HISTORY

of the

NORMAN CONQUEST

by

EDWARD AUGUSTUS FREEMAN

Oxford University Press 1877

This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton

--------------------------

Volume III
The Election of Harold
January 5-April 16, 1066

The central stage of our journey is now reached. We are now on the threshold of the great year, of that year whose effects on all later English, on all later European, history can never be wiped out. No one year in later English history can for a moment compare, in lasting importance, with the year which, with some small exaggeration, we may call the year of the Norman Conquest. There have indeed been later periods in our history which have been as memorable in their results as the invasion of William itself. The events of the thirteenth, of the sixteenth, of the seventeenth century, are all fully entitled to be set side by side with the events of the eleventh. But in all these cases we have to set the work of a whole generation against the work of a single year. One age is famous for the great struggle against alien domination, and for the final establishment of English freedom in its later form. Another age gave us all the results, for good and for evil, of the great Reformation of religion. A third age confirmed on a surer and more lasting basis those political rights which the thirteenth century had won back, but which the fifteenth and sixteenth had once more brought into jeopardy. But, in all these great periods of change, the work was gradual; there is no single moment, no single year, on which we can place our finger as the moment or the year when the work was actually done. In the eleventh century the work was gradual also. A long series of events prepared the way for William's enterprise, and, when he began his work, it needed more than a single day or a single year to put him in full possession of the Empire for which he had yearned so long. Still in the eleventh century there is a single year and a single day which stand forth in a way in which no single day or year stands forth in the ages after them. There is no later year to compare to the year in which the Crown

of England was worn by the last King of the old sacred and immemorial stock, by the first and last King who reigned only because he was the best and bravest among his people, and by the first and last King who could boast that he held his Kingdom only of God and his own sword. There is no one day in later times to compare with that memorable morning when Northern and Southern Europe, when England and Normandy, when Harold and William, met face to face in the great wager of battle on the day of Saint Calixtus. For days of equal moment in our history we must go back to far earlier times, to times which are still half shrouded in the mist of legend. For a day like the day when England bowed to her first purely foreign lord, we must go back to the day when the first Englishman was baptized into the faith of Christ, to the day when the first Englishman set foot on the shores of Britain.

Sickness and Death of Eadward
December 28, 1065 - January 5, 1066

We left Eadward on his death-bed. His work was over; his newly built minster was hallowed, though he had been himself shut out from taking any part in that great ceremony. The Witan had been gathered, as usual, for the Christmas festival; the special summons to the dedication of Saint Peter's, and, still more, the pressing urgency of the national affairs, had, we may well believe, called together a greater number than usual of the Thegns and Prelates of the land. It was plain that the nation would soon be called on to choose a King, and to choose a King under circumstances of which no past age had ever seen the like. Perhaps vague reports may already have found their way into the land, warning men of the dangers which were likely to threaten England alike from her own exiles and from the foreign kinsman of the dying King. But,

even if no thought of Tostig or of William crossed men's minds, there was enough to make those days of Eadward's last sickness days of the deepest anxiety to every patriotic Englishman. From the beginning of Eadward's sickness, there seems to have been no hope of his recovery. The question in every man's mind must have been, who should fill his place when he was taken from them. The choice of the electors would be perfectly free. Things were not as they had been when Swegen and Cnut were in the land, claiming the votes of the Witan at the point of the sword. But things were as they had never been before since the line of Cerdic had ruled over united England. The King who lay at the point of death was, save only the young Eadgar and his sisters, the last of his race. The names of Christina and Margaret were most likely never uttered; England had never yet dreamed of giving herself a female ruler. A sentimental interest might gather round Eadgar as the last male of the kingly house, but a sentimental interest was all that he could awaken. He was young, and, as events proved, his character, yet more than his age, made him wholly unfit for rule. And Eadgar, it should be borne in mind, did not possess that constitutional claim to a preference which was all that, before the actual election, would have belonged even to a son of the dying King. Thrice in earlier times had the royal line been brought so low as to number none but members of an age too young for government in their own persons. Eadwig, Eadward the Martyr, Aethelred, had all been chosen in their non-age. But the princes so chosen were all of them true Aethelings, Englishmen born, sons of an English King by an English mother. And, in those days, as there was no better qualified candidate in the royal house, so there was no man out of it marked out by the hand of nature as a born King of Men. In those days the greatest of living Englishmen was no Thegn or Ealdorman, but the renowned Primate Dunstan. England had

therefore in all those cases, accepted a King in his boyhood or even in his childhood. There was now no such need. Eadgar, grandson of Ironside as he was, had no constitutional claim upon the votes of the Witan beyond any other male person in the realm. He was not born in the land; he was not the son of a crowned King and his Lady. And close beside the throne, just beyond the strict limits of the royal house, stood the foremost man in England, already a sharer in some sort in the honours of royalty, already an Under-King who received the oaths and homage of vassal princes, as a partner in the rule of the Empire of Britain. Whether he had been marked out by any formal act or not, we cannot doubt that men had long learned to look to Harold the son of Godwine as their future King. And yet, when the day of choice drew near, men might well stop and wonder at the step which they were about to take. The Law justified the act; the needs of the time called for it; but it was a strange and unwonted act none the less. It was something new, some thing which might well set the minds and tongues of men at work, to be called on, freely and under no fear of the Danish axe, to choose a King who had no royal forefathers, a King who came not of the stock of Ecgberht, Cerdic, and Woden. Men whose office or whose wisdom had taught them to scan the chances of the time might ask how such a choice would be looked on by the exile at the court of Baldwin, and by the prince who now, in the height of success and glory, had made the Norman land the wonder of continental Europe. ' Rumours might already be afloat that the English Earl, soon about to become the English King, had, in some strange and unknown way, already become the man of the Norman Duke. And, without going so far afield, men might ask how the great land north of the Humber would look on the choice which to Wessex

and East-Anglia seemed the only choice possible. The Thegns and Prelates of Northumberland might give their votes with the other Witan, but would the fierce people of that proud and distant province submit, without a blow or a murmur, to the kingship of a West-Saxon, a son of Godwine, a brother of Tostig? The days when thoughts like these were working in men's minds must have been days of care and perplexity. There was one source from which light and help might be looked for, light and help which might in some sort seem to come directly from heaven. The words of a dying man have been in all times looked on as solemn and almost prophetic utterances. The words of a dying King were, by the traditional feelings of Englishmen, clothed with an authority second only to that of the Law itself. Eadward was a dying man and a dying King. And he was yet more. Strange as it seems to us, he was already beginning to be looked on with somewhat of the reverence due to a Saint. The will of Eadward had perhaps never been held to be of such moment, his voice had perhaps never been so eagerly listened for in the Councils of his Kingdom, as when he lay, helpless and well-nigh speechless, on his bed at Westminster. Men waited for the voice of the dying man, the dying King, the dying Saint, to confirm once more with his last breath the nomination of the successor on whom, amidst all doubts and dangers, the heart of England still was fixed. In choosing for the first time a King not of the blood of Cerdic, it would be no small strength and comfort if they knew that the step was taken with the full approval and the full bidding of the last King of Cerdic's house. The King was sick unto death; the Witan were gathered round his palace. The moment the breath was out of his body, it would become their duty to choose his successor. It was doubtless with no small anxiety, with somewhat even of religious awe, that they awaited the last utterance of the will of Eadward as to who that successor should be.

The West Minster was hallowed on Wednesday; the news was brought to the King, who, as his legend says, on hearing it laid his head on his pillow as if to say, It is finished. For five days his sickness increased, and the public anxiety heightened at every stage of the disorder. On the sixth day from the consecration, his speech began to fail him; his voice was so feeble that his words could no longer be understood; for two days he lay worn out by the extremity of his sickness. It was no time to trouble the weary sufferer with questions even as to the welfare of his kingdom. At last, on the following Thursday, the eve of the Epiphany, his flagging powers rallied, as the powers of dying men often do rally at the point of death. He awoke from his sleep in the full possession of his senses and of his speech. On either side of his bed stood the two great chiefs of his realm, Harold the Earl and Stigand the Archbishop. At the bed's head, in still more immediate personal attendance on his master, stood the Staller, Robert the son of Wymarc, a man of Norman birth, but whom history does not charge with treason towards

England. On the ground, close by the foot of the bed, sat the Lady Eadgyth, the sister of the great Earl, cherishing the feet of her royal husband in her bosom. Her thoughts wandered perhaps to the brother beyond the sea, the brother on whose behalf she had so deeply sinned, the brother who had so lately held the place nearest to Eadward's heart, but who was now for ever cut off from all hopes of crowns or earldoms. The tongue of Eadward was loosened, but his first words were words of prayer. In his long slumber he had seen a vision; if that vision were truly from heaven, he prayed that he might have strength to declare it; if it were but the phantom of a disordered brain, he would that his tongue should rather cleave to the roof of his mouth. He sat up in his bed, supported in the arms of Robert. But the message which he had to declare from heaven called for a larger audience than the four favoured ones who were gathered round him. A few more of his chosen friends -- their names are not recorded, were summoned to the bedside of the dying King. He then, fluently and with energy, poured forth the awful words of warning.

`Long ago, when I was a youth in Normandy, I knew two monks, most holy men and most dear to me. Many long years have passed away since they were taken away from the cares and sorrows of this world. But now, in my trance, God hath sent them again to me to speak to me in His holy name. `Know,' said they to me, `that they who hold the highest place in thy realm of England, the Earls, the Bishops, the Abbots, the men in holy orders of every rank, are not what they seem to be in the eyes of men. In the eye of God they are but ministers of the fiend. Therefore hath God put a curse upon thy land; therefore bath he given thy land over into the hand of the enemy. Within a year and a day from thy death, shall fiends stalk through thy whole land, and shall harry it from one end to another with fire and sword and the hand of plunder.' Then said I to them, 'Let me then shew these things to my people in the name of God. Haply they will repent, and his loving-kindness will have mercy upon them. For He had mercy on the men of Nineveh, when they heard the voice of His threatening, and repented them of their evil ways. But they answered me, `They will not repent, neither shall the mercy of God come nigh unto them.' Then said I, 'What shall be the time or the way in which we may look for these your threatenings to come to an end?' `In that day,' they answered, `when a green tree shall be cut away from the midst of its trunk, when it shall be carried away for the space of three furlongs from its root, when, without the help of man, it shall join itself again to its trunk, and shall again put forth leaves and bear fruit in its season. Then first shall be the time when the woes of England shall come to an end.

The King ceased his words of prophecy. Harold, Eadgyth, Robert, all who had come to hear, were struck with awe, and remained speechless. One heart alone, we are told, was hardened. Stigand leaned over the King's bed, and whispered in the ear of Earl Harold that all this prophetic talk was but the babbling of an old man worn out by sickness. The Primate, stout-hearted Englishman as we know him, was, we may well believe, a hard and worldly man, and his experience of men of his own calling, his familiarity with much that others looked on as miracle and prophecy, may well have made him less inclined to superstition

than to unbelief. The lay heart was more easily touched; the female heart most easily of all. Eadgyth, and others who were devoutly given, knew well, we are told, the sins of England. They shuddered as they thought how often the warning voice of the Roman Pontiff, how often the voice of Eadward and Eadgyth herself, had spoken in vain to the guilty nation. The pious Lady perhaps deemed that the uncanonical appointment of Stigand was more likely to bring down the wrath of God than the murder of Gospatric. ' At the last Christmas feast, she whose heart was now so deeply stirred at the thought of ecclesiastical corruptions, had in that very palace stretched forth her hand to shed blood which no law had bidden to be shed, blood which, as far at least as she was concerned, was innocent. But there was other work to be done that day besides hearkening to foretellings of evil, besides disputing as to the degree of trust to be placed in the words of him who foretold it. The moment was come when the all-important question might be pressed on the mind of the dying King. His friends stood and wept around him; the tears of the

Lady as she sat at his feet fell faster and more thickly still. He gave orders for his burial. He checked the grief of his friends; he bade them rejoice at his coming deliverance, and he craved the prayers of his people for his soul. He spoke of the constant love and devotion which had been ever shown him by the wife whom he had once driven away from his hearth and board. She had ever been to him as a loving and dutiful daughter; God would reward her for her good deeds in this world and in the next. At last Harold and Stigand -- nor have we any right to exclude Robert from their counsels-- found means of calling Eadward's mind to the great subject which then filled the whole heart of England. When all was over, when his body was laid in his new minster, when his soul had gone to its reward, who should fill the place which he had so long filled on earth? Who, when he was gone, should wear the royal crown of England, the Imperial diadem of Britain? Eadward, at that last moment, was not wanting to his last duty. He stretched forth his hand towards the Earl of the WestSaxons, and spake the words, "To thee, Harold my brother, I commit my Kingdom." He then went on to declare his last wishes to his chosen successor. For Eadward to give Harold instructions in the art of government was certainly needless, and the dying man doubtless felt it to be so. But there were a few personal wishes which were near to his heart; there were a few personal favourites whom he wished to commend to the

favourable care of his successor. First among these was the Lady herself. I need not enlarge on the mysterious relations between Eadward and Eadgyth ; but, in these his last days at least, she appears as enjoying his full confidence and affection. But a sister who certainly abetted Tostig, who perhaps abetted William, against the brother who was now called to reign, might be thought likely to meet with less consideration at the hands of Harold than she had, latterly at least, met with at the hands of Eadward. The King commended her who was so soon to be his widow to the friendly care of his successor. Let him show to her, as a Lady and a sister, all faithful worship and service, and never, while she lived, let her lose the honours which he had bestowed upon her. He commended also to Harold his Norman favourites, those whom, in his simplicity, he spoke of as men who had left their native land for love of him. Those who were willing to abide in the land as English subjects under Harold's allegiance he prayed him to keep and to protect. Those who refused to become the men of the new King he prayed him to dismiss under his safe conduct to their own land, taking with them all the goods which they had acquired by his own favour. The King had now done the last act of his kingly office. With this last request to Harold all thought of earthly things passed away from the mind of Eadward. But the man and the saint had still friends to comfort; he had a

soul for which to request their prayers; he had a body to be committed to the ground with the solemn rites of the Church. He craved that his body might be buried in the minster which he had reared, in a special spot within the hallowed walls which their inmates would point out to those who stood round him. One faint thought of earth perhaps came back to his mind, when he bade them not to hide his death from his people. At such a moment it might perhaps be well to let men believe that Eadward still lived, till every arrangement could be made for the quiet election and consecration of his successor. But Eadward's care for his own soul made him tremble at such a thought. "Let my death," he earnestly prayed, "be at once made known everywhere, that all the faithful may at once call on the mercy of Almighty God for me a sinner." Eadgyth meanwhile wept without ceasing. Eadward comforted her with the allegorical words, "Fear not; I shall not die, but by God's grace I shall soon arise to better health. " But the last moment was clearly drawing near; the last comfort of the Church had to be given. The dying saint received the Body of his Lord, seemingly at the hands of Stigand; the irregularity of his position as Primate was perhaps not held to affect acts done by him as a simple priest. Strengthened by this spiritual

food, Eadward's soul gently passed away, and the last King of the House of Cerdic was no more. His body lay as in sleep; his cheeks like the rose, his beard like the lily, his white hands falling peacefully by his side; men saw written on the face of the departed saint that he had gone to his Creator. The King was dead. The last day of his kingship had been the worthiest. After all the errors and follies of his reign, Eadward died, not only as a saint, but as an Englishman and a patriot. For the last thirteen years of his life Harold had been his guide and guardian; for the last nine years he had been the looked for successor of the Crown. And now the day had come and the word was spoken. Those years of faithful guardianship had not been without their fruit; Eadward, with Harold and Stigand at his side, had become another man from Eadward who had once listened to every lie which rose to the lips of Robert of Jumieges. The old wayward spirit had again burst forth when revolt overthrew his last favourite;' but his last favourite was at least an Englishman and a son of Godwine. And the latest act of all had made up for all that had gone before. Eadward showed on his death-bed that he had at last learned that the Norman could never bear sway in England with the good-will of the English people. The dream of the Norman Duke as the heir of the English Crown had passed away. The dream of England portioned out among Norman Earls, Prelates, and Knights had passed away with it. England was to have an English King, the noblest man of the English people. No stranger

was to tarry in the land, but such as would plight their homage to the King of England's choice. For others, however dear to him, all that Eadward now craved was that they might depart, unhurt and unplundered, from the land. Visions of danger may have flitted across his mind, and in the delirium of sickness, in the mere excitement of pious fear, they may have shaped themselves into vague foreshadowings of the wrath to come. But what the last dying wishes of Eadward were we know beyond a doubt. His last wishes, his last hopes, were the same as the wishes and the hopes of every faithful Englishman. His last thought of earth was the hope that Harold might wear his Crown, that Harold might reign over a land freed from the presence of every man whose presence he might find dangerous to the welfare of England and her King. And he has had his reward. Far more precious than the vulgar praises of Norman legend-makers, far more precious even than the wrought up panegyric of the courtly chaplain of his widow, is the song in Eadward's honour handed down in our national Chronicles from the hands of a gleeman of his own time and of his own people. The English poet sang of Eadward's early troubles, how he had to seek a foreign land, when Cnut overcame the race of Aethelred, and when Danes wielded the dear realm of England for eight and twenty winters. He sang of Eadward's personal virtues; how he was holy, clean, and mild, how the baleless King was ever blithe of mood. He sang of the glories of his reign; how he guarded his land and people; how renowned

warriors stood around his throne; how the son of Aethelred ruled over Angles and Saxons, how Welsh and Scots and Britons all obeyed the mighty sway of the noble Eadward. But before his song ends, the minstrel has yet to tell of one deed far above all, of one last act which made the name of Eadward truly glorious. Bitter death snatched the noble King from earth; angels bore his truthful soul to heaven. But a truer note of patriotic feeling rings forth in the words which tell us how the wise King made fast his realm to Harold the noble Earl, in the words which, bursting from the poet's heart, tell us how well the noble Earl deserved the greatest of earthly gifts. He in all time by words and deeds had truly obeyed his lord, and had left nought undone which was needful for the ruler of his people.

The Election and Coronation of Harold
January 5-6, 1066

The throne of England was now vacant, vacant under circumstances such as England had never seen before. The late King's dying orders were obeyed, and, as soon as Eadward s breath was out of his body, the Witan of England knew that their King was dead. But by the Law of England in the eleventh century, the announcement that the King was dead could not be answered by a cry for the long life of the King who still was living. The

Witan, not yet departed from their Christmas gathering, heard that the throne was vacant, and they knew that it was for them alone to fill it. And, with the news that they had no longer a King, came the news that the last wish of the King who was gone had pointed out to them whom he wished to fill his kingly seat after him. All scruple was taken from every mind when men knew that the son of Aethelred, the heir of Cerdic, had, as his last act, named as his successor the son of Godwine, the grandson of Wulfnoth. It was no time for delay. Men came together as speedily upon the death of Eadward as they had come together to choose Eadward himself upon the death of Harthacnut. The King lay dead in his palace, while Earls and Prelates, Thegns and citizens, came together to choose the King who should reign in his stead. The choice was speedy and unanimous. Later writers speak of voices being raised for Eadgar, even of voices being raised for William. And so it may have been. Here and there sentimental feelings may have caused this or that voice to utter the name of the young Aetheling, even in preference to the noblest of a merely subject house. And in our land of free debate, some daring Norman may even have dared to breathe the thought that the King's kinsman, who had made Normandy so great and flourishing, might make England no less great and flourishing also. But words like these told not on the mind of the Assembly. Nor do we hear of any expression of those local jealousies which had divided England on mare than one earlier vacancy. We hear nothing of any rivalry of the House of Leofric against the House of Godwine; we hear nothing of any murmurs of the fierce Danes of the North against the

inauguration of a new WestSaxon dynasty. If the sons of Aelfgat dreamed, as they doubtless did, of a divided Kingdom -- of the Imperial Crown for one of themselves they hardly could have dreamed -- their hopes were doomed to disappointment. Such thoughts, as we shall soon see, still lived in men's minds, but in that great Gemot of London they found no open spokesman. It was not only London, ever foremost in every patriotic cause; it was not only Wessex, proud of her illustrious son; it was not only East-Anglia, cherishing the memories of his earliest rule; it was not only Hereford, rejoicing in her recovered being, safe alike against British foes and Norman governors; it was the Witan, not of this or that shire or ancient Kingdom, but of the whole realm of England, who chose Harold the son of Godwine to fill the vacant throne. His reign had long been looked for, and now the dying voice of Eadward had marked him out as the worthiest object of their choice. The wise ruler, the unconquered warrior, the bountiful founder -- the shield of the Kingdom, the shelter of the oppressed, the judge of the fatherless and the widow, the Earl of the West-Saxons, the conqueror of Gruffydd, the pacificator of Northumberland, the founder of Waltham -- stood forth before them the foremost man of England. He, and he alone, stood forth above other men, sprung from no line of Kings, but the son of a father greater than Kings, the man who in long years of rule had shown that there was none like him worthy to fill the throne of the heroes of old time, worthy, as none of royal race were worthy, to wield the sword of Aethelstan and sit upon the judgement seat of Aelfred. The assembled people of England, in the exercise of their ancient

and undoubted right, chose with one voice Harold the son of Godwine to be King of the English and Lord of the Isle of Britain. On no day in their annals did the English people win for themselves a higher or a purer fame. The choice of the Assembly had now to be announced to the King-elect. We know not whether that choice was made in his presence. Perhaps he may have deemed that his most fitting place was still with his departed brother-in-law and his widowed sister. But, in any case, two members of the Assembly were sent, in the name of all, to offer the Crown of England, as the gift of the people of England, to the man whom they had chosen as their King. Who discharged that office we know not. None but men of the highest rank would be sent on such an errand. In the pictured record of that day's acts they appear, not as Prelates but as lay chieftains. One bears the official axe; the other bears the Crown itself, and points toward the chamber of the dead, whence the Crown had doubtless been brought for the purpose of this symbolic offering. Who then were the men whom England thus

trusted to speak such weighty words in her name? Were they the two Northern Earls, stifling, as they best might, their local and family jealousies, their hopes of a divided kingdom? Or were they rather the two Earls of Eastern England, sons worthy of Godwine, brothers worthy of Harold, who were sent to bear the gift of England to the chief of their own house? That day's vote had placed that house above the royalties of Gaul and Denmark; it had placed the line of Godwine on a height lower by one step only than the line whose youthful chief now sat on the throne of Augustus. It was for Gyrth and Leofwine, rather than for any other two men in England, to act on that day as the spokesmen of their country. Harold stood, axe in hand, to receive them. The day for which he had looked so long had at last come. The path from which so many obstacles had been so strangely cleared away had at last brought him close to the great object of his life. He had now, nor in figure, but in very truth, only to stretch forth his hand, and to grasp the Crown of England, the free gift of the people of England. No surprise could have filled his mind; for years he had been marked out, practically if not by a formal vote, as the man to whom that gorgeous gift must one day come. And yet that moment of realized dreams must have been a moment of anxiety, and even of fear. For him, no son of a kingly father, no scion of legendary heroes and of Gods of the elder faith, to see with his own eyes the diadem of Ecgberht and Cerdic ready for his grasp, was of itself a strange and wondrous feeling, such as few men but him in the world's history can have felt. He was not like others before and since, who by fraud or violence have risen to royalty or more than royalty. Harold was not a Dionysios, a Caesar, a Cromwell, or a Buonapatte, whose throne was reared upon the ruins of the freedom of his country. He was not an Eastern Basileus, climbing to

the seat from which a fortunate battle or a successful conspiracy had hurled a murdered or blinded predecessor. He was not a Pippin, whose elevation, however expedient and rightful, could be brought about only by the displacement of a lawful, though an incompetent, King. He was not even a Rudolph, whose election, free and honourable as it was, came when the glory of kingship had long been tarnished in men's eyes, and when traditional reverence no longer attached to any one ancient kingly house. To Harold the Crown of England was freely offered in all its glory and greatness, a Crown which had never before been offered to any but men of royal birth, which had never before been freely offered to any but men of the one Imperial House of Cerdic. He may well have paused as he looked at the glittering gift, through the mere greatness and strangeness of the position in which he stood. And other thoughts may well have pressed upon his mind, before he spoke the word which should change the Earl into a King. Harold knew better than any man the dangers which threatened himself and which threatened England. He knew what she had to fear from the vengeance of her own banished son, a vengeance which would be kindled into a sevenfold flame if Harold were King in a land where Tostig might not hold even an Earldom. He knew also, as no man knew, how much more she had to fear from the claims of the mighty and wily Duke beyond the sea. And heavy on his soul there must sell have pressed the memory of that fatal day when he had become the sworn man of that dangerous rival. If he had promised more than simple homage, casuistry and more than casuistry, the instinctive feeling of every honest man,

would declare that an extorted promise, unlawful and impossible to fulfil, was perhaps a crime in him who had plighted it, but could be no crime in him who should obey a higher law by breaking it. But since that day, the heart of Harold could never have beaten so high, his step could never have been so light and joyous, as in the days when his faith was wholly free, when even his enemies could not impeach his truthfulness. And now the full weight of that day's act must have stared him in the face. Let him accept the Crown now offered him by England, and Normandy would at once declare him a perjurer and a traitor. No wonder then if, as the picture sets before us, he looked at the Crown at once wistfully and anxiously, and half drew back the hand which was stretched forth to grasp the glittering gift. And run. A path of danger opened beforeyet the risk had to be him, and yet duty no less than ambition bade him to enter upon the thorny road. If he declined the Crown, to whom should England offer it? Would the risk be less if Eadgar could win the votes of the Witan, and if to the other dangers of England were to be added all the dangers which beset the land whose King can rule only at the bidding of others? What if the young Aetheling failed, as he doubtless would fail, to stand his ground at such a moments Could the land hope to be united in any single choice? Would Mercia and Northumberland submit to the rule of some WestSaxon boasting neither the royal blood of Eadgar nor the personal glory of Harold? Would Wessex and East-Anglia, would mighty and growing London, submit to Eadwine or Morke:e or to the youthful son of Siward? The dangers of accepting the Crown were great, but the dangers of refusing it were greater. Whoever reigned, Tostig and William would still try their chance, and, if it were not Harold who reigned, they would try their chance with far greater hope of success. The accession

of Harold would indeed put fresh weapons into the hand of William, but it was not likely that the Duke would wholly cast aside his claims and his projects, simply because he would have some other King, and not Harold, to strive against. The fear indeed was that, if Harold shrank from the burthen, William would find no one single king to withstand him. He would win an easy victory over a divided land, a land split asunder as it had been in the days of Harthacnut and the earlier Harold, a land, it might be, already torn in pieces by civil war. Under Harold alone could there be the faintest hope that England would offer an united front to either of the invaders who were sure to attack her. The danger then had to be faced. The call of patriotism distinctly bade Harold not to shrink at the last moment from the post to which he had so long looked forward, and which had at last become his own. The first man in England, first in every gift of war and peace, first in the love of his countrymen, first in renown in other lands, was bound to be first alike in honour and in danger. The gift now lay before him. Ambition made him seize it. Duty in no way held back his hand. The offered gift was accepted. The eve of that great Epiphany, the day on which King Eadward was alive and dead,' saw the Crown pass away for ever from the male line of Cerdic, and the next day saw it solemnly placed upon the brow of Harold. The evening of Eadward's death must have been spent in making ready for the two great ceremonies of the morrow. On the morning of that short winter's day, the Earl of the West-Saxons had kept his watch by the dying bed of his King and brother. Before its last hour had passed, he had become, not yet indeed a crowned and anointed King, but one called to kingship by the common voice of his country, a King-elect

of the English, who on the morrow might claim the sceptre and the diadem as his own. The morning of the Epiphany dawned. It was the Feast of the Kings, a fitting day for an august rite within the walls of that minster which was reared to be specially the home of kings alike in life and in death. On that day began that long series of national ceremonies which has gone on unbroken to our own time, and which has made the Abbey of Saint Peter the hearth and Prytaneion of the English nation. The octave of its hallowing had barely passed, and there was already a King to be buried and a King to be crowned. Earl Harold was Kingelect by the choice of the Witan of all England; but he was not "full King" till he and his people had exchanged their mutual promises, till he had been arrayed with the outward badges of his kingly office, till the blessing of the Church and the unction of her highest minister had made the chosen of the people also the Anointed of the Lord. Those were not days when that crowning rite could be delayed for one needless moment. England could not be safely left for a single day without a King. The twofold right of the new Sovereign, as King alike by the election of the people and by the consecration of the Church, must be at once placed beyond all reach of doubt or cavil. The Christmas feast was not yet over, but it was the last day of the holy season; the Witan were still assembled; to have waited for another feast of the Church, for another gathering of the nation, would have been simple madness. The day of the coronation of Harold must therefore follow at once on the day of his election. And the coronation of Harold implied the previous burial of Eadward. England could not see two Kings of the English above ground at the same moment.

Before then the Crown could be set on the brow of the King-elect, the hallowed soil of Saint Peter's must close over the King who was no more. The day of the burial of Eadward must therefore follow at once on the day of his death. And never, even in the long history of that venerable Abbey, has there been such another day. Other Kings have been buried and crowned within its walls; but there has been no day like that, which beheld the last of one kingly line borne to his grave in the holy house of his own building, and which beheld the first -- could men deem that he would be also the last? -- of a newlychosen race raised to the vacant throne alike by the bequest of his predecessor and by the will of his people. Of all the gorgeous rites celebrated by Kings and Prelates beneath the vaults of the West Minster, the twofold rite of that great Epiphany, which haste and urgency may well have made the least gorgeous of them all, is that around which the national memory of Englishmen may well centre most fondly. The first royal burial, the first royal consecration, within the newly-hallowed temple, have an historic interest and an historic import beyond all those which have followed them. The body of Eadward had been prepared for burial almost as soon as his soul had passed away. Decked in royal robes, the crown on his head, the pilgrim's ring, so legend said, upon his hand, the saint lay ready for his last home. Stigand, who had stood by him in his last moments, seems to have stayed to help in paying this last tribute to his departed master. But the Primate, patriot in the eyes of

Englishmen, schismatic in the eyes of Rome, was not to minister in either of the ceremonies of the morrow. As a Prelate of doubtful right, he was deemed unfit to bear the chief part in the consecration of Harold. As a simple priest, he might perhaps have been allowed to officiate at the funeral rites of Eadward. But it may well be that the newly-won privileges of the house of Saint Peter gave to the head of that house the ministration of all rites within its walls which did not need the special powers of a consecrated Bishop to give them sacramental force. And Eadward doubtless sought, above all things, the prayers which the monks of the house which he himself had reared would put up to Heaven for the soul of their founder. At all events, the priest who holds the first place in Eadward's funeral procession is not set before us in our pictured record as adorned with any badge of pontifical rank. We may therefore guess that the chief ministry in the funeral rites of Eadward was assigned to his friend and bedesman, Abbot Eadwine. Early on the winter's morning, perhaps while the minister still needed torchlight within the deep gloom of its massive walls and narrow windows, the King was carried to his grave. The body of Eadward, his form shrouded from sight, was borne on the shoulders of eight of his subjects, laymen all, and doubtless men of high degree. There was no need, as in the case of some later Kings, to assure his people, by the sight of his uncovered body, that he had not come unfairly by his end. Boys ringing bells walked on either side of the bier; behind them followed a crowd of clergy surrounding the two chief ministers of the funeral ceremony, who walked bearing their

office-books in their hands. In this guise the procession moved from the palace to the western door of the newly-hallowed minster. They swept along the nave, between the long rows of tall and massive pillars still fresh from the axe and hammer of the craftsman. They passed beneath the mighty arches which, in all the strength and solidity of those early days of art, bore up the great central tower like a vast canopy over the choir below. They bore their burthen to the spot which Eadward had long before chosen as his place of burial, and there, before the altar of the saint whom he so deeply reverenced, the patron alike of Westminster and of Rome, the body of the last King of the olden stock received its last kingly honours. Men wept over his bier; and in truth not only the poor whom he had relieved, the churchmen whom he had enriched, and the strangers on whom he had lavished the wealth of England, but English men of all ranks might well weep in awe and in sorrow over the grave of the last son of Cerdic and Woden. At such a moment, reversing the poet's rule, the good that men have done lives after them and the evil is interred with their bones. There by his grave, in his own church, men's thoughts would dwell on the virtues rather than on the weaknesses of the King who was taken from them. His faults as a King were great; but men would then think rather of all that was worthy in him as a man, and they might well deem that his last kingly act had covered a multitude of errors. In the crowd which filled the church, there could have been few whom Eadward had personally wronged; there must have been many whom he had personally benefitted. And, more than this, men must have felt that the two great rites of that day placed a great gulf

between them and a long and honoured past, while a future rose before them, bright indeed with glorious hopes, but around which two dark clouds were gathering in opposite quarters of the heaven. No wonder then that by the grave of Eadward men wept and trembled. Psalms were sung, masses were said, alms were scattered abroad with a bounteous hand, needless offerings, it might seem, for a soul which men deemed that angels had already borne to the beatific vision. For three hundred days, days which stretch beyond the reign of Harold, the masses, the hymns, the alms, continued to be daily offered. And wonders soon were wrought at the tomb of the royal saint. The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the sick were healed, the sorrowing received comfort. So thought men of his own day, men who had seen him in the flesh, and who have not shrunk from handing down to us even the less worthy actions of his life. If we deem such a belief and such a worship, not only to be superstitious in itself, but to have been thrown away on an unworthy object, we must remember with how fond a memory men must, ere a year had passed, have looked back to the happy days of the baleless King. We must remember how easily men would forget that the calm of those happy days was due, far less to the crowned monk upon the throne, than to the man of the stout heart and the strong arm who stood beside him. And let us remember too that the canonizing voice of

England was not always raised only to commemorate mere monastic virtues like those of Eadward. Foreign Kings and foreign Pontiffs might forbid, but a day came when England looked with no less devout reverence on the true heroes and martyrs of our land. If miracles adorned the tomb of Eadward at Westminster, no less mighty works were soon deemed to be wrought before Waltheof's tomb in the chapter-house of Crowland, and two ages later, the sick were again healed and the blind again saw, before the tomb where English hearts still revered the relics which were all that the foeman's sword had left of the mangled form of the martyr of Evesham. The funeral rites were over; but the history of Eadward, as the history of a saint, is one which reaches beyond the grave. A King at whose tomb wonders were daily wrought, a King whom two hostile races could unite to look upon with reverence, filled step by step a larger and a larger space in men's minds. Such a King, already canonized by the popular voice, a King who had done more than any King before him to bring the English Church into close connexion with the Roman See, could not fail, ere long, to obtain, by Papal authority, a formal admission into the register of the saints. But the steps by which he, won his saint's rank were gradual. Six-and-thirty years after

Eadward's death, a Bishop and an Abbot of Norman birth, who had most likely never seen him in the flesh, were the first whom pious curiosity led to disturb the rest of the departed. It was already whispered that the body of Eadward, the instrument of so many miracles, was itself the subject of miracle. The holy King, men said, had never seen corruption. Abbot Gilbert, one of the great Norman line of Crispin, whom Lanfranc had put in charge of the house of Westminster, deemed it his duty to see whether the tale that so often met his ears were true. In company with Bishop Gundulf of Rochester, the Prelate to whose skill we owe the White Tower of London and the lowlier keep of Mailing, and with other noble and pious persons he opened the grave of Eadward. A sweet savour filled the minster; they unfolded the garments in which Eadward had been wrapped under the eyes of Stigand ; the body lay as in sleep; the powers of nature had failed to do their work; the skin was still white and rosy; the limbs were still flexible; they might deem that he might again arise from his trance and again denounce the sins of England. The Bishop would faro have carried off one hair of his snowy beard to keep as a relic more precious than all the treasures of the earth. But not a hair could be pulled away from the face of the sleeping saint. The Abbot, with a reverence to which those ages were commonly strangers, checked the attempt; he restored the vestments and the body to their place, and bade that the remains of the man of God should rest in peace. Thirty-eight years later a vain attempt was made by Osbert, Prior of Westminster, the special trumpeter of

Eadward's renown, to obtain formal canonization for him from Innocent the Second. But a day came when the House of William had passed away like the House of Cerdic, a day when men had taught themselves to hail a stranger from Anjou as the corner-stone which united Norman and English royalty. Then, at last, the influence of a King who reigned from the Orkneys to the Pyrenees was able to procure from Rome the decree which placed the predecessor whom all his subjects agreed to reverence among authorized objects of religious honour. The green tree had now returned to the trunk; it had brought forth its queenly leaves and its kingly fruit, and the day was now come to do special homage to the seer who had foretold that the good time would at last come back again. As one Pope Alexander had given the blessing of Rome to the enterprize of the Norman invader, his next successor of the same name might seem in some sort to undo the wrong by making the last King of the old royal stock of England an object of worship to the Church Universal. In the presence of the Angevin King, in whom men now saw the heir of Eadward, in the presence of the Norman Primate whom England learned to love as her champion and martyr,
the body of Eadward was translated from his royal tomb to the shrine which was the fitting restingplace of the

relics of a saint in glory. Things were not now as they were in the days of Abbot Gilbert. Then the body, entitled only to the reverence due to the remains of a departed Christian, was allowed to return unhurt and unplundered to the grave. But now that Eadward claimed the worship due to a canonized saint, whatever had touched the holy corpse became endowed with sanctity and miraculous power. The ring, the subject of so many legends, was drawn from his finger and was kept as a wonder-working relic. The royal robes in which the body had been enfolded were borne away from the tomb and became vestments for the holiest worship of the sanctuary. And the anniversary of that day still preserves the memory of Eadward in the Kalendar of the English Church. It was not without a certain fitness that the Feast of the Translation of Saint Eadward should be kept, not on the eve of the Epiphany, but on the eve of the day of Saint Calixtus. It is well that two successive days should remind us to the memory of Eadward and of the memory of him who fell on the morrow of his festival. Years rolled on, and the spot to which Eadward had been moved on his first translation was now deemed unworthy of a Saint who was already looked upon as the patron of England. A King now sat on the throne of Eadward, who was in many points a reproduction of Eadward himself. The same fervent zeal for God, the same neglect of duty towards man, the same vehemence in speech and weakness in action, the same love for men of foreign lands, the same spiritual bondage to a foreign yoke, the same deep and lavish devotion to the holy house of Saint Peter, appeared in Henry the Third which had already appeared in the predecessor whom he reverenced and resembled. The King who, like Eadward, aroused the feelings of the nation

by his wasteful preference for strangers of every land, chose as the special objects of his religious devotion two royal saints of English birth. Before all other saints, King Henry's worship was paid to the East-Anglian Eadmund and the West-Saxon Eadward. By his act those kingly names again found their way into the royal house, and the name of the saint himself became the most glorious in the later history of England. In honour of Eadward the work of Eadward was destroyed. The church which he himself had reared was now deemed unworthy to be the dwelling-place of so great a saint. The "massive arches, broad and round," of the church which so long was the model for all England, now gave way to

those slender pillars and soaring arches which, alone among English minsters, go some way to rival the boundless height of Amiens and Beauvais. There, alone among English minsters of its own date, did the tall apse and its surrounding chapels crown the eastern end of what was now the church of Saint Eadward. But that apse was not reared, as at Amiens and at Le Mans, at Pershore and at Tewkesbury, to form the most glorious of canopies for the altar of the Most High. Not in any more lowly chapel, but in the noblest of all, in the spot which elsewhere was reserved for the highest acts of Christian worship, was the new shrine of Eadward reared. And the workmanship of that gorgeous shrine was of a type fit for him who reared it, and for him in whose honour it was reared. Among all the tombs of Kings which are gathered together in that solemn spot, two alone reveal in their style of art the work of craftsmen from beyond the sea and even from beyond the mountains. The resting-places of the two Kings in whose heart beat no English feeling, the two Kings who loved to be surrounded by men of any nation rather than their own, the two Kings who, more than any other Kings in English history, laid England, of their own act, prostrate at the feet of Rome, the shrine of Eadward, the tomb of Henry, are fittingly adorned with forms which awake no English memories, the work not of English but of Italian hands. To that shrine, a hundred and three years after its first translation, the body of the saint was borne by a crowd of the noblest of the land. Among them two

Kings and two Kings sons bowed their shoulders beneath the hallowed weight. The two highest of earthly rulers, the continental and the insular Basileus, Richard of Germany and Henry of England, were foremost to bear the burthen to which it was deemed a holy work to stretch forth a single finger. With the one English Augustus joined in the task his nephew, the one Englishman beside himself who ever bore the titles of foreign royalty, Edmund of Lancaster, whose vain claims to the Sicilian crown had been already transferred to the stronger hand of the conqueror from Anjou. Fit bearers for the foreign-hearted saint were an English King who hated Englishmen, and English princes who wasted English treasure in seeking after the kingship of other lands. But there was one who shared in their work who might seem sent there expressly to remind us that the object of their worship was, after all, an Englishman. Among those who bent to bear Eadward's body was the prince who was named after his name, but whose life reproduced, not the life of Eadward the Confessor, but the life of Eadward the Unconquered. Those who then pressed to win spiritual blessings by touching the corpse of Eadward hardly deemed that among themselves was one who was to make his name more worthy of honour among Englishmen than the royal saint could ever make it. It was then deemed an honour and a privilege to draw near to the body of Eadward. Was it not rather the highest of honours paid to Eadward

himself, that Harold stood by his side at his first burial, and that in the great rite of his translation a share was borne by him who did in truth live to wield the sceptre of the Isle of Albion, and in whom the Scot and the Briton once more bowed to an Eadward of England as their father and their lord. But the posthumous history of Eadward the Confessor did not end even with this crowning triumph. His shrine at Westminster became the centre of a group of royal tombs such as gathered in earlier times in the more ancient seats of royalty at Winchester and Sherborne. Or a closer parallel still might be looked for in that renowned sanctuary of the West, the resting-place of Eadward's nobler brother, where Briton and Englishman agreed to revere the name of the legendary Arthur, as at Westminster Englishman and Norman agreed to revere the name of the now well-nigh legendary Eadward. Eight years after the burial of Eadward, his widow, the loving sister of Tostig, the loyal subject of William, was laid by his side before the altar of Saint Peter. The zeal of King Henry thought of her also, and her remains, translated to the chapel of her husband, were laid as near to his side as the remains of an ordinary sinful mortal might lie to those of a wonder-working saint. To the other side of his shrine was moved the dust of another Eadgyth, disguised in history by her Norman name Matilda, her in whom the green tree first began to return to the trunk, and in whose grandson Normandy and England alike became parts of the dominions of the Angevin. No legend or effigy marks the graves of these royal Ladies, but before long the choicest skill of the craftsman was lavished on the tombs of Kings and princes which crowded round the

shrine of their sainted predecessor. To the north King Henry sleeps in his tomb of foreign work, beneath the shadow of the patron whom he had so deeply honoured. Worthier dust lies east and west of him. No graven figure marks the resting-place of his immortal son, but the loveliest work of all within that mighty charnel-house records the love and grief of the great King for a consort worthy of him. Succeeding ages surrounded the sacred spot with the sculptured forms of succeeding generations of English royalty. There sleeps the victor of Crecy and the victor of Azincourt; there sleeps, beside his nobler Queen, the King from whom the Parliament of England, in the exercise of its ancient right, took away the Crown of which he had shown himself unworthy. Thus around the shrine of Eadward were gathered the successors who in life had sworn to keep his fancied Laws, and who deemed it their highest honour to wear his Crown and to sit upon his royal seat. At last a King arose in whose eyes the wealth which earlier Kings had lavished on that spot outweighed the reverence with which so many ages had surrounded Eadward's name. One Henry had reared alike the shrine and the pile which held it; the word of another Henry went forth to cast to the owls and to the bats all that earlier ages had deemed holy. And yet some remorse seems to have smitten the soul of the destroyer before the shrine of the royal patron and lawgiver of England. Elsewhere the shrines of more ancient saints were levelled with the ground; elsewhere the dust of Kings and heroes was scattered to the winds. The wealth of Eadward's shrine was indeed borne away to be sported broadcast among the minions of Henry's court, but the empty casket still stood untouched, and the hallowed remains found another, if a lowlier, resting-place within the

minsterwalls. And the days yet came when one translation more restored the corpse of Eadward to its place of honour. And again it was from fitting hands that he received this last act of veneration. The foreignhearted Eadward had been first placed in that shrine by the foreignhearted Henry, the King whose foreign marriage proved the curse of England, and whose foreign tastes made England the victim and the bondslave of Rome. Shorn of his honours by a King who, with all his crimes, was at least an Englishman, Eadward was brought back to his shrine by a Queen whose work it was to bend the neck of England beneath the spiritual yoke of the Roman see and the temporal yoke of her Spanish husband. Translated first by the zeal of Henry and Eleanor, he was again restored to his old honours by the zeal of Philip and Mary. And now, while the dust of Eadmund and Harold is scattered to the winds, Eadward still sleeps in his shrine, unworshipped indeed but undisturbed; and the spot where an Englishman would best love to stand and muse in awe and wonder has become ground from which the votaries of devotion and art and history are bidden to turn away. But we must come back to the doings of the great Epiphany. The last King of the House of Cerdic was laid in his grave; it was time for the first King of the House of Godwine to be set upon his throne. Short as the interregnum had been, England could not go a moment

longer without a crowned and anointed ruler. From the burial of Eadward men turned at once to the coronation of Harold. That great rite was performed with all solemnity, no doubt according to those venerable forms whose substance has been followed in the consecration of every English King down to our own time. The chief actor in that august ceremony was one not wholly unworthy of so high a function. The Primate of all England, while his canonical right to his see was called in question at home and abroad, could not be allowed to discharge the highest duty belonging to his office. The hands of Stigand might not minister an unction which was held to confer somewhat of sacramental grace and even of priestly sanctity. In his stead, the rite was performed by the Primate of Northumberand, his marked adhesion to the new King being perhaps taken as one pledge of the allegiance of his distant province. No living Englishman had seen so much of other lands, none had so often stood face to face with the rulers of other nations, as he who was now called upon to set the English Crown upon the brow of Harold. Ealdred, alone of living English Prelates, had gone, at the bidding of his King or at the call of his own devotion, to the banks of the Rhine, the Tiber, and the Jordan. He alone had stood, as the representative of England, before the thrones of the spiritual and the temporal chiefs of Christendom. He alone had gone, with such worship as none had gone before him, far beyond the threshold of the Apostles, to the city where the Infidel bore sway over the very spot of

man's redemption. He had tarried in the court of Caesar, he had knelt at the tomb of Christ; but in all his wanderings he had never seen such a day or such a scene as when the Witan of all England came together to choose their Father and their Lord, and the diadem of Ecgberht rested on the lordly brow of the King chosen from his brethren. Could he have deemed that, at the next Christmas Feast, he should be called upon again to repeat that solemn rite on the same spot, under circumstances yet more new and wonderful? In the whole range of history, it is hard to point to a stranger fate than that of him to whose lot it fell to receive before the same altar, within a single year, the coronation-oath of Harold and the coronation-oath of William. The rite began. Earl Harold, the King-elect, was led by two Bishops, with hymns and processions, up to the high altar of the minster. The anthem sung by the choir in that great procession prayed that the hand of Harold might be strengthened and exalted, that justice and judgement might be the preparation of his seat, that mercy and truth might go before his face. Before the high altar the Earl of the West-Saxons bowed himself to the ground, and while he lay grovelling, the song of Ambrose, the song of faith and of victory, was sung over one whose sin at Porlock, '' whose atonement at Waltham, might well make him seem another Theodosius. The Earl then rose from

the pavement, and for the last time he looked on the crowd around him, the Prelates and Thegns and the whole people of England, as still one of their own number. Their voice had already named him as their King, but a still more solemn election before the altar of God was needed before the Church admitted him to the sacramental unction. Once more the voice of Ealdred demanded of the English people, in ancient form, whether they would that Earl Harold should be crowned as their Lord and King. A loud shout of assent rang through the minster. Chosen thus by Prelates and people, the King-elect swore with a loud voice his three-fold oath to God and to all his folk. Kings swore in after days that they would observe all the rights and liberties which the glorious Eadward had granted to his clergy and his people. The oath of the prince who had so lately renewed the Laws of Cnut was of a simpler form. Earl Harold swore to preserve peace to the Church of God and to all Christian people. He swore to forbid wrong and robbery to men of every rank within his realm. He swore to enforce justice and mercy in all his judgements, as he would that God should have mercy upon him. And all the people said Amen. The Bishops then prayed for the ruler whom they had chosen, for his guidance by the Spirit of Wisdom in the government of his realm, for peace to his Church and people, for his welfare in this world and in the next. Then a yet more solemn prayer from the lips of Ealdred followed. In that ancient English form, which other nations have been fain to borrow of us, the God who had wrought his mighty works by the hands of Abraham and Moses and Joshua and David and Solomon was implored to shower down all the gifts and graces of those famous worthies upon him who was that day chosen to be King of the Angles and Saxons. Ealdred prayed that Harold,

faithful as Abraham, gentle as Moses, brave as Joshua, humble as David, wise as Solomon, might teach and rule and guard the Church and realm of the Angles and deep for words must that prayer have risen from the hearts of Saxons against all visible and invisible foes. With feelings too those who could already see the gathering storm, which was still but like a little cloud out of the sea. The Primate prayed that their chosen King might never fail the throne and sceptre of the Angles and Saxons, that for long years of life he might reign over a faithful people, in peace and concord, and, if need be, in victory. Christ Himself was prayed to raise him to the throne of His Kingdom, and to pour down upon him the unction of the Holy One. "The oaths were said, the prayers were prayed." And now came the sacramental rite itself which changed an Earl into a King, and which gave him, so men then deemed, grace from on high to discharge the duties which it laid upon him. The holy oil was poured by the hand of Ealdred upon the head of Earl Harold. And while the symbolic act was in doing, the choir raised their voices in that glorious strain to which the noblest music of later times has given a still higher majesty. The walls of the West Minster echoed to the anthem which told how Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet anointed Solomon King, and which added the prayer of England that Harold might live for ever. Again the Primate prayed that, as of old Kings and Priests and Prophets were anointed with oil, so now the oil poured on

the head of God's servant might be a true sign of the inner unction of the heart, a means of grace for his glory and the welfare of his people. And now King Harold, the Lord's Anointed, the chosen of the people, the consecrated of the Church, vested in the robes of royalty and priesthood, received in due order the insignia of his kingly office. The sword was placed in his hand, with the prayer that he might therewith defend his realm, and smite his enemies of the Church of God. The King then bowed his head, and the Imperial diadem of Britain was placed by the hand of Ealdred on the head of the King of the Angles and Saxons, the Emperor of the Isle of Albion. God was again implored to crown His Anointed with glory and justice and might, and to give him a yet brighter Crown in a more enduring Kingdom. Then the sceptre crowned with the cross, and the rod crowned with the holy dove, were placed, one after the other, in the royal hands. Prayer was again made that the sceptre of Harold's kingdom might be a sceptre of righteousness and strength, that he who had been anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows might through all his days be a lover of righteousness and a hater of iniquity. Further prayers, further blessings followed; the prayers and merits of all the saints, of the Virgin Mother of God, of the Prince of the Apostles, and of his successor the special Apostle of the English nation, were

implored on behalf of the crowned and anointed King. And now King Harold of England sat on his royal throne, the crown upon his brow, in his right hand the sceptre, in his left the orb of Empire, the proud badge which belonged of right to the Caesar of another world. Two chiefs, perhaps his faithful brothers, bore the sword at his side; his people stood and gazed upon him with wonder and delight. The day at last had come for which Harold and England had looked so long. The reward of thirteen years of loyal service had been given by the nation to her noblest son. And the die too had been cast; the danger was now to be faced in common; King and people were pledged to stand by one another in the struggle which was to come. And King and people did stand by one another, and, if they both fell, they both fell gloriously. The rite of that great day gave Harold, instead of the long and peaceful reign prayed for by his consecrator, a reign of nine months of little stillness. Then England was given over to bondage, and the name of Harold was given over to the voice of slander. But in the eye of truth, those nine months of little stillness, spent in the cause of England, were better than long years of inglorious ease and luxury, better than long years of hardly less inglorious sloth and superstition. As the momentary glory of Eadmund follows on the weary years of Aethelred, so the momentary glory of Harold followed on those years of Eadward which Harold alone had saved from being as weary as those of his father. And, in the eye of truthful history, never was crown more lawfully won, more worthily worn, than that which Ealdred placed that day on the head of him whom calumny marked so long as Harold the Usurper. If there ever was a lawful ruler in this world, such of a truth was Harold, King of the

English and Lord of the Isle of Britain -- King, not by the mouldering titles of a worn -- out dynasty, not by the gold of the trafficker or the steel of the invader, but by the noblest title by which one man can claim to rule over his fellows, the free choice of a free people. The rite was over. Earl Harold was now King; but we cannot help asking whether he stood alone in the great ceremony which had made him so. Did the Lady Ealdgyth, once again the wife of a King, share in the consecration of her husband? Her coronation is nowhere distinctly spoken of; but our ancient ritual provides a form for the anointing of the King's consort, and for her investiture with the ring and crown. There is no reason to suppose that the wife of Harold, the grand-daughter of Leofric, would be debarred from any honour befitting the wife of a King, the mother of future AEthelings. But, in the absence of direct testimony, I do not venture to affirm the fact. Indeed I must confess that I feel less certain than I did when writing my last chapter, whether the marriage of Harold and Ealdgyth may not have followed his election to the Crown. Whether then the new King had a consort to share in his honours is a point which I must leave uncertain. But, according to all precedent, on the coronation followed the mass, with prayers and collects appropriate for the great solemnity. At that mass the King partook of the holiest rite of Christian worship. On the mass followed the banquet, and there, on the last day of the Christmas Festival, we cannot doubt that King Harold, in all the glory of his new dignity, wore his Crown with all kingly state in what was now his Palace of Westminster. The old dynasty had passed away ; the new dynasty had taken possession; but not many days lead gone before voices of warning came which showed that King Harold of England would soon have to do battle for his Crown.

The First Days of Harold's Reign
January 6-April 16, 1066

Within the bounds of his former Earldom the rule of Harold, King of the English, was simply a continuation of the rule of Harold, Earl of the West-Saxons. It is plain that no other Earl of the great southern Earldom was appointed in his place. In any view of general policy this might be looked on as a backward step. It might be looked on as again uprearing a throne which should be West-Saxon rather than English. It might be looked on as changing Mercia and Northumberland back again from integral parts of the realm into dependent provinces. But, as things stood at the moment, it would seem to have been the wiser course. England was threatened by two enemies in different quarters, and even the energy of Harold could not personally provide for the safety of the land against both. It was absolutely necessary, in Harold's position, to treat the Earls of the Northumbrians and the Mercians with a degree of confidence which they certainly did not deserve. It was something that they had allowed his election and coronation to take place without any open opposition. It was something that he had received the votes of the Northumbrian Witan, and had been crowned and anointed by the hands of the Northumbrian Primate. Harold could not do otherwise than at least affect to treat Eadwine and Morkere as loyal subjects. He was obliged to trust to them for the defence of Northern England. And, if they could be trusted for anything, they might surely be trusted to keep their personal enemy

Tostig out of their own Earldoms. While they guarded the North against the English exile, it was Harold's own work to guard the South against the foreign pretender. In the eastern shires, from the Wash to the Straits of Dover, he had the trustiest of lieutenants in his brothers Gyrth and Leofwine. It was clearly his own business, while not laying aside his duty of general care over the whole Kingdom, to undertake as his special work the defence of the lands which had formed his own Earldom. No one could do that work so well as himself. We can hardly see whom Harold, had he been so inclined, could have invested with the West-Saxon Earldom. Every man who could lay claim to so high a dignity on the score either of birth or of merit was already provided for. The King's remaining brother Wulfnoth was probably a hostage in Normandy; his own sons, his nephew Hakon, were all young and untried. The representatives of the two Northumbrian families, Waltheof and Oswulf, were equally untried, and they were already invested with the government of districts with which they had an ancestral connexion. Nor can we point to the name of any West-Saxon of special personal eminence beyond the limits of the great houses. Of the few Englishmen whom we shall find in the possession of smaller commands, we hardly know enough to say whether the appointment of any of them to so great a post would have been a wise step. It was clearly the policy of the moment, a moment when military considerations must have been supreme above all others, for the King to keep the immediate administration of the South in his own hands, availing himself only of the co-operation of his brothers the two Eastern Earls. And, after all, though Northumberland and Mercia again became in a sense dependencies on the WestSaxon Crown, the arrangement might very well suit the purposes of Eadwine and Morkere. They might deem that a step was taken towards the division of the Kingdom, when its administration was practically divided between the House of Leofric and the House of Godwine, and when the King took his own share along with his brothers. A King who had his own portion of the

Kingdom in his own hands might seem to be less painfully exalted over their heads, he might seem to remain more nearly on their own level, than a King who acted simply as a central power, equally controlling every portion of the realm. Harold therefore kept the West-Saxon Earldom in his own hands. But it is clear that he kept a watchful eye over his whole Kingdom, and that he was ready to act at a moment's notice in any part of his Kingdom where his presence might be needed. On the character of Harold's government as King there is no need to enlarge. His government as King was, as I have just before said, simply a continuation of his government as Earl. Whatever was the character of the one was the character of the other. The Norman writers describe his government as stained by frightful crimes. As usual, stories grow and become more definite as they are further removed from the time. The slanderers of Harold's own age veiled their charges in the most general terms; but the slanderers of the thirteenth century were ready with long stories of rapine and sacrilege and evil doings of every kind, and the slanderers of a still later age knew perfectly well how cruelly Harold enforced the forest laws, and how he purposely remained without a wife, that he might the more easily carry off the wives and daughters of the "Barons" of the realm. A charge which better deserves serious examination is that Harold drove out of the land all the Normans who were settled in it, doubtless confiscating their lands. Now the dying charge of Eadward himself suggested the banishment, though not the

spoliation, of any Normans who might refuse to become the men of the new King. The fact that the charge is brought against Harold may lead us to think that some such cases actually occurred, and that Eadward's rule was put in force with regard to them. But it is quite impossible to believe that all the Frenchmen who were naturalized in England were now driven out. Some record of such a process would certainly have found its way into Domesday. And we know for certain that some Normans of high rank were not driven out. William of London retained his Bishoprick. His name is not found in the history of Harold's reign, but it is quite certain that, if he had been meddled with, some Norman writer or other would have taken care to record the fact. The wrongs of the living Bishop of London would have made an excellent sequel to the wrongs of the dead Archbishop of Canterbury. And we know distinctly, from the testimony of Norman writers, that Robert the son of Wymarc was living quietly in England, as a man of wealth and importance, at the time of William's landing. He clearly kept his lands; there is no evidence whether he kept his office of Staller. But we cannot say whether Hugolin the Treasurer and Reginbald the Chancellor kept their offices in the court of the English King. We can only say that, among the English Stallers employed by

Eadward, three at least, Bondig, Ansgar, and Eadnoth, kept their offices. Ansgar and Bondig play not unimportant parts in the great struggles of the year. Eadnoth, who held large possessions in the western shires, was probably a man who had risen by the favour of Harold during his government of Wessex as Earl. We shall hear of him again as acting against the son of his benefactor. In opposition to the slanders of his enemies, Harold appears in the national writers as the model of a patriot King. In the words of the splendid panegyric which became almost a set form among all true Englishmen, he began to abolish unrighteous laws, to establish righteous ones, to be the patron of churches and monasteries, to reverence Bishops, Abbots, monks, and churchmen of every sort, to show himself pious, lowly, and affable to all good men, and to be the enemy of all evil-doers. We are told how he bade his Earls, Sheriffs, and magistrates of every kind, and generally all his Thegns, to seize all thieves, robbers, and disturbers of the public peace, while he himself laboured for the defence of the country by sea and land. That is to say, his government as King was a continuation of his government as Earl. We must not infer from the opening words of the description that Harold appeared at all as a lawgiver. Those few months of

little stillness were not likely to be largely devoted either to the repeal of old laws or to the enactment of new ones. By good and bad laws is meant, as usual, good and bad government. What we are to understand is that Harold's rule continued to be as just and as vigorous as it had ever been. It would in truth be more vigorous, now that he could act freely for himself, and had no longer to take the pleasure of the wayward Eadward upon any matter. His strictness against all breaches of the peace is simply his old virtue as Earl; only we see, what of course naturally follows from the state of things at the time, that this duty was now, more than it had been before, thrown upon the King's officers and representatives, while the King himself was mainly occupied with his military preparations. We see also that those preparations began from the very beginning of his reign, that there is no ground to believe that Harold despised either of his enemies, or that he failed from the first to make ready for anything that might happen. His great difficulty must have been to make others feel the importance of the crisis as he felt it himself, and at the same time to avoid anything which could dishearten men's minds or chill the warmth of the hopes kindled by a new reign and a new dynasty. The spirit of Harold's rule is stamped in a striking, and even touching, way on the few material monuments of his short reign. The new King found time for a new coinage, and the device on Harold's coin well spoke the longings of a King whose heart yearned for peace, though he knew that peace could be had only through war. On the one side is the simple legend, PAX, on the other side the King wears the Imperial diadem. All that man could do for his realm and people King Harold did. The evil

was that, according to the old Greek saying, even Herakles could not struggle with two foes at once. As for Harold's devotion to the Church, which is so strongly insisted on by his panegyrist, we can see that he had every motive at this time to make friends of all classes of men, and to make friends of the clergy more than of any other class. He must have known that something like a holy war was likely to be preached against him. He must have felt that he had, wittingly or unwittingly, done an act which ran counter to the religious feelings of the time. If Harold had really done despite to the bones of the Norman Saints, it was the more needful for him to show to other lands that he enjoyed the confidence of the national Church, and to show to the national Church that he was a King who did not belie the oil of his consecration. It is quite possible, and it may be implied in the words of the panegyric, that the founder of Waltham, the great patron of the seculars, now found it expedient to extend more of his countenance than before to the religious foundations of his Kingdom. It is certain that the few notices that we have of the reign of Harold show that more of his attention was given to ecclesiastical matters than might have been looked for in a reign so short and so stormy. He continued his care and bounty to his own foundation at Waltham; what the Earl had loved, the King could not love less. If Bishop Gisa had any fears, they were quieted by a writ securing him in all the rights and possessions of his see. The construction which we

put upon this act must depend upon the view which we take of the relations between Harold and Gisa at this moment. According to Gisa's own account, the King promised to restore the disputed lands, and was hindered only by his death. At any rate, Harold shewed either that he was unconscious of wrong, or that, if he was conscious, he was anxious to make atonement. Among the monastic Prelates, the history will show that he could count on the loyal service, not only of his uncle at the New Minster of Winchester, but of the member of the rival house who ruled over the Golden Borough. Peterborough, it should be remembered, is the only monastic foundation of which Harold is distinctly recorded as a benefactor. The intercourse between Harold and Abbot Leofric was plainly one of mutual confidence and mutual good offices. Aethelwig also, the prudent Abbot of Evesham, stood high in the new King's favour. The soul of the saintly Mannig had passed away at the same hour as the soul of the saintly Eadward, and the church of Evesham was now under the sole rule of the Prelate whose wisdom had already commended him to Ealdred and was afterwards still more specially to commend him to William. With Harold the influence of Aethelwig was great; the Abbot, we are told, obtained from the King whatever he asked. One would like to know more clearly the nature of the requests made by such a Prelate to such a King. But among the ranks of monks and Bishops there was one greater than Gisa or Leofric or Aethelwig, one whose prayers and whose counsels Harold had long learned to value. The holy Wulfstan had for years been his tried friend, and it was on the tried friendship of that true man of God that

Harold chose to lean in the first of the many trials of his short reign. There can be no doubt that the Witan of Northumberland, no less than the Witan of the rest of England, had concurred in the election of Harold. The expressions of our best authorities declare that the chief men of all England concurred in the choice; the Primate of the Northumbrians had filled the first place in the work of Harold's formal admission to his Kingdom, and there is nothing to show that the Earl of the Northumbrians openly dissented. But a little thought will show that the real feelings of Northumberland could not be so easily tested in an Assembly held in London as the real feelings of Wessex and East-Anglia undoubtedly were. We cannot suppose that the North was represented in anything like the same proportion as the districts nearer to the place of meeting. This is always one of the weak points of a Primary, as distinguished from a Representative, Assembly. In a Representative Assembly, if members are fairly apportioned to districts, a part of the country far away from the place of meeting may be as well represented as one that is close to it. In a Primary Assembly the different parts of the country cannot be put on an equality unless the votes are taken, not by heads, but by tribes, cities, or catons. Northumberland might, by this means, have had an equal voice with Wessex in the national Councils, though the WestSaxons present might have been counted by hundreds or thousands, and the Northumbrians only by tens or units. But this political subtlety does not seem to have been thought of in the primitive parliamentary system of our forefathers. It follows then that, wherever a Gemot was held, some part of the country was placed at a disadvantage.

