The Treaty of Westminster, 1153

By 1153, Stephen and Henry II had fought each other to a standstill. The basic terms of the final treaty had probably been in each parties’ mind, but it was the death of Stephen’s son Eustace that finally ended his resistance; the younger son William seemed happy enough not to be king. It was clear that the nobility and church had had enough – and they essentially made the two kiss and make up, whether they liked it or not. 

The Treaty of Westminster, 1153

Stephen, king of the English to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, justices, sheriffs, barons and all his faithful subjects of England, greeting.

Know that I. king Stephen, have established Henry duke of Normandy as my successor in the kingdom and as my heir by hereditary right, and that I have granted and confirmed to him and to his heirs the kingdom of England. The duke, on account of this honour, grant and confirmation to him by me, had performed homage to me and has given me surety by oath, that he will be faithful to me and maintain my life and my honour to the best of his ability, according to the agreements discussed between us, which are contained in this charter. I have also given an oath of surety to the duke, that I shall keep his life and his honour to the best of my ability, and that I shall maintain him as my son and heir in everything possible and guard him as far as I can against all men.

Moreover my son William has done liege homage and given surety to the duke of Normandy. The duke has conceded to my son William, to hold of him. All the lands which I held before I obtained the kingdom of England, in England, in Normandy, or in other places, and also whatever he has received with his daughter or the earl Warenne, in England, in Normandy, and whatever pertains to these honours. The duke gives full seisin to my son William and his men, who are of the honour of Warenne, of all lands, towns, boroughs and renders pertaining to that honour which he now has in his hands, and specifically the castles of Belencombe and Mortemer. However Reginald de Warenne many have custody of the said castles if he wishes, and give the duke hostage for them; if he does not wish to do this, others of the liege men of the earl Warenne chosen by the duke shall have custody of them, giving hostages and guarantees of safe custody. The duke will return other castles pertaining to the county of Mortain to him [my son William] at my request when he is able to do so, receiving guarantees of safe custody and hostages. All the hostages will be returned to my son when the duke has the kingdom of England. Also the duke has conceded to my son William the increment which I gave him, namely the castle and town of Norwich with 700 pounds worth of land, the render of Norwich being reckoned within the said 700 pounds, and the whole shire of Norfolk, excepting the lands belonging to churches bishops, Abbots and earls, and especially excepting eh third penny that makes High Bigod an earl, but saving and reserving royal justice in all things.

Also, the better to secure my gratitude and affection, the duke has given and conceded to him [my son William] whatever Richer de l’Aigle had in the honour of Pevensey, as well as the castle and town of Pevensey,l and the service of Faramus, excepting the castle and town of Dover and what pertains to the honour of Dover.

The duke has confirmed the church of Faversham in all that pertains to it, and will, by the counsel of the holy church and by my counsel, confirm other grants or restorations made by me to other churches.

In return for the honour I have done their lord, the earls and barons of the duke which have never been my men have done homage and sworn an oath to me, saving the agreements made between the duke and myself. The others, who have dome homage to me previously, have sworn fealty to me as their lord. And if the duke breaks his promises, they will cease entirely to serve him, until he puts right his errors. My son also, by the counsel of the holy church, will do likewise if the duke withdraws from these agreements.

My earls and barons have done liege homage to the duke, saving their fealty to me as long as I live and hold the kingdom, and by a similar rule, they will entirely cease from serving me if I break my promises, until I rectify my errors. The citizens of the cities and the men of the castles which I have in my demesne by my order performed homage and have given surety to the duke, saving their fealty to me as long as I live and hold to the kingdom. Those who have custody of the castle of Wallingford have done homage to me and have given me hostages for their fealty to me. By the counsel of the holy church I have given surety to the duke for my castles and strongholds so that on my death he may not incur any loss or damage to the kingdom because of this. By the counsel of the holy church the Tower of London and the motte of Windsor have been given to Richard de Lacy to keep. But Richard has sworn in the hand of the Archbishop that after my death he will hand over these castles to the duke, and has given his son as hostage.

In the same way, by the counsel of the holy church, Roger de Bussy keeps the motte of Oxford and Jordan de Bussy the castle of Lincoln; they are the duke’s liege men, and have sworn and given hostages in the archbishop’s hand that on my death they will hand over thee castles to the duke without any hindrance. The bishop of Winchester has pledged himself in the hand of the archbishop of Canterbury, in the presence of the bishops, that on my death he will hand over to the duke the castle of Winchester and the stronghold of Southampton. If any of those who keep my strongholds prove contumacious or rebellious concerning castles which belong to the crown by common counsel the duke and I will constrain him until he is compelled to make amends to the satisfaction of both of us.

The archbishops, bishops and abbots of the kingdom of England have at my command sworn an oath of fealty to the duke. Those made bishops or abbots henceforth in the kingdom of England shall do the same. The archbishops and bishops on both sides have undertaken that if either of us departs from these agreements, they will visit him with ecclesiastical justice until he amends his errors and returns to his observance of the aforesaid compact. The duke’s mother, his wife, his brother and all his men whom he can involve in this have likewise given surety.

I shall act in the affairs of the kingdom with the duke’s advice. I myself shall exercise royal justice in the whole kingdom of England, both in the duke’s part and my own.

Witness archbishop Theobald….at Westminster.

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