested. In the following year Eustace seems to have made an illegal prize, for all the port bailiffs were directed that, if the Monk did not restore the captured ship of William le Petit to her owner, they were to assist the said Petit in recovering her, wheresoever she might be found.
The king's preparations against France produced more tangible results in 1206. John assembled his fleet and army anew, and, on June 6th or 7th, embarked at Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, and landed at La Rochelle on the 8th. Soon after his arrival, he ordered one thousand silver marks, and all the money (£2688 10s.), taken in a cog which ought to have gone to Nîmes, to be sent to Anjou for the payment of the knights and soldiers, and of fifty ships and galleys. The king reduced to obedience part of his former provinces, but unwisely interrupted the course of his successes by granting to Philip a truce for two years, and returned to Portsmouth on December 12th. Whether he distrusted Philip or feared the pirates of the Narrow Seas does not appear; but in July, 1207, when the Sheriff of Devon was ordered to find a good and safe ship, at as small a cost as possible, to convey the king's money to Poitou, he was also directed to see that no vessel sailed before the treasure-ship, lest perchance news might get abroad that the money was going over.
John's next naval expedition was one to Ireland, in 1210. He embarked with his army at Pembroke about the middle of June, and landed, on the 19th or 20th, at Crook, near Waterford, where Henry II. had disembarked thirty-nine years earlier. The fleet employed on the occasion was a very large one, yet its only duties seem to have been those of transportation; and John, after a brief and successful campaign on shore, returned to England on August 24th following. While he was in Ireland, six galleys, under Geoffrey de Lucy, were searching for pirates in the Narrow Seas.
In the meantime the truce with France had lapsed; and in May, 1212, Geoffrey de Lucy, and others of the king's officers, knights and mariners, were ordered to detain all ships coming from Poitou, and to send them with their cargoes to England. It would also seem, although the details, as given by the chronicler, are not in all respects borne out by the records, that in 1212 an English force captured many ships and burnt others at the mouth of the Seine, and, having seized some vessels at Fécamp, and attacked and burnt Dieppe, returning victorious to Winchelsea. Nor did John confine his attention solely to his enemies in the south. The Welsh had been guilty of aggressions; and the king entered their country, ordering Geoffrey de Lucy, on August 17th, to send eighteen galleys to the coasts of Llewellyn's territories to co-operate with the army by destroying the Welsh prince's vessels, and harassing the foe in every possible manner; and to dispatch two other galleys, with stores for John, to Bristol. Three months later, the available strength of the fleet was reinforced by means of a general arrest of shipping.
This last-mentioned measure was no doubt taken in anticipation of a threatened French invasion. In consequence of his attitude towards Rome, John had driven the Papacy to employ all its terrors against him. His kingdom had been laid under an interdict in 1208, and he had retaliated by confiscating the goods of the clergy, and had so drawn upon himself the further penalty of personal excommunication. But he still remained intractable, and the Holy See now decided to use physical as well as spiritual force. It deposed John, and confided the execution of its decree to Philip Augustus, in particular, and to all Christian princes, in general.
Philip, far from being loath, was only too willing to undertake the mission. Even when John, by an unnecessarily abject submission to the Pope, had secured the countenance instead of the frown of Innocent III., and had obtained the revocation of the Bull of Deposition, Philip remained eager for the conquest. He had a large fleet in the mouth of the Seine, and a large army at Rouen; and, with the weapons in his hands, he was not disposed to lay them aside without using them, although John had sixty thousand men encamped upon Barnham Down, and the strongest fleet that had ever been collected from the ports of England. But it happened that the Count of Flanders, who before had been Philip's ally, did not share Philip's eagerness, and declined, since John had made his peace with the Pope, to have anything further to do with the invasion of England. Philip replied by entering Flanders with his army, and by ordering his fleet, which had been collected in the Seine, to proceed to Damme, now an inland village five or six miles north-east of Bruges, but then a seaport with a very spacious harbour. It is said that the French vessels numbered seventeen hundred; and that in consequence of the size of the fleet, part of it had to anchor outside the port.
Ferdinand, who was then Count of Flanders, naturally appealed to John for help; and John, who was glad enough of the opportunity to deal a blow against an armament which might be next directed against himself, dispatched the Earl of Salisbury, the Duke of Holland, and the Count of Boulogne, with five hundred sail, seven hundred knights, to the coast of Flanders.
Salisbury came upon the French fleet at a moment when most of the crews of the ships had landed and gone inland for the sake of plunder. He instantly attacked; and three hundred vessels laden with corn, wine and arms fell into his hands, while about a hundred more were burnt, not, however, until part of their cargoes had been removed by the victors. The English success ultimately induced Philip to burn the remainder of his vessels, and to evacuate Flanders; but ere the French departed, they inflicted a serious blow upon their assailants; for Salisbury was ill-advised enough to land in pursuit of the fugitives from the fleet, and Philip, who had been besieging Ghent, returned to the coast with a large force, and, meeting the English, defeated them with a loss of nearly two thousand in slain and drowned. He also took many prisoners; and fortunate were those who got back to their ships.
This battle off Damme, which seems to have been fought April or May, 1213, is important for several reasons, although it cannot be said of it that it was an action which greatly redounded to the credit of the English arms, seeing that the French were admittedly taken by surprise, and that in all probability they were largely outnumbered. It is noteworthy rather as the first of the very long series of general actions fought between English and French; and, more especially, as a good early illustration of the influence of sea-power, and of the laws which govern warlike operations in sea-washed countries.
Philip committed the error of attempting a naval expedition, designed for the ravaging or occupation of territory, whilst a formidable and undefeated fleet, belonging to an enemy, was "potential" in the same waters. Knowing, as he certainly did, of the hostility of John, he should not have essayed the naval expedition to Damme without having first defeated or shut up in port the fleet commanded by the Earl of Salisbury. The omission cost him not only the ships which were taken or destroyed by his enemy, but also the ships which, when he realised that the success of the English had given them command of the sea, and had enabled them to blockade Damme, he destroyed himself. Nay more: it cost him the evacuation of the country by his army. Most of his sea-borne supplies had been taken or burnt; he could hope for no further supplies by water; and the English, free to act from the sea upon his left flank, threatened his communications even on land. Yet, plain though the lessons now look, the French had apparently not learnt them when, nearly six hundred years later, Nelson took the place of Salisbury, and Aboukir Bay did duty for Damme.
John was desirous of pushing his advantage, and proposed to embark for Poitou with a large army; but his barons and knights pleaded lack of money; and although the king started, attended only by his personal followers, in August, he thought better of the project, and went no farther than Jersey, whence, finding himself still almost entirely unsupported, he returned presently to England. He did not, however, cease his efforts to collect an adequate force. In November, the Archdeacon of Taunton was directed to prepare for sea all the king's galleys then in his charge. A few weeks afterwards they were sent to Portsmouth; and, about February 9th, 1214, John, having appointed the Bishop of Winchester Justiciary of England, sailed from the Isle of Wight, accompanied by the queen and by his bastard son Richard, and, with a large army, landed at La Rochelle before the 15th of the month. But the expedition was unfortunate. The king gained, at first, a few small successes. Later, he lost everything that he had previously gained, and his allies, the Emperor Otho and the Count of Flanders, being crushingly defeated at Bouvines, near Lille, he deemed it wise to secure the mediation of the Papal Legate for the conclusion of a five years' truce. He returned to England on October 2nd, and was at Dartmouth on the 15th. This was the last of his continental undertakings; and withal it was the most disastrous.
When the barons rebelled against his tyrannical exercise of authority, John lost the services of Eustace the Monk, who joined Prince Louis of France, the ally, and later the champion and head, of the insurrection. Philip Augustus did not observe the truce, and seems to have countenanced the fitting out of an expedition which, under James, brother of Eustace, together with an uncle of that same hero, seized the Island of Sark, and held it until the place was recaptured, towards the end of 1214, by the forces of Sir Philip d'Albini. The prisoners were lodged in Porchester Castle; but some of them were released in January, and the rest were either released or sent to be incarcerated elsewhere in April, 1215.
John's fortunes were by that time at a low ebb. The king fought with his back to the wall, and still attempted to parry the blows, not only of the barons and of their French allies, but of the turbulent Welsh. In April, 1215, he laid an embargo on all English shipping, in order to supply his naval needs. In May he sent two good galleys, well equipped and manned, to the Earl Marshal at Pembroke. But on June 15th, 1215, Magna Charta was wrung from him. If he had observed its provisions, he might have ended his reign in peace. It is certain, however, that he never intended to observe them. One of the stipulations was, that the royal mercenaries should be banished. We hear little or nothing of the carrying out of that undertaking, but we do hear that, on October 26th, within five months of the acceptance of the Charter, Sir Hugh de Boves, a Norman knight, who had been previously employed by the king, embarked at Calais, with 40,000 followers, including their women and children, in order to assist John against his subjects, the inducement being a promise of immense grants of land in Norfolk and Suffolk. The force of the expedition may be exaggerated by the chroniclers, but it was, no doubt, very great. One of the most complete disasters on record overtook it during the short passage to Dover. A sudden storm caused every ship to founder, and almost all the people on board were lost. The body of De Boyes himself drifted ashore near Yarmouth. Up and down the coast the beach was covered with corpses, among which were those of women, and of infants in their cradles; and the air was rendered pestilent.
In the course of the same year, Eustace the Monk, aided or abetted by William de Abrincis, made a hostile descent upon Folkestone; but whether this was before or after the concession of Magna Charta is uncertain. Nor is much light thrown upon the question by the fact that, on June 21st, 1215, John ordered the Abbess of Wilton to deliver to Eustace his daughter, who had been held as a hostage.
The king spent part of the autumn at Sandwich and Dover, and, according to Matthew Paris, sought to ingratiate himself with the seamen of the Cinque Ports. About November, he ordered that a ship of Boulogne, which had been taken by Roger de Loveney, should be restored, together with her gear and crew.
The year 1216 saw the end of the struggle. The king issued orders prohibiting vessels from trading to and from Scotland, and other dominions of his enemies; and in April he called upon Rye, and probably upon other towns also, to send all vessels there to the mouth of the Thames, and to inform him concerning other ships belonging to the port. But the royal cause, so far as it was embodied in the person of John, was plainly lost. No one who was beyond the reach of his arm heeded him. His Narrow Seas were left unguarded against his enemies, and the cruisers of Prince Louis of France, under the command of Eustace the Monk, appear to have enjoyed undisputed liberty in the Channel. Even when the Crown of England was offered by the barons to Louis, and when the succession seemed about to pass to aliens, and the country about to become an appanage of France, John could rally neither navy nor army to his side.
Eustace the Monk collected six hundred ships and eighty cogs at Calais, Gravelines, and Wissant; and Louis, accompanied by a considerable force, embarked. The squadrons were dispersed by a strong north-easter, and the ship in which Louis crossed anchored alone off Stonar, in Thanet. But it did not matter. There was no one to take advantage of the scattering of the invasion flotilla; there was not even a loyal galley-captain to seize Louis, and to send his head to the king. John, indeed, went to Dover, but, finding it impossible to raise an army, he retired to Winchester. Louis, perfectly undisturbed, assembled his fleet again, and landed, without resistance, at Sandwich. All Kent, except Dover Castle, which was defended by Hubert de Burgh, was easily subdued by Louis, who advanced and joined the barons in London. The whole kingdom would have quickly fallen to him, but that the situation was opportunely changed in an instant by the death of John, on October 19th, and by the patriotic and statesmanlike attitude of Richard, Earl of Pembroke, who, John's son and successor being but a child, became Guardian of the Kingdom, or Regent.
It may be noted, that the summoning by the barons of a French prince to assume the crown of England indicates that, up to the end of the reign of King John, there can scarcely have existed in the country much of the deeply rooted anti-French feeling, which, for many centuries afterwards, played so important a part in the relations between the two Powers. In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, the adoption of such a policy as that which was pursued by the barons of the beginning of the thirteenth century would have sufficed to array nearly all England against it from the first. The rise and growth of the traditional anti-French sentiment may be traced back to the time of the invasion of 1216. There is no convincing evidence that the conduct of the followers of Louis, while on shore, had anything to do with the change which undoubtedly took place in English popular prejudices at about that period; but the treacherous career and evil reputation of Eustace the Monk may well have had stronger and more far-reaching influence than is generally suspected. The peculiar hatred with which he was regarded by Englishmen comes out forcibly in all the accounts of the great naval battle of the South Foreland, presently to be described; and no nation has ever been more prone than ours to form its judgments concerning foreign races on the principle of ex pede Herculem.
The decisive battle fought in the streets of Lincoln, in May, 1217, cut short the hopes of Louis, and crushed the barons who acted with him. Upon the news of the defeat reaching France, Robert de Courtenay, a kinsman of the French king, collected an army wherewith to succour the prince, and embarked with it at Calais on board a fleet of eighty ships, besides galleys and small craft, under the command of Eustace the Monk.
It is impossible to discover exactly what naval preparations had been made in England, as the records contain only two or three notices of naval matters that occurred between the death of John and the battle off the South Foreland. One of these, however, suggests that, in all probability, the patriotic regent had taken measures with a view to cutting the communications of the French expeditionary force; for, soon after the accession Henry III., the king's men from Ireland, who were with their ships on the coast of Normandy, were ordered to Winchelsea for the royal service.
Hubert de Burgh, Justiciary and Governor of Dover Castle, knew of the collection of the fleet of Eustace the Monk and the army of Robert de Courtenay at Calais, and was deeply impressed with the necessity for waylaying it. Addressing the Bishop of Winchester, the Earl Marshal, and other nobles, he said: "If these people land, England is lost. Let us therefore boldly meet them, for God is with us, and they are excommunicated." But his hearers replied: "We are not soldiers of the sea, nor maritime adventurers, nor fishermen; but do thou go to death." Hubert was not discouraged, but, having sent for his chaplain, had the sacrament administered to him, and then solemnly enjoined the garrison to let him be hanged rather than surrender the castle, "for it is the key of England." Whereupon all present pledged themselves to obey his commands. Another reported conversation upon the occasion runs as follows. When the people of the Cinque Ports saw the French fleet, and knew it to be commanded by Eustace the Monk, they said: "If this tyrant land, he will lay all waste, for the country is not protected, and our king is far away. Let us, therefore, take our souls in our hands, and meet him while he is at sea; and help will come to us from on high." To one exclaiming, "Is there one among you who is ready this day to die for England?" another answered: "Behold me!" And to the first said: "Take with thee an axe, and when thou seest us alongside the ship of the tyrant, then do thou run up the mast of that same ship, and cut down his banner which is borne aloft, so that thus the other vessels may be scattered and lost, for lack of chief and leader."
The English squadron consisted of sixteen large and well-armed ships, manned with trained seamen of the Cinque Ports, and of about twenty smaller vessels. There were not more than forty in all. But on board, besides Hubert himself, were Sir Philip d'Albini, Sir Henry de Turberville, Sir Richard Suard, and Richard, natural son of King John, some of the bravest of the English knights of that age.
When the English squadron sailed from Dover, on August 24th, the French fleet was already at some distance from Calais, and was making across the Channel diagonally, on a nearly northern course, with a view to rounding the North Foreland and entering the Thames. There was a brisk breeze from the south-south-east. Hubert de Burgh, instead of making direct for the enemy, kept his wind as if steering for Calais, a manœuvre which caused Eustace to exclaim: "I know that those wretches think of invading Calais, as if they were thieves; but it is in vain, for the folks there are well prepared for them." As soon, however, as the English had gained the wind of the foe—this is perhaps the first example of manœuvring for the weather-gage—they bore down upon the
THE STRAIT OF DOVER
(From a Chart published by Joyce Gold, 1816)
French rear, and, as they came up with it, threw grapnels, and so fastened their own ships to those of their enemies.
The crossbow-men and archers of Sir Philip d'Albini did good work by pouring in flights of arrows. The English also made use of unslaked lime, which they flung forward, and which, borne on the wind in powder, blinded the Frenchmen's eyes. Under cover of this the English boarded, and with their axes cut way the rigging and halyards, so that the sails fell upon the French, and increased their confusion. After a short hand-to-hand combat, involving immense slaughter, the enemy were completely defeated. Some of his ships had been sunk by ramming at the first onslaught, for the English galleys, like the Mediterranean ones, had iron beaks. Most of the rest were taken, and only fifteen in all escaped. The prizes were triumphaltly towed into Dover, the victors thanking God for their success. As soon as possible after the action, Eustace the Monk was sought for. He was discovered secreted in the hold of one of the captured vessels, apparently the one in which Robert de Courtenay had taken passage. He offered money for his life, and promised to serve the King of England faithfully in the future. But Richard, the bastard son of the king whom Eustace had used so treacherously, seized the prisoner, and, exclaiming "Base traitor, never again will you seduce anyone with your fair promises" drew his sword and struck off the monk's head. It was afterwards shown on a pole throughout England.
Here was another example of French ignorance, or neglect, of the laws of the influence of sea-power. It is true that the potential fleet on this occasion was a small one, of less than half the numerical strength of that which Eustace commanded; But even an inferior fleet must always he regarded as a potential one, until it has been either beaten or safely sealed up in port; and no admiral is justified, no matter how great his strength, in deliberately endeavouring to carry out some ulterior operation, such as the landing of troops, or the throwing ashore of supplies, while any hostile fleet, no matter how apparently feeble, exists free and unbeaten in his neighhourhood. Necessity may require the running of great risks; that is another matter. But Eustace the Monk met his fate with his eyes open. He must have known of Hubert's squadron being at Dover. He might have attempted to destroy it, or at least to mask it, before venturing to sail for the Thames. Instead, he despised his enemy, and paid the penalty.
The progress of the battle had been watched by the garrison of Dover Castle; and the victors, upon their return, were received by the bishop and clergy, in full sacerdotals, chaunting in procession praises and thanksgivings. When the spoils of the prizes, which included gold, silver, silk vestments, and weapons of all sorts. had been collected, and the prisoners, who were loaded with heavy chains, had been disposed of, Sir Philip d'Albini dispatched to the king an account of the victory. Why the report was not made by De Burgh is not explained. Besides Robert de Courtenay, William de Baris, Ralph de Tornellis, and other persons of distinction, the English captured, in the battle of the South Foreland, one hundred and twenty-five knights, and upwards of a thousand soldiers of inferior rank. It is to be supposed that the number of French slain or drowned was a least twice as great. Some French knights, rather than be taken, leapt into the sea. The English loss is unknown; but it is nowhere suggested that it was very considerable.
The 24th of August, 1217, saw the first great naval victory gained at sea by an inferior English force over a superior French one; and the date deserves to be remembered, for the victory was decisive, and it ended the war. Louis retired, and a treaty of peace with France was concluded in less than a month from the day of the action. The treaty did not contain any stipulation on the subject, but it appears certain that Louis gave a personal undertaking that, when he should come to the throne of France, he would restore to England all the continental provinces which had belonged to John. The fulfilment of this undertaking was often urged in later years, but never granted.
In 1218, as again in 1227 and other years, English nobles took part in Crusades to the Holy Land, but as no naval operations of importance were performed by them, only the mere fact requires mention here.
The peace concluded with France in 1217 was a very precarious one. There were apparently apprehensions that it would be broken in 1221, for on March 6th of that year the barons of the Cinque Ports were ordered to guard the coasts so strictly that no one who was likely to injure king or realm could land or embark. And in July, 1222, galleys were directed to be stationed in every port in Ireland, for the defence of that country. But not until Louis the Lion succeeded his father Philip Augustus in July, 1223, was the peace actually broken. Louis was then called upon to fulfil his personal undertaking to restore to the English Crown Normandy, Maine and Anjou. He refused to do so; and as evidence that he did not even admit the right of Henry to what he retained on the continent, he entered Poitou, and seized La Rochelle and other towns. The war which ensued was waged in most curious fashion, for it appears to have been confined almost entirely to the land, and there seems to have been, as a rule, peace at sea.
It was determined to send to Poitou a considerable force under the Earl of Salisbury and Richard, the king's half-brother, who had been lately knighted, and who was subsequently created Earl of Cornwall and Count of Poitou. The naval movements of 1225, connected with the dispatch of this expedition, are thus summarised by Nicolas.
On January 1st, the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk were ordered to proceed in person to Ipswich, and if they found there three good ships, to cause them to be fitted out and provided with clays and bridges or brows, for the king's service. If such ships were not found at Ipswich, the sheriffs were to go to Dunwich, and to send thence three ships to Ipswich. The vessels were to be manned with plenty of pilots and other able mariners well acquainted with the coasts of Flanders and Antwerp. On January 15th, the barons of the Cinque Ports were directed to meet at Sheppey to take measures for the protection of the sea coast against the king's enemies, and to cause all persons who had served in the time of King John to swear to arm themselves. Such of the barons who were at Portsmouth, intending to go to Gascony for wine, were ordered to select from the whole of the king's fleet the best and safest ship for the purpose of conveying armour and baggage to Richard, the king's brother, in that province. They were also to see to it that the best sailors and masters were appointed to the ship, and they were strictly enjoined to keep close to it for its protection during the passage, and not to quit it until it had arrived in a safe port in Gascony. On January 17th, orders were issued to prevent any ship, large or small, from quitting Dover or any other port, unless security were first given that she would not go with her cargo to any place not on the coast of England; and she was to bring back letters from the bailiffs of the ports to which she might go, in order to prove her compliance with her undertaking. Vessels, however, carrying foreign merchants and others from Dover to Wissant, or elsewhere, and fishing boats, when employed for fishing, were exempted. On the same occasion, the king's great ship and several other vessels were fitted out, the great ship herself being placed under the command of Friar Thomas of the Temple, to whom the masters of that ship, as well as those of the galleys, were enjoined to pay implicit obedience. On February 20th, all the great ships which were at Southampton were ordered to Portsmouth; but all fishing vessels having but twelve oars or less were to be allowed to fish or to go whither they pleased. In March, seven of the ships at Portsmouth were assigned to the Earl of Salisbury for the conveyance of his horses and equipage to Gascony; and all the great merchant ships were sent from Shoreham to Portsmouth for the expedition. In December, the keepers of the ports were enjoined not to permit ships to sail for any place in France; and they were soon afterwards further commanded not to allow any ship to leave a port at all without the king's special orders, and to cause all persons belonging to the ports to hold themselves ready to proceed on the king's service. It was at about this time that the king's "great ship" captured a Portuguese vessel called the Cardinal, on her passage from some place in Gascony. The cause of her capture is not known, but it may be supposed to have been connected with some breach of blockade regulations.
It is remarkable that, upon its being represented to the king that six scholars taken in the ship had received from their relatives money for their support while on hoard, he ordered that out of the merchandise captured a sum of forty marks should be paid to the scholars. This is an early example of respect being conceded to private property taken at sea.
In 1226, when the French appear to have done much as they pleased in the Channel, there were rumours of a projected invasion, and an aid was urgently demanded from the people. In March, Savery de Maloleone, a French baron, and others, were reported to be committing depredations afloat, and to be preventing persons from coming safely to England; and the barons of the Cinque Ports were directed to take measures accordingly. In April, all vessels belonging to Norfolk and Suffolk were ordered to be held in readiness to proceed on the king's service on the fifteenth day after the ensuing Ester. In May, all shipping was directed to assemble at Portsmouth by the end of that month. And although, later in the year, it was ordered that no French merchant should be suffered to remain in England after the beginning of November, the bailiffs of the ports were informed on November 5th that they might permit French vessels laden with wine, corn, or provisions to come to England in safety. But that may have been after the conclusion of a twelve months' armistice, which at about that time was negotiated.
Louis VIII., the Lion, died on November 7th, 1226, and Louis IX. (St. Louis), then a child of eleven years of age, succeeded him.
On November 30th, perhaps in consequence of the existence of apprehension as to the results of the change of government in France, the shipping in every port in England was arrested for the service of Henry; and in December the bailiffs of Fowey and of other ports were commanded not to permit any ship, no matter to what place belonging, to proceed to any port under the dominion of the King of France, until further orders. The further orders seem to have quickly arrived; for in January, 1227, the bailiffs of Sandwich were told to permit the masters and rectors of all ships in that port to sail whither they would, provided that they gave security to return to England before mid-Lent. The bailiffs were also directed to enroll the names of all the rectors, and to make them known to the king at Easter.
In 1227 Henry III. was twenty, and Louis was only twelve. The opportunity for wresting back from France some of the territory which she had conquered from John appeared so favourable, that the English king began preparations for a continental expedition. On June 2nd, he issued precepts to all the ports, declaring that he was making ready to cross the sea in person, and ordering the bailiffs to send their ships, properly manned and well found with arms and provisions, to Portsmouth before St. James's Day, July 25th. He also requested the barons of the Cinque Ports to give him double the length of service for which they were bound, on account of the duration of the contemplated voyage. But he did not sail, in consequence, as is alleged by the chroniclers, of the advice tendered him by an astrologer. Nor, owing possibly to a sufficiency of transports being lacking, did he sail in 1228. In 1229, taking advantage of the fact that Peter, Count of Brittany, was in rebellion against Louis, Henry decided to assist the revolting vassal. Again transports were lacking, and the young king in his haste laid the blame at the door of Hubert de Burgh, the Justiciary, whom he publicly stigmatised at Portsmouth as an "old traitor," and accused of having received a bribe of five thousand marks from the Queen of France. The king, indeed, would have killed Hubert on the spot, had he not been restrained by the Earl of Chester. Later he recognised the injustice he had done to his gallant servant.
Not, therefore, until the end of April, 1230, was all ready. There were then at Portsmouth even more transports than were wanted, and on May 1st, about one hundred and eighty masters obtained permission for their ships, being unnecessary, to return to their ports. This was immediately after the emharkation of Henry, which took place on April 30th. The king landed at St. Malo on May 3rd, and there licensed two hundred other masters to go back to England. But in spite of his immense army and superfluous resources, he did nothing save waste his substance in folly and extragance; and in the autumn, when the French, having completed their preparations, were ready and willing to meet him, he contemptibly retired. On August 16th, ships from all parts were ordered to proceed at once to the king at St. Malo and St. Gildas, to convey the army back to England; and by the end of October, Henry himself was again at Portsmouth. He continued the campaign in a spasmodic and unsystematic manner for several years. In April, 1234, the barons and knights were ordered to Portsmouth, fully equipped for war, to proceed on service to Brittany; in May, the barons of Hastings were called on for ten, and those of Hythe and Romney for five, ships each, properly manned, to carry troops to the same province. On the other hand, on July 15th, in the same year, the Cinque Ports were ordered to restore all French ships that had been arrested. A five years' truce was at length concluded between the two nations on February 3rd, 1236.
In the meantime, what must have been a very splendid naval pageant crossed the North Sea. The king's youngest sister, Isabel, had been betrothed to the Emperor Friedrich II., and on March 24th, 1235, ten ships were ordered to be provided by the ports of Norfolk, and several other vessels by the Cinque Ports, for the princess's passage to the continent. With them were probably joined "six good galleys," which, earlier in the year, had been ordered to be sent to England by the Justiciary of Ireland. Henry escorted his sister to Sandwich, where, with a magnificent retinue, she embarked on May 11th, landing at Antwerp after a voyage of three days and three nights.
Immediately after the conclusion of the truce with France, the peace of the Narrow Seas seems to have been very ill kept. In June, 1236, satisfaction was ordered to be made to the merchants of Flauders and Hainault for a ship of theirs which had been plundered off Portsmouth by no less a personage that Sir Philip d'Albini. who, a few years earlier, had gained so much renown in the battle of the South Foreland; and for other ships which had been pillaged by Englishmen returning from Brittany. And at about the same time a regular war was unofficially carried on by the Cinque Ports with the inhabitants of Bayonne, until, in June, 1237, Henry intervened, and peremptorily ordered the truculent barons to leave the Bayonnais in peace. It was as if an admiral, ex-second in command of the Channel Squadron, should betake himself to piracy in the Solent; and as if the actual commander-in-chief at the Nore should wage private hostilities with Hamburg; and the facts are sufficient to show how weak and incompetent a King Henry III. was, and how disorganised was the state of the nation.
With the exception of a piratical quarrel between the Bretons and the Channel Islanders in 1241, there were no naval events of much importance until 1242, when, Henry having decided to assist his step-father. the Count de la Marche, against the King of France, and the king's brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, one of the best warriors of his age, having returned to England from a crusade, begun two years earlier, an expedition to Poitou was undertaken.
In January the barons of the Cinque Ports were ordered to assist the Sheriff of Kent in impressing ships for the king's service; and they were subsequently empowered to arrest foreign vessels for the same purpose. On February 20th, the bailiffs of the ports were instructed to arrest all ships capable of carrying fifteen or more horses; and persons were sent to each port with the object of securing a force of two hundred of the best vessels, each capable of carrying at least twenty horses, all of which were to be at Portsmouth by Palm Sunday, ready to transport the king's army. The royal galleys from Ireland, Winchelsea, and other places were also ordered thither; and on March 21st, twenty of the best ships were directed to be reserved for the use of the king and of his suite, and to be stored and victualled accordingly. The Cinque Ports furnished their proper quota. Henry went down to Portsmouth on April 21st. He embarked with thirty casks filled with money, and weighed on May 15th, accompanied by the queen, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, seven other earls, and three hundred knights; but the wind dropped, and the squadron did not get to sea until the 16th. It made Point Saint Mathieu, Finistère, on or about the 18th, and proceeded to the mouth of the Gironde, where the king landed, and went to Pons in Saintonge. The French had ordered twenty-four well-armed galleys to La Rochelle to resist the invasion, but the English expedition was not interfered with at sea.
The campaign, like the previous one, was futile and contemptible, and it ended in another five years' truce. Henry wasted alike his money and his opportunities, and, having spent the winter, chiefly in dissipation, at Bordeaux, did not return to England until the autumn of 1243, landing at Portsmouth on September 25th.
While he was away, he repeatedly appealed to England for supplies and assistance. On June 8th, 1242, he desired the Archbishop of Canterbury and Sir William de Cantilupe to send him stores and two hundred knights and one hundred horse soldiers, and to concert with the Cinqne Ports for the harassing of the enemy. Another requisition for ships, addressed to the barons of the Cinque Ports, stipulated that one-fifth of the captures should be reserved to the Crown. In the autumn of the same year, the King of France, having decreed the arrest of all English merchants and their goods found within his dominions, retaliatory measures were adopted, and on September 20th, orders were sent to London, Bristol, Northampton, and other towns for the arrest of French merchants there. It is clear from the comments of Matthew Paris that such proceedings were unusual in France, even in time of war, and that persons of purely peaceful pursuits were not ordinarily prevented, owing to the outbreak of hostilities, from remaining and trading in the foreign country in which they were provisionally domiciled; although the charter of Henry, granted in 1225, expressly provided for the attachment of alien merchants when war had been declared against their state, and for their detention until the king should inform himself how English merchants were being treated by the enemy. "If," it declared, "our merchants be well treated there, theirs shall likewise be so treated with us."
But for a storm, there would have been a naval battle in the Channel in 1242. A large reinforcement was on its way to Gascony from England; and the French adventurers and privateers, hearing of it, put to sea with a considerable force to intercept it. The two flotillas, apparently after they had sighted one another, were dispersed by a gale. The French got safely into port, but the English and Irish were driven "to remote and unknown coasts," possibly to Spain or Portugal." The sufferings of those on board were so severe that many died, and many others never recovered their health. Henry again issued retaliatory orders, particularly to the Cinque Ports, the men of which, according to Matthew Paris, slew and plundered like pirates, sparing neither friends nor neighbours, kith nor kin.
Convoy seems to have been practised. On August 27th, 1242. a reinforcement was sent to the king in twenty ships; and all persons having vessels in the Cinque Ports were requested to send them on the same occasion, if they wished them to go over for the vintage. Privateers were also fitted out, for on February 13th, 1243, licences were granted to several persons to annoy the enemy by sea and land, provided that the king received one-half of their gains; and general orders were issued that the vessels of these persons should not he molested.
Yet the affairs of England did not prosper. The Wardens of the Cinque Ports, applying for assistance to the Archbishop of Canterbury, as Custos of the Realm, represented that they had been thrice repulsed by the enemy, especially by the people of Calais, and that all the ships in England were incapable of resisting the fleet which the French had prepared. The country, they declared, was in danger. The Count of Brittany, with all the vessels of Brittany and Poitou, lay in wait to intercept communication between England and king. The Normans, and the seamen of Wissant and Calais, scarcely permitted the English fishermen to ply their calling in the Channel. And, since it was unsafe to send ships to the king, his majesty, at Bordeaux, was practically in prison. These considerations seem to have determined the conclusion of the truce, which was made on April 7th.
