Thursday, 6 March 2014

The First Legatine Commission, 1167-68

The surviving materials describing the events surrounding the first papal legation to deal with the controversy between Becket and king Henry are difficult to compile a coherent story from. A lot of the narratives are confusing and their chronologies difficult, with many inconsistencies found between the several and separate accounts. Additionally the whole story is very complex. 

Needless to say, it failed, for many reasons The whole process lasted about fifteen months from late 1166/ear;y 1167 to early spring 1168. It failed because king Henry had persuaded the papal curia perhaps with bribes or other material promises to furnish a cardinal supplicant to his cause rather than a true independent mediator. Henry had sent his master envoy John of Oxford to Rome to ensure this was done. It failed because the papacy was actively at war with Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and during this period and was losing the fight badly until an unexpected plague decimated the Emperor's army and he was forced to retreat. It failed because Becket was stubbornly resisting Henry's claims to his rights. It failed because Henry really wanted complete riddance of Becket, not re-instatement. It failed because Becket cause was seen to be a hopeless case by many, which although it might have been morally right, conflicted badly with the temporal politics and reality of the times. Religion and religious institutions were not meant to challenge the authority and power of the temporal ones. They were there to bolster them up. They were there to keep the masses supplicant to their lords by promises in the afterlife, but not in this world. Not that Becket was leading a peasant's revolt, far from it. Becket had become a firm believer in papal supremacy and the independence of the Church from temporal interference, which he called its liberty or freedom. Henry would have none of this.

To make some sense of its history it is important to have an understanding of some of the major events concurrently happening on the Western European stage as well.

Pope Alexander III and Emperor Barbarossa 1167 

After the death of the antipope Victor IV on 20 April 1164., Emperor Frederick Barbarossa gave his support to the appointment of a new antipope, Paschal III, who was installed in his papacy at Viterbo. But he was prevented by the clergy from taking up his seat in Rome itself. This  allowed Alexander to make a triumphant return to his See on 23rd November 1165. Alexander had been in exile ever since 1162.  During all his time while he had been away, he had been in France, as a beneficiary of the king of France, making his seat of office at Sens. 

It came to pass, however, that at the end of July 1167 Alexander was once again forced to flee, into a second exile, this time across the Tiber from the forces of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who had invaded the papal territories, and who, after a year of besieging Ancona, had won a huge victory at the Battle of Monte Porzio on 29th May 1167. Victory in this battle allowed Barbarossa to enter Rome with his troops and Alexander was forced to retreat to Benevento, a papal principality under the protection of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. 

After the victory at the Battle of Monte Porzio, Barbarossa personally entered Rome with his entourage, where, on 1st August 1167, he and his consort Beatrix crowned as emperor and empress by antipope Paschal III. This time misfortune befell his military campaign in Italy. It was halted by a sudden outbreak of a huge epidemic amongst his troops. The exact precise details are not known. The plague which struck his army may have been any one of the following diseases: malaria, typhus or the bubonic plague. After losing hundreds of knights and thousands of soldiers to the pestilence, with his army decimated and its morale low, he was forced to leave and retreat back north again to Germany, and was not able to return for the next six years. However, Alexander did not go back into Rome this time. Indeed he was not to go back for many more years, not until 1179. And for the time being he remained financially and militarily dependent on his principal benefactors, the kings of France, Sicily and England. The Becket case was not the most important matter on his mind at a time like this for him, and he would almost certainly not have wanted to do anything which might upset his patrons. Indeed the maintenance of peace between each of his patrons was far more important to him.

War between the Kings of France and England, Louis and Henry, 1167-8

The Comté d'Auvergne was technically a part of the Duché d'Aquitaine. In 1155 William VII, [Guillaume le Jeune] comte de Auvergne, had been dispossessed of more than half of his lands by his uncle, William VIII, [Guillaume le Vieux]. Guillaume le Jeune sought protection and refuge with the king of France, his supreme feudal overlord. Auvergne itself became split into eastern and western parts, the eastern portion finding its way in an undefined fashion, into the control of Louis VII king of France, but with the lord of it still technically owing direct homage to the Duke of Aquitaine.

In 1164 actual war broke out between the two kings: following a complaint by the dean of the church of Saint-Julien de Brioude who had made against the now two counts of Auvergne, King Louis VII invaded the Auvergne and captured them both. Henry complained to Louis asking for both of his vassals to be released, which was done after they had both made a promise on oath not to raid churches. 

In 1165, the idea of a possible succession of Henry II's eldest son, Henry the Younger, to the throne of France vanished after Adèle, queen of France, gave birth to a son.  With the arrival of a clear and unmistakable heir to the French kingdom, the possibility of Henry and Louis being able to broker a peace between each other by a marriage contract came to an abrupt end.

In 1167 the conflict between the kings of France and England broke out again with the differences between the two counts of Auvergne flaring up once more: Guillaume le Jeune refused to do homage to Henry as Duke of Aquitaine and Guillaume le Vieux delayed paying his due tribute to Louis VII. Henry II responded by marching on the Auvergne.  Louis VII answered by raiding the Norman Vexin forcing Henry to move his troops north, back into Normandy.

But nothing much else resulted from this save a few skirmishes along the frontier between France and the Angevin Enpire. After each side had burnt a village or two and captured a few castles, the two kings were ready to come to terms. Neither was really keen to conduct such a pointless war. In August 1167 they agreed to a truce. each side promising to lay down its arms until the following Easter in 1168. This was later extended to August 1168. Although there was a truce there was mistrust between the two sides. The frontier between the two dominions would have been watched very closely during this period.

During this time Becket was seen by king Henry to be not just as a runaway, a fugitive from his justice, but also as he seemed to be consorting, perhaps plotting, with the king of France, his enemy. From Henry's point of view this made Becket an even worse traitor than due process at Northampton in October 1164 had in his eyes proved him to be.

Other Events

10th September 1167 Empress Matilda, Henry's mother and strategical advisor, died at Rouen.

24th December 1167.  Eleanor (of Aquitaine) gave birth at Oxford to John, Henry II's youngest son


Extracted [Selections] from
R. W. Eyton (1878) Court, household, and itinerary of King Henry II pp. 102-

A.D. 1166

ca Nov. 1166
K. Henry [at Tours] despatches two distinct missions to the Court of
Rome. One Envoy was John of Oxford himself. The
other embassy was conducted by John Cumin and Master
Ralph de Tamworth. Its specific object is nowhere declared,
but it was strongly antagonistic to Becket and was pro-
bably suggested by Becket's having put himself under the
protection of Louis. The Pope, though he nowhere
censures Becket directly for this step, blamed the Abbot
of Pontigny and the Cistercian Order generally for their
conduct in the matter, and (as will appear in due course)
became much more tolerant of K. Henry's animosity
towards Becket.

