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Home arrow History arrow Officers and accountability in medieval England : 1170-1300


Various schemas suggest themselves. Sir Richard Southern suggested a contrast between France and England in which sophistication of governmental machinery was inversely proportionate with regnal solidarity and regal security. The great machinery of the Exchequer was contrasted with more rudimentary French mechanisms. In France the fiscal system was ‘very simple. When men are very rich and are getting richer they have no need for elaborate organization or for novelties of procedure.’[1] Different administrative infrastructures precipitated different political weather.

England came to possess the most highly developed secular administrative machine in Europe. But this was never enough. This was the English tragedy. The French kings grew rich without strain; the English kings strained every nerve but could never be rich enough. There is a direct connection between the over-great financial and military burden of [the English] Continental policy and the failure of the English kings to create any warmth of sentiment operating in their favour among the most powerful classes of society.[2]

The effect was that ‘in England we have a tradition of service without affection; in France a tradition of domesticity without, at this time, much professional service’.[3] This could be transposed into Thomas Bisson’s terms: in late twelfth-century England, accountability of office; in France, accountability of fidelity.[4] Jean Glenisson’s typology of inquiries might suggest a related answer. It would lie in the difference between Exchequer accountability—relating to his inquiries dedicated to ‘administration of the state’s domanial and fiscal busi- ness’—versus eyres and other inquiries incorporating ‘correcting and reforming abuses’.[5] How did thirteenth-century England experience such deep political problems, so tightly associated with shrieval officers, in comparison with France and also with the Regno?

First, quite distinct strategies for managing sheriffs/baillis were in operation in France and England. Magna Carta cap. 45 had stipulated that sheriffs and other officials should know customary practice and law.[6] Sometimes counties could bid collectively to get the sheriff of their choice appointed. In England the ideal in the localities was that a locally credible man would be selected.[7] In Philip Augustus’s and Louis IX’s France the preference was different. Limiting links between baillis and their billeted regions was the aim. In 1254 Louis ruled that a bailli could not buy land in his bailiwick, he could not marry into it, he could not sell his offices on. He would stay in the vicinity after leaving office for forty days in order to be answerable to his successor or any complainants.[8] At the March 1283 San Martino parliament, Louis’s nephew, Charles of Salerno, responded to the disastrous Vespers rebellion by regulating for a very ‘Italian’ sindacatio for his officers, as well as attempting to legislate against officers exercising undue influence on the communities in which they worked.[9] Like ‘1258’ in England, the Vespers had been caused in large part by (officials’) excessive fiscal pressure. But the same cause produced a different effect. The political psychology of Louis’s and Charles’s policies here was as with Italian podesta: guarantee independence from partisan politics by minimizing ‘shrieval’ ties with the locality. The traditional English model was more, perhaps too, sophisticated: political answerability to the county; fiscal answerability to the Exchequer. The basis for ongoing political dispute about whom the sheriff really was responsible to was thus established. It did not matter that shrieval ‘localism’ was fallible.[10] The bad taste left by sheriffs perceived as the King’s more than the counties’ friends under John was long-lasting.[11] His grandson’s 1278 acceptance of the shrieval localism principle was simply acceptance of a worn plea.[12] This dynamic finds suggestive support in patterns of Edwardian sheriffs. If Edward was indeed central to shrieval policy in the late 1260s, as Caroline Burt has argued, the partial shift in 1270 from knightly sheriffs to that of curial or ‘professional’ sheriffs implies a concern about lesser men’s openness to local magnate influence. Irrespective of the principle, adoption of local sheriffs in 1278 was acceptable because the return of the King enabled sharper supervision.[13] Regnal preferences about ‘shrieval’ officers were a part product of institutional structures. They inflected the development and fortunes of royal political thinking about ‘shrieval’ officers’ accountability in different ways.

The novelty of French administrative self-assertion may have rendered structures there more flexible making liability to the centre easier to stress.[14] But even if France had ‘caught up’ by the 1220s, the relative age of the institutions was significant. The English shrieval system’s age made attempts to modify the office both inevitable and inevitably explosive. The baillis by contrast were barely fifty years old when

Louis initiated his 1247 investigations. But age and function were long connected. Extracting money nationwide through the county ‘plumbing’ using a royal officer who was also a county officer over time led to sheriffs’ accountability becoming enormously pressurized. Thanks to a long conciliar tradition, it contributed to his and the county unit’s politicization, resulting in an ultimately parliamentary forum.[15] The dynamic was very different from France’s, as Maddicott has sharply shown. Baillis were less politicized than sheriffs. Greater French royal demesne wealth, greater royal itineration, greater provincial fragmentation partly because of towns’ roles, and greater mutability of administrative units simultaneously reduced the centrality of French ‘shrieval’ officers while forestalling a similar space for the politicization of complaint.[16] It was easier for Capetians than for Plantagenets to take the hones- tum aspect of their ‘shrieval’ officers seriously because the stakes were lower. A wider Capetian emphasis on the integrity of office-holding threatened a cadre and its customs proportionately less.

