Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NEWBURY CASTLE - The Where and and the Where Not!

The whereabouts of Newbury Castle Berkshire has long been a conundrum.  Did it exist, and if so, where is it?  No one knows for sure; there are only theories.  As far as my own theory goes, I would say it's staring everyone in the face, but let's explore the subject.


William Marshal's biography the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal is the only source to mention a castle at Newbury. The writer calls it 'Neubere'  in his narrative, and has this to say:  I'll quote it in full in translation:

"As it is known to all, the King besieged Newbury at the head of a mighty force of men. But he did this that so much by surprise that those inside the castle were not aware at all of it until they saw the soldiers, their archers and their scouts, indeed the whole army, which dismounted and set to pitching tents. When those within the walls saw them, they knew full well that they had been taken unawares. This is a surprise attack was particularly the disagreeable since they had little in the way of provisions. The King sent a formal request by messenger, ask in the constable whether he was prepared to surrender the castle aor wished to defend it against him. No time was lost in reaching a decision:
"We are not so beleaguered that we have no wish to put up a stout defence; we have no intention of surrendering the castle. Things have now gone so far that's there will be many a blow received, many a skull, and many otherwise wounded by blade or spear or lance, and many trampled underfoot so that all that will be needed after that are the biers."
The King had directed his anger against their side, and swore by the birth of Christ. " I'll be sure to take my revenge on the low villains, they will fall into my hands. Now to arms, my valiant squires, my valient men at arms and archers! Snarl as they might, we'll capture them. To the first man to get inside I shall give such wealth that he will never be poor again in his lifetime."
You should have seen those squires start to clamber with great daring over the ditches and up the embankments. And those within the walls defended themselves courageously and furiously; they hurled down slabs of stone, sharpened stakes, and massive pieces of timber to knock them to the ground. They made them pay a horrible price for their attempt on them; if it was in their power they would thwart them. Many could be seen to topple upside down and fall headlong onto their backs; many were wounded and many knocked unconscious. Those in the castle could not be blamed for defending themselves for they expected no immediate help.
Those outside had the worst of it. Thereupon the assault was suspended, an assault that had been very dangerous. The King was greatly troubled by events, and swore that he would not let things rest there and that he would never leave that place until he had taken the tower and punished those within.
The people in the castle decided, good folk that's they were, they would ask for a truce, and in the meantime would relay to their ord and master all the information about their situation. They asked for the truce and were given it, and as fast as they could, they informed their lord that they had only one days truce (so wherever John was, it was nearby for requests and answers to come within a day). So therefore, if he could, would he come and rescue them, for inside they had nothing to live on."

Newbury itself is in West Berkshire, a short distance from the Hampshire border. The town is situation in the flood plain of the River Kennet near the junction of the River Lambourn at a point where the Oxford to Southampton road crosses the river and the London to Bath Road passes to the north. It's a site of some strategic importance.

Saxon settlement there is known of from the 10th century with charters existing for nearby Speen and Thatcham. By the late 11th century a manor called Ulvritone was listed in the area by the Domesday book and it belonged to one Arnulf of Hesdin. The name of the town is first mentioned in a grant of 1080.  Evidence suggests that Newbury was created as a planned town on the site of Ulvritone.  The town seems to have developed steadily during the 12th and 13th centuries.  By 1204 it had a market as well as town bailiffs and in 1225 was represented at assize by its own bailiff and jury.  So, it was a developing townscape at this time, but the only mention of a castle comes from the Histoire.

Puzzled by this, archaeologists undertook excavations in Newbury between 1979 and 1990 in the course of which between 1988 and 1990 they searched for evidence of a castle at the site traditionally acknowledged to have been the most likely place. The evaluation of the area by the Trust for Wessex Archaeology in March 1990 concluded that the tradition of a stone built castle standing on the site and surviving into the late medieval period was unsupported by fact. 'The balance of evidence would tend to suggest a location other than at Newbury Wharf'  the report concluded.

That's that one put to bed then, but what of other sites?
A big favourite with historians is the site at Hamstead Marshall in south-west Berkshire, 4.7 miles from Newbury, where a manor once owned by the Marshals, has three mounds or Mottes in the grounds, and earthworks. Here is what the Heritage Gateway for West Berkshire has to say on the matter:Motte mounds at Hamstead Marshall  It's a theory but inconclusive. At least one of the mounds is Neolithic, but may have been used as part of the defensive works.

We don't know when Hamstead Marshall became a Marshal possession.  It didn't gain the name 'Marshall' until the 13th century. Before that it was simply 'Hamestede' meaning 'Homestead.'  At the time of Domesday it had land for 5 ploughs of which the lord was entitled to 2 ploughland's worth.  It had 4 villagers and 8 smallholders with 3 ploughs. It also had 10 slaves,  a mill worth 20 shillings and 6 acres of pastureland. There was sufficient woodland to fatten 10 pigs and the whole was valued at £4.  How and when did it become a Marshal possession?  The hard evidence according to the Victorian County history dates to the early 13th century.

'It is returned about 1241 as held de marescangia.  In 1270 as held by the service of the marshal's wand.  And in 1283-4 per serianciam mareschallic. In 1306, however, it is said to be held by knight service and Mr Round (historian j.H. Round) expresses a doubt as to whether the marshalship was ever really held by serjeantry in connection with the manor of Hampstead Marshall as this manor is not returned among recognised Berkshire serjeantries.
Hmpstead Marshal is first found in the possession of the Marshals in the early 13th century. That William Marshal held the manor of Hampstead Marshall seems probable, for in 1218 while he was acting as protector of the young King Henry III, the latter gave five letters patent at Hampstead Marshall, four of which were witnessed by the earl. 

Who know, perhaps the earthworks and mottes derive from that troubled period rather than the anarchy. I think it's just as likely.
What we know about Hamstead Marshall is that by 1218 they had a manor there, luxurious enough to support a king, albeit that that king was a child. And since times were precarious, that manor was clearly fortified.  But the site of Newbury Castle?  I don't believe so.

A few years ago, I was invited to lunch by the then owner of North Lodge and we walked the grounds where the Marshal manor once stood.  The owner had enjoyed my novels and had an archaeology qualification that had enabled her to excavate one of the Marshal stew ponds on the site. We examined the mounds and our opinion was that at least a couple of them were Neolithic. Naturally a medieval castle builder would use whatever he had to hand, and Neolithic mounds are as good as anything else.

Bounds of the manor at Hamstead Marshall
I found it interesting that Hamstead Marshall should be pointed to as the site for Newbury Castle.  Yes, it's near Newbury - just under 5 miles away, but it doesn't really guard anything massively strategic, even if strategic roads and rivers are only the distance of a short ride.  It is as it the name says, a 'Homestead.'  Why would King Stephen want to bother with besieging it?  And his besiegers would have had to be pretty mediochre at their job to make such a dog's dinner of taking it.... Unless of course this isn't the site and really we should be looking elsewhere.  Perhaps to somewhere nearer to Newbury and on a more strategic site.

My own feeling on the site of the elusive Newbury Castle is that archaeologists and historians should be looking to a suburb of Shrewsbury called Speen, just 1.4 miles from Newbury - which might make more sense of the castle title.  There is a site now occupied by a large house (Speen House) built on the site of a dwelling that once belonged to the Bishop of Salisbury. The site is the highest point on a ridge overlooking the river Lambourn to the north and the Kennet to the south. The Roman road - Ermine Street coming from Cirencester to Speen must have been very close by.  In ancient times the site had been an iron-age hill fort and the ramparts are still there. It's also postulated that a Roman station existed there too and there have been finds. Fortifications and ramparts are regularly adapted and reused and this site would have been an utter Godsend to John Marshal. He was renowned as a cunning builder of castles and Speen would have been tailor-made for his skills, especially if he was constructing defences in a hurry.

I have been to the site and the view from the top of Speen House are commanding and spectacular.  You can see everything coming at you from here.  It's strategically brilliant.  King Stephen would have come by here on the way to try to take down Wallingford and John Marshal would now be standing directly in his path and in a commanding position. Stephen would have no choice but to batter him into submission. And while he was doing that, Wallingford remained safe.

Did the Marshals hold lands at Speen?  Yes they did. They had the Grange at Speen for the right of holding the Marshal's Rod. They also have connections with the church and William Marshal had interests there from the late 12th which are listed on the Pipe Rolls.  On the role of 1199 he his pardoned half a mark on land in Speen.

On the map, I have gone over the rampart lines in red. In purple the walking distance from Newbury centre is 1.4 miles.  Contrast that with the less strategic Hamstead Marshall nearly 5 miles away.







Showing the distances between Hamstead Marshall, Speen and Newbury. 
The Marshals also have strong connections with the church there, which is cited as the first church of Newbury, even though it is in Speen.  The church of St Mary the Virgin says on its website:  'a medieval church built on Saxon foundations and was the mother church of Newbury.  In 1086 it was recorded in Domesday Book.' Church of St. Mary The Virgin Speen   The church stands about 200 yards from where I purport the castle site to have been.  The Marshals had a connection with this church and there is a charter form Sandford Priory dating to 1206.

Uniuersis etc Willelmus Marescallus comes Penbr[] salutem Nouerit uniuersitas uestra me concessisse etc deo et beate Marie et fratribus militie Templi Salomonis intuitu caritatis et pro salute anime mee et Isabelle uxoris mee et puerorum meorum et antecessorum omnium et successorum meorum in liberam et puram et perpetuam elemosinam ecclesiam de Spenes cum omnibus ad eam pertinentibus et omnibus libertatibus suis habend et tenend et in usus proprios perpetuo possidendam Et ut etc Hiis testibus Edwardo abbate de Nottel 

My Latin is pretty terrible, but basically it's a salutation from William Marshal giving the proceeds of the church at Speen to the Templars for his soul, for the soul of his wife, Isabelle and for the souls of their ancestors and their heirs. 

None of this proves that there was a castle at Speen, or that it was the site of the siege mentioned in the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal. At the same time there is also no proof that Hamstead Marshall was the site of the castle the author of the Histoire named as Newbury. The Speen site more than holds its ground against any other theory, and in my opinion it's the place where's John Marshal made his stand against King Stephen.

Interestingly, when my friend with the archaeology qualification spoke to the county archaeologist on the subject, he commented that he would not be at all surprised to find that the remains of Newbury Castle were indeed at Speen.

Case set out and rested.




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Monday, March 24, 2014

ANVILS AND HAMMERS: Why John FitzGilbert Marshal's speech shouldn't be taken at face value.


With William Marshal being in the news again via Thomas Asbridge's BBC2 documentary which is to be broadcast on the 26th March, William Marshal The Greatest Knight I thought I'd write about the famous and infamous 'Anvils and Hammers' remark made by John FitzGilbert Marshal which is so often cited as a shocking example of how not to be a father!

There are the facts, and then the underlying facts, and one can't get a true reading of the first without an awareness of the second.

So lets have a look at the facts.
In the mid 12th century there was civil war in England.  King Henry I had died and his only legitimate child was a woman, Matilda, who had but recently returned from widowhood in Germany.  Henry had promised her the throne when he died.  Indeed, he had made his barons swear to uphold her - twice.  During the period between her return from Germany and his death, he married her to the 15 year old Geoffrey, son of the count of Anjou.  The count himself was about to head off to Jerusalem to become its king. What the 26 year old Matilda, an Empress, thought about marrying such a youth is not documented, although the couple separated shortly after their marriage for a while before getting back to together. Eighteen months later, Matilda produced her first son, the future Henry II, closely followed by Geoffrey and William.
Had Henry I lived, all would have been well in the world of the medieval monarchy.  Little Henry would have grown to manhood under his grandfather's tutelage and eventually have inherited the crown.  Unfortunately for all concerned, his grandfather died when Henry was only two and a half.  Matilda was in Anjou, pregnant with her third son, and in her absence, her cousin Stephen, who had also been in Henry's pocket so to speak as a candidate for the crown, claimed England and Normandy.  Most of the barons backed this move; they had no desire to be ruled by a woman, and even those who might have stood loyal to Matilda could do nothing because she was in Anjou having a baby.
John FitzGilbert was the royal marshal at the time of Henry I's death, and he was one of the majority of barons who swore for Stephen.  John would have been around the age of 30 at this time.  His task and dignity at court marked him out as a baron of middle rank.  He was married to a local Wiltshire heiress Aline Pipard whose wardship he had purchased, and he had two sons by her, Walter and Gilbert.  Stephen favoured John, granting him privileges and the royal town and castle of Marlborough and at Ludgershall to beef up his standing.
In 1139 the Empress came to England, landing at Arundel, and made her bid to take the crown that she claimed Stephen had usurped. For whatever reason, Stephen suspected John Marshal of duplicity and besieged him at Marlborough. 
A digression into speculation here: My personal opinion is that John had fallen foul of the factions at court who thought he had been receiving too many favours, and felt that he should be put in his place. He had no strong affinities at Stephen’s court and a man isolated was a man who could be picked off and brought down. I think John jumped before he was pushed. 

