Chapter 6

The Times: 1154-1215

King Henry II and Queen Eleanor, who was twelve years older, were both intelligent, educated, energetic, well-traveled, and experienced in affairs of state. Henry was the first Norman king to be fully literate and he learned Latin. He had many books and maintained a school. Eleanor often served as regent during Henry's reign and the reigns of their two sons: Richard I, the Lion-Hearted, and John. She herself headed armies. Henry II was a modest, courteous, and patient man with an astonishing memory and strong personality. He was indifferent to rank and impatient of pomp to the point of being careless about his appearance. He usually dressed in riding clothes and was often unkempt. He was thrifty, but generous to the poor. He was an outstanding legislator and administrator.

Henry II took the same coronation oath as Edward the Confessor regarding the church, laws, and justice. Not only did he confirm the charter of his grandfather Henry I, but he revived and augmented the laws and institutions of his grandfather and developed them to a new perfection. Almost all legal and fiscal institutions appear in their first effective form during his reign. For instance, he institutionalized the assize for a specific function in judicial proceedings, whereas before it had been an ad hoc body used for various purposes. The term "assize" here means the sitting of a court or council. It came to denote the decisions, enactments, or instructions made at such.

Henry's government practiced a strict economy and he never exploited the growing wealth of the nation. He abhorred bloodshed and the sacrifice of men's lives. So he strove diligently to keep the peace, when possible by gifts of money, but otherwise with armed force. Robbers were hanged and any man who raped a woman was castrated. Foreign merchants with precious goods could journey safely through the land from fair to fair. These fairs were usually held in the early fall, after harvesting and sheep shearing. Foreign merchants bought wool cloth and hides. Frankpledge was revived, now applying to the unfree and villeins. No stranger could stay overnight (except for one night in a borough), unless sureties were given for his good behavior. A list of such strangers was to be given to itinerant justices.

Henry had character and the foresight to build up a centralized system of government that would survive him. He learned about the counties' and villages' varying laws and customs. Then, using the model of Roman law, he gave to English institutions that unity and system which in their casual patchwork development had been lacking. Henry's government and courts forged permanent direct links between the king and his subjects which cut through the feudal structure of lords and vassals.

He developed the methods and structure of government so that there was a great increase in the scope of administrative activity without a concurrent increase of personal power of the officials who discharged it. The government was self-regulating, with methods of accounting and control which meant that no official, however exalted, could entirely escape the surveillance of his colleagues and the King. At the same time, administrative and judicial procedures were perfected so that much which had previously required the King's personal attention was reduced to routine.

The royal household translated the royal will into action. In the early 1100s, there had been very little machinery of central government that was not closely associated with the royal household. There was a Chief Justiciar for legal matters and a Treasurer. Royal government was largely built upon what had once been purely domestic offices. Kings had called upon their chaplains to pen letters for them. By Henry II's reign, the Chancery was a highly efficient writing office through which the King's will was expressed in a flow of writs, and the Chancellor an important and highly rewarded official, but he was still responsible for organizing the services in the royal chapel. Similarly, the chamberlains ran the household's financial departments. They arranged to have money brought in from a convenient castle treasury, collected money from sheriffs or the King's debtors, arranged loans with the usurers, and supervised the spending of it. It was spent for daily domestic needs, the King's almsgiving, and the mounting of a military campaign. But they were still responsible for personal attendance upon the king in his privy chamber, taking care of his valuable furs, jewels, and documents, and changing his bed linens. There were four other departments of the household. The steward presided over the hall and kitchens and was responsible for supplying the household and guests with food supplies. The butler had duties in the hall and cellars and was responsible for the supply of wine and ale. The marshall arranged lodgings for the King's court as it moved about from palaces to hunting lodges, arranged the pay of the household servants, and supervised the work of ushers, watchmen, fire tenders, messengers and huntsmen. The constable organized the bodyguard and escorts, arranged for the supply of castles, and mustered the royal army. The offices of steward, constable, chamberlain, butler were becoming confined to the household and hereditary. The Justiciar, Chancellor, and Treasurer are becoming purely state offices and are simply sold or rented, until public pressure resulted in a requirement of ability.

Henry's council included all his tenants-in-chief, which included archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights and socage tenants of the crown, whether they made payments directly to him or through a sheriff. The higher ones were served with a writ addressed to them personally. Knights and below were summoned by a general writ to the sheriff.

Henry brought order and unity by making the King's Royal Court the common court of the land. Its purpose was to guard the King's peace by protecting all people of free status throughout the nation and correct the disparity in punishments given by local courts. Heretofore, the scope of the King's peace had varied to cover as little as the King's presence, his land, and his highway. The royal demesne had shrunk to about 5% of the land. The Common Law for all the nation was established by example of the King's Royal Court. Henry erected a basic, rational framework for legal processes which drew from tradition but lent itself to continuous expansion and adaptation.

A system of writs originated well-defined actions in the royal courts. Each court writ had to satisfy specific conditions for this court to have jurisdiction over an action or event. This system determined the Royal Court's jurisdiction over the church, lords, and sheriffs. It limited the jurisdiction of all other courts and subordinated them to the Royal Court. Inquests into any misdeeds of sheriffs were held, which could result in their dismissal.

Henry and Eleanor spoke many languages and liked discussing law, philosophy, and history. So they gathered wise and learned men about them, who became known as courtiers, rather than people of social rank. They lived in the great and strong Tower of London, which had been extended beyond the original White Tower, as had other castles, so that the whole castle and grounds were defended instead of just the main building. The Tower of London was in the custody of one of the two justiciars. On the west were two strongly fortified castles surrounded by a high and deeply entrenched wall, which had seven double gates. Towers were spaced along the north wall and the Thames River flowed below the south wall. To the west was the city, where royal friends had residences with adjoining gardens near the royal palace at Westminster. The court was a center of culture as well as of government. The game of backgammon was played. People wore belts with buckles, usually brass, instead of knotting their belts.

