CHAPTER IX. REVOLT OF THE BARONAGE
With the spring of 1174, however, the strife raged again on all sides. Ireland rose in rebellion. William of Scotland marched into England supported by a Flemish force. Roger Mowbray, and probably the Bishop of Durham, were in league with him. Earl Ferrers fortified his castles in Derby and Stafford; Leicester Castle was still held by the Earl of Leicester's knights; Huntingdon by the Scot king's brother; and the Earl of Norfolk was joined in June by a picked body of Flemings. The king's castles at Norwich, Northampton, and Nottingham, were taken by the rebels, and a formidable line of enemies stretched right across mid-England. At the same time France and Flanders threatened invasion with a strong fleet, and "so great an army as had not been seen for many years." Count Philip, who had set his heart on the promised Kent, and on winning entrance into the lands of the Cistercian wool-growers of Lincolnshire, swore before Louis and his nobles that within fifteen days he would attack England; the younger Henry joined him at Gravelines in June, and they only waited for a fair wind to cross the Channel.
The justiciars were in an extremity of despair. "Seeing the evil that was done in the land," they anxiously sent messenger after messenger to the king. But Henry had little time to heed English complaints. Richard had declared war in Aquitaine; Maine and Anjou were half in revolt; Louis was on the point of invading Normandy. As a last resource his hard-pressed ministers sent Richard of Ilchester, the bishop-elect of Winchester, whom they knew to be favoured by the king beyond all others, to tell him again of "the hatred of the barons, the infidelity of the citizens, the clamour of the crowd always growing worse, the greed of the 'new men,' the difficulty of holding down the insurrection." "The English have sent their messengers before, and here comes even this man!" laughed the Normans; "what will be left in England to send after the king save the Tower of London!" Richard reached Henry on the 24th of June, and on the same day Henry abandoned Normandy to Louis' attack, and made ready for return. "He saw that while he was absent, and as it were not in existence, no one in England would offer any opposition to him who was expected to be his successor;" and he "preferred that his lands beyond the sea should be in peril rather than his own realm of England." Sending forward a body of Brabantines, he followed with his train of prisoners - Queen Eleanor, Queen Margaret and her sister Adela, the Earls of Chester and of Leicester, and various governors of castles whom he carried with him in chains. In an agony of anxiety the king watched for a fair wind till the 7th of July. At last the sails were spread; but of a sudden the waves began to rise, and the storm to grow ominously. Those who watched the face of the king saw him to be in doubt; then he lifted his eyes to heaven and prayed before them all, "If I have set before my eyes the things which make for the peace of clergy and people, if the King of heaven has ordained that peace shall be restored by my arrival, then let Him in His mercy bring me to a safe port; but if He is against me, and has decreed to visit my kingdom with a rod, then let me never touch the shores of the land."
A good omen was granted, and he safely reached Southampton. Refusing even to enter the city, and eating but bread and water, he pressed forward to Canterbury. At its gates he dismounted and put away from him the royal majesty, and with bare feet, in the garb of a pilgrim and penitent, his footsteps marked with blood, he passed on to the church. There he sought the martyr's sepulchre, and lying prostrate with outstretched hands, he remained long in prayer, with abundance of tears and bitter groanings. After a sermon by Foliot the king filled up the measure of humiliation. He made public oath that he was guiltless of the death of the archbishop, but in penitence of his hasty words he prayed absolution of the bishops, and gave his body to the discipline of rods, receiving three or five strokes from each one of the seventy monks. That night he prayed and fasted before the shrine, and the next day rode still fasting to London, which he reached on the 14th. Three days later a messenger rode at midnight to the gate of the palace where the king lay ill, worn out by suffering and fatigue for which the doctors had applied their usual remedy of bleeding. He forced his way to the door of the king's bedchamber. "Who art thou?" cried the king, suddenly startled from sleep. "I am the servant of Ranulf de Glanville, and I come to bring good tidings." - "Ranulf our friend, is he well?" - "He is well, my lord, and behold he holds your enemy, the King of Scots, captive in chains at Richmond." The king was half stunned by the news, but as the messenger produced Glanville's letter, he sprang from his bed, and in a transport of emotion and tears, gave thanks to God, while the joyful ringing of bells told the good news to the London citizens.