Back to the facts: What is known is that John swore for the Empress and adhered to her cause for the rest of the war.  His brother William joined her entourage as her chancellor.
Unfortunately for John, the Empress’s attempt to regain the throne was not plain sailing. To cut a long story short she lost her advantage and while besieging the Bishop of Winchester at his palace of Wolvesely, she was almost captured. John was a few miles out of Winchester, dealing with a supply problem, when he heard that the troops of William D’Ypres, a Flemish mercenary in the pay of Stephen’s queen, were coming down the Andover road straight for him. If D’Ypres managed to break through, John knew Winchester would be encircled and the Empress seized.  He could either run and save his own skin, or stand hard and give the others a chance to escape. He chose to stand at Wherwell where there was a ford over the river Teste.
The tranquil river Teste at Wherwell today
When D'Ypres arrived, fresh from sacking Andover, John engaged his troops and fought for as long as he could, but with D’Ypres’ numbers too great to withstand, John was eventually forced to retreat into the nunnery where he barricaded himself in. D’Ypres knew he couldn’t leave a man like John Marshal to create mayhem in his rear, so he ordered the nunnery to be burned along with the men inside it. There was destruction and chaos. Some of the troops fled the burning church only to meet their end on the edges of the mercenary’s swords. John barricaded himself in the tower with another knight and refused to come out. When his companion feared for their lives and wanted to surrender, John told him  he would kill him with his own hands if he mentioned that word again. They stayed put, but John paid the price when molten lead from the church roof landed on his face and burned out his eye. Once D’Ypres’ force had moved on, John staggered from the church with his companion, and the two of them made their way to safety. This must have been something of a feat because that safety was twenty five miles away at Marlborough; they were on foot, and John had suffered a terrible facial injury. Nevertheless, they made it and once recovered, John set out to recoup and regroup.
John’s most powerful neighbour in the region was Walter of Salisbury, hereditary sheriff of Salisbury (nowadays called Old Sarum). When Walter died, his son William replaced him, but died not long after the battle of Wilton in 1143. The second son, Patrick became lord of Salisbury and he supported Stephen. Looking to curtail his forceful neighbour in the Kennet valley, Patrick took up arms against John. John ably defended himself, although he had fewer resources than Patrick, and even if often on the back foot, it was never defeat. Eventually Robert Earl of Gloucester stepped between the men. He offered Patrick an earldom if he would come over to the Empress and he suggested that John divorce his wife and marry Patrick’s sister to make peace between them. The men agreed and sometime between 1144 and 1145, John Marshal annulled his marriage to Aline and took Sybilla FitzWalter to wife. 
Sheep grazing the Marlborough Downs not far from
John FitzGilbert's manor of Rockely.
John and Sybilla swiftly began a second family. It’s perhaps telling that he only had two sons by his first wife in the course of fifteen years and six (and perhaps seven) offspring with Sybilla over the same period. The first was born within a year of the marriage and christened John for his father. The second, (the fourth over all) destined for fame and legend was William, born in either 1146 or 1147.
The fighting continued and the Empress’s position grew more desperate as her adherents either gave up or died. She lost her stalwart supporter Miles of Gloucester when he was accidentally shot by one of his own men whilst out hunting. Her half-brother Robert of Gloucester died, and another mainstay Brian FitzCount retired to a monastery. The Empress herself departed England in 1148 and did not return, but her son Henry was waiting in the wings and growing up fast.
For John Marshal the period covered by the late 1140’s up to 1153 was a continuing dark time when he was involved in a war of slow grinding attrition. His lands were burned and ravaged by Eustace, the son of King Stephen and the best that John could manage was to grit his teeth and endure. He was known as a man of great cunning, a builder of castles ‘designed with wondrous skill’ and a man well able to attract men to his banner.  ‘He built castles designed with wondrous skill, in the places that best suited him; the lands and possessions of the churches he brought under his own lordship, driving out the owners whatever order they might belong to.’ 
At some point in the early 1150’s John built a castle at Newbury. The whereabouts of this place is now unknown and there has been much speculation as to where it was, including the manor at Hampstead Marshal which contains earthworks.  As far as I’m concerned, the answer is staring everyone in the face. It’s at Speen 1.4 miles from the centre of Newbury, standing on a high ridge overlooking the River Lambourn to the north and the Kennet to the south.  The Roman Road - Ermine street coming from Cirencester to Speen would have been close, and from the ridge viewpoint one can see for miles and miles. Interestingly the site used to be occupied by a house belonging to the Bishop of Salisbury. (see above quote in italics for why I find it particularly interesting). More on that in a blog post to follow.
Be that as it may, John fortified a position in the Newbury area and held it for the Empress. In the summer of 1152 King Stephen besieged it on his way to try and take Wallingford. The first assault battered John’s troops badly but they didn’t give in. Stephen didn’t want to sit down to besiege it. I suspect he knew how hard John Marshal could stand and that he would sell the castle very dearly. John in his turn, knew he was in a dire situation and couldn’t hold out for much longer. He didn’t have the men and supplies necessary.  He asked Stephen for time to gain honourable permission from the Empress to surrender the castle. Stephen agreed, but told John that he must provide hostages and pledges for his good word. John agreed to do so and handed over as one of them, his small son William, who would have been around five or six years old.
With the time he had been given, John set about stuffing his keep to the rafters with men and supplies. 
Stephen duly came on the appointed day to demand the surrender of the castle and John refused him and told him he would fight. When threatened with the execution of little William by hanging, John uttered those by now infamous words. Il dist ken e li chaleit de l’enfant, quer encore aveit les enclumes e les marteals dunt forgereit de plus beals. ‘He said that he did not care about the child, since he still had the anvils and hammers to produce even finer ones.’   That statement, taken in modern context is utterly shocking to readers. What a callous father. What a vile parent. Who could say that about their own child!  Horrific!
Stephen could not bring himself to hang the boy, although for a time William became the plaything victim of the royal camp as he was also threatened with being flung from a catapult and squashed whilst strapped to a hurdle intended to attack the castle gate. This is often not mentioned in the various secondary source narratives concerning the incident. From what I have garnered elsewhere, young squires and captive sons were frequently subjected to such torments – rather like the traditional ‘punishment details’ for youths at public school.Stephen took William into his household and John Marshal’s son seems to have settled well in his new life. He was happy and confident enough despite his ordeal to want to play a game with King Stephen, involving jousting with plaintain leaves. A servant was sent to keep an eye on William, ‘because his family had great fears that he would come to harm’ (Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal) but was caught in the act and chased away.
John’s castle at Newbury eventually fell to Stephen, but John had managed to buy that extra time for Wallingford. Stephen moved up to invest the latter and Henry came from Normandy to oppose him. Eventually a treaty was agreed whereby Stephen would keep the throne in his lifetime and Henry would inherit it on his death. Althought there were a few more skirmishes, the long civil war was in essence over and little William returned to the bosom of his family where he was to remain until being sent away in his teens for military training with the great Norman magnate William de Tancarville who was a distant relative of William's mother. 

Those are the facts.  Now for the deeper facts.
1.That 'anvils and hammers' speech is only reported in a single source - The Histoire de Guillame le Mareschal.  The work is a poem of 20,000 lines detailing William Marshal's life story from cradle to grave -including some scene setting before the cradle.  It was intended as a work for the immediate family, to be read out on William's anniversary, or sung to music in the hall on appropriate occasions.  It's a pro Marshal work with members of the Marshal family all cast in a highly positive light. So there are no gasps of shock issuing from that direction concerning John Marshal's behaviour.  Rather, it's a celebration of his 'hammers and anvils' in the face of terrible odds. This was a man who had his balls and intended keeping them!

2. Since this is the only source of the story, there is no proof that it was ever actually said. The 'hammers and anvils' are symbols of the office of Marshal.  It was another word for a blacksmith.  If one  looks at charters and town ordinances you will find a plethora of Marshals involved in the blacksmith trade - so it's a pun on the Marshal name, and one that would have raised a rich chuckle as it was read out. Indeed, if you know your Marshals, the Histoire is a joy to read because it's so full of secret Marshally puns!

3. This child that John supposedly did not care about?  William is protrayed in the Histoire as a confident, chirpy, happy little chap, eager to play games with adults. Confident enough to ask a grown man (the Earl of Arundel) if he could play with his lance. No neglected, unvalued child is going to have that breeziness and confidence around men of rank and standing.  William is actively engaging with these men.  He's full of himself and he likes their weapons!

4. John Marshal had very little choice. If he'd yielded to King Stephen would have pushed through to Wallingford several weeks earlier than he did, and if Wallingford had fallen, then the entire Angevin cause would probably have toppled. Each day that John could withstand Stephen was an extra day gained for the Angevin cause. He was buying time. John Marshal hadn’t backed down at Wherwell, where his stand had allowed the Empress to escape. He hadn’t backed down before the superior strength of Patrick of Salisbury, and he wasn’t going to back down now, even if it meant gambling with his son’s life.

It's not just two sides to every story, but a case of multiple facets and complexity. First find the facts, and then dig for the facts behind the facts.  Quite often the shell is not the same as the kernel, even though both are related.



Monday, March 03, 2014

THE HISTORY OF WILLIAM MARSHAL EPISODE 29

Next it is indeed right to tell how King Richard left Normandy, as is well known to go and try
his luck with Vierzon.  We well know how he besieged it and took it by force, and how the gains made were great, and who was the first to enter the town; about the latter nobody should have doubt.  With him there was the Marshal, who directed him to many a good place.  Later King Richard sent him to count Baldwin of Flanders, whose fame was to spread far and wide, and then, without delay, he sent him to count Reginald of Boulogne the son of the count of Damartin.  These men came to him in short because of the wrongs that the King of France, in his arrogance, was doing to them, and became liegemen tot the king of England in good faith.  When the King of France heard of this, he was not a bit pleased, indeed he was surely hurt by it.  He arranged talks with King Richard between e
Vernon and Boutavant, since he had no wish to go further.  On the appointed day, when they were duly assembled for the talks, King Richard arrived in fine style, very well attended, bringing with him, so God save me, Count Reginald of Boulogne.  I can vouch for the fact that they both appeared hand in hand.  On one side of the river was the King France with his entire force, and on the other the King of England, who now had little fear of his aggression.  And when he came to the talks, he most gracefully led the two counts by the hand, for that is what he had undertaken to do. 
When he saw them arrive together, the King of France did not find it in the least to his liking, indeed he was very angry.  He began by addressing these words to King Richard:
‘My  lord, where are you taking these men? I had in mind that the talks were with you alone.  I am very displeased and I want nothing to do with talks involving them.’
‘My lord,’ replied the King of England ‘you have been taking their land just as much as you have mine.  They have become my allies, for I can tell you that I have given my word that you will never be free of war as long as you continue to appropriate the land of us three.’
When the King of France heard this, he was sad, aggrieved, and annoyed to the extent that he left in a rage.  After the talks had disbanded, neither King Richard or the two counts took any notice of his anger.  The two counts took their leave of the king they loved, and made their way to their own regions and lands and prepared themselves for war.  Then the King of England arranged to send the counts some of the most worthy men in his land and those whose reputations were high. They were chosen as was rigfht, and I shall tell you who they were.  The first was the Marshal, William, who most readily went without much persuading, for it was the way with him that he would never need begging to do anything which he knew would turn out for the good without setting about it instantly.  There was Peter de Preaux, a fine, handsome knight, Sir Alan Basset, a fine, handsome and honest knight, and Sir John the Marshal, a noble, amiable, worthy and loyal man.  These were the ones chosen to go. A man who delights in doing good is of great worth, for a good story is always retold when it comes to recalling good deeds.  They went straight on their journey until they reached the counts, who were very happy to see them and gave them a joyous welcome.  The count of Flanders set out in splendid array with a big army of knights, a huge contingent of soldiers, with troops keen to fight, most proud and bold.  He set out because of a castle which had been taken from him and fortified by the man who had learned how to take a castle with ease.  And the count, who was going there with such a mighty force, thought he could easily relieve him of it and bring him to grief.  The King of France had very quickly summoned an exceedingly large army to go to the assistance of the castle, for thought he could very easily save it.  The count of Flanders heard what the king of Frances plan was, and he sought the advice of the high ranking men whom he knew to be there and the barons in his company, and they advised him as men who were in great fear.  Different advice was given in different ways by each according to his lights, for such men as I recall are not all of one mind, since some often find fitting and to their pleasure what is not to the liking of the others. 
The barons of the land put forward between them the advice that defensive barriers should be made out of carts, of which there was no shortage since they came with the rank and file. Many agreed with that advice and planned that the men of the rank and file should be inside them and that knights should go into the open and engage, when God willed it, with the King of France, and let each man take his chance.
 The Marshal then got to his feet, for he found such advice perturbing.  He said to the count of Flanders: ‘My lord, if what I wish to say pleases you, I shall give my opinion.  I do not accept or advise that any such barrier should ever be made, for, by doing so, we would appear to lack heart and men at one and the same time.  My advice and I hope you find it acceptable, is to do what I would do if I were in charge of the operation.  I would never look to the rank and file or think of constructing a single barrier.  My sole consideration would be to defend ourselves out on the open field with no ruses or trickery employed.  Let the carts be strung out in front of the town, that I do advise, so that they do not come out to do our men any harm or play tricks on them and do not do injury to our rank and file when they advance one after the other.  And you yourself undertake to issue forth tomorrow completely armed ready for combat, and to humble their pride, with your troops and battalions in full battle order, so that we are ready to withstand them out on the field and defend ourselves. Foresight, common sense, and right are often the partners of physical prowess.’

