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1194 - Richard

Richard was crowned at Westminster and after but a few months he left England to pursue his crusade to Palestine and the re-capture of Jerusalem. This Holy Crusade was beset with problems and bickering between the allied armies in particular with the French King Phillipe Auguste. Richard proved to be a fine soldier and a good military leader and came within sight of the walls of Jerusalem but with the disintegration of the allied armies was force to turn back. By this time Phillipe Auguste the French King had returned home and was creating trouble on the borders of Richard‟s French possession and at home his brother Prince John was planning insurrection hoping to supplant his brother. Richard and a small band of companions returned home but were apprehended near Vienna by Duke Leopard of Austria in the last month of 1192.

Richard was handed over in the New Year to the Emperor Henry VI who demanded 150.000 marks ransom. On Richard‟s return to England on 13th March 1194 the witch hunt began for John‟s supporters and French sympathisers, who were quickly rounded up and their land and possession confiscated by the crown. One such sympathiser was Jean de Gisors owner of the town and other parts of Portsea Island. In consequence his possessions in Hampshire fell to the crown including the town of Portsmouth. Richard’s exchequer was much depleted in respect of his ransom. To recoup his losses Richard set about selling all the confiscated land, but not Portsmouth and as is so clearly stated in the charter he granted Portsmouth on 2nd May 1194 in the second paragraph

Know that we have retained our Borough of Portsmouth In our hands, with everything pertaining to it

There is but one possible explanation for retention of Portsmouth, control of his lines of communication between his French possessions and his English 4 Kingdom, for the free movement of cargos, troops and munitions. Had it been sold these lines could have been interrupted by noblemen or wealthy merchants who may not in some future time see eye-to-eye with the Kings dreams. Legend has it that at this time Richard built a “Doc” at Portsmouth.