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History Notes > History of the British Isles II: 1042-1330 Notes

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Anglo-Norman Rule and Crisis Dr Garnett Henry I - Richard de Rainbuedcurt held Burton Latimer in Bidfordshire
~ Held it directly from the king - Richard was his father's heir but could only succeed to the land through the favour of the king
~ Took Richard's homage - the king became Richard's lord
~ Richard had to offer a large sum of money - a relief Pipe Roll 1130 - the king extracted large sums of money in relief
~ Debt could be used as an instrument of political control Could also have paid the king for the hand of his wife - she was an heiress Dispossessed Richard due to his debts from dice and his mistreatment of his wife - Henry I could be arbitrary and act on a whim
~ Richard had paid off most of the debt Personal royal favour or disfavour played a very large role His descendants did not recover the estate until John's reign - did not forget about it
~ Nursed their grievance for over a century Normans were accustomed to inheritance and never reconciled themselves to this type of arbitrary dispossession which was possible when all tenure was dependent upon the king
~ Especially when they had played such a large role in the Conquest
~ Saw themselves as all enfiefed by the Battle of Hastings - right of conquest Norman kings proved incapable of organising the successions to England and Normandy It was because of the Conquest that William and his sons proved so ineffectual at organising inheritance - saw England merely as an estate to be bequeathed
~ Did not conceive of it as different
~ On William's deathbed he ordered a division of his lands William Rufus - to have the conqueror's acquisition
~ Revealing as he had always claimed to have inherited it The most important barons of England had done homage to his eldest son, Robert and had undertaken to obey him as duke The succession of Rufus as king of England placed the barons in an impossible predicament
~ How could their personal bond with Curthose cease when they went to England?
Best prospect lay in Robert Curthose winning a war of succession - was incapable of doing this Rufus dispossessed those who supported Curthose Henry I's coronation charter or 'charter of liberties'
~ Issued as he attempted to solidify support for his accession following Rufus's unexpected death in a hunting accident Coronation charter addresses major baronial grievances one by one - promises not to behave like his brother and father had done Robert Curthose was already on his way back from the First Crusade Opened with a promised about his treatment of churches - henceforth they would not be asset-stripped whilst in the king's hands
~ Yet did not renounce the reversion of the estates Said that in the future he would not extract money from heirs seeking the inheritance of the father - promised he would only seek a just and lawful relief

Promised that he would not marry off widows against their own wishes If there was a minor heir, Henry undertook that he would not take control of the heir's person would allow the relatives to have wardship Copy was sent to every shire court
~ Read out in English as well as in Latin Pipe Roll of 1130 shows that Henry broke these promises as soon as he felt secure The charter did not make a grant to a named recipient - no way of binding the king At the beginning of his reign he could not challenge Robert Curthose
~ Curthose attempted an invasion of England as had been done when Rufus succeeded his father A deal was made between the 2 brothers - did not prove durable Difference in the case of Henry I is that he eventually attempted an invasion of Normandy in 1106
~ William of Malmesbury comments on this being exactly 40 years after Hastings Tinchebrai 1106 - defeated Curthose Henry claimed that Robert Curthose, his brother and hero of the First Crusade, had never managed to take possession of Normandy
~ Henry had not deposed his elder brother but merely stepped in to stop Normandy being in a state of anarchy William Clito collected support against Henry Robert de Belleme disappeared into one of Henry's prisons
~ Henry of Huntingdon - did not even know if he was alive Suger, the French chronicler - Henry I slept somewhere different every night out of fear for assassination John of Worcester - recurrent nightmare in which we was attacked by outraged barons
~ Illustrates the nightmare in the margins of his chronicle On Henry's death in 1135 there was an explosion of discontent Had been previous discontent on the deaths of kings 1114-18 Henry dispossessed Robert de Lacy of the honour of Pontefract, Yorkshire
~ Because he had allegedly been conspiring with William Clito
~ Gave the honour to Hugh de Laval
~ de Laval died in 1129 and left a widow but no child
~ Pipe Roll 1130 - records that the king gave Pontefract to William Maltravers through the marriage of the widow to him enormous sum of money for the king In order to recoup the crippling outlay - Maltrevers began to strip the assets of the estate 1135 - Maltravers was murdered by a vassal of Hubert de Lacy Henry I made some attempt to arrange the succession before his death In the absence of a legitimate son he made an arrangement for his daughter Matilda to succeed him
~ Not as binding because it was unprecedented for a woman to succeed, Henry did not force the barons to do homage to her and she was at war with Henry at the time of his death Stephen was a grandson of William the Conqueror through his daughter Adela
~ Was Henry's nephew