Dec 1 1166.
Pope Alexander [at the Lateran], apprises the Anglican Bishops
that he has received their appeal, and will send Legates-a-latere " to hear
and to decide.". 

S. T. C. iv 77 epistola cclxviii
Patres ecclesiae anglicanae J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 77–.
Dec 15 1166
Cumin and Tamworth, Henry's envoys to Rome, reaching Viterbo,
seize certain letters of Becket from the person of his messenger, and also
a letter of the Archbishop of Bourges. 

S. T. C. vi 253
Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1845). "Epistola CCCCLXVI". Opera. Parker. pp. 251–.

About this time the Pope absolved John of Oxford in person. The
latter is said to have gained that end by abjuring "the customs", and
by promising to procure peace between Henry and Becket.

S. T. C. vi 252 Epistola GF CCCCLXVI
Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1845). "Epistola CCCCLXVI". Opera. Parker. pp. 251–.

Dec 30 1166
Pope Alexander, at Lateran, writes to K. Henry. The Pope has con-
ferred with the King's messengers, John Cummin and Master Ralph de
Tamworth. The Pope will attend to Henry's wishes ; he will send Legates-
a-latere to adjudicate between the King and the Archbishop of Canter-
bury, and between the latter and the Anglican Bishops in the matter of
their appeal to Rome. The Legates, being ordered to set out before
Christmas, will be able to do so in January. They will absolve. The
Pope entrusts confidentially to Henry a power of quashing future sen-
tences of Becket. The Pope has written to Becket, forbidding further
molestation of Henry.
S. T. C. iv 136 Epistola CCCIX

Patres ecclesiae anglicanae J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 136–.
Cumin, while at Rome, got sight of Becket's letters relative to his
sentences of excommunication, and his threats against K. Henry.
S. T. C. vi 253

Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1845). "Epistola CCCCLXVI". Opera. Parker. pp. 251–.

King Henry had other business with the Papal Courts
relative to a dispensation to be obtained in regard to the
projected marriage of his son Geoffrey and Constance of
Bretagne. This business seems to have been successfully
negotiated with Alexander by John of Oxford.

A.D. 1167.

Jan. 1. K. Henry, leaving Poitiers soon after Christmas, goes into Guienne.

Jan. 1. John Cumin and Ralph de Tamworth leave Rome.

John of Oxford, having been restored by the Pope to the Deanery of Salisbury, will have left Rome
in December, and will have had an interview with K. Henry, if in January, by following the King into
Guienne. Returning thence, and charged with a mission to England, he seems to have passed through
Poitiers. John, Bishop of Poitiers notices his passage to England in a letter to Becket, and says that his
object there is to collect evidence against Becket.
S. T. C. vi 253

Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1845). "Epistola CCCCLXVI". Opera. Parker. pp. 251–.

Landing at Southampton, John of Oxford finds the Bishop of Hereford waiting there with the intention of crossing to visit Becket in France, which it would seem was now abandoned. John of Oxford then has an interview with the Bishop of Loudon at Winchester.
S. T. C. iii 215

Thomas Sanctus Episcopus Canterburiensis Becket (1845). "Epistola XC"Epistolae(etc.). Parker. pp. 214–.

Jan. 25. Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London, celebrates High Mass at St. Paul's Church on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paid. While officiating, he is served with letters from Becket, asserting the legatine powers vested in Becket by the Pope, and enjoining on all the Suffragan Bishops of England, that the deprived Clergy be reinstated.

Jan. 28. Pope Alexander, at Lateran, writes to the Anglican Bishops. They are not to intrude on
the rights, dignities, or liberties of Canterbury without the Archbishop's consent, nor in virtue of their
Appeal to the Pope now pending.
S. T. C. iv. 76. Ep. cclxvii.

Patres ecclesiae anglicanae J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 76–.

Jan. 30. Pope Alexander, at Lateran, to Henry, Archbishop of Rheims : commends and encourages
the Archbishop's patronage of Becket.
S. T. C. iv. 52. Ep. ccl.

Patres ecclesiae anglicanae J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 52–.
[Note: Henry, Archbishop of Rheims was brother of Louis VII]

Feb. 1. 1167.
John Cumin and Ralph de Tamworth, returning from Rome, reach Tours, and on Feb. 2nd, they are apparently at Poitiers, for on that day they have an interview with Jolin, Bishop of Poitiers. The Bishop could get nothing out of them, but from one of their Clerks he learnt of the promised Legation of William of Pavia and Otho ; also that Cumin and Tamworth denounced John of Oxford's negotiations at Rome as traitorous to K. Henry in that they promised reconciliation between the King
and Becket.' (It seems clear that Cumin and Tamworth thus passing from Tours to Poictiers were en route to Henry's Court further south).

Sun. Feb.26.
King Henry's Commissioners come to Souterraine, apparently about the recent rebellion of William IV. (surnamed Sector Ferri), Comte of Angouleme, Adelbert IV., Comte of Marche, and Robert de Selit.

ca. March.
Becket writes to John of Canterbury, his Clerk at the Papal Court.
He complains of the Pope's alleged concessions to Henry, as reported
by John of Oxford. He mentions the return to England of John of
Oxford, and of the other King's messengers (meaning Cumin and Tam-
worth), from the Papal Court and what they give out. He also mentions
John of Oxford's passage to England and his interview with the Bishops
of Hereford and London.' He also deprecates the Pope's reported
appointment of his, (Becket's), personal enemy, William of Pavia, to be
Legate to Henry.
S. T. C.iii 214 Epistola XC

Thomas Sanctus Episcopus Canterburiensis Becket (1845). "Epistola XC"Epistolae(etc.). Parker. pp. 214–.

ca March 20-31.
Henry [in Gascoony] sent ambassadors to Rome, we do not find for .
what purpose or with what diplomatic result. Some of
them reached their destination by buying safe-conduct from
the Senate for £20. These were back at Bologna and on
their way to France on Sunday, May 21. Two others, viz.
Roger, Bishop of Worcester, and Reginald, Archdeacon of
Salisbury, would not trust Senatorial faith, and are presumed
to have turned home again much sooner. Robert de New-
burgh, whether one of those who reached Rome or not, took
opportunity of being in Italy, to pass on to Sicily, Gascogne.
purposing a visit to the King of Sicily and to his own
relations (parentes)

S. T. C. vi 332
Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1845). "Epistola DXX"Opera. Volume 6. Parker. pp. 331–.

ca. April 15
Soon after Easter (April 9), K. Henry leads an army into Auvorgne.
Auvergue, a province which Comte William of Auvergne
held under Henry as Duke of Guieune, or Comte of Poitou.
But William had recently, in a domestic dispute, invoked
the King of France as his Suzerain and ally. Henry's
attack on Auvergne provoked Louis VII. to an attack on
Normandy; and the French King devoted four days to
pillage in the Vexin frontier.

ca. May.
K. Henry marches from Auvergne into Normandy to confront Louis.

ca. May 1.
The Cardinal Legates, William of Pavia and Otho leave Rome for France, but being
delayed on their journey, do not seem to have accomplished it under five months.