Once the Marshal had spoken these words, all agreed with them, and finally they all said ‘Blessed be the advice given by a man of worth!’  It was a great honour paid to the Marshal that all agreed that day with his opinion, and all the high ranking men present gave him high praise, for he was intent on winning honour for them and yet he was not from their country. 
So they came out the next day fully armed and did as the man had directed them, who knew full well how to arrange such things. There were many knights under arms and a great number of the rank and file, and whatever anyone may tell you, it was apparent that here was a troop of courageous men, who had sworn and showed their intention to fight.  Any man who had attacked them that day would not have wanted for a fight, for they were much intent on it themselves, as they had been taught.  But you must know this for a fact, that the King of France had there his spies, who saw very well what the men on the other side were doing. They returned to the king and reported to him how the men of Flanders were armed and in battle-formation to fight against him, and this piece of news greatly troubled him.  Afterwards, he spoke with his advisors and one of them said: ‘ I’I advise you to postpone this encounter, for the men on the other side will not flee.  Indeed, I can tell you that they will stand their ground, if they can, and defend themselves.’
That day passed, and then the King of France, wise man that he was, seeing that there was no advantage in it for him, was forced to turn back.  And he had a good reason for doing this, for a man who does not go back will not see his home again, and he is wiser therefore to return.  Moreover, he never wished to put himself in a place where he thought he would have to fight.  When those in the Flemish army saw the favour done to them by the French, who had left generously without so much as even looking at them, they were truly grateful, as indeed they might be. 
Then very quickly they arranged, on the general advice of those in the army, to send a messenger to King Richard to inform him of their circumstances.  Those who were a party to his advice chose John the Marshal for the task.  They escorted him as far as the sea across which they sent him to the King.  He journeyed by sea and by land until he found what he was looking for: I mean King Richard of course, who was in the French marches where he had just taken the town of Courcelles.  In the course of that action the lord of the castle was captured, along with his men inside.  King Richard garrisoned a large force there.  It is well known that this happened on the feast day of St Peter, on the first of August, and that there arrived Sir John the Marshal and gave news to the king which gave him much pleasure, news of the counts and their circumstances, and how the Kin of France had turned back without being asked or agreed to do so, no sons waiting a single moment for their fathers.
And the day after the feast of St Peter news reached King Richard, which delighted him and gave him great pleasure: the King of France, with a great troop of men was riding straight for Gisors.  Immediately the King of England mounted along with all his men.  He crossed the river below Dangu with a fine, bold company.  It is a fact that he sent Mercadier to spy on the movements of the French army, and Sir Hugh de Corny, a wise and valiant knight, who knew the countryside very well since he was a native of those parts. Mercadier spotted them and did not spy on them properly before returning to the King, telling him that the King of France had a huge force with him, a marvel to behold, and that he was ridings straight for Gisors. 
Sir Hugh de Corny said: ‘Sire, in Christ’s name please hear me, for my assessment of their numbers is an accurate one and I can tell you that they are not a great force. If you engage with them today, great honour will be yours, for they will be routed or taken captive. Sire, enhance your reputation this very day.’
The King knew in his heart that Sir Hugh de Corny was a shrewd, wise and worthy man, for he had been raised in war.  Towards his men he turned his bold, fierce face and said: ‘Go back to the ford, now I have what is welcome to me.’
I do not think they were annoyed by this; they all went straight back to the ford, and Sir John de Preaux who was most brave and valiant and very much of a heart to perform high deeds, made to approach the ford.  And, whatever anyone might say, the worthy king, riding on a horse from Lombardy, galloped up to a vantage point.  Once at the top he saw before him the King of France’s army; he was little impressed by their might.  One he had spotted them for sure, the King called for his men to come bearing pennants and banners but they had been left a long way behind.  And yet, far away though they were, never before had men made such haste in a critical situation, for they were anxious and keen to engage with their enemies.  But I believe King Richard did not wait for all his men to arrive, and rode forward in first position.  And once his men had reached his side, vying to be first there, as was their duty, he said to John de Preaux
‘Now we shall see who will be swift on his horse today.’ He then added ‘God is with us! Let us attack them!’
Having said this, he immediately rode at them, just as a ravening lion, starved of food, runs at its prey and finds it, seeking for nothing else but the moment when it can catch up with it.  From now on it was inevitable that one side or the other would snatch victory, for never at a market or a fairground have I seen such a crowd or throng.  Each man strove with might and main, seeking to be the first to make contact with the other side, and not one of all those under arms was to be seen holding back, indeed they performed as was expected of them.
The King, the first to arrive, performed so well that the French were routed, and were soon on their way.  They found men enough prepared to pursue them, and many of them were taken prisoner, for each took as many as he could of those he caught up with from behind.  And, had it not been for a dense cloud of dust from ground dried by the summer’s heat, the King of France himself would have been in danger of being taken captive.  His reputation would have taken a great fall that day, had it not been for the dust and the press of battle, and for Fate which does not allow what is not to be to happen. 
They gave chase to left and right and eventually drove him back to the gates of Gisors, where they captured many of the most respected. As you well know, it is the way that the bravest remain behind when it comes to a rout, whereas the others, who have no taste for that, set their mind on self-preservation and take flight as fast as their horses can carry them.  Anyway, the King of France had the misfortune to fall in a ford, and he was helped up by a clerk of his, who had a very hard time of it since there was little else in the way of help.  He was the son of William de Mello.  However, in the end other people came running up to help him.  When they had pulled the king out of the water – he had been extremely frightened for his life – he declined to stay in Gisors, even though it had a very strong castle, for he feared his enemies so much that he thought he would be besieged inside the town; he had no wish to be hemmed in there. When a fox allows itself to be trapped in its den, it runs the risk of being caught, and that is why King Philip took great trouble and pains to escape, for he had no wish to be trapped in there.  He prepared to return to France, whilst King Richard returned with his mighty army straight to the fortress of Les Andelys.  There is no doubt that he took with him as prisoners ninety one of the King of France’s knights, and there was no justice about that.  I shall spare you the account of the other troops he took, not wishing to get bogged down by numbers; there were so many of them that, at this point, I have no wish to saddle myself with enumerating them.  And I can tell you that the bravest among the French became so cowed as a result that, from that time on, there was no combat in which thirty of our side did not charge forty of the French which was not as it used to be.  I wish you now to hear this, that men who are the subjects of a worthy lord take heart and show a marked improvement in feats of great valour.
King Richard, a man of noble heart, would never, at any price tolerate any evil power, nor had he any time for it, for such was his way that he never ceased to promote the good while destroying the bad.  And may God in his grace grant that those who harm the King be vanquished, so that all his men take heart and grow in courage at the sight of his prowess, and that he has yet the opportunity to regain what is his and gain theirs as well. 
The war waged after the engagement at Gisors was a hard fought one on a very large scale; it lasted long, and still goes on.  However, I cannot tell of each event one by one; it is not a matter for me, nor is it part of my theme.  But if I could give a good account of what is the part of my theme, without putting in too much or too little in anything I said, I would consider myself very well satisfied.  I have seen and experienced for myself that those who weave a prolix story often depart from the point and often relate things which are extraneous to their theme, and which should not be said, for nobody seeking to make a living from writing should put in his work anything which is not strictly necessary off which is extraneous to the matter in hand.  But it was true, and I know it for a fact, that King Richard was in Gournay, and had secretly sent for provisions and men, and a huge force of knights, soldiers and mercenaries.  Covertly and quietly they came to him in Gerberoy.  Once they had arrived, there was a great army assembled, for those who sought to perform great deeds and serve and please their lord had set out from many a place.  The King rode in the direction of Milly, and Mercadier, after going to Semilly, went through the Beauvais; there were many throughout that region who found they had acquired a cruel neighbour as became all too apparent that day.
King Richard and his huge force of men rode proudly to Milly.  The bailiff and the others inside were completely unaware of their presence until the moment they saw thy were in a sorry plight.  Richard attacked them from all sides.  He ordered the ladders he had brought with him to be brought to the walls and put in position, and he and his men launched a very fierce attack.  Those inside did all within their power to put up a keen defence, sending down an incessant rain of arrows.  Those outside, willing to take on anything, climbed up the walls on the ladders, whilst those inside defended with huge blocks of wood, stakes, bolts, great forks and flails.  Anyone who had the opportunity to witness the sight, could have seen contingents of men most fierce in attack and defence.  So many knights and soldiers present climbed up one particular ladder that it became greatly overloaded and they were thrust back by those inside and fell to a man in the ditch.  I do not believe there were three who, following their fall into the ditch did not break arms, and that in itself is an understatement.
Sir Walter Scudamore a knight from Wales, was there.  He considered himself tobe  one of the most unfortunate since he had broken a thigh.  At this point to many of those involved in the attack began to retreat, for they were much dismayed and in fear.  Left behind on one of the ladders was sir Guy de la Bruyere, a knight from Flanders who did his all with intense vigour, to perform great deeds.  Those defending the town had caught him with their spiked pikes between his chin and his chest, so overpowering him that he could in no way help himself with either hand.  The Marshal, fully armed, was on the moat, and he was filled with pity and anger about the plight of the knight whom he saw in such torment, so, fully armed as he was, he jumped down into the bottom of the ditch and climbed, I assure you, fully armed as he was, sword in hand, up the other side, and kept his footing and he reached the latter on which the knight was held by those who sought to kill him.  He dealt them such blows with his sword as to fully repay each of them individually for the harm they had done to the knight.  He dealt so many blows right and left with the sword that he held in his right hand that those inside fell back and left him sole occupant of the battlements.  Those men who had no taste for the games he played, left him in sole charge of the field as they all went on their way.  The Marshal did not care who witnessed it.  And when the King saw him leap forward to climb the wall and mount an attack, he was very angry and wanted to do likewise, without delay, but the high ranking men present advised against this course and prevented it.
  Once the Marshal had entered the castle by force, our  men was so filled with glee that they all shouted out as one man: ‘The castle is taken, let’s help him!’
Those in the castle took fright as our men leapt up on to the battlements.  This did not appear to be a laughing matter to Sir William de Monceaux, the constable of the castle.  He would not stand still anywhere, but ran straight at the Marshal with the intention of doing all in his power to do him harm and injury but he was unable to do so, the Marshal proving too much for him now that he had freed himself from the others as a result of the blows he had dealt them, blows which had cost him so much effort that he was somewhat out of breath.
The constable came at him with might and main, making every effort to do him injury by  means of mighty blows at him with his sword. The marshal dealt such a blow at him that he cut through his helmet, separating the coif from the hauberk and piercing his flesh so that all he could do was to come to a halt.  He fell down quite unconscious, battered and stunned by the blow he had received from the marshal, and he stayed motionless on the ground.  The Marshal, now weary, and who had done more than enough, sat on him to hold him firm.
Then those began to arrive who had got into the castle thanks to the Marshal’s exploits. He was the one who took the town.  The King entered the town as did all those who had gone there with him.  Those who had mounted the siege made great gains, and those inside lost all; many prisoners were seen to be taken.  The King by now had the castle and the garrison, as was his due.  Immediately the Marshal came to the King’s side holding the knight he had taken captive by the hand, and he said: ‘Take this prisoner, I bring him for you to hold.’
The King replied ‘my Lord Marshal, this is not right, indeed it is wrong for a man of such eminence and such great valour to have to do this: leave that to the younger knights who still have to win their reputation.  As for you, it is a fact well known that you have for so long pursued fame that you now hold it in the palm of your hand.  That knight you have taken, even if he were worth 100 fold what he is, I would still concede him to you and say that you have well deserved him, and it is right that he should be yours.  I appoint you as his lord and warder.’
The Marshal gave him warm and generous thanks for this.
Thereupon Mercadier arrived.  He had the luck of the dice, and so much so that he captured the Bishop of Beauvais that day, at the same time taking Sir William de Mello.  There was no shortage of other prisoners being led along by the mercenaries; they had bound them in ropes like greyhounds on leashes, and there was such a crowd of them in the town that it was impossible to move a step either backwards or forwards. Mercadier presented to the King his Bishop, a man who had often caused great harm for him in war and much ransacked his lands. 
The King was full of joy, for I can tell you simply this that he was one of the men that he hated most in the whole world; and that was abundantly obvious, since he was given harsh treatment in prison.  I do not know what to say further except that the men in the army were full of joy, because of the castles and prisoners taken.  Someone said that it was a mistake that he did not ride on to take Beauvais, for there was nobody there to defend it, but the King said: ‘Be patient a while; we have done very well up until now in capturing this castle and some of our strongest enemies.  However strong they might be, right is on our side and the wrong on theirs.  God will yet show them that they are wrong to be hostile towards us.’
