The Maintenance of Ducal Authority in Gascony: The Career of Sir Guy Ferre the Younger 1298-1320

Jay Lathen Boehm

Volume 34 (1992)

University of Virginia

In the letters patent by which Edward II informed the constable of Bordeaux that Sir Guy Ferre the Younger had been appointed to the seneschalsy of Gascony, the king clearly articulated that the seneschals primary responsibility was to maintain the jus et honor of the king-duke throughout the duchy of Aquitaine.1 As the income Edward II derived from his tenure of the duchy exceeded that of all the English shires combined,2 he not surprisingly exerted great effort to maintain his administrative and judicial presence in what remained to him of the so-called Angevin empire. Continuing disputes, however, over the nature and performance of the liege homage owed since 1259 to the Capetian monarchs made residence in the duchy problematic for the kings of England. As a consequence, both Edward I and his son, Edward II, elected to administer Gascony by delegating their ducal authority to household retainers or clients, official representatives, and salaried ministers. At various times from 1298 to 1320, Sir Guy Ferre the Younger served in Gascony in all of these capacities, as both comital administrator and advocate for the maintenance of ducal authority. Rather than focus on the mechanical details involved in the actual administration of the duchy, this study, by following the career of a model ducal representative, examines the strengths and weaknesses of the policy adopted by the absentee Plantagenet king-dukes for maintaining ducal authority against their increasingly invasive Capetian over-lords.

The present essay supplements previous historiographical work on early fourteenth-century Gascon administration, a topic which has captured the scholarly attention of several capable authors. The most exhaustive treatment of this sometimes difficult subject is J. P. Trabut-Cussacs magisterial book on Gascony during the period from 1254 to 1307. Trabut-Cussac narrates the course of political events in Aquitaine and provides a thematic analysis of the financial and judicial administration of the duchy. The political narrative of an earlier study by Eleanor Lodge, Gascony under English Rule, has been superseded by the accounts offered in Trabut-Cussac and the more recent book by Malcolm Vale, but Lodges commentary on administrative matters still offers some useful insights. In his works onthe governance of medieval England, T. F. Tout contrasts the peculiarities of Gascon administration with domestic practice.3 Charles Bémont and Pierre Chaplais have further contributed to our understanding of this topic, as have a number of other scholars whose contributions are cited below.4 To synthesize their conclusions briefly, it was Edward I who created the administrative machinery required to govern the duchy in the king-dukes absence. Ducal authority was divided among three officials–the royal lieutenant, the constable of Bordeaux, and the seneschal of Gascony–who were appointed by the king-duke and served at pleasure. Royal lieutenants were named irregularly (usually during or after periods of crisis) and contributed little to the daily administration of the duchy. Rather, they personified ducal authority by fulfilling the king-dukes mandates and directing the activities of his subordinates. During the reign of Edward II, the royal lieutenancy as a distinct office appeared with less frequency and his authority devolved upon the seneschals of Gascony, some of whom were styled senescallus et locum tenans (seneschal and lieutenant). The constable of Bordeaux administered the finances of the duchy and presented his accounts annually at the royal exchequer in Westminster. Although he performed a crucial function in the administration of the duchy, the constables personal role in maintaining ducal presence in Gascony, particularly after the advent of Edward II, was subordinate to that of the seneschal, who wielded vice-ducal powers. The extent to which the latter officials authority approximated the prerogatives enjoyed by a sovereign medieval prince is apparent in Sir Guy Ferres letters of appointment. Edward II empowered Guy Ferre to perform a large number of tasks ranging from the adjudication of disputes to the leading of armies in the field.5 Guy Ferres exercise of these prerogatives will be discussed more fully in due course, but first let us examine the historical circumstances that resulted in the king-dukes absenteeism and consequent delegation of his ducal authority.


The Plantagenet policy of non-residence in Gascony was a by-product of the feudal relationship created between the kings of France and England in the treaty of Paris of 1259.6 By the terms of that treaty, Henry III, in exchange for minor territorial concessions within Gascony itself, renounced his claims to Normandy, Poitou, Maine, Touraine, and Anjou; furthermore, Henry III agreed to hold what remained to him of the Angevin duchy of Aquitaine as an hereditary fief of the French crown, an arrangement which made the king-duke a subject of the king of France. Thus, the Plantagenets, sovereign princes in England, nevertheless were obliged to perform liege homage in order to gain tenure of their continental possessions. Liege homage in this case entailed not only the vassals acknowledgement of his subservient position in relation to his lord, but also the swearing of an oath of personal loyalty to the lord which was subject to renewal each time a different prince inherited either the kingdom of France or the duchy of Aquitaine.7 The king-dukes of Aquitaine, perceiving the homage ceremony as beneath their regal dignity and the personal oath of fealty as detrimental to their royal prerogative,8 attempted with varying success to mitigate the terms of their allegiance either by swearing ambigous oaths of fealty or by avoiding altogether the performance of homage. The former course of action they justified by claiming that Aquitaine had been an allodial fief before 1259 and had not lost that status by the terms of the treaty of Paris; they further argued that the homage performed by Henry III applied only to those lands given him by Louis IX in exchange for Henrys renunciation of Normandy, Poitou, Maine, Touraine, and Anjou.9 Subsequent homage depended, the English maintained, upon complete fulfillment of the terms of the 1259 treaty. Thus when Edward I performed homage in 1273, he swore fealty for those lands which he “ought to hold” fom the king of France;10 by implication, Edward I neither recognized nor owed any feudal obligations (particularly for Aquitaine) because the kings of France had failed to relinquish the lands promised in the treaty of Paris. Edward II, in contrast to his fathers attempts to dispute the terms of allegiance, adopted a Fabian strategy of evasion. After crossing the Channel in 1308 to perform homage to Philip the Fair, the king of England avoided his obligations to Louis X and Philip V from 1314 until 1320, the fourth year of Philip Vs reign; Edward II accomplished this six year postponement by appealing to the real or imagined dangers that would result from his leaving the kingdom during times of unrest. Finally threatened by Philip V with confiscation of the duchy (a punitive measure that had resulted in war in 1294), Edward II appeared before the king of France at Amiens in 1320. Whether or not a resident duke of Aquitaine could have delayed the homage ceremony for six years is and must remain a matter of speculation. It is certain, however, that Edward IIs absence from the continent aided his delaying tactics; furthermore, the king-dukes willingness to allow relations with France to degenerate into threats of forfeiture over the question of liege homage testifies eloquently to the aversion Edward II had for his feudal subordination to the Capetian monarchs. Not surprisingly, the king elected to remain in England and administer Gascony through vice-ducal representatives.

What type of men were these representatives? What combination of personal qualities, familial connections, and previous experience recommended them for administrative service in the duchy of Aquitaine? Bémont, Renouard, and Trabut-Cussac each offer prosopographical sketches of the English kings ducal officials, but their biographies of these men focus exclusively on the periods of their service in the duchy and are far too skeletal in any event to satisfy these questions.11 Some answers may be formulated by tracing in detail the career of one man, Sir Guy Ferre the Younger, who served the Plantagenets in one capacity or another for over fifty years.