How far the relative youth of the French system actually produced more equitable baillis is far from certain. Before leaving for crusade in 1190 Philip Augustus offered regular appeal sessions against the abuse of office. How far it was taken up is unclear.[17] So is its continuation on Philip’s return.[18] The implication of the complaints made in response to his grandson’s inquiries may well be that as the responsibilities of these officials expanded over Philip II’s reign, controls over them did not.

Cadoc of Pont Audemer can provide a partial indication of both French practice and developments, and a counterpoint to the English material. Cadoc, an important leader of routiers (mercenary bands), or better a ‘captain of irregulars’ (Powicke) for Philip Augustus, was also the only one of the new baillis there to be removed. Delisle described him as un ‘etrange personnage, un veritable aventurier, dont l’audace et le talent aiderent puissamment Philippe Auguste a conquerir la Normandie, et a affermir la domination franqaise dans une partie de cette province’.[19] Cadoc figures relatively frequently in French chronicles: fighting for Philip with Richard and John, wounding Richard in the siege of Gaillon Castle in 1196, taking the town of Angers, and, c. 1213, sailing with the fleet destroyed by the Flemish.[20] The Roman d’Eustaches le Moine questionably attributes to him the seneschalcy of Normandy.274 Before that, Cadoc had already benefited from France’s conquest of Normandy in 1204 when the temporary, second-tier Norman bailliage of Pont-Audemer was created.275 Cadoc administered ‘dans son interet personnel les populations du ter- ritoire confie a sa garde’.276 Before that he had already figured in the one extant set of Capetian accounts for Philip, including a payment offered for 4,400l. Angevin?11 He is found assisting in the French equivalent of the Easter ‘view of account’ in 1209.278 Following the conquest he took over Gaillon whose usufruct he gained in 1216. This seems to have been the centre of his operation: he founded the chapel of Notre Dame there in 1218 and perhaps in c.1215 conducted an inquiry into its resources and those of Evreux.279

In March 1207 the King ordered him not to vex the monks of Valasse by the levy of the Norman hearth tax, the ‘fouage’.280 Exactions from La Pommeraie forest were cited in complaints against him (c.1230).281 Importantly, further complaints about Cadoc’s behaviour surfaced only following Louis IX’s 1247 campaign to investigate the conduct of regional agents.282 Cadoc rehabilitated himself by 1227, then died, probably c.1232.283 But it was c.1219—20 that Cadoc was removed for failing to account in Paris for some 14,200l. Parisis?'84 The formal grounds for Cadoc’s removal and the social memory of his abusive conduct appear totally

  • 274 RHF, xxiv.1. *132; Le Roman d’Eustache le moine, ed. A. J. Holden and J. Monfrin (Louvain, 2005), ll. 1955-2126.
  • 275 Cf. Powicke, Loss of Normandy, 71; J. R. Strayer, The Administration of Normandy under Saint

Louis (Cambridge, Mass., 1932), 7-9.

  • 276 RHF, xxiv.1. *130.
  • 277 Ferdinand Lot and Robert Fawtier (eds.), Le Premier Budget de la monarchie frangaise: le compte general de 1202—1203, Bibliotheque de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Sciences historiques et philologiques, Fasc. 259 (Paris, 1932), 203, CCV; RHF, xxiv.1. *130. See the note on coinage in Baldwin, Government of Philip Augustus, xv.
  • 278 RHF, xxiv.1. *131; Recueil de jugements de l’echiquier de Normandie au XIHe siecle (1207—1270) suivi d’un memoire sur les anciennes collections de ces jugements, ed. Leopold Delisle (Paris, 1864), 14 n. 3.
  • 279 RHF, xxiv.1. *131; Leopold Delisle, Catalogue des actes de Philippe-Auguste: avec une introduction sur les sources, les caracteres et l'importance historique de ces documents (Paris, 1856), #1677, 1790 = respectively Recueil des Actes de Philippe Auguste, roi de France, gen. ed. Elie Berger, Chartes et diplomes relatifs a l’histoire de France, 6 vols. (Paris, 1916- ), iv. #1441, 1509. See also Memoires et notes de M. Auguste Le Prevost pour servir a l’histoire du departement de l’Eure, ed. Leopold Delisle and Loius Passy, 3 vols. (Evreux, 1862-9), ii. 148-9 (chapel). Le Prevost gives 24 February 1205 as the date of the foundation of the chapel. For the inquiry, see Les Registres de Philippe Auguste, ed. John W. Baldwin with Fran^oise Gasparri, Michel Nortier, and Elisabeth Lalou, Recueil des historiens de la France, Documents financiers et administratifs 7 (Paris, 1992), 95-6 (inquisitiones, #47) = Layettes, i. 300-1 (#797).
  • 28° Cartulaire Normand, #1084 = Catalogue des actes de Philippe-Auguste, #1018 = Recueil des Actes de Philippe Auguste, iii. #966. Onfouage see Baldwin, Government ofPhilip Augustus, 159-60.
  • 281 RHF, xxiv.1. *132 and for the inquest into rights in the wood, Cartulaire Normand, #1143.
  • 282 See RHF, xxiv.1. *132. For these 1247 investigations, Querimoniae Normannorum, RHF, xxiv.1. 6 (§32), 10 (§62), 11 (§70), 14 (§84), 16 (§102), 36 (§278), 38 (§§284, 287), 42 (§316), 65 (§491), 66 (§§494, 496), 67 (§501).
  • 283 For his rehabilitation by 1227, when he took an oath to Louis IX, Layettes, ii. #1937-8 = Cartulaire Normand, #364, 363 also 365; Registres de Philippe Auguste, 437 (securitates, #83); RHF, xxiv.1. *132-3.
  • 284 RHF, xxiv.1. 132*, 40-1 (§305), 66 (§496), 67 (§503), and 68 (§512); Layettes ii. #1937-8.