The King did not stay there at all but returned to Gournay full of joy and in very high spirits, taking with him the booty he had acquired that day.  He very nobly shared out his gains, but those who were captured and had lost, had a very bad throw of the dice.  So it was, there was nothing they could do to improve matters, for that is what happens to all in war: some come out on top, some are beaten.
The war was waged long, and it still goes on.  It was a fierce and dangerous war while King Richard was alive, for the French were very jealous of him; however, it did them no good at all, for not one of them was able to overcome him.  They tried on many an occasion, and yet their dismay grew the more they put him to the test, for they reaped a very poor return: frequently some of their most high born and important knights were taken captive, and never, following their escape from him, did they fail to take good care not to fall into his hands again. 
The war had hung in the balance for such a long time that it became a source of concern for the King of France, for there he was spending all his wealth and all he did was lose.  That a man who had no care for idle leisure so hemmed him in that he did not know any place to turn to from which he would not be forced to retreat, for all the time that man was there to face him with whom he had engaged in many a magnificent encounter, in which there were gains and losses.  And those were in a sorry plight who left the field ignominiously, and who had lost their equipment there.  Time and again it happened that all they could do was lose the fight, so much so that the French grew tired of the situation and many of them transferred their allegiance to King Richard; I am sure of this, for it was widely seen and heard of.  As a result the King of France suffered much harm and vexation, so much so that he sent in secret for his barons and other high ranking men to give him advice as to how he might bring things to a conclusion. 
One of them replied in these terms: ‘Unless you go through the court of Rome, he will wear you down to the point of defeat.  You will never defend yourself against him.’
The King of France was wily and more cunning than a fox, and he could well see that it could not be otherwise.  Immediately he called one of his clerks and handed him the relic which is indispensable in Rome for successfully concluding business, for it is always necessary to grease palms at the court of Rome; there is no need to sing any of the litanies.  The relics of Saint Gold and Saint Silver, were the martyrs in the eyes of Rome and are held in great esteem there.  Without these, whatever laws for lawyers say, is not worth a fig.  Such is the custom and attitude of those in Rome that any man not bearing such relics with him will experience immense difficulties getting through the door.  It is written in the account that is my source that the consistory decided to do the King of France a favour and send him a cardinal who would do what was necessary for him effectively and without delay.  The cardinal who came was called Peter, a man who was wily, skilful and deceitful with words, for he had been raised in a school which had taught him the way to turn things back to front.  And when he arrived in France, he was given a most joyous welcome by the King and all his barons, for they felt he was cunning and wise and thought him to be very honest.  For that they gave him a rapturous welcome.  The King summoned him to his presence, informed him of his secret plans, disclosed to him in every detail his circumstances and put him completely in charge of things, whether by giving or promising further gifts, for he knew very well how to go about his business always in the right way and bring matters to the right conclusion.
 Peter the cardinal, whose word was not to be trusted, told him that he would have to negotiate a peace of sorts, or else a truce which would be for the long term.  The King abided by his advice since he saw clearly that he had to do so and that, otherwise, he could not achieve his ends.  He sent messengers to King Richard who had a way with words and were courtly and wise.  His forthright message was that he should come to him for talks, without delay or contestation between Le Goulet and Vernon.  Once they had given him the contents of their message, they informed him of the day set for the Kings to come together and hold talks.  King Richard graciously told them that he had agreed to the talks.
 He arrived in Le Goulet on the day set, and I can tell you what happened in a brief word: I think Richard, who sought to perform no outrage, as is well known, but merely to claim his own land, came to Le Goulet with a large contingent of barons.  That wily King Philip, who knew only too well how to play the high and mighty, did not deign to attend the talks at all.  Instead he stayed behind in order to demonstrate his importance and to teach a man who knew he was being tricked better than Philip could teach him.
 However, patience, forbearance and moderation are very valuable attributes.  King Richard waited until he knew for a proven fact that King Philip, acting out of arrogance, would not attend the talks.  Instead, the legate came on his behalf, a man who, when it came to trickery and subterfuge, was incredibly adept.  He knew all there was to be known about standing an argument on its head, when he had a mind to do so.  His face was more yellow than a kite’s claw; in a pantomime of hypocrisy he played at being saintly when he appeared before Richard, his behaviour seeming very unexpected.  What he did was to greet the King in God’s name and that of the court of Rome, which much loved and esteemed him as a son of the church.  And King Richard in turn greeted him most graciously as a learned cleric, cardinal and spiritual father.  The cardinal made his speech, since he saw it was the right place and time for it, and he fully believed that he would bring the KIng round to accepting all the terms of his proposal.
‘Sire,’ he said, ‘the King of France sent me here, since his intention, I believe, is to do what is right, and he would very much like to achieve a peace if that were your wish too.’
The King asked: ‘How will this peace be arranged in such a manner that it will never be broken?  I ask this question as a man who has been dispossessed.  Once he has repossessed me of my land and all that is mine, I shall serve him well and I shall write off the damage and ignominies I have suffered at his hands.  I shall forget about the oaths me made,, the agreements he made to the effect that, once he returned to France, he would not do any mischief in my lands or harass my subjects, until forty days had elapsed since my arrival in my domains.  I will forgive him of all of this and say not a further word about it, if he is of a mind to make peace.  Otherwise, my master, I can tell you for certain that they can be no peace between us.’
Peter replied: ‘Sire, I would not be so bold as to vouch for that.  No man could make him see that he should consent to return all he has taken, whatever anyone may say.  His council does not advise this course nor would it ever do so.’
‘Then go in God’s name!’ Said the King, ‘for, without that condition, peace will never come about, and he will never hold my land in peace as long as I am able to mount in the saddle; you can go and tell him that from me.’
‘Oh Sire!’ said the cardinal, ‘it is such a great shame and such a wrong that there is such great hostility between the two of you; if things go on as they are, the holy land of Jerusalem will be lost.  For the sake of God, think of a way which it might be returned, for it will be in a sorry state of some attention is not given to it.  Things will get worse for it in a very short time, for it will be taken and destroyed and Christianity will be lost.’
The King  bent down towards him and said: ‘If I had been allowed to hold my own land in peace, so that I didn’t have to come back, the whole of the land held by the Syrians would be free and purged of  pagans and they would never again holds sway there.  As it is, the King of France has done me much harm and injury; he had a say in my being taken prisoner and being held for such a long time, and for a long time he has been set on dispossessing me, and will continue to be so.  However, if it please God, that will never happen.’
The cardinal, after a while, spoke to him of another matter, saying: ‘sire, hear my plan: if a longer truce were arranged between the two of you, so that neither of you stood to lose by it, it would be a good deed done.’
The King replied: ‘Fair muster, if such a truce as this were possible, under the terms of which I suffered no loss or saw my estate diminished, I would be very keen on it and agreed to it on a permanent basis.  Tell me the form it will take; I shall hear it and not put the wrong interpretation on the terms you cite, if only it can come about; indeed, I shall be most happy to abide by them.’
The cardinal said: ‘Sire, in truth, no man can have all he would like to have, things don’t happen like that; rather, let each hold what he has, and let the truce be sworn on those terms.’
‘nay such a truce never endure!’ Said the King, ‘what is this you’re saying?  It seems to me that you have gone back on everything you said to me before.  It is a shameful matter when a worthy man contradicts himself, when he lies and cheats.  Are you trying to pull the wool over my eyes?  He’s got my castles and land, and here you come asking me to let him have free possession of them!  This truce will never be set down in writing, so it please God, as long as I live.  Anyone asking me to agree to such a truce will find no firm ground to stand on, for his demands are excessive.’
The cardinal resumed: ‘Please!  For the sake of God, please!  Fair lord.  You really ought to bear in mind how much the Holy Land is left bereft today.’
‘I would certainly have come to its aid, but that man who does his utmost to harm me, forced me to return,’ said the King.  ‘However, in order that you do not think me too arrogant, I shall agree to a truce lasting five years, on the condition that he will have my castles in pledge, for you can be sure that of my inheritance he will not get one single iota of land outside them.’
‘my fair lord, I agree’, says the cardinal on hearing this, ‘for I have never heard better words spoken.  But one further thing: the court of Rome asks you to return to him one of its men whom you hold as your prisoner, quite wrongly and unjustly.’
‘I’ve got him?’ said the King, ‘I tell you I haven’t!’
‘Sire, I shall tell you who it is, and do not deny it: it’s the Bishop of Beauvais, who is under the protection of Rome.  It is wrong to hold such a man, an anointed and sacred bishop.’
‘Up on my soul he’s not!  He’s been deconsecrated,’ said the King, ‘and is a false Christian.  From now on I shall never believe a word you say.  It was not as a Bishop that he was taken captive but as a knight of great reputation, fully armed and with his helmet laced.  Is this what you thought up in Rome, Sir Hypocrite?  You’re not wise!  I can tell you that, were it not for your role as envoy, Rome would not prevent me from giving you such a hiding to take back to the Pope as would engrave my deeds on his mind.  The Pope thinks me a fool; I know full well that he made a fool of me when I sent a message to him from a distant land to seek his help in my predicament, as a prisoner in the service of God.  I begged and beseeched him to help me in my hour of need or to do his duty.  Not for a moment was he willing to involve himself, not for a moment did he deign to go to any trouble over it.  And now here he is asking me to release a robber, a tyrant and an arsonist, who so loved waging war that he has devastated the whole of my land and pillaged it night and day.  Get out of here you traitor, you liar and cheat, you deceiver, you simoniac!  Take care that I never see you before me on a field or on the open road!’
At this the legate left, who was impatient to be out of there.  He would not have returned to collect his cross, reckoning that he would lose his genitals if he did.  Instead he mounted his horse and never reined it him until he reached the King of France, in a state of utter dejection and torment and more scared than a deer.
 When the French saw him arrive so gripped by fear, they were dismayed.  He said to the King: ‘He is not a gracious man, this king you’re doing business with; he is no lamb, we could well see this for ourselves, indeed he is fiercer than a lion.  And yet I had completely won him round to my plan of action, for he had agreed to a truce for five years, and we were on the point of shaking hands on the deal following his consultation with his advisors.  But then I asked him about the Bishop of Beauvais and he was so incensed that he immediately quarrelled with me.  He raised his eyebrows in my direction and turned as red as a blazing fire, so much so that I fully expected him to assault me.’
Some of the French present laughed at this, and said to one another in private: ‘He’s nearly caught a fever from this experience, King Richard is no nanny-goat  to be scared easily; he still thinks he can take revenge for the harm done him.’
King Richard was still so furious but he was unable to utter a single word; instead he huffed and puffed in his anger.  Like a wild boar war wounded by the huntsman he retired huffing and puffing into his chamber and ordered the doors to be closed; no monk or novice passed through them.  He lay on his back on the bed, and nobody was so bold as to dare to call at the door, until the Marshal arrived, holding a staff in his hand.  He knocked loudly at the door, which was opened for him forthwith.  He found the King lying down in his great anger and began to address him: ‘Sire, it is not right or reasonable for you to be angry without cause, for so help me God, my dear lord, what I see making you angry should actually make you laugh, since you have come away winning everything.  You can see that the King of France can go no further; all he can do is approach you and sue for peace or a truce.  So you take your land and leave him the castles in pledge until another occasion.  Since he will not be taking an inch of land, he will find out it’s a real war he’s engaged in just to hold onto and maintain the castles, if the cost of fortification has to come from his purse.  That is how things will be, I vouch for it; I am certain they will come here tomorrow.’
The Legate was able to communicate to the King the terms of possible truce, that is that the land would remain in the hands of King Richard, whilst he would hold the castles, no more nor less; and, if he were unwilling to make such an undertaking, that is to surrender up to him his land, then there was nothing else for it but war.
The barons of France there present advised him to accept a truce, as did the Legate, in charge of the proceedings, since there was no other possible course of action.  But the Legate added that in no way would he go back to see King Richard; let them send another envoy, he had no wish to die just yet.  The worthy Archbishop of Reims, a man neither meddlesome nor churlish, arrived the next day, with him a sober and well behaved retinue of men.  The King was in his chapel, where he was listening to the beautiful resonant strains of the mass of the Holy Trinity.  When he heard that the Archbishop had indeed arrived, he went immediately to meet him and gave him a warm welcome as they met, as did the Archbishop to him; each showed great respect for the other.  And I vouch it for a fact that, through the agency of the Archbishop of Reims, the truce was arranged and committed to writing word for word under the terms cited and worked out at an earlier stage.  No word was limited, and, when the Archbishop returned both the King of France and the French considered themselves well satisfied, for they had been reluctant to fight the war.
When King Richard left the region, he sent word to William le Queu and his troop of men, telling them that, come what may, they should so pin down those in the castles that they could not take anything outside them in any part of his land and fief.  They carried out his instructions to the full, with the result that the other side did not dare to come and draw from the fountain outside Beaudemont when our side were prepared to prevent them from doing so.  And I can tell you that outside the walls of Gisors William and his troop collected the regular dues from the inhabitants; he would not have care a fig if those inside had been angry at this, nor would their anger have forced him and his men to desist.  So that was the situation in the land.