Guy Ferre began his administrative career in the household of Queen Eleanor of Provence, widow of Henry III and mother of Edward I, and eventually passed into royal service. He first appeared in the public records in 1271, when he received from Henry III a grant of 50 to accompany Prince Edmund to the Holy Land.12 Nothing more is recorded concerning Guy Ferres previous history and his origins remain obscure. One document states that he was “alien born,”13 while other records reveal that he was perceived by the English as “French.”14 He obviously belonged to the knightly class, for in 1273, Guy Ferre, knight, witnessed a charter issued at Guildford by Eleanor, mater regis. It seems likely that Guy Ferre belonged to the queen mothers household at that time, for in 1275 he appeared as Eleanors steward. Sometime before February 1279, Guy Ferre married Joan, daughter of Thomas, son of Otto. Sir Guy appeared in the public records on 6 January 1280 with the title, “kings yeoman,”15 even though the queen mother retained some claim to Sir Guys service. That same month, for instance, Queen Eleanor dispatched Guy Ferre to France on her own business; Sir Guy returned to England before 1 November 1281, on which date he appeared before the king at Westminster to acknowledge his receipt of a royal annuity.16 In the interim, Edward I had exempted Guy Ferre for life from serving on assizes, juries, commissions, or recognizances; in December 1281 the king further rewarded Guy Ferre with a gift of twelve oaks from the royal forest of Haneleye.17 The public records show that Sir Guy Ferre witnessed a charter for the queen mother in April 1282 (he was still her steward), appeared before the king in December 1282 and in October 1283, and that he witnessed another of Eleanors charters in February 1284.18 Joan, Sir Guy Ferres wife, ded during the summer of 1285, leaving as her heiress Mathilda, her under-aged sister.19

The fourteenth year of Edward Is reign, 1285-1286, witnessed Guy Ferres transition from Eleanor of Provences household into exclusive royal service. Letters of protection for going overseas were issued to Guy Ferre on 5 October 1285, but he remained in England until the summer of the following year, at which time he crossed over to the continent with the kings sizeable retinue.20 Sometime before November 1285, Sir Guy Ferre had become a member of the royal household and over a twelve-month period received various payments from the controller of the wardrobe totalling 25 16s. 4d.21 Edward I, who arrived in France on 19 May 1286, remained on the continent until the autumn of 1289; for much of the time the king-duke was in Gascony reforming the duchys administration. Malcolm Vale states that Edward I intended to establish an administrative machinery capable of functioning despite the perpetual absence of the duke.22 Indeed, during this three-year period of activity, Edward I clarified the administrative responsibilities of his two chief representatives in the duchy, the seneschal of Gascony and the constable of Bordeaux. We are unable to ascertain the degree to which Guy Ferre contributed to the king-dukes reforming efforts because Sir Guy does not appear in the surviving records from the time of his departure for France in 1286 until 20 April 1289, the date on which he witnessed a royal charter given in the Agenais. Guy Ferre was still attending the king in Gascony the following month, but had returned to England by November 1289.23

Prior to Edward Is 1286-1289 sojourn in Gascony, Guy Ferre divided his allegiance between the king and Eleanor of Provence, the kings mother. By the time Sir Guy returned to England, the queen mother had retired to the convent of Amesbury. Eleanors withdrawal from the world necessitated a drastic reduction in the size of her household staff, a development which freed Guy Ferre for exclusive royal service. Guy Ferres prominence in the queen mothers household had recommended him for a career in royal administration. His last action on Queen Eleanors behalf was to serve as one of her executors, but his primary employer from 1286 had been the king of England. Royal service certainly had its rewards. During the closing months of 1289, Edward I granted Guy Ferre two manors. One was given for the duration of Guy Ferres life and would revert to the crown upon Sir Guys death; the other, Gestingthorpe, was a permanent addition to Guy Ferre the Youngers patrimony and could therefore descend to the “male heirs of his body.”24 The king also rewarded his dependents by granting them temporary custody of those estates which fell into royal hands either due to feudal escheats or to the minority of the propertys lawful heirs. Guy Ferre received two such gifts in January 1291.25

It is apparent that Guy Ferre the Younger had firmly established himself in Edward Is confidence by 1291. In January, for instance, Sir Guy not only received two grants of royal patronage, he also accompanied the king to Norham, co. Durham, in order to take part in Edward Is adjudication of the Scottish succession.26 The king knew that Guy Ferre had directed the queen mothers household as her steward, and this experience, combined with Sir Guys long service for the Plantagenet dynasty, no doubt influenced his next appointment. Sometime before Easter 1293, the king attached Guy Ferre to the household of his heir, Edward of Carnarvon, prince of Wales. Sir Guys status in the future Edward IIs familia is uncertain, but in 1293 he secured venison from royal forests to fill the princes table.27 Despite his affiliation with the princes household, Guy Ferre continued to be used on diplomatic business. In April 1294, for example, the king sent Sir Guy and three associates to assess the value of the dower lands assigned in marriage by the count of Bar to Eleanor the kings daughter; if they valued 15,000 Tournois anually, Sir Guy was to take possession of them. The mission was completed and the emissaries were back in England by 1 August.28 When war erupted in Gascony that summer, Guy Ferre received letters of protection authorizing him to join the contingent led by the kings nephew, John of Brittany, earl of Richmond.29 Nevertheless, Sir Guy remained in England with the prince of Wales after the army departed: on 26 December 1295, the sheriff of Norfolk, having previously been ordered to sequester the lands, goods, and chattels of “all alien laymen of the power of the king of France,” was directed to restore such property to Guy Ferre, who was “staying continually in the company of Edward, the kings son, by the kings special order, and who is not of the power of the king of France and who never adhered to him against the king at any time, as appears evident to the king.” In a separate entry on the Close Roll for the same date, we find that the king had heard the testimony of Guy Ferre himself in this matter.30

Meanwhile, the fighting in Gascony continued. John of Brittanys forces in Gascony enjoyed little success against the French, and in January 1296 the king dispatched fresh troops to the duchy under the direction of his brother, Edmund of Lancaster.31 Within six months of his landfall in the duchy, however, Edmund died from natural causes in Bayonne. Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, assumed command and led the army to defeat at the hands of Robert of Artois in January 1297. With the English discomfiture and a shifting of the military focus to Flanders, fighting in Gascony ground to a desultory halt. Although Sir Guys initial letters of protection have not survived, and despite the fact that his military contributions failed to attract the attention of contemporary chroniclers, we may be reasonably sure that Guy Ferre joined Edmunds expedition and remained in Gascony throughout the last year of the war, for he received letters of protection on 8 February 1297 to remain in Gascony on the kings business.32 By the end of the summer, however, Guy Ferre the Younger had returned to England, for he witnessed on 27 August the transfer of the great seal from Prince Edward to the chancellor.33 The following spring Guy Ferre received his most important commission to date: Edward I appointed him locum tenans of the duchy of Aquitaine.34

Informed by Sir Guy Ferres biography down to 1298, let us isolate those qualifications generally displayed by men who rose in royal service to the point of vice-ducal representation. Firstly, entrance into royal service in a large measure depended upon familial connections, family being defined here in the broader medieval sense of familia, or household, a social grouping whose membership was not confined to blood relatives.35 The head of the familia, whether a clerical or lay magnate, aided his household members promotion into royal service by bringing them into contact with the court and sponsoring their employment on the kings business. In Guy Ferres case, his affiliation with the household of Eleanor of Provence led to royal service. Household connection, of course, was not the only route into the kings administration, but familial membership opened doors normally closed to many others who desired access to the rewards associated with royal service. The vice-ducal representative, in the second place, had already acquired some degree of administrative and/or diplomatic experience, either in the service of his previous lord or on royal errands. Sir Guy the Younger, as we have seen, not only had played important roles in governing the households of the queen mother and the prince of Wales, he also had completed successfully several diplomatic missions prior to his appointment as royal locum tenans in Gascony. Lastly, the king-duke promoted those men whose social status was at least knightly and whose reliability and loyalty to the dynasty were above reproach. It is impossible to quantify the impact of the kings patronage on his servants loyalty and reliability, but there can be no doubt that the two were relate. So long as the royal servant upheld his responsibilities, he reasonably could expect to receive at irregular intervals some manifestation of the kings approbation. Edward Is various grants to Guy Ferre of royal timber, wardships, manors, and promises of justice may be seen as a measure of both Sir Guys loyalty and the kings gratitude. With his appointment as Edward Is lieutenant in Gascony, Guy Ferre the Younger reached the summit of royal service, vice-ducal representation.36 The royal lieutenancy brought its holder great rewards (an annual salary of 500 sterling) as well as heavy responsibilities, the foremost of which was maintaining ducal authority.