East-Anglia was placed at a disadvantage when the Gembt was held at Gloucester; Western Mercia was placed at a disadvantage when the Gemot was held in London. And as no regular Gemot seems to have been held in Eadward's time at any place north of Gloucester, Northumberland was always placed at a disadvantage. We may conceive that, in the Gemot which elected Harold, that is, the Gemot assembled for the consecration of the West Minster, Wessex, EastAnglia, and south-eastern Mercia were largely represented. The citizens of London were ready on the spot. But it is not likely that the Northumbrians present would be more than a mere handful. The Archbishop, the Earls, the Bishop of Durham, and a few of the leading Thegns, would doubtless obey the royal summons. But it is not likely that many besides these would undertake such a journey in the middle of winter. We can therefore fully understand that the mass of the Northumbrian people might feel that an election had been made to which they had not consented. The election had been made in all due constitutional form. Still a most important step, a step affecting the whole Kingdom, a step likely to be in many ways repugnant to Northumbrian feeling, a step to which Northumberland had practically not been a consenting party, had been taken by a part of England in the name of the whole. By that step the mass of the Northumbrian people refused to be bound. That the old provincial jealousy should break out again at this moment was not wonderful. It was something strange and new even for West-Saxons to set over them a King of their own blood, who was not of the royal house. But it was something stranger and newer still for Northumbrians to be called on to acknowledge a King,

who was neither of their own blood nor of the blood of their old West-Saxon conquerors, but who sprang from a West-Saxon house which, two generations back, had been undistinguished, perhaps ignoble. This feeling on the part of the Northumbrian people was short-sighted and ungenerous, but it was perfectly natural. The question is, how far the sons of Aelfgar, who had not dared to oppose Harold's election in open Gemot, now stirred up, or took advantage of, the natural feeling of the Northumbrian people. Our evidence is very slight, but the conduct of Eadwine and Morkere a few months later makes it almost impossible to doubt that they saw, in the unwillingness of Northumberland to acknowledge the newlychosen King, an admirable means towards carrying out their schemes for the division of the Kingdom. We have no distinct details of what actually happened in Northumberland at this moment. The one writer who tells the story wraps up the minuter facts in a cloud of rhetoric. It is plain however that the Northumbrians did, in some shape or other, refuse to acknowledge Harold as their King. There is nothing to show that there was any armed resistance, or that any Northumbrian Gemot took upon itself to elect another King. The resistance to Harold's authority was probably passive, but resistance of some kind there was. Harold, in short, found himself in January in very nearly the same position with regard to the northern part of his Kingdom in which William found himself in December. Each alike had been elected and crowned; each had received the allegiance of the Northumbrian Primate. But Harold and William alike found that the submission of Morkere and the benediction of Ealdred did not necessarily carry with them any practical authority over the old Northumbrian realm. And we cannot doubt that

the heart of Morkere went forth as little in his oath to Harold as it went forth in his oath to William. We cannot doubt that Morkere, and Eadwine also, took advantage, in the former case as in the latter, of the natural disposition of the Northumbrian people. The momentary hopes which were roused by the unwillingness of the Danish and Anglian North to acknowledge the West-Saxon King overcame the fear lest Tostig should come to recover his Earldom by force. Weighed against such hopes, the tie of allegiance, the tie of gratitude, was not likely to be strong. The claims of a King and a benefactor would seem small compared with a chance of personal exaltation. The duty of keeping England united in the face of her foes would seem as nothing compared with the chance of gratifying a paltry provincial jealousy. I may seem to be passing a harsh judgement on the sons of Aelfgar in a matter in which their names are not directly mentioned. But I am simply supposing that their conduct now was of a piece with their conduct a few months before and a few months after. And it is hard to see what form could be taken by even a passive resistance to Harold's authority, unless that resistance was fostered by the connivance, to say the least, of the reigning Earl Harold then found himself in January, as William found himself in December, King of a realm of which Northumberland constitutionally formed a part, but a King to whom Northumberland presented a front of at least passive resistance. But Harold's way of bringing in the proud Danes of the North to his obedience was not exactly the same as William's way. Harold knew how to win back the revolted province without shedding a single drop of blood and without harrying a single acre of ground. It is small blame to William, granting his position in England at all, that no such peaceful means were open to him as

were open to Harold. But, if Harold's way of recovering rebels differed widely from William's, it differed no less widely from that of Harthacnut, of Tostig, or of Eadward himself. Three months before, the saintly King had been eager to carry fire and sword into a province which, though it despised his authority, does not seem to have disputed his title. His good genius, in the shape of Harold, had then kept him back from a bootless war against his own people. That same province was now in revolt against Harold himself; but it was soon shown that the policy of Harold the King was in no way changed from the policy of Harold the Earl. The conqueror of Gruffydd was not so eager for war and bloodshed as the King who had never grasped axe or sword except in a peaceful pageant. King Harold showed that the motto on his coin was one which he was ready fully to carry out in practice. He at least knew that, at such a moment, civil war, civil dissension, between Englishmen, was simple madness. With that noble and generous daring which is sometimes the highest prudence, Harold determined to trust himself in the hands of the people who refused to acknowledge him. Those his enemies who would not that he should reign over them, instead of being brought and slain before him, were to be won over by the magic of his personal presence in their own land. We know not whether Harold had ever before set foot on Northumbrian ground. His vast possessions indeed extended beyond the Humber. The lordship of Coningsburgh, more famous in romance than in history, together with a large surrounding territory, owned Harold as its lord. A house of Harold's probably marked the height which is now crowned by the renowned castle of later times; but we know not whether the great Earl ever found leisure to visit a possession so far removed

both from the scenes of his labours at Gloucester, Winchester, and London, and from the scenes of his pleasure and devotion in his own woods and by his own Minster at Waltham. But one thing is certain, that years had passed since Northumberland had seen a King. Thirty-five years earlier Cnut had passed through the land on his victorious march against the Scots. Whether the first Harold, whose capital seems to have been Oxford, ever found his way to York is uncertain. But there is nothing to lead us to suppose that Harthacnut or Eadward had ever seen any part of their dominions north of Shrewsbury, perhaps not even north of Gloucester. Thus the mere presence of a King in the North of England would be something strange and exciting, and the mere presence of a King can, as we all know, often work wonders. Harold then set off for Northumberland, to win over the disaffected province, not by arms, but by the power of speech and the charm of royal courtesy. But he went not alone. The companion whom he chose seems to show how important a part of Harold's policy it was at this moment to show himself as the choice and the friend of the national Church. With the King went the best and holiest Prelate in England, his old and tried friend, the saintly Bishop of Worcester. On the example and the eloquence of Wulfstan Harold relied to win over those in whose ears he might himself charm in vain. Harold and Wulfstan then set forth on their journey northward. They would probably take with them Housecarls enough for their own personal protection, but it is plain that they took with them no force capable of controlling or overawing the country. The power of speech and of reason,

the example and the influence of the brightest light of the national priesthood, were the arms to which Harold trusted. Our narrative tells us only the result and not the process. The proud Danes, unconquerable by steel, bowed their necks to the gentle yoke of Harold and Wulfstan, and the authority of the new King was acknowledged throughout Northumberland. One could well wish to know more of the details. The biographer of Wulfstan attributes the happy result wholly to the reverence with which the Saint inspired the fierce spirits of the North. From the merits and the honour of Wulfstan, a true Saint and the chosen friend of Harold, I should be sorry to take away one jot or one tittle. But I cannot but think that the presence, the arguments, the eloquence, of the hero King himself must have had some share in winning over his people to his allegiance. In the Gemot at York, which was evidently summoned for the purpose, he might appeal to every feeling of patriotism, and conjure them, as Englishmen, not, at such a moment, to separate the cause of one Earldom from the common cause of England. If England were torn by civil war, even if England were peacefully divided, what assurance was there that Wessex alone could withstand the attacks of William, that Northumberland alone could withstand the attacks of Tostig? But if England were united--and under none but Harold could she be united--she might be able to hold up against both enemies at once. He might appeal to every feeling of personal gratitude; he might remind the Northumbrian people how lately he had sacrificed his brother to their will, how lately he had saved them from a civil war, when King Eadward was eager to march his armies against them. The personal

pleadings of a King, even when they are far weaker in themselves, are seldom heard in vain; and the voice of reason and prudence, speaking from the lips of such a King as Harold, was still less likely to be without fruit. The Northumbrian Danes had received from Harold a mark of consideration and confidence such as they had hardly received from any King since the days of Eadgar. It is no wonder then that the mission of the King and his saintly companion was successful for the moment. Harold was received as King by Northumberland, as he had already been received as King by the rest of England. None of his exploits was more glorious than thus to win for himself a great province, an ancient kingdom, by the mere force of reason and justice. And there is nothing to show that the Northumbrian people fell away from their loyalty, or showed themselves unworthy of the trust which their King had placed in them. But the root of evil was left behind. On the decisive step of removing the sons of Aelfgar from their Earldoms Harold could not venture. He was obliged to leave a portion of the Kingdom stretching from the Well and to the Tweed in the hands of rulers who could not be trusted. And now in all probability it was that he made a further attempt to secure their fidelity by a marriage with their sister Ealdgyth, the widow of the Welsh King Gruffydd. But all was in vain; the very ease with which Harold had won the hearts of the Northumbrian people was doubtless of itself a root of bitterness in the hearts of Eadwine and Morkere. They were now further than ever from any hopes of peaceful kingship. They must be either loyal lieutenants of their brother-in-law or else open or secret rebels against him. We shall see what was the fate of Northumberland and of England, when so vast a power had to be left in such unworthy hands. But for the moment King Harold was indeed King over the whole realm. He had won the hearts of the whole

English people from Wight to Lindisfarne, as perhaps no other King had won them since England had acknowledged a single King. It may be that the holy man whom he had chosen as his guide and partner chose that moment of his highest exaltation to set before him a picture of the sins of England, and to exhort him to devote himself to their reformation. Or it may be that the warnings of Wulfstan to Harold, like the warnings of Solon to Croesus, are merely part of a grand dramatic picture, showing how the shadow of the wrath to come was already spreading over the land. But, for the moment, all was brighter than at any other moment of the year. King Harold, full King over all England, came back in peace to his palace at Westminster. It was there that he kept the Easter Festival, and held his Easter Gemot, the one recorded Festival and the one recorded Gemot of his short reign. But the reign of Harold, short as it was, marks an important stage in the gradual process by which London became the capital of England. Eadward and Harold were both, by widely different motives, drawn to Westminster as their chief dwelling-place. Eadward loved to dwell under the shadow of the church which he was rearing. Harold saw that London was the fittest spot for the ordinary abode of a King who might at any moment be called to the defence of any part of his Kingdom. Less suited than Oxford to be the gathering-place of assemblies from North and South, the great inland haven of the Thames, the city guarded alike by its Roman walls and by the strong hearts of its citizens, was the best centre for operations which might

have to be carried on by land or by sea Eastward Northward or Southward. Wales was subdued; Ireland was seemingly friendly; at any rate the danger from both those quarters was comparatively trifling, and the western shore and the western frontier might be left to take care of themselves. But the
whole southern and eastern coast of England was exposed to the twofold enemy, and for the defence of the southern and eastern coast London was obviously the best centre. For that part of England which was under the immediate rule of the new royal house, for Harold's own Wessex and for the Earldoms of Gyrth and Leofwine, the city was almost geographically central. London then became, under Harold, a more constant royal dwelling-place than it had ever been before. It had perhaps never before happened that four successive festivals of the Church were kept by an English King on the same spot. But such must have been the case at Westminster during this year of wonders. Gloucester had been forsaken for that great Midwinter Feast at Westminster in which the Crown was worn by Eadward on the day of the Nativity and by Harold on the day of the Epiphany. Winchester was now forsaken for Harold's one Paschal festival. For Pentecost Westminster was now the usual place, and if King Harold found time to hold a Whitsun Feast at all, it was doubtless at Westminster that he held it. At the next Midwinter Feast Westminster again beheld another master, and her church and palace became the scene of other crowning rites. Thick and fast indeed came the events which caused the creation of Eadward to become, from its very birth, the hearth and home of the English nation. It is possible also that Harold may have had another, a secondary, motive, which led him to hold his festival in some other place than the capital of his former Earldom, the resting-place of his father and of his murdered cousin. Harold had faithfully carried out all the dying wishes of

Eadward. Those of Eadward's Norman friends who were willing to dwell peaceably in the land were not disturbed. Every day of Harold's reign saw masses and prayers go up from the altars of the West Minster on behalf of the soul of its founder. And Eadward's other request, that his widow might keep her royal rank and honours, was carried out no less faithfully. Eadgyth, now, in Old-English phrase, the Old Lady, withdrew to that royal dwelling-place at Winchester which seems, in this age, to have been specially reserved for the widows of Kings. There Emma had spent the last days of her life, and there now Eadgyth dwelled amid all the honours of her rank, but in all probability as no faithful subject of her royal brother. Her sisterly affection was set upon Tostig, and it would even seem that, after Tostig's overthrow, her sympathies were transferred from the brother who had overthrown him to the invader who might be looked on as his avenger. It is possible that Harold might feel inclined to avoid a city whose chief inhabitant was a sister in such a frame of mind. But it may simply be that he found London the best centre for his councils and operations. And we may add that the mere fact of Winchester being assigned as the place of dowry to the widows of Cnut and Eadward shows of itself that the old West-Saxon capital was fast yielding the first place among the cities of England to the great military and commercial post on the Thames. At Westminster then King Harold held his one Easter Feast, and there doubtless he wore his Crown in the same kingly state as the Kings who had gone before him. The Feast implies the Gemot, and of the main subjects of debate in a Gemot at such a moment we can have little doubt. It would be the King's business to obtain from the assembled nation every help that was needed for the defence of the land. It would be his business to

warn his people alike against unworthy fear, against unreasonable confidence, and against that mere slowness of movement, that shrinking from prolonged and wearying service, which were the besetting sins of Englishmen. It was in short the part of Harold to inspire his people, as far as might be, with that unconquerable energy which was the distinguishing feature of his own character. But of the acts of that Assembly we have no record. All that we can say is that it must have been at that Easter gathering that the two recorded ecclesiastical appointments of Harold's reign were made. At the time of Eadward's death the great Abbey of Ely was without an Abbot, and Harold had been only a few weeks on the throne when a vacancy happened also in the Abbey of Abingdon. To this last house the Earl of the West-Saxons had more than once acted a friendly part, sanctioning and suggesting the benefactions of others, even if he did not directly appear as a benefactor himself. Seventeen days after the death of Eadward Abbot Ordric of Abingdon died. The appointment of his successor, Ealdred, a monk of the house, must have taken place at the Easter Gemot. Of the new Prelate we shall hear again during the troubles of the next reign. The appointment to Ely is of more moment, as it plainly sets forth Harold in the character of an ecclesiastical reformer. The last Abbot Wulfric, who is spoken of as a kinsman of King Eadward, had lately died. On his death the Abbey was given to Archbishop Stigand, as an addition to his already large stock of preferment.

Neither Wulfric nor Stigand is spoken of as a good husband of his church's worldly wealth. Wulfric had secretly conveyed some of the lands of the Abbey to his brother Guthmund, and he is described as dying of grief and shame for this sin. Stigand now, we ate told, suggested to Harold the appointment of an Abbot. But, with Florence's panegyric before us, we may be inclined to believe that Harold, who had now at least become the patron of monks and monasteries, was anxious that his reign should be an aera of ecclesiastical reform. It would be a good beginning to put a stop to the scandal of the Archbishop of Canterbury holding the Abbey of Ely in plurality. Possibly the exhortations of Saint Wulfstan may have dwelt upon this evil, as upon so many others. We may therefore be inclined to believe that it was Harold who suggested to Stigand, rather than Stigand who suggested to Harold, the appointment of an independent Abbot. At any rate an appointment was made by the royal authority, and we cannot doubt that it was duly made by King Harold and his Witan at this Easter Gemot. The new Prelate, Thurstan, whose name proclaims his Danish descent, bears a good character in the local history; he had been brought up in the house from his childhood, and had been well instructed in the learning of the times. By the King's order, he received the abbatial benediction from the Archbishop who had made way for him. Stigand had before been deemed fit to bless an Abbot, though not to consecrate a King or a Bishop. The new Abbot's reign was a busy and a troubled one. We shall hear again of him and of his house in the course of the great struggle against the Conqueror. As yet he had to deal only with adversaries on a smaller scale. Stigand, like many other Prelates on resigning one preferment for another, and especially on resigning one held in plurality, continued, so

the local writers tell us, to keep a large share of the lands of Ely in his own hands. He made up however in some measure for this fault by the most splendid gifts to the church of Ely in the way of vessels and ornaments. With Stigand perhaps it might not have been prudent for the new Abbot to meddle, but he did his best to recover the lands which Wulfric had conveyed to his brother. Guthmund was brought to a compromise which was not unusual in such cases, by which the lands were to revert to the Abbey at his death. But the coming overthrow of England carried the stolen possessions away alike from Guthmund and from Saint Aethelthryth. In the storms which soon fell upon the monastery of Ely, the lands of which Abbot Wulfric had defrauded his brotherhood came into the hands of the Norman Hugh of Montfort. Signs of those no longer distant days were already beginning to show themselves in the heaven above and in the earth beneath. Perhaps at that very Easter Feast, perhaps at some yet earlier moment of Harold's reign, came the message which told him to his face, what he had all along known in his heart, that his reign over England would not be undisputed. Harold was King, acknowledged as King by every Earldom and every shire in England. He was King, alike by the will of his predecessor, by the choice of his people, by the consecration of the Church, by the homage of the Thegns and Prelates of England. But now a

voice came proclaiming aloud to Harold, to England, and to Europe, that another claimed the Crown he wore, and claimed it by an earlier bequest of Eadward, by an earlier homage of Harold himself. The great enemy had at last openly thrown down the gauntlet. Duke William of Normandy had proclaimed himself to all the world as the true heir of Eadward, as the lawful King of the English. The benediction of Thurstan of Ely was the last peaceful event of Harold's reign. Wars and rumours of wars, challenges and answers between leaders of armies, fill up the six months which still divide us from the last act of the great tragedy. And, if those days were on earth days of distress of nations and perplexity, days when men's hearts were failing them for fear, they were days too in which the men of those times were led to deem that the very powers of heaven were shaken. Strange and awful signs, mighty storms, a horror of great darkness at noon-day, are recorded in the chronicles of distant lands among the portents of this memorable year. But there was one sign above all which struck the hearts of all mankind with awe. Men looked to the sky, and there they saw such a token in the heavens as no man had ever seen before. Not only over all England, but, as men deemed, over the whole world, the sky was ablaze with a mighty mass of flame, which no man doubted was sent to kindle a fire upon the earth. The octave of the Easter feast had barely passed, when, on the evening of the ninth day, the

hairy star, the comet as some had learned to call it, shone over the land with a fearful glare. For seven-some say for thirty-nights, from sunset to dawn, its bright orb blazed with rays like the noon-tide sun, while the vast train of light streaming behind it seemed to set the whole southern quarter of the heavens on fire. Men gazed and wondered in every land. The appearance of that great star is recorded in chronicles written too far from our shores for the fate of Harold or of England to be deemed of any moment. But no man in any land ventured to deem that such a token came without its mission. As of old the stars in their courses fought against Sisera, so now that wondrous star was doubtless sent to fight against some one among the great ones of the earth. And in England, where men's minds must already have been wrought up to the highest pitch, where a new native dynasty had just arisen, where two foreign invaders were already threatening, the wonder and anxiety must have been even greater than in other lands. The vulgar gazed in silence, lifting up their hands in wonder. The more learned or the more daring took on them to expound the prodigy to their fellows. One such interpreter of the future bore the news of the token to King Harold on his throne. Holy men, prophets of evil, spoke openly, in the spirit of Kalchas, of Micaiah, or of Eadward himself, of the woes which were coming upon the land. Far away in his cell at Malmesbury, an aged monk, Aethelmaer by name, a dabbler in arts and sciences beyond his age, broke forth into a flood of vague and terrible prediction.

The star had come to bring tears to many mothers; he had beheld the same sign in former days, but now it had come to bring a far more fearful overthrow upon his native land. The sign was indeed one of awe and warning. Ninety years before, such another sign had been seen in the heavens, and fast on its appearance had followed the troubles of the reign of the martyred Eadward. Famines, earthquakes, civil commotions, had followed hard upon the track of the blazing beacon. Only a few years later, so the reckonings of astronomers tell us, the very comet on which men were now gazing must have come to herald in the great renewal of the Scandinavian invasions, the terrible invasions of Olaf and Swegen, the fight of Maldon and the general ravaging of England. Still the message of warning was not necessarily a message of despair. Another such token had not ushered in but ended the horrors of the year of strife between Cnut and Eadmund ; it had come as it were to shine over the grave of the English hero, to shine as a beacon lighting the path of glory which opened before the Danish conqueror. So now, some great event was doubtless portended; some mighty ruler was soon to meet with his overthrow; but who could say whether the fiery sword which hung over the world was drawn on behalf of Harold or on behalf of William? But from that day forth no man no man doubted that the sword of the Lord was drawn ; no man

doubted that that sword could not be quiet, and that it would not return to its scabbard till it had drunk its fill. We must now turn from that great Easter Feast at Westminster, and from the portent which must have served to light the Witan of England to their homes. We leave King Harold on his throne, the acknowledged chief of his own people, but with his right challenged by the one man among living princes who could stand forth and defy the chosen of England as an equal and worthy rival. The details and the substance of that challenge form the beginning of another portion of my tale. I reserve them therefore till we have traced out the later actions, the wars and the intrigues, of the great enemy beyond the sea. I have now to sketch the events of years neither few nor unimportant in the history of William, and therein to bring to light one page which I would gladly blot out in the history of Harold. I have now to take up the thread of my Norman history, from the day when William, the guest of Eadward, went back to his own land, already deeming himself the heir of England, to the day when, as the open rival of Harold, he put forth before heaven and earth his claim to the Crown which the choice of England had given to another.

Chapter 12
The Later Reign of William in Normandy
1051-1066

We, left the Duchy of Normandy in the enjoyment of a short season of unusual peace, after the energy of its great Duke had for a moment quelled all enemies at home and abroad. We saw the Duke himself received as a cherished guest at the Court of England, during those gloomy months when England, in the absence of her defenders, seemed to have already become a Norman land. We saw him return to his home, clothed, there can be little doubt, in his own eyes, with the character of the lawful heir of the English Crown. We have now to trace out his history and that of his Duchy from the time of his return from his first English sojourn till he again steps upon the field of English history as an avowed claimant of the Kingdom of England. The intervening time fills a space of fifteen

years, years crowded with stirring and memorable events in the history of Normandy. But they are events which, till quite the end of the period, have no direct connection with the history of England. It is only in the last stage of the present Chapter that the two streams of our narrative must again converge, at the moment when the two great figures of our drama meet face to face in the memorable and fatal visit of Earl Harold to the Norman court. The earlier years of the period are wholly occupied with the affairs of William and his Duchy, his marriage, his ecclesiastical reforms and foundations, his wars against rebellious kinsmen within his Duchy and with French and Angevin enemies beyond its bounds. But these things all form part of our story. No part of the life of the great Conqueror is foreign to the history of the Conquest of England. Every blow dealt by William against his restless neighbours or against his jealous overlord formed part of his military schooling for the greatest day of his military life. Every exercise of that political craft in which he surpassed all men made his hand more skillful for the weaving of that masterpiece of subtlety by which, even more than by his lance and bow, he knew how to make England his own. The period will fall naturally into four divisions. First comes William's marriage with Matilda of Flanders, a step which was, in itself, of no small moment in William's career, and which, as I have already hinted, supplies some most characteristic illustrations of William's temper. Next come the wars of William with the King of the French and his allies, those allies being not only the ceaseless enemy of Normandy, the Count of Anjou, but also enemies of William's within his own Duchy and within his own ducal house. Thirdly comes the later stage of the Angevin war, when it became almost wholly resolved into a struggle for the possession of Maine. Lastly, we come to William's

Breton campaigns, which, in our point of view, necessarily become a mere adjunct to the great question of the visit and the oath of Harold. I have purposely reserved that question for this stage of my history. As the date is uncertain, and as the event is recorded by no contemporary English writer, I could find no fitting place for it in the course of my purely English narrative. Recorded only by Norman writers, it seems essentially apiece of Norman history and the question of right or wrong is essentially a Norman question. It has no bearing on the events narrated and discussed in my last Chapter; it has the closest bearing on the events which will be narrated in later Chapters. Any personal obligations towards William, which Harold had contracted or which Harold had broken, formed altogether a personal question between William and Harold. It was a question with which the English nation had in strictness nothing to do. They might take it into consideration as a matter of prudence; they had nothing to do with it as a matter of right. If any wrong was done to William, it was done, not by England, but by Harold personally. It might be a crime in Harold to accept the Crown to which he was chosen, but that in no way affected the right of the English people to choose him. The question then, up to this point, is a Norman question; it became an English question only when William claimed the English Crown, and put forth the alleged perjury of Harold as one of the grounds of his claim. I have therefore reserved the consideration of the whole story for the present Chapter. It comes in here as a part of the Norman history, which has no direct bearing on the purely English

events which have gone before, but which has the most direct and important bearing on the combined Norman and English events which are to follow.

§ 1. The marriage of William and Matilda.
1049-1060

William, at the time of his visit to Eadward, had reached the age of about twenty-four years. The negotiations for his marriage had already begun at least two years before. A marriage into some princely house was an object of no small moment for one in William's position. The Bastard, the Tanner's grandson, had now abundantly made good his position within his own Duchy, and he had shown to his neighbours that he was one whose borders could not be insulted with impunity. The victor of Val-es-dunes, the avenger of Alencon, the man to whom the impregnable steep of Domfront had yielded in sheer dread of his Wrath, already held no small place among the princes of Gaul and of Europe. The rulers of the lands nearest to his own had had abundant means of judging of his prowess. His royal overlord at Paris had witnessed what William could do as an ally, and his restless rival at Angers had felt yet more keenly what he could do as an enemy. Alike in warfare and in internal government, he had shown himself' in every way the peer of Kings and of long-descended Dukes and Counts. It remained now to be seen whether the rulers of other European states were ready to receive him as their social peer, and to allow their blood to mingle with the blood of the son of Herleva. His own panegyrist has indeed no doubt on the point. The Duke of the Normans had only to choose his wife at his will from the

houses of whichever of the neighbouring princes he thought good. Nay, distant Kings would have vied with one another in offering their daughters to such a bridegroom, Notwithstanding this rhetoric, we may be allowed to suspect that, when the chief men of Normandy urged on their sovereign the prudence of an early marriage, they thought somewhat of the advantage of fixing the position of William in the eyes of the world as well as of the necessity of securing the Norman succession. This last object indeed was a matter of paramount importance. Nothing but the life of the reigning Duke stood between his Duchy and the repetition of such anarchy as his own early years had witnessed. A bastard could, in strict law, have no heirs but heirs of his own body; and, even setting aside William's bastardy, it was as hard now as it had been at the death of Robert to say who was the lawful presumptive heir to the Norman Duchy. It was before all things necessary that William should, with all speed, raise up sons of his own to sit on his ducal chair. And it is to the eternal honour of the young Duke that there was no fear of the rights of William's lawful sons being interfered with by the claims of any elder but unlawful issue. There was no fear of William's bride, whoever she might be, having to share her place in his house or in his heart with any unlawful or irregular consort. Alone of all his race, William set an example to all the princes of his time of a domestic life of unsullied parity. He had marked, it may well be, the shame, the sorrow, the anarchy, which had been brought upon

himself and his country by the youthful error of his own parents, or rather--it might be fairer to say--by the neglect of his father to redeem that youthful error by a later marriage. He was determined that no such evils should ever arise from any such error on his own part. No mistress, no Danish wife, appeared in William's days in the palace of Rouen ; and this virtue, so unusual in one surrounded by all the temptations of youth and power, seems to have become the subject of foolish and brutal jests among the profligate scoffers of his Court. The private life of William is a bright feature among the varied traits of his strangely mingled character. In this respect the noblest of women would have been no more than an help meet for him. And such an one he found in the wife whom he sought with such characteristic pertinacity, and who, in the end, shared his cares and his glories for more than thirty years. The counsels of the wise men of Normandy both pressed William to marry, and further suggested the expediency of selecting for his bride the daughter of some neighbouring prince. The weighty matter was long and anxiously discussed, but at last either the counsels of his advisers or his own inclination disposed William in favor of the daughter of the reigning Count of Flanders. It may be that, if the English Court had been adorned with a princess, he would have sought, by a marriage with a

daughter of Eadward, to strengthen the hopes which he may have already begun to cherish in the direction of Eadward's Crown. But no such help was to be looked for in the house of his childless cousin; still, as I have already hinted, it is possible that one of the merits in his eyes of the wife whom he did choose was that she sprang by direct, if only by female descent, from the blood of. It is possible that other princesses might have been found who had the same amount of connection with English royalty, but it would have been hard to find one who unite AElfred a descent of this kind with the great European position which attached to a daughter of Baldwin. The laureate of William taxes his powers to the uttermost to set forth the greatness of the prince who was thought worthy to become the father-in-law of his hero. No line was so exalted as that of the Count of Flanders, or as, in contempt of the geography of his own time, he wishes rather to call him, the Satrap of the Morini. The lowly origin of Lyderic the Forester was forgotten among the splendours of a house which, by successive intermarriages, could boast of a descent from the Kings of Wessex, Italy, and Burgundy, and from the Imperial stock of the Great Charles. The Flemish Count

was in name a vassal of the Roman Emperor ; in truth he was the stay and glory of his counsels. Rarely did he condescend to visit the Imperial Court; when he stooped so far, Counts, Marquesses, Dukes, the mighty Primates of the German Church, even Kings themselves, looked on him with wonder and admiration. Without accepting all this rhetoric, it is certain that, next to a marriage into the house of an anointed King, no connection could have been found more exalted than that which William sought to form with the prince whom his contemporaries spoke of as the mighty Marquess. No description could be more apt. It was to their position as Marquesses in the strict sense of the word, as princes holding a border land between France and Germany, as vassals of both Crowns, but no very humble subjects of either, that the Counts of Flanders owed their special greatness among European princes. Their land, with its sea-board and its rivers, was marked out by nature as the land where commerce and civic greatness were to take a firmer hold than in any other land north of the Alps.

And its hardy, sharp-witted, and industrious inhabitants, near kinsmen of our own Nether-Dutch stock, were no less renowned in warfare than they were in the peaceful arts of commerce and manufacture. And we must not forget that, in those days, the Flemish dominion, and, with it, the Low-Dutch speech, reached far to the south of the narrow frontier which is all that successive French aggressions have left to the modern Kingdom of Belgium. The Marquess of Flanders was a near neighbour of the Duke of the Normans. Between them lay only the small Counties of Ponthieu and Boulogne, the representatives of the old disputed land of Herlwin of Montreuil. On every political ground, no alliance could be more desirable for the young Duke than one which brought him into close and friendly connection with this mighty house. Of the reigning Count, Baldwin the Fifth, Baldwin of Lisle or Ysse, Baldwin the Debbonnaire, we have often heard in other parts of our history. We first heard of him as a rebel against his own father, and as being brought to reason by the potent influence of Duke Robert. We next, heard of his constant reception of English and other exiles, and of his wars with the Empire, in which England bore a part against him. In those wars his Norman panegyrist represents him as invariably successful. We have seen how far this description departs from the truth of history; but in after times, when the might of Rome and Germany was represented by a woman and a child, it is said that Baldwin gained concessions which he was not likely to gain at the hands of Henry the Third. With his other

overlord, the Parisian King, he had formed the closest tie of affinity; his wife was Adela, the daughter of King Robert and sister of the reigning King Henry. In after times, on the death of Henry, Count Baldwin was called on to act as Regent or Protector over the realm of his wife's young nephew Philip. His marriage with Adela gave him two sons, Baldwin and Robert, both of whom afterwards reigned over Flanders. Judith, who a few years later became the wife of Tostig the son of Godwine, is often spoken of as his daughter, but she was in truth his sister, the child of his father's old age and probably in years the contemporary of his own children. But, if the sister of Baldwin shared the viceregal seat of Northumberland, his daughter was fated to yet higher honour within our island. Matilda, the child of Baldwin and Adela, in after days to be crowned at Westminster as Lady of the English, was the princess whom the advice of William's wisest counselors selected as the fittest bride for their young Duke. One might be curious to know how far this choice was at all prompted in the beginning by personal inclination on William's part. It is certain that Matilda won and retained William's deepest affection, that he had to struggle hard to obtain her hand, and that he made her a faithful and loving husband throughout their joint lives. But modern researches have shown that there was a mystery about the marriage which no one would have guessed from the fluent narratives of the Norman writers. They enlarge on

Matilda's beauty, on her accomplishments and her virtues. But, just as the Encomiast of Emma keeps out of sight the fact that his heroine was a widow and a mother at the time of her marriage with Cnut, so the panegyrists of William keeps out of sight the fact, revealed to us by a comparison of several documents and incidental statements, that Matilda was the mother of a son and a daughter of whom William was not the father. Some of them further conceal, what others have the honesty to allow, that the marriage of the Duke was objected to on canonical grounds, and that an interval of some years took place between the first proposal of marriage and the actual celebration of the rite. The language of William's laureate would lead us to believe that Count Baldwin brought his daughter across the Norman frontier almost as soon as William's ambassadors had reached his court with William's proposal. A more minute examination reveals the fact that the marriage was first thought of before the murder of Beorn, but that the lovers were not joined together by the Church till the year of the death of Godwine. The scandal of a later age told the tale how one Brihtric, a Thegn of Gloucestershire, was sent as an ambassador from

the King of the English to the court of Bruges, how the daughter of the Count cast an eye of love on the tall stalwart Englishman, how she offered herself to him in marriage, how he refused her advances, and how in later times Matilda, the Lady of the English, found means of ample revenge for the slight which he had offered to Matilda, the Flemish princess. William, we are told, not considering, it would seem, that such hatred might be deemed to savour of love, easily granted his wife's prayer for the imprisonment of Brihtric and for the transfer of his lands to herself. The tale is evidently mythical, but it preserves the kernel of truth that William was not the first love, or indeed the first husband, of Matilda. She had been already married to Gerbod, a man of distinction in Flanders, whose title was taken from his hereditary office as Advocate of the great Abbey of Saint Bertin at Saint Omer. To him she had borne two children, a son who bore his father's name, and who, in after times, when his step-father filled the English throne, held and resigned the great Earldom of Chester, the special home of the house of Leofric. The other child of Gerbod and Matilda was a daughter, Gundrada by name, who became the wife of William of Warren, and whose tomb and its inscription have long been among the favourite objects of antiquarian research. That tomb was placed in a Minster of her own rearing, which has now vanished from the earth, in that great Priory of Saint Pancras at Lewes, whose walls sheltered the King and the enemies of England in the next great struggle for her freedom. For a long while

Gudrada was looked on as a daughter of William himself, but there is no doubt that both she and her brother Gerbod were the children of Matilda by her first husband. The question now arises, which I shall discuss elsewhere, whether the elder Gerbod was dead at the time of William's first courtship, or whether the delays and difficulties which beset the marriage of William and Matilda were not, partly at least, caused by the necessity of procuring a divorce between the Flemish princess and her first husband. The balance of evidence and of probability seems to me to be decidedly in favour of the belief that Matilda was now a widow. But at any rate it is certain, though no one would have guessed it from any of the writers who record the marriage, that the bride of William was already the mother of two children by another man. The whole story forcibly reminds us of the marriage of Cnut and Emma, except that, while Emma was clearly many years older than Cnut, Matilda, married no doubt to Gerbod when very young, must have been about William's own age. Another point is plain that, even if the marriage was first thought of as a matter of policy, William's affections were soon firmly fixed upon the woman whose hand he was seeking. No otherwise can we explain the desperate pertinacity with which he pursued his object in defiance of difficulties to which a merely political suitor would soon have yielded. The scheme of the marriage must have been first broached soon after the war of Domfront and Alencon. For in the year following that war the marriage met with the most formidable of all obstacles. It was forbidden by an express

command of the common Father of Christendom, speaking at the head of an Assembly which had a real claim to command no small share of the reverence of Western Europe. The good Pope Leo had gathered together at Rheims that famous Council of some of whose acts I have had occasion to speak earlier in my history. For one of those moments which come few and far between in the annals of nations and Churches, the two lights of the Christian firmament shone in friendship side by side; the two swords no longer clashed against each other, but were drawn at the same bidding to chastise the same offenders. At the summons of a Pope and an Emperor each alike worthy of his throne, clerks and laymen had assembled from distant lands, among which England had not been slow to send her representatives. The abbatial minster of Saint Remigius had been hallowed by the Pope himself; and a number of Princes and Prelates were next called to account by the assembled Fathers for various breaches of the law, canonical and moral. There, as we have seen, a Norman Bishop, a member of the mightiest house in Normandy, had to defend himself on a charge of sacrilegious destruction of his own cathedral. There a Prelate of the Ducal Burgundy, Hugh of Langres, was deposed from his episcopal office for various acts of cruelty and adultery. But Pope Leo did not shrink from smiting offenders yet more exalted, and among them he struck the most grievous of personal blows at the Duke of the Normans himself. One special object of the Council was the stricter enforcement of the Church's law of marriage, a point on which the princes and great nobles of Gaul would seem just then to have been specially lax. Among the canons of the Council, two are aimed specially at

Offenses of this kind, and the Pope and the assembled Fathers at once proceeded to launch the censures of the Church against offenders of every degree. A whole train of princes were summoned before the Synod, and some of them were actually excommunicated. Among them were the two princes who held the border lands between Flanders and Normandy, two princes of one of whom we have already heard but too much in our history, and of both of whom we shall hear again. Eustace of Boulogne, the brother-in-law of King Eadward, and Ingelram, seemingly the son of the reigning Count of Ponthieu, were both smitten with excommunication on charges of incest the evidence for which seems to be no longer forthcoming. Theobald of Chartres, the son of Odo the old enemy of Normandy, was also called to account on a charge of putting away his lawful wife without cause. And it was now that an order went forth which touched the two mightier neighbours of all these princes. Count Baldwin of Flanders was forbidden to give his daughter in marriage to William the Norman, and he, William, was forbidden to receive her. Such is the only description vouchsafed to the great Duke. The other princes receive their usual titles of honour, but it would almost seem that any such respectful mention was still looked on as not due of right to the grandson of the Tanner.

At the date then of the Council of Rheims, the marriage had not yet been celebrated, though William's first proposals must have been already made to Baldwin, and must have been favourably listened to by him. The Papal prohibition seemingly stopped the marriage for four years. The ground of objection was, according to all the evidence which we have on the subject, the usual ground of nearness of kin. Yet it is by no means easy, either to trace up the pedigree of William and Matilda to a common ancestor, or to see any reasonable ground for the prohibition on any of the usual ecclesiastical theories of affinity. But it certainly seems more reasonable to suppose the existence of some unrecorded hindrance of this kind than to believe that William sought the hand of Matilda, and that her father favoured his suit, at a time when she was actually the wife of another man. At all events, the marriage was delayed, and the moment when it was actually celebrated coincides so remarkably with one of the most memorable exploits of William's countrymen in another part of Europe that it is hard to believe that the one event had not some influence on the other. The Normans were now pressing their conquests in the South of Italy, and Pope Leo did not deem it inconsistent with his duty to endeavour to check their progress even by force of arms. His own prowess, tried in earlier warfare, the lofty stature and heavy swords of his German auxiliaries, availed him not.

The Pontiff became a captive in the hands of enemies who knew as well how to make the most of an advantage as if William himself had been their leader. And in truth there was one in their ranks with a head well nigh as cunning to devise, and an arm well nigh as strong to execute, as the head and the arm of William himself. For the Norman host was commanded by the sons of Tancred of Hauteville, and among them, as yet the least renowned among his brethren, stood the man before whom Caesars as well as Pontiffs were to quail. There stood the founder of the Apulian Duchy, the remote founder of the Sicilian Kingdom, the man who did less only than William himself to make the Norman name famous and terrible throughout the world. The true spirit of Robert Wiscard appears in the demeanour of conquerors who bowed in the lowliest reverence to their holy captive, and who at the same time knew how to win from him what might pass as a lawful investiture of all their conquests. Such were the beginnings of that Norman Kingdom of the South whose fate forms so striking a contrast to that of their northern conquest. Thus arose that Sicilian realm, whose Crown shone the brightest among the Pleiads which decked the brow of

the Wonder of the World, and which, in its lowest depth of degradation, we have seen merged in a realm of happier omen at the mere approach of the wonder-worker of our own day. It was while Leo was thus kept in the power of the Normans of the South that William seems to have thought that the hour was at last come when he might venture to trample under foot the prohibition of the Council of Rheims. It may be that the reverential gaolers of the Pope had contrived to wring from him some concession to the prince whom, if they did not look on as their sovereign, they must at least have honoured as the most renowned of all who bore the Norman name. Or it may be that William and Baldwin deemed that, during such a collapse of the Papal authority, any breach of ecclesiastical discipline might safely be dared, in the hope that an absolution after the fact might be won from some successor less austere than the saintly Leo. At all events the marriage was celebrated while Leo was still in durance. Count Baldwin himself led his daughter through Ponthieu to the Norman frontier. She was there met by the bridegroom who had so long and so patiently waited for her. The marriage ceremony was performed, by what daring priest or Prelate we know not, in the church of the ducal town which stood nearest to the Flemish border. At Eu, under the shadow of the old fortress of Rolf, in the minster which had been lately reared by the bounty of Count William and his Half-canonized wife, Duke William received the hand of the bride whose possession had been forbidden to him by the judgement of Pope and Council. From the border castle the new Duchess was led in all fitting state to her husband's capital. The metropolitan city received the Lady of Normandy with every expression of joy. Any doubts as to the canonical validity of the marriage

were likely to give way before the charm of Matilda's presence, before the mere novelty of seeing the Court of Rouen, after an interval of perhaps thirty years, once more adorned by the grace and dignity of a reigning Duchess. But, in an age and country where the religious spirit was so actively at work as it was in Normandy in the days of William, it was not likely that any breach of canonical law, even on the part of the sovereign, should pass unchallenged. Men were found who feared not, perhaps in the spirit of the Baptist, to rebuke the prince who had dared so direct a breach of the orders of so revered an assembly as the Council of Rheims. And the opposition was led by one from whom, according to all the accounts of his character which have been handed down to us, we should not have looked for any special zeal either for ecclesiastical discipline or for Christian morality. At the head of the Norman Church now stood William's uncle Malger, a man who, as I have already said, is described to us only in the darkest colours. Yet almost the only act recorded of him is one which, in the life of a saint, would undoubtedly have been set down as one of the most striking proofs of his sanctity. The Primate of Normandy did not shrink from reproving his prince, and that prince the Great William, for the breach of canonical law which he had committed in marrying his kinswoman. He at least threatened, if he did not actually publish, a sentence of excommunication against the princely offender. Was his motive in so doing simply disloyalty?

Was he, as one account seems to imply, in league with his brother the Count of Arques, to overthrow William's throne ? Or are we to suppose that Malger was really stirred up by a holy zeal to denounce a breach of ecclesiastical law, however exalted the offenders ? Such is the equally distinct statement of another of our authorities, less open than those who are hardest upon Malger to the influences of flattery or prejudice. After all, if we come to distinguish the crimes alleged against Malger from the declamation which is used about them, they are not crimes of any enormous dye. They are the follies and vices which could hardly fail to be expected from a young prince thrust into a, great ecclesiastical office to which he clearly had no real call. He is allowed not to have been deficient in the learning of the time. But he was fonder of hunting than became an Archbishop, a charge which seems a little hard in an age when an extravagant devotion to brutal sports was not deemed inconsistent with the highest saintliness. He kept too splendid a table, and wasted the wealth, and even the ornaments, of his church in reckless largesses. All this is likely enough, and the existence of

his son Michael shows that he was no strict observer of ecclesiastical rule on other points. And we can well believe that Duke William, most of whose own faults were of a kind exactly opposite to those of his uncle, was diligent in rebuking one who certainly departed widely from his ideal of a Prelate. But when these intelligible and probable charges are mixed up with vague stories of robbery and other unnamed crimes, we begin to have our doubts. We are told also that successive Pontiff's had refused him the pallium, as being unworthy of his office, so that Rouen was now in much the same case as Canterbury. He also neglected to attend more than one Council at Rome to which he was summoned. All Rouen and all Normandy, we are told, were utterly weary of their Primate and his doings. All this may well have been so; yet the excommunication, or threatened excommunication, of the Duke, more especially when we remember that the fact is left out by those who draw the worst picture of Malger, suggests that there may have been another side to the story.

The excommunication does not read like the act of one who was utterly dead to the duties and decencies of his office. It reads more like the act of one who, conscious that he had greatly neglected those duties and decencies, was anxious to make amends for past offences by an act of saintly zeal and boldness. It is the sort of act which may well have been meant as the first step in an amended career. And there is strong ground for believing that it was this over zealous discharge of ecclesiastical duty, quite as much as any of his ecclesiastical or moral offences, which finally brought down on Malger the wrath of his nephew and sovereign. It would be altogether of a piece with William's conduct in greater matters still, if his personal indignation, and the complaints and entreaties of Matilda, were mixed up with a real feeling of the unfitness of Malger for his office. At all events, two years after William's marriage, long before that marriage was recognized at Rome, Malger was formally deposed from his see by a joint exercise of the ducal and the pontifical authority. Ermenfrid, Bishop of Sitten, a Prelate who seems to have been specially employed to represent the Roman See beyond the Alps, was now sent into Normandy, as he was in after years twice sent into England. William gathered a Council at Lisieux, in which all the Bishops of Normandy, under the presidency of the Papal Legate, sat in judgement of their erring metropolitan. Malger was unanimously condemned, and the Duke decreed his deposition from his see. He was banished to the Isles of the Cotentin, so

familiar to us as the Channel Islands. His life there is said to have still given scandal if Malger's ebullition of zeal against William was really the beginning of his own reformation, nothing was more likely to throw him back in the work of amendment than the consequences which his over diligence had brought upon him. One of the charges against him was that of dealing with a familiar spirit, a charge which has been ingeniously explained by the supposition that the learning of Malger took in mathematics and astronomy, and that, as in the case of Gerbert and many others, the reputation of practicing magic was the penalty of knowledge beyond his age. It was his custom to sail about among the islands, and sometimes to visit the mainland of the Cotentin. One day, on

entering the vessel, his supernatural power enabled him to prophesy that one of the company would die that day. He knew not however who was the doomed person, nor by what means he would perish. His prediction was fulfilled in himself: he fell overboard and was drowned. His body was afterwards found among the rocks, and he was buried at Cherbourg. A Prelate of a very different stamp from Malger succeeded him on the metropolitan throne of Rouen. William had now fully learned that the high places of the Church could not be rightly turned into mere provisions for the younger members of sovereign houses. He determined to give the Norman Church a thoroughly worthy chief pastor, and in his choice he overlooked all prejudices of family and even of nation. This willingness to recognize the claims of merit in strangers from every land has been already spoken of as one of the marked features of the Norman national character. The new Primate, Maurilius was a man of foreign birth, one who had seen much of various parts of the world, and who seems to have made choice of Normandy as his adopted country. His career in many respects reminds us of that of Lanfranc, with this difference, that the earlier years of Lanfranc were spent in a character wholly lay, while Maurilius had first entered the ecclesiastical calling as a secular priest. He was a Frenchman by birth, born of a noble house in the neighbourhood of Rheims. But his higher

education was Teutonic. He first studied at home at Rheims, then at Luttich, and lastly, as the reward of his proficiency in learning, he was raised to the dignity of "Scholasticus," Chancellor or Lecturer, in the cathedral church of Halberstadt, one of the richest secular foundations in the Saxon Church. But the zeal of Maurilius soon aspired to a straiter life than that of a secular canon. He left his stall at Halberstadt, he betook himself into Normandy, and there became a monk in the Abbey of Fecamp. That great house, the favourite foundation of Richard the Fearless, and one of the objects of the misapplied bounty of our own Eadward, was now flourishing in all the odour of youthful sanctity. The secular canons, who had been its first inmates, had, under the rule of Richard the Good, the patron and father of monks, made way for regulars of the Benedictine order, under the rule of their first Abbot, the renowned and holy William, a native of Italy, and of illustrious birth. He it was who received the Chancellor of Halberstadt as one of his spiritual household, till, like Lanfranc, the neophyte sought for a still more complete

isolation from the world, and, with the leave of his Abbot, Manrilius left Fecamp for some undescribed part of Italy, where he led a hermit's life, supporting himself by the work of his own hands. His sanctity at last drew on him the attention of the famous Boniface, Marquess of Tuscany, the father of the more famous Countess Matilda. This prince constrained him, much against his will, to undertake the government and the reform of the great monastery of Saint Mary in the city of Florence. He laboured there for some years, and brought his monks into some degree of order and good living. But the elder members of the brotherhood, accustomed to the lax government of former Abbots, proved too much for his powers of reformation. He resigned his dignity and returned to Fecamp, where he lived for some years as a private monk, under the new Abbot John. This Prelate was another Italian, high in favour alike with the Duke of the Normans and with the King of the English, who, like so many others of his order, found it to his advantage to cross the sea and visit the saintly Eadward face to face. Under his rule the ex-Abbot of Florence lived in peace, till he was called by Duke William to the highest place in the Norman Church. He held more than one Council of his province. He also finished the rebuilding of the metropolitan

Church, which had been begun by his predecessor Robert, and had been possibly interrupted during the unthrifty reign of Malger. The church of Maurilius, which has wholly made way for the works of later architect; was consecrated three years before the invasion of England, in the presence of all the Bishops of his Province, and of Duke William himself. He survived this great ceremony six years, and died in the full odour of sanctity, having seen his sovereign and benefactor for three years on the throne of England. The deposition of Malger, the succession of Maurilius, and the men to whom the career of the new Primate introduces us, serve well to illustrate that great religions movement which was now going on in Normandy, and which was beyond doubt greatly fostered by the wise appointments which William had now learned to make to the great ecclesiastical offices in his gift. But the unlucky Archbishop was not the only churchman who felt that it was dangerous to administer rebuke to one of William's temper. A greater than Malger or Maurilius also took upon him the function of Micaiah, and, Strangely enough, he found, through a temporary disgrace, a path to a higher place in the favour of his prince. Lanfranc, now Prior of Bec, already high in the Duke's favour and a sharer in his inmost counsels, perhaps took upon him personally to rebuke his sovereign

for his uncanonical marriage; at all events he was known to have spoken his mind freely and openly on the subject. The writer whom we have to follow for the share taken by Lanfranc in the affair adds that all Normandy was laid under all interdict by Papal authority as a punishment for the sin of its prince. The contemporary writers so evidently avoid the whole subject that their silence counts for less than it otherwise would; but it would certainly be strange if so memorable an exercise of Papal authority as the interdiction of divine offices throughout the Duchy found no one to record it except the local chronicler of Bec. But, however this may be, we need not doubt that Lanfranc spoke out on the subject in a way which was far from agreeable to the Duke and probably still less agreeable to the Duchess. The darker side of William's character now stands forth. He was already stark beyond measure to the men who withstood his will. With all his great qualities, he could not endure anything which savoured of personal insult, least of all when that insult touched his wife as well as himself. The stern executor of justice, the reformer of the Norman Church, is forgotten for a while in the man who mutilated his prisoners at Alencon, and who, years after, burned Mantes to punish a silly jest of its sovereign. Lanfranc had also enemies at hand, who did not fail to stir up the mind of the Duke against him. The vengeance taken by William

was cruel, one might almost add, cowardly. For the fault or virtue of one member he punished the whole society, and, as commonly happened in such cases, the punishment fell more heavily on the dependants of the society than on the society itself. William ordered that Lanfranc should at once be dismissed from the monastery and banished from Normandy. But he also ordered the ravaging and burning of part of the possessions of the Abbey. He was obeyed in both orders. Lanfranc set forth from Bec, to seek his fortune once more, and he set forth in a guise almost as lowly as that in which he first appeared in the presence of Herlwin. But his journey was not a long one. By chance or by design, he met William on the way; the visible change in his fortunes, aided by his own ready wit, procured him an audience of the Duke, and in that audience terms of reconciliation were readily agreed on. Lanfranc was again admitted to William's full favour, confirmed by the kiss of peace.

The damage done to the estates of the House of Bec was more than made good. But Lanfranc was required in return to withdraw his opposition to the Duke's marriage, and even to make himself the champion of his cause. A man of scrupulous honour, according; to modern ideas of honour, would not have accepted such an office. But modern ideas of honour differ widely from monastic ideas of conscience. There was nothing in the terms agreed to by Lanfranc at which the most tender and the most formal conscience could be offended. Lanfranc had denounced the marriage as sinful, and he was not called on to withdraw that denunciation. He might still look upon the act as sinful, but he pledged himself to do his best to procure that the sin should be forgiven. The marriage was at most a breach of a canonical restriction, and it was not beyond the power of the Apostolic See to heal such a breach even after the fact. Lanfranc then was to go to

Rome, and to use all the power of his learning and eloquence to obtain from the Pontiff a dispensation, which would make good the marriage which had been irregularly contracted. If these transactions between William and Lanfranc tools place soon after the celebration of the marriage, the negotiations with the Roman Court must have been prolonged indeed. William's anxiety to keep his wife would seem to have proved as fertile a source for canonical disputations as the anxiety of Henry the Eighth to get rid of his. It is at least certain that the matter was not finally settled till the Pontificate of Nicolas the Second, the Pontiff who yielded so readily to the threats of the English Earl Tostig, and who found it equally expedient to yield to the milder persuasions of the orator of Pavia But Nicolas did not ascend the Papal throne till six years after the marriage ceremony at Ell. It is quite possible that stern and resolute Popes like Victor the Second and Stephen the Ninth refused to grant any concession, and it is probable that the scruples of Lanfranc, perhaps those of William himself, would forbid any application to the usurper Benedict. But, in any case, Nicolas granted the required dispensation. Lanfranc visited Rome, both on the Duke's errand and on his own The theological dispute with Berengar of Tours was still going on, and in the second Lateran Council, held under the presidency of Nicolas, the heretic publicly retracted his errors. Lanfranc was again present as the champion of orthodoxy, and his performances in this way may well have inclined Pope and Council to listen favourably to his petitions on other subjects. He pleaded the cause of his

sovereign firmly and effectually, and he seems to have used language nearly as plain-spoken as Tostig did two years later. William, he argued, was determined not to give up his wife ; the Pope would therefore do well to yield, for ecclesiastical censures--the interdict is clearly intended would fall quite as heavily on the innocent as on the guilty. Another argument is also put into Lanfranc's mouth, that the pride of Count Baldwin would not endure to have his daughter returned on his hands--he might have added with a second brood of children, and those too of doubtful legitimacy. War would certainly break out between Normandy and Flanders, and it was the duty of the common Father of Christendom to hinder, as far as in him lay, the shedding of Christian blood. To these various arguments the mind of Pope Nicolas yielded. Lanfranc at last returned with the wished-for dispensation which at last ratified by the highest ecclesiastical authority the marriage which had been, in ecclesiastical eyes, rashly and irregularly entered into six years before. So great a favour however was not to be granted, except on condition that the sinners should atone for their fault by worthy works of penance. The Duke and the Duchess were each to rear and endow a monastery for religious persons of their respective sexes. Another

account adds that four foundations of still more direct usefulness, hospitals namely for the sick, blind, and aged, were also to be established in four of the chief towns of Normandy, at Rouen, Bayeux, Caen, and Cherbourg. The discharge of the former part of the Papal command caused the creation of two of the noblest architectural monuments of the Duchy. The two stately Abbeys of Caen arose as at once the monument and the atonement of the irregular marriage of William and Matilda. Each of those noble piles retains to this day large portions of the original work of its founder, and each exhibits a character of its own, a sort of personality received from its founder's hand. The church of Matilda, the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, the first to be begun, the last to be brought to perfection, bears witness, we may say, to the feminine impatience of the Duchess, to her anxiety not

to delay the work of atonement for her fault. Her church was so far completed as to be ready for consecration in the year of the great crisis of her husband's life, and its solemn hallowing forms an incident which will again claim our attention even in the midst of William's preparations for the invasion of our island. But the church then hallowed seems to have been a mere fragment, simply so much as was necessary for the devotions of the sisterhood ; the greater portion of the present fabric belongs to a somewhat later age. But enough remains of Matilda's own work to show that the building was carried on in the full spirit of her original design. No contrast between two buildings so nearly alike in plan and style can be more striking than the contrast between the minster of William and the minster of Matilda. William was no more inclined to hurry in this undertaking than in any other undertaking of his life. His wife hastened to consecrate a fragment; but William knew how to bide his time as much in a work of architecture as in a work of war or politics. Eleven years later, William and Lanfranc, now promoted to be the

Caesar and the Pontiff of another world, were present at the consecration of the great Abbey of Saint Stephen, perfect from east to west, save only that the addition of the western towers was a later work, and was probably celebrated with a second feast of dedication. And that mighty pile, perhaps the noblest and most perfect work of its own date, shows us the spirit of the Conqueror impressed on every stone. The choir has given way to a later creation; but the nave of William and Lanfranc is still there , precisely such a nave as we should expect to arise at the bidding of William the Great. Erected at the moment when the Romanesque of Normandy had cast aside the earlier leaven of Bernay and Jumieges, and had not yet begun to develop into the more florid style of Bayeux and Saint Gabriel, the church of William, vast in scale, bold and simple in its design, disdaining ornament, but never sinking into rudeness, is indeed a church worthy of its founder. The minster of Matilda, far richer, even in its earliest parts, smaller in size, more delicate in workmanship, has nothing of that simplicity and grandeur of proportion which marks the work of her husband. The one is the expression in stone of the imperial will of the conquering Duke; the other breathes the true spirit of his loving and faithful Duchess. But, though the completion of William's minster was delayed till a much later date, yet, according to the custom of the founders of monasteries, the society itself, furnished no doubt with a temporary church and other temporary buildings, was established as soon as possible after the

receipt of the Papal rescript. The monks of Saint Stephen already dwelt in their suburb beyond the walls of Caen, and the care of their founder had already given them the most famous man in his dominions for their ruler. In the same year in which the sister church was dedicated, in the same year in which England was invaded, the house was fit for at least the temporary accommodation of its new ruler. Lanfranc, the Prior of Bec, was called to the office of Abbot of the rising house. It was fitting that the man who had wrought the reconciliation between the Duke and the Holy See should receive the dignity which came into being as the fruit and seal of that reconciliation. Lanfranc long resisted; he had no wish to encumber himself with the cares and responsibilities of a post which was designed to hold a high place among the Norman Prelacy. His learned retirement at Bec was far more to his taste. But the will of Duke William was not to be withstood, either by those to whom he would give or by those from whom he would take away. Lanfranc became the first Abbot of the great house of Saint Stephen. In the office which he vacated at Bec he was succeeded by one no less renowned than himself. A few years before the foundation of Saint Stephen's, another wanderer from the South had found his way to the holy shelter of Bec, and had become one of the spiritual household of Abbot Herlwin. Anselm of Aosta, the profoundest of metaphysicians and divines, the father of all Christian theology since his time, had heard of the fame of Lanfranc, and he had left his home and his heritage to sit at his feet as his scholar. He soon, by the counsel of Lanfranc himself and of Archbishop Maurilius, became not only his scholar, but his brother in the monastic profession. He now succeeded him in his office of Prior; he

lived to succeed their common father Herlwin in the abbatial chair of Bec, and at last to succeed Lanfranc himself on the throne of Augustine. We have now reached quite another era in the history of the Norman Church from that when Robert and Malger and Odo were thrust into the highest ranks of the priesthood. Lanfranc, Anselm, Maurilius, the worthiest men of every land, such were now the chief pastors to whom William, in this at least a true nursing father, entrusted the care of the spiritual welfare of his people.
William had thus, after so many troubles and difficulties, won, or rather wrested, the highest ecclesiastical sanction for the marriage which he had so dearly at heart. That marriage proved happy and fruitful. The abiding affection of William and Matilda endured no shock till, in their later days, a subject of difference between them was stirred up by the misconduct of their eldest son. That son was the first-born of a house as numerous, as flourishing, and well nigh as ill-fated as the House of Godwine himself. Four sons were born to William and Matilda. Two of them seem to have been born before the Papal confirmation of their parents marriage, but we do not read that any objection to their legitimacy was raised on that ground. Of these two, Robert, the eldest, twice failed of the Crown of England, and ruled Normandy to his shame and sorrow. Still the bold Crusader, the generous brother, the chosen friend of the last male of the House of Cerdic, the only one of his own house who had not the opportunity, perhaps had not the will, to be a tyrant over England, may perhaps claim some small sympathy at English hands. The second brother,

Richard, was cut off in his youth by that mysterious doom which made the woods of Hampshire fatal to William's house. The third, William the Red, a man of natural powers perhaps hardly inferior to those of his father, lived to leave behind him a name more detested than any other name in the dark catalogue of royal oppressors. The fourth was the mighty Henry, the Lion of Justice, an Englishman so far as birth on English soil could make him one, the one soil of their Conqueror whom Englishmen recognized as a true AEtheling, the child of a crowned King and a crowned Lady. In him we see once more, if not the personal virtues, yet at least the vigorous government, the far-seeing policy, which became a son of William the Great. Deeply as he was stained with crimes and vices, it is not without a certain reverence that we look back to the King in whom the green tree began at last to return to its place, to him of whom our own Chronicler could say that "a good man
was he and mickle awe was there of him," and who won for himself a praise life that of Godwine, of Harold, and of William, the praise that "no man durst hurt other in his days." Such were the sons of the Conqueror. The names and number of his daughters are given with such strange variation that I must examine the different statements more minutely elsewhere. But among them we see clearly the noble Adela, through whom the once hostile land of Chartres and Blois became a land friendly to Normandy, a land which gave a King to England. Clearly too we see Cecily, a virgin consecrated to God from her childhood, dedicated at the altar which her mother had reared, and where she was herself so long to bear rule over her holy sisterhood. More dimly pass before our eyes the forms of daughters wedded or betrothed to a Duke in neighbouring Britanny and to a King in distant Spain. And one there was to whom

a higher honour than all was for a moment offered, the betrothed for a day of the one man who could bear himself as the born peer of her mighty father, the bride whose sad betrothal directly led to all the woes which the warfare of those two master spirits was to bring upon the land for which they strove.

§ 2. William's, Wars with France.
1053-1060.

