All hope of progress, of any wise and statesmanlike settlement of Ireland, utterly died away when, on Easter night, 16th April 1172, Henry sailed from Wexford. The next morning he landed near St. David's. He entered its gates as a pilgrim, on foot and staff in hand, while the monks came out in solemn procession to lead him to the ancient church on the other side of the river. Suddenly a Welsh woman sprang out from among the crowd, and striking her hands together wildly, threw herself at his feet crying with a loud voice, "Avenge us to-day, Lechlavar! Avenge the people of this land!" The woman's bitter cry told the first thought of all the thronging multitudes of eager Welshmen that day, how Merlin had prophesied that an English king, the conqueror of Ireland, should die on Lechlavar, a great stone which formed a rude natural bridge across the stream, and round which the pagan superstitions of an immemorial past still clung. When the strange procession reached the river, Henry stood for a moment looking steadily at the stone, then with a courage which we can scarcely measure, he firmly set his foot on it and slowly crossed over; and from the other side, in the face of all the people he turned and flung his taunt at the prophet, "Who will ever again believe the lies of Merlin?" As he passed through Cardiff another omen met him; a white-robed monk stood before him as he came out of church. "God hold thee, Cuning!" he cried in the English tongue, and broke out into passionate warnings of evil to come unless the king would show more reverence to the Sunday, a matter about which there was at this time a great stirring of religious feeling. "Ask this rustic," said Henry in French to a knight who held his rein, "whether he has dreamed this." The monk turned from the interpreter to the king and spoke again: "Whether I have dreamed this or no, mark this day, for unless thou amendest thy life, before this year has passed thou shalt hear such news of those thou lovest best, and shalt win such sorrow from them, that it shall not fail thee till thy dying day!"

From Wales Henry struck across England, "turning neither to right nor left, and marching at a double pace." In a few days he was at Portsmouth. To hinder further mischief the younger Henry was ordered to join him and carried over sea; and the first news that reached Louis was the king's arrival in Normandy. "The King of England," Louis cried in his amazement, "is now in Ireland, now in England, now in Normandy; he may rather be said to fly than go by horse or boat!" Henry hastened on his landing to meet the legates. Negotiations were opened in May. Submission was inevitable, for fear of the rebellion which was then actually brewing left him in fact no choice of action. He agreed unreservedly to their demands. As an earnest of repentance and reformation he consented to a new coronation of his son; and on the 27th of August the young king was crowned again, along with his wife, at Winchester. Henry completed his submission at Avranches on the 27th of September. He swore that he had not desired the death of Thomas, but to make satisfaction for the anger he had shown, he promised to take the cross, to give funds to the Knights Templars for the defence of Jerusalem, and to found three religious houses. He renounced the Constitutions of Clarendon. He swore allegiance to Alexander against the anti-Pope. He promised that the possessions of Canterbury should be given back as they were a year before the flight of Thomas, and that his exiled friends should be restored to their possessions. No king of England had ever suffered so deep a humiliation. It seemed as thought he martyr were at last victorious. A year after the murder, in December 1172, Canterbury cathedral was once more solemnly opened, amid the cries of a vast multitude of people, "Avenge, O Lord, the blood which has been poured out!" On the anniversary of the Christmas Day when Thomas had launched his last excommunications, the excited people noted "a great thunder sudden and horrible in Ireland, in England, and in all the kingdoms of the French." Very soon mighty miracles were wrought by the name of the martyr throughout the whole of Europe. The metal phials which hung from the necks of pilgrims to the shrine of Canterbury became as famous as the shell and palm branch which marked the pilgrims to Compostella and Jerusalem. Before ten years were passed the King of France, the Count of Nevers, the Count of Boulogne, the Viscount of Aosta, the Archbishop of Reims, had knelt at his shrine among English prelates, nobles, knights, and beggars. The feast of the Trinity which Thomas had appointed to be observed on the anniversary of his consecration spread through the whole of Christendom. Henry, in fact, had to bear the full storm of scorn and hatred that falls on every statesman who stands in advance of the public opinion of his day. But his seeming surrender at Avranches won for the politic king immediate and decisive advantages. All fear of excommunication and interdict had passed away. The clergy were no longer alienated from him. The ecclesiastical difficulties raised by the coronation, and the jealousies of Louis, were set at rest. The alliance of the Pope was secured. The conquest of Ireland was formally approved. Success seemed to crown Henry's scheme for the building up of his empire. Britanny had been secured for Geoffrey in 1171; in June 1172 Richard was enthroned as Duke of Aquitaine; in the following August Henry was crowned for the second time King of England. Only the youngest child, scarcely five years old, was still "John Lackland," and in this same year Henry provided a dominion for John by a treaty of marriage between him and the heiress of the Count of Maurienne. Her inheritance stretched from the Lake of Geneva almost to the Gulf of Genoa; and the marriage would carry the Angevin dominions almost from the Atlantic to the Alps, and give into Henry's control every pass into Italy from the Great St. Bernard to the Col di Tenda, and all the highways by which travellers from Geneva and German lands beyond it, from Burgundy or from Gaul, made their way to Rome. To celebrate such a treaty Henry forgot his thrift. The two kings of England travelled with ostentatious splendour to meet the Count of Maurienne in Auvergne in January 1173. The King of Aragon and the Count of Toulouse met them at Montferrand, and a peace which Henry concluded between Toulouse and Aragon declared the height of his influence. Raymond bent at last to do homage for Toulouse, an act of submission which brought the dominion of Anjou to the very border of the Mediterranean.