~ Greatest baron in the realm One of Stephen's first recorded acts was a pardon for any crimes committed by de Lacy after Henry's death and before Stephen's coronation - particularly pardoned for the murder of Maltravers Many similar instances of those who felt that they had been unjustly treated who had this rectified by Stephen Unspoken assumption that Stephen's reign was doomed from the start by the questionable nature of his claim to the throne and the consequently dubious nature of his accession
~ All kings had dubious claims and accessions looked like coups d'etats Baron of Normandy now wanted him as their duke Problems only began when Matilda invaded
~ Stephen proved incapable of dislodging her or coming to an agreement
~ Matilda's husband was conquering Normandy By 1144 Stephen had lost his final foothold in Normandy 1141 - Battle of Lincoln
~ Stephen was captured
~ Matilda made preparations to become Queen Regnant
~ Arrangements were slow as she needed to secure London - eventually failed
~ Robert of Gloucester was captured by forces still loyal to Stephen Situation is bewailed by all of the chroniclers Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - Stephen's reign was 19 years when the saints slept Is this anarchy a realistic description?
Stephen's reign is the most prolific period of monastic foundation in English history
~ 115-170 monasteries were founded in those 19 years
~ Would not have been possible in a land laid waste by war
~ Often had magnificent new castles at the same time Barons were having a good civil war - 2 conflicting lords were bidding for their allegiance
~ Could not ruthlessly use royal powers over tenure as before
~ All of the grievances in Henry's coronation charter could at last be redressed Barons often switched sides
~ Most celebrated example is Geoffrey de Mandeville With the division of the kingdom into 2 fluctuating areas of dominion System of government developed under William the Conqueror could no longer operate
~ The Exchequer ceased to function in most circumstances
~ Yet this is not tantamount to anarchy Major barons became earls e.g. Geoffrey of Mandeville became Earl of Essex
~ Charters issued by them shows strong baronial government Treaties between earls to limit damage England began to look like any other ordinary continental kingdom Chronicles now criticise barons - more like French chronicles Scale of monastic foundation and castle building show success of baronial authority Stephen's reign was preferable to Henry I's
~ Although monastic chroniclers had praised Henry I's reign as a time of peace and order Henry of Huntingdon - followers of Stephen and Henry refused to fight

