The Magna Carta Project

John tours the lands of rebels

by Professor Nicholas Vincent

13 December 1215 - 19 December 1215


12-14 Dec 1215


RLP, 161-1b; RLC, i, 241b-2

14-15 Dec 1215

Farnham (Surrey)

RLP, 161b; RLC, i, 242

16 Dec 1215


RLP, 161; RLC, i, 242

17-18 Dec 1215

Iver ('Euram') (Buckinghamshire)

RLC, i, 242-2b; Rot.Ob., 567

18-19 Dec 1215

St Albans (Hertfordshire)

RLP, 161-1b; RLC, i, 242b; Paris, Chronica Majora, ii, 635

The seal of John fitz Robert

The seal of John fitz Robert in two versions, the first (above) preserved with Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire Record Office ms. BAS 47/53; the second (below) Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections, 1.1.Spec.51

After three days at Winchester, from Saturday 12 to Monday 14 December, the King turned northwards, travelling via the bishop of Winchester's manor of Farnham (whose market he commanded be moved from Sundays to Thursdays).1 From there he travelled to Windsor and then on, via Iver, to St Albans. This marked his first visits both to Winchester and Windsor since the immediate aftermath of the Runnymede negotiations in June. The significance of the diversion to Iver seems previously to have gone unnoticed.  Yet Iver was a manor, almost within view of Runnymede, belonging to John fitz Robert, best known as a 'Northerner', lord of Warkworth in Northumberland and one of the baronial twenty-five, but in reality with estates scattered across the East Anglia and here in Buckinghamshire.2 The King's visit to Iver established a pattern in which, over the next few weeks, he deliberately progressed via the manors and castles of a significant number of the twenty-five, no doubt with reprisals in mind and to intimidate his enemies into surrender. From Winchester, meanwhile, a flurry of commands went out dealing with the custody of prisoners captured at Rochester, sent for safe keeping to Wallingford, Oxford, Northampton and to William de Cantiloupe at Kenilworth.3 The safe conducts granted to Agatha Trussebut and William of Belvoir to negotiate via the Templars and Hospitallers for the ransom of William d'Aubigny were extended to 6 January (the feast of the Epiphany), with arrangements for Agatha to travel to and from what was clearly her residence in rebel-held London.4 Cecily of Avranches, mother of another captured rebel, William d'Avranches, was granted conducts to 17 December and the rebel, John of Bassingbourne, conducts to visit the King before Christmas.5 By the time he reached Windsor on 16 December, the King was referring to his following as an 'army' ('exercitus') to be supplied by its own vintner.6 This is also significant, and bears out the reports of the chroniclers that the King now divided his force, leading one part north and leaving the rest under a variety of commanders including Savaric de Mauléon, Fawkes de Breauté, William Brewer, the earl of Salisbury, Gerard de Zotttegem and Walter Buc to harry East Anglia and the Midlands.7 Another royalist commander, William earl Warenne, was promised wages for the serjeants in his service.8 To meet his own costs, John requisitioned £6000 from his treasury at Corfe, whose constable, Peter de Maulay, was ordered to use a further 1000 marks in the King's business. De Maulay and the King were by this time using pass words in their communications, and such tokens as a ring: an indication, perhaps, of the dangerous state of the roads.9 At St Albans on 18 December, the King appointed a new sheriff for Hertfordshire, his German constable, Walerand the Teuton.10 He also wrote to the prior and sacrist of Bury St Edmund's. Despite its privileged status as a 'land of peace' ('terra pacis'), the vill of Bury had reportedly been placed under armed defence. The King commanded all such defences destroyed and the expulsion from the vill of all his enemies, of either sex, placed under the (papal) sentence of excommunication passed against rebels. His letters end with a threat: should his commands not be obeyed, even if the King was unable to visit Bury, he would send there such visitors as would 'do you greater harm than if we ourselves had gone there in person'.11 At St Albans, in the monastic chapter house, the King published the Pope's letters announcing the suspension from office of archbishop Langton, commanding the monks to communicate this news to cathedrals and monasteries elsewhere.12 As throughout the autumn, the most numerous body of evidence preserved this week comes in the form of letters close commanding the transfer to royalists of estates now confiscated from rebels.13 Particular consideration was shown this week for William Brewer, promised restoration to lands in Cornwall and Kent which he claimed by grant of Rose of Dover, one of the great heiresses of the Lucy family, and all lands of his tenants who had sided with the King's enemies in six counties from Cornwall to Nottinghamshire.14 Philip d'Aubigny was granted the Somerset hundred of Chewton, and in the far north, Philip of Oldcotes was commanded to find forty shillings of enemy land for Norman of Spain, perhaps a mercenary.15 On his progress northwards, the King demanded that he be sent his falcons previously entrusted to Corfe. There were also commands for wine to be sent to Berkhamsted, for robes (presumably towards Christmas) for the Queen and her female attendants, and for huntsmen and falconers to be entertained in Dorset and at Nottingham.16 One of the more intriguing instructions recorded this week was issued at St Albans on Saturday 19 December, requiring Roger the Templar, overseer of shipping at Sandwich, to release a ship belonging to William 'Tuku' (perhaps 'Cuckoo'), previously arrested 'on account of the letters of Robert fitz Walter found on board'.17 These letters presumably formed part of the wider initiative, led by Robert and his fellow barons, intended to draw the King of France and other foreign friends into alliance against King John.