There was a wild outbreak of alarm among all Henry's enemies as from his late humiliation he suddenly rose to this new height of power. The young king listened eagerly to those who plotted mischief, and one night in mid-Lent he fled to the court of Louis. In an agony of apprehension Henry sought to close the breach, and sent messages of conciliation to the French king. "Who sends this message to me?" demanded Louis. "The King of England," answered the messengers. "It is false," he said; "behold the King of England is here, and he sends no message to me by you; but if you so call his father who once was king, know ye that he asking is dead." The Counts of Flanders, of Boulogne, and of Blois, joined the young king in Paris, and did homage to him for fiefs which he bestowed on them - Kent, Dover, Eochester, lands in Lincolnshire, and domains and castles in Normandy - while he won the aid of the Scot king by granting him all Northumberland to the Tyne. The rebellion was organized in a month. Eleanor sent Richard, commander of the forces of Aquitaine, and Geoffrey, lord of Britanny, to take their share in the revolt; she herself was hastening after them when she was seized and thrown into prison. In Aquitaine, where the people impartially hated both French and Normans, the enthusiasm for independence was stirred by songs such as those of the troubadour, Bertrand de Born, lord of a fortress and a thousand men, who "was never content, save when the kings of the North were at war." In Normandy old hatreds had deepened year by year as Henry had gone on steadily seizing castles and lands which had fallen out of the possession of the crown. In 1171 he had doubled the revenue of the duchy by lands which the nobles had usurped. In 1172 he had alarmed them by having a new return made of the feudal tenures for purposes of taxation. The great lords of the duchy with one consent declared against him. Britanny sprang to arms. If Maine and Anjou remained fairly quiet, there was in both of them a powerful party of nobles who joined the revolt. The rebel party was everywhere increased by all who had joined the young king, "not because they thought his the juster cause," but in fierce defiance of a rule intolerable for its justice and its severity. England was no less ready for rebellion. The popular imagination was still moved by the horror of the archbishop's murder. The generation that remembered the miseries of the former anarchy was now passing away, and to some of the feudal lords order doubtless seemed the greater ill. The new king too had lavished promises and threats to win the English nobles to his side. "There were few barons in England who were not wavering in their allegiance to the king, and ready to desert him at any time." The more reckless eagerly joined the rebellion; the more prudent took refuge in France, that they might watch how events would go; there was a timid and unstable party who held outwardly to the king in vigilant uncertainty, haunted by fears that they should be swept away by the possible victory of his son. Such descendants of the Normans of the Conquest as had survived the rebellions and confiscations of a hundred years were eager for revenge. The Earl of Leicester and his wife were heirs of three great families, whose power had been overthrown by the policy of the Conqueror and his sons. William of Aumale was descended from the Count who had claimed the throne in the Conqueror's days, and bitterly remembered the time before Henry's accession, when he had reigned almost as king in Northern England. Hugh of Puiset, Bishop of Durham, whose diocese stretched across Northumberland, and who ruled as Earl Palatine of the marchland between England and Scotland; the Earl of Huntingdon, brother of the Scot king; Roger Mowbray, lord of the castles of Thirsk and Malessart north of York, and of a strong castle in the Isle of Axholm; Earl Ferrers, master of fortresses in Derby and Stafford; Hugh, Earl of Chester and Lord of Bayeux and Avranches, joined the rebellion. So did the old Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, who had already fought and schemed against Henry in vain twenty years before. The Earls of Clare and Gloucester on the Welsh border were of very doubtful loyalty. Half of England was in revolt, and north of a line drawn from Huntingdon to Chester the king only held a few castles - York, Richmond, Carlisle, Newcastle, and some fortresses of Northumberland. The land beyond Sherwood and the Trent, shut off by an almost continuous barrier of marsh and forest from the south, was still far behind the rest of England in civilization. The new industrial activity of Yorkshire was not yet forty years old; in a great part of the North money-rents had scarcely crept in, and the serfs were still toiling on under the burden of labour-dues which had been found intolerable elsewhere. The fines, the taxes, the attempt to bring its people under a more advanced system of government must have pressed very hardly on this great district which was not yet ready for it; and to the fierce anger of the barons, and the ready hostility of the monasteries, was perhaps added the exasperation of freeholder and serf.