London extended about a mile along the Thames and about half a mile inland. It had narrow twisting lanes, some with a ditch down the middle for water runoff. Most of its houses were two stories, the ground floor having booths and workshops, and the upper floor living space. Most of the houses were wooden structures. The richer merchants' and knights' houses were built of stone. Walls between houses had to be stone to a height of 16 feet and thatched roofs were banned because there had been many fires. There was poor compliance, but some roofs were tiled with red brick tiles. The population was about 40,000. There were over 126 churches for public worship, thirteen monasteries (including nunneries), and St. Paul's Cathedral. All were built of stone. The churches gave a place of worship for every 300 inhabitants and celebrated feast days, gave alms and hospitality to strangers, confirmed betrothals or agreements of marriage, celebrated weddings, conducted funerals, and buried the dead. The synod of Westminster of 1175 prescribed that all marriages were to be performed by the church. Church law required a warning prior to suspension or excommunication. Monastic, cathedral, and parish schools taught young boys grammar so they could sing and read in church services. Nuns taught girls. Fish but no meat was eaten on Fridays. There was dark rye bread and expensive white wheat bread. Vegetables included onions, leeks, and cabbage. Fruits included apples, pears, plums, cherries, and strawberries. Water was obtained from streams running through the town to the Thames and from springs. Only the rich, palaces, and churches could afford beeswax candles; others had homemade tallow [cow or sheep fat] candles which smelled and gave off smoke. Most people washed their bodies. Even the poor had beds and bed clothes. Few babies survived childhood. If a man reached 30, he could expect to live until age 50. Thousands of Londoners died during a hot summer from fevers, plague and the like.

In London, bells heralded the start and finish of all organized business. The sellers of merchandise and hirers of labor were distributed every morning into their several localities according to their trade. Vendors, craftsmen, and laborers had their customary places. Some vendors walked the streets announcing their wares for sale. There were craft guilds of bakers, butchers, cloth workers, and saddlers, as well as of weavers. Vendors on the Thames River bank sold cooked fish caught from the river and wine from ships and wine cellars. Cook shops sold roasted meats covered with hotly spiced sauces.

London Bridge was built of stone for the first time. It was supported by a series of stone arches standing on small man-made islands. It had such a width that a row of wood houses and a chapel was built on top of it. In the spring it was impassable by ships because the flow of water under it varied in height on either side of the bridge by several feet at half tide. The bridge had the effect of slowing down the flow upstream, which invited wherries and rowboats and stately barges of the nobility. In winters in which it froze over, there was ice skating, ice boating, and fishing through holes in the ice.

Outside each city gate were clusters of ragged buildings, small monasteries and hostelries, groups of huntsmen's kennels, and fencing schools. Outside one of the gates, a horse market was held every week. Horses wore horseshoes made of iron or of a crude steel. From the southwest gate of the city along the north river bank toward Westminster, there was a gradually extending line of rich men's mansions and bishops' palaces. On the southern bank of the Thames River was growing the disorderly suburb of Southwark, with fishermen's and boatmens' hovels, and taverns and brothels that were frequented by drunkards, rakes, and whores. On the north side of the city was a great forest with fields and wells where students and other young men from the city took walks in the fresh evening air. In some fields, country folk sold pigs, cows, oxen and sheep. Mill wheels turned at various streams. Near London in the country was a glass factory. At sunset, the gates of London were closed for the night. All taverns had to be closed, all lights put out, and all fires banked or covered when the bell of the church of St. Martin le Grand rang at 9:00 p.m. Anyone found on the streets after this curfew could be arrested. Gangs of young nobles or gangs of thieves, cutpurses, and looters roamed the streets after dark and sometimes rioted. Offenders were often beheaded and their heads placed on spikes on London Bridge.

Men in London had begun weaving cloth, which formerly had been done by women. Some of the cloth was exported. The weavers guild of London received a charter by the King in 1155, the first granted to any London craft: "Know that I have conceded to the Weavers of London to hold their guild in London with all the liberties and customs which they had in the time of King Henry [I], my grandfather; and that none may intermeddle with the craft within the city, nor in Southwark, nor in other places pertaining to London except through them and except he be in their guild, otherwise than was accustomed to be done in the time of King Henry, my grandfather ...So that each year they render thence to me two marks [26s.8d.] of gold at the feast of St. Michael. And I forbid that any shall do injury or contumely to them on this account under penalty of 10 pounds [200s.]. Witness T[homas], Chancellor, and Warinus, son of Gerard, Chamberlain, at Winchester." The liberties obtained were: 1) The weavers may elect bailiffs to supervise the work of the craft, to punish defaulters, and to collect the ferm [amount owed to the King]. The bailiffs were chosen from year to year and swore before the mayor of London to do and keep their office well and truly. 2) The bailiffs may hold court from week to week on pleas of debt, agreements, covenants [promises for certain performance], and minor trespasses. 3) If any of the guild members are sued in any other court on any of the above pleas, the guild may challenge that plea to bring it to the guild court. 4) If any member is behind in his share of the payment to the King, the bailiffs may distrain his loom until he has paid this.

Paying an annual payment freed the weavers from liability to inconsequent royal fines. Failure to make this payment promptly might have led to loss of the right, hence the rigorous penalty of distraint upon the looms of individual weavers who fell into arrears.

The weavers' guild punished members who used bad thread in their weaving or did defective weaving by showing the default to the mayor, with opportunity for the workman to make entreaty, and the mayor and twelve members of the guild then made a verdict of amercement of 1/2 mark [6s.8d.] and the workman of the cloth was also punished by the guild bailiffs according to guild custom.

The weavers' guild tradition of brotherliness among members meant that injury to a fellow weaver incurred a severe penalty. If a weaver stole or eloigned [removed them to a distance where they were unreachable] any other weaver's goods falsely and maliciously, then he was dismissed from the guild and his loom was taken by the guild to fulfill his portion of the annual payment to the King. The weavers were allowed to buy and to sell in London freely and quietly. They had all the rights of other freemen of the city.

Thus from the middle of the 1100s, the weavers enjoyed the monopoly of their craft, rights of supervision which ensured a high standard of workmanship, power to punish infractions of their privileges, and full control of their members. In this they stand as the prototype of English medieval guilds. These rights represented the standard which all bodies of craftsmen desired to attain. The right of independent jurisdiction was exceptional.

