Treaty of Falaise, 1174

The Treaty of Falaise was made between Henry II of England and William the Lion King of Scotland. It should be noted that William was in a poor negotiating position – he’d just been militarily defeated and was in chains at Falaise, Normandy. William the Lion had been obsessed with gaining Cumbria and Northumbria for the Scottish throne – as had briefly been the case under David I. He had therefore joined the rebellion of the English and French barons against Henry II.

The Treaty is known to us from the chronicles of Roger of Howden, from which this extract is taken – it describes the immediate run up to Falaise, and the ratification of the treaty at York in 1175. It is important, because it became the benchmark against which the English kings down to Henry VIII defined their relationship with the Scots.

The terms of the treaty are not particularly expressed in feudal terms – Scotland is never described as being held in fief from the English king. Nonetheless William is Henry’s liege man ‘for Scotland’, Henry was a able to go to William’s magnates over his head if he chose. Henry would maintain garrisons in Berwick, Jedburgh, Roxburgh, Edinburgh and Stirling.

Henry id not demand money and men for his wars, or administer justice, and so to a degree he was sensitive to William’s humiliation – but humiliation it was. William was restricted in his ability to deal with his own people, and Henry had unprecedented influence over Scottish affairs. The treaty included the claim of the Archbishop of York to have dominion over the Scottish bishops – and authority the Scots continued, successfully to reject in practice.

William, king of Scots, held in chains in Normandy received some consolation at Falaise, being visited by his friends in no small number. Following the counsel, therefore, of the bishops and abbots, earls and barons of his kingdom, he made peace with the English king in the region of Coutances, at Valognes, on the sixth before the Ides of December, in this fashion William, king of Scotland, gave hostages in Normandy, and returned to England on the third before the Ides of December, being given over into sufficiently free keeping until the castles about which agreement had been made, and as agreement had been made, were according to faithful judgment given up to the keeping of the king of the English.

And . . . king [Henry] went to York, and came thither on the feast of St. Laurence ; and he had there to meet him William, king of Scotland, who had brought with him all the bishops and earls and barons and knights and freeholders of his land, from the greatest even to the least, to do there homage and allegiance and fealty to the king of England and his heirs for ever, against all men, as had been agreed between them at Falaise in Normandy, before the king of Scotland went out from his prison.

When therefore all were assembled in the church of St. Peter of York, William king of Scotland commanded the bishops and earls and barons of his land to do allegiance and fealty and homage to Henry, king of England, son of Matilda the empress, and to king Henry, his son ; and so it was done. And first the king of Scotland himself and David his brother became there the vassals of the foresaid king for all their holdings ; and expressly for Scotland and Galloway. And touching the sacred Evangels, they swore to him fealty and allegiance against all men ; and afterwards became the vassals of the king his son, and swore to him fealty, saving fealty to his father.

Similarly, by command of the king of Scotland, there swore to them fealty and allegiance, to be held by them and their heirs for ever, Richard, bishop of St. Andrews ; Joscelin, bishop of Glasgow ; Richard, bishop of Dunkeld ; Christian, bishop of Galloway ; Andrew, bishop of Caithness ; Simon de Thouni, bishop of Moray ; the abbot of Kelso ; Laurence, abbot of Melrose ; the abbot of Newbattle ; and besides these all the abbots of his land.

The aforesaid bishops swore also that if the king of Scotland should refuse to hold the agreement and compact which he had made with the king of England, they would place under an interdict him and his whole land, until he came to the good pleasure of the king of England.

They swore also that they would make the same subjection to the church of England as their predecessors were wont to make to that church, and which they ought to make.

Similarly the earls and barons of the land of the king of Scotland by his command became the vassals of the king of England and of Henry, his son, saving fealty to [his father] ; and swore to them fealty and allegiance against all men: namely earl Duncan, and the earl of Angus, and earl Waldeve. And they swore that if the king of Scotland drew back from the aforesaid agreement, they would hold with the king of England against him, until he came to [give] befitting satisfaction and to [do] the will of the king.

And then, in presence of all, the king of England caused to be read, and to be confirmed by the seals of the king of Scotland and of David his brother, the following agreement which had been made between him and the king of Scotland:

This is the agreement and the compact which William, king of Scotland, has made with his lord Henry, king of England, son of Matilda the empress.

William, king of Scotland, has become the liege man of the lord king against every man, for Scotland and for all his other lands; and has done him fealty as to his liege lord, as his other vassals are accustomed to do to him.

Similarly he has done homage to king Henry, his son; and fealty, saving his faith to the lord king, his father.

And all bishops and abbots, and the clergy of the land of the king of Scotland, and their successors, shall do to the lord king, as to their liege lord, fealty for all for which he wishes to have it, as his other bishops are accustomed to do to him; and to king Henry, his son, and to their heirs.

