Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/143

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

marriage with Constance, and accepted his homage. Geoffrey did his homage at Le Mans early in 1175, and before Easter was sent by his father into Brittany to destroy the fortifications which had been raised during the rebellion, Roland de Dinan being sent with him to act as his father's representative. By Roland's advice he acted obediently towards his father, and cultivated the goodwill of the Breton lords. He forfeited the possessions of Eudo of Porhoët, one of the most powerful of the rebel party (Rob. Torigni, ii. 53). In company with Richard he came over to England at Easter 1176, landed at Southampton, and spent the feast at Winchester with his father, who received his sons with great joy (Gesta Henrici, i. 115). After the festival was over, he received his father's permission to cross to Normandy (Hoveden, ii. 93); he returned to England and spent Christmas with the king at Nottingham. He seems to have stayed in England until the following August; he accompanied his father from Portsmouth to Normandy on the 17th, and was at once sent against the rebel lord Guyomar de Léon, whom he compelled to submit (Rob. Torigni, ii. 67). He spent Christmas with his father at Angers. On 6 Aug. 1178 Henry knighted him at Woodstock (R. Diceto, i. 426). He at once sailed to Normandy, and engaged in feats of arms on the border between Normandy and France and elsewhere, for he was anxious to share in the military renown of his brothers (Gesta Henrici, i. 207). He returned to England at Christmas, which he spent with the king at Winchester. After Easter 1179 he distinguished himself in another war against Guyomar, whom he utterly subdued, leaving him only two lordships until the following Christmas, when the defeated rebel promised that he would take his departure for the Holy Land, and giving his son only a small share of his father's estates (Rob. Torigni, ii. 81).

In the following November Geoffrey attended the coronation of Philip II, which took place before the death of Louis, and did homage to him for Brittany (Canon. Laudun., Recueil des Historiens, xiii. 683), and in 1181, in conjunction with his brothers Henry and Richard, upheld the new king against the lords who were in rebellion against him, humbling the Count of Sancerre, and giving Philip help against the Duke of Burgundy, the Countess of Champagne, and the Count of Flanders (Diceto, ii. 9). Towards the end of July he married Constance (Rob. Torigni, ii. 104 n.) He spent the festival of St. John 1182 with his father at Grandmont, and feasted with the monks there, and then went with Henry to help Richard, who was besieging the rebels in Périgueux (Geoffrey of Vigeois, Recueil, xviii. 212). He was at Caen with his father and brothers during the Christmas of 1182, and went with them to Le Mans, when Henry, in order to put a stop to the practices which his eldest son had been carrying on against his younger son Richard in Aquitaine, commanded both Richard and Geoffrey to do homage to their eldest brother. Geoffrey obeyed; Richard refused, and a fresh quarrel broke out between him and the younger Henry. The old king ordered Geoffrey and his eldest brother to make war upon Richard, and Geoffrey raised an army of Brabantine mercenaries, invaded Poitou, and wasted it with fire and sword. Henry saw that unless he interfered Richard would be crushed, and ordered his sons to come to a conference. Geoffrey paid no regard to this, went on with the war, and in February 1183 occupied the castle of Limoges, where he was joined by the younger Henry. On 1 March Henry II, who was reconciled to Richard, began the siege of the castle. During its progress he was twice shot at by the partisans of his sons, and in their presence (Gesta Henrici, i. 296). While the younger Henry drew off his father's attention by false promises, Geoffrey and his Brabantines wasted the country, robbing churches, burning towns and villages, and sparing neither age nor sex nor condition. He sent to his father in a time of truce, requesting him to order two of his lords, Jerome of Montreuil and Oliver FitzErnis, to come to him, as though he wished to offer terms through them. When they came, his men, in his presence and with his approval, wounded Jerome with the sword, and threw Oliver over the bridge into the river. Again, he pretended that he wished to confer with his father about bringing the war to an end, and by this means got admission into the town of Limoges, where he plundered the shrine of St. Martial, carried off gold and silver plate from other churches, and used his spoil to pay his mercenaries (ib. p. 299). The death of his eldest brother Henry on 11 June put Geoffrey in a different position. It was perhaps at this time (Robert of Torigni puts it under 1182) that the war was carried into his own possessions, and that Henry's troops seized the castle of Rennes. Geoffrey besieged them, and destroyed the abbey of St. George and part of the town, and also destroyed the town and castle of Bécherel, belonging to Roland of Dinan. He made peace with his father at Angers. Henry declared his castles forfeited, and enforced a reconciliation with his brother Richard. In 1184, probably after Henry had returned to England in June (Norgate, ii. 233),