The Magna Carta Project

A meeting with the Cistercian abbots

by Professor Nicholas Vincent

4 October 1215 - 10 October 1215


4 Oct 1215

Newington (near Chestnut Street) (Kent)

RLP, 156b; RLC, i, 230

4-5 Oct 1215

Ospringe (Kent)

RLC, i, 230

5 Oct 1215


RLP, 182b; RLC, i, 230

6 Oct 1215

Dover (Kent)

RLC, i, 230-30b; Rot.Ob., 567

7-9 Oct 1215


RLP, 156b-57; RLC, i, 230b-31

9-10 Oct 1215

Ospringe (Kent)

RLC, i, 231

Maison Dieu

Later constructions built over Maison Dieu, a pilgrim hospital for those travelling to Canterbury, founded in the twelfth century at Ospringe, on Watling Street.

From Newington on Sunday 4 October, the King returned via Canterbury to Dover by Tuesday 6th, then retraced his steps to Ospringe on the following Saturday. John was now officially at war, as his letters sent from Newington on 4 October proclaim, demanding that the castellans of the west country receive Fawkes de Breauté and do as he might command them with respect to 'guerram nostram'. At the same time, Fawkes was to win back to the King's fealty as many rebels as could be persuaded to defect.1 One of the first to do so was Giles de Braose, bishop of Hereford, who on 9 October received safe conducts in approaching the King to make peace.2 In Hereford itself and on the March, there was clearly fear of a Welsh attack. Hereford itself was placed under defence, under the leadership of Walter de Clifford the younger.3 On the same day, Robert de Bareville was sent the keys of the King's treasury at Dover, asked to take out 2000 marks and then reseal what remained of a clearly substantial treasure.4 The port of Romney was garrisoned, and commands were sent to the earl of Arundel to ensure proper defence of the castle and coast of Pevensey.5 Further Flemish mercenaries continued to land at Sandwich, at the King's expense, whilst the King made provision for custody of the land and daughter of his late mercenary captain, Hugh de Boves.6

A Cistercian. BL Yates Thompson 13 f.161

A Cistercian. BL Yates Thompson 13 f.161

At Canterbury, on Monday 5 October, there seems to have been an important meeting between the King and at least fourteen Cistercian abbots, presumably before these abbots embarked for France and their order's general chapter, convened at Cîteaux each year on 9 October.7 Various of the commands concerning land this week may have been routine. But not so the grant to William earl of Aumale of three manors seized from William Marshal the younger, nor the transfer to Hugh de Neville of custody over the manor of Cherhill in Wiltshire, formerly the possession of Geoffrey fitz Peter and hence of the rebel, Geoffrey de Mandeville.8 An order for the manor of 'Wikes' (perhaps Wick Rissington) in Gloucestershire, formerly the possession of Warin de Montchesney, to be granted to Walter de Lacy perhaps signals another major act of confiscation.9 As this should make apparent, and as opposed to the lists of 'reversi' at the end of the civil war in 1217, it is often difficult during these opening stages of hostilities to establish whether land was being transferred from rebels or merely as a result of the routine of tenure and inheritance. One man certainly not amongst the rebels was Walter de Dunstanville, a close associate of William Marshal, who on 9 October obtained letters of protection from the King.10


RLP, 156b, and on the same day, note Fawkes' collection of 416 marks previously deposited in Oxford by the archbishop of Dublin.


RLP, 156b-7.


RLC, i, 231.


RLP, 157, and cf. further instructions to Robert to supply armour and arms from Dover: RLC, i, 230-1.


RLP, 156b-7.


RLC, i, 230, naming the castellan of Furnes, Saher de Breban (?Brabant), and John de Tingrye, and cf. p.231 for Gerard de Norhun, Baragh de Strep'. For Hugh de Boves, RLC, i, 230, including his land at Westcliffe (?Kent).


RLC, i, 230, orders to the abbot of Faversham to supply wine to the abbots of Rievaulx, Furness, Melrose, Wardon, Boxley, Dore, Tintern, Kingswood, Dieulacres, Thame, Poulton, Ford, Bindon and ?Stanley ('Straslu').


RLC, i, 230b-1, and for Cherhill, VCH Wiltshire, xvii, 137-40.


RLP, 157, and for the Lacy lordship at Wick Rissington, VCH Gloucestershire, vi, 116-18, and what may have been further confiscations from Warin, RLC, i, 232b, 266b. For other commands concerning the land of Eustace de Burn', Roger Cressy, Ralph of Hastingleigh and James de Walle Bidonis in Kent, Thomas the Dane ('Dacus') in Jersey and Robert de Cresek in Sussex, see RLC, i, 230-30b. Michael de Columbers, who on 6 October 1215 fined 100 marks for custody of the Wiltshire forest of Chute, did so undoubtedly as heir to the previous keeper: Rot.Ob., 567; VCH Wiltshire, iv, 400.


RLC, i, 231.

King John's Diary & Itinerary