31 January, 2007

Scots sell Charles I to English Parliament for 40 pounds, 30th January 1647

Scots sell Charles I to English Parliament for 40 pounds, 30th January 1647.

Charles I had entrusted himself to the The Scottish Presbyterian army at Newark after escaping from the siege of Oxford in April 1646. He was kept under guard at Southwell while the Scots decided what to do with him. Eventually Charles was delivered to the Parliamentary forces later in 1647; it was a further two years before his eventual execution in January 1649.

Some important medieval ransoms (with Wikipedia links for more details):

The most famous monarch held for a King's Ransom was of course Richard I (the Lionheart), held to ransom 1192-1194 held by Henry of the Holy Roman Empire. His mother Eleanor of Aquitaine worked to raise the 150,000 marks demanded (around 100,000 pounds, maybe two to five times the annual Crown income at the time, depending on which account you read), by heavy taxes on the church and people. These taxes could be up to a quarter value of property owned, but it was worth it to get rid of nasty King John.

Bertrand du Guesclin, brilliant 14th century French soldier during the Hundred Years War, was captured by the English at Auray in 1364. Charles V of France paid his ransom, but he was captured again whilst commanding French mercenaries against Peter the Cruel of Castille (who had enlisted the help of Edward the Black Prince of England). Du Guesclin had the last laugh against the English as in subsequent campaigns he re-captured sizeable chunks of French territory for the home side. He died on a campaign in the south in 1380.

A little later on, James I of Scotland, held to ransom 1406-1424 by Henrys IV and V of England, was treated as a royal guest. James married the Earl of Somerset's daughter before his return to Scotland, where he reigned until 1437; although he pushed through many good reforms in Scotland , he made enemies and unfortunately James was assassinated aged 43.

Reader suggestions on further historical ransoms welcome...


Austronaught said...

King Jon of France is the best example (other than Richard) who comes to mind. Captured after the battle of Poitiers his ransom was set at something link 3 000 000 crowns.

Oddly enough the nobillity of france struggled to come up with the money. Very convinent.

It would be interesting to look at ransoms in the 16th and 17 century when the borrowing potential of the Crown(s) was dramatically increased.

cardinal_wolsey said...

Thanks for you comment, Austronaught.A good suggestion for a future post.