May 7.
The Pope, at Lateran, sends amended instructions after the Legates. The Pope has heard
conflicting rumours about the conduct of John, Dean of Salisbury, and how John Cumin had shown
the Pope's rescripts to Guy of Crema (the Anti-Pope). The Pope has received complaints from Arch-
bishop Thomas and from K. Louis.

S. T. C. vi 54 Epistola CCCXXXI
Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1845). "Epistola CCCXXXI"Opera. Volume 6. Parker. pp. 54–.

May 21.
The Abbot of Clairvaux at Piacenza on his way to Home, to report to the Pope about the
treaty and peace recently concluded between K. Louis and the Emperor.

S. T. C. vi 332
Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1845). "Epistola DXX"Opera. Volume 6. Parker. pp. 331–.

June 4.
K. Henry and Louis VII. confer in the Vexin. They
come to no terms, and prepare for a further campaign.
Louis burns several villages of the Norman border between Mantes
and Pacey.
Chron Normann. p. 1101

During the month of July, Pope Alexander III. retired from Rome to Beneventum.

August 22. Pope Alexander at Beneventum, writes to the Legates William and Otlio still en route for France. They are to labour for peace between Henry and the Archbishop, and not to enter England, nor meddle with consecrations till it was effected. The Pope notices John Dean of Salisbury's advertisements as likely to have disturbed the King and Realm of France.^
S. T. C. vi. 57. Epist. G. P. cccxxiiij.
Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1845). "Epistola CCCXXIII"Opera. Parker. pp. 57–.

c. Aug. 31
The King now set out for Bretagne, and subdued the Leon in Bretagne.
Comte of Leon whose Vicomte Guiomar, or Widomar, was
in rebellion.

This rebellion was far from insignificant. The nobles
of Aquitaine are said to have been sympathizers therein, and
King Louis and the French were privy thereto.
The rebellion in. Bretagne was headed by Budo, Vicomte
of Porhoet, calling himself Comte of Bretagne, and claiming
sovereignty in virtue of his wife (now deceased), the Com-
tesse Bertha, mother by a previous husband of Duke Conan
le Petit. The Vicomte of Thenars was another rebel.

Sept. 10. The King being still in Bretagne, his mother, the
Empress, died at the Priory of the Pre de Rouen.

Oct 1 1167
Early in this month the King probably returned from
Bretagne into Normandy, where he expected the arrival of
the Legates, William and Otho, and whither he had sum-
moned several of the English Bishops.

Oct. 9

Pope Alexander, at Beneventum, to K. Henry censuring the King
for the existing vacancies in the Sees of Lincoln, Bath, and Hereford, also for oppressing the Freedom of Election in the Sees of Bangor and Llandaff threatening trouble {gravamen) against Henry, and is determined to support the Church.

S. T. C. iv. 124. Epist. ccciii
"Epistola CCCIII"Patres ecclesiae anglicanae J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 124–.

ca Oct. 31.
Later in the month the two Legates confer with K.
Henry in Council, at Caen. Further consulting with the
Prelates of Henry's court, the Legates send to Becket pro-
posing a meeting on the 11th of November, at some place
within the King of England's territory. Becket objects,
and proposes November 18th as the day of the meeting.

Nov. 18. (Sat)
"Conference of Planches", a place between Gisors and Trie, on the day proposed by
Becket. The Legates find Becket impracticable.
S. T. C. Epistles vii ccclxxxii

Nov. 19. (Sun) The Legates go to confer with K. Louis of France.

Nov. 23. (Thu) The Legates arrive at the Abbey of Bec Hellouin (in Normandy)

Nov. 24. (Fri) The Legates reach Liseux.
S. T. C. Epistles. ccclxxxi

"Epistola CCCLXXXI". Patres ecclesiae anglicanae  J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 268-..

Nov. 25. (Sat) The Legates reach St. Pierre-sur-Dive.

Nov.26 (Sun)
K. Henry, travelling two leagues, meets the Papal Legates
at Argentan.
S. T. C. iv. p. 269. Ep. ccclxxxi.

"Epistola CCCLXXXI". Patres ecclesiae anglicanae  J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 268-.

Nov 27 (Mo) 

Chamber-Council of Argentan whereat were present the
King of England, the Legates, William of Pavia and Otho ;
the Archbishops, Rotrou of Rouen and Roger of York; the
Bishops of London, Worcester, Salisbury, Chichester,
Baieux, and Angouleme ; also several Abbots. No decision
was arrived at. K. Henry expressed bitter disappointment
in the action and views of the Papal Embassy.

Nov 28 (Tue)
Day consumed in messages carried to and fro, be-
tween K. Henry and the Papal Envoys, by the Bishops.

Nov. 29.
The King goes out hawking. The Legates confer with
the Archbishops and Bishops above named. The Bishop of
London renews the Appeal of All England against Becket's
sentences, fixing Nov. 11, 1168, as the term of such renewed
Appeal. The Bishop of Salisbury includes himself (he was
under suspension), and the Bishop of Winchester (he was
absent we presume), in the said Appeal. The Archdeacon
of Canterbury (Geoffrey Ridel), or his Clerk, also appeals.

Nov 30 - Dec 4,
The King and the Legates continue at Argentan.

The Legates seem to have ordered the absolution of some or of all
the persons who bad been excommunicated at Vezelay. We hear at least
of some of them being absolved in England by Godfrey, Bishop of
St. Asaph (then Abbot-Commendate of Abingdon) ; also of Alan de
Nevill being absolved by the Bishop of London.

Dec. 5.
On this day the Papal Legates quit Argentan, intending to go to Paris.

William of Pavia sends as messenger to the Pope a Clerk, a, cousin of Master Lombard. K. Henry
sends, as messengers to the Pope, Master Henry Punchiin (a clerk of the Bishop of London), and Reginald
fitz Joceline (Archdeacon of Salisbury).

Dec. 9.
The Legates, now at Evreux, en route for Paris, send Master Joceline of Chichester and the
Praecentor of Salisbury to lodge notice of the Anghcan Appeal on Becket. The Legates style Becket
"Legate of the Apostolick See," but forbid him to pass interdicts on the realm or subjects of K. Henry.