When the war had just begun, Sir William de Marish, an outlawed knight, who had established himself in Lundy Island, at the mouth of the Bristol Channel, and had become a formidable pirate, was captured by stratagem; and being conveyed, with sixteen of his associates, in chains to London, was there executed. In June, 1242, the Sheriff of Devon was directed to convey to Ilfracombe a galley, which De Marish had partially completed at Lundy, and to cause her to be there made ready for the king's service.
Immediately after Henry's return, two ships were dispatched to Wissant, to receive on board Sanchia, daughter of Raymond, Count of Provence, and sister of the queens of England, France, Naples, and Navarre, together with her mother, Beatrix, daughter of Thomas, Count of Savoy, and to convey the two ladies to England, for the marriage of Sanchia to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, later King of the Romans.
For several years nothing of moment occurred in connection with naval affairs; but in 1253, the outbreak of a rebellion in Gascony demanded Henry's presence in that province. An expedition force was assembled at Portsmouth by the middle of June, and a thousand ships are said to have been collected, but, owing to mismanagement and unfavourable weather, the king could not embark until August 6th. Escorted by three hundred large ships, and numerous smaller vessels, he crossed the Channel and Bay of Biscay, and landed at Bordeaux about the 15th. Alfonso, King of Castille and Leon, supported the insurrection, and, it was believed, cherished the intention of invading England and Ireland. Heavy reinforcements were ordered to the continent; but on April 1st, 1254, peace was concluded between Henry and Alfonso, the latter agreeing to renounce his claim to Gascony on condition that Prince Edward, Henry's son and heir, should marry Alfonso's sister, the Princess Eleanor, and that Edward himself should receive knighthood at the hands of Alfonso, and serve under him against the infidels.
Henry returned to England in December, 1254, and landed at Dover.
In the course of 1254, what Nicolas calls a remarkable circumstance happened. The facts are related by Matthew Paris and Matthew of Westminster, the latter of whom says:—
Matthew Paris's account does not vary much from the above. That chronicler calls the vessels "ships of the barbarians." Southey supposes the vessels to have been Norwegian, but no northern Englishman of that day would have considered Norwegians in the light of barbarians, nor is it conceivable that, in a large northern port, there was no one who understood so much as a word of the Norwegian language, commercial relations with the Scandinavian countries being then well established. Probably the strangers may have come from the eastern shores of the Baltic. But the whole question remains mysterious and interesting.
The last years of Henry III. were embittered by civil disputes. The Mad Parliament of 1258, by compelling the acceptation of the Provisions of Oxford, practically substituted for the royal power a baronial oligarchy, with Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, a Frenchmen, at its head. When in January, 1259, Richard, King of the Romans, manifested an intention of coming to England, his well-known loyalty to his brother Henry suggested to the barons that he contemplated intervention, and they assembled a large fleet to obstruct him; but Richard at length took oath not to interfere. In the same year Henry crossed the Channel, and proceeded with his queen on a friendly visit to Paris, returning in April or May, 1260. During that visit, he surrendered his claims to Normandy and Anjou, and from that time forward omitted his title of Duke of Normandy and Anjou from his grants and letters patent.
In 1261, the king, by a coup d'état, recovered some of the power of which his barons had deprived him; and, the fleet of the Cinque Ports having been fitted out on behalf of the barons for the maintenance of their authority as against that of the Crown, Henry went in person to Dover, and, on May 2nd, took into his own hands the custody of the castle there, the custody of the Cinque Ports, and the chamberlainship of Sandwich. In 1262, he once more visited France.
Some time in 1263, Robert de Neville, to whom had been entrusted the chief command in the north, wrote to the Chancellor that it was reported that the Kings of Denmark and Norway, with a large fleet, had landed in the Scottish islands, and that danger might be apprehended. This appears to have been an echo of a descent made by Haco, of Norway, in 1260 and the two following years, and ending in his defeat by the Scots. He is said to have died of chagrin at Kirkwall in 1263.
Henry again visited France in 1264, Louis having offered to arbitrate between the king and his rebellious barons; but De Montfort was for the moment triumphant, and until the battle of Evesham, on August 4th, 1265, when the great rebel fell, Henry scarcely deserved to be called a sovereign. In the interval, the maritime populations, and especially the people of the Cinque Ports, lapsed into the position of pirates. To such an extent was their audacity carried that, when the Pope sent a Cardinal Legate to mediate between the Crown and the barons, they prevented him from landing, for which offence they were excommunicated and put under an interdict. The lawless proceedings of the Cinque Ports enhanced the price of all foreign goods, so that the price of wines rose from 40s. to 10 marks, that of wax from 40s. to 8 marks, and that of pepper from 6d. to 3s. There was, besides, great scarcity of salt, iron, steel, cloths, and other goods. Nor was the situation improved by Henry de Montfort's seizure of all the wools which reached England from Flanders and elsewhere, and his selling them for his own profit.
Henry, who had been captured at Lewes, was prisoner; but he was not without powerful friends, among whom were the Pope and the queen, Eleanor of Provence. The latter borrowed money, raised an army of mercenaries, and collected a fleet at Damme. De Montfort, always professing to act in the name of the king, stigmatised the queen's forces as aliens, increased the daily pay of his own soldiers from 3d. to 4d., assembled a fleet off Sandwich "for the defence of the kingdom," and obtained a loan to fit out ships and pay seamen. And all this in spite of the fact that the queen was coming to rescue the king from duress. Sir Thomas de Multon was appointed "Captain and Keeper of the Sea and Sea-coast"; and, that the attention of the Cinque Ports, which had quarrel pending with Yarmouth, might not be distracted, De Montfort promised them that, as soon as the disturbances of the realm were settled, the king would cause compensation to be made to them for the injuries which the burgesses of Yarmouth had caused them.
Unhappily, Eleanor's wifely devotion produced no results. Her flotilla was detained by contrary winds until, her funds being exhausted, she could no longer pay her troops, who thereupon quitted her. But, in a short time, the defection of some of De Montfort's supporters, and the escape from imprisonment of Prince Edward, put the royalist party in England into better heart, and, by the victory of Evesham, the authority of Henry was restored. Yet it was thenceforth wielded chiefly through the intervention of Prince Edward, until the latter, taking advantage of the cessation of the French war, departed in 1270 on a Crusade.
He appears to have sailed from Portsmouth, with thirteen ships, early in August, and he reached Aiguesmortes, near Montpellier, about September 29th. There he may have learnt of the death, at Tunis on August 25th, of his ally, Saint Louis, for on October 3rd he left Aiguesmortes for that place, touching on the way in Sardinia, and meeting the new King of France, Philip III., about October 14th. The combined expedition went to Sicily, and wintered there. A storm off Trepani did much damage to the French, Spanish, and Sicilian squadrons, but none to the English. In the following spring, Prince Edward sailed for the Holy Land, and after calling, like his great-uncle, at Cyprus, landed at Acre with a thousand soldiers about April 20th, 1271. He was on his return in November, 1272, when his father's death summoned him to the throne of England.
Edward travelled very leisurely, visiting the Pope and the King of France, and also spending some time in his continental dominions. On July 4th, 1273, the Cinque Ports were ordered to provide ships and galleys for the king's passage across the Channel. Yet he still delayed, and did not land at Dover, apparently from Bordeaux, until August 2nd, 1274.
The pact between Edward and Alfonso, King of Castille and Leon, has been already noticed. Soon after Edward's return to England, Alfonso requested the assistance of his royal brother-in-law against the Saracens; and on May 4th, 1275, Edward replied, saying that he had not decided whether he should again go to the Holy Land, but that if any of his subjects would assist Alfonso, it would be very pleasing to him; and he went on to signify his pleasure that the King of Castille should have the aid "of the ships of our people, and of our sea of Bayonne." In pursuance of the promise implied in this letter, he directed the authorities of Bayonne to build and fit out twelve ships and twenty-four galleys for the purpose. Taken in connection with this correspondence, it is a curious fact that the Bayonnais of the period, though subjects of Edward, were continually embroiled with his other subjects of the Cinque Ports, and that a piratical war existed between Bayonne and the south coast of England. In May, 1277, however, two citizens of Bayonne were sent to England to conclude a peace, which Edward ratified, giving the Bayonnais £100 to observe the conditions.
It would, therefore, appear that the king did not effectively preserve the peace of his seas. Another piece of evidence, pointing in the same direction, is to be found in a notice of the depredations committed by a piratical fleet, belonging to Zeeland, upon some vessels of the merchants of London. In September, 1275, the Constable of Dover Castle was ordered to investigate the affair, and to consult thereon with the barons of the Ciuque Ports.
In October, 1277, the king conducted an expedition against the Welsh, and was greatly assisted in obtaining possession of Anglesey by the co-operation of the Cinque Ports' fleet. In 1279, he paid a brief visit to France, to confirm a treaty made between his father and Saint Louis. In 1282, another expedition against Wales became necessary, and the Cinque Ports' fleet again co-operated.  In the course of the campaign, which terminated in the death of Llewellyn and the extinction of Welsh independence, a bridge of barges, boats, small ships, and planks was thrown by the English across the Menai Strait, to facilitate the attack upon the castle of Snowdon. But the success of the assailants was not uniform. On November 6th, the Welsh inflicted a severe defeat upon their enemies, following them to, and sinking, their boats, and drowning many knights and squires, and two hundred soldiers.
On October 14th, 1286, Edward once more visited France on a peaceful mission, chiefly in order to mediate between France and Castille. He did not return to England until 1289, when he landed at Dover on August 12th.
During the three or four years that followed, no naval transactions of importance took place; but an event having far-reaching consequences occurred in 1293.
In that year, two of the crew of an English vessel landed for water at a port in Normandy, and, encountering some Norman sailors, fell into a quarrel with them. In the fight which ensued one of the Englishmen was killed. The other, hotly pursued, fled to his ship, which put to sea, and was followed by many Norman vessels. It does not appear that this particular English ship was caught, but the pursuing force, a little later, met with six English vessels, and attacked and captured two of them, hanging the crews, together with some dogs, at the yard-arms, and subsequently ravaging the Channel, and committing gross outrage.
The seamen of England retaliated at once, and without waiting for orders. The four ships which had escaped were joined by many more from the Cinque Ports, and sailed in search of the enemy; but, failing to find him at sea, entered the Seine, and there fell upon him at anchor, defeating him, and taking six of his ships. Other reprisals followed, and there was much loss of life and material, but no decisive result, until, if we may believe Knyghton, the opposing parties agreed to collect their strength for a pitched battle, and fight out the question in mid-Channel, at a spot indicated by an anchored hulk. The English enlisted Irish and Dutch support, and mustered about sixty vessels, under Sir Robert Tiptoft; the Normans obtained help from the French, Flamands, and Genoese, and assembled upwards of two hundred and forty vessels, under Charles, Count of Valois.
The battle appears to have taken place on April 14th, 1293, in very bad weather, accompanied by hail and snow; and it resulted in a decisive victory for the English, who captured about two hundred and forty sail, and, as Peter of Langtoft says, "alle the portes were riche." Nicholas Trivet's account, while agreeing that the whole fleet was taken, ascribes the action to a day in May, and declares that it was, so far as the Normans were concerned, an unexpected encounter.
This loud clash of arms in mid-Channel drew the attention of Philip IV. of France to the quarrel which, up to that time, had been of an unofficial character, although Charles of Valois, who was the king's brother, had already connected himself with it. Philip peremptorily demanded redress, entered Gascony, aud summoned Edward, as his vassal, to appear before the Royal Court of Paris. After much negotiation, it was agreed that Philip, to save his honour, should occupy Gascony for forty days, and then withdraw; but as, after the expiration of the term, he still occupied the province, Edward formally disclaimed feudal dependence on France, and prepared to recover his inheritance by force.
In 1294, large English fleets were assembled in the Narrow Seas, one in the North Sea, being under Sir John de Botetort, one in the Channel, being under Sir William de Leybourne, and one, in the Irish Sea, being under a knight named Ormond. On June 26th, the barons of England were ordered to be at Portsmouth by September 1st, to accompany the king to Gascony; and in July Edward himself was at Portsmouth. Meanwhile, wood was hewn for the equipment of above two hundred ships to carry horses; the keepers of all the ports were directed to suffer no man, ship, boat or vessel to quit the kingdom; and John Baliol, King of Scots, who had done homage to Edward in 1292, was enjoined not to allow any ships or men to leave his country for abroad.
The army destined for Gascony conisted of twenty thousand foot soldiers, with five hundred men-at-arms. It sailed from Portmouth on August 1st, but, off the Cornish coast, was dispersed by bad weather and driven into Plymouth, whence it did not sail again until the beginning of October. Entering the Gironde, the fleet appeared about the 28th of the month in the Dordogne before Castilion, which place surrendered at once. Thence the expedition proceeded up the Garonne to St. Macaire, which submitted on the 31st. On the following day the ships anchored off Bourg. On November 8th they were off Blaye, whence they sailed to Bordeaux, where they remained for two days. Failing to reduce it, they again mounted the Garonne to Lieux, where the horses were landed after having been seventeen weeks and some days embarked.
The main expedition was followed by the Earls of Lancaster and Lincoln with reinforcements, probably conveyed in vessels which the Cinque Ports had been ordered to send to Portsmouth by September 8th; but this division did not sail until the spring of 1295. In the interval, in October, 1294, certain goods belonging to
French subjects were directed to be seized and sold and the proceeds paid into the Exchequer.
Sir Henry de Turberville has been mentioned as having played a gallant part in the defeat of the French at the Battle of the South Foreland in 1217. A relative of his took less honourable share in the naval history of the reign of Edward I. This knight, Sir Thomas de Turberville, had been made prisoner by Philip IV.; and, eager to advance himself, no matter at what cost, turned traitor. He suggested in 1295 that Philip should fit out a large fleet and crowd the vessels with troops; and that, in the meantime, he himself should go to England, report that he had made his escape, and endeavour to obtain from his sovereign a command at sea, or the custody of the ports, or both. He would then, on seeing the approach of the French, deliver up his trust, the agreed signal that his plot had been successful being his own banner hoisted above that of the king. Philip accepted the offer, promised Turberville large rewards, and kept two of the traitor's sons as hostages.
Turberville reached England, but, though kindly received, failed to obtain the wished-for command. Philip, on his part, collected more than three hundred ships from Marseilles, Genoa and other places, and sent them to cruise off the English coasts, in waiting for the expected signal. Not seeing it the commanders grew impatient, and dispatched five of their best galleys to reconnoitre more closely. One of these landed at Hythe. To induce the intruders to advance inland, the king's forces retired before them, and then, suddenly turning, fell upon them and killed them all to the number of two hundred and forty, afterwards taking and burning the galley. The other four galleys rejoined their main body, which was far too formidable to be attacked by such ships as were at the disposal of the English commanders on the spot. Turberville's treachery was still unsuspected in England; but the assemblage of Philip's large fleet could not but be known; and, with a view to resisting invasion, letters were dispatched on August 28th and 30th to the Bishop of London and other prelates and priors instructing them to take the necessary measures in case the enemy landed; and on September 28th the sheriffs were informed that danger was apprehended from the machinations of certain foreign ecclesiastics residing near the sea-board, and recommending their immediate removal inland.
But, before this, a descent had actually been made. On August 1st the French fleet had appeared off Dover, and had suddenly landed about fifteen thousand men, who had seized the town and burnt great part of it. The people had fled, but recovering their courage, and being reinforced, had attacked the invaders so vigorously as to kill five thousand of them and to put the rest to flight. Some had escaped to the ships, others had taken refuge in the fields, where they had been afterwards found and massacred. Thirty seamen had maintained themselves in the cloisters of the abbey until night, when they had got away in two boats, only. however, to be followed in the morning by two large craft and sunk. In the whole affray but fourteen Englishmen had lost their lives.
The repulse at Dover and the non-appearance of Turberville's signal disheartened the French, who returned to their ports and dispersed; yet Turberville's treason was still undiscovered and might have gone unpunished but for the suspicions of a clerk, who delivered to Edward a letter which led to the conspiracy being laid bare, and to the culprit's execution.
The retirement of the French opened the Channel to the operations of English cruisers. The ships of the Cinque Ports captured fifteen Spanish vessels full of merchandise, bound for Damme, and brought them into Sandwich; and some Yarmouth ships landed a force at Cherbourg, fired the town, robbed an abbey, and carried off an old priest.
Instances of commissions having been granted to privateers as early as 1243 have been already cited. An undoubted example of the issue of regular Letters of Marque and Reprisals occurred in 1295. One, Bernard d'Ongressill, a merchant of Bayonne—then part of Edward's dominions—was the owner of a vessel—the St. Mary—belonging to that port, which, while on a passage from Barbary to England laden with almonds, raisins and figs, had been driven by stress of weather into Lagos, on the south coast of Portugal. At anchor there, she had been boarded by some armed Portuguese, who had robbed D'Ongressill and the crew and carried ship and cargo into Lisbon, where the King of Portugal had received one-tenth of the spoil, leaving the rest to be divided among his piratical subjects. D'Ongressill declared that in consequence of these proceedings he had lost £700; and he prayed Sir John of Brittany, then Lieutenant of Gascony, to grant him "letters of marque," or, to translate the Latin form used, "licence of marking the men and subjects of the kingdom of Portugal" (licentia marcandi homines et subditos de regno Portugalliæ), and specially those of Lisbon, until he should obtain compensation. Sir John accordingly in June, 1295, granted to D'Ongressill, his heirs, successors and descendants, authority for five years "to mark, retain and appropriate" the people of Portugal, and especially those of Lisbon, and their goods, wheresoever they might be found, until he should have obtained satisfaction. The licence was confirmed by the king on October 3rd, with the proviso that it should lapse upon restitution being made, and that if D'Ongressill took more than he had lost he should answer for the surplus.
France sought assistance front Norway; and on October 22nd, 1295, it was agreed that Eric of Norway should aid Philip of France against the King of England, and all his supporters and confederates with two hundred galleys and one hundred large ships, well furnished with arms and munitions of war for four months in each year of the conflict, together with fifty thousand picked and well-armed soldiers, of whom, for each ship and galley, four were to be commanders, Philip undertaking to pay in return £30,000, which sum should be ready by May 1st, 1296.
John Baliol, King of Scots, also allied himself with France, and denounced the homage which he had previously paid to the King of England. Early in 1296 Edward marched against him, and in March directed a fleet of thirty-three sail to co-operate with him in the reduction of Berwick. On the 30th of the month, perceiving that the king's army was in motion, the commander of the fleet took his ships into tbe harbour on the flood tide to assist in the assault. The leading vessel grounded and was immediately surrounded by the Scots, who, though the crew made a brilliant defence, boarded and captured her with a loss, to both sides, of twenty-eight men. A second ship which grounded was burnt; but her crew got away in their boat. A third ship, carrying the Prior of Durham's household, maintained an unequal fight for about eleven hours, and then, having taken the ground, was burnt, some of her crew escaping in their boat and the rest leaping into the water, and being picked up by the boats of the other vessels. The remaining ships retired. The naval attempt seems to have been made prematurely in consequence of some misapprehension of the movements of the army; but when Edward witnessed the smoke of his burning ships he ordered the trumpets to sound the attack, and the place was quickly carried with great slaughter. Dunbar and Edinburgh were subsequently taken: and on July 10th, 1296, Baliol submitted at Montrose, and surrendered his kingdom to Edward. While the king was thus engaged in Scotland it was rumoured that a thousand Flamands and others were preparing an attack on Yarmouth: but it would appear that the measures taken bv Sir John de Botetort and the bailiffs sufficed to ward off the threatened descent.
Walsingham recounts an act of great gallantry performed in Gascony in 1296 by Sir Simon de Montacute. Bourg, on the Garonne, was in the possession of the English, but was closely invested by the French; and its garrison sent to Blaye for assistance. But the river was so full of hostile galleys that the crew of the vessel dispatched from Blaye with provisions refused to proceed. Montacute thereupon undertook the business, and, forcing a way through the middle of the French fleet, reached Bourg in safety, the result being that the French raised the siege of that place. The exploit was as bold a one as that which led to the raising of the sigie of Londonderry in 1689.
In 1297 Edward endeavoured to strengthen his position abroad by concluding alliances with the Emperor, the Count of Flanders, and several of the Netherlands and German princes. A convention, made at Bruges on March 8th, 1297, with Guy, Count of Flanders, by Edward's envoys, the Bishop of Chester, Sir John Berwick, and "William de Leybourne, Admiral of the Sea of the said King of Eugland," for establishing perpetual peace and concord between the masters and mariners of England, Bayonne and Flanders, and for the greater security of themselves, the merchants, and others of those countries, is of considerable interest. It was agreed that all ships of England and Bayonne, and others of the dominion of England, going to Flanders, should carry "the signal of the arms of the King of England"; and that the ships of the dominions of the Count of Flanders, going by sea, should carry "the signal of the said Count," and also letters patent, sealed with the common seal of the city to which each ship belonged, certifying that it did belong to that town, and was subject to the count; so that the enemies of England and Flanders might not profit by merely hoisting the count's signal. Injuries committed by one party to the convention against the other were to be punished by the simple rule of lex talionis; and injuries not capable of being so dealt with were to be redressed according to the law of the place where they were committed; but the general peace was not to be disturbed on account of any murder, robbery or other offence, nor of any delay in making redress. A copy of the convention was delivered to John Savage at Gillingham, in order that it might be proclaimed throughout the navy. The agreement was preliminary to the conclusion of the treaty of alliance against France.
Edward was delayed by disputes with the clergy and with the merchants concerning the taxes—disputes which eventually induced him to renounce the right of taxation without the consent of Parliament—and did not sail to co-operate with his new ally until August 22nd, 1297. On that day he embarked at Winchelsea in his cog, the Edward, and on board ship received the Great Seal from his Chancellor, Sir John de Langton, and delivered it to Sir John de Benstede. A large fleet accompanied him, and an army stated to consist of fifteen hundred cavalry, and fifty thousand foot soldiers, of whom thirty thousand were Welsh. He landed at Sluis on the 27th, but was further impeded by a quarrel which almost immediately broke out between those ancient rivals the seamen of the Cinque Ports and of The people of the Cinque Ports appear to have begun the conflict by boarding the Yarmouth vessels, burning more than twenty of them, and killing the crews. The king's commands were not listened to; and only three of the Yarmouth ships succeeded in putting to sea and escaping from the fury of their assailants. The French had a project for unexpectedly falling upon the English ships at Sluis and Damme and burning them at their anchors; and they would probably have succeeded had they chosen the moment of this disgraceful outbreak; but the carrying out of the plan was postponed until the English had heard of the intention; and then they sailed.
In English history few foreign alliances have brought much good to the country, and the alliance with Flanders was no exception to the general rule. Edward was the catspaw of his nominal friends; his affairs abroad did not prosper; and there is little doubt that his interests were betrayed. In 1299 he found it advisable to conclude a two years' truce with France, upon the understanding that property captured by either party before the commencement of the war should be restored; and orders to that effect were issued on September 18th.
But long before this Edward had been called home by the pressure of events in the north, where William Wallace had headed a revolt, and defeated the English near Stirling. The king, after having requisitioned from the Cinque Ports a number of ships to facilitate his return, landed at Sandwich on March 14th, 1298, and at once proceeded to join his army in Scotland.
On December 3rd following, directions were issued to the Cinque Ports that the whole of their service, viz., fifty-seven ships, would be needed at Skinburness, near Carlisle, by June 6th, 1299; and similar directions were sent to forty-seven other English and six Irish ports, each of which was to provide from one to three ships. But when the specified time arrived, some of the service of the Cinque Ports was dispensed with; for only thirty of their vessels actually proceeded to Scotland, where the war dragged on until 1304, and broke out again under Robert Bruce in 1306. For the prosecution of it, the bailiffs of the ports were told in May, 1300, to induce the inhabitants to send ships to the king. More vessels were called out on November 10th; and when the rebellion was renewed in 1306, "Gervase Alard, Captain and Admiral of the king's fleet of the ships of the Cinque Ports, and also of all other ports from Dover to Cornwall, and of the whole county of Cornwall," was ordered to proceed with his fleet to Skinburness or Kirkcudbright; and corresponding orders were dispatched to Edward Charles, "Captain and Admiral of the king's fleets from the Thames to Berwick-on-Tweed." But, although the navy cooperated during the whole of the war, it appears to have had little to do beyond the conveyance hither and thither of troops and stores.
Renewals of the truce with France enabled Edward to concentrate almost his whole strength upon Scotland. The truces led up, in 1300, to the conclusion of a treaty of marriage, wherein it was arranged that Edward should espouse Margaret, Philip's sister, and that Edward, Prince of Wales, should espoue Isabella, Philip's daughter. Later a regular peace was signed, and, in 1304, good relations were so far established that Edward undertook to assist Philip for four months with twenty ships in a French attack upon Flanders.
Edward was on his way to press the campaign in Scotland, when on July 7th, 1307, he died at Burgh-on-the-Sands, near Carlisle. He was succeeded by his son Edward II.
As soon as possible after his accession, Edward II. went to France to marry the Princess Isabella, to whom, as has been seen, he was affianced by treaty. Orders as to his passage were issued to the warden of the Cinque Ports in November, 1307; the Sheriff of Kent was required to provide brows and clayes for the necessary vessels, and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London were directed to furnish means of transport for the king's pavilions and tents. Edward went down to Dover about January 15th, 1308, and after providing those who were about to cross with him to Boulogue with letters of protection, entrusting the regency during his absence to Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, and settling other matters, sailed on tile 22nd. He was married at Boulogne on the 28th, and returned to Dover on February 7th.
His father on his death-bed had enjoined him to vigorously prosecute the war with Scotland, but the young king waged it only with indecision and feebleness. In July, 1308, ships were dispatched from Hartlepool and other ports to the relief of Aberdeen, under the command of William le Betour, and in October ten good ships were ordered to be sent by the ports of Norfolk and Suffolk, and ten more by the ports between Yarmouth and Berwick, to assist in the defence against the Scots of the town last named. With each ship were to be fifty strong and well-armed men. At the same time, as also in the following year, the keeper of the port of Dover was forbidden to allow any baron, knight, or other notable person to quit the realm during the continuance of the Scots war without the king's licence.
On October 26th, 1309, the Mayor of Yarmouth was directed to provide two ships, with forty men in each, for the defence of Perth, and on June 18th, 1310, two persons were deputed to choose one hundred and forty of the stoutest and strongest mariners that could be found in the port of London, and in other places as far as Feversham, and to have them before the council at Westminster by the end of that month, armed and ready to proceed on the king's service to Scotland. On the same day, Sir John de Caunton was appointed "captain and governor" of the fleet destined for Perth, and letters were dispatched to the ports to the effect that, Robert Bruce having broken truce and renewed the war, Edward intended to go in person to Berwick-on-Tweed, and required the aid of the navy. Every port was therefore to provide one or more ships, armed, manned, and stored, and to send them by August 15th to Dublin, whence they would be conducted to Scotland by Sir Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster, to serve with the rest of the English navy which was being dispatched thither. The force thus raised consisted of fifty ships, of which Yarmouth supplied six, Lynn four, other large ports two, and the smaller ports one apiece. Ultimately the arrangements were altered by an order of August 2nd. The ships originally ordered to make rendezvous at Dublin were assembled at the Isle of Man, and the others went direct to Scotland, under the orders of Sir Simon de Montacute, "Admiral of Our Navy." Some of these ships, on their way north, were attacked by pirates from Holland and Hainault, whereupon the Count of Flanders was, on November 9th, earnestly requested to repress the marauders, who professed to be under his protection.
The campaign of 1310 was of so feeble a nature that Robert Bruce was encouraged to carry the war into his enemy's territory. As early as the autumn of the year, intelligence seems to have been received in England of Robert's intention to seize Man, to winter there, and to use the island as a base from which to make attacks upon the English coast, and the sheriffs of the counties nearest to the threatened point were directed to assist the steward of the Bishop of Durham in equipping vessels to repel the descent.
More ships were called out in 1311, and ordered to make rendezvous at Wolreckford, near Knockfergus, to proceed to Scotland under Sir John of Argyle, "Admiral and Captain of the king's fleet on the Coast of Argyle, and in other parts of Scotland." The army ashore did miserably, for Bruce ravaged the English border counties; but the fleet seems to have done better, unless, indeed, Edward merely desired to make sure of its assistance in the domestic conflict which was fast becoming inevitable, for on Octoher 12th, in a letter to Sir John of Argyle, the king complimented and thanked that officer, and also addressed "his Beloved sailors and mariners of England and Ireland," thanking all and each of them, and commanding them to continue their services during the winter.
In 1312, the barons, disgusted with the favour shown to Gaveston, took arms under Thomas of Lancaster, and pursued the king to the north. He fled from Newcastle to Tynemouth, and embarking thence in a small vessel with Gaveston, reached Scarborough. There Gaveston, after a siege, was taken, and he was subsequently beheaded on Blacklow Hill. Civil war lasted until 1322, when Lancaster, in his turn, was taken and executed.
During all these years the war with Scotland continued, although the Scots won most of the advantage, and nearly all the honour of the strife. In 1313, Edward was in France from May 23rd July 16th, in order to conduct in person negotiations concerning Gascony. He was again in France, for the performance of a pilgrimage, from the 12th to the 20th of December. In that year, apparently because the attempts first made in 1310 to obtain redress for outrages committed by Flanders pirates had failed, an embargo was laid upon all Flamand shipping in the port of London, and in July a considerable fleet was called out and placed under the orders of Sir William de Montacute.
In 1414, when vessels were required to ca. rry further reinforcements to Scotland, the king's two valets, John Sturmy ; and Peter Bard, were on March 12th appointed jointly and severally admirals and captains of the fleet for Scotland, and on the same day all civil authorities were enjoined to assist John Sturmy, master of the king's ship Christopher of Westminster, and the masters of the king's other ships, Isabel, Blessed Mary, St. Michael, and Leonard of Westminster. in selecting mariners and other fighting-men. Six days later, similar injunctions were issued with reference to twenty-one more of the king's ships, one cog, and one barge; and additional vessels were called out and directed to make rendezvous at Whitsuntide at Aberconway, previous to service in Scotland. As Sir John of Argyle was again appointed captain and admiral on March 25th, it may be supposed that Sturmy and Bard were then superseded, although the former of these was often employed afterwards in a similar high command. His squadron went to Ireland to embark four thousand foot soldiers, and also, apparently, to pick up there certain vessels belonging to the Earl of Ulster's command. The fleet of the Cinque Ports, on the other hand, was ordered on April 1st to go eastward and northward to Berwick, and to make rendezvous; there on June 24th; but before it arrived at its destination Bruce's victory at Bannockburn had been won, and had put an entirely new complexion upon the campaign. The forces already in employment were then judged to be insufficient, and on July 25th yet another demand for ships, this time to the number of thirty, was made, the vessels being ordered to assemble at Kingston-upon-Hull.
Sir John of Argyle was in 1315 re-appointed "captain" of the king's fleet for Scotland and the isles of Argyle, and William de Creye, and Thomas de Hewys, "admirals of the fleet of the king's ships in Scotland," were instructed to obey him as their superior officer; so that here we have a fine example of the confusion which as estimated by modern standards, existed at the beginning of the fourteenth century with regard to the relative rank of admirals and captains. In this case the "captain" was the senior officer. At the same time John, Lord Botetort, was given command of the fleet on the eastern side of the island, from the Thames northward. One of the measures adopted at about the same date against Scotland was the prohibition, under the heaviest penalties, of the sending to that part of the island of provisions, arms, iron, steel, or any other commodities.
Bruce probably drew most of such supplies as Scotland could not provide from the continent, for the king learnt, early in the year, that thirteen large Scots cogs were at Sluis, loading with arms and stores, and thereupon ordered Botetort, who had, it would appear, just received into one of his ships, the Christopher of Yarmouth, one hundred foot soldiers and sailors levied in Norfolk, to proceed to sea with the men of Yarmouth, and to seize the cogs, if they had quitted Flanders. But there is no record that the mission was successfully carried out.