In Henry II's charter to London, London did not retain its right to appoint its own sheriff and justice given by Henry I. London's chief magistrate was the mayor, who was appointed by the King, until 1191. Then the mayor was elected yearly by the aldermen of the city wards and approved by the king. He was typically a rich prince chosen by the barons and chief merchants of London. The commoners had no voice in his selection, but they could still approve or disapprove of the actions of the city government at ward and folk motes. At certain periods, a king asserted royal power over the selection of mayor and governance of the city. There were three ways to become a citizen of London: being the son of a citizen, apprenticeship in a craft for seven years, and purchase of citizenship. London and Westminster growth led to their replacing Winchester as the capital.

St. Barthomew infirmary was established in London for the care of sick pilgrims traveling to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury. It had been inspired by a monk who saw a vision of St. Barthomew telling him to build a church and an infirmary.

Trading was facilitated by the stabilization of the amount of silver metallic content of the English coinage, which was called "sterling" [strong] silver. The compass, a magnetic lodestone [leading stone] needle mounted on a cork and floated in a bowl of water, assisted the navigation of ships. With it, one could tell the general direction of a ship when the skies were cloudy as well as clear. And one could generally track one's route by using the direction and speed of travel to calculate one's new position. London became a major trading center for foreign goods from many lands.

About 5% of the knights were literate. Wealthy men sent their sons to school in monasteries to prepare them for a livelihood in a profession or in trade or to the town of Oxford, whose individual scholars had migrated from Paris and had attracted disciples for a long time. These schools grew up around St. Mary's Church, but had not been started by the church as there was no cathedral school in Oxford. Oxford had started as a burh and had a royal residence and many tradesmen. It was given its basic charter in 1155 by the King. This confirmed to it all the customs, laws and liberties [rights] as those enjoyed by London. It became a model charter for other towns.

Bachelors at Oxford studied the arts of grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and then music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, until they mastered their discipline and therefore were authorized to teach it. Teaching would then provide an income sufficient to support a wife. The master of arts was analogous to the master craftsman of a guild. From 1190, the civil law was studied, and shortly thereafter, canon law. Later came the study of medicine. The use of paper supplemented the use of parchment for writing. Irregular edged paper was made from linen, cotton, straw, and/or wood beaten to a pulp and then spread out over a wire mesh to dry.

Theologicians taught that the universe was made for the sake and service of man, so man was placed at the center of the universe. Man was made for the sake and service of God.

Every freeman holding land of a lord gave homage and fealty to him, swearing to bear him faith of the tenement held and to preserve his earthly honor in all things, saving the faith owed to the king. Homage was done for lands, for free tenements, for services, and for rents precisely fixed in money or in kind. Homage could be done to any free person, male or female, adult or minor, cleric or layman. A man could do several homages to different lords for different fees, but there had to be a chief homage to that lord of whom he held his chief tenement. Homage was not due for dower, from the husband of a woman to whom a tenement was given as a marriage portion, for a fee given in free alms, or until the third heir, either for free maritagium [a marriage portion which is given with a daughter in marriage, that is not bound to service] or for the fee of younger sisters holding of the eldest. All fiefs to be inherited by the eldest son had to be intact. Every lord could exact fealty from his servants.

In this era, the English national race and character was formed. Only a few barons still had lands in Normandy. Stories of good King Arthur were popular and set ideals for behavior and justice in an otherwise barbaric age where force was supreme. His last battle in which he lay wounded and told a kinsman to rule in his place and uphold his laws was written in poem ("Layamon's Brut"). Romantic stories were written and read in English. The custom of "bundling" was started by ladies with their knights, who would lie together in bed without undressing and with one in a sack the top of which was tied around his neck, as part of a romantic courtship. Wealthy men often gave their daughters dowries in case they were widowed. This might be matched by a marriage settlement by a prospective husband.

Intermarriage had destroyed any distinction of Normans by look or speech alone, except for the Anglo-Saxon manor villeins, who worked the farm land and composed about two-thirds of the population. Villeins were bound to the land and could, on flight, be brought back to it. They could not give homage, but could give fealty. A villein had the equipment to farm, fish, make cheese, keep poultry, brew beer, hedge, and cut wood. Although the villeins could not buy their freedom or be freed by their lord, they became less numerous because of the preference of landholders for tenants motivated to perform work by potential loss of tenure. Also, the Crown's protection of all its subjects in criminal matters blurred the distinction between free and unfree men.

The boroughs were dominated by lords of local manors, who usually had a house in the borough. Similarly, burgesses usually had farmland outside the borough. Many boroughs were granted, by the king or manor lord, the right to have a common seal for the common business of the town. Some boroughs were given the authority to confer freedom on the villein by enrolling him in their guild or allowing him to stay in the borough for a year and a day. The guilds met frequently in their drinking halls and drew up regulations for the management of their trade. Each borough was represented by twelve reputable burgesses. Each vill was represented by a reeve and four reputable men. Certain towns sponsored great seasonal fairs for special goods, such as cloth. About 5% of the population lived in towns.

In the early 1180s, the horizontal-axle windmill was invented, probably in eastern England, on the analogy of the horizontal-axle watermill. It was very useful in flat areas where streams were too slow for a watermill unless a dam were built. But a dam often flooded agricultural land. Some watermill wheels were moved by tidal currents.

London guilds of craftsmen such as weavers, fullers, bakers, loriners (makers of bits, spurs, and metal mountings of bridles and saddles), cordwainers (makers of leather goods such as shoes), pepperers, and goldsmiths were licensed by the King, for which they paid him a yearly fee. There were also five Bridge Guilds (probably raising money for the future construction of London Bridge in stone) and St. Lazarus' Guild. The wealthy guilds, which included the goldsmiths, the pepperers, and three bridge guilds had landholding members who had been thegns or knights and now became a class of royal officials: the King's minters, his chamberlain, his takers of wines, his collectors of taxes. The weavers of Oxford paid 27s. [two marks] to have a guild. The shoemakers paid 67s. [five marks].