THE HISTORY OF WILLIAM MARSHAL EPISODE 28

The King arrived on the day set for the talks,  acting on the advice of his friends. There was no delay or postponement, indeed he arrived before the King of France. He went to take lodgings with the Templars and awaited the arrival of the King of France.
It is right that at this point you should be told that the King fell prey to such a great illness that he could neither suffer nor endure it, so hard it was for him to withstand. In pain, the King stepped back and leaned against a wall, so great was his suffering.
He then called for the Marshal and said: ‘Marshal, my dear sir, I wish to tell you about my affliction,  about this cruel malady that has afflicted me. First it affected my heels, then it went right through my feet and spread to my legs. Now it has broken out all over the place and taken over my entire body.  I have never experienced such as sickness, as far as I can remember; I feel I have neither  body, heart nor limb to call my own.’
The Marshal was greatly saddened when he saw that such was the King ‘s sickness that he first turned a violent red and then became a livid colour. He said to the King: ‘My lord, I beg and beseech you, so it please you, that you take a little rest.’
With this they laid him down on a bed. 
 The King of France had arrived meanwhile, and he asked: ‘What has become of King Henry, isn’t he coming then?’
There were many there who replied: ‘Yes, but he is very seriously ill and his heart is so weak that he can neither sit nor stand; all he can bring himself to do is lie down.’
Count Richard had no pity whatever for him, indeed he told the King of France that he was feigning.  After this Henry’s friends advised him forthwith, both by word of mouth and letter, that he should attend, whatever the pain it caused him. And so he did make every effort he could and managed to come to the appointed place. 
When he did, he said to the Marshal: ‘Marshal, I tell you this, if you can get me out of this predicament, then do so, counting no cost. Whatever it costs me, I shall agree to a great number of their terms in order to secure a way out of this situation. But I can tell you this for sure, that, if the span of life granted to me is long, I shall give them their fill of war, and the land shall remain in my hands.’
I can tell you that the Marshal’s reply was: ‘Sire, I shall do all in my power.’
With this, the two kings came together for talks. All the high ranking men present there could well see that King Henry had no gaiety about his person, no laughter on his face, and it fully showed in his complexion that he had been suffering from a very serious illness. The King of France fully realised this for he could not help but do so, and he said:
 ‘My lord, we well know that there is no question whatsoever of your standing.’ He therefore ordered a cloak to be brought, but Henry countermanded the order and said that he had no wish to be seated,  that what he wanted was to hear and see what they intended to ask of him and why they were taking land from him.
I do not know about the words exchanged, but the result was that at the end of the talks they reached a truce and so departed, though they never saw each other after that.
I do not know the exact terms under which peace was arrived at in respect of the turncoats and their treachery, but the Kings agreed that they would send each other in secret a list of the turncoats who had transferred their allegiance to them.
King Henry went to Chinon, but such misfortune befell him there that never again did he know success or joy, and never again did he rise from his bed.  He lay there, a sick man on his deathbed, and those who loved him and were there with him endured pain, suffering, and great grief. And yet, he was very keen to know and to have set down in writing, those who had jointly given an undertaking to the King of France, and what their names were. He told Master Roger Malchael, who at that time was in charge of the royal seal, to go without delay to the King of France in Tours, and have him set down in writing, as he had been prepared to promise, all those who had given him an undertaking, so that he could learn their names.
 Master Roger did as instructed: he went to Tours and wrote down the names of all those who had given an undertaking to the King of France and had promised to give him aid in his war against the King of England.  Master Roger did as the King had ordered and told him to do. There is no need to dwell on this episode: Master Roger returned from his audience with the King of France and came before Henry, who told him to tell him in secret who those men were who had delivered charters under their own seals to the King of France, against his person and with a view to damaging him.
With a sigh, Roger said: ‘My lord, so Jesus Christ help me, the first name written down on this list here is that of your son, count John.’
When King Henry heard that the person who he most expected to do right, and whom he most loved, was in the act of betraying him, he said nothing more, except this: ‘You have said enough.’ Then he turned towards his bed. His body was burning hot, his blood so boiled within him that his complexion became clouded, dark, blue and livid. Because of his pain, which was so intense, he completely lost his mental faculties, hearing and seeing nothing. He was beset by this pain and suffering until the third day. He spoke, but nobody could understand a word of what he said. He suffered a blood clot in the heart, and there was nothing for him but to come to the point where Death simply burst his heart with her own hands.  Death’s discipline was a cruel one. A stream of clotted blood burst forth from his nose and mouth. There is nothing for a man to do but die when touched so cruelly by death as he was. As a result, all those who loved him and all those with him experienced a great loss and a great pain. And I will tell you, in a few words that nothing ever happened to such a high ranking a man of the sort that occurred on his death: Nobody had anything to cover his body, so he lay there, so poor and deprived of everything, without a stitch of linen or wool on him.