Bruce, in fact, was pressing Edward closely. In the spring he landed a large army at Larne, near Belfast, under command of his brother Edward, who caused a very formidable rising of the native Irish, took Dundalk, received the submission of the O'Neil, defeated the O'Connors and the Earl of Ulster, laid siege to Carrickfergus, and crushed Lord Justice Mortimer. All this obliged the king of England to countermand orders which had been given to the Earl of Ulster to proceed to Scotland, and forced him to send troops and vessels, which he could not easily find, to Ireland as well as to Scotland.
On May 29th, William de Creye was appointed "captain and admiral of the king's fleet of the Cinque Ports on the western coast of England, and on the coasts of Ireland and Wales," and Sir John of Argyle was made "captain of the mariners of the fleet of the Cinque Ports." In June, when sufficient ships for the northern expedition had been obtained, the sheriffs of certain counties were empowered to release the vessels which they had been ordered to arrest, and which were not needed. Early in July, John de Athy was made captain and leader of eleven Bristol ships destined for Scotland, and a passage in his patent indicates that, shortly before, William de Creye had been appointed "admiral-in-chief" of the fleet on the western coasts. Previous to leaving port, the vessels appear to have been systematically surveyed, for in July three surveyors were told off to look to the shipping preparing in the ports on the east coast, and two more to look to those in the ports on the west. A proclamation, ordered on August 12th, rescinded the prohibition of the export of provisions, and commanded merchants to send stores to the north for the army under the Earl of Lancaster, but directed that security should he given that none of these stores should reach the king's enemies.
In the midst of Edward's anxieties, the King of France applied to him for assistance against the Count of Flanders. The King of England, in his reply, explained his difficulties, and courteously regretted that he could not spare ships, but added that he had ordered his admirals, Sir Humphrey de Littlebury and Sir John Sturmy, in particular, and his other admirals in general, to lose no opportunity of doing damage to the enemies of the French king, and to co-operate with his commanders at sea. But Louis of France, though so anxious for English help, does not seem to have adequately protected English interest; for in November. 1315, Edward again wrote to his royal kinsman to complain that off Margate twenty-two ships of Calais had attacked four ships laden with wool and other goods, and bound from London to Antwerp, and had killed some and wounded others of their crews, taking one ship worth 2000 marks, and refusing to give her up. At about the same time, the Constable of Dover Castle seized several Spanish ships laden with arms and provisions for Flanders, and as Louis, on hearing of the affair, wrote begging that the ships should be retained and their crews enslaved, it is probable that if only in order to procure the granting of his own wishes in the one case, the French king made suitable recompense with reference to the other. It will be seen that questions connected with the transmission of contraband of war cropped up again in the following year.
Discipline must have been lax in the navy in those days of foreign war and civil upheaval. In November, 1315, some piratical vessels having appeared off the coast near Berwick, ,Sir John Sturmy and William Gettour, as "captains and admirals" of six ships, were sent after them. with directions to prevent Berwick from being attacked. They chose to do nothing of the kind, and in March. 1316, they were severely reprimanded, it appearing that, instead of proceeding on the duty assigned to them, they had anchored at Kirkley. and other parts, and had suffered their people, without punishment, to plunder and harass the inhabitants of those places. They were curtly reminded of their duty, and commanded to go to Berwick, which needed assistance, without further delay.
Early in the year, France had to complain that the keepers of the ports had allowed goods and provisions to be conveyed between Flanders and England. Edward, replying on March 19th. doubted the accuracy of the statement, seeing that he knew that Flamands had lately attacked and captured English ships, and killed their crews; but he promised to make inquiry. As on a previous occasion. France did not come into court with clean hands. A large Genoese ship, bound for England under the protection of Edward, had, at about the same time, been seized, while lying in the Downs, by one Berenger Bauck. of Calais, who had wounded and otherwise ill-treated the merchants and seamen on board, and, although claims for compensation were repeatedly made, no satisfaction was ever obtained.
Two examples of the enforcement of reprisals against nominally friendly powers occurred in 1316. In one case the offending power was Castille. On May 18th, the seneschal of Gascony was directed to seize Castillian goods and merchandise to the value of 165 marks, and to hold the same until that sum, being compensation for losses incurred by English subjects in the preceding reign, should be paid. In the second case, the offenders were Englishmen. A subject of Haco, King of Norway, seized at Selag a ship belonging to one Bedeford, of Kingston-upon-Hull, and, upon representations being made, Haco courteously answered that three years previously his ship, called the Rankic, with cargo worth £300, had been seized by the said Bedeford and his accomplices of Lynn, and that as no satisfaction had been vouchsafed, reprisals had been permitted.
In the early winter, Sir Robert de Leybourne took command of a fleet against the Scots; a large army for Ireland was placed under Roger, Lord Mortimer of Wigmore; Sir Nicholas Kyriel was appointed admiral of the fleet, drawn from the Cinque Ports and other ports to the westward. that was destined to convey the expedition. and Bristol and the adjacent ports were directed to send twenty large ships to Haverfordwest, apparently for employment under Kyriel, by February 2nd following.
In 1317, Edward sent to Genoa to hire or purchase five fighting galleys, fully manned and equipped. The fleets in the Narrow Seas were under John de Perbroun, of Yarmouth, who commanded in the north; Sir Robert de Leybourne, who commanded in the west; and John de Athy, who commanded in the Irish Sea and on the west coast of Scotland. In November. the authorities of the Cinque Ports were forbidden to allow any noble or other eminent person to quit the realm without the king's licence.
In 1318, the Irish rebellion was crushed, on October 5th, at Dundalk, where Edward Bruce fell: but the country was left in a state of ruin, and the moral, even of the English settlers. suffered so severely that a few years afterwards William and Edward de Burgh, scions of a great Norman house, and sons of an English viceroy, so far forgot themselves as to deliberately renounce their allegiance, divide Connaught between them, and adopt the Irish language, apparel, and laws.
In Scotland, Robert Bruce was more successful. He took Berwick, in spite of the efforts of the English garrison, seconded by a fleet under William Gettour; and, although in August Edward raised a large army and called out more ships, he effected little or nothing against the enemy.
In the winter of the year there occurred a tragedy which is singularly illustrative of the modes of thought of the time. A ship bound from Flanders to Scotland was driven by heavy weather into the mouth of the Thames, and lay for shelter in the Hope, off Cliffe, the inhabitants of which place summoned the strangers to surrender, and, upon their refusing, massacred everyone of them. For the service, Edward rewarded them with the whole cargo, worth £28 10s., taking the ship and her rigging, valued at ten marks, for himself.
For the prosecution of the Scots war, greater sacrifices than ever were required in 1319. A fresh naval subsidy was raised, and the ports had to provide ships with double crews, and to maintain them for three or four months at their own expense, the king providing wages only after the expiration of that period. A squadron was directed to cruise in the Channel under Simon de Dryby, William de Thewell, and Robert Ashman, who appear from the patent to have been invested with several as well as joint commands; and as these officers were commissioned to repress "the malice and rebellion of our Scots enemies and rebels," it may perhaps he assumed that Bruce's vessels had ceased to confine their operations to their own waters. On the west, the command was in the hands of John de Athy. Later in the year, Simon de Dryby was made "admiral and captain of the king's fleet in Scotland." We learn, incidentally, that Ashman's vessel was the Michael of Great Yarmouth, and that South Yarmouth provided two ships called the Bennet and the Garland.
In 1320, the conclusion of a two years' truce with Scotland permitted some relaxation of a strain which must have been very severely felt, and allowed Edward to pay a visit to Philip V. of France. The king remained abroad only about a month, and disembarked at Dover on July 22nd.
At about this time Edward entrusted the custody of the Cinque Ports to the younger Hugh le Despencer, who seems to have abused his position by committing various piratical acts, among which may he included the capture, in 1322, of two dramons with cargo worth 40,000 marks. Accepting this as an unexaggerated estimate of the treasure, and making allowance for the then high purchasing power of money, the capture may be regarded as almost as rich a one as was made at sea by any English force, even in the days of the Spanish galleons.
A kind of private war, which had for some time existed between the mariners of England and those of Brittany, was provisionally ended in August by an agreement providing for a truce to last until November, 1322, and for the appointment, in the meantime, of two arbitrators on each side, with power to compel submission to their decision. The truce was subsequently prolonged for two years. This step towards the settlement of a dangerous series of disputes may have suggested to Edward the desirability of making an end to the long-standing dissensions between the barons of the Cinque Ports and the seamen of Poole, Weymouth, Lyme, and Southampton, which had led to many murders, robberies, and burnings of ships. The king ordered the issue of a proclamation forbidding, under heavy penalties, any man to injure the people of the said towns or their property; and directed the warden to send six of the barons to lodge the complaint of the Cinque Ports against the seamen before himself in council, and then to submit to such decision as might be given.
When the truce with Scotland expired in 1322, the Scots entered Northumberland in order to join the English rebels under Thomas, Earl of Lancaster; and after the Earl had been defeated at Boroughbridge, orders were issued to the Warden of the Cinque Ports that no one of whom he had not full knowledge should be permitted to quit the kingdom, and that any rebels venturing within his jurisdiction should be arrested. Not improbably the semi-piratical Flamands were in league with the insurgents, for in April a large fleet belonging to them was reported to be off the coast, and to have committed outrages, and the Cinque Ports, Great Yarmouth. and other places were directed to fit out ship to resist them, in case they should seek to take advantage of the king's approaching journey to Scotland. In 1322, and again in 1323, Rohert Battayle was appointed captain and admiral of the fleet of the Cinque Ports, and John de Perbroun, captain and admiral of the northern fleet, and, in the earlier year, Sir Rohert de Leybourne held the command on the west cost of Scotland, and in the Irish Sea. John de Athy, who had been admiral on the coast of Ireland, seems to have held command of a special squadron for the defence of Carrickfergus. The king's ship employed in 1222 against Scotland were the Rose, Eleanor, Godale, Magdalene, two of the name of Blithe, Katherine, Squynkyn, James, Nicholas, and John, the last being a cog. In 1323, the Scots war was for a time terminated by the conclusion of a thirteen years' truce. At the moment of its conclusion, an English naval force was being assembled off Dalkey Island, near Dublin. to convey troops to Skinburness, and then to serve against Scotland.
That trade existed between England and Venice is shown by an occurrence of this year. The crews of two Venetian galleys. which had come to Southampton with merchandise, had an affray with the servants and tenants of Sir John de Lisle. Several people were killed on each side, and the Venetians carried off some property which did not belong to them. The affair was settled by the Venetian merchants paying Sir John a sum of money, and by the king formally pardoning them.
In 1324, the piracies of the subjects of the Count of Zeeland led to the seizure of all ships belonging to the Count that happened to he in ports under the jurisdiction of the bailiffs of the Bishop of Norwich. The cargoes of these ships were not to be distrained upon, but ships and cargoes were to be kept pending further orders.
In France, Charles IV. had succeeded his brother Philip, and, choosing to consider his dignity slighted because Edward had not attended his coronation to do homage for Guienne, had entered that duchy with an army in  As on a previous occasion, the ships were surveyed, the surveyor in this case being a priest. The admirals of the year were, for the Gascony fleet, Sir John de Cromwell; for the western fleet, Sir Robert Beudyn, and, in his absence, Stephen Alard; and for the northern fleet, Sir John Sturmy.. It therefore became necessary for Edward to send a large force to Gascony. A squadron for the purpose was raised in May, 1324, from Southampton, Portsmouth, Yarmouth, Poole, and nine other ports, and ordered to make rendezvous at Portsmouth by the 22nd of the month; and the port sheriffs elsewhere were commanded to hold ready for the king's service, at three days' notice, all such of their ships as could carry forty tuns of wine or more. They were also forbidden to allow any vessels to go abroad, and to detain such as might return from sea; and warnings were issued to sailors concerning the risks of capture.
Var was proclaimed by Edward on July 22nd, and in September all Frenchmen in England were arrested, and their goods seized. In October, a French invasion was apprehended in Norfolk, and special instructions were sent to the inhabitants of Lynn and Norwich to aid Sir Robert de Montalt and Sir Thomas Bardolf, the keepers of the coast in that county. London was also ordered to prepare all its ships that could be used for war, to doubly man them, and to send them to Winchelsea. But the Pope intervened, and, early in 1355, the arrested Frenchmen were released; and in March, Queen Isabella, was allowed to proceed to France, in order that she might induce her brother to agree to terms. Before noticing the results of her mission, it will be well to return to the year 1324. in order to chronicle an affair which throws much light upon the then existing customs respecting letters of marque and reprisals.
Two galleys of Majorca had been captured by some English adventurers or pirates, and Sancho, King of Majorca, had sent an envoy to England to obtain reparation. Not succeeding, Sancho dispatched Peter Jacobi to Edward with letters repeating the demand. Edward replied on September 18th, declaring that he had already signified his readiness to do full justice according to the laws of his realm, and that he was investigating the matter, but that the inquiry was not completed. James, King of Aragon, wrote to him on the same subject, and informed him that the practice in Aragon was that if any subjects were accused of robberies at sea, a certificate of the fact would, at the suit of the aggrieved parties, be received in the court of Aragon, and that, if the robbery were proved, the value of the stolen property would be considered to be sufficiently established by the oath of the losers; and that in such a case he would require compensation from the lords of the robbers, and, if these did not comply, that he should grant letters of reprisals to his subjects, so that the injured parties might obtain recompense. But Edward replied that the system of Aragon did not prevail in England, nor between that country and the neighbouring states, where letters of reprisals were only granted when justice, having been regularly demanded, could not be obtained; and he added that he could not legally do anything against the laws and customs of his realm, to the prejudice of his subjects, nor could any other prince do so. To Sancho he also wrote that Jacobi might remain in England until the inquiry was finished.
In May, 1325, a disgraceful peace was made with France, it being agreed that Charles should hold Guienne until Edward appeared in person at Beauvais to do homage for it, and that the ownership of the Agnois, part of Guienne, should be determined by the French peers. There is little doubt that the queen betrayed her husband over this business; but at first Edward seems not to have suspected her, and he made peaceful preparations for going to France. The Cinque Ports were ordered to have ships at Dover ready for his passage on August 15th, but when, on August 24th, the king went down to the Abbey of Langdon, near Dover, he fell ill. He then proposed, probably at the queen's instigation, that his son Prince Edward should go in his stead to do homage for Aquitaine. This was agreed to, on condition that Guienne and Poitou should be handed over to Charles, and, Edward weakly consenting, the prince sailed on September 12th.
Isabella, with her son at her side, scarcely took pains to conceal her policy any longer. Edward became at length suspicious, and on September 30th, ordered the keepers of the ports of Kent and Sussex to be particularly vigilant, and to arrest persons whose character or business was doubtful. Sir John Sturmy, admiral of the fleet to the northward, was directed to keep his ships in readiness in their ports; but, for some unknown reasons, he represented that there was no real danger, and was allowed to release some of the vessels. Sir Nicholas Kyriel commanded in the west, and Sir John Felton also had a command afloat; and, towards the end of the year, the three admirals appear to have been invested with authority to cruise against French commerce, and to have taken one hundred and twenty ships of Normandy. A little later, Isabella threw off all disguise. Troops were raised in England in her name; Edward withdrew his ambassadors from France, and formally banished his queen and his son, and the troops of Charles again entered Guienne.
Renewed orders were issued in January, 1326, for the examination of suspicious persons and documents at the ports; neither men, nor arms, money, or provisions were permitted to go out of the realm by way of Dover without the king's licence, merchants on their necessary business being alone excepted, and various other precautions were taken. The Pope tried to mediate, but in vain. Sir Ralph Bassett, Constable of Dover, received instructions to welcome the Papal emissaries with all care for their protection, and all regard to their dignity; and was specially enjoined not to approach them with too many ships, lest they should be frightened. Edward, in fact, was ready enough to treat; but France and the queen, fully alive to the superiority of their position, wanted absolute surrender.
In July, the king, in consequence of continued French aggressions, authorised attacks upon all Charles's subjects, except the Flamands and Bretons; but added that, if the King of France would release the English merchants and ships which he had arrested, he, in like manner, would release French merchants and their goods. In August, great efforts were made to raise ships, and all vessels of fifty tons and upwards in ports north and west of the Thames were ordered to Portsmouth, to serve under Kyriel, on pain of seizure, and the imprisonment of their officers, while the smaller craft were to remain in their ports, and not to go fishing or on other business. Meanwhile, all French subjects in England, except Flamands, were arrested.
Charles of France, deterred by the strong representations of the Pope, at length obliged his sister, Queen Isabella, to quit his dominions; and, at the suggestion of the Count of Artois, she went with her son to Hainault, where she secured the support of Count William, and agreed that Prince Edward should marry his daughter Philippa. A considerable force was assembled on her behalf, and shipping for its transport was collected at Dordrecht, with a view to a landing at Orwell, in Suffolk.
Edward, informed of the intended expedition, ordered to Orwell all vessels of thirty tons or more belonging to ports northward of the Thames, and entrusted the northern or North Sea command, first to Sir Robert de Leybourne, and then to Sir John Sturmy. Twelve ships, each having on board forty well-armed men, were summoned from London and the Kentish ports to cruise off the Foreland; twelve more, from the ports in the north, were stationed off Shields; and yet twelve more, from Harwich and Ipswich, served off Orfordness. In September, Bayonne was ordered to co-operate in the general defence against France; but by that time it was too late.
Queen Isabella, Prince Edward, and Sir John of Hainault, brother of the reigning Count, embarked at Dordrecht about September 22nd, with upwards of two thousand seven hundred men-at-arms. After anchoring for a night off the dykes of Holland, the fleet coasted along Zeeland, but was driven out of its course by a gale of wind, and for two days was ignorant of its whereabouts. At length the English coast was sighted, and on September 26th a landing was effected on a sandy beach, probably near Aldborough, or between that place and Southwold. Some of the chroniclers say that the queen landed at Harwich; but this is unlikely, firstly, because it is stated that upon their arrival the troops did not know in what part of England they were—an assertion that cannot be reconciled with the contiguity of one of the largest ports in the kingdom to the place of disembarkation; and, secondly, because there is every reason to suppose that the English ships, ordered to be at the mouth of the Orwell on September 21st, must have been there by the 26th, and because the queen met with no resistance.
Three days were employed in landing the horses and arms. The expeditionary force then marched to Bury St. Edmunds. Isabella's appeal to the country was entirely successful, and she was joined by all classes of the population. The king's appeal, on the other hand, issued on the 27th, and drawing special attention to the presence with the invaders of Roger Mortimer, the queen's paramour, produced no effect; and, on October 20th, Prince Edward assumed the government of the country as Guardian of the Realm. The king, deserted by all except the younger Le Despencer and Robert Baldock, the Chancellor, fled to the west, where, endeavouring to escape to Lundy Island, or to Ireland, he was taken by Sir Henry Beaumont. On January 20th, 1327, he was compelled to abdicate, and on January 25th the Prince ascended the throne as Edward III. In the interim. Isabella had rewarded thirty-five sailors of Bayonne with £10 for their services in conveying her to England; and the Constable of Dover had been ordered to provide twenty passage vessels, to convey some of the Hainault troops back to Flanders.
In the introduction to that period of his naval history which deals with the reign of the young prince, who thus, at the age of little more than fourteen, was called to the throne, Nicolas says :--
"The name of Edward the Third is more identified with the naval glory of England than that of any other of her sovereigns, for though the sagacious Alfred and the chivalrous Richard commanded fleets and defeated the enemy at sea, Edward gained in his own person two signal victories, fighting on one occasion until his ship actually sank under him, and was rewarded by his subjects with the proudest title ever conferred upon a British monarch, 'King of the Sea.' But while the history of one part of Edward's reign is the brightest in our early annals, his exploits were followed by events which teach a lesson to this country of the highest value, and which was, perhaps, never more important than at this time, when a great nation is her avowed rival on the ocean, with a long series of disasters to avenge.
"Like the Nile, Camperdown, and Trafalgar, the battles of Sluis and L'Espagnols sur Mer led the English to imagine that they.were always to command the sea, and, notwithstanding the repeated warnings of the Commons in Parliament, the navy was so entirely neglected, that France and Spain obtained, and for many years preserved, the maritime superiority. Defeats, if not disgrace, almost a total destruction of commerce, and, far worse, constant invasions of our shores, attended by rapine, bloodshed, and all other atrocities, were the consequences of this fatal error, which established, however, the momentous truth, that the honour, safety, greatness, and prosperity of England depend upon her navy."
The words of Nicolas are as trim now as they were in 1847, when he published them, except that to-day, instead of one great rival, England has several formidable competitors. It is the duty of Englishmen to see to it that the sequel of their nineteenth-century naval glories shall not be as disastrous as that of their fourteenth-century ones.
Until 1330, the real power was not in Edward's hands, but in those of Mortimer, the queen, and Henry of Lancaster. In May, 1327, each of the northern ports was directed to supply one or two ships for service against the Scots, who, under Robert Bruce, were preparing an invasion on a large scale. These ships were placed under the orders of John de Perbroun, admiral of the north, and their appointed rendezvous was Yarmouth on May 18th. Waresius de Valoignes was made admiral of the other, or western fleet, which included the squadron of the Cinque Ports; and he was charged to proceed with it to Skinburness. The campaign ended on March 1st, 1328, in an inglorious peace, whereby the independence of Scotland was recognised, and Joanna, a daughter of Edward II., was promised in marriage to Robert's son David.
Philip VI., who succeeded to the French crown in 1328, lost little time in summoning Edward to do homage for his Duchy of Guienne; and on May 26th, 1329, the young King of England embarked at Dover for Wissant, in a Winchelsea ship, attended by his Chancellor and a large suite. The homage was performed at Amiens on June 6th, and Edward retreated to Dover on the 11th of the month. In the following year he again visited France, to perform a vow made to Our Lady of Boulogne, leaving Dover on April 4th, and returning thither on April 20th.
The king was meditating a journey to Ireland in 1332, when Edward, son of John Baliol, in vindication of his claim to the throne of Scotland, landed in Fifeshire, with a number of English nobles, who had been dispossessed of property in Scotland. The expedition, consisting of three thousand men, disembarked at Kinghorn, where, it is said, ships had never touched before, and the ships were then sent into the mouth of the Tay. Baliol's success was at first rapid: and since, immediately after his coronation at Scone, he offered homage to Edward, the latter deemed it prudent to assist him with an army.
In the meantime, Baliol was besieged in Perth by a Scots army, under the Earl of Dunbar and Sir Archibald Douglas, who, not knowing how to deal with the English fleet which was lying in the river, and which was a powerful factor in the defence of the place, sent to Berwick for a celebrated Scots sailor named John Crabbe, described in the so-called Lanercost Chronicle as pirata crudelis et solemnis. Crabbe, who then hated the English, although, in return for the ingratitude and ill-treatment experienced from his countrymen, he subsequently entered the English service, arrived in the Tay on August 24th, with twelve well-found Scots ships of Flanders build, and instantly fell upon the English vessels, which were not prepared for the attack. The enemy boarded and carried Lord Beaumont's barge, and slaughtered the whole of her crew; but the remaining English ships were all so well defended that, after a hot fight, the Scots were completely defeated, Crabbe himself escaping with great difficulty, and regaining Berwick overland. The Scots vessels and their prize were burnt by the victors.
In April, 1333, John Perbroun was again appointed admiral, and Henry Randolph, of Great Yarmouth, was associated with him in command of a fleet, or of fleets, for the operations against Scotland. The western fleet was entrusted to Sir William Clinton. Ships were raised in the ports in the usual manner, all vessels of fifty tons and upwards being arrested.
The northern fleet, or part of it, co-operated in the siege of Berwick, where, on shore, Edward commanded in person. Little or nothing is known of the part which the English ships played; but some deeds of gallantry afloat by the Scots have been recorded. One William Seton, while bravely attacking the English ships, was drowned in sight of his father, who was on the walls of the town; and Sir William Diket, arriving with supplies, boarded some English vessels, killed sixteen men in a barge belonging to Hull, and then entered the town. But after Edward's victory at Halidon Hill, the place surrendered.
These events did not end the war, but they materially relieved England. In August, ships which had been under arrest in the English ports were permitted to sail upon their own business, so that the interference with commerce was diminished. In 1334, however, further vessels were ordered to Scotland in September, and some were dispatched in search of Scots cruisers, which were endeavouring to intercept sea-borne supplies destined for the English army. Nor did the Scots confine themselves to the defensive. A force of them landed in Suffolk, and two officers were specially appointed to levy troops to drive them off. In the same month there was general arrest of ships of forty tons and upwards; but the foreign vessels then arrested were soon afterwards released.
The admirals appointed at the beginning of 1335 were Sir John Norwich, for the North Sea, and Sir Roger Hegham, for the western fleet; but in April, Sir John Norwich appears to have been superseded by Sir John Howard, senior, and Sir Robert Holland was made admiral of the fleet on the coast of Wales, and westward as far as Carlingford. The best ships in the northern ports were impressed in February; and in the same month the two largest ships of war at Bristol were ordered to proceed to Dumbarton. against a large, armed vessel, full of stores, which was reported to have arrived there from abroad; and Sir Roger Hegham, for whom twelve ships were levied firm the Cinque Ports, Bristol, Falmouth, Southampton, and Plymouth, was directed to send four of them to cruise to the westward, and to station the remaining eight where they would be most likely to intercept supplies destined for the Scots.
In April men-at-arms were requisitioned for Ireland; and the Irish ports were instructed to provide vessels for their conveyance to Scotland, and to send them to Carlingford. To the command of this flotilla Sir John de Athy was appointed.
It is unfortunate that we do not know what success attended the Bristol ships in their expedition to Dumbarton. We are left similarly in the dark as to the results of another minor expedition of the same year. The Scots, who had captured a cog belonging to Lord Beaumont, purposed to send her abroad with several persons of distinction and much treasure on board, to raise soldiers for their cause; and, consequently, on May 8th, orders were dispatched to Ravensrode and Hull to arrest three vessels there for the pursuit of the cog.
On June 1st, Thomas de Maydeston was made Captain and superior officer of six vessels of the Cinque Ports, two of Bristol, and one of Southampton, destined for particular service; and as this officer was not designated as admiral, his position may have been similar to that of the modern commodore. An analogous command over six ships, which were arrested in the ports between Liverpool and Skinburness, was given to Simon de Beltoft; and John de Watewang, the king's clerk, was made lieutenant, or assistant, to Sir John Howard, to provide men, ships, arms, stores, and provisions at Newcastle, Berwick, and other places, as needed by the fleet. Here we have an early suggestion of the later captains of the Impress Service and the Resident Commissioners; and the appointment is the more interesting seeing that it was conferred upon a member of the family which supplied the gallant officer, Captain Sir John Wetwang, who, more than three hundred years afterwards, was Prince Rupert's Captain of the Fleet in the Sovereign of the Seas, and Admiral Sir John Allin's flag-captain in the Royal James.
Careful watch was ordered to be kept upon certain Scots ships of war, which lay in Calais ready for sea; but it does not appear whether they ever left port.
Fordun relates, that on July 1st, 1335, an English fleet of one hundred and eighty ships entered the Forth, and committed much damage on the coast; but his accounts are so intimately intermixed with superstitious fictions that they cannot be altogether trusted. He asserts, however, that one of the best of the English ships, commanded by the admiral, was wrecked upon the Wolf Rock.
On July 6th, Sir John Cobham and Peter Bard were simultaneously appointed captains and admirals of the ships of the Cinque and other western ports, the former, as he had the power to appoint deputies, being possibly the senior officer; and enormous preparations were made to resist an anticipated invasion by the Scots and their continental sympathisers. All ships of forty tons and upwards were arrested; Bayonne was applied to for vessels; and a great council of national defence was summoned to meet in London. In August, Sir John Cobham was censured for remissness and apathy, and bidden to lose no time in collecting the fleet under his commands and in putting to sea, against the enemy; and to ensure the proper fitting out of the ships in the Thames, Henry de Kendall was appointed to survey them, and to make a verbal report concerning them to the king; while the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London were enjoined to dispatch to sea all their ships, well manned and armed. But in September the fear of invasion died away, and the ships under arrest were released.
In 1336, Edward resumed the offensive on shore. In February, all vessels of forty tons and upwards were again impressed, and Sir Thomas Ughtred was appointed captain and admiral of the North Sea fleet, with authority to impress seamen. In April, Sir John Norwich seems to have superseded him; and Sir Geoffrey Say became admiral to the westward. These two admirals were stringently enjoined, in case they met at sea, to compel their crews to behave amicably, so that no dissensions might arise; and they were warned that, if any quarrel took place, they, and all concerned, would be considered as supporters of the enemy. This indicates that the ancient hatred between the seamen of the east coast and those of the Cinque and western ports was still rife. Further orders on the same subject were transmitted to the admirals, and also to the bailiffs of Yarmouth, on August 5th.
On August 16th, the king issued a noteworthy mandate to the two admirals, declaring that twenty-six of the enemy's galleys were in the ports of Brittany and Normandy, waiting for an opportunity to act against England, and that they were to be proceeded against. It is noteworthy because it contains the following explicit claim to the dominion of the seas: "We, considering that our progenitors, Kings of England, were Lords of the English Sea on every side, and also defenders against invasions of enemies before these times, should be much grieved if our royal honour in such defence should perish or be in aught diminished in our time (which God forbid), and are desirous (the Lord helping) to obviate such perils, and to provide for the defence and safety of our realm and people, and to avert the malice of our foes."
Ships were summoned from Ireland to assist the admirals; vessels which had been released were re-arrested; and the Downs was given as the rendezvous for the whole force. Yet the enemy managed to win several successes. At the end of August, a squadron of galleys appeared off the Isle of Wight, attacked some of the king's ships at anchor there, and after killing some, and throwing overboard others, of the crew, carried the vessels and their cargoes to Normandy. Upon this, all the ships at Southampton and Great Yarmouth were ordered out. In September, so unsafe was the Channel that Sir Geoffrey Say was warned to afford special protection, against a force lying at Calais, to some English ambassadors who were about to cross from Wissant; and the barons of Dover were desired to co-operate with him. English vessels were attacked even in English harbours, and carried off; and so serious was the evil that a special commission, consisting of Sir William Clinton, Warden of the Cinque Ports, Sir Ralph Bassett, of Drayton, Sir Richard Talbot, and Sir Geoffrey Say was appointed, to send to sea every serviceable ship, seaman, and fighting-man that could be laid hands on.
The situation would have been still worse than it actually was if the laws of neutrality had been everywhere as laxly observed as they commonly were in those days. Happily, Sicily and Genoa were, for a time at least, loyal to Edward. When the enemy attempted to hire galleys there, the vessels were prevented by the authorities from putting to sea. The Genoese even burnt the galleys of some who seemed disinclined to obey the orders which had been given. Edward wrote cordial letters of thanks to both States, and took the opportunity afforded by the dispatch of the messages to hire some galleys and vissers, manned and armed, for his own service, and to conciliate the Genoese by paying them 8000 marks in respect of one of the dromons which had been piratically seized by Hugh le Despencer in 1321. As the Scots were regarded by Edward as rebels without belligerent rights, the letting out of the ships by Genoa to England, while a friendly action, was also a perfectly correct one. France, Flanders, Holland, Gelderland, and Norway were less nice. All of them for some time covertly helped the Scots; and in September, 1336, Flanders went further, and seized all the English merchants and property its territories; whereupon Edward retaliated upon Flamands and their property in England.
To reduce the danger to trading ships, two regular convoys were organised at the end of the year for the trade to and from Gascony. One was directed to make rendezvous at Portsmouth, for the benefit of the merchants of the southern and western ports; and the other at Orwell, for the benefit of the merchants of the ports north of the Thames. In November, Sir John Roos seems to have succeeded Sir John Norwich as admiral in the North Sea; but it is nowhere implied that the two convoys, which assembled in December, were accompanied either by this officer or by Sir Geoffrey Say, both of whom probably remained in home waters.
Bayonne was again called upon for ships; but the response, if not from thence, at least from some of the English ports, was so unsatisfactory—and the enemy still committed so many outrages at sea, notably off the Isle of Wight and in the Channel Islands—that on December 11th, Edward appointed a new commission of national defence, to consist of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, the Earls of Surrey and Lancaster, and Sir William Clinton, and, in his mandate to these officers, once more dwelt upon the sorrow which it would cause him if, in his time, the lordship of the sea, and of the passage of the sea, as enjoyed by his progenitors, should be in aught prejudiced.
