Conquered England: Kingship, Succession, and Tenure, 1066-1166

By George Garnett | Go to book overview

IV
The Problem Solved

Know that for the honour of God and of Holy Church and for the common
emendation of my whole realm, I have conceded and restored and in my
present charter confirmed to God and Holy Church and to all earls and
barons and all my men all the concessions and grants and liberties and free
customs which King Henry my grandfather gave and conceded to them.

Henry II, Coronation Charter1


THE SETTLEMENT OF 1153: THE DIPLOMATIC
EVIDENCE

The story of how and why a settlement came to be imposed on King Stephen and Duke Henry by barons, both ecclesiastical and lay, in November 1153 has been told often enough by others.2 Instead, I want to begin by concentrating on the terms of the agreement, because they represent an attempt to grapple with and solve the problems of interregnum as they had manifested themselves during Stephen’s reign.3

There had, of course, been attempts at a compromise peace earlier in the reign, but these could only have been of limited use in formulating the settlement of 1153. There is no record of the terms proposed in 11404 and 1146,5 and those of 1141 reveal why any form of compromise was so difficult to achieve. Feelers were put out on two occasions in that year, by Queen Matilda6 and Theobald of Blois7 respectively—but only after Stephen’s capture at Lincoln, when his cause seemed lost. Although the initiatives differed in detail, common to them both—and to Henry of Blois’ understanding of what should happen to the lands which Stephen had held prior to becoming king8—was an assumption that any settlement should be framed in terms of a restoration of the status quo at Henry I’s death, or that Eustace should be substituted as holder of all or some of the lands which his father

1 Stubbs, Charters, 158.

2 Davis, King Stephen, 108–24; H. A. Cronne, The Reign of Stephen (London, 1970), 63–6, 182–4.

3RRAN iii. no. 272.

4HNa 76–8.

5GS 186.

6GS 122.

7 Orderic vi. 548.

8HNa 100, discussed above, p. 246.

-262-

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Conquered England: Kingship, Succession, and Tenure, 1066-1166
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • I - The Justification of the Conquest 1
  • II - The King as An Anomaly 45
  • III - The Problem of Interregnum 136
  • IV - The Problem Solved 262
  • Afterthoughts 353
  • Bibliography 360
  • Index 379
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