The Northern Barons
The Northern Barons
In many ways the northern rebels of 1215 were typical members of their class. They were great landlords and keen business men, active enclosers and improvers of their lands, owners of vast sheep flocks, benefactors and patrons of great monasteries, founders both of religious houses and of market and municipal privileges. In certain matters, however, their relations with the King marked them out. By and large they were the ‘outs’, excluded from the spoils of office, despite a family tradition of service to the Crown in many cases, despite the earlier administrative experience that some of them enjoyed, and despite the expectancy of office that their social position gave them. In addition, many of them had personal wrongs, grievances, and problems to set right. William de Mowbray, Richard de Percy, Peter de Bros, Roger de Montbegon, Robert de Ros, John de Lacy, Gilbert de Gant, Maurice de Gant, Nicholas de Stuteville, Robert de Vaux, and Matilda de Caux were all in situations, or had been parties to transactions, which, in each case, could have become a deeply rooted grievance and ultimately a casus belli. On the whole the rebellion was not one in which an active and adventurous landowning class broke the fetters which the monarchy had placed on its development. It was a rebellion rather of the aggrieved, of the failures; a protest against the quasi-monopoly of privilege by the King and his friends; at its most significant a call, not to break bonds, but to impose them on the most active and experimental administrative force of the day, the monarchy.
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