In 1212, master carpenters, masons, and tilers made 3d. per day, their servers (the journeymen of a later time) made 11/2 d., free stone carvers 21/2 d., plasterers and daubers, diggers and sievers less. All received food in addition or 11/2 d. in its stead.

Sandwich was confirmed in its port rights by this charter: "Henry II to his sheriff and bailiffs of Kent, greeting. I will and order that the monks of the Holy Trinity of Canterbury shall have fully all those liberties and customs in Sandwich which they had in the time of King Henry my grandfather, as it was adjudged in pursuance of his command by the oath of twelve men of Dover and twelve men of Sandwich, to wit, that the aforesaid monks ought to have the port and the toll and all maritime customs in the same port, on either side of the water from Eadburge gate as far as markesfliete and a ferryboat for passage. And no man has there any right except they and their ministers. Wherefore I will and firmly command you and the men of Sandwich that ye cause the aforesaid monks to have all their customs both in the port and in the town of Sandwich, and I forbid any from vexing them on this account." "And they shall have my firm peace."

Henry gave this charter to the town of Bristol in 1164: "Know ye, that I have granted to my burgesses of Bristol, that they shall be quit both of toll [a reasonable sum of money or portion of the thing sold, due to the owner of the fair or market on the sale of things tollable therein. It was claimed by the lord of the fee where the fair or market was held, by virtue of a grant from the Crown either ostensible or presumed] and passage [money paid for crossing a river or for crossing the sea as might be due to the Crown] and all custom [customary payments] throughout my whole land of England, Normandy, and Wales, wherever they shall come, they and their goods. Wherefore I will and strictly command, that they shall have all their liberties and acquittances and free customs fully and honorable, as my free and faithful men, and that they shall be quit of toll and passage and of every other customs: and I forbid any one to disturb them on this account contrary to this my charter, on forfeiture of ten pounds [200s.]."

John, when he was an earl and before he became King, granted these liberties to Bristol about 1188:

No burgess may sue or be sued out of Bristol. The burgesses are excused from the murder fine (imposed by the king or lord from the hundred or town where the murder was committed when the murderer had not been apprehended). No burgess may wage duel [trial by combat], unless sued for death of a stranger. No one may take possession of a lodging house by assignment or by livery of the Marshall of the Earl of Gloucester against the will of the burgesses (so that the town would not be responsible for the good behavior of a stranger lodging in the town without first accepting the possessor of the lodging house). No one shall be condemned in a matter of money, unless according to the law of the hundred, that is, forfeiture of 40s. The hundred court shall be held only once a week. No one in any plea may argue his cause in miskenning. They may lawfully have their lands and tenures and mortgages and debts throughout my whole land, [from] whoever owes them [anything]. With regard to debts which have been lent in Bristol, and mortgages there made, pleas shall be held in the town according to the custom of the town. If any one in any other place in my land shall take toll of the men of Bristol, if he does not restore it after he is required to, the Prepositor of Bristol may take from him a distress at Bristol, and force him to restore it. No stranger tradesman may buy within the town from a man who is a stranger, leather, grain, or wool, but only from a burgess. No stranger may have a shop, including one for selling wine, unless in a ship, nor shall sell cloth for cutting except at the fair. No stranger may remain in the town with his goods for the purpose of selling his goods, but for forty days. No burgess may be confined or distrained any where else within my land or power for any debt, unless he is a debtor or surety (to avoid a person owed a debt from distraining another person of the town of the debtor). They shall be able to marry themselves, their sons, their daughters and their widows, without the license of their lords. (A lord had the right of preventing his tenants and their families from marrying without his consent.) No one of their lords shall have the wardship or the disposal of their sons or daughters on account of their lands out of the town, but only the wardship of their tenements which belong to their own fee, until they become of age. There shall be no recognition [acknowledgment that something done by another person in one's name had one's authority] in the town. No one shall take tyne [wooden barrel with a certain quantity of ale, payable by the townsmen to the constable for the use of the castle] unless for the use of the lord Earl, and that according to the custom of the town. They may grind their grain wherever they may choose. They may have their reasonable guilds, as well or better than they had them in the time of Robert and his son William [John's wife's grandfather and father, who were earls of Gloucester when the town and castle of Bristol were part of the honor of Gloucester]. No burgess may be compelled to bail any man, unless he himself chooses it, although he may be dwelling on his land.

We have also granted to them all their tenures, messuages [dwelling house with adjoining land and adjacent buildings], in copses [thicket from which wood was cut], in buildings on the water or elsewhere to be held in free burgage [tenant to pay only certain fixed services or payments to his lord, but not military service (like free socage)]. We have granted also that any of them may make improvements as much as he can in erecting buildings anywhere on the bank and elsewhere, as long as the borough and town are not damaged thereby. Also, they shall have and possess all waste land and void grounds and places, to be built on at their pleasure.

Newcastle-on-Tyne's taxes were simplified in 1175 as follows:

"Know ye that I have granted and by this present charter have confirmed to my burgesses of Newcastle upon Tyne, and to all their things which they can assure to be their own, acquittance from toll and passage and pontage and from the Hanse and from all other customs throughout all my land. And I prohibit all persons from vexing or disturbing them therein upon forfeiture to me."

We grant to our upright men on Newcastle-on-Tyne and their heirs our town of Newcastle-on-Tyne with all its appurtenances at fee farm for 100 pounds to be rendered yearly to us and our heirs at our Exchequer by their own hand at the two terms, to wit, at Easter 50 pounds and at Michaelmas 50 pounds, saving to us our rents and prizes and assizes in the port of the same town.