The many points which are suggested by William's marriage have led us some year's away from our strict chronological order. But the years which were occupied by these discussions and delays were important and busy years in many ways. William, still young, was now in the full maturity of mind and body, and the renown of his exploits was spreading far beyond the bounds of his own Duchy. But he had still to struggle for its possession against foes both within and without its borders. Faithless vassals and jealous kinsmen were still constantly rising up against him, nor did they ever fail to find neighbouring potentates ready to abet them against their sovereign. The restless enmity of the Angevin never slept, and now King Henry himself relapsed into that same position of constantly recurring hostility which had marked the earlier days of William's reign. Henry had acted as a good and faithful overlord at Val-es-dunes ; but William had paid the debt in full by no less good and faithful service against the King's enemies. It was indeed in the King's cause that he had drawn upon himself the abiding enmity of the Count of Anjou. But now we see France and Anjou leagued together against Normandy. Every Norman rebel is aided in his revolt and sheltered in his exile. Once at least, King and

Count pass the Norman frontier together, but only to feel both the strength of the Norman arm and the subtlety of the Norman brain. Henry in short plays the part which he played in the days before Val-es-dunes, and he now has the power of Anjou to help him. The relapse on the King's part is not wonderful; the real wonder is that he ever left his course of obvious, though crooked, policy, in order to act for once as a generous and honourable neighbour and suzerain. It was only natural that every advance which was made by the lord of Rouen, whether in the way of external greatness or of internal prosperity, should be felt by the lord of Paris as a blow dealt against himself and his kingdom. We may perhaps better understand the greatness of Normandy in the days of its independence, if we look at some of the signs of the greatness which it retained after two centuries and a half of subjection, after having long served as the chief battle-ground between England and France. In the days of Lewis the Eleventh, Normandy, far from being a third part in extent, was in wealth and importance a third part of the kingdom into which it had been merged, and it furnished a third part of the revenue of the Parisian Crown. The great object of every enemy of the Parisian Kingdom was to wrest Normandy from its grasp. No blow could be so great as to give even a qualified independence to the great province which cut off the city which was the cradle and kernel of the Kingdom from all communication with the English seas. There was no object on which the enemies of France, English and Burgundian, were more strongly bent, than on the separation of Normandy from the French Crown. There was no sacrifice which a French King would not make rather than surrender the noblest province of his Kingdom. The last dying injunction of the great English conqueror of France was, at all risks, at all sacrifices, to keep Normandy in full

possession. One main object of the great Burgundian rival of France was to give Normandy a Duke of her own, even though that Duke was himself a member of the royal house of France. And, whatever we say of the wish of the Englishman, the wish of the Burgundian was certainly met by a strong vein of local feeling in Normandy itself. Even in those times, Norman patriotism still held that Normandy was too great for simple incorporation with France, and that so great a Duchy ought not to be without its Duke. On the other hand, there was no sacrifice from which French policy so instinctively shrank. Lewis the Eleventh, who at least knew his own interests, was willing to surrender anything rather than make that one great sacrifice. He would give up Champagne, even Aquitaine, far greater in extent than Normandy, anything rather than the precious dominion itself. And, if the extended France of the fifteenth century could so little afford to see Normandy separated from its body, even though it was to form an appanage of one of its own princes, how far more threatening must a practically independent, and often hostile, Normandy have been to the infant France of the eleventh century, when Champagne and Anjou were the fiefs

of princes well nigh as powerful as their overlord, when Aquitaine was, in all save a nominal Homage, a foreign land ? Independent Normandy, flourishing under its illustrious Duke, was as sharp an eye-sore to Paris as ever Aigina was to Peiraieus. As he who held Demetrias, Chalkis, and Akrokorinthos was said to hold the fetters of Greece, so he who held Eu, Cherbourg, Honfleur, and Rouen, might truly be said to hold the fetters of royal France. The King of the French then, throughout this period, is the arch-disturber, powerfully helped on occasion by his now loyal vassal the Count of Anjou. We shall see both of them advance, step by step, from giving shelter and comfort to Norman rebels to giving them active help in their warfare, and from giving them active Help in their warfare to formal invasions of the Norman land at the head of their own armies. The first revolt against William after the war of Domfront and Alencon is wrapped up in great obscurity. One ancient writer alone records it; among modern writers, some pass it by unnoticed, while others recount it with a singular amount of confusion. But there seems reason to believe that, at the beginning of this period, at some time after the affair of William of Mortain, the Duke was disturbed by a revolt of another kinsman of his own name at the other end of his Duchy. Duke Richard the Good had granted to his half-brother William the castle and county of Eu, the old border-fortress of Rolf. That famous spot, known in modern times as the last home of lawful royalty in France, was marked by a castle,

every trace of which has given way to a palace of the sixteenth century, but which was long the chief guard of Normandy towards the frontier of Ponthieu. It was no hill-fort, like Domfront or, in another way, like Falaise. It was a fortress of the older Norman type, a stronghold of the days when the Normans had not yet cast of the feelings of the old Vikings, when to command the sea was their main object, and when princes placed their dwelling-places on points close to the sea or to some navigable river. Placed on comparatively low ground, with hills overlooking town and castle on every side, the fortress of Eu no doubt had its value in the days of Hasting and Rolf. It immediately commands the flats, in those days no doubt not fully reclaimed from the sea, which he skirted by the hills which end in the cliffs of Treport. Count William and his wife Lescelina were among the most lavish benefactors of the Church among the princes and nobles of Normandy. The church of Eu was built and endowed by Count William as a foundation of secular canons, which, like so many other foundations of the same kind, like Waltham in the very same year, was afterwards changed into an establishment of regulars. Small, if any, are the traces which remain of the church where the Great William received his bride; it is to the monastic occupants of Eu that we owe that stately and soaring pile which needs only fitting towers to rank among the noblest minsters of Normandy. Lescelina, the Count's wife, who herself in her widowhood took the monastic habit, lives in Norman ecclesiastical history as the foundress of the Abbey of Saint Peter on the Dive, whose noble tower forms the most striking object on the way from the birthplace of the Great William to the place of his

burial. Two of their sons, the eldest and the youngest, walked in the steps of their parents. Robert succeeded his father in the County of Eu; he lived a loyal and Honoured subject of Duke William, one of his chosen counsellors and valiant soldiers, whose name will often occur in this history alike among the defenders of Normandy and the invaders of England. He too was bountiful to ecclesiastical foundations, and at his bidding the Abbey of Treport arose on the rocks which bound the view from the now forsaken walks which surround his dwelling-place: His younger brother, Hugh, mounted the episcopal throne of Lisieux. In that office he is described as showing himself a model of ecclesiastical perfection of every kind. Among his other good deeds, his panegyrist records that, when the synod was held in his own church for the trial of his kinsman and metropolitan Malger, he preferred the cause of God to the ties of blood, and was foremost to give his voice against the son of his uncle. There is no need to doubt the purity of Hugh's motives; yet an historian who judged Norman Bishops by a rule as uncharitable as that by which his panegyrist Judges English Earls might doubt whether it was necessarily a disinterested act when the Bishop of Lisieux pleaded for the condemnation of the Archbishop of Rouen. The eldest and the third son of William and Lescelina were thus memorable and honoured in their several walks. Their second son, William, called Busac, has left behind him a less worthy name. He is

known in Norman history only for his rebellion, a rebellion of which the exact cause and the exact date are alike uncertain. But it is plain that he asserted a right to the Duchy. This claim must have been made on much more frivolous grounds than those which had been put forth by some other pretenders; for, to say nothing of his having an elder brother living, the birth of his father was as distinctly illegitimate as the birth of the reigning Duke. William Busac seems to have been at this time, by what means does not appear, in possession of his brother's fortress of Eu, which he made the centre of his revolt. But he had provoked a foe stronger than himself. Duke William gathered a force, and besieged and took the fortress of his great ancestor. He acted with the same politic lenity which, at this time of his life, he always showed, except when his passions were specially aroused in the way that they had been at Alencon. He merely required his rebellious kinsman to go into banishment. The castle of Eu was restored to its lawful owner Count Robert. As for William Busac, he distinctly gained by his exile. A younger son in Normandy, he became the founder of a great house in a foreign land. He took shelter in France, where King Henry received him with all honour, and after a while promoted him to a splendid marriage and a great fief. He bestowed on the exile the hand of Adelaide, heiress of Reginald Count of Soissons, sprung from a younger branch of that house of Vermandois which traced its descent from the direct and legitimate male line of Charles the Great. But the direct line

of the banished rebel did not flourish. Two sons succeeded Count William in the possession of Soissons, and the, heritage then passed away into the hands of descendants in the female line. The nest revolt against which the Duke had to struggle was of a much more formidable kind. Of no man could it be more truly said than of William that his foes were they of his own household. The rebel was again a kinsman, and the scene of the rebellion was again laid in those lands beyond Seine which had remained loyal during the revolt which ended at Val-es-dunes. William, in short, was destined to fight for his crown with every branch of his family, and with the men of every part of his dominions. The kinsman who now revolted was an uncle, another William, a son of Richard the Good by Papia, a brother therefore of Archbishop Malger. The legitimacy of his own birth was perhaps not absolutely beyond doubt, yet we are told that he, like Guy of Burgundy and others as the son of a lawful wife despised the Bastard of Herleva, and asserted his own better right to the Duchy. In this movement against Duke William many conspirators, both

in and out of Normandy, had a share. And at their head stood one, the highest of all in rank, and now again the foremost in hatred against the prince by whose side he once had fought, Henry, King of the French. It is also quite possible that the Primate of Normandy himself had a share in his brother's intrigues. Acts of distinct treason may thus have been among the causes which led to his deposition, as well as either neglect of ecclesiastical rule in his own person or an intemperate zeal for its observance in the persons of others. At all events, the Primate's brother was now strongly, most likely deservedly, suspected by the Duke. We are told that he had been engaged in secret plots ever since William's childhood ; but it is certain that his name has not openly appeared in any of the conspiracies and revolts which we have thus far had to record. We are told also that, at the siege of Domfront, he acted something like the part of a deserter, leaving his post without any leave from his sovereign and general. On these and on other grounds it was that Duke William, as a matter of precaution, without as yet interfering with any other of the rights and possessions of his uncle, took possession of and garrisoned his castle of Arques.

Arques, the small capital of the district of Talou, plays a part in warfare both earlier and later than the days with which we are concerned. Its name is now best known through the victory which was won in its neighbourhood by Henry of Navarre over the forces of the League. But Arques had become famous in far earlier times. In the troubled minority of Richard the Fearless, when King Lewis of Laon and Count Arnulf of Flanders invaded the Duchy, the Flemish Count, in marching along the Norman coast, had been checked by the resistance of the Norman garrison which defended Arques. The position then contended for was probably the town of Arques, now sunk to a village, but which was in those days a place of some importance. As an important position according to earlier Norman ideas, it became an occasional dwelling place of the Dukes, and it was in its neighbourhood that Duke Richard first made the acquaintance of the famous Gunnor. Arques had also given its name to a line of Viscounts, themselves descended from another daughter of the lucky forester, and whose names will be found enrolled among the conquerors of England. But the County of Arques or Talou had been granted, seemingly by William himself in the early part of his reign, to his uncle the son of Papia. Count William now proceeded, after the

manner of that time, to secure himself by the erection of a fortress on a new site, a fortress which is undoubtedly one of the earliest and most important in the history of Norman military architecture. The castle of Arques, the work of William's rebellious uncle and namesake, is one of the few examples still remaining of the castles which were raised by the turbulent Norman barons in the stormy days of William's minority. In the stage of the military art which now opens, the lower ground is forsaken, and the square donjon is almost always found placed on a height. Such a position at once added to the strength of the castle in case of attack, and enabled it to command the surrounding country like an eagle's nest perched on a rock. Still, in days before the introduction of artillery, it was no objection to a site, otherwise convenient, that it was commanded by ground higher still. It was not till the days of the English wars that William's own Falaise had been commanded by the rock on the opposite side of his maternal beck . An insular or peninsular site was specially preferred; and this is very conspicuously seen in the site of the Castle of Arques. At a distance of about three miles from the haven whose name of Dieppe is but a slight corruption of the old Teutonic 'deeps', near the point of junction of the river of the same name with the Eaulne and with the northern Varenne, a

narrow tongue of land immediately commands the low, and in old times marshy, flats which lie between the high ground and the sea. The range of hills which ends in the cliffs of Dieppe rises close to the left; to the right, at a greater distance, lie the heights covered by the Forest of Argues. These heights are separated from the peninsular hill by the town of Arques, with its rich and picturesque church of the latest medieval work, and by the battleground which made Arques famous in later days. In fact both Williams, the founder and the Conqueror alike, seem to be eclipsed even in local memory by the fame of the more modern hero. It was on the end of this tongue of land that Count William fixed his castle, the outer wall fencing in the greater part of the peninsula, while the donjon itself was placed on the neck of the isthmus. At Arques no artificial mound was needed; the sides of the hill are naturally of no slight steepness ; but, even on such a site as this, a Norman castle-builder was not satisfied with trusting to natural defences only. Between the wall and the slope of the hill Count William dug a fosse of enormous depth, such a fosse as may be seen in our own land at Old Sarum. An enemy who scaled the sides of the hill thus found himself, not under the castle wall, but on a narrow ledge of ground, a mere pathway in short, with a deep and wide ditch between himself and the fortress. This gigantic work still remains; so does the donjon itself, but, stripped as it is of all its smooth stone and of every fragment of architectural detail, it appears to the ordinary eye little more than a shapeless mass. The inner gate and part of the outer wall are perhaps also of the original work; but the castle received large additions and alterations in very late times, some of

which did not even spare the donjon itself. Still the site remains untouched, and the huge stern mass of the donjon is still there, at least more fortunate in its decay than Falaise in its "restoration." There is no spot in Normandy on which the true Norman spirit is more thoroughly impressed. Such a fortress as this Duke William could not afford to leave in the hands of a suspected enemy. He therefore, as I have just said, placed a garrison in the castle of Arques, seemingly thinking that, in so doing, he had done enough to provide for the safety of that quarter of the Duchy. At all events he did not think that his personal presence was needed; for we find him once more in the distant Cotentin, once more, as before the day of Val-es-dunes, to be summoned from his quarters at Valognes by the news of a rebellion in the land. This time it was not his personal safety that was threatened, but everything was in jeopardy for which William could deem it worth while to reign or to live. The garrison which he had placed on the steep of Arques, had proved faithless. Count William had appeared before the gate of the fortress which he had himself raised; threats, gifts, promises, solicitations of every kind, had won over the minds of its unsteady defenders. The Lord of Arques once more stood as master within his own castle, and now, in reliance on the support of their common overlord, he openly defied his nephew and immediate sovereign.

The anarchy which had overspread all Normandy in the days of Duke William's childhood, now broke forth again, no less terrible in kind if greatly narrowed in extent. But it was at least spread over as wide a range as could be commanded from the Castle of Arques. The hill-fortress became a mere nest of robbers, by whom every sort of damage was ceaselessly inflicted on the country around. As ever happened in these wretched conflicts, the blow fell heaviest on those who were least able to bear it. The goods of the churches, the crops and cattle of the peasant, the wares of the travelling merchant, became the prey of Count William and his soldiers. This kind of excess it was ever the great Duke's boast, as it was his highest glory, to put down with all the weight of his hand. We may well believe his panegyrist when he tells us that it was in answer to the cry of his suffering people, no less than to avenge the insult done to his own authority, that William set forth in all haste from Valognes. He set forth on a march only less speedy than the headlong ride which had once borne him across the estuary of the Vire and by the minster and the mount of the faithful Hubert. No longer alone, he again made his way across the ford which he had passed on that memorable night, but now he had no need to slink in by-paths or to fear to present himself before the gates of any city in his dominions. He pressed on by now loyal Bayeux, safe under the episcopal care of his brother, or rather of those who ruled under the name of the youthful Prelate. He

passed by Caen, where the anathema had been spoken against evil-doors such as those whom he was hastening to chastise. There he made a feint of going on towards his capital ; but there turned his steps to Pontaudemer, he crossed the Seine at Caudebec, one of the spots where the ancient speech of the Northman still lives in the local name; he hastened on by Baons-le-Comte, till he found himself, at the head of six followers only, at the foot of the hill of Arques. All the rest of the company at whose head he had set forth from Valognes had broken down on the way beneath the haste and weariness of that terrible ride. But a reinforcement was already waiting for him. Some of the Duke's chiefest and most trusty vassals had deemed that, in such a moment of peril, there was no need to wait for formal orders to do the duty of every loyal subject. They had set forth from Rouen at the head of a troop numbering three hundred knights, meaning to keep the revolters in check and to hinder the carrying of any kind of provisions into the rebellious fortress. But they found the forces gathered in the castle to be so numerous, and they found the loyalty of some of their own men to be so doubtful, that, on the second day of their adventure, they made up their minds to turn home again before the dawn of the next day. Hard by the castle they found the Duke with his small company. They told him the state of affairs; the disaffection was greater than he thought ; nearly the whole neighbourhood--that is, we may suppose, the noble portion of its inhabitants--was hostile; it was dangerous to go on further with so small a force. But the victor of Val-es-dunes and Domfront had learned something like confidence in his star. "The rebels,"

said the Duke, " if once they see me face to face, will never dare to withstand me. At once, we are told, he spurred on his horse at full speed. His rebel uncle and his followers, a greater company than his own, were to be seen on the steep, returning, it would seem, from a plundering excursion. They were therefore no doubt disordered and encumbered with booty. The Duke determined on an instant attack. He followed them up to the only accessible point of the hill, by the path leading straight to the gate of the castle. A skirmish followed before the gateway, on the ground now covered by the later defences of the castle. The defenders of the fortress gave way before the impetuous charge of the Duke, and it was only, we are told, through their suddenly shutting the gates that the quarrel failed to be decided on the very day in which William had come in sight of the rebel stronghold. The castle of Arques might possibly have been taken by such a sudden blow as the Duke had done his best to deal; but he knew well that to attempt to carry his uncle's fortress by storm while its defenders were on their guard was an undertaking which surpassed even his prowess. Horse and foot could only have pressed up the sides of the peninsula, probably to fall headlong into the deep chasm which yawned between them and the outer walls of the castle. Duke William was too wary a warrior to waste his strength on such attempts as this, at this time of his life at least, he had no mind for wanton slaughter, and he wished for the honour of recovering the castle and subduing the rebellion without the shedding of Norman blood. A blockade was therefore

the only course open to him; Arques was to be another Brionne. The Duke had now been joined by a large following, counting among them some of the best knights of Normandy. He could therefore afford to divide his forces. One party was left to continue the blockade of the castle. Its command was entrusted to Walter Giffard, a loyal knight of the neighbourhood. He was a kinsman of William of Arques, that is, not of the rebel Count, but of the faithful Viscount, and a more distant kinsman of the Duke himself, both owning a common ancestor in the forester of Equiqueville, the father of Gunnor and her sisters. The chief who now commanded below the steep of Arques lived to refuse to bear the banner of Normandy below the steep of Senlac. He lived to make up for a forced inaction against rebels in his own land, by dealing blows with all the remaining strength of his aged arm against men who were fighting for their homes against an unprovoked invasion. He lived to have his name written in the great record of the Conquest, and to found, like so many others among the baronage of Normandy, a short-lived Earldom in the land which he helped to conquer. The force under Walter now remained to guard the works which the

Duke raised for the blockade of the castle. A ditch and palisade at the foot of the hill protected a wooden tower, which was raised, as usual, in order to cut off the besieged from all communication with the neighbourhood. With the other party William himself departed, to keep in check some of the more powerful allies by whom it was likely that supplies or reinforcements would be furnished to the besieged. At the head of these was King Henry. It would seem that a scruple of feudal honour made William shrink from meeting his lord face to face in battle, even though his lord was in the act of committing a breach of every feudal tie towards a vassal who had fully discharged every feudal duty. One reason, we are told, for the Duke's entrusting the blockade to others was that the King was known to be marching to the relief of the castle. Rather than do aught against his oath of homage, William would run all the risk involved in carrying his own arms elsewhere, who he left others to head the resistance against the most dangerous

of his foes. And so it happened. The King came and went unhurt in person, but he was far from being successful in his enterprise. The besiegers laid an ambush in the way of the French army, near the dwelling of one of the few men in the County of Talou who remained loyal. The scene of this stratagem was the castle of Saint Aubin, a point on the Dieppe at a short distance above Arques. There dwelt a valiant knight of princely descent, Richard of Hugleville, a son of Papia, a daughter of Richard the Good. She had married beyond the limits of Normandy. Her husband was Gulbert, Advocate of Saint Valery in Ponthieu, a name soon to become so famous in Norman history. The Ponthevin dignity continued in the elder branch of the family; but Richard, the second son of Gulbert and Papia, had received an establishment in the land of Talou, and he now stood firmly by his cousin the Duke, while nearly the whole of the surrounding country was hostile. With him no doubt stood his son, the younger

Gulbert, a man whose name we shall again greet with honour, one whom Englishmen at least may look on as the noblest among the chivalry of Normandy. With Richard too stood his son-in-law Geoffrey, the husband of his daughter Ada, and Geoffrey's brother Hugh, the sons of Thurcytel who held the lordship of Neufmarche by the famous forest of Lions. Of these, Hugh had already fallen in an earlier skirmish with the rebels of Arques. Geoffrey lived to be father of one who made himself a name in a remote corner of our own island. Bernard of Newmarch, the son of Ada the daughter of Richard of Hugleville, became as terrible an enemy to the central land of the Cymry, as the son of Hamon Dentatus showed himself to the Cymry of the southern coasts. His fame still lives, far away from the forest of Lions and the hill of Arques, where the minster and the castle of Brecknock look forth on the vale of the Welsh Axe, and on the mountain rampart which, when Arques was beleaguered and defended, still guarded the realm of Gruffydd the son of Rhydderch. The King of the French and his comrades must have been strangely ignorant of the state of the country, when they chose a spot for their halting-place so near to the home of such tried and loyal warriors as these. They had brought with them a good stock of provisions of corn and of wine, for the relief of the besieged of Arques. At Saint Aubin they began to make ready a train of sumpter-horses with a military convoy, to carry these good things to their suffering friends, just as if they had been in a country where

no danger was to be looked for. But, no doubt by the help of the loyal lord of Saint Aubin, the besiegers of Arques, in their wooden castle, soon learned the careless approach of the French. A plan was speedily devised; an ambush was laid; a smaller party was sent forth to practise that stratagem of pretended flight which Norman craft was to display thirteen years later on a greater scale. The Normans turned; the French pursued; presently the liers-in-wait were upon them, and the noblest and bravest of the invading host were slaughtered or taken prisoners before the eyes of their King. One Norman traitor at least was taken. Hugh Bardulf himself, that great man, was among the captives. The exact nature and measure of Hugh's greatness does not appear; but his capture is

spoken of as one of the most important events of the fight. I know of no record of his earlier exploits or of his later fate; but the name of Bardulf occurs repeatedly in the later records both of the Norman and of the English Exchequer, and one at least of his descendants seems to have been as little amenable to lawful authority as his ancestor. By the side of the captive Bardulf died a sovereign prince, a neighbour of Normandy, bound by ties of the closest affinity alike to William the Duke and to William the rebel. The house of the Counts of Ponthieu is one whose name will meet us more than once again in the course of the present volume. Sprung of the blood of Herlwin of Montreuil, a name so familiar to us in Norman history a hundred years before, they held, as he had done, the border land between Normandy and Flanders. But they had held it by various tenures and under various titles. Hugh, the great-grandfather of the present ruler, a prince, if we may so call him, high in the favour of his namesake the Parisian King, had borne no title but that of Advocate of Saint Riquier. he was, as the chronicles of the Abbey take care to tell us, enriched at the expense of the great monastery of which he was bound to be the defender. The house of Saint Riquier was the work of the bounty of the great Charles ; it was

the house where a saintly Abbot and an Emperor's daughter so strangely became the parents of that famous Nithard, who figures alike as Count and as Abbot, and who is yet more renowned as a lay historian in whose steps neither AEthel weard nor Fulk knew how to walk. The son of Hugh, Ingelram or Enguerrand the First, was the first to bear the title of Count of Ponthieu, a title sometimes exchanged for that of Count of Abbeville. The grange stolen away from the house of Saint Riquier grew into the capital of a principality, and the town was in after days adorned with that unfinished Minster, which, as it is looked at from the west or from the east, may be called the noblest or the meanest in France. This elder Ingelram has already appeared in our history as a foe of Count Gilbert of Brionne, his antagonist on the field where Herlwin, not yet of Bec, taught the contending chiefs how a Christian soldier had learned to return good for evil. From him the County passed to a second Hugh, and from him, only a year before, it had passed to a second Ingelram. This prince now, whether led by border enmity, by loyalty to his suzerain, or by preference to one domestic tie over another, had joined the call of King Henry to an invasion of the Norman Duchy. The Count of Ponthieu went forth to help the husband of his sister against the brother of his wife. Count Hugh had given


his daughter in marriage to William of Arques, but, his son was also the husband of a full sister of Duke William. As such, he was himself the son-in-law of the Tanner's daughter, and he had therefore no right to join the Lord of Arques in his sneers at the Bastard of Falaise. He now felt the strength of the Norman steel, even in the absence of the Prince against whom he came. He fell in the ambush of Saint Aubin; his County passed to his brother Guy, soon again to appear in our story; but his daughters, the nieces of Duke William, were treated as members of the ducal family, and one of them, Judith the wife of Waltheof, lived to leave behind her an evil renown in the history of our own land. The Count of Ponthieu was thus slain fighting valiantly. His overlord King Henry escaped the ambush, and pressed on towards the hill of Arques, in the hope of relieving the besieged. But he found Duke William's wooden castle too strong, and the courage of its defenders too determined, for his attacks upon it to prevail. He accordingly

returned home, having done nothing towards the immediate object of his journey, the relief of the besieged Count of Arques. He had however gained some partizans in Normandy, and one Norman fortress at least was betrayed into his hands. Its position shows that the rebellion must have spread far beyond the immediate neighbourhood of Arques. One Wimund, who commanded the fortress of Moulins, surrendered it to the King. The fortress thus gained by Henry lay on the other side of the Seine, in the County of Hiesmes and Diocese of Seez, on the very frontier of the debateable land of the House of Belesme. The post was therefore an important one. It received a French garrison, and its command was entrusted to a man of princely rank from a distant quarter of Gaul, whose presence in the royal host is not the least perplexing thing about the story. This was Guy-Geoffrey, Count of Gascony, son of that William of Aquitaine who bore the title of the Great. He was therefore brother of the prince who had suffered so hardly, at the hands of Geoffrey of Anjou; he was brother of the reigning Duke, who, from

Peter, had changed his name to William, and brother too of Agnes, the wife of the reigning Emperor, whose name was soon to become famous during the minority of her son. Guy-Geoffrey himself, on his accession to his brother's dominions a few years later, also changed his baptismal name for that so familiar to his family, and reigned as William the Eighth of Aquitaine and Sixth of Poitiers. By this time Duke William had returned to the siege; he had no longer to fear the commission of any feudal offence by fighting personally against his lord. The defenders of Arques were now sorely pressed by hunger. They contrived to send messages to King Henry; but all was in vain; no help came from their royal ally. At last the sure but slow means to which the Duke had trusted had thoroughly done its work; Count William and his garrison surrendered, on the sole condition that the horrors of Alencon were not to be repeated. Safety for life and limb was promised; the gates were opened, and a company came forth in whose sad condition the Norman panegyrist sees at least as much matter for scorn as for pity. Knights of renown throughout France and Normandy came forth with marks of hunger on their faces, and with their necks bowed down alike by hunger and by shame. Some rode on famished horses, whose feeble feet could hardly raise the dust or give forth an audible sound as they crept

along. Others came forth on foot, booted and spurred, bearing saddles on their backs, seemingly ready for that last symbolical rite of humiliation in which the vanquished offered himself for the victor to mount upon his back. And, if the proud gentlemen of France and Normandy were brought so low as this, it is not wonderful if the aspect of their more lowly followers, the light-armed troops of the garrison, was equally sad. The news soon reached the fortress of Moulins, which was still held by the French troops under Guy of Aquitaine. The Poitevin prince, the brother-in-law of Caesar, had no mind to tempt the strength of the Norman. He and his garrison, and the garrisons of such other posts as had been occupied by the royal forces, fled out of the land without waiting to be attacked. Towards his own subjects the Duke more than kept the terms of his capitulation. Count William was not even required to leave Normandy. He was offered licence to remain in the land and to retain possession of a considerable estate, of which however it need hardly be said that his own famous hill-fortress was not to form a part. But life in his native country had no longer any charms for him. The dispossessed Count and his wife, the sister of the slain Count of Ponthieu, retired to the court of Count Eustace of

Boulogne. The fall of one William of Arques led the way to the advancement of the other. The Viscount had had no share in the treasons of the Count. He was not indeed raised to fill a place which the Duke had learned to be too dangerous an elevation for any subject. The County of Talou was abolished; the castle of Arques became a ducal possession ; but the care of the fortress reared by the William of Arques who figures in Norman history was entrusted to that other William of Arques whose name is written in Domesday. Duke William was now allowed a few months of peace, and, having brought one troublesome matter to a happy end, he seems to have thought it a fitting time to bring another matter of no less moment in his eyes to an end no less happy. It was in this year, therefore probably in the short interval between the French invasion which we have thus far followed and the second invasion which followed it in the next year, that William at last won his long-wished for bride. Count Baldwin now brought his daughter to the frontier castle of Eu, and William led her thence to his palace at Rouen. I have already discussed the puzzling circumstances of this marriage; I have already spoken of the indignation which it called forth among men so unlike one another as Malger and Lanfranc. Malger, it must not be forgotten, was a brother of the fallen Count of Arques; he may have been concerned in his treason; his deposition may have been his punishment. But the clemency which William showed towards the uncle who had been actually in arms may make us doubt whether he would have taken this kind of revenge on a kinsman who was at least not more guilty.

King Henry had failed to give any help to the defenders of Arques in their last extremity; but hatred towards Normandy was far from being lulled to rest in the breasts either of the French King or of the French people. We seem to be carried back a hundred years, to the wars waged by Lewis and Hugh and Arnulf against the defenceless childhood of William Longsword. Through the whole extent of the King's domains, and through the domains of his chief vassals, the feeling of jealousy against Normandy was bitter indeed. The King complained that Normandy, a land which had been part of the immediate possessions of his forefathers, even before they wore a Crown, had now itself become almost a Kingdom. He, a crowned King, the overlord of so many Princes, the ally of the Roman Emperor himself, looked with an evil eye on the one corner of his realm whose master paid him no obedience. We may doubt whether the vassalage of Flanders or Aquitaine, to say nothing of Barcelona, involved more of practical submission than the vassalage of Normandy; but, as I have explained more than once, there was no other among the great vassals of the Crown whose greatness seemed so directly stolen from that of the Crown itself; no other whose fief, by its very position, seemed so literally to hold its royal overlord in fetters. And jealousy of William and his Duchy was by no means confined to the King and his immediate subjects; nearly all

the Princes of Gaul seem to have been for once ready to abet their suzerain against one whom they all equally dreaded and envied. That the Hammer of Anjou was eagerly waiting for the fitting moment to deal another blow aced hardly be said. And the old hereditary grudge may have rankled in the breast of Theobald of Blois, now rejoicing iii the higher dignity of Count of Champagne. He had won that County by driving out his nephew Odo, and the favourable reception which the dispossessed prince found at the court of William, his marriage with a near kinswoman of the Duke, may have been either the cause or the result of his uncle's enmity. But it is hard to see how the power of Normandy could be threatening to a prince se distant as the Count of Poitiers and Duke of Aquitaine. Nor had William given his southern namesake any offence, unless indeed the Duke of Aquitaine thought it his duty to avenge the ignominious escape of his brother from the dominions of the Duke of the Normans. Yet all these princes, we are told, were eager, in an unusual fit of loyalty, to avenge the wrongs of the King whom they all so faithfully served, but to whom the upstart Bastard, in Rouen refused all obedience. And all, King and Princes, were specially stirred up by certain members of the royal family, whom it is not easy to identify, but who are said to have thought that Normandy, or some part of it, might

harm convenient appanages for themselves, A joint expedition against Normandy, on a scale which should surpass all former expeditions, was agreed upon.
The panegyrist of William lavishes all his rhetoric and all his powers of classical allusion to set forth the greatness of the danger by which Normandy was now threatened. Caesar himself, the conqueror of the Gauls, or a general greater than Caesar, if home herself had produced a greater, might have felt fear at the approach of such a host as was now poured from every region of Gaul upon the devoted Duchy? The whole land was stirred even to its remotest corners. The movement reached to the Ducal Burgundy, the most eastern fief of the Parisian Crown. It aroused the Gascon at the foot of the Pyrenees, and the men who dwelt among the volcanic peals of less distant Auvergne. All these drew the sword; but Dance and Britanny, as the nearest of all to the Norman land, were the most eager for its destruction. Through all Normandy, the men of peaceful callings, the priest, the peasant, the burgher, all trembled for their wives, their children, their goods, their very lives. But they thought what a champion they had in their mighty Duke, and their hearts were comforted. Laying aside flourishes like these, and confessing the extreme difficulty of seeing the warriors of Gascony and Auvergne, or even those of Burgundy, there

is no doubt that a great and unusual effort was made, both by the King, and by those of his great vassals who were most immediately open to his influence. An invasion of Normandy was decreed, which really was planned on a greater scale, and carried out in a more systematic way, than any that had ever gone before it. The whole forces of the royal domain of France, in the language of the time, together with the forces of Count Theobald and of Count Guy of Ponthieu, were assembled for a combined attach on the Duchy. Guy came, naturally enough, to avenge the death of his brother; what is most to be remarked is the seeming absence of the Prince whom we should have expected to find first at the muster, the restless Hammer of Anjou. Some of his subjects seem indeed to lave shared in the expedition, but there is no certain account of Geoffrey himself till the campaign was over. His absence is not easily to be accounted for. The chronicles of his own country do not supply us with any records of other undertakings which might explain his failure to share in an enterprise which one would have thought would have had every charm for him. But, even in his absence, the muster was a great one. The forces of the King and his vassals were divided into two armies for the invasion of Normandy at two distinct points. Our Latin authorities, glad as ever to fall back on the geography of a past age, tell us how the forces both of Celtic and of

Belgic Gaul were gathered together in two divisions. The Celtic host was to march under the command of the King in person, the forces of the Belgian lands under that of his brother Odo, With Odo was joined in command the King's special favourite, Reginald of Clermont, not the more famous Clermont in the distant land of Auvergne, but the lowlier Clermont in the nearer land of Beauvais. With them marched two other leaders of the rank of Count, Ralph of Montdidier and he of whom we have already heard, Guy of Ponthieu. The vernacular poet more kindly helps us to the real names of the districts which are veiled under the obsolete titles delighted in by the Latin writers. Normandy was to be invaded on each side of the Seine, and the Seine was taken as the limit alike of the lands to be invaded and of the hosts which were severally to invade them . The Northern, the Belgic host was to enter the elder Normandy, the first home of Rolf, the French-speaking land of Rouen. 'they were to enter by way of Beauvais, to advance and ravage the land of Caux, the coast-land to the right of the Seine, the land around the minster of Fecamp and the castle of Lillebonne. They were to harry the whole district and diocese of Rouen, and to carry their ravages up to the metropolis

itself. To the muster of Odo came the men of primatial Rheims; the men too of Soissons, once the home of Merovingian royalty, and so soon to become the guerdon of a Norman traitor. There also were the men of Latin, where the line of the Teutonic Emperor had so long lingered, and the men of Noyons, the city which had beheld the permanent inauguration of the Parisian Kingdom. There marched the forces of Vermandois, whose Carolingian Lord appeared as the loyal homager of the upstart dynasty. The promise of Norman spoil drew the men of Amiens, soon to become the flock of the Prelate whose verse was to hand down to us the minutest contemporary record of Norman victory. Himself, not yet a father of the Church, may well have followed, among the men of his native Ponthieu, to avenge a slaughtered nephew and a self-banished niece. Thither men came from Meulan on the Seine and from Beaumont on the Oise, from the corn-fields of Brie and from the rose-gardens of

Provins. By twenties, by hundreds, by thousands, the force of all the lands right of the Seine gathered under the banners of Guy and Odo, to carry slaughter and devastation through those parts of Normandy which lay on their own side of the great Norman river. The other muster gathered round the standard of the King himself. Thither came the men of those ancient cities of central Gaul, which, now no less than then, which then no less than in the days of Caesar and in the old time before him, still sit, each one as a lady for ever, by the banks of their ancient rivers or on the proud crests of their everlasting hills. If their peaceful calling did not keep them by their thrones and altars, the crosses of three Metropolitans might have been borne to the camp of Henry. The men of Bourges and Berry' came from around the steep of old Avaricum, whence Ambigatus had sent forth his swarming colonists to more southern lands, and where Vercingetorix had bid defiance to the mightiest of southern invaders. Thither too came the men of Sens, the countrymen of Brennus and his host, the city whose sons had encamped upon the Roman forum and had wound their way round the steep of the Roman capitol. And from the banks of the rushing Loire, from around the towers of Saint Martin and Saint Gatian, came the men

of Tours, the fellow-citizens of so many saints, whose land, now crushed beneath the Hammer of Anjou, had once seen the Hammer of Christendom break in pieces the hosts of the False Prophet. Thither too came the contingents of the other cities by the great boundary stream, the men of Count Theobald's Blois and of King Henry's Orleans. There were the men of the border-land of Perche, and of the King's own towns of Etampes and Montlhery, towns whose fame, such as it is, was reserved for later days. Thither came the men of the bocage and the men of the plain, the men of the vast cornland which surrounds the hill of Chartres, the hill where Druids had once held their orgies, but where the rites of the heathen had now given way to the learning and holiness of Prelates like Fulbert and like Ivo. Full no doubt of faith in that revered relic before which Rolf and his pirate-host bad quailed, the land of the old enemy of Richard the Fearless sent forth its forces to wreak a tardy vengeance on the successor alike of Rolf and of Richard. The host of Celtic Gaul held its trysting-place at a spot doomed to be memorable and fatal above all other spots in the history of the Conqueror. King, Henry's standard was pitched in the border town of Mantes, the town ruled by a grandson of AEthelred, a nephew of Eadward, a prince whose death was to bring undeserved reproach upon the Conqueror's name and whose city was to behold the last and the least worthy of his exploits. Mantes, the frontier post of France against Normandy, was a spot whose position had made it a favourite haunt of William's Wiking

fathers in the days when Rouen was still a post to be won, and when Paris was still a post to be threatened. No other spot lay as a more convenient centre between the two great cities of the Seine. On the left bank, the higher ground on which the town itself' stands slopes gently to the river. A range of loftier hills, as all along this part of the course of the Seine, bounds the valley on the other side. But at this point the stream divides, and two large islands, resorts such as the pirates of the North so dearly loved, at once divide and unite by bridges, old and new, the town itself and its suburb of Limay. The islands of the, Seine, like the islands of the Loire, had ofttimes seen Rolf and Hasting moor their barks and tell over their plunder; and now it was around those islands that the host assembled which was at last to take vengeance for those old wrongs, and to bring the sons of the Pirates to an utter, if a tardy, submission. The host that gathered at Mantes, the host under the command of the King himself, was to enter and harry the land of Evreux and the land of Rouen; the King of the French would ride by Lisieux to the sea from which the hated intruders could no longer keep him; he would return by Auge, lord of all those lands within the Norman border where the tongue and life of France had taken root, and whose inhabitants had been his brothers-in-arms on the day of Val-es-dunes. The Bastard might perhaps still be allowed to reign over his old enemies; the rough Northern blood of Bayeux and Coutances might have him, if they would, for their ruler; but the old grant, wrung in the days of weakness from King Charles and Duke Robert, should be recovered by a prince who united the claims of Laon and of Paris, and

who had made up his mind to be no longer kept out of his own Rouen and cut off from the mouth of his own Seine. The preparations of Duke William were equal to the great emergency in which he found himself. He called out the whole force of his Duchy. To meet the twofold invasion he gathered a twofold army, each division of which was to defend, one side of the Seine against the approaching enemy. For his own share he took the defence of the lands oil the left bank of the river, the lands threatened by the King in person. Had he cast away the feudal scruple which we have seen acting upon his mind during the siege of Arques ? Did he now deem that so many injuries had at last absolved him from every duty of a vassal, and that he might now, without a stain on his Honour or his conscience, go forth, and, if need be, meet his lord in battle face to face ? Or did he foresee that, as the event proved, no such meeting would be needful ? Did he know that the surest way to avoid meeting his lord face to face was to go forth in person to meet him? However this may be, William now took on himself the immediate duty of protecting the lands against which King Henry was marching, the lands between the Seine and the Dive. For their defence he gathered the forces of the neighbouring districts. The warriors of the hilly land of Auge, where the mouth of the Dive was then a famous haven, came to meet the King who had specially marked out their district as one object of his attack. The men of Falaise and of the whole County of Hiesmes pressed as ever to the standard of the sovereign who was

more specially their own. Ralph of Tesson, no longer doubtful, no longer hesitating between his loyalty and ]us plighted oath, came once more to yield that Help which had been found so effectual on an earlier day of battle. All these were men who had fought on William's side when the French monarch had passed as a deliverer through the lands which he now entered as all enemy. Bat others came on that day to William's muster who, at Henry's former coming, had fought against King and Duke alike. The men of the Bessin were there to atone for the error of the day when they had met their prince in arms. Hamon Dentatus slept in his Honoured tomb at Esquay; Grimbald lay with his fettered limbs in some lowlier grave; and, since they were gone, no traitor had disturbed the fidelity of the Saxon land. And it is with a special thrill of pride that the island poet tells us how the Barons of the Cotentin were there too, ready as before to break a lance with the French invader, but this time to break it not as the rebels but as the loyal subjects of their own prince. And from still more distant corners of his Duchy men pressed to William's standard. The brother whom he had advanced, Robert the son of Herleva and Herlwin, led the men of his county to the ducal muster. He came from the fortress of which the Duke had deprived, perhaps defrauded, his cousin and namesake, now a wanderer and an adventurer in the most distant field of Norman valour. The Lord of Mortain had fixed his home in perhaps the most picturesque of all the picturesque sites in which the Norman chiefs seem to have delighted. His castle on the rock has been wantonly destroyed to make way for one of the barbarous official

buildings of modern France. But the land from which Robert brought his warriors still retains its charm ; the cliffs, the winding dell, and, rarest sight of all, the waterfalls, great and small, bounding, from one rocky stage to another, arc there still ; the grand and simple church, of a somewhat later age, still remains, and, yet above town and castle, rise still loftier heights, from which the eye may range is far as the Mount of the Archangel. And, more distant still than the men of Mortain, came the men of the march against the Breton, the men of Avranches, viscounty and city, where the proudest steep in all the Norman land, crowned, alas, no longer by its vanished minster, takes in the Archangel's Mount as but one point in a landscape where half Normandy and Britanny seem to lie at the beholder's feet. From the Coesnon to the Dive, from Seez to Cherbourg, all were there, stout of heart and ready of hand, to guard their country and their sovereign against the attacks of their faithless overlord. The plan of the Duke was to stand wholly on the defensive. All provisions of every kind were to be moved out of the King's line of march; the cattle were to be driven to the woods, and the peasants to be sent to take care of them there. He would himself with his division follow the King's steps; he would encamp near him, and be sure to cut off every man who strayed from the royal camp for forage or plunder. The like policy was

enjoined on the defenders of the lands beyond the Seine. The men of Caux and of the other districts in that quarter were placed under four of the chief men of their own district. Old Hugh of Gournay, at the head of the men of Braye, came from his frontier town by the minster of Saint Hildebert, the town whose name he was to transfer to more than one spot in conquered England. Count Robert of Eu came from the other frontier town so lately Honoured by the marriage rites of his sovereign. William Crispin came from the less famous Bee of the land of Caux, whose name is eclipsed by that more honoured namesake which was then the light of Normandy. And Walter Giffard, who had so well kept the wooden castle below the steep of Argues, was now to take his share in warfare of a freer and a wilder kind. Till the whole force of the land could be got together, the Barons of Eastern Normandy were bidden to watch the foe, to skulk in the woods, and to give the invaders no opportunity for an attack. The right division of the French army, the division of Belgic Gaul, seems to have entered Normandy somewhere near the frontier town of Aumale. They passed on, committing every sort of ravage as they went. Saracens, we are told, could not have done worse. Houses great and small were burned, so were churches and monasteries, moveable

goods were carried off, among which, as in old Greek warfare, human prey seems to have been thought not the least valuable. The peasants whom they fell in with were seized and carried off ; women were everywhere ravished; children and old men seem to have been dispatched at once. In this way they marched on till they reached Mortemer, not Mortemer by the forest of Lions, but a more northern Mortemer, which draws its whole claim to remembrance from the events of this campaign. The country through which they passed may be called hilly; but the hills have no specially marked or picturesque character. The town of Aumale stands on a comparative height, which slopes away by a gradual descent to the west. A bottom, in no way specially marked by nature, divides this hill from another of the same kind, the road over which leads the traveller to the town of Drincourt on the Dieppe, now known as Neufchatel-in-Braye. From the neighbourhood of this point the river Eaulne flows down to meet the Dieppe and the Varenne by the castle of Arques. In the space between the two hills, a little way from the road, and almost hidden by trees, lie the shell of a round tower on its mound, a church of but small attractions, and a few scattered houses and gardens, so far from forming a town that they are hardly worthy to be called a village. That spot is Mortemer; and the absence of anything remarkable in the Mortemer of the present day is the best witness of the event which made Mortemer famous in the days of William. In those days Mortemer was evidently a town of some size, according to the standard of the eleventh century. There is no sign that the town was fortified ; the toner which still

remains has doubtless supplanted a donjon of the earlier type; but it was the mere private fortress of the lord and not the defence of the town itself. The change in the condition of the place must have been great. Mortemer could now hardly supply entertainment to a passing traveller ; but we are told that the French army took up their head-quarters there, on account of the good and plentiful accommodation which the town afforded. Mortemer became a centre of systematic plunder. The French devoted the day to pillage; the neighbourhood was harried with fire and sword; stores of cattle and wine were brought in to Mortemer ; and the night was given to feasting, drinking, and every sort of excess. The Norman leaders had been well served by spies, and they had now found exactly the opportunity for which they had been waiting. One vigorous blow might crush one division of the invaders altogether, and the force of all Normandy might then turn against the other. The four leaders, with Hugh of Montfort, and Roger of Mortemer, the lord of the town in which the enemy had fixed themselves, at the head of the whole levies of the , country, made a night march upon the unexpecting invaders. The Norman force reached Mortemer at day-break. They found no preparations for defence ; most of the French were still asleep. With the true Norman instinct, fire was the first means of attack resorted to. The Frenchmen were awakened by the burning of the houses in which they were quartered. The confusion was frightful;

men had to arm themselves in the midst of the flames and with the enemy pressing around them. One man would fain mount his horse, but he could not find his bridle; another, still less lucky, could not find the door of the house in which he was lodged. The most part strove to cut their way out of the burning town, but they found the head of each street guarded by Norman soldiers. Yet, according to every account, the French, though taken at such a disadvantage, resisted manfully, and kept up the struggle for several hours, from the dawn of a winter's day, till three hours after noon. The great mass of the French were cut to pieces; a few escaped to skulk in the woods, but the greater number were cut down either in the town itself or in the attempt to escape. The burned and charred ruins, the dunghills, the fields and paths around the town, were covered with dead and wounded men. Only those were spared who were worth sparing for the sake of their ransom. Many a Norman soldier, down to the meanest serving-man in the ranks, carried off his French prisoner; many an one carried off his two or three goodly steeds with their rich harness. In all Normandy there was not

a, prison that was not full of Frenchmen. As for the leaders of the expedition, Odo the King's brother was among the first to escape; Reginald of Clermont was equally lucky. But the princes of Ponthieu were less fortunate. Waleran, the Count's brother, was slain, fighting valiantly. Count Guy himself was taken prisoner, and was kept as the Duke's captive at Bayeux for two years. He was at last released, but only on doing homage and binding himself to the Duke of the Normans for the yearly service of a hundred knights whenever called upon. Ralph of Montdidier fell into the hands of Roger of Mortemer, whose castle, perhaps the only stone building in the town, remained standing among the flames. By one of those strange feudal complications which we so often meet with in those times, the Lord of Mortemer had become the man of the Count of Montdidier. Roger remembered his duty to his lord, even when that lord appeared in the guise of an enemy. He tended him friendly in his castle for three days, and then took him to his own house in peace. But this discharge of feudal duty was held by Dupe William to be inconsistent

with his duty as the vassal and the subject of a greater master. All Roger's services could not plead against this ill-timed tenderness to a foe. He was banished from Normandy, and, though after a while he was allowed to return and to receive again the rest of his lands, the castle from which he drew his name was withheld from him. That castle the Duke granted to a brave and rising knight, William of Warren, who took his name from a fortress by the northern Varenne which has since exchanged its name for that of Bellencombre. He, like his predecessor Roger, and so many others, was the Duke's kinsman through the forester of Caux ; he lived to become the husband of the Duke's stepdaughter, to win for himself an Earldom in England, and to be the forefather of one who, two hundred years later, could appeal, like the Bastard himself, to his own sword as the surest tenure by which he held it. The joyful news, we are told, was carried the same night' to the Duke in his quarters on the other side of the Seine. His first impulse was thankfulness to God, who had given him so great a success without any loss, at any rate without any considerable loss, of his own men.

His next thought was how to improve the occasion so as to get rid of the other division of the invading army with even less trouble. He would himself send the news to his royal overlord. We are not told exactly where the two armies were encamped, but it was doubtless somewhere between the Seine and the Dive, and one description places the French army by the side of a river with overhanging cliffs. The camp of the Duke was not far off. A messenger was at once sent off, to announce in a startling way the loss which had fallen on the royal army on the other side of the Seine. Some make the messenger chosen for his task a man of lofty and famous lineage. He was, we are told, Ralph of Toesny or of Conches, the grandson of the famous Roger, the proud descendant of Malahulc, the man who had sought for a kingdom in Spain, and had been one of the scourges of Normandy in the days of William's childhood. Of Ralph we shall hear again at Senlac, how he refused, like Walter Giffard, to discharge any function, however honourable, which kept him back from dealing his blows against the English. Thus high of birth and of spirit, he and his were connected by marriage with other houses of equal fame. His own wile was of the line of Montfort ; his sister was the wife of the famous William Fitz-Osbern, and his son, in after

years, when his house was transferred from Normandy to England, became the husband of one of the daughters of our martyred Waltheof. Ralph of Toesny then, or it may be some lowlier messenger, rode to the French camp; he climbed, some say a tree, some say a lofty rock, which overlooked the tent of the King. The stillness of the night was broken, the slumbers of the King were disturbed, by a voice, which might seem to come from another world, shouting aloud, " Frenchmen, awake, ye are sleeping too long ; go forth and bury your friends who lie dead at Mortemer." The King and his friends talked together and wondered. But the tidings thus strangely brought to them were soon spread abroad. Some make the Norman Baron reveal himself, and tell in his own person how Odo had fled, how Guy was in bonds, how Waleran was slain. Others seem to make the news come from some other source, from some fugitive escaped from Mortemer, or from that mere mysterious power of rumour which seems to travel faster than any

post. At all events we are told that a panic fell on King Henry and his host. Before the sun had well dawned, all was ready for a retreat. Horsemen were mounted, sumpter-horses were loaded, the tents and huts which had formed the royal camp were all burning. All faces were now turned, not towards Rouen or Lisieux, but towards Paris or more distant cities. The retreat was a hasty one; men were glad to get as fast as they could out of so dangerous a land. Their march, or rather their flight, was undisturbed by William; King Henry reached his capital in safety, and his Barons and other followers, the mighty armament of all Celtic Gaul, were scattered every man to his own home. There is something half romantic, half grotesque, about the details of this campaign. Yet the substance of the tale comes from contemporary writers, and the whole story is eminently characteristic of William, and indeed of his people. No people of warriors were ever more ready than the Normans to exchange, whenever need called for the exchange, the skin of the lion for that of the fox. Assuredly neither William the Bastard nor Robert Wiscard was at all lacking in any form of courage; but it was, after all, their

craft rather than their courage which set them so high above the rest of the world. It is quite possible that seven years may have abated somewhat of that impetuous energy of early youth with which William spurred across the plain of Val-es-dunes to smite the rebel of Bayeux with his own hand. He may have learned-perhaps from the teaching of King Henry himself that it is not always the duty of a general to thrust himself forward wherever danger happens to be keenest. But it is certain that, twelve years later, William was as ready as he had ever been for deeds of the highest personal prowess, whenever personal prowess was the surest way to success. The difference between William and most men of his age was that he had now learned that it was no mark of wisdom or of courage to run risks which might be avoided, or to jeopard his own life and the lives of his followers, when the same object might be gained by easier means. He had, by this time at least, learned to rise above the follies of mere chivalry, above the mere senseless love of giving and taking blows without an object. Nor had he a spark of that impetuous patriotism which led the nobler soul of Harold to deem no shame so great as the shame of leaving a rood of English ground to be harried by the stranger. We may acquit William of all wanton oppression; we may fully believe that the sufferings of his people roused his indignation. But he could stifle that indignation; he could stand calmly by and behold their sufferings, if he thought that he could gain his object better by biding his time and letting the enemy for a while work his wicked will. And, mingled with all this, there is a certain element of grim merriment, a delight in a joke spoken or acted, which runs through the whole career of the Conqueror. It needed a ready wit to send Roger of Toesny, or any other man, to the top of a tree or of a rock to announce in the dead of the night that the

French had been cut to pieces at Mortemer. Here again William is only a representative of his people. A touch of pleasantry, however rough, runs through most Norman sayings and doings. We may be sure that the messenger, whoever he was, thoroughly enjoyed his errand and entered into its spirit. And the policy of William in this campaign, whatever we think of it in any other light, had at least, as his policy commonly had, the merit of success. Most princes of his time would have sought eagerly for a pitched battle. Most of the few princes who might have shrunk from a pitched battle would have been unable to form any intelligible military plan of any other kind. William, evidently seconded by men who understood him, knew how to win victories without fighting. His dominions were invaded by two powerful armies at once. He laid his plans; he bode his time. One army was cut to pieces with hardly the loss of a Norman life. The other was hurried out of the land without so much as striking a blow. King Henry seems by this time to have had enough of Norman warfare for awhile. We hear vaguely of hostilities still going on, but there is only one act on either side of which we meet with any distinct mention. This is the fortification by the Duke of a post which was intended to check for the future such incursions as his southern march had just undergone. The time had not yet come for William again to demand that fortress of Tillieres of which Henry had so unfairly dispossessed him in the early days of his reign. But he now raised a counterfortress within his own dominions, which was expressly designed to act as a check on Tillieres itself. This was

at Breteuil on the Icon, a tributary of the Eure, near the wood of its own name, in the Diocese of Evreux, not far from Ralph of Toesny's castle and abbey of Conches. The castle was built, and was committed to the trusty care of William Fitz-Osbern. At last the King sought for peace. His main object was to bring about the redemption of the many Trench captives who were still lingering in Norman prison-Houses. The knights were at last set free on paying their ransoms, but their harness remained as the prey of the victors. A more remarkable article of the peace was that by which the King engaged not to interfere with any conquests which William had made, or might make, at the expense of the Count of Anjou. Henry indeed seems to have done more, and to have promised William the regular feudal investiture of any such possible conquests. This agreement seems to amount almost to proof positive that Geoffrey had not had any share in the late invasion of Normandy. It was seemingly as a punishment for his defection that his possessions were now openly offered to the Norman. Before long we shall again find Henry and Geoffrey allied against William, but just at this moment we must look upon King and Duke as once more allies against the Angevin Count. It was in William's earlier days of good service to his overlord that he had first carried his arms, and extended

his dominion, beyond the range of hills which seems to form the natural southern frontier of Western Normandy. In his first campaign against the Angevin he had added or restored to his Duchy the Cenomannian fortress of Domfront, a prize which was no unworthy instalment of the nobler and more distant prize in the same region which was, before many years, to fall into his hands. That first campaign, William's first deed of prowess beyond the bounds of his own Duchy, had made him master of a fortress which men deemed impregnable, and of a district which, as his earliest conquest, he no doubt looked on with special affection. That part of the ancient Cenomannian Diocese and County which surrounds the hill of Domfront has remained to this day an integral portion of the Norman land. The southern bulwark of William's Duchy was now the proud fortress by the Varenne, the town which, still largely girded by its ancient walls, abides to this day perched on its ancient eyrie, and has not, life so many greater cities, descended into the plain below. The shattered donjon, reared, like that of his own Falaise, on wild and craggy rocks, looks forth on the wilder and heath-crowned rocks of a rival height, whose distorted strata bear witness to the struggles and revolutions of days before man had yet appeared on earth. The fortress won by the terror of his name, once an outpost threatening the Norman border, was now the surest guard of the Norman heights to the north, the most threatening menace to that boundless plain, broken by gentler hills, which stretched away over the disputed land of Maine towards the home of the hostile Angevin. Around the hill lay the thickly wooded land, rich in the silvan sports so dear to William's heart, the land which

the Hammer of Anjou had yielded without a stroke to the youthful lord of Normandy. Lower down the stream stood what was now his furthest outpost, his own creation of Ambrieres, another donjon on a height, hard by the point where the Varenne joins the greater stream of the Mayenne. The shattered walls of that donjon still bear the impress of William's age, though the district in which it stands is no longer entitled to the honours of the Norman name. Domfront then had passed irrevocably into William's hands, but Ambrieres was still, in some way or other, a subject of contention. There seems no doubt that William had occupied and fortified the post in the earlier campaign. Possibly it had been since that time taken and dismantled by Geoffrey; possibly the post was to be made stronger and more extensive, with a view to further conquests in the same direction. At all events, works of some kind at Ambrieres, whether works of mere strengthening or of construction from the ground, were just now an object on which William's mind was eagerly set. His first act after the conclusion of the peace with France, at the very meeting--was it a meeting with the King in person?--at which the peace was signed, was to summon all the chief military tenants of Normandy to appear within forty days to help in carrying on the needful works at Ambrieres. A message to the same effect was sent to Count Geoffrey. The Duke of the Normans would, on the fortieth day, appear at Ambrieres with leis force and take possession of his fortress. The prospect of so terrible a neighbour

struck dread into the heart of the nearest vassal of Anjou, Geoffrey, Lord of Mayenne, a town on the lower course of the river from which it takes its name, and which was, a few years later, to be the scene of one of William's boldest exploits. The Lord of Mayenne poured his forebodings into the ears of his own lord at Angers. If the Normans were allowed to take possession of Ambrieres, nothing but ravage and utter destruction would be the fate of the Angevin lands. The heart of Count Geoffrey was lifted up, and he bade his namesake of Mayenne cast him aside as a base and shameful lord, if he allowed the threats of the Norman to be carried out in act. The appointed day came; the Duke appeared at Ambrieres; the works, of whatever nature, were begun. News came that Geoffrey Martel was on his march. William waited a while, but the enemy came not, and provisions began to fail. Great and small began to complain of the lack of food; and no doubt, in Normandy as well as in England, men were much more ready to fight than to remain under arms without fighting. The Duke therefore left a garrison in Ambrieres, and retired with the remainder of his army, bidding them hold themselves in readiness to assemble again at a moment's notice. It would have been foolhardiness

indeed to have shut himself up without any adequate cause within the walls of a border fortress. But, if the Norman historian is to be believed, the Norman Duke's back was no sooner turned than the Angevin Count and his allies came hastening to the siege of the stronghold of Ambrieres. With Count Geoffrey came his lord, as he is called at all events his stepson Peter, now William, Count of Poitou and Duke of Aquitaine. He came perhaps to avenge the ignominious flight of his brother from Moulins ; but with him came another chief in whose heart many an old enmity must have been choked, many a bitter remembrance must have been handed over to forgetfulness, before he could consent to take service in the same host as Geoffrey. Yet so it was; a Breton prince, Odo, the uncle of the reigning Count Conan, came to fight under the Angevin banner against the common enemy at Rouen. The three princes attacked the castle of Ambrieres with all the resources known to the military art of the time. An attempt at a storm was beaten back by the defenders. The archers shot their arrows, the petraria hurled its stones, the ram was dashed against the wall, but all was in vain. Meanwhile the news of the siege, and of the gallant resistance of the garrison, was borne to Duke William. He collected his troops with all speed, and hastened, with such haste as he knew how to use when haste was needed,? to the relief of

Ambrieres. At his mere approach, we are told, the three allied Counts took to flight. The Lord of Mayenne was less lucky; he was carried off as a prisoner into the furthest parts of Normandy, and he was not released till he had acknowledged himself the man of Duke William. The fame of William was no doubt widely spread by this series of successful exploits and stratagems, and his direct influence was distinctly increased by his receiving the homage of the Count of Ponthieu in one direction and of the Lord of Mayenne in another. It would seem also that this was the time when William made, in conformity with the licence granted him by King Henry, a further acquisition of Cenomannian territory at the cost of the Count of Anjou. It was not unimportant to him to extend his power as far as might be in the district through which he had, six years before, made his famous night-march from Domfront to Alencon. At a short distance west of Alencon, and south-west of the episcopal town of Seez, the Sarthon, a small tributary of the Sarthe, was the boundary between Normandy and Maine. The Duke now took possession of a point beyond the frontier stream; a castle and town arose, which were entrusted to the care of Roger of Montgomery. It lay in the near neighbourhood of the hereditary possessions of his wife, and from her the new bulwark of Normandy was honoured or disgraced by the name of the Rock of Mabel.

The strength of William's enemies seems to have been nearly exhausted by their late efforts, or else their courage was chilled by the ill success of their arms. For three years Normandy saw neither rebellion nor foreign war. William thus had time to devote himself either to the prosecution of his vengeance, or to the vindication of ecclesiastical discipline, in the deposition of his uncle the Primate Malger. This took place in the same year as the campaign of Ambrieres. After that date, besides the Duke's quarrel and reconciliation with Lanfranc, there is nothing to recount till, three years later, we come to another, and the last, invasion of Normandy by the combined forces of France and Anjou. Geoffrey, the old enemy, was, we are told, ever ready to strike a blow at Normandy, and no doubt the memory of his late losses rankled in his mind. Another great expedition was planned and carried out. In August, when the corn was on the ground, the King and the Count entered Normandy in the quarter most convenient for a junction of French and Angevin forces, in William's own County of Hiesmes. Their design was a systematic plundering expedition through all Normandy west of the Seine. They were to pass through the district of Hiesmes into the land of Bayeux and Caen; then they were to cross the Dive and, after harrying Auge and the district of Lisieux, to return

home with their plunder. Above all things, they were to reach the sea in the districts both west and east of the Dive, and to show that the upstart Duke of the Pirates could no longer keep his liege lord barred up in an inland prison. The scheme was laid, and one half of it was carried out. William determined not to attack the invaders on their entrance into his Duchy. His plan was to wait for a favourable moment when he might smite them on their return, gorged with the plunder of his subjects, and no doubt with their discipline and their energy not a little relaxed. He gathered his knights, not indeed for immediate action; he gave orders for the strengthening of castles and the cleansing of their fosses; and then, leaving the open country exposed to the ravages of the enemy, he waited in his own stronghold of Falaise for the moment which he knew would not fail soon to come. The French and Angevin host entered Normandy, and passed through the land burning and plundering in the usual fashion. They took the town of Hiesmes, which gave its name to the County. They then marched on to Saint Peter on the Dive; they occupied the whole town, and the King was lodged at the great Abbey, then in all the freshness of its new foundation by the pious Lescelina of Eu. They then struck westward, ravaging the whole Bessin; but the city itself, as well as the various castles of the district, seems to have remained untouched. The sea-coast especially, the

land of William's faithful Hubert, was harried as far as the mouth of the Seule. The enemy then marched in a south-easterly direction to Caen. That town was growing in importance, but as yet it neither contained anything which could withstand the attacks of an enemy nor anything which was likely to remain to later days as a memorial of his visit. Caen was as yet undefended by walls or castle; the foundations of the two great Abbeys which are its chief glory were as yet not laid. Whatever Caen then consisted of, it was certainly sacked, most likely burned. King Henry and Count Geoffrey had now successfully carried out one half of their scheme of ravage. They had now to cross the Dive, and to carry fire and sword into the other half of the doomed region. The moment for which William had so long been waiting had at last come. His policy had been in some sort a cruel policy for his Duchy; but it now enabled him to strike a vigorous and decisive blow at the retreating enemy. French warfare in Normandy was destined to be successful only when the banners of King and Duke floated side by side. King Henry had shared in the triumph of Val-es-dunes ; his men had been smitten by William's men in the ambush of Saint Aubin and in the surprise of Mortemer; he had now himself to feel the might of William's own hand in the second surprise of Varaville. In their march eastward the French had reached the village of that name, the point which had been chosen for their passage across the Dive into the land of Auge. Varaville, now, and probably then, only a small village, lies north-east of Caen, a little way from the left bank of the old frontier stream. It was an old battle-ground of France and Normandy. On that spot, or at least in that neighbourhood, it was that King Harold


of Denmark and King Lewis of France had met face to face; it was there that the Karling had found his master in the valiant heathen who came to defend the last planted outpost of his race. And now another King of the French, of another line, of another speech, and another royal city, came to undergo an overthrow yet more ignominious at the Lauds of a Norman Duke who could now hold his own independently alike of French and of Danish help. Varaville was seemingly an usual point for crossing into the lands on the right bank of the river. The contrast between the two sides of the Dive is here very striking. On the left, the side of Varaville, the land is flat, and it was in those days doubtless a mere marsh. A causeway, which still exists, and which is maintained as a modern road, leads from the village to a point where the stream has for many ages been crossed by a bridge, but which, in the eleventh century, seems to have been known only as a ford. Here the French army was to pass over to the opposite side, the land of Auge. There, within the original settlement of Rolf, the country is of quite a different character. The right bank of the Dive is backed at a short distance by a range of hills of height considerable enough to form a very marked

object in any country not strictly mountainous. They form in fact a bold and picturesque range, stretching right away to the seashore. Over these hills the army had to make its way into the rich land of Lisieux. The vanguard, under the command of the King, had already begun to climb the heights, when unexpected sounds from the rearward smote on their ears. From the high ground of Bastebourg, commanding a view of the whole valley, King Henry turned round only to behold the utter discomfiture of his host. The Duke of the Normans had laid his plan with all the subtlety of his wily brain, and he was now carrying it out with all the might of his irresistible arm. He had watched the spot, he had watched the hour, which the enemy seem not to have watched, and he came upon them at the very moment when he was able to strike a deadly blow with most effect, and at the same time once more to avoid the necessity of meeting his lord face to face in battle. William knew every movement of the enemy; when the right time was come, he marched forth from Falaise with such troops as he had kept around him, and summoned all the peasantry of the district to join them. They came, armed as they were able to arm themselves, with clubs, darts, anything ; no sort of warrior, no sort of weapon, was unfit to bear a part in the enterprise which William now designed. He marched in stealth up the valley by Bavent, and reached Varaville in the very nick of time. The King and his vanguard were, as we

have seen, far ahead; the baggage train, rich with Norman spoil, and the whole rear-guard of the army, were still on the left bank. The tide was flowing in, and it soon became impossible to cross. The French stood in perplexity, one half of the army finding itself utterly cut off from the other half. In a moment Duke William was upon them. Every weapon known to Norman warfare was at once in its fullest activity; the lance and the sword of the knight on his destrier, the club and dart of the peasant on foot, were all alike plied against the unlucky Frenchmen. And along with these older arms, we now hear for the first time of another weapon, destined to be, above all others, terrible and deadly upon a more awful field. For the first time in our story, the thunder-shower of the Norman arrows is heard of as carrying dismay and slaughter among the ranks of the enemy. And no enemy could well be more helpless than those on whom knights, archers, clubmen, were now called on to display their prowess. Encumbered as they were with their baggage train, huddled together on the long, narrow, neglected' causeway, resistance was almost impossible. A desperate effort carried the foremost among them to the banks of the river; but, except to skilful swimmers, the ford was impassable because of the tide. Multitudes fell into the water and were drowned; the surface of the Dive was soon covered

with floating bodies and harness. Others strove to escape how they might among the ditches and paths of the marshy shore. They cast away their weapons, and blundered on hopelessly through the unknown and treacherous country. The Normans, knowing the ground, followed, and cut them down without mercy. Of the whole rearguard of the French army not a man is said to have escaped. All were slain, or taken captive, or swept away by tile waters. It must not be forgotten that all this went on under the eye of the King of the French--and doubtless of his Angevin ally also--who was looking down from the high ground which the vanguard had already reached. Beneath him in full view lay the plain, the causeway, the stream, the marshes, where the work of death was going on. Like Xerxes, Henry beheld his subjects cut in pieces before his eyes; but unlike Xerxes, he was at least eager to go to their help. The Norman poet tells us how the King saw his men speared and shot down, some struggling in the waters, some bound and borne off as captives. His limbs trembled, his face was hot with rage, he was eager and yet unable to strike a blow or take any step for the rescue of his unfortunate soldiers. In a moment of desperation he proposed to descend the hill, and to seek for some other

spot where he might cross the river, and do something at least to avenge, if not to rescue, his rear-guard. But he had men around him who knew the hopelessness of such an attempt. Their counsels persuaded him to submit to a fate which he could not resist, and to march with all speed out of the Norman land with the half of his army which was still left to him. The battle, or rather massacre, of Varaville was the last act of the wars between William and Henry. The King was now growing old, and he might well think that he had had enough of Norman warfare. He presently brought himself to ask for peace, and to offer as its price the restoration of the famous fortress of which he had deprived William in his childhood. The terms were accepted; peace was made, and Tillieres, so long lost to Normandy, became once more a bulwark of the Norman frontier. Henry did not long survive this happy ending of this long struggle. Two years afterwards he died. His death was attributed to poison, seemingly accidentally administered. He left his Crown to an heir still under age. The mother of the new King had been brought from a distant land. Henry saw the difficulty of finding any wife among the princely houses of Western Europe who was not related to him within the forbidden degrees; he was specially warned by the troubles

which his father had undergone through his first uncanonical marriage. He therefore sought for a bride in a land among whose princes there was little fear of any kindred or affinity with a King of the French. He married Anne, the daughter of tile Russian Duke Yaroslaf. The princes of Russia boasted of a connexion with the Emperors of the East; and the happy ambiguity of the Macedonian name' had led the great dynasty which was founded by a Slavonian groom to identify itself with the ancient Kings of Pella and Edessa. The Russian princess brought with her into France the ancient Macedonian name of Philip, and her son became the first of a long line of Kings, princes, and nobles, through whom a name hitherto unknown to Western Europe became one of the most renowned in French history. In the last year of his father's lifetime, the young Philip was, according to several precedents, crowned at Rheims, and the ceremony was attended by most of the great vassals of his Kingdom. We do not however hear whether the Duke of the Normans so far Honoured his youthful overlord as to make one of the illustrious assemblage. But the ties between Normandy and France were now for a time drawn much more closely than before. Henry had chosen the nearest ally of William as the guardian of his son and as the

Regent of his Kingdom. During the minority of the young King, the government of the royal domain was placed in the hands of William's father-in-law, the "mighty Marquess" of Flanders. Baldwin honourably fulfilled his trust towards France, and we need not say V that he kept the peace towards Normandy.
The same year which beheld the death of King Henry beheld also the death of the most inveterate enemy of Normandy among his great vassals. The Angevin chroniclers significantly cut short the Norman warfare of Geoffrey Martel, a sure sign that, however much Norman vanity may have exaggerated in detail, the general result of the struggle cannot have been greatly misrepresented. Geoffrey's last days seem to have been clouded over by ill-success in other quarters. He indeed recovered the city of Nantes from Hoel of Britanny. But we also read of his

being besieged by his step-son, Peter or William of Poitiers, in the castle of Saumur, on the steep which looks down, not on the Varenne or on the Mayenne, but on the mighty Loire itself. The siege was raised through the sudden death of the Aquitanian prince, and we hear of no further exploit on the part of Geoffrey of the Hammer. On the day before his death he assumed the monastic habit, and, as he loft no sons, he divided his dominions between the two sons of his sister Hermengarde, the wife of Alberic, Count of the Gatinois. To his namesake Geoffrey, surnamed the Bearded, he left Anjou and Saintogne, while Fulk Rechin, already known to us as one of our authorities for Angevin history, received the city and county of Tours. Normandy was thus delivered from both her enemies. In her next warfare we shall find her seeking, not merely to defend her borders, but to extend them. It may be worth notice that the great invasion of Normandy which ended, so disastrously for the French, in the rout of Varaville, happened in the very year in which there is every reason to believe that Earl Harold made his remarkable journey to examine into the political state of Gaul. His inquiries might perhaps lead him to different conclusions, according as his visit happened before or after the utter discomfiture of Henry and Geoffrey. Yet the

campaign of Varaville could do little more than add one more to the many proofs that William was a foe whom no enemy could afford to neglect. I have already hinted that the mysterious words of Eadward's Biographer' might perhaps be taken as implying that Harold sought the friendship, if not the actual alliance, of the King or of some of his great vassals, as a support in case of any hostile movements on the part of Normandy. If this be so, we may see in the almost contemporary deaths of so many French princes a reason why such negotiations bore no fruit. King Henry, Geoffrey Martel, William of Aquitaine, all died within two years after Harold's journey. By their deaths the political state of Gaul was altogether changed, and changed in a direction altogether favourable to William of Normandy. William of Aquitaine was the only one of the three who had a successor at all likely to act as a check upon any designs of his Norman namesake. Guy, Geoffrey, or William, whichever we are to call the prince who made so hasty a flight from Moulins, was not likely to cherish much love for William of Normandy, but he seems to have been mainly occupied by wars with Anjou, and by an expedition into Spain, in which last, by some means or other, he was followed by Norman warriors. In any case his solitary help could be of little service. If Harold hoped to meet any attack on England on the part of William by a diversion in his rear in the form of a joint attack of his continental neighbours, the chance of organizing such a confederacy died with King Henry and Geoffrey Martel. Under the Regency of Baldwin the Court of Paris became the closest ally of Normandy, and the new Count of Anjou

seems to have been fully occupied at home. We hear of him chiefly as engaged in asserting certain novel claims over the Abbey of Marmoutiers, and as laving, at the very crisis of the Fate of England, to defend his dominions against his brother hulk. He was therefore by no means likely to bear a part in any schemes of policy which reached as far as Britain. The death of the Emperor Henry a few years earlier had deprived England of another friend. She had in short no continental ally left except Swend of Denmark. I merely throw out these remarks as vague hints, on a very obscure subject; but it certainly is striking that the intentionally mystified language of the Biographer should admit of an interpretation which falls in so well with the state of things at the particular moment of Harold's journey.