separate (as they might well at the English Exchequer). Furthermore, the substantive grounds for his removal are some thirty to forty years prior to the investigations that provide us with most of our knowledge into Cadoc’s bearing while a bailli. (The timespan is pointed out by some 1247 complainants.) Many also claimed that the crown had simply continued Cadoc’s unfair exactions. It had seized his assets and applied his ‘customs’. They were complaining—doubtless with due care—about the crown as much as they were appealing to the king. Ethics came after exploitation, and the crown found itself investigating its own (unwitting?) complicity in its officers’ abuses.

In France the early storage of and responsibility for royal revenue with the Templars meant Paris’s Chambre des comptes emerged into focus relatively late, in the period between Louis IX’s 1254 reforms and the 1320 Vivier-en-Brie ordon- nance of Philip V (r.1316—22) regulating the Chambre.[21] This chronological inversion meant that, by contrast with England, ‘in France royal justice was not born of the institution which had control of the administration of the [royal] demesne, it preceded it’.[22] [23] Certainly Louis IX has his officials swear their heavily moralized oaths of office at the full assizes; Philip V has them swear it at the Chambre des comptes27 English institutional fiscal practice was uninfluential except where dynastic contacts prompted influence, such as Savoy.[24] It has been further argued that accountability at the French Chambre des comptes—growing as it did from the same conscientious Crusade-related reformist urge that produced the massive enquetes into officials’ broader conduct—was likewise informed by that same reformist spirit.[25] If true, this would provide an obvious, immediate contrast with the picture in the Dialogue. But, as was shown earlier, Exchequer accountability was also conceived (on Richard of Ely’s account) within a context of ‘reform’, and broadly within the context of giving to each his due. Its stress was on a particular idea of utilitas which, it was argued above, can be seen in financial practice. It was from these premises that the Exchequer was ‘the cradle of the professionalization of justice’ in England.[26] Both English and French ‘exchequers’ were premised on ‘reformist’ ideas; but those ideas and their stresses were distinct.

The issue is not simply that England has an advanced administrative machinery by 1200. What Bisson describes as the accountability of office is present and correct amongst the officials of the late twelfth-century Exchequer. There is nothing informal or occasional about Exchequer accountability, an institution and process predating both the writing of the Dialogue and the first extant 1130 pipe roll.[27] Nor does the Exchequer immediately appear a likely place of courtly sociability, such as would characterize Bisson’s fidelitarian accountability.[28] The ongoing problem in England was that fiscal accountability implied relatively little for some positive sense of shrieval responsibility. Richard of Ely’s seeming inability to think of sheriffs as responsible officers, rather than as chancers who needed to be put in their place on the chessboard, is instructive. But it is unhelpful to characterize Exchequer agents’ accountability as ‘official’ if that means, by contradistinction, that they necessarily lacked any felt fidelity to the King. With an acquisitive Exchequer and an aggressive King sheriffs such as John’s Philip Mark combined an accountability of office and one of fidelity to produce the worst of both worlds. (That John was John detracts not a jot).

Some broader sense of official conduct does not seem to have branched naturally from the Exchequer’s highly developed fiscal stem. In the shadow of one sort of accountability another one withered. Bursts of hectic watering altered little. The interest of Bisson’s types here is how awkwardly sheriffs fitted them; how little one sort of accountability (fiscal) led on to other sorts of official responsibility.

In France the relatively late emergence of a royal fiscal cadre at the Chambre des comptes offers a similarly problematic proof for the argument that real politics emerges principally out of a dispassionate fiscal competency.[29] Louis IX’s particular concern with accountability provides an interesting application. Louis stressed official fiscal competence pari passu with an ostensibly archaic ‘moral, remedial, judicial’ accountability of fidelity.[30] Louis’s enquetes absolutely fit this bill, yet they also conform to an ideal of fiscal competence. If one wishes to take these as two separate types, in Louis’ enquetes they are vigorously intermixed.[31] Before Edward I, at least, sophisticated English fiscal accountability did not lead to a broader regal concern for shrieval conduct in office except under heavy duress. This was partly because of the crown’s financial needs, needs that were linked to the very strong fiscal mentality that found expression not only in royal policies, but also pre-eminently in the Dialogue of the Exchequer. In France such official fiscal competence arose at least equally out of the moral concerns that drove Louis IX before and after his failure in Outremer. If fiscal policy lacked the institutional base it had in England, that also made it easier to develop a system of enqueteurs who were directed towards both money and conduct. It seems likely that in England it was harder to countermand the incentives that sheriffs facing their conflictus at the Exchequer were conditioned to respond to.