From 1298 until his retirement from royal service in 1320, Guy Ferre frequently served the English crown as an advocate of ducal authority, and it is primarily that aspect of his career that we shall emphasize hereafter.37 Before examining Guy Ferres exercise of ducal authority, however, something must be said concerning the purpose and limitations of the primary source we are using to chart administrative activity in the duchy of Aquitaine. The Gascon roll, generated and maintained by chancery clerks in London, records only the mandates sent by the king-duke to his representatives in the duchy. The Gascon roll therefore provides no evidence of the lieutenant or seneschals independent administrative decisions, as, for example, an episcopal register does for the corresponding activities of its bishop. We may be certain that the authority of the vice-ducal officials extended to independent exercise of ducal sovereignty, because during his tenure Guy Ferre the Younger had possession and use of the seal of the duchy of Aquitaine;38 this enabled Sir Guy to issue mandates and grants on his own recognizance. If those vice-ducal commands were enrolled in a separate administrative instrument (as the kings were in the close, patent, and Gascon rolls), it is unfortunately no longer extant.39 Thus, the Gascon roll, the sole surviving source for the absentee administration of the duchy of Aquitaine, permits a close examination only of the king-dukes mandates to his subordinates, not the implementation of those communications.

Guy Ferre the Younger served as Edward Is locum tenans from April 1298 until November 1299.40 As discussed previously, the royal lieutenant performed few administrative duties. Rather, he personified ducal authority by fulfilling the king-dukes mandates and by directing the activities of subordinates. The following royal instructions illustrate the range of Guy Ferres vice-ducal responsiblities: first, the appointment of certain reputable men to various offices in the duchys administration; second, the assurance that the mayor and jurats (municipal officials who combined administrative and judicial responsibilities) of Bayonne are allowed to enjoy the citys ancient laws and customs; third, the restoration of property seized illegally by ducal officials during the recent war with the king of France; and finally, the payment of the king-dukes numerous debts, especially arrearages of wages.41 The sources say nothing more of Sir Guy Ferre the Youngers activities in the duchy during his tenure of the lieutenancy; the absence of documentation reduces us to cautious speculation. It seems likely, for instance, that Guy Ferre participated up to June 1298 in the diplomatic traffic between Edward I and Boniface VIII, but if Sir Guy indeed submitted to papal arbitration the king-dukes case against the king of France concerning the 1294 sequestration of the duchy, no trace of that involvement survives.42 A much clearer picture of the vice-ducal officials role in maintaining ducal authority emerges after the accession of Edward II in 1307, during whose reign the seneschal, in addition to performing his administrative duties, assumed the symbolic position previously filled by the royal lieutenant.

Edward II appointed Guy Ferre seneschal of Gascony in March 1308.43 For seventeen months, Sir Guy wielded an authority that approximated sovereign prerogatives, such as conducting egotiations, adjudicating all disputes and controversies as far as appeals to royal justice, travelling as occasion demanded to the Parlement of Paris to act as proctor in cases involving the kings custody and rule over the duchy, raising and leading armies as necessary to preserve the king-dukes rights and honor, and presenting appropriate persons to ecclesiastical benefices.44 These considerable powers were clearly assigned to Guy Ferre in his various letters of appointment, but the Gascon rolls suggest that he utilized only his judicial rights.

Providing equity to ones subjects was the cornerstone of sovereignty in the fourteenth century, and the dispensation of justice was one of Guy Ferres more absorbing tasks. Most legal disputes recorded in the Gascon rolls involve royal commands to investigate a complaint and dispense justice through the royally-appointed Gascon council according to the foros et consuetudines (laws and customs) of the duchy.45 Such cases illustrate the routine operation of the ducal courts. Of more interest to our investigation of the king-dukes maintenance of his influence in Gascony are those mandates concerned with the judicial activities of the Parlement of Paris.

Prior to the 1259 treaty, as English jurists reiterated throughout this period, Gascony had been an allodial fief, held by the king-duke in undisputed sovereignty.46 For the king-dukes Gascon subjects, such sovereignty established the ducal court at Bordeaux as their highest court of appeal.47 The Capetian kings of France maintained, however, that the treaty of Paris imposition of liege homage placed the king-dukes courts within the French judicial system, thereby subverting Plantagenet claims to allodial sovereignty and subordinating ducal judicial decisions to the approval of the Parlement of Paris. Philip the Fair actively encouraged Gascons to bring appeals against ducal decisions to the French royal court, where they were assured a favorable response.48 Edward IIs representatives, especially the seneschal, acted on the king-dukes behalf to prevent this deliberate erosion of ducal authority. On 15 March, 1308, Sir Guy Ferre the Younger was ordered to restore to William, lord of Caumonte, his lawfully-sequestered castles, lands, possessions, lordships, and moveable goods, “with the provision that the same William will first renounce his appeals to the court of the king of France.”49 That is to say, if William of Caumonte acknowledged publicly the sovereignty of the English duke, he would immediately enjoy a restoration to his former status.

The king-duke relied on this conciliatory tactic in a more serious case in March 1309. At that time, the viscount and men of Anvillars in the seneschalsy of Agenais were persuaded to drop their appeals to the Parlement of Paris and absolve the king from a fine of 10,000 Tournois imposed by the French royal court. In exchange, they were exempted from paying the damages they had inflicted on the king-duke and his servants.50 The case originally had arisen during Edward Is reign when the men of the village (apparently encouraged by French royal agents) rebelled against the English dukes, “committing many homicides and perpetrating great damages.” A dispute between ducal officials and local notables over the territorial limits of the viscounty had provoked the viscount and his men; their actions, which directly challenged Plantagenet authority, were subsequently, and perhaps not surprisingly, approved in the curia Francie, even though the king-duke was without question the aggrieved party. Active judicial intervention in the duchy was the Capetians most effective weapon in their struggle with the Plantagenets over ducal authority. By encouraging appeals against the king-duke (and guaranteeing favorable outcomes to Gascon appelants) the king of France negated the king of Englands claims to sovereignty in Aquitaine. The Plantagenet dukes had no real defense against such attacks on their position. Theoretical arguments over the proper interpretation of the treaty of 1259 had little persuasive force inthe Gascon countryside, and in an attempt to counter French encroachments, the king-dukes adopted a policy of concession which, in the long term, may have further detracted from their prestige.51 Without the ability to enforce punitive judicial measures, the king-dukes of Aquitaine, despite their claims to the contrary, were in fact subjects of the king of France.

Philip the Fair and his officials, undeterred by ineffectual English attempts to halt the practice, continued to disrupt Gascon judicial administration. In the summer of 1309 a particularly violent clash erupted between the Plantagenet and Capetian representatives. On 11 July, Edward II, in order to maintain “our right in all things,” ordered Guy Ferre to incarcerate Bertrand de Mota, valet of the king of France, Rose de Mota, wife of Bertrand, and many others for the assassination of Arnaud Carbonel, citizen of Bazadais.52 Neither Arnauds political importance nor the circumstances of his murder emerge from the laconic public records, but Edward IIs justification combined with Bertrands association with Philip the Fairs household perhaps explains the French kings determined response to the king-dukes actions. In December, Philip IV, acting as the duke of Aquitaines overlord, ordered Sir John de Hastings, Guy Ferres successor as seneschal of Gascony, to release the prisoners. When Sir John failed to respond, Philip IV commanded the seneschal of Toulouse to obtain the immediate liberation of Bertrand and his followers, either by grace or force.53 At that critical juncture, March 1310, the public records fall silent on this interesting episode. Since no fighting broke out that year, one assumes that John de Hastings, the English seneschal of Gascony, was forced to surrender his prisoners to the French seneschal of Toulouse. Such a surrender would have sent an unmistakable message to Edward II as to the drawbacks of absenteeism.

