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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311

II: The Third Crusade: Richard the Lionhearted and Philip Augustus,   pp. 44-85 PDF (16.5 MB)

Page 54

Arthur was a young boy. Naturally John would try to do all he could to place
himself in a strong position in case Richard failed to return. Richard gave
John extensive lands in England in addition to the great earldom of Gloucester
that he had just obtained by marriage. John received two great honors, Lancaster
and Tickhill, and complete control over the counties of Dorset, Somerset,
Devon, and Cornwall. 
 But Richard gave his brother no place in the government of the rest of the
realm. This was placed in the hands of two justiciars. One of these, Hugh
de Puiset,14 bishop of Durham, was a man of noble birth, haughty, turbulent,
and grasping. The other, William Longchamp, bishop of Ely, was of lowly origin,
arrogant, arbitrary, and stubborn. The two men hated each other cordially.
These three men - John, Hugh de Puiset, and William Longchamp - quarreled
enthusiastically throughout Richard's absence. The news of their disputes
worried him continuously. While in Sicily he tried to improve the situation
by sending to England Walter of Coutances, archbishop of Rouen, with a commission
empowering him to take over the government if he saw fit. At the same time
Richard made the English situation worse by solemnly declaring Arthur his
heir, and hence driving John to desperate measures. John's attempts to strengthen
his position in anticipation of his brother's possible death on the crusade
seriously impeded the success of the expedition by hastening, at least to
some extent, Richard's return to the west. 
 King Philip's political problems were much simpler. He was a widower with
an infant son. He entrusted the regency to his mother Adela and her brother
William, archbishop of Rheims. The only serious menaces to this regency were
the great vassals of the crown and the two Capetian lords who would be heirs
to the throne if Philip's young son Louis died. Richard, duke of Normandy
and Aquitaine, Philip, count of Flanders, Henry, count of Champagne, and
Hugh, duke of Burgundy, went on the crusade, leaving only one peer of France
at home - the comparatively harmless count Raymond of Toulouse. The head
of the senior cadet line of the Capetians, Robert, count of Dreux, was at
Acre before Philip left home. The king took with him the head of the junior
branch, Peter of Courtenay, count of Nevers. Thus north of Toulouse, there
was no baron left in France powerful enough to give any trouble. Yet, as
we shall see, it seems likely that it was primarily the political situation
at home that cut short Philip's stay in Palestine. 
 14 On bishop Hugh, cf. the recent study by G. V. Scammell, Hugh du Puiset,
Bishop of Durham (New York, 1956). 

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