Alas! Alas! Such is Fortune. She brought down so low from such heights this high ranking man, a man so honoured, so feared, a king of such power. And it is appropriate to enquire at this point how it is that such a grand earthly prince came to such depths destitution in such a short space of time.
When Fortune attacked him, she would not let go, rightly or wrongly, until she had delivered him up to Death.  And, once Death had got him in her power, she so stripped him of his dominion that he was left with nothing.  People always say that a dead man has few friends. All those standing around him and who were supposed to watch over his body, when they saw the King was dead, each and every one of them appropriated for himself those possessions of the King they were meant to guard.  So it is that a man is a fool who does not take precautions when he feels that death is upon him, or who places great trust in the rabble to keep guard over what is his. Let him, rather, share it out in such a way that God has his share, before Death takes him in her grip.
When those mercenary rogues had seized his clothes, his jewels, his money, as much as each of them could take, the King of England was left as bare as when he came into this life, except for his breeches and shirt.  Those who should have guarded him did a poor job, and what happened was there for all to see. 
When the news was heard that the King had passed away, there soon gathered round him high-ranking men from all directions who had come with the Marshal. They were distressed by his death and ashamed by the indignity of it all, that he was not better covered.  Those who had removed the blanket from his body had left the body quite exposed, treacherous, cruel and wicked men that they were.  Sir William Trihan was amongst the first there, as is well known.  He was ashamed and displeased by what he saw, so he covered the body with the light cloak from his back, for he could see well enough that those robbers, once they saw the King was dead, had wickedly divested him of his clothing.
After that, the Marshal sent for the worthy men, those loyal to the King, and the clergy, and in accordance with custom the King was wrapped in his shroud.  That night the body was guarded and paid great respect, and a high mass was sung.  And the following day the barons who held land from the King set out from their domains.  There were so many poor folk waiting at the end of the bridge for alms to be given them, but there was nothing to be had by way of money. 
The Marshal without a moment’s delay said to Stephen de Marcay: ‘Seneschal, we must go and find some money.  Here we have the King of England, whom Death has taken to add to her troop.  It would only be right that such a high-ranking man should be given the honour of having all these poor folk receive something of his, for he has no further need of anything.  It is right to proceed in that way.’
Stephen replied outright: ‘My dear lord, the truth is that I haven’t any money of his.’
As the worthy man he was, the Marshal said: ‘My lord, you might have none of his, but you have plenty of your own which you have amassed while in his service; you have often received many a gift from him, in coin and in land.’
He replied: ‘Marshal, there is nothing in what you say; I have nothing of his or mine, as far as I can remember, and you can rest assured on that score.’
So it was, that was the necessary outcome of the money question, for the man who had used such words in his reply had hidden and concealed the money in his own business dealings.  So it was that a man used to having all lacked everything and in his hour of need he was quite dispossessed.  And the poor folk from many a town, at least four thousand of them, came away with nothing but the time they had wasted.  Custom had built up expectations which were disappointed for it was the custom that, when kings had come to this pass, great largesse was meted out.
However, when the barons came to the side of their lord’s body, as it behoved them, they paid him high honour and respect: they clothed him in his royal garments, since he was a king crowned and anointed, according to law and holy decree.  After that the Marshal and the barons carried his bier on their shoulders from Chinon to Fontevrault.  And our omnipotent and most mighty God renders to each according to his effort, providing his effort is spent on doing what is good and honourable.
You will hear later on the truth of the words I have just spoken.  When they reached Fontevrault, the nuns of that holy order, as it behoved them, came forth in a great yet simple procession to meet their lord, who had supported them and done them much honour.  And, once the body was inside the church, with plain chant and a fine service they received him as their master, as a mighty king ought to be received. 
That night the nuns kept vigil over the body, reciting the verses in their psalters, many weeping bitter tears as they prayed that the Lord our God, so it please Him, have mercy upon King Henry.  Meanwhile the Marshal and those present immediately relayed to count Richard the news that his father the King was dead.  However, I have not enquired, nor do I know, whether that news was to his liking or not.  Those barons who were there with King Henry’s body came together to hold talks, and they said: ‘Now this count is going to appear, and we do not know whether his attitude towards us will be favourable or not, because the truth is that we have been on his father’s side against him, and he might well bear us a grudge for that.’
Many said: ‘Let him set whatever terms he likes, for God will never desert us, whatever he does, since He comes to the aid of all worthy men, and, indeed, Richard does not rule the world; we shall easily free ourselves from his authority.  If we have to change our allegiance, God will show us the right direction, and on that score we have no fear.  However we have great fears as regards the Marshal, for he killed his horse under him with a blow from his lance, and he was greatly annoyed by that.  However, the Marshal can be sure that, as long as we are able to come by horses, arms, money, and clothing, we will  very gladly place them at his disposal, so much so that he will have them in great plenty.’
‘My lords,’ said the Marshal, ‘it is true that his horse was killed and that I was the one who did it, but I am not sorry for what I did.  I give you many thanks for your offers, although, so God have mercy on me, it would be difficult for me to take what is yours if I did not think I were able to fully repay you.  And yet, God, through his great mercy, has, since the time I became a knight, done me such great favours in my lifetime that I still believe in my heart that henceforth he will do for me what it is his will to do.’
As they were talking of these matters, it was not long before they saw the count of Poitiers riding towards them.
And I can tell you that, as he came, he showed neither joy nor sorrow on his face, and nobody could say if he felt in his heart joy or sadness, sorrow and grief or gladness.  He stood before the body for some time, without moving, and then he moved up to the head of the body, where he immediately lost himself again in deep thought saying not a word of ill or good.  He then asked for the Marshal to come to him immediately, and he also asked for Sir Maurice de Craon.  There were no others invited, I believe, of those who had been on the King’s side.  I do not know which of his own followers he took with him.
Once summoned, they went to him, and never stopped for a single moment until they joined him in front of the body.  He said: ‘Mount, let us ride outside.’ Out of all those who had been summoned, there was no one to gainsay anything that he said, and they willingly set out with him.  Then they assembled.  I believe that the first words the count spoke were these: ‘Marshal, fair sir, the other day you intended to kill me, and you would have, without a doubt, if I hadn’t deflected your lance with my arm.  That would have been a bad day.’
He replied to the count: ‘My lord, it was never my intention to kill you, never did I put my effort into that; I am still strong enough to direct a lance when armed, and even more so on that occasion, when I was unarmed; if I had wanted, I would have driven it straight through your body, just as I did win that horse of yours.  And I do not consider it a wicked thing for me to have killed it, nor am I sorry for doing so.’ So he replied point by point and the count in turn made a forthright reply:
‘Marshal, you are forgiven, I shall never be angry with you over the matter.’
‘Thank you, my dear lord,’ said the Marshal, on hearing this, ‘for I have never sought to kill you.’ Such was the Marshal’s replied, a man who never had treachery in his heart.
The count then said: ‘I want you and Gilbert Pipart on my behalf to go immediately to England and take charge of my land and all my other interests, as it must be done, so that I may consider myself well satisfied when the moment comes that I go to that country.  I shall now take my leave but I undertake to return tomorrow early in the morning.  The King my father will then, as is right, receive a splendid and magnificent funeral, as befits a man of such high rank.’
‘My lord,’ said the chancellor, ‘I am most anxious that you do not take what I am going to stay in bad part: the King gave the Marshal the lady of Striguil and I wish to remind you of that.’
‘Oh!  By God’s legs  he did not!’  said the count, ‘rather, he promised her to him.  However, I shall now give him unreservedly the lady and her lands, for I think she will be very safe in his hands.’
They all thanked him for this.  The chancellor had no desire to hold his tongue and stop at this, but continued: ‘May it not displease you, but the King gave the maiden of Chateauroux, a beautiful girl, graciously and without rancour, to Sir Baldwin de Bethune.  And I can tell you in good faith that Gilbert FitzReinfrid was not treated unkindly: he gave him the lady of Lancaster, whom the Marshal had in his wardship and towards whom he has acted as the most courtly guardian.  And I can tell you clearly and openly that he gave Reginald Fitzherbert the lady, along with her tenure, belonging to Gilbert FitzReinfrid, and finally, to Reginald de Dammartin he granted Lillebonne.’
On hearing this, the count replied: ‘The truth of the matter is that I have given Andrew de Chauvigny the lady of Chateauroux and the fief, but so much will I say that, when all is said and done, I shall give Baldwin something with which he will be well satisfied, so let him be in no way downhearted.  At the same time I make this agreement with Sir Reginald de Dammartin and Gilbert FitzRenfird, that they are welcome to receive from me what my father made over to them as a gift.  And the same goes for Reginald FitzHerbert, for I vouch that the lady is safe in his hands, and I shall heap on him far more favours than my father ever did.’
With this, they left that spot.  The next day, when they returned, they gave the King of England a most honourable funeral.  But it so happened, and what an unfortunate thing it was, that after he had been draped in his regal garments, no crown splendid enough could be found fitting such a grand king as he was.  At the same time, none of his entourage thought it fitting that he had not left a single ring that they could have put on his finger, for they would willingly have done so, and many were distressed by this.  Then Hugh of Sandford came forward, at the time the King’s personal attendant.  Without any delay whatever he produced a ring, very precious and beautiful, and said to all present: ‘My lords, I can tell you in truth that the other evening my lord entrusted this to my keeping, and thanks be to God, I have guarded it well until now.  And so God treat me favourably, I have never had anything else of his in my possession.’
Once they had buried the body, in the course of the finest service they could provide and as befitted a King anointed in the name of God and the law, each returned to his home or to where there was business to attend to.  And for their part, the Marshal and Sir Gilbert Pipart went to Mouliherne to spend the night, and from there they made lengthy days’ rides  through the land with a view to setting sail for England.  Onto departing, the count of Poitiers went to spend the night in Saumur.  I have no wish to relate the details of the journeys - for it would be pointless – embarked upon by the count and the others after leaving  Fontevraud.
 The Marshal and his companion rode as hard as they could through Maine and Normandy and what more is there to be said?  They went to the Pays de Caux at this time to take possession of the land of the lady given to the Marshal by the King.  She subsequently reaped rich rewards and was raised to high honour, thanks to God and the Marshal, who was such a worthy and loyal man and proved useful to her and her household.  Once he had the land in his possession, the Marshal took those he found congenial company to spend the night in Eqiqueville.  From there he sent to Dieppe to have his ships made ready, for he had no wish to wait a moment longer.  The truth of the matter is that once they had dined, they made all haste to go to Dieppe and load the boats, for they had no reason for further delay. 
Vying with one another, the charged on to the deck all abreast.  There was such a great throng there of men so eager to move forward that the deck collapsed under their weight.  There were many who were wounded, for they fell down in a tangle and thighs and arms were broken.  Sir Gilbert Pipart did not get off scot-free for he was crushed and bruised and sustained a broken arm, and many others fell there who received a similar injury.  The Marshal leapt forward and clung by his hands to a strut supporting they broken deck, where he was buffeted and injured so seriously in the leg that he suffered from the wound for a long time.  Why should I spin out my tale?  There he was hanging by his arms, until many rushed up and vied with one another to assist him. There is no need to enquire further into the matter.  The Marshal went to England, but Gilbert stay behind because he suffered such pain in his body from the wound he had received that he was unable to set sail.HHHh
In England the Marshal performed well as regards his purpose in the King’s service, and that is what the official story says. Queen Eleanor, whose name was an amalgam of ‘pure’ and ‘gold’ he found in Winchester, now a free woman and in a more comfortable situation than she was wont to be.
Once he had delivered all his messages being the astute and wise man that he was, he went to take possession of the lady of Striguil, a worthy and beautiful lady, who was under the guardianship of Ralph de Glanville in that fine city of London.  She was handed over with reluctance.  |He did not dally long there: now that he had her in his possession he had no wish to lose her, so he said that he would go to her lands and marry her there.
Hearing this, Richard FitzReinier, his host, who loved him very dearly, said : ‘Upon my soul, my lord! You will not.  You shall not marry her anywhere else but here, and in this house your wedding will be so well arranged that you will lack nothing of what a worthy man needs for his use.’
The Marshal replied: ‘I have made no provision for such a thing.’
‘But I have, and very well too,’ said his host. ‘And nothing will be wanting. Thanks to God, I have so much of my own that there will be no need of anything of yours.’
That said, there was no further delay: she was married under a favourable star, that worthy, beautiful lady of good breeding, that courtly lady of high birth, who bore children whose fortunes were so promoted by the Lord our God in his providence, as we see now and have seen in the past.  Once that fine, splendid wedding ceremony had taken place, in a manner that was fitting, I know that the Marshal took the lady to stay with Sir Engelram d’Abernon at Stoke, a peaceful spot, well-appointed and a delight to the eye.
 I have no wish to make a long story here of all that, since I must now speak of count Richard, who had arrived in Normandy.  I do not know what else to say except that in Rouen he was girded with the ducal sword before a very splendid assembly of powerful barons and counts.  An account which sought to relate all there was to tell would be very tedious and, in any case, I have much else to do which is a far more important subject of inquiry. 
Duke Richard crossed to England where he was received in high estate with great honour and in great splendour, as befits a man of such rank; since his day they have not had such a good master as he.  He was crowned King on Assumption Day; following a very splendid procession, he was received in the church of Saint Paul.  There the Jews were punished for their folly, so I have heard tell, and were given up to destruction.  The whole of the winter following the King spent in England.  He gave his brother John more than he ever repaid him, for he was so kind to him that he gave him four counties and other land he knew of, until he said that he had plenty.
Whilst all this was going on, the Marshal appeared before the King and begged him to ask his brother to agree to hand over his land in Ireland, and this was a reasonable request of his, in my opinion, since his ancestor had conquered that land.  The King did ask his brother to do so, but he showed not the slightest sign of any intention to hand it over, being reluctant to do so.
‘God’s legs! What is this, John? What have you got in mind, seeing that you are unwilling to return what is his? He’ll have poor expectations of your favouring him with a gift from your own purse if you’re not even prepared to return what is his. For my sake, you will come to an agreement with him, for, by God’s legs, that is my wish.’
John replied: ‘I gladly agree to this, providing that the gift remain intact of lands I have made over to my men and confirmed.’
The King said: ‘That can never be.  What could he possibly have left, since you have given and surrendered all his land to your men?’
‘My dear lord, since that is how things are, I crave your indulgence, since that is the way you want it, to have him agree to let Theobald my butler keep the land I have invested with him.’
‘Gladly,’ said the King, ‘providing that he holds it directly from the Marshal, for, otherwise, it would turn to his disadvantatge.  But I insist that he (Theobald Walter)  ratify no gift that you have made with anything but him.’
