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John
John
411

agreement was made. Negotiations went on throughout the summer and autumn, and on 12 Jan. 1209 the pope wrote to John declaring him excommunicate unless he yielded within three months. John seized the property of the bishops who had fled; confiscated the revenues of the clergy and monks, and outlawed them, though he threatened to hang any one who did them harm. In order to enforce the fidelity of the barons he demanded hostages. Maud, the wife of William de Braose [q. v.], told his messengers that she would not give her children to a man who had murdered his own nephew. For the present she and her husband escaped. John ordered William of Scotland to give security that he would not receive his enemies or make alliances displeasing to him. William neglected to appear for the purpose, and John marched northwards with a large force, arriving at Norham on 4 Aug. There William made terms, delivered his two daughters, Margaret [see Burgh, Hubert de] and Isabella [see Bigod, Roger, fourth Earl of Norfolk], to him, bound himself to pay 13,000l., and gave hostages from the Scottish lords. On his return John ordered all fences to be destroyed in the forests, and exacted an oath of fealty from all freeholders of twelve years old and upwards, compelling the Welsh to come to Woodstock for the purpose. While there he hanged three clerks of Oxford for the murder of a woman, and this occasioned a large migration of scholars from the university. Communication with Rome was not wholly suspended, and negotiations went on with reference to the archbishop. Some restitutions of lands to the bishops seemed to point to an inclination to yield on the king's side, but when Langton came over on 2 Oct. with a safe-conduct no arrangement was made, and he left the kingdom.

Meanwhile matters went on easily in England; the interdict did not press heavily on such of the laity as were not specially pious, for there was not an entire suspension of the ordinances of religion (see William of Coventry, ii. Preface, xlv, xlvi n.) As John was well supplied with money from the revenues of the church, there was no general taxation, and the country was prosperous (Worcester Annals, p. 397). The sentence of excommunication, though seemingly published in France, was not published in England; the bishops who fled left the duty to those who remained behind. It was known, but still his nobles did not avoid the king's society; indeed he had them in his power by holding hostages from them, and he dealt severely with any one who withdrew from him. Always prone to make favourites of men of low birth and evil character, John, was at this time much under the influence of a certain clerk Alexander the Mason, who was enriched out of the spoils of the church, and who stirred him up to acts of special cruelty. The quarrel between the pope and his nephew Otto IV hardened his heart, and he made no further attempts to be reconciled. He extorted large sums from the clergy and monks, and especially from the Cistercians, whom he turned out of their houses in September, forcing them to ransom themselves by a payment of twenty-seven thousand marks, the only exceptions being his own foundation of Beaulieu and the abbey of Margam in Glamorgan, where he quartered himself and his troops while proceeding to Ireland.

With the threefold object of overthrowing the power of the Lacys, establishing order and the supremacy of the crown, and taking vengeance on William de Braose and his wife, John landed at Waterford from Pembroke in the middle of June 1210. At Dublin he received the homage of many Irish chiefs. In July he took Carrickfergus, seized the lands of the Lacys and banished the Earl of Ulster, built several fortresses, appointed sheriffs and other officers to carry out the English system of law, coined new money, and leaving the government in the hands of John Grey (d. 1214) [q. v.], bishop of Norwich, returned to England towards the end of August, bringing with him Maud de Braose and her son, who had been taken and whom he starved to death [see under Braose, William De]. He arrested all the Jews in England, and made them pay him sixty-six thousand marks, of which ten thousand marks came from the Bristol jewry, and was extorted from the head of the community by knocking out one of his teeth each day until he agreed that the sum should be paid. He spent Christmas at York, the see being in his hands since the departure of Geoffrey. In 1211 he made an expedition into North Wales, entered the Snowdon district, compelled the submission of Llywelyn, and raised fortresses. Returning to England in August he met two papal envoys, Durand and Pandulf, at a council at Northampton, where he consented that the archbishop, bishops, and monks then in exile should return home; but as he refused to restore their possessions the conference was ineffectual, and the envoys threatened that the pope would proceed to yet severer measures. At this council he took a scutage of two marks for the Welsh war. William of Scotland sought his alliance, and sent his son Alexander to John, who knighted him on 4 March 1212.