At this juncture K. Henry's relations with the Papal Court, with the Courts of France and Germany, and with Archbishop Becket, were so complicated that a few parallel events will illustrate the main subject of Henry's feelings and subsequent conduct.

In March, 1168, the Pope being at Beneventum, tlie Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, the supporter of the Anti-Pope (Pascal III.), was forced by pestilence to renounce his occupation of Italy. Previous to this, and probably under fear of an alliance between the Emperor and Henry, the Pope had written to the latter from Beneventum promising to repress Becket's Legatine authority and expected censures against the King, failing Becket's restoration to the King's favour.

Also the Cardinal, John de Neapolis, wrote to Henry, suggesting Becket's removal from Canterbury to some foreign See. 
April 25. 
Pope Alexander writes from Beneventum to the Anglican Bishops. He censures their disobedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He has respect unto K. Henry's messengers (those sent from Argentan, we presume, circa 5 December, 1167). He releases the Bishops and their Sureties from prosecuting their appeal (made November 29, 1167, terminable November 11, 1168), against the Archbishop, the object of such appeal being that the Archbishop should be prevented from in any way harming the King, the bishops, or the realm of England ("ne Segem aut vos vel rcgnum Anglice in aliquo gravaret").
May 18. 
Pope Alexander writes from Beneventiumi to Archbishop Thomas. He speaks of Henry's recent messengers and their threats ; of the Church's danger arising in the Schism and in the Emperor Frederic's altitude. Tlie Archbishop must not sentence Henry, his officers, or realm, without further advice from Alexander. If Henry so long continue obstinate, Alexander will restore Becket's power at Lent (March 5, 1169).''

[May 1168 Pope Alexander sets up a new team of commissioners or legates]

The First Legatine Commission, 1167-68

Early in 1165 John of Oxford was intruded by king Henry into the deanery of Salisbury; but this was against the prohibition by pope Alexander III that no one should be appointed to such positions without the consent of the canons of the episcopal chapter, who should all be present when the election was made. Becket asserted that John had intruded himself into this post by royal coercion and, as a consequence, John headed up the list of those who were excommunicated by him at Vézelay on Whitsunday, 12th June 1166. This excommunication was later confirmed by the pope and appointment had been overruled by Pope Alexander III on 8th June 1166 because of his dealings with the antipope. This did not, however, hamper John's diplomatic career, for, in November 1166,  he was sent by king Henry to the curia in Rome as his representative, where he managed to obtain both a papal absolution from his excommunication and confirmation in his post as dean of Salisbury. Whilst he was there he also successfully negotiated for the reason he was sent there by Henry, a dispensation from the pope for the marriage of Henry's son Geoffrey to Constance, the heiress of Brittany. And he also succeeded in persuading the pope that something had to be done about the dispute between Henry and Becket. King Henry II wanted rid of Becket altogether and John of Oxford was the right man in Henry's mind to obtain the right kind of action from the pope. 

Becket despised John of Oxford, describing him as a man who bore the mark of the beast, a schismatic, for he had been Henry's ambassador to the Holy Roman Empire, where it was reported that Henry was trying to see what the other side of the religious divide might have to offer.  Becket sent letters to his friends in Rome trying to warn the papal curia  not to trust John, for it was reported that in May 1165, during an embassy to Henry III (the Lion), duke of Bavaria and Saxony, where John had been present with Richard of Ilchester he was allegedly supposed to have sworn on oath that Henry would join up with the schismatics, and that Henry's domains would renounce their obedience to pope Alexander III, transferring their recognition and religious allegiance instead over to Frederick Barbarossa's rival pope, Paschal III. Although John strongly denied that he had done any of this, Becket's friends thereafter scornfully called him iurator (‘the oath-taker’).  

King Henry had been furious with Becket for the excommunications at Vézelay, and had threatened the Cistercians on his territory, which subsequently forced them to eject Becket from his residence-in-exile at Pontigny; he had then fled into the hands of the king of France, relocating to Sens around 11th November 1166.  Henry planned to send a powerful embassy to Rome comprising some of the most important men in his kingdom as well as John of Oxford: Roger archbishop of York, Richard of Ilchester, Gilbert bishop of London and Richard of Lucy. They were sent to have been sent to the pope with the mission to threaten him with the possibility that if he did not abandon Becket and have his excommunications lifted Henry and his domains would break away from their obedience to Alexander. They were also to try to obtain confirmation from the pope for the customs of the kingdom as defined and embodied in the Constitutions of Clarendon which they were to state that they had been in force at the time of his grandfather Henry I. In the end a much smaller embassy was sent to Rome:  John Cumin and Master Ralph of Tamworth. They met with John of Oxford there.

So, in response to king Henry's request for action made by his embassy,  in December 1166, pope Alexander III wrote to king Henry telling him he proposed to set up a mission with two papal legates a latere, comprising cardinals William (of Pavia) of S. Pietro in Vincoli and Otto [Otho] (of Brescia) of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano, who would visit him in France and mediate between himself and Thomas Becket. He wrote to Becket telling him not to do anything which would upset king Henry. The mission comprised two cardinals as it was originally only going to comprise one, William of Pavia, known to favour king Henry's side in the dispute. Becket, however, complained to pope about this choice trying to have him replaced with another.  But all Alexander did was simply to appoint a second cardinal, Otho of Brescia to make up a pair, as a joint team.

Cumin and Tamworth on their way back from Rome, made a stopover at Tours on 2 February 1167. John of Poitiers, a friend of Becket's and who was there, learned of the worst possibility for Becket. Although Henry's ambassadors were silent, John of Poitiers found out serious news from their host, Bartholomew of Vendome, dean of the cathedral where they had lodged in Tours, and also from a cleric from Saintes who had travelled with them. Not only were the proposed papal envoys to be legates, they were also to be given special powers by the pope overriding judicial powers which allowed them to overrule any legal objections which Becket and/or his party might make.

After having reported back to king Henry in Guienne, John of Oxford returned to England in late January 1167, where he convened a council of the higher prelates of the kingdom to deliver the written instructions of the pope and king, that they were forbidden to cross over the sea to appear before Archbishop Thomas or to show him obedience.