So it is possible to distinguish impulses for inquiring into officers (Glenisson), and different ‘modes’ of accountability (Bisson), as well as variable emphases within kingdoms (Southern) but unhelpful to polarize these contrasts as a matter of course.

Nor should one presume that the ‘administrative’ and ‘reformist’ auditing of sheriff-like officers was inherently separate. It may look as if England’s interest in inquiring into sheriffs’ activities is limited to what Glenisson would call ‘enquetes administratives ou domaniales’: inquiries and audits principally undertaken for the economic good of the crown. In France, it may seem such enquiries are reforming, undertaken in the spirit of equity and justice or—better—as a means of making royal power acceptable.[32] On 27 November 1236 Henry III commissioned an interesting inquisitio prompted by complaints against royal officers in the Bordelais area of Gascony. The mandates and inquiries show that Henry III was interested in both the claimed customs and liberties of Entre-deux-Mers and the wrongs committed by royal officials.[33] In France Philip II’s sworn inquests (inquisitiones) expressed a perfectly sharp interest in investigating and specifying royal rights, as distinct from the ‘equitable’ use his grandson Louis IX made of them.[34] Besides, Louis IX’s interest in urban governance was as ‘administrative’ as it was ‘reformist’. This is nicely embodied in the 1262 mayoral requirement to account.[35] In Normandy, on 29 October the outgoing mayor should present his preliminary annual accounts to three annually elected ‘good men’ selected by all of such men; on 18 November the outgoing mayor should appear before the King’s men in Paris to account for the city’s expenditure, when the next mayor would also be chosen from the three men co-presenting the accounts.[36]

And while there are ‘structural’ differences one should discount neither the importance of political mismanagement nor the character of individual kings in explaining why shrieval accountability proved so stubborn an English problem. ‘There were few things more calculated to endear a prince to his subjects than a display of stern retribution on unjust officials’, writes Jean Dunbabin of twelfth-century France.301 That lesson was learnt variously and with various effects in France, the Regno, and England. Henry II made capital out of it 1170, whatever the chroniclers said. By 1274 Edward I had learnt the lesson better than his father and grandfather.302 When Britton ventriloquized the King c.1291 and had him speak a summa on the common law, his chapter providing solutions for abusive ministres, notably sheriffs, rang better than it would have done in his father’s mouth.303 The complaints about sheriffs would recur, but less explosively. Still, Edward would protect his treasurer Walter Langton in 1301—2 when Langton’s exploitative control of shrieval appointments contributed to the crisis that produced the Articuli super cartas and Langton’s denunciation at the 1301 Lincoln parliament.304 (This secular political context was probably connected to the canonical inquisition into Langton as bishop analysed in Chapter 4.) John and Henry III were both forced to see the sense of a broader interest in sheriffs’ conduct. Under them there tended to be either interest in sheriffs’ accountability understood fiscally, or a concern with the fairness of their conduct within their communities, but seldom the two together, and when the latter appeared it was often under baronial and knightly coercion.

By contrast, in France inquiries into the conduct of officials were not imposed on the crown, but assumed on its initiative. This is an important difference.305 In France the campaign against shrieval misconduct was instigated, led, and carried through voluntarily by the king. Philip II ostensibly regulated hisprevots by baillis with respect to the utile and the honestum, at least in principle, before leaving on a Crusade in 1 190.306 But it was his grandson Louis IX who really took the question seriously.307

France: Kingship, Crusades and the Jews (Aldershot, 2001), iii. 292—313, with an appendix of the 1262 Normandy and Francia ordonnances.

  • 301 Jean Dunbabin, France in the Making, 843—H80, 2nd rev. edn. (Oxford, 2000), 286; also Michael Prestwich, Plantagenet England 1225—1360 (Oxford, 2005), 132. For a prince’s lengthy denunciation of his own officials see Charles I of Anjou’s 10 June 1282 judgement following the Easter Vespers, RCA, xxv. Documenti tratti da altre fonti, #5 at 194—208.
  • 302 Maddicott, ‘Edward I and the Lessons of Baronial Reform’; Raban, ‘Edward I’s Other Inquiries’. The contrast between Edward’s dismissals on returning to England in 1289 and the continuity of personnel in 1274 is interesting. For 1289: T. F. Tout and Hilda Johnston (eds.), State Trials of the Reign of Edward the First, 1289—1293, Camden Society, 3rd ser. 9 (1906); Brand, ‘Edward I and the Judges’ (tempering Tout and Johnston); Richard Huscroft, ‘Robert Burnell and the Government of England, 1270-1274’, TCE 8 (2001), 59-70.
  • 303 Britton, ed. Francis Morgan Nichols, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1865), i. 85-97 (§1.22, De ministres).
  • 304 SR, i. 136-41, caps. 8-9, 11-15, 19; Maddicott, ‘ “1258” and “1297” ’ , 7-12; Prestwich, Edward I, 525-7.
  • 305 Sivery, ‘Mecontentement dans le royaume’, 3, 5. William Chester Jordan, ‘Anti-corruption Campaigns in Thirteenth-century Europe’, Journal of Medieval History 35 (2009), 204-19 at 214-15, is inclined to see the English and French moves on the same continuum.
  • 306 Recueil des Actes de Philippe Auguste, i. #345. See also Rigord, Histoire de Philippe Auguste, ed. Elisabeth Carpentier, Georges Pon, and Yves Chauvin (Paris, 2006), 277-85. On Rigord: Baldwin, Government of Philip Augustus, 396-9.
  • 307 See the 1254-6 ordonnances in Ordonnances des roys de France de la troisieme race: recueillies par ordre chronologique, 21 vols. (Paris, 1723-1849), i. (ed. Eusebe Jacob de Lauriere), 65-81. For the earlier

