Being an agreement signed on the 6th November 1153 between Stephen the king of England and Henry of Anjou, the future king Henry II, formerly concluding the state of war that had previously existed between them.
Henry I had died in 1135, his designated heir was his daughter Matilda but the throne was seized by his cousin Stephen. There followed a period of intermittent civil war and conflict known as The Anarchy, as the supporters of both Stephen and Matilda struggled for control of the country. Matilda had briefly held power in 1141, but eventually gave up in 1148.
On the 6th January 1153 Matilda's son Henry of Anjou landed in England with an army intent on establishing himself as king, but after a few months fighting it became apparent that neither side was going to win a quick victory. When Stephen's eldest son and heir Eustace died on 17th August, Theobald the Archbishop of Canterbury was able to broker a peace deal.
At the time the treaty was signed the future Henry II was formally Duke of Normandy since his father Geoffrey of Anjou had succesfully wrested control of Normandy away from Stephen in 1144, hence the treaty itself refers to Henry throughout as 'the duke'.
The essential terms of the treaty were that;
Its importance was that it brought the period of the Anarchy to end and ended the uncertainty that existed over the future of the monarchy. It is also notable because for the first time the monarchy began to undertake obligations to maintain certain tenures, that is the basis on which individuals held land, and was the beginning of such notions as private ownership of property and the concept of the common law.
The Treaty of Winchester
Stephen, king of England, to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, justiciars, sheriffs, barons, and to all his liegemen of England, greeting.
Know that I, King Stephen, have established Henry, duke of Normandy, as my successor in the kingdom of England, and have recognized him as my heir by hereditary right; and thus I have given and confirmed to him and his heirs the kingdom of England.
The duke in return for this honour and gift and confirmation which I have made to him, has done homage to me, and given me surety by oath. He has sworn that he will be my liegeman, and that he will guard my life and honour by every means in his power according to the agreements made between us which are described in this charter.
I also have given an oath of surety to the duke, that I will guard his life and honour by every means in my power, and that I will maintain him as my son and heir in all things, and that I will do all I can to guard him against all men.
William, my son, has done liege homage and given surety to the duke of Normandy, and the duke has granted him to hold from him all the lands which I held before I acquired the kingdom of England, whether in England or in Normandy or in other places. He is also to hold whatever came with the daughter of the earl of Warenne, whether in England or in Normandy, and whatever pertains to those honours. And the duke will put William, my son, and the men of that honour into possession of all the lands, villages, and boroughs and revenues which the duke has now in his demesne, and especially those which pertain to the honour of the earl of Warenne, particularly the castle of Bellencombre, and the castle of Mortemer: the agreement being that Reginald of Warenne shall, if he wish, keep the castle of Bellencombre and the castle of Mortemer, giving the duke hostages in respect of it; but if Reginald does not wish to do this, then other liegemen of the earl of Warenne agreeable to the duke shall keep the said castles likewise giving the duke good hostages.
The duke shall return to him the other castles, which belong to the count of Mortain, at my pleasure, when he can, for safeguard and with safe hostages, it being understood that all hostages shall be returned without dispute to my son when the duke comes into possession of the kingdom of England.
The duke has agreed to the increment which I have given to my son, to wit, the castle and the town of Norwich with 700 pounds-worth of land, it being understood that the revenue of Norwich itself is included within those 700 pounds-worth; and the whole county of Norfolk, except what pertains to churches and prelates and abbots and earls, and excluding particularly the third penny which pertains to Hugh Bigot as earl, and excepting in all things the rights of the royal justice which are reserved.
Also, in order to increase my thanks and to strengthen my love towards him, the duke has given to my son, William, all those things which Richer of Laigle had from the honour of Pevensey. And besides this castle and town of Pevensey, and the service of Faramus, apart from the castle and Dover and what pertains to the honour of Dover, the duke has confirmed the church of Faversham with its appurtenances and will confirm all the other things given or returned by me to other churches by the advice of holy church, or through my own intention.
The earls and barons of the duke, who were never my men, in consideration for the honour which I have done to their lord, have sworn homage to me, saving only the agreements made between me and the duke; and the others who in previous times had done homage to me, have performed fealty to me as to their lord.
If the duke goes back from his promises, these shall altogether break their service to him until he corrects his errors; and my son also, following the counsel of holy church, shall act likewise in similar circumstances.
My earls and barons have done liege homage to the duke saving their fealty to me so long as I live and have the kingdom with a similar understanding that if I go back from my promises they shall altogether break their service to me until I correct my errors.
The archbishops, bishops, and abbots of the kingdom of England, by my order, have sworn fealty to the duke. And those who shall henceforth be made bishops or abbots in the kingdom of England shall do the same.
And the archbishops and bishops severally have undertaken that if either of us departs from these agreements, they will visit him with the justice of the Church until he has corrected his errors and returned to the proper observation of this pact.