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tou, which had been assigned as her portion; and again Henry had recourse to "the holy paternity," who issued an angry bull, charging de la Marche with disobedience to his commands, and Isabel with abetting him; concludingVith a menace that, unless due attention was paid to this warning, he should proceed with requisite severity. The warning was rejected; and within a few weeks sentence of excommunication was promulgated. By what submissions de la Marche and Isabella placated the holy see, and regained the favourof the easily persuaded Henry, we have no record; but early in 1224, we find in the Foedera a letter from Stephen Langton, in which this perfidious noble is styled "the king's most beloved friend." And willing, truly, might de la Marche be to continue so; for in 1226 he received a confirmation of Isabel's dower, accompanied by a most important charter, which made over to him the city and county of Angoulesme, several castles in Poictou, the isle of Oleron, the cities of Xaintoinges and Santinges, and that royal prerogative— so seldom conceded to a subject-noble—the right of coining money, "which should be equally current with the king's throughout all Poictou." For these munificent gifts, de la Marche broke off his allegiance to the French king, and in the succeeding wars fought under the banner of England. But perfidy seems to have been peculiarly his characteristic; and ere the contest was brought to a close, we find, from a most dolorous letter addressed by Henry to the emperor of Germany, that the count had behaved in a "most Judas-like manner," and had
very nearly betrayed him into the hands of France. A truce was soon after concluded between the two kings; but so powerful was de la Marche, that he alone hindered for some time its completion, by refusing his assent unless he were confirmed in possession of the isle of Oleron.* A third time did Henry seek the protection of the holy see; since, as he expresses himself, "without the coercion of the holy apostolic chair, it is impossible to induce the said count to consent." This difference was, however, finally adjusted; and de la Marche resigned Oleron, on condition of receiving £100 yearly.
During the ten succeeding years, Henry and his father-in-law remained in amity. At the expiration of this time, de la Marche again commenced his old practices; and, through the agency of the earl of Bretagne, proffered his services to France. These were gladly accepted; and Henry, a third time, and when he least expected, had to bewail the perfidy of his father-in-law.
But this thrice-repeated perjury was eventually the ruin of de la Marche; he was viewed with suspicion by the court of France, and at length accused by the earl of Poictiers of treason. De la Marche, who had never forfeited his claim to personal prowess, now offered to clear himself by the judicial combat, and sent his glove to his accuser; but the earl of Poictiers scornfully sent back the gage, alleging that his manifold treasons had deprived him of the right of challenge. Meanwhile, the whole
* Foedera, vol. i. p. 162. In this document the dower is stated to be the same as that assigned " to our grandmother Elinor."
of Poictou became in a state of insurrection; and Isabel, to whose influence both French and Poictevins attributed her husband's repeated perjuries, was forced precipitately to flee. The abbey of Fontevraud offered her an asylum ; and thither she went. But with no splendid suite, with no royal treasures, did she, who had been queen of England, seek its walls ; but as a terrified fugitive, "conscious to herself of all the evil she had caused, in a most secret apartment, and beneath the religious garb, she concealed herself, scarcely even then safe, "For," adds the chronicler, "the French and Poictevins, who pursued her with inexorable hate, declared, that rather than Isabel, she should have been called the most impious Jezebel, since she was the chief cause of all these ills."*
From this period, Isabel of Angoulesme recedes from history :—she died at Fontevraud,t in 1246; and from the slight passing notice of her death, in Matthew Paris, we learn that she was dependent on the bounty of the charitable ; her queenly dower, no less than her hereditary possession, Angoulesme, having probably been forfeited, on account of her treason, both toward England and France. Early in the following year, the four children of her second marriage sought an asylum in England, where they were loaded with favours by their royal halfbrother, and took place among the first nobility of
* Matthew Paris.
t In the Foedera, vol. i. is a bull addressed by Innocent "to the queen of England/' but with a blank for the name, granting her permission to retire to any nunnery she may choose, accompanied by "ten honest women." As Isabel, notwithstanding her second marriage, still retained the title of queen, it must have been addressed to her.
the land. Guy, the eldest, although he repeatedly obtained grants of money, does not seem to have obtained any grant of land ; but William de Valence the second, received the governorship of Goderich castle, and the hand of the daughter and heiress of Guarine Monchensy. Athelmar, who was in orders, was recommended by the king to the rich see of Winchester; which, after a long contest with the monks, he finally obtained, but died shortly after; while Alice, the sister, was married to the powerful earl Warren.
Her deep poverty and her questionable character, were probably the reasons why Isabel—although a solemnly crowned queen, and mother, by her first marriage, to two kings and two queens—was interred in the church-yard of Fontevraud. But eight years after her death, Henry, in travelling through his continental dominions, stopped at that noble abbey \ and sorrowing to see the remains of his mother cast out from fellowship, even in death, with the royal personages whose splendid monuments graced the great church, prevailed on the abbess to allow her remains to be deposited beside them, and with a laudable feeling of filial devotion, erected a noble tomb to her memory.
Henry's Accession—His Coronation Feast—General View of Society— Elinor of Provence—Her Parentage—Is contracted to Henry—Arrives in England—Her splendid Coronation—Extracts respecting it— Henry's Exactions—The Jews—The City of London—His Procession to Westminster—Commencement of Hostilities—Simon de Montfort— Henry's War with his Barons—Re-opening of Westminster Abbey— Elinor's Addition to her Dower—Henry's Death—View of the General Improvements of this Reign—Elinor's Claims of Qneen's-Gold— Retires to the Convent of Ambresbury—Her Death.
The history of the longest reign in our annals, although presenting but little to interest the general reader, will be found abundant in characteristic and valuable information to the inquirer into the progress of society. Those fifty-six years which beheld the sceptre of England in the feeble hand of a weak and superstitious monarch, were years of steady and progressive improvement; for the very faults of the third Henry, and the most glaring evils of his misgovernment, were sources of enduring advantage to the land. Placed now by charter on the proud vantage ground of a free people, the nation—which, beneath the stern and crushing rule of a Plantagenet, might have seen its just won liberties snatched as swiftly away—beheld, in the vacillating purpose,