Henry, however, was absolute master of the whole central administration of the realm. Moreover, by his decree of the year before he had set over every shire a sheriff who was wholly under his own control, trained in his court, pledged to his obedience, and who had firm hold of the courts, the local forces, and the finances. The king now hastened to appoint bishops whom he could trust to the vacant sees. Geoffrey, an illegitimate son who had been born to him very early, probably about the time when he visited England to receive knighthood, was sent to Lincoln; and friends of the king were consecrated to Winchester, Ely, Bath, Hereford, and Chichester. Prior Richard of Dover, a man "laudably inoffensive who prudently kept within his own sphere," was made Archbishop of Canterbury. Richard de Lucy remained in charge of the whole kingdom as justiciar. The towns and trading classes were steadfast in loyalty, and the baronage was again driven, as it had been before, to depend on foreign mercenaries.

War first broke out in France in the early summer of 1173. Normandy and Anjou were badly defended, and their nobles were already half in revolt, while the forces of France, Flanders, Boulogne, Chartres, Champagne, Poitou, and Britanny were allied against Henry. The counts of Flanders and Boulogne invaded Normandy from the north-east, and the traitor Count of Aumale, the guardian of the Norman border, gave into their hands his castles and lands. Louis and Henry's sons besieged Verneuil in the south-west. To westward the Earl of Chester and Ralph of Fougeres organized a rising in Britanny. In "extreme perplexity," utterly unable to meet his enemies in the field, Henry could only fortify his frontier, and hastily recall the garrison which he had left in Ireland, while he poured out his treasure in gathering an army of hired soldiers. Meanwhile he himself waited at Rouen, "that he might be seen by all the people, bearing with an even mind whatever happened, hunting oftener than usual, showing himself with a cheerful face to all who came, answering patiently those who wished to gain anything from him; while those whom he had nourished from days of childhood, those whom he had knighted, those who had been his servants and his most familiar counsellors, night by night stole away from him, expecting his speedy destruction and thinking the dominion of his son at once about to be established." Never did the kings show such resource and courage as in the campaign that followed. The Count of Boulogne was killed in battle, and the invading army in the north-east hesitated at the unlucky omen and fell back. Instantly Henry seized his opportunity. He rode at full speed to Verneuil with his army, a hastily collected mob of chance soldiers so dissatisfied and divided in allegiance that he dared not risk a battle. An audacious boast saved the crafty king. "With a fierce countenance and terrible voice" he cried to the French messengers who had hurried out to see if the astounding news of his arrival were true, "Go tell your king I am at hand as you see!" At the news of the ferocity and resolution of the enemy, Louis, "knowing him to be fierce and of a most bitter temper, as a bear robbed of its whelps rages in the forest," hastily retreated, and Henry, as wise a general as he was excellent an actor, fell back to Rouen. Meanwhile he sent to Britanny a force of Brabantines, whom alone he could trust. They surrounded the rebels at Dol; and before Henry, "forgetting food and sleep" and riding "as though he had flown," could reach the place, most of his foes were slain. The castle where the rest had taken refuge surrendered, and he counted among his prisoners the Earl of Chester, Ralph of Fougeres, and a hundred other nobles. The battle of Dol practically decided the war. It seemed vain to fight against Henry's good luck. A few Flemings once crossed the Norman border, and were defeated and drowned in retreat by the bridge breaking. "The very elements fight for the Normans!" cried the baffled and disheartened Louis. "When I entered Normandy my army perished for want of water, now this one is destroyed by too much water." In despair he sought to save himself by playing the part of mediator; and in September Henry met his sons at Gisors to discuss terms of peace. His terms were refused and the meeting broke up; but Henry remained practically master of the situation.