§S 3. The War of Maine.
1060-1064.

The main interest of this period of William's reign gathers round his great conquest of the Cenomannian County and City. But before we enter on the narrative of that campaign, a few events in the internal history of his Duchy may be usefully cleared out of the way. William was already beginning to show himself, in the words of tile English Chronicler, beyond measure stark to all who withstood his will. The unrestrained exercise

of power seems to have wrought its usual bad effect. We now begin to find a prince who had hitherto been distinguished for clemency to rebellious enemies meting out, to say the least, somewhat hasty sentences against some of the chief men of his dominions. We presently find him giving ground for suspicions, unfounded as they doubtless were, that he had learned to stoop to the base trade of the, poisoner. Several of his nobles were banished about this time, and every account seems to describe them as banished without just cause, through the false accusations of envious persons. Among these false accusers Roger of Montgomery and his wicked wife Mabel stand pre-eminent. The first recorded victim was Ralph of Toesny, whom we have seen as, according to one account, the bearer of the news of the defeat of Mortemer to the French King. He was banished ; but he must have returned within a few years, and he had his share in the Conquest of England. We may say the same of Hugh of Grantmesnil, one of the joint founders of Saint Evroul. The banishment of Arnold of Escalfoy is not wonderful, as both he and his uncle Robert seem to have ventured on open rebellion. They seem even to have taken the Angevin side against their country, either in the wars which have been already described, or in some of the border skirmishes which no doubt still continued. Robert defended his castle against

the Duke, and he died by a strange and suspicions death in the year which carried off King Henry and Count Geoffrey. He sat one day in a merry mood by his winter fire with his wife Adelaide, a kinswoman of the Duke. She had four apples in her hand; he snatched two from her in jest; he ate of them and died, his nephew Arnold succeeded him, and for three years he carried on a devastating warfare in the neighbourhood of Lisieux. He then made peace with the Duke, on condition of going to the wars in Apulia. After a while he returned, but only to die by poison administered to him through the plots of the ruthless daughter of William Talvas. Another person who now fell under the Duke's displeasure was Robert of Grantmesnil, brother of Hugh, and co-founder, and now himself Abbot, of Saint Evroul. He was now deposed and banished by William. I forbear to enter on the interminable details of the negotiations for his restoration, from which I shrank at an earlier stage of my Norman history. But two points are of importance. It is made a distinct charge against William that he ventured to depose a churchman without the sentence of

any ecclesiastical Synod, and seemingly without any form of trial at all. One account also distinctly says that the Duke's motive was hostility to Robert's family. It is hard to judge on such slight evidence; but it is to be noticed, on the one hand, that William's special panegyrist is silent on the whole subject of these banishments, and on the other that William's ecclesiastical government is the part of his character in which we should least readily look for an unworthy motive. The fortunes of an Abbot bring us once more within the ecclesiastical circle. In the year after King Henry's death, in a Synod held at Caen by the Duke's authority, and attended by Bishops, Abbots, and Barons, it was ordered that a bell should be rung every evening, at hearing of which prayer should be offered, and all people should get within their houses and shut their doors. This odd mixture of piety and police seems to be the origin of the famous and misrepresented curfew. Whatever was its object, it was at least not ordained as any special hardship on William's English subjects. We now come to that great acquisition of William's arms and policy which ranks in the annals of his reign next to the Conquest of England itself. The various fortunes, the takings and the retakings, of the city of Le Mans and its County, form a constantly recurring subject throughout the remaining history of William and

of his sons. And the object struggled for was worthy of the struggle. The land and city over which William was now about to extend his long dormant claims was a prize which became one of the proudest jewels in his continental coronet. The Duke of the Normans, even the King of the English, thought it no scorn to add to those loftier titles a third which dated from this earlier conquest. As Prince or Count of the Cenomannians, William began the first of those stages of continental aggrandizement, which, before another century had passed, extended the sway of the sovereign of England and Normandy from the Orkneys to the Pyrenees, and made him master of the mouths of the Loire and the Garonne no less than of those of the Seine and the Thames. The work had been begun by the conquest of Domfront and Ambrieres ; it was now to be extended over the whole of the land which lies between Normandy and Anjou. A long history, princely, municipal, and episcopal, forms the annals of the Cenomannian state and city. The Cenomannian tribe' was illustrious in the earliest legendary history of Gaul; it shares with the Senones the credit of that ancient colonization in Italy which brought Rome so near to her downfall. But it had no part in the actual beleaguering of Rome by the Senonian Brennus. The Cenomanni beyond the Alps were ever found among the faithful allies of Rome, just as their mother state remains to this day proud of the relies of Roman dominion. Even during the storm of the Hannibalian War, the Cenomanni remained faithful to the Republic. Their metropolis is perhaps less prominent in the pages of Caesar than we might have looked for; still the name.

of the tribe occurs among those who sent their contingents to the host of Vercingetorix. Under the Roman domination, we are told that Cenomannia was among the first parts of Gaul to receive the Christian faith, and the local legend traces that line of Bishops which became so famous in after days up to the very days of the Apostles. In the days of Nerva and Trajan the Cenomannian Church was founded by Saint Julian, whose name still lives as the patron of the cathedral of Le Mans. Unlike most of his apostolic brethren, the crown of martyrdom was not destined for him. He died in peace, having fully organized the local Church, and having been aided in all things by his convert the local Prince Defensor. In this last mythical personage we of course see a personification of the Defensores Civitatis, the local Tribunes, under the later Roman and early Frankish rulers. This early friendship between the Bishop and the local magistrate not inaptly prefigures a state of things with which William himself had to contend. The vast power of the local Church sometimes combined with the popular element of the city to

withstand the more distant sovereign. I pass lightly over the days of the Merwings and the early Karlings. In those times the name of Cenomannia, city and district, appears over and over again, as a post of importance, an outpost against Breton enemies and afterwards against Scandinavian invaders. It was not uncommonly placed in the hands of members of the royal house. But these intermediate times do less to illustrate the events with which we are concerned than the history or legends of the earliest days. These last, mythical as they may be, are at least happily invented to adorn the beginnings of a state which so long remained pit once so intensely Roman and so intensely ecclesiastical. The history of Maine and Le Mans with which we are immediately concerned begins in the tenth century. We have seen that the Norman Dukes put forward some shadow of a claim to Maine by virtue of a grant in the days of King Rudolf, at the same time that Rolf obtained his second grant, that of the district of Bayeux. But the chronicler who records this fact records also a grant of earlier date, but within the same year, to Hugh the Great of Paris. A grant to Geoffrey Grisegonelle of Anjou is also, on no less

authority than that of Count Fulk Nerra himself, attributed, by some strange confusion of chronology, to King Robert. On the whole, there can be little doubt that Maine formed a part of the great Duchy of France, and there is still less doubt as to the rivalry and hatred which reigned between the Angevin Counts and the dynasty which we find established in Maine towards the end of the tenth century. There is as little doubt as to the position of the local Bishops, always at variance, sometimes at war, with the local Counts, but keeping up a close connexion both with the King and with the Counts of Anjou. I do not presume to decide whether the Hugh, the David, and the Hugh-David, whom we hear of as reigning in Maine in the course of the tenth century, and as claiming a descent from Charles the Great, were really one prince, or two, or three. But there is no doubt that a Hugh, whether surnamed after the Hebrew King or not, was reigning late in the tenth and early in the eleventh century, and that he was the father of the better known Count Herbert. He had great disputes with Bishop Sainfred of the house of Belesme, a Prelate

of whom the chronicler of the Cenomannian Bishops draws no favourable picture. He is charged with wasting the revenues of his see in grants to Fulk of Anjou and to Burchard Count of Vendome, in order to gain their help against the nearer enemy. It was perhaps through the instigation of the Prelate that Fulk invaded Maine, and brought the land and its ruler into vassalage, if not into actual subjection. Hugh appears also as an enemy of Normandy, as an ally of Odo of Chartres in an attempt on Tillieres, and as escaping only by a mean disguise from the pursuit of its valiant defenders. This must have been towards the end of his days, as the foundation of Tillieres comes within the reign of Richard the Good. The enmity between the temporal and spiritual chiefs of Maine went on during the reign of Hugh's famous son Herbert, and during the long episcopate of Avesgaud, the nephew and successor of Sainfred, and like him a member of the border house of Belesme. With that house, a house loyal to neither of its lords and terrible to all its neighbours, Count Herbert had much warfare, and we have come across more than one incidental mention of those wars,

as affording scope for the valour and faithfulness of the house of Geroy. The impression given by these stories is that the mighty Lords Marchers found the Cenomannian Count at least their match. The ecclesiastical historian implies that this warfare began by William of Belesme coming to the help of his brother the Bishop. It is certain that Avesgaud had constantly to contend against Count Herbert both by temporal and by spiritual arms, and that he called in against him the help both of spiritual and of temporal allies. At one time we find him defending the stronghold of La Ferte Bernard against the Count, who could dislodge him only by the help of a Breton force obtained from Count Alan. At another time he called in the help of the holy Bishop Fulbert of Chartres, the great letter-writer of the age, who, on what principle of ecclesiastical law it is not easy to see, addressed an epistle of excommunication to the Count of Maine, which brought about a temporary peace. But Herbert was not afraid to measure himself against a much more dangerous enemy. It was in warfare against Fulk of Anjou, whose authority he cast aside, that he won his surname of Wake-Dog.

So constant were the nightly raids of Count Herbert that, not only in the open country, in the flat land of Anjou, but in the fortified towns of the province, nay in the city itself, in Black Angers on its steep by the Mayenne, men and clogs were ever on the alert, and ventured not to slumber. These exploits must belong to the later years of his reign; for, at its beginning, we find him acting as an ally or vassal of Anjou at the battle of Pontlevois against Odo of Chartres. Indeed the Angevin writers allow that the victory on their side was in a great measure owing to the courage and conduct of Herbert and his followers. Ten years later, we find hulk, according to the approved custom of his house, dealing with Herbert much as his son dealt with Theobald of Chartres and with William of Aquitaine. He beguiled him into a visit at Saintes, and there kept him inward two years till he agreed to the hard conditions on which liberty was offered. After an active reign of twenty-

one years, Herbert died. His daughter Biota became the wife of Walter of Mantes, the elder son of Drogo and Godgifu, and nephew of King Eadward of England. His young son Hugh succeeded him in the County of Maine, seemingly under the guardianship of a great uncle, Herbert Bacco. Bishop Avesgaud died on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and was succeeded in the almost hereditary Bishoprick by his nephew Gervase. This Prelate was the godfather of the young Count, and he is described as his defender against his faithless uncle as well as the defender of the rights of his own see. He took one step however than which none could be more fatal, and one which illustrates the peculiar position of the Bishoprick. It would seem that, after all the grants that had been made of the temporal sovereignty of Maine, the royal rights over the Church of Le Mans were still in the hands of the King. Whether he held them strictly as King, or as Duke of the French, was no longer a practical question. In either case the Bishop still held, not of the local Count but of his overlord at Paris. In short, throughout the territories which

had formed part of the Duchy of France, the surrender of the royal rights, especially iii ecclesiastical matters, was by no means so complete as it was in the great Duchies north and south of the royal dominions. The Count of Anjou or of Maine did not, after all, possess the same undivided and uninterrupted sovereignty within his own states which belonged to the Duke of the Normans. Bishop Gervase, a vassal of the King, unable to defend himself against his neighbour the Count or the Count's guardian, receiving no help from his own lord, petitioned the King to giant the royal rights over the see, the rights of advocacy and patronage, to the Count of Anjou for life. The grant was made ; greater strife than before arose between the Bishop and the guardian uncle; a popular movement, headed by the Prelate, expelled Herbert Bacco, and restored the young Count Hugh to his lawful rights. The Prelate's next business was to seek, like Jehoiada of old, a wife for the prince whom he had taken under his guardianship. He found one in the sister of Count Theobald, the widow of that Count Alan of Britanny whom we have seen die of poison while besieging a Norman castle. The marriage was supposed to be in

some way dangerous to the interests of the Count of Anjou, and Martel now poured forth his whole wrath upon the Bishop who had advised it. By some of his usual tricks; he gained possession of the Bishop's person, and kept him in prison for seven years. As was usual with the prisoners of an Angevin Count, he had the option of obtaining his liberty by the surrender of some part of his possessions. The ransom demanded by Geoffrey was the surrender of a strong castle which was valiantly defended by the Bishop's soldiers. A demand of the Council of Rheims for the liberation of the Prelate had no effect on the obdurate mind of Geoffrey. Gervase seems all this while to have looked forward to deliverance through his godson, we can hardly say his sovereign, the Count of Maine. Taut at last he heard that Hugh was dead, that Geoffrey had taken possession of Le Mans, that the citizens bad received him joyfully, and had driven out the widow and children of Hugh. Gervase now thought it was time to yield; he gave up his castle, but even now he only obtained his freedom on condition of never setting foot in his own city during Geoffrey's life-time . Banished in this way, he sought for shelter at the court of the Duke of the Normans. It does not seem

that William actively interfered on his behalf', but he gave him an Honourable reception, and retained him as his guest, till a prospect was opened to the homeless Prelate of obtaining at once a higher and a more peaceful position among the Prelates of Gaul. While Gervase tarried in Normandy, the primatial see of Rheims became vacant by the death of its Archbishop Guy. Gervase now obtained the first place among the Prelates and Princes of the Parisian Kingdom, and it fell to his lot to pour the oil of Remigius and Hlodwig on the head of the youthful Philip. The affairs of Normandy and Maine have now become directly connected, and the connexion between the two countries becomes closer at every moment. The death of Geoffrey seemed to open to Herbert a chance of recovering the dominions which he had never possessed. The years during which Le Mans was occupied by Geoffrey had been spent by the widow and children of Hugh in some part of Germany. Besides Herbert, Hugh had three daughters, whose marriages and betrothals are of no small moment in the history. One, Gersendis, was first married to Theobald of Chartres. By him she was divorced, and this divorce

was one of the many irregularities that way which called clown the censures of Pope Leo and the Fathers of Rheims. She then made a more splendid alliance beyond the Alps. She became the second wife of the famous Azo, Marquess of Este and Liguria, renowned in his own day for his wealth, his good fortune, and for attaining, though not till long after the marriage and the death of Gersendis, the age of a hundred years. By his first wife Cunegund he became the ancestor of the Horse of Brunswick, and the children of Gersendis of Maine produced the long line of Lords, Marquesses, and Dukes of Ferrara and Modena. How this marriage affected the history of Maine, of Normandy, and of England, we shall see at a later stage. Another sister married John of La Fleche, and by him became the mother of three sons. One of them bore the familiar Teutonic name of Gilbert; the two others were honoured with the patriarchal appellations of Enoch and Elijah, and the bearer of the last name, under the modified form of Helias or Helie, plays an important part in the history of the next generation. Margaret, the other daughter, who must have been many years younger than Gersendis, and of whose beauty and virtues we read rapturous descriptions, was still unmarried. Herbert now

addressed himself to the Duke of the Normans. William's own days of trial and persecution were now over; he had come forth Honourably out of all his difficulties; he had smitten all his enemies at home and abroad; he was now well fitted to appear either as a protector or as a conqueror. Moreover he was actually in possession of part of the Cenomannian County; all his conquests up to this time, Domfront, Ambrieres, and the Rock of Mabel, had been made at what might be called the expense of Herbert himself. There was no great chance of recovering them from the prince who had so vigorously clutched the straw at the moment of his birth , and who in his later days as firmly refused to take off his clothes before he went to bed. But, at any rate, more might be gained by way of submission than by way of aggression. Herbert therefore commended himself to William; he became his man; he engaged to hold Maine as a fief of Normandy, according to the ancient grant which Rolf had received from King Rudolf. Special terms, all favourable to the lord, were attached to the homage. If Herbert died childless, Duke William's lordship was to be converted into immediate sovereignty ; the Duke of the Normans was to become the Count of

the Cenomannians. But, in order that the principality might still remain to the descendants of its ancient lords, Herbert's sister Margaret was to be given in marriage to William's young son Robert. William himself would be the only interloper; Robert would reign in right of his wife, and in the next generation, a descendant, if only in the female line, of Herbert Wake-Dog would again rule upon the steep of Le Mans Whether Herbert ever obtained actual possession of his new fief does not certainly appear. If he slid, his enjoyment of it was very short. Within two years he died, and died childless. By the terms of the treaty, Maine now passed to William. According to Norman accounts, Herbert's last breath was spent in asserting the rights of the Norman Duke, and in exhorting his friends and subjects to seek for no other as their lord. Almost forestalling the words of the English Chronicler, he warned them that the yoke of William would be light to those who accepted it willingly, but heavy indeed to those who dared to withstand him. But the mass of the people of city and county were of another mind. They doubted the lightness of the Norman yoke in any case. And the treaty between

Herbert and William had sacrificed the rights of several members of Herbert's family. Herbert had, as he hoped, secured the succession to the descendants of one of his sisters. But no such descendants were in being; Robert and Margaret were not married, nor seemingly even betrothed, at the time of his death. There was therefore no sort of security that, if William were once admitted, the County would ever return to the descendants of its ancient lords. Then again, though Herbert had left no male heir, he had kinsfolk in the female line whose rights were as good as those of the unborn posterity of Margaret. We read of no movements at this time on behalf either of the Marquess of Liguria or of the Lord of La Fleche, the claims of both of whom were pressed in after times. But a strong party, the patriotic party, as it would seem, throughout the province, asserted the rights of Herbert's aunt Biota and of her husband Walter of Mantes, the nephew of Eadward of England. The city was held for them by several of the chief lords of the country, among whom we hear specially of Hubert of Saint-Susanna, and of Geoffrey of Mayenne, of whom we have already heard in the wars between Anjou and Normandy. The citizens seem to have been on the same side. Of the Bishop, for once in Cenomannian history, we hear nothing. The line of Bishops of the fierce house of Belesme had come to an end, and the line of eminent Prelates appointed under Norman rule had not yet begun. The reigning Bishop Vulgrin was a good, prudent, and peaceful monk, whose monastic virtues load been proved by his reform of the

Abbey of Saint Sergius without the walls of Angers, and whose chief object at Le Mans was to rebuild the church of Saint Julian on a greater scale. In this revolution then the ecclesiastical power seems to have been neutral, while nobles and citizens were united for Count Walter and against the Norman. A struggle therefore could not be avoided. William was the least likely of all men tamely to give up either a real or a fancied right, or even to pass by a decent pretext for extending his power. Maine was to be conquered. But William was no more disposed to hurry in the business of conquest than in any other business. He began by healing a few wounds at home. It was now that he called back from banishment Hugh of Grantmesnil and Ralph of Toesny, men whose offences were very doubtful, and whose services in the war were likely to be useful. It was now also that he made that agreement with Arnold of Escalfoy, by which that turbulent spirit was sent off to the wars in Apulia. The plan of the campaign was thoroughly characteristic. William saw

that the prize must be his in the long run. Maine alone could not resist Normandy, and Walter's chance of finding allies was just now not great. William's panegyrist tells us--and we have no reason to doubt the fact--that he was anxious to win his conquest with the least possible amount of bloodshed. It was a policy still more obvious to forbear to destroy or damage a noble city which he designed to be one of the chief jewels of his coronet. And it was only reasonable military foresight to avoid the frisk of a rash attack on a strong fortress which might be won in another way. The city was the main object; we see throughout that the capital was in a special manner the head of the province, that Le Mans was Maine in a sense in which Rouen certainly was not Normandy. The city then was reserved lay William to be the last object of attack. But the city was strongly defended by Geoffrey of Mayenne, whom Walter had made his chief adviser, and who seems to have been equally in the confidence of the citizens. A hasty attack might have seriously jeoparded the success of William's plans. His course therefore was to impoverish, and at the same time to frighten, the besiegers by a systematic harrying of the whole country.

Vineyards, fields, detached houses, were everywhere ravaged; the smaller fortified posts of the province were taken one by one; garrisons were left wherever they were called for by the scheme of the campaign ; I the capital was left to be devoured the last. This mode of warfare gradually wore out the patience, as it weakened the resources, of the defenders of the city. At last, when well nigh every other fortress of Maine had come into William's hands, the citizens were reduced to submit to a surrender, and William found himself in a position to enter the city at whose possession he had been so long aiming, as a conquest won without a battle or a siege.
The city into which William had now to make his triumphal entry was one which might have added fresh lustre even to an Imperial diadem. In his day it was a possession which could hardly be overvalued as a strong military post, as the centre of a rich and flourishing province, as a city itself rich and flourishing, according to the standard of those times. To us it is mainly attractive as a spot on which the history of along series of ages, before and after the days of William, is still legibly written. Le Mans is one of a type of cities which is spread over a great part of Gaul, but to which England, and even. Normandy, can present but feeble approaches. A steep hill rises abruptly above the river Sarthe to the west, and somewhat less abruptly above the lower ground to the east. The ground also falls away in the like sort to the south, while the hill is continued in the higher ground to the north, of which it forms the natural termination. The height, therefore, though washed by the river on one side only, does in effect assume a sort of peninsular shape. Like most elevated sites of towns, the rise of the ground

is such as would not be remarkable in a hill whose sides were covered with verdure or forest, but it is quite enough to make the post strongly defensible, and to make the streets of the still existing city steep and hard of ascent. This point, like so many points of the same kind, had, in unrecorded days, become the site of a Gaulish hill-fort, and the Gaulish hill-fort had, as usual, grown into a Roman city. The name of the universal conquerors still dwells there, and the most ancient quarter of the city is still traditionally known as La vieille Rome. The original Gaulish rampart was, in the later days of the Empire, exchanged, at the bidding of the great Constantine, for a wall of Roman masonry, large portions of which still remain. They show how small a part of the existing town was covered by the famous city of old. The Roman wall still fences in only the higher ground; the fortifications were not brought down to the river till Cenomannia had, in the thirteenth century, been constrained to bow to Paris. Two great monasteries lay, as usual, without the walls. They were placed at the foot of the hill on either side, one of them even lay beyond the river. The growth of the modern city has embraced both, leaving the ancient fortified circuit as a venerable acropolis, retaining its place even now as the ecclesiastical and municipal hearth of the city. To the west the city still presents a stately front to the river. Walls and houses, the dwellings of priests and citizens, still showing, in their rich and early work, the importance of both classes in the Cenomannian state, still rise, stage above stage, up to the highest ridge crowned by the two dominant buildings of the city. To the southeast, on the Roman wall itself, incorporating within itself the very fortifications of the elder Empire, stood, and still stands, the palace of the ancient rulers, the Hughs and the Herberts of Cenomannia. In the north-east corner of the original city, rose the Minster of Saint

Julian, the cathedral church of that famous Bishoprick. That soaring apse, which the glories even of Beauvais and Amiens can hardly surpass, had not as yet demanded the sacrifice of that portion of the ancient rampart which hindered the full developement of the mighty temple. Even the stately nave, so strangely attached to the later and loftier choir, itself one of the works in which the builders of the twelfth century aimed most successfully at reproducing the gorgeous foliage of Rome and Corinth, had not as yet assumed its present shape. But the earlier temple out of which it was as it were hewn, whose masonry bespeaks, not the deliberate imitation, but the immemorial retention of Roman forms, was a work of William's age, and its earliest portions were probably slowly rising at the time of William's conquest. The stern and massive portal which still forms its principal approach, may well have been the one through which the procession swept, which went forth singing hymns and swinging censers, to welcome the prince who had won the city without shedding the blood of friend or foe. With equal joy, real or pretended,

men of all ranks in the city went forth to greet the conqueror; shouts of applause met the ear of William as he entered; men knelt as he drew near, and hailed the Duke of the Normans as the lawful lord of Le Mans. Walter, putting the best face upon the matter, agreed to the surrender with apparent willingness. William had neither motive nor temptation to further harshness. He took peaceful possession of his conquest, but he took care to guard it after the ordinary fashion of a Norman conqueror. In the north-western angle of the city, near the point where William, advancing from his own Duchy, had doubtless made his triumphal entry, a Norman donjon now rose in dangerous neighbourhood to the minster and to the dwelling of its Prelate. So near were the two buildings that, in later days, the towers which, as at Exeter and Geneva, formed the finish of the transepts were deemed to be a standing menace to the royal fortress. Of these towers the reign of William's immediate successor has a strange tale to tell. They have however left more speaking traces behind them than the fortress which was now the outward trophy of William's victory. While Le Mans can still boast such splendid remains of the works both of earlier and of later days, the politic devastation of the seventeenth century has left only a few shapeless fragments of wall to bear witness to the former being of the castle with which the Conqueror sought to curb the lofty spirit of the city which was as yet his noblest conquest.

Le Mans then was won, and with Le Mans the whole Cenomannian land formally passed into the hand of the conqueror. The rival pretender to the County had given up his claims, for fear, we are told, lest in seeking what was another's he should lose his own. While the harrying of Maine had been going on, other Norman bands had crossed another part of the frontier, and had carried havoc through Walter's original possessions of Mantes and Chaumont. He and his wife soon disappear from the scene. We have no trustworthy details of their death, but rumour affirmed that both of them died by poison. In the mouths of William's enemies, rumour further added that the poison was administered to them by William's order, when they were his guests in his own castle at Falaise. This is one of those occasions on which the remark must be again repeated that the charge of secret poisoning is one which it is easy to bring and hard to disprove. In this case the charge is certainly not brought home to William by any direct evidence. It seems indeed to rest on nothing better than the wild assertions of William's enemies at a drunken revel.

To stoop to a crime of this kind, which admitted of no defence, and which could be cloaked by no self-delusion, seems to me to be quite inconsistent with a character like William's, in which, among all its darker features, a certain regard to the first principles of morality, a distinct element of the fear of God, was never wholly wanting. I venture therefore to dismiss the tale as simply part of that stock of uncertified scandal of which William's age was so fruitful. One enemy had however still to be brought into subjection before William could boast that he was undisputed master of the whole Cenomannian land. Geoffrey of Mayenne, the brave defender of Le Mans, seems to have refused to have any share in the surrender of the city; he had withdrawn so as not to be a witness of William's triumphal entry ; he had been often summoned, but he had neglected every summons, to appear and do a vassal's duty to his new sovereign. Such an enemy was one of whom it was manifestly fitting to make an example. Call him rebel or patriot as we will, Geoffrey of Mayenne was the sort of man with whom it did not suit William's purposes to put up with for a moment. If the Duke knew when to

delay, he also knew when to hasten. He had won Le Mans without a blow; he had gained his point more easily by bringing a gradual process of terror and distress to bear on the minds of its defenders. No such process would answer with a single determined enemy. It was for the new Lord of Maine to show, once for all, that no man in his new dominion could resist him with impunity. The Duke therefore led his forces at once against Geoffrey's town and fortress of Mayenne. The castle was strong, and men deemed an assault to be an hazardous undertaking. But the prince to whom Domfront and Alencon and Arques had yielded, who had himself carried the bulwarks of his own Falaise by sheer strength of onslaught, was not to be baffled by works which were at least not stronger than those of so many famous fortresses. The position of the castle of Mayenne is one which bears more likeness to that of Alencon than to that of Falaise or Domfront. It is no Gaulish hill-fortress which has grown by degrees into a Roman and into a modern city. The town of Mayenne stands on both sides of the river from which it takes its name, a river of far greater width than the maternal beck at Falaise or even than the Varenne at Domfront. It may well be that the light craft of the Northmen, who so long harassed the shores and islands of the Loire and its tributaries, may have made their way even to this inland post. At all events, the main point in the fortification of Mayenne was to secure the river. The town covers the steep slopes on either side, and the right bank of the

stream still washes the walls of the castle. No buildings now remain which can have witnessed the wars of William and Geoffrey, but the later castle evidently occupies the ancient site. A noble range of bastions rising above the stream, a miniature as it were of the mighty pile of dark and frowning Angers, contrasts well with the steep and narrow streets of the town itself, with the varied and eccentric outline of the great church of Our Lady, and with the thick woods which still overshadow the river close up to the buildings of the town. The greater part of the modern town lies on the right bank, and in William's time, when Mayenne was less a town than a military post, it was doubtless this part alone, as in the elder Angers, that was encompassed by a wall. But the date of the church of Saint Martin beyond the river shows that, as at Angers, the opposite shore must, at this time, or soon after, have become the site of a populous suburb. To a modern and non-military eye, the site of Mayenne, which could easily be commanded from the higher ground above, does not seem so formidable as that of other places which had yielded to William's arms; but it must be remembered that, before the invention of cannon, a fortress did not suffer as it now does by being open to the missiles of the enemy. No more striking instance of this difference can be found than in the long resistance which William himself met with before the river fortress of Brionne. At all events, Mayenne is spoken of as a post well defended by the river on one side and by both nature and art on the other, and which was looked on as almost hopeless to carry by

assault. Horse and foot, lances, swords, and arrows, the ram and the catapult themselves, were all, we are told, deemed useless. Famine alone could be looked to for the reduction of the impregnable fortress. One only hope of immediate success presented itself. Fire at least was at hand, and fire was a weapon with which the Normans were always ready. By the Duke's order, flaming materials of some sort were hurled over the walls of the town. As ever happened among the wooden houses of those times, the flames spread fast, and did their work fully as well as the sword. The defenders of the town walls and town gates left their posts to rescue, as far as might be, their own houses and goods. The Normans rushed in with a loud and joyful shout. The spoils were abundant; horses, arms, household stuff of every kind, were found in plenty. And all was, by the liberality of the Duke, given up to his soldiers. The town was thus taken, and the next day the castle surrendered. This speedy surrender, as well as some other expressions of our historian, might lead us to think that

Geoffrey himself was not present in person. Of his immediate fate we hear nothing; but, thirty years later, either himself, or perhaps a son of the same name, again played an important part in Cenomannian history. The town was restored by William; a garrison was left in the castle ; the Duke and his army went home rejoicing, and the few who still ventured to hold up their heads against him within his new dominions soon submitted. The fate of one person has still to be spoken of. The house of the Counts of Maine might seem to have lain under a ban of fate. Herbert, Walter, Biota, had all been swept away. It may strengthen the belief that William had no hand in their removal when we find that they were soon followed to the grave by a member of the same house whom William had no possible motive to destroy, but rather every possible motive to keep alive. Herbert

had died before the marriage of his sister with the Duke's son could be carried out. William now sent for her from her German shelter, meaning to bring her up in his own land as the bride of its future sovereign. On account of her youth, the actual marriage was put off for a while, and the fair and pious Margaret was entrusted to the care of discreet persons of both sexes. Before the time for the marriage came, the bride was no More. The tale is told of her, as it is told of one of William's own daughters, that she shrank from the prospect of an earthly bridegroom, and prayed to be released from so hard a necessity. After her death, as in the case of so many saints, a hair-shirt was found on her, with which, young as she was, she had already learned to bring the flesh into subjection. The body thus early inured to austerity found its last home in the minster of Fecamp, which, along with other churches of her adopted country, she had already learned to love and honour. The conquest of Maine is one of the most important events in the life of William. It stands second only to the Conquest of England. It was in truth William's first great appearance in the character of the Conqueror, it was a sort of prelude to the still greater work which he had to do beyond the sea. The two events indeed have a direct connexion. William's rival for the possession of Maine

was, if not an English AEtheling, yet the grandson of an English King, a possible, though not a likely, competitor for the English Crown. But the conquest of Maine connects itself with the conquest of England in a more instructive way than through the fact that Walter of Mantes was the son of a daughter of AEthelred. The circumstances of the two conquests are strangely alike, and the earlier and lesser success may well have served both as a happy omen and as an actual school for the later and greater enterprise. In each case, William took possession of a land, at once against the will of its inhabitants, and to the prejudice of members of the reigning family. In each case, William trampled alike on hereditary right and on popular election. But in neither case was it the mere brute force of the sword which he opposed to them. Those wonderful arts by which he deceived others, by which he most likely deceived even himself; in the matter of England, were practised with almost equal skill, though in a narrower field, in the matter of Maine. In the case of Maine, as in the case of England, William contrived to give his claims an aspect of strict legality. In both cases he could allege a bequest of a reigning sovereign; in both cases he could allege an act of homage done by a rival : in both cases a marriage, which in neither case ever took effect, was designed to connect William's house with the house of the rival who thus became his vassal. The circumstances indeed differed ill the two stories ; the parts in the two dramas were differently arranged. In the Cenomannian version, the bequest of Eadward and the homage of Harold are both united in the person of Herbert. The part of Harold is therefore divided between Herbert and Walter, or rather between Herbert and the valiant Geoffrey of Mayenne. Such differences will always occur, for no events in history exactly reproduce one another. But in

each story we see the bequest, the commendation, the intended marriage. In each the conquest is made to take the shape of a legal claim, which is unavoidably backed by force. In each the conqueror contrives to be received with at least the outward consent of the conquered. The two stories are so like one another that w e may be sure that the likeness was present to the keen and busy mind of the Hero of both. While winning Maine, William was, beyond all doubt, planning how he might win England. He was feeling his way; he was learning his trade; be was practising his prentice hand in the great arts of diplomacy and invasion. It is therefore not only the mere probable chronological sequence, but a close connexion in the subjects themselves, which leads us directly from William's Cenomannian conquest to the subject of the last section of the Chapter, to the visit of Earl Harold to the Norman Court, and to the memorable oath, whatever was its exact nature, which he is alleged to have plighted to the Norman Duke.


§ 4. The Visit of Harold and the Breton War.
1064 ?

The time was now come for the two born leaders of men around whose career our whole history gathers to meet face to fact. As yet, for a little while, their meeting was to be friendly; but in that friendly meeting the seeds were sown of their last meeting on the battle-field. The Duke of the Normans and the Earl of the West Saxons were now each of them at the height of his glory. The most famous exploits of each had happened within a single year. About the time that William had been receiving the submission of Le Mans and Mayenne, Harold had been waging his great campaign against

the Welsh, and, if he had not been winning crowns for himself; he had been disposing of crowns to others and receiving the homage of their wearers. It is not too much to say that, at that moment, William and Harold were the two foremost men of Western Europe. The great emperor was gone; the great Pope had not yet risen on the world, though Hildebrand the Archdeacon had already begun to guide the policy of the Court of which he was before long to be the avowed as well as the virtual ruler. Among Western crowns, those of France and Germany were worn by children; on what brow the Crown of England rested I need not again set forth. Kings of greater renown than Eadward or Philip reigned in Northern Europe ; but the persevering prudence of Swend, the knight-errantry of Harold Hardrada, can hardly be put on a level with the union of every kingly gift alike in the great Englishman and in the great Norman. Few words are needed to show how far, in Gaul and in Britain respectively, the great Duke and the great Earl outshone the sovereigns to whom the accident of birth had given the right to claim the vassal's homage from the one and the subject's duty from the other. Among princes not bearing the royal title, Baldwin, Count of Flanders and Regent of France, could alone be compared with them in power. But no one would bring his personal character and personal exploits into rivalry with those of the renowned rulers of Normandy and Wessex. Harold and William then were the first men in Western Christendom, the one the first in continental lands, the other the first within the Island Empire. Nothing had as yet happened to make either the avowed enemy of the other, and two such men must

have looked admiringly on each other's great deeds. Yet each must have looked on the other as a lion in his path ; both were already aiming at the same prize, and each must have known that that prize was not likely to be won without a struggle with a worthy rival. It is a striking episode in our story when these two mighty men, so soon to be the deadliest of enemies, could meet yet once, as host and guest, in peace and friendship. Whether they had before seen each other is uncertain. They had not met on English ground, for at the time of William's visit to Eadward, Harold, I need not say, was a banished man in Ireland. Whether they met on Norman ground in the course of Harold's earlier continental journey we have no certain evidence. If they had met at any earlier moment, their earlier meeting no doubt taught each of them what manner of man he had to deal with in the other. But in no case had that earlier meeting any such direct results on the events of our history as those which sprang out of the strange accident which now for a while made Earl Harold the guest, the friend, the companion in arms, of the Norman Duke.
I have said a strange accident, because, among all the various statements which are handed down to us as to the occasion of Harold's visit to Normandy and his alleged oath to William, I am inclined to prefer that version which represents his presence in Normandy as being wholly the result of chance. I need hardly say that there is no portion of our history, perhaps no portion of any history, which is more entangled in the mazes of contradictory, and often impossible, statements than that on which we are now entering. I have already touched incidentally on the subject in an earlier Chapter. I there said that, with regard both to the alleged bequest of Eadward to William and to the alleged oath of Harold to William, I could not

but hold that there is some groundwork of truth in both stories. I held that the absolute silence of the contemporary English writers told, under the circumstances, in favour of a bequest of some kind and yin oath of some kind. But the details, as I there said, are told with such an amount of contradiction, many of the statements are so manifestly impossible, it is so hard to fix the date of the event or to piece it on in any way to the undoubted facts of the history, that we can hardly admit anything as certain beyond these bare facts of a bequest of some hind and an oath of some kind. As for the bequest, I trust that I have shown that the groundwork of William's claim as testamentary successor to Eadward was, in all probability, a promise of the succession, or at least a promise of a royal recommendation to the Witan, made by Eadward to William at the time of the Duke's visit to England. I trust that I have also shown that that promise was set aside by later arrangements in favour, first of the AEtheling Eadward, and then of Earl Harold. With regard to the oath, it is, in the Norman accounts, inextricably mixed up with the bequest. In one version Harold is actually represented as being sent into Normandy to announce the devise of the Crown in favour of William. In all the received versions the intentions of Eadward in favour of his Norman kinsman are taken for granted as the ground on which the oath is demanded. The two questions then must be discussed together. As usual, I shall discuss them at large in another part of this volume. I shall here do little more than tell the tale itself, in that shape in which it seems to me to have least of improbability about it. But, as I before said, I can look upon nothing in the whole story as absolutely certain, except that Harold made some engagement or other, which

was capable of being construed as an admission of William's claim to the Crown, and which made his own later acceptance of the Crown capable of being represented as an act of perjury. There are three chief statements as to the causes which took Harold into Normandy. According to a version which I have already mentioned, Eadward, perhaps after the death of the AEtheling, determined to make William his heir. He therefore sent Harold over to announce his intention to the Norman Duke, and to confirm the appointment by an oath in his own person. This account I believe to be absolutely fabulous. According to another account, Godwine, on his reconciliation with Eadward, gave hostages to the King for his good behaviour, in the persons of his youngest son Wulfnoth and his grandson Hakon the son of Swegen. These hostages were given by the King to the safe keeping of the Duke of the Normans. Now that years had rolled by, now that Godwine was dead, now that Eadward was, as this version of the story implies, on perfectly good and confidential terms with Godwine's successor Harold, there no longer seemed any reason why a brother and a nephew of the first man in England should linger any longer in foreign banishment. Harold therefore asks the King's leave to go to the Court of William and ask for their release. The King warns his brother-in-law against so perilous an adventure; he knew William well, and some harm was sure to happen to Harold, if he trusted himself in his power. The impetuous spirit of the Earl refuses to hearken to the warnings of the Saint. He wrings an unwilling permission from the King, and goes on his errand. He is entrapped into an oath binding him in the fullest way to support William's claims. He returns to England to receive much more of sorrowful reproof and warning from the King who had

foreseen the future so much more clearly than himself., This tale I do not believe any more than the other, but it apparently differs from it as not being pure invention, but as being grounded on a certain basis of fact. Both stories, it will be observed, assume the loyalty of Harold and the confidence placed in him by Eadward, and they thereby at once contradict those other Norman statements which describe Harold as acting with insolence to Eadward, and Eadward as being afraid of Harold's power. The former story indeed, by representing Harold as sent to announce and confirm Eadward's choice, implies that Harold had himself no designs on the Crown, or, at all events, that Eadward had no suspicion that he had any. But the second story distinctly implies that, at the time of the journey, Eadward had no intentions in favour of William, perhaps that he had intentions in favour of Harold. This version therefore comes nearer to the true state of the case than the other. With regard to the hostages, I do not believe the tale, but I still suspect that some small amount of truth lurks under it. No English account of the restoration of Godwine mentions that he gave hostages to the King, still less that any such hostages were entrusted to the keeping of Duke William. Such a story is most improbable in itself, and it distinctly contradicts the real facts of the ease. Hostages were given and exchanged many times in the course of the banishment and return of Godwine, once indeed so late as the day of his return, the day before the famous Mickle Gemot. But this was because matters were still under debate, and, when hostages were given, they were given on both sides. When the controversy was over, when Godwine was fully restored to his honours, there was no longer any need

or any room for hostages. At such a moment as that, when Godwine's family and the whole patriotic party were in the full swing of triumph, when decrees were being passed for their restoration to all their honours, when other decrees were pronouncing banishment against the leaders of the Norman faction, when every road was thronged with Norman knights and priests fleeing for their lives, at such a moment as this, it is utterly inconceivable that two members of the House of Godwine, a son and a grandson of the great Earl, should have been sent off into what would be in truth captivity, however honourable captivity, at the Norman Court. Nothing short of the express authority of the English Chronicles could make us accept a statement so utterly incredible. And instead of being supported by their authority, it is implicitly contradicted by it. The banishment of Wulfnoth and Hakon is manifestly inconsistent with the statement that all the members of Godwine's family were restored to what they had before held. I therefore altogether disbelieve in the story of the hostages. But I think that it may not be difficult to trace its origin, which I shall accordingly attempt to do elsewhere. I accept then the third version, according to which Harold's presence in Normandy was purely accidental. According to this account, he was not going to William's court, either on the King's errand or on his own. He was sailing elsewhere, to Wales or to Flanders, or simply taking his pleasure in the Channel. I am inclined to think that this last was really the case, and I further suspect that he was accompanied on his pleasure-trip by some of the younger members of his family, by his brother Wulfnoth, his nephew Hakon, and possibly his sister AEfgifu. At all events, the Earl set forth at the head of a considerable company, enough to fill three of the

vessels of the time, and he went accompanied by dogs and hawks, ready to enjoy the sports of the field at any points at which they might land. The place of embarcation was close by the favourite South-Saxon abode of Godwine and Harold, the land-locked haven of Bosham. The contemporary record sets them before our eyes as first paying their devotions in that venerable church which still remains as one of the living witnesses of their age, and then as feasting in the Earl's hall, before their temporary farewell to their native land. As for their voyage, nearly all accounts agree that, whatever was their original destination, Harold's ships were driven by stress of weather to the coast of Ponthieu. They were there in the dominions of Count Guy, who, since the slaughter of Mortemer, had become, first the prisoner, and then the vassal, of William., Guy, like the princes and inhabitants of various parts of Gaul, exercised the right of wreck in all its fullness. Their barbarous and unchristian practice on this head is strongly and justly denounced by the panegyrist of William. The shipwrecked man, instead of being looked on as an object of humanity and Christian charity, was looked on as a wretch forsaken of God and man, who became the lawful

spoil of the lord into whose hands he was thrown. Indeed the words used might almost be taken as meaning that they were not even satisfied with those unfortunates whom accident threw in their way. Fraud of some kind, false lights or the like, would seem to have been used to entrap the unwary. And woeful indeed was the doom of the unlucky wretch who fell into their hands. Imprisonment was his usual fate, and to imprisonment torture was often added. The higher and more illustrious the victim, the harder was his doom, as from such captives more might be wrung in the way of ransom than could be gained fiom meaner men. Such was the fate which threatened the foremost man of England, the brother-in-law of its King. A fisherman, we are told, who frequented the English coast, knew the person of the Earl of the West-Saxons. He hastened to Count Guy; for twenty pounds he would show him a captive who would gladly pay a hundred pounds for his ransom. The Count rode in person to the coast, and the English Earl was seized in his presence. Harold was now kept in prison, perhaps actually in fetters, not, as has been sometimes thought, on the sea-shore at Saint Valery, but in the inland fortress of Beaurain near Hesdin. Some

however of the party contrived to escape ; an Englishman, charged with a message from Earl Harold, made his way to the palace of Rouen and to the presence of William. The messenger knelt before the Duke, and told him the tale of wrong, how the great English Earl, without any offence on his part, had been seized by a vassal of Normandy, and was at that moment held in bonds at Beaurain. We can well understand the mingled feelings of William on hearing such a piece of news. The nobler elements of his nature would sincerely abhor the base act of Guy; but his crafty policy would at once discern how great and manifold were the advantages which he might draw out of the crime of his vassal. His rival, not yet his open enemy, was thrown into his hands by an accident which made generosity at once the surest policy. No greater good fortune could befall William

than that which made him the benefactor, the liberator, of Harold. He might disarm him by benefits; he might win him over by cajolery; he might entrap him into some engagement, which might be craftily represented as binding the English Earl to something which he had himself perhaps never dreamed of. He could, in any case, establish a claim upon his gratitude; he might perhaps establish a claim upon his honour. Whatever course events might take, some gain, greater or smaller, could hardly fail to accrue to William. His course therefore was clear; Harold was to be set free at any cost. Messengers were sent, bidden to hasten to Beaurain with the full speed of Norman horsemanship. They were to ask in the Duke's name for the enlargement of the illustrious captive; they were, if it proved needful, to demand it with threats. Guy, himself for two years the captive of William, had no mind to bring on himself the wrath of his new overlord a second time. He put the best face on the matter; the Earl was at once released from prison, and Guy and Harold rode together, hawk on hand, to meet Duke William. The Duke had by this time reached the border fortress of Eu, the castle of the brave and loyal

Count Robert. Instead of being the prisoner of Guy, Harold was now the guest of William. The prompt obedience of the Count of Ponthieu to the bidding of the Duke was rewarded with fitting thanks, with money--no doubt to the amount of Harold's ransom--and moreover with a large and goodly grant of lands by the banks of the Eaulne. The price was a heavy one, but it was a price which William could well afford to pay for the great advantage which a freak of fortune had thus unexpectedly thrown into his hands. Harold was now the honoured guest of William. The Duke of the English, as he appeared in Norman eyes, accompanied his Norman brother to his palace at Rouen. There he was entertained with martial exercises; he received every mark of respect which was clue to so illustrious a visitor; he was admitted to the closest intimacy with the Duke and his family. One writer, whose minute knowledge

of the subject is a little startling, tells us that William used always to go to bed early, and to leave Harold conversing with Matilda to a later hour. The winning graces of the Duchess are said to have had no small share in gaining the consent of the English Earl to one part of the engagement which was to be presently required of him. The date of these events, I need not say, is one of the most puzzling features of the whole story, and it is impossible to do more than approach it by conjecture. But, if there be any truth at all in the tale, it must have taken place before Harold's marriage with Ealdgyth, itself an event whose date is not a little doubtful. One feature in Harold's engagement, one which is insisted on in every account save one, and one which in many accounts is made the most prominent of all, is his promise to marry a daughter of William. The daughters of William and Matilda were still quite children, while Harold was older than their father; yet we are told that the renown and lofty bearing of the English Earl made so deep an impression on the heart of one of them, that, when she found herself forsaken by Harold, she shrank from the thought of another, even a royal, bridegroom. Whatever we may

think of this tale, it can hardly be doubted that Harold allowed himself to be entangled into some engagement of the kind. Such engagements were often lightly entered into, without much serious thought of their accomplishment. And, in the case of an engagement between Harold and a daughter of William, mere difference of age would make the chances rather against its fulfilment. At the same time, we are told, it was arranged that Harold's sister--that is, doubtless, AEfgifu, who was perhaps then present at Rouen--should be given in marriage to a Norman noble. Harold, in short, seems to have been for a while altogether fascinated by the splendid reception which he had met with at the Norman court. He even agreed, like Jehoshaphat on his visit to Ahab, to accompany William in an expedition which he was preparing against the Bretons and, either before setting forth or after his return, he allowed himself to receive knighthood after the Norman fashion from the Duke's hand. It is not hard to understand how Harold may have been beguiled into these certainly unwise compliances. He may well have been dazzled by finding himself an object of the highest honour at the court of the most renowned sovereign in Europe. And he undoubtedly owed William a debt of solid gratitude for his deliverance from Guy's dungeon at Beaurain. We can understand too the arts by which William might entrap the conqueror of Gruffydd into taking a share in warfare against an enemy of the same race. An expedition against

the continental Briton might be pressed in the most flattering and attractive shapes upon the man who had been the first to show how the insular Briton might be effectually subdued. Gratitude, curiosity, love of adventure, personal and national ambition, a half laudable desire to display the might of Harold and of England in the eyes of Norman comrades, would all work upon his mind. All these motives would unite to lead him to waste time among the fascinations, peaceful and warlike, offered him by his Norman sojourn, time which would undoubtedly have been more wisely spent within his own island and his own Earldom. A speedy return to England was Harold's wisest policy. But a speedy return would have been uncourteous, perhaps impossible. Harold was, after all, in William's power. The palace of Rouen differed in every external aspect from the dungeon of Beaurain. But Harold was perhaps hardly more of a free agent in the hands of William than he had been in the hands of Guy. His fetters were gilded, but he was still in fetters. The guest of William was practically his prisoner; nay, unless Harold walked warily on such dangerous ground, he might, like the guests of Geoffrey of Anjou, exchange the hall of the ducal palace for its prison-house. Of the Breton war in which Harold was thus induced to take a share, it is very hard to make out anything at all clearly. I can find nothing to throw any light upon it in the Breton or Angevin chronicles, and the Norman accounts are anything but satisfactory or coherent. The


reigning Count Conan, son of that Alan who had acted so faithfully as William's guardian, was a kinsman of the Duke's, each of them owning a common ancestor in Richard the Fearless. It will be remembered that, in the days of William's childhood, Alan had been looked upon as a possible competitor for the succession of Duke Robert; but we have hardly heard of him during the later years of William. We have seen his uncle and guardian Odo acting against William in the campaign which followed the rout of Mortemer. But Odo had been, since that time, seized and imprisoned by his nephew Conan, and a war had since gone on between the Count and Odo's son, Hoel Count of Nantes. That war however seems to have come to an end before the time which seems the least improbable date for the joint expedition of William and Harold. The Norman account represents Conan as rising in rebellion against William, whose somewhat antiquated suzerain rights are set forth in the strongest language.

But it also implies that some at least of the Breton chieftains took the Norman side against Conan. Conan is further described as being aided by Geoffrey of Anjou, no longer of course the famous Martel, but his less terrible nephew, Geoffrey the Bearded. Here again I am unable to confirm the Norman account by any statement to the same effect elsewhere. In fact, the narrative of this campaign, which one would have thought there was no temptation to falsify, is every whit as puzzling as those parts of the story which one may conceive as being misrepresented to the prejudice of Harold. The panegyrist of William takes this opportunity of setting forth in strong terms the formidable nature of a Breton war, as well as the barbarism and wickedness of the Breton people. Of this subject we have heard something already from other sources. The land was populous, a fact which is oddly attributed to the polygamous habits of the people. One man had, like the ancient Moors, ten wives or more, and became the father of fifty children. That such an arrangement must have doomed nine men or more to celibacy, and could therefore be hardly looked on as on

the whole conducive to population, does not seem to have occurred to the Norman Archdeacon. The land, we are told, was fertile in pasture; it produced vast herds of cattle of all kinds; but tillage was hardly known. Milk--and, one may presume, flesh also--was the chief diet of the people; bread was a rarity. Delighting in warfare, the Bretons were no mean adversaries, even for Normans; terrible in the attack, they were used to conquer, and with difficulty brought themselves to retreat. Their intervals of peace were spent in plunder and slaughter of one another. The whole picture is one deeply coloured by national hatred. But the Breton prince must at least have had the spirit not to say the follies of chivalry in him in full measure. Like William himself, in his warfare with Anjou, Conan, we are told, sent word to William on what day he purposed to cross the Norman frontier. To meet this threatened invasion, the Duke of the Normans set forth at the head of his host, with the Duke of the English as his comrade. The object of Conan's attack was most likely the castle of Saint James, a border fortress which had been lately raised by William himself some way south of Avranches, in the south-western corner of his dominions. William however forestalled his assailant, and met him within the

Breton territory on the day appointed for the invasion of Normandy. William's immediate object was to relieve one of those Breton chiefs who held for him against their immediate lord. The famous but most unfortunate city of Dol was now held in William's interest by a leader bearing, it seems, the genuine Celtic name of Rhiwallon. This, it will he remembered, was the name of one of the brothers to whom Harold had committed the under-kingship of the insular Britons. No town of Gaul or Britain bad suffered more in the days of Scandinavian invasion than the once metropolitan city of Armorica. Once in the days of Richard the Fearless, once in the days of Richard the Good, had Dol been seized, plundered, or burned by Northern pirates. It was now, by another turn of fortune, besieged by its own sovereign; and the Norman Duke, accompanied by his English ally, drew near with the purpose of raising the siege. It would be an interesting question to determine how far the Celtic language has gone back, and how far the Romance language has advanced, along the frontier which now became the seat of war. The country through which William and Harold passed is now wholly French in speech, and in outward appearance it offers hardly any strictly Breton peculiarities. Into what is still the true Britanny further to the west the line of their campaign did not reach. Their march led them only through those border-lands of Normandy and Britanny, where the

trees, the hedges, the rich pastures, the orchards loaded with their autumnal wealth, might have made the English Earl still deem himself within the fairest regions of his own Wessex. Their course must have passed by Avranches, the city so lately enlightened by the learning, and made illustrious by the fame, of Lanfranc. From the height where the now vanished minster once crowned the city, the eye of Harold would rest for the first time on that other and far more wondrous minster which crowns the island rock in the distance, the minster which AEthelred in his wrath and pride had feared to injure, the guardian Mount of the Archangel, Saint Michael in Peril of the Sea. That princely Abbey is marked as one of the halting-places of the host, and the rude art of the times still preserves the pictured representation of the Duke and his host passing below the sea-girt sanctuary. Beneath its walls the army crossed over that vast expanse of sand, where the frontier stream of the Norman and the Breton, the deep and rushing Coesnon, then no doubt unfettered by dykes and fences, pours its flood into the bay at the foot of the consecrated Mount. In that dangerous passage the careless traveller might easily be engulfed. Even soldiers of the Norman army were sinking in the sands or were being carried away by the stream, when the strong arm of the English Earl was stretched forth to save them. This That of Harold's bodily prowess, the ease with which his single strength raised up the sinking men, made an impression on the minds of his companions which still lives in the truest record of the one campaign in which Harold and

William fought side by side. The stream was crossed, and the Norman Duke and his English guest were now landed on Breton ground, where Harold was ready, perhaps eager, to display the same prowess which he had already shown in his own island in warfare against a kindred enemy. A short march from the frontier stream brought them to the first important post of eastern Britanny, the city which they came to rescue. The ancient ill luck of Dol has pursued it in all ages, and warfare later than the days of Harold has swept away nearly every trace of the city on which he could have gazed. Its cathedral church, small as compared with the gigantic piles of Amiens and Ely, yields to none in true stateliness and vigour of design, and it draws only greater solemnity from its rugged material, the granite of the neighbouring rock. But that church, even now unfinished, is a work of the thirteenth century, and it owes its origin to a calamity which fell upon the city in the wars of John Lackland. And now Dol has wholly sunk from its old ecclesiastical rank; the church which once aspired to metropolitan honours has lost even its diocesan Bishop; the cathedral has sunk to a parish church; the parish church, the only building which can date from the days of William and Harold, is put to profane uses. The city itself hardly ranks above a village, though, in the varied and curious architecture of its long street, its houses ranging from the twelfth century onwards, we see abundant traces of the greatness which has passed away. Still Dol has features wrought by the hand of nature, and by the hand of man in earlier days, which remain now as they were when Harold and William rode forth to the war against Conan. At no great distance to the south of the city stands one of the hugest of those huge stones, which were as mysterious in the days of Harold as they are in

our own. There it still abides, reared, it may well he, by the hands of men by whose side the Briton himself might stand abashed as a modern intruder. On that rude pillar the zeal of later days has reared the triumphant cross, to crown the vast work of heathen times, the monument, it may well be, of heathen worship. And to the north of the city lies the great natural feature of the district, the Mount of Dol. The elevation of the city itself is small; its walls indeed crown what passes for a height in that vast plain, a height great enough to give the minster yet further stateliness in the view from the lower ground. But Dol is no hill-fortress, like Le Mans, Angers, and Domfront. The spot where one would have almost looked to find the city is the mount itself, which still rises, a huge stern mass of granite, well nigh as wild and unfilled as in the days of its first inhabitants. But the presence of man and the dominion of the Christian faith are witnessed by the village, with its rude and ancient church, nestling at the base, by the small chapel and the vast statue of Our Lady which crown the height itself. From that height the eye ranges far and wide over that noble bay, over the shores of Britanny and of the Constantine peninsula, over islands dotted here and there, the proud Mount of the Archangel rising in the foreground as if alike to guard and to sanctify the landscape. From that height the trembling watchers of Dol had gazed in fear, when in earlier days the sails of the heathen pirates were seen in the far horizon. They had gazed, perhaps in hope, when the fleet of AEthelred drew near to ravage the Norman shore. They had gazed again in fear, when Duke Robert, when his hopes of English conquest were dashed to the ground, turned his wrath on neighbours who were at least guiltless of the death of Alfred or of the banishment of Eadward. And now from that height, not indeed the men of Dol, but the spies of

the besieging host of Conan, doubtless looked forth as the Duke of the Normans and his renowned English guest drew nigh. The men of Britanny might well quake with greater fear than ever as the two mightiest warriors of? their age marched against them side by side. The presence of William and Harold in the same host might seem to show that the old strifes of Angle and Saxon and Dane and Frank and Roman were lulled to rest, that the powers of North and South were joined together in one great effort to crush the persecuted Briton in each of his two last homes on either side of his own sea. The besieging host, we are told, did not dare to meet in the field the enemy whose presence their prince had so unwisely challenged. At the approach of William the Breton Count fled, laying himself open to the jeers and mockeries of his rebellious subject within the besieged city. Nothing could check his flight, which seems not to have stopped till he found himself safe in his own capital at Rennes. Dol was saved; but its commander found his deliverers almost as destructive as his enemies. The Norman host, encamped round the city, was fast eating up the fruits of the ground. Rhiwallon represented to his Norman ally that it mattered little to him and to his neighbours whether it was by Norman or by Breton destroyers that their goods were lost to them. The flight of Conan, however glorious to William, had as yet done no good to the men of Dol. In the narrative of the expedition, a

narrative by no means easy to follow, we are told that these considerations of prudence or humanity were enough to induce William to withdraw his troops at the end of a month's campaign. This retreat however has a strange sound, when we go on to hear that an Angevin host was said to have suddenly appeared in support of Conan. On the whole it seems most probable that Harold accompanied William in more than one expedition against Britanny. It was most likely in another raid, though in one, we may be sure, which followed pretty soon after the earlier one, that William and his English guest made their way somewhat further into the Breton territory, though still without reaching the districts most strongly marked with Breton characteristics. In a campaign of which we have no further account, Conan was driven to take shelter in what was doubtless one of the most important strongholds of his dominions. His last stand was made at Dinan, the fortress by the Rance, than which no town in all Gaul better preserves the character, expressed perhaps in its Celtic name, of the old Gaulish hill-fort. No remains of castle or minster are there which can have witnessed the approach of the Norman Conqueror and the English hero. The chief church, a building which seems more like the work of Aquitanian than of Breton hands, dates only from the next age, and the noble mass of the castle, the almost perfect circuit of the town-walls, are the work of still later times. The heroic associations of Dinan gather round the name of Bertrand Du Guesclin rather than round those of Conan, William, or Harold.

Yet, save the heights crowned by the donjons of Domfront and Falaise, few of the shots which figure in our history more thoroughly preserve the general aspect which they must have borne in the eleventh century. The peninsular height looking down on the Rance, the hills, the rocks, the woods, remain doubtless unchanged. The neighbouring group of buildings at Lehon, the monastery in the vale, the castle on the height, though their existing buildings all belong to later times, speak to us of the tastes alike of the monks and of the warriors of William's day. They tell of times when the armed chief reared his eagle's nest on the height, and when the peaceful brotherhood below sought for a spot where wood and water would never fail them. And the town itself, still almost wholly contained within its ancient walls, crowns the main hill exactly as it must have done in the days of William. Unmarked as it is by the soaring spires of Angers, by the spreading apse of Le Mans, or by the twin towers of Exeter and Geneva, no town better sets before us that distinctive feature of early times, the city set on an hill which cannot be hid. The ancient bridge remains, now guarded only by a mere village suburb; it is only the modern viaduct, a work worthy of old Roman days, which speaks at all forcibly of the changes which have passed over the world since William and Harold encamped beneath the height. They crossed the stream, they compassed the town, and doubtless made their attack on the western side, where the fall is gentler, where the later fortifications are stronger, and where the comparatively modern castle no doubt occupies the site of the donjon of Conan. We have no details of the siege. It must be in a great degree a fancy picture which represents the Norman horsemen as charging with lifted lances against the defenders of the fortress. But the same representation implies a

vigorous defence on the part of the besieged, and it shows that the post was at last won by the familiar Norman means, the application of fire. This seems, as at Mayenne, to have broken the spirits of the defenders, and, in our one representation of the siege, Conan is shown, according to the custom of the time, surrendering the keys of his fortress by offering them on the point of a spear to his conqueror. It is in the like fashion that the conqueror receives his submission. This is all that we hear of the expedition in which Harold took a part. Whatever may have been its real nature and results, it at least did not lead to any permanent Norman occupation of the country which had been the seat of war. Dol and Dinan both remained Breton. And, at a later period of William's life, when he could command the whole force of England and not only an occasional English volunteer, we shall find him again in arms before Dol, but this time as the besieger of the doomed city, not as its deliverer . According to one account, according to that account on which I look with less of distrust than on the others, Harold's knighthood and Harold's oath did not go before, but followed, the Breton campaign, and the knighthood seems to be set forth as taking place within or under the walls of Dinan, immediately after the capture of the town. Such a ceremony, possibly amounting to a tie of sworn brotherhood between the two companions-in-arms, may very well have followed the capture of a town won by the joint prowess of the Norman Duke and the English Earl. But the more famous oath, the oath on which so much of the history turns, wherever and whenever it was

taken, was, at any rate, taken on Norman ground. One version, as we have seen, places it before the Breton expedition; the account which I am inclined to follow places it immediately after. From Dinan William returned to Bayeux, and at Bayeux it was that Harold took the fatal engagement upon his soul. Other accounts place it at Bonneville; others at Rouen, either in the palace, or under an oak near the city. The nature of the oath is as little certain as its time or place. As I have already said, nearly every account represents it as containing. an engagement to marry one of William's daughters; some accounts seem to make that engagement and its breach the whole ground of quarrel between the two Princes. Others add that Harold further engaged to give his sister in marriage to an unnamed Norman noble. Most accounts add also far more important political stipulations. Harold is to become the man of William; he is to receive him, on Eadward's death, as his successor on the throne of England; meanwhile he is to be the guardian of William's interests in England, and to act in some sort as his lieutenant. He is at once to give up the castle of Dover, with its well, to the Duke, and to receive a Norman garrison in it; he is to build other castles at other points of English ground, where the Duke may think good, and there also he is to receive and maintain Norman garrisons. The highest place in William's favour, when he shall have attained the English Crown, honours, grants, even to the half of the Kingdom, are of course promised to Harold as the reward of faithfully carrying out all these promises. To all this, or to some part of all this, we are told that Harold swore. He swore, it is said, after some form of more than usual solemnity, something beyond the ordinary oath of homage. He swore upon the relics

of the saints. And one famous version of the tale represents this more solemn form of oath as something into which Harold was unwittingly entrapped by a base trick oil the part of William. It is not an English apologist of Harold, but a Norman admirer of William, who tells us how the Duke filled a chest with all the holiest relics of the saints of Normandy; how Harold swore on the chest, not knowing on what he swore; how William then drew away the covering with which the holy things had been hidden, and bade Harold see how fearful was the oath which he had taken, and how awful was the vengeance which would light on him who failed to keep it. His Hand trembled and his flesh quivered when he laid his hand on the chest, while still unknowing of all that was in it; how much more frightened was he when he knew by how awful a sanction he had unwittingly bound his soul. This may be history or it may be legend; at any rate it is the honour of the Norman rather than that of the Englishman which is staked on its truth or falsehood. The oath then, whatever was its nature, being sworn, Harold left, or was allowed to leave, the Norman Court. He returned to England in full outward friendship with the Norman Duke, as his sworn man, his future son-in-law. With Hakon, and with his sister, if she had accompanied him, he sailed back to England. Wulfnoth, it would seem, was left with the Duke as a hostage for his brother's fidelity.