Once that agreement had been made and confirmed, just as I have told it, the Marshal dispatched to Ireland that treacherous man Reginald de Quetteville.  He truly was from Quetteville for he was ever a master of deceit.  The Marshal ordered Reginald to go to Ireland to take possession of his holdings along with all their appurtenances.  Reginald refused him nothing.  God help him if he did the Marshal any good! I have no wish to say more here about that matter, for there is far better material which I should deal with: I must put great effort, diligence and care into telling the full truth as to how King Richard prepared, during his stay in England, a great fleet of ships to take him to the Holy Land. But I can scarcely remember how he stocked his fleet. Magnificently with everything which could be of service to any man.  There were many fine ships fortified with towers and magnificently equipped and manned by such worthy crews that they had no fear about putting up a stout defence against any galleys or hostile forces coming to attack them. 
Richard shipped so much silver and gold, so many furs of minever and grey squirrel, so much plate, so many splendid and expensive garments and arms of every kind, that no man who had seen them could have easily listed them one by one. There were no stores wanting: there were flitches of bacon, wines, wheat, flour and ship’s biscuit in abundance.  So many were the stores shipped that nobody could name them all: there was pepper, cumin, wax, and spices and electuaries of the very best available, There were many other drinks, and jellies and syrup, bows, crossbows and bolts, sharp-pointed and swift-flying.   The main point I wish to inform you of is that Sir Robert de Sable and Sir Gerard de Canville were in charge of that fleet.
Once he had fully equipped his ships, and before he had put to sea, Richard informed the King of France that he would in fact come to meet him, in full force and without delay at Vezelay, and that they would determine there their course of action and plan the stages of their journey and all they had to do on the way. In the meantime, the King of England appointed William de Longchamp as the justiciar of his land, whether that was an act of folly or not, and he ordered that as regards state affairs he should follow the advice of the Marshal and of other barons whose names I shall now tell.  Sir Geoffrey FitzPeter, Sir Hugh Bardolf, and Sir William Briwere, stayed behind in England, on the orders of the King, to advise the chancellor in good faith.  But that was not to his liking, nor did he wish to heed their advice. These three had all taken the cross, as far as I understand and witnessed, but the Marshal had not, for he had already taken that step of travelling to the Holy Land to seek God’s mercy, since, in good faith, he had carried there the cross of his lord, the young king, well acquitting himself of his mission, thanks be to God, and omitting to do nothing required of him.
Whatever anyone else might tell you, that is how matters were arranged.  As for Normandy, I can vouch that Richard left behind there as his seneschal William FitzRalph, who in wisdom, so people swore, surpassed all those who succeeded him in that function.  The chancellor was not wise like William, for, after the King’s departure, he did nothing either for good or ill on the advice of the Marshal or any of the other barons whom I have named above.  It was an ugly sight to see his overweening behaviour. 
The Kings gathered together in Vezelay on the day they had arranged and they laid out their plans as necessary.  But I have no wish to speak here, since it is extraneous to my theme, of what happened on the days they spent riding; indeed, it would be far too great a task to do so. 
The King of England arrived in Marseilles, where he waited for his fleet, which had sailed across the sea in great pomp and splendour.  From there they sailed and eventually arrived in Messina.  King  Richard spent the whole winter there, without leaving the town.  Afterwards the King of France arrived, but kept Richard poor company.  However, this is not the place to speak of that, I shall return to my theme. 
The chancellor, the justiciar of the land, wanted to do things on too grand a scale: he spent over-lavishly and sent for the company of strangers.  He spent the King’s wealth on trifling things, for his sole aim in life was to be called by the title of lord.  However, he was never loved, and eventually, many of the barons who loved the King came together to talk, and they said that it was not right for him to spend the King’s wealth so excessively on such things.
‘My lords, you’re wasting your time,’ he said, ‘for, by the glorious lord our God, I shall do nothing on your advice.’
Earl John was indignant at the fact that he did not deign to do anything on their advice, and he had great contempt for him.  After that he refused to be in his company.  When the barons returned from escorting their lord to Vezelay, as was their duty, it was not long after all, in fact it was immediately that’s they witnessed the excesses of the chancellor, how, at one and the same time, he was acting as chancellor and chief justiciar, as legate and king,  how he imposed his own laws, everywhere, how he spent the King’s wealth, leaving neither  gold nor silver in the treasury, and how he was ruining the abbeys where he practiced his high handed ways.  All the barons sent a letter to the King in Messina, a letter in which they wrote down the whole business, from beginning to end.  The chancellor, who knew much of what was going on and had his own spies among the barons, sent a message to the King, saying that in an arrogant, intemperate and most treacherous manner, his brother sought to wrest his inheritance from him, as did all those barons who had aligned themselves with him.
The following year both Kings crossed the sea to Palestine, but it is an indisputable fact that the King of France went first to Acre, whilst the King of England conquered the island of Cyprus.  After Acre had been taken, and that with great difficulty, the King of France fell ill, and because of his indisposition he was forced to return home.  Some people believe however, that he sought to do the King harm and damage and that his departure from King Richard was a trick.  Richard, who was a man of great enterprise, would easily have conquered the whole land had he been left to do so, and the Saracens would have been vanquished.  However the chancellor and his mother sent word that his brother John, in order to harm and damage his cause, had formed a league with the King of France, and that he looked like losing his land if he did not come back very quickly.  So it was that, as a result of this request and many other similar ones, he concluded a truce and left the land in order to go and win back his own.  However, during the journey, he was taken prisoner, a shameful and wicked act. 
The news reached England that the King had been taken prisoner in a foreign land.  His mother was distressed when she heard this, but it did not grieve his brother.  But, while saying all this, I had forgotten what I wanted to say all along, and what it is most right to say: when the King was in Palestine, he was sent a forthright letter by the chancellor, informing him that indeed he had lost his lands unless he could come up with another plan, since earl John had formed a most criminal plan to take Richard’s lands from him, and all the barons, to a man, were on his side for certain.
The King asked: ‘What!  Have they all gone over to him?  I think there are still loyal ones left. Abbot, you who have brought this message, you are a most loyal and wise man; tell me the names of the highest ranking men who have gone over to my brother.’
‘Sire, they say the Marshal and many others are in league with him.’
‘The marshal!  By God’s legs!  I believed, in truth, my lord abbot, that the Marshal was the most loyal knight to be found today in the whole of my realm and ever to have been born in my kingdom.  I put you on your oath.’
The abbot replied: ‘I go back on what I have said to you, sire: I was ordered to say it, I will not conceal it from you.’
‘God’s legs!  I thought as much,’ said the King, ‘for the Marshal was never wicked or disloyal.’
I believe that in the meantime the high ranking men of the land had banished the chancellor from England at their open council, and at that same general council the barons elected, in truth, Archbishop Walter of Rouen, which was a judicious decision: while he was justiciar of England, he governed the land more rightfully than the chancellor had done, for there was no excess in him and he took great pains to avoid doing wrong.
Following the advice of the Marshal, the barons and the Queen, who was in England at the time, he acted well and wisely. Earl John likewise wanted the Archbishop to act on his advice, but he would not hear a word of it.  Why?  Because he thought he would be doing wrong, since he could well see what John’s intentions were and was fully aware of his dealings.  Whatever he had in mind as his aim, Earl John knew that his brother the King was held captive in Germany, and the advisors in his camp recommended that he takes the land for his own and become lord of England.  He did his utmost: it is well known that he took Nottingham and it is still very well-known fact that he fortified Windsor.  The Archbishop and the barons in the area at the time who were loyal to the King came to a rapid decision and besieged Windsor.
The Archbishop and the barons present at the siege sent immediately for the Marshal to come and join in the siege without delay, and he did so without losing much time, and in great force too, I can assure you.  He brought with him all the marcher lords from Wales who loved the King and were on his side. The justiciar and all the barons, as if they were in a procession, went to meet him with great joy in their hearts.  The gave him a rapturous welcome, for the entire army had been filled with great joy by his arrival.  And Queen Eleanor, the King’s mother, who was loyal to him and never sought to do him harm, gave the Marshal a most joyous welcome.  Afterwards they sat down in council, an altogether said to the Marshal: ‘We have sworn  to lay this siege in earnest and we shall not leave off at any price until the castle is taken or surrendered.  That is what we have undertaken, and we likewise wish that, in turn, you and your men swear, like us, to maintain the siege, for we shall be all the more feared for your presence.’
The Marshal replied: ‘This doesn’t seem like a good plan to me, for, if the Earl knew for a fact that we had no intention of moving, he would ride throughout the land and weary us in warfare, and he will reduce the whole of the King’s land to rack and ruin.  Instead, do you know what I would advise and what is the best plan as I see it?  I and these men I have brought with me, will stay here, if it please you, and indeed, we’ll see to the siege.  We have no intention of moving until the castle is taken or surrendered, that will be our undertaking.  For your part, you go and seek out the Earl, and if he is still in the kingdom and your wish is  to fight with him, you will easily be able to humble his pride: he will never wish to take the field, for he hasn’t the force to withstand your attack, and the local militia will be with you.  Alternatively, if you wish, I and my men will go, and if I find John, I can tell you that I shall fight with him and send him from bad to worse until he is forced to leave the country.’
This was agreed.  But in the meantime, I tell you, those in the castle had surrendered with their lives spared at which they were overjoyed.  And when our side had taken possession of the castle they installed, as was their duty a constable by common consent, whom they deemed to be trustworthy and a man of reason.  From there they rode to Marlborough and besieged those inside the castle, but they scarcely put up any resistance and surrendered.  The news had already arrived and spread throughout the land that the King was up for ransom.  This displeased his enemies, but his friends were full of joy at the news and did what it was their duty to do: the King cost then more than one hundred thousand pounds before he was freed.  His liege men were overjoyed when they heard the word that in exchange for money the King would be freed, a man who was so courtly, wise, bold and brave, that he surpassed all while he was in Palestine, kings and dukes, barons and earls, to such an extent that all of them together were taken no account of, compared with him, and it was because of their envy and their great wickedness that he was taken prisoner.  The high ranking men took on themselves a heavy burden and made every effort they could.  Especially in England, but also throughout the King’s other domains, a fifth part was taken of all chattels, for such was the extent of the need.  At the same time chalices of gold and silver were appropriated.  Those who had sent their children to Germany as hostages were very willing to undertake this task in order to release the King from prison. They put to good use all the kindness that they could do him, for he was exceedingly grateful to them for it.
 Richard sent throughout his lands in Normandy and England, to all his subjects, and especially the Marshal, his thanks and his greetings, and his love for maintaining his realm.  He also sent word to the Archbishop of Rouen, asking him to appoint to the see of Exeter the worthy Marshal’s brother, Henry.  It was right that he should have such preferment for he had been most loyal to him.  After those messengers had arrived, hostages were sent along with one half of the ransom.  Following this, the King returned home, a man whom the people, who loved him, were most anxious to see.  The high ranking men and those who loved him were filled with great joy as they went to meet him, and many an eye shed tears of gladness.
At the time when the King arrived, the Marshal was at Striguil.  Hear now what happened to him there.  The bitter news reached him that his brother, Sir John, had died.  He was so distressed at this news of his brother, when he heard it, that he almost died of grief.  And it would have been a very cruel blow to him, had there not been another piece of news, thanks be to God, which he found most pleasing, for there appeared before him an eloquent, courtly and wise messenger who informed him that the King of England had arrived in his own land, in good health and cheer and completely free.  Even if he had been given ten thousand marks, he would not have been so relieved of the sorrow that weighed on his heart.
‘So help me God!’ He said.  ‘Never before did I feel such great sorrow as I did for my dead brother, but I have received such comfort from the arrival of my lord that I could not have greater.  I give thanks to God for the misfortune and equally for the good fortune that I have had in so short a time, for I am so overjoyed at his arrival that I cannot but fight off the pain which I thought never to be free of.’ Then he sent his knights to Marlborough to bring the body of the brother for whom he grieved so greatly, more so than he could say.  The knights set off and made all haste, taking a direct route and getting to Cirencester on the third day, with the body, and there they met up with the Marshal.  His face showed the signs of deep grief, and he very nearly fainted.  He could not be blamed for that, since it was a very sorry sight to see.
 The daughter of Sir Adam de Port, his brother’s wife, escorted the body, her deep sorrow showing on her face.  The body was carried into the church for a magnificent funeral service.  The King’s messengers went there to hurry the Marshal along, and prevented him from going to the place where his brother was to be buried.  All his men went to Bradenstoke, carrying the body in high estate and giving it a magnificent burial; he was buried with great ceremony in the place where his ancestors lie.
The Marshal went to join the King, but he took with him only three knights, since his men had gone with his dead brother.  In Huntingdon he met his lord, who paid him high honour and gave him a greater welcome than he had given any man, however much a friend or intimate he was, since arriving in the country.
After their meal the barons came before the King in his chamber, as behoved them, and  they were joyful, happy and full of good spirits because of his arrival.  Once they were there, the King addressed them with these words:
‘Marshal, I thank you for the service you have rendered me.  I have been fully informed of your loyal service to me and I readily give you thanks for that.  I also thank the other men in my entourage, who have done so much for me as to make it possible for me to be here.  Also, your great enterprise has brought about my release from prison, from which I would never have been freed, my lords, had it not been for God and yourselves.  For that, I regard you all as loyal subjects.’
‘Sire’, said the Marshal, ‘we did no more than our duty for all men of good birth should suffer hardship and great pain for their rightful lord.’
The men of highly rank there, each and every one, were very grateful to the King for his acknowledgement of the great good done to him.  The King then said: ‘Marshal, my lord, this much I can say to you and claim before all these barons, and let all know it, humble and great alike: Baldwin de Bethune here, my good friend, was of greater service to me in prison all the time I was detained there – have no doubt about the matter, I say it for all around me to hear – that any man in this world, and he brought about my release; in truth, I would never have left prison except through his efforts.’
‘Sire,’ said the Marshal, ‘Sir Baldwin is loyal, a man of integrity who seeks to do no harm; I can vouch myself for the fact that he will always perform nobly in your service and frankly.’
Hearings this, Sir William de l’Etang was not slow in coming forward, for he got to his feet immediately and said:  ‘Marshal, Marshal, it is right that you should take it upon yourself to vouch for him, since, without any promises given, he has often taken it upon himself to vouch for you and your service before those who slandered you: when they appeared before my lord, he always vouched upon his life that they were false messengers.  Since he has taken it upon himself to vouch for you a hundred times, I take it as read that you should take it upon yourself to vouch for him this once, without promises.’
