against Scotland, in which he commanded a band of sixty men-at-arms and eighty archers (Doyle, iii. 433). After the failure of this undertaking, Pole was more than ever bent on peace. France had threatened invasion. He renewed negotiations. On 22 Jan. 1386 he was appointed, with Bishop Skirlaw of Lichfield and others, to treat with the king of France and his allies, jointly or separately, for truce or for peace (Fœdera, vii. 491–3, original edition).
Pole's wealth was steadily growing, and was exciting widespread envy. Besides the Yorkshire property that came from his father, and the Lincolnshire estates of his mother, he was now in possession of the great Suffolk inheritance of his wife, Catherine, daughter and heiress of Sir John de Wingfield. He now busied himself with consolidating his power in Suffolk by fortifying his manor-houses. He hoped to build up a solid domain in north-eastern Suffolk, of which the central feature was the new castle, or rather crenellated manor-house, of Wingfield. His gatehouse on the south front, its flanking towers, and curtain wall still survive, while in the beautiful late decorated village church—the work, it is believed, of his father-in-law—the ashes of his son and many later Poles now repose (Murray, Eastern Counties, pp. 190–1). Moreover, on 6 Aug. 1385 he obtained the title of Earl of Suffolk, extinct since the death of William Ufford three years before. On 20 Aug., at Newcastle-on-Tyne, the king granted him lands worth 500l. a year, which had belonged to William Ufford, and which included the castle, town, manor, and honour of Eye, with other manors and jurisdictions, mainly in Suffolk, which nicely rounded off the former Wingfield inheritance. But, as the widowed Countess of Suffolk still held part of these estates for her life, and other portions had been regranted to the queen, Richard further granted to the new earl 200l. a year from the royal revenue and 300l. a year from other lands, until the Ufford estates fell in. The grant of a small sum from the county revenue completed the formal connection between the new earl and his shire (cf. Rolls of Parliament, iii. 206–9; Dugdale, Baronage, ii. 185; Cal. Inq. post mortem, iii. 70, 111, 117, 257).
At the parliament which met Richard on his return from Scotland, Pole was solemnly girt, on 12 Nov. 1385, with the sword of the shire, and performed homage for his new office, before which Walter Skirlaw, keeper of the privy seal and bishop of Lichfield, delivered an oration to the assembled estates on the new earl's merits (Rot. Parl. iii. 209). But the murmurs were many and deep. He was, says the St. Albans chronicler, a merchant and the son of a merchant; he was a man more fitted for trade than for chivalry, and peacefully had grown old in a banker's counting-house, and not among warriors in the field (Chron. Angliæ, 1328–88, p. 367). The saying became a commonplace, and is repeated by several chroniclers (Walsingham, ii. 141; Otterbourne, p. 162; Monk of Evesham, p. 67). Yet nothing could be more unjust than such a taunt levelled against the old companion in arms of the Black Prince and of John of Gaunt. But it faithfully reflected the opinion of the greater families, and Pole's former ally, John of Gaunt, had turned against him. Thomas Arundel, then bishop of Ely, was especially hostile. He sought to get the temporalities of Norwich restored to Bishop Despenser. The chancellor argued in the parliament of 1385 that to restore the bishop's lands would cost the king 1,000l. a year. ‘If thou hast so much concern for the king's profit,’ retorted the bishop, ‘why hast thou covetously taken from him a thousand marks per annum since thou wast made an earl?’ The chancellor had no answer, and Despenser recovered his temporalities.
Early in 1386 Suffolk was engaged in fruitless negotiations with France. He was on the continent between 9 Feb. and 28 March (Fœdera, vii. 495). The English unwillingness to include Spain in the truce frustrated the negotiations. England was threatened with invasion. The chancellor did his best to organise the defence. He acted as commissioner to inspect Calais and the castles of the marches, and as chief commissioner of array in Suffolk (Doyle, iii. 434). In April and May he visited Hull, where his influence was still paramount (Fœdera, vii. 510). But whatever he did was adversely judged. In June some English ships captured and plundered several Genoese merchant ships off Dover; and when the chancellor gave the aggrieved Genoese traders compensation, he was charged with robbing the king of his rights and with showing more sympathy with traders than with warriors (Chron. Angliæ, 1328–88, p. 371; cf. Knighton, c. 2678).
The opposition to Pole was now formally organised under the king's uncle, Thomas, duke of Gloucester. When parliament met, on 1 Oct. 1386, Suffolk, as chancellor, urged that the time was come for Richard to cross the sea and fight the French in person. This was a mere pretext for an inordinate demand for money. Four-fifteenths, says Knighton, was likely to be the chancellor's request. Afraid of the future, Richard retired to Eltham,