In addition to wielding quasi-ducal powers, Guy Ferre performed a number of administrative tasks which indirectly bolstered the king-dukes position in the duchy. These duties included controlling the exploitation of that ducal demesne land unsuitable for cultivation and collecting the accustomed duties on the export of Gascon wine to England.54 In addition, and as a result of Edward IIs absentee direction of the duchy, his seneschal was directed in the king-dukes name to appoint castellans, the jurats of Bordeaux and Bayonne, and many other ducal officials.55 In March 1308, for instance, Guy Ferre was ordered to appoint Arnaldo Guillelmi to the viscounty of Goure for as long as it took to satisfy a debt of 2500 Tournois; in the following month, Gaillardo Dandos, lord of Mencentz, was placed in custody of the castle of Gavaretto with its appurtenances to hold so long as he respected the laws and lordship of the duke of Gascony. The seneschal also carried out the mandates of the king in miscellaneous administrative matters, such as restoring people to possession of their property or directing the profits of the bailiffship of Montsegure to the repair and maintenance of the gates of that town. Lastly, Guy Ferre the Younger was called upon to confirm the grants and appointments made by previous seneschals. After a tenure in office of nineteen months, Guy Ferre was recalled to England on 24 October, 1309.56


The two terms served by Guy Ferre as royal lieutenant and seneschal of the duchy of Aquitaine shaped the course of his subsequent career. From 1310 until 1320, he was relied upon as a ducal commissioner in peace negotiations with French plenipotentiaries at the Process of Périgueux. He was also frequently consulted by king, council, and parliament as an expert on Gascon affairs, and he was sent into the duchy for varying periods of time either to supervise Edward IIs official representatives or to relay messages. It is arguable that Guy Ferre contributed more to the absentee dukes position in Gascony in this later stage of his career than he did as the chief officerof the duchy; such is the impression, at any rate, given by the Gascon rolls. Guy Ferre the Youngers final decade of service can be discussed in three sections corresponding to his assignments in Gascony: 1310-1312, 1312-1314, and 1317-1320.

The Process of Périgueux, which met in April 1311, had long been sought by the English as a forum to discuss on neutral ground–that is, anywhere outside Paris–the encroachments made in Gascony by the officials of Philip IV. The French, who had never fully adhered to what the king-dukes believed to be the terms of the peace treaty of 1303,57 exacerbated Anglo-French tensions by encouraging judicial appeals to Paris. Moreover, the kings of France had continued to maintain their own officials in some areas of Gascony occupied by Philips armies since the beginning of the 1294-1297 war. Sir Guy Ferre went to Gascony on the kings orders in August 1310 to join the negotiating commission led by John of Brittany, who was serving for a second time as lieutenant of Aquitaine.58 Among the many goals Edward II hoped his plenipotentiaries would attain were a recognition of appellate supremacy for the Gascon courts and a clarification of the geographical limits of the French sénéchaux.59 The claims of sovereignty made by both parties, however, could not be reconciled, and thus the meeting ended in deadlock.60 In addition to his negotiating duties, Guy Ferre performed with his fellow commissioners a variety of administrative and judicial tasks until December 1311, at which time Edward II recalled Sir Guy to England to act on behalf of Plantagenet authority in a much broader sense.61

When Guy Ferre arrived at Westminster in January 1312, the king appointed him to the commission which reviewed the Ordinances made the preceding year by earls and barons exasperated by Edward IIs expensive infatuation with Piers Gaveston.62 The Ordinances of 1311 severely restricted the kings freedom to act in matters of patronage and regulated his ability to leave the realm or wage war. The members of Edward IIs carefully composed commission not surprisingly declared the Ordinances prejudicial to royal prerogative and absolved the king from his obligation to abide by them. After Edward II had reclaimed control of his government, Guy Ferre was once more dispatched to Gascony and arrived there in late August, 1312.63

It is difficult to ascertain Sir Guys exact ministerial status during the 1312-1314 period of his Gascon service. His letters directing him to Gascony in the company of two other officials experienced in Gascon affairs (Sir William Inge and Master Thomas of Cambridge) ordered him, among other things, to restore concord between John Ferrers, seneschal of Gascony, and a dominant local noble, Amanieu dAlbret, both of whom were ordered by the king-duke to appear before a commission headed by Guy Ferre. No more mention of this conflict is made in the Gascon rolls, and the remainder of Edward IIs mandates to Guy Ferre and John Ferrers up to October 1312 are ordinary instructions to the seneschal that differ little from those received by Guy Ferre when he held that office.64 While the Gascon rolls shed very little light on the nature of John Ferrers tenure in office, unedited sources consulted by Malcolm Vale reveal that John Ferrers was a felonious exploiter of his office whose behavior provoked a vicious, localized war.65 His criminal activity, moreover, eventually resulted in his murder. Vales exposition of this crisis suggests that Edward II sent Guy Ferre into Gascony to monitor and correct the tumultuous activities of John Ferrers. At the time of John Ferrers murder–early October 1312–Guy Ferre had started on his way back to England. The king countermanded his recall order and directed Sir Guy Ferre to remain with the new seneschal, Sir Amaury de Craon, for the purpose of aiding that officer in unspecified negotiations.66 Assuming the role of the king-duke, Guy Ferre received the new seneschals oath of office and, in November 1312, delivered to him the seal of the duchy.67 From that time until Guy Frres return to England before Michaelmas on 29 September 1313, he and Sir Amaury jointly performed the routine duties of office which have been previously described. This period proved to be both Guy Ferre the Youngers last extended stay in Gascony, as well as his final contribution to the English kings continuing struggle to maintain his ducal authority.68

Guy Ferre appeared only infrequently in the public records from 1314 to 1317, and in those documents which provide some information as to his whereabouts, he was in England. By this time Sir Guy would have been an elderly man, and it seems probable that he partially retired from public life: he received no letters of protection to go overseas on royal business, witnessed no charters, and offered no advice to the council as he had done in 1311-1312. When he did receive letters patent or close during these years, they were either grants of privileges or orders to satisfy a debt.69

The last stage of Sir Guy Ferre the Youngers career in Gascony consisted of two rather dramatic missions. After a three year absence from the duchy the first of these took place in May 1317. John of Brittany, once again serving as royal lieutenant and concurrently directing a royal commission, was ordered by the king to give credence to an oral report delivered by Guy Ferre on the kings behalf. John of Brittanys commission was negotiating to free Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, from a German prince who had abducted the earl on his return journey from the papal court. Although the records conceal the kings intent in sending Guy Ferre to the lieutenant of the duchy, we may surmise that his report dealt in some fashion with this issue.