On May 7th 1167 pope Alexander sends the legates amended instructions, after having received yet further complaints from Becket and also the king of France. At this point in time the mission could not really begin its travels until Frederick Barbarossa and his armies had left North Italy. The journey when it did begin was to take them nearly five months, slow even for those days. They travelled by a roundabout route, in disguise as far as Venice. After Venice, they made their way through Mantua, Verona, Brescia, Pergamos [Bergamo], Milan, near Novara, Vercelles [Vercelli] near Turin, St. Michael's de Clusa [Sacra di San Michele on Mount Pirchiriano], over the passes through Provence [land ruled by Alfonso II of Aragon] onto St. Giles [Saint Gilles near Nimes] and Monte Pessulano [Montpellier]. As they neared the lands of the kingdom of France the cardinals wrote to Becket saying that they were on their way and also reminded him that, whilst their commission lasted, he had been suspended from exercising any ecclesiastical punishments.

Indeed Henry had sent Clarembald of St. Augustine's, Canterbury and Reginald, archdeacon of Salisbury to the Papal Curia as yet another embassy. They managed to secure, in August 1167, from the pope a formal suspension of  Becket from being able to hand out any further ecclesiastical punishments until a reconciliation with Henry had been effected. This suspension did not have any limitation of time as the pope believed that the reconciliation between Becket and king Henry would not be long in coming. However, in May 1168, the pope partially lifted it saying that Becket's suspension in this capacity was only to last until the following Lent, in 1169.

The two cardinals were about to cross into France for the purpose of meeting with king Henry, when the king of France prevented them from travelling through his lands. After some pleading by Becket with Louis they obtained passports and were allowed to proceed. The legates arrived in Aquitaine in Autumn 1167, and visited king Louis in October.

The first step which the Legates planned to take was to confer with each side separately in order to bring them, if they could, to some friendly understanding with each other which could then be used as the basis of further arrangements. This is what they had to do first, following which they could then introduce themselves in their judicial role.

The first meeting with Becket was at Sens where they told him that their role was to make peace between him and the king, to the honour of God and saving the liberties of the Church. This satisfied Becket.

After that the legates held their first meeting with king Henry which took place at Caen, around 31st October 1167. There they found him in an angry state for he was claiming that Becket had stirred up the king of France against him, and more especially, as the new letters which the legates now gave him about their commission and mandate were much weaker than that which had been proposed in their original letters commission.

They offered the king some concessions on the customs in the Constitutions of Clarendon, if Henry would be satisfied with those that had been observed in former reigns.

After this, on Monday 18th November 1167, at the site of a great elm-tree [L'Ormeteau-Ferré] on the border between France and Normandy, in the Vexin, at Planches between the castles of Gisors and Trie, the cardinals met with Becket, and his clerks and other advisors in exile. The legates explained that they had come to devise some means for allaying the existing irritation that existed between Becket and king Henry. They said that this only be effected with much humility, moderation and deference. They said that king Henry had even complained that Becket had instigated the war between himself and the king of France.

Becket answered them saying that he was willing to show the necessary deference and humility to king Henry that they recommended, and that he was willing to show it in everyway possible, saving only the honour of God and the liberty of the Church, and the dignity of his own station.

They asked if he would pledge himself to observe the customs which had been observed by his predecessors.

Becket answered no king had ever exacted such a pledge from any of his predecessors, nor would he pledge himself to observe any customs opposed to the law of God, the rights of the Apostolic See and to the  destruction of Church liberty. The pope himself had already personally condemned many of the customs in the presence of the legates themselves and many other witnesses at his meeting with him at Sens.

The cardinals said that they had not been sent to advise, but to consult him and, if possible to contrive some terms of reconciliation. The cardinals suggested to Becket, that when trying to come to any settlement with king Henry that he should not make any mention of the Constitutions of Clarendon, especially as they had been so explicitly written down, for it would be a dishonour to the king to renounce the words that had been sanctioned in a council and agreed in front of all his barons and prelates, those customs which had been  recognised as belonging to the king. If the king were to offer peace to Becket without mention of the Constitutions and to allow him to return to Canterbury, Becket might be able to expect that he could presume that they had been abolished by this silence, by implication, and thereby he would have won his cause. And Becket could expect to find that he had returned to the king's favour.

Becket and his co-advisors in exile, however, said that they were expecting more. They were seeking an express abolition of the "customs", otherwise the Church could not expect to be at peace. As the Constitutions had been put down in writing, they ought to be explicitly annulled. otherwise the peace would be hollow. Becket said he could not return in silence as Silence was Consent.

Becket further answered the cardinals that he would rather endure exile and proscription for ever, and death in a just cause rather than to buy peace at the cost of his own salvation, and the liberty of the Church.

The cardinals asked whether Becket would consent to abide by their judgement. Becket answered that after he and his had been restored to their possessions he would readily let the law take its course, but in the meantime and in his present circumstances he said that he was wholly dependent on the charity of the king of France for his daily bread, and could ill afford any legal proceedings. Would Becket consent to allow them to hear the appeals of the bishops? Becket answered that he had received no instruction from the pope on this matter, and once again said that the poverty of himself and his friends disallowed expensive litigation and the cost of travelling, and that he would not wish further to encroach upon the goodwill of his benefactor.

During the proceedings, William of Pavia seemed throughout to be siding with king Henry and his case. He tied to excuse the king, and tried to make out that it would not be his fault if the negotiations failed. So with no agreement having been reached and without hope of any settlement. Becket and his team of advisors departed, and the cardinals left to meet one after another, the kings of France and England, travelling in the case of the latter, as far as Argentan in order to report what had passed between them and Becket.

It took the cardinals about a week to reach Argentan. On 27the November 1167 the legates had a two hour session with Henry, in his council chamber, with some important prelates from his domains (archbishops, bishops and abbots) present. An unidentified witness reporting to Becket what was happening at the discussions in Argentan was not present in the chamber. However, as the meeting closed the king showed very directly that he was not particularly accommodating towards the legates by suggesting, within their earshot, as they were leaving the chamber "I hope to God I may never set eyes on a cardinal again". He was extremely disrespectful to them, dismissing them brusquely. The cardinals were prevented from using their own horses to return to their lodgings and they had to take any that happened to be outside the hall. The other prelates returned into the chamber to continue the discussions with the king. They came out of the meeting much perplexed.

The day after that the prelates began the day in session with the king privately without the cardinals later there was a lot of toing and froing between them and cardinals.

On the Wednesday the king spent the day hunting with his hawks and hounds. He seems to have done this on purpose as he was clearly no longer interested in coming to any kind of reconciliation with Becket at all. The preleates invited the cardinals to listen to what they had to propose [Present in this meeting were the archbishops of Rouen,and York, the bishops of Worcester, Salisbury, Bayeux, London, Chichester and Angouleme, several abbots and other clerics and laity.

