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Reviews of Books
THE MINORITY OF HENRY THE THIRD. By Kate Norgate. Pp. xii, 307. 8vo. London: Macmillan & Co. 8s. 6d. net.
1912. THIS volume is a further continuation of Miss Norgate's history of England under the Angevin kings. Taken as a whole the history is the most important English contribution to the narrative style of writing upon our medieval politics. It is more critical than the work of Freeman, more interesting than Sir James Ramsay's, more up-to-date and accessible than Pauli's, and fuller than the valuable though neglected history of England during the early and middle ages,' written by C. H. Pearson. Although this style of writing is common on the continent, it has of recent years been discarded by most English scholars. Under the stress of specialism, our scholars prefer the medium of commentary and detailed criticism. Mr. Round's Geoffrey de Mandeville was, in this as in other respects, an epoch-making book. This necessary concentration has its danger, and Miss Norgate has resisted the tendency. That she is not indifferent to it her articles in the English Historical Review and the thirty pages of notes in the present volume testify.
A new narrative of the early years of Henry III. was needed. A great deal of work has yet to be done upon this period, so important in legal and constitutional history; and students will find much preliminary help in this connected story. The memorable points in it are, first, the proof that the papal legates did not unduly interfere in the administration, and, secondly, that there was less to choose between Hubert de Burgh and his enemies than is commonly supposed. As her pages on William the Marshal show, Miss Norgate is a hero-worshipper; and, if it is difficult to follow her in her half-concealed admiration for King John and Falkes de Breauté, it is a real pleasure to have her attractive portrait of Pandulf. The depreciation of Hubert de Burgh is not so convincing, because it is conveyed in asides. What was needed was a candid examination of the charge that Hubert was working to destroy the Charter. The value of this latter part of Miss Norgate's book lies in the general impression which the reader gets from the chronological account of the king's gradual emancipation. One sees how casual the disorder was, how easily and naturally suspicion was aroused, and how gossip and backbiting made difficulties and formed parties in Rome as well as in England. It is strange, however, that Miss Norgate makes no use of the documents edited by Dr. Gasquet in his book, Henry III. and the Church.
Among many matters of more detailed interest may be mentioned the
account of Irish government (pp. 84-5, 218-9), the analysis of Poitevin politics, and the notes upon the treaty of Kingston (p. 278), the royal castles in 1223-4 (p. 290), and Bedford castle (p. 293).
It is obvious that some of Miss Norgate's criticism, covering as it does such a wide field, should provoke discussion. The sixth note (pp. 281-6) needs most exhaustive treatment before it is regarded as conclusive. In the next note (pp. 286-90), the author shows clearly that the papal letters included in the Red Book of the Exchequer are in reality the letters of Honorius III. and not of Gregory IX.; she also makes the interesting and very probable suggestion that the Archbishop of Canterbury had begun to exercise influence at Rome. But it is difficult to see why she does not connect all the papal letters of this year with the same cause. The pope, in addition to the general letters preserved in the Red Book, wrote to the prelates on his policy, and also to the four most important men in England demanding the surrender of their castles to the king. There is nothing puzzling about this procedure, especially if we accept the view that the archbishop was offering advice at Rome. Similarly, Miss Norgate's difficulty about the dates of publication seems to be due to the fact that she overlooks the distinction between a council meeting in the narrow sense and the great meeting at the Christmas feast at Northampton. True publication could only be made at the latter.
The battle at Lincoln is as thorny a subject as the battle of Hastings. Like her predecessors, Miss Norgate is more successful in attacking the views of others than in constructing her own. She seems to fail just in so far as she refuses to face the literal meaning of her authorities. If there is a 'real difficulty' (p. 275) it is of no use to construct a theory which disregards it. Either she must repudiate the account in the Marshal's life or explain all the alleged facts. As is usually the case, a bold acceptance of the harder interpretation is probably the easiest course in the end. Personally, I think that the story of the Bishop of Winchester's reconnaissance must be accepted. The bishop commanded one division, and it is not necessary to suppose that his action was dependent upon the movements of all the other divisions. But if the story be accepted, it seems necessary to believe that the blocked gateway which the bishop noticed lay to the south of the keep, and that he ordered its demolition because he wished to strengthen the position of the castle by breaking through the wall which connected it with the city.