The second and final time that Guy Ferre was employed in Gascony by Edward II occurred during the summer of 1320. Ironically enough, Guy Ferre was required to wait upon the king-duke at the homage ceremony performed before the high altar in the cathedral of Amiens. Waiting upon the prince, which could include performing such menial domestic tasks as bearing the lords cup, was a ceremonial expression of the reciprocal dependence existing between lord and vassal.70 The lord, as we have seen, depended on his vassals to maintain and extend his honor, rights, and prestige; likewise, the vassal relied upon his lord for protection and sustenance, the latter of which, by the fourteenth century, was generally provided through patronage. Edward IIs request that Guy Ferre join his personal entourage was a public acknowledgement of Sir Guys efforts to preserve ducal authority. On 29 June 1320, as a member of Edward IIs personal retinue, Guy Ferre witnessed the king-dukes performance of homage to Philip V for his duchy of Aquitaine. The swearing of an oath of personal loyalty, however, was not included in the ceremony. A few days later, at an interview between the kings of France and England and their advisors (which probably included Guy Ferre, although no contemporary record specifically places him there), a French courtier suggested that Edward II fulfill all his feudal obligations by swearing at that moment the oath of fealty to the king of France. Edward II hotly retorted that Philip IV had not required him to swear fealty in 1308 and he had no intention of doing so now.71 Sir Guy Ferre, a longtime advocate of ducal sovereignty, must have been well gratified by the kings answer. The uncomfortable subject was dropped, but not forgotten; indeed, the issue of liege homage in return for Aquitaine continued to vex Anglo-French relations until the middle of the fifteenth century and contributed significantly to the outbreak of those destructive conflicts collectively referred to as the Hundred Years War.

Upon the completion of the homage ceremony, Sir Guy Ferre the Younger returned to England and retired from royal service. His name dropped out of the public records in 1320 and did not resurface until his death on 27 March 1323. The inquisitions post mortem compiled in the following weeks reveal that Sir Guy died in possession of nine manors located in six separate counties.72 The jurors did no speculate on Guy Ferres age, but it is possible for us to do so. Sometime after 1271 and before 1273, Guy Ferre was knighted. That ceremony usually took place between the young noblemans eighteenth and twenty-first year, which suggests that Guy Ferre was born circa 1253 and reached the venerable age of seventy years. Sir Guy Ferre the Younger was survived by his widow, Eleanor Ferre, who apparently never remarried and lived until 1349.73


The weaknesses inherent in the duke of Aquitaines policy of absenteeism appear to outweigh overwhelmingly any practical benefits offered by such a course of action. The Plantagenets authority in the duchy rested squarely upon the quality of their representatives vice-ducal activities. As we have seen, the seneschals of Gascony varied widely in their exercise of ducal authority: whereas Guy Ferres examplary service may have enhanced ducal prestige, officials like John Ferrers jeopardized the king-dukes already precarious position by alienating his Gascon subjects and thereby providing opportunites for French intervention. Even when the king-dukes appointed reliable officers like Guy Ferre, however, they tended to recall those representatives after relatively short tenures in office. This not surprisingly disrupted administrative continuity to the detriment of ducal authority, and was probably a result of the enormous demands for patronage placed on a late-medieval prince. By frequently rotating the duchys administrative personnel, the kings of England spread among their dependents as widely as possible their limited financial resources.

The benefits of absenteeism, on the other hand, were largely symbolic. Edward II exploited his absence from the duchy to avoid performing liege homage, a ceremony which demeaned the prestige of the Plantagenet monarchs. Historians have characterized the fourteenth century as one which witnessed the birth and growth of national spirit. If this is so, we should not underestimate the degree to which the king of England could be motivated by a desire to avoid placing himself in public subjection to his greatest rival, the king of France. Imperfect control over the duchy of Aquitaine, one of the king of Englands most valuable possessions, was the price paid by the Plantagenets for the maintenance of their regal dignity.

Guy Ferre the Younger aided both Edward I and Edward II in their attempts to retain ducal authority in Gascony. Faithful service in the queen mothers household opened to Sir Guy a career in royal administration. Beginning with his appointment as locum tenans in 1298, Sir Guy Ferre launched a twenty-two year effort to maintain Plantagenet presence in the duchy of Aquitaine. It is an ironic coincidence that the last time Guy Ferre acted for Edward II in connection with Gascony was to attend the king-duke at his performance of homage for the duchy. Ironic perhaps, yet appropriate, for it was the king of Englands unfortunate position as a feudal subordinate to the French monarch which necessitated Sir Guy Ferre the Youngers presence in Gascony.


Distinguishing Guy Ferre the Younger and Guy Ferre the Elder

On 2 January 1290, two men appeared before the royal court at Westminster to acknowledge a debt they owed to Guy Ferre the Younger.74 Later that year, on 20 July, the king appointed Guy Ferre the Elder to serve on a commission of oyer and terminer.75 These close and patent roll entries reveal the existence of two men, probably father and son, named Guy Ferre. It would be reasonable to assume that the Elder preceded the Younger, that the father began his career in the queen mothers household and eventually worked his way into royal service; once established in the kings good graces, Guy Ferrethe Elder could easily have introduced his son into Edward Is administration. Though a plausible scenario, this course of events is based on the erroneous assumption that the Elder preceded the Younger. In fact, as the public records demonstrate, it was the younger Guy Ferre who began his career in the household of Eleanor of Provence.

In 1281, King Edward I exempted Guy Ferre for life from service on assizes, juries, commissions, and recognizances and subsequently excused him from the common summonses in August and October 1285.76 The appointment, therefore, of Guy Ferre the Elder to a commission of oyer and terminer argues that it was the Younger who received life exemption from such service. Moreover, the inheritance arrangements made at the death of Joan Ferre also suggest that it was Guy Ferre the Younger who served the queen mother as steward of her household. When Joan died in 1285, her heir was Mathilda, her younger sister. This indicates that Joans marriage to Guy Ferre had failed to produce children, for if a child had ever been born to the couple (“heard to cry within four walls”), Sir Guy would have claimed the courtesy of England after Joans death. The courtesy was granted to the husband upon the birth of the couples first child and empowered the husband as a widower to enjoy his dead wifes property for the remainder of his life, even if the couples children predeceased their parents.77 Since an inquest determined that Joans heir was her sister Mathilda, and not her husband, Sir Guy was obviously unable to claim the courtesy. We infer from this that the Guy Ferre who was concurrently the steward of Eleanor of Provences household and the husband of Joan Ferre was not the father of Guy Ferre the Younger.

Finally, and most conclusive, is the evidence adduced from the inquisitions post mortem pertaining to two of the several manors held by Guy Ferre at the time of his death in 1323. First, the jury in Suffolk discovered that Guy Ferre held the manor of Benhale by right of his second wife, Eleanor.78 In 1292 the sheriff of Suffolk had received orders to arrest the persons who “carried away the goods of Guy Ferre the Younger, at Benhale, co. Suffolk, entered his free warren there, hunted therein, and carried away hares, rabbits, and partridges.”79 This Guy Ferre also held at his death the manor of Gestingthorpe, Essex. Sir Guy had once had possession of this manor in right of his wife Joan, but had been forced to relinquish it, along with the rest of her property, upon her death in 1285. Four years later Edward I returned the manor to Guy Ferre to be held by him and his male heirs in perpetuity.80 In 1323, however, the jury of Essex determined that Guy Ferre had died without a male heir of his body and turned the manor of Gestingthorpe over to the royal escheator.81

While the documents indeed reveal that Guy Ferre the Younger began his career in the 1270s in the service of the queen mother, they do not clearly explain the rather sudden appearance in England in 1290 of Guy Ferre the Elder. However, the records do permit the construction of an informed hypothesis. We know, for instance, that Guy Ferre the Younger accompanied the king to Gascony in 1286, that he returned to England in autumn 1289, and that Guy Ferre the Elder received his first appointment the following January. Furthermore, the inquisitions post mortem of Eleanor Ferre, Sir Guy the Youngers second wife, state that Guy Ferre was foreign born.82 From these facts we may postulate that Guy Ferre the Younger brought his father back to England with him in 1289 and used his position in the royal household to introduce Guy Ferre the Elder into the kings patronage. Guy Ferre the Elder was only sparingly employed, however, and seems to have died before 1302 although an exact date for Guy Ferre the Elders death cannot be determined because no inquisitions post mortem appear to have been made into his estate.83 Royal escheators were excused from conducting inquisitions post mortem only in those cases in which the deceased held no land in the counties under theirjurisdiction. The absence, therefore, of inquisitions post mortem tends to buttress the case we have argued in favor of Sir Guy the Younger, for it is highly unlikely that Guy Ferre the Elder could have served the royal family since the 1270s and yet leave after his death no evidence of the material rewards that would accompany such long devotion.