I have told this famous tale in that one of the many shapes which it has taken which seems least widely removed from the probabilities of the case. It is at least not impossible, which is more than can be said of some of the other shapes. But I would not be understood as pledging myself to the accuracy of a single detail. The charge of perjury against Harold is a charge in which there is no statement for the defence, while the witnesses for the prosecution contradict one another. To my own mind, as I have before said, the strongest argument against Harold is that there is no statement for the defence. Had there been a single distinct English contradiction of the story, direct or implied, I should have cast away the whole tale as pure invention. But, while we have such contradictions on almost every other point, on this point we have none. It was clearly a weak point in Harold's case; it was a subject on which his friends shrank from entering. This to my mind proves a great deal; but we must beware of dealing with it as if it proved more than it really does. It proves that there was something wrong, something about which Harold's friends could not speak freely. It proves that there was some groundwork for the Norman story; it proves that Harold took some engagement the breach of which could easily be represented as perjury. But it proves no more. The different forms of the Norman story remain as contradictory to one another, as lacking in all corroborative evidence, as they were before. Harold swore. But when ? All kinds of dates are given; our only means of choosing one date rather than another is by choosing the roost vacant year in the English annals. We know that it must have been before Harold's marriage with Ealdgyth; but the date of that marriage is itself matter of conjecture. Again, we could fix the date, if we had any

independent accounts of the campaigns of Dol and Dinan. But no Breton writer mentions those campaigns at all; no Norman writer mentions them except in connexion with the visit and oath of Harold. I have myself placed the event at the point of time which on the whole seemed least unlikely; but I confess to have had all along a lurking feeling that the whole story may have arisen out of something which happened in that earlier French journey of Harold's, of which we have no details. Harold then, I admit, swore, but when he swore must remain matter of conjecture.
And, if we are thus left to conjecture as to the time when Harold swore, we are equally left to conjecture as to the place. The scene of such an event might have been expected to be well known. We are told that the oath was taken in the presence of a full assembly of the Norman nobles; but even contemporary authorities do not agree as to the spot where this great council was gathered together. We have to choose at our pleasure between Bonneville, Bayeux, and Rouen. These glaring contradictions do not indeed affect the belief that there is some groundwork of fact for the story, but they are quite enough to hinder us from putting implicit faith in a single uncorroborated detail. Still more important than the questions when and where Harold swore, is the question what he swore. Even here the witness of his accusers does not agree together. The engagement to marry William's daughter, so prominent in most of the accounts, is passed by in one which ought to be the most trustworthy of any. There is an utter uncertainty as to which of William's many daughters it was that Harold engaged to marry, according to one version, this part at least of the oath, if not kept, was

at least not broken ; one statement, and that put into Harold's own mouth, affirms, with whatever truth, that the daughter of William to whom he had plighted himself died before his accession to the Crown. Even the most important engagement of all, the promise to secure William's succession, or at least to do all that one man could do to secure it, appears in different shapes in the different accounts. In most of them it is accompanied by lesser engagements which carry their own confutation with them. Harold is made to promise to do various things on William's behalf forthwith. The engagements to receive a Norman garrison in Dover Castle, to build other castles elsewhere, and to receive and maintain Norman garrisons in them-these were engagements the fulfilment of which was not to wait till the death of Eadward. They were engagements to be fulfilled at once, as pledges of Harold's faith, and as means of paving the way for William's succession when the day should come. But it is certain that these lesser engagements never were fulfilled; it is nowhere stated that any complaint was made during Eadward's life as to their non-fulfilment. We hear nothing of any complaint, of any message, on the part of William, until after Harold's election and coronation. They were in truth stipulations the fulfilment of which was simply impossible, and a prince so clear-sighted as William must have seen that it was impossible. Harold might indeed do all that was in one man's power to secure the election of William whenever the throne should become vacant; but it would have been beyond the power of any man, even of an Earl of the West-Saxons, to surrender English fortresses to William while Eadward still lived. When Eadward was dead, the Witan might of course, if they would, choose William as his successor. But, while

William was not yet King, it would have been simple treason in an English Earl to surrender to him a fortress which the King and people of England had entrusted to his keeping. It is highly probable that William himself knew the English Constitution much better than the historians who write as his advocates and flatterers. But it called for no special knowledge of the English Constitution, it was little more than a matter of common sense, to see that no subject, however exalted, either could, or ought to, hand over English fortresses to a foreign prince, even though that foreign prince was the destined successor to the English Crown. Harold then, as I hold, swore, but what he swore is as uncertain as it is when and where he swore it. We are left as completely to conjecture as to the matter of his oath as we are left as to its time and its place. We know only that it was something which gave William a great advantage, something which enabled him, without much difficulty, to represent his rival as guilty of a signal perjury. But we can say no more. If Harold really promised to accept William as King after the death of Eadward, and to use every means in his power to bring about his acceptance by the rest of the nation, such an oath could have been taken only under compulsion. If Harold took such an oath, it could only have been because he felt that his position in the Norman Court, however honourable in appearance, was practically the position of a prisoner. For such an oath was one which he certainly had no intention of keeping. And, however reckless Harold may have been with regard to oaths, this was an oath which neither Harold nor any other man in his senses would have willingly taken, unless he had meant to keep it. To take such an oath, and then to break it, was to give the enemy the greatest possible advantage. We may therefore feel sure that, if Harold

did swear to all which the Norman accounts represent him as swearing to, he must have sworn simply because he felt himself in bonds, because he saw no other way of escaping from Normandy and returning to England. On the other hand, if William required such an oath, he could have required it only because he knew that it would not be kept. It is quite impossible to believe that, at the time when Harold's visit is commonly placed, William did not know perfectly well that Harold bad designs on the English Crown, even if Harold were not in some sort already recognized as Eadward's destined successor. William could not be so blind as to think that an extorted oath on the part of Harold would really hinder the English people from electing Harold King, or would even hinder Harold from accepting the election of the English people. A formal oath to receive William as King could have been required with no other object than that of gaining, on some future day, the advantage of representing Harold as a perjured man. Harold, in short, was called on to take an oath, simply in the hope that he might break it. Great :is William's character was in many ways, I fear that this sort of trick to entrap a rival would have seemed to him simply a praiseworthy stratagem. We may be sure that William's religious feelings, to speak of no other motive, would have kept him back from a wilfully false oath in his own person. But the formal religion of those times would perhaps not have kept him back from throwing an occasion of sin in the way of another, provided his own hands were kept formally clean from all share in it. A more enlightened morality will pronounce that, if William really did thus purposely entrap Harold into the crime of

perjury, the guilt of William was far blacker than the guilt of Harold. But perhaps it is not necessary to suppose that Harold really did swear to William's succession in the full and formal way which the Norman writers assert. It is remarkable how prominent a place is filled in nearly every account by Harold's promise to marry William's daughter. And it is further remarkable that this promise is the only part of the story which seems to have reached some writers in other lands. I am inclined to suspect that we have here before us the germ of the whole matter. Harold may have promised, promised, as we are told his manner was, too hastily, to marry one of William's daughters. He may easily have been thus far cajoled by the blandishments of Matilda, and even, as some accounts suggest, by the expressed preference of the princess herself. When once out of the snare, he may have forgotten or laughed at his promise to so youthful a bride, and love, or policy, or both, may have attracted him to the widow of Gruffydd. We must remember how very lightly matrimonial engagements of this sort were both entered into and cancelled. The whole history of the middle ages is full of stories of princesses whose marriage engagements were lightly made and lightly broken, sometimes through the inconstancy of suitors, sometimes through that of fathers. The diplomacy of days a little later than those of Harold and William shows us many a treaty of marriage which became a dead letter almost as soon as it was signed. In the morality of those times, Harold's breach of his promise to marry Adeliza or Agatha, or whatever the maiden's name was, would certainly not be set down as a very deadly sin. But, deadly or not deadly, it was manifestly a sin out of which William could reap no small advantage, one which could easily be employed to discredit the cause of his adversary.

The case would be still stronger if we could suppose, what is really not unlikely, that either Harold's knighthood or his engagement to marry William's daughter was accompanied by some formal act of homage clone by Harold to William. We must remember that Harold owed William a real and deep debt of gratitude for his deliverance from Guy's dungeon. He consented to serve in William's army in a quarrel which concerned neither himself nor his country; and, though older than William, he did not scruple to enter into what was in some sort a filial relation towards him. It would really not be wonderful if, under this combination of circumstances, Harold consented to become William's man. We must again bear in mind how lightly engagements of this kind were entered into, and how perplexing and clashing were the endless complications of feudalism. Men did homage on all kinds of grounds, on the receipt of almost any kind of benefit, and they were often bound by the tie of homage to several lords at the same time. William himself was the man of King Henry; but he seems also to have looked on himself as the man of King Eadward; it is within the compass of possibility that he did homage to Eadward as his chosen successor at the time of his visit to England. Herbert of Maine might have been claimed as the man of the King of the French, of the Duke of the Normans, and of the Count of Anjou, all at once. Roger of Mortemer was undoubtedly the man of Duke William; but he was also the man of so small a lord as Ralph of Montdidier ; and we have seen the difficulties into which he was brought through this divided allegiance. King Malcolm was the man of Eadward and the sworn brother of Tostig ; yet neither of these obligations kept him back from ravaging Northumberland. In

short the instances are endless. Most public men of the eleventh century must have been like the English statesman of the seventeenth, who had taken a great many oaths, and was afraid that he had not kept them all. In such a state of things it would be nothing amazing if Harold became the man of his benefactor, his future father-in-law, his military commander in the Breton war. Such an act of homage would undoubtedly not bind him, either in its terms or in its spirit, to receive William as Eadward's successor on the throne of England. But it would give William a great advantage nevertheless. Nothing would be more easy than for William to construe the oath of homage in one way and for Harold to construe it in another. When the man assumed a crown to which the lord laid claim, such conduct might easily be represented as a breach of the man's duty to his lord. The man had promised to do his lord faithful service, and he had failed to do that faithful service in the matter which, of all others, was nearest the lord's heart. Here was quite material enough for the craft of William to take advantage of, and to turn to the discredit of his rival. The relations of lord and vassal in those days were in a state somewhat like that in which other relations of life have been at other times. There must have been few princes or nobles in western Europe who had not, at some time or other, been guilty of some breach of the strict duty of a man to his lord. The fault thus lightly committed was often as lightly pardoned. Yet, as special acts of fidelity called for special admiration, so it was not hard, whenever it was convenient, to insist on and to aggravate the offence of the faithless vassal. The offence was one which could, almost

at pleasure, be either passed by as altogether trivial or held up to execration as a sin of the most heinous dye. The latter course, I need not say, was that which would be followed with unrelenting eagerness, when the breach of duty to be held up for scorn and vengeance was one committed by Harold and against William. And, in the ideas of those days, it would be held as further strengthening the case of William, as further aggravating the crime of Harold, if the oath taken and broken was not merely the common oath of a man to his lord, but an oath of unusual sanctity, an oath taken upon the relics of the saints. We must look at the matter with the feelings of those times. In any enlightened view of morality, one promise is as binding as another; the word of an honest man is as sacred as a thousand oaths. But the fact that oaths are required among all nations and under all religions shows that this is a morality so high that the mass of mankind do not practically act upon it. Every oath is in truth a curse, a religious threat, a calling down of the vengeance of an unseen power on the man who shall break it. A man, under different forms of religion, swears by such a god or by such a saint. If he breaks his oath, he offers a personal insult to the god or the saint by whom he swears. The power whom he thus offends becomes his personal enemy, and may be expected to mark him out as an object for personal vengeance. If therefore the story of the relies be true, William's object was to work on Harold's mind by dint of the extreme of superstitious dread, by pointing to all the saints of Normandy as about to become his personal enemies in case he should break his oath. The strange thing to our minds is that it does not

seem to have struck any one that the real sinner against the saints was not Harold but William. If the saints in glory are conceived as being still capable of personal human passions, one would have expected that they would look on no insult as so great, so direct, so unpardonable, as that of profaning their holy relies to a purpose of deliberate fraud. Harold is made to swear; then, after he has sworn, he is told that he has sworn on these awful and wonder-working relies, whose vengeance, in case of breach of faith, will track him like that of the Erinnyes. Strange to say, the author of so base a deception is looked on as a pious worshipper, deserving the highest favour of every holy person of whom a bone or a fragment of clothing lay within the chest. It is the unwitting victim of fraud whom the saints mark out for what, in the intercourse of mortals upon earth, would be looked on as a somewhat unjust vengeance. The reader must judge for himself as to the probability of the tale. The strongest argument in its favour is that Harold's alleged perjury seems to have aroused greater general indignation than could have been aroused by a mere breach of the common oath of homage. At any rate, the question whether such a tale be true or false is certainly one which comes much more nearly home to the apologist of William than to the apologist of Harold. As to the bearing of the transaction on Harold's character, the morality of the question is easily summed up. Whatever was the engagement which Harold broke, whether it was a promise to betray England to the stranger or simply to contract a marriage of absurd disparity in point of years, his sin lay wholly in taking the oath, not in breaking it. He yielded to threats or to blandishments, to a vague sense of danger, to a vague impulse of gratitude or to a momentary inclination, when in strict morality he ought to have stood firm against every temptation and every threat. Through one or other of these

motives he allowed himself to be cajoled into making a promise which he had no serious intention of fulfilling. He incurred whatever amount of guilt is incurred by thus trifling with what ought to be solemn engagements. No one, I suppose, will argue that he would at all have mended matters, had he fulfilled his promise by any act of treason towards his country. This of course goes on the supposition that his promise really involved any such acts of treason. But it is just as likely that Harold really broke no promise of greater moment than that of marrying, at some unfixed time, a child whose father was younger than himself. I found the question involved in darkness, and I must leave it in the darkness in which I found it. I have offered some conjectures, but it is simply as conjectures that I have offered them. The tale is so beset with contradictions that it is impossible to attain to anything like certainty on any single point of detail. One thing at least is certain. However deeply Harold may have sinned against William, England sinned not at all. No promise or oath of Harold could bind the people of England, or could give William any right over them which he did not possess before. If Harold sinned, his guilt was on his own head. The people of England were guiltless, and William's invasion of England was none the less an unprovoked attack on a people who had never wronged him. And, if we accept the most famous and most striking part of the story, it is clear that the guilt of the deceiver was far heavier than the guilt of the deceived. The question is therefore a Norman rather than an English question, and as a Norman question I have dealt with it in one of the Norman chapters of my history. I may seem, in the course of this long chapter, to have wandered far away from Harold and from England. But

the whole career of the Conqueror is an essential part of my subject. Every step in that career is a step towards the great enterprise of his life. Every event which illustrates his character belongs alike to the history of both the lands over which he ruled. We have now seen him completely establish himself within his own Duchy; we have seen him successful alike against domestic and against foreign enemies ; we have seen him extend his dominions by a continental conquest which seemed almost designed as a forestalling of his coming conquest beyond the sea. We again entered on the direct stream of English history, when we reached that obscure and mysterious event, which, in some way or another, placed the hero of England in his power. Our long episode is therefore over. We return to the point where we left the affairs of England. Harold, in Norman eyes the faithless vassal of William, is chosen and consecrated to the Crown which William claimed as his own. We have now to see what steps William took, when the news reached him of what he deemed, or professed to deem, so great a wrong. A few bootless attempts at negotiation alone separate us from actual wars and rumours of wars. A few more pages, and we shall have fairly entered on the central scene of the great tragedy. We shall soon have to look on the last warfare of Teutonic England under the King of her own choice. We shall soon have to behold the twofold invasion, the twofold struggle, the last and greatest victory of Harold, his first and his last defeat.

The Negotiations of Duke William
January-August 1066

The people of England had made their choice. They had placed the Crown of England upon the head of the foremost man of their own blood. Harold, the son of Godwine, the son of Wulfnoth, sat in the kingly seat which had never before received an occupant of other than kingly birth. The news was not slow in reaching the ears of that mighty rival beyond the sea, who had long marked that kingly seat as his own heritage, and who could now complain to the world that his heritage had been torn from him by his own sworn vassal. We cannot doubt that William had long been watching every breeze which could bring tidings from England. The failing health of Eadward was known at Rouen as well as at Westminster, and William was doubtless ready to put in his claim at the first moment that the throne should be actually vacant. Even after the homage done by Harold, even if we enlarge that homage to the full extent which it assumes in the statements of William's own laureate, the Duke could hardly have looked forward with any hope to a peaceful succession to the English Crown. He might well doubt how far he had really bound Harold, and, if he had bound Harold, he had at least not bound England.

But William was doubtless ready for every occasion, ready, whatever might happen, with a plausible case to set before the world on his own behalf. His claim was not likely to meet with any acknowledgement in England, but it would at least be a gain for him to be able to say that it had been formally put forth at the right moment. And yet the course which events really took was perhaps, after all, still more to the wily Duke's advantage. The death, the burial, the coronation, followed so fast upon one another that William had no chance of pressing his claim till after the choice of England had been irrevocably made. He might now, if he would, call on the reigning King to descend from an usurped throne; he could not call on the English nation to elect himself to a vacant throne. But he gained thereby an advantage of which the writers in his interest have not been slow to make use, the advantage of being able to represent the reigning King as an intruder. He could speak of him as one placed on the throne by some hasty and irregular act, as one reigning in any case in opposition to William's own earlier right, perhaps even as reigning without the full and free consent of the English people. It is not to be forgotten that one count which Norman partizans bring against England is that the English people failed in gratitude to the deliverer who came to set them free from a tyrannical usurper.

The Negotiations between William and Harold

Events had happened so fast at Westminster, on the eve of the Epiphany and on the festival itself, that the Duke of the Norm ans heard the whole story in a single message.

An English ship carried the news to Normandy; whether it was sent specially by any of William's friends in England, or whether it went simply in the ordinary course of communication between two friendly countries, we are not distinctly told. But, as a special messenger brought the news to the Duke, we may conceive that some of the strangers whom Harold's clemency had allowed to remain in the land took the earliest opportunity of sending the news to their native sovereign. A graphic description is given of the reception of the news by the Duke. He was in his park of Quevilly near Rouen, with many knights and esquires around him, going forth to the chase. He had in his hand his bow, the bow which, like that of Odysseus, no other man could bendstrung and bent and ready for the arrow. He was in the act of giving it to a page to bear after him, when there came to the gate a messenger, a man-at-arms from England. The new comer went straight to the Duke; he greeted him, he took him aside, and told him the news privily and briefly. King

Eadward has ended his days and Earl Harold is raised to the kingdom. The message at least acted as a respite for the destined victims of William's bow, for the Duke had now other matters than hunting to think about. He turned aside from the craft of the woods; he was as a man in anger; ofttimes he laced and ofttimes he unlaced his mantle; he spake to no man and no man dared to speak to him. He crossed the Seine in a boat; he went to his hall, and entered therein; he sat down on a bench and turned from one side to another. His head rested against a pillar, and his face was covered with his mantle. Long time he thus sat in thought, no man daring to speak to him, though many asked one another what ailed him. At last one drew near whom long and intimate friendship allowed to deal more freely with his sovereign. The famous Seneschal, William Fitz-Osbern, now rode back from the park and entered the hall, humming a tune as he walked. He passed straight by

the Duke, and many asked him what the news was which so ailed their sovereign. The Duke, hearing what passed between the Seneschal and the others, looked up. William Fitz-Osbern then told him that it was in vain for him to try to hide the news which he had heard, for that it was already blazed abroad through all the streets of Rouen. Every man in the city knew that Eadward was dead, and that Harold held the Kingdom of England. The Duke answered that that news was indeed the thing which grieved him. No news could grieve him more; he sorrowed alike for the death of Eadward and for the wrong done to him by Harold. Was he simply proving his friend? Or were even his stout heart and wily brain cowed and perplexed for a moment by the suddenness of the tidings? At all events it is in the mouth of William Fitz-Osbern--the bold of heart--that the first call to action is placed in our story. He bids the Duke not mourn, but arise and be doing. Let him begin, let him carry through what he begins; let him, in a word, cross the sea and wrest the kingdom from the usurper. The result of William's deliberations with this trusty counsellor was the sending of an embassy to the King of the English. The nature of the message is as diversely told as the rest of the story of which it forms the sequel. Again the contemporary English writers are silent; they make no men tion of Norman affairs till later in the year, till the very eve of the Norman invasion. And of the other writers, each nat urally throws the message into such a shape as suits his own f version of that oath of which the message must have been the counterpart. Whatever Harold had sworn, whatever it suited William to give out that Harold had sworn, that of course William now called on

Harold to perform. But the demand ranges in different versions from a summons to Harold to resign his kingdom to a simple summons to marry William's daughter. We hear of more messages than one, and in one account the tone of the second message is wonderfully lowered from the tone of the first. If Harold will not resign the kingdom, nor give up the castle of Dover, nor do any of the other things which he has promised, let him at least marry the Duke's daughter. If he declines to do even that, the Duke will certainly come against him in arms to support his rights. The date of the embassy, and the place of its reception by Harold, are as uncertain as the exact nature of the message or of the oath. It was a matter on which William was not likely to delay, and the number of events and negotiations which were crowded into a few months show that he did not delay. But our only statement as to time is the assertion of a very untrustworthy writer that the message was either sent or received on the tenth day after Eadward's death. One would be well pleased on many grounds to know whether it was received before or after Harold had set forth on his mission to win the hearts of the malecontents of Northumberland. One would like to know whether Harold received the message of William when surrounded by his own West-Saxons, or whether it reached him, as an earlier embassy from Gaul had reached Glorious Aethelstan, while he was engaged in arranging the affairs of the most distant and most troublesome portion of his kingdom. The point is interesting, as it is just possible that the Northumbrian opposition to Harold may have been in some degree connected with the challenge brought to him from Normandy. The succession of William was indeed not likely to be looked on with a whit more of favour in Northumberland than it was looked on in Wessex. But

crafty spirits were at work, who might easily turn the claims of the Norman to their own ends. Such, it might be argued, were the results of the hasty election of Harold; such were the results of binding the free sons of the North by the voices of Wessex and East-Anglia. It would be better for the North again to choose its own King, a King who had never become the man of the stranger, a King whose right could not be challenged by any rival beyond the sea. Such arguments as these seem quite in character with the position of parties at the time, but we can neither affirm nor deny that they were actually used. The exact time of Harold's northern journey, the exact time, place, and substance of the message which Harold received from the Norman Duke, are among those details of our story which must remain unknown to us.
Whatever was the exact purport of the embassy, there can be no doubt as to its object. It was sent simply in order that William might add another count to his indictment against the English King. It was sent in order that William might be able to say, not only that Harold had neglected to perform his engagements, whatever they were, but that he had formally refused to perform them when formally called upon. Whatever William demanded, we may be sure that he demanded it only in the belief and even in the hope, that Harold would refuse it. He could not seriously expect that Harold would, at his bidding, either come down from his throne or consent to hold his Crown in vassalage. William knew the temper both of England and of her King a great deal too well for this. Even the summons to marry William's daughter could hardly have been seriously meant; if Harold were already married, it could only have been sent in mockery.

At all events, the one object of the embassy was to put Harold, according to William's view of the case, still further in the wrong. Its object was to supply William with fresh topics for argument and for rhetoric in the appeal which he was about to make to Normandy, to Gaul, and to Christendom. The answer of Harold to the message is of course differently conceived, according as the message is differently conceived. The answer depends on the message, just as the message depends on the oath. But all accounts agree in describing the answer as a complete refusal. Whatever William summoned Harold to do, Harold refused to do it. And, according to some versions, if mockery was intended by the Norman, it was answered with mockery in return. The English King is called upon to fulfil his promise of giving his sister in marriage to a Norman noble. Harold answers that his sister is dead, and he asks whether the Duke wishes her corpse to be sent to him for the purpose. When called on himself to marry the Duke's daughter, he answers, according to one version, that the daughter whom he promised to marry is already dead. According to another account, he takes a high constitutional ground. A King of the English cannot marry a foreign wife without the consent of the Witan of England. Such an act could not be done without doing great damage to his kingdom. This answer, whether ever really made or not, is not likely to point to any formal enactments on the subject of royal

marriages. But it expresses the universal feeling of the nation that none but Englishwomen were fit to be wives and mothers of English Kings. England had seen one Norman Lady, and one King who was Norman on his mother's side. There was no wish among the English people to see such another Lady or such another King. The marriage of Emma, and the Norman connexion which followed it, had well nigh been the undoing of England. That they had not been wholly her undoing was due to the reigning King and his father. Their dynasty at least, the Kings of the House of Godwine, should be for ever kept free from all foreign elements. Harold's own Danish mother, so near to the great Cnut in kindred or affinity, could hardly be looked on as a stranger. Tostig and his foreign wife were in banishment, and England had no wish for their return. The whole nation was no doubt fully purposed that the next brood of Aethelings whom England saw should be no half-caste offspring of Norman or even of German or Flemish mothers, but Englishmen of purely English blood. Against such a feeling as this Harold, even if he had wished, could not have dared to struggle. The answer put into his mouth, whether historically genuine or not, well expresses uncorrupted English feeling on this important point. It well expresses too the necessity under which a King of the English lay, not only to obey the written law, but to consult in all things the wishes and feelings of the English people. Another form of the answer put into Harold's mouth breathes an equally sound and constitutional spirit. William demands the Kingdom of England, which Harold, he alleges, had sworn to make over to him. The English King answers that such an oath was in itself void; to break it were a less evil than to keep it. The oath was one by which Harold bound himself to transfer to Duke William an heritage which was neither Harold's nor William's,

but which only the voice of the English people could bestow on any man. The oath or vow which a maiden in her father's house made without her parents' knowledge was void by the laws of God and man. Much more then was the oath void which he, when still a subject, without the knowledge of King or people, had sworn under the pressure of a momentary constraint, on a matter touching the whole realm. It was not reasonable to ask him to give up a Crown which had been placed on his head by the common voice of his countrymen, and of which their voice alone could lawfully deprive him. Such is the doctrine which is put into Harold's mouth by a writer whose divided sympathies lean decidedly to the Norman side. It is a doctrine most wholesome and necessary for a constitutional King, a doctrine which the historian himself allows to be true or at least highly plausible. Valuable, if it be a genuine record of what Harold said, this speech becomes almost more valuable if we look on it as the speech which a writer a generation later deemed most in keeping with Harold's character and position. The argument, for its own purpose, as an answer to William, is perfect. The

accession of Harold was not the act of Harold only; it was equally the act of the English people. However guilty Harold might be towards William, the
English people were free from all guilt towards William and towards all mankind. And, whatever might be the guilt of Harold, it was a guilt which, as his own argument assumes, lay wholly in taking the oath, not at all in breaking it. The errand then of the Norman ambassadors was a bootless one. No doubt it was the intention of him who sent them that it should be bootless. Whatever were their demands, whether they came once only or oftener, whether they raised their demands or lowered them, whether they dealt in persuasion only or in threats as well as persuasion, Harold, evidently speaking the voice of the English people, refused all that was demanded of him. No other course indeed was possible. The point hardly needs to be argued. Harold could not, without the consent of the Witan, either resign the Crown to William or hold it of him in vassalage. And the consent of the Witan would certainly not have been given for any such purpose. The whole question in short was frivolous. The dispute had reached a stage which was past negotiation, and Harold and William alike knew that all negotiation was vain. What William gained by his embassy was again to entangle Harold in the meshes of his subtle craft. Harold could only refuse every demand of William; but Harold's refusal of William's demands made another point on William's side, of which he was not slow to take advantage.

Claims and Arguments of William

William had now no chance--in truth there had never been a time when he really had a chance--of winning the English Crown except by the sword. But, before he made that last appeal, he had many minds to work upon and to win over to his cause. An enterprise such as he designed was one such as no Norman Duke had ever before attempted. It was one which might seem altogether beyond the power of Normandy to achieve. William's own father had indeed contemplated an English war, and he had actually gathered together a fleet for the invasion of England. But the enterprise of Robert was undertaken to restore the banished heir of England, driven from his native realm by a foreign invader. Such at least was the colour which Robert would put upon his schemes, and in carrying out such schemes he doubtless reckoned on a certain measure of English support. It was not really likely that Englishmen would have joined a Norman army to drive out Cnut in favour of the sons of Aethelred. But dreams of this kind are ever the food of exiles, and of princes who take up the cause of exiles. But in William's case there was no room for any delusions of this kind. William had no rights but his own to assert, and those rights, he must have known very well, were not acknowledged by a single native partizan. He might gain somewhat by sowing dissensions within the island, by abetting any schemes on the part of Eadgar or Tostig or the sons of Aelfgar. But his only gain in this way would be the gain of dividing and weakening England. Any English party which was dissatisfied with the election of Harold would assert the claims, not of William but of some English competitor. For direct

help in England William could look only to the Norman settlers whom Harold had allowed to remain in the country. He had, in short, to win the English Crown, if he won it at all, by no means but that of open war. And he had to wage his warfare at a time when England was ruled by a King who was his own peer in the art of war, when the land was defended by an army in the the highest state of efficiency, an army which had never known defeat, and which was flushed with the remembrance of hard-won victories. William had in short to make good his rights in the absence of the least hope of native help, and withal in the teeth of King Harold and his Houseearls. Such an enterprise as this might well seem to be beyond the powers of a Duke of the Normans and of his Duchy. The successes of the Normans in Apulia might indeed make it seem as if no enterprise could be impossible to Norman valour. If private adventurers could thus carve out principalities for themselves, what conquests might not be made by the Duke himself at the head of the whole force of the Duchy? And no doubt the example of the conquests made by his countrymen in the South of Europe was ever present to the mind of William in planning his great undertaking in the North. But the mere fact that the warfare was in the one case waged in the South and in the other in the North was an important element of difference between the Apulian and the English enterprise. The actors indeed in the once case were private adventurers, while in the other it would be a sovereign at the head of his subjects and vassals. Duke William could no doubt command a far greater force than the sons of Tancred of Hauteville, but then he was also obliged to wage a wholly different kind of warfare. The Duke of the Normans could not afford to sit down in some corner of England, and to win his way step by step, ever and anon gaining this or that skirmish or taking this or that castle.

And again, without joining in any ignorant depreciation of Byzan tine military prowess, we may doubt whether the sons of Tancred had ever joined battle with enemies who could be at all compared with the enemies with whom Duke William would have to join battle in England. If Robert Wiscard and his brothers had ever met with really equal foes, it was when they encountered Pope Leo's German auxiliaries, and, by that time, they had risen somewhat above the rank of private adventurers. They had waged a desultory warfare against a town here and a castle there, towns and castles defended for the most part by the mercenaries of a distant Emperor. They had never faced, what William would have to face in England, a native King at the head at once of an armed nation and of a native standing army. All ordinary prudence would naturally shrink from such a risk. It is only minds like that of William which can rise above all ordinary prudence, which know their own power as none but themselves can know it, which feel instinctively that undertakings which would be madness in others are in their hands certain of success. But William himself could not hope for success, unless he could win over others far and near to look with favour upon his schemes, and unless he could inspire them with that confidence in themselves and in their leader without which such an undertaking would be simply hope less. He had first to deal with the chiefs and people of his own Duchy. Without their consent, without their thorough good will, he could do nothing. To cross the sea to conquer England was quite another matter from putting down Nor man rebels, from driving out French and Angevin invaders, or even from annexing neighbouring towns and provinces, like Domfront and Le Mans. William's men were bound by their feudal tenure to follow his standard on the field of Val-es-dunes and beneath the walls of Alenson. But it

might well be doubted whether their feudal tenure bound them to follow his standard beyond the sea in an enterprise in which Normandy had no interest. At all events they were not likely to muster with the same zeal for the more hazardous undertaking. The Cenomannian war had been a war of aggression no less than the English war would be, and the spoils of conquered England would doubtless be far richer than the spoils of conquered Maine. But men would not be so ready to trust themselves in hope of spoil in the unknown land beyond the sea as they were to go on a foray in an adjoining province, from which it was an easy matter to make their way back to their own homes. To attempt, by any mere stretch of the ducal authority, to carry men across the seas to win crowns for William's own personal behoof would have been simply hopeless. William knew better than to risk his popularity and his authority by any attempt of the kind. His object was to carry the feelings of his people with him, and to conquer England by the swords of Norman volunteers. But the feeling to which William was about to appeal was something more than the mere desire of spoil, or even than the higher sentiment of feudal loyalty. Nor did he design to make his appeal to his own Normandy only. It suited William's purpose and disposition to give his enterprise a far higher character and a far wider range. The age was a religious age; Normandy was an eminently religious country; William professed, and in many respects honestly practised, a devotion to religion beyond that of other men. It is not without real propriety that the panegyrist of William stops at this stage of his narrative to tell us of the flourishing state of Normandy and the Norman Church under a prince equally valiant, just, and devout. William laboured to preserve the peace of his Duchy by keeping down all its disturbers with the strong hand; the Truce of God was nowhere so strictly kept as in the

Norman land. William in his own person heard and judged the cause of the poor, the fatherless, and the widow; his justice kept back his courtiers and favourites from deeds of wrong; in his days the mighty man durst not remove the landmark of his poorer neighbour. An orthodox believer, a diligent student of Scripture, a devout worshipper and communicant, a father careful for the education of his N children, William from his youth up, layman and prince as j he was, set a model to priests and prelates. He chose the good among them for his friends and counsellors, and he visited the unjust and neglectful with his severest displeasure. A zealous reformer, he constantly attended in person at ecclesiastical synods, and he kept a watchful eye over the administration of the episcopal and archidiaconal courts. Under his government churches rose,

monasteries were restored to the purity of their rule, Abbots, Bishops, all ranks of the clergy, became models of the due discharge of their several duties. Nor is it without reason that, immediately on this panegyric, our author adds his first mention of the great man whom William had now chosen as his special counsellor in all matters touching the Church and religion. The Prior of Bec, the renowned Lanfranc, was now, not indeed in rank but in influence, the first man in the Norman Church. And it is impossible not to trace the hand of Lanfranc in the course which William now followed. The minds of the Duke and the Prior, exercised as they had been in such different pursuits, had still much in common. In both we see the same wide grasp, the same subtlety, the same daring. In many things Lanfranc would be the teacher, but he would ever find in William a pupil worthy of his teaching. The cosmopolitan traveller, who had migrated from Pavia to Bec--the scholar who had turned from the study of the laws of Caesar to the study of the laws of God, the theologian who had refuted the heretic face to face--the diplomatist who had won the consent of the Roman Court to his sovereign's marriagehe it was, we cannot doubt, who put into William's hands the surest weapon for his conquest. He it was who taught him to

lay his claim, not only before Normandy, but before all Christendom, and to cloke a wrongful aggression under the guise of a Holy War. He it was who taught him to gather round his standard crusaders from well nigh every Western land, and in the end to set foot on English ground, not as an adventurer avenging his private quarrel, but as the champion of the Church, marching forth with the approval and the blessing of the temporal and the spiritual chefs of Christendom . Let us then see what was the case against Harold and against England which William thus brought to be judged, as we may say, by the public conscience of Europe. The pleading of William and his advocates, not only in his own Norman Parliament, but at the bar of the Pope, the emperor,' and the whole world, is one of the most memorable instances of human subtlety. It was a wonderful example of the way in which wily men, men like William and Lanfranc, can persuade others, and most likely persuade themselves also, that the worse cause is the better. I have more than once already shown that William had no valid claim of any kind to the English Crown. He had no claim by hereditary right; for the Crown of England was not hereditary, and, if it had been hereditary, no theory of succession that ever was heard of could make William the heir. He had no claim by bequest; for a King of the English could not bequeath his kingdom like a private estate, and such power of recommendation as the King did possess had been exercised in favour of another. He had no claim by election; for the people of England, in full Gemot assembled, had chosen another as their King. He had indeed suffered a wrong, whatever was its nature and degree, at the hands of the King whom England had chosen. Harold had sworn to do something, and he had not done what he had sworn to do. That was

literally all, and, as a claim on the Crown of England, it was nothing. If Harold were to resign the Crown, if Harold were killed in battle or in single combat, William would not thereby gain any right to the Crown greater than he had before. Harold had no power, any more than Eadward had, to make over the Crown to another; his resignation or death would simply create a vacancy, which the people of England might fill as they would. The utmost that could be said on William's side was that Harold's wrong doing gave William a carurbella, and that a victory over Harold would give William, by right of conquest, all the goods of Harold, the English Crown among them. But so odious a straining of the Law of Nations was too clearly unjust for William to venture publicly upon it. The right of conquest was a right which he took care never to put prominently forward. He always claimed as a lawful heir defrauded of a lawful possession. And it marks a stage in the growth of European civilization, when William saw that his cause would be strengthened by making his claim, formally and solemnly, in the eyes of all men. The age of mere brute force was clearly past, when a prince claiming a foreign crown took such pains to win the public opinion of Europe, and employed so many pens and so many voices on his side. Unjust and delusive as were his claims, it marks a great step in human progress that any man's claims should be put forward in so solemn a way. It was a distinct tribute to the power of law and right and opinion. But it was a tribute no less distinct to the growing power of the Papacy. The Bishop of Rome was called on, if not to dispose of the Crown of England, at least to determine who was its lawful possessor. Herein, if Lanfranc the churchman triumphed, William the statesman undoubtedly erred. He did not indeed err as regarded his own personal interests. No crown that William held or won

could ever be at the disposal of any other mortal. But he erred as regarded the common interest of Kings arid of all independent governments. He invited the alliance and interference of a power which he himself knew how to manage, but which proved too strong for smaller men. The blast of the Roman trumpet which declared Harold a perjured usurper, and William the lawful heir of England, was but the forerunner of a still mightier blast which pealed forth ten years later. The power which William now called on to bless and hallow the schemes of his ambition learned, from the precedent set by William himself, to venture on that crowning act of daring which declared how King Henry, the son of Henry the Emperor, stood deprived of the Crowns of Italy and of the Teutonic Kingdom. The case then which William laid before Normandy, before Rome, and before all Western Christendom, was, in itself, a pretence utterly weak and fallacious. He claimed a crown which the solemn act of those who alone could dispose of it had, freely and lawfully, given to another. But the craft of William--we must doubtless add, the craft of his monastic ally--knew well how to put a fair colouring on their cause. The law of England knew nothing of William's claim; but the law of England was likely to be known to few beyond the bounds of the island realm. Worthless as were William's claims, they had a side which to many minds would be more attractive than that great principle of English law that no man could reign in England save by the will of the English people. It was easy to put William's claims into a taking and rhetorical shape; it was easy to mix them up with

a whole crowd considerations, which had no real bearing on the case, but which were admirably fitted to enlist the sympathies of different classes of men. It was easy, by skilful management, to insist now on one point, now on another, with little care as to their logical consistency, if only one point gained one class of supporters and another point gained another. In a large part of Europe, wherever the ideas of feudalism and chivalry had taken firm hold, the doctrine that the people alone had a right to choose their prince was fast passing out of memory. The doctrine of hereditary right was daily spreading. It was daily taking firmer and firmer root, with regard both to the Crown of France and the great fiefs which were held of that Crown. The doctrine that the King never dies had indeed not yet arisen; but the Parisian Kings had learned how to avoid the dangers of the interregnum and election by having their sons crowned in their own lifetime. That the Empire was other than elective no man had dared to affirm; no man then, or seven hundred years later, would have taken on him to deny that the highest place on earth was in theory open to every baptized man. But the moment with which we are dealing was the very moment when the Empire was showing the strongest tendency to become practically hereditary. In the Teutonic Kingdom, no less than in Latin France, the reigning King was at this moment a boy crowned as his father's successor while his father still lived. The great fiefs of

both crowns were fast changing, from great magistracies like English Earldoms, into hereditary principalities. In France indeed they had gone beyond the stage of change; they had been for some time, to all intents and purposes, sovereignties which passed as a matter of course to the heir of the last possessor. Kingdoms, duchies, counties, were now looked upon, as wherever strict feudal notions prevail they cannot fail to be looked upon, as possessions in which the princes invested with them had a personal right. In England, almost alone, an Earldom still kept its character as a great office, for the good administration of which the magistrate entrusted with it was answerable to the power which appointed him, the King and the general Assembly of the nation. In short, the political constitution once common to every Teutonic people was still alive in England, while it had greatly decayed in Germany and had quite died out in France. It follows then that, to most continental hearers, the claim of Harold, a man not o£ kingly blood, to reign solely by the will of the people would already sound something strange and unnatural. The claim of William, a prince, would, simply because he was a prince, be looked on with more favourable eyes. A reigning prince, a kinsman o£ the late King, would seem far better fitted to reign than a mere subject, possibly the grandson of a churl. Nor would the dislike o£ the English to a King not of their own blood and speech be easily understood on the Continent. England had never, except under constraint, chosen a foreign King, and Cnut the Dane was, after all, hardly a foreigner in the eyes of half the Kingdom. But on the Continent, at any rate among the nations of the various Romance tongues,

princes had freely passed from one king dom to another, as they could win them by conquest or by inheritance. Hugh of Provence had reigned in Italy; Odo of Ch artres had sought, not without a fair chance of success, for a kingdom in Burgundy; and, the greatest instance of all, the crowns of Burgundy and Italy, the Imperial Crown of Rome itself, were now, by the public law of Europe, held to pass o£ right to the King of the Teutonic Kingdom. For the Duke of the Normans to grow into the King o£ the English would therefore seem a change far less strange in continental than it seemed in insular eyes. And again, it was for William's advantage that, though the doctrine of hereditary right was fast growing, the laws of hereditary succession had not yet been strictly fixed in any country. No one doubted that a son ought to succeed to his father, but it was by no means clear who ought to succeed to a prince who left no son. In fact this point has not to this day been settled by the common consent of Europe; it has in each kingdom followed the local law of that kingdom, and, I need not say, it is a point on which the law of France and the law of England have differed for ages. In truth it was only in an age when the law of hereditary succession was still very unsettled that William the Bastard could have succeeded to anything, whether in Normandy or in England. With regard to England, his claims would be at once set aside by a modern lawyer. He and Eadward had indeed a common forefather in Richard the Fearless, but Richard the Fearless never was sovereign of England, nor was he in any line of succession which could have made him, under any circumstances, sovereign of England. Such a common ancestry could give William no claim on the English Crown. But, till the law is very distinctly settled, the notion of nearness

of kin is really more easily understood, and comes more readily home to men's minds, than the technical doctrine of representation. William could therefore easily work on men's minds by enlarging on his nearness of kin to Eadward, especially when that claim was mixed up with the claim founded on the alleged bequest of Eadward. He could talk of the kindred by blood between himself and the English King; he could talk of their mutual friendship and mutual good offices; he could tell of the promise of the succession made to him by his childless cousin. All this could easily be wrought up into a claim which, in the eyes of men ignorant of the law of England and knowing no very strict law of succession of their own, might easily seem stronger than the claims of Harold, which rested solely on the choice of the English people. As for Eadgar, nearer of kin to Eadward than William was, and born withal of the true kingly stock of England, it best suited William's purpose to say nothing about him. Out of England his name was most likely hardly known. Nay, in the unsettled state of men's minds, William might, if the objection was ever started, argue that Eadward might rightly pass by an incompetent minor, and bequeath his Crown to a kinsman almost as near in blood and so much better fitted to rule. We thus see that William's claim to the Crown, a claim artfully made up of bequest and hereditary right, was one

by no means ill suited to commend itself to many minds at the time. But it was not merely his claim as heir or legatee of Eadward that William now put forth to the world. There never was a more memorable example of the way in which one utterly worthless argument can sometimes be made to bolster up another argument equally worthless. With William's supposed original right by kindred or bequest the wrong done to him by Harold was cunningly mixed up. I have already argued that that wrong, whatever was its nature, could not really give William any right which he did not possess already. Neither Harold's oath nor Harold's breaking of his oath could, in law or morals, make William's claim to the Crown one jot better or worse. But no tale could be better fitted further to inflame the minds of those who were already disposed to look on the Norman Duke as an injured man. It would indeed be a spirit-stirring tale in which William, and those who pleaded in William's name, would set forth the wrong-doings of the faithless Englishman. Harold, the sworn man of William, had turned against his lord; he had trodden under foot every duty of a vassal; rescued from the dungeon of Beaurain by William's bounty, honoured with William's personal friendship, admitted to the ranks of Norman chivalry by William's hand, bound to William and his house by the promise of a daughter of Normandy, he had despised so many and so great favours; he had lifted up his heel against his lord and benefactor; the kingdom which he had sworn to make over to William he had traitorously seized as his own; he had added, it might be, to his crime the further guilt of abusing the confidence of his own dying sovereign, and of wringing from him in his last moments an unwilling assent to the usurpation which he plotted. This was the light in which the tale of the election of Harold, a tale which seems so glorious in

English eyes, would look in the eyes of those before whom William pleaded, of those on whom he called to help him to assert his right and to chastise the wrong-doer. Nor was this all; William had that to add which would speak at once to the deep religious feelings of his age and people. This was no common case of a vassal forgetting his duty to his lord. Who in that age could boast that he had always faithfully discharged all the duties arising out of the intricate, and often contradictory, relations of feudalism? On such mere backslidings as these William had never been unduly harsh. He had over and over again forgiven the men who had rebelled against him, and in the moment of victory he had ever kept his hands clean from bloodshed. But here was a wrong which he never could forgive, because a higher duty called on him to avenge it. He might pass by wrongs done against himself; but he would be himself a partaker in the guilt, if he passed by the wrongs done against a mightier power. Normandy had this time been wronged, not only in the person of her mortal sovereign but in the persons of her immortal guardians. Harold had done despite to all the saints of the Norman land; he had arrayed against him the wrath of every patron of every holy place from the stream of Eu to the Mount of the Archangel. The powers of Heaven were ready to fight against their blasphemer, and to bless the arms of him who stood forth as their earthly avenger. Forestalling the enthusiasm with which, thirty years later, men pressed to wipe out their sins by a crusade against the infidel, William now called on all who would to win the favour of Heaven by going forth with him to avenge the insult offered to the saints of Normandy. William, in self-delusion, let us hope, rather than in conscious hypocrisy, called on all who would to help him in the attack on an independent nation which he cloked under the name of a holy war.

Such was in truth the claim by virtue of which William threw down his challenge to England and to the King whom England had chosen. In the eye either of logic or of sound morals, his fabric was but as a house of cards; each fallacy rested on another fallacy as weak as itself, and when one frail support gave way, the fall of the whole must follow. But men are in general but little under the rule either of logic or of morals; they are apt to be guided by impulse rather than by judgement; they find it much easier to echo some easily repeated formula than to go into the facts or the reason of anything. A case then like William's, artfully put together, and in which each fallacy fitted ingeniously into another, really told with more effect than the few plain facts which formed the defence of Harold and of England. Instead of being a house of cards, William's fabric of fallacies, each resting on the other, did, as a matter of practical policy, win for itself the strength of the firmest arch. And artfully mixed up with his formal claims were appeals of all kinds, fitted to the character and passions of the various kinds of men with whom he had to deal. To all, of whatever nation, who would flock to his standard he offered a share in the spoils of England. He would lead them to a land abounding in all manner of good things, a land fruitful in meat and drink and rich in gold and silver. The wealth of that goodly land should be the guer don of all who had a share in its conquest. In that spirit of confident boasting which, in men like him, is often the highest wisdom, he promised beforehand all that was Har old's, while Harold, he said, had not strength

of mind to promise a single thing that was his. William here lighted on the true difference between his own position and that of his rival. Harold, content with his own, planning no aggression against William or against any other man, was not likely to promise rewards in Normandy to his Thegns or his house earls. And, with his own people, William could appeal to feelings which were at least higher than the mere love of plunder. It was possible to appeal to a certain vein of Norman patriotism, and to represent, not only the English King, but the English nation, as laden with a heavy weight of offences against the Norman Duchy. The English invasion in Aethel red's time was perhaps forgotten--some critics may perhaps say that it never happened--at any rate it does not seem to have been prominently put forward. But William took care to give himself out as the true successor of his father in the expedition which his father undertook against England to support the rights of his cousins, the banished Aethelings. He, the chosen heir of Eadward, went forth, among other high and righteous ends, to avenge the blood of Aelfred, shed by the father of the reigning King, who was himself--so it was given out--art and part in his father's deed. The blood of a prince, partly Norman by birth, and endeared to Normandy

by long residence in childhood and youth, might well call for vengeance at the hands of loyal Normans. Then there was the wrong done, fourteen years back, to so many Normans, friends and guests of the late venerated King. Norman knights and prelates had had to flee for their lives before a lawless crowd of English rebels, hounded on against their own sovereign by the traitor Harold and his traitor father. Chief among the victims was one whose wrongs, wrongs done against the Church and all godliness, were but the fit forerunners of the fouler wrong which had since been done directly against the saints in glory. The blasphemer of the Norman saints had been the despoiler of the Norman Primate. Robert of Jumieges, driven from the throne of Augustine, had come back to spend the remnant of his days in his own land, and to lay his bones beneath the slender towers and massive arches of the mighty minster which he himself had reared. That the murder of Aelfred was a crime in which Harold could have no share, that the flight of Robert was Robert's own act, that his deprivation was a righteous process of English law, that, even had Harold been the murderer of Aelfred and the unrighteous despoiler of Robert, neither count could in any way strengthen William's claim to the English Crown, all these were points on which few minds in Normandy were likely to dwell. All these irrelevant matters could easily be made use of to stir up the mind of Normandy against Harold and against England. And, if this was done, no matter how logically weak were the arguments by which it was done, the aim of William was gained. But William, in the course of this great argument, showed himself emphatically all things to all men. There were other minds than those of his own Normans to be persuaded, there were ears in which another line of

argument would sound more convincing. No diplomacy short of that of William and Lanfranc could have known how to represent the invasion of England as an undertaking designed for the spiritual welfare of England. No brains less subtle than theirs could have turned William and his host into armed missionaries, eager to reform at the sword's point the evil lives and the ecclesiastical abuses of the ungodly islanders. A land which had not lost its ancient character of the Isle of Saints--a land which had so lately boasted of a King like Eadward and an Earl like Leofric--a land which was still adorned by the virtues of the holy Wulfstan--a land where so many minsters were rising in fresh stateliness, and where the wealth of the Church was daily added to--a land whose Earls and Bishops and sons of every degree pressed, year after year, to worship and to offer at the tombs of the Apostles--a land like this was branded as a land which needed to be again gathered in to the true fold, and the crusade which had not yet been preached against Turks or Prussians or Albigenses was preached before its time against the people of England. It was indeed easy to gather together, in England or in any other land, tales which showed that the Church had fallen from her first love. It was easy to tell of breaches of discipline and breaches of morals, to tell of the vast pluralities of Stigand and of the deeds of sacrilege wrought at Berkeley and Leo minster. The orators of William may well have set forth tales like these before the Roman Court, alongside of the tale of the perjury of Harold and of the wrong done to their own master. But these were not the real crimes of England. Her crime in the eyes of Rome, the crime to punish which the crusade of William was approved and blessed, was the inde pendence still retained

by the island Church and nation. A land where the Church and the nation were but different names for the same body, a land where priests and prelates were subject to the law like other men, a land where the King and his Witan gave and took away the staff of the Bishop, was a land which in the eyes of Rome was more dangerous than a land ofJews or Saracens. Rome, ever watchful, ever mindful, had not forgotten the note of insular defiance when the heart of England spoke by the mouth of Tostig, and threatened the Pontiff on his throne:' Even under Eadward, England had been no unresisting bond-slave, and her independence, so boldly asserted by one son of Godwine, was likely to be as boldly maintained by another. The opening which Rome had doubtless long looked for now offered itself. A sword was put into her hand by which the rebellious islanders might be brought under her full obedience. It was a policy worthy of William to send to the threshold of the Apostles to crave their blessing on his intended work of bringing the rebellious land within their fold. And it was a policy worthy of one greater than William himself to make even William, for once in his life, the tool of purposes yet more daring, yet more farsighted, than his own. On the steps of the papal chair, and there alone, had William and Lanfranc to cope with a mind loftier and more subtle than even theirs. The counsellor of so many Pontiffs, so soon to be himself the most renowned of Pontiffs, knew with whom he had to deal, and knew how to bide his time as well as William himself. William was sent on an errand which none but William could carry out, but of which William himself knew not the full bearing. Under his rule no man could doubt that England would be subject to none but him. With William for her King, she was as little likely to be the unresisting slave of Rome as if Harold himself should continue to guard her. But a seed

was sown which was to bear fruit in other times and under weaker rulers. When Rome once took upon her to adjudge the Crown of England, the path was opened for that day of shame and sorrow when a descendant of William stooped to receive the Crown of England as a fief of Rome.

The Norman Council and the Assembly of Lillebonne

The case of William had thus to be brought to bear on the minds of his own people, on the minds of the neighbouring countries whence he invited and looked for volunteers, on the minds of the foreign princes whose help, or at least whose neutrality, he asked for, and, above all, on the minds of the Roman Pontiff and his advisers. The order of these various negotiations is not very clear, and in all probability all were being carried on at once. But there is little doubt that William's first step, on receiving the refusal of Harold to surrender his Crown--or whatever else was the enact purport of the English Kings's answer--was to lay the matter before a select body of his most trusty counsellors. They were the men of his own blood, the friends of his youth, the faithful vassals who had fought at his side against French invaders and Norman rebels. There was his brother, Robert Count of Mortain, the lord of the castle by the waterfalls, the spoil of the banished Watling. And there was one closer than a brother, the proud William the son of Osbern, the son of the faithful guardian of his childhood. There, perhaps the only priest in that gathering of warriors, was his other brother, Odo of Bayeux, soon to prove himself a warrior as stout of heart and as strong of arm as any of his

race. There too, not otherwise renowned, was Iwun-al-Chapel, the husband of the sister of William, Robert, and Odo. There was a kinsman, nearer in legitimate succession to the stock of Rolf than William himself, Richard of Evreux, the son of Robert the Archbishop, the grandson of Richard the Fearless. There was the true kinsman and vassal who guarded the frontier fortress of Eu, the brother of the traitor Busac and of the holy Bishop of Lisieux. There was Roger of Beaumont, who rid the world of Roger of Toesny, and Ralph, the worthier grandson of that old foe of Normandy and mankind. There was Ralph's companion in banishment, Hugh of Grantmesnil, and Roger of Montgomery, the loyal son-in-law of him who cursed the Bastard to his cradle. There too were the other worthies of the day of Mortemer, Walter Giffard and Hugh of Montfort, and William of Warren, the valiant youth who had received the chiefest guerdon of that memorable ambush. These men, chiefs of the great houses of Normandy, founders, some of them, of greater houses in England, were gathered together at their sovereign's bidding. They were to be the first to share his counsels in the enterprise which he was planning, an enterprise planned against the land which, with so many in that assembly, was to become a second home, a home perhaps all the more cherished that it was won by the might of their own right hands. To this select Council the Duke made his first appeal. He told them, what some of them at least knew well already, of the wrongs which he had suffered from Harold

of England. It was his purpose to cross the sea, in order to assert his rights and to chastise the wrong-doer. With the help of God and with the loyal service of his faithful Normans, he doubted not his power to do what he purposed. He had gathered them together to know their minds upon the matter. Did they approve of his purpose? Did they deem the undertaking within his power? Were they ready themselves to help him to the uttermost to recover his right? The answer of the Norman leaders, the personal kinsmen and friends of their sovereign, was wise and constitutional. They approved his purpose; they deemed that the undertaking was not beyond the power of Normandy to accomplish. The valour of the Norman knighthood, the wealth of the Norman Church, was fully enough to put their Duke in possession of all that he claimed. Their own personal service they pledged at once; they would follow him to the war; they would pledge, they would sell, their lands to cover the costs of the expedition. But they would not answer for others. Where all were to share in the work, all ought to share in the counsel. Those whom the Duke had gathered together

were not the whole baronage of Normandy. There were other wise and brave men in the Duchy, whose arms were as strong, and whose counsel would be as wise, as those of the chosen party to whom he spoke. Let the Duke call a larger meeting of all the barons of his Duchy, and lay his designs before them. The Duke hearkened to this advice, and he at once sent forth a summons for the gathering of a larger Assembly. This is the only time when we come across any details of the proceedings of a Norman Parliament. And we at once see how widely the political condition of Normandy differed from that of England. We see how much further England had advanced, or, more truly, how much further Normandy had gone back, in the path of political freedom. The Norman Assembly which assembled to discuss the war against England was a widely different body from the great Gemot which had voted for the restoration of Godwine. Godwine had made his speech before the King and all the people of the land. That people had met under the canopy of heaven, beneath the walls of the greatest city of the realm. But in William's Assembly we hear of none but Barons. The old Teutonic constitution had wholly died away from the memories of the descendants of the men who followed Rolf and Harold Blaatand. The immemorial democracy had passed away, and the later constitution of the mediaeval States had not yet arisen. There was no Third Estate, because the personal right of every freeman to attend had altogether vanished, while the idea of the representation of particular privileged towns had not yet been heard of. And, if the Third Order was wanting, the First Order was at least less prominent than it was in other lands. The wealth of the Church had been already pointed out as an important element in the Duke's ways and means, and both the wealth and the personal prowess

of the Norman clergy were, when the day came, freely placed at William's disposal. The peculiar tradition of Norman Assemblies, which shut out the clergy from all share in the national deliberations, seems now to have been relaxed. It is implied, rather than asserted, that the Bishops of Normandy were present in the Assembly which now met; but it is clear that the main stress of the debates fell on the lay Barons, and that the spirit of the Assembly was a spirit which was especially theirs. And, if the constitution of the Assembly differed widely from that of an English Gemot, the place of its meeting differed no less characteristically from the places of meeting most familiar to Englishmen. The law or custom of Eadward's reign had chosen three of the chief cities of England to be, each in turn, the place of meeting for English national assemblies. The Norman Assembly met in a ducal dwelling far away from any of the great cities of the duchy. It was gathered on a spot which had been a post of strength in far earlier times, and which, after ages of neglect, had been once more called into importance by William himself. The old Roman town of Juliobona stood at no great distance from the right bank of the Seine, and its representative, the modern Lillebonne, is familiar to travellers and students as among the spots in Northern Gaul which are most rich in antiquities of Roman date. Within the present century a Roman theatre has been brought to light, where the main arrangements of the building are still perfectly preserved. Its solid arches and vast masses of walls sell bear witness to that matchless skill

of the ancient conquerors in the constructive art of the builder which has made their works outlive those of so many later ages. So it has been at Lillebonne ; the works of the Roman Caesars have proved more lasting than the works of the Norman Dukes. Juliobona seems to have sunk into insignificance during the later days of Roman sway. It seems that, before the Imperial dominion had fully ceased, while the land was wasted alike by the Teutonic invasions and by the disputes of rival Emperors or Tyrants, the ancient buildings of the city had been largely destroyed of set purpose, in order to employ their materials in the construction of defences to shelter what was allowed to remain. Juliobona dwindled away, and the town makes no figure in history, until William called it again into being, as if expressly to become the scene of this memorable meeting. On a slight elevation alike above the modern town and above the old Roman relic, William had reared a fortress which has now given way, partly to the military reconstructions of later ages, partly to the sheer barbarism of times which are almost our own. The site was a noble one. The theatre below, if it was not already hidden, might have seemed to have been feebly copied by the hand of man from the glorious amphitheatre in which Lillebonne has been placed by the hand of nature. From the top of a lofty tower of later days the eye looks down on the theatre on one side, on the other side on the modern town, with the graceful spire of its church, a work of the latest days of mediaeval art. But the eye may almost pass by both to gaze on the wooded hills which, save at one point alone, shut in the view on every side. At that point, immediately above the Roman ruin, the hills, like the

walls of the theatre, leave a gap which opens a view of the Seine glistening in the distance, and of the higher hills of the land between the Seine and the Dive which form the distant horizon. But no portion of the work of the great Duke now remains on the noble site. His donjon has given way to a grand round tower of later times, and to a taller one of octagonal shape, whose shattered walls still rise as the loftiest point of town or fortress. These changes were doubtless due to the fair requirements of the military art of later ages. But William's noblest work has yielded to baser agents of destruction. Within his fortress, immediately above the theatre, as if to put the skill of his own age in direct rivalry with that of the old masters of the world, William had built a noble hall, every stone of which has been destroyed in utter wantoness, but of whose general look a faithful record has been preserved. Like most halls of that age and of the two ages which followed--like that noble episcopal hall at Angers which we may take as the best representative of the ducal hall at Lillebonne--a vaulted undercroft supported the hall itself. A lower range of doorways, above them a range of the small coupled windows of the age, marked the two stages, and produced the effect, at once rich and solid, so characteristic of the best works of Norman skill. Within that stately hall, divided, doubt, by ranges of pillars and arches which were then fresh from the hand of the craftsman, William now, as on more than one day, gathered together the wisdom and valour of his Duchy, to hear and to ponder the mighty scheme on which his heart was bent. Narrow as was the constitution of the Assembly, it showed, when it met, no lack either of political foresight or of parliamentary boldness. In a society so aristocratically

constituted as that of Normandy was, the nobles are in truth, in a political sense, the people, and we must expect to find in any gathering of nobles both the virtues and the vices of a real popular assembly. William had already consulted his Senate; he had now to bring his resolution, strengthened by their approval, before the body which came as neat as any body to Normandy could come to the character of an Assembly of the Norman people. The valiant gentlemen of Normandy, as wary as they were valiant, proved good keepers of the public purse, trusty guardians of what one knows not whether to call the rights of the nation or the privileges of their order. The Duke laid his case before them. He told once more the tale of his own rights and of the wrong which Harold had done him. He said that his own mind was to assert his rights by force of arms. He would faro enter England before the end of the year which had begun. But without their help he could do nothing. Of his own he had neither ships enough nor men enough for such an enterprise. He would not ask whether they would help him in such a cause. He took their zeal and loyalty for granted; he asked only how many ships, how many men, each of his hearers would bring as a free-will offering. A Norman assembly was not a body to be surprised into a hasty assent, even when the craft and the eloquence

of William was brought to bear upon it. The barons asked for time to think of their answer. They would debate among themselves, and they would let him know the conclusion to which they came. William was obliged to consent to this delay, and the Assembly broke up into knots, greater or smaller, each eagerly discussing the great question. Parties of fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, sixty, a hundred, gathered round this or that energetic speaker. Some professed their readiness to follow the Duke; others were in debt, and were too poor to venture on such hazards. Other speakers set forth the dangers and difficulties of the enterprise. Normandy could not conquer England; their fair and flourishing land would be ruined by the attempt. The conquest of England was an undertaking beyond the power of a Roman Emperor. Harold and his land were rich; he had wealth to take foreign Kings and Dukes into his pay; his own forces were in mere numbers such as Normandy could not hope to strive against. He had abundance of tried soldiers, and, above all, he had a mighty fleet, with crews skilled beyond other men

in all that belonged to the warfare of the sea. How could a fleet be raised, how could the sailors be gathered together, how could they be taught, within a year's space, to cope with such an enemy? The feeling of the Assembly was distinctly against so hopeless an enterprise as the invasion of England. It seemed as if the hopes and schemes of William were about to be shattered in their beginning through the opposition of his own subjects. A daring, though cunning, attempt was now made by William FitzOsbern, the Duke's nearest personal friend, to cajole the Assembly into an assent to his master's will. He appealed to their sense of feudal honour; they owed the Duke service for their fiefs; let them come forward and do with a good heart all, and more than all, that their tenure of their fiefs bound them to. Let not their sovereign be driven to implore the services of his subjects. Let them rather forestall his will; let them win his favour by ready offerings even beyond their power to fulfill. He enlarged on the character of the lord with whom they had to deal. William's jealous temper would not brook disappointment at their hands. It would be the worse for them in the end, if the Duke should ever have to say that he had failed in his undertaking because they had failed in readiness to support him. The language of William Fitz-Osbern seems to have startled and perplexed even the stout hearts with whom

he had to deal. The Barons prayed him to be their spokesman with the Duke. He knew their minds and could speak for them all, and they would be bound by what he said. But they gave him no direct commission to bind them to any consent to the Duke's demand. Their words indeed tended ominously the other way; they feared the sea--so changed was the race which had once manned the ships of Rolf and Harold Blaatand--and they were not bound to serve beyond it. A point seemed to have been gained when the Assembly seemed to have given leave to the Duke's chosen friend to speak as he would in the name of the whole baronage. William Fitz-Osbern now spoke to the Duke. He began in a tone of almost cringing loyalty, setting forth how great was the zeal and love of the Normans for their prince, and how there was no danger which they would not willingly undergo in his service. But the orator soon overshot his mark. He promised, in the name of the whole Assembly, that every man would not only cross the sea with the Duke, but would bring with him double the contingent to which his holding bound him. The lord of twenty knights' fees would serve him with forty knights, and the lord of a hundred with two hundred. He himself, of his love and zeal, would furnish

sixty ships, well equipped, and filled with fighting men. The barons now felt themselves taken in a snare. They were in nearly the same case as the King against whom they were called on to march. They had indeed promised; they had commissioned William Fttz-Osbern to speak in their names. But their commission had been stretched beyond all reasonable construction; their spokesman had pledged them to engagements which had never entered into their minds. Loud shouts of dissent rose through the hall. The mention of serving with double the regular contingent awakened special indignation. With a true parliamentary instinct, the Norman barons feared lest a consent to this demand should be drawn into a precedent, and lest their fiefs should be for ever burthened with this double service. The shouts grew louder; the whole hall was in confusion; no speaker could be heard; no man would hearken to reason or give a reason for himself. The rash speech of William Fitz-Osbern had thus destroyed all hope of a regular parliamentary consent on the part of the Assembly. But it is possible that the Duke gained in the end by the hazardous experiment

of his Seneschal. It is even possible that the manoeuvre may have been planned beforehand between him and his master. It was not likely that any persuasion could have brought the Assembly as a body to agree to the lavish offer of volunteer service which was put into its mouth by William Fitz-Osbern. There was no hope of carrying any such vote on a formal division. But the confusion which followed the speech of the Seneschal hindered any formal division from being taken. The Assembly, in short, as an assembly, was broken up. The fagot was unloosed, and the sticks could now be broken one by one. The baronage of Normandy had lost all the strength of union; they were brought, one by one, within the reach of the personal fascinations of their sovereign. William spoke to each man apart; he employed all his arts on minds which, when no longer strengthened by the sympathy of a crowd, could not refuse anything that he asked. He pledged himself that the doubling of their services should not become a precedent; no man's fief should be burthened with any charge beyond what it had borne from time immemorial. Men thus personally appealed to, brought in this way within the magic sphere of princely influence, were no longer slack to promise, and having once promised, they were not slack to fulfil. William had more than gained his point. If he had not gained the formal sanction of the Norman baronage to his expedition, he had won over each Norman baron by himself to serve him as a volunteer. And, wary as ever, William took heed that no man who had promised should

draw back from his promise. His scribes and clerks were at hand, and the number of ships and soldiers promised by each baron was at once set down in a book. A Domesday of the conquerors was in short drawn up in the ducal hall at Lillebonne, a forerunner of the great Domesday of the conquered, which, twenty years later, was brought to King William of England in his royal palace at Winchester.