On minor points Miss Norgate creates unnecessary difficulties by translating the word tor (turris) in different ways. As she herself translates on p. 37 (Guill. le Maréchal, l. 16490) the tor was the keep, and there is nothing strange in sending men up the keep to look for ambushes (p. 39, note). She makes the same error a few pages earlier in identifying the keep and castle at Winchester and Farnham (pp. 26, 29). In the latter case the 'castle,' as distinguished from the outer bailey, did not mean the keep, but the castle proper or citadel. In later developments, as at Harlech, the contrast between the outer walled enclosure and the massive fabric of the inner bailey is obvious. But before this development a distinction was drawn (e.g. Rot. Scacc. Norm. i. 110, 'in ... muro ad excludendum baillium
a Castro,' at Neufchateau-sur-Epte). In this sense the 'castle,' as opposed to turris and outer works, seems to correspond to the corpus of William the Breton (Phil. xi. 460) and to li cors dou chastel (see Viollet's note in the Établissements de Saint Louis, I. cc. xlii, lxx.).
It is not possible to discuss all the points of interest which I have noted; a few criticisms must suffice. On p. 64 the Marshalship of England is erroneously described as a Grand Serjeanty. On p. 130, note, though Miss Norgate rightly corrects the annalists who say that Hubert de Burgh was made justiciar in 1219 or 1220, she omits to mention that Hubert did become specially responsible for the king and government immediately after the Marshal's death. The attestations in the Close Rolls should be connected with the story told by the Marshal's biographer about Peter des Roches' attempt to claim the person of the king. With a very few exceptions the justiciar attests, with or without the bishop, from 20 April, 1219 (Rot. Claus. i. 390). I think that the annalists realised that an important change had taken place in Hubert's position. It is possible that Pandulf's letters to the treasurer and vice-chancellor also refer to the same attempt of the bishop. Between 10-20 April and very occasionally afterwards the bishop ordered the payment of money out of the treasury. The legate was very possibly attacking this practice. In p. 148, note, I doubt if Miss Norgate proves her point; the sheriff-not the castellan, was responsible for expenditure upon repairs. The 'confusing note' in the Patent Rolls mentioned on p. 184, note, probably gives the sense, not the words, of the addition to the letters; after the letters had been written, another copy with a slight change was made and sent, in view of the fact that the Earl of Gloucester's preparations had developed into action. On pp. 233, 288, Miss Norgate is much too positive upon the question of treason and private warfare. The fall of Falkes de Breauté is in reality an important case in the development of English ideas, not a mere illustration of them. The difference between proditio and diffidatio is well seen on p. 165. It is precisely this kind of point which is missed by the narrative writer. Similarly it was impossible for Miss Norgate, without overloading her book, to go into the very important questions of the interpretation of the Charter in the law courts (pp. 186, 198 note), and of the equitable jurisdiction of the king's council (p. 96). Yet these were the years of Patteshull and of many of those cases which, in Bracton's view, made the law of England.
It is to be hoped that Miss Norgate will carry on her history until the Barons' War. She would add greatly to the many obligations under which she has already placed historical students.
F. M. PowICKE.
THE CHRONICLE OF LANERCOST, 1272-1396. Translated with Notes by the Right Hon. Sir Herbert Maxwell, Baronet. Pp. xxxi, 357. With nine Illustrations. 4to. Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons. 1913. 21s. net.
SIR HERBERT MAXWELL has added, in this volume, another item to the debt of gratitude which students of Scottish history owe him for his labours on the early chroniclers of the affairs of the country. The translation does