  1. Yves Renouard, ed., Rôles Gascons(Paris, 1962), iv, 23, 28-29. The English king-dukes invariably styled themselves dux Aquitanieand referred to their duchy as ducatus Aquitanie, yet their chief representative was the senescallus Vasconie, which in any event reflected more accurately post-1259 political realities. The authority of the seneschal of Gascony covered an area roughly delineated by the viscounty of Saintonge in the north, those of Périgord and Agenais in the east, the lordships of Gaure, Fezensac, and Armagnac in the southeast, and by the borders of the independent county of Béarn in the south, extending westward in common with the latter all the way to the Bayonnais and the Atlantic coast. An excellent map is found in Charles Bémont, ed., Rôles Gascons (Paris, 1906), iii, cxxiv-cxxv.
  2. Malcolm Vale, The Angevin Legacy and the Hundred Years War 1250-1340 (Oxford, 1990), 141-142, estimates that in 1324 the exchequer received 1000 more from Gascony than from all the English shires combined. G. P. Cuttino had reached similar conclusions 40 years earlier (“Historical Revision: The Causes of the Hundred Years War,” Speculum31 [1950], 468-9).
  3. J. P. Trabut-Cussac, LAdministration anglaise en Gascogne sous Henry III et Edouard I de 1254 à 1307 (Geneva, 1972); Eleanor C. Lodge, Gascony under English Rule(London, 1926); Chapters in the Administrative History of Medieval England,6 vols. (Manchester, 1928-37); The Place of the Reign of Edward II in English History,ed. H. Johnstone (Manchester, 1936), 191-202.
  4. See, for example, Bémonts exhaustive Introduction in volume 3 of Rôles Gascons,4 vols. (Paris, 1885-1964), xviii-cxxiv. Many of Chaplais articles are conveniently collected inEssays in Medieval Diplomacy and Administration(London, 1981). Vales bibliography provides extensive references on virtually all aspects of Gascon history in the 13th and 14th centuries.
  5. Renouard, Rôles Gascons,iv, 23-24, 26-27, 29, 29-30.
  6. Charles T. Wood investigates the practical implications of the treaty of Paris in The French Apanages and the Capetian Monarchy, 1224-1328(Cambridge, Mass., 1966), 67-80.
  7. Louis IX personally received Henry IIIs liege homage on 4 December 1259 in the garden of his palace on the Ile-de-la-Cité (Trabut-Cussac, LAdministration,18-20; Vale, Angevin Legacy,51). Oaths of fealty were due in 1272 (succession of Edward I), 1285 (succession of Philip IV), 1306 (investment of Edward of Carnarvon), 1307 (succession of Edward II), 1314 (succession of Louis X), 1316 (succession of John I and Philip V), 1322 (succession of Charles IV), and 1325 (investment of Edward of Windsor). Liege homage was performed by Edward I in 1273 and 1286, by Edward II in 1306 (one year before his accession to the throne), 1308, and 1320, and by the future Edward III in 1325.8
  8. The lord-vassal relationship between England and France in theory dictated the formers foreign policy: the king of England was prevented by his oath of fealty from acting in a fashion prejudicial to his overlords interests. In practice, the Plantagenets tended to disregard this restriction and pursued an independent foreign policy.
  9. See PierreChaplais, “English Arguments concerning the Feudal Status of Aquitaine in the Fourteenth Century,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 21 [1948] 203-213, especially pages 206-208, and H. Rothwell, “Edward Is Case against Philip the Fair over Gascony in 1298,” English Historical Review 42 [1927] 572-582.
  10. Edward is reported to have said to Philip III, “Domine Rex, facio vobis homagium pro omnibus terris quas debeo tenere de vobis” (Trabut-Cussac, LAdministration, 41, cites Public Record Office, S. C. 1/VII, 89, as the authority for this statement).
  11. Bémont,Rôles Gascons, xviii-cii; Renouard, Ibid., xviii-xxxi; Trabut-Cussac, LAdministration,appendices, 341-397.
  12. Calendar of Patent Rolls 1266-1272, 512. Edmund took the Cross in 1268 (Maurice Powicke, The Thirteenth Century, 1216-1307,2nd. ed. [Oxford, 1962], 219) but never fulfilled his crusading vow. Except for this monetary grant, there is no evidence that Guy Ferre ever went on crusade. Hereafter volumes of the patent rolls will be cited under the abbreviated title “CPR” followed by the years covered in that particular volume.
  13. Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem and Other Analogous Documents(London, 1910-1916), ix, 380, 300. Sylvia Thrupp demonstrates that Londoners distinguished between “aliens” (those people living in the city who had been born outside the country) and “foreigners” (Englishmen who resided in London without being entitled to citizenship). See The Merchant Class of Medieval London (Ann Arbor, 1948), 2-3.
  14. Michael Prestwich concludes that Sir Guy was a Gascon (Edward I [Berkeley, 1988], 151). After the outbreak of war in 1294, Guy Ferres English manors were seized by zealous royal escheators. The king ordered his lands restored to him in 1295 on the grounds that Guy Ferre was not of the power of the king of France (Calendar of Close Rolls 1288-1296,502). Hereafter volumes of the close rolls will be cited under the abbreviated title “CCR” followed by the years covered in that particular volume.
  15. CCR 1272-1279, 113. The charter was given on the Feast of St. Hilary, 13 January; CPR 1272-1281, 125, records the queen mothers life grant to Guy Ferre of the manor of Whitley, co. Surrey; ibid., 302, 355. By right of his wife, Guy Ferre held the serjeanty of the dies cuneorum in the Exchange of London (CCR 1279-1288, 217); CPR 1272-1281, 359. Edward I granted Guy Ferre, “for his long service,” an annuity of 51 11s. plus land worth 10. This grant was repeated on 4 June 1280 (CCR 1279-1288,18).
  16. CPR 1272-1281, 361, 460.
  17. Ibid., 429. Guy Ferre was subsequently excused from the common summonses in Essex and Norfolk (CCR 1279-1288, 364, 370, 406). Ibid., 144 (oaks at Haneleye).
  18. CPR 1281-1292,484, 53, 81, 188.
  19. Ibid., 180. Sir Guy Ferres wife, who died before 1 July 1285, should not be confused with a second Joan de Ferre, who was alive in November 1285 and the wife of John Ferre (whose relation to Guy is uncertain). This latter Joan was a lady-in-waiting in the queen consorts household. Like many household members, Joan, wife of John, fell ill at Fontevrault abbey while Queen Eleanor stayed there in 1285. The controller of the wardrobe recorded in his account book the following payment: “Domino Ricardo de Bures pro expensis currus . . . cum v equis portantis dominam J. de Ferre et Sibil Poer et alias domicellas camere regine infirmatas apud Fontem Ebraudi eundo et redeundo et pro expensis carectarii et duorum garcionum sequentium currum illum, xvj s. sterlingorum ” (Benjamin F. Byerly and Catherine Ridder Byerly, eds., Records of the Wardrobe and Household, 1285-1286 (London, 1977), 842, 82. By 1292, Guy Ferre had married as his second wife, Eleanor, who survived him by twenty-six years.
  20. CPR 1281-1292,194, 239, 252; Powicke, Thirteenth Century, 290-291.