William's Alliance with Tostig

William had thus, by a characteristic effort of his craft, won over his own Duchy to support him in his enterprise. He had now to seek for allies beyond his own borders. And, first and foremost, it concerned him to know whether he could look for any support in the land to whose dominion he aspired. There is not a shadow of evidence to show that William had a single native partizan within the four seas of Britain. He may have carried on intrigues with the Normans whom Harold had allowed to remain in England. But even on this head we have no distinct evidence. A single notice some months later seems to show that, even at the time of William's landing, the Normans in England, however eagerly they may have wished for his success, looked on his enterprise as hopeless. But it is certain that one, perhaps two, native

Englishmen were zealous on William's behalf. At what stage of his negotiations we know not, but seemingly early in the year, one Englishman at least came to William's court, to stir him up to war against England and to offer his own services for the cause. But that Englishman was no discontented noble at Harold's court, no leader of a powerful faction within his realm. He was an exile, buoyed up by an exile's proverbially desperate hopes. The first foreign volunteer who answered to William's summons was Tostig the son of Godwine. In the banished brother of the English King William found an ally willing to help him in all his schemes, an ally far more impetuous than himself, far more eager to strike a blow at once and at all hazards. The fallen Earl of the Northumbrians had sunk from bad to worse. He had now thrown off every feeling of an Englishman and a brother of the English King. He had once perhaps dreamed of the kingdom for himself; he now found himself shut out from all hopes of his Earldom, or indeed of restoration of any shape. Harold, as Earl, at the Northhampton conference, had done all that he could do for his brother; but he had agreed to the sentence of outlawry which the national voice had called for, and he had not as King done anything to recall Tostig to his country. In fact the restoration of Tostig was in every way impossible. He had shown his thorough unfitness to rule, and it is absurd to think that he would have been satisfied to sit down and live peaceably in England as a private man. Harold could have had neither the will nor the power to break the Oxford compact, to dispossess Morkere of the Earldom which had been so solemnly confirmed to him, and to set his brother to rule once more over the unwilling people of Northumberland. Nor could he be asked to depose in favour of a pardoned outlaw either of his two

loyal brothers who ruled in Kent and in East-Anglia. Nor could Tostig reasonably hope that Harold would put him in a still closer relation to himself by restoring the West-Saxon Earldom in his favour. In short, no banished man ever seemed doomed to a more hopeless banishment. It is not wonderful then that the heart of Tostig was turned to an exceeding bitterness against the country which had cast him out, and against the brother who had refused to sacrifice the public weal to his interests. If he still kept the consciousness of originally right intentions, such a consciousness would only add fuel to the fire. It is quite possible that the murderer of Gamel and Ulf may have looked on himself as a martyr to the cause of good order among the barbarous Northumbrians. At all events, he looked on himself as set free from all ties either to his brother or to his country. An attempt at an armed return on the part of Tostig was no more than was to be looked for. It was what any banished man of that age was sure to attempt, if he could only gather the needful force in any quarter. Osgod Clapa, Godwine, Aelfgar, Harold himself, had all set him the example. The practice was so common that it could hardly be looked upon as specially blameworthy. If we blame Harold severely for the slaughter at Porlock, it is really because he pays the penalty of his greatness, because we cannot help fudging him by a severer standard than that by which we judge smaller men. But there are very marked degrees in a course which, however usual at the time, must be set down as being in every case contrary to ideal loyalty and patriotism. The case of Godwine needs no defence; it is covered by the general right of insurrection against mis-government. If Godwine came to restore himself, he came also to deliver England. Harold, like Osgod Clapa, tried to effect his return by the help of mercenaries hired in a foreign land.

But he did not ally himself with any enemies of the King or Kingdom. Aelfgar, on his first banishment, went a step further by leaguing himself with a rebellious vassal, if not within the Kingdom of England, at least within the Empire of Britain. On the occasion of his second banishment, he did not scruple to employ the help of a fleet of Wikings, who must have been cruising on the shores of England with no friendly intent. All these are steps in a downward scale. But neither Osgod nor Harold nor Aelfgar sank to the wickedness of roaming over the world in search of any foreign prince who would restore him by force, even at the expense of the utter subjugation of England. Tostig alone did not stick at this depth of treason. He stands before us as acting more distinctly as the enemy of his country than any Englishman whom we have come across since the days of Aelfric and Eadric. Tostig, we have seen, on his banishment from England, took refuge with his brother-in-law Count Baldwin, and spent the winter at his Court. But, early in the next year, perhaps not very long after the election of Harold, most likely as soon as the news of the messages which passed between William and Harold had found its way to Bruges, Tostig was at the Court of William, urging him to the invasion of England. He eagerly asked the Duke how he could suffer the perjurer to reign, and promised his own vigorous help in promoting all his plans. It would seem that he reached Normandy before the Assembly at Lillebonne, and it is even implied that the exhortations of Tostig

were among the inducements which led William to summon that Assembly. But Tostig's exhortations could have been only a very secondary inducement, serving at most to strengthen and hasten a resolution which William had already formed. It would be an insult to William to suppose that he really needed Tostig as a counsellor. The relations between the two men are perfectly easy to understand; the small man was likely to be useful as a momentary tool in the hands of the great man. Though Tostig left his wife at the court of her brother, the family connexion between Judith and Matilda would secure him a brotherly reception at the court of Rouen; indeed we are told that, on the strength of that connexion, Tostig and William had long been intimate friends. And now each of the two friends was in a position to be useful to the other. Tostig, driven from England, was in search of foreign help, and the court of Normandy was the natural place for him to seek for it in the first instance. As soon as he knew of William's designs on the English Crown, he would hail in him the very man for his purpose. And the prince who already planned the invasion of England would rejoice at an alliance with the banished and hostile brother of the English King. Tostig had doubtless, after the manner of exiles, persuaded himself that all England was ready to welcome, not only himself, but any stranger who might appear under the pretext of restoring him. William was too wise to believe tales of this kind, but he might well look on Tostig as likely to prove an useful tool, as one whose incursions might serve to harass the King of the English, and to draw off his attention from the main danger. Tostig's impetuous temper would naturally call for earlier and more effective support

than the prudence of William would be inclined to give, or indeed than, at that early stage of his preparations, he was able to give. It was undesirable utterly to thwart Tostig, or to make an enemy of him; it was perhaps becoming desirable to get rid of him. He was therefore allowed to make an incursion on the English coasts. At his own risk, but with the Duke's sanction, he set sail from the Cotentin in May at the head of such a naval force as he could get together. This force would doubtless consist of Flemish and Norman mercenaries and volunteers. The Norman account tells us that King Harold's fleet was so vigorously on the alert that Tostig was unable to land in England, while contrary winds hindered his return to Normandy. We know however that he did land in England, and that he did a good deal in the way of ravaging. But, from this point, the career of Tostig and that of William become altogether distinct, and the story of Tostig's later doings will join itself to another thread of my narrative. Tostig most likely chafed under the restraints of William's prudence; perhaps he thought himself forsaken, or even betrayed, by an ally whose support was so slowly and grudgingly given. It is certain that he soon threw up his alliance with the Norman Duke, and sought for more ready aid elsewhere.

William's Negotiations with Foreign Powers

The alliance with Tostig was a mere episode. The banished Earl could be useful only so far as he was likely to make a diversion of which William might take advantage. The Duke's serious business lay on the continent. He invited soldiers from every quarter; the spoils of England were promised as their reward, and that promise brought abundance of volunteers from all parts of Gaul, from the royal domains, from Britanny, from Poitou and Aquitaine, and from the more distant land of Burgundy. Some accounts even bring men to William's muster from the Norman colonies in Southern Italy. The presence of large bodies of these mercenaries or volunteers from all parts of Romance-speaking Europe is an undoubted fact, and it is one which it is most important to bear in mind. There can be no greater mistake than to look on William's invasion as purely a national Norman undertaking, or on his army as consisting wholly of native Normans. We have just seen that it was only as volunteers that William's own subjects followed him, and as volunteers men of any nation who chose to join him followed him equally. But it is a speaking witness, alike to William's personal capacity for rule and to the inherent superiority of the Norman national character, that all this mixed multitude

received a thoroughly Norman Iimpress. The spoils of England were offered to all who would come, and from a large part of Europe men flocked eagerly to share them. But the head and the heart of the whole enterprise was Norman. The leaders of the enterprise, the Duke himself and most of the chief commanders, were Norman. A few princes or men of princely houses, like Eustace of Boulogne and Alan of Britanny, commanded their contingents in person. But the mass of the foreigners were mere adventurers, and we shall find that, when the day of battle came, they served under Norman commanders. We are indeed told that men came from all lands, not only for the sake of plunder, but to maintain the righteous cause of William. It is likely enough that, when the Papal approval was once given to the enterprise, men pressed, as they did in after years to the Crusade, to atone for past acts of robbery and slaughter by renewing them with the Church's blessing. But all that redeemed William's enterprise from being an enterprise of mere brigandage came from the presence of his own subjects. The instinct of mankind is right, after all, in looking on the Conquest as a Norman Conquest. It was the native Normans who were really foremost in the strife, and it was the native Normans who took the firmest root in the conquered land. William's true strength lay, after all, in the gallant men who could at least boast of the comparatively ennobling motive that they were supporting their native sovereign in the pursuit of his fancied rights. The share then, in point of numbers a very important share, taken in the expedition by foreign adventurers is beyond all doubt. But the negotiations between William and the

neighbouring potentates are involved in no small obscurity and contradiction. It was William's manifest interest to obtain, if not the active alliance, at any rate the neutrality, of all his neighbours. It was needful for his ends to feel as secure as he could make himself that no French or Angevin or Breton invasion of Normandy would take place during his absence. It was also an important secondary object to obtain from the neighbouring princes full leave for their subjects to take a share in the enterprise. For these objects he sent embassies as far as Germany and Denmark. The great Emperor Henry the Third had been, as I need hardly repeat, the constant ally of England. But he had now been dead ten years, and the childhood and youth of his son, the young King Henry, was a time of distress and confusion for the Teutonic Kingdom. The minority of Henry had been, in many points, a repetition of the minority of William. But there was one marked difference between the German and the Norman period of chaos. William had been constantly exposed to the attacks of traitors, and of foreign enemies who sought to deprive him of his coronet and his life. Henry had not as yet had to feat either foreign invaders or homebred rebels; he was simply passed from hand to hand by several ambitious men who sought to reign in his name. And it is an instructive mark of the difference between the political systems of Germany and Normandy that the men who sought to rule in Henry's name were almost wholly the great spiritual princes of the Empire. While still a child, he had been, by a mixture of craft and violence, carried off from the care of his mother to that of Hanno Archbishop of Koln, and from the hands of Hanno he had passed into those of another princely churchman, the famous Adalbert

of Bremen. . The young King was now perhaps just beginning in some degree to exercise a will of his own. He had, in the course of the last year, been girded with the sword of knighthood; and this very year had witnessed the fall of Adalbert and the partial restoration of the power of Hanno. But, full as the German writers are as to the reign of Henry the Third and the minority of Henry the Fourth, they tell us nothing whatever as to any relations between the Empire and Normandy. William is not spoken of by them till after he had won the Crown of England. From Norman sources we seem to hear both of an alliance with the great Emperor himself and of a later alliance entered into during his son's minority. Such an alliance in the Emperor's lifetime, ten years back or more, need not have been in any way directed against England.

And an alliance with Normandy during the earliest years of King Henry, while he was still under his mother's guardianship, might seem no unlikely object of his mother's policy. The Empress Agnes, it must be remembered, was a member of that house of Poitiers which had suffered so deeply at the hand of Geoffrey of Anjou, and she might very naturally seek to maintain or to renew a connexion with a power which was the strongest enemy of the enemy of her own family. But, at the time which we have now reached, the power of Agnes had wholly passed away; alliance with Normandy moreover now meant hostility to England; and it is utterly impossible to see what interest either the young King or his successive archiepiscopal advisers could have in supporting the claims of William against the claims of Harold. Our Norman informant however describes Henry as, in high-sounding but somewhat vague terms, committing his kingdom to an active support to the Norman side. This again, strange as it sounds, can hardly be sheer invention, though we instinctively suspect exaggeration in no small degree. It may be enough if we suppose that Henry or his counsellors agreed to put no hindrance in the way of such subjects of the Empire as might choose to join the Norman standard as volunteers. The negotiations with Swegen of Denmark again rest wholly on Norman authority. We are told that the Danish King promised help to William, which promise he was so far from keeping that he sent a large body of troops to the support of Harold. With this latter statement

I shall deal in its proper place. As for negotiations between William and Swegen, they are perfectly possible. But it is hard to see what interest Swegen could have had in supporting William. Swegen was the cousin of Harold, and, though Godwine had withstood his claims on the English Crown, alliance with him as King of the Danes had always formed part of the Earl's Policy. If Swegen at this time cherished any hopes of the English Crown, the succession of William stood far more directly in the way of those hopes than the succession of Harold. Nothing could be a more complete hindrance to any schemes of Swegen's than the transfer of the Crown to a wholly alien invader. On the other hand, his chances were distinctly bettered by the transfer of the Crown to a dynasty of which he might almost count as a member. If then Swegen had really had any mind to meddle in English affairs, we may be sure that his help would have been given to the side of Harold and not to the side of William. But it is far more likely that the wariest prince in Europe promised neutrality and kept it. Even the negotiations of William with princes much nearer home are wrapped up in no slight darkness. One manifest object was to insure the safety of his frontier in the direction of Paris. William's close connexion with Baldwin of Flanders, and the guardianship exercised by Baldwin over the young King Philip, might seem enough to make matters tolerably safe on that side. If Baldwin's affinity with William did not absolutely secure the help both of France and Flanders, it would at any rate, it might be thought, secure Normandy against all fear of attack from either quarter while her sovereign was engaged in his great enterprise. But, in the only account that we have, Baldwin is not introduced as acting

at all in his character of guardian. William goes as his own ambassador to King Philip. The two princes meet at the great Abbey of Saint Germer in the district of Beauvais, a spot within the royal dominions, but only a few miles from the border Norman town of Gourriay. ' William asks for his overlord's help in his enterprise, and offers, in return for such help, to hold England, no less than Normandy, as a fief of the French Crown. Philip consults his nobles, who argue, naturally enough, that nothing can be more dangerous to the French Kingdom than any increase of the strength of the Norman Duchy. The offer to hold England in fief does not blind them; William's vassalage for England will be still more nominal than his vassalage for Normandy. The answer given is therefore unfavourable; and William leaves the presence of his overlord with very high words on his lips. Whether this story be literally true or not, it shows how familiar to men's minds the notion of Commendation, even on the greatest scale, still was. It shows how little of indignity attached to the vassal's position, and of how little practical value was the oath of homage. We are presently told that Philip in no way promoted William's object, but that he rather did all that he

could to hinder it. Instead of any distinct account of William's negotiations with his father-inlaw, we get only an unintelligible romance. But the practical issue of both the French and the Flemish negotiations seems plain. Neither Philip nor Baldwin, in their character as sovereigns, gave William any help. It is even likely that Philip, so far as he either had a will of his own or was guided by French counsellors, discouraged William's enterprise rather than promoted it. But abundance of volunteers from both France and Flanders took service in William's army. The Flemings, above all, the countrymen of Matilda, pressed eagerly to his standard, and they formed an important element in the Conquest and in the settlement which followed it. Matilda's son Gerbod, Gilbert of Ghent, and Walter of Flanders, are all names which are found among the conquerors of England, and those of Gerbod and Gilbert will again appear in our history. In the region intermediate between Normandy and Flanders, the cause of William was eagerly taken up by Count Eustace of Boulogne, the brother-in-law of King Eadward. He had, of all men, wrongs, as he would deem them, to avenge on Harold and on England. The chastisement which Godwine had refused to work on the insolent burghers of Dover might now at last be wrought on them

and on their whole race, with the usurping son of the old traitor at their head. Eustace probably needed no invitation to take his share in the enterprise. He came himself, and he led others to follow the same course. An incidental notice of one of his followers throws some light on the class of men who flocked to William's banners, and on the rewards which they received. One Geoffrey, an officer of the Abbey of Saint Bertin at Saint Omer, who had the charge of its possessions in the County of Guisnes, sent his sons Arnold and Geoffrey to the war. A daily pay and many gifts from the Duke were their immediate reward, and in the end they received a grant of lands both in Essex and in the border shires of Mercia and East-Anglia, under the superiority of their patron Count Eustace. But the country from which, next to his own Duchy, William drew most support in his enterprise, was undoubtedly the neighbouring, the nominally vassal, land of Britanny. When we remember the internal dissensions of that country, and the way in which a party among the Bretons had supported William against their own sovereign, this is in no way wonderful. And, though loyalty to a Norman over-lord is not likely to have counted for much, another motive may well have worked to fill the Norman host with Breton recruits. The Celtic race has a long memory, and the prospect of waging war in the insular Britain against the Saxon intruder may not have been without charms for the descendants of the Armorican exiles. Certain it is that the Breton auxiliaries, under Alan Eergant, a cousin of the reigning Count Conan, one of the many sons of his uncle Odo, played an important

part in the conquest of England. Even Dinan, so lately besieged by William, now sent its lord to swell William's muster. Helpers came also from more southern regions; Haimer,Viscount of Thouars in the land of Poitou, came at the head of his force, and, as we shall hereafter see, was admitted to William's most intimate counsels. Angevin auxiliaries we should have been less ready to look for; but they too are found in our lists. We find also a warrior from the marchland of Tours and Blois, Geoffrey of Chaumont, a homager of Count Stephen of Chartres. He, as we read in the annals of his house, gave up all his fiefs to Sulpicius of Amboise, the husband of his niece, and himself went forth to win new fortunes in England. Yet one would have thought that the state of that part of Gaul would just now have afforded scope enough for the energies of the most warlike. The two successors of Geoffrey Martel, Geoffrey the Bearded and our historian Eulk Rechin, were now engaged in a war of brother against brother. It was in this very year

that the city of Angers was betrayed to Eulk, and that Count Geoffrey was led away as a captive to Chinon, the fortress overhanging the Vienne, the fortress so famous in the days when Counts of Anjou were also Kings of England, and so famous again when Capetian royalty, banished from its own Paris, found shelter in the lands which had once been Angevin. In this same year too Conan of Britanny met with his death, and met it, as some said, by the wiles of William. Strange to say, this suspicion reaches us only from the Norman side. Other authorities, Breton and Angevin, speak only of a war which Conan waged against Anjou, and in which, by whatever means, he lost his life. It is a Norman writer who tells us how, when William was preparing for the invasion of England, Conan sent to wish him good luck in his enterprise, but at the same time to demand the cession of Normandy to himself. He, Conan, was the lawful heir of the Duchy; the Bastard could have no right; the Bastard too, with his accomplices, had poisoned Conan's father Alan, and had, up to that day, usurped the possession of a land which should have been his. If Normandy was not at once given up to its lawful prince, Conan would at once assert his rights with his whole force. William, we are told, was somewhat frightened, but God delivered him out of his danger. There was a Breton noble, a chamberlain of Conan, who had sworn fealty to William and to Conan alike, and who had borne the message to William as Conan's ambassador. He undertook

at whose bidding or from what motive we are not told--to rid the world of his Breton master. He smeared the gloves, the bridle, and the hunting-horn of Conan with poison. The Count was engaged in his Angevin campaign, and was besieging the fortress of Chateau Gontier, not far from the Cenomannian border. The defenders had capitulated, and Conan seems to have been in the very act of making his triumphal entry into the town. The Count put on his gloves, he grasped the bridle, and unwittingly raised his hand to his mouth. The poison took effect, and before long Conan was a corpse. The Duke was now at leisure to give his whole mind to the expedition against England. If such a tale as this was current, it is not wonderful that rumour went on to charge William with having plotted a crime by which he so greatly gained. As to the likelihood of the case, I might almost repeat what I have already said when the same charge was brought against William in the matter of Walter and Biota. The whole tale, from the threat of Conan onwards, reads like a romance. Did we find it in a hostile Breton or Angevin writer, we should at once set it down as an invention of hostile spite. And does the romance really gain any further authority, because it has found its way into a Norman chronicle? The silence of the hostile writers surely tells more on the other side. Conan, it seems plain, died suddenly during his Angevin expedition; it was easy to attribute the deed to William; it was no less easy to deck out the story with romantic details. That William was a secret poisoner I, for one, do not believe; but an English writer can hardly avoid the remembrance that, while the deaths of Walter and Conan were laid to the charge of William, perhaps in the eleventh,

certainly in the twelfth century, it was reserved for the nineteenth century to lay the death of the Aetheling Eadward to the charge of Harold. The exact order of all these events it is hopeless to try to fix, and it is equally hopeless to try to fix their relations to the great embassy at all. Negotiations with Counts and Kings were, in the age which was just opening, of less moment than negotiations with the Apostolic throne. And indeed it marks a distinct epoch in the history of European politics, when; for the first time, the occupant of the Apostolic throne was called on to adjudge a disputed diadem. The reigning Pontiff was Anselm of Lucca, who, under the title of Alexander the Second, had succeeded Nicolas; and, after a violent struggle with the Anti-pope Cadalous of Parma, he was now in full possession of the Holy See. But the ruling genius of the Papacy was already the Archdeacon Hildebrand. He it was who saw how much the Roman Church might gain by lending its name to the cause of William. The ambassador of William, Gilbert, Archdeacon of Lisieux,

came and pleaded his master's cause. He told the tale which had been so often told before, the rights of William, the usurpation and perjury of Harold, the despite done by him to the holy relics. William craved the blessing of the Holy See upon his righteous cause; he offered, we are told, but in vague and ambiguous language, to hold of God and of the Apostle the kingdom which he hoped to win. The cause was debated in the Conclave, but it was debated after the hearing of one side only. No advocate of England appeared at the bar of Alexander to defend the right of Harold to the Crown which England had given him. It is needless to seek for the English King's reasons for not appearing to answer the accusation of William. It was enough that, however ready Harold, as a loyal son of the Church, might be to seek spiritual benefits at the threshold of the Apostles, he could not, as a King of the English, allow that any power to give or take away the English Crown was vested anywhere save in the national Assembly of the English people. To plead before Alexander would have been to recognize his jurisdiction; it would have been to acknowledge that the Emperor of Britain had a superior upon earth. But, before we ask why Harold did not appear, we might perhaps ask whether he was ever summoned to appear, and whether the Roman judgement was not pronounced without so much as an opportunity for defence being allowed to the accused. No writer speaks of any summons as being sent to the English King; one writer alone hints at the possibility of any hearing

of the defence. But the cause of right did not lack advocates even in the Roman Conclave. When Hildebrand dwelt on the benefits which the Church would gain by accepting the jurisdiction thus laid at its feet, many of the Cardinals cast aside his arguments with horror. It was not for the Church to become a partaker in deeds of brood, and to sanction claims which could be enforced only by the slaughter of so many men. But in the end the worse reason prevailed. Even in ordinary times, it would have been no more than sound policy to welcome, as far as might be, the advances of a prince like William, who, pious as he might be, had not always shown himself the obedient servant of Rome. His uncanonical marriage, and one or two other exercises of independence on William's part, would not be forgotten. But, far above all these

lesser questions, Rome was already beginning to practise her characteristic arts under their greatest master. Slaughter, robbery, devastation, all the horrors of an unprovoked war against an unoffending nation, were to be held as nothing when the interest of the Roman See was in the other scale. Never before had such an opportunity been offered to the successor of the Fisherman. It was not merely to win greater authority over a single island. The appeal of William to the papal court created a precedent by which the papal court might claim the disposal of all the crowns in Christendom. The voice of Hildebrand conquered. The decree went forth which declared Harold to be an usurper and William to be the lawful claimant of the English Crown. It would even seem that it declared the English King and all his followers to be cut off from the communion of the faithful. William was sent forth as an avenger, to chastise the wrong and perjury of his faithless vassal. But he was also sent forth as a missionary, to guide the erring English into the true path, to teach them due obedience to Christ's Vicar, and to secure a more punctual payment of the temporal dues of his Apostle. The cause of the invasion was blessed, and precious gifts were sent as the outward signs of the blessing. A costly ring was sent containing a relic holier, it may be, than any on which

Harold had sworn, a hair of the Prince of the Apostles. And with the ring came a consecrated banner, to hallow the cause of fraud and usurpation. Every help that the religious arts of the age could give was bestowed on the man who craved a blessing on the removal of his neighbour's landmark. Every terror that those religious arts kept in store for the blasphemer and the heretic was hurled against the King whose axe was lifted only to defend his own rights and the rights of his people. The name had not yet been heard; but in truth it was now that the first Crusade was preached, and it was preached by the voice of Rome against the liberties of England. The diplomacy of William and Lanfranc had thus completely triumphed. The great fabric of deception by which their subtle wits had cheated both themselves and others was now brought to perfection. The cause of William was accepted by the voice of his own Duchy; it was accepted by the public voice of Europe; it was hallowed by the judgement of the common father of Christendom. At whatever stage in William's negotiations the final answer from Alexander came, there can be no doubt that, from that moment, his own preparations were more vigorously pressed on, and that recruits pressed more eagerly to his standard. His own hopes and the hopes of his followers now rose higher. It was now not only booty

and lands and lordships, English earldoms for Norman Knights and English bishopricks for Norman priests, that William could offer to those who followed him. To every man, from whatever quarter of the earth, who came to serve under the consecrated banner he could now offer the blessing of the Roman Pontiff and every spiritual gift that the Pontiff's hand could bestow. Never surely did the world see a more perfect triumph of unrighteous craft than when the invasion of England was undertaken in the name of religion. The first part then of William's work was done. We must now return to our own island, threatened as she was by the Norman Duke from the South, threatened, as we shall presently see her, by an enemy hardly less terrible from the quarter whence her older enemies had come. It was the fate of England in this memorable year to be exposed to two invasions at the same moment, and against two invasions at the same moment the heart and arm of Harold himself could not prevail.

The Norwegian Invasion
and the Campaign of Stamfordbridge

The clouds were thus gathering in the direction of Normandy, but it was not from Normandy that the first storm was to break upon England. Or rather it was Normandy which sent forth those first few drops which were the forerunners of the tempest to come. The first drop of English blood that was shed, the first rood of English ground that was harried, during this memorable year, was the work of men, not indeed fighting under William's banner, but acting at least with William's connivance, perhaps under his direct commission. But that first scene of the drama was the mere prelude to two acts as stirring and wonderful as any to be found in the whole range of history. Of the two enemies of England, the first was last and the last was first, and the more haste was emphatically not the better speed. The fortune of William changed a mighty rival into an useful pioneer, and changed an invasion which might have destroyed him into a mere

diversion in his favour. While the wary Norman was, as ever, biding his time, another more impetuous enemy was to make his venture and to fail in it. Before we come to the fall of Harold of England, we have yet to see him raised to the highest pitch of his glory. Before we tell of the voyage of William and of the campaign of Hastings, we have to tell of the voyage of Harold Hardrada and of the campaign of Stamfordbridge.

The First Expedition of Tostig
May 1066

We left King Harold of England undisputed master of his whole kingdom. He had won over the malecontents of Northumberland; he had held his Easter feast and Gemot at Westminster; and the hearts of England and of the world had been stirred and affrighted by the awful token which shone over them in the heavens. It was about the beginning of May, perhaps before the warning star had ceased blazing, that the misfortunes of this terrible year began. The first blow came from the traitor Tostig. He came from beyond seathat is, as we have seen, from Normandy with the license of William and, at the head of his ships manned with Flemish or Norman adventurers, he sailed first to the Isle of Wight. The inhabitants, willingly or unwillingly--the latter is far more likely--supplied him with money and provisions. He then sailed along the

South-Saxon and Kentish coast, the coast along which, fourteen years before, he had sailed with his father in his glorious return. He thus passed on as far as Sandwich, marking his course, wherever he went, by ceaseless and wanton ravage; he did harm everywhere that he might. But King Harold was now making ready for the great struggle. No view of his position can be more false than that which describes him as making light of the danger from Normandy, and as making no preparation for defence except with a view to the expected invasion from Norway. The truth is exactly opposite. The King was busily engaged in preparations for the defence of his kingdom against the Norman before there was any reason to look forward to any sort of danger from the Northman. To Harold at least his great rival's purpose was known from the beginning. He was already, as his panegyrist tells us, labouring by land and by sea for the defence of his country. He was gathering such a land-force and such a sea-force as no King had ever before gathered in this land. He was still in London--that is doubtless at Westminster--when he heard

the news of his brother's appearance at Sandwich. He therefore hastened his preparations, and leaving London, most Ilkley under the command of Leofwine, as Earl of the neighbouring shires, he himself hastened to Sandwich. But before the King reached Sandwich, Tostig had sailed from thence, taking with him a body of the sailors of that haven, some by their own consent and some by force. It is only among professional sailors, who might be tempted by promises of pay and plunder, that the rebel Earl seems to have found any English followers. The cruise of Tostig along these shores must have struck him as a sad contrast to those days of hope when the whole folk of the sea-faring shire came flocking to the coast ready to live and die with Earl Godwine. With his force thus raised to sixty ships, Tostig sailed northwards; he then entered the Humber and ravaged the coast of Lindesey in the Earldom of his enemy Eadwine. Here he acted like Swegen himself, or like the earlier destroyers in the days of Aelfred. He burned towns and slew many good men. The two Northern Earls were this time not wanting to their duty. Indeed their interest and their duty were too nearly the same to allow of any slackness. They had no chance of finding their own profit in treason, like the traitors of an earlier time. Eadwine and Morkere hastened to the suffering districts with the levies of the country, and drove away Tostig and his plunderers. The sailors who had followed him,

willingly and unwillingly, from Sandwich, now forsook him. The one class saw no further chance of pay or plunder; the others were doubtless glad of the means of escape from a service which they disliked. Tostig, with twelve small vessels, now sailed for Scotland and sought shelter with his sworn brother King Malcolm. The tie of brotherhood had not saved Northumberland from ravage while Tostig was still doing his duty as an English Earl; but his new character of an enemy to his country now earned him a hearty welcome at the Scottish court. Malcolm received his brother, and supplied his force with provisions; and Tostig stayed under his protection through the whole summer.

Tostig's applications to Swegen and Harold Hardrada

We have now reached a most fascinating, and at the same time a most difficult, part of our story. We are landed in the famous and magnificent Saga of Harold Hardtada. The tale, as it appears in Norwegian legendary history, is so complete, and it is told with such thoroughly poetic spirit, that it goes deeply against the grain to have even to hint that nearly every detail must be mythical. It is painful to have to turn from the glowing strains of the Norwegian prose epic to the meagre entries of our own Chronicles, and to pronounce that all that is not distinctly confirmed by English testimony is, to say the least, untrustworthy. A void is left which history cannot fill, and which it is forbidden to the historian to fill up from

the resources of his own imagination. My only course will be to follow the story in the Saga, so far as it is recommended either by intrinsic probability or by its agreement with our own annals, and at the same time to point out those particulars in which authentic evidence shows that the details must be fabulous. The renowned Norwegian King was just now enjoying, or, what to his mind it more likely seemed, suffering under, an unusual state of quiet. The greater part of his reign had been spent in a constant struggle with Swegen of Denmark. The details of their warfare do not concern English history. Yet an English historian must feel a certain satisfaction in recording the gallantry and perseverance with which a man so closely connected with England as Swegen was had, for a long series of years, withstood, and at last successfully withstood, so formidable an enemy. Two years earlier than the time which we have now reached, a peace had been made between the two Kings on perfectly equal terms. Now the war had been wholly defensive on the part of Swegen, while Harold had been seeking to annex Denmark to his own dominions. It was therefore a distinct triumph on the part of the prudent Danish King, when Harold acknowledged his title and engaged to cease from all further attacks on his kingdom. Harold thus had his hands free; disputes with his own subjects, arising out of the harshness of his government, were constantly happening, but they did not seriously weaken his power. The whole force of Norway, under the most valiant and adventurous of her Kings, a force practised rather than weakened by the long war with Denmark, stood ready for some new undertaking, and such an undertaking was before long set before the Norwegian King by the banished English Earl.

That Harold Hardrada invaded England in partnership with Tostig is certain; but the circumstances of their agreement are involved in much difficulty and contradiction. The authentic English narrative says nothing of any personal application to Harold on the part of Tostig before they met on the Scottish coast. And it is by no means easy to make the alleged voyages of Tostig to Denmark and Norway fit in with the English chronology. Indeed the English account might rather suggest that Harold Hardrada had planned his invasion of England quite independently of Tostig, and that the meeting of their forces happened quite incidentally, after the Norwegian King had already set sail. On the other hand, the voyage of Tostig to Norway is asserted in the Norman version, and it is the very soul of the Norwegian Saga. It is perhaps not absolutely impossible to reconcile Tostig's voyage with the English narrative, but it can be done only by wholly giving up the chronology, and perhaps some other details, of the Saga. The English account at least shows that, if Tostig made any application to Harold at all, it must have been made after he had taken shelter in Scotland, and it would suggest that it was made by messengers rather than personally. With these cautions, I tell the tale as I find it in the Saga, warning the reader that I do not pledge myself to a single detail. The Norwegian story makes Tostig, on his banishment, which, it must be remembered, is placed after his brother's election to the Kingdom, take the course so familiar to banished Englishmen a few years earlier. He goes first to Flanders, and thence to Denmark, by way of Friesland. His object was to get help from his cousin King Swegen to

enable him to recover his earldom. The prudent King offered him an earldom in Denmark instead. For this Tostig had no mind; he wished to recover Northumberland at all hazards. If Swegen would not give him forces for that purpose, he was ready to go a step further. He proposed to Swegen to revive his old claim to the Crown of England, and to undertake the conquest of the country. He, Tostig, would help him in such an enterprise with all the force that he could command. Swegen could not fail to succeed in an attempt which had been so successfully accomplished by his uncle Cnut. But the panish King had learned to distrust his own power for such an achievement, and he had seen enough of the world to put little faith in an exile's estimate of his own influence in the country from which he has been driven. Cnut was a great man and a lucky man; he, Swegen, laid no claim to either the greatness or the good luck of his uncle. Cnut had inherited Denmark; he had won Norway without striking a blow; but in order to win England he had to strike many blows and to put his life in great jeopardy. Swegen, on the other hand, found it a hard matter to keep Denmark safe from the attacks of the Norwegian King. He would therefore stay at home and would not run any desperate risks. Tostig left him with an expression of contempt for his lack of enterprise and his neglect of the interests of a kinsman. Swegen might have answered that Harold of England was a kinsman no less that his brother, and that the gratitude which he himself undoubtedly owed to the memory of Godwine passed much more naturally to the head of the family than to one engaged in treason against his house and country.

From Denmark Tostig, so the story says, went on to Norway to seek help from its King Harold Hardrada. He found him in Viken, the south-eastern corner of the Norwegian Kingdom. He opened his errand to Harold in the same order in which he had opened it to Swegen. That is to say, he at first simply asked for help to recover his Earldom. This proposal found as little favour from Harold as it had found from Swegen. The Northmen, so said their King, would have no mind for a war in England under an English leader; common report said that the English were not men in whom it was safe to put much trust. The massacre of Saint Brice, the deposition of Harthacnut, the refusal to hearken to the claims which Magnus had founded on his agreement with Harthacnut, may all have passed across the mind of Harold Hardrada. He had little mind for an undertaking which promised so much danger, and so little profit in case of success. Tostig had therefore to tempt him by the same bait which he had before offered to Swegen. Let the King of the Northmen enter England, not merely to restore an English Earl, but to place the Imperial Crown of Britain upon his own head. Let Harold be King over the whole land; Tostig would ask only to be Under-king of half England, no doubt of its northern half. He would become King Harold's man, and would serve him faithfully all the days of his life. He then set himself to answer the objections to the enterprise which had been raised by the Norwegian King. Tostig seems really to have believed that, after all that had happened, he still reigned in the hearts of his faithful Thegns in Northumberland.

The expedition, he argued, would be one of a widely different kind from the expedition of Magnus against England or the expeditions of Harold himself against Denmark. The main hindrance to success in those undertakings would not be present in that which Tostig now counselled. Why was the agreement between Harthacnut and Magnus set aside? Why did not Magnus venture to make good his claims on England against Eadward? Why had Magnus overcome Denmark with ease, while Harold himself had failed in the same attempt? Success or failure in such attempts depended wholly on the disposition of the chiefs and the people of the invaded land. Magnus had succeeded in Denmark, because the chief men of Denmark were on his side; Harold had failed, because the whole Danish nation had been against him. So Magnus had shrunk from asserting his claims against Eadward, because Eadward was the King whom the people of England had chosen to reign over them. But now the state of things was changed. He, Tostig, deemed himself the equal of his brother in all but his kingly title. He would support the cause of Harold of Norway, and his support--so the exile said, and perhaps thought--would bring with it the allegiance of all the chief men of the land. Harold Hardrada, so all men allowed, was the first warrior

of northern lands; he had spent fifteen years in an attempt to seize on Denmark; would he refuse to seize on England, now that England lay ready for him, only waiting for him to take possession? The arguments of Tostig, we are told, gradually carried conviction to the mind of Harold. The proposed expedition was novel and distant; it bade fair to be successful, and, if successful, it would bring with it unbounded glory. As such, it had every charm for a prince, who now, at the age of fifty, had lost nothing of the spirit of his Wiking youth. The expe dition was determined on, and it was ordered to take place in the course of the summer. It may be merely the omission of our saga-maker, but it is worth noting that we hear nothing of any Thing or other assembly being consulted by Harold Hardrada. In England it came within the constitutional functions of the Witan to approve or to forbid any interfer ence in the concerns of another country. Twice had it been proposed in an English Gemot to take a part in the wars of Swegen and Magnus, and twice had the majority of the assembly rejected the proposal. Even in Normandy, whether as a matter of constitutional right or of personal prudence, William had thought it needful to consult an Assembly of his Duchy before he determined on the invasion of England. But in Norway we find no mention of any power which had to decide upon such questions, except the arbitrary will of King Harold himself. There can be no doubt that Harold reigned in Norway as the despot which his surname implies, and the utmost that his panegyrists can say for him is that his heavy hand pressed equally upon all. But

the proposed scheme was at least freely discussed by the public opinion of Norway. Some deemed that the valour and good luck of Harold the son of Sigurd must be successful in every land and over every enemy. Others shrank from an encounter with Harold the son of Godwine and with the resources of the land over which he reigned. England was a land perilous to attack; it was a land fertile in warriors; there, above all, were the Thingmen, the Housecarls, men ever strong in battle, men ever ready of heart and hand, men any one of whom was a match for two of the choicest warriors of Norway. This is indeed a speaking witness to the efficiency of the force which had been called into being by the wisdom of Cnut, and which had lost nothing in strength or in reputation under the government of Harold. The fame of the conqueror of Gruffydd had no doubt been sounded throughout the North, and men shrank from the prospect of meeting a chief and an army so ready to adapt themselves to every need which the accidents of war might bring with them. Whether the details of the story are true or false, this traditional estimate of the English Houseearls must at least be genuine. Nothing however is described as taking place to hinder the expedition, or to cause any slackening in the levies and preparations of Harold Hardrada. Tostig, it is added, sailed in the spring to Flanders, to gather forces both from that country and from England. We here easily see the confusion of the Norwegian chronology. If we can suppose these visits of Tostig to Swegen and Harold to be true in their main outlines, they are at least altogether moved from their right place.

The Invasion of Harold Hardrada
September 1066

It is not clear how far the danger which threatened him from the North was known to King Harold of England. It is certain that the appearance of the Norwegian fleet was unlooked for at the actual moment of its coming. But this need not imply that no hint whatever of the great preparations of Harold of Norway had reached England. It is certain that the attention of the King of the English was at that moment altogether fixed on his preparations to withstand a nearer and really more formidable enemy. The fleet, the news of whose approach had driven away Tostig from Sandwich, was part of a vast system of preparation for the defence of southern England. It is most likely that, when England was thus threatened by two enemies at once, the King, together with his brothers, undertook the immediate defence of Wessex and East-Anglia, and he entrusted the defence of the North to its own Earls. Harold himself could not be everywhere at once; if he had to choose between one part of his Kingdom and another, his first duty clearly was to that part which was more specially his own, more immediately under his personal government. It might surely seem safe to leave Northumberland and Mercia to the defence of their own Earls, the men who, of all men in the island, were the most concerned to keep Tostig out of it. Eadwine might pass in Mercia almost for an hereditary prince; Morkere was the special choice of the Northumbrian people. To trust them to fight for their own was surely no mark of neglect on the King's part, but rather a sign of the confidence which he placed in his loyal and affectionate

brothers-in-law. At all events, King Harold was doing all that mortal man could do for the defence of southern England. For he knew well that William Bastard, King Eadward's kinsman, sought to come and win this land. And he knew better than any other man in England with what a foe he had to deal in him, and how the strongest efforts of every man in the land were needed to keep the land from being won by the Norman. No story makes us better understand the difficulties which in those days waited on the general who had not merely to fight a battle, but to plan a campaign, and a defensive campaign above all. Harold had no standing army except the Housecarls ; still, as having the Housecarls, he was so far better off than Aethelred, who had no standing army at all. But the efficiency of the Housecarls was almost wholly confined to the day of battle. Face to face with an enemy, each of them might be equal to two other men; but neither the numbers nor the nature of the force made them at all fit to guard the whole coast of Wessex and East-Anglia. For that purpose Harold had of course to trust to the landfyrd, the militia of the shires. What the nature of this force was we have often seen before. Harold, or Eadmund, or any other chief in whom men put trust, could easily raise an army of this kind, an army patriotic and brave after its own fashion, an army perfectly ready to fight a battle, but which, after either winning or losing a battle, was always eager to go home again. We have seen that, after all the battles of Eadmund, save one only, his army disbanded, and he had to gather a fresh army to fight the next battle. Harold had a still harder task before him. He had to gather his militia, and to keep them under arms for an indefinite time, without fighting any battle, and when the main end of their being in arms was to hinder any battle

from being fought. We do not read of any earlier King even attempting such a scheme of genera] defence. Harold got together such a fleet and army as no King had ever got together before, and he kept them together during four months of inaction. The fleet cruised in the Channel; the land-force was placed at various fitting posts along the coast. The King first sailed to the Isle of Wight, and then spent the summer in simply waiting for the com ing of William. No kind of service could have been so irk some for an unprofessional, and seemingly unpaid, force. There was absolutely nothing to do but to watch; the excitement of battle, the attractions of plunder, all the usual motives for which men left their homes and families and private affairs, were denied to men who had simply to guard the shores of their own island. Then they were to be fed, not, as in a hostile country, at the expense of the neighbourhood in which each division was quartered, but by some means which to the imperfect finance and imperfect commissariat of that age must have been hard indeed. It is no small proof of Harold's skill and forethought, and of the hold which he must have had upon the nation generally, that he was able to keep and feed a greater army for a greater time than any King had ever done before him. There is certainly no other record of such a host being kept so long under arms without either fighting or plundering. At last, at the end

of four months, the strain was too great to be any longer borne. Food for so great a multitude was no longer forthcoming. If the crop was early, it may have already suffered from the absence of so many of those who were wont to gather it in. If the crop was late, men were no doubt eagerly clamouring to go home and reap each man his own field. At all events, early in Septem ber, it was found impossible to keep them together any longer. The authority and influence of Harold broke down before the stronger force of necessity. The army was dis banded; the King rode back to London, for which haven the fleet also was ordered to make. Many of the ships were unluckily lost or damaged on the voyage. The English account would seem to imply that they came back without having seen any actual service at all. But some expressions of the Chronicles, and some remarkable entries in the Norman Survey, may be taken to imply that some naval engagement between English and Norman ships did take place at some stage or other of this wonderful year. If so, it is hard to find any later stage of the war with which such an event will so well fit in as with the days when Harold's fleet was cruising in the Channel. No vexation can be conceived greater than Harold's must have been at seeing his whole labour thus thrown away. He must have turned away from the coast with a heavy heart, with a feeling that the land now lay open to the stranger. The King had most assuredly not failed his

people, and we cannot fairly say that the people had failed their King. The force of circumstances had been too strong for King and people alike. A few weeks more of endurance, and the Norman fleet might have never reached the English shore. But those few weeks more of endurance were seemingly too much to ask of human nature. The south coast of England was left undefended. It does not indeed follow that every fort and every watch-tower was left absolutely without guardians. We shall find that such was not the case. But there was no longer any force by land or by sea which could offer any effectual resistance to the landing of the Norman invader. Harold had ridden to London, a fact which again marks the growing importance of the city. I have already pointed out how marked was the influence of the events of Harold's reign on the process which gradually made London, what we may now almost begin to call it, the capital of the Kingdom. So far as Harold, during his reign of little stillness, could be said to have any special dwelling-place, that special dwelling-place seems to have been Westminster. But it was hardly in search of repose that he now came thither. Threatened as he was by two enemies, London was a central point from which he could march northwards or southwards, as his presence might be called for in either quarter. The wealth and loyalty of its citizens made the city an excellent point for the gathering and provisioning of armies. And, as a haven lying far inland, it was a point no less suited to be the centre of operations which were to take in land and sea alike. But Harold's sojourn in London now was not a long one. Before he had left the southern coast, his namesake of Norway was afloat. Whether his voyage was made at the instance of Tostig or not, there is no doubt either as to the fact of the voyage or as to the greatness of

the preparations which had been made for it. Harold Hardrada is said to have called out a levy of half the fighting men of his kingdom. His fleet is variously reckoned at two hundred, three hundred, five hundred, and even a thousand ships, and the numbers of the host were increased at almost every point where the fleet touched. He set sail from the Solen Isles at the mouth of Sogne Fiord, near Bergen on the west coast of Norway. It would seem that he had resolved to transfer the seat of his government to the landwhich he looked forward to conquer. His expedition bore the character, if not of a national, at least of a domestic migration. Harold Hardrada, like the Merwings in Gaul, allowed himself a kind of open polygamy, which he may possibly have learned in the Mussulman lands which he had visited as a warrior and and a pilgrim. Besides his Queen, the Russian princess Elizabeth, who was neither dead nor divorced, one Thora, the daughter of Thorberg, is also spoken of as his wife. Elizabeth was the mother of his daughters Mary and Ingigerd ; Thora was the mother of his sons Magnus and Olaf. Thora was left in Norway with her son Magnus, who received the title of King.

In this Harold might seem to follow the precedent set by Cnut with regard to Aelfgifu of Northampton and her son Swegen. Norway was again to be ruled by an Under-king subordinate to a Northern Emperor reigning in England. The rest of his family, Queen Elizabeth and her daughters, and Olaf the son of Thora, accompanied Harold in the fleet, no doubt to receive establishments in the realm which was to be won. Among other treasures, he is said to have brought with him a vast mass of solid gold, part of the plunder or the reward of his campaigns in the Imperial service. This huge ingot, which twelve strong youths could hardly carry, passed from one conqueror to another till it formed part of the boundless wealth of William the Bastard.
Such a fleet had not for years gone forth from any Scandinavian haven. Cnut had kept the Northern world in comparative peace beneath his Imperial sceptre. Since his death, the strength of the Scandinavian powers had been frittered away in the endless bickerings between Denmark and Norway. But now, as in the days of Swegen and Olaf, a royal fleet, manned with the whole strength of a kingdom, sailed forth once more to bring the Isle of Britain into subjection to a Northern master. The fleet was commanded by a warrior whose fame was spread from Africa to Iceland. It sailed forth to attack a realm which was no longer under the rule of an Aethelred, but under that of a King whose renown in arms, within his own narrower sphere, sounded as high as that of Hardrada himself. And in the far distance, beyond the defender of the land, lay its

other assailant. We can hardly believe either that the preparations of the King of the Northmen were utterly unknown at Rouen, or that the preparations of the Duke of the Normans were utterly unknown at Trondhjem. William must have set sail, hardly knowing which of the two Harolds he would meet on the SouthSaxon hills, and Harold Hardrada must have set sail, hardly knowing whether he would find the shores of Northumberland guarded by the axes of England or by the lances of Normandy. It was the last and greatest of those great enterprises of the Scandinavian powers under which England had suffered for so many ages. The Raven of Denmark was yet to float more than once over the stream of Humber, and the Land-waster itself was to float over the shores of Anglesey. But the ensign once so terrible to Englishmen had then become an ensign of promised deliverance; under the yoke of utter strangers the old foe was felt to be a brother. But now the Land-waster of Norway came, for the last time, purely and avowedly on its old errand of devastation and conquest. King Harold of Norway set forth for England to reign there, but he came to reign without the good-will of a single native partizan, save one traitor whom the land had cast forth for his evil deeds. The last of his class, the last royal Wiking, who knew no home so dear as the wave, no enjoyment so keen as the delights of battle by sea and land, he came to stake his crown and life on the most terrible of chances. The legends of his nation set him

and his followers before us setting forth on their great venture in no joyous or hopeful mood. The shadow of its doom seemed already to spread itself over the mightiest fleet that a Northern King had ever gathered in a Northern haven. Dreams and omens of no cheering kind weighed upon the mind both of the King and of his followers. The sway of Saint Olaf and of Cnut had not wiped out all traces of old heathendom, and wild beliefs in strange and superhuman powers still lingered, then and long after, among the Scandinavian people. Men told in after days of the dream that came to Gyrd, the King's comrade, as he lay in the King's ship; how he stood in the ship and saw on an island a woman of daemon birth, vast and fearful; how ravens and ernes sat on the stern of every ship, and how the woman sang gloomy songs of the King who was lured to the west, to leave many bones behind him to glut the ravenous fowls. They told how Thord saw the host of England marching to the shore; how another daemon-woman rode before them on a wolf, how she fed her strange steed with the bleeding carcases of men, and how, as fast as his dripping jaws swallowed one body, she had ever another ready to throw into his open mouth. And, clearer warning than all, King Harold himself saw in a dream his martyred brother, who told him that his doom was near, and that he too would become the food of the steed that bore the fearful witch-wife. Tales like these are no doubt, in their details at least, the creation of after times; but they show well the spirit, at once bold and gloomy, enterprising and thoughtful, of the race with which England was now for the last time to struggle for her being.

The first part of the British Islands where the Norwegian fleet landed was the Isles of Shetland and Orkney. These, it must be remembered, together with the northern districts of the mainland, now formed a powerful Scandinavian state. Its Earl Thorfinn had, in a reign of fifty years, greatly extended the power of his Earldom. Succeeding, like William, in his childhood, he and his state had grown up as it were together. He had withstood various attacks from the Scottish Kings; he had, some say served, some say warred, in England; he had won the friendship, perhaps submitted to the superiority, of Magnus and Harold of Norway; he had made the pilgrimage to Rome, and had founded the great church of Orkney, which in after times received the name of the martyred Earl Magnus. This prince had died about two years before this time, leaving two young sons, Paul' and Erling, in possession of the Earldom. Their mother, Ingebiorg, had remarried with Malcolm of Scotland. The Celtic and the Scandinavian portions of Northern Britain were thus just now on unusually good terms, and Scotland and Orkney alike combined to swell the fleet of Harold Hardrada. Paul and Erling accompanied the prince who, both as King of the Northmen and as future Emperor of Britain, doubtless looked on himself as doubly their over-lord. Harold left his wife and daughters in Orkney, and

sailed southward to the mouth of the Tyne. There, it would seem, was made the second great muster of his fleet. There he was joined by his one partizan among the natives of the realm which he hoped to conquer. Thither came the traitor Tostig, whether Harold had indeed set forth at his bidding, or whether Tostig now for the first time in his Scottish shelter heard of his approach, and hastened to join himself to any enemy of England. With him came whatever force he had either before brought from Flanders or had since got together in Scotland. There he did homage to the invader whom he was leading against his brother and his country, and he sailed on with the Norwegian King as his man Whether Malcolm of Scotland joined the force of Harold in person does not appear for certain, but of the presence of a Scottish contingent in the fleet, whether distinct from the followers of Tostig or not, there seems to be no doubt. The sworn brotherhood of Malcolm and Tostig was now fully acknowledged, but it is hard to see what motive of sound policy could have led Malcolm to give help to Harold the son of Sigurd against Harold the son of Godwine. Whoever might prove successful among the three princes who were contending for the English Crown, the victorious candidate was sure to claim the Empire of Aethelstan and Eadgar in all its fulness. A foreign conqueror too was far more likely

than a native Englishman to press his rights as Father and Lord in a strict and perhaps exaggerated shape. But the pleasure of fishing in troubled waters, the hope of gaining some momentary advantage at the expense of England, seems to have been enough. Malcolm, the King who owed his crown to English help, appeared for the second time as an enemy of England. An Irish potentate, no doubt of Danish descent, also joined the muster; Iceland too, the great Norwegian colony, sent help to the mother country; the presence of Godred the son of Harold, a chief of that island and the future conqueror of Man and Dublin, shows that the remotest North sent forth what was doubtless far from the least formidable contingent of the host of Hardrada. That host was thus swelled by reinforcements from the whole north-west of Europe. Norway, Scotland, Orkney, Ireland, Iceland, all sent forth their sons to the great enterprise of the last and greatest of the Wikings. No such mingled host had threatened the shores of England since wolves and ernes and ravens held their mighty banquet on the day of Brunanburh. The fleet now again sailed southward. Its course was swift, but not so swift as to forbid the work of plunder on the way. The coast was utterly defenceless. A land under the guardianship of Eadwine and Morkere was in a very different case from a land under the guardianship of Harold of England. The fleet had entered the Tyne unawares, and the shores of Yorkshire were not lined with warriors, as the shores of Wessex had been but a month before. The invaders landed and harried where they listed.

The coast of Cleveland was ravaged, and the district submitted without resistance. At Scarborough a better spirit was shown; some valiant man was doubtless in local command. When the Northmen landed, the men of the town, neglected by their Earl, dared, in the spirit of Brihtnoth or Ulfeytel, to meet the invaders in arms. But Harold, according to the legend, easily found means of bringing them to submission and to destruction. The elder town of Scarborough lies on the slope of heights which lead gradually up to a bold peninsular cliff, dashed on three sides by the waves of the German Ocean. Above the town rises the mutilated minster. Above the minster again, the peninsula itself is crowned by the defences of an ancient castle, whose shattered Norman keep remains as a relic of the age next following that with which we are now dealing. On these heights the Northmen raised a vast pile of wood, and set fire to it. They then hurled the burning timbers down upon the town; house after house caught fire; the town now surrendered, but it was none the less given up to slaughter and plunder. The whole coast now submitted; the men of Holderness, like the men of Scarborough, ventured, bravely but unsuccessfully, on local resistance. Of naval operations on the English side we hear nothing. Somewhat later in our narrative we shall find that northern England was not wholly unprovided with ships; but when we hear of them, it is, strange as it appears, in the inland waters of the Wharf. The naval force of Northumberland was doubtless quite unequal to a struggle with so fearful an enemy; the fleet had most likely retired

before the invaders as they doubled Ravenspur and entered the great estuary of the Humber. Unopposed, it would seem, either by land or by water, Harold and his host directed their course straight upon the capital of Northumberland. They passed by the desolate flat where the genius of the great Edward was one day to call into being the great haven of Kingston-upon-Hull. They passed by the pathless forest where the bounty of the next invader of England was to lay the foundations of the great minster of Selby. At last they cast anchor at a spot on the left bank of the Ouse, not far from the village of Riccall. They were now at a distance by land of about nine miles from York, but the windings of the river make the distance by water a good deal greater. This may have been among the motives which led them to choose their haltingplace at this particular point. Another obvious motive was to watch the entrance to the Wharf, the stream in which the English fleet had sought shelter, and which empties itself into the Ouse a little way above Riccall. It is not easy to judge of the exact state of the landingplace at the time. There can be no doubt that the bed of the river, and its whole aspect, has been greatly changed since it has been affected by locks, dykes, and the drainage of the land on its banks. But it is clear that Riccall was a good central point. A fleet moored there could at once bar the ascent of the Ouse and the descent of its tributaty, and it was at the same time near enough to give help, if help were needed, in the main operations against the capital. At Riccall then the vast fleet of the Northmen was left. Filling up the river, as it must have done, for along distance, it formed an unwonted and terrible object in waters where no invading fleet had been seen for fifty years. A detachment, under the command of Olaf the son of the Norwegian King, of the two Earls of Orkney, and

of the Bishop of those islands, was left to guard the ships, while the main body, under Harold and Tostig, made ready for their decisive march on York. The two Earls were at last roused from their listlessness when the great city of Northern England was thus directly placed in jeopardy. Even Aethelred had thought it needful to do something when a Danish host came too near to his Imperial resting-place at Winchester. So Eadwine and Morkere, who had left Cleveland and Scarborough and Holder, ness to their fate, deemed themselves at last called upon to strike a blow in defence of York. They had by this time got together a large army, made up, it would seem, mainly of the general levy or militia of the district. Among these a large body of priests had not scrupled to obey the summons to arms. It may be doubted whether this is simply a sign of the warlike habits of the Northumbrian people in general, or whether it points to a special feeling of the special exigency of the case. At the head of this force., the two English Earls set forth from York, while the Norwegian army advanced to meet them from the point where they had left their ships at Riccall. The course of both armies led them

along the slight ridge which forms the line of communication between York and Selby, a narrow path between the river and its marshy banks on one side, and the flat, and still to some extent marshy, groutiu on the other. On the spot known as Gate Fulford, about two miles from the city, the armies met. Harold Hardrada, pressing on no doubt with all the vehemence of his nature, had reached the place from Riccall before the English had made the shorter march from York. He was therefore able to make ready his line of battle before they drew near to attack. The present village stands on a low height, sloping gently to the river on the left hand and to the marshy flat to the right. This doubtless was the site held by the invading army. The royal post was by the river; there the line of the shield-wall was thickest; there was pitched the Land-waster, the speaking name of Harold's royal standard. And there stood the King himself, his giant form towering alike over friends and enemies. The right wing stretched across the rising ground as far as a ditch, beyond which lay the marsh, which is described as broad and deep. Here the line was weakest, and here, whether by chance or by design, the English made their first attack. The fight was a hard one; the Angles and Danes of Northumberland

were no contemptible enemies for any man, and reckless, and even traitorous, as was the whole conduct of the brother Earls, they showed no lack of the courage of the mere soldier. The charge of the Northumbrians on the Norwegian right was vigorous and, for a while, successful. The enemy gave way, and the banner of Earl Morkere pressed on valiantly. But it was only where the line was least strong that the English could make any impression; and the chances of war presently changed. For now King Harold of Norway caused the charge to be sounded, and he himself led on the left wing, with the Land-waster borne beside him. He charged at once on the troops which were already beginning to boast of their victory; before his two-handed sword all went down; the Notthmen pressed on around their King; the English gave way before their onslaught. They still for a while resisted, but presently they turned and fled. The slaughter was fearful, but the Norwegian sword was not the only enemy. In that wild flight and wild pursuit, men were hurled into the river, the ditch, and the marsh; here corpses were borne down the stream; there the ditch was so filled with the slain that the pursuers, so their poets say, could march as on solid ground over their carcases. The Norwegians had possession of the place of slaughter,

and the remnant of the English were driven to find shelter within the walls of York. The battle of Fulford was fought on Wednesday. Its immediate result was the surrender of York. On Sunday, it would seem, the city capitulated. A local Gemot or Thing was held, in which it was agreed to make peace with Harold of Norway, and to receive him as King of the English, or at least as King of the Northumbrians. His new subjects even agreed to join him, as their fathers had agreed to join Swegen, in his further warfare against the south of England. Provisions were supplied to the army; hostages were given to the Norwegian King, and, what we should hardly have looked for, we read, on trustworthy authority, that Harold in return gave an equal number of hostages to the men of York. What follows will show that this treasonable engagement by, no means represented the real wishes of the Northumbrian people; there is still less reason to think that it represented the real wishes of Eadwine and Morkere. But it surely implies a lack of zeal and courage for a great city to surrender on the fourth day, especially as we hear nothing of any actual assault on the walls. Such was at least not the conduct of the citizens of London and Exeter sixty years before, nor of the citizens of Exeter two years later. No doubt both the city and the surrounding country were greatly

weakened by the slaughter at Fulford; still, with stout hearts and strong walls, resistance might surely have been kept up beyond the space of four days. On the other hand, the conduct of Harold Hardrada seems milder and more politic than might have been looked for from the character either of himself or of his English companion. But we may be sure that, in this mild treatment of York, we see the counsel of Harold and not of Tostig. The banished Earl was seeking revenge; the invading King was seeking a Crown; and he must have known the policy of winning subjects by fair means rather than by force whenever fair means would avail for the purpose.

The March of Harold and the Battle of Stamfordbridge

The hostages, one hundred and fifty in number, which were now given to the Norwegian King were to secure the fidelity of the city of York only. Hostages from the whole shire were to be given at some future day, and the place for their delivery was appointed to be at Stamfordbridge. The spot which bears this name, a name which the events of those few days were to make illustrious, lies about eight miles north-east of the city. As its name implies, the main feature of the place is the bridge over the Derwent, a tributary of the Ouse, which joins the main stream at a considerable distance below Riccall. The site has been conjectured to be the Roman Derventio, but it is perhaps a more lucky guess which places that site, a site so hallowed in the early religious history of Northumberland, within the modern park of Aldby.