At about the same time, Edward, perhaps in consequence of the irritation occasioned him by the succour which his enemies repeatedly received in French ports, and by Philip's aggressions in Aquitaine, began to style himself King of France. The earliest known documents in which he used the title are dated in October, 1337; but, as Edward claimed as the son of Isabella, and as the old line of French kings had died out as early as 1328, it is improbable that no formal assertion of the claim was made until nearly ten years had elapsed. On the other hand, it is quite likely that, but for Philip's breaches of neutrality, the claim would have never been pressed, and the "hundred years' war" between England and France would have been avoided.
At the beginning of 1337, a fleet was ordered to assemble at Portsmouth by March 15th, with thirteen weeks' stores and provisions on board, for service on the west coast against the Scots; and all other vessels, save those sailing under the king's special licence, were arrested. On January 14th, Sir Robert Ufford was associated with Sir John Roos in the command in the North Sea, and Sir William Montacute was appointed admiral on the west; on January 16th, Nicholas Ususmaris, a Genoese, was made vice-admiral of the king's ships belonging to Aquitaine; and when, on February 6th, the northern fleet was given rendezvous at Orwell, and the western fleet at Plymouth, twenty ships belonging to the latter were directed to be detached, apparently under Sir John Norwich, for Aquitaine, where, it may be supposed, they joined the squadron of Ususmaris. Yet another squadron was organised in March, April, or May, at Bayonne, the command of it being, so far as can be seen, conferred upon Peter de Puyano; and two ships were directed to be dispatched from Lynn, to capture or destroy five vessels of Flanders alleged to be loading at Sluis with arms and provisions for Aberdeen.
In spite, however, of the large English naval force in commission, some French galleys, under Nicolas Béhuchet, found their way across the Channel, and, approaching under cover of the English flag, landed a body of troops near Portsmouth, and captured, plundered, and burnt almost the whole of the town, excepting a hospital and the parish church. Presently, according to some chroniclers, the inhabitants rallied, and drove off the enemy, killing many of them; but others represent the French as having withdrawn without loss. The date of this descent remains in doubt, but it was almost certainly in 1337. In the following year, the inhabitants, on account of their misfortune, were exempted from taxation. The depredators, after leaving Portsmouth, landed in Guernsey, ravaged the island, and burnt St. Peter Port. These and other events of the two succeeding years show how far Edward then was from enjoying that dominion of the seas which he claimed, and which he later, for time, most triumphantly asserted. For example, the position of affairs in the North Sea was such, that when, in the summer of 1337, the Bishop of Lincoln and the Earls of Salisbury and Huntingdon were about to return from an embassy to the continent, "certain aliens and other pirates" made bold to collect a squadron with the intention of seizing the mission while on its way home. Edward was obliged to order Sir John Roos, with forty of the best vessels obtainable from Yarmouth, St. Nicholas, and Kirkley, to Dordrecht, to convey the ambassadors, who, in all probability, would otherwise have been taken and held to ransom.
The Scots war was, nevertheless, not neglected, nor were the aims and objects of France lost sight of. On its return to England, the squadron of Sir John Roos took two Scots ships, homeward bound from Flanders, with men, money, and stores, destined by the King of France for the succour of Scotland. Among those on board the prizes were the Bishop of Glasgow, Sir John Stewart, David de la Hay, and some noble ladies, most of whom were killed by the captors, though whether in fair fight or after surrender does not appear. It seems probable, however, that quarter was not generally refused, for it is recorded that the bishop, after being mortally wounded, died ere he could be landed at Sandwich.
In June, orders were sent to the Bayonnese to the effect that, since France was preparing a large fleet for operations against English trade, they were to put to sea with as many ships as possible, and join the vice-admiral, Nicholas Ususmaris. The united force was to sweep to the north-east, carefully examining all the French ports and coasts, and taking or destroying every hostile craft that might be met with; but vessels of Germany, Zeeland, Holland, Brittany, Spain, Portugal, Genoa, and other countries in friendship with the king, were not to he molested. It is strange that, although the services of this united fleet were urgently called for to repress a very imminent danger, permission was given that, before sailing, the ships might load at Bayonne with wine and other merchandise for England; but it seems to have been felt that compliance with the king's commands was not to be expected unless the duty was made as easy as possible to all concerned; and, as the issue in this and other cases proved, it was, in fact, most difficult to bring about, at this period, anything like satisfactory co-operation for the protection of threatened points and threatened interests.
Meanwhile, beacons, in charge of four or six soldiers, were, as on previous occasions, established along the coasts, to give warning of the approach of hostile vessels, and, if necessary, to assist in repelling them; and on August 11th, Sir Walter Manny was appointed Admiral of the Northern, and Sir Bartholomew Burghersh, Admiral of the Western Fleet.
Sir John de Athy has already been mentioned as having been Admiral of the Irish Fleet in 1335. In the summer and autumn of 1337, he was employed, with other officers, to arrest and arm ships in some of the northern ports. But he appears to have carried out the objects of his commission with very little energy; for, in September, and again in November, he was severely reprimanded for permitting Scots, Flemish, and French vessels to pass to Scotland with stores; and after the close of he year he does not seem to have been employed at sea.
But, at about he same time, commendable activity was displayed by other officers, and a most gratifying success was obtained. Off Sluis there then lay an island, now an inland village, called Gadzand. This had been for some time past held by a company of Flamand freebooters, who had inflicted much damage upon English trade, and whom it was most desirable to dislodge. An expedition against the place was organised under Henry, Earl of Derby, and Sir Walter Manny, who embarked at London with five hundred men-at-arms and two thousand archers, dropped down the river, and, having arrived off Margate, crossed from thence to the mouth of the Scheldt. The expedition made Gadzand on November 10th, and, wind and tide being favourable, attacked immediately, "in the name of God and St. George." The Flamands, to the number of five thousand, were under Guy of Flanders, brother of Count Louis, and were drawn up on the shore and on the dykes above it. The English squadron sailed directly into the harbour, clearing the sands with flights of arrows, and then throwing ashore all available hands. A close and furious fight ensued; and although the Flamands behaved most stubbornly, and lost a thousand men, they were at last defeated, and Guy was taken. Gadzand was stormed, sacked, and burnt, and Sir Walter Manny, returning, reached Orwell about November 20th, to the great satisfaction of the king. On the 24th, orders were sent down to Manny to use his discretion as to putting again to sea, but, in any event, not to remain absent from Orwell or Sandwich for more than three weeks.
In January, 1338, two of the king's galleys, respectively commanded by John de Aurea and Nicholas Glaucus, convoyed a flotilla of storeships to the army in Scotland; and Nicholas Ususmaris, who had returned from his cruise, and who had been made Constable of Bordeaux, was dispatched on a mission to Genoa, to thank the authorities of that place for some offer of assistance, and to beg them to arrest any vessels that might be fitting out there by the enemies of England. This step was, no doubt, part of new general policy which Edward seems to have adopted at about the beginning of the year. His desire was to consolidate all his foreign alliances as much as possible; to assure himself as to who were his friends, who were his enemies, and who might be counted upon for neutrality; and so to simplify his position as to enable him presently to hurl almost the whole of his power against France, and to make good his claim to the French crown. In further pursuance of this object, he resolved. in February, to go personally to Flanders, to endeavour to persuade his allies there to afford him substantial support in the coming final struggle.
Sir Walter Manny, and the Sheriffs of Kent, Sussex, and fifteen other counties, were peremptorily directed to arrest ships, and to impress men, armour, and stores for the contemplated expedition. Manny's squadron was ordered to make rendezvous at Great Yarmouth, and the squadron of Sir Bartholomew Burghersh at Orwell, by the fortnight after Easter. But the arrangements were interfered with, owing to the threatening attitude assumed by France with respect to Aquitaine; and early in March, Burghersh was instructed to send seventy large ships of his command to Portsmouth, to carry across troops for the defence of the Duchy, as well, it may be assumed, as to repress the activity of the enemy in the Channel. Jersey and Guernsey had been raided; the shores of the Isle of Wight had been ravaged; and numerous merchantmen had been taken. Indeed, such was the panic caused by the movements of the French, that persons who had goods and chattels near the seaboard were enjoined to remove them at least four leagues inland.
It is not, therefore, astonishing that the preparations for the Flanders expedition went forward much more slowly than had been anticipated. The king's anger fell upon Manny and Burghersh who, on April 15th, were forcibly reminded that they were not doing all that had been expected of them, and who were eventually superseded, in consequence, apparently, of their supposed supineness, though not until after the fleets had sailed.
Pending the delay, a treaty with Flanders was executed in June without the personal intervention of Edward. It was agreed that the Flamands should not aid the Scots; that they should remain neutral in the dispute between Edward and "Sir Philip de Valois, styling himself King of France"; and that there should be free trade between England and Flanders, on the Flamands showing "their sign called coket, or charterparties." It was further agreed that Edward should not cross Flanders to operate against the territories which the Flamands held of France, and that, if he or his forces entered any Flanders harbour, the English ships should not remain for more than one tide, unless compelled by obvious stress of weather.
King Edward sailed from Orwell on July 16th; and being joined at sea by the fleet from Great Yarmouth, with troops under the Earl of Lancaster, landed at Antwerp on the day following. Manny and Burghersh seem to have been then still in command. But on July 28th, Sir Thomas Dryton was appointed "Vice-Admiral" of the Northern, and Peter Bard "Vice-Admiral" of the Western Fleet; and, as in a document of a little later date, each of these officers is styled "Admiral" of his respective fleet, there is small doubt that their commissions were not supplementary to, but rather supersessory of, those of Manny and Burghersh. Just before his departure for the continent, Edward, still perhaps cherishing some hope of peaceably obtaining concessions from France, dispatched the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Durham to treat with Philip; but the French king was in no humour to change his attitude by one hair's breadth.
The date of one or two naval events belonging to about this period cannot now be fixed with exactness. Indeed, the details of the events are involved in much obscurity; and it may be well, therefore, to simply transcribe the accounts as given by that laborious historian, Sir Harris Nicolas.
"Numerous galleys," he says, "landed at Southampton on a Sunday, while the inhabitants were at mass, and their crews, which consisted partly of Normans and partly of Genoese, sacked the town, killed many of the inhabitants, hung some of them in their own houses, and committed other atrocities. They then set the town on fire, carried their booty to their ships, and, as soon as the flood-tide made, disanchored and proceeded to Dieppe. Except the statement of Minor, this is the only contemporary account of that affair; but it is said by modern writers that, before the enemy reached their ships, they were attacked by a small force under Sir John Arundell, who killed no less than three hundred of them, including a son of the King of Sicily. To some extent this assertion agrees with Minor, who says the injuries committed had been much overrated, and that ample revenge was taken on the French."
Nicolas says again: "A very gallant action was fought in this (1338) or early in the following year, and apparently soon after the attack upon Southampton, by two English ships—one, the pride of the English Navy, called the Christopher, and the other the Edward, which were returning with rich cargoes from Flanders, in company with three smaller vessels—against a French squadron. It is extraordinary that so honourable a conflict should not be mentioned by any native chronicler of the period; and all that is known of the affair, except from modern winters, are the statements in Froissart, in the continuation of De Nangis, and the rhyming description of Minor. Froissart merely says, under the year 1340, that the combined French and Genoese fleets, containing forty thousand soldiers, did great damage to the English, especially at Dover, Sandwich, Winchelsea, Hastings, and Rye, and at other places on the sea-coast; that no vessel could leave England without being plundered, and the crew taken or slain; and that they captured the beautiful large ship called the Christopher, which had cost the king much money, on her passage to Flanders, laden with wool, and that all on board were either killed or drowned, whereat the French talked much, being greatly rejoiced with their conquest. The continuation of De Nangis simply states, that 'two notable ships of the King of England, whereof one was called the Christopher, and the other the Edward, with some common ships heavily laden, were captured at sea dy the French, but not without much blood-shed, for upwards of a thousand English were there slain, and the battle lasted for nearly a whole day.' There is nothing in this account to show the force or loss of the French, nor the time or place of the event. Minot gives more details, but verse is not a satisfactory vehicle for nautical, nor indeed for any other facts. He says that after the French galleys quitted Southampton, they proceeded towards Zeeland and Flanders, and discovered the Christopher at 'Armouth'; that their fleet consisted of more than forty-eight galleys, two carracks, many galliots, and a number of small boats; that, though King Edward was not there at the moment, he soon heard of the arrival of the French, and went with his soldiers to his ships, and found the galley-men were superior by more than hundred to one; that a conflict ensued, in which the English slew sixty French for every ten of their own men: that the English fought both day and night, but were overcome at last by the superior numbers of the enemy. And he adds, that never before did men fight better than the English on that occasion. It will be observed that Minot says nothing of the Edward, and his account of the matter is manifestly imperfect, if not incorrect. The Christopher did not, however, long grace the French navy."
It may possibly be that the Christopher and Edward were two of the four large English ships which, having been sent, during King Edward's presence at Antwerp, to Middelburg, were there captured by French war-galleys. Certain it is that, in this period of the darkness before the dawn, the French at sea did much as they chose. There were fears lest they might seize vessels in English ports, and Sir Thonms Drayton, in the north, and Peter Bard, in the west, were ordered in October, 1338. to arrest additional ships, men, and stores, to guard from capture the wool-ships which were collecting in order to proceed to the king in Flanders. The French fleet, the operations of which were thus feared, was substantially the same as the one which had attacked Portsmouth, and was composed of Genoese—who served both sides with great indifference—Normans, Bretons, Picards, and Spaniards, under, among others, Hughes Quiéret, Nicolas Béhuchet, and Egidio Bocanegra, who, generally known as "Barbenoire" or "Blackbeard," directed the Genoese galleys. Drayton and Bard were enjoined to watch this force; to attack it wheresoever they should find it; to use Southampton as their base for obtaining provisions and other supplies; to combine together if necessary for concerted action; and to prevent their crews from quarrelling. But the country, in those early days, had not learnt to repose much confidence in its navy; and on October 23rd, the municipal authorities of London were ordered to prepare against a possible attack on the part of the enemy by fortifying the city on the river side with stone or timber, and by driving lines of piles across the Thames. They were also directed to compel all men deriving rents from the city, and all others, including ecclesiastics, to assist in the local defence. That instant notice might be given of the approach of a foe, only one bell of any church within seven leagues of the sea was to be rung, except in case of danger; a ringing of all bells being the signal agreed upon as a summons for the defence of the coast.
When Parliament met in London at the beginning of February, 1339, the Cinque Ports were ordered to furnish sixty ships, properly armed and manned; and on the 18th of the month, Sir Robert Morley was appointed Admiral of the Northern, and Sir William Trussell, Admiral of the Western Fleet.
At Easter, when the Normans made another attempt upon Southampton, with twelve galleys and eight pinnaces, having on board four thousand men, the inhabitants offered so good a show of resistance that the invaders drew off without venturing to fight; whereupon the Southampton people sent after them with the very handsome proposition that, if they would, they might peaceably disembark and refresh themselves for two days, provided that they would then fight, ten with ten, twenty with twenty, or as might be agreed upon; but the Normans neglected the challenge, and put to sea. More French freebooters threatened Southampton about the middle of May, but, finding the place defended, went elsewhere, making a raid on Hastings on the 27th, and subsequently harrying Thanet, Dover, and Folkestone, but doing little harm, except to the poor. On May 20th, other Frenchmen, with eighteen galleys and pinnaces, burnt a number of vessels, including seven belonging to Bristol, in the port of Plymouth; but the populace bravely ejected the invaders, losing eighty-nine men only, while the French lost, according to some accounts, about five hundred. Two days later, the enemy returned, and burnt all the ships in harbour, and many of the houses; but, the country forces collecting, the intruders retreated on the 25th, and revenged themselves by making a surprise descent on Southampton, and burning two ships there.
This was all very shameful, and, looking to the considerable strength of the naval forces which were then undoubtedly at the disposal of Edward, and to the efficiency of those forces as victoriously displayed no later than the year immediately following, is with difficulty explicable. Yet some minor successes were won. In July, for example, a large fleet of the enemy, consisting of thirty-two galleys, besides other craft, appeared off Sandwich; but, finding that preparations had been made for its reception, diverged to Rye, and there did a little damage before the English fleet approached, whereupon it took to flight, and was chased into Boulogue. The English entered the harbour after it, and managed to destroy several vessels, hang twelve captains, burn part of the town, and safely carry back to England a number of prizes. And soon afterwards, Sir Robert Morley, with a force which included the fleet of the Cinque Ports, burnt five towns in Normandy, and eighty ships. The tide of disaster and indignity was beginning to turn.
In September, 1339, a great French naval force was collected off Sluis, as a convenient base from which to act against King Edward's communications with England by sea. The crews bragged magniloquently to the Flamands of what they were going to do; but when, on October 2nd, the fleet put to sea, it encountered a very violent storm, which led to the destruction of more than half of the flotilla, and drove the rest of it back to Flanders.
At about the same time the English Parliament met for the second time that year. Discussion arose concerning the mischief done afloat by the French, who had seized Jersey; and much dissatisfaction was expressed at the fact that no English fleet was keeping the sea. The king directed the Commons to consider how the French could be attacked, how that which had been lost could be recovered, and how the custody of the sea could be undertaken; and declared that the navy of England was sufficient for all these objects, if only the people were willing. The Commons, in reply, professed their incapacity to advise on such matters, hut suggested that, as the barons of the Cinque Ports had always been honoured above all the commoners of the realm, and enjoyed privileges in return for keeping the sea against aliens, and as they did not contribute to any aids in respect of the land, and had exceptional advantages for rendering the required services, they ought to protect the seas, leaving the land to the Commons, and not expecting pay. As for the defence of the coasts, that ought to be attended to by the local landowners and other inhabitants. This sounds like a sullen and unpatriotic response. Yet one wise measure was passed. The English instinct for trade had induced many merchantmen to put to sea without guard or convoy, and in consequence a large proportion of them had been snapped up by a watchful and energetic enemy, to the great loss of valuable men and material. It was therefore determined that all ships should remain under arrest until the issue of further orders.
The barons of the Cinque Ports appear to have taken the hint conveyed to them by the Commons. Indeed, they could hardly do less, for the attitude of Parliament pointed to general discontent with the manner in which the privileged places did their duty, and foreshadowed an effort to deprive them of their charters unless they amended their ways. In December they conferred before the Earl of Huntingdon with the commanders of the ships of Bayonne concerning the equipment and disposition of the fleet against the French; and it seems to have been ultimately decided that the whole available force, united, should put to sea in January under the orders of the admiral of the Western division. The ships from Bayonne lay, in the interval, at Sandwich.
Parliament re-assembled in the middle of January, 1340. Naval matters chiefly demanded its attention; and a tenth was quickly granted by way of general aid. The people of the Cinque Ports undertook to have twenty-one of their own vessels, and nine ships belonging to the Thames, ready by March 26th; and the Council promised to pay half the cost, not, however, as wages, but of special grace. The people of the western ports engaged to furnish seventy ships of one hundred tons' burden and upwards, they paying as much as they were able of the cost, and the Council finding the rest of the money. All vessels of that tonnage belonging to Portsmouth and the ports westward of it were to make rendezvous at Portsmouth by March 26th, with the Earl of Arundel as their admiral, a. nd the Cinque Ports fleet was to assemble at Winchelsea, under the Earl of Huntingdon The admirals were to be directed to arrest all other vessels, and to place small ones in havens secure from the operations of the enemy; and proclamation was ordered to be made for all persons enjoying pardons for crimes committed to hold themselves ready to serve the king at sea and to take his wages. Measures were taken for the special protection of Southampton, which had already suffered so much at the hands of the French; and the place was garrisoned by Sir Richard Talbot, with fifty men-at-arms, a hundred archers, and two pinnaces dispatched thither from Milbrook.
Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, was appointed admiral of the western fleet on February 20th; and Sir Robert Morley was re-appointed admiral of the northern fleet on March 6th, 1340. The date of the appointment of William Clinton, Earl of Huntingdon, to the command of the Cinque Ports fleet does not appear, but was probably in February, if not before. These appointments are noteworthy, for they were preliminary to a greater success at sea than England had perhaps ever won over any opponents.
King Edward returned from Flanders, landing at Orwell on February 21st, with the intention of returning as soon as possible with the large naval force which was in process of assemblage. Vessels as small as of twenty tons' burden were equipped and manned and dispatched to Sandwich; and when, on March 29th, Parliament again met, it granted another aid, and ordered provisions to be sent to Sandwich and Southampton for the service of the fleet.
The king went to Ipswich in June, when forty ships awaited him at Orwell. About the tenth, when he was on the point of putting to sea, and when the horses had been already embarked, his Chancellor, the Archbishop of Canterbury, reported to him that the French had assembled an immense fleet off Sluis with a view to prevent him from landing; but as Edward disbelieved the intelligence, and declared that he would cross, no matter what might happen, the Chancellor returned the Great Seal. This induced the king to take further counsel; and he summoned Admiral Sir Robert Morley and Crabbe, probably the gallant Scotsman, John Crabbe, who had been so ill-treated by his thankless countrymen at Berwick seven years earlier. He asked them whether they believed that there would be danger in attempting the venture. As they were cognisant of the presence of the French fleet off Sluis, they were of the same mind as the Archbishop; whereupon Edward angrily said: "Ye and the Archbishop have agreed to tell the same story to prevent my crossing ... I will cross in spite of you, and ye, who are afraid where there is no fear, may stay at home." Both Morley and Crabbe declared that if the king went, he, and all who might accompany him, would run great danger; but that if he persisted, they would precede him, even to the death. The views of officers of such experience and bravery determined the king to renew his confidence in the Archbishop, to again entrust him with the Great Seal, and to collect more ships, as well from London as from the ports of the north and ;vest. In ten days, or, as Hemingford says, in seven, he had two hundred ships at his disposal, and more soldiers and archers than he needed.
At length, on June 20th, the king embarked in the cog Thomas, Captain Richard Fylle, attended by the Earls of Derby, Northampton, Arundel, and Huntingdon, the Bishops of Lincoln and Coventry, and the Lords Wake, Ferrers, his chamberlain, and Cobham, in whose presence the Archbishop of Canterbury, pleading his infirmities, finally and amicably resigned the Great Seal, which was broken up. A new one, whereon the arms of France were for the first time quartered with those of England, was delivered to Sir Nicholas de la Bèche, for transmission, through the Master of the Rolls, to the new chancellor, the Bishop of Chichester.
The armada sailed at about one o'clock on June 22nd. It consisted of two hundred vessels, and, upon sighting the coast of Flanders, it was joined by the northern fleet of probably about fifty sail, under Admiral Sir Robert Morley, who, it may be supposed, had been keeping touch with the enemy by means of his light craft. At noon on June 23rd, the combined fleets, then off Blankenberghe, descried the French, ten miles away, lying in the port of Sluis.
Edward himself puts the force of the enemy at one hundred and ninety ships, galleys, and great barges; Hemingford, at two hundred and fifty ships; Knighton, as well as Walsingham, at two hundred ships, besides other craft; Froissart, at upwards of one hundred and forty large vessels, besides sturdier ones; and, according to Jacob Meyer, Flamand writers place it as high as three hundred and eighty, or even four hundred sail of all kinds; but the king's estimate may be safely accepted as being likely to be as correct as any.
Upon sighting the enemy, Edward landed Sir Reginald de Cobham, Sir John Cundy, and Sir Stephen de Laburkin, with their horses, to reconnoitre. These gentlemen, riding along the coast, ascertained the strength and disposition of the foe, and discovered that there were with the French nineteen exceptionally large ships, including the captured Christopher, and that the fleet lay at anchor near the land in three divisions, irrespective of the small craft.
The French fleet, according to Edward, whose dispatch will be given later, was manned by above thirty-five thousand Normans, Picards, and Genoese. Froissart and Knighton say forty thousand; Walsingham says twenty-five thousand. It was commanded by Hugues Quiéret, Nicolas Béhuchet, and Egidio Bocanegra.
The tide on the afternoon of Friday, the 23rd, did not serve for the attack, and the English spent the latter part of the day in maturing their plans. In the meantime the French weighed and dropped down towards the mouth of the estuary on which Sluis then lay. Knighton says, as far as Grogne; and one of the continuators of De Nangis says, in the direction of Catat; but no places bearing these names can he identified. How far, in the subsequent action, the English were assisted, either on land or afloat, by the Flamands is a matter of doubt. Edward's account of the subject is obscure. English writers deny that any assistance was rendered; and although some French and Flamand writers assert that help was given, their versions of what occurred are vague and unsatisfactory.
The Lower Netherlands
(From a map by Thomas Kitchin, ex. 1750)
Nor have some other details, which would be of assistance to the proper understanding of the course of the engagement, been handed down. We do not know how the wind lay that day; we do not know how the land bore; we do not know the particulars of the order of battle on either side. We do know, however, that at sunrise on Saturday, the 24th, the two fleets were not far from one another, and that, owing to the tide, the English could not enter the port until about noon. High water on the day of the fight, on the coast near Sluis, occurred, as was ascertained by Sir G. B. Airy, at 11.23 a.m. and 11.46 p.m. Probably Edward desired to go in on the top of the flood, and had been unwilling, owing to the risks of a night action, to utilise the high tide of 10.58 on the night of the 23rd.
Edward disposed his best ships in his van, filling them with archers; and between each two of these large croft he stationed a vessel full of men-at-arms. The remaining small ships, with archers on board, formed the second division, and acted as reserve. Several ladies of high rank, who intended to join the queen at Ghent, were with the fleet. Three hundred men-at-arms were assigned for their protection. and, in probability, they were transshipped to the transports or storeships, and placed in comparative safety out of the way of the fighting vessels.
The French fleet, which had been in three divisions, was now in four, the ships of each division being fastened to one another by iron chains and by cables. Each had a small boat full of stones triced up to the mast, so that the men in the tops could fling the stones upon the English decks. In the van of the fleet, as if in contemptuous defiance, were the Christopher, commanded by John Heyla, a Flamand, and full of Genoese archers, and three other large cogs, the Edward, the Katherine, and the Rose, all of which were prizes captured from the English.
Upon the whole, the presumption is that, before the action began, the French were under sail in the mouth of the estuary, heading slowly to the north-west, with a gentle breeze from the north-east, and that the English were nearly due west of the foe. Soon after 11 a.m., Edward ordered his fleet to prepare for action, and to make sail on the starboard tack, to gain the wind. This manœuvre appears to have been misinterpreted by the French, who imagined from it that the English were loath to fight. Avesbury says that the English thus stood off because they realised that they could not break the French line, the ships of which were chained together; and that, deceived by the apparent flight, the French then cast off and gave chase. That any ineffectual attempt to break the line was ever made is altogether improbable; yet it may well be that the French were betrayed into separating, as Avesbury represents. All that is quite certain is that eventually the English gained the wind, and then bore down upon the enemy, the battle beginning at about noon.
Admiral Sir Robert Morley opened with an attack upon one of the van ships, probably the Christopher, the re-capture of which was ardently desired throughout the English fleet; and he was well seconded by the ships of the Earls of Huntingdon and Northampton. Sir Walter Manny's was the fourth ship to be engaged. As the other vessels crowded up there was a general mélée, the ships grappling one another, and the men boarding with swords, axes, and pikes, while the archers in their rear discharged showers of arrows. The French fought with determination and gallantry, and the slaughter was prodigious, four hundred dead being found in one ship alone; but the English impetuosity was not to be resisted, and ere long several vessels of the French van were in their possession. Among these were the four much-coveted English prizes. The Christopher was at once manned by her old owners, and sent to the attack of the Genoese galleys.
The collapse of their van disheartened the enemy, and the other divisions, instead of maintaining the contest, endeavoured to make off. But the second and third, consisting of somewhat smaller craft, were presently surrounded, and their crews, flinging away their arms in panic, rushed to their boats, most of which they swamped, a loss of two thousand men being alleged to have been caused by this fact alone. Some of the fugitives reached two large French ships, the Saint Denis and the Saint Georges, which seemed to have succeeded in getting away. Most of the fourth division, consisting of the Genoese galleys, also escaped; but, with these exceptions, the fleet of France was almost entirely taken or destroyed. The fourth division was pursued by a detached force, said to have been commanded by John Crabbe; but, though losing heavily, it beat off its assailants, and even took or destroyed two of them, one being a ship containing the king's wardrobe, and the other a vessel belonging to Hull. Part, however, of the force, stated at twenty-four ships, which thus temporarily got away, was captured a few days after the battle, so that the catastrophe was as nearly as possible complete. The action lasted for ten or twelve hours, and in that time the French and their allies lost about twenty-five thousand, and the English about four thousand men. Hugues Quiéret appears to have fallen; Béhuchet was taken, and, perhaps in revenge for the atrocities which he had committed on the coasts of England, was killed, and hanged to the mast of one of his own ships. The only person of importance killed on the English side was Sir Thomas de Monthermer, first cousin to the king. All authorities agree that the battle was one of the most bloody and desperate on record.
It is interesting to note the names of some of the nobles and others who, by their conduct on June 24th, 1340, contributed to the gaining of this great victory. Among them are Henry, Earl of Lancaster (then Earl of Derby), Lawrence, Earl of Pembroke, Richard, Earl of Arundel, Humphrey, Earl of Hereford and Essex, William, Earl of Huntingdon, Hugh, Earl of Gloucester, Sir Robert Morley (Lord Morley), Reginald, Lord Cobham, Henry, Lord Percy, Roger, Lord de la Warr, Sir John Beauchamp, Sir Richard Stafford, Sir Walter Manny, Sir John Chandos, Sir William Felton, Sir Thomas Bradeston, Sir William Trussell, Robert, Count of Artois, Henry of Flanders, and probably Henry, Lord Ferrers of Groby. For conspicuous valour during the battle, a young esquire, Nele Loring, afterwards K.G. received his knighthood. Loring belonged to a family which has since given several distinguished officers to the British Navy, and which may fairly claim to be one of the oldest naval families in existence.
It is remarkable that rumours of the victory prevailed in London as early as the 25th; but King Edward did not send off his official dispatch until the 28th, and this could not have reached his son, Prince Edward, who was at Waltham Abbey, before June 30th, or July 1st. Some days after the action, the king, accompanied by a brilliant suite, landed in state to return thanks at the shrine of Our Lady of Ardenberg. Thence he rode to Ghent, where he met the queen.
Edward's letter to his son is the earliest English naval dispatch in existence, and for this, as well as for other reasons, derves quotation. A copy of the original is preserved in the archives of the City of London, and is in French. The following is a translation of it:—
"Very dear Son—We are persuaded that you are desirous to know good news of us, and how we have fared since our departure from England. Therefore we would have you learn that on the Thursday after the day when we quitted the port of Orwell, we sailed all day and the night following; and on Friday, about the hour of noon, we arrived upon the coast of Flanders, before Blankenberghe, where we had a sight of the fleet of our enemies, who were all crowded together in the port of the Swyn; and seeing that the tide did not serve us to close with them, we lay to all that night. On Saturday, St. John's Day, soon after the hour of noom, at high tide, in the name of God, and confident in our just quarrel, we entered the said port upon our said enemies. who had assembled their ships in very strong array, and who made a most noble defence all that day and the night afterwards; but God, by His power and miracle, granted us the victory over them our enemies, for which we thank Him as devoutly as we are able. And we would have you know that the number of the ships, galleys, and large barges of our enemies, amounted to one hundred and ninety, and that they were all taken, save twenty-four altogether, which fled, and some of which are since taken at sea. And the number of men-at-arms and other armed people amounted thirty-five thousand, of which number, by estimation, five thousand have escaped; and the rest, as we are given to understand by some people who have been taken alive, lie dead in many places m the coast of Flanders. On the other hand, all our ships, that is to say, the Christopher, and the others which were lost at Middelburg, are now re-taken; and the are taken in this fleet three or four as large as the Christopher. The Flamands were inclined to come over to us in the battle from first to last ('estoient de bone volente davoir venuz a no' ala bataille du comencement tunqe ala fin.') Thus God, our Lord, has shown abundant favour for which we and all our friends are ever bound to render him grace and thanks. Our purpose is to remain in peace in the river, until we have taken in hand certain questions with our allies and our other friends in Flanders, concerning what is to be done. Very dear Son, may God be your keeper.