Meanwhile in England the rebellion had broken out in July. The Scottish army ravaged the north; the Earl of Leicester, with an army of Flemings which he had collected by the help of Louis and the younger Henry, landed on the coast of Suffolk, where Hugh Bigod was ready to welcome him. De Lucy and Bohun hurried from the north to meet this formidable danger, and with the help of the Earls of Cornwall, Arundel, and Gloucester, they defeated Leicester in a great battle at Fornham on the 17th of October. The earl himself was taken prisoner, and 10,000 of his foreign troops were slain. He and his wife were sent by Henry's orders to Normandy, and there thrown into prison. A truce was made with Scotland till the end of March. The king of France and the younger Henry abandoned hope, "for they saw that God was with the king;" and there was a general pause in the war.

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.

Two great dangers, in fact, had passed away while the king knelt before the shrine at Canterbury. On that very day the Scottish army had been broken to pieces. In the south the fleet which lay off the coast of Flanders had dispersed. On the 18th of July, the day after the good news had come, Henry himself marched north with the army that had been gathered while he lay ill. Before a week was over Hugh Bigod had yielded up his castles and banished his Flemish soldiers. The Bishop of Durham secretly sent away his nephew, the Count of Bar, who had landed with foreign troops. Henry's Welsh allies attacked Tutbury, a castle of the Earl of Ferrers. Geoffrey, the bishop-elect of Lincoln, had before Henry's landing waged vigorous war on Mowbray. By the end of July the whole resistance was at an end. On the last day of the month the king held a council at Northampton, at which William of Scotland stood before him a prisoner, while Hugh of Durham, Mowbray, Ferrers, and the officers of the Earl of Leicester came to give up their fortresses. The castles of Huntingdon and Norfolk were already secured. The suspected Earls of Gloucester and of Clare swore fidelity at the King's Court. Scotland was helpless. A treaty was made with the Irish kings. Wales was secured by a marriage between the prince of North Wales and Henry's sister.

But there was still danger over sea, where the armies of the French and the Flemings had closed round Rouen. On the 8th of August, exactly a month after his landing at Southampton, Henry again crossed the Channel with his unwieldy train of prisoners. As he stood under the walls of Rouen, the besieging armies fled by night. Louis' fancy already showed him the English host in the heart of France, and in his terror he sought for peace. The two kings concluded a treaty at Gisors, and on the 30th of September the conspiracy against Henry was finally dissolved. His sons did homage to him, and bound themselves in strange medieval fashion by the feudal tie which was the supreme obligation of that day; he was now "not only their father, but their liege lord." The Count of Flanders gave up into Henry's hands the charter given him by the young king. The King of Scotland made absolute submission in December 1174, and was sent back to his own land. Eleanor alone remained a close prisoner for years to come.

