« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
agreed upon between the two kings; and it accordingly took place on the frontiers of France and Normandy, between Gisors and Trie, on the 25th of September, 1173. The King of England was accompanied by a number of bishops, archbishops, counts and barons: and Louis was followed not only by all the principal personages of his court, but also by the three sons of the English King, Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey. The proposals for peace seem to have been made by the King of England, and the establishments which he offered to his children were certainly such as they should have accepted with joy. To his eldest son he offered to give, either one half of the revenues of England with four strong places in this country, or one half of the revenues of Normandy, and all the revenues of the county of Anjou, with three strong places in Normandy, one in Anjou, one in Maine, and one in Touraine. To Richard, he proposed to resign half the revenues of Aquitaine, and four fortresses therein ; and to Geoffrey he promised the whole territory of Britanny, if the consent of the Pope could be obtained for the young prince's marriage with Constance. Moreover, Henry submitted to the arbitration of the Archbishop of Tarentum and the papal legates, the offers he had made and the claims of his sons; promising to add whatever those personages should think right, to the great portions he assigned to his children, and only reserving to himself the administration of justice and the sovereignty of the whole territory.
The King of France, however, had by this time changed his views. He had received, it would seem, assurances of fresh support from his nobles ; the Count of Flanders had in some degree recovered from the shock of his brother's death, and was willing to pursue the unholy war in which he had engaged; and Louis would not suffer even such liberal proposals to be accepted. The English princes seem to have yielded to his dictation without resistance, and bitterly painful must it have been for Henry to meet his children thus armed against him, and confederated with his irreconcileable enemy. Besides the pain which such a spectacle must have occasioned to the English King, he had also to encounter the insolence of one of his revolted subjects, for the Earl of Leicester had been suffered to follow the princes to the conference, and he there dared to use the most opprobrious and insulting language to his sovereign, and even to lay his hand upon his sword as if about to assault the monarch, from which it would appear he was only restrained by the spectators.
Disappointed in the hope of peace, Henry returned to the town of Gisors; but by the way some knights of the French party attacked a body of gentlemen attached to the King of England, between Gisors and St. Clair. The French, however, were defeated, and one of their principal knights was taken by the hand of William de Man. deville, Earl of Essex.
No sooner was the conference at an end, than the war was renewed in various quarters. The young King Henry, accompanied by a number of French nobles, made an unsuccessful attack upon Normandy, but was repulsed by the inhabitants of the district unaided. The Earl of Leicester, proceeding to Flanders, easily raised a large force in that county, and putting to sea without loss of time, reached the mouth of the Orwell in safety on the 29th of September. He was received with the utmost gladness by Hugh Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, who might well expect to be attacked in his castle of Framlingham, as soon as the Justiciary could return from Scotland; and joining their forces together, the two Earls made an attack upon Dunwich, then a very large and important city. The citizens, however, were not only faithful to their king but brave and skilful; and the insurgents met with unexpected resistance, and were forced to raise the siege somewhat disgracefully. They then applied themselves to besiege Hakeneth Castle, belonging to Ranulph de Broc, but that proved a more easy enterprise than the attack of Dunwich. The fortress surrendered at the end of four days; and the two Earls returned to Framlingham, where an intestine warfare, it would seem, speedily arose between the Countess of Norfolk and the Countess of Leicester, the latter of whom is described as a lady of a very virile mind.
While the animosity of the two ladies and many other circumstances were tending to produce a separation between the Earls of Norfolk and Leicester, the news of the arrival of the Flemings, and the progress of the insurrection in Suffolk, reached the ears of Richard de Lucy, who was still engaged in ravaging the territories of the King of Scotland. Taking measures to prevent the same tidings from being reported to that monarch, the Justiciary and his colleague Humphrey de Bohun immediately concluded a truce with William, which he was very willing to grant. The English army then retired; and while De Lucy dispersed a part throughout the counties from which the soldiers had been raised, Humphrey de Bohun led the rest with rapid marches to St. Edmundsbury. His force was not numerous, but it consisted almost entirely of veteran cavalry; and having taken pains to ascertain the movements of the insurgent nobles, he prepared to attack the Earl of Leicester, whose stay at Framlingham had become, as Diceto expresses it, burdensome to Hugh Bigot, and hateful to the Countess of Norfolk. The Earl had, in consequence, received a somewhat unceremonious notice, it would seem, to relieve the territories of his friend from the presence of a body of men which the stores of Framlingham could not long support, and to betake himself to his own lands. He had heard, however, of the arrival of Humphrey de Bohun in the neighbourhood, and of the rapid movement of forces to intercept him on the road, or to attack Framlingham itself; but,
trusting in the valour of his troops and their superior numbers, he began his march towards Leicester on the 15th or 16th of October, proposing to leave St. Edmundsbury on the left.
By this time Humphrey de Bohun had been joined by the Earls of Cornwall, Gloucester, and Arundel; and as soon as they heard of the march of Leicester, they issued forth from St. Edmund's, bearing the banner of the saint in their van, and proceeded to take post on the road by which they knew the Earl must pass. Leicester's force, we are assured was still superior in number, though his army was deficient in cavalry, and he marched on without fear till at length, in the neighbourhood of Farnham, on the other side of a common between two morasses, he beheld the king's army with the banner of St. Edmund in the front. The battle immediately began, and after a severe struggle, the superiority of the royal cavalry decided the day. Leicester and his wife were taken, with a number of knights and gentlemen attached to their party, though the Countess made a desperate effort to escape on horseback. Almost all the horse were taken, and the multitude of Flemish foot which had followed the Earl to the battle, were pursued and cut down by the English cavalry in every direction with so terrible a slaughter that we are assured very few escaped alive from that bloody field.
The Earl and Countess, in strict bonds, were immediately sent over to Henry, as the best witnesses