41. LETTERS CLOSE AND PATENT (1205-13)
(A) Summons to a Great Council (1205)
The king, etc., to the bishop of Salisbury, etc. We command and pray you that as you cherish us and cur honour, avoiding all excuse and delay, you come to us at London on Sunday next before the Ascension of the Lord, with us to consider our great and arduous concerns and the common good of our kingdom. And since, with regard to those demands from the king of France which have been brought to us by his messengers and ours and from which, by the grace of God, we hope to have a favourable outcome it is needful to have your counsel and that of the other magnates of our land whom we have caused to be convoked on that day and at that place, you shall also cause to be summoned, on our part and on yours, the abbots and conventual priors of your whole diocese; so that, as they cherish us and the common good of the kingdom, they shall be present with us in the aforesaid council.
(Latin) Stubbs, Select Charters, p. 277.
(B) Summons of Service from the Cinque Ports (1206)
The king, etc., to all his beloved and faithful barons of Hastings, Dover, Sandwich, Hythe, and Romney, greeting. We command you that as you cherish us and our honour and the peace of our kingdom and yourselves and all that you have, avoiding all excuse and delay, you be with us at Portsmouth on the eve of Pentecost, or as soon as you can, with as much service as you owe us, to go into our service as William of Wrotham, archdeacon of Taunton, will on our part instruct you.... May 12....
(Latin) Rotuli Litterarum Patentium, I, 64.
(C) Levy of a Tax on Chattels and Rents (1207)
The king to all, etc. Know that by the common counsel and assent of our council at Oxford, it was provided for the defence of our kingdom and granted for the recovery of our rights that every layman throughout all England, of whosesoever fee he may be, who has rent and chattels in England, shall give us as aid 12d. from every mark's worth of annual rent, and 12d. from [every mark's worth of] every sort of movable property that he had on the octave of the Purification of the Blessed Mary namely, at the end of the council and so in proportion whether more or less. And all stewards and bailiffs of the earls and barons shall swear in the presence of our justices to the value of the rents and movable property of their lords and likewise of their own. And every man besides the earls and barons shall swear to his own rents and chattels according to whatever [plan] our justices dispatched for this purpose shall find best suited to our advantage.... February 17.
(Latin) Stubbs, Select Charters, pp. 278 f.
(D) Military and Naval Preparations (1212)
The king to the bailiffs of ports, etc. We instruct you that henceforth you permit no ship, from whatsoever land it may be, to cross the sea from your bailiwick unless to that effect you have our special precept, in which is set down the number of men and horses that are to cross; and to suit the number of those whom we order to cross, you shall have a ship delivered to them.... March 23.
The king to G[eoffrey] Fitz-Peter, greeting. We command you that, on sight of these letters, you immediately send to Portsmouth with the utmost haste all the ships of your bailiwick, and others coming thither from anywhere, which can carry six horses or more, to go into our service as we have elsewhere directed, notwithstanding our last mandate given you, that you should not permit any ship, from whatsoever land it might be, to cross the sea without our special letters.... March 25.
Similar letters to all bailiffs of ports.
The king to the reeves and good men of Canterbury, etc. We command you that, as you cherish us, you have well prepared with horses and arms, forty of the solider and better men of our town of Canterbury, that they may well be fit and ready to cross the sea with us in our service when we send you orders, and so that we shall be grateful to you and to them.... June 15.
The king to the sheriff of Lincoln, etc. We command you to see that we have from our city of Lincoln, from our demesnes and escheats, from those men who do not join the army with us, and from the abbeys and priories of your bailiwick two hundred good, strong, and vigorous men with axes, and that many among them are such as well know how to put themselves to carpentering, and for whom we shall be grateful to you; so that they shall be fit and ready for entering our service. And see that, by those on whose behalf they are sent, they are provided with victuals for forty days from the day on which they arrive at Chester. And you are to send with them one of your clerks and four serjeants to inspect and record those who have come and how they have come. And you are to inform us of their names and [tell us] on whose behalf they have been sent.... July 10.
The king to the sheriff of Northumberland, etc. We command you to be with us at Chester on the Sunday next after the coming feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary. And have orders given throughout your whole bailiwick that, from the day on which you come to Chester, there shall be no trading in victuals except for our army. And see to it that, from that day, all dealers in victuals from your bailiwick, as they prize their chattels, follow our army with all sorts of victuals.... July 20.
Similar letters to all the sheriffs of England.
The king to the sheriff of Lincoln, etc. We command you to have summoned through good summoners all those who hold of us by serjeanty in your bailiwick, and whose names we have sent to you in another writing, that they are to be with us at Chester on Sunday next after the Assumption of the Blessed Mary, well equipped with horses and arms and provided with victuals for going with us into our service. And have this summons made by such witness that no one shall be able to deny that he was summoned. And have there this writ and the other writ.... July 21.
Similar letters to all the sheriffs of England.
The king to G[eoffrey] de Lucy, etc. We command you that, on sight of these letters, you immediately send our eighteen galleys toward Chester on a circuit of the coast of Llewelyn's land, to scatter and destroy the ships, galleys, and boats of our Welsh enemies, and to inflict evil upon them in all ways possible. But you are constantly to beware lest you incur injury from the land or the forces of W [illiam] Earl Marshal. And you are to send to Bristol two galleys with our supplies; and those who bring them are to notify us as soon as they arrive at Bristol. And if you have need of money, you are to let us know.... [August 17.]
(Latin) Rotuli Litterarum Clausarum, I, 121-33.
(E) Summons to a Great Council (1213)
The king to the sheriff of Oxford, greeting. We command you that you have all the knights of your bailiwick who were summoned to be with us at Oxford a fortnight after All Saints' Day come [thither] with their arms; and likewise the barons in person, but without arms. And have four discreet knights of your county come thither to us at the same time, to speak with us concerning the affairs of our kingdom.... November 7.
Similar letters to all the sheriffs.
(Latin) Stubbs, Select Charters, p. 282.
 See above, p. 89, n. 2.
 Having to do, of course, with the war between John and Philip Augustus.
 For references to sources and literature concerning these towns, see the recent book of K. M. E. Murray, Constitutional History of the Cinque Ports; also cf. no. 50C.
 On the significance of this tax, see S. K. Mitchell, Taxation under John and Henry III, ch. iii.
 In the course of this year John planned first a campaign in France and then one in Wales, but eventually all the orders were rescinded.
 Similar letters were sent to seventeen other boroughs for 10 men each, to thirteen for 20 men each, to three for 30 men each, to four for 40 men each, and to London for 100.
 Similar letters were sent to officials in charge of thirty-three other counties, vacant bishoprics, escheated honours, etc., for quotas of from 100 to 700 men equipped with axes or with spades and hoes.
 The earl of Pembroke, who was then in conflict with the king.
 As pointed out by Miss Levett (English Historical Review, XXXI, 85 f.), Stubbs wrongly put homines for milites in the last sentence of this writ. For the best interpretation of the document, see A. B. White, in the American Historical Review, XXII, 325 f.