CHAPTER II. THE ANGEVIN EMPIRE
The king at once put in force the scheme of reform which had been drawn up the year before at Wallingford, and of which the provisions have comedown to us in phrases drawn from the two sources which were most familiar to the learned and the vulgar of that day, - the Bible, and the prophecies of Merlin, the seer of King Arthur. The nobles were to give up all illegal rights and estates which they had usurped. The castles built by the warring barons were to be destroyed. The king was to bring back husbandmen to the desolate fields, and to stock pastures and forests and hillsides with cattle and deer and sheep. The clergy were henceforth to live in quiet, not vexed by unaccustomed burdens. Sheriffs were to be restored to the counties, who should do justice without corruption, nor persecute any for malice; thieves and robbers were to be hanged; the armed forces were to be disbanded; the knights were to beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; the hired Flemish soldiers were to turn from the camp to the plough, from tents to workshops, there to render as servants the obedience they had once demanded as masters. The work which Stephen had failed to do was now swiftly accomplished. The Flemish mercenaries vanished "like phantoms," or "like wax before the fire," and their leader, William of Ypres, the lord of Kent, turned with weeping to a monastery in his own land. The feudal lords were forced to give up such castles and lands as they had wrongfully usurped; and the newly-created earls were deprived of titles which they had wrung from King or Empress in the civil wars.
The great nobles of both parties made a last effort at resistance. In the north the Count of Aumale ruled almost as king. He was of the House of Champagne, son of that Count Stephen who had once been set up as claimant to the English throne, and near kinsman both of Henry and of Stephen. He now refused to give up Scarborough Castle; behind him lay the armies of the Scot king, and if Aumale's rebellion were successful the whole north must be lost. A rising on the Welsh border marked the revival of the old danger of which Henry himself had had experience in the castle of his uncle, Robert of Gloucester, when the Empress and Robert, with his Welsh connections and alliances, had dominated the whole of the south-west. Hugh Mortimer, lord of Wigmore, Cleobury, and Bridgenorth, the most powerful lord on the Welsh border, and Roger, Earl of Hereford and lord of Gloucester, and connected by his mother with the royal house of Wales, prepared for war. Immediately after his crowning Henry hurried to the north, accompanied by Theobald, and forced Aumale to submission. The fear of him fell on the barons. Roger of Hereford submitted, and the earldom of Hereford and city of Gloucester were placed in Henry's hands. The whole force of the kingdom was called out against Hugh Mortimer, and Bridgenorth, fortified fifty years before by Robert of Belesme, was reduced in July. The next year William of Warenne, the son of Stephen, gave up all his castles in England and Normandy, and the power of the House of Blois in the realm was finally extinguished. Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, was deprived of his fortresses, and the eastern counties were thus secured as those of the north and west had been.
The borders of the kingdom were now safe; its worst elements of disorder were suppressed; and the bishops and barons had taken an oath of allegiance to his son William, and in case of William's death to the infant Henry, born in February 1155. When Henry was called abroad in January 1156, he could safely leave the kingdom for a year in the charge of Queen Eleanor and of the justiciars. His return was marked by a new triumph. The death of David and the succession of his grandson Malcolm, a boy of twelve years old, gave opportunity for asserting his suzerainty over Scotland, and freeing himself from his oath made in 1149 at Carlisle to grant the land beyond the Tyne to David and his heirs for ever. Malcolm was brought to do homage to him at Chester in June 1157, and Northumberland and Cumberland passed into Henry's hands. Malcolm and his successor William followed him in his wars and attended at his courts, and whatever Henry's actual authority might be, in the eyes of his English subjects at least he ruled to the farthest borders of Scotland. He next turned to the settlement of Wales. The civil war had violently interrupted the peaceful processes by which Henry I. sought to bring the Welsh under English law. The princes of Wales had practically regained their independence, while the Norman lords who had carved out estates for themselves along its borders, indignant at Stephen's desertion of them, and driven to provide for their own safety, had formed alliances by marriage with the native rulers. Henry had, in fact, to reconquer the country, and to provide safeguards against any military union between the feudal lords of the border and its hostile princes, Owen Gwynneth of the North, and Rhys ap-Gryffyth of the South. In 1157 he undertook the first of his three expeditions against Wales. His troops, however, unused to mountain warfare, had but ill success; and it was only when Henry had secured the castles of Flintshire, and gathered a fleet along the coast to stop the importation of corn that Owen was driven in August to do homage for his land. The next year he penetrated into the mountains of South Wales and took hostages from its ruler, Rhys-ap-Gryffyth; "the honour and glory and beauty and invincible strength of the knights; Rhys, the pillar and saviour of his country, the harbour and defender of the weak, the admiration and terror of his enemies, the sole pillar and hope of South Wales."