The Magna Carta Project

Muster at Niort

by Professor Nicholas Vincent

20 July 1214 - 26 July 1214


25 Jul 1214

Saint-Jean-d’Angély (Charente-Maritime)

RC, 200; RLP, 119b

26 Jul 1214

Jarnac (Charente)

RLP, 119b; RLC, i, 169

The King's movements during this week are only sporadically recorded, with a peculiar drying up of business recorded on the chancery rolls (only one charter, three letters patent and a single letter close, by contrast to a dozen or more letters patent and close over the preceding few weeks).  From northern Poitou, the King once again went south via Saint-Jean-d'Angély, as far as Jarnac in the Saintonge.  At Saint-Jean-d'Angély on 25 July where he was attended by the count of Eu, the earls of Chester and Ferrers, and Hubert de Burgh, he sent orders for the isle of Oléron to be obedient to Hugh de Lusignan, in accordance with the earlier terms of the Lusignan settlement.1  On the following day, from Jarnac, he issued instructions for the castle at Donington in Leicestershire to be handed over to John de Lacy.  Once again, this was an arrangement for which the King insisted upon the delivery of hostages.2  As some indication that the King remained on the offensive against the French, the knight service of Poitou had been summoned to appear at Niort the following day, Sunday 27 July, presumably for service against the castles of the Loire.  Allowing for a three week delay between summons and attendance, the summonses themselves (now lost) had perhaps been sent out immediately after the defeat at La Roche-aux-Moins, in early July.  If it had originally been the King's intention to lead the men now gathering at Niort, he now commanded that they go wherever they might be led by Hubert de Burgh, his seneschal.3  All such manoeuvres were rendered futile on the same day as the Niort muster when, several hundred miles to the north, Philip Augustus defeated the joint armies of Flanders, the Empire and England at the battle of Bouvines. 


RLP, 119b, and for attendance, see the witness list to a charter issued on the same day granting Hugh Auche whatever rights the King had in the vill of Legkige (unidentified, but apparently Poitevin or southern French): RC, 200.


RLP, 119b; RLC, i, 169.


RLP, 119b.

King John's Diary & Itinerary