RLC, i, 242, and for the significance of this and other prohibitions of Sunday markets, parts of a wider programme of sabbatarian reform, see N. Vincent, Peter des Roches: An Alien in English Politics, 1205-1238 (Cambridge, 1996), 99, 172-3.


VCH Buckinghamshire, iii, 287-9. For a sealed charter of John, bestowing land at Iver upon Master James the physician ('Fisicus'), see Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire Record Office ms. BAS 47/53 (formerly amongst the collections of Lord Anglesey), witnessed by Roger de Cressy, T(h)eoric of Bray, Roger Pauper, Walter Malet, Angod Corp, Gregory and Richard the chaplains, Robert de Wdehorsey William Monacus, Richard fitz Daniel, Reiner Purs, Master Alexander the clerk of Lathbury ('Latteburie'), Robert fitz Richard and Richard the clerk, confirmed in due course by Richard earl of Cornwall, 10 April 1242 (ibid. BAS 48/53).


RLP, 161, naming Robert de Rokeley, William de Balones, Hamo of Gatton and Constantine de Mortimer sent to Wallingford, Robert de Stok, William of Staines, William de Bodington and Hugh of Cassington sent to Oxford, Alan of Bennington, Gervase de Girund and Gervase fitz Hamo sent to Kenilworth, and William de Alditheleg, Ralph de Clay, Henry de Oiry and John de Mares sent to Northampton.


RLP, 161b.


RLP, 161b.


RLP, 161, and for the vinter, Alan of Reading, granted a 100s. rent this week at Eversley, Hampshire, see RLC, i, 242.


Radulphi de Coggeshall Chronicon Anglicanum, ed. J. Stevenson (Rolls ser., 1875), 177; Wendover, in Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. H.R. Luard (7 vols., Rolls series, 1872–83), ii, 635-6.


RLC, i, 242.


RLP, 161b, referring to 'intersigni' and to a ring sent to De Maulay which De Maulay was now to return to the King.


RLP, 161.


RLP, 161-161b, '... que hiis meritis vestris exigentibus grauiora vobis inferent mala quam si nos presentialiter adessemus'.


Wendover, in Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. Luard, ii, 635.