~ 'They love nothing better than discord but were unwilling to commit themselves to battle' - did not want to vanquish one and be subject to the other
~ Did not want the royal authority to be exercised over them Stephen and Henry had to strike a deal - Winchester 1153
~ Promulgated in a charter issued by the king Davis - contained the hereditary rights of tenure which the barons had campaigned for
~ Hereditary tenure of the throne and land were established in a single act
~ Stephen made Henry his heir via hereditary right Nowhere in the charter promulgating the deal was there a clause undertaking to restore the disinherited Charter claims to comprise all the agreements
~ Also no evidence for implementation of such an inheritance agreement Evidence for recognition of hereditary tenure of baronial land is only within 2 chronicles
~ Both of these chroniclers are pro-Angevin
~ Claim that Stephen did not make Henry his heir
~ Instead Henry had the hereditary right but he conceded that Stephen could hold it for the rest of his life
~ Stephen was a usurper whose actions could not be followed
~ After Henry's recognition he went on a progress around the country 'like a new heir' Henry was the heir - not granted it by Stephen
~ Yet most saw Stephen as making Henry heir It was because those sources assumed that Stephen had been a usurper that they asserted that the disinherited would be restored Henry I reign is sometimes treated as how Domesday Book treats Edward the Confessor's reign
~ Yet Domesday uses it as a point of reference 1153 - no new attempt to restore the status quo
~ Chroniclers are making a polemical point about Stephen's legitimacy
~ Not saying that there will be hereditary tenure - this is why it is not mentioned in charters Nor did it establish true hereditary inheritance of the throne e.g. excluded Stephen's other son William Failed to recognise that Henry had a hereditary right derived through his mother All the barons in England were bound by fealty to Henry
~ Secured royal castles for him at the instant of Stephen's death For the first time the interregnum saw the absence of chaos
~ Henry of Huntingdon saw this as unprecedented - 'England lacked a king but it did not lack peace' Stephen's reign was only a brief respite of those ruthless powers of tenure

England under the Angevins Dr Garnett Richard Malebisse - minor tenant-in-chief and a considerable subtenants during the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John in Yorkshire
~ Was also at various times the keeper of the king's forest and participant in royal justice
~ Conventional example of the way in which tenants-in-chief became embroiled in the increasingly elaborate mechanisms of government under the Angevin kings Debts that Malebisse had to incur in order to secure his land and positions in administration
~ Seen in Henry II's pipe rolls
~ Also used new legal procedures to gain power - many costs
~ Could not afford to pay these massive costs upfront - had to borrow from Jewish moneylenders
~ Christians could not lend money at interest
~ But Jews were prohibited from bequeathing debts to their heirs - debts reverted to the king in the long run a debt to a Jewish moneylender incurred in paying a debt to the king led to further debt to the king 1190 - Third Crusade was proclaimed with the aim of recapturing Jerusalem
~ Preached widely throughout England
~ Always generated anti-semitism as they were seen as the murderers of Christ 1190 - Jews of the city of York sought refuge in the king's castle but it was stormed by a mob with mass butchery
~ Leader of this mob was Richard Malebisse - king's forester and justice Malebisse then led the mob to Yorkminster where there was a chest with all the Jewish debt bonds - was also burnt
~ Conjuratio - sworn association of local landowners sought to achieve liberation for themselves and many others Malebisse - English version of mala bestia (evil beast) Embodies the paradox of the nobility in Angevin England
~ On one hand, were enthusiastic participants in the elaboration of royal government
~ On the other, the resentment which barons had felt since the Conquest at royal exploitation of feudal bonds was compounded under Henry II
~ Government even more money being drawn from them Characterised their principle aim as liberation Sworn association and liberty reveal the extent to which these men had been educated by their participation in government Malebisse was a practitioner of 'forensic violence'
~ Foreshadows Magna Carta Stephen and Henry 1153 - Stephen made Henry his heir and successor by hereditary right
~ Stephen did not even try to maintain his previous pretence that he was Duke of Normandy
~ Implicitly recognised Geoffrey of Anjou's conquering of Normandy in 1144 Stephen was nearly totally removed from royal records 1154 charter - much briefer than Henry I's coronation edict
~ Henry abolished all evil customs which Henry I had abolished
~ Confirmed everything that Henry I had granted 'by his charter'