Ranulph, earl of Chester, made grants to his burgesses of Coventry by this charter: "That the aforesaid burgesses and their heirs may well and honorably quietly and in free burgage hold of me and my heirs as ever in the time of my father and others of my ancestors they have held better more firmly and freer. In the second place I grant to them all the free and good laws which the burgesses of Lincoln have better and freer. I prohibit and forbid my constables to draw them into the castle to plead for any cause, but they may freely have their portimote [leet court] in which all pleas belonging to me and them may be justly treated of. Moreover they may choose from themselves one to act for me whom I approve, who a justice under me and over them may know the laws and customs, and keep them to my counsel in all things reasonable, every excuse put away, and may faithfully perform to me my rights. If any one happen to fall into my amercement he may be reasonably fined by my bailiff and the faithful burgesses of the court. Furthermore, whatever merchants they have brought with them for the improvement of the town, I command that they have peace, and that none do them injury or unjustly send them into court. But if any foreign merchant shall have done anything improper in the town that same may be regulated in the portimote before the aforesaid justice without a suit at law."

Henry confirmed this charter of the earl's by 1189 as follows: I have confirmed all the liberties and free customs the earl of Chester granted to them, namely, that the same burgesses may well and honorably hold in free burgage, as ever in the time of the father of the beforesaid earl, or other of his ancestors, they may have better or more firmly held; and they may have all the laws and customs which the citizens of Lincoln have better and freer [e.g. their merchant guilds; all men brought to trade may be subject to the guild customs and assize of the town; those who lawfully hold land in the town for a year and a day without question and are able to prove that an accuser has been in the kingdom within the year without finding fault with them, from thence may hold the land well and in peace without pleading; those who have remained in the town a year and a day without question, and have submitted to the customs of the town and the citizens of the town are able to show through the laws and customs of the town that the accuser stood forth in the kingdom, and not a fault is found of them, then they may remain in peace in the town without question]; and that the constable of the aforesaid earl shall not bring them into the castle to plead in any case. But they may freely have their own portmanmote in which all pleas appertaining to the earl and to them may be justly treated of. Moreover they may choose one from themselves to act for the earl, whom I approve, who may be a justice under the earl and over them, and who to the earl may faithfully perform his rights, and if anyone happen to fall into the earl's forfeiture he shall be acquit for 12 pence. If by the testimony of his neighbors he cannot pay 12 pence coins, by their advice it shall be so settled as he is able to pay, and besides, with other acquittances, that the burgesses shall not provide anything in corody [allowance in food] or otherwise whether for the said earl or his men, unless upon condition that their chattels shall be safe, and so rendered to them. Furthermore, whatever merchants they have brought with them for the improvement of the town they may have peace, and none shall do them injury or unjustly send them into suit at law. But if any foreign merchant has done anything improper in the town that shall be amended [or tried] in the portmanmote before the aforesaid justice without a suit. And they who may be newcomers into the town, from the day on which they began to build in the town for the space of two years shall be acquit of all charges.

Mercantile privileges were granted to the shoemakers in Oxford thus: "Know ye that I have granted and confirmed to the corvesars of Oxford all the liberties and customs which they had in the time of King Henry my grandfather, and that they have their guild, so that none carry on their trade in the town of Oxford, except he be of that guild. I grant also that the cordwainers who afterwards may come into the town of Oxford shall be of the same guild and shall have the same liberties and customs which the corvesars have and ought to have. For this grant and confirmation, however, the corvesars and cordwainers ought to pay me every year an ounce of gold."

A guild merchant for wool dominated and regulated the wool trade in many boroughs. In Leicester, only guildsmen were permitted to buy and sell wool wholesale to whom they pleased or to wash their fells in borough waters. Certain properties, such as those near running water, essential to the manufacture of wool were maintained for the use of guild members. The waterwheel was a technological advance replacing human labor whereby the cloth was fulled. The waterwheel turned a shaft which lifted hammers to pound the wet cloth in a trough. Wool packers and washers could work only for guild members. The guild fixed wages, for instance to wool wrappers and flock pullers. Strangers who brought wool to the town for sale could sell only to guild members. A guildsman could not sell wool retail to strangers nor go into partnership with a man outside the guild. Each guild member had to swear the guildsman's oath, pay an entrance fee, and subject himself to the judgment of the guild in the guild court, which could fine or suspend a man from practicing his trade for a year. The advantages of guild membership extended beyond profit in the wool trade. Members were free from the tolls that strangers paid. They alone were free to sell certain goods retail. They had the right to share in any bargain made in the presence of a guildsman, whether the transaction took place in Leicester or in a distant market. In the general interest, the guild forbade the use of false weights and measures and the production of shoddy goods. It maintained a wool beam for weighing wool. It also forbade middlemen from profiting at the expense of the public. For instance, butchers' wives were forbidden from buying meat to sell again in the same market unless they cooked it. The moneys due to the king from the guilds of a town were collected by the town reeve.

When the king wanted to raise an army, he summoned his major baron tenants-in-chief, who commanded their own armed dependent vassals, and he directed the sheriffs to command the minor tenants-in-chief and supply them with equipment. A baron could assemble an army in a day, but might use it to resist any perceived misgovernment by a king. Armed conflict did not interfere much with daily life because the national wealth was still composed mostly of flocks and herds and simple buildings. Machinery, furniture, and the stock of shops were still sparse. Life would be back to normal within a week.

Henry wanted to check this power of the barons. So he took over or demolished their adulterine castles and restored the older obligation of every freeman to serve in defense of the realm, the fyrd, which was a military draft. At the King's call, barons were to appear in mail suit and helmet with sword and horse, knights and freeholders with 213s.[16 marks] of rent or chattels in coat of mail with shield and lance, freeholders of 133s.[10 marks] with lance and hauberk [coat of armor] and iron headpiece, burgesses and poorer freemen with lance and headpiece and wambais, and such as millers with pike and leather shirt. The spiritual and other baronies paid a commutation for personal service, called "scutage", at the rate of 27s. per knight's fee. Barons and knights paid according to their knight's fee a scutage ranging from 10s. to 27s. As of 1181, the military obligations of villeins were defined. The master of a household was responsible for every villein in his household. Others had to form groups of ten and swear obedience to the chief of the group. The sheriff was responsible for maintaining lists of men liable for military service and procuring supplies. This national militia could be used to maintain the peace. The sheriff could call upon the military array of the county as a posse comitatus to take a band of thieves into custody or to quell disorder. For foreign wars, Henry decided to use a mercenary army and a mercenary fleet.

