England under the Normans and Angevins, 1066-1272

By H. W. C. Davis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
THE RULE AND FALL OF DE MONTFORT

THE Mise of Lewes, known to us only through epitomes,1 deserves a careful study; for it shows at once the avowed intentions of the Earl and the secret hopes of his opponents. The beaten party negotiated better than they fought. They seemed to give up everything which was demanded; but in reality they laid a trap from which the Earl was only to escape with considerable damage to his reputation.

The Mise of Lewes

Montfort's demands were moderate and almost conservative. The reforms on which he insisted were expressed or implied in the Provisions of 1258. He stipulated that the King's Council should be selected by a board of arbitrators, and exclusively composed of Englishmen; that the King's expenses should be regulated by the Council until his debts were discharged; that the Council should guide the King in the appointment of ministers and the execution of justice; that the Charters should be inviolably observed. All other questions than these the Earl consented to leave in the hands of the arbitrators. The duties of the latter were therefore of the first importance. But the Earl allowed the board to be so constituted that it could scarcely fail to support the Crown against the popular party. Two alternative schemes were proposed in the Mise. According to the first the duty of arbitration was vested in a committee composed of two ecclesiastics, the Archbishop of Rouen and the Bishop of London, and of two laymen Hugh the Despenser and Peter le Chamberleyn. If these four were equally divided on any question the casting vote of the legate, Guy Foulquois, was to be invited. Should this committee fail to consult the legate in such cases, their proceedings were to be altogether null

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1
Bémont, p. 222, gives an official abstract which agrees with that of the Chron. de Bellis, 37. See also Chron. Maj. et Vicecom., 63.

-465-

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