There stood a royal house of the Northumbrian Kings, the site of which, or of some of its outposts, a mound surrounded by a fosse, still looks down on a picturesque point of the course of the river. There it was that the faithful Lilla gave his life for the Northumbrian Bretwalda, and there Eanflaed, the Bretwalda's daughter, was the first of Northumbrian race to be received into the fold of Christ. This spot lies at a distance of less than three miles above Stamfordbridge, on the right bank of the river, at a point where another bridge now at least spans the stream. If Aldby, the ancient dwelling-place of the Northumbrian Kings, was still, as is most likely, a dwellingplace of the Northumbrian Earls, some light is perhaps thrown on what otherwise seems the incomprehensible movement of the Northmen from York to Stamfordbridge. We instinctively ask why such a comparatively distant spot, one especially which removed the army still further from their naval station at Riccall, should have been chosen for the delivery of the hostages. Why should Harold leave York so far out of his immediate grasp, when one would have thought that the hostages might just as easily have been given to him in York itself? The most likely cause is to be found in the need of finding new quarters and a new place of subsistence for the army. The Northmen had doubtless by this time consumed

all that was supplied by the banks of the Ouse; they were not to be indulged with the sack of York; the provisions furnished by the city could hardly maintain them till the coming of the hostages, whose collection from all parts of the shire would necessarily be a work of time. But if there was a royal house in the neighborhood of Stamfordbridge, we at once see a motive to direct the choice of the invaders to that neighbourhood. Such a position would afford manifest advantages in the way of quarters and provisions. Its occupation would also present a sentimental attraction. The firstfruits of victory would already seem to be enjoyed by Tostig as he sat again as master in the halls of his brother. And Harold Hardrada might feel himself already Lord of the Isle of Britain, as he placed himself in the seat of the King who seemed to have left his kingdom open to his arms. The spot which, by reason of this almost accidental movement, became the scene of one of the great events of our history, though not one of those spots which nature seems to have marked out as the almost necessary place of some memorable deed, is one which is far from being void of interest. The great tale of which it became the theatre is legibly written on its natural features. The name of the place is a history in itself. The stones are still to be seen from which the spot drew its first name of Stamford. That name is shared with it by not a few other places, a name which reminds us of days when the primitive stepping-stones, supplied either by art or by nature, were the earliest means of crossing a deep or rapid river. Those stones, at a later day, became the supports of the wooden bridge which one deed of that memorable week

was to make immortal. The wooden bridge has, in modern times, given way to a successor of stone, and other changes have greatly altered the state of the stream and the general aspect of the place. But the main features are still there, as when the Norwegian host pitched their camp upon its banks. The modern bridge stands on a different site from the early structure of wood, but the position of the true Stamfordbridge is still to be seen. Its memory is preserved at once by local tradition and by the clearer evidence of the course of the roads converging on either side. The ground on each side of the Derwent forms at this point a nearly flat plain, but a plain placed at some height above the stream. In the distance the bold outline of the Yorkshire Wolds forms a prominent object, but the country nearer to the river is not marked in any special way. The Derwent itself, a reedy and somewhat sluggish stream, winds between the higher levels on each side, its immediate banks forming those alluvial flats which are locally known as ingr. But at Stamfordbridge itself the higher ground slopes gently to the river on both sides. This higher ground, on the left bank of the stream, bears the historical name of the Battle Flats. On the other side, the road from York, is nearly flat, with a slight rise, as far as Gate Helmsley, a village a mile or more west of the river. From this point the road gradually descends to Stamfordbridge. An army therefore advancing from York would be able to make the greater part of its march unseen by the enemy. An army encamped on the lower ground immediately on each side of the Derwent might easily, if somewhat careless guard were kept, remain unconscious of the enemy's approach till they had begun the descent from Helmsley. The events which followed lead us to believe that the

Northmen, in the full consciousness and pride of victory, were encamped on both sides of the stream, most likely in no very certain order or discipline. If a neighbouring royal dwelling-place at Aldby formed one of the motives for the choice of the position, it is possible that the head-quarters of the Norwegian King were placed at that point. At any rate, the bridge itself and the ground immediately right of the river were kept by an advanced detachment. It would seem that the whole of the army which had received the submission of York, and which was expecting the submission of all Northumberland, withdrew from the banks of the Ouse to the banks of the Derwent. The ships still stayed in the larger river, seemingly at their original landingplace at Riccall, still guarded by Olaf and the Earls of Orkney. Meanwhile Harold himself, with Tostig and the main strength of the army, awaited the coming of the hostages at Stamfordbridge. They waited for what they were never to receive. One day more of endurance, and York might have been saved from the humiliation of her ignominious treaty with the invader. The news of the approach of the Northern fleet had been carried with all speed to King Harold of England. Placed between two enemies, the King's position was indeed a difficult one. His preparations for the defence of the South had been brought to nothing by events over which he had no control. To march to the defence of the North was to leave the South unguarded. But it was impossible for him to leave the North to a guardianship which was plainly inadequate. Eadwine and Morkere had failed to save Cleveland; they had failed to support the gallant local resistance of Scarborough and Holderness. The huge host of Hardrada, gathered from so many lands, was one with

which the force of Northumber land alone could never grapple. It was a need that called for the presence of the King and for the whole force of the Kingdom. The more immediate danger dictated the mote immediate duty. Duke William had not yet landed; he had not even sailed; a thousand accidents might hinder him from ever landing or ever sailing. But King Harold of Norway was already in the land; he was ravaging and burning at plea sure; whole districts of Northumberland, forsaken by their immediate rulers, were submitting to him. The call north wards was at the moment the stronger; a swift march, a speedy victory, and Harold of England might again be in London or in Sussex before the southern invader could have crossed the sea. The king chose his plan, and the plan that he chose he carried out with all the mighty energy of his character. He gave orders for an immediate march to the North. According to a legend which probably contains some groundwork of truth, the King was at this moment suffering from severe bodily sickness. But his strong heart rose above the weaknesses of the flesh, and he hid his sufferings from all men. By day he in no way slackened in the labours imposed by the duty of gathering together and marshalling his army. The sleepless night was spent in prayers and sighs, as Harold implored the help of the relic whose sworn votary he was, the Holy Rood of his own Waltham.

His endurance in the cause of his country was rewarded, so the story runs, by super natural help and comfort. The deceased King, the holy Eadward, did not, in his now happier state, forget the kingdom which had been his in his mortal days, nor yet the King to whom he had made fast his Kingdom. In the visions of the night he appeared to the Abbot Aethelsige, and bade him bear his message to King Harold. Let Harold, he said, be strong and of a good courage, and go forth to battle with the enemies of England. He himself by his prayers would lead and defend his people, and would guide their righteous warfare to certain victory. If the King should doubt of his mission, let him know that he, Eadward, knew well by how great an effort he had that day gathered up his strength for the duties of his calling. The holy man delayed not to discharge the errand of his departed master. He sought the King; he told him the message of his predecessor; and Harold, recovered from his sickness, and made more hopeful by the cheering words of Eadward, betook himself with redoubled energy to the work that was before him. This tale, legendary as it is, is worth telling; for it is plainly of genuine English growth, and it shows that the English people knew how to unite reverence for the deceased saint with admiration for the living hero. The men who believed that a saint, and above all that Eadward, interfered on behalf of Harold clearly did not hold Harold for an usurper or a perjurer, or for a man who had failed in his

duty to Eadward when living. Harold was under the ban of Rome, but Englishmen did not therefore hold him to be unworthy of the divine favour, just as in after times the same ban availed not to hinder Simon of Montfort from receiving worship or from working miracles. As for the historical value of the tale, Harold may perhaps have been delayed by sickness at this critical moment, but he hardly needed visions and prodigies to urge him to the discharge of his kingly duties. With all the speed that human energy could supply, he set forth upon that great northern march which must rank among the greatest deeds of its kind that history records. Not a moment was to be lost, if Northumberland and England were to be saved. Those whose memories could go back for fifty years might deem that the spirit of Ironside himself was once more leading the hosts of England to battle. At the head of his Housecarls, those terrible Thingmen whose name carried awe beyond the sea, the King of the English set forth from his southern capital. A command was held under him by Bondig the Staller, and we cannot doubt that Gyrth and Leofwlne were found now, as a few weeks later, side by side with theft royal brother. On their march they pressed into their service the forces of the districts through which they passed. Volunteers, even from distant shires, hastened to join the muster. But, save its chiefs, two men only in the host are known to us in their personal being, and even of them we cannot record the names. A Thegn of Essex,

a benefactor of King Eadward's church at Westminster, is recorded in the Norman Survey as having gone to the battle at York with Harold. Another aged Thegn of Worcestershire, a tenant of the church of Evesham and uncle of its Abbot Aethelwig, is also handed down to us, in the dry formulae of the Survey, as having followed his King of the great march and as having given his life for Harold and for England. Such men doubtless did not stand alone; the whole strength of southern and central England took part in that great campaign, and we may be sure that Harold entered Northumberland at the head of a force equal or superior to that of the Northern invader. The English army, ranged in seven divisions, marched on along the great Roman road from London to York. The still abiding traces of the ancient conquerors of the land made, it would seem, intercourse between distant parts of the island easier and speedier then than they became in somewhat later times. News of the rout of Fulford and of the danger of York would doubtless still further quicken the speed of the march. In the proverbial, but marked and emphatic, language of the Chroniclers, King Harold and his army rested not day or night. They

passed the Northumbrian frontier; the King had no time to turn aside and to tarry at his own lordship of Coningsburgh, where the famous castle of a later age has usurped the site once occupied by the house of Harold. They marched on through the great province which was now the seat of war; and on the Sunday evening, on the very day of the capitulation of York, the English army reached the last stage of the usual route between the two great cities of southern and northern England. This was Tadcaster, the Roman Calcaria, a town on the Wharf, best known from its neighbourhood to the later battle-field of Towton. It was in the Wharf, it will be remembered, that the English ships had sought shelter when the Northern armada sailed up the Ouse. It is a broad and rapid stream,. still navigable as high as Tadcaster for the small craft of the river, whose local name of keels suggests the memory of the first vessels which landed our fathers in the Isle of Britain. We can hardly doubt that it could easily be reached by such light war-ships as an Earl of the Northumbrians would be likely to keep in his service. At Tadcaster then King Harold found and renewed the English fleet, doubtless with an eye to possible future operations against the ships at Riccall, which the events of the morrow rendered needless. The army then marched on by the last stage of the Roman way, locally known as the High Street. At last, on Monday morning, King Harold of England entered his northern capital, the city which, only the day before, had bowed in

ignominious homage to Harold of Norway. He was received with joy; provincial jealousies were lulled for a moment in the actual presence of the enemy, and the Danes and Angles of York pressed eagerly to welcome the WestSaxon deliverer. But the King had other work before him than either to repose after that terrible march or to enjoy the congratulations of a rescued people. He had to make sure that they were rescued; while an enemy was in the land, Harold knew but one duty, to press on to the place where the enemy might be found. He had to save the land from further havoc; he had to strike before the expected hostages could be gathered together; he had to smite, once and for ever, the enemy who lay before him, that he might turn and meet the yet more fearful enemy to whom his southern shores lay open. He pressed on through the rejoicing city; he pressed onto the Norwegian camp; and he reaped the reward of his energy and his labours in the glorious fight of Stamfordbridge. Of the details of that awful day we have no authentic record. We have indeed a glorious description, conceived in the highest spirit of the warlike poetry of the North, but it is a description which, when critically examined, proves to be hardly more worthy of belief than a battle-piece in the Iliad. The tale is one of the most familiar in our early history. We have all heard how the Northmen, rejoicing in their supposed victory, were going forth, light-hearted and careless, unprotected by defensive harness,

to take full possession of their conquest. That very morning King Harold of Norway was to hold his court, and to assemble his new subjects, within the walls of York. He was there formally to take the government on himself, to dispose of offices, and to proclaim laws for his new realm. On his march a cloud of dust is seen afar off; before long shields and arms glistening like ice are to be seen beneath it. It is the host of King Harold of England. The heart of Tostig fails him; let them hasten back to their ships, let them gather their comrades, and put on their coats of mail. Not so the hero of Norway. Messengers on swift horses are sent to summon the party who are left by the ships, and meanwhile Harold Hardrada marshals his army for the fight. The shield-wall is formed in the shape of a complete circle, with the Land-waster waving in its centre. A dense wood of spears bristles in front of the circle, to receive the charge of the English horsemen. King Harold of Norway rides round his host; his black horse stumbles, and he falls; but his ready wit wards off the evil omen; a fall is lucky for a traveller. But the eye of his rival is upon him; King Harold of England sees his fall. "Who," asks the English King, "is the tall man who fell from his horse, the man with the blue kirtle and the goodly helm?" "It is King Harold of Norway." "A tall man and a goodly is he, but methinks his luck has left him. " Then follows the yet more striking scene where the two Kings, alike in name and in might, meet face to face before the battle. Twenty of the Thingmen, clothed horse and man in armour, ride forth to the host of the Northmen. One of them bears to Earl Tostig the greeting and message of his brother King Harold. Let him return to his allegiance, and he shall again have the

Earldom of Northumberland; nay he shall have a third of the Kingdom to rule together with the King. "What then," asks Tostig, "shall be given to King Harold of Nor way?" "Seven feet of ground," is the famous answer, "or as much more as he is taller than other men." "Go then," says Tostig, "and tell King Harold of England to make him ready for the battle. Never shall men say in Norway that Earl Tostig brought King Harold Sigurdsson hither to England, and then went over to his foes." The horsemen ride back to the host of England, and Harold Hardrada asks who is the man who spoke so well. Tostig answers that it was King Harold of England. "Why then," asks Hardrada, "was it not told me? He should never have gone back to tell of our men's slaughter." Tostig, with some traces still left in his soul of the days when he went forth with an honest heart to curb the freebooters of Northumberland, answers that he could never be the murderer of the brother who came to offer him friendship and dominion. "If one of us must die, let him slay me rather than that I should slay him." To this sentiment the Norwegian King vouchsafes no answer, but he turns to his comrades with the remark that "the King of the English was but a small man, but that he stood well in his stirrups. If this famous dialogue is plainly mythical, the glowing narrative of the fight itself is so still more plainly.

The main strength of the English is conceived to lie in their horsemen, horsemen whose steeds are covered with armour, according to an use which had not yet found its way even into Normandy. The English horse charges in vain against the Norwegian circle, the dense shield-wall and the bristling spears. One assault after another is beaten off; at last the Northmen, proud of their resistance, become eager for more active success. They break the line to pursue the English; as soon as the shield-wall is broken, the English horsemen turn and overwhelm them with javelins and arrows. King Harold of Norway stands at first by his standard; the inspiration of the scald comes upon him; he sings of the fight to be won by the hand and the sword of the warrior, though his breast be unguarded by the corselet. When the shield-wall is broken, the Berserker rage seizes him, and he leaves, like Eadmund, his post by the standard; with his huge two-handled sword he bursts upon the ranks of the English; helmet and coat of mail give way before that terrible weapon; the English are well nigh driven to fight by his single arm; but an arrow pierces his throat; the mighty form falls to the ground, and his chosen comrades die around him. The battle pauses awhile; each side alike rests, as it were, to do honour to the fall of one so mighty, Tostig takes the royal post by the Landwaster; Harold of England again employs the momentary lull once more to offer peace to his brother and quarter to the surviving Northmen. A fierce cry from the Norwegian ranks is the answer; as one man they will die rather than receive quarter from the English. The war-shout is raised, the fight begins again, and the second act ends with the fall of Tostig. The reinforcement now arrives from the ships. They come in full harness; their chief is Eystein Orre, the personal favourite

of the King and the promised husband of his daughter Mary. He is the hero of the third act of the fight, the Storm of Orre, as it was called in Northern song. He and his men come up wearied with the swift march from the ships; still they begin the third struggle, the most terrible of all. Eystein takes the post by the Land-waster which had been held by Harold and Tostig; the fight is waged more fiercely than ever; the English are well nigh driven to flight. At last the Berserker rage seizes on the Northmen ; they throw away their coats of mail; some are slain by the English, some fall of sheer weariness and die without a wound. Still the fight is kept up till night-fall; by that time the chief men of Norway have fallen, and the remnant of the host escapes under the cover of the darkness. Such is the magnificent legend which has been commonly accepted as the history of this famous battle. I shall elsewhere examine the whole story in detail; it is enough to say here that the geography of the campaign is, in the saga, wholly misconceived, and that a story which represents horsemen and archers as the chief strength of an English army in the eleventh century is at once shown to be a tale of later date. And it is disappointing that, for so detailed and glowing a tale, we have so little of authentic history to substitute. Still, from such accounts as we have, combined with our knowledge of what an English army of that age really was, we can form a fair general idea of the day which beheld the last victory of Harold the son of Godwine, the last victory of pure and unmixed Teutonic England. King Harold then marched through York, and found a part at least of the Norwegian host on the right bank of the Derwent, wholly unprepared for his attack.

It is quite possible that they may have been, as the story represents them, going to a peaceful meeting at York. Anyhow, the invaders, rejoicing in the victory of Fulford, in the capitulation of York, in the promised submission of all Northumberland, had no thought of the suddenness of the blow which was coming upon them. The speed and secrecy with which Harold was able to accomplish this memorable march not only bears witness to his own skill and energy, but also speaks well for the discipline of his army and for the general loyalty of the country. Fast as Harold may have pressed on, individual spies or deserters, had there been any such, could always have outstripped him, and could have borne the news of his coming to the enemy. But no such treason marred his well-conceived and well-executed scheme. He came on the Northmen unawares; the men who deemed that all Northumberland, perhaps that all England, was their own, suddenly found themselves in the thick of a new Brunanburh, a happier Assandun. A leader, the peer of Aethelstan and Eadmund, commanded a band of tried and chosen warriors such as Aethelstan and Eadmund never knew. Eadwine and Morkere, with their hurried levies, had doubtless done their best; but the invaders had now to deal with quite another enemy. King Harold of England was upon them; they were face to face with his personal following, with those terrible Thingmen, each one of whom, men said, was a match for any other two. But Harold Hardrada and his mingled host showed no lack of gallantry; the victory was won only by the hard fighting of a whole day. The English, invisible,

it would seem, till they reached the low brow of Helmsley, came at once upon that portion of the Norwegian army, utterly unprepared and seemingly not fully armed, which found itself on the right, the York side, of the Derwent. They were of course unable to bear up successfully against so sudden and terrible an attack. But the resistance which they made no doubt gave time for their comrades on the other bank, with their King at their head, to form in the full array of the shield-wall. This division, on account of the slight slope down to the river, would even have a certain advantage of ground over the English. The fight then began by the sudden attack of the English on the detachment to the right of the river. Yielding, but not flying, the unprepared and half-armed Northmen were driven across the stream. English minstrels, fragments of whose songs crop out in the narrative of colder annalists, again told how the living crossed the river over the bodies of their slain comrades which choked its stream. And now an act of daring devotion placed a nameless Northman, whose deed is recorded not by his countrymen but by his enemies, on a level with Horatius on the bridge of Rome and with Wulfstan on the bridge of Maldon. Alone for

a while he kept the pass against the whole English army; forty men fell beneath his axe; an arrow was shot at him in vain; at last an Englishman found means to creep under the bridge and pierced him through beneath his corselet. The hindrance offered by this valiant enemy being removed, the English host, their King at their head, passed the bridge, and now the fiercest fighting of the day began. Details are lacking, but it needs no special flight of the imagination to see the slight slope above the present village, where a newly-built church has lately risen, covered by the bristling ring of the Northmen, the fortress of shields, so often sung of alike in English and in Scandinavian minstrelsy. We may picture to ourselves how the axes of England rang on that firm array

of bucklers; how step by step, inch by inch, up the slopes, on to the Battle-flats, the Housecarls of King Harold clave their way. We may see how, step by step, inch by inch, dealing blow for blow even in falling back, Northman and Scot and Fleming gave way before the irresistible charge of the renowned Thingmen. We may see the golden Dragon, the ensign of Cuthred and Aelfred, glitter on high over this its latest field of triumph. We may hear the shouts of "Holy Rood" and "God Al mighty" sound for the last time as an English host pressed on to victory. We may see two kingly forms towering high over either host; we may, if we will, bring the two Harolds face to face, and hear the two-handed axe of England clashing a gainst the two-handed sword of Norway. We may see the banished Englishman defiant to the last, striking the last blow against the land which had reared him and the brother who had striven to save him from his doom. We may call up before our eyes the final moment of triumph, when for the last time Englishmen on their own soil had possession of the place of slaughter, and when the Land-waster of Norway was lowered before the victorious Standard of the Fighting Man. At least we know that the long struggle of that day was crowned by complete victory on the side of England. The leaders of the invading host lay each man ready for all that England had to give him, his seven feet of English ground. There Harold of Norway, the last of the ancient Sea-Kings, yielded up that fiery soul which had braved death in so many forms and in so many lands. The warrior of Africa, the pilgrim of Jerusalem, had at last met his fate in an obscure corner

of Britain, whose name but for him might have been unknown to history. There Tostig the son of Godwine, an exile and a traitor, ended in crime and sorrow a life which had begun with promises not less bright than that of his royal brother. There died the nameless prince whom the love of warfare or the hope of plunder had led from the land which had once sheltered the English King in his days of exile. The whole strength of the Northern army was broken; a few only escaped by flight, and found means to reach the ships at Riccall. Among these was the Wiking who had come from the furthest North to win his share in the plunder of conquered England. Godred survived when Harold and Tostig fell; but he went not back to his Iceland home; he found a nearer shelter with his namesake the son of Sihtric. He fled to the isle where he was himself to reign as a conqueror, and to make his Kingdom of Man the centre of victorious warfare against Dublin and all Leinster. But the great mass of the huge host of Hardrada lay dead on the banks of the Derwent. Beside those who fell beneath the English axes, many were drowned in the river; others died, we know not how, by fire. Only a few of that great host could have found even that small allowance of English earth which was to be granted to their leader. We need not believe the tale

which told how the heads of Tostig and Harold of Norway were brought, as savage trophies of victory, into the presence of the English king. We know on better authority that the body of his fallen brother was sought for and found among the slain by a distinctive mark of his body. The wounds dealt by the Danish axe were deep and ghastly; a head cloven to the chin with the full strength of the two arms of an English Housecarl would show but few features by which Gytha or Judith could have recognized the slain. The giant form of Hardrada doubtless needed no mark to distinguish him from lesser men. We know not where he found his promised allotment; but the tie of kindred pleaded for Tostig, and the body of the banished Earl of the Northumbrians found a grave within the walls, no doubt within the primatial minster, of the city where he had ruled so sternly. But no funeral rites fell to the lot of the meaner dead of the invading army. The bones of the slain remained on the ground for many years, bearing witness, in the days of England's bondage, how hard fought had been the last victorious fight of her last native King. For in truth the vanquished invaders had sold their lives dearly. The English host was far from coming forth scatheless from that awful struggle. Many

a faithful Housecarl, many a noble Thegn, had given his life for England and for her chosen King. But in the victory was a victory as decisive as any to be found in the whole history of human warfare. Harold had swept from the earth an enemy compared with whom Aelfgat and Gruffydd might seem but as the puppets of a moment. He stood victorious after a day of slaughter, compared with which the hardest struggles of his Welsh campaigns might seem but as the mimic warfare which men wage against the stag and the wild boar. But the conqueror of Stamfordbridge, during the few days of life and kingship which still were his, was to show himself in a nobler light than that of a conqueror. That mild and conciliatory spirit, which was as marked in the character of Harold as his valour and energy, was now, as ever, extended to enemies who could no longer resist. He had shown forbearance to domestic traitors;

he had shown it to rebellious vassals; he had now to show it to men who had borne their share in an unprovoked invasion. The Norwegian ships still lay in the Ouse. After the utter defeat of the land army, naval operations were hardly needed against them; the fleet which had been arrayed at Tadcaster was not called into action, but the King of the English sent to Olaf and the Orkney Earls, and offered them peace. "They came up to our King," seemingly to his court at York; they gave hostages and swore oaths that they would for ever keep peace and friendship with this land. In four and twenty ships, the remnant of the host of Hardrada sailed away from the shores of Northumberland. Since the day of Stamfordbridge the kindred nations of Scandinavia, bound to us by so many ties, have never appeared on English ground in any guise but that of friends and deliverers'. This negotiation may have taken up the two or three days immediately following the battle. Urgently as Harold's presence was needed in the southern part of his Kingdom, he could not refuse a few days for the needful rest of himself and his host. His presence too was needed for the settlement of the troubled affairs of Northumberland, and even for the mere celebration of his triumph. His victory was saddened by the fate of his brother; it was purchased by the blood of many of his valiant comrades; his mind must have been weighed down by the thoughts of the toils and dangers which were yet in

store for him elsewhere. Still the victor could not shrink from the wonted celebration of so great a victory. The King was at the banquet, when a messenger appeared, who had sped, with a pace fleeter even than that of his own march, from the distant coast of Sussex. One blow had been warded off, but another blow still more terrible had fallen. Three days after the fight of Stamfordbridge, William Duke of the Normans, once the peaceful guest of Eadward, had again, but in quite another guise, made good his landing on the shores of England.

4 The Norman Invasion and the Campaign of Hastings

The Building of the Fleet

We left the Duke of the Normans successful in every negotiation which concerned his enterprise, both with his own subjects and with strangers. We saw his cause, after

some hesitation, zealously taken up by his own people, while volunteers flocked eagerly to his muster from the territories of all the neighbouring princes. We have seen his undertaking received the highest of religious sanctions in the blessing of the Roman Pontiff. Had the enterprise been one against Anjou or France, warfare would have begun long before the season of the year which we have now reached. But William's present warfare was aimed at a realm whose insular position shielded it at least for a while. England could be reached only by sea, and the Normandy of those days had ceased to be a naval power. The army destined to undertake the conquest of England had to be carried across the channel. A vast fleet was therefore needed, and a fleet had to be created for the purpose. The creation of that fleet was the work of the summer of the great year, while King Harold of England was so carefully guarding his southern coasts. As soon as the undertaking was finally determined on, the woods of Normandy began to be felled,' and the havens of Normandy resounded with the axes and hammers of carpenters and ship-builders. A large proportion of the ships were the

offerings of the great barons and prelates of the land. William Fitz-Osbern, who had been the first man in Normandy to pledge himself to the enterprise, now redeemed his pledge by the gift of sixty ships. The same large number was contributed by Roger of Montgomery and by Roger of Beaumont, and also by Hugh of Avranches, the future Earl of Chester. Fifty ships, with sixty knights, formed the contingent of Hugh Montfort. Two less famous men, Fulk the Lame and Gerald the Seneschal, contributed forty each. The gift of Walter Giffard was thirty ships with a hundred knights. The same number of ships, with their crews, were supplied by Vulgrin, the pious and peaceful Bishop of Le Mans. He, we are told, was specially zealous in the Duke's cause, looking on him doubtless as the champion of Rome and of Christendom. But greater even than these great contingents were the gifts of the Duke's own kinsfolk, of the members of the ducal house no less than of those sons of his mother whom his bounty had so lavishly enriched. A hundred and twenty ships, the largest offering in the whole list, were the contribution of the Count of Mortain. A gift second only to that of his brother, a gift of a hundred

ships, was the contribution of the Bishop of Bayeux. William of Evreux gave eighty, Robert of Eu sixty. The monk Nicolas, the son of Duke Richard the Third, now Abbot of the great house of Saint Ouen, gave twenty ships with a hundred knights. Others of less degree gave one ship or more, according to their means. And among these was another monk, of less lofty birth, but of higher personal renown, than the princely Abbot of Saint Ouen's. A single ship with twenty knights was the offering of Remigius, then almoner of the house of Fecamp, but who was in aftertimes to be the last Bishop of the ancient see of Dorchester, the first who placed his throne on the lordly steep of more famous Lincoln. But one gift, though the gift of a single ship only, had a value beyond all others in the eyes of the Duke. The ship which was destined for his own use, the ship which was to bear William and his fortune, was the offering of the conjugal love of the Duchess Matilda. This chosen vessel bore the name of the Mora, a name not very easy to explain. Either at its prow or at its stern it bore the likeness of a boy wrought in gold blowing an ivory horn pointing towards England.

The whole number of the fleet thus gathered together is variously stated. The lowest reckoning gives the exact number as six hundred and ninety-six; the largest of those accounts which are at all credible raises it to an indefinite number above three thousand. Exaggeration is always to be looked for in such accounts; but so great a difference can hardly be accounted for wholly by exaggeration. It is evident that our different accounts follow different ways of reckoning; some, for instance, seem to count only the ships strictly so called, while others reckon also the small craft of every kind. The ships, after all, were only large open boats with a single mast and sail, and with a smaller boat attached. It is plain that they were designed almost wholly for transport, and they do not seem to have in any way equalled those mighty horses of the sea which had borne Swegen and Cnut to the conquest of England. But while William was thus busily pressing his warlike preparations, he was, no less characteristically, largely occupied with ecclesiastical affairs. Indeed the chosen champion of the saints and of their honour, the armed missionary who was setting forth to convert the

stiffnecked islanders from the error of their ways, was bound, more than ever, to show himself a faithful nursing-father to the Church at home. In a court or council which the Duke held at Bonneville in the month of June two important ecclesiastical appointments were made. Two great abbeys needed chiefs. The chair of Saint Evroul was void by the death of Abbot Osbern, and the new monastery of Saint Stephen was now far enough advanced toward perfection for the brotherhood to be regularly organized under an Abbot. The monks of Saint Evroul petitioned the Duke for the appointment of a new head of their body. William, after consulting with the diocesan Hugh of Lisieux, placed the pastoral staff in the hand of the Prior Mainer, who presently received the abbatial benediction from the Bishop. But a greater than Mainer was on this same day advanced from the second to the highest rank in monastic dignity. It was at this court at Bonneville that the renowned Prior of Bec, the future Primate of Canterbury, the man whose acute and busy spirit made him well nigh the soul of his master's enterprise, became the first chief of his master's great foundation. The scruples of the great scholar and diplomatist had at last been overcome, and in the same hour in which Mainer received the staff of Saint Evroul, Lanfranc also received the staff of the still more famous house of Saint Stephen. The policy of pushing on the two great expiatory foundations at this particular moment is obvious. The champions

of the Church must, as far as might be, wipe out all memory of their former sin. William must set out on his holy enterprise with perfectly clean hands, and Matilda must be able to lift up hands no less clean as she prayed for his safety and victory before the altars which she had reared. Indeed, even without this overwhelming motive, the eve of so great and hazardous an undertaking was a moment which specially called for works of devotion of every kind, and we have seen that it was so felt by others in Normandy besides the Duke and Duchess. At this time therefore, besides the organization of William's foundation under its first and greatest Abbot, the material fabric of Matilda's foundation was so eagerly pressed on that the unfinished minster was hallowed three days after the appointment of the two Abbots. As part of that great ceremony, the ducal pair offered on the altar of God an offering more costly than lands or buildings or jewelled ornaments. In a milder sense than that in which the words were used by the ancient prophet, they gave their first-born for their transgression, the fruit of their bodies for the sin of their souls. The Duke's eldest daughter Cecily, now a child, but in after days to become a renowned Abbess of her mother's foundation, was dedicated by her parents as a virgin set apart for God's service. It was not however till nine years later that her lips pronounced the irrevocable vows. These ecclesiastical ceremonies are the last Norman events

of a peaceful kind which I have to record during this year of wonders. They answer to the ecclesiastical events which happened in England at a time a little earlier. The establishment of Lanfranc at Saint Stephen's, the consecration of the minster of the Trinity, answer to King Harold's renewed gifts to Waltham, to his labours for ecclesiastical reformation at Ely. On each side of the Channel the rival princes and their subjects were striving to win the favour of Heaven by acts of special devotion. We have now to turn away from ecclesiastical, and from all other peaceful affairs, to that great struggle between the two contending chiefs on the last act of which we are now fairly entered.

The Embarcation and Voyage of William
August-September 1066

At last, in the course of the month of August,' the Norman fleet was ready to set sail on its great enterprise. William was now to be occupied with war, and with war alone. He entrusted the government of the Duchy to Matilda, with the help of a council of wise men, at whose head stood the famous Roger of Beaumont. The age of Roger made him fitter for counsel than for action; so he tarried at home, while his son went to the war. The Duke himself hastened to the spot which had been chosen for the embarcation. This spot lay close to the scene of one of the most memorable

of William's exploits. The mouth of the Dive, where the fleet of Normandy was now gathered for the unprovoked invasion of England, lies only a few miles below that ford of Varaville where the Norman Duke had once, in a more righteous cause, dealt so heavy a blow against the French invaders of his Duchy. The river there pours itself into the sea, under the shelter of heights which are a close continuation of the hills from which King Henry had looked down to see the slaughter of his rear-guard. The course of the stream has no doubt greatly changed; the harbour, largely blocked up by sand, has lost much of its importance as a harbour, though it is now awaking to a kind of renewed life in the form of a modern watering-place. A large and singular church, still keeping its massive central arches of Norman work, is the only piece of antiquity which remains in the original small town of Dive. A modern column and inscription on the height above shows that the historical interest of the spot is not forgotten, and the name of the great Duke is still attached to the lowly hostelry. In this harbour then the ships were gathered; the host lay encamped on the hills, waiting for the south wind which was to bear them across to the land of promise. The view from those hills is a noble one. To the west the eye ranges over the whole low country and over the gentler heights which bound it in the extreme distance. At the foot of the heights the Dive rolls along its winding course, then no doubt pouring itself into the sea with a wider and more open flood than it can now boast of. Beyond it glistens the Orne, the stream which flowed by the rising minsters of Caen, the stream whose flood, like Kishon of old,' had wrought such help for William's cause on the day when he won his spurs at Val-es-dunes. To the north-east

stand forth the rocks which guard the entrance to a yet greater stream, the rocks by which William's Wiking forefathers had so ofter sailed to threaten the great cities on the Seine, and which now, under Norman guardianship, served as it were to keep the lord of Paris imprisoned within the narrow limits of his inland realm. The south wind for which William so eagerly waited was as slow in coming as the east wind which was so eagerly looked for when a later William was waiting to set forth for the shores of England on a widely different errand. The fleet was kept for a whole month at the mouth of the Dive, and the panegyrist of William grows eloquent on the wonderful good order and peaceable demeanour of the host which had, no doubt most unwillingly, to bear this untoward delay. The excellence of the Duke's commissariat is set forth in such glowing colours that we cannot help longing to know the details of his arrangements. The whole army, we are told, received regular pay and regular provisions during the month which was thus doomed to inactivity. All plunder was forbidden, and we are told that William's orders to this effect were carried out with a degree of success which seems incredible. The inhabitants of the surrounding country learned to pass without fear among the motley host, a host made up not only of their own countrymen but of adventurers from every province of Gaul. The

flocks and herds fed undisturbed in their pastures; the ripening corn remained alike uncut and untrampled by the dangerous visitors. In all this there is doubtless much of the exaggeration of a professed panegyrist. But we can well believe that the strong will of the great William was really able to keep a greater degree of good order among the mixed multitude which he commanded than a lesser man might have found the means of keeping even among an army of his own subjects. The numbers of the host which William had now assembled are as variously stated as the number of the ships which were to carry them. The sum total is commonly given at sixty thousand, or even more; but there are authorities which bring it as low as fourteen thousand. Here, as in the case of the ships, while we must allow for error and exaggeration, we must also allow for different systems of reckoning. The higher amount may be meant to take in all the armed men of every class, while the lower may give only the number of knightswhat in the military language of a later age would have been called the number of lancer. In the history of all ages nothing is so little trustworthy as the figures which profess to set before us the numbers of armies. And I fear that the exact number, or even any near approximation to the exact

number, either of the Norman invaders or of the English defenders, is one of the things which the historian must, however unwillingly, leave uncertain. It was while the Norman fleet was still at the mouth of the Dive, while the whole southern coast of England was so strongly guarded by the watchful care of Harold, that an incident is said to have happened, which, though it has been mixed up with events not belonging to it in date, is most likely not without some foundation in fact. The King of the English, among his precautions for the defence of the country, did not forget to seek for such knowledge as he could get as to the condition and numbers of the enemy. He sent spies across to the mouth of the Dive. One of them was seized and led before the Duke. We are not told whether William followed the magnanimous or ostentatious example of Xerxes in showing the Englishman the whole strength and numbers of the Norman host; but he at least sent him home unhurt, though charged with a threatening message to his sovereign. When the spy strove to hide his errand under some of the usual subterfuges, William showed him at once that no disguises could avail with him. Harold might forbear to waste his gold and silver in paying spies to search out William's resources; sooner than Harold looked for, he

would himself come as his own messenger, and would teach him on his own soil what the power of Normandy was. And it was now, we are told, that the Duke made that most singular comparison between himself and his rival of which I have already spoken. He had promised away all the goods of Harold beforehand, while Harold had not the strength of mind to promise anything of his. He goes on to say that Harold would fight only to keep what he had wrongfully seized, while he would fight to win possession of the gift of his departed friend which he had earned by his services towards him. Success was certain; the fleet was of such a number as to be fully enough for any purpose that was needed, while he was not cumbered with any useless multitude of ships. And, as for the army, the fate of campaigns was decided, not by the number of armies, but by their valour. A month was thus lost at the Dive, and yet the south wind came not. The Duke at last resolved to change his position and his place of embarcation. He had many good reasons for doing so. Had he stayed much longer in his first quarters, his supplies would most likely have failed him,

and he would no longer have been able to keep back his troops, especially the foreign mercenaries, from plunder. Meanwhile the same failure of provisions which William merely dreaded had actually defeated all the schemes of the English King. While William lay at the mouth of the Dive, Harold's great fleet and army, which had so long guarded the English coast, was finally disbanded, and the mass of the ships went back to London. It had in fact been a sort of involuntary struggle between the two rivals, which could keep an army for a longer time on foot without fighting or plundering. In this struggle William had succeeded. The host with which Harold had lined the whole West-Saxon coast was doubtless far larger than the host which William had gathered at a single haven of Normandy. But William's host, gathered from all parts of Gaul, was far more largely made up of professional soldiers than Harold's. It contained a far smaller proportion of the general levies of the country, eager to return to their homes and harvests. It is no wonder that the endurance of William's army outlasted the endurance of the army of Harold. But William had doubtless by this time exhausted the supplies afforded by the lands near the Dive, and he found it expedient to remove to quarters whose resources were still untouched. And the disbanding of Harold's fleet and army supplied another motive equally strong. Now that the shores of England were left comparatively defenceless, now that the English fleet no longer rode triumphantly in the Channel, it became a matter of importance with William to be nearer to the English shores, ready to sweep down on any unguarded spot at any favourable moment. William therefore took advantage of a west wind to hasten from the Dive to a point which far more

closely threatened the southern shores of England. He passed by the mouth of the Seine and by the whole coast of Upper Normandy, and took up his position at a spot beyond the limits of his own immediate dominion, within the territories of his now faithful vassal Guy of Ponthieu. Near the mouth of the broad estuary of the Somme, on a low height overhanging the water, stood a minstet, commemorating the good deeds of Walaric, a saint of Merowingian times who had done much to evangelize the still heathen lands of Northern Gaul. Like so many other foundations originally secular, it had seen its canons give way to monks, and the monastery now ranked high among foundations of its own class. Near its gate a small town had arisen, bearing, like the abbey itself, the name of its ancient patron, but in a form which French pronunciation had moulded into a likeness to the great Valerian house of Rome. The Abbey of Saint Valery, like many other monasteries, had suffered through its own renown; the relics of its founder had been carried off by the pious theft of a Count of Flanders, and had been restored by the pious intercession of a Duke of the French. Like many other monasteries too, the duty of its defence had given

a title to a line of temporal nobles. The Advocates of Saint Valery were powerful lords; one of them, as we have seen, had married a daughter of Normandy, and a younger branch of his race filled a high and honourable place among the great houses of the Norman land. Of this famous abbey the vast encircling wall still remains, but the remains of the church are small, and of a date somewhat later than the days with which we are concerned. But the ancient town, rising, with its parish church, above the modern port which has arisen rather higher up the river, still retains its walls and gateways and general mediaeval look in singular perfection. Below, immediately on the coast, stands a ruined tower of rude work, to which an inaccurate or misunderstood legend has attached the name of Harold of England. The spot, even apart from its historical associations, is in every way striking. The broad estuary, the wooded heights above it, the ancient and the modern town, unite to form a singularly varied landscape. It was here, on the wide expanse of water into which the mouth of the great Picard river spreads itself, that the fleet of William rode, still waiting for the longlooked for south wind which should at once bear him and his host to the shores of Sussex. Its numbers seem to have been somewhat lessened from the numbers, whatever those numbers were, of the fleet which had been gathered at the mouth of the Dive. We hear of losses from shipwreck, and of losses from desertion; and, as

we have seen, it is not impossible that we ought to add losses from at least partial actions with English ships. At any rate, from what cause soever, a good many men were missing from William's muster; and we are told that he imitated the well-known stratagem of Xerxes, by causing the recovered bodies of the drowned men to be buried as secretly as might be, lest the knowledge of their losses might serve to dishearten his followers. Still the wind was not favourable; the west wind had brought the fleet to Saint Valery, but the south wind was not yet willing to bring it to any English haven. All the time then that Harold was engaged in his great Northern march and in his victory at Stamfordbridge, William was still lying inactive in his second naval quarters at the mouth of the Somme. But with William time was never idle; he had ever at his command the resources of both worlds to fill up any time of constrained inaction. He was even more bound to respect the property of his allies and vassals than to respect that of his own subjects. He occupied himself as diligently in care for his commissariat at saint Valery as he had done at the Dive. By constant exhortations he kept up the spirits of those of his men who were already beginning to shrink from the enterprise. And the champion of the Church, the pious leader of the great expedition for the second conversion of the erring English, was not likely to be sparing at such a moment in those means of spiritual excitement of which he so well knew the value. Prayers and sacred rites of every

kind were employed, in order to move Heaven to send the looked-for wind which should waft its servants to do its bidding beyond the sea. The Duke himself was unwearied in his devotions within the minster of Saint Valery, nor did he pay less regard to the outside of the temple than to the inside. His eyes were ever watching the weathercock on the minster tower; when he saw it pointing to the south, his heart was downcast and his eyes were filled with tears, but the least turn in the opposite direction again kindled his hopes. Still the wind came not; the sky was cloudy; the weather was cold and rainy; for fifteen days all the powers of the air seemed steadily bent against the enterprise. At last recourse was had to a ceremony of special solemnity, one which, it was thought, could not fail to wring the long-wished-for boon from the saints and from their Creator. At the request of the Duke and his army, the Abbot and monks of Saint Valery came forth from their church in solemn procession, bearing the shrine which held the wonder-working body of their glorified patron. A carpet was spread on the ground, and the shrine was exposed to the gaze of the army, awaiting their devotions and their offerings. The Duke and all his host

knelt in prayer for the withdrawal of the adverse breeze and the sending of one more favourable. Nor was their bounty less than their faith; the shrine of Saint Valery was hidden by the pieces of money showered down as offerings by his worshippers. The devotion and the pious liberality of the Norman host did not pass unrewarded. The prayers and the gifts of William and his followers did their work. The costly offerings at Caen, the crowning act of devotion at Saint Valery, at last availed to release the new Agamemnon from his unwilling sojourn at another Aulis. In the milder belief of William's age the virginity of Cecily was an offering more acceptable to Heaven than the bloody sacrifice of Iphigeneia. And at last so many prayers were heard. On Wednesday the twenty-seventh of September, two days after Harold's victory at Stamfordbridge, the south wind blew.

The camp was in a tumult of joy and thankfulness. The wished-for hour was at last come. England and its spoils seemed to lie before them, ready to be grasped by the hands of the champions of the Church and of the Norman saints. Men were seen everywhere lifting up their hands to heaven, exhorting one another and rejoicing that the hours of weariness were over, that the moment of action at last had come. In the midst of the general joy came the Duke's orders for immediate embarcation. William, as eager by temper as he was cautious by reflexion, was foremost in urging his followers to hasten on board their vessels, and to lose no time in making for the promised land. But his troops needed little urging; the dread of the unknown sea and of the unknown land, the dread of the wealth of England and of the might of her defenders, had all passed away. The Norman warriors were so clearly the favourites of Heaven, the sign which they had just received so clearly showed that their cause was the cause of righteousness, that doubt and fear no longer lingered in the mind of any man. Men rushed to the shore; one man exhorted his followers, another his comrades; each was eager to be first on board, to be foremost in the holy work. The captain outstripped his soldiers; the soldier outstripped his companions; men left behind them their goods and their necessary stores, having

one fear only before their eyes, lest by any mishap they should themselves be left behind. Some bore on their shoulders the swords, the spears, the coats of mail, which would be needed on the other side of the water. Some yoked themselves to waggons loaded with spears, and loaded also with casks of wine. This last was the only kind of provision of which any great quantity seems to have been thought needful; conquered England was to find the rest. Some were busy in setting up the masts, some in unfurling the sails; the special work of the horsemen was the harder task of bringing their horses on board the vessels. The ships resounded with music; the pipe, the zittern, the drum, the cymbals, all were heard, and the voice of the trumpet sounded proudly over all. Meanwhile the Duke once more made his way to the minster of Saint Valery, and offered his last prayers and gifts on Gaulish ground before he went forth to the conquest of the island realm. Before he reached his ship, evening had set in. The moon was hidden and the heavens were clouded over. The Duke therefore ordered every ship to

bear a light, while on the top of the mast of his own Mora a huge lantern blazed to be the guiding star of the whole navy. William now went on board; the trumpet sounded, and the voice of the herald announced the Duke's last orders before setting sail. The ships were to keep as near together as might be, and to follow closely after the beacon-light of his own ship. When they were well out to sea, they were to rest a while in the dead hour of the night, till the signals speaking alike to the eye and ear had again issued the ducal commands from the ducal vessel. The fleet set sail; the vessels halted and rested as the Duke had ordered. But before day-break the trumpet again sounded from the Mora, and the lantern again blazed at her mast. The ships again set sail; but the ship which carried William and his fortunes, guided by the skilful hand of her pilot Stephen, far outstripped all her followers. We are told that the speed of

the vessel, like that of the divine barks of Scheria, adapted itself to the eagerness of her master; but it is plain that one reason for the special fleetness of William's ship was that she was one of the few vessels in the fleet which were unencumbered by horses. The day was now dawning, and the ducal ship was alone. At the Duke's bidding a sailor climbed the mast to see whether any of the other vessels were in sight. But the morning light as yet showed him nothing on all sides but the sea and the sky. The Duke ordered a halt; the anchor was cast, and William, as if in his own house, ordered a plentiful breakfast to be served up. The rich contents of one of the casks of wine were not forgotten; and William in cheerful mood bade his men be of good heart and assured them that their comrades would soon overtake them; God, in whose cause they were setting forth, would watch over the safety of all the host. The sailor was again sent to the mast-head, and he could now say that four ships were in sight. Before long he saw such a multitude that their masts looked like a forest upon the waves. The heart of William

was lifted up in thankfulness. The south wind still blew; in the morning light the lantern was no longer needed; the chequered colours of the sails of the Mora were now the beacon on which every eye in the whole fleet was fixed. England was soon in sight, and by nine in the morning of Thursday the twenty-eighth of September, the Norman claimant of her Crown had already set foot upon her shores. He landed at a spot so memorable in the earliest English history that, to one who muses there, the landing even of William himself seems but of secondary interest. William came, as it might seem, to pour a new Latin and Celtic infusion into Teutonic England. He brought his Romanized Northmen and the Welsh of the Lesser Britain to bear rule over Saxons, Angles, and Danes who had never fallen away from their Teutonic heritage. He came to begin his work on a spot where the Saxon of old had dealt one of the heaviest of all his blows against the Roman and the Briton. He came to subdue England on one of the spots which had seen most done to turn

Britain into England. A north-west course from Saint Valery had brought the invading fleet to a point in that eastern part of the South-Saxon coast which, trending to the north-east, is cut off in a marked way by the promontory of Beechy Head from that long and nearly straight line of coast which reaches westward to Selsey Bill. At Beechy Head to the west, and again near Hastings to the east, the high ground comes down to the sea. Between these points lies a long flat shore, where the waves now break on a vast mass of shingle, which, at some points, stretches a long way inland, forming a wilderness of pebbles, slightly relieved by small patches of gorse and thin herbage. Between the coast and the hills--the hills which form a part of the great Andredes-weald--there lies a wide level, but here and there slight and low projections feeble offshoots from the high ground, straggle down to wards the coast. One such post, commanding alike the sea and the inland country, had been chosen as the site of a Roman city, and Anderida, the Andreder-ceaster of our fore fathers, became, in the later days of Roman rule in Britain, one of the chief of the fortresses which guarded the Saxon Shore. In those days, and in the days of William also, Ande rida was a haven of the sea. The great stretch of shingle is owing to the later siltings which have choked up so many harbours along this coast; in the fifth century and in the eleventh the sea still washed the foot of the slight eminence occupied by the city, and ships could ride at anchor beneath the Roman walls. Of those walls and of their massive towers large portions still remain; but not a single human dwelling

place survives within their circuit. In the southeastern corner of the Roman city, the mediaeval castle of Pevensey, a foun dation of William's brother Robert, has arisen and has fallen into decay. And just without the ancient walls, the villages of Pevensey and West Ham, each with its Old-English name and its mediaeval church, seem to show by their position that the first Teutonic settlers in Britain shrank, from whatever reason, from fixing their own dwellings on the Roman sites. Few groups are more striking in themselves than this assem blage of antiquities of various dates and kinds, Roman and mediaeval, ecclesiastical and military. But the true charm of the spot comes from the memory that there was dealt one of the most awful of those awful blows which made our race dominant in this our island. Second among the Teutonic settlements, first among the strictly Saxon settlements, the followers of Aelle and Cissa had for fourteen years been fighting their way onwards from their first landing-place on British soil. The foundations of the South-Saxon Kingdom had been laid at Cymenes-ora, in the haven which in after days came to be called after the city to which the younger conqueror gave his name. Since that day, the Saxons had been gradually spreading eastward towards the frontiers of their Jutish kinsfolk in Kent. At last, as we read in our Chronicles, Aelle and Cissa beset Andredes-ceaster, and slew all that were therein, nor was there a Briton left there any more. So it was that our fathers did their work;

but so it was that England became England. The fall of Anderida put the last stroke to the Teutonic conquest of south-eastern Britain. The long range of coast, once part of the Saxon Shore in the elder sense, now became far more truly a Saxon shore under the rule of our first Bretwalda. The walls which were stormed by Aelle and Cissa have, from that day to this, remained as the mighty monument of a fallen power, the sepulchre of the races which our fathers swept away. In the days of William, as now, those walls had already long ceased to surround the dwellingplaces of men. The forsaken city could at most have served as an occasional place of shelter for the people of the two English settlements which had arisen at either end of it. Beneath those awful ruins, among the memorials of ancient English victory, the Norman Duke now landed. He came, as it might seem to a careless eye, to undo the work of Aelle and Cissa, to subject the sons of the destroyers of the Briton and the Roman to men speaking the tongue of Rome, and in the veins of many of whom still flowed the blood of the British exiles of Armorica. In truth the errand on which he came was the exact opposite. He came, a chief of Danes and Saxons who had fallen from their first love, who had cast away the laws and the speech of their forefathers, but who now came to the Teutonic island to be won back into the Teutonic fold, to be washed clean from the traces of their sojourn in Roman lands, and to win for themselves, among

the brethren whom they were to meet as momentary enemies, a right to an equal share in the name, the laws, and the glories of Teutonic England. Pevensey then, the English name which had supplanted the ancient Anderida, was the place of William's landing. The town is mentioned among those ports on the southern coast which Harold had taken special care to supply with garrisons. But at the moment of William's landing the post was either wholly undefended, or defended by a force which found it hopeless to offer resistance, it will be remembered that the Housecarlshad gone northward with the King, and that the irregular levies which had guarded the coast only three weeks before were now scattered every man to his own home. Any force then which still held Pevensey, or any other point of th South-Saxon coast, is likely to have been intended as a mere outpost to watch and to give the alarm, rather than to have been placed there with any hope of seriously withstanding the invaders. Harold had doubtless hoped that the winds which had delayed William so long would still work in the cause of England. He trusted that the enemy's passage would be delayed till he could himself return to the southern coast at the head of the victors of Stamfordbridge. But the fortune of William bore him to the English shore at the very moment which suited his purpose. A little earlier or a little later, he would have met with a vigorous and, in all likelihood, a successful resistance. On that Saint Michael's Eve he met with no resistance whatever. There were neither ships to hinder him from drawing near

to the shore, nor soldiers to withstand him in the act of landing. The crews of the whole Norman fleet disembarked without a blow being struck against them. But the array in which they disembarked seems plainly to show that they had at least reckoned on meeting with armed resistance. The fleet was not allowed to be scattered; the ships all steered for the same point, and cast anchor as near together as might be in the one haven of Pevensey. The wide stretch of shore at this point would render such a course especially easy. As soon as the anchors were cast, the ships were run ashore, the masts were lowered, the shields and saddles were unladen, the horses were set free from their unfamiliar prisons. The fighting men then landed as nearly as might be in battle array. The first armed man who set foot on English ground was Duke William himself. As he came down from his ship, his foot slipped and he fell with both his hands upon the ground. A loud cry of grief was raised at the evil omen. But the ready wit of William failed him not. "By the splendour of God, " he cried, "I have taken seizin of my kingdom, the earth of England

is in my two hands. It is added that a soldier, of kindred spirit with his leader, ran forward, and plucking a handful of thatch from a cottage, placed it in the Duke's hand as seizin, not only of England, but of all that England held within it. "I accept it," answered the Duke; "and may God be with us. The whole army now landed in order. First came the archers, ready for fight, with bended bows and quivers slung at their sides. They scoured the whole of the neighbouring shore, but they nowhere found an armed enemy to resist them. Next came the knights, all in their helmets and harness. They at once mounted their horses, and formed in the plain as if to call forth the hidden defenders of England to battle. But not a blow was struck; Pevensey was occupied as the first-fruits of the invasion; a garrison was left to secure William's first

possession on English ground, and the words of one of our informants might almost imply that some part of the Roman ruins was once more turned, in the rough and hurried way which was all that the time allowed, to purposes of defence. One object of this fortification and garrison was to guard the ships, which had been drawn on shore and which were now to be left behind. For the stay of the Norman host at Pevensey was not a long one. No great amount of provisions had been brought with them, nor could the town of Pevensey and its neighbourhood supply food for so great a multitude. It was needful to move to some wealthier and more convenient post, which would afford better headquarters for the army, and which might serve as a central point for a systematic harrying of the country. Only one day therefore was spent at Pevensey; on the next day, the feast of the Archangel so deeply reverenced by Norman devotion, the army marched on eastward, probably along the line of a Roman road, and came to the town which William chose as his base of operations for this memorable campaign. That campaign can be

called by no name so fitting as the Campaign of Hastings; for Hastings was the head-quarters of William, the centre of the whole operations of the campaign. But in speaking of the great battle itself, the name of Hastings simply leads to geographical confusions. I speak therefore of the Campaign of Hastings, while to the battle itself I restore its true ancient name of Senlac. The town and port of Hastings is one which has been more than once mentioned in the earlier stages of our history. Its name has been made memorable by the zeal and energy which its seamen showed in their pursuit of the pirate-ships of Swegen after the murder of Beorn. Like Pevensey, it had been garrisoned by Harold. And yet the town seems to have surrendered to William without striking a blow. Hastings like most other English towns, had most likely no fortifications which could resist Norman arts of attack, and the prowess of the seamen, whose force would at any time have been weak against the vast fleet of William, was utterly useless now that the invaders had actually landed. The town is placed on a part of the coast where the hills come close down upon the sea, forming a striking contrast to the wide open flats which the Normans had just left behind them at Pevensey. Two gorges between hills open immediately upon the water; the eastern opening is filled up by the elder, the western by the more modern, town of Hastings. The hill which divides the two is crowned by the ruins of the castle which doubtless marks the sight of William's head-quarters. The position was an important one; it commanded the great roads east and west, and also the

north road leading directly between London and the coast. William therefore chose Hastings as a permanent camp. After consultation with his brothers, Bishop Odo and Count Robert, he gave orders for the building of one of those wooden fortresses which were so constantly run up for sudden emergencies in Norman warfare, and which often proved the forerunners of more lasting fortresses of stone. The time at William's command allowed only of the digging of a trench, the casting up of a mound, and the fortification of its summit with a castle of wood. But it was doubtless this temporary work which formed the germ of the stately castle which in after days crowned the height of Hastings, and within whose walls arose a church and college, whose chief stall, less than a hundred years after this time, formed one of the countless preferments of the worldly archdeacon who was so soon to be transformed into the champion and martyr of the Church. It is not clear whether it was at Pevensey or at

Hastings that the Duke reviewed his troops, and found, so we are told in one account, that two only of his ships had been lost on the passage. But one rather remarkable life had been lost with them. A clerk, who pretended to the power of soothsaying, had assured the Duke, not only that his voyage would be prosperous, but that he should win England without a blow. Harold would of his own accord again bow to him and become his man. Half the prophecy was already fulfilled; it remained to see what would be the fate of the other half. But the prophet himself came not to the muster. He had embarked in one of the missing ships and was returned as drowned. "A poor diviner must he have been," said William, "who could not divine the way and time of his own death. Foolish would he be who should put faith in the words of such a soothsayer as this. One hardly knows whether these dark allusions to lost ships and lost men are to be taken in connexion with the fact that, at some stage of the campaign before the great battle, certain stragglers from the Norman fleet or army had made their way eastward as far as Romney, and had there fallen in a skirmish with the townsmen. The words of our accounts leave it uncertain whether a portion of the fleet lost its way on the passage,

or whether a detachment of the army wandered thither from Hastings. In any case, this and some other signs which we have already seen all tend to show that the fight on Senlac was not absolutely the first time that Normans and Englishmen met with arms in their hands during this memorable year. William, it will be remembered, while encamped in his own territory and in that of his vassal of Ponthieu, had carefully maintained his troops at his own cost, and had at least done his best to hinder all plunder of the surrounding country. But England, though a realm which William cliamed as his own by inheritance, was not to be dealt with so tenderly. A poet in the Norman interest tells us that whatever damage the English suffered was only the fitting punishment for their stubborness in not at once admitting the manifest rights of their lawful King. However this may be, there can be little doubt that William's ravages were not only done systematically, but were done with a fixed and politic purpose. It was William's object to fight a battle as soon as might be. But it was not his object to advance for this purpose far into the country, to seek for Harold wherever he might be found. So to do would have been to cut himself off from his own powerful base of operations and from his only hope of retreat in case of defeat. It was William's object to bring Harold down to the sea-coast, to tempt him to an attack on the Norman camp, or to a battle on the level

ground. In either of these cases the Norman tactics would have a distinct advantage over the English. It is impossible to doubt that the systematic harrying of the whole country round Hastings was done with the deliberate purpose of provoking the English King, and of bringing him in all haste to defend his subjects. The work was done with a completeness which shows that it was something more than the mere passing damage wrought by an army in need of food. The traces of the ravages done at this time are recorded in the great Survey twenty years later. The Tapestry not only vividly sets before us the way in which provisions of all sorts were brought in for the use of the camp; it also represents an incident which at once goes to the heart. A house is set on fire; the inmates, a woman and a child, are coming forth from their burning dwelling. This is doubtless one instance among thousands of the cruel destruction which was fast spread over the country, as far as William's plunderers could reach. Men fled everywhere with such of their goods and cattle as they could save, and sought for shelter in the churches and churchyards. It would doubtless be the policy of the pious Duke to keep his followers back, as far as might be, from all damage towards those who thus put themselves under the direct protection of religion. Elsewhere all was havoc. It was to save his people from the horrors of war in their most barbarous form that King Harold jeoparded his life and Kingdom.

At the moment of William's landing, and even at the moment of his occupation of Hastings, he must have been quite uncertain as to the fortunes of his rival in the North. It was perfectly possible that he might never have to contend with Harold of England at all. The result of the Northumbrian campaign could hardly have been known in Sussex two days after the fight of Stamfordbridge, and it was one of the possible chances of war that William might have to fight for the Crown of England against the victorious host of Tostig and Harold Hardrada. But the two great rivals were not long kept in ignorance of each other's movements and purposes. The news was brought to William by a message from an English landowner of Norman birth, in whom it is easy to recognize the Staller Robert the son of Wymarc, him who had stood at the bed's head of the dying Eadward. We know not whether he had kept his stallership, or any other office, under Harold. But it is plain that he had become the man of the new King, for he was living in England under the King's peace and in full possession of his lands. There is nothing in his present conduct which sets him before us as a traitor to his new allegiance. It is scarcely ground enough for such a charge to say that he could hardly have been with Harold

at Stamfordbridge. His conduct in fact seems to have been that which was really right and honourable under the cir cumstances in which he stood. He had to reconcile his good will and his duty towards his adopted country with his earlier good will and earlier duty towards his natural sovereign. He sent a messenger to Hastings, with a message meant to per suade the Duke, in the interest of all parties, to give up his enterprise, and to go quietly back to his own land. He, Robert, counselled him as a friend and kinsman; he would be deeply sorry if any harm befell him or his army, and, if he stayed in England, he and his army would meet with certain destruction. It was hopeless for William to think of striving against the forces of England. King Harold had just defeated the Norwegian invader with a slaughter of twenty thousand men; Tostig and Harold Hardrada were slain; the King of the English was coming southwards with a countless host, a host, men said, of a hundred thousand. Against the English King and the English army, flushed with their victory over the greatest warrior in the whole world, it would be madness to risk

a battle. Neither in number nor in strength were the Normans fit to do battle against King Harold and the Eng lish. Against them, in short, William's army would count for no more than so many barking curs. The Duke was a prudent man, and had hitherto always acted prudently. Let him act prudently now; let him go home; let him at all events keep within his entrenchments and not risk a battle. If he did go forth to fight, his rashness would certainly bring about his utter overthrow. Such counsel as this, addressed to William the Conqueror, speaks much more highly for the good intentions of Robert than for his knowledge of mankind, above all for his knowledge of the man with whom he was dealing. William had not crossed the sea for nothing; he was not like the King in the Gospel, who had to stop on his march to think whether he were able with his ten thousand to meet him who came against him with twenty thousand. It was perhaps not without a reference to that parable that William answered that, had he only ten thousand men, such as those of whom he had sixty thousand, he would not draw back; he would not cross the sea again without avenging himself of his enemy. He would not even keep himself within his entrenchments; whatever were the numbers on either side, he would go forth and

meet Harold face to face. He deigned to thank Robert for the kindly interest which he took in his welfare, but he hinted that the words in which he had contrasted Norman and English prowess would better have been spared. The Duke had no need of such counsels as those which were pressed upon him by his cousin's favourite. He had come into England to win his Crown, and his Crown he would win at all hazards.

The Southern March of Harold
October 1-13, 1066

I have already told how the news of William's landing was brought to King Harold at the feast of victory at York. That feast must have been saddened by the thought of the many brave men who had fallen at a moment when England needed the help of all her sons, by the thought that England had been saved only by the death of a brother of her King, by the thought that, while King and people were rejoicing at the victory which had just been gained over one enemy, another enemy, certainly not less terrible, was daily threatening the defenceless southern coast. And in the very moment of triumph the news came that the blow had actually fallen. Men now heard that, while Harold was letting the remnants of the Norwegian army depart in peace, the Duke of the Normans had actually landed, that he was ravaging English ground far and wide, that a portion of English ground was already entrenched and palisaded, and changed into a Norman

fortress. The Norman poet gives us a graphic description of the way in which the news was brought to the English King. A Thegn of the country heard the cries of grief and dismay with which the South-Saxon churls beheld the approach of the Norman fleet. He went forth; he hid himself in a convenient lurkingplace, and beheld in safety the landing of the whole Norman army. He saw first the archers and then the knights disembark. He saw the shields and armour brought out of the ships; he saw the carpenters come out with their axes; he saw the fosse dug, and the palisade thrown up. The

sight was enough; the heart of the English Thegn was troubled; he took his weapons, his sword and his javelin; he mounted his horse, and rode straight to bear the news to his lord King Harold. He hastened on with all speed night and day; he rested late and rose early, till he found the victor of Stamfordbridge in the banquetting-hall at York. Here he at once told his errand. The countless host from all Gaul, the host of horsemen and archers and slingers who had gathered under the banner of Duke William, had landed at Pevensey. They had already built a fort and had fenced it with a palisade. Presently another messenger, a churl, came from Hastings itself. He had yet more news to tell of the cruel harrying of the South-Saxon land. The host of Normans, Frenchmen, and Bretons, a host that no man could number, a host like the stars of heaven or the fishes of the sea, was

ravaging far and wide. Men were slain; their widows, their sons, their daughters, their flocks and their herds, were becoming the prey of the stranger. Each message enforced the same truth; the King must march at once to the defence of his southern coasts, or the whole land would be wrested from him. Harold is reported by the Norman poet to have said that it would have been better to have given Tostig all that he asked, so that he might have been himself in the south to hinder the landing of the French invaders. Such a speech cannot have been uttered by Harold, as it misconceives all the relations between him and his brother. The situation is better conceived when the King is made to say that, had he been on the South-Saxon shore, the strangers would never have made good their landing. Either they would have been driven back into the sea, or they would have escaped its dangers only to perish on English ground. "But," he added, "the mischance was the will of the King of Heaven, and I could not be everywhere at the same moment."

And so of a truth it was. The event of this great campaign, the overthrow of Harold and of England, turned wholly, setting aside the mere accidents of battle, on the inability of Harold himself to contend against two invasions, or to be at the two ends of his kingdom at the same time. Of the two invasions, the Norwegian and the Norman, each rendered the other possible. Or even had the south wind blown sooner at the mouth of the Dive, the southern coast of England would have been found guarded against any attack, and Harold would most likely have gone to meet his namesake of Norway flushed with victory over William and his host. As it was, the fate of England, as ever in that age, rested on one man, and that one man could not be at once in Sussex and in Northumberland. Harold, too late to hinder the landing of the Normans, had now before him the fat harder task of dislodging them when they were already in the land. It was a hard lot to have to hasten at once on such an errand, after scarcely a moment's rest from the toils and the glories of Stamfordbridge. One terrible campaign was hardly over, when another yet more terrible had to be begun. But the heart of Harold failed him not, and the heart of England beat in unison with the heart of her King. As soon as the news came, King Harold held a Council of the leaders of Stamfordbridge, or perhaps an armed Gemot, such as we have already heard of more than once. He told them of the landing of the enemy; he set before them the horrors which would come upon the land if the invader succeeded in his enterprise. A loud shout of assent rose from the

Assembly. Every man pledged his faith rather to die in arms than to acknowledge any King but Harold. The King thanked his loyal followers, and at once ordered an immediate march to the south, an immediate muster of the forces of his kingdom. London again was the trysting-place. With speed and energy equal to that which had carried him to his northern capital, he now set out on the return march. He himself pressed on at once, at the head of such of his Housecarls and others of his immediate following as had survived the fight of Stamfordbridge. Eadwine and Morkere were bidden to follow with the whole force of their Earldoms. Meanwhile the command of the North was entrusted to the Sheriff Merleswegen. We shall hear of him again among the patriots of a time a few years later, and we cannot doubt that this great command was put into his hands because he was known to be one more worthy of the trust than the King's own brothers-in-law. And so it proved. Even the great salvation of Stamfordbridge, the deliverance of Northumberland from the very jaws of her enemy, could not bind the sons of Aelfgar to thankfulness or to good faith towards the West-Saxon King. In their eyes, no doubt, the landing of William only offered another chance of bringing about their darling scheme of a divided Kingdom.