However, the nobility who were on the borders of the realm had to maintain their private armies for frequent border clashes. The other nobility now tended towards tournaments with mock foot battles between two sides. Although subject to knightly rules, serious injury and death often resulted. For this reason, the church opposed them, but unsuccessfully.

New taxes replaced the Danegeld tax. Freeholders of land paid taxes according to their plowable land ("hidage", by the hide, and later "carucage", by the smaller Norman carucate). The smaller measure curtailed estates and increased taxation. It was assessed from 2-5s. per carcuate [100 acres] and collected for the king by knights with little or no remuneration, and later by inquest of neighbors. The towns and demesne lands of the crown paid a tax based on their produce that was collected by the itinerant justices. Merchants were taxed on their personal property, which was determined by an inquest of neighbors. Clergy were also taxed. This new system of taxation increased the royal income about threefold. There was a standard for reliefs paid of 100s. [5 pounds] for a knight's fee and 2,000s. [100 pounds] for a barony. At the end of Henry's reign, his treasure was over 900,000 pounds. Every hide of land paid the sheriff 2s. annually for his services in the administration and defense of the county. This was probably the old Danegeld.

Barons and their tenants and subtenants were offered an alternative of paying shield money ["scutage"] of 26s.8d. per fee in commutation for and instead of military service for their fiefs. This enabled Henry to hire soldiers who would be more directly under his own control and to organize a more efficient army.

Henry II restored the silver coinage to its standard of purity. The first great inflation in England occurred between 1180 and 1220. Most goods and services increased threefold over these forty years.

Great households, whether of baron, prelate, monastery, or college gave their officers and servants allowances of provisions and clothing called "liveries". The officer of such departments as the buttery [cellar storing butts of wine], the kitchen, the napery [for linen cloth], and the chandlery had his fixed allowances for every day and his livery of clothing at fixed times of the year or intervals of years.

The administration of a great estate is indicated by the Pipe Roll of the Bishopric of Winchester, 1208-1209, as follows:

"Downton: William FitzGilbert, and Joselyn the reeve, and Aylward the cellarer render account of 7 pounds 12s.11d. for arrears of the previous year. They paid and are quit. And of 3 pounds 2s.2d. for landgafol. And of 12d. by increment of tax for a park which William of Witherington held for nothing. And of 2s.6d. by increment of tax for half a virgate of land which James Oisel held without service. And of 19s. for 19 assize pleas in the new market. And of 10s. by increment of tax for 10 other assize pleas in the market this year. Sum of the whole tax 36 pounds 14s.8d. In quittance of one reeve, 5s. In quittance for repairing the bridge, 5s.; of one forester, 4s.; of two haywards from Downton and Wick, 4s.; of one hayward from Witherington, 20d.; of fourteen drivers from Downton, Wick, and Nunton, for the year, 28s.; of two drivers from Witherington for the year, 4s.4d.; of two drivers for half the year, 2s.; of one swineherd, of one neaterd, of one cowherd, for the year, 6s.; of three shepherds from Wick, Barford, and Nunton, for the year, 6s.; of one shepherd from Witherington, for the year, 20d.; of four customary tenants, for the year, 8s. Sum of the quittances, 74s.8d. Remainder 33 pounds.

Livery: For livery to John the dean, for Christmas tax, 7 pounds 10s. by one tally. To the same for Easter tax, 8 pounds by one tally. To the same for St. John's tax, 8 pounds by one tally. To the same for St. Michael's tax, 8 pounds 10s. by one tally. To the same for corn [grain] sold in the field 26 pounds by two tallies. To the same for standing corn [growing crops of grain], purchases, and cheeses, 20 pounds 16s.10d. To the same for wool, 6 pounds 13s.4d. by one tally. To the same for tallage 39 pounds by one tally. Sum: 134 pounds 10s.2d.

Expenses: For ironwork of 8 carts for year and one cart for half the year, 32s.10d. For shoeing of 2 plough horses for the year, 2s.8d. For wheels for carts, 2s.9d. For 6 carts made over, 12d. before the arrival of the carpenter. For wages of the smith for the year, 8s.6d. For one cart bound in iron bought new, 5s.7d. For wheels purchased for one cart to haul dung, 12d. For leather harness and trappings, iron links, plates, halters, 14d. For purchase of 2 ropes, 3d. For purchase of 2 sacks, 8d. For purchase of 5 locks for the granary, 11d. For making 2 gates for the sheepfold, 2s. For one gate for the farm yard, 12d. For an ax and tallow purchased and for repairing the spindles of the mill for the year, 6s.10d. For one millstone purchased for the mill 24s. For making one gate near the mill, 12d. For meat prepared in the larder, 3s. For beer bought for cleaning carcasses, 2s.1d. For digging 158 perches of land around the pasture in the marsh, 32s.11d.; for each perch 2d.1ob. For the dovecote newly made, 22s.11d.1ob. For cutting 100 thick planks for flooring both dispensary and butlery, 6s.3d. For nails or pegs bought for planking beyond the cellar, 16d. For enclosing the garden by making 2 gates, 6s.7d.1ob. For digging in the gardens, 8s.5d. For the winter work of 55 carts, 9s.2d. For the Lent work of 49 carts, 8s.6d. For spreading 6 acres with dung, 6d. For threshing 24 quarters of wheat at Mardon for seed, 5s. For winnowing the same, 7d. For winnowing 36 quarters of grain for seed, 3s.9d. For threshing 192 quarters of grain 32s.; for each quarter 2d. For threshing 20 quarters of mixed corn [grain], 2s.6d. For threshing 42 quarters of barley, 3s.6d. For threshing 53 quarters of oats, 2s.2d.1ob. For hauling gravel to the bridge and causeway, 4d. For cost of dairy, viz., 3 tines of salt, cloth, and pots, 6s.10d. For purchase of 17 oxen, 5 pounds 13s. For hoeing 140 acres, 5s.10d. For wages of two carters, one neatherd, for the year, 9s. For wages of one carpenter for the year, 6s.8d. For wages of one dairy woman, 2s.6d. For payment of mowers of the meadow at Nunton, 6d. For 8 sheep purchased, 8s. For wages of one neatherd from Nunton, 12d. For carrying 2 casks of wine by Walter Locard, in the time of Martinmas, 8s.2d. For the carrying of 2 casks of wine from Southampton to Downton by the seneschal, 3s.6d. at the feast of St. Lawrence. For digging 22 perches in the farmyard, 6s.5d.; for each perch 3d.1ob. For allowance of food of Robert of Lurdon, who was sick for 21 days, with his man, 5s.3d. For allowance of food to Sewal who was caring for 2 horses of the lord bishop for 3 weeks, 21d. For allowance of food for Roger Walselin, for the two times he made gifts to the lord king at Clarendon, 4s.9d. by two tallies. For allowance of food of Master Robert Basset, for 3 journeys, 9s.3d.1ob. For livery of William FitzGilbert, 60s.10d. For 30 ells of canvas purchased for laying over the wool, and 2 cushions prepared for the court, 5s. For 8 sheep purchased, with lambs, 8s. Sum: 2 pounds.23d. Sum of livery and expenses: 159 pounds 12s.1d. And there is owing: 5 pounds 9s.4d.1ob.