"Given under our secret seal in our ship the cog Thomas. Wednesday, the eve of St. Peter and St. Paul."
Immediately after the receipt of this despatch, the news of the victory was publicly announced by a proclamation which was nominally addressed by the king to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and which expressed gratitude to God fur the mercy vouchsafed to the country, and ordered general prayer and thanksgiving. This was dated "in the fourteenth year of our reign of England, and in the first of our reign of France." On July 9th, the king wrote to Parliament, requesting an aid, and referring the Peers and others, for details of the victory, to Huntingdon, Arundel, Gloucester, and Trussell. Parliament met, after adjournment, on the 13th, and intelligence of the victory was then formally communicated to it. The royal demands were willingly granted, and provisions and wine were ordered for the refreshment of the fleet.
Nicolas is is of opinion that in many particulars the Battle of Sluis did not surpass, even if it equalled, Hubert de Burgh's victory off the South Foreland in 1217. De Burgh certainly displayed high strategic and tactical ability, as well as extraordinary bravery; whereas Edward, beyond manœuvring for the wind, and, as some of the historians say, to avoid having to fight with the sun in his eyes, employed both strategy and tactics but little. And it must be admitted that the record of Sluis seems to suggest that the division of Bocanegra, which escaped, may have failed in its duty. Yet both victories were gained against superior forces; and from the point of view of completeness, the second scarcely fell short of the first: while, on both sides, there were far larger forces off Sluis than at the South Foreland.
The failure of the French, whose gallantry upon the occasion has never been impeached, may he attributed, among other causes, to the fact that, cæteris paribus, an allied fleet can never be as strong as a homogeneous one, and to the circumstance that they waited to accept battle in comparatively narrow waters instead of going out and obtaining plenty of sea room. They should, undoubtedly have assumed the offensive. Jealousy between the two French admirals, incompetence on the part of Béhuchet, and unsatisfactory personnel, have been alleged by French authors as additional explanations of the result; and these writers also lay great weight upon the assistance supposed to have been rendered to Edward by the Flamands; hut concerning such points as these it is difficult, in default of adequate evidence, to offer any conclusions. One fact stands out beyond dispute. Sluis was a severe blow to France, and a glorious and substantial addition to the naval renown of England.
In August of the same year, the Admirals of the North and West, and of the Cinque Ports, were ordered to proceed to sea in company, with their united fleets, to cruise against the Normans and Spaniards, who were reported to be in search of English merchantmen; but no hostile encounter took place. On September 25th, a nine months' truce was concluded with France; and on November 30th, King Edward arrived at the Tower from Flanders.
There is no specific account extant of what Genoese galleys were captured of those which escaped from Sluis under Bocanegra; but six Genoese galleys appear to have been taken off Brittany sometime in the course of this year; for, two years later, their fate was still a subject of correspondence between Edward and the Duke of Genoa, who seems to have done very little to prevent his subjects and even his relatives from aiding the enemies of England, and to have treated Edward, his nominal ally, with scant courtesy.
Although the truce with France was not to expire until June, 1341, English preparations for the re-opening of the hostilities began as early as February, when all vessels of sixty tons and upwards were ordered to be ready for sea, and properly armed, by April 16th. In April, Admiral Sir Robert Morley was directed to provide a hundred small transports with a view to the king's passage to the continent; and on June 4th, Edward accepted an offer of ships from Bayonne, asked for more, and desired the Bayonnese to appoint an admiral to command their contingent. Peter de Puyano was, as in 1337, appointed to this office. But a prolongation of the truce for a year appeared to render unnecessary any immediate measures for defence and offence; and vessels were being returned to peaceful employment, when an entirely new cause of quarrel arose with France.
The Duchy of Brittany had become vacant by the death of Duke John. France supported the claim of Charles, Count of Blois, in right of his wife; Edward espoused the claim of John, Count of Montfort, who judiciously did homage to him in England as King of France. French troops were thrown into the disputed territory; England levied an army; and in October the Cinque Ports fleet was called out and ordered to Portsmouth by November 18th, and numerous vessels were arrested in the ports of the west. In February, 1342, more ships were summoned, and directed to make rendezvous at Orwell by March 24th; and Admiral Sir Walter Manny, who was appointed to command them, was enjoined to seize all the ports and fortified places on the coast of Brittany, on behalf of Montfort. He seems to have succeeded in sailing on March 20th. There was urgent need for his services, for the Countess of Montfort was besieged by the Count of Blois in the town of Hennebont, near Lorient. Nevertheless, Manny, who carried with him a thousand archers and a hundred and twenty men-at-arms, met with contrary winds, and was sixty days on his passage; and the garrison was upon the point of surrendering when he arrived and quickly raised the siege. Froissart relates that as a reward for their opportune succour, the Countess kissed Sir Walter Manny and his companions one after the other, two or three times.
The Count of Blois had the advantage of the co-operation of Don Luis de la Cerda, one of the best naval commanders of the age, who assisted him with a Hispano-Genoese squadron, and, having captured Dinan, invested Guerande, in which port he took many vessels laden with wine from Poitou and La Rochelle. Utilising these craft, he captured the place, and then, re-embarking, cruised, with other Spaniards and Genoese, along the coast, but landed to ravage Quimperlé. Manny, with Sir Amery de Clisson, embarked three thousand archers and pursued the marauders. The English found the enemy's ships at anchor off the coast below Quimperlé, and, boarding them, put their crews to the sword and captured immense booty. Leaving three hundred archers to defend the fleet and the prizes, the victors landed, and defeated the enemy very signally on shore.
But though Manny did so well, the modest force at his disposal was, of course, insufficient for the entire conduct of the campaign; and, after King Edward had held a kind of naval council at Westminster in April, a large fleet was assembled at Portsmouth in July. It sailed at about the end of the month, under the Earl of Northampton, who had been appointed the King's Lieutenant in France and Brittany, and who was accompanied by Robert of Artois, the Earl of Devon, Lords Stafford and D'Arcy, and other noblemen.
Froissart mentions an action which, if ever fought at all—of which there is some doubt,—must have been fought by this fleet in the course of its passage. The enemy, which is represented as having been in superior force, is said to have been commanded by Don Luis de la Cerda, Carlo Grimaldi, and Otto Doria; and the battle is reported to have been interrupted by bad weather, and to have terminated indecisively. Possibly some meeting of the fleets did take place, but, as no note of it is made by any contemporary English writer, and as English writers can scarcely have had any reason for being deliberately silent concerning it, it may be concluded that the affair was at best of inconsiderable importance.
By way of reprisals for the capture by French subjects during the truce of a rich ship of London, the king, on July 10th, ordered all Frenchmen in London. Southampton, Wells, St. Botolph, Lynn, Ipswich, and New Sarum, to be imprisoned, and their goods seized. In the meantime, on or before April 10th, Sir John Montgomery had been appointed Admiral of the Western fleet, and preparations were made for the transit to Brittany of the king in person. Ships were stringently arrested, and public prayers were offered for the success of the expedition.
Edward embarked at Sandwich in the George, and on October 4th, on board that ship, delivered the Great Seal to the new Chancellor. Next day he made the Duke of Cornwall guardian of the kingdom during his absence; and, sailing soon afterwards, he landed at Brest, towards the end of the month. He was there joined by Sir Walter Manny. Siege was laid to Vannes, the fleet cooperating; but the ships would have been more useful at sea, where Don Luis de la Cerda, Carlo Grimaldi, and Otto Doria, were cruising and intercepting communications. On one occasion these chiefs found a small English squadron lying in a bay near Vannes, and sank and took seven ships composing it ere they were driven off by the troops from before the town. After this experience, Edward sent part of his fleet into Brest, and part into Hennebont—a disgraceful, and almost inexplicable confession of his failure to take advantage of the victory which he had won at Sluis, only two years before, and which ought to have established him in the mastery of the seas about his dominions.
In December, 1342, Sir Robert Beaupel superseded, or was joined with, Sir John Montgomery as Admiral of the Western, and Sir William Trussell superseded Sir Robert Morley as Admiral of the Northern fleet; and, in the following January, both were preparing to convey fresh armies to Brittany, when, on the 19th, a three years and eight months' truce with France was concluded at Vannes. Edward, who immediately set out to return to England, had a most prolonged and dangerous voyage. He was driven by contrary winds to the coast of Spain, lost two or three ships, and did not reach Weymouth until March 2nd, after a five weeks' passage.
No reliance was placed upon the long duration of the truce, and while, on the one hand. the garrisons in Brittany were reinforced, on the other, measures were taken to strengthen and refit the navy. As on some previous occasions, assessors were summoned to advise with the king in council on nautical matters; the Cinque Ports, having failed to equip eight large ships which were required of them, were reminded of their duty; and a commission was ordered to Gascony to endeavour to effect an alliance with the Kings of Portugal, Castille, and Aragon. In May, 1344, Sir Reginald de Cobham was made Admiral of the Western, and Robert, Earl of Suffolk, Admiral of the Northern fleet.
Philip of France violated the truce even sooner than had been expected, "it being his firm purpose to destroy the English language and to seize the territory of England." Edward, at the request of Parliament, prepared to proceed to Gascony; and the admirals were directed to arrest all vessels, including even large boats and fishing smacks, with a view to setting sail in September.
Egidio Bocanegra was by this time in the service of the King of Castille. He had honourably received on board his galleys the Earl of Derby, and other members of the commission which had been sent to Gascony: and when these noblemen returned in August, they brought with them the great adventurer's offer to serve even the King of England, for pay. Edward wrote on September to thank Blackbeard, and sent an envoy to talk matters over with him.
In October, 1344, an embargo was laid upon all English shipping; but no active operations of any importance were undertaken by sea during the year; and it would appear that the French cruisers in the Channel continued to have much their own way. On February 23rd, 1345, Richard, Earl of Arundel, was made Admiral of the Western fleet; and at about the same time the Earl of Suffolk, with Richard Donyngton as his lieutenant, appears to have been re-appointed to the fleet of the north. More ships were arrested; the full service of the Cinque Ports was ordered to be ready at Sandwich by May 6th; and troops and supplies were sent to Brittany and Gascony. Arrangements were also completed for the king's passage to Flanders; and Edward sailed thither from Sandwich on July 3rd in a flute called the Swallow, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, the Earls of Huntingdon and Suffolk, and large suite. He reached Sluis two or three days later; but, being unsuccessful in his efforts to induce the Flamands to transfer their allegiance to the Prince of Wales, he re-embarked, and returned to Sandwich on July 26th. Ere he quitted the soil of the Netherlands, his cause there received a deadly blow in the murder of his most influential ally. Jacob van Artevelde, the leader of the popular party, who was slain in his own house at Ghent, after having practically ruled the major part of Flanders for eight years with the title of Ruwaard, or Protector.
In the course of the summer, some ships and galleys from Bayonne, under Bernard of Toulouse, retook Cornet Castle, Jersey: and in August, when they joined the English fleet, Bernard was ordered to hand over the castle to Sir Thomas de Ferrers, and then to return to Bayonne. It was probably felt that in view of the naval activity of France, his presence was more urgently required in the waters of Gascony than in those of the Channel. Moreover Edward still meditated the immediate resumption of active operations on French soil. The admirals were directed to be ready to carry him thither in October; but for one reason or another, the voyage was postponed, first until the middle of February, and finally until July, 1346. In the meantime more ships had come to England from Bayonne, and Peter Donyngan had received command of them, with instructions to arrest other Bayonnese vessels for the royal service.
The Pope made efforts to stay hostilities which, in consequence of the magnitude of the preparations on both sides, threatened to be of an unusually bloody, and perhaps of a decisive character; but to the cardinals, his emissaries, Edward wrote on July 2nd, from Porchester, that he was then about to proceed to France, and had no leisure to speak with them. He embarked from the Isle of Wight on the 10th, and sailed on the 11th with a fleet estimated by Avesbury at a thousand vessels, and by others at eleven hundred large and five hundred small craft. With him, in addition to many noblemen, went the Prince of Wales, ten thousand archers, four thousand men-at-arms, and a number of Irish and Welsh foot-soldiers. On Wednesday, July 12th, the fleet reached La Hogue, and the king at once landed; but the disembarkation of troops and stores was not completed uutil Tuesday, the 18th.
Much of the fleet was immediately sent back to England; but two hundred vessels, with four hundred archers and a hundred men-at-arms, under the Earl of Huntingdon, were retained to operate along the coast. At La Hogue, eleven French ships, eight of which had fore and stern castles, were taken and burnt; at Barfleur, on the 14th, nine ships with fore and stern castles, and several smaller craft, including two crayers, were set on fire; and subsequently the town itself, which was deserted, suffered the same fate. All the coast, from Rouen to Caen, was ravaged and devastated; Cherbourg was burnt; and sixty-one ships of war, twenty-three crayers, and many smaller vessels laden with wine, were destroyed there or in the vicinity.
It is not necessary to follow the military operations of the expedition. Army and fleet acted in conjunction, and Caen fell. Crecy was fought and won on August 25th, and Edward then laid siege to Calais, the fleet again assisting him.
While Edward was thus pressing the French in Normandy, his lieutenants were active in Gascony, where Aiguillon, on the Garonne, was besieged. Sir Walter Manny, who commanded the naval flotilla there, had numerous conflicts with the enemy, and, as before, greatly distinguished himself; but, upon the whole, the English in that quarter were less successful than in the north.
The siege of Calais necessitated the despatch thither of continual supplies; and, as the French fleets were at sea under Pierre Flotte, Carlo Grimaldi and others, strong measures had to be taken for the protection of the convoys. A squadron to effect this purpose seems to have been assembled at Sandwich.
Parliament, which met on September 11th, though willing enough to provide for the support of the army, for the service of which it granted a fifteenth, requested that the sea might be defended at the king's expense only, and that the people might be released from that burden. The reply, on behalf of the sovereign, was to the effect that the ancient practice must he continued; and that there was no better way of defending the sea than by fighting abroad.
Parliament, then as on many other occasions, seems to have believed that the safety of he narrow seas and of the coasts could be ensured by the retention of fleets in the home waters; and that there, and not on the enemy's confines, was the proper place of the Navy: while professional opinion took the sounder view, and advocated an offensive defence as the sole effective one. This conflict between popular and technical opinion re-arose continually in after ages; and, although the naval view often won the day, it can scarcely be doubted that the ignorant opposition to it frequently, and sometimes very dangerously, hampered the thorough effectiveness of the fleet. Happily the professional view is now, theoretically at least, accepted by statesmen and publicists as well as by seamen. There is always, however, a risk that, as in the past, the unreasoning panic of the vulgar may, in time of stress, force the hands of a British Admiralty, and by keeping too much of the Navy at home, limit the usefulness of the entire organisation.
Edward thus had to drag his most important sinews of war from an unwilling, because an uncomprehending nation. It was difficult enough for him to obtain vessels with supplies for the siege. Much more difficult was it for him, when he realised that to take Calais he must secure command of the Channel, to secure the necessary reinforcements of his fighting fleet. He perceived that the place could not be reduced so long as French ships hovered in the offing, ready, upon the slightest relaxation of the stringency of the blockade, to run in with provisions and supplies to the garrison; but the people at home were dull to recognise the fact.
Nevertheless, by dint of great exertions, a really formidable naval force was raised. It comprised 738 vessels, of which about fifty were fighting ships with fore and stern castles, and the rest, barges, ballingers and transports; and it was manned by about 15,000 officers and men. In February, 1347, all the ports were required to send delegates to the Council at Westminster to report upon the state of their preparations; and from each of the maritime counties two knights or other persons were summoned to advise the Government on the subject of national defence. On February 23rd, Sir John Montgomery superseded the Earl of Arundel in command of the Western fleet; and on March 8th, Sir John Howard was appointed to the Northern command, to succeed the Earl Suffolk; and it was decided that sixty ships of each command (every ship having sixty mariners and twenty archers) together with twelve hired Genoese galleys, should assemble at Sandwich by April 2nd, in readiness for a cruise against the enemy. Whether they sailed, and if so, what they effected, does not appear. Certain it is that they did not prevent a convoy of thirty ships and galleys from entering Calais about the middle of April, and from getting out again unmolested. But from that time forward, matters were better managed.
The Earl of Warwick, with eighty ships, cruised in the Channel, and kept command of it; in May, the Earl of Lancaster brought across a large and welcome reinforcement to the king; and soon afterwards Lord Stafford and Sir Walter Manny, at the head of a considerable force, met a French convoy bound for the beleaguered town, and captured twenty sail of it, besides galleys. Again, on June 25th, the Earls of Northampton and Pembroke are said to have intercepted a French convoy of forty-four ships. Lords Morley, Talbot, Bradeston, and the two admirals were also concerned in the affair; from which fact it may, perhaps, be concluded that the chroniclers of the period were apt to jump to the conclusion that the personages of highest civil rank engaged in any action were the actual commanders on the occasion. The main credit for what happened should certainly be attributed to Montgomery and Howard.
A contemporary account is cited by Avesbury as having been written by one who was with the English army. The writer says that the English, while in search of the enemy, met him about the hour of vespers off Crotoy, at the mouth of the Somme; and that such of the French vessels as were in the rear threw their provisions into the sea, some making towards England, and others for Crotoy. Ten galleys, which had abandoned boats as well as cargo, headed out to sea; and one flute and twelve victuallers, which were in the van, were so closely chased that they ran under the land, and their people, jumping overboard, were all drowned. "But the night following, about daybreak, two boats came from the town (Calais), which, being soon perceived by a mariner called William Roke, with one Hikeman Stephen, one boat returned to the town with great difficulty, but the other was chased on shore, in the which boat was taken a great master, who was the patron of the Genoese galleys and of the Genoese who were in the town, and with him seventeen of those persons and full forty letters. But before the said patron was taken, he fastened an important letter to a hatchet and threw it into the sea; but this letter and hatchet were found when the water ebbed." The letter in question was from the Governor of Calais; and it declared that, unless the place was immediately relieved, it must surrender, owing to the terrible condition to which the inhabitants had been reduced. It did surrender on August 4th, and Edward, having concluded a truce with France until the following July, returned to England, landing at Sandwich after a very stormy passage, on October 12th.
While the king had been busy in France, important military events had taken place on the borders of Scotland. where David II. had been captured: but no naval events of interest were associated with the Scots campaign. Andrew Guldford, admiral on the coast of Ireland from May 30th, 1347, doubtless fulfilled his instructions to prevent to the utmost the transmission of men and supplies to points north of the Tweed.
England had been extraordinarily successful both by sea and land; yet, of course, individuals and localities had suffered severely. and French raiders had won small triumphs, which, though entirely without influence upon the general result of the war, caused great hardships. Many must have been the complaints similar to that sent up from Budleigh, in Devonshire, in 1348. The place had been ruined by the enemy, who had taken three ships and twelve boats, with a hundred and forty men, many of whom remained unable to ransom themselves. But there is little doubt that, upon the whole, even in those days of limited trade, the country at large prospered during the war, in spite of the wretched financial management of the king and his advisers.
Early in 1348 the good faith of the French, as was usual after a few months' continuance of truce, began to be suspected; and the intended voyage of the Princess Joan to Bordeaux, on her way to marry the heir to the kingdom of Castille, was taken advantage of as an excuse for the assemblage at Plymouth of a squadron of forty vessels, ostensibly to convey the bride. Edward also raised an army, purposing to renew the war as soon as the truce should expire or as other occasion should offer. In the meantime, on March 14th, Sir Walter Manny was re-appointed to his old command of the Northern fleet, and Sir Reginald de Cobham again took charge of the Western one. An Italian was given command of the king's galleys, Englishmen being apparently insufficiently acquainted with the tactics suited to those essentially Mediterranean craft; and on June 6th. Manny, who had been summoned to Parliament as a baron in the previous year. was, for some unknown reason, superseded by Robert, Lord Morley, who then took command of the Northern fleet for the fourth time. Among the ships ordered for service in July were the Katherine, the Welfare, the John, and the St. Mary, together with the large French prizes. In October the king went down to Sandwich, intending to sail as soon as possible; but on November 18th the truce with France was renewed, and all idea of the expedition was for the time given up.
The year 1349 saw little naval activity. In August, Sir John Beauchamp was appointed admiral of a special squadron to repress piracy in the North Sea, where, between Newcastle and Berwick. Walter atte Park and other Scots rovers, had captured a trader of Scarborough; and in November, Don Carlos de la Cerda, son of Don Luis, in defiance of the truce, captured several English ships laden with wine, off Bordeaux, and savagely murdered their crews. This latter action gave rise, as will he seen, to serious results. In the last month of the year, the king and Prince of Wales, with Sir Walter Manny and nine hundred men, sailed rather suddenly to Calais in order to checkmate an apprehended surprise of the town by the French. Edward appears to have returned immediately after having repressed the treacherous attempt, which was duly made on January 2nd.
In 1350 came the day of reckoning with De la Cerda. That freebooter, having pillaged a number of English vessels, went to Sluis to load up with merchandise preparatory to returning to Spain. He seems to have known that Edward did not intend to allow him to escape unopposed; for he armed his ships with every kind of artillery and missile, and crowded them with soldiers. cross-bowmen. and archers.
The English preparations for dealing with De la Cerda began in May, when orders were issued for the manning of—
Robert Shipman, constable
with the Mariote, master unnamed. As there is every reason for believing that these vessels took part in the action of the following August, the names of their commanders are worth preserving. Other king's ships present in the battle were the Jerusalem, Thomas Beauchamp, Mary, Godibiate, John, Edmund, Falcon, Buchett and Lawrence, together with the vessels serving as the king's "hall" and "wardrobe." Of all these ancient and meritorious names, only Falcon has taken root in the Navy, and has been perpetuated as ship-name to the present age.
On July 22nd, Lord Morley received a new appointment to the Northern fleet; but the king himself determined to command the punitive force; and the Prince of Wales and many young noblemen decided to serve with the squadron. Before sailing, Edward addressed the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, apprising them of the motives of his action, and desiring them to cause prayers to be offered for his success. He went down to Winchelsea about the middle of August, accompanied by the queen, the princes, and a great suite, including the Earls of Lancaster, Derby, Arundel, Hereford, Northampton, Suffolk, and Warwick; Lords Percy, Stafford, Mowbray, Nevill, Clifford, Roos, and Greystock; Reginald de Cobham, Sir Walter Manny, Sir Thomas Holland, Sir Robert de Namur, and nearly four hundred knights. The Earl of Richmond, better known as John of Gaunt, was only eleven years of age, and too young to wear armour, but he would not be separated from his brother, the Prince of Wales. Robert de Namur, a son of John, Count of Namur, commanded the king's "hall," the vessel on board of which was the royal household. He was afterwards a Knight of the Garter. The English fleet is supposed to have consisted of about fifty ships, large and small.
Edward seems to have embarked on August 25th, in his old ship, the Thomas cog. The fleet, however, remained at anchor in the Channel, instead of seeking the Spaniards on the coast of Flanders; although it may be accepted as certain that cruisers were sent out to watch for the coming of the enemy. During this period, Sir John Chandos, one of the most famous generals of his age, amused the royal party by singing a German dance to the accompaniment the minstrels who were in the flagship; but the king continually gazed up at the look-out man in the top, in hopes of receiving intelligence from him.
De la Cerda had forty ships, all large and of the same class. He had filled his tops with soldiers and with stones for them to fling upon the English decks, and Froissart says that he had quite ten times as many men as his opponents, he having engaged many mercenaries in Flanders. Both sides were eager for the conflict, and confident of the result.
On the afternoon of Sunday, August 29th, the wind being fresh from the north-east, and the English being still within sight of Winchelsea, the Spaniards were sighted, coming down Channel. Edward weighed, caused the trumpets to sound, ordered wine to be served to himself and his knights, and armed for battle.
The Spaniards might have avoided an action, but nothing was further from their intentions, and, with the wind fair behind them, they bore down upon the English. Edward at once directed his ship to be laid alongside a leading Spaniard. The shock of collision brought down the enemy's mast, and all who were in its top were drowned; but the king's ship suffered at least equally, for she sprang a leak, and, although the fact was not then conveyed to Edward, his knights had to bale her to prevent her from sinking. The king would have grappled and boarded his opponent, but the knights persuaded him to pass on to another vessel, into which the grapnels were thrown. Then ensued a fierce hand to hand contest, both sides fighting for their lives, for the sinking state of the flagship could by this time be no longer concealed, and the Spaniards expected no quarter. After a short struggle, the enemy was carried. and all remaining alive on board him were thrown into the water.
The king at once transferred himself and his people to the prize, and proceeded in her to find a fresh foe. The action had become general, though it appears to have chiefly resolved itself into fights between single ships. The Spanish crossbow-men inflicted great damage, and the superior height of their vessels gave them much advantage in hurling down stones and iron bars upon their adversaries. Moreover, their ships were the stronger built, their men were the more experienced.
The Prince of Wales was sorely pressed, his ship, grappled by Spaniard, being, like his father's, reduced to a sinking condition. She would probably, in spite of her stout resistance, have gone to the bottom with all hands, had not the Earl of Lancaster opportunely ranged up on the Spaniard's other beam, and boarded with the cry of "Derby to the rescue." This encouraged the prince's party, and presently the Spaniard surrendered. Her entire crew was, nevertheless, as was the custom in that age, and long afterwards, flung overboard. The prince and his followers had barely time to crowd into the prize before their own craft foundered.
The action had begun at about 5 p.m. As evening closed, victory declared generally for the English, but the king's "hall," which, under Robert de Namur, had been grappled by a Spaniard, was in great peril. The Spaniard could not subdue her, but making sail before the wind, was rapidly dragging her from the scene of the fight, with the intention of obtaining assistance for reducing her leisure. As they passed almost within hail of Edward's vessel, the unfortunate English shouted for help, but were not heard, and matters would have fared badly with them had not Hannekin, the valet of Robert, displayed exceptional gallantry. Sword in hand, he jumped on board the Spaniard, and cut the halliards. bringing down the sail with a run. He then severed some of the shrouds and stays, and rendered the ship unmanageable, and in the consequent confusion, the English boarded successfully and carried the enemy.
Froissart says that fourteen Spaniards were taken; Avesbury and others put the number at twenty-four, and Walsingham gives it at twenty-six, besides ships that were sunk. The victors undoubtedly suffered very heavily, especially in wounded, and apparently at least two of their best ships were sunk; but the result was glorious and decisive. The only Englishman of rank reported to have been killed was Sir John (or Sir Richard) Goldesborough. Among other distinguished persons who, in addition to some already mentioned, took part in the fight, were Richard, Lord Scrope of Bolton, Sir William and Sir Henry Scrope, Sir John Boyville, Sir Stephen Hales, Sir Robert Conyers, and Sir Thomas Banestre, the last, in consequence of the service, receiving a pardon for a homicide which he was alleged to have committed previously.
At night the English fleet anchored at Rye and Winchelsea, and the king, the Prince of Wales, and the Earl of Richmond returned to the queen, who had remained in a state of great anxiety in an abbey about six miles from the shore.
Such was the Battle of Winchelsea, or, as it has been more generally called, "L'Espagnols sur Mer." If the English fleet was numerically the larger, the Spanish ships were the more formidable as regards both size and complements, so that, upon the whole, the victors had no material advantage in their favour. Yet they crushingly asserted their superiority over a gallant foe whom they then encountered for the first time in a general action. The presence of the king and the two princes, and of a very considerable body of the higher nobility of the realm, added special brilliancy to the affair, and seems to have inspired the English participants to the display of more than ordinary valour; yet Nicolas was the first of British naval historians to pay much attention to it, and many a history of England that has pretentions to a character for seriousness and accuracy does not mention it at all. Indeed, it may rank as one of the many almost forgotten glories of a race whose later triumphs have made its memory shorter than it should he. It gained, however, for Edward III. the appellations of "Avenger of the Merchants," and "King of the Sea."
Soon after the battle, the king sent word to Bayonne that the remnants of the Spanish squadron were at sea, and desired his subjects there to disregard the truce, and to despatch a force against the enemy. Again, in October, a special convoy was provided for ships going to Gascony for wine, it being supposed that they might he intercepted by the fugitives. But it appears that the enemy returned to Sluis, for, on November 11th, Sir Robert Herle, captain of Calais, and others were deputed to treat with the Spanish officers and seamen in Flanders for an amicable termination of hostilities. In the meantime, a treaty for twenty years had been concluded with Spain, and the truce with France had been extended, the result being that, for some years subsequent to the Battle of Winchelsea, there were but few naval events of much importance.
The appointments to high naval command during this period of comparative quiet were as follows:—To the Northern fleet: Admiral William, Earl of Northampton, March 8th, 1351; Admiral Lord Morley, March 5th. 1355. To the Western fleet: Admiral Henry, Duke of Lancaster, March 8th, 1351; Admiral Sir John Beauchamp, March 5th, 1355. To other commands: Sir Thomas Cock, captain of a squadron, March, 1352; John Gybon, admiral of a squadron to Normandy, March, 1354.
But although peace prevailed generally, there were rumours of wars, and even some actual aggressions. In 1351, a French descent upon the Isle of Wight was apprehended, and Lancaster and Herle made forays in France beyond the English pale. In 1352, several ships, including the Jerusalem, St. Mary, Edward, Falcon, John, Thomas Beauchamp, and Rode cog, all king's vessels, were got ready in anticipation of a probable termination of the truce. And it may be added here that in 1353 there was concluded with Portugal a treaty of commerce, which was to endure for fifty years, and which is remarkable as having originated what has been, upon the whole, an unusually lasting international friendship. A notice of some of its provisions will he found in the preceding chapter. A curious episode belonging to the year 1354 was the issue to the Admiral of the Northern fleet of an order to provide three vessels to carry the Bishop of Durham to London, that he might attend to his parliamentary duties there.
In 1355, Edward refused to agree to a renewal of the truce, and it was decided that the Prince of Vales should go to Gascony with a large army. The usual directions were accordingly sent to the ports for the provision of the necessary shipping, and seamen were impressed. So eager was the search for vessels that a Spanish craft was inadvertently seized, and the King in consequence wrote a letter of apology to his brother of Castille. On September 8th, the Prince of Wales left Plymouth with three hundred troopers and transports, and after a quick passage he landed in the Gironde.
The king himself had sailed earlier from Rotherhithe with forty large ships, carrying fifteen hundred dismounted men-at-arms and two thousand archers, and accompanied by his younger sons, Lionel of Antwerp and John of Gaunt; but, leaving Gravesend about July 22nd, had met with had weather in the neighbourhood of the Channel Islands, and had been driven into Sandwich and detained there until August 15th. Thence he proceeded with difficulty to Winchelsea and the Isle of Wight, but was again driven back.
While he was at Portsmouth during his ineffectual efforts to cross the Channel, news reached him that the King of Navarre, who had promised his alliance, and who was to have joined the English fleet off Jersey, had broken his engagement, and allied himself with the King of France before Calais. The receipt of this intelligence led to the calling out of more ships and troops, which were assembled at Sandwich, and in October the king embarked there with his younger sons and a large retinue. He was joined at Calais by mercenaries from Flanders, Brabant, and Germany. He at once marched against the French, who fled before him, and were energetically pursued. He then returned to England to meet Parliament on November 12th, but an invasion of the Scots, who had taken Berwick, called him immediately afterwards to the north, necessitated fresh levies of ships and men, and, by diverting attention, for a time hindered the prosecution of the French campaign.
The Northern fleet, reinforced by newly arrested ships under John Colyn, lieutenant to the Northern admiral, seems to have assisted in the recovery of Berwick, though twelve ships were lost on their passage thither and the others were dispersed. But neither the military occurrences in Scotland, nor those in France where the victory of Poitiers was won by the Black Prince on September 19th, 1356, can he followed here.
In May of that year, Sir Guy Bryan a superseded Sir John Beauchamp as Admiral of the Western fleet, Robert Ledrede having at the same time an independent or subsidiary command over a convoy to Gascony. Sir Guy appears to have created great astonishment by the celerity with which some of the vessels belonging to his station crossed and recrossed the Channel with troops in June. They landed their men at La Hogue, and returned to Southampton within five days. These troops belonged to the forces of the Duke of Lancaster, who with the rest followed in fifty-two transports, sailing on the 18th of the month. a In August, certain Scots and other ships having committed depredations on the coast of Ireland. Robert Drouss, of Cork, was appointed admiral of an Irish squadron and ordered to proceed against them. Three predatory Scots ships, with three hundred soldiers on board, were in the following year driven into Yarmouth and taken.
