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Hold the Fort! --Andelys
I have been reading the description of Richard the Lionhearted's
imprisonment in the book "Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings" by Amy
Kelly. This gives almost a day by day discription of the events and at no
time was Richard in French territory. Richard was moved from Trifels to
Hagenau. Then Emperor Henry Hohenstaufen sent for him to be brought to
Worms. There followed a long negotiations that involved many countries, the
Pope and even Eleanor, Richard's mother came. "All wept. Henry of
Hohenstaufen condescdnded grandly; the captive's fetters were unloosed; the
ransom was conveyed; the hostages were given over, among them the Archbishop
of Rouen, who had been the queen's stay in so many crises, her protector on
so many journeyings; and the queen herself, worn with labor and anguish,
fell weeping into the arms of Coeur-de-Lion. She wa, as she had sritten to
Pope Celestine, "worn to a skeleton, a mere thing of skin and bones, the sap
consumed in her veins, tears all but dried in the fountains of her eyes.'
All the bystanders let their tears flow at the spectacle of this aged woman,
the most astute and venerable soverign in Europe, still at seventy-two a
figure of significance in the counsels of men, raining her tears on the
bosom of her glorious son. There may have been in that concourse some
patriarcal bishops who remembered her as the young Queen of France getting
herself and her baggage wains over the Rhine in this very city of Minz a
half-century before on her way to the Holy Land, for she too had been signed
with the cross; for the hyounger generation the mere sight of her would
evoke the airs of troubgadours' and minnesingers' sons that had kept her
name alive in all the intervening time with malice or with praise."
"the queen and her son accepted the invitation of the Bishop of Cologne
to spend the end of the week in the capital of his diocese on their way down
the Rhine to the sea. In Cologne the prelate did hs best with suptuous
banquets and valley wines.....From Cologne.....it is related that after
Richard had passed out of Swabia, Henry Hohenstaufen, stimulated anew by
pressures from Philip of France, repented him of having so lightly delivered
his captive and sent followers to pursue and overtake him; and that Philip
cooperated in this plan by placing ships in the Channel to intercept the
royal party. However this may have been, the king and queen avoided all
these traps and came at last to Antwerp.....Richard's admiral, Stephen of
Turnham, received the travelers on the famous ship Trenchemer.....they made
their way among the islands by day.....and by night for greater comfort and
security lay upon a great galley that came out from Rye. On March 12 ...the
ships bore into the harbor of Sandwich.
So he was never in France at that time. But then in 1196 he returns to
build a fortress upon a peerless height that should surpass anything yet
seen in Europe. A very mountain of defiance to obstruct the valley of the
Seine by river and by road. 2/3 of the distance, as the crow flies from
Paris to the sea, the river described a deep loop, washing the chalky cliffs
of an abrupt eminence that offered a panoramic survey of the whole region to
its remote horizons. This height, the "Rock of Andelys," had not escaped
the appraising eye of Philip, but it loomed a few leagues beyond his reach.
The Angevin genius for building stirred mightly in Coeur-de-Lion as he
reconnoitered this matchless site. From the days of his earliest memory he
had prowled about the massy ancient piles reared by Foulques the Black,
William the Conqueror, Henry Beauclerc, Geoffrey the Fair and Henry
Fitz-Empress (Richard's father) on the heights of Loches, Falaise, Chinon,
and many another dominating lookout. In the Latin Kingdom he had explored
with Amazement and delight the newest military construction of the TEMPLARS
and hospitallers at least in Margab and Acre, Ramleh and Ascalon.
(info on the construction) "Behold," exclaimed the architect king to
his amazed liege men at the end of 1196. "how fair my daughter has grown in
a single year." With raillery he named the pile "Chateau Gaillard. Saucy
Castle, or Petulant Castle, it has been called, though the English hardly
renders the mocking challenge of the French.
The town of Gisors is nearby and this is said about it. "Gisors, where
once the vast elm had marked the place of parley between Capetian kings and
the Norman dukes"
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