Without doubt, when Earl John learned of his brother’s release, and that he was hale and hearty and making for England, he had no wish to await him there, nor dared he; he had to take another course.  He had no wish to leave unfortified any of the castles which he had fortified, for he feared losing them.  Then he went to the King of France.  The King retained him but made no pact with him, for he could not nor wished to do so, and he thought little of his enterprise; he was unwilling to assist or be of service to him, indeed, he was completely dismissive of his enterprise, sought him a fool, and completely pulled the wool over his eyes,
The King set out with a mighty army and a great train of equipment and he rode, as it is well known, straight to Nottingham, to which the men from the north had laid siege.  The siege had not gone on for long when they heard the news about the King, which they found very pleasing.  Filled with joy, they went to meet him, and when he met them, he kissed them all one by one.  They were delighted by his arrival.  The King, who had no wish to tarry there longer, ordered his quarters to be set up in the house closest to the castle.  That was right.  Why?  Because those inside the castle were given a greater cause for fear. 
As soon as the King had eaten, he had no wish for the besieged to be put at rest for long.  He put on just a light hauberk, for that was a constant habit with him, and an iron cap, nothing else, on his head, and he had his men bring out shields, strong, thick and broad.  Many a porter carried these before him, stopping when he came before the gate.  Once the King was there, all those who were with him and loved him most and wished his cause to be advanced, vied with one another to be the first to take up arms.  Boldly they went forward and eventually took the first bailey.  The King and his barons went into the bailey, taking shields to give some excellent protection , with the result that the crossbowmen did them no harm.  Crossbowmen on the King’s side began to shoot  and achieve the best results they could, and the result of their efforts was that the barbican was taken.  There were many feats of arms performed, and many of those in the castle were wounded and crushed, which was a source of great pleasure to those outside.  They performed well in that attack, but they left off for the night.  And when the attack ended and all had gone, those inside at night set fire to the gate and set fire to and burned the last barbican; but it was a wasted effort.
In the morning the King heard about it and began to laugh, and he said: ‘As I see it, this can only work to our advantage.’
The next day our men went outside to speak with those within, and they said that they considered them foolish for defending the castle against the King of England, who was the lord of the land.  At this, those inside made a forthright  reply to our men, saying that they were telling fairy tales, for they could not believe for a minute that the King had been freed or that he had arrived in the country.  After that they all asked if they could be granted safe conduct to enable them to go to the army and see him.  Our men reported this back to the King, who raised no objection, saying, indeed that he willingly granted permission.  So then they sent a knight, Sir Fulcher de Grendon, and with him Henry Russell; both appeared before the King.  There they both stood before the King, and  they took a good look at him and recognized him from his manner and his face.
‘Am I he?  What do you think?’ asked the King.
‘Yes!’ they  replied.
‘You can,’ he said, ‘go back in safety, for that is right.  Do the best you can.’
They took their leave, departed and reported what they had found.  They gave thought to  what they were doing, with the result that they placed themselves at the King’s mercy.  This was a wise thing to do for the damage they sustained was considerably less.  The King took possession of the castle which greatly pleased all his men.
When the prisoners arrived, they were given far better conditions of imprisonment than they thought they would, for they feared they would lose life and limb.  But nobody should have any doubt on this point: the more a worthy man has the advantage, the more he should show his worth by desisting from doing harm and from acts of cruelty.  And so much do I say to you in a word, that when a bad man has the advantage, cruelty and outrage are the consequences.  I have no wish to say any more here on the matter, except that the King was so compassionate, so gentle and full of mercy, that, without any recrimination or dispute, he set  a fair ransom on their heads.
I shall not dwell on the matter longer than necessary, but the next day, after mass, the King was in the hall, and around him, at the high table, were his barons and all his men; there was a great crowd of people there. 
Then the chancellor came forward, a fine man and a good speaker.  In the hearing of all he adressed Sir Walter de Lacy as follows: ‘The King wishes and commands that you pay him homage at once for your land in Ireland.  Do so, for it would be a wise thing for you to do.’
Sir Walter did so, raising no objection whatever.  Then the chancellor said to the King: ‘Sire, now listen to me.  You see the Marshal here; tell him to do just as Sir Walter has done.’
‘I do not regard this as excessive,’ said the King, ‘do as he says.’
The Marshal replied: ‘I shall not, so God help me!  I shall never be so unjust as to allow myself to be marked by treachery.  I have already paid homage to your brother for the land, and I fear no slander or anyone else.’
‘the King replied: ‘God save me, the Marshal has spoken very well.’
All the barons there were well disposed towards him, and praised him for this and said, finally, that there is much in a man of worth.  For his part, the chancellor showed his displeasure and then said: ‘Here you are planting vines.’
The Marshal replied without guile: ‘Now you go and plant vines or dig your garden if you wish my lord chancellor, for I shall never slander you on that account.  So much will I tell you, in a word, that there is no man in this world who, if he sought to take Ireland, would not see me going with my forces to the side of him whose liege man I am.  I shall not mince my words today.  Here is our lord the King, whom I have served in good faith in return, for the land I hold  from him, so much so that I fear nothing from him.’
From there the King went to Winchester, where he wished to be crowned, to make preparations for his crown wearing, for he wanted to wear a crown to bring comfort to his people, who had been, without any doubt, in distress and sorrow.  Then he made ready his navy to set sail immediately for Normandy, not losing a minute in the process.
He set sail from Portsmouth and docked one morning at Barfleur in the Cotentin.  He went to Caen via Bayeux.  He made all speed, for he was concerned about Verneuil, which ws under siege; it had been besieged for a very long time by his enemy, the King of France, who was doing him great harm and had brought him much damage.  But he had not so driven him off that he would not subsequently confront him; there was many a splendid encounter to come.
  In Lisieux, as we well know, the King ate in the house of John d’Alencon and spent the night there. Not for a moment was his mind without torment, for he had great fears about the fate of Vernueuil; he had not had a wink of untroubled sleep ever since he had learned for a fact that the King of France had laid siege to it.  He wished to take a little rest after his meal, as was his habit, but there was too much torment in his heart for that. 
Suddenly John ‘Alencon came in, looking down at heart, tearful, troubled and full of anguish.  The King said to him immediately, without wasting any time : ‘John, why are you looking like that? You’ve seen my brother John, don’t lie.  He has no need to fear; let him come forward and have no fear of me! He is my brother in good faith and he need never fear me. Though he has done a foolish thing, I shall never tax him with it.  However, those who have pursued this course have got their just deserts, and the others will get their later.  But I shall not say any more on this for now.’
John d’Alencon went quickly for him, filled with joy, and said: ‘Come, have no fear, for things have worked out well for you: the King bears no malice, he is forgiving and better disposed towards you than you were inclined to be towards him. Your advisers gave you bad advice, and it is right that as their just reward the loss should be theirs.  Come, the King is waiting for you.’
Trembling with fear, John came before the King and fell at his feet.  It did not turn out badly for him at all, for the King lifted up by the hand his natural brother kissed him, saying: ‘John, have no fear.  You are a child, and you had bad men looking after you. Those who thought to give you bad advice will get their deserts!  Get up and go and eat.  John, what will he have to eat?’ he asked John d’Alencon.
Just at that moment, a salmon was presented to him. That could do no harm, so he ordered it to be cooked immediately for his brother.  It is always right that kindness and generosity should come out when they are implanted in a man’s heart.  But this much I tell you, in a word, that from the heart of a bad man no good can come.  That is why bad men are discounted when it comes to telling of fine qualities, for they should not be taken account of. 
But I have forgotten to say what I wanted to say all the time, for it is most right that it should be told: how, when the King arrived in Normandy, all his people, as soon as they saw him come, made him fine gifts and spoke fine words to him.  He had folk dancing and tripping gracefully around him all the time, so that he took no step, on road or over field, without having all around him, however much he might try to avoid them, such a great, dense, overpowering  crowd of joyous folk, that I can tell you, in a word, that you could not have thrown an apple in the air and seen it land, without it being held up in the air first by that throng, such was the joyful demonstration made by men and woman alike.  The bells rang out everywhere, and old and young formed long processions, singing as they walked: ‘God has come with all his might; now the King of France will go away!’
King Richard went to Chambrais with his fine company and great train of equipment  and he dined in the house of John le Roux.  He had no desire to remain idle, and without saying a word more at table, he immediately mounted a horse saying ‘Let no man be idle! Let any man wishing to follow me come, for I shall waste no time in going to make camp near to that of the King of France, whoever might be aggrieved and displeased.’
That night he went to L’Aigle, and the next day to Tubuf, and not for a moment did he give a jot for the King of France’s great show of force, for despite his great force, he managed to put into Verneuil knights, soldiers, and crossbowmen, who put up a magnificent defence for those outside to see plainly. And previously, a man had defended it for so long that nobody could estimate the length of time involved:  I mean William de Mortemer, who was there night and day on the battlements ordering flaming bolts to be fired to force those in the army to retreat, for he had no wish to see them close to him.
Sir Peter de la Riviere, a man of admirable conduct, would often ride out from the castle – whatever anybody might think about it – on a horse from Lombardy.  They would never have seized him, for, when he went to the King in Tubuf, he was very capable of laying plans for getting back into the castle, since he knew the best method for doing so. 
The King, who was a very prudent man proceeded to cut off all the routes along which the provisions were delivered to the King of France, as he laid siege, and because of this disadvantage, he withdrew.  The French had not gone very far when Richard, with his lance at the level, rode into Verneuil.  Never before had eyes seen such joy as those who had defended themselves inside the castle showed to him, and he far greater to them, for he could not weary of kissing them one by one.  He promised and delivered so much to those who had held the castle that each felt well satisfied.  Such a great throng had come to join him that his army had increased in size to the point where they had to find camp for more than twenty thousand outside the town. 
He divided his army into two contingents, and, when he left, he went to Beaumont le Roger. For his part, Earl John went to set up camp around the walls of Evreux and laid siege to it.  The King took Beaumont  le Roger, and Evreux was very quickly taken, indeed the day after the siege began.  And, once the King had taken Beaumont, whose citizens had done him wrong, he had the tower burned and knocked down.  He had no wish to fight there any longer, so he went to Evreux and fortified its unprotected castle, so that there was no better equipped in that border region.  Next he went straight to Pont de l’Arche, where the bridge was broken.  He took no time in having it repaired, and then, down river, beneath the town of Elbeuf, he fortified Roche d’Orival.  And I wish to tell you how, after that, he went towards Vaudreuil, and how the King of France came from the other direction with his entire army.  What they managed was to hold talks, but the French committed a heinous crime: while the kings were talking about peace, they never ceased in their effort to undermine the castle, and finally it collapsed.  It was a cowardly act of treachery on their part.  When King Richard heard it fall, he was not overjoyed, indeed he swore by God’s legs: ‘There will be saddles overturned and some will suffer damage.  This is a very open act of treachery!’
The King of France left, and as soon as he had, Richard, who knew very well how to secure a castle, began to refortify this one, and he said: ‘Whatever harm he has done to me, a half-destroyed castle is a half-rebuilt castle: I shall repair it in spite of them.  Their side who were so happy to fight, will yet pay for this in whatever place they happen to venture.’ Then his valiant men came in strength from England, from Gascony and Poitou, along with those from Maine and Anjou, from Brittany and other lands.  Then started that large-scale war of which the French had their hands full, until they had the worst of it.
 The King made such great efforts that he recovered a very large part of his castles in a short space of time, through his valour and good sense.  We have no wish to name them all here, for it would be difficult to count up how many he regained, or say which they were and how he took them. However, it is indeed right that men should hear how, in Portejoie, he constructed the bridge over which all the men in his company crossed the river, and how he fortified the island of les Andelyus, thereby securing the whole border region; how the King of France went to Vendome, where Richard happened upon him, and how the armies were stationed close to each other for a long time, without ever moving their position.  The King of France was informed that, without a shadow of a doubt and without delay, the King of England wished to drive him from his land by force.
 Once he had been informed to this effect, he left without further delay, and none of the men in his company were at all aware of this before they saw him go.  And I can tell you that they sustained great losses, for they left the land in such disarray that they never paid any attention to the castles. When our side saw them go, they immediately rushed to take up arms, and the Marshal and his company armed themselves with all speed, for they preferred to be armed rather than unarmed, when giving chase.  The Marshal, now armed, make no mistake, was in the midst of the battalion as it rode in close formation over the countryside: he had a very fine company of men with him.
The King came straight up to him ‘Marshal,’ he said, ‘I request you to protect me this day.’
The Marshal replied ‘Sire, I will willingly do that.’
‘I also request you to see that my own men do not charge forward in disarray.’
The Marshal replied: ‘It will be so.’
The King galloped forward with his companions.  The magnificent booty which the French were kind enough to hand them would not be set down in document or tally, for they never paid attention to any of the riches to be found in the midst of the army, their minds were set on other matters: pavilions, all kinds of tents, cloth of scarlet and silk, plate and coin, horses, palfreys, pack-horses, sumptuous garments and money.  They gained much bounty, plenty of wine and food, fine fish, fine meat, of which they had plenty.  But I can tell you this for certain, that the Marshal and his company never had their minds on booty but on giving good protection to the army, and when they returned the King met his loyal Marshal and his troop, and he said: ‘May God keep you from harm, for you alone would have been our salvation if they had taken to harrying our men as they worked.  Now you can turn back for I can very well see that those who are fleeing have no desire to return.’
‘I will not go back yet, Sire,’ said the Marshal, ‘for I think it would be wrong to do so when our men are still giving chase.  If we turned back now, we might well lose some of our men, for that is what the French, who have no love for you, would be bent on achieving.’
‘That is true, God bless me,’ said the King. ‘So stay then.’
The Marshal waited until those who had galloped ahead to pursue and catch up with the French had arrived, and he saw none of them left behind.  Then he ordered them to set off in front of him and he rode all the time behind, forming the rear guard for the men under his protection. I do not know what else to say, except that, when they reached their lodgings that night, each of them boasted before the King of the gains he had made, and each spoke openly of his fine exploits. 

‘The Marshal has performed far better,’ said the King, ‘than all of you have done and I shall tell you, if you don’t already know it, that he would have been the salvation for us all if we’d had need of it, and that is why  I value his exploits more than all that the rest of us have achieved. A man who has a good rear guard has no reason to fear his enemies.’