Gilbert Foliot, bishop of London. said that he had a letter in his possession from the pope commanding him to meet with the cardinals when summoned to do so. He told the cardinals that they had been entrusted with full powers to decide the case between king Henry and Becket and also the matter of the appeal against excommunication between the bishops and Becket too.  He went on to say that both the king and the prelates would accept their final say in these matters, that the king would ratify any decision they came to.  He especially made plain the following point:  "archbishop Becket does everything suddenly and precipitately, striking without notice and suspending and excommunicating without warning." Foliot advised the cardinals that the bishops had already made an appeal concenring their case and what he now wanted to do was to renew that appeal. "Let the blame lie where it is due."

Foliot went on to explain the cause of the quarrel between Becket and the king; how the king was owed 44,000 marks of silver by Becket on account of the monies entrusted to him when he had been Chancellor, and how Becket had responded to the king about this saying that he was not to be held to account for those monies after he had been promoted to the archbishopric, and how he said that he had been absolved from owing them by the fact of his promotion. Foliot then proceeded to try to ridicule Becket in public before the cardinals: he alleged that Becket believed that his consecration discharged his responsibility for these debts in the same way that baptism remits sins.

Foliot warned the cardinals that there was also risk that the king might withdraw his obedience from the Roman See, if the penalty of  an interdict against his kingdom which had been threatened by Becket were put into effect. He said that Becket spoke evil of the king because of his ordinances.
Foliot now proclaimed publicly that the king was now willing to revoke that decree which forbade appeals to the pope. He went on to explain that the king had only enacted it to spare expense of litigation to the poorer clergy, and he was particularly annoyed by their ingratitude. If the matter was a civil suit, they would have to plead their case before a civil judge; if, however, it was an ecclesiastical matter, they might now choose to claim the privilege of their order and plead before a church court, as they wish.

Foliot went on to describe how the king had complained how Becket had imposed unfair burdens upon him, ordering him to send letters all across England, so many that 40 courier were not sufficient for that task. Further the king complained that Becket had removed more than 40 churches from the his jurisdiction on the grounds that they had formerly paid their rents to either the Priory of the Holy Trinity or the Abbey of St Augustine's both of Canterbury. And also how Becket had ordered his dean who was stationed in the City of London to keep a watch on his behalf, on the bishop of London, far more than any other bishop, and also to try any cause which concerned the aforementioned Churches.

The bishops of Salisbury and Winchester said that also wished to appeal against the excommunications that Becket had imposed on them. Likewise the archdeacon of Canterbury [Geoffrey Ridel] also wished to appeal against his excommunication , and also one of the monks from Becket's own church of Canterbury.

The cardinals left the king on Thursday 7th December 1167. As they were going the king begged them to intercede with the pope to have him rid of Becket altogether. When entreating them to do this he shed tears, which William of Pavia also seemed sympathetically to do; cardinal Otho just smiled.

On the 9th December 1167, the cardinals wrote a letter to  Becket from Evreux forbidding him to pronounce any sentence of interdict again the kingdom of England or its clergy. Cardinal Otho sent a secret note to the pope saying that would neither authorise nor consent to Becket's deposition.

The legates did not leave France till the middle of 1168.

At the end of 1168 the pope lifted Becket's suspension altogether, recalled the legates, and resolved to make another attempt at reconciliation, with a different team now that peace had been arranged between France and England.


Frances Andrews; Brenda M. Bolton; Christoph Egger; Constance M. Rousseau (1 January 2004). "Anne J. Duggan: Thomas Becket's Italian Network". Pope, church, and city [electronic resource]: essays in honour of Brenda M. Bolton. BRILL. pp. 177–.ISBN 90-04-14019-0.

Guy, John (5 April 2012). Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim: A 900-Year-Old Story Retold. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 332–. ISBN 978-0-14-193328-3. 

Court, household, and itinerary of King Henry II, p. 109
R. W. Eyton (1878)

Michael Staunton (7 December 2001). "36. Conference between Gisors and Trie (18th November 1167)" The Lives of Thomas Becket. Manchester University Press. pp. 150–. ISBN 978-0-7190-5455-6.
[Translation of Herbert of Boseham MTB III 408-15]

George Payne Rainsford James (1842). A History of the Life of Richard Cœur-de-Lion, King of England. J. & H.G. Langley. pp. 221–35.

Joseph Armitage Robinson; British Academy, London (1921). Somerset historical essays. by H. Milford, Oxford university press

Adrian Morey (1937). Bartholomew of Exeter, Bishop and Canonist: A Study in the Twelfth Century. CUP Archive. pp. 24–. 

Saint Thomas (à Becket) (2000). The Correspondence of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1162-1170: Letters 1-175. Volume 1  Introduction: The Years 1166 to 1168  Oxford University Press. pp. xliii – liii. ISBN 978-0-19-820892-1.

Saint Thomas (à Becket) (2000). "Letter 144: (The Conference held between Gisors and Trie. c. 19 Nov 1167)"The Correspondence of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1162-1170: Letters 1-175. Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 664–75.ISBN 978-0-19-820892-1.

Richard Barber (2003). Henry Plantagenet. Boydell Press. pp. 131–. ISBN 978-0-85115-993-5.

James Anthony Froude . "Section VII". Short Studies on Great Subjects. The Minerva Group, Inc. pp. 100–. ISBN 978-1-4102-1803-2. 

John Allen Giles (1846). "Chapter XXIX: Proceedings of William and Otto in the Year 1167"The Life and Letters of Thomas À Becket. Volume II. Whittaker and Company. pp. 48–58.

John Allen Giles (1846). "Chapter XXX; Letters Written During The Year 1167, On The Proceedings Of The Legates, William And Otto."The Life and Letters of Thomas À Becket: Volume II. Whittaker and Company. pp. 58–120.

John Allen Giles (1846). "Chapter XXXI Attempt to procure the restoration of the Archbishop's Clerks"The Life and Letters of Thomas À Becket: Now First Gathered from the Contemporary Historians. Whittaker. pp. 121–.

John Allen Giles (1846). "Chapter XXXII: Proceedings of the Year 1168"The Life and Letters of Thomas À Becket: Now First Gathered from the Contemporary Historians. Whittaker. pp. 126–.

of Wendover Roger (1849). Roger of Wendover's Flowers of History, 1: Comprising the History of England from the Descent of the Saxons to A.D. 1235. Formerly Ascribed to Matthew Paris. Henry G. Bohn. pp. 555–.

Richard Hurrell Froude; James Bowling Mozley (1839). "Chapter IX: The First Legatine Commission". Remains of the Late Reverend Richard Hurrell Froude: v. 2. History or the contest between Thomas à Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, and Henry II, king of England, chiefly consisting of translations of contemporary letters. J. G. & F. Rivington. pp. 213–.

