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

II: The Third Crusade: Richard the Lionhearted and Philip Augustus,   pp. 44-85 PDF (16.9 MB)

Page 79

about the enormous task of restoring its extensive fortifications. The host
was to remain at Ascalon until early June. For a considerable part of this
time it consisted only of Richard's own troops and those of count Henry.
Late in January or early in February duke Hugh and his French forces joined
the army at Ascalon. The duke, extremely short of funds, soon quarreled with
Richard, who declined to help him. Hugh retired to Acre before the end of
February, but a number of other French barons stayed at Ascalon until Easter.
Despite several invitations Conrad of Montferrat absolutely refused to bring
his forces to Ascalon. During the army's stay at Ascalon, military activities
were confined to a few raids against Saladin's line of communications to
Egypt. On one occasion Richard led a party to Darum, where he found a convoy
of Christian prisoners bound for Egypt. Most of the Turkish escort escaped
into the castle, but Richard rescued the captives. Other raids captured supplies
and prisoners in the same region.56 
 On April 15 an English cleric, Robert, prior of Hereford, arrived at Ascalon
with letters for King Richard from his trusted servant William Longchamp,
bishop of Ely. William had become involved in a violent quarrel with the
king's brother John and with his bastard half-brother Geoffrey, archbishop
of York. When Walter of Coutances, archbishop of Rouen, had left the crusading
host in Sicily to return to England, he had carried with him royal letters
authorizing him to take over the government of the realm if such a move seemed
necessary. In the hope of restoring peace in England, archbishop Walter had
exercised these powers, deposed William Longchamp from the justiciarship,
and assumed that office himself. While the account given in Longchamp's letters
may well have been a highly colored one, Richard cannot have been unduly
disturbed by the news. He had foreseen what had arisen; the man he had sent
to handle it was firmly in control. What probably worried the king more was
what the messenger told him of the activities of Philip Augustus. Philip
had appeared at the Norman frontier with his private version of the treaty
of Messina. When the seneschal of Normandy refused to honor it, the French
king had entered into negotiations with prince John. At any rate the prior
of Hereford's report convinced Richard that he should not long delay his
return to England. 
 King Richard fully realized that the first step required to pave the way
for his own departure was to establish an effective government in the kingdom
of Jerusalem. The compromise of the previous year had not worked. Conrad
of Montferrat had held aloof from the 
 56 Estoire, pp. 308-320; Itinerarium, pp. 314-320, 327. 

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