The revolt of 1173-74 was the final ruin of the old party of the Norman baronage. The Earl of Chester got back his lands, but lost his castles, and was sent out of the way to the Irish war; he died before the king in 1181. Leicester humbly admitted "that he and all his holdings were at the mercy of the king," and Henry "restored to him Leicester, and the forest which by common oath of the country had been sworn to belong to the king's own domain, for he knew that this had been done for envy, and also because it was known that the king hated the earl;" but Henry had a long memory, and the walls of Leicester were in course of time thrown down and its fortifications levelled. The Bishop of Durham had to pay 200 marks of silver for the king's pardon, and give up Durham Castle. At the death of Hugh Bigod in 1177 Henry seized the earl's treasure. The Earls of Clare and Gloucester died within two years, and the king's son John was made Gloucester's heir. The rebel Count of Aumale died in 1179, and his heiress married the faithful Earl of Essex, who took the title of Aumale with all the lands on both sides of the water. In 1186 Roger Mowbray went on crusade. The king took into his own hands all castles, even those of "his most familiar friend," the justiciar De Lucy. The work of dismantling dangerous fortresses which he had begun twenty years before was at last completed, and no armed revolt of the feudal baronage was ever again possible in England.

But the rebellion had wakened in the king's mind a deep alarm, which showed itself in a new severity of temper. Famine and plague had fallen on the country; the treasury was well nigh empty; law and order were endangered. Henry hastened to return as soon as his foreign campaign was over, and in May 1175 "the two kings of England, whom a year before the breadth of the kingdom could not contain, now crossed in one ship, sat at one table, and slept in one bed." In token of reconciliation with the Church they attended a synod at Westminster, and went together on solemn pilgrimage to the martyr's tomb. Then they made a complete visitation of the whole kingdom. Starting from Reading on the 1st of June, they went by Oxford to Gloucester, then along the Welsh border to Shrewsbury, through the midland counties by Lichfield and Nottingham to York, and then back to London, having spent on their journey two months and a few days; and in autumn they made a progress through the south-western provinces. At every halt some weighty business was taken in hand. The Church was made to feel anew the royal power. Twelve of the great abbeys were now without heads, and the king, justly fearing lest the monks should elect abbots from their own body, "and thus the royal authority should be shaken, and they should follow another guidance than his own," sent orders that on a certain day chosen men should be sent to elect acceptable prelates at his court and in his presence. The safety of the Welsh marches was assured. The castle of Bristol was given up to the king, and border barons and Welsh princes swore fidelity at Gloucester. An edict given at Woodstock ordered that no man who during the war had been in arms against the king should come to his court without a special order; that no man should remain in his court after the setting of the sun, or should come to it before the sun rising; in the England that lay west of the Severn, none might carry bow and arrow or pointed knife. In this wild border district the checks which prevailed elsewhere against violent crime were unknown. The outlaw or stranger who fled to forest or moorland for hiding, might lawfully be slain by any man who met him. No "murder-fine" was known there. The king, not daring perhaps to interfere with the "liberties" of the west, may have sought to check crime by this order against arms; but such a law was practically a dead letter, for in a land where every man was the guardian of his own life it was far more perilous to obey the new edict than to disregard it.

The king's harsh mood was marked too by the cruel prosecutions of offences against forest law which had been committed in the time of the war. The severe punishments were perhaps a means of chastizing is affected landowners; they were certainly useful in filling the empty treasury. Nobles and barons everywhere were sued for hunting or cutting wood or owning dogs, and were fined sometimes more than their whole possessions were worth. In vain the justiciar, De Lucy, pleaded for justice to men who had done these things by express orders of the king given to De Lucy himself; "his testimony could prevail nothing against the royal will." Even the clergy were dragged before the civil courts, "neither archbishop nor bishop daring to make any protest." The king's triumph over the rebellion was visibly complete when at York the treaty which had been made the previous year with the King of Scotland was finally concluded, and William and his brother did homage to the English sovereigns. A few weeks later Henry and his son received at Windsor the envoys of the King of Connaught, the only one of the Irish princes who had till now refused homage.