  21. From November 1285 to Novermber 1286, the controller of the wardrobe paid Guy Ferre 46s. 8d. for his fee, 10 marks of silver over his wages, 10 marks “pro feodo suo loco vadiorum,” a additional 5 marks for his fee, and a prest of 6 13s. (Records of the Wardrobe and Household, 1285-1286, 1073, 99; 1721, 173; 1182, 107; 1722, 173; 1725,174; 1805, 181). These sums, however, do not reflect Guy Ferres sole source of income, which also derived from various annuities paid at the exchequer as well as the proceeds of his several manors.
  22. Rôles Gascons, iii, Introduction, ix-xv; Trabut-Cussac, 81-82; Lodge, 57-59; Vale, 66-67.
  23. Rôles Gascons, ii, 1425, 441; on 6 May 1289, Guy Ferre was at Lavardac, Agenais (ibid., 1475, 457). He witnessed a land transfer at Clarendon on 7 November (CCR 1288-1296,56).
  24. Powicke, Thirteenth Century, 512; CCR 1288-1296,247; CPR 1281-1292, 329, 325. The legal term “male heirs of the body” refers exclusively to a mans legitimate sons; property granted to a man under this formula excluded his wife, siblings, daughters, and illegitimate sons from inheriting. See the appendix for a discussion of the importance of the manor of Gestingthorpe in distinguishing between Guy Ferre the Elder and his namesake.
  25. Ibid., 413, 414. Renham, co. Essex, was in the kings gift because Robert Coalround, “being an idiot,” had been taken into royal custody. Guy Ferre received Turok, co. Essex, during the minority of the heirs of Bartholomew de Bryaunzun. Sir Guy Ferre transferred the wardship of this manor to Walter de Layeton, keeper of the wardrobe, on 4 July 1291 (ibid., 439).
  26. Edward I issued letters of protection on 23 January and extended them until Christmas on 16 June. In December, these letters were further extended until mid-summer. By April 1292, however, Guy Ferre had returned to England (ibid., 418, 435, 464; CCR 1288-1296,263). See Powicke, Thirteenth Century, 598-605, for further discussion of this episode.
  27. CCR 1288-96, 289.
  28. CPR 1292-1301,66, 67, 69.
  29. Rôles Gascons, iii, 2732, 156; 3728, 277.
  30. CCR 1288-96, 502-503. Guy Ferre testified before the king that Reymund, parson of Fakenham, co. Norfolk, whose goods had also been seized by the sheriff of Norfolk, celebrated a daily Mass for the soul of Eleanor, late queen of England, the kings mother. Guy Ferre held the advowson of Reymunds church.
  31. Edmunds force was not dispatched until the early months of 1296, after the French had enjoyed some success in the field (Lodge, Gascony,66). Vales discussion of the causes, campaigns, and expenses of this war (Angevin Legacy,200-215) is more complete than Trabut-Cussacs (LAdministration, 108-9).
  32. Rôles Gascons,iii, 4348, 351. While an argument based on the silence of the records cannot be regarded as conclusive, the fact that Guy Ferre failed to appear in the close and patent rolls during the period in question suggests that he may not have been in England.
  33. CCR 1296-1302,58; CPR 1292-1301, 306. Edward I was in Scotland, personally directing the English armies. Both Guy Ferre the Elder and the Younger were summoned to Parliament that year (Rôles Gascons, iii, 102, note 7).
  34. Ibid., 4506, 376.
  35. Prestwich, Edward I,provides an excellent description of Edward Is household, distinguishing between the domus, the domestic establishment, and the familia, the group of servants who performed administrative, financial, and military duties for the king. Prestwich, following T. F. Tout, emphasizes the role played by the controller of the wardrobe (also keeper of the privy seal) in the expansion of the familia into the kings personal administrative machine. See chapter 6, “The Royal Household,” 134-169, especially pages 134-138.
  36. Similar to the lieutenancy of Aquitaine was that of Ireland, an appointment that entailed the exercise of viceregal authority.
  37. Sir Guy continued to profit from royal patronage and, on rare occasions, was employed on the kings errands to other parts of Europe. Beginning in October 1304, for instance, Guy Ferre shared with Aymer de Valence, soon to be earl of Pembroke, the financial management of the princes household; in 1306 theyreceived 2000 marks (1,333 6s. 8d.) to pay the expenses of the Prince of Wales familia while the heir to the throne travelled in Gascony (CCR 1302-1307,222; CPR 1301-1307, 263-264). May McKisack, The Fourteenth Century 1307-1399(Oxford, 1959), 1-2, discusses the reputation of the princes household for extravagance and unruly behavior. Edward of Carnarvon had been invested with the duchy in 1306 and while on the continent performed liege homage to Philip IV. Further discussion of those facets of Sir Guys biography which do not directly bear on maintaining ducal authority in Aquitaine will be laid aside in the ensuing analysis of the Plantagenets policy of absenteeism.
  38. Rôles Gascons,iv, 1211, 340-341, is an inspection and confirmation of a grant made by Guy Ferre, while CCR 1307-1313, 557, directs Guy Ferre to deliver the ducal seal to the new seneschal.
  39. Pierre Chaplais, “The Chancery of Guyenne 1289-1453,” in Essays in Medieval Diplomacy and Administration, essay VIII, 78-79. There was a notary, sometimes called thescriptor curie Vasconie,who was the head of the seneschals secretariat and “keeper of the rolls and papers of his sénéchaussée,” but Chaplais does not describe an enrollment process for the seneschals business. Edward II appointed Arnaldo de Rivali to be notary public under Guy Ferre (Rôles Gascons, iv, 72, 37-38).
  40. Rôles Gascons, iii, 4506, 376; 4548, 401; Trabut-Cussac, 372.
  41. Rôles Gascons, iii, 4506, 376; 4515, 379; 4517, 379; 4519, 379-380, 4516, 379; 4518, 379; 4525 381, 4533, 396, 4534, 396.
  42. Rothwell, “Edward Is Case,” 572-582.
  43. Rôles Gascons,iv, 22, 28. Guy Ferre the Younger was seneschal of Gascony for seventeen months, from 12 March, 1308, until 24 October, 1309 (ibid., 313, 97). Considering the annual salary (500), there probably existed a long line of royal retainers eager to serve the king in this capacity; thus, the brevity of Guy Ferres tenure may reflect the kings need to distribute his patronage as widely as possible.
  44. Ibid., 23-24, 26-27, 29, 29-30.
  45. Ibid., 50, 34; 67-68, 36-37; 91, 43; 115, 48; 120, 50; 130, 52; 185-186, 64-65; 244, 79.
  46. Chaplais, “English Arguments concerning the Feudal Status of Aquitaine in the Fourteenth Century,” 206-208.
  47. Unless, as often happened, the duke of Aquitaine, acting in his dual role as king of England, allowed a Gascon appeal to pass on to the curia regis.
  48. Joseph A. Kicklighter, “French Jurisdictional Supremacy in Gascony: One Aspect of the Ducal Governments Response,” Journal of Medieval History, 5 [1979] 128-129; Pierre Chaplais, “The Chancery of Guyenne 1289-1453,” 61.
  49. Rôles Gascons,iv, 84, 41.
  50. Ibid., 216, 72-73.
  51. Kicklighter demonstrates in “French jurisdictional supremacy in Gascony,” 129-131, that those who renounced their appeals to Paris were swiftly restored to “royal favor.” This ambiguous phrase in some cases meant the repeal of heavy retaliatory fines imposed by the ducal government on those who took appeals to Paris or restoration of the appellant to a lucrative official position.
