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The Growth of Royal Government under Henry III

The Growth of Royal Government under Henry III

David Crook
Louise J. Wilkinson
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 302
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  • Book Info
    The Growth of Royal Government under Henry III
    Book Description:

    The thirteenth century saw major developments in England's administration, as the procedures and processes of government expanded rapidly, the principles enshrined in Magna Carta became embedded, knights and burgesses were summoned to Parliament for the first time, and nothing short of a political revolution took place. The essays here draw on material available for the first time via the completion of the project to calendar all the Fine Rolls of Henry III; these rolls comprise the last series of records of the English Chancery from that period to become readily available in a convenient form, thereby transforming access to several important fields of research, including financial, legal, political and social issues. The volume covers topics including the evidential value of the fine rolls themselves and their wider significance for the English polity, developments in legal and financial administration, the roles of women and the church, and the fascinating details of the development of the office of escheator. Related or parallel developments in Scotland, Wales and Ireland are also dealt with, giving a broader British dimension. Louise J. Wilkinson is Professor of Medieval History, Canterbury Christ Church University; David Crook is Honorary Research Fellow at the National Archives and the University of Notthingham. Contributors: Nick Barratt, Paul Brand, David Carpenter, David Crook, Paul Dryburgh, Beth Hartland, Philippa Hoskin, Charles Insley, Adrian Jobson, Tony Moore, Alice Taylor, Nicholas Vincent, Scott Waugh, Louise Wilkinson

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-604-2
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Contributors (pp. viii-x)
  5. Acknowledgments (pp. xi-xi)
    David Crook and Louise J. Wilkinson
  6. Abbreviations (pp. xii-xiv)
  7. Introduction (pp. 1-6)
    David Carpenter, David Crook and Louise J. Wilkinson

    King Henry III succeeded his father, King John, at the age of nine in 1216 and reigned for fifty-six years until his death in 1272. His reign was a period of momentous change. The spiritual life of the country was transformed by the arrival of the friars and the work of pastorally minded bishops. The population increased rapidly so that, according to some calculations, it neared six million by the end of the century, roughly three times its size at the time of Domesday Book. Meanwhile the money supply greatly increased and an extended network of chartered markets and fairs...

  8. I. Records and their Uses
    • 1 Between Magna Carta and the Parliamentary State: The Fine Rolls of King Henry III, 1216–72 (pp. 9-29)
      David Carpenter

      If a fire in The National Archives at Kew was spreading towards the Chancery rolls, and there was time to save only one portion of them from the thirteenth century, without question I would save the fine rolls of the reign of Henry III. Far more than any other rolls from the period, they reflect fundamental changes in the nature of kingship, government and society, changes in that hinge period between the implantation of Magna Carta into English life and the development of the parliamentary state. The other Chancery rolls of this time – those recording charters, letters patent and...

    • 2 The Form and Function of the Originalia Rolls (pp. 30-43)
      Paul Dryburgh

      Ever since its inception in 2005, the Henry III Fine Rolls project has been bringing to greater public attention the rolls upon which are recorded the offers made from all sections of society for the favour of medieval England’s longest-reigning monarch. The fine rolls, as is splendidly demonstrated throughout this volume, reveal much regarding the nature of kingship and royal patronage, politics and government, and of changes to law, society and the environment in the thirteenth century. They also provide important clues to the workings of the royal administration during key phases in the development of the written record.¹ The...

    • 3 The Fine Rolls of Henry III as a Source for the Legal Historian (pp. 44-54)
      Paul Brand

      Legal historians are omnivorous animals. Almost every kind of official governmental record from thirteenth-century England is something which the legal historian can draw on. The fine rolls of Henry III’s reign are no exception to this general rule. For most purposes, their evidence is only part of a wider palette of material on which the legal historian must draw in constructing his or her picture, and not something that can be used by itself. But the rolls do often provide important evidence which we would otherwise lack, and the legal historian can certainly not afford to neglect them.

      One of...

    • 4 The Fine Rolls as Evidence for the Expansion of Royal Justice during the Reign of Henry III (pp. 55-71)
      Tony K. Moore

      The two towering figures in medieval English legal history are Henry II, the founder of the common law, and Edward I, the ‘English Justinian’.¹ Henry III has, perhaps inevitably, been overshadowed. For instance, Robert Palmer’s 2003 survey of English legal history jumps straight fromMagna Cartato Edward I, omitting Henry III entirely.² This is not to underestimate the importance of a number of recent studies on particular aspects of the legal system during the reign.³ Equally valuable are the editions of theCuria Regis Rollsdown to 1250 and an increasing number of published eyre rolls.⁴ There is also...

    • 5 Administering the Irish Fines, 1199–1254: The English Chancery, the Dublin Exchequer and the Seeking of Favours (pp. 72-84)
      Beth Hartland

      The events of the political coup in which Hubert de Burgh, justiciar of England and Ireland, was removed from power in 1232 and replaced with Peter des Roches and his nephew, Peter de Rivallis, are well known.¹ One of the results of this coup over control of the mechanisms of power in England was, whether intended or not, to plant the seeds of a new administrative powerhouse in Ireland.² This was the Irish Chancery, granted to the English chancellor, Ralph de Neville, the rolls of which have now been brilliantly reconstructed online by the Irish Chancery project. The resulting online...