In the Church as in the State the royal power was unquestioned. A papal legate arrived in October, who proved a tractable servant of the king; "with the right hand and the left he took gifts, which he planted together in his coffers". His coming gave Henry opportunity to carry out at last through common action of Church and State his old scheme of reforms. In the Assize of Northampton, held in January 1176, the king confirmed and perfected the judicial legislation which he had begun ten years before in the Assize of Clarendon. The kingdom was divided into six circuits. The judges appointed to the circuits were given a more full independence than they had before, and were no longer joined with the sheriffs of the counties in their sessions, their powers were extended beyond criminal jurisdiction to questions of property, of inheritance, of wardship, of forfeiture of crown lands, of advowsons to churches, and of the tenure of land. For the first time the name of Justitiarii Itinerantes was given in the Pipe Roll to these travelling justices, and the anxiety of the king to make the procedure of his courts perfectly regular, instead of depending on oral tradition, was shown by the law books which his ministers began at this time to draw up. As a security against rebellion, a new oath of fealty was required from every man, whether earl or villein, fugitives and outlaws were to be more sharply sought after, and felons punished with harsher cruelty. "Thinking more of the king than of his sheep," the legate admitted Henry's right to bring the clergy before secular courts for crimes against forest law, and in various questions of lay fiefs; and agreed that murderers of clerks, who till then had been dealt with by the ecclesiastical courts, should bear the same punishment as murderers of laymen, and should be disinherited. Religious churchmen looked on with helpless irritation at Henry's first formal victory over the principles of Thomas; in the view of his own day he had "renewed the Assize of Clarendon, and ordered to be observed the execrable decrees for which the blessed martyr Thomas had borne exile for seven years, and been crowned with the crown of martyrdom."

During the next two years Henry was in perpetual movement through the land from Devon to Lincoln, and between March 1176 and August 1177 he summoned eighteen great councils, besides many others of less consequence. From 1178 to 1180 he paid his last long visit to England, and again with the old laborious zeal he began his round of journeys through the country. "The king inquired about the justices whom he had appointed, how they treated the men of the kingdom; and when he learned that the land and the subjects were too much burthened with the great number of justices, because there were eighteen, he elected five - two clerks and three laymen - all of his own household; and he ordered that they should hear all appeals of the kingdom and should do justice, and that they should not depart from the King's Court, but should remain there to hear appeals, so that if any question should come to them they should present it to the audience of the king, and that it should be decided by him and by the wise men of the kingdom." The Justices of the Bench, as they were called, took precedence of all other judges. The influence of their work was soon felt. From this time written records began to be kept of the legal compromises made before the King's Court to render possible the transference of land. It seems that in 1181 the practice was for the first time adopted of entering on rolls all the business which came to the King's Court, the pleas of the Crown and common pleas between subjects. Unlike in form to the great Roll of the Pipe, in which the records of the Exchequer Court had long been kept, the Plea Rolls consisted of strips of parchment filed together by their tops, on which, in an uncertain and at first a blundering fashion, the clerks noted down their records of judicial proceedings. But practice soon brought about an orderly and mechanical method of work, and the system of procedure in the Bench rapidly attained a scientific perfection. Before long the name of the Curia Regis was exclusively applied to the new court of appeal.

The work of legal reform had now practically come to an end. Henry indeed still kept a jealous watch over his judges. Once more, on the retirement of De Lucy in 1179, he divided the kingdom into new circuits, and chose three bishops - Winchester, Ely, and Norwich - "as chief justiciars, hoping that if he had failed before, the seat least he might find steadfast in righteousness, turning neither to the right nor to the left, not oppressing the poor, and not deciding the cause of the rich for bribes." In the next year he set Glanville finally at the head of the legal administration. After that he himself was called to other cares. But he had really finished his task in England. The mere system of routine which the wisdom of Henry I. had set to control the arbitrary power of the king had given place to a large and noble conception of government; and by the genius of Henry II. the law of the land was finally established as the supreme guardian of the old English liberties and the new administrative order.