William had a quarrel with Harold; he had none with Eadwine or Morkere. They had not forsworn themselves to their lord or done despite to any holy relics. The invader might well be content with the immediate territories of his enemy and his house. William might rule over Wessex and EastAnglia, and might leave Mercia and Northumberland to the house of Leofric. It was most likely with some such designs as these that the Northern Earls held themselves and their forces back from the struggle. But, whatever were their motives, the fact that they did hold themselves back is certain. The main forces of Northumberland and north-western Mercia came not to King Harold's muster. But elsewhere another spirit reigned. Men well knew what was at stake. They went forth, as loyal subjects, as true men to their lord, to fight for the King whom they had chosen. But they went forth also on a higher errand still, to save the land of their birth from the grasp of the invader, an invader of wholly alien speech and feeling, an invader who could never be as Cnut or even as Harold of Norway. The presence of the Frenchmen in the land awoke a spirit in every English heart which has never died out to this day. We hear indeed vague stories how Harold lost favour with the victors of Stamfordbridge by refusing to share among them the rich plunder of the Norwegian host. We hear how he left the plunder

untouched under the care of Archbishop Ealdred, instead of scattering it with a bounteous hand among the men whose toils and whose blood had won it. These stories rest on but poor authority; still they may have some groundwork of truth. The time was not a time for waste of treasure; the armaments of the year must have been costly beyond measure ; Harold needed wealth to oppose to the wealth of William, and, considering the doubtful faith of the Northern Earls, he could not afford to throw away the sinews of civil war. A prudent economy on the part of Harold may have called forth a certain measure of discontent; but it is certain that such discontent had no serious effect on the campaign. The discontented in such a case must have been mainly the King's own Housecarls, and those who bring this charge against Harold tell us also that it was the King's own Housecarls who formed the strength of the host that fought at Senlac. It is far more certain that, as King Harold set forth on his southern march, fresh from the triumph of Stamford bridge and with the fate of England resting once more upon him, the men of the greater part of England flocked eagerly to the standard of their glorious King. They gathered round him from all the shires through which the Dragon and the Fighting Man passed once more on their southern journey. They gathered round him from all the shires under his own immediate rule, and under the rule of his faithful brothers. North-western

Mercia stood aloof under Eadwine. Northumberland, under the rule of Morkere, sent none but such as joined the King's own standard on his march. Not so the lands which were still under the House of Siward. Whether the young Waltheof came himself we know not; but there is no doubt that the men of Northampton and Huntingdon came loyally to King Harold's muster. And from all the east and south, from the lands which had passed from the rule of Godwine to the rule of Harold, from the lands where Gyrth still kept up the memory of Harold's earlier government, from all the lands between the Tamar and the German Ocean, men came to fight for Harold and for England. And, foremost and honoured among all, ranking, it would seem, every man among the King's personal following, came the men of Kent, whose right it was to deal the first blow in the battle, and the men of the great city itself, whose high privilege it was to guard the King himself and his standard. At the head of the men of London stood the Sheriff of the Middle-Saxons, the Staller Ansgar, the son of Aethelstan, the son of Tofig, none the

less loyal to his King because the minster of the Holy Rood had risen on soil which had once been the dwelling-place of his fathers. Of his fellow Staller Eadnoth we hear nothing; Bondig would almost seem to have tarried in the North, or, from whatever cause or accident, not to have appeared at the muster. We see then that England, as a whole, failed not of her duty; but few indeed, compared with the long roll-call of the invaders, are the men whom we know by name as having joined in the great march and fought in the great battle. Still there are a few names which have come down to us, names to be cherished wherever the tongue of England is spoken, names which should sound like the call of the trumpet in the ears of every man of English birth. In the dry entries of the Norman Survey a few records still live of the men who fought and died for England. Two nameless freemen of Hampshire, owners of a small allodial holding, come first on the patriotic bead-roll. In a shape one degree clearer stands forth Aelfric of Gelling, a Thegn of Huntingdonshire and tenant of the church of Ramsey, who came from Waltheof's Earldom, whether in the following of his Earl or at the bidding of his own loyalty to his King. From East-Anglia we find recorded a nameless tenant of the House of Saint Eadmund, and Breme a freeman of King Eadward's, who came no doubt in the following of Earl Gyrth. With a clearer knowledge of their personal being, we can honour the names of two noble tenants of the Church of Abingdon, men high in rank in the old West-Saxon Earldom, who fought and fell by the side of Harold. Their names set them before us as

representatives of the two great Teutonic races of the land, each alike armed to defend their common blood and speech against the Southern invader. Thither came Godric the Sheriff, lord of Fifhide, whose name witnesses to his English blood, and thither too came the Danish Thurkill, lord of the neighbouring lordship of Kingston. He had, at Earl Harold's counsel, commended himself and his lands to Saint Mary of Abingdon, and he came no doubt with as sure a trust in the Black Cross of that ancient house as the King himself could put in the more famous relic of his own newly hallowed minster. And it was not only the tenants of religious houses who went forth to battle for the excommunciated King against the invader who boasted himself as the special cham pion of the Church and of religion. Two English prelates at least, and several churchmen of lower rank, personally braved the curse of Rome in the cause of England. The New Minster of Winchester, King Aelfred's great bequest to his royal city, was still ruled by Aelfwig, the brother of the great Earl Godwine, the uncle of King Harold himself. Like Ealhstan and Eadnoth in earlier times, he and twelve of his monks marched to the field, not only to pray for England, but to wield their weapons among the foremost of her champions. With their coats of mail over their monastic garb, they took their place in the ranks, and fought and died alongside of Thurkill and Godric and the other valiant men whose names no chronicler has recorded. Aelfwig came to the fight at the bidding of kindred no less than at the bidding of loyalty. Another prelate, of equal ecclesiastical rank and of greater personal fame, Leofric, the renowned Abbot of Peterbor ough, preferred the cause of his country to the cause of his own house. Eadwine and Morkere kept aloof from the great struggle; their worthier cousin, the Abbot

of five monasteries, followed Harold to the fight, and, unlike his brother of Winchester, returned to his home sick and wounded. And one lowlier churchman must not be passed by. The Norman record itself seems to assume a kind of paths, as we read how Eadric the Deacon, a freeman of Harold's, followed his lord from the East-Anglian land of his earlier government, and died with him in the battle. Volunteers like these doubtless took their places among the King's personal following. But we cannot doubt that the main strength of the army consisted of Harold's own picked troops, his veteran Housecarls, the conquerors of Gruffydd, the victors of Stamfordbridge. Still it is clear that the levies of all southern and eastern England answered readily to Harold's summons. They flocked to his muster in London in as great numbers, and with as great speed, as the swift march of events at this fearful crisis allowed them. The march of Harold from York to London was as memorable an instance of the indomitable energy of his character as his march, so short a time before, from London to York. He seems to have reached London about ten days after the fight at Stamfordbridge, about a week after William's landing at Pevensey. He came at the head of his own following, and of such of the general levies of the midland shires as had joined him on the road. In the great city which had been appointed as the general trysting-place he waited, impatiently as it would seem, while men flocked in from his own Wessex and from the lands of the three faithful Earls. He waited also for the

further succours which were never to arrive, for the forces which the Earls of the North were keeping back from the muster. At such a moment of suspense the heart of Harold, no less than the heart of William, looked for help and guidance from on high. His home was now in the royal hall of Westminster, beneath the shadow of the minster of the Apostle, the minster where prayers and masses were daily going up for the soul of his revered predecessor. It was the minster too where he himself had gone through the most solemn act of his life, where he had received his royal unction and his Imperial Crown. But it was not before the tomb of Eadward, or before the altar of Saint Peter, that Harold sought for heavenly strength and counsel in the great crisis of his life. His heart went back to the home of his earlier days, to the lowlier church of his own rearing, to the relic which had ever been the special object of his devotion, the Holy Cross which gave England her way-cry. One at least of the few days of the King's short stay in London was devoted to a last pilgrimage to his own Waltham. Early in the morning of one of those October days King Harold made his way to the minster of the Holy Cross, bearing with him the last gifts that he was to offer there. Those gifts were a further supply of relics, the treasures of his own chapel, gathered together no doubt by the lavish piety of Eadward, but which now formed Harold's last oblation upon the high altar of his own minster. Before

that altar the King and Founder knelt in prayer. He vowed that, if God gave him victory in the strife to which he was then marching forth, he would yet further endow the church of the Holy Rood with gifts and lands, and would yet further increase the number of those who served God within its walls. Nay more, he would look upon himself as God's ransomed servant, and would devote himself to his special service for ever. We need not take these striking words to mean that Harold dreamed, like Ceadwalla or Ine, of laying aside his Crown and of becoming God's special servant as monk or priest. We hear in them simply the voice of deep penitence for the few sins and errors which stained that noble life, the voice of earnest prayer for deliverance from the meshes in which the craft of his adversary had entangled him. We hear in them the voice of high and humble resolution to live from henceforth, as man and as King, a life such as became a faithful servant of God, such as became a King who sat on the throne of the righteous Aelfred, and whose first days of government had been passed in the old realm of the martyred Eadmund. When his offerings had been made and his prayers had been uttered, the King turned him to depart. The canons and all the members of the church of Waltham formed in procession before their sovereign and founder. They swept westward along that stately nave, between the two rows of its massive columns, till thy reached the great western portal. There, before the King left the minster, he once more turned towards the wonder-working relic, the Holy Rood of Montacute and Waltham.

Before the great object of his life's reverence, King Harold bowed himself low, and lay for a while flat on his face on the consecrated pavement. Then, as men said at Waltham in after days, the holy image, whose head had hitherto stood erect, bowed itself towards the King who lay prostrate beneath it. One eye alone, that of the sacrist Thurkill, was privileged to behold the actual working of the divine wonder. But many there were who had seen the image in former days, and who bare witness how its head had been from that day bowed towards the ground, as if to say "It is finished," as if to say that all was over with the hopes and the career of him who had so devoutly honoured it. It was perhaps on his return from Waltham, it was certainly during his short sojourn in London, that Harold received another message from his rival. Here again we come to one of those stages of our narrative where all is confusion and contradiction. The English writers, in their short accounts of events which they loved not to dwell upon, are silent as to any attempts at peaceful negotiations taking place, at the last moment, between the two armed princes. The witness of the Norman writers is full indeed, but their witness does not agree together. The different versions agree in no circumstance of time, place, or order of events. Yet we cannot doubt that some messages passed between Harold and William, and we can almost as little doubt that it was William who sent the first

messenger to Harold, and not Harold who sent the first messenger to William. It was perfectly in character that an invader who assumed the character of a legal claimant, nay more, an invader who professed to come as an armed missionary of the Roman See, should play out his part by offering the perjurer and usurper one more chance of repentance. Harold, on the other hand, a national King, simply defending his own Crown and the freedom of his people, had no need thus ostentatiously to put himself in the right. We may then believe that the first message which passed between the Norman Duke and the English King, after William landed on English ground, was when Hugh Margot, a monk of Ffcamp, came to King Harold in London. He found the King seated, as we may imagine him, on his throne in his palace of Westminster, and he called on him, in the name of the Duke of the Normans, to come down form his throne, and to lay aside his crown and sceptre. The messenger once more set forth the rights of William, his claim on the Crown by the bequest of Eadward, his personal claim on Harold as his sworn man. The Duke was ready to have his claims fairly discussed, according to the law either of England or of Normandy. If either Norman or English judges held that Harold's right was good, William would let him enjoy that right in peace. Otherwise let him quietly yield up what he had usurped, and spare the bloodshed and misery on either side of which he would be guilty if he died to keep it. A message like this might have provoked the meekest of men. It is not wonderful that we read in one account that Harold's wrath was highly kindled, nay that he was with some difficulty kept back from a breach of the rights of ambassadors in the person of the insolent monk. The influence which thus restrained the King from violence is said to have been that of Earl Gyrth, who, in the Norman

accounts, appears throughout as the good genius of his royal brother. However this may be, we elsewhere find a message sent by Harold to William, which is evidently an answer to the monk of Fecamp, and which contains a calm and cleat statement of Harold's right. He does not deny the fact of his oath to William, but he maintains that it was an extorted oath and therefore of no force. He does not deny the fact of Eadward's earlier promise to William, but he maintains that that promise has been cancelled by a later bequest. Ever since the blessed Augustine first preached the Gospel to Englishmen, it had always been the law of England that a testament was of no strength at all while the testator lived. Up to the moment of his death, a man might revoke any earlier disposition of his goods, which could not take effect till the breath was out of his body. Eadward had indeed once made a promise of the succession in favour of William, but that promise had become void and of none effect by his later and dying nomination of the reigning King. How far the words of any message of Harold's have been truly reported to us by our Norman informants it is impossible to say, but it is clear that the answer thus put into Harold's mouth, though far from exhaustive, is thoroughly to the purpose as far as it goes. Harold's best claim to his Crown, his election by the English people, is not insisted on. But the answer to the two points put forth by William seems hardly to admit of a rejoinder. We are told in other accounts that Harold offered William his friendship and rich gifts if he would depart quietly out of the land, but added that if he were bent on warfare he would meet him in battle on the coming Saturday. The Duke, we are told, accepted the challenge; he dismissed the messenger with the honourable gifts of a horse and

arms; and Harold, it is added, when he saw him thus return, repented him that he had done despite to the messenger whom Duke William had sent to him. The challenge had now passed. There can be no doubt that the irritating message of William, and the reports which must have reached London of the cruel harrying of the SouthSaxon lands, had wrought the effect which they were doubtless meant to work on the mind of Harold. It was, as we have seen, the policy of William to draw Harold down to a battle, in which William should have the vantage-ground of his intrenched camp at Hastings. And Harold was now as eager for battle as William himself could be. He was eager to avenge his own wrongs and the wrongs of his people. He was eager to strike the decisive blow before the French host could be strengthened by reinforcements from beyond sea. His personal wrath was kindled against the man who had insulted and mocked him by a challenge the most stinging that had ever been spoken to a crowned King upon this throne. And a higher feeling of duty would bid him to go forth and put a stop as soon as might be to the pitiless ravages which were laying waste his land and bringing his people to beggary. The purpose of the King was to go forth at once and to meet the invader face to face, according to the challenge which he had himself given for the coming Saturday. But the tale goes on to tell how Gyrth, the special hero of the Norman writers, again strove to turn his brother from his purpose. His counsel was that the

King should stay behind, seemingly as the defender of London, while he himself should go forth to battle with the Norman. The King was wearied with his labours in the Northumbrian campaign; the troops which had as yet come together in London were not numerous enough to justify the King in attempting to strike a decisive blow at their head. Moreover, whether the oath was binding or not, Harold could not deny that he had sworn an oath to William as his lord, and it was not well that a man should go forth to fight face to face against the lord to whom he had done homage. But he, Gyrth, was under no such restraint; he need feel no such scruples. He had never sworn ought to Duke William; he could go forth with a clear conscience and fight against him face to face for his native land. Let the King too think on the risk to himself and to his Kingdom if he jeoparded his own life, and all that depended on his own life, the noble heritage of English freedom, on the chances of a single battle. Let Gyrth fight against William. If Gyrth overcame the invader, the gain to England would

be as great as if Harold himself overcame him. But if William overcame Gyrth, the loss to England would be far less than if William overcame Harold. If Gyrth were slain or in bonds, Harold could still gather another army, and could strike another blow to rescue or to avenge his brother. Let then the Earl of the East-Angles go forth, with the troops which were already assembled in London, and let the King himself wait till a greater force had answered to his summons. Let him meanwhile harry the whole land between London and the coast, even as the Normans themselves were harrying it. Let him burn houses, cut down trees, lay waste cornfields. Let him in short put a wilderness between himself and his enemy. William then, whether successful or unsuccessful in the battle with Gyrth, would presently be starved into favourable terms. He would soon find it impossible to maintain his host in the wasteland, and he would be driven to withdraw peacefully to his own dominions. A hero was speaking to a hero; we may add, a general was speaking to a general. Our hearts are moved at the generous selfdevotion of the brave Earl, who recked so little of himself by the side of the safety o£ his brother and his country. And in the wise, though cruel, policy which he enforced upon his brother, we can discern a

subtlety of intellect fitted to grapple with that of William himself. Gytth, as painted by hostile historians, stands forth as one who, had he outlived that one fatal day, would never have allowed England to fall without striking another blow. But how were the counsels of that lofty spirit received by the no less lofty spirit to whom they were spoken? We may cast aside the mere inventions of Norman calumny. They represent Harold as thrusting away his brother with insult, as even spurning his aged mother from his feet, when, still sad at the fate of Tostig, she implored him not to jeopard the lives of all the sons who were left to her. Such tales as these come from the same mint of falsehood as the tales which tell of William as striking his wife with his spur or as beating her to death with his bridle. Another Norman writer, who at least better understood the characters of the two noble brothers, puts into the mouth of Harold words which, after eight hundred years, still send a thrill to the hearts of Englishmen. All who heard the counsel of Gyrth cried out that it was good, and prayed the King to follow it. But Harold answered that he would never play the coward's part, that he would never let his friends go forth to face danger on his behalf, while he himself,

from whatever cause, drew back from facing it. And he added words which show how the wise and experienced ruler, the chosen and anointed King, had cast aside whatever needed to be cast aside in the fiery exile who had once harried the coast at Porlock. "Never," said Harold, "will I burn an English village or an English house; never will I harm the lands or the goods of any Englishman. How can I do hurt to the folk who are put under me to govern? How can I plunder and harass those whom I would faro see thrive under my rule?" Truly, when we read words like these, we feel that it is something to be of the blood and of the speech of the men who chose Harold for their King and who died around his Standard. Six days had now been passed in the trysting-place of London. During the whole of that time men had been flocking in, but the forces of the North under the sons of Aelfgar had not yet shown themselves. Harold now determined to delay no longer. He set out from London, seemingly on Thursday, exactly one week after his arrival in the great city, in order to redeem his challenge of giving battle to the invaders on Saturday. He marched forth

at the head of his own following and of such troops as had come in to the London muster. These would no doubt be largely swelled as the levies of Kent and Sussex pressed to his standard on the march. At the numbers of the army which he thus brought together it is hopeless to do more than guess. The Norman and the English writers both indulge in manifest exaggerations in opposite ways. The Normans employ every rhetorical art to set before us the prodigious numbers of the English. They were a host that no man could number, a host like the host of Xerxes, which drank up the rivers as it passed. Nothing but the special favour of God could have given his servants a victory over their enemies which was truly miraculous. On the other hand, the English writers yielded from the very beginning to the obvious temptation of laying the blame of the national overthrow on the rashness of the King. Harold refused to wait till a large enough force had come together; he ventured a battle with numbers altogether inadequate, and he paid the penalty of his own over-daring. Such are the comments even of the writers who are warmest in their admiration of Harold, and who pour forth the most bitter regrets over his fall. Yet we must remember that nothing is easier than to blame a defeated commander, nothing easier than to throw on his shoulders either the faults of others or the mere caprices of fortune. And we should remember too that, deeply as we reverence our national writers, implicitly as we accept their statements of facts, warmly as we sympathize with their patriotic feelings, their criticisms on such a point as this are simply the criticisms of monks on the conduct of a consummate general. We may fairly assume that whatever captains like William and Harold did was the right thing to do in the circumstances under which each found himself. The consummate generalship

of Harold is nowhere more plainly shown than in this memorable campaign. He formed his plan, and he carried it out. He determined to give battle, but he determined to give battle on his own ground and after his own fashion. All likelihood goes against the belief that Harold designed anything so foolhardy as an attack, by night or by day, on the Norman camp. No doubt the expectation of such an attack was prevalent in the Norman camp. But our evidence proves only the existence of such an expectation arnong the Normans; it in no way proves the existence of any such design on the part of the English King. The nature of the post which he chose distinctly shows the contrary; it distinctly shows what Harold's real plan was. It was to occupy a post where the Normans would have to attack him at a great disadvantage, and where he could defend himself at a great advantage. This he effectually did, and it was no small effort of true generalship to

do so. And for the post which he chose, and for the mode of warfare which he designed, overwhelming numbers were in no way desirable. A moderate force, if thoroughly compact and thoroughly trustworthy, would really do the work better. If then Harold marched against the invader at the head of a force which, to critics of his own day, seemed too small for his purpose, the chances are that Harold knew well what he was doing and that his critics did not understand his plans. Harold was defeated; he has therefore paid the usual penalty of defeat in ignorant censure of his actions. But it is quite certain that his defeat was not owing to mere lack of numbers, and we may fairly conclude that the force with which he set out was one which he judged to be large enough for carrying out the plan which he had formed. The great campaign of Hastings was thus in truth a trial of skill between the two greatest of living captains. Each of them, it may fairly be said, to some extent compassed his purpose against the other. William constrained Harold to fight; but Harold, in his turn, constrained William to fight on ground of Harold's own choosing. He constrained him to fight on ground than which none could be better suited for the purposes of the English defence, none worse suited for the purposes of the Norman attack. This march of Harold from London into Sussex was a march as speedy and as well executed as his march from London to York so short a time before. But it was a march conceived with somewhat different objects. Both marches were made to meet an invader, to deliver the land from the desolation caused by the presence of an invader. But the march into Northumberland was strictly a march to surprize an invader, while the march into Sussex was a march to meet an invader against whom altogether different tactics had to be employed. It was Harold's policy to make the enemy the assailant in the actual battle as well as

in the general campaign. One cannot doubt that the whole march was designed with reference to this special object. From the moment when Harold fixed a day for the battle, he no doubt also fixed a place. He must have known Sussex well, and he had clearly, from the very beginning, chosen in his own mind the spot on which he would give battle. His march was strictly a march to the actual spot on which the battle was to be fought. His course lay along the line of the great road from London to the south coast. He halted on a spot which commanded that road, and which also commanded the great road eastward from William's present position. He hastened on through those Kentish and South-Saxon lands which had been the cradle of his house, and which held so large a share of his own estates. He halted at a point distant about seven miles from the headquarters of the invaders, and pitched his camp upon the evermemorable heights of Senlac. The spot on which the destinies of England were fixed was indeed one chosen with the eye of a great general. Harold has, in this respect, had somewhat scanty justice done to him by those of his own countrymen who seem inclined to throw on him the blame of the national defeat. But it is in the Norman accounts, which alone supply details, that the history of the great battle must be studied; and it cannot be denied that, in every military respect, they do full justice both to the English King and to the English army. Their rhetoric of conventional abuse never fails them; but what Harold and his followers really were we see from the facts as stated by the Normans themselves, and from the expressions of unwilling, of halfunconscious, admiration which those facts wring from them. Harold might be a perjurer and an usurper, but the language of his enemies at least shows that they found him

an equal and terrible adversary in the day of battle. And nowhere is Harold's military greatness so distinctly felt as when, with the Norman narratives in our hand, we tread the battle-field of his own choice, and see how thoroughly the post was suited for the purposes of him who chose it. It was the policy of Harold not to attack. The mode of fighting of an English army in that age made it absolutely invincible as long as it could hold its ground. But neither the close array of the battle-axe men, nor the swarms of darters and other half-armed irregular levies, were suited to take the offensive against the horsemen who formed the strength of the Norman army. It needed only a developement of the usual tactics of the shield-wall to turn the battle as far as might be into the likeness of a siege. This was what Harold now did. He occupied, and fortified as thoroughly as the time and the means at his command would allow, a post of great natural strength, which he made into what is distinctly spoken of as a castle. It was a post which it was quite impossible that William could pass by without attacking. But it was also a post which it in no way suited William's purposes to occupy with his own forces. By so doing he might have forced Harold to decline fighting; he could not have compelled him to fight on other ground. Harold was therefore enabled to occupy the post of his own choice, the natural bulwark of London and of the inland parts of England generally. The hill of Senlac, now occupied by the abbey and town of Battle, commemorates in its later name the great event of which it was the scene. It is the last spur of the downs covered by the great AndredesWeald, and it completely commands the broken ground, alternating with hill and marsh, which lies between itself and the sea. It stands in fact right in the teeth of

an enemy marching northwards from Hastings. The hill itself is of a peninsular shape, stretching from the east to the south-west, and it is joined on by a narrow isthmus to the great mass of the high ground to the north. The height is low, compared with the mountains and lofty hills of the western parts of our island, but its slopes, greatly varying in their degrees of steepness, would, even where the assent is most gentle, afford no slight obstacle to an enemy who trusted mainly to his cavalry. The spot was then quite unoccupied and untitled; nothing in any of the narratives implies that there was any village or settlement; our own Chronicles describe the site only as by "the hoar apple-tree," some relic, we may well believe, of the days when streams and trees were still under the guardianship of their protecting, perhaps indwelling deities. At present the eastern part of the hill is covered by the buildings of the abbey, and by part of the town which has gathered round it, including the parish church. The town also stretches to the north-west, away from the main battle-ground, along what I have spoken of as the isthmus. But the hill goes on a long way to the south-west of the isthmus, westward from the buildings of the abbey, and this part of the ground, we shall see, really played the most decisive part in the great event of the place. A sort of ravine, watered by two small streams which join together at the base of the hill, cuts off the south-western end of the battleground from the isthmus and the ground connected with it. The steepness of the ground here is considerable. At the extreme south-east end, the present approach to the town from Hastings, the ascent is gentler. Turning the

eastern end of the hill, which here takes a slightly forked shape, the ground on the north side, near the present parish church, is exceedingly steep, almost precipitous. Along the south front of the hill, that most directly in the teeth of the invaders, the degree of height and steepness varies a good deal. The highest and steepest is the central point occupied by the buildings of the abbey. Some way westward from the abbey is the point where the slope is gentlest of all, where the access to the natural citadel is least difficult. But here a low, detached, broken hill, a sort of small island in advance of the larger peninsula, stands out as an outpost in front of the main mass of high ground, and, as we shall see, it played a most important part in the battle. Such a post as this, strong by nature and standing directly in the face of the enemy, exactly suited Harold's objects. And the approach to it was equally unsuited to the objects of William. Seven miles of hill and dale form the present road from Hastings to Battle. But the Norman army; in its advance from Hastings, would have to spread itself over the whole country, a country where marsh and wood doubtless alternated, except so far as their own ravages had done something to clear their path. The ground immediately around Senlac is specially broken and rolling, and the lower land close at the foot of the hill, which must in many parts have been utterly trackless, was doubtless, in an October of those days, a meere quagmire. It is only where the present road enters the town of Battle that another and lower isthmus of somewhat higher and firmer ground forms a slight union between Senlac and the opposite hills to the south. Through all this difficult country the Normans had to make their way to the foot of the English position. And there they would find, not only a post of great natural strength, but something which was not without reason called a fortress. Harold entrenched himself

behind defences, not indeed equal to those of Arques or Old Sarum, but perhaps nearly equal to those of William's own camp at Hastings. He occupied the hill; he surrounded it on all its accessible sides by a palisade, with a triple gate of entrance, and defended it to the south by an artificial ditch. The name of the Watch-Oak is still borne by a tree on the isthmus. In that quarter no attack was to be feared, and the defences on that side were most likely of less strength than elsewhere. The royal Standard was planted just where the ground begins to slope to the south-east, the point most directly in the teeth of the advancing enemy. Within the fortress thus formed, the King of the English and his army awaited the approach of the invaders. Of the numbers of the host gathered within this narrow compass we have, as we have seen, no certain account. While the English writers naturally diminish, the Norman writers as naturally magnify their numbers. The English writers further tell us that, on account of the straitness of the post, many of the English deserted. It may be so; but it should be again remembered that, with the tactics which Harold had chosen, overwhelming numbers were not needed. Enough of good troops to hold the hill against the enemy were better than a vast host of undisciplined levies. We can well believe that the people of the neighbouring country flocked to the Standard in far greater numbers than at all suited the King's purpose. The

services of some volunteers may have been rejected; some may have turned away when they saw the peculiar nature of the service required of them, a kind of service which we can well conceive to have been neither attractive nor intelligible to raw levies. But it is certain that, whatever was the number of the troops who remained or who were retained, little could be said against their quality. We shall see that the Housecarls, the main core of the army, kept up their old character to the last, and the fault even of the irregular levies was certainly not that of a lack of mere courage. It does not appear that any long time passed between Harold's occupation of his hill fortress and the battle itself. The spot was not one in which a large body of men could remain for any length of time; on the other hand the invaders could not keep themselves altogether inactive, neither could they pass by the English position without attacking it. And that position, after all, was not a regular castle to be won by a regular siege. Immediate battle was absolutely inevitable on both sides. Everything in our narratives leads us to believe that the battle followed almost immediately on the arrival of Harold at Senlac. The hill seems to have been occupied on the Friday, and the fight we know began the next morning. Spies were sent out on both sides, and there is nothing impossible in the well-known tale that the English spy, struck by the unwonted aspect of the closely-shaven Normans, reported to his sovereign that there were in the French host more priests than soldiers. Harold, we are told, answered with a laugh

that the French priests would be found to be valiant warriors indeed. But much less faith is due to the legend that Harold and Gyrth themselves rode forth to spy out the invading army, that Harold proposed to fall back on London, that Gyrth dissuaded him from such a course, that the two brothers quarrelled and nearly fought, but that they came back to the camp without letting any sign of their dispute be seen by any one else. Nothing can be less trustworthy than these Norman reports of things which are said to have taken place within the English camp. No power short of divination could have revealed to any Norman witness a private conversation and a private quarrel between the English King and his brother. Somewhat more heed is due to the story that William, even at the last moment, after the English camp was actually pitched on Senlac, still made one last attempt at negotiation. If such an attempt was made, it was of course made with no hope and no thought on William's part of its leading to any peaceful arrangement between himself and his rival. William's object must have been to keep up to the last the character of one making a legal and righteous claim, a claim which nothing but a necessity beyond his control had driven him into asserting by force. And, by the peculiar form of message which is said to have been sent, he might well have hoped to spread fear and disunion through the English army. He is said to have first invited

Harold to a personal interview at some point between Hastings and Senlac, with a few followers only on either side. Gyrth is said to have answered for his brother, refusing any personal conference, and bidding William send to the camp whatever message he thought good. The message came. It offered a choice of three things. Let Harold resign the Kingdom according to his oath. Let Harold and his house hold the Kingdom under William, Harold as Under-king of the Northumbrians, Gyrth as Earl of the West-Saxons. Failing either of these offers, let Harold come forth and meet William in single combat. The Crown of England should be the prize of the victor, and the followers of both combatants should depart unhurt. The policy of all these proposals is manifest. Their object was to make the strife look like a mere personal quarrel between Harold and William, instead of an attack made by the Duke of the Normans on the land and people of England. And the proposal that the two princes should spare the blood of their armies, and decide their difference in their own persons, had a specious look of humanity. But Harold and Gyrth had seen far too much of the world to be taken in in this way. Harold could not separate himself from his people. His cause was theirs and their cause was his. When the Duke of the Normans attacked the King whom the English nation had chosen, he attacked the nation itself. The Crown was Harold's by their gift; but it was not Harold's in any such sense that he could stake it on the chance of a single combat, any more than he could stake it on a throw of the dice. A single combat between Harold and William would of course involve the death of one or other of the combatants. Neither King nor Duke was a man likely to cry craven. What then if William slew Harold? His right to the

English Crown would be no better than it was before. Englishmen, with arms in their hands, were not likely to submit to the judgement of such an ordeal. William would still have to fight--he would no doubt be able to fight at a great advantage, but he would still have to fight--against Gyrth, Eadgar, Eadwine, Waltheof, any one whom the English people chose to put at their head. If, on the other hand, Harold slew William, it was, if possible, even less likely that the mingled host which came from all the lands beyond the sea for spiritual and temporal gains would at once quietly go back to the various homes from which they had come. The challenge was simply a blind, and Harold did only his duty in refusing to be bound by such a false issue, and in saying that God alone must judge between him and his foe. Our accounts of these messages are so confused and contradictory that it is impossible to feel any thorough confidence whether any messages were really sent at this stage of the story or not. We are told that, either now or at some earlier time, William offered Harold the option of a legal judgement on the points at issue between them. Let their quarrel be decided either by the laws of Normandy or by the laws of England, or by the Pope and his clergy at Rome. Here again we see the same sort of fallacy at work as in the challenge to single combat. The Crown of England could not be adjudged according to any rules of Norman law or by the award of any Norman tribunal. As for English Law, the Assembly which alone had power to deal with the question had dealt with it nine months before. Those who had then given their votes for Harold were now there present to enforce those votes axe in hand. The appeal to the Roman

See was a still more transparent fallacy. William and his host knew well, and Harold and his host no doubt also knew well, that the sentence of Rome had already gone forth against England, and that the consecrated banner of the Apostle was at that moment in the Norman camp. In another version we hear, not of a proposed appeal to the apostolic throne, but of a solemn warning that Harold and all his followers were already excommunicated by the Apostolic sentence. Dismay, we are told, was spread through the English host, and men began to shrink from the coming battle. Gyrth once more steps forth as the good genius of his brother and of his country. His voice and his arguments again bring back the courage and the hopes of the English army. We may give to these tales such amount of belief as we may think good. But we may be sure that the day before the battle was spent on both sides in diligent preparation for the work that was to come on the morrow.

The Battle-October 14, 1066

And now the night came on, the night of Friday the thirteenth of October, the night which was to usher in the ever-memorable morn of Saint Calixtus. Very different, according to our Norman informants, was the way in which that night was spent by the two armies. The English spent the night in drinking and singing, the Normans in

prayer and confession of their sins. Among the crowds of clergy in William's host were two prelates of all but the highest rank in the Norman Church. One was Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances, who in his temporal character was soon to have so large a share of the spoils of England. The other was the Duke's own half-brother, the famous Odo, who, to his Bishop's seat at Bayeux, was soon to add the temporal cares of the Kentish Earldom. And with them was one not yet their equal in ecclesiastical rank, but who was, unlike them, to leave an abiding name in English ecclesiastical history. Remigius the Almoner of Fecamp, in after days the first Bishop of Lincoln, was the leader of the knights whom his Abbot had sent under his orders. Under the pious care of the two Bishops and of the other clergy, the Norman host seems to have been wrought up to a kind of paroxysm of devotion. Odo received from every man a special vow, that those who outlived the struggle of the coming Saturday would never again eat flesh on any Saturday that was to come. Tales like these are the standing accusations which the victors always bring against the vanquished. The reproach which is cast on the English host on the night before the fight of Senlac is also cast on the French host on the night before the fight of Azincourt. And yet there may well be some

ground-work of truth in these stories. The English were not, like the Normans, fighting under the influence of that strange spiritual excitement which had persuaded men that an unprovoked aggression on an unoffending nation was in truth a war of religion, a crusade for the good of the souls of Normans and English alike. It may therefore well be that there was more of ceremonial devotion in the camp of William than in the camp of Harold. And yet even a Norman legend gives us a picture of the English King bending before the body of his Lord, and Englishmen may deem that the prayers and blessings of Aelfwig and Leofric were at least as holy and as acceptable as the prayers and blessings of Geoffrey and Odo. And we must not forget that the devotions of William and his followers are recorded by William's own chaplain and flatterer, while we have no narrative of that night's doings from the pen of any canon of Waltham or any monk of the New Minster. And we shall hardly deem the worse of our countrymen, if that evening's supper by the campfires was enlivened by the spiritstirring strains of old Teutonic minstrelsy. Never again were those ancient songs to be uttered by the mouth of English warriors in the air of a free and pure Teutonic England. They sang, we well may deem, the song of Brunanburh and the song of Maldon ; they sang how Aethelstan conquered and how Brihtnoth fell; and they sang, it well may be, in still louder notes, the new song

which the last English gleeman had put into their mouths,

How the wise King
Made fast his realm
To a high-born man,
Harold himself,
The noble Earl.

And thoughts and words like these may have been as good a preparation for the day of battle as all the pious oratory with which the warlike prelate of Bayeux could hound on the spoilers on their prey. The morning of the decisive day at last had come. The Duke of the Normans heard mass, and received the communion in both kinds, and drew forth his troops for their march against the English post. As usual, an exhortation from the general went before any military action. The topics for a speech made by William to his army were obvious. He came to maintain his just right to the English Crown; he came to punish the perjury of Harold and the

older crime of Godwine against his kinsman Aelfred. The safety of his soldiers and the honour of their country were in their own hands; defeated, they had no hope and no retreat; conquerors, the glory of victory and the spoils of England lay before them. But of victory there could be no doubt; God would fight for those who fought for the righteous cause, and what people could ever withstand the Normans in war? They were the descendants of the men who had won Neustria from the Frank, and who had brought Frankish Kings to submit to the most humiliating of treaties. He, their Duke, and they, his subjects, had themselves conquered at Mortemer and at Varaville. Were they to yield to the felon English, never renowned in war, whose country had been over and over again harried and subdued by the invading Dane? Let them lift up their banners and march on; let them spare no man in the hostile ranks; they were marching on to certain victory, and the fame of their exploits would resound from one end of heaven to the other.

The faithful William Fitz-Osbern now rode up to the mound on which his sovereign stood, and warned him that there was no time to tarry. Kindled by the exhortations of their leader, the host marched on. They made their way, perhaps in no very certain order, till, from the hill of Telham or Heathland, they first came in sight of the English encamped on the opposite height of Senlac. The knights, who had ridden from Hastings in a lighter garb, and most likely on lighter horses, now put on their full armour, and mounted their war-steeds. The Duke now called for his harness. His coat of mail was brought forth; but in putting it on, by some accident, the fore part was turned hindmost. Many a man would have been embarrassed

at the evil omen, and in truth the hearts of many of William's followers sank. But his own ready wit never failed him; he was as able to turn the accident to his advantage as when he first took seizin of the soil of Sussex. The omen, he said, was in truth a good one; as the hauberk had been turned about, so he who bore it would be turned from a Duke into a King. Now fully armed, he called for his war-horse. His noble Spanish steed, the gift of his ally King Alfonso, was brought forth. The horse was led by the aged Walter Giffard, the lord of Longueville, the hero of Arques and of Mortemer. He had made the pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James of Compostella, and he had brought the gallant beast as a worthy offering for a prince who was the mirror of knighthood. William now sprang on his horse's back, and, now ready for battle, he paused for a moment at the head of his host. His gallant equipment and bearing called forth the admiration of all around him, and a spokesman for their thoughts was found in Haimer, the Viscount

of the distant Thouars. He spoke no doubt the words of all, when he said that never had such a knight been seen under heaven, and that the noble Count would become a nobler King. And now the Duke, fully armed, looked forth upon the English encampment. At that moment Vital, a follower of his brother the Bishop, one whose name is written in Domesday, rode up to his sovereign. He had been one of those who were sent forth to spy out the English host; and William now asked him what he had seen and where the English usurper was to be found. Vital told him that Harold stood among the thick ranks which crowned the summit of the hill, for there, so he deemed, he had seen the royal Standard. Then the Duke vowed his vow, that if God would give him victory over his perjured foe, he would, on the spot where that Standard stood, raise a mighty minster to his honour. Among those who heard him

was a monk, William by name, who had come from the house of Marmoutiers, nestled far away beneath its cliffs by the banks of the rushing Loire. Men called him Faber, the wright or smith, because in other days, before ne had put the cowl upon him, he had shown his skill in forging arrows for the service of the craft of the woods. He now stepped forward, and craved that the holy house which the Duke would ere long raise on yonder height should be raised in honour of the renowned Saint Martin, the great Apostle of the Gauls. The prince of the Cenomannians owed spiritual allegiance to the metropolitan throne of Tours; he said that it should be as his monastic namesake craved, and in after days the height of Senlac was crowned with the Abbey of Saint Martin of the Place of Battle. The vow was spoken, and William and his host now marched on in full battle array. The army was ranged in three divisions, corresponding, whether by accident or by design, with the geographical position of each contingent in its own land. To the left were the Bretons, the Poitevins, the men of Maine, under the command of Alan of

Britanny. He and his might deem that, in following the banner of their own Norman conquerors, they were avenging a far earlier wrong, that they were coming to wreak on the Teutonic occupants of the greater Britain a tardy vengeance for the conquest which had driven their own forefathers to the shores of the lesser. Yet Alan might have paused to remember how his own forefather and namesake had found in an English King his truest champion against the Norman enemy, and he might have stopped before striking a blow to bring both Britains into one common bondage. And with Alan rode a man of mingled birth, whose name will again meet us in our history, but as one branded with the twofold imfamy of a man false alike to his native country and to its foreign king. There, the only English traitor in that motley host, rode Ralph of Norfolk, Ralph of Wader, son of an English father and a Breton mother, who now came among the forces of his mother's country to win back the lands which some unrecorded treason had lost him. Far to the right rode a more honourable foe. There was the post of Roger of Montgomery, whose name has already so often met us in our Norman story, who now came to be the founder of a mighty house in the conquered island, to be honoured with English Earldoms, and to leave the name of his

Lexovian hill and manor as the name of a borough and a shire among the twice conquered Cymry. Under him marched the mercenary French, the men of Boulogne and Poix, and all who, from that region, followed Duke William for hire or for hope of plunder. With Roger was joined in command one who bore a name soon to be as renowned in England and in Flanders as it already was in Normandy, but a name which, after all its bearer's exploits, has utterly passed away, while that of his colleague has been so marvellously abiding. For with Roger rode William FitzOsbern, the Duke's earliest and dearest friend, the son of the man who had saved his life in childhood, the man who had himself been the first to cheer on his master to his great enterprise, and to exhort the nobles of Normandy to follow their lord beyond the sea. And there too, among the mingled bands on the right wing, rode one whom England might well curse more bitterly than any other man in the invading host. There rode one who had been honoured with the hand of a daughter of England, who had been enriched with the wealth of England in the days of his royal kinsman, and who now came to seek for a richer and more lasting share of her plunder in the wake of her open enemy. Eustace of Boulogne, the man whose crime had led to the banishment of England's noblest sons, the man who had murdered unarmed Englishmen on their own hearthstones, now

came to feel what was the might of Englishmen harnessed for the battle, and to show himself the one man in either host whose heart was accessible to craven fear. And in the centre, between Breton and Picard, just as Normandy lies between Britanny and Picardy, marched the flower of the host, the native Normans. Furthest to the left, next in order to their Breton neighbours, marched the only band who had an ancestral grudge against England, the only men in William's host who came to revenge the harrying of their own land by English hands. The valiant men of the Constantine peninsula, the descendants of the Danes of Harold Blaatand, were there under the command of Neal of Saint Saviour. The rebel of Val-es-Dunes now followed his lord in his great enterprise; the namesake and descendant of him who had beaten off the host of Aethelred now came to wreak a tardy vengeance on Englishmen in their own land. Next to the forces of the Cotentin came a band whom the men of Wessex and East Anglia might well nigh claim as countrymen, the Saxons and Danes of the land of Bayeux, among whom, even then, some relics of Teutonic speech and even of heathen worship may perchance have lingered. They came ready and eager to deal handstrokes with the bravest of the English, while the men of Louviers and Evreux came with their unerring bows, and their arrows destined to pierce many an English eye. The

archers were all but universally on foot; the Parthian horsebowman was not absolutely unknown to Norman tactics, but such an union of characters did not extend to any large portion of the army. For the most part the archers were without defensive harness; they were clad in mere jerkins, with caps on their heads, but a few wore the defences common to the horse and foot of both armies. These were the close-fitting coat of mail reaching to the knees and elbows, and the conical helmet without crest or other ornament, and with no protection for the face except the nose-piece. The horses had, unlike the practice of after times, no artificial defence of any kind. Their riders, in helmets and coats of mail, bore the kite-shaped shield, and were armed with long lances, which, when the moment for the charge came, were not laid in the rest as in the equipment of the later chivalry, but lifted high in air over the bearer's shoulder. For close combat they had the heavy straight sword; the battle-axe is not shown on the Norman side, and two men only in the host are shown to us as wielding the terrible mace. Those two men formed the innermost centre of the advancing host. There, in the midst of all, the guiding star of the whole army, floated the consecrated ban ner, the gift of Rome and of Hildebrand, the ensign by whose presence wrong was to be hallowed into right. And close beneath its folds rode the two master-spirits of the whole enterprise, kindred alike in blood, in valour, and in crime. There rode the chief of all, the immediate leader of that choicest and central division, the mighty Duke himself. And we may be sure that it was not only by the voice of flattery, but in the words of truth and soberness, that there amid the choicest chivalry of Europe, the Bastard of Falaise was hailed as bearing the

stoutest heart and the strongest arm among them all. Mounted on his stately horse, the gift of the Spanish King, he rode beneath the banner of the Apostle, the leader and the moving spirit of the whole host. No man could bend his bow, but on that day he bore a weapon fitted only for the closest and most deadly conflict;

hounek'ar ou toxoisi machesketo douri to makro, alla siderein korune hregnuske phalangas.

The most authentic record of that day's fight arms him neither with sword nor spear, but sets before us the iron mace of the Bastard as the one weapon fit to meet, man to man, and prince to prince, with the two-handed axe of Harold. Round his neck, we are told, were hung, as a hallowed talisman, the choicest of the relics on which the King of the English was said to have sworn his fatal oath. Close at his side, and armed with the same fearful weapon, rode one whose name was soon to be joined with his own in the mouths of Englishmen, and who was to win a far deeper share of English hatred than the mighty Conqueror himself. Odo, the warrior-prelate of Bayeux, rode in full

armour by the side of his brother and sovereign, as eager and ready as William himself to plunge wherever in the fight danger should press most nearly. To shed blood by sword or spear was a sin against the Church's canons, but to crush head-piece and head with the war-club was, in Odo's eyes, no breach of the duties of a minister of peace. The two mighty brethren, Duke and Bishop, formed the central figures of the group. And hard by them rode a third brother of less renown, a third son of the Tanner's daughter, Robert of Mortain, the lord of the castle by the waterfalls, he who was soon to have a larger share than any other man of the spoils of England, and to add to his earldom by the Breton march the more famous earldom of the kindred land of Cornwall. Fast by the three brethren the consecrated banner was borne by Toustain the White, the son of Rou, a knight of the less famous Bec in the land of Caux. Two men of higher rank and of greater age had already declined that honourable office. Ralph of Conches or of Toesny, the heir of the proud line of Malahule, the man who had perhaps borne to King Henry the news of the night of Mortemer, held, among his other dignities, the hereditary right to bear the

banner of his lord in the day of battle. But on that day that honour was a task from which men shrank as keeping them back from the more active duties of the fight. Ralph of Toesny would not encumber his hands with anything, not even with the banner of the Apostle, if it were to stay his sword from smiting the foe without mercy. So too spake the famous Walter Giffard of Longueville. Even in the days of Argues and Mortemer he was an aged man, and now he was old indeed; his hair was white, his arm was failing. He would deal blows on that day with such strength as his years had left him, but the long labour of carrying the banner could be borne only by a younger man. Thick around Toustain and the chiefs beside whom he rode, were gathered the chivalry of Normandy, the future nobility of England, the men who made their way into our land by wrong and robbery, but whose children our land won to her own heart, and changed the descendants of the foemen of Pevensey and Senlac into the men who won the Great Charter and dictated the Provisions of Oxford. Time would fail to tell of all; but a few names must not be passed by. There was William Patry of La Lande, who in old time had received Earl Harold as a guest, and who now rode by William's side, swearing that he would meet his lord's rival face to face, and would deal to him the reward of

his perjury. And there too rode men of nobler and of more lasting name. There rode Roger the Bigod, son of the poor serving-knight of William of Mortain, whose presence in the hostile ranks we can well forgive, as we hail in him the forefather of that great house whose noblest son defied the greatest of England's later kings in the cause of the liberties of England. And one there was in that host, well nigh the only Norman on whom Englishmen can look with personal sympathy and honour, William Malet, a man perchance born of an English mother, a man bound at all events by some tie of spiritual or temporal kindred to England and to Harold, and who on that day knew how to reconcile his duty as a Norman subject with respect and honour towards the prince and towards the land to which that duty made him a foe. The names and the rewards of these men and of countless others are written in the great record of Domesday. The heroes who fought against them for hearth and home are nameless. The invading army was thus arranged in a threefold division according to the place of origin of each contingent. Each division again was ranged in a threefold order according to the nature of the troops of which each contingent was made up. First in each division marched the archers, stingers, and crossbow men, then the more heavily armed infantry, lastly the horsemen. The reason of this arrangement is clear. The lightarmed were to do what they could with their missiles to annoy the English, and if possible, to disorder their close array. On them followed the heavy infantry; they were to strive to break down the palisades of the English camp, and so to make ready the way for the charge of the horse. For William's knights to charge up the slope of Senlac was in any case a hard task, but to charge up the slope, right in the teeth of Harold's axes, with the shield-wall and the triple palisade still unbroken, would have been sheer madness. The infantry were therefore exposed to the first and most terrible danger, but we are not therefore justified in charging William with that brutal carelessness as to soldiers beneath the degree of knighthood or gentry which was so often displayed by French commanders of later times. The two great captains who were that day matched together both knew their trade. The foresight of Harold had made William's choicest troops altogether useless, until after a struggle

which could not fail to be attended with a frightful slaughter of his warriors of lower degree. The English host now looked down from the height of Senlac upon the advancing enemy. Like the Normans, they had risen early; they were now fully armed, and they stood ready and eager for battle. The King rode round his lines, and made the speech to his men which was always looked for from a general before battle. The topics of Harold's exhortation were as obvious as those of William's. The English had simply to stand firm, and they were invincible; if they broke their ranks, they were lost. They fought for their country, their warfare was purely defensive, while Duke William had come from a foreign land to seek to conquer them. It was therefore for William to attack, for Harold simply to defend; he had therefore chosen a post where the whole work to be done was to defend it. The Normans were good and valiant horsemen; let them once pierce the English barrier, and it would be hard to drive them out again. But if the English kept their ranks, the Normans never could pierce the barrier. Their long lances would help them but little in a combat on such ground as he had chosen for the fight. The English javelins would disorder their ranks as they came on, and the axes would cleave them to the earth if they ventured on a hand to hand fight at the barricades. And now, as Vital had brought his news to William, so also an English spy brought to Harold the

latest tidings of the array and the approach of the enemy. The King was still on his horse, his javelin in his hand, when the news was brought to him beneath the shadow of a tree, perhaps the hoar apple-tree which marked the place of battle. When he had heard the tidings of his messenger, when he had surveyed and exhorted his whole army, the King rode to the royal post; he there dismounted, he took his place on foot, and prayed to God for help. Thus far we have a natural and credible picture of the preparations of Harold and his host for the work of that awful day. But such a day was not likely to pass without its full accompaniment of legend and romance. Norman writers, strangely in the confidence of the English King, now tell us of dialogues between Harold and Gyrth; how, when the first division appeared on the crest of the hill, the King's heart was lifted up as he looked at his own vast numbers, and how he despised the seemingly small band that

came against him. But Gyrth, ever wise, bids him think of the valour and good array, the horses and the harness of the enemy, and to remember how large a part of his own army are but unarmed churls. Presently, as division after division appears on Telham and passes down into the lower ground, the King's heart begins to quake. The Earl, an easy prophet after the fact, reproaches him with not having followed his counsel, with having refused to remain in London, and with having rashly staked everything on a single battle. Harold answers that it is Saturday, his lucky day, the day on which he was born, and the day which he had therefore chosen for his challenge. The calm intellect of Gyrth, like that of William, mocks at luck, and he reminds his brother that, if Saturday was the day of his birth, Saturday may also prove to be the day of his death. At last the whole ground between the heights is filled with the invading host; the banner of Saint Peter is seen floating over the central division. Then the King's heart utterly fails him; he can hardly speak for fear and wonder; he can only mutter charges against Baldwin of Flanders for deceiving him by false tales, of which no mention is found elsewhere, as to the force which William would be likely to muster.

The credibility of a story of this kind is of the very lowest. Harold and Gyrth both died in the battle; they would at any rate keep their fears to themselves, and it is hard to see how their private talk could have come to the knowledge of the Norman poet. Besides this, Harold must, by this time at least, have known perfectly well the nature and number of the force that was coming against him. The very account in which we find all these stories tells us how well both sides had been served by spies and messengers. Each prince must have been thoroughly aware with what kind of an enemy he had to deal. There was enough indeed to make the stoutest heart in either army anxious; but of any feeling unworthy of a King or a soldier Harold and William were alike incapable. The proud horsemen and archers of Normandy might indeed, like the Medes of old, wonder at the tactics which met them without the help of bow or steed; but they could hardly, like their forerunners, impute madness to the immoveable wedge of men which, as if fixed to the ground by nature, covered every inch of the hill that faced them. The whole height was alive with warriors; the slopes, strong in themselves, were still further strengthened by the firm barricades of ash and other timber, wattled in so close together that not a crevice could he seen. Up the slopes, through the barricades, the enemy had to make their way in the teeth of ranks of men, ranged so closely together in the thick array of the shield-wall, that while they only kept their ground, the success of an assailant was hopeless. Every man, from the King

downwards, was on foot. Those who rode to the field put their horses aside when the moment for actual fighting came. An English King was bound to expose his subjects to no danger from which he himself shrank, and, where the King fought, no man might dream of flight. This ancient national custom, adopted in earlier fights from choice and habit, was, in the post which Harold had chosen, a matter of absolute necessity. The work of that day was to defend a fortress, to stand firm, and to strike down at once any man who strove to make his way within its wooden walls. To the south-west of the hill, be yond the isthmus, seem to have been placed the less trust worthy portions of the army, the sudden levies of the south ern shires. These, like the Norman archers, had, for the most part, no defensive armour. Their weapons were of various kinds; the bow was the rarest of all; a few only were armed with

swords or axes. Most of them had javelins or clubs, some had only such rustic weapons as forks and sharp stakes. Others seem to have still wielded some of the rudest arms of primitive days, and to have gone to battle with the stone hatchets or stone hammers which we commonly look on a belonging only to earlier and lower races than our own. But even such rude weapons as these would be of use in thrusting back the less efficient portion of the invaders, as they strove to climb the height or to break down the barricade. But it was not in troops or arms like these that Harold placed his main trust. The flower of the English army was made up of the King's personal following, his picked men, who had been his comrades in all his wars, together with the chosen warriors of Kent, Essex, and London. These wore helmets and coats of mail hardly differing from those of the enemy. Their shields too were mostly of the same kite-shaped form, but a few of them vary from this type; some especially are round, with a boldly projecting boss, more like the shields of classical warfare. They carried, like the Romans, javelins to hurl at the beginning of the action, and heavier weapons for close combat. Some still kept the ancient broad-sword, the weapon of Brunanburh, of Maldon, and of Assandun, but most of

them bore a weapon more terrible still, the long-handled axe wielded with both hands. The use of this arm was an innovation of the last fifty years. Its introduction was doubtless due to Cnut, but the axe was probably brought into more general use, and made more distinctly the national weapon, by Harold himself. The Norman writers seem almost to shudder at the remembrance of this fearful weapon, which, wielded by the arm of Harold, struck down horse and man at a single blow. It was in truth the perfection of a weapon of mere strength; no blow could be so crushing if the blow reached its aim; but swung in the air, as it was, with both hands, it left its wielder specially exposed to missile weapons while in the act of striking the blow. On the very crown of the hill, on the point where the ground begins to slope to the south-east, the point

directly in the teeth of the advancing army, on the spot marked to after ages by the high altar of the abbey church of Battle, were planted the two-fold ensigns of England. There, high above the host, flashed the Dragon of Wessex, the sign which had led Englishmen to victory at Ethandun and at Brunanburh, at Penselwood and at Brentford, and which had sunk without dishonour in the last fight beneath the heights of Assandun. And now it came all glorious from the overthrow of the mightiest warrior of the North, to try the fortune of England against the subtler arts of Gaul and Rome. There too was pitched the Standard, the personal ensign of the King, a glorious gonfanon, blazing with gems, and displaying, wrought in the purest gold, the old device of Eteoklos, the armed warrior advancing to the battle. Around this special post of honour and of danger were ranged the choicest warriors of England, the personal following of Harold and his house, their Thegns and their Housecarls, the men who had stormed the mountain--holds of Gruffydd and whose axes had cloven the shield--wall of Hardrada.

And there, between the Dragon and the Standard, stood the rising hopes of England's newly-chosen dynasty. There, as the inner circle of the host, were ranged the fated warriors of the house of Godwine. Three generations of that great line were gathered beneath the Standard of its chief. There stood the aged Aelfwig, with his monk's cowl beneath his helmet. There stood young Hakon the son of Swegen, atoning for his father's crimes. And, closer still than all, the innermost centre of that glorious ring, stood the kingly three, brothers in life and death. There, in their stainless truth, stood Gyrth the counsellor and Leofwine the fellowexile. And there, with his foot firm on his native earth, sharing the toils and dangers of his meanest soldier, with the kingly helm upon his brow and the two-handed axe upon his shoulder, stood Harold, King of the English. The French army was now crossing the lower, but not level, ground which lies between Telham and Senlac. It is not strictly a plain, but rather a rolling country, with the ground rising and falling. Swampy as it still is in many places, to cross it, and that in the full harness of battle,

must have added somewhat to the toils and difficulties of a march which had already led them from Hastings to Telham. Still all three divisions pressed vigorously on to the foot of the heights. Alan and his Bretons on the left, the division of William's army which was most likely the least esteemed, had to make their attack on the least trustworthy portion of the English army. They had to make their way up the ground lying to the west of the present buildings of the abbey. There the ascent is easiest in itself, but it is defended by the small detached hill already spoken of, which was doubtless held as an English outpost. On the other hand, further to the right, Roger of Montgomery with his Frenchmen had to attack at the eastern corner of the hill, where the present road from Hastings enters the town of Battle. William himself and his native Normans took on them the heaviest task of all. They were the centre, and their duty was to cut their way up the hill right to the Standard, in the teeth of King Harold himself and the picked men of the English host. And now the fight began. It was one of the sacred hours of the Church, it was at the hour of prime, three hours before noon-day, that the first blows were exchanged between the invaders and the defenders of England. The Normans had crossed the English fosse, and were now at the foot of the hill, with the palisades and the axes right

before them. The trumpet sounded, and a flight of arrows from the archers in all the three divisions of William's army was the prelude to the onslaught of the heavy-armed foot. But, before the two armies met hand to hand, a juggler or minstrel, known as Taillefer, the Cleaver of Iron, rode forth from the Norman ranks as if to defy the whole force of England in his single person. He craved and obtained the Duke's leave to strike the first blow; he rode forth, singing songs of Roland and of Charlemagne, so soon had the name and exploits of the great German become the spoil of the enemy. He threw his sword into the air and caught it again; but he presently showed that he could use warlike weapons for other purposes than for jugglers' tricks of this kind; he pierced one Englishman with his lance, he struck down another with his sword, and then himself fell beneath the blows of their comrades. A bravado of this kind might serve as an omen, it might stir up the spirits of men on either side; but it could in no other way affect the fate of the battle.

William was too wary a general to trust much to such knight-errantry as this. After the first discharge of arrows, the heavier foot followed to the attack, and the real struggle now began. The French infantry had to toil up the hill, and to break down the palisade, while a shower of stones and javelins disordered their approach, and while club, sword, and axe greeted all who came within the reach of hand-strokes. The native Normans had to do this in the face of the fiercest resistance, in the teeth of the heaviest axes, wielded by the hands of men with whom to fight had ever been to vanquish, the kinsmen and Thegns and Housecarls of King Harold. Their own missiles, hurled from below, could do comparatively little hurt. Both sides fought with unyielding valour; the war-cries rose loud on either side; the Normans shouted "God help us; " the English, from behind their barricades, mocked with cries of "Out, out," every foe who entered or strove to enter. But our fathers also mingled piety with valour; they too called on holy names to help them in that day's struggle. They raised their

national warcry of "God Almighty," and in remembrance of the relic which their King so well loved to honour, they called on the "Holy Cross," the Holy Cross of Waltham, little knowing perhaps of the awful warning which that venerated rood had given to their King and to his people. The Norman infantry had now done its best, but that best had been in vain. The choicest chivalry of Europe now pressed on to the attack. The knights of Normandy, and of all the lands from which men had flocked to William's standard, now pressed on, striving to make what impression they could with the whole strength of themselves and their horses on the impenetrable fortress of timber, shields, and living warriors. But the advantage of ground enjoyed by the English, their greater physical strength and stature, the terrible weapons which they wielded, all joined to baffle every effort of Breton, Picard, Norman, and of the mighty Duke himself.

Javelin and arrow had been tried in vain; every Norman missile had found an English missile to answer it. The lifted lances had been found wanting; the broad-sword had clashed in vain against the two-handed axe; the maces of the Duke and of the Bishop had done their best. But few who came within the unerring sweep of an English axe ever lived to strike another blow. Rank after rank of the best chivalry of France and Normandy pressed on to the unavailing task. All was in vain; the old Teutonic tactics, carried on that day to perfection by the master-skill of Harold, proved too strong for the arts and the valour of Gaul and Roman. Not a man had swerved; not an inch of ground was lost; the shield-wall was still unbroken, and the Dragon of Wessex still soared unconquered over the hill of Senlac. The English had thus far stood their ground well and wisely. The tactics of Harold had thus far completely answered. Not only had every attack failed, but the great mass of the French army altogether lost heart. The Bretons and the other auxiliaries on the left were the first to give way. Horse and foot alike, they turned and fled. A body of English troops was now rash enough, in direct defiance of the King's orders, to leave its post and pursue. These were of course some of the defenders of the English right. They may have been, as is perhaps suggested

by a later turn of the battle, the detachment which guarded the small outlying hill. Or they may have been the men posted at the point just behind the outlying hill, where the slope is easiest, and where the main Breton attack would most likely be made. They had succeeded in beating back their assailants, and the temptation to chase the flying enemy must have been hard indeed to withstand. And it may even be that old quarrels of race added keenness to the strife, and that Englishmen felt a special delight in cutting down Bret-Wealas even from beyond sea. At any rate, the whole of William's left wing was thrown into utter confusion. The central division could hardly have seen the cause of that confusion; the press of the fugitives disordered their ranks, and soon the whole of the assailing host was falling back; even the Normans themselves, as their historian is driven unwillingly to confess, were at last carried away by the contagion. For the moment the day seemed lost; men might well deem that the Bastard had no hope of being changed into the Conqueror, the Duke of the Normans into the King of the English. But the strong heart of William failed him not, and by his single prowess and presence of mind he recalled his flying troops. Like Brihtnoth at Maldon, like Eadmund at Sherstone, he was himself deemed to have fallen or to have fled.

He tore his helmet from his head, and with his look and his voice he called back his men to the attack. "Madmen," he cried, "behold me. Why flee ye? Death is behind you, victory is before you. I live, and by God's grace I will conquer. " With a spear, snatched, it may be, from some comrade, he met or pursued the fugitives, driving them back by main force to the work. Yet one version tells us that at this very moment a counsellor of flight was at his side. One Norman poet has sung how Eustace of Boulogne bade William turn his rein, and not rush on upon certain death. If such counsels were ever given, they were cast aside with scorn; the bold words and gestures of the Duke brought back the spirits of his men, and his knights once more pressed on, sword in hand, round him. His brother the Bishop meanwhile rode, mace in hand, to another quarter, and called back to their duty another party of fugitives.

Encouraged by this turn in the fight, the Breton infantry themselves, chased as they were across the field by the overdaring English, now turned and cut their pursuers in pieces. Order was soon again established throughout the whole line of the assailants, and William and Odo, with all their host, pressed on to a second and more terrible attack. A new act in the awful drama of that day had now begun. The Duke himself, at the head of his own Normans, again pressed towards the Standard. Now came what was perhaps the fiercest exchange of handstrokes in the whole battle. As in the old Roman legend, the main stress of the fight fell on three valiant brethren on either side. William, Odo, and Robert pressed on to the attack, while Harold, Gyrth, and Leofwine stood ready to defend. The Duke himself, his relics round his neck, spurred on right in the teeth of the English King. A few moments more, and the mighty rivals might have met face to face, and the war-club of the Bastard might have clashed against the lifted axe of the Emperor of Britain. That Harold shrank from such an encounter we may not deem for a moment. But a heart, if it might be, even loftier than his own beat high to save him from such a risk. In the same heroic spirit in which he had already offered to lead the host on what seemed a desperate

enterprise, the Earl of the East-Angles pressed forward to give, if need be, his own life for his King and brother. Before William could come to handstrokes with Harold, perhaps before he could even reach the barricade, a spear, hurled by the hand of Gyrth, checked his progress. The weapon so far missed its aim that the Duke was himself unhurt. But his noble Spanish horse, the first of three that died under him that day, fell to the ground. But Duke William could fight on foot as well as on horseback. Indeed on foot he had a certain advantage. He could press closer to the barricade, and could deal a nearer and surer blow. And a near and sure blow he did deal. William rose to his feet; he pressed straight to seek the man who had so nearly slain him. Duke and Earl met face to face, and the English hero fell crushed beneath the stroke of the Duke's mace. The day might seem to be turning against England, when a son of Godwine had fallen; nor did the blow come singly. Gyrth had fallen by a fate worthy of such a spirit, a fate than which none could be more glorious; he had died in the noblest of causes and by the hand of the mightiest of enemies. Nor did he fall alone; close at his side, and almost at the same moment,

Leofwine, fighting sword in hand, was smitten to the earth by an unnamed assailant, perhaps by the mace of the Bishop of Bayeux or by the lance of the Count of Mortain. A dark cloud indeed seemed to have gathered over the destinies of the great West-Saxon house. Of the valiant band of sons who had stood round Godwine on the great day of his return, Harold now stood alone. By a fate of special bitterness, he had seen with his own eyes the fall of those nearest and dearest to him. The deed of Metaurus had been, as it were, wrought beneath the eyes of Hannibal; Achilleus had looked on and seen the doom of his Patroklos and his Antilochos. The fate of England now rested on the single heart and the