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leaders, the earls of Chester and Fougeres, obliged to take shelter in the town of Dol. Henry hastened to form the siege of that place, and carried on the attack with such ardour, that he obliged the governor and garrison to surrender themselves prisoners. By these vigorous measures and happy successes, the insurrections were entirely quelled in Brittany; and the king, thus fortunate in all quarters, willingly agreed to a conference with Lewis, in hopes that his enemies, finding all their mighty efforts entirely frustrated, would terminate hostilities on some moderate and reasonable conditions.

The two monarchs met between Trie and Gisors; and Henry had here the mortification to see his three sons in the retinue of his mortal enemy. As Lewis had no other pretence for war than supporting the claims of the young princes, the king made them such offers as children might be ashamed to insist on, and could be extorted from him by nothing but his parental affection, or by the present necessity of his affairs. He insisted only on retaining the sovereign authority in all his dominions; but offered young Henry half the revenues of England, with some places of surety in that kingdom; or, if he rather chose to reside in Normandy, half the revenues of that duchy, with all those of Anjou. He made a like offer to Richard in Guienne; he promised to resign Brittany to Geoffrey; and if these concessions were not deemed sufficient, he agreed to add to them whatever the pope's legates, who were present, should require of him. The earl of Leicester was also present at the negotiation; and either from the impetuosity of his temper, or from a view of abruptly breaking off a conference which must cover the allies with confusion, he gave vent to the most violent reproaches against Henry, and he even put his hand to his sword, as if he meant to attempt some violence against him. This furious action threw the whole company into confusion, and put an end to the treaty.

The chief hopes of Henry's enemies seemed now to

f Hove

d Hoveden, p. 539. e Ibid. p. 536. Brompton, p. 1088. den, p. 536.


1173. depend on the state of affairs in England, where his authority was exposed to the most imminent danger. One article of prince Henry's agreement with his foreign confederates was, that he should resign Kent, with Dover and all its other fortresses, into the hands of the earl of Flanders: yet so little national or public spirit prevailed among the independent English nobility, so wholly bent were they on the aggrandizement each of himself and his own family, that, notwithstanding this pernicious concession, which must have produced the ruin of the kingdom, the greater part of them had conspired to make an insurrection, and to support the prince's pretensions. The king's principal resource lay in the church and the bishops, with whom he was now in perfect agreement; whether that the decency of their character made them ashamed of supporting so unnatural a rebellion, or that they were entirely satisfied with Henry's atonement for the murder of Becket and for his former invasion of ecclesiastical immunities. That prince, however, had resigned none of the essential rights of his crown in the accommodation; he maintained still the same prudent jealousy of the court of Rome; admitted no legate into England, without his swearing to attempt nothing against the royal prerogatives; and he had even obliged the monks of Canterbury, who pretended to a free election on the vacancy made by the death of Becket, to choose Roger, prior of Dover, in the place of that turbulent prelate1.


War with

The king of Scotland made an irruption into Northumberland, and committed great devastations; but being opposed by Richard de Lucy, whom Henry had left guardian of the realm, he retreated into his own country, and agreed to a cessation of arms. This truce enabled the guardian to march southwards with his army, in order to oppose an invasion which the earl of Leicester, at the head of a great body of Flemings, had made upon Suffolk. The Flemings had been joined by Hugh Bigod, who made them masters of his castle of Framlingham;

Hoveden, p. 533. Brompton, p. 1084. Gul. Neubr. p. 508. h Hoveden, p. 537.


and marching into the heart of the kingdom, where they 1173. hoped to be supported by Leicester's vassals, they were met by Lucy, who, assisted by Humphry Bohun, the constable, and the earls of Arundel, Glocester, and Cornwall, had advanced to Farnham with a less numerous, but braver army, to oppose them. The Flemings, who were mostly weavers and artificers, (for manufactures were now beginning to be established in Flanders,) were broken in an instant, ten thousand of them were put to the sword, the earl of Leicester was taken prisoner, and the remains of the invaders were glad to compound for a safe retreat into their own country.

