CHAPTER XVI. HENRY OUTGENERALLED
Still earlier in the year died Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury, and long disputes followed between the monks of the cathedral church and the suffragan bishops of the province as to the election of his successor. The monks claimed the exclusive right of election, the bishops claimed the right to concur and represented on this occasion the interests of the king. After a delay of almost a year, Baldwin, Bishop of Worcester, was declared elected, but no final settlement was made of the disputed rights to elect. In legislation the year is marked by the Forest Assize, which regulated the forest courts and re-enacted the forest law of the early Norman kings in all its severity. One of its most important provisions was that hereafter punishments for forest offences should be inflicted strictly upon the body of the culprit and no longer take the form of fines. Not merely was the taking of game by private persons forbidden, but the free use of their own timber on such of their lands as lay within the bounds of the royal forests was taken away. The Christmas feast of the year saw another family gathering more complete than usual, for not merely were Richard and John present, but the Duke and Duchess of Saxony, still in exile, with their children, including the infant William, who had been born at Winchester the previous summer, and whose direct descendants were long afterwards to come to the throne of his grandfather with the accession of the house of Hanover. Even Queen Eleanor was present at this festival, for she had been released for a time at the request of her daughter Matilda.
One more year of the half decade which still remained of life to Henry was to pass with only a slight foreshadowing, near its close, of the anxieties which were to fill the remainder of his days. The first question of importance which arose in 1185 concerned the kingdom of Jerusalem. England had down to this time taken slight and only indirect part in the great movement of the crusades. The Christian states in the Holy Land had existed for nearly ninety years, but with slowly declining strength and defensive power. Recently the rapid progress of Saladin, creating a new Mohammedan empire, and not merely displaying great military and political skill, but bringing under one bond of interest the Saracens of Egypt and Syria, whose conflicts heretofore had been among the best safeguards of the Christian state, threatened the most serious results. The reigning king of Jerusalem at this moment was Baldwin IV, grandson of that Fulk V, Count of Anjou, whom we saw, more than fifty years before this date, handing over his French possessions to his son Geoffrey, newly wedded to Matilda the Empress, and departing for the Holy Land to marry its heiress and become its king. Baldwin was therefore the first cousin of Henry II, and it was not unnatural that his kingdom should turn in the midst of the difficulties that surrounded it to the head of the house of Anjou now so powerful in the west. The embassy which came to seek his cousin's help was the most dignified and imposing that could be sent from the Holy Land, with Heraclius the patriarch of Jerusalem at its head, supported by the grand-masters of the knights of the Temple and of the Hospital. The grand-master of the Templars died at Verona on the journey, but the survivors landed in England at the end of January, 1185, and Henry who was on his way to York turned back and met them at Reading. There Heraclius described the evils that afflicted the Christian kingdom so eloquently that the king and all the multitude who heard were moved to sighs and tears. He offered to Henry the keys of the tower of David and of the holy sepulchre, and the banner of the kingdom, with the right to the throne itself.