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CHAPTER VIII

ARCHBISHOP LE GRAUND THE departure of Stephen, the nuncio, left ecclesiastical England dissatisfied and discontented. The pope, having had his immediate wants supplied, bestowed certain favours upon the English in return. Some of the religious houses, on the score of poverty, obtained exemption from further payment of tenths, and the English prelates were permitted to confer benefices, vacated by Italians in England, on fit persons without considering whether such cures once provided for by the pope, by the existing law remained in his gift. A still more important concession on the part of the Holy See at this time was, that in future, when any English benefice was bestowed upon an Italian by a mandate of the pope, the prelates in this country were not to be bound to obey this order, if they were unwilling to do so, unless special mention of an abrogation of this indulgence was made in the document.'

During the year 1230 the attention of the pope was to a considerable extent occupied with the emperor Frederick, and the number of documents issued from the Roman chancery in regard to other countries is naturally somewhat small. Still even in this and the subsequent year, there is sufficient evidence of the continued watchful care of the papacy over the English Church and kingdom. Pope Gregory, for example, exhorts the English lay aside his apparent intention of undertaking a war win. France, and the abbot of Citeaux is directed to act as mediator between the two countries. Henry writes to the pope to beg him not to permit the encroachments of the Irish bishops upon his royal prerogative,' and the pontiff enjoins English and Irish bishops not to excommunicate the justiciars, sheriffs and bailiffs engaged in making arrangements respecting royal castles and other property of the Crown, without clear cause and due warning. This year also, the constantly recurring question of the employment of bishops as counsellors of the Crown, came once more before the Curia, and the pope gave his sanction to their employment."

i Wilkins, i. 629.

From the time of the king's repudiation of obligations contracted during his minority, and his declaration in 1227 of a determination to rule without governors although not legally of age, Hubert de Burgh had incurred the hostility of the nobility and clergy, who regarded him as the originator of both measures. For a time, however, the departure of the king's former guardian, Peter de Rupibus, bishop of Winchester, for the Holy Land, had left de Burgh without · any competitor for influence over the king, and in spite of the pope's warning to Henry not to throw himself into the hands of any party in the State, he lent the whole of his authority to the favourite. An unsuccessful expedition into France for which de Burgh was blamed, which was followed by the return of de Rupibus, whom Henry received with open expressions of pleasure, were the first signs that the justiciar's influence over the youthful monarch was waning. Several circumstances combined to hasten his downfall. A quarrel arose between him and the new archbishop, le

Royal Letters, i. 399. ? Rymer, i. 200. 3 Royal Letters, i. 549.

Graund, in regard to the custody of Tunbridge Castle and other possessions of the earl of Clare during his minority. On making a formal complaint to the king of what he considered to be a gross infringement of his rights, he was told that the Crown claimed the power to appoint the guardians of the persons and property of earls that were minors. The archbishop thereupon took the matter into his own hands and promptly excommunicated all the invaders of the possessions in question and all who aided them or held communication with them, the king alone excepted,' since he was specially protected by the papal Bull of the previous January from all excommunication except by mandate of the Apostolic See.

De Burgh not only had agents in Rome; but he had a good friend in the pope himself; and it appears probable that the action of the archbishop of Canterbury in this matter gave occasion, in July, 1231, to the papal prohibition against the excommunication of royal officials without papal sanction, above referred to. The archbishop went at once to Rome to plead his case, and the king dispatched Roger de Cantelupe with others to support his position against him. The primate made several complaints to the pope against the sovereign in the management of the kingdom. In the first place he declared that Hubert de Burgh practically ruled the kingdom to the exclusion of other nobles, who were despised; and further, that he had married without dispensation a wife too nearly related to his first wife; and lastly, that he had invaded the rights of the Church of Canterbury. In regard to ecclesiastical affairs the archbishop complained that some of the bishops of the province of Canterbury, neglecting their proper cures, sat as judges in the king's treasury; that as judges they tried Roger de Wendover, iii. 9.

* Rymer, i. 199.

lay cases; and that they had to decide even capital offences. Further, he described how many of the beneficed clergy held more than two benefices with the care of souls attached to them, and how, like the bishops, they mixed themselves up too much in the affairs of State. For all these matters the archbishop earnestly besought the pope to find a remedy; and, moved by his appeal and the strength of the case, Gregory IX at once granted all that was asked of him. The royal agents attempted to defend the king and the justiciar, but could obtain nothing; "the archbishop's eloquence, the dignity of his personal appearance and his wisdom” gained the day completely. Nothing, however, came of his victory at the Curia. On his way home, and when only three days' journey from the Eternal City, Archbishop le Graund died suddenly. “And," writes the chronicler, "with his death died also all the business he had carried through.” So unexpected was the event that there were not wanting tongues to suggest that Hubert de Burgh had procured his death by poison.

Le Graund died 3rd August, 1231; and already Peter de Rupibus, who had returned from the crusade this year, had succeeded in supplanting de Burgh as the king's confidential adviser. King Henry passed the Christmas with him at Winchester, when the bishop entirely recovered the royal confidence and resumed his position of chosen adviser to the youthful monarch. He laboured to surround Henry with foreigners and to alienate him from his native subjects. Among the faithful foreign followers of de Rupibus, who readily seconded his efforts to displace the justiciar from the high position he had long held, may be named three, Peter de Rievaulx, his nephew, Segrave and

1 Matthew Paris, iii. 205.

? Roger de Wendover, iii. 16. 3 Matthew Paris, üi. 211-212.

Passelew. When the ruin of de Burgh was accomplished, de Rupibus secured for these foreigners some of the high places in the State. Stephen Segrave became chief justiciar and Peter de Rievaulx treasurer,' whilst the removal of the English servants of the royal household quickly followed upon the Christmas festivities at Winchester.

The national feeling against foreigners in general, and against the Roman clerks in particular, found expression at the close of the year 1231, in an unmistakable way. A body of people, calling themselves “men ready to die rather than tolerate the Romans beneficed in England,” wrote letters to all the English bishops and cathedral Chapters informing them that they had definitely determined to free the country from this abuse and slavery. They threatened, if the ecclesiastical authorities chose to interfere in the hopes of frustrating their project, that they would burn and otherwise destroy their possessions. A similar letter was sent to all who were farming the churches of the Roman clerics, warning them to abandon their charges. These letters were sent about the country without signatures, but sealed with the two swords, usual in the citations issued by cathedral churches to such as were called upon to present themselves for some purpose or other to the diocesan authority.

In December, 1231, the first outward sign of this movement manifested itself. By order of the pope a court had been summoned at St. Alban's to investigate the question of the marriage of Roger, earl of Essex, and his wife, who had applied for a divorce. When the court broke up a Roman named Cincio, a canon of St. Paul's, was seized by some members of this secret society, and only escaped from

| Matthew Paris, iii. 220.

? Ibid., 240. 3 Roger de Wendover, iii. 16 seqq., 27.

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