RLC, i, 241b-2b, including commands for land confiscated from Hamo de Ableville (in Knebworth, Hertfordshire and elsewhere in Cambridgeshire and Berkshire, granted to Hugh of Bath, a clerk), Richard Archier and Robert de Neville (in 'Bonnet', Hampshire and elsewhere, to William Brewer to confer upon the serjeants serving with him at Winchester), Geoffrey de Armentières (in Northamptonshire, to William de Ferrers), John of Aston (in 'Tyrefeld' (?Fyfield), Berkshire, to Walter Foliot), Geoffrey Belet and William de Esseteford (in Oxfordshire, restored to Warin fitz Gerald as lord), William de Cahaignes (in Northamptonshire, to Berner de Bestesia,a serjeant), Robert Bigod (in Cambridgeshire, to John fitz Hervey), Matilda de Caux (at Winterbourne, Gloucester, to Philip d'Aubigny, cf. King John’s Diary and Itinerary 25-31 October), Robert Cochot and Walter de Tylly (in Portishead, Somerset, to David the Breton), earl David of Huntingdon (at Earls Barton and Great Doddington, Northamptonshire, to Robert de Neville), Walter de Haye (in 'Foxton', Buckinghamshire, to Roger de Haye, his brother), William de Kaune (near Winchester, to Adam de Gurdon), William de Mandeville (in Devon, restored to Henry fitz Count as William's lord), William Mauduit (in Northamptonshire, Rutland, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Middlesex, to Hugh de Neville), Eustace de Mortain (in Eyam, Derbyshire, in the honour of the Peak, to Ralph fitz Nicholas, cf. Farrer, Honors and Knights' Fees, ii, 158-9), William de Plaiz (in Portsea, Hampshire, to William Brewer on behalf of his knights or serjeants, cf. King John’s Diary and Itinerary 15-21 November), Peter Picot (in Graffham and Madehurst ('Medliers'), Sussex, to Hasculf Painel, cf. VCH Sussex.iv.58-60), Roger de Raymes (in the west country, to Nicholas Haringod), Robert Saurus (in Somerset, to Betram de Garolimp), Walter de Vernon (at Stockton, Wiltshire, to Peter des Roches bishop of Winchester, cf. VCH Wiltshire, xi, 214).


RLC, i, 242b, mandates to Richard fitz Regis over the Kent manor of Newington, and to the sheriff of Cornwall, and cf. orders of 19 December for William's daughter, Alice de Mohun, to have the land of Walter of Ashley ('Esseleg') in Whichford, Warwickshire: RLC, i, 242b, and VCH Warwickshire, v, 206. For King John's confirmation to William Brewer of grants made by Rose of Dover and Nicholas fitz Alan her husband of extensive estates in Cornwall and elsewhere, including Newington by Sittingbourne ('Neuton') in Kent, 12 November 1212, see RC, 189, from an original now TNA DL 10/61, and in general, R. Cassidy, 'Rose of Dover (d.1261), Richard of Chilham and an Inheritance in Kent', Archaeologia Cantiana, cxxxi (2011), 305-20, esp. pp.305-7, 317 n.40.


RLC, i, 241b, 242b. Amongst other such business, a Jewish house in Canterbury was conferred upon Adam le Wayte (RLC, i, 242b), the King intervened to guarantee the dower of Margaret de Vernon (RLC, i, 242) and the land of Ralph of Clere at Grafham, Surrey, granted to Robert de Venuz (King John’s Diary and Itinerary 29 November-5 December) was subject to claims by Joan the wife of William Aguillon (RLC, i, 242).


RLP, 161b (Peter de Maulay to send the King his falcons and twenty shield ('targia'); RLC, i, 242 (robes for the Queen, via Thierry the Teuton; Peter de Maulay to receive the King's huntsmen and hounds; the falconer, Hugh de Hauville, to be received at Nottingham), 242b (wine to Berkhamsted from Southampton).


RLC, i, 242b, 'nauem Willelmi Tuku quam arestauit occasione litterarum Roberti fil(ii) Walt(eri) in ea inuentarum', and for other commands involving ships, for the reimbursement of the costs of sailors who had brought knights and crossbowmen from Angoulême into England, and for the re-arrest of a ship previously seized by the men of Savaric de Mauléon at Rye, see RLP, 161.

King John's Diary & Itinerary