    • 6 Auditing and Enrolment in Thirteenth-Century Scotland (pp. 85-103)
      Alice Taylor

      Financial auditing and central record-keeping are neglected topics in Scottish historiography. Past studies have either concentrated on the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries or, if they have dealt with the thirteenth century, have taken up only few pages in more general works. That being said, three assumptions have generally prevailed. First, Scottish kings started to have their accounts audited centrally at their own Exchequer by the early decades of the thirteenth century.¹ Second, the thirteenth century saw the emergence of a ‘record-keeping bureaucracy’: government conducted by royal officials who kept records of their activity.² Third, the model for both these...

    • 7 Imitation and Independence in Native Welsh Administrative Culture, c. 1180–1280 (pp. 104-120)
      Charles Insley

      Welsh history of the thirteenth century tends to be studied through the prism of the events of 1277 to 1284, the seven years that saw first the emasculation of Wales’ most powerful native principality, Gwynedd, and then its final destruction in the war of 1282–3. The Statute of Wales, sometimes known as the Statute of Rhuddlan, of 1284 set the seal on this process, converting the administration of what was left of native Wales into a simulacrum of English local government.¹ The century – or more – of Welsh history that preceded these events is therefore understood in their...

    • 8 An Inventory of Gifts to King Henry III, 1234–5 (pp. 121-146)
      Nicholas Vincent

      Now that the fine rolls of Henry III’s reign are emerging into the public domain, and now that we have a far clearer understanding of royal finances as recorded in the various enrolments of the Exchequer and Wardrobe, a question of significance looms even larger than it did in the days of Reginald Lane Poole or Sir James Ramsay: to what extent can the Exchequer accounts of income and expenditure be relied upon for an accurate assessment of royal revenue? It has long been recognised that the Exchequer accounts have to be used with care. Covering only that portion of...

  9. II. Government in Action
    • 9 Another Fine Mess: Evidence for the Resumption of Exchequer Authority in the Minority of Henry III (pp. 149-165)
      Nick Barratt

      The reign of Henry III witnessed three key constitutional developments that still have relevance today, namely the emergence of Parliament; the confirmation that everyone, including the monarch, was subject to the rule of law; and the emerging concept that extraordinary taxation should be only be granted with the consent of the political realm. These fundamental changes to society were the result of deep dissatisfaction with royal government, and linked intrinsically to reissues of modified versions of Magna Carta, the first as a means to end the civil war after King John died in October 1216, and subsequently at the end...

    • 10 Roger of Wendover, Prior of Belvoir, and the Implementation of the Charter of the Forest, 1225–27 (pp. 166-178)
      David Crook

      TheFlores Historiarumof Roger of Wendover is one of the most important contemporary, or near contemporary, chronicles of the reign of King John and the first two decades of the reign of Henry III. However, for the earlier part of the period in particular, it is demonstrably inaccurate and untrustworthy on many points, which has led scholars to adopt a questioning attitude to material which cannot be verified from other sources.¹ Roger’s work was continued by his successor at the Benedictine abbey of St Albans, Matthew Paris, who took over probably in May 1234, and for the period before...

    • 11 Royal Government and Administration in Post-Evesham England, 1265–70 (pp. 179-195)
      Adrian Jobson

      On 4 August 1265, the Lord Edward’s forces defeated Simon de Montfort’s rebel army at Evesham.¹ This decisive battle marked the culmination of more than seven years of constitutional turmoil as the king, Henry III, struggled with his baronage for control over England’s government. The revolution of April 1258 had seen a small cabal seize power and institute an ambitious programme of legislative and administrative reform.² Henry eventually overthrew the baronial regime in 1261, but there followed more than two years of political manœuvre as the balance of power shifted between the two sides. Only force could break the deadlock,...

    • 12 The Church and the King: Canon Law and Kingship in England, 1257–61 (pp. 196-211)
      Philippa Hoskin

      The history of the late 1250s in England is dominated by legislation, particularly that of the baronial council. The long-term importance of the Provisions of Oxford and the Provisions of Westminster has been recognised and well considered. Yet another legislative process was also taking place in these years, in a series of Church councils: the process of developing a set of statutes for the English Church, which were finally presented to the pope for ratification in 1261. These statutes failed to obtain Pope Urban’s consent, and were set aside, despite Archbishop Gray’s claims that they were considered law by the...

    • 13 Women in English Local Government: Sheriffs, Castellans and Foresters (pp. 212-226)
      Louise J. Wilkinson

      When King John visited the cathedral city of Lincoln during the civil war of 1216, a remarkable meeting took place between the king and Lincoln’s castellan. The castellan in question was a noblewoman by the name of Lady Nicholaa de la Haye, a twice-widowed heiress who was probably then in her sixties. That meeting made such a mark on the memories of Lincoln’s citizens that, when records of a government enquiry which came to be known as the hundred rolls were compiled sixty years later from the testimonies of local jurors, the clerk faithfully preserved the details in writing for...

    • 14 The Origins of the Office of Escheator (pp. 227-266)
      Scott L. Waugh

      English kings from the Conquest onward prized feudal incidents as sources of patronage and revenue, but it was not until Henry III’s reign that an office devoted to administrating those rights – the escheatorship – was permanently established. Angevin kings relied on a variety of methods to find, seize, keep and account for the lands and rights to which lordship entitled them. They worked well enough to enable John’s ruthless exploitation of those resources, driving the barons to formulate restrictions on the king’s feudal authority, which became enshrined in Magna Carta. The Crown, however, did not relinquish its rights, and...

  10. Index (pp. 267-288)
  11. Back Matter (pp. 289-289)