~~ Usually seen as an affirmation of Henry I's coronation edict - could alternatively be seen as a blanket confirmation of any grant that Henry I had ever made
~ Seen to be restoring the times of his grandfather Charter of Henry I would not be contested by Henry II William of Newburgh - Henry II had appointed justices and legal officials to remove the wicked and do justice to the litigants Not everyone could produce a charter - dependent on what could be established as the status quo in Henry I's reign
~ Judges could assess the merits of a case After 19 years, there were not many cases where people had survived to be restored - simple fact of mortality
~ Restorations tended to be to their rightful successors - king's room for manoeuvre
~ How does one ascertain this?
~ All sorts of subtle compromises - made them appear to fit his official template of the restoration of the status quo of Henry I's reign Numerous charters of confirmation Detailed rigorous procedures - took time for the king and his justices to work out how to respond to demand Bracton - Henry II and his advisers frequently burnt the night oil devising crafty legal fixes Niger - Henry II, like Henry I, was never sated in his quest for gain
~ Issued new laws every year which he called assizes Glanvill - probably written in the 1180s as the chief justiciar of England First new procedure was the breve de recto - writ of right
~ Writ to the lord of whom a plaintiff claimed to hold - ordered to do right or justice to a plaintiff
~ King's officials were to ensure that this occurred Records from 1194 - plaintiff claimed to be the heir 'in the year and on the day that King Henry had died'
~ Early in John's reign a plaintiff failed because he had not specified the day on which Henry I had been alive - uncertain Tempus guerrae - time of war
~ Contrast with the time of peace under Henry I
~ Anything that had happened at this time was ipso facto illegitimate
~ Similar to Harold II's reign - reference to the last day of Edward the Confessor Hardly any reference to Stephen's reign
~ When he was referred to it was as Henry's usurper rather than predecessor Similar to Henry II's own title to England
~ Disregarded the terms for the settlement of 1153 Close correlation between the right to be done to a claimant to land and the king's own claim to the title of the kingdom Grounding of the king's title shaped claims to land
~ Tenure depended on the king The writ of right required royal intervention in the courts of his barons
~ Barons had to make considered decisions when they accepted a tenant
~ If a claimant's claim fitted the writ of right then they should accept this - influenced by the dangers of subsequent royal intervention

The other assizes did not require the same regularised intervention in the lord's court
~ Removed them from the lord's court all together - brought before specially commissioned royal justices
~ Appointed on a regular basis to hear cases in the localities Most famous example is the assize of novel disseisin
~ Those who had been unjustly been dispossessed would be restored by royal authority Regularisation of royal intervention was new
~ A plaintiff no longer had to seek out the king in person - unlike the first decade of Henry's reign Much cheaper and much more widely accessible
~ Systematic undermining of whatever autonomy barons had previously enjoyed in their courts
~ Common principles of the king's courts had to be accepted in lord's courts establishment of the common law Novel disseisin - what was novel?
~ Unlike writ of right
~ Wasn't concerned with conflicting claims to title but with providing a quick solution to recent dispossession King's presence or absence from the kingdom was deemed to be important
~ Until Richard I's accession
~ King was important in all matters of tenure In responding to demand, Henry II created procedures which would extend royal government at the expense of baronial autonomy Richard de Lucy played a major part in the coronation charter and the Constitutions of Clarendon which aimed to restore the laws of Henry I The original claim of William the Conqueror determined all the tenure of England and in Henry II's succession it shaped the origins of English common law Strengthened the rights of tenants against the barons
~ Reliefs paid by heirs had by the 1180s become fixed on a standard scale for PS5 for every knight's fee By taking his homage the lord formally invested the heir with the land The most relevant assize here is that of mort d'ancestor Tenants-in-chief could not benefit from these new procedures e.g. could not take out a writ of right against the king Aggrieved heir of the tenant-in-chief could not have a writ of mort d'ancestor Heirs of tenants-in-chief continued to pay large reliefs and did not have their homage taken when they were received into wardship so had no guarantee that they would receive their inheritance Legal reforms of Henry II's reign transformed the exercise of lordship for every lord apart from the king Henry had widespread continental possessions - increasingly hard to retain in the face of consistent attack by the French kings
~ Drained the resources of England Burden fell even more heavily on the tenants-in-chief because they were prevented from extracting even more in turn from their tenants due to these new procedures Systems of taxation became ever more elaborate
~ New exemptions or liberties that could be sold by the king

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