de Breauté [q. v.] the next year destroyed the power of the party to which he belonged The national policy of Hubert was crowned with success and for the time his position was secured (Const. Hist. ii. 34-6).
The depression of the alien party left Hubert virtual master of the king and kingdom. He used his power to strengthen the throne, and to keep England at peace at home and abroad. At the same time he lost no opportunity of enriching himself and his relations. Little or nothing is known of his descent, and there are indications that his family was at least not held to be equal with those of the great nobles of England, who saw with disgust the riches and honours that were heaped upon him. It was, however, no part of his policy to depress the barons, and indeed the marriages between members of the royal family and the house of the Earls Marshall are evidence (as Dr Stubbs has pointed out, Const. Hist. ii 43) that he sought to enlist them for the support of the throne. On the death of William, earl of Arundel, in 1224 Hubert was made guardian of the earldom and of the young heir, Hugh, and the next year he was made guardian of the lands and of the heir of Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk. These and such like grants must have caused some anger among the nobles, who thus saw themselves shut out from opportunities of considerable power and profit. At the Christmas council of 1224 Hubert demanded a grant on behalf of the king. In answer the barons asked for a renewal of the great charter. A confirmation was granted 11 Feb 1225, and was signed by the justiciar. In 1226 a report was raised that William Longsword, earl of Salisbury the king's uncle had been lost at sea Hubert at once asked the king to allow his nephew Reimund, to marry the Countess Ela. The king agreed, subject to the consent of the lady. When Reimund went wooing, he was received with much indignation. The countess told him that she had heard of her lord's safety, and that even had it been otherwis,e she was too noble to marry a man of his rank. On the earl's return he complained bitterly to the king of the justiciar's conduct in sending a base fellow ('degenerem virum quendam') to woo his wife while he was alive, and vowed that if Henry would not do him right, he would seek his revenge himself, whatever evil he might bring on the kingdom. The justiciar made up the quarrel by giving him valuable presents, and invited him to eat at his house. The earl accepted the invitation and soon afterwards fell sick and died. Among the special characteristics of the age is to be reckoned the prevalence of poisoning. Men were suspected of this crime on the most frivolous grounds (Matt Paris Introd. vii. ed. Luard). When Hubert's enemies were at last able to make their voices heard, they accused him of causing the deaths of the earl and of Falkes de Breauté, which both happened in 1226, though Falkes died at St Cyriac, and there seems no ground for supposing that either of them met with foul play Before longHubert obtained the widow of William Mandeville, earl of Essex, as wife for Reimund, and another of his nephews, Thomas of Blundville, a clerk of the exchequer, was at his instance made bishop of Norwich. His brother Geoffrey alreadv held the bishopric of Ely (1225-8).
Hubert was now strong enough to adopt a decisive policy. At a council held at Oxford in February 1227, the king by his advice declared himself of full age, and dismissed his governor the Bishop of Winchester, who left England and remained abroad for nearly five years. A new seal was made; the forest charters were declared obsolete, and notice was given to the religious houses that, if they wished to retain their privileges, they must sue for a renewal of their charters—a process entailing payment. These measures were put down to the justiciar, who, it is said, arbitrarily fixed the sum each convent had to pay. Harsh as these measures seem it must be remembered that the state was greatly prejudiced by the existence of private rights and privileges, and that of those then existing many had been granted in a wasteful spirit and many had doubtless been assumed without any grant (Ann. Dunstap. iii 105). In the advice the justiciar gave on these matters he followed out that policy of resumption which he had before applied to the royal castles, and wisely laboured to secure the crown the means needed for the purposes of government, without burdening the people at large. At the Oxford council Hubert was made earl of Kent. In the course of a quarrel that arose about this time between the king and his brother Richard earl of Cornwall, he is said to have advised Henry to seize the earl and imprison him. The ready support the earl received at this crisis from the other nobles is a sign of their dislike of the justiciar's administration. When in 1228, war broke out with the Welsh and the castle of Montgomery was besieged. Henry granted the honour and castle to the justiciar and went with him to raise the siege The expedition was on the whole disastrous many of the king's men were in alliance with Llewelyn and the army was badly provisioned The failure was put down to the justiciar (Ann. Dunstap. iii. 110. Some legal proceedings in which the men of Dunstaple