  52. Guy Ferre was ordered to incarcerate these people and seize their goods “secundum foros et consuetudinis parcium illarum fuerit faciendum, jure nostro in omnibus conservato” (Rôles Gascons, iv, 254, 82).
  53. Philips order to the seneschal of Gascony (Charles Samaran, ed., La Gascogne dans les registres du Trésors des Chartes[Paris, 1966], 35, 5) was repeated on 13 March, 1310 (ibid., 38, 5). For Philips command to the seneschal of Toulouse, see ibid., 39, 5.
  54. Rôles Gascons,iv, 24. In one of Guy Ferres appointment letters (Ibid., 28, 29), exploitation of the demesne included collecting ducal income from forests and woods, wastes, mud-flats or beaches (basas), enclosures (paludes), salt pans (saltus), and other unproductive possessions (“et alias possessiones steriles nobis”); bid., 30, 30.
  55. Ibid., 47-49, 33-34; 51, 34; 59, 35 (appoint jurats of Bordeaux); 88, 42; 93, 43; 97, 99, 44; 123, 127, 51; 130, 132, 52; 143, 54-55; 163, 58; 178, 63; 209, 70; 253, 82 (commit the collection of the custom on wines to Peter de Francia, merchant of Gascony); 266, 85.
  56. Ibid., 34, 31; ibid., 92, 43; 56, 35; 142, 54; 35, 31; 243, 79; ibid., 313, 97. Guy Ferre was one of the men who witnessed the return of the great seal to Edward II by the Bishop of Chichester on 11 May 1310 (CCR 1307-1313, 258).
  57. French forces, which had seized the duchy in 1294, still occupied parts of Gascony (including Bordeaux) in 1303, at which time the duke Aquitaine was formally (and by proxy) reinvested by the king of France with the duchy. A treaty had been concluded prior to the restitution whereby both sides pledged amity and non-interference. The English interpreted these terms as a French acknowledgement that Gascony was to be held by allodial tenure (ibid., 224-225).
  58. Rôles Gascons,iv, 393-411, 120-126; CCR 1307-1313, 289. From 1310 to 1312 Edward II concurrently maintained in the duchy a royal lieutenant and seneschal of Gascony. Prior to 1310 and after 1312, the two officials were merged.
  59. Rôles Gascons, iv, 397, 122 (appelate supremacy); 404, 123-124 (territorial limits).
  60. CPR 1307-1313,338, contains an order to civil and canon lawyers gathered at a provincial council in London to review the arguments made by the French royal representatives and report on their validity to the English commissioners in Gascony. Also see McKisack, Fourteenth Century, 108.
  61. Rôles Gascons,iv, 586-587, 170; 1506, 434-435; 1619, 470–27.
  62. CCR 1307-1313, 451; CPR 1307-1313,437. This episode is admirably treated by McKisack, Fourteenth Century, 12-30. The kings response to the Ordainers, including his authorization of a review of the Ordinances, is found on pages 23-30
  63. CPR 1307-1313, 484.
  64. Rôles Gascons, iv, 713-715, 201-202; ibid., 738, 206, for example, asks John Ferrers and Guy Ferre to put Lupus Burgundi de Clavery in possession of the castle of Sumpoy.
  65. Vale, Angevin Legacy,164-174, discusses at length the Gascon career of John Ferrers in a section called “John Ferrers and the Crisis of 1312.” Amanieu dAlbret maintained that Ferrers had seized, mutilated, and killed Albrets kinsmen, that Ferrers had appointed Albrets mortal enemy to the seneschalsy of the Landes, the locus of Albrets lands and vassals, and that Ferrers broke his oath as seneschal by oppressing the Gascon countryside with a private army. Other plaintiffs alleged that Ferrers clients terrorized and intimidated those who appealed against his abusive rule. On one occasion, Ferrers and an accomplice defenestrated a French royal official, who suffered a broken arm and leg from the fall. Vale comments, “Offences of this kind were not uncommon in Aquitaine, but when they were done with the knowledge and connivance of the king-dukes representative, the matter was of more serious consequence” (168). In his own brutal fashion, Ferrers was maintaining ducal authority, but the dispatch of Guy Ferre into the duchy suggests that Ferrers methods were ultimately counterproductive.
  66. Rôles Gascons, iv, 755-756, 210.
  67. Ibid., 757, 210; 776, 213-214; CCR 1307-1313, 557.
  68. On 2 May, 1313, Guy Ferre received letters of protection authorizing him to remain in Gascony on the kings business until Michaelmas (CPR 1307-1313,572). Since the issue of letters of protection does not perforce dictate the recipients whereabouts, we cannot be certain that Guy Ferre remained in Gascony for the full term of his letters of protection, but after receiving an administrative mandate from the king on 28 March, 1313 (Rôles Gascons,iv, 869, 238-239), he is absent from the public records until his reappearance in England on 27 April, 1314 (CPR 1313-1317, 147).
  69. Ibid., 187 (gift of four bucks from a forest in Essex); CCR 1313-1318,16 (order to pay the Abbot of Brunne 13s.).
  70. Ibid., 469-470; On the same day, 10 May, Edward II dispatched messengers to Philip V, Charles of Valois, the duke of Burgundy, and the counts of Evreuz, Porcéan, La Marche, Julers, and Bar, some of them expressly to seek aid in freeing Aymer de Valence; CCR 1313-1318, 446; Vale, 51-52. Homage ceremonies tended to be held on neutral ground. In 1308, for instance, Edward II did homage to Philip IV in Boulogne; The classic discussion of “Feudal Ties of Dependence” is found in Marc Bloch, Feudal Society,trans. by L. A. Manyon (London, 1961), i, 123-279.
  71. Vale, 51.
  72. Calendar of Inquisitions post mortem, vi, 422, 248-249. He held lands in the shires of Kent, Surrey, Essex, Suffolk, Lincoln, and Oxford.
  73. Ibid., ix, 380, 300-301. Eleanor Ferres personal seal still survived in 1854. It bore the arms of Ferre and those of Eleanors father in pale with the legend, “sigill : Elianore : Ferre :” (W. S. Walford and Albert Way, The Archaeological Journal,11 [1854] 367-380.
  74. CCR 1288-1296,113.
  75. CPR 1281-1292,405.
  76. CPR 1272-1281, 429; CCR 1279-1288, 364, 370, 406.
  77. See Frederick Pollock and Frederic Maitland, The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 1923), ii, 406-414.
  78. Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem,vi, 249.
  79. CPR 1292-1301,44. Sir Guy complained in August 1294 that a large body of locals “entered his free fair at Benhale, co. Suffolk, which he holds by charter of the king, assaulted . . . his bailiffs deputed to collect the toll and other customs in the said fair, broke his houses in the said town, and carried away some goods” (ibid., 114-115).
  80. CPR 1281-1292,325.
  81. Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem,vi, 248-249.
  82. Ibid., ix, 300-301. After the outbreak of war in 1294, Guy Ferres English manors were seized by zealous royal escheators. The king ordered his lands restored to him in 1295 on the grounds that Guy Ferre was not of the power of the king of France (CCR 1288-1296,502). In English terms, Sir Guy was clearly “French.”
  83. He received his only summons to Parliament in 1297 (Rôles Gascons,iii, 102, n. 7). A Guy Ferre styled the Elder last appeared on 12 February, 1301 (CCR 1296-1302,478), whereas the style the Younger continued in sporadic use until 1305 (CPR 1301-1307, 393).


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