After over ten years of fighting the Church and the majority of barons were looking for peace and had decided that the continued fighting was doing nothing but harming England and that it could not continue.
Brian Fitzcourt had continued to be targeted by King Stephen at Wallingford Castle. This led to skirmishes between Henry Plantagenet and Stephen’s forces around the area of Wallingford. It was expected that a larger scale battle would be forthcoming. William d’Arundel successfully argued and brought both sides to the negotiating table. A temporary truce was reached and known as the Treaty of Wallingford. This paved way for the future line and the House of Plantagenet to succeed to the English throne, although the fighting did not stop at once.
Eustace, King Stephen’s son opposed the truce. Previously in London early on 6th April 1152, a council had been held by Stephen where a small number of barons had paid homage to Eustace as their future King. Eustace though died early August 1153, some say he was stuck down by the wrath of God while plundering church lands around the area of Bury St Edmunds.
Further fighting then continued. Stephen lost the towns of Oxford and Stamford to Henry with the Kings attentions turned to fighting Hugh Bigod in the East of England, although he did manage to hold Nottingham castle from an attack. Meanwhile Stephen’s brother henry of Blois and the Archbishop of Canterbury Theobald continued to put pressure on Stephen to accept a deal. Stephen and Henry’s armies met at Winchester and a new permanent peace was ratified and the House of Plantagenet would soon come to the throne.
The new treaty was announced by Stephen at Winchester Cathedral. It stated that Stephen accepted Henry as his adopted son and successor as long as Henry did him homage whilst he was alive. It also stated that Stephen would listen to Henry’s advice. Stephen remaining son William would do homage to Henry, renouncing his claim to the throne in exchange for promises that his lands would be secure. Key royal castles would be held for Henry by guarantors although Stephen would have access to them all. Also all foreign military mercenaries would be disbanded and sent home.
The treaty was sealed with a kiss of peace in the cathedral between Stephen and Henry. For its assistance once crowned as Henry II, Henry awarded Wallingford with a Royal Charter in 1155.
Two Key peace brokers
Brian Fitzcount held both the Lordships of Wallingford and Abergavenny. Previously he had been a loyal supporter of Henry I and supported Matilda all through the conflicts with Stephen. He was the illegitimate son of Alan IV, Duke of Brittany. He was sent and raised in the court of Henry I, becoming a close friend of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester. He married Matilda D’Oyly which brought him the lands around Wallingford in circa 1127. Although constantly under siege from King Stephen’s forces for thirteen during the Anarchy Wallingford Castle was never taken and was the main eastern point of the Plantagenet forces. Matilda on escaping the siege of Oxford fled to Wallingford. Upon his death and with no heir his wife Matilda became a nun in the 1150’s and all their lands and castle passed back to the crown.
William d’Aubigny was the 1st Earl of Lincoln and 1st Earl of Arundel. He was a key member of Henry I household and on Henry’s death marired his widow Queen Adeliza in 1138. William was loyal to King Stephen who made him both the Earl of Lincoln and Arundel in Sussex. In 1143 as Earl of Lincoln, he had two charters confirming a donation of land around Arundel to the abbey of Affigem in Brabant. During the period known as ‘The Anarchy’ William acted as a mediator and helped to arrange the truce that lead to the Treaty of Wallingford. When Henry then ascended to the throne he confirmed both of William’s Earldoms and gave him direct possession of Arundel Castle.