In 1357, the prisoners captured at Poitiers were brought to England. In April the Prince embarked at Bordeaux in one ship, and King John, of France, was put on board another. It was expected that the French in Normandy would make efforts intercept the convoy, and the English ships were therefore specially matured with two thousand archers and five hundred men-at-arms; but nothing was seen of the enemy, and after an eleven days' passage, the flotilla reached Sandwich on May 4th. On May 23rd, a truce was concluded to last until Easter, 1359.
Preparations with a view to the termination of this truce were made towards the end of 1358. The admirals, Lord Morley and ,Sir Guy Bryan, were directed on December 8th to impress ships and barges, and to see that they were at Sandwich by the following Palm Sunday in readiness for the King's passage across the Channel. But Edward's sailing was postponed, and in June, 1359, fresh orders were sent out, pointing to a departure in July, vessels being then obtained from Sluis, Gravelines, and Dunquerque, as well as from the English ports. The King did not actually sail from Sandwich until October 28th. He weighed early in the morning in a ship called the Philip, of Dartmouth. and landed at Calais at about four in the afternoon, accompanied by one of the largest armies that ever quitted England, and publicly professing his intention never to return until he had ended the war by a satisfactory and honourable peace or had died in the attempt.
The new campaign in France was little more than a triumphant military promenade. Edward had, unfortunately, no right to treat himself to the luxury of this progress. At sea he had been more successful than any previous English sovereign. There can be no reasonable doubt that he understood all that the maintenance of the dominion of the sea meant to his island realms, and it is absolutely certain that with the men and the material at his command, he might, had he listened to the counsels of sense and prudence, instead of to the promptings of blind ambition and immoderate love of empty glory, have completely crushed the French at sea, and rendered them impotent on that element until the last days of his reign. But his delight in pageantry and display got the better of him. The conclusive processes of naval warfare were too slow, too dull, and too monotonous to suit his hasty spirit. He had the dash of a Cochrane, but he lacked the steadfast and single-minded application of a Nelson, or a Collingwood. And so, after covering himself with quickly acquired glory at Sluis and Winchelsea, he neglected his navy to submit to the seductions of military spectacle. It was a strange and disgraceful infatuation.
While he was parading to no good end on French soil, the French squadrons were working havoc against us in the Channel. In the spring of 1360, panic reigned at Southampton, Portsmouth, and Sandwich, at each of which places a descent of the enemy was expected. Fleets should have been sent against the foe; but the creation of fleets, and their maintenance, required large sums of money, and Edward had nearly emptied the coffers of the state that he might pay for his continental adventures. All that could be done by way of defensive precaution was to levy troops the threatened points, and to draw ships high up on the shore, in hopes that the enemy, when he came, would overlook them. To such a pass was the power of England reduced.
The French did not strike where they had been expected, but they raided Rye and Hastings, and on Sunday, March 15th, they landed in great force at Winchelsea. Villani says that they had a hundred and twenty ships; Knighton, that they had twenty-nine thousand men. These numbers are probably exaggerated, but the point is immaterial. They made their onslaught while the people were at Mass, spared neither age nor sex, fired the town, committed unspeakable atrocities, and carried away a number of the best-looking women. At length, it is true, they were driven off with a loss of upwards of four hundred men, and thirteen of their vessels were taken by the seamen of the Cinque Ports; but the moral effect of this bloody insult to the coast was nevertheless tremendous, and was remembered for many a year afterwards. So great was the number of slain that Winchelsea churchyard had to be enlarged to receive them, and to this day the road on that side is known as Dead Man's Lane.
On the very day of the landing, which must have occurred early in the morning, the news reached the council, which was sitting at Reading. Something had to be done at all cost. At once every large ship and barge fit for war was ordered to be impressed; such English shipping as was in Flanders was sent for, and on March 26th, the regular admirals, Morley and Bryan, being apparently in attendance on the king in France, Sir John Paveley, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England, was appointed admiral of a squadron which was directed to cruise to the westward of the Thames to repel invasion. A perfect panic prevailed. Troops were levied everywhere. Southampton and Pevensey were fortified anew. Even inland strongholds, like the castles of Old Sarum and Malmesbury, were hurriedly put into a condition for defence; and as it was believed that John, the captive French king, was to he rescued. he was removed from Somerton to Berkhampstead Castle, and subsequently thence to the Tower.
By way of retaliation, a division of the fleet, consisting of eighty ships, with fourteen thousand soldiers and archers on board, was sent to operate against the coasts of France. Exactly what it did is uncertain. Walsingham tells us that it captured the Isle of Saints, a place difficult to identify, but Knighton, who says that the fleet was made up of a hundred and sixty sail, implies that it ravaged the French coasts about Boulogne and Harfleur. The French War was, however, terminated on May 8th, by the Treaty of Bretigny, which stipulated that John should be ransomed, should cede Gascony, Guienne, Poitou, Calais, Guisnes, and Ponthieu, and that Edward should renounce his pretensions to the crown of France, and his claims to Normandy, Touraine, Maine, and Anjou. The arrangement, which by the way involved a very large reduction of the original English demands, and was scarcely the honourable peace which Edward had declared he would die rather than forego, was solemnly ratified at Calais in the following November, but most of its provisions were never carried out.
The king came home in May, landing at Rye on the 18th, and going back to Calais in July and again in October, for the ratification of peace. He returned once more early in November. On July 18th of the same year, Sir John Beauchamp, K.G., was appointed "Admiral of the King's Southern, Northern and Western fleets," and for the first time united in the person of a single officer the command of the entire English navy. He died at the close of the year and was succeeded in the same high office by Sir Robert Herle on January 26th, 1361. Sir Ralph Spigurnell succeeded Herle on July 7th, 1364. Each of these officers was in addition Keeper of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports.
These were, so far as naval matters are concerned. very uneventful years. Ships, men, and supplies were dispatched from time to time to Gascony; and convoys were occasionally provided for princes and noblemen proceeding to Ireland, Calais, etc.; but not until 1369 was there much renewal of naval activity. In that year the experiment of concentrating the command of the fleet in the hands of a single individual was temporarily abandoned; and on April 28th, Sir Robert Ashton was appointed to the Western, and on June 12th, Sir Nicholas Tamworth was appointed to the Northern squadron.
Charles, who in 1364 had succeeded John as King of France, invaded Poitou, and fitted out ships against England: and in 1369, the unstable peace created by the Treaty of Bretigny came to an end. A general arrest of vessels of twenty tons and upwards, except fishing boats, was ordered in February, part to he sent to Southampton, and part to Dartmouth: all fencible men between sixteen and sixty were called out in March, and in April the king's ships Dieu la Garde, Edward, and five more were sent to sea, the George following in May. In June, Edward denounced the attitude of France to Parliament, and decided to resume the title of King of France; and hostilities were recommenced.
Charles had the co-operation of Henry, King of Castille and Leon, who promised to assist with as many galleys and twice as many ships as France should equip; and a large fleet, under Philip, Duke of Burgundy, was collected in the mouth of the Seine. The English naval preparations were less actively pushed on; and although Southampton and the Isle of Wight were garrisoned in August, no fleet seems to have put to sea until after Portsmouth had been burnt by the enemy and much other damage had been done. Sir Nicholas Tamworth was, however, appointed to the Northern fleet in June. In November, perhaps owing to the very natural apprehension at home, the Duke of Lancaster was recalled from Calais.
At the beginning of 1370 a squadron was at sea under Sir Guy Bryan, who on February 6th and again on May 30th was appointed to the command of the fleet of the west. On May 30th also John, Lord Neville of Raby, was made admiral of the north: and in July, Sir Ralph Ferrers was given an independent command in the Channel over a force largely composed of vessels hired from the Netherlands, and of craft belonging to Jersey and Guernsey. Sir Robert Ashton, too, commanded a flotilla, which went to Cherbourg to bring the King of Navarre to England. Edward went to France; Lancaster went to Gascony; few craft fit for service escaped arrest but the feverish activity produced little tangible result. Ships were despatched northward to prevent communications between France and Denmark, and between France and Scotland; but all maritime matters seem to have been mismanaged. A large ship of Bayonne, with merchandise belonging to London, was taken by thirty French vessels, which afterwards landed and burnt Gosport; troops were hurried to Dover to repel an anticipated descent there; and the Chancellor declared to Parliament that France had soldiers enough to oust Edward from the continent, and apparently ships enough to destroy the whole navy of England. It is indeed not astonishing that the country was in a panic.
The Commons complained. They represented that the cities, ports and boroughs, and the whole navy of the realm, had for a long time suffered great damage unknown to the king and his Council (a very mild expression of the true facts), to the annihilation of the said places and navy; that they had formerly enjoyed certain franchises and usages, by which they had been enabled to maintain their houses, their navy and themselves, and support the good estate and great honour and safety of their lord and all his people, to the fear of foreign countries, by the power of the merchants and navy of the realm; but that now, since their franchises had been seized, one third part of the towns, boroughs and ports was almost ruined and uninhabited—the walls broken down, and the shipping nearly ruined, so that the merchants were reduced to poverty and could scarcely live. They therefore prayed that their ancient privileges and franchises might be restored, so that, when occasion required, they might do good service to the king and discomfit his enemies.
The causes of naval decline here declared to be: firstly, that arrests of shipping were often made long before vessels were wanted, the owners being in the interval at the expense of ships and crews that were making no profit, by which many of them became so impoverished as to be obliged to quit their business and see their ships ruined: secondly, that the merchants who supported the navy had been so impeded in their voyages and affairs by divers ordinances that they had no employment for ships; that great part of the mariners had consequently abandoned their calling, and gained a livelihood in some other way; and that their ships were hauled up on the shore to rot: thirdly, that as soon as the masters of the king's ships were ordered on any voyage, they impressed the masters and ablest part of the men of other ships, and, those vessels being left without persons to manage them, perished in large part, to the loss of their owners. The king promised redress, and asked for a specification of the grievances arising from loss of franchises; but it does not appear that matters were sensibly ameliorated in Edward's time.
In March, 1371, there was an arrest of all vessels of a hundred tons and upwards, and of all "pikards" of ten tons and upwards, in Wales and the Bristol Channel, Bristol excepted. These were ordered to Plymouth to join the command of Sir 6uy Bryan. In May the. two admirals were directed to restore some Flamand vessels which had been improperly captured; and, from the documents concerning the transaction, it is apparent that neutral vessels carrying property belonging to states at war with England were then held liable to seizure, and that free bottoms did not make free goods.
On October 6th. 1371, Sir Ralph Ferrers succeeded Lord Neville as Admiral of the Northern, and Sir Robert Ashton, Sir Guy Bryan as Admiral of the Western fleet. In the same month, the French menaced the coasts of Suffolk and Norfolk.
Froissart relates the account of a naval action which, if it occurred at all. probably occurred during this year. There is, however, little or no corroborative testimony, and several of the statements made appear to be inconsistent with known facts. His story is to the effect that an English squadron under Sir Guy Bryan, having on board the Earl of Hereford, met a Flamand squadron off "the Bay," meaning Bourgneuf Bay, in the modern department of Loire Inferieure; that the enemy was commanded by Sir John Peterson; that the battle lasted three hours; and that Peterson was defeated and taken, and all his ships were captured. Froissart may have confused the affair with the capture in or near the Bay of Bourgneuf of twenty-five ships laden with salt, as related by some of the chroniclers. If so, he greatly magnified the importance the business. In any case, it was almost the last naval success of a reign which closed with disaster and disgrace.
The year 1372 witnessed the arrest of more ships, and the supersession on March 7th of Sir Ralph Ferrers by Sir William Neville in command of the Northern, and of Sir Robert Ashton by Sir Philip Courtenay in command of the Western fleet. On March 28th, peace was proclaimed with Flanders; but fears of an invasion by France continued, and the country was still in a state of panic, which was accentuated by a naval disaster which happened in June.
La Rochelle was besieged by the French; and in April the young Earl of Pembroke, who had been appointed Lieutenant of Aquitaine, was directed, in company with Sir Guichard d'Angle, and other knights, to proceed to the relief of the beleaguered town. He sailed from Southampton on June 10th. France, cognisant of the project, dispatched the Castillian fleet of forty large ships and thirteen barges to intercept the expedition. This fleet was commanded by Ambrosio Bocanegra, Admiral of Castille, Cabeza de Vaca, Fernaudo de Peou, aud Ruy Diaz de Rojas; and it awaited the very inferior English squadron off La Rochelle.
Pembroke sighted the enemy on June 22nd, and with great courage prepared for the inevitable battle, placing his archers in the bows of his ships. The Spaniards, who employed cannon, as well as missiles to be hurled by men from the tops, weighed and gained the wind, and then bore down with cheers on the English. The action, which was very severe, was continued until nightfall, when, Pembroke having lost only two barges, laden with stores, the forces separated.
The fight had been witnessed from the town, and Sir John Harpeden, commander of the place, endeavoured to induce some of the inhabitants to put to sea to assist their friends; but they objected that they were not sailors and that they had their own work to do on shore. Three knights only, Sir Tonnai Bouton, Sir James de Surgières, and Sir Maubrun de Linières, with four barges, went out at daybreak on the 23rd to join Pembroke. The Spaniards, who had anchored for the night, then weighed, it being high water, and, taking advantage of the wind, bore down on the English in such a manner as eventually to surround them. The usual hand-to-hand fight ensued. Pemhroke's ship was grappled by four large Spaniards under Cabeza de Vaca and Fernando de Peon, and after an obstinate resistance was taken. Among the killed were Sir Aimery de Tarste, Sir John Lanton, Sir Simon Housagre, Sir John Mortainge (or Mortaine), and Sir John Touchet. Among the prisoners were Pembroke, Sir Robert Tinfort, Sir John de Gruières, Sir John Tourson, Sir Guichard d'Angle, and Sir Otho Grandison. The entire English squadron was taken or destroyed; and all the prisoners of rank would have been massacred had they not undertaken to ransom their followers. One ship, carrying treasure to pay the troops in Guienne, was sunk. Sir James de Surgières was landed at La Rochelle, where he reported the disaster; the other prisoners were taken to Spain, where most of them were roughly treated. The catastrophe is said to have materially hastened the loss of Guienne.
At about the same time a Welsh adventurer named Evan, claiming to be a son of a prince who had been killed by Edward, joined the French. and was sent to sea by them with three thousand men. Sailing from Harfleur, he landed in Guernsey, defeated the Governor, Edmund Rose, and, having besieged him in Cornet Castle, would probably have taken him, had not the force been recalled to take part in the blockade of La Rochelle.
Edward seems to have felt it imperatively necessary to attempt some bold stroke by way of reprisals; and he equipped and took command of a fleet for the relief of Thouars, which, if not reinforced. had greed to surrender on September 29th. The king embarked at Sandwich in the Grace de Dieu, on August 30th with a large force, but, delayed by contrary winds beyond the day for the appointed surrender, he returned ingloriously to England, landing at Winchelsea about October 6th. No sooner had he arrived than the wind became fair; but it was too late; and the £900,000 said to have been spent in the fitting out of the armament was wasted.
The Welshman, Evan, joined a Spanish force under Admiral Roderigo dc Rosas, and the combined squadron, consisting of forty ships, eight galleys, and thirteen barges, blockaded La Rochelle until it fell. It is astonishing that, instead of returning tamely to England, Edward did not endeavour to save or recover the place; but he seems at this period of his career to have been completely demoralised.
Parliament, which met in November, renewed its remonstrances on the state of the navy and prayed for a remedy. The king's reply was that it was his pleasure that the navy should be maintained and kept with the greatest case and advantage that could be. Very little, however. was done to remove the causes which had led to so much loss and disgrace. But the the fleet had shortly before been reinforced by some Genoese galleys under Peter de Campo Fregoso, and Jacob Pronan.
At the beginning of 1373 there were fresh fears of an invasion, an immense Franco-Spanish force under Evan, Roderigo de Rosas, the Count of Narbonne, Jean de Raix, and Jean de Vienne, being at sea or in process of assembly. In February. the Earl of Salisbury was given command of an English squadron, and, with the Admirals Courtenay and Neviile, he appears to have made some effort to blockade the mouth of the Seine, but to have been obliged by the allies to retire. He proceeded to St. Malo, where he destroyed eight Spanish merchantmen, and thence to Brest, where, while assisting in the defence of the place, he was himself virtually blockaded by the enemy. who also kept such good command of the Channel that an expedition under the Duke of Lancaster, destined for Guienue, could not go thither directly, and had to land at Calais and make a terribly disastrous march through France. Yet, in the Chancellor's speech to Parliament, Salisbury's proceedings were highly eulogised. His almost sole service, with the eighty ships under his command, appears to have been the influence which he exerted towards inducing the French to raise the siege of Brest.
The year 1374 produced no very notable naval actions. although both sides cruised continually in the Channel. In January and February there were impressments of men for eight ships which were ordered to keep a look-out on the western coasts; in May a number of ship-masters were summoned to attend the council at Westminster to give information and advice; and between July and September a convoy was collected at Dartmouth and Plymouth to carry over the Earl of Cambridge and an army to Brittany. But it was, nevertheless. a very important year. for it saw the commencement of the construction, for the first time, of a regular royal navy of France. Jean de Vienne, who has been already mentioned, had been appointed Admiral of France on December 27th, 1373; and, convinced of the advantage of vessels Built especially and exclusively for war over craft hired from the merchants and adapted, he at once began the building of war vessels at Rouen in 1374.
A year's truce between England and France and Spain was concluded in June, 1375, but it was not strictly observed: for when, in August, a fleet, which had conveyed Sir Thomas Felton to Bordeaux, and Sir William Elman to Bayonne, had taken in cargo in the Bay of Borgneuf, with a view to returning to England, a Spanish squadron under Reyner Grimaldi and Evan, the Welsh adventurer, fell upon them unexpectedly, and took or destroyed twenty-eight ships, five cogs, one crayer, and two barges, then estimated to be worth, with the goods on board. £17,739. besides killing the masters and crews. The loss, appraised in the money of to-day, may be set down at certainly not less than £130,000. The merchants who had suffered appealed to the King in 1376. Edward tamely protested that he had done and would continue to do, his best to obtain redress; but he was too weak to compel justice; and in those days justice in international affairs was seldom rendered save to those who demanded it with might as well as right behind them.
In 1376 fleets, collected in the usual manner, were ordered to assemble in Southampton Water and at Sandwich, but the nominal truce was renewed until April 1st, 1377, and the vessels were returned to their owners in June, to be again arrested in July, to bring back the Duke of Bretagne and the Earl of Cambridge from Brittany. On June 8th, England lost the Black Prince, and with him her strongest hope of issuing with credit from her ever-increasing difficulties.
On July 16th, the Earl of Suffolk and, on November 24th, Sir Michael de la Pole, were appointed to the Northern fleet; and on July 16th, the Earl of Salisbury and, on November 24th, Sir Robert Hales, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England, were entrusted successively with the Western fleet.
Early in 1377, the work of Jean de Vienne had begun to bear fruit, and by the spring he had ready for sea thirty-five large ships, built as men-of-war, well armed with the most improved guns, besides eighty-five smaller or hired vessels, the whole manned by about 15.000 seamen, men-at-arms, and archers. To this force there was added a Spanish contingent. Once more, something like panic reigned in England. All craft of twenty tons and upwards were arrested and concentrated in the Thames; troops were hurried to the coast; the Scots were supposed to be about to invade from the north, and everything was in confusion. when, on June 21st, the king died.
Richard II., who succeeded him, was a child of about eleven. Those responsible for the government were animated by personal hatreds and animosities, the treasury was empty, the navy was almost non-existent, and, on the other hand, France and Scotland were more formidable than they had ever been.
Jean de Vienne struck promptly. He put to sea from Harfleur, with Reyner Grimaldi, Jean de Raix, and De Torcy as his seconds, and, leaving a few ships to watch Jersey and Guernsey, crossed over to the coast of Sussex. On June 29th, he landed near Rye, and plundered and burnt the town. Before Winchelsea he was repelled; but at Rottingdean he defeated a small force, and, advancing to Lewes, took, sacked, and burnt it. Re-embarking, he went to Folkestone, Portsmouth, Dartmouth, and Plymouth, all of which he laid in ashes. By the beginning of August he was back at Harfleur.
England was more occupied in the crowning of her child-king than in fighting the enemy; but ships were arrested, men were called out for service by sea and land, and the two admirals who had held office at the end of the last reign were reappointed.
After assisting the Duke of Burgundy for a short time at the siege of Calais, Jean de Vienne put to sea again, with a view to prevent reinforcements from being sent from England to the besieged; but, being driven by an easterly wind to the coast of the Isle of Wight, and finding it to be almost undefended, he landed there, apparently near Yarmouth, and levied a thousand marks from the inhabitants. Thence he made a hasty demonstration against Southampton; attacked and burnt first Poole and then Hastings; created a scare at Dover; and on September 10th, was again before Calais. After lying there for seven days he was compelled by bad weather to go to Harfleur, where, probably to the immense relief of the English, he laid up his ships for the winter.
When Parliament met in October, there were fresh complaints concerning the state of impotence to which the navy had fallen; but, as before, the representations led to little or no amelioration. The Government, having heard that a squadron of Spanish ships lay windbound at Sluis, thought the opportunity a good one for taking vengeance on one wing of its enemies, and, in November, despatched a fleet under Thomas, Earl of Buckingham, the Duke of Bretagne, Lords Latimer and Fitzwalter, and Sir Robert Knollys. But a gale, which came on in the night of the 11th, dispersed it. caused some of the smaller ships to founder, and forced all the rest to return to port, whence, however, when they had refitted, they sailed again. The Spaniards, who had quitted Sluis, were followed to Brest; and there the English would have attacked them. But, at the critical moment, the division of Lord Fitzwalter not only mutinied, but went so far as to fall upon the division of the Earl of Buckingham, which, if not supported by the valour of the Earl of Kent, would have fared badly. This expedition, which returned to England soon after Christmas, afforded other sad examples of misbehaviour and cowardice. It may be noted that very general immorality is said to have prevailed throughout the fleet; and there is no doubt that any fleet in which numerous women of bad character are embarked must be ill-disciplined. and very unfit for war service.
Yet even in those dark and disgraceful days there were redeeming exploits. The ship of Sir Thomas Percy had been obliged to remain behind, when the fleet sailed a second time. As soon as he was ready for sea, he sailed with two barges and some smaller craft. In the Channel he fell in with about fifty ships, some Spanish and some Flamand. He desired the latter—Flanders being at peace with England—to withdraw; but, as they would not, he desperately and impulsively attacked the whole convoy, which, we may take it, was not composed of fighting-ships, and succeeded in taking twenty-two sail. So, at least, says Walsingham, who also relates that, a little earlier, Sir Hugh Calverley, Captain of Calais, had made a raid on Boulogne, and, finding there two barges and twenty-six smaller craft, had burnt them and part of the town.
About January, 1378, the people of Rye and Winchelsea seem to have made an independent effort to avenge the injuries which had been inflicted on them by the enemy. They are said to have embarked in their barges, and to have sacked and burnt Peter's Port and Vilet, in Normandy; but, as these places cannot be identified, the importance of the expedition cannot be appraised.
France, at this time, became aware that the King of Navarre had offered his daughter in marriage to Richard II., and with her all the towns, except Cherbourg, held by Navarre in Normandy. Preparations were therefore made to seize the possessions in question ere they could he handed over to the English. They fell rapidly to the French arms, and by the end of April, Port Audemer, at the mouth of the little river Rylle, alone held out against them. Reyner Grimaldi, with a squadron, blockaded it; and Jean de Vienne besieged it on the land side. Salisbury and Arundel, with a hundred and twenty ships, attempted to relieve it, but in vain. They then made an ineffective attack on Honfleur. Port Audemer, unsuccoured, surrendered; and the King of Navarre, having nothing left to him in Normandy except Cherbourg, and being threatened at home by the de facto King of Castille, despaired of being able to hold his own in France, and handed over Cherbourg in pledge to Salisbury and Arundel, who apparently placed a garrison there.
In the meantime, England was still in a state of panic. Oxford was fortified, to serve as a central point of defence for the kingdom, in case the French should invade it; Thanet was filled with troops; and the royal jewels were pawned. The main part of the fleet being on the French coast, nine ships hired from Bayonne were directed to patrol the Channel, where they won a considerable success by the capture of fourteen sail of a Spanish convoy merchantmen, laden with wine and other goods. But such a triumph could have no great influence upon the course of the war. An action of a far more important character had a less satisfactory result.
When Jean de Vienne learnt of the transfer of Cherbourg to the English. he summoned the allied Spanish squadron, then probably consisting of twelve ships, to make rendezvous with him off the town. and himself proceeded thither with twenty-five ships of the french Royal Navy and some smaller craft. Before he could be joined by his friends, he fell in with the fleet of Salisbury and Arundel, which though numerically superior, was made up of less powerful vessels. The English attacked with confidence; but the French held their own until the Spaniards arrived on the scene, and decided the fortunes of the day. Sir Peter Courtenay, or one of the other sons of the Earl of Devon, appears to have commanded the English rear, and, by the gallantry of his conduct, to have saved his friends from utter annihilation; but his division was sacrificed, and he himself was taken prisoner.
This was early in July. It left the French free, for the time, to blockade Cherbourg and to control the Channel. The Duke of Lancaster, having collected a large force at Southampton, sailed to the relief of Cherbourg in August, with Salisbury in naval command. The number of his ships is unknown, but they had on board eight thousand archers and four thousand men-at-arms. Jean de Vienne was not strong enough to oppose so great a force, and retired up the Seine, while Lancaster threw reinforcements into Cherhourg, and then attacked St. Malo, where he captured a few small vessels of no importance, and landed troops to lay formal siege to the town.
Here he made the crucial mistake of neglecting the "potential fleet." Jean de Vienne was not defeated. not blockaded, not even watched. He quitted the Seine with his Spanish allies, crossed the Channel, ravaged the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, burnt Fowey, and returned unmolested, and with a rich booty.
St. Malo proved quite strong enough to defend itself: and, as winter approached, Lancaster raised the siege, and returned to Southampton.
While so much official ineptitude was being displayed, a private citizen exhibited remarkable energy and patriotism. John Mercer, a Scotsman, had collected a flotilla of Scots, French, and Spanish adventurers, and had taken several ships belonging to Scarborough. The Government did nothing towards the repression of these piracies; and John Phillpott, a wealthy merchant of London, took the matter into his own hands. At his own cost, he equipped a thousand men and a number of ships, and not only recovered the captured vessels, but also made himself master of fifteen Spanish craft which had gone to Mercer's assistance. He was informed by the Council that he had acted illegally in sending an armament sea without their consent. "I did not," he replied, "expose myself, my money, and my men to the dangers of the sea, that I might deprive you and your colleagues of your knightly fame, nor to acquire it for myself; but from pity for the misery of the people and the country, which, from having been a noble realm with dominion over other nations, has, through your supineness, become exposed to the ravages of the vilest race; and, since you would not lift a hand for its defence, I exposed myself and my property for the safety and deliverance of our country." This brave trader seems to have been at the time Mayor of London. His patriotism, shown on more than one other occasion, deserves recollection.
Once more, after the meeting of Parliament in 1378, the state of the navy was made the subject of  The only naval changes of the year were the supersession on September 10th of the Earl of Arundel by Sir Hugh Calverley as Admiral of the Western; and, on November 5th, of the Earl of Warwick by Sir Thomas Percy as Admiral of the Northern fleet.remonstrances, the occasion being a demand on the part of the Crown for a further aid; but nothing was done to remedy the situation.
For the naval necessities of 1379, large sums of money were borrowed from private individuals. To Parliament, which met in April, it was reported that Scarborough had been attacked, and that another descent upon it was to be feared. Measures for its defence, and for the protection of shipping in the North Sea, were recommended; and it was advised that a duty should he levied upon certain incoming ships and goods; but a representation by the commons that mariners and archers, who received but fourpence a day, and were in consequence quitting their employment, should he better paid, was not complied with. On the other hand, it was enacted that mariners deserting the king's service should he fined and imprisoned for a year.
The admirals, Percy and Calverley, cruised early in the year in the Channel, and took a ship of war and seven merchantmen. In August, Calverley convoyed an army under the Duke of Bretagne to St. Malo. The English men-of-war first entered the harbour. As soon as they had doue so, a squadron of French and Spaniards, which had been lying in wait along the coast, attacked the transports and storeships in the rear, plying them with gunshot, and threatening to capture the whole of them. The wind was against Calverley; but he got out, apparently by warping his ship, and, singlehanded, poured in so deadly a flight of arrows that the enemy's galleys took to flight, and the transports safely made the harbour.
But the year 1379 ended very disastrously. Reinforcements for Brittany were collected at Southampton under Sir John Arundel, brother of the earl. A squadron to transport the troops had among its commanders Calverley, Percy, Sir Thomas Banastre, Sir Thomas Morieux, Sir William Elmham, and other knights, and lay ready in the port. As the wind was unfavourable, Sir John Arundel, in disregard of what were then the Articles of War, violently and sacrilegiously billeted his men in a Southampton nunnery, where, in consequence, gross outrages took place. In retaliation, a priest excommunicated and anathematised the culprits: and there is no doubt that the terrible tragedy which followed was ultimately associated in the minds of the people of the town with these events. It should he here said at once that neither of the admirals had any part in the disgraceful conduct of Sir John; and it may be added as a curious coincidence that, if Walsingham may be trusted, neither of their ships lost man or horse in the subsequent catastrophe.
When the wind was fair the troops embarked, and the squadron put to sea. The master of Arundel's ship, Robert Rust, of Blakeney, predicted an approaching storm, but was not listened to. Percy and Calverley probably felt that they had no option when Arundel sailed but to accompany him. Soon the storm burst upon the fleet. To lighten the vessels, the soldiers threw overboard as many things as they could dispense with, and even drowned sixty wretched women. some of whom had been kidnapped from the shore. The ships were driven out into the Irish Channel, and there buffeted about for several days. At length, on Decemher 15th, Arundel, by violence, obliged his crew to run for a certain island off the Irish coast, perhaps Cape Clear or Sherkin. Rust tried to put the ship between the island and the mainland, but found himself in the midst of rocks, where the vessel struck. He perished in a gallant attempt to save Sir John; and two of Sir John's esquires, Devyock and Musard, besides Sir Thomas Banastre, Sir Nicholas Trumpington, and Sir Thomas Dale, with many men, were also lost. Twenty-five other ships, following Arundel's ill-advised lead, perished in the same way.
Elsewhere the storm did equal damage, for it dispersed a large fleet of French, Spanish, and Portuguese ships which had been assembled to oppose Arundel's landing. As soon as the weather had cleared a little, Admiral Sir Thomas Percy fell in with a Spanish vessel full of troops, and, after an action of three hours, took her.
The representations of Parliament, renewed in 1380. concerning the causes of the evil state of the navy, and in particular with regard to the practice of arresting vessels before they were needed, produced an order that owners should receive 3s. 4d. per ton per quarter of a year while their ships were in the service of the king. The innovation, however, was to remain in force only until the following Parliament, and was merely experimental. On March 8th, Sir Philip Courtenay was appointed Admiral of the Western, and on April 8th, Sir William Elmham, Admiral of the Northern fleet. The latter was reappointed in July.
The superiority of the French in the Channel during the period under review is painfully indicated by the fact that, in the course of the summer, when it was desired to send troops under the Earl of Buckingham to Brittany, the force, as in 1473, had to he landed, not on its intended scene of action, but at Calais. The longer passage could not be attempted in face of the numerous French, Spanish, and Portuguese galleys. The exhaustion of England is indicated by the fact that, but for the patriotic exertions of John Philpott, there would not have been sufficient transports, and many of the soldiers would have gone unarmed. Private effort on the part of the people of Hull and Newcastle contributed something towards the repression of piracy in the North Sea, and led to the capture of a Scots vessel worth 7000 marks.