And the king of Scotland and David, his brother, and the barons and his other vassals, have conceded to the lord king that the church of Scotland shall make to the church of England henceforth such subjection as she ought to make to her, and used to make in the time of the kings of England, his predecessors.
Similarly Richard, bishop of St. Andrews, and Richard, bishop of Dunkeld, and Geoffrey, abbot of Dunfermline, and Herbert, prior of Coldingham, have conceded that the church also of England shall have that right in the church of Scotland which by right she ought to have; and that they will not oppose the right of the church of England. And as they have done liege fealty to the lord king and to Henry his son, they have confirmed this to them; and this also shall the other bishops do, and the clergy of Scotland, through the agreement there made between the lord king and the king of Scotland, and David his brother, and his barons.

The earls also, and the barons, and the other men of the land of the king of Scotland, shall do to the lord king homage against every man for all for which he wishes to have it, and fealty as to their liege lord, as his other vassals are accustomed to do to him; and to king Henry his son, and to his heirs, saving the faith due to the lord king his father.

Likewise the heirs of the king of Scotland and of his barons and vassals shall do homage and allegiance to the heirs of the lord king against every man.

Moreover the king of Scotland and his vassals shall henceforth receive no fugitive for felony from the land of the lord king, in Scotland or in any land of theirs ; unless he be willing to come to justice in the court of the lord king, and to appear before the judgment of the court: but the king of Scotland and his vassals, so soon as they can, shall seize him and render him up to the lord king or his justiciars or his bailiffs in England.

And if from the land of the king of Scotland anyone be a fugitive for felony in England, unless he be willing to come to justice in the court of the king of Scotland, or of the lord king, and to stand before the judgment of the court, he shall not be received in the land of the lord king, but shall be delivered to the vassals of the king of Scotland or to the bailiffs of the lord king, wherever he shall be found.

Moreover the vassals of the lord king shall hold the lands which they had and ought to have, of the lord king, and of the king of Scotland, and of his vassals. And the vassals of the king of Scotland shall hold their lands, which they had and ought to have, of the lord king and of his vassals.

And in token to the lord king, and to Henry, his son, and to his heirs, of the sure observance by the king of Scotland and his heirs of this agreement and compact, the king of Scotland has delivered to the lord king the castle of Roxburgh, and the castle of Berwick, and the castle of Jedburgh, and the castle of Maidens, and the castle of Stirling, at the mercy of the lord king ; and the king of Scotland shall assign of his revenue for the keeping of these castles an amount according to the will of the lord king.

Moreover in token of the fullfilment of the aforesaid agreement and compact, the king of Scotland has delivered up to the lord king his brother David as hostage, and earl Duncan, and earl Waldeve, and earl Gilbert, and the earl of Angus, and Richard de Moreville the constable, and Nes son of William, and Richard Cumin, and Walter Corbet, and Walter Olifard, and John de Vaux, and William de Lindsey, and Philip de Coleville, and Philip de Valognes, and Robert Frenbert, and Robert de Burneville, and Hugh Giffard, and Hugh Ridel, and Walter de Berkeley, and William de Haye, and William de Mortimer.

And when the castles have been rendered, William, king of Scotland, and David his brother shall be released. The aforesaid earls and barons, too, each one after he has delivered his hostage, (namely a legitimate son, if he have one; and the others, their grandsons or nearest heirs, and, as has been said, after the castles have been rendered, shall be set at liberty.

Moreover the king of Scotland and his barons aforesaid have engaged that they will cause in good faith, and without evil intention, and without pretext, that the bishops and barons and men of their land who were not present when the king of Scotland compacted with the lord king, shall do the same allegiance and fealty to the lord king and to Henry his son as they themselves have done ; and that the barons and vassals who were not present shall deliver to the lord king hostages for all for which he wishes to have them.

Moreover the bishops, earls and barons have pledged themselves to the lord king and to Henry, his son, that if by any chance the king of Scotland should draw back from fealty to the lord king and to his son, and from the aforesaid agreement, they shall hold with the lord king, as with their liege lord, against the king of Scotland, and against all men who oppose the lord king. And the bishops shall place the land of the king of Scotland under an interdict, until he return to fealty to the lord king.

That therefore the aforesaid agreement shall be firmly observed in good faith and without evil intent toward the lord king and Henry his son, and his heirs, by William, king of Scotland, and David his brother, and by the aforesaid barons and by their heirs, the king himself has engaged, and David his brother, and all his barons above named, as liege men of the lord king against every man, and of king Henry, his son, saving fealty to the lord king his father.

Witnesses Richard, bishop of Avranches, and John, dean of Salisbury ; Robert, abbot of Malmesbury ; R., abbot of Muntisburg ; Herbert, archdeacon of Northampton ; Walter of Coutances ; Roger, chaplain ; Osbert, clerk of the chamber ; Richard, son of the lord king, earl of Poitou ; Geoffrey, son of the lord king, earl of Brittany ; William, earl of Essex ; Hugh, earl of Chester ; Richard de Humez, constable ; the earl of Mellent ; Jordan Thessun ; Humfrey de Bohun ; William de Courcy, seneschal ; William Fitz Aldelm, seneschal ; Alfred de St. Martin, seneschal ; Gilbert Malet, seneschal ; at Falaise.

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