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

XIII: The Crusade of Theobald of Champagne and Richard of Cornwall, 1239-1241,   pp. 463-486 PDF (13.4 MB)

Page 482

Damascus. As the messenger who bore it sailed over the Mediter ranean, he
passed the crusading fleet of Richard, earl of Cornwall, brother of king
Henry III of England. Richard's preparations had been fully as confused as
those of his French colleagues.22 He had taken the cross as early as 1236
with his brother-in-law, Gilbert Marshal, earl of Pembroke, John le Scot,
earl of Chester and Huntingdon, and William Longsword, usually called earl
of Salisbury. In January 1237 king Henry III expressed his pleasure that
the Jews of England had offered an aid of 3,000 marks for Richard's crusade.23
But the king and the English barons were doubtful of the wisdom of letting
the earl go. The official reason was that he was the heir apparent to the
throne. This may have had some weight, but it seems far more likely that
he was the only effective balance between the king and the baronial opposition
headed by Gilbert Marshal. At any rate on February 25, 1238, earl Richard,
William Longsword, and Simon of Montfort, earl of Leicester, younger brother
of count Amairic, were informed by the pope that their vows were suspended,
as the king needed them in England. Apparently this did not please the earl,
for on April 20 the pope ordered Henry III to give every assistance to his
crusading brother. 
 Meanwhile Frederick II had informed Richard of the postpone ment of the
crusade to August 1239. The emperor hoped that Richard would join in this
postponement, and, when he started, would pass through Frederick's lands.
By November there was more to confuse the poor earl. Pope Gregory suggested
that he give up his crusade, and contribute to the aid of Constantinople
the money he would have spent. But Richard's determination was immovable.
Matthew Paris suggests a possible reason. When some of the English barons
tried to persuade him to stay home, the earl replied that England was in
such a mess that he would have gone even if he had not taken the crusader's
vow. He was tired of trying to arbitrate between the king and his advisers
and the baronial opposition. On November 17, 1238, the pope granted him protec
tion as a crusader and protection for his heir until he reached the age of
25. In a rather mournful letter to his legate in England the pope directed
that, as Richard refused to commute, he would have to be given the money
raised in England for Constantinople. 
 As his quarrel with Frederick II grew more acute, Gregory 
 22 The background of earl Richard's crusade is drawn chiefly from the Registres
de Grégoire IX and Matthew Paris, Chronica majora. 
23 Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1232—1247 (Rolls Series), p.  

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