But, so far as the Government was concerned, the coasts were almost entirely undefended. The enemy harried the English shores from Yorkshire to Cornwall, sacking Scarborough, entering the Thames and burning Gravesend, capturing Winchelsea, destroying Hastings and Portsmouth, and seizing Jersey and Guernsey. In July they attacked Kinsale; but there, with the aid of the Irish, four of their barges and a balinger were taken, twenty-four English vessels were re-captured, and numbers of the enemy were killed. When Parliament met in November, a subsidy was demanded that the king might be enabled to prevent the recurrence of these attacks; but nearly every vessel arrested was employed in the prosecution of the war in France; and in December there was a special impressment of shipping to reinforce the Earl of Buckingham, who was besieging Nantes.
The internal condition of England was not less bad than its external state. The resources of the country needed concentration; and foreign expeditions should have been abandoned pending the clearance of the foe from the Narrow Seas; yet early in 1381 a force under the Earl of Cambridge was sent to assist Portugal in her struggle with Spain A little later, when Anne of Bohemia was on her way to England to become the bride of the king, the home seas were so unsafe that the princess remained a mouth at Brussels, fearing capture by Norman pirates who were known to be cruising along the Netherlands coast; and finally, rather than risk crossing from Sluis, Ostend, or Flushing, she went overland to Calais, and thence reached Dover.
On October 26th, 1382, Sir Walter Fitzwalter became Admiral of the Northern, and Sir John Roche, who had previously held a minor command, Admiral of the Western fleet. The naval events of the year were few. In the spring, some ships of Rye re-took an English vessel, the Falcon, sometime the property of Lord Latimer, and captured six other craft; but no other successes are recorded; and, from the tone of the remonstrances by Parliament, it must be supposed that the trade and the coasts continued to suffer, as before, from the depredations of the enemy. The remonstrances in 1383 told the same tale.
A curious arrangement for the protection of the coasts seems to have been made at about this time; for in May, 1383, all persons were enjoined to aid and assist two merchants and two mariners who had undertaken to keep the sea-coast from Winchclsea to Berwick. Ships and men were impressed for the same object. It is possible that the business was factored out by the Government, the undertakers receiving a large proportion of captures and perhaps a subsidy; but the arrangement, whatever it may have been, does not appear to have endured for long. It was in accordance, however. with the spirit of the age; for in the same year, Henry Spencer, the warlike Bishop of Norwich, made a kind of contract to carry on the war in Flanders, and to relieve Ghent. Ships were arrested for the passage, which was delayed until about the middle of May by bad weather, many of the vessels collected being seriously damaged. As soon as he had crossed, the bishop marched from Calais, and besieged Ypres. The French fitted out five balingers, especially to cut his communications by sea; but ships from Portsmouth and Dartmouth captured the whole of the vessels. Other light is thrown upon the subject by the proceedings of Parliament, which, while granting a moiety of a fifteenth for the defence of the realm, and continuing the duty on wines and other goods for the keeping of the sea, stipulated that the money should be delivered to the admirals, and not put to farm. The admirals, Henry, Earl of Northumberland, in the north, and Edward, Earl of Devon, in the west, undertook to do what they could; but declined to give Parliament any guarantee to secure the safety of the sea. Not content with this, the Commons desired to withdraw what they had previously granted; but the king declared that he himself, with the advice of his Council and the admirals, would provide for the keeping of the sea, and would see that the whole of the grant should be applied for that object.
In January, 1384, a provisional truce was concluded with France; but it was quickly broken by a barge of Dieppe which captured a ship belonging to York off Great Yarmouth, and, apparently, also by a French attempt upon the Isle of Wight. In April, the Mayor of Southampton was ordered to seize the French craft in his port by way of reprisals for the first-mentioned breach of the convention.
In January, 1384, there was an impressment of ships for an expedition to Portugal, and Portuguese vessels, seamen, and goods in English ports were arrested. Sir Thomas Percy was in the same month appointed to the Northern, and Sir John Radyngton, Prior of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, to the Western fleet.
The year was a critical one for England. Charles VI. of France, advised by Jean de Vienne, assembled at Sluis a fleet of six hundred sail and an immense army for the invasion of England. Richard, conscious of his weakness, attempted to negotiate, and in March secured a partial truce for two months; but the delay benefited him but little, and enabled Charles to complete his preparations. Nor did the truce cover operations by sea. The English admirals more than once sighted the French fleets in the Channel, but, deterred either by fear or by internal dissensions, dared not attack them. Some private ships of Portsmouth and Dartmouth, however, set an example to the navy by entering the Seine and taking four and sinking four French vessels which they found there, and at length some rather spiritless efforts against the French at Sluis were made, but without important results.
The scheme of the enemy involved the dispatch to Scotland of relatively small force, its object being to draw Richard to the north; and the subsequent descent upon the south and east coasts of England of the main body. In pursuance of this, Jean de Vienne sailed in May with sixty ships, and in due course entered the Forth. The Scots, though hostile to England, did not particularly welcome their French allies; and the behaviour at the Scots court of the Admiral of France is said to have seriously offended King Robert II. But the plan worked as had been intended; and Richard, with an army of about 70,000 men, hurried northwards. Had the invasion from Sluis been then attempted, it would probably have been successful, for the English fleet was mismanaged and demoralised, and the flower of the English army had been drawn away. But, the energetic influence of Jean de Vienne having ceased to supervise the preparations in the Netherlands, the French fleet was not ready when it was wanted; and so, for the time, the project fell through. The ships were ordered back to their various ports in September, to be laid up for the winter; and while they were dispersing, they suffered in more ways than one.
One division of them was overtaken by a storm in the Channel, many vessels being driven ashore near Calais. On September 14th, eleven French craft foundered in sight of Calais, and their crews were taken prisoners. On the 17th, seventy-two French ships, while passing the Strait of Dover, were attacked by the garrison under Sir William Beauchamp, and a large barge and eighteen other vessels were captured. Again, on the 20th, after an action of six hours with forty-five very large French vessels, the Calais flotilla took two ships and a cog, together with two French admirals, and killed or took two hundred and twenty-six men. On yet another occasion, Sir John Radyngton took two richly laden carracks. In short, before the end of the year, a great number of vessels, estimated by Knighton at forty-eight and by Walsingham at more than eighty, became English prizes; and, if only the navy had been properly handled, the French fleet should have been entirely disabled.
Unhappily the Government starved the fleet as usual, and snubbed the Commons, who endeavoured to improve its inefficiency and to secure better management of it. The allowance per ton in respect of ships serving the king was set at 2s. instead of at 3s. 4d. a quarter, as Parliament had recommended: and the Commons' request to know who were to be appointed admirals for the ensuing year was answered by the king's assurance that he would appoint competent persons. The officers eventually selected in February, 1386, were Sir Philip D'Arcy for the Northern, and Sir Thomas Trivet for the Western command; but on December 10th, the two fleets were combined under Richard. Earl of Arundel, who held the office of Admiral-in-Chief until May 18th. 1389.
It was perfectly well known that the French intended to renew the attempt at invasion in 1386; yet the country was deliberately drained both of ships and men early in that year, in order to enable John of Gaunt to prosecute his claim to the throne of Castille. Undignified efforts were made, in the meantime, to obtain peace from Scotland as well as from France.
This mad and purely selfish scheme of John of Gaunt almost led to the ruin of England. Even when France had laid siege to Calais, and the French fleet had reassembled for the purpose of invasion, John's ships and men were exempted from arrest and impressment, although England obviously needed every vessel within her borders. Nor was the Government less blind in other matters. In June, Sir Philip D'Arcy, between Dover and Sandwich, took some large Genoese cogs and six carracks bound for Sluis, and known to be laden with stores for the benefit of the enemy; but the prizes were presently returned, and compensation was made to their owners.
When John of Gaunt sailed in July, he carried with him two hundred vessels under Sir Thomas Percy, and twenty thousand picked troops, besides a Portuguese contingent of twenty-five sail under Admiral Don Alfonso Vretat. On his way south, the Duke attempted to reduce Brest. On the sea face of the town a line was formed of the ships, which were moored and securely fastened one to another, and furnished with platforms covered with earth, on which were erected wooden towers and other engines. On shore, two wooden castles were built of ships' spars, and on them were machines for hurling missiles; hut after only three days, John of Gaunt wearied of the siege and withdrew, reaching Corunna on August 9th, and there landing all his troops and stores before the town, which was in possession of the French, and sending his ships back to their ports. On its return to England, the fleet appears to have made a few small prizes, and to have retaken a vessel which had previously been lost to the Spaniards.
The French preparations were on an unexampled scale. Froissart says that they had collected thirteen hundred and eighty-seven sail in and about Sluis; the writer of the 'Chronique de Saint Denis' puts the number at more than nine hundred, besides storeships and horse transports; Walsingham speaks of twelve hundred ships and six hundred thousand troops; and Otterbourne declares that there were three thousand vessels; but Froissart, who was an eye-witness, may be believed on this point, in preference to all other historians. One of the main features of the preparation was the construction of a huge but portable wooden fortress, designed to shelter the knights after their landing; but the seventy-two transports conveying it, in sections, to Sluis from Brittany were dispersed by a gale, and some of them, driven into the Thames, were taken. The captured sections, set up for public show near London, seem to have excited much ridicule.
But while France was wasting time in what may be called needless elaboration of preparation, England was beginning to recover from panic, though the recovery was rather on the part of the people than on the part of the Government. Laughton attributes the improvement to the abolition of some of the offensive privileges formerly granted to foreigners, and to the edict of 1381, which forbade the import and export of merchandise by English subjects in foreign bottoms. As for the Government, it did little until the danger was nearly over, and until the projected invasion was on the point of being again postponed. Not until September 25th, or later, does any considerable force appear to have been ordered to sea. Not, perhaps, until the beginning of l387 was a respectable fleet, under Arundel and Sir Hugh Spencer, in position to essay the reconquest of he Channel.
In October, 1386, or very early in November, owing to various delays and to internal dissensions, the French put off the venture, and again proceeded to lay up their ships. As before, many of them were wrecked or taken as they dispersed. Arundel, in the spring of 1387, captured nearly the whole of a Franco-Burgundian fleet, laden with wine and other valuable merchandise; but on the way home part of the English squadron under Spencer fell in with a French flotilla off the Normandy coast, and was taken or destroyed. Froissart, who says that the enemy was under Jean de Bucq, Admiral of the Flamand Sea, gives detailed account of the earlier action. which he declares was fought off Gadzand (beginning probably on March 24th and lasting three tides); but his story differs in most respects from the version generally adopted, and, in some particulars, is manifestly inaccurate. In any event, the success, although most welcome, can scarcely be regarded as a great naval victory.
Jean de Vienne and Olivier de Clisson, Constable of France, organised a more modest scheme of invasion for 1387. They assembled two fleets of moderate size, with the intention of simultaneously directing one upon Orwell and the other upon Dover. At the critical moment, however, Clisson was taken prisoner by the Duke of Bretagne. Jean de Vienne, who lay at Harfieur, ready to sail for Dover, was anxious to go on in spite of the misfortune to his colleague; but the nobles and knights refused to support him, and although Clisson was soon liberated, the expedition had ere then finally collapsed.
In the summer of 1387, all the men-at-arms and archers in the fleet were placed under the captaincy of Sir Henry Percy, better kuown in history as Hotspur. He probably exercised authority only when the men were landed. In the course of' the year he contributed to the relief of the castle of Brest: but it does not appear that he was much afloat. In the autumn John Gedney, Constable of Bordeaux, convoyed to Gascony the fleet bound thither for wine. In October, as well as in February following, there were arrests of shipping.
From the spring to the autumn of 1388 an English fleet was at sea under the Earl of Arundel, and was contributing, by the general character of its operations, to the restoration of public confidence in the navy. It captured and pillaged Marans, attacked La Rochelle, fought an insignificant running action at long gun shot with some French galleys, and plundered several places in Normandy, taking or sinking, while on the cruise, eight vessels. No great amount of glory was won; but the English coasts were relieved for the first time for many years from the fear of the enemy. In the next spring a private merchant of Dartmouth hired some Portuguese vessels, which captured for him thirty-two craft laden with wine.
The year 1389 saw the temporary termination of official hostilities with France, and the supersession of Arundel as sole Admiral. The changes in the command of the fleet were so numerous that the successive appointments may best be given together:—
May 18th: John, Earl of Huntingdon, Admiral of the Western fleet.
May 20th: John, Lord Beaumont, Admiral of the Northern fleet.
May 31st: Sir John Roche, sole Admiral.
June 22nd: John, Lord Beaumont, Admiral of the Northern fleet.
June 22nd: John, Earl of Huntingdon, Admiral of the Western fleet.
No expectation was cherished of the permanence of the truce, and both countries remained in readiness to recommence hostilities at short notice; yet the state of tension did not prevent the formation in 1390 of a composite force of Englishmen, Frenchmen, Bretons and others to act against the pirates and infidels of Tunis. In the attack on that place the English archers are said to have fought boldly, and to have been first on shore.
On March 22nd, 1391, Edward, Earl of Rutland, grandson of Edward III., was appointed Admiral of the Northern fleet, and on November 29th following he was made sole Admiral. He held the office until 1398 when, on May 9th, John Beaufort, Marquis of Dorset, succeeded him as Admiral of both fleets "for life," being already Admiral of the Irish fleet "for life." The change of dynasty materially curtailed his enjoyment of his offices, but he served as Admiral again before he died.
The close of the reign of Richard II. was, navally, uneventful. From time to time ships were fitted out for the conveyance of royal or noble personages to Ireland, to Guienne, to Calais, and to other places; but there were no occurrences deserving of special mention. And when, on July 4th, 1399—Richard being then employed in Ireland—Henry, Duke of Lancaster, sailed from Boulogne with eight small ships and two "passengers" to take nominally his inheritance but really the Crown, there was no naval opposition whatsoever. He landed at Ravensrode, or, according to Walsingham and Otterbourne, between Hull and Bridlington, where few had ever landed before; and in less than three months he was the recognised King of England.
- Gerv. of Cant., 1402.
- Ib., 1410; Hoveden, 296b; Brompton, 1060.
- With FitzStephen was Maurice FitzGerald, subsequently Baron of Offaley, ancestor of the Dukes of Leinster, and of the Earls of Kildare and of Desmond. For several centuries the FitzGeralds were practically rulers of the English part of Ireland, and their arms have provided the so-called "St. Patrick's Cross," which does duty for Ireland on the Union flag. The family has given several officers to the Royal Navy.
- Lyttelton, iv. 73.
- Bromton, 1079; Hoveden, 301b.
- A record of the campaign, disfigured by exaggeration, superstition and irrelevancy, was left by Giraldus Cambrensis, who was an eye-witness.
- Bromton, 1095; Hoveden, 308; Bened. of Peterboro, i. 82.
- William of Newburg, iii. c. 10.
- Holinshead, 'Voyage of Essex'; Purchas (quoting Matt. Paris) i. Bk. II. 1. It is however, uncertain whether these speak of one or of two expeditions.
- William of Newburg, iv. c. 1; Matt. Paris, 155.
- Campbell (1817), i. 127.
- Bened. of Peterboro, ii. 583; Bromton, 1170; Hoveden, 378.
- Hoveden, 373b.
- St. Nicholas, special patron of seamen.
- Hoveden, 380b, 381; Bromton, 1175.
- He founded Combe Abbey, Warwickshire. Having been made Governor of Cyprus, he quitted that island without Richard's permission, and died at the siege of Acon.
- Bened. of Peterboro, ii. 603; Bromton, 1177.
- "In galea Pumbone."—Bened. of Peterboro, ii. 590.
- Hoveden says Fulk Rustac.
- Ranulf de Glanvill was the author of 'De Legibus et Consuetundinibus Angliæ,' the first treatise on English law. He died in 1190.
- Hoveden, 391b; Brompton, 1195.
- Hoveden, 387.
- Bened. of Peterboro, ii. 644; Hoveden, 392.
- Hoveden, 393; Vinesauf, 316; Rog. of Wend. ii. 37.
- Rich. of Devizes, 46; Vinesauf, 316.
- Hoveden, 393, says that he had refused to allow the princesses to enter the port.
- Rich. of Devizes, p. 46.
- Hoveden, 393.
- Ib., 394. But the search may possibly have begun earlier.
- Hoveden, 394; Vinesauf, 328.
- Nicolas, i. 119.
- E.g. Matt. Paris.
- Rich. of Devizes, 49.
- Yet Bromton, 1200, and Hoveden, 394, say that the vessel flew French flags.
- Hoveden, 394; Vinesaul, 328; Bromton, 1200, 1201.
- Vide infra. August 31st, 1591.
- Hampton Roads, March 8th, 1861.
- Hoveden, 408, 409; Coggleshall, 830. But a different account is given by Bromton, 1250.
- Hoveden, 418; Bromton, 1257.
- Hoveden, 42l; Bromton, 1259.
- The evidence as to the place of his death, etc., is collected in Palgrave's preface to the 'Rotuli Curiæ Regis.'
- Bromton says on July 13th.
- Hardy, Pref. to Pat. Rolls, 45; Hoveden, 456; Matt. Paris, 139.
- Norm. Rolls, 60.
- Hardy, Pref. to Pat. Rolls.
- Another naval episode of 1203, probably unconnected with the war, was the following:—Early in the year two galleys belonging to William de Braose, and commanded by John de Bucy, captured a ship of Orford laden with wine, and the wine was sent to the king. As the ship did not belong to the enemy, she may have been condemned for smuggling, or for some other irregularitv.—Patent Rolls, 29.
- Close Rolls, 10.
- Ib., 12.
- Pat. Rolls, 48.
- Ib., 50.
- Close Rolls, 33.
- Rog. of Wend. iii. 182, and Matt. Paris, 148, gives an erroneous date which is convincingly corrected in Hardy's 'Itinerary of K. John.'
- Close Rolls, 47b.
- Eustace the Monk (Eustache le Moine), who is the hero of an old French romance (ed. Michell), is there said to have been born at Cors, near Boulogne, and have become a monk at the neighbouring town of Samer. Matthew Paris, however, calls him a Flamand. He seems to have quitted the cloister upon inheriting property. Two or more of his brothers, and an uncle, were adventurers like himself. He probably entered King John's service about 1205; but he was soon afterwards outlawed. By June, 1209, he was again in the king's favour, and soon after he held lands in Norfolk, and was a personage of importance. His descent on Folkestone, mentioned elsewhere, was one of the first-fruits of his transfer of allegiance to the rebellious barons and to Prince Louis of France. His defeat at sea by Hubert de Burgh in 1217, and his consequent death, will be described in due course.
- Close Rolls. 89.
- Matt. Paris, 160.
- Rotuli de Præstito, xii. John, 179.
- Close Rolls, 117.
- Dunstaple Chron. i. 59, confirmed to some extent by Close Rolls, 117, 118.
- Close Rolls, 121, 122.
- Ib., 127.
- Rigord, 'De Gest. P. Aug.,' 212.
- William Longespée, Earl of Salisbury, was a natural son of Henry II. by Rosamond Clifford. He acquired the earldom by his marriage with Ella, daughter and heiress of William d'Evreux, Earl of Salisbury. After the battle off Damme, he was taken prisoner at Bouvines. He subsequently joined the barons against John, but, on the accession of Henry III., did homage to him. In 1224 he commanded in Poitou, and, returning, died in March, 1226.
- The expedition seems to have been ordered to Damme before it was known that the French fleet lay there.
- Rigord (212) says that the English used their boats for this purpose; so that the affair may be regarded as an early cutting-out expedition.
- Rog. of Wend., 257; Matt. Paris, 165, 166.
- Or, as some modern writers would express it, "in being." But that term is not a satisfactory one.
- Rog. of Wendover, p. 261; Matt. Paris, 166.
- Close Rolls, 155.
- Ib., 156.
- Matt. Paris, 172; Coggeshall.
- Hardy's 'Itinerary.'
- Close Rolls, xvi.; John, 177. See also Ib., 171, 175, and Pat. Rolls. 126, 133.
- Close Rolls, 197, 203.
- Rog. of Wendover, 332; Matt. Paris, 168; Coggeshall, 877.
- Pat. Rolls, xvii.; John, 155.
- Close Rolls. p. 238.
- Ib., 269, 270.
- The lawless character of Eustace the Monk may be judged from the fact that when in 1216 the Papal Legate demanded permission from Philip Augustus to cross the Channel, that king, while giving him a safe-conduct on French territory, added: "If you should chance to fall into the hands of Eustace the Monk, or any other of Louis's people who infest the sea, impute it not to me, should any harm befall you."—Matthew Paris (fol. 1694), 195.
- Hubert de Burgh was a nephew of William FitzAdeline, steward of Henry II. After serving Richard I., he was made by John Seneschal of Poitou, and later Justiciary of England. His defence of Dover Castle, and his defeat of the French off the South Foreland in 1217, entitle him to high rank as a commander. On the death of Pembroke he became Regent; and in 1221 he married, as his fourth wife, Margaret, sister of the King of Scots, and was created Earl of Kent. In spite of his services, the influence of foreign interests procured his disgrace and imprisonment; and, although he was restored to favour in 1234, he passed much of the rest of his life in retirement. He died at Bansted, Surrey, in May, 1243.
- Coggeshall, 881; Matt. Paris, 195; Rog. of Wend., 367.
- On July 23rd, 1217, the Sheriff of Devonshire was ordered to find ships, at the king's cost, to carry to France Isabella, widow of King John.—Close Rolls, 315.
- Courtenay was also ancestor of the earls of Devon.
- The 'Annals of Waverley' put the French fleet at nearly one hundred sail.
- But, according to some of the chroniclers, there was a naval engagement in 1217, previous to the battle of the South Foreland. In the course of it several French ships were destroyed; but the general result seems to have been unsatisfactory, if it be true, as is alleged, that the French afterwards landed and burnt Sandwich.
- Patent Rolls, 1 Hen. III., m. 14.
- Matt. Paris.
- Hemingford (Gale), ii., 563.
- Matt. Paris, p. 206; Hemingford, ii. 563.
- Sir Philip d'Albini was probably related to the Albinis, Lords of Belvoir Castle. In 1213 he was made Governor of Jersey. After the concession of Magna Charta he supported John and resisted the French, to whose defeat at Lincoln he subsequently contributed. He also contributed greatly to the victory off the South Foreland in 1217. Until 1236, when he made for the second time a journey to the Holy Land, he was intimately connected with naval affairs. He died in Palestine in 1237.
- Matt. Paris, 206; Guil. de Armorica (Duchesne), v. 90; Rog. of Wendover, v. 28.
- The quarter is not expressly stated, but Matt. Paris (p. 206), says of the French that they habuerunt a tergo flatum turgidum.
- Matt. Paris.
- Anductur a tergo irruerunt in hostes.—Matt. Paris, 206.
- Matt. Paris, 206.
- Ib., p. 206, var lect.
- Trivet, i., 169.
- Matt. Paris.
- Mailros (Gale), ii. 193; Lanercost Chron., 24. There is a metrical account of the battle in 'Eustace le Moigne' (Michell), 82. In Cott. MSS. Nero, D., V. f. 214, there is a picture, wholly imaginative, of the action.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 108.
- Lingard, iii. 104.
- Pat. Rolls, 5 Hen III. m. 6.
- Ib., 6 Hen. III. m. 2.
- Matt. Paris, 221.
- Nicolas, i. 186-188.
- Close Rolls, 9 Hen. III. 10.
- Pat. Rolls, 9 Hen. III. m. 8.
- Ib., m. 2.
- Close Rolls, 70.
- Ib., 599, 607, 609; Pat. Rolls, 9 Hen. III. m. 7, m. 6; 10 Hen. III. m. 4, m. 5, m. 16.
- Pat. Rolls, 9 Hen. III. m. 8.
- Close Rolls, 9 Hen. III. m. 8.
- Ib., ii. 21, 23.
- Ib., ii 116.
- Ib., 11 Hen. III. m. 25.
- Ib., 10 Hen. III. m. 27, m. I4; Pat. Rolls, 10 Hen. III. m. 5.
- Ib., 89.
- Pat. Rolls, 10 Hen. III. m. 6.
- Close Rolls, 150.
- Ib., 151.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 182.
- Close Rolls, 205.
- Ib., 146.
- Ib., 207.
- Close Rolls, ii. 211.
- Matt. Paris, 229.
- Ib., 249, 250, repeats this story from Roger of Wendover.
- Pat. Rolls, 13 Hen. III. m. 3.
- Ib., 14 Hen. III. 2, m. 2.
- Ib., 14 Hen. III.
- Ib., 14 Hen. III. i. m. 2, 3.
- Rog. of Wend. 365, 366, 367; 'Annals of Waverley,' 192; Hemingford, 572; Wilkes's Chron. (ii. 41) says on Nov. 2nd.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 211, 212.
- Pat. Rolls, 18 Hen. III. m. 14.
- Ib. m. 8.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 221.
- Pat. Rolls, 19 Hen. III. m. 14; 'Fœdera,' i. 225.
- Pat. Rolls, 19 Hen. III.
- Matt. Paris, 284.
- Pat. Rolls, 20 Hen. III.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 232.
- Rotuli de Liberate, 25 Hen. III., m. 6.
- Pat. Rolls, 26 Hen. III., m. 11.
- Close Rolls, 26 Hen. III. m. 9; Pat. Rolls, i. m. 9.
- Ib., m. 7.
- Pat. Rolls, i. m. 8.
- Matt. Paris, 395.
- Close Rolls, 26 Hen. III. m. 7.
- Hemingford, 574; Matt. Paris, 395; Wilkes's Chron. 45; 'Annals of Waverley,' 203.
- Matt. Paris, 394.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 251 (April 7th, 1243).
- Ib., i. 246.
- Close Rolls, 26 Hen. III. 2, m. 4.
- 'Statutes of the Realm' (ed. 1810), i. 24.
- Matt. Paris 397.
- Close Rolls, 26 Hen. III. 2, m. 6.
- Pat. Rolls, 27 Hen. III. m. 17; ib., m. 16.
- Matt. Paris, 399, 406.
- Ib., 395; Close Rolls, 21 Hen. III. m. 2; Pat. Rolls, 26 Hen. III. and 19 Hen. III.
- Rotuli de Liberate, 26 Hen. III., m. 5.
- Close Rolls, 27 Hen. III. m. 1.
- Matt. Paris, 582; Hemingford, 577.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 295, 296; Close Rolls, m. 13.
- Ib., i. 297, 298.
- 'Annals of Waverley,' 210; Matt. Paris, 605.
- Southey, i. 194.
- 'Fœdera,' 377, 378.
- Matt. Paris, 661, 662.
- Pat. Rolls, 44 Hen. III.; ' Fœdera,' i. 392; Hemingford, 578.
- These ports, which had been held by Hugh le Bigot, were given to Robert Walerand; Pat. Rolls, 45 Hen. III.
- Pat. Rolls, 46 Hen. III.; 'Fœdera,' i. 423.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 429.
- Close Rolls, 48 Hen. III.
- Contin. of Matt. Paris, 671.
- He had been appointed Keeper of the Cinque Ports by his father, Simon de Montfort.
- 'Waverley Annals,' 589.
- Close Rolls, 48 Hen. III.; Wikes (Gale), 63.
- Close Rolls, 48 Hen. III. m. 4.
- Ib., 48 Hen. III. m. 4d.
- Pat. Rolls, 48 Hen. III.
- Wikes (Gale), 63.
- A truce for five years had been concluded with France in September, 1269.—'Fœdera,' i. 482.
- Hemingford, 589.
- Hemingford and Matt. Paris.
- 'Gesta Phil. III.' (Duchesne) v. 522; Matt. of West. 400.
- 'Waverley Annals,' 227; Hemingford, 590.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 504.
- Ib., i. 514.
- Ib., i. 522.
- Ib., i. 542.
- Ib., i. 529.
- Hemingford, i. 5: Trivet, 147, 148. For this service additional privileges were granted to the ports.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 568.-570, 571-575.
- Ib., i. 604.
- Knighton, 2464.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 665.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 665, 711; Trivet, 265.
- Walsinghmn says in Gascony.
- Knighton, 2495; Hemingford.
- It was clearly the Seine, although Knighton and Hemingford say the Swyn.
- Sir Robert Tiptoft, or Tibetot, son of Henry de Tiptoft, was made Governor of Porchester Castle in 1265, and on the accession of Edward I. was made Governor of Nottingham Castle. His only naval command appears to have been in 1293. He died in 1298.
- Trivet, 274.
- Sir John de Boretort, Lord Botetort, and Lord of Mendlesham, was Governor of Briavel Castle, Gloucester in 1291, and in 1293 a justice of gaol delivery. He served in Gascony in 1295, and against Scotland from 1298 to 1301, and again in 1309. Soon afterwards he was Governor of Framlingham Castle. He held naval commands in 1294, 1297, and 1315, and died in 1324.
- Sir William de Leybourne, Lord Leybourne, eldest son of Sir Roger de Leybourne, succeeded his father in 1272. After serving in Wales, he was made Constable of Pevensey Castle in 1293. In 1299 he was summoned to Parliament as a Baron. He held naval command in 1294 and 1297, and died in 1309.
- Trivet, 279.
- Gascon Rolls, 22 Edw. I. m. 9.
- Ib., 22 Edw. I. m. 2.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 801. Baliol was then supposed to be attached to the English interest.
- 'Plumeneye,' Knyghton.
- Knighton, col. 2498.
- Ib., 2507: 'Fœdera,' i. 809.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 811.
- Knighton, 2503.
- Ib., 2503; but Trivet, i. 284, says that the galley was driven into Hythe by accident.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 826.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 826.
- Knighton, col. 2503.
- Cott. MSS. Caligula, A. 18; Peter of Langtoft.
- Trivet, 284.
- Jal's 'Archéol. Nav.' ii. 296.
- Hemingford. But Walsingham, 30, says twenty-four.
- Hemingford, i. 90.
- Pat. Rolls, 23 Edw. I. passim; 24 Edw. I. m. 10; 25 Edw. I. 2, m. 14; Mem. in Treas's Remembraneer's Off.
- Sir Simon de Montacute, Lord Montacute, served with the army as early as 1281, and commanded the third division at the siege of Carlaverock. In 1300 he was summoned as a Baron to Parliament, and in 1308 was made Constable of Beaumaris Castle. He seems to have held high naval command only in 1310 and 1313, and he died in 1316.
- Walsingham. 30.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 861.
- Ib., i. 862.
- Hardy's 'Catal. of the Chancellors,' 14; 'Fœdera,' i. 876.
- Wikes, 304.
- Wikes, 304; Knighton, 2512; Walsingham, 34, has it that the seamen of Portsmouth and Yarmouth were the culprits.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 913.
- Ib., i., 901, 928; Knighton, 2510.
- The Ports were required to furnish ships as follows:—One ship apiece: Harwich, Orford, Swynhumber (Swine), Dunwich, Skottemuth with Brunnemuth, Thornham with Holm, Hecham with Flychene, Hull, St. Botolph, Whitby, Ravenseye. Hedon, Grimsby, Northfleet, Gillingham, Sheford, Weymouth, Exmouth, Clyne (? Chine), Poole, Lynn (? Lyme), Teignmouth, Plymouth, Looe, Bridgewater, Fowey, Shoreham with Brighelmston and Portsmouth, Hereford, Waterford, Dublin, Youghall, Ross, Drogheda. Two ships apiece: Ipswich, Gosford with Baldsey, Blakeney, Wainfleet with Saltfleet, Newcastle, Scarborough, London, Aldringham, Hampton (Southampton, Dartmouth, Bristol, Cork. Three ships: Lynn.—'Fœdera,' i. 928. The list gives some clue to the relative importance of the ports at that day.
- Pat. Rolls, 29 & 30 Edw. I.
- Gervase Alard came of a seafaring family of Winchelsea. He held high naval command in 1300, 1303, and 1306. Justin Alard, probably a near relative, was one of the captains of the fleet of the Cinque Ports in 1300, and Thomas Alard was Bailiff of Winchelsea in 1304. The family is the most conspicuous naval one of the fourteenth century.—Pat. Rolls, 31 & 34 Edw. I. etc.; Wardrobe Accts., 29 Edw. I.
- Edward Charles was probably the Sir Edward Charles who, born in 1272, served in Flanders and Scotland, and died about 1330. If so, he was son of Sir William Charles. He does not appear to have held high naval command except in 1306.—Pat. Rolls, Edw. I. m. 21.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 990.
- Ib., i. 961, 962.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 14, 15.
- Ib., ii. 17.