Richard Hurrell Froude; James Bowling Mozley (1839). "Chapter X: John of Oxford's Proceedings at Rome". Remains of the Late Reverend Richard Hurrell Froude: v. 2. History or the contest between Thomas à Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, and Henry II, king of England, chiefly consisting of translations of contemporary letters. J. G. & F. Rivington. pp. 233–.

Richard Hurrell Froude; James Bowling Mozley (1839). "Chapter XI: Arrival of the Legates". Remains of the Late Reverend Richard Hurrell Froude: v. 2. History or the contest between Thomas à Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, and Henry II, king of England, chiefly consisting of translations of contemporary letters. J. G. & F. Rivington. pp. 254–.

Richard Hurrell Froude; James Bowling Mozley (1839). "Chapter XII: Conferences with the King and the Archbishop". Remains of the Late Reverend Richard Hurrell Froude: v. 2. History or the contest between Thomas à Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, and Henry II, king of England, chiefly consisting of translations of contemporary letters. J. G. & F. Rivington. pp. 269–.

Richard Hurrell Froude; James Bowling Mozley (1839). "Chapter XIII: Conduct of the Legates after the Conferences". Remains of the Late Reverend Richard Hurrell Froude: v. 2. History or the contest between Thomas à Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, and Henry II, king of England, chiefly consisting of translations of contemporary letters. J. G. & F. Rivington. pp. 296–.

Baron George Lyttelton Lyttelton (1769). The history of the life of King Henry the Second, Printed for J. Dodsley. pp. 142–215.

John Inett; John Griffith (1855). Origines Anglicanae, Or, a History of the English Church from the Conversion of the English Saxons Till the Death of King John. University Press. pp. 337–.

John Foxe; George Townsend; Josiah Pratt (1870). The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, with a Life and Defence of the Martyrologist. G. Seeley. pp. 239–41.

Robert Anchor Thompson (1889). Thomas Becket: Martyr Patriot. Kegan Paul, Trench.

James Craigie Robertson (1859). "Chapter XI: Commissions 1167-9"Becket, archbishop of Canterbury: A biography. J. Murray. pp. 200–.

John Morris (1859). "Chapter XXIV: The Cardinal Legates"The life and martyrdom of saint Thomas Becket archb. of Canterbury. Longman, Brown. pp. 214–.

Henry Hart Milman (1860). Life of Thomas à Becket. Sheldon & company. pp. 150–.

History of Latin Christianity Including that of the Popes to the Pontificate of Nicolas 5. by Henry Hart Milman: Vol. 5. John Murray. 1864. pp. 84–.

Hutton (1899)

Hutton (1910)

Robert Folkestone Williams (1868). Lives of the English Cardinals: Including Historical Notices of the Papal Court, from Nicholas Breakspear (Pope Adrian IV) to Thomas Wolsey, Cardinal Legate. W. H. Allen. pp. 187–.

John Of Salisbury And His Correspondents:
A Study Of The Epistolary Relationships Between
John Of Salisbury And His Correspondents
by Yoko Hirata (1991)

Edward Foss (1870). Biographia Juridica: A Biographical Dictionary of the Judges of England from the Conquest to the Present Time, 1066-1870. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. pp. 77–8. ISBN 978-1-886363-86-1.

Peter Godman (17 January 2000). The Silent Masters: Latin Literature and Its Censors in the High Middle Ages. Princeton University Press. pp. 175–. ISBN 0-691-00977-5.

Étienne Mignot (1756). Histoire du démêlé de Henri II, roi d'Angleterre: avec Thomas Becket, archévêque de Cantorbery, Arkstée & Merkus. pp. 189–.

Saint Thomas (à Becket); John Allen Giles (1846). Epistolae Sancti Thomae Cantuariensis. Epistola LX: Apud Whittaker et socios. pp. 145–.

Saint Thomas (à Becket); John Allen Giles (1846). Epistolae Sancti Thomae Cantuariensis. Volume 2. Apud Whittaker et socios.

Thomas Sanctus Episcopus Cantuariensis Becket (1682). "Epistola XLVII". Epistolae et vita divi Thomae Cantuariensis. Nec non epistolae Alexandri III Pontificis, Galliae regis Ludovici VII, Angliae regis Henrici II (etc.) in lucem productae. Christiani Lupi. Liber II. Henricus Friex. pp. 385–.

Thomas Sanctus Episcopus Cantuariensis Becket (1682). "Epistola CV". Epistolae et vita divi Thomae Cantuariensis. Nec non epistolae Alexandri III Pontificis, Galliae regis Ludovici VII, Angliae regis Henrici II (etc.) in lucem productae. Christiani Lupi. Liber II. Henricus Friex. pp. 468–.

John (of Salisbury, Bishop of Chartres) (1848). Opera omnia: nunc primum in unum collegit et cum codicibus manuscriptis. J. H. Parker. pp. 121–.

Thomas (Becket); Herbertus (de Boseham); Jacques Paul Migne (1854). "22: De Romipetis Archipraesulis Reversis et Adventu Cardinalium ad Pacem". S. Thomae Cantuariensis archiepiscopi et martyris nec non Herberti de Boseham clerici ejus a secretis opera omnia. Column 1216: Migne.

William Fitzstephen (1961). The life and death of Thomas Becket, Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury: based on the account of William fitzStephen, his clerk, with additions from other contemporary sources. Folio Society. pp. 117–23.
James Craigie Robertson. Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (Canonized by Pope Alexander III, AD 1173). Volume III. Cambridge University Press. pp. 408–13. ISBN 978-1-108-04927-6.

James Craigie Robertson (2012). "Section 91: Conference at Les Planches". Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (William Fitzstephen). Volume III. Cambridge University Press. pp. 95–6. ISBN 978-1-108-04927-6.

Thomas (Becket); Herbertus (de Boseham); Jacques Paul Migne (1854). S. Thomae Cantuariensis archiepiscopi et martyris nec non Herberti de Boseham clerici ejus a secretis opera omnia. Migne. pp. Column 159–60.

"Gemma Lunghi: Rapporti tra Tomaso Becket ed i Legati". Actes Du Colloque International de Sedieres. Editions Beauchesne. pp. 66–.

P. Jaffé (1851). Regesta pontificum Romanorum: ab condita ecclesia ad annum post Christum natum MCXCVIII. Veit et Socius. pp. 712–3.

Herbert de Boseham: Vita S. Thomae
(Book IV Chapter 22.) De Romietis archipraesulis reversis et adventu cardinalium ad pacem. pp. 408-13.
(Book IV Chapter 23.) Qualiter archipraesul multos de aulicis anathematizavit. pp. 413-5  
James Craigie Robertson "Book 4 Chapters 22 & 23". Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, . Volume III (Herbert of Bosham). Cambridge University Press. pp. 408–15. ISBN 978-1-108-04927-6.