Produce of Granary: The same render account of 221 and a half quarters and 1 strike from all the produce of grain; and of 24 quarters brought from Mardon. Sum: 245 and a half quarters and 1 strike. For sowing 351 acres, 127 quarters. For bread for the lord bishop, 18 and a half quarters delivered to John de Dispensa by three tallies. For the balance sold, 110 quarters and 1 strike. The same render account of 38 and a half quarters from all the produce of small corn [grain]. For the balance sold, all. The same render account of 29 quarters and 1 strike from all the produce of mixed corn [grain]. For seeding 156 acres, 53 quarters and 1 strike. For bread for 3 autumnal works, 9 quarters. For the balance sold, 27 quarters. The same render account of 178 and a half quarters from all the produce of barley. For sowing 102 and a half acres, 49 and a half quarters. For payment for carts, 1 quarter. For payment for hauling dung, 2 quarters. For allowance of food of two carters, one carpenter, one neatherd, one dairy woman, for the year, 32 and a half quarters. For feeding hogs in the winter, 2 quarters. For the balance sold, 91 and a half quarters. It is quit.

The same render account of 311 quarters and 2 bushels from all the produce of oats. In sowing 221 and a half acres, 110 and a half quarters. For prebends [revenues paid for a clergyman's salary] of the lord bishop and lord king, on many occasions, 131 and a half quarters and 2 bushels, by five tallies. For prebends of Roger Wakelin, 2 and a half quarters and 3 bushels. For prebends of Master Robert Basset, 3 and a half quarters and 1 bushel. For provender [dry food for livestock] of 2 horses of the lord bishop and 1 horse of Richard Marsh, for 5 weeks, 5 and a half quarters and 2 bushels. For provender of 2 horses of the lord bishop who stayed 16 nights at Downton, 4 quarters. For that sent to Knoyle, 18 quarters. For provender of 1 horse of Robert of Lurdon for 3 weeks, 1 and a half quarters. For prebends of two carters 7 quarters and 2 bushels. For the balance sold, 12 quarters. And there remains 14 quarters and 1 strike. The same render account of 6 and a half quarters from the whole produce of beans. For planting in the garden half a quarter. For the balance sold, 6 quarters. It is quit.

The same render account of 4 quarters and 1 strike from all the produce of peas. For sowing 6 acres, 1 and a half quarters. For the balance sold 2 and a half quarters and 1 strike. It is quit. The same render account of 4 quarters from all the produce of vetches [pea plants used for animal fodder]. For feeding pigs in the winter, all. It is quit.

Beasts of Burden: The same render account of 104 oxen remaining from the previous year. And of 2 yoked from useless animals. And of 1 from the will of Robert Copp. And of 17 purchased. Sum: 124. Of living ones sold, 12. Of dead, 21. Sum: 33. And there remain 91 oxen. The same render account of 2 goats remaining from the previous year. All remain.

The same render account of 19 cows remaining from the previous year. And of 7 yoked from useless animals, and of 1 found. Sum: 27. By death, 1. By killing, brought for the need of the lord bishop at Cranbourne, 2. Sum: 3. And there remain 24 cows. The same render account of 7 heifers and 2 steers remaining from the previous year. In yoked cows, 7 heifers. In yoked oxen, 2 bulls. Sum: 9.

The same render account of 12 yearlings remaining from the previous year. By death, 1. There remain 11, of which 5 are female, 6 male.

The same render account of 13 calves born this year from cows, because the rest were sterile. In tithes, 1. There remain 12. The same render account of 858 sheep remaining from the previous year. And of 47 sheep for the payment of herbage, after birth, and before clipping. And of 8 bought before birth. And of 137 young ewes mixed with two-year-olds. Sum: 1050. In live ones sold at the time of Martinmas, 46. In those dead before birth, 20. In those dead after birth and before shearing, 12. Sum: 78. And there remain 972 sheep.

The same render account of 584 wethers [castrated rams] remaining from the previous year. And of 163 wethers mixed with two-year-olds. And of 16 rams from Lindsey, which came by brother Walter before shearing. Sum: 763. In living ones sold at the time of Martinmas, 27 wethers, 10 rams. Paid to the men of Bishopton before shearing by writ of the seneschal, 20. By death, before shearing, 14. Sum: 71. And there remain 692 sheep. The same render account of 322 old sheep remaining, with lambs from the previous year. By death before shearing, 22. And there remain 300; whence 137 are young ewes, mixed with sheep, and 163 males, mixed with wethers.

The same render account of 750 lambs born from sheep this year because 20 were sterile, and 30 aborted. In payment of the smith, 2; of shepherds, 3. In tithes, 73. In those dead before shearing, 105. Sum: 181. And there remain 569 lambs.

The same render account of 1664 large sheepskins whence 16 were from the rams of Lindsey. In tithes, 164. In payment of three shepherds, 3. In the balance sold 1497 skins with 16 skins from Lindsey which made 11 pondera.