- Ib., ii. 22, 27, 29.
- Hemingford, i. 241; 'Fœdera,' ii. 31.
- Scots Rolls, i. 55.
- Scots Rolls, i. 58.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 58, 95.
- Scots Rolls, i. 78.
- Ib., i. 84.
- Sir John de Caunton seems to have been a Leicestershire gentleman. In 1313 he obtained a pardon for having been concerned in the death of Piers Gaveston. His only high command at sea was that of 1310.—Scots Rolls, i. 82.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 109. Similar orders were sent to the Cinque Ports.
- Scots Rolls, i. 92; 'Fœdera,' ii. 114.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 118.
- Ib., ii. 122; Scots Rolls, i. 96.
- Sir John of Argyle, a Scotsman who sided against his country during its struggle for independence, served abroad under Edward I. in 1297. He held high naval commands in 1311, 1314, and 1315, and died in 1316 whilst on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, leaving one son, Sir Alan, and probably another, Sir Alexander.—Scots Rolls, i. 99, 121; 'Fœdera,' ii. 139.
- Scots Rolls, i. 107.
- Walsingham, 75; Trokelowe's 'Anno Edw. II.,' 15.
- 'Fœdera' ii. 212, 317, 322.
- Ib., ii. 238.
- Ib., ii. 210, 219, 223. He was eldest son of Simon, first Lord Montacute. For his services in the Scots Wars he was made a K.B. He died in Gascony in 1320.
- Sir John Sturmy was one of the king's valets up to 1314, held land in Norfolk and Essex, and in 1315 and 1318 was keeper of the town and castle of Oxford. He held high naval commands in 1324, 1315, 1324, 1325. and 1326; and, after serving Edward III. in a civil capacity, died about 1343—Scots Rolls. 154, 155; ' Fœdera,' ii. 277; Pat. Rolls, 18 Edw. II. 1, m. 36; Gascon Rolls, 18 Edw. II. m. 26, 28; Walsingham, 100; Close Rolls, 19 Edw. II. m. 5, 7, 8; Pat. Rolls, 19 Edw. II. 4, m. 10, 12; 'Fœdera.' ii. 637
- Peter Bard, or another of his name, again held high command at sea in 1335 and 1338.—Scots Rolls, i. 155.
- Scots Rolls, i. 116
- Ib., i. 117.
- Ib., i. 122.
- 'Fœdera' ii. 246.
- Scots Rolls. i. 129.
- Sir William de Creye did military service as early as 1282, and was member of Parliament for Kent in 1309 and 1313. He seems never to have held high command at sea except on two occasions in 1345, and for these services he was granted the wardship of a minor.
- Scots Rolls, i. 139.
- Scots Rolls, i. 139.
- Ib. i. 140.
- Scots Rolls, i. 144.
- Capitalem admirallum; Scots Rolls, i. 146.
- Scots Rolls, i. 146, 147.
- Ib., i. 149
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 277.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 227.
- Ib., ii. 279, 280.
- Ib., ii. 281.
- Scots Rolls, i. 151.
- Ib., i. 154.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 288.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 292, 350, 455.
- Ib. ii. 250.
- Ib., ii. 293; Correspondence printed by Entick (1757), 5, 94, 95.
- Sir Robert de Leybourne was probably a near relative of William, Lord Leybourne. He served in Scotland in 1308, and was member of Parliament for Cumberland and Westmoreland in succession. In 1322 he was Sheriff of Chester. He held high naval command in 1316, 1317, 1322, and 1326, and died early in the reign of Edward III.—Scots Rolls, i. 166; Pat. Rolls, 15 Edw. II. m. 15; 'Fœdera,' ii. 187; Pat. Rolls, 20 Edw. II. m. 20.
- Sir Nicholas Kyriel, or Criol, younger son of a knight of the same name, was born in 1283, and served with the army in 1319. His only years of high command at sea were 1316, 1325, and 132.—'Fœdera,' ii. 305; Walsingham, 100; 'Fœdera,' ii. 637; Pat. Rolls, 19 Edw. II. 1, m. 10, 11; 20 Edw. 11. m. 15.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 313.
- John de Perbroun, of Yarmouth, was member of Parliament for that place in 1322 and 1324. He held high command at sea in 1317, 1322, 1323, 1327, and 1333.—Pat. Rolls, 15 Edw. II. m. 18; 16 Edw. II. m. 11, etc.
- John de Athy, apparently an Irishman, had l custody of the county and castle of Limerick in 1309. He held high command at sea in 1315, 1317, 1319, and 1335, but in 1337 was reprimanded for cowardice and neglect of duty.—Scots Rolls, i. 146: Pat. Rolls, 10 Edw. II. m. 22; Abb. Orig. Rolls, 248a etc.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 347.
- Scots Rolls, i. 181, 184.
- Abbrev. Orig. Rolls, 12 Edw. II., 243.
- Scots Rolls, i. 192.
- Simon de Dryby seems have been a Lincolnshire or Norfolk gentleman. His only high command at sea was held in 1319. He died about 1323.—Scots Roll, i. 194
- Robert Ashman was Bailiff of Great Yarmouth in 1322. That of 1319 seems to have been his only high naval command.—Scots Rolls, i. 194.
- Pat. Rolls, 12 Edw. II. m. 29.
- Scots Rolls, i. 202.
- Ib., i. 195.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 412.
- 'Fœdera.' ii. 421, 428.
- Walsingham, 92; Knighton, 2539.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 456.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 498.
- Ib., ii. 478.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 484, 485.
- Robert Battayle was Mayor of Winchelsea in 1335. He held high naval command only in 1322 and 1323.—Pat. Rolls, 15 Edw. II. m. 13, and 16 Edw. II. m 18
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 485.
- Wardrobe Accts., 17 Edw. II.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 521. It was signed on May 30th.
- Ib., ii. 546.
- Ib., ii. 514, 546.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 544.
- Ib., ii. 552.
- Pat. Rolls, 17 Edw. II.
- Sir John de Cromwell, Lord Cromwell, was at the siege of Carlaverock in 1300. Edward II. made him a baron, and Constable of the Tower. He afterwards headed an embassy to France. He was again Constable of the Tower under Edward III. His death occurred about 1333.—'Fœdera,' ii. 562.
- Sir Robert Beudyn, a Devonshire man, was sheriff of his county in 1319, and member of Parliament for it in 1320, 1322, and 1324. In 1327 he was member for Cornwall. He held high command at sea only in 1324.—Gascon Rolls, 18 Edw. II. m. 22; Close Rs, 19 Edw. II. m. 16; Issue Rolls, 18 Edw. II.
- Stephen Alard belonged to the Winchelsea family of seamen, and was in 1307 collector of customs at Rye and Winchelsea. In 1326 he obtained lands at Chedingstone. The high naval command of 1324 appears to have been his only one.—Pat. Rolls, 18 Edw. II. 1, m. 22.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 570.
- Ib., ii. 573.
- Gascon Rolls, 18 Edw. II. m. 25, 29.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 568, 590, 608.
- Ib., ii. 601,602.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 604, 605, 606.
- Ib., ii. 607, 608, 609.
- Ib., ii, 610.
- Ib., ii. 614.
- Pat. Rolls, 19 Edw. II. m. 10.
- Walsingham, 100.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 617.
- Ib., ii. 618, 619.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 628.
- Ib., ii. 635, 659.
- Ib., ii. 637.
- Buchon's Froissart, i. 10–13.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 639.
- Pat. Rolls, 20 Edw. II. m. 15.
- Ib., 20 Edw. II. m. 20.
- Close Rolls, 20 Edw. II. m. 7, 18.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 640.
- E.g. Robert of Avesbury, and Walsingham.
- Froissart, i. 13, 14.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 643.
- Moor, 58; Walsingham, 105.
- Buchon's Froissart, i. 16.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 647.
- Nicolas, ii. 1.
- I.e. in 1847.
- Pat. Rolls, I Edw. III pt. ii. m. 23; Scots Rolls, i. 209, 211; Carlton Ride Roll, 'L.P.R.' 205
- Scots Rolls, i. 210.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 765; Buchon's Froissart, i. 42, 43.
- Ib., ii. 815, 818; 'Hist. Edw. III.' (Hearne), ii. 397.
- Knighton, col. 2560.
- Hemingford, ii. 273.
- Knighton, cols. 2560, 2561.
- Scots Rolls, i. 226;
- Ib., i. 254.
- Sir William Clinton, first Earl of Huntingdon, was a younger son of John, Lord Clinton, and in 1330 was made Governor of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports, and was summoned to Parliament as a baron. After his service as admiral, in 1333, he was present at the battle of Halidon Hill. In 1337, he was created Earl of Huntingdon. He was a private captain, as would be now said, at the battle of Sluis, and, after further service as admiral, in l341, died in 1354.
- Scots Rolls, i. 24.
- Fordun, ii. 310.
- Chron. in Harl. MS. 4690, printed by Ritson.
- Scots Rolls, i. 258, 259.
- Scots Rolls, i. 277–279.
- Ib., i. 299.
- Ib., i. 305–309, 311.
- Pat. Rolls, 8 Edw. III. pt. ii. m. 4.
- Scots Rolls, i. 335. Sir John Howard, son of Sir John Howard by Joan Cornwall, was the ancestor of one of the most distinguished of British naval and noble families. He served as admiral in 1335 and 1347. He married Alice, daughter of Sir Robert Boys. His great-great-grandson was the first Duke of Norfolk of the present creation.
- Scots Rolls, i. 336. Sir Robert Holland, or Holand, son of Robert, first Baron Holland, was summoned to Parliament, as second Baron, in 1342. He died in 1373.
- Ib., i. 317, 320, 322.
- Ib., i. 337, 338.
- Scots Rolls, i. 341.
- Ib., i. 351.
- Ib., i. :I55.
- or Wetwang. Ib., i. 354.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 911; Scots Rolls, i. 357.
- 'Scotichronicon,' ii. 318
- Scots Rolls, i. 358, 359, 368.
- Scots Rolls, i. 359, 369.
- Ib., i. 363, 366, 368; Gascon Rolls, 82, 83; 'Fœdera,' ii. 915.
- Ib., i. 374.
- Ib., i. 377.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 920.
- Scots Rolls, i. 379.
- Ib., i. 409.
- Scots Rolls, i. 404
- Ib., i. 415–417.
- Ib., i. 432.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 943.
- Scots Rolls, i. 442.
- Ib., i. 446, 447.
- Ib., i. 451.
- Ib., i. 451.
- Ib., i. 456.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 946. But later France obtained forty galleys from Genoa and Monaco.—Jal, ii. 333.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 948, 1011.
- Ib., ii. 949, 950.
- Ib., ii. 948, 952.
- Scots Rolls, i. 467, 468, 470.
- Scots Rolls, ii. 468.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 951.
- Ib., ii. 953.
- Scots Rolls, i. 477, 478.
- Sir Robert Ufford, second Lord Ufford, was eldest son of Robert, first Lord Ufford; but although he succeeded his father in 1316, he was not summoned to Parliament until 1332. In 1337 he was made joint admiral with Lord Roos, and in the same year was created Earl of Suffolk. He distinguished himself in the naval actions of 1342 and 1350, and also at Poitiers. He was again admiral in 1344, and died in 1369. His son and successor, William, second Earl, served as admiral for a short time in 1376, but died in 1392, when the title became extinct.
- Sir William Montacute, first Earl of Salisbury, K.B., eldest son of William, second Lord Montacute, was born about 1300. In 1334, he was Governor of the Channel Islands; in 1337, admiral; and later in the same year, he was created Earl of Salisbury. He died in 1343.
- Or Usdemer.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 957.
- Scots Rolls, i. 482.
- 'Fœdera,' i. 1039.
- French historians say that the senior officer was Hugues Quiéret.
- Knighton, 2570.
- Knighton and De Nangis say in 1337; Hemingford says in 1338. See 'Fœdera,' ii. 1042, 1067.
- De Nangis, iii. 100.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 975.
- Knighton, 2570. Walsingham, 118. Hemingford, ii. 280.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 977.
- Ib., ii. 996.
- Sir Walter Manny, K.G., one of the bravest and greatest men of his day, was a native of Valenciennes. While still young, he served in the Scots wars, and he was admiral in 1337 and 1348. He also fraught at Sluis and L'Espagnols sur Mur, as well as in many minor naval actions. In 1347, he became a baron by writ of summons, and in 1359 a Knight of the Garter. His wife, Margaret, was a grand-daughter of Edward I. He died on January 13th, 1372.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 988; Pat. Rolls, 11 Edw. III. m. 38.
- Scots Rolls, i. 498, 513.
- Also Kadlzand, or Cadsand.
- De Nangis says they had sixteen ships.
- Froissart, i. 62, 63. Walsingham give a somewhat different account of what seems to have been the same affair.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1005.
- Ib., ii. 1008. The galleys and crews were probably hired from Genoa.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1011.
- Avesbury, p. 28.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1015.
- Ib., ii. 1020.
- Almaine Rolls, 12 Edw. III.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1027.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1043.
- Knighton, 2572; Froissart, i. 64: ' Fœdera,' ii. 1050; Hemingford, ii. 282.
- Gascon Rolls, 91.
- Knighton, 2573.
- Nicolas, ii. 34, after Frossart, Walsingham, Knighton, etc.
- French historians appear to identify this raid with the attack on Portmouth already mentioned.
- This force, according to some French writers, was the fleet under Hugues Quiéret, Nicholas Béhuchet, and Barbenoire, which had sacked Portsmouth.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1069.
- See Fabian and other chroniclers.
- Froissart, i. 70.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 101;
- Ib., ii. 1062.
- Ib., ii. 1066.
- Knighton, 2573.
- Sir Robert Morley, second Lord Morley, a most brilliant soldier and seaman, was eldest son of William, first Lord Morley, whom he must have succeeded in or before 1317. After having served in Scotland, he was appointed admiral in 1339, and again in 1340, 1341, 1348, 1350, and 1355, and fought at Sluis and L'Espagnols sur Mer. He died in France on March 23rd, 1360.
- Sir William Trussell was a son of Sir Edmund Trussell, and represented Northamptonshire in Parliament in 1318. After a rather stormy, and very active political life, he was for the first time appointed admiral in 1339; and he served in a similar capacity in 1342. He seems to have died about 1347.
- Almaine Rolls, 13 Edw. III. m. 18.
- Knighton, 2573.
- Anon. Hist. Edw. III. (Hearne), ii. 420, 421.
- Cont. of De Nangis, 101; Knighton, 2573; Holinshed, iii. 357.
- Knighton, 2574.
- In the roadstead then called the Swyn (Het Zwijn).
- Knighton, 2575, 2576.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 104, 105.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1101.
- Richard Fitzalan, ninth Earl of Arundel, was the eldest son of Edmund, eighth Earl. In 1330 he was restored to the honours of his father, who had been attained and beheaded in 1326. He served in Scotland, and in 1340 and 1345, as admiral. He was at Sluis and L'Espagnols sur Mer, and died in 1376.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 108.
- Gascon Rolls, 104.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1115.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 116.
- Hemingford, ii. 319; Avesbury, 54.
- Avesbury, 54, 56; Hemingford, ii. 282; Parl. Rolls, ii. 118.
- Previously of the Christopher.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1129.
- Walsingham says, after the French had been sighted.
- Hemingford, ii. 320; Knighton, 2577.
- Froissart, i. 105; Knighton, 2577.
- Cont. of De Nangis, iii. 102; Froissart, i. 107; 'Ann. Rer. Fland.' (Meyer), 141.
- Hemingford, ii. 320.
- Minot is assuredly wrong in saying that the battle began at half-ebb.
- Froissart, i. 106.
- Avesbury, 56; Hemingford, ii. 320.
- Taken, and beheaded at Bruges.
- Nicolas puts the English "to the westward and to leeward of the enemy," adding "that the wind was about north-east, and that the French bore nearly south-west of them."
- And to prevent the sun from being in their faces.—Froissart, i. 106.
- Hemingford, ii. 321. From what Knighton says, more than half these may have been barges, and only twenty-three galleys or ships.
- Knighton, 2578; but Avesbury and others say 30,000.
- Ann. Rer. Fland., 141.
- Cont. of De Nangis says that Quiéret was taken.
- Ib., iii. 102: but, according to Knighton, 2578, he was killed in the fight.
- Hemingford, ii. 321. Sir Thomas was son of Ralph de Monthermer, Earl of Gloucester and Hereford, by Joan, daughter of Edward I.
- He was one of the Knights Founders of the Order, and was an ancestor of Lady Jane Grey, de facto Queen of England.
- Avesbury, 56.
- Froissart, i. 107; Hemingford, ii. 321.
- June 28th.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1129. Also given in Avesbury and Hemingford. It was witnessed by the prince.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 117, 118, 119.
- Nicolas, i. 66.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1133.
- Ib., ii. 1135.
- Ib., ii. 1141.
- Ib., ii. 1185.
- Ib., ii. 1177.
- Ib., ii. 1156.
- Ib., ii. 1163, 1173.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1177.
- Ib., ii. 1187.
- Ib., ii. 1189.
- Froissart, i. 152, 153.
- Great-grandson of Alfonso the Wise, King of Castille.
- Froissart, i. 155–157.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1201.
- Froissart, i. 166–168.
- 'Fœdera,' ii. 1202.
- Ib., ii. 1209.
- Knighton, 2581; 'Fœdera,' ii. 1212; Avesbury, 98.
- Knighton, 2582.
- Froissart, i. 175.
- Sir Robert Beaupel was the son of a Devonshire knight, and was member for Devon in 1314. He served chiefly with the army, but was admiral in 1342. He was an ancestor of Lady Jane Grey, through his grand-daughter, wife of Sir Nele Loring, K.G.
- Knighton, 2583; Avebury, 109.
- Chron. of Lanercost, 34: 'Fœdera,' ii. 1220; Avesbury, 109; Knighton, 2583.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 4, 8–11; Froissart, i. 183.
- Sir Reginald de Cobham was born abut 1300, and served at Gadzand, Sluis, Crécy, 'L'Espagnols sur Mer,' and Poitiers. He was appointed admiral in 1344 and 1348, and was made a K.G. in 1352. In 1342 he had been summoned to Parliament as a baron. He died in 1361.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 13.
- Avesbury, 114; Froissart, i. 177; Rolls of Parl., June, 1344, ii. 148; Fr. Rolls, 28; 'Fœdera,' iii. 15, 16.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 22.
- Ib., iii. 24.
- Ib., iii. 31.
- Ib., iii. 32–35, 44.
- Ib., iii. 47–51, 53; Froissart, i. 204–206.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 56, 57.
- Ib., iii. 68.
- Ib., iii. 84.
- Walsingham, 156; 'Fœdera,' iii. 85; Avesbury, 123; Murimuth, 98; Knighton, 2585; Froissart, i. 217–220.
- Avesbury, 123; Villani, 871, 872 (ed. 1587); Froissart, i. 220.
- Avesbury, 123–127; Knighton, 2585; Edwards' Dispatch of July 30th, 1346.
- Froissart, i. 214.
- Jal, 'Arch. Nav.' ii. 338.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 91, 93.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 157–161.
- Roll of Calais, in Harl. MSS. 246, 78; Cott. MSS. Titus E. iii. f. 262. This specifies the number of ships contributed by each port, and by Bayonne, Ireland, Spain, Flanders, and Gelderland.
- 'Fœdera' iii. 105, 106.
- Ib., iii. 109, 111, 112, 117.
- Knighton, 2592.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 121; Knighton, 2592, 2593.
- Avesbury, 156.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 139; Walsingham, 128; Murimuth, 100.
- Scots Rolls, i. 698.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 213.
- Ib., ii. 200; 'Fœdera,' iii. 146, 149, 151, 156.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 156, 157.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 159.
- Ib., iii. 162.
- Ib., iii. 165.
- Sir John Beauchamp, one of the original Knights of the Garter, and the first sole Admiral of the English fleets, was second son of Guy, Earl of Warwick, and was born about 1315. He was present at Sluis, Crécy, and Calais. He had an admiral's command for the first time in 1349, and was summoned to Parliament as a baron in 1350. In 1355 he was again admiral; and in 1360 was made Admiral of the Fleet, but died in the same year.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 187, 188; Scots Rolls, 1. 728.
- Avesbury, 185. A somewhat different account is given by Knighton, who places the scene of the outrage off Sluis.
- Froissart, i. 285.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 195.
- Ib., iii. 200.
- Ib., iii. 201.
- Froissart, i. 285.
- So says Stow, 250.
- The earldom of Derby had been revived in 1337 in favour of Henry Plantagenet, Earl, and later Duke of Lancaster.
- Froissart, i. 286 et seq.; Avesbury, 185; Otterbourne, 135; Cont. of Murimuth, 102; Walsingham, 160; Stow, 250.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 311.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 203, 206.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 210.
- Ib., iii. 228, 232, 254, 260, 276.
- William, Earl of Northampton was a younger son of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, by a daughter of Edward I., and was created Earl of Northampton in 1337. He served at S1uis, Crécy, Calais, and L'Espagnols sur Mer, and was given the first Garter that fell vacant. His sole appointment as Admiral was in 1351. He died in 1360. His youngest daughter was wife of Henry IV.
- Henry, Earl of Derby and Duke of Lancaster, was the only son of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, a nephew of Edward I., and was born about 1312. After seeing some naval and military service, and having been created Earl of Derby in 1337, he succeeded as Earl of Lancaster and Leicestershire in 1345, and in 1348 became one of the first Knights of the Garter. Soon afterwards he was made Earl of Lincoln, and in 1351, Duke of Lancaster. He had been both at Sluis and at L'Espagnols sur Mer, when, in 1351, he was for the first and only time made admiral. He died in 1361, leaving two daughters, one of whom married John of Gaunt, and became the mother of Henry IV.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 273.
- Ib., iii. 217, 218, 220; Knighton, 2601.
- Ib., iii. 245, 246.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 264, 265.
- Ib., iii. 275.
- Knighton, 2608; Avesbury, 201.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 297.
- Ib., iii. 306.
- Knighton, 2608; Avesbury, 201.
- Knighton, 2610: Parl. Rolls ii. 264: Avesbury, 203, 204.
- Avesbury, 205. Froissart (i. 304, 305) is incorrect.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 314; Parl. Rolls, ii. 264.
- Froissart, i. 311, 312; Avesbury, 237.
- Sir Guy Bryan, son of a Devonshire knight, was born about 1310. In 1350 he was summoned to Parliament as a baron. He was admiral in 1356 and 1370, in which latter year he was also made a K.B. His naval services were very numerous and distinguished, but towards the close of his life he was exclusively ashore. He died in 1390.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 328: Gascon Rolls, 127.
- Avesbury. 245, 246.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 338.
- Knighton, 2617.
- Froissart, i. 367. But Walsingham and Knighton say that it made Plymouth.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 348.
- Ib., iii. 412.
- Ib. iii. 415; Scots Rolls, i. 840.
- Ib., iii. 452; Froissart (who wrongly says that the king embarked at Dover), i. 417.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 471.
- Ib., iii. 476, 477; Walsingham, 166.
- Anon. Hist. Edw. III., ii. 421; Issue Rolls, 34 Edw., III. 173 (ed. Devon); Walsingham, 166; Knighton, 2622.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 476.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 479.
- Ib., iii. 471–479.
- Walsingham, 167; Knighton, 2623.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 490, 499, 518, 520.
- Ib., iii. 505.
- Sir Robert Herle, son of Sir William Herle, was made captain of Calais in 1350, and Warden of the Cinque Ports, etc., in 1361, when he was appointed Admiral of the Fleet. He died about June 1364.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 597.
- Sir Ralph Spigurnell, or Pigornel, was appointed Admiral of the Fleet in 1364, but little is known of his previous naval services or qualifications. He died in 1373.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 741.
- Sir Robert Ashton was a distinguished man with very varied experiences. After seeing service in France, he was made Chancellor of Ireland in 1364, and keeper the castle of Sangatte, near Calais, in 1368. He was appointed admiral in 1369, and again in 1371, and held other commands at sea. He was also, at different times, Justice of Ireland, Treasurer and Chamberlain of the Household, Warden of the Cinque Ports, Constable of Dover Castle, and Ambassador to France. He died about 1384.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 861, 863, 865.
- Froissart, i. 567; Parl. Rolls, ii. 299; 'Fœdera,' iii. 868.
- 'Fœdera' iii. 880.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 871.
- Issue Rolls, 44 Edw. llI., 376.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 892; Issue Rolls. 44 Edw. III. 149, 267, 286.
- Issue Rolls, 44 Edw. III., 187, 277.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 303.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 306, 307.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 912.
- Ib., iii. 917.
- Ib., iii. 923, 924.
- Ib., iii. 925.
- From this bay, where there were salt-pans, "bay salt" seems to have taken its name.
- Froissart, i. 631, 632.
- Walsingham, 182; Murimuth, 127; Otterboune, 128.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 930.
- Ib., iii 931.
- Ib., iii 933.
- Ib., iii 937.
- Ib., iii 938.
- John, Lord Hastings, second Earl of Pembroke, who was captured off La Rochelle in 1372, was son of Lawrence, first Earl of Pembroke, and had, as his second wife, a daughter of Admiral Sir Walter Manny. He died in 1375.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 941; Froissart, i. 636, 637.
- Perhaps Sir Simon Whitaker.
- Perhaps Sir Robert Beaufort.
- Possibly Sir John Grimstone.
- Perhaps Sir John Curzon.
- Froissart, 635–639; Walsingham, 182; Anon. Hist. Edw. III. (Hearne). ii. 439.
- Froissart, i. 640, 641.
- 'Fœdera.' iii. 961, 962; Anon. Hist. Edw. III., ii. 399; 400; Froissart, i. 638; Walsingham, 182.
- Froissart, i. 647, 654.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 311.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 965, 970.
- Then Admiral of France.
- or De Roye.
- Of Jean de Vienne's naval career there is a good though brief account in Laughton's 'Studies in Naval History.' See also 'Jean de Vienne,' by the Marquis Terrier de Loray (Paris, 1877). John de Vienne was born in 1341. and fell at the battle of Nicopolis on September 28th 1390.
- Froissart, i. 668, etc.' 'Fœdera,' iii. 971.
- Parl. Rolls ii. 316.
- 'Fœdera,' iii.996, 997.
- Ib., iii. 1002.
- Ib., iii. 1006, 1017.
- 'Studies in Nav. Hist.'
- Nephew of the elder Grimaldi who had commanded the Genoese contingent at Sluis.
- Parl. Rolls, ii. 346. One of the prizes, the Christopher of Exmouth. was of 300 tons.
- Ib., ii. 346.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 1046, 1049, 1050.
- Fr. Rolls, 115.
- William, second Earl of Salisbury, K.G., was born in 1327, served at Crécy and Calais, and was one of the original Knights of the Garter. He was present at L'Espagnols sur Mer and Poitiers; and was admiral in 1376. He died in 1397, leaving his honours to his nephew, John, third Earl.
- 'Fœdera,' iii. 1057, 1065.
- Ib., iii. 1072, 1076, 1077.
- Or on July 6th.
- Froissart's account does not exactly agree with the accounts of Walsingham, Otterbourne, etc. The account as given is substantially that adopted by Prof. Laughton: 'Studies in Nav. Hist.,' 17, 18.
- Parl. Rolls, iii. 3, 5, 6, 24, 25.
- Monk of Evesham, 4; Walsingham, 199, etc.
- Walsingham, 209.
- Ib., 199.
- Richard, tenth Earl of Arundel, was eldest son of the ninth Earl, and was born about 1348, succeeding his father in 1376. He served in 1377 as admiral, and 1386 as Admiral of the Fleet. At about the same time he was made a K.G. In 1388 he was reappointed Admiral of the Fleet. He was beheaded on a charge of high-treason in 1397.
- Parl. Rolls, 1 Rich. II. m. 22.
- Walsingham, 211.
- Again the text substantially follows ' Studies in Nav. Hist.,' 19, 20.
- 'Fœdera,' vii. 185, 190; Pat. Rolls, 1 Rich. II. p. 4, m. 31d
- Walsingham 211.
- Walsingham (211) says, Sir Hugh Courtenay; Monk of Evesham (6) says that Sir Philip and Sir Peter Courtenay were present.
- 'Studies in Nav. Hist.,' 20, 21.
- Froissart, ii. 30; Monk of Evesham, 7.
- 'Studies in Nav. Hist.,' 21; Walsingham, 215.
- Froissart, ii. 40; Ib., 215.
- Evesham, 6; Walsingham, 213.
- Parl. Rolls, iii. 34, 35, 42, 46.
- Sir Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, was second son of Henry, Lord Percy, a near relative of the famous Hotspur, and was born about 1311. He obtained a Garter about 1376. His appointments as admiral were in 1378, 1385, and 1399, when he was made Admiral of England and of Ireland. He had been created Earl of Worcester in 1397. He was beheaded in 1403 for complicity with Hotspur.
- Fr. Rolls, 127.
- 'Fœdera,' vii. 210, 211.
- Parl. Rolls, iii. 63.
- Statutes, ii. 8.
- Walsingham, 224.
- Walsingham, 232.
- 'Black Book of the Admiralty,' i. 24
- Froissart, ii. 85; Walsingham. 243.
- Otterbourne, 150: Walsingham, 238–242.
- Parl. Rolls, iii. 86.
- Fr. Rolls. ii. 131.
- Scots Rolls, ii. 25.
- Froissart, ii. 94: Walsingham, 243; Monk of Evesham, 19.
- Walsingham, 248.
- Ib., 249.
- Parl. Rolls. iii. 88; Fr. Rolls, 4 Rich. II. m. 20.
- Froissart, ii. 169; Walsingham, 257, 259; Otterbourne, 154.
- Ib., ii. 181.
- Fr. Rolls, ii. 138.
- Walsingham, 308.
- Fr. Rolls, ii. 142.
- Parl. Rolls, iii. 148.
- 'Fœdera,' vii. 391, 394–399; Chron. de St. Denis, i. 259; Otterbourne, 157: Froissart, ii. 268; Knighton, 2672; Walsingham, 327.
- Walsingham, 331.
- Parl. Rolls, iii. 152, 160.
- Close Rolls, 7 Rich. II. m. 7.
- 'Fœdera,' vii. 453, 455; Fr. Rolls. 8 Rich. II. m. 12.
- Chron. de St. Denis, i. 350.
- Walsingham, 342.
- Ib., 342; Knighton, 2676.
- Des Ursins, 47.
- Froissart, ii. 314; Chron. de St. Denis, i. 364; Knighton, 2674; Walsingham, 312; Otterbourne, 160; Monk of Evesham, 61.
- Chron. de St. Denis, i. 390, 392; Des Ursins, i. 49.
- Walsingham, 346; Otterbourne, 161; Evesham, 64. Knighton (2676) says that forty-eight vessels were taken in the action of the 20th.
- Parl. Rolls, iii. 212, 213.
- Fr. Rolls, 151.
- Ib., 10 Rich. II. m. 18.
- 'Fœdera,' vii. 492, 498.
- Ib., vii. 506, 507.
- Knighton, 2678; Walsingham, 354: Evesham, 73.
- Knighton, 2676.
- Froissart, ii. 486–488; Chron de St.'Denis, i. 436, 437.
- Knighton, 2678.
- Walsingham says that it was twenty feet high, and three thousand paces long, with towers at intervals.
- Walsingham says, at Sandwich, for the defence of the town (p. 354); Knighton says, around Winchelsea (2679).
- 'Studies in Nav. Hist.,' 26, 27.
- Walsingham, 354; Evesham, 76; Chron. de St. Denis, 459.
- Des Ursins, 58; Chron. de St. Denis, i. 460.
- Froissart, ii. 578.
- Ib., ii. 581, 583, 588.
- Fr. Rolls, 156; Knighton, 2696
- 'Fœdera,' vii. 563.
- Froissart, ii. 701–705, 745, 746, 754.
- Walsingham, 366: Otterbourne, 175: Evesham, 103.
- Fr. Rolls, 12 Rich. II. m. 4.
- Ib., 13 Rich. II. m. 26.
- Froissart, iii. 57.
- Fr. Rolls, 14 Rich. II. m. 3.
- Fr. Rolls, 15 Rich. II. m. 7.
- Pat. Rolls, 21 Rich. II. p. 3, m. 23.
- Otterbourne, 201.