This great defeat did not dishearten the malcontents; who, being supported by the alliance of so many foreign princes, and encouraged by the king's own sons, determined to persevere in their enterprise. The earl of Ferrars, Roger de Moubray, Archetil de Mallory, Richard de Moreville, Hamo de Mascie, together with many friends of the earls of Leicester and Chester, rose in arms: the fidelity of the earls of Clare and Glocester was suspected; and the guardian, though vigorously supported by Geoffrey, bishop of Lincoln, the king's natural son by the fair Rosamond, found it difficult to defend himself on all quarters, from so many open and concealed enemies. The more to augment the confusion, the king of Scotland, on the expiration of the truce, broke into the northern provinces with a great army of eighty thousand men; which, though undisciplined and disorderly, and better fitted for committing devastation, than for executing any military enterprise, was become dangerous from the present factious and turbulent spirit of the kingdom. had baffled all his enemies in France, and had put his frontiers in a posture of defence, now found England the seat of danger; and he determined by his presence to overawe the malcontents, or by his conduct and courage 8th July. to subdue them. He landed at Southampton; and know- Penance of ing the influence of superstition over the minds of the Henry for people, he hastened to Canterbury, in order to make murder.


Henry, who


i W. Heming. p. 501.



atonement to the ashes of Thomas à Becket, and tender
his submissions to a dead enemy. As soon as he came
within sight of the church of Canterbury, he dismounted,
walked barefoot towards it, prostrated himself before the
shrine of the saint, remained in fasting and prayer during
a whole day, and watched all night the holy reliques. Not
content with this hypocritical devotion towards a man
whose violence and ingratitude had so long disquieted his
government, and had been the object of his most inve-
terate animosity, he submitted to a penance still more
singular and humiliating. He assembled a chapter of the
monks, disrobed himself before them, put a scourge of
discipline into the hands of each, and presented his bare
shoulders to the lashes which these ecclesiastics succes-
sively inflicted upon him. Next day he received absolu-
tion; and, departing for London, got soon after the agree-
able intelligence of a great victory which his generals had
obtained over the Scots, and which, being gained, as was
reported, on the very day of his absolution, was regarded
as the earnest of his final reconciliation with heaven and
with Thomas à Becket.

William, king of Scots, though repulsed before the castle of Prudhow, and other fortified places, had committed the most horrible depredations upon the northern provinces: but on the approach of Ralph de Glanville, the famous justiciary, seconded by Bernard de Baliol, Robert de Stuteville, Odonel de Umfreville, William de Vesci, and other northern barons, together with the gallant bishop of Lincoln, he thought proper to retreat nearer his own country, and he fixed his camp at Alnwick. He had here weakened his army extremely, by sending out numerous detachments in order to extend his ravages; and he lay absolutely safe, as he imagined, from any attack of the enemy. But Glanville, informed of his situation, made a hasty and fatiguing march to Newcastle; and allowing his soldiers only a small interval for refreshment, he immediately set out towards evening for Alnwick. 13th July. He marched that night above thirty miles; arrived in the

morning, under cover of a mist, near the Scottish camp;

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and, regardless of the great numbers of the enemy, he began the attack with his small but determined body of cavalry. William was living in such supine security that he took the English at first for a body of his own ravagers who were returning to the camp: but the sight of their banners convincing him of his mistake, he entered on the action with no greater body than a hundred horse, in confidence that the numerous army which surrounded him would soon hasten to his relief. He was dismounted William, on the first shock, and taken prisoner; while his troops, Scotland, king of hearing of this disaster, fled on all sides with the utmost defeated precipitation. The dispersed ravagers made the best of prisoner. their way to their own country; and discord arising among them, they proceeded even to mutual hostilities, and suffered more from each other's sword than from that of the enemy.

and taken

This great and important victory proved at last decisive in favour of Henry, and entirely broke the spirit of the English rebels. The bishop of Durham, who was preparing to revolt, made his submissions; Hugh Bigod, though he had received a strong reinforcement of Flemings, was obliged to surrender all his castles, and throw himself on the king's mercy; no better resource was left to the earl of Ferrars and Roger de Moubray; the inferior rebels imitating the example, all England was restored to tranquillity in a few weeks; and as the king appeared to lie under the immediate protection of heaven, it was deemed impious any longer to resist him. The clergy exalted anew the merits and powerful intercession of Becket; and Henry, instead of opposing this superstition, plumed himself on the new friendship of the saint, and propagated an opinion which was so favourable to his interestsk

Prince Henry, who was ready to embark at Gravelines with the earl of Flanders and a great army, hearing that his partisans in England were suppressed, abandoned all thoughts of the enterprise, and joined the camp of Lewis, who, during the absence of the king, had made an irrupk Hoveden, p. 539.


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