The same render account of 569 lamb skins. In the balance sold, all, which made 1 and a half pondera.

The same render account of 138 cheeses from arrears of the previous year. And of 19 small cheeses. And of 5 larger ones from the arrears of the previous year. And of 273 cheeses which were begun the 6th of April and finished on the feast of St. Michael, both days being counted. And they made cheeses two by two for 96 days, viz. from the 27th April to the vigil of the feast of St. Peter in Chains, both days being counted. Sum: 435 cheeses. In tithes 27. In payment of a shepherd, and mowers of the meadow from Nunton, 2. In duty of a carter, 3. In autumnal work, 10. In expenses of the bishop in the kitchen, 2 by one tally. In the balance sold, 133 cheeses, which made 10 heads, from arrears of the previous year. In the balance sold, 177 cheeses, which made 18 heads in this year. In expenses of the lord king and lord bishop on the feasts of St. Leonard and St. Martin, 19 small cheeses, and 5 larger ones from the arrears of the previous year. And there remain 52 small cheeses which make one head.

The same render account of 124 hogs remaining from the previous year. And of 29 that were born of sows. Sum: 153 pigs. In tithes, 2. By death, 9. In those killed for the larder, 83. Sum: 95 pigs. And there remain 58 pigs. Also 19 suckling pigs. Sum of the whole: 77 pigs.

The same render account of 48 chickens from arrears of the previous year. And of 258 chickens for cheriset. Sum: 306. In expenses of the lord bishop on the feast of St. Martin, 36 by one tally. In expenses of the same on the feast of St. Leonard, 106, by one tally. In expenses of the lord king and bishop on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, 131 chickens, by two tallies. In allowance for food for Roger Wakelin, 8. In allowance of food for Master Robert Basset, 4. By death, 21. Sum: 306 chickens. It is quit.

The same render account of 273 chickens, 27 sticae of eels, 4 suckling pigs, freed for the expenses of the lord king and bishop. From the Larder: The same freed for the expenses of the lord bishop meat of 2 cows taken to Cranbourne.

The same render account of 13 sides of bacon, arrears of the previous year. And of 5 oxen and 1 quarter of old beef from arrears of the previous year. And of 84 hogs from Downton. And of 71 hogs from Mardon. And of 10 hogs from Overton. And of 9 hogs from High-Clere. And of 14 hogs from Harwell. And of 7 hogs from Knoyle. Sum: 203 hogs, and meat of 5 oxen and one quarter. In expenses of the lord bishop at the feast of St. Martin, 8 sides of bacon. In expenses of the same at the feast of St. Leonard, 17 sides of bacon, the meat of 5 oxen, and 1 quarter of an ox. In expenses of the same on the morrow of the feast of the Holy Cross, delivered to Nicolas the cook, 27 sides of bacon. In expenses of the lord bishop delivered to the same cook at Knoyle on the Saturday before the feast of St. Michael, 15 sides of bacon. In expenses of the same and of the lord king on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, 50 sides of bacon. In allowance of food to Master Robert Basset on the feast of All Saints, half a side of bacon. In allowance of food to the same on Wednesday and Thursday before Pentecost, 1 side of bacon. In those sent to Knoyle for autumnal work, 6 sides of bacon. In three autumnal festivals at Downton, 9 and a half sides of bacon. Sum: 134 sides of bacon. And there remain 74 sides of bacon.

The same render account of skins, sausages, and offal of the said hogs. In expenses of the lord king and lord bishop at the feast of St. Leonard, all. Nothing remains."

King Richard the Lion-hearted, unlike his father, was interested in warfare. He spent most of his term on crusade to recover Jerusalem. For his expenses, he imposed a tax of one-tenth of rents and income from moveable goods. He also sold town charters, heiresses and heirs, widows, sheriffdoms, justiceships, earldoms, and licenses for tournaments. The crusades' contact with Arabs brought to England an expansion of trade, Arab horses, and arabic numerals, which included "zero" and greatly facilitated arithmetic, which was very difficult with Roman numerals. The church decreed that those who went on these crusades would be remitted of their sins.

At the end of this period was the reign of King John, a short man. After his mother Eleanor's death in 1204, John ruled without her influence. He had no conscience and his oaths were no good. He trusted and was trusted by no one. He had a huge appetite for money. He imposed 2,000 pounds [3,000 marks] on London for confirmation of its charter. He imposed levies on the capital value of all personal and moveable goods. It began the occasional subsidies called "tenths and fifteenths" from all people on incomes from movables: one-tenth from boroughs and royal demesne land, and one-fifteenth elsewhere. He sold the wardships of minors and the marriages of heiresses to the highest bidder, no matter how base. He appointed unprincipled men to be both sheriff and justice, enabling them to blackmail property holders with vexatious writs and false accusations. Writs were withheld or sold at exorbitant prices. Crushing penalties were imposed to increase the profits of justice. He asserted over fowls of the air the same exclusive right as over beasts of the forest. The story of Robin Hood portrays John's attempt to gain the crown prematurely while Richard was on the Crusades to recover Jerusalem for Christendom. (In 1198, the bishop barons had refused to pay for a campaign of Richard's war in Normandy arguing that military service was only due within the kingdom of England. When Richard was captured, every person in the realm was required to pay a part of his ransom of 100,000 pounds, which was double the whole revenue of the crown. Aids, tallages, and carucage were imposed. The heaviest impost was one-fourth of revenue or of goods from every person.) In 1213, strong northern barons refused a royal demand for service in France or scutage, arguing that the amount was not within custom or otherwise justified. John had private and public enemies. No one trusted him and he trusted no one. His heavy handed and arbitrary rule quickly alienated all sectors of the population: other barons, bishops, London, and the commons. They joined the barons to pressure him to sign the Magna Carta correcting his abuses. For instance, since John had extracted many heavy fines from barons by personally adjudging them blameworthy in disputes with others, the barons wanted judgment by their peers under the established law of the courts. In arms, the barons forced John to sign the Magna Carta correcting his abuses.

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