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safe custody. Finally, to take one more example of Pandulph's action in state matters at this time; in this same year, 1220, he directs Hubert de Burgh to release the sheriff of York from custody. What has been done to him in this matter, he adds, is a practical contempt of “the king's authority and ours."?
If Pandulph never hesitated in his claim to be the chief arbiter of the destinies of England during the period in which he acted as legate to Honorius III, it must be confessed that this position was conceded to him by the English nation, apparently without question. The many letters which still exist prove this beyond the possibility of doubt. The pope, too, writes to him on all manner of subjects, lay as well as ecclesiastical, which concern the country. The question of holding and fortifying English castles may be taken as illustrating this point. On 14th May, 1220, the pope wrote to the English barons directing them to restore all the royal castles to the king's keeping, and urging them to render every assistance to Pandulph in his work of trying to safeguard the interests of the country at large. A few days before this the pope had given his legate careful instructions as to the selection of tutors for the young king. “We are wishful,” he writes, “that our beloved son in Christ, the illustrious king of the English, should be prosperous through every temporal assistance, and ever grounded in virtue before God. We hope that this will be the case if he has for instructors men who are prudent, upright, and observers of God's law. By the authority of these letters, then, we commit to your discretion the charge diligently to cause the said king to be under the guardianship of prudent and honest men, who are without suspicion in their country, who may instruct him in good morals, and teach him to fear God and love his subjects. In this way, through your care and their teaching, he may visibly grow up moral and virtuous.” ?
i Royal Letters, etc., 117.
2 Ibid., 130. 3 P. R. O. Papal Bulls, Bundle L, No. 3.
Not long after, on 26th May, 1220, this Pope Honorius again wrote to Pandulph on the state of the country. “Of old,” he says, “the English kings were wont to be rich, not only in comparison with other kings of the earth, but beyond them all. This was greatly to their glory and honour, and that of their faithful subjects. It is not, therefore, without cause that we wonder how it is that our well-beloved son in Christ, Henry, the illustrious king of England, even though as a minor he spends less than his predecessors, is said to be in such want that he hardly ever, if ever, has sufficient to provide adequately for his royal dignity; a state of affairs which is a reproach to his people and to such a kingdom. This condition of things, to speak plainly, is imputed chiefly to the archbishop, bishops, and prelates of England.” According to his information, as the pope then goes on to explain, these ecclesiastics, taking advantage of the king's youth have possessed themselves, on all manner of pretexts, of the royal castles, manors, etc., till the king is positively poor. He, Honorius, as pope, cannot allow this, and consequently orders that these royal possessions be at once restored, together with all revenues and rents received from them since the war. “For," he continues, "we cannot permit the king to be injured. We look on his cause as our own, for he is a cruce signatus, an orphan, and a ward under the special protection of the Apostolic See.” Pandulph is consequently to compel all to immediate restitution.
In much the same way, and with the same intention 1 Brit. Mus. Add. Ms., 15,352, f. 74. ? Royal Letters, etc., i. 535.
of protecting Henry, Honorius III wrote to two Poitevin bishops, ordering them to inquire whether the rumour, that certain nobles were disturbing Poitou at the time, was true. If they found that it was the case, they were charged to excommunicate them at once. “For since our beloved son in Christ, Henry, the illustrious king of England, is a cruce signatus, a ward and an orphan, specially left to the guardianship of the Holy See, we, not without reason, look upon injuries and annoyances to him as done to ourselves. We consequently desire to act vigorously against such disturbers of the peace,' as indeed we are bound to do.” ?
Almost simultaneously with his letter of 26th May to the legate about the royal castles, Honorius III sent other documents to him, bidding him not to allow anyone to hold more than two castles at the same time, even as guardians for the king. “We order you,” he says, “by the authority of these present letters, not to allow anyone in England, no matter how true and near to the king he may be, to hold more than two of the royal castles, because we do not think that it is a good thing for the king's interests.” ?
It is unnecessary to multiply instances of the extraordinary position occupied by the papal legate at this time in the State, as well as in the Church in England. Almost every public document of the period is evidence of the fact, and, in addition to what has already be stated, one or two instances out of the many that could be adduced, may here be given. In 1220, Pandulph forbids the holding of tournaments. He warns de Burgh that having done so, and having moreover excommunicated all who, in spite of the prohibition, took part in them, he expects to be obeyed, and instructs him to confiscate the lands of such as persist in ignoring his commands.
i Brit. Mus. Add. MS., 15,352, f. 32. 2 Rymer, i. 160.
Perhaps one of the most curious examples of the general acquiescence in the paramount authority of the legate in the government of the country, is to be found in the letter of the mayor and commune of Bordeaux, written about June 1220. It is addressed in the first place to Pandulph, and then only to the king and his council. Mr. Shirley, after a study of the letters and documents of this time, thus states the part played by Pandulph: “It was understood, or discovered, that the disruption of the regency had left the first place in the State open to Pandulph. In the name of his master, suzerain and guardian of the realm, we find him writing to the justiciar and to des Roches, as the haughtiest of the Plantagenets might have written to his humblest minister." ?
“In some respects the encroachment thus accomplished upon the civil power may be accounted among the boldest ever attempted by the successors of Hildebrand. The deposition of a monarch, however striking to the imagination and however grave in its consequences to society, was an exercise only of judicial power, limited by its very nature to the most exceptional cases. But the authority assumed by Pandulph was that not of a judge, but of an executive magistrate; it dealt not with a single question, but with the continuous government of the country, and threatened the establishment of a despotic rule, wielded by a foreign priest, directed by a foreign policy, and enforced by the censures of the Church." 3
Such an abnormal state of affairs could not last long. It was impossible that any foreigner, however tactful and resourceful, could long continue to exercise such paramount
Rymer, i. 162. ? Royal Letters, etc., i. Introd., 20. 3 Ibid.
influence, more especially when the position was evidently as distasteful to the clergy as it was to the laity. The question of the appointment of a successor to Geoffrey Nevile, the seneschal of Poitou, who resigned his office in November 1221, brought about a serious difference of opinion between de Burgh and Pandulph. The latter and des Roches, or de Rupibus, the bishop of Winchester, desired to secure the post for a Poitevin; but the people of the country, who were most nearly concerned, petitioned for an Englishman, and in this they were strongly supported by the justiciar. For the first time Pandulph appears to have hesitated to take the full position of a dictator, and he threw upon de Burgh the responsibility of making the choice.
Meantime Cardinal Langton had long been dissatisfied with the great influence and authority of the legate. As bishop of Norwich, Pandulph should have occupied a subordinate position, from which, however, he was exempted by the decision of the pope that he need not be consecrated whilst he continued as legate, and that, as long as he was merely elect, he need not take the usual oath of canonical obedience to the metropolitan. At the same time, however, in all but name he was the actual bishop of the See. He had been allowed by the pope, moreover, to administer his diocese without the canonical checks imposed upon other bishops,' which could hardly fail to give dissatisfaction to many besides the archbishop. Pandulph had complained of the debts of the See, which had been partly caused by the expenses of his position as legate, and had not been wholly covered by the procurations he had exacted. Honorius III consequently authorised him to take all the revenues of churches in his gift as bishop, for two years, where this could be done without scandal. The following
? Brit. Mus. Add. MS., 15,352, f. 81.