James Craigie Robertson  Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Volume VI. Letter 273, and 272: Cambridge University Press. pp. 150–. ISBN 978-1-108-04930-6.

Thomas Becket (st., abp. of Canterbury.) (1845). "Letter 299". Epistolæ sancti Thomæ Cantuariensis ... et aliorum, ed. ab I.A. Giles. pp. 117–.

James J. Spigelman (2004). Becket & Henry: The Becket Lectures. James Spigelman. pp. 186–. ISBN 978-0-646-43477-3.

John of Oxford

'Deans', Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: volume 4: Salisbury (1991), pp. 7-12.

Michael J. Franklin (1995). "Christopher Harper-Bill: John of Oxford, diplomat and bishop"Medieval Ecclesiastical Studies: In Honour of Dorothy M. Owen. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. pp. 83–105. ISBN 978-0-85115-384-1.

Other References

Kriston R. Rennie (2013). The Foundations of Medieval Papal Legation. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-1-137-26495-4.

John D. Hosler (2007). Henry II: A Medieval Soldier at War, 1147-1189. BRILL. pp. 63–. ISBN 90-04-15724-7.

Joseph Epiphane Darras; Martin John Spalding; Charles Ignatius White (1868). A General History of the Catholic Church. P. O'Shea. pp. 276–9

Some Important Correspondence

MTB Epistola 258 vi p. 84-6December 1166 
Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, VI, p. 84-6 Epistola 258

James Craigie Robertson. "Epistola 258"Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-108-04930-6.

MTB Epistola 259 vi p. 86
December 1166

Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, VI, p. 86 Epistola 259
James Craigie Robertson. "Epistola 259"Materials for the History of Thomas Becket,. Cambridge University Press. pp. 111–. ISBN 978-1-108-04930-6.

Jacques-Paul Migne (1855). Patrologiae cursus completus pp. 1–.

MTB  Epistola 335 vi p.266
Epistola Gradus cognationis
It was the policy of the French kingdom to try to break up Henry's Angevin Empire. Even during one of the cardinal's conferences the Poitevin rebels tried to prove that King Henry's marriage to Eleanor was invalid because of close consanguinity. 

Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, VI, p 266

George Lyttelton Baron Lyttelton (1772). The History of the Life of King Henry the Second,  Appendix XI: J. Dodsley. pp. 395–.

George Lyttelton Baron Lyttelton (1772). The History of the Life of King Henry the Second,  J. Dodsley. pp. 261–.

I likewise find by a manuscript in the Cotton library, that in the year eleven hundred and sixty-eight the barons of  Poitou, who were then in rebellion against Henry, presented a paper to the cardinal legates, in France, the purport of which was to shew, that Henry and Eleanor were third cousins of the half blood. Their view therein must have been, to procure, on this account, from the papal authority, another divorce from that princess; as she had been separated before from King Louis, her first husband, for being his fourth cousin of the whole blood. The dominion of Henry over their country would thus have been rooted up: but the manuscript says, that no attention was given to them, on this point, by the legates.

MTB Epistola 339  [CTB 149]
Meeting of Henry II with Papal Legates at Argentan  Nov  1167 

Anonymous to Thomas Becket about meeting and conference between the Papal Legates and king Henry at Argentan

Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, VI, pp 270-4

Michel-Jean-Joseph Brial (1813). Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France: Rerum gallicarum et francicarum scriptores. Imprimerie impériale puis royale. pp. 300–.

Saint Thomas (à Becket) (2000). The Correspondence of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1162-1170: Letters 1-175. Oxford University Press. pp. 690–. ISBN 978-0-19-820892-1.

William Holden Hutton (1910) Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury pp. 195-9

MTB Epistola 349 [CTB 154]
Letter from Thomas Becket to William of Pavia pp 799-800 Dec 1167

English Historical Documents #142 Letter from Thomas Becket to William of Pavia pp 799-800 Dec 1167
Becket seeks to identify his cause with that of the papacy, and places the responsibility for the
issue of events on the pope and the legates. (Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, VI, 296)

William Holden Hutton (1910) Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury pp. 199-201

Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, VI, 296
  Robert (de Torigni.) (1872). Chronique de Robert de Torigni  Par Léopold Delisle.. Volume 1. Years 1166 - 1167 A. Le Brument. pp. 359–69.

Léopold Delisle (1873). Chronique de Robert de Torigni,  Volume 2. Year 1168: A. Le Brument. pp. 1–9.

Martin Bouquet; Delisle (1869). Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France. Volume 13. Palmé. pp. 7–.

The Elm of Gisors [l'Ormel des conférences]

Not far from the walls of [the castle of] Gisors, where the road divides into many branches, on or near the border between the Vexin normand and the Vexin francais, in a field by the side of the road stood an elm tree of prodigous size, the Ulmus, the famous elm of Gisors (Orme de Gisors). It was protected against attacks from animals by an iron frame, and came to be known as a result as the Ormeteau Ferré. This elm tree was used as the traditional place for the negotiations that took place between the warring parties of France and Normandy [Kings of England]. Becket used this location to meet with the representatives of king Henry II. Its large branches and leaves provided protection from the heat of the sun's rays to the parties attending the meetings.

"This noble tree had so large a trunk, that the arms of four men could
not together encircle it; the branches had, partly by Nature, partly
by art, been made to bend downward, so as to form a sort of bower, and
there were seats on the smooth extent of grass which they shaded."

Between Gisors and Trie - Google Maps

Gisors - Trie

George Lyttelton (1st baron.) (1773). The history of the life of king Henry the second, and of the age in which he lived. To which is prefixed, A history of the revolutions of England from the death of Edward the confessor to the birth of Henry the second. 3 vols. [and] Notes to the second and third (fourth and fifth) books. pp. 328–.

John Gillingham (2005). Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2004. J. Benham: Anglo-French Peace Conferences In The Twelfth Century: Boydell Press. pp. 52–. ISBN 978-1-84383-132-7.

John Gillingham (2005). "J.E.M. Benham: Anglo-French Peace Conference"Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2004. Boydell Press. pp. 52–. ISBN 978-1-84383-132-7.

Les Amis de Reuilly et de ses Environs - Reuilly et son histoire
Des Templiers à l'Ormeteau

The famous Elm of Conferences, Gisors

Highways and byways in Normandy; - Dearmer, Percy

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Cutting of the Elm

Cutting of the elm - Wikipedia

Mémoires. Société des antiquaires de Normandie. 1835. pp. 347–.

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Hewing the Ancient Elm: Anger, Arboricide, and Medieval Kingship
Lindsay Diggelmann

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