Louis famously inquired into his officials’ conduct both before and after of his disastrous Egyptian crusade, in 1247 and 1254.308 In 1247 Louis licensed his mendicant inquisitors309 to

hear and summarise in writing and to inquire into complaints—according to the form given to them by us—if anyone have any against us on whatever reasonable grounds, or on account of us or our ancestors, and further to hear and write and to inquire simply and plainly about injuries and exactions, undue services, receipts and other damages; whether they were done by others, or whether they were done by our baillis, prevots, foresters, servants or their associates, during our reign, and to require them or their heirs that they themselves should restore those things to their compensation, either by their own confessions or by other proofs (probationes).310

It was Louis’s piety before the Crusade and his attempt to atone for its failure afterwards that impelled him to investigate ‘shrieval’ behaviour.311 At the end of his life he included similar injunctions in his envoi to his son:

Dear son, carefully ensure that there should be good baillis and prevots through your land, and act frequently in order to ensure that they themselves do justice well, and that they do not do injury to others, nor anything which they ought not, since while you should hate all evil, you should hate more than others the evil in another which comes from those who have power of you, and you should do more to guard and forestall against this should it happen.312

By contrast, the extensive sheriff’s oath of 1258 was imposed on the crown, not offered. Its extensiveness is here a sign that it was intended to constrain and limit, and a sign that the norms it specified were not being taken as read. When a further sheriff’s oath is documented at the start of Edward’s reign in 1274—5 its significance was that it was novel, substantive, and not coerced from the crown.313 Charles I of Anjou (r. 1266—85)—another king with extensive dynastic plans and therefore a gimlet eye for money—also took a hard, and principled line on his officers’ conduct. The parallel tendencies may have been genuinely polarized there. One can hear the gears screeching as the King’s need for money ground against his desire for equitable officers.314

January 1247 letters of commission, Teluet, Layettes, v. #490, RHF, xxiv.1. 4*. See further Jordan, Louis IXand the Challenge of the Crusade, 45—63, 158—71; Louis Carolus-Barre, ‘La Grande Ordonnance de 1254 sur la reforme de l’administration et la police du royaume’, in Septieme centenaire de la mort de Saint Louis: actes des colloques de Royaument et de Paris, 21—27 mai 1970 (Paris, 1976), 85—96.

  • 308 See generally Jordan, Louis IX and the Challenge of the Crusade, ch. 3 and 6; Ch.-V. Langlois, ‘Doleances recueillis par les enqueteurs de Saint Louis et des derniers Capetiens directs’, Revue his- torique 92 (1906), 1—41; Gerard Sivery, Saint Louis et son siecle, (Paris, 1983), 158—224; Sivery, ‘Mecontentement dans le royaume’; Le Goff, Saint Louis, 179—81, 225—8; Jean Richard, Saint Louis: Roi dune France feodale, soutien de la Terre sainte (Paris, 1983), 278—303.
  • 309 On mendicants’ unease about conducting secular comital inquisitions for Alphonse of Poitiers 1262—70, see Yves Dossat, ‘Inquisiteurs ou enqueteurs? A propos d’un texte d’Humbert de Romans’, Bulletinphilologique et historique (1958), 105—13; Jordan, Louis IXand the Challenge of the Crusade, 53^.

зю Layettes, v. #490 at 165—6.

  • 311 Jordan, Louis IXand the Challenge of the Crusade, 51, 55—64, 141—2, 148, 152—4, 158.
  • 312 Anonymous of St Denis, Gesta sancti Ludovici noni, in RHF, xx. 49.
  • 313 TNA, E 159/49, m. 1d, applied e.g. at 2d. Discussed in Prestwich, Edward I, 93; Maddicott, ‘Edward I and the Lessons of Baronial Reform’, 20.
  • 314 See Jean Dunbabin, ‘Charles I of Anjou and the Development of Medieval Political Ideas’, Nottingham Medieval Studies, 45 (2001) at 122.

The difficulty of extracting money was critical, as Southern and Maddicott have argued. Richard of Ely asserted that ‘Exchequer rules’ were only the projection of the king’s fiscal utilitas onto the wider world. John and Henry Ills need for money encouraged the over-dominance of those rules; they could not afford to have an ‘ethical shrieval policy’, so to speak. ‘No policy is better than the capacity of the government of the day and its agents to deliver it.’[37] One can see something similar in the Regno. The oscillating fortunes of the office-holding Della Marra, Rufolo, and De Braida under Charles I in the Regno suggest an ambiguous picture of officials variously blamed, fined, freed, and reappointed to bolster the reputation of the King, his need for money, and his desire to assert himself as the source of all patronage.[38] Even after the great Vespers rebellion (30 March 1282), Charles’s expressed ideal of greater and lesser officials’ conduct makes plain that circumscribing their freedom of manoeuvre remained problematic no matter how much one stressed some descending theory of delegation and answerability.[39]Administrative structures and fiscal ‘need’ were key in shaping royal approaches to ‘shrieval’ officers.

Traditions of kingship seem to have mattered too in so far as they encouraged kings to see officers’ conduct as mirrors for their own image. It is interesting to find in both France and the Regno around the time of Henry II’s 1170 inquest royal acta which stress this.

The Assizes of Roger II (1140s) are not principally concerned with the regulation of shrieval agents’ behaviour but still include pertinent headings. The stress on reform writ large is notable. They open with a pious preamble. God

has reformed [reformavit] the integrity of our kingdom, both spiritually and physically, by his most gracious tranquility, so we are forced likewise to reform [reformare] the pathways of justice and piety, where we see them miserably distorted [. . .] So rightly we who, through his grace, have authority by right and law [iuris et legum], ought partly to set them in a better state, partly to reform [reformare] them [. . .][40]

Specific headings show how good conduct and public offices were entertwined. De officialibus publicis rules that

The quality of a person increases or reduces the penalty for fraud. State officials [officiales reipublice] or judges who have stolen public money while administering, those who are guilty of the crime of fraud are to be punished capitally, unless regal piety shows leniency.[41]

Under De bonis publicis Roger ruled that

Whoever by his negligence will damage or diminish public goods [bonapublica] is to be declared guilty in his own person and goods, at the discretion of royal piety.

Whoever knowingly connives with such thieves will be held to the same rule.320

De iudice depravato rules that

If a judge, having received money, finds a defendant guilty and [worthy of] death, he exposes himself to the death penalty.

If a judge fraudulently and deceitfully hands down a sentence against the law he loses his judicial authority irrevocably, is branded with infamy and all his goods are forfeit to the public [publicatis]. However, if his legal judgement is an aberration arising from ignorance, he will be subject to royal mercy and providence, blameworthy because of his clear mental stupidity.321

The driving logic behind the inclusion of these headings is an emphasis on the status of the king, and the consequent damage done to it by wayward agents. Again, both a regal/regnal self-interest and a concern with the manner of its execution on the ground is apparent.

Philip Augustus’s 1190 ordonnance providing for his crusading absence defines

The royal office of the king is to provide in all appropriate ways for the interests of [his] subjects, and to place the public interest before his own private interest [Officium regium est subjectorum commodis modis omnibusprovidere et sue utilitatiprivatepublicam anteferre.][42] [43] [44] [45]

It is in that context that Philip legislates for the royal dues and non-financial accountability of his ‘shrieval’ baillis.

[. . .] And in our lands we have placed, clearly by name, our baillis who in their bailiwicks are to set aside one day every month which will be called assize, in which all those who make appeals [clamorem facient] will receive through them their rights [jus suum] and justice without delay, and we our rights and our justice; wherefore what is rightly ours will be there written.

[. . .] But if any of our baillis falls short [deliquerit], excepting murder, theft, homicide, breach of trust [proditione], and this is accepted by Archbishop [Guillaume de Reims] and the Queen and others present to hear of our aforesaid baillis deeds, we order them to advise us [of this] on the set days by their letters every year, three times a year, which bailli has fallen short, and what he has done, and what he has received [acceperit], and from whom, with respect to money or duty or service because of which our men lack their legal rights or we ours.

Similarly our baillis will notify us regarding our prevots.

But the queen and the archbishop cannot remove our baillis from their bailiwicks, unless for murder, theft, homicide, breach of trust [proditione]; nor the baillis the prevots, unless it is for the same. But we, with the counsel of God will make judgement of them, when the aforesaid men will have reported to us the truth of the matter, so that others cannot be intimidated [deterreri] without reason.323

This is an important form of redress in principle, if cumbersome in practice. By contrast, the tendency of English kings to see (or claim to see) shrieval misconduct as an o ffence to their own integrity seems distinctly erratic until Edward’s reign. Philip II’s proprietorial concern about ‘shrieval’ accountability had famous descendants.[46] Roger II’s had both Staufer and (French) Angevin ones.[47] In Capetian and Staufer spheres ‘shrieval’ conduct seems to have been resolved more commonly as a corollary of regal service. Louis IX, Frederick II, and Charles I took this view readily. Henry III and John by contrast seem to have arrived at this conclusion far more reluctantly, at least in so far as their willingness to respond to generalized complaints of shrieval conduct went. As ‘1215’ and ‘1258’ showed this was not for want of the conceptual or administrative wherewithal, but rather of interest, will, and money.

  • [1] R. W. Southern, ‘England’s First Entry into Europe’, in his Medieval Humanism, 135—57 at 153.
  • [2] Southern, ‘England’s First Entry into Europe’, 152. There is a sophisticated debate aboutwhether French revenues were indeed significantly higher than English ones by the late twelfth/earlythirteenth century. Even if previous estimations of French financial superiority need to be reducedsignificantly, the point about the relative effort of exacting these revenues remains. See Nick Barratt,‘Revenue of King John’, esp. 835—56, 844—5; Barratt, ‘English Revenue of Richard I’, 651—2, 656;Barratt, ‘The Revenues of John and Philip Augustus Revisited’, in S. D. Church (ed.), King John: NewInterpretations (Woodbridge, 1999), 75—99; Gillingham, Angevin Empire, 95—102; Baldwin,Government of Philip Augustus, 152—75.
  • [3] 256 Southern, ‘England’s First Entry into Europe’, 151.
  • [4] Bisson, Crisis of the Twelfth Century, 316—49.
  • [5] 258 Glenisson, ‘Enquetes administratives’, 19.
  • [6] Holt, Magna Carta, App. 6, discussion 61—6; Maddicott, Origins of the English Parliament,135-6, 256, 315-17.
  • [7] Maddicott, Origins of the English Parliament, 135—6; Ridgeway, ‘Mid-Thirteenth CenturyReformers’, 61—2.
  • [8] 261 Joinville, Histoire de Saint Louis, ed. M. Natalis de Wailly, 9th edn. (Paris, 1921), ch. 140 (§§703, 704, 709-10, 714).
  • [9] Romualdo Trifone, La Legislazione Angioina, Documenti per la storia dell’Italia meridionale 1(Naples, 1921), #59 at 104, 102, 103. Earlier practices, Dunbabin, Charles I of Anjou, 74.
  • [10] Cassidy, ‘William Heron’, analyses a local boy gone bad.
  • [11] Holt, ‘Philip Mark’, 12-13 and on the ‘King’s friends’, Holt, Northerners, 217-36. Complaintsabout ‘alien’ officers’ impunity as a function of their proximity to Henry III, 1258-64 was a variationof the ‘King’s friends’ complaint. See DBM #37c, cap. 3.
  • [12] See Maddicott, ‘Edward I and the Lessons of Baronial Reform’, 26.
  • [13] See the discussion of possible interpretations in Burt, Edward I and the Governance of England,109-14.
  • [14] Cf. Bloch, Societe feodale, 585-8.
  • [15] Cf. Maddicott, Origins of the English Parliament, 415, 393^, 405, 432—3.
  • [16] Key points of Maddicott, Origins of the English Parliament, ch. 7, but see esp. 386 (wealth),389—90 (itineration), 382, 406, 408, 415 (fragmentation, towns), 409^10 (mutable administration).
  • [17] 27° Actes du Parlement de Paris. 1. serie, de Pan 1254 a Pan 1328, ed. E. Boutaric, 2 vols. (Paris,1863—7), i. ccxcvii—ccxcviii (Arrets et enquetes, #2).
  • [18] 271 Baldwin, Government of Philip Augustus, 138—9 citing RHF, xxiv.1. *277 as a slim demonstration that it did.
  • [19] For Cadoc, see RHF, xxiv.1. *130—3; index entries in Cartulaire Normand, de Philippe-Auguste,Louis VIII, Saint Louis, et Philippe-le-Hardi, ed. Leopold Delisle (Caen, 1882, repr. Geneva, 1978);M. Prevost’s entry ‘Cadoc’, in DBF; Baldwin, Government of Philip Augustus, 223, 135 n. 289 andin C. Warren Hollister and John W Baldwin, ‘The Rise of Administrative Kingship: Henry I andPhilip Augustus’, AHR 83 (1978), 867—905 at 903; F. M. Powicke, The Loss of Normandy, 1189—1204: Studies in the History of the Angevin Empire, 2nd edn. (Manchester, 1961), 231, 271 n. 119,272—3, 172; Powicke, review of Audoin’s Essai sur Parmee royale au temps de Philippe Auguste, EHR30 (1915), 114.
  • [20] CEuvres de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton: historiens de Philippe-Auguste, ed. H.-Fran^oisDelaborde, Societe de l’histoire de France, 2 vols. (Paris, 1882—5), ii. Philippidos, 5 l. 262; 7 ll. 158, 396; 9 ll. 296, 394, 461.
  • [21] Elisabeth Lalou, ‘La Chambre des comptes de Paris: sa mise en place et son fonctionnement(fin XIIIe-XIVe siecle)’, in Contamine and Matteoni (eds.), La France desprincipautes, 3—15, esp. 4—9.She re-edits the Vivier-en-Brie ordonnance in ‘La Chambre des comptes du roi de France’, in PhilippeContamine and Olivier Matteoni (eds.), Les Chambres des comptes en France aux XIVe et XVe sie-cles: Textes et documents (Paris, 1998), 1—18 at 3—8.
  • [22] Genet, ‘Chambres des comptes des principautes et genese de l’etat moderne’, 270; cf. Maddicott,Origins of the English Parliament, 402—7, 421.
  • [23] Joinville, Histoire de Saint Louis, ch. 140, §701; Lalou, ‘La Chambre des comptes du roi deFrance’, 7 (cap. 22 of the Vivier-en-Brie ordonnance).
  • [24] Genet, ‘Chambres des comptes des principautes et genese de l’etat moderne’, 269—70.
  • [25] Matteoni, ‘Verifier, corriger, juger’, 57—8; Jacques Le Goff, Saint Louis (Paris, 1996), 323—5; cf.Lalou, ‘La Chambre des comptes de Paris’, 4.
  • [26] The phrase is Genet’s, ‘Chambres des comptes des principautes et genese de l’etat moderne’, 269.
  • [27] The same is true of the regular accounting in France and Flanders; see Lyon and Verhulst,Medieval Finance, passim. For England see PR H30.
  • [28] Earlier incarnations might have been more ‘courteous’ and it was part of Richard’s goal to showhow ‘officializing’ it was.
  • [29] cf. Bisson, Crisis of the Twelfth Century, 5, 94, 325—8, 490, 577, 579—81. See also my discussions on pp. 5-6, 67 n. 228, 82 n. 302, 89-90, 132, 170 n. 97, 249-50.
  • [30] The quotation is from an important passage where Bisson (Crisis of the Twelfth Century, 324),contrasts the two types in discussing the still-fidelitarian accountability of Guimann of Saint Vaast,c.1170.
  • [31] See the general ordinance for crown officials as given in Joinville, Histoire de Saint Louis,ch. 140, §§693-714. Louis stresses the personal nature of the service (‘tant comme il seront en nostreservice’, ‘soit en nostre service’, passim) at the same time as he articulates their duties in official, functional terms. These terms (e.g. §§694, 696) are both ethical (‘il feront droit a chascun sanz excepcionde persones, aussi aus povres comme aus riches’, etc.) and self-interested (‘jureront que il garderontloialment nos rentes et nos droiz’, etc.). See further pp. 157, 256-7.
  • [32] Gerard Sivery, ‘Le Mecontentement dans le royaume de France et les enquetes de saint Louis’, Revue historique 269 (1983), 3—24 at 9, 23^.
  • [33] Archives historiques du departement de la Gironde, 58 vols. (Paris/Bordeaux, 1859—1932), iii.##35-8; CR 1234-1237, 351-2, 371; CPR 1232-1247, 169, 201. The inquisitio is analysed byFrederic Boutoulle, ‘L’Enquete de 1236-1237 en Bordelais’, in Pecout (ed.), Quand gouverner cestenqueter, 117-31, also Raban, A Second Domesday?, 27. Boutoulle categorizes this as an ‘enqueteadministrative ou domaniale’ (118, 126). If the replacement of Henry de Trubleville as SeneschalGascony by one of the enqueteurs, Hubert Hosat, in 1237 was connected with the complaints, it didTrubleville no damage; he led the English contingent against the Lombard cities for Frederick II in1238 and took the cross with Richard of Cornwall in 1239 (Boutoulle, ‘L’enquete de 1236-1237’,131; C. J. Tyerman, ‘Trubleville, Sir Henry de (d. 1239)’, ODNB).
  • [34] 298 ‘Registres de Philippe Auguste, 35-180. These are mostly focused on establishing royal rightsbut include cases touching on officials’ tenure and conduct, e.g. ##89-90 (inquiry 1220 or later intocrimes at Roye and Montdidier, with Philip himself issuing punishments, ‘Rex fecit inde justiticiam etcepit. . .’); 67, 63, 98, 112, 113, 100, 103, 81. For statistics and discussion of Philip II see Baldwin, Government of Philip Augustus, 41, table 2, 141—4, 248-57.
  • [35] The context was Louis’s ostensible disquiet at the state of communal governance following hisattempt to raise a levy on them 1257/9 to compensate Henry III for his expected renunciation ofFrench lands.
  • [36] Le Goff, Saint Louis, 229-32; William Chester Jordan, ‘Communal Administration in France,1257-1270: Problems Discovered and Solutions Imposed’, Ideology and Royal Power in Medieval
  • [37] Mutatis mutandis, Anthony King and Ivor Crewe, The Blunders of our Governments (London, 2013), 413.
  • [38] The argument of Serena Morelli, ‘«Ad extirpenda vitia»: normativa regia e sistemi di controllosul funzionariato nella prima eta angioina’, Melanges de l’Ecole fran^aise de Rome: Moyen-Age, tempsmodernes 109.2 (1997), 463—75, esp. 469—73. Also Dunbabin, Charles I of Anjou, 74—6, 107—8.
  • [39] See the ruling ‘Post corruptionis amara discrimina’ (10 June 1282), RCA, xxv. Documenti trattida altre fonti, #5 at 194—208
  • [40] Gennaro M. Monti, Lo stato normanno svevo, lineamenti e ricerche (Trani, 1945), 114—15(Vatican lat. MS 8782).
  • [41] Monti, Stato normanno, 135—6 (cap. 25).
  • [42] Monti, Stato normanno, 136—7 (cap. 26).
  • [43] Monti, Stato normanno, 157 (cap. 44, the title is from the Cassinense MS).
  • [44] Recueil des Actes de Philippe, i. #345 at 416.
  • [45] Recueil des Actes de Philippe, i. #345 at 417—18.
  • [46] For the idea in France from c.1254—c.1380, Telliez, «Per potentiam officii», 62—70, 681—3,411-14.
  • [47] See Konstitutionen Friedrichs II. fur das Konigreich sizilien, caps. 1.36.1, 1.36.2, 1.37 (all drawnfrom earlier legislation). Also caps. 1.30, 3.41 on officials as representative extensions of the King’sperson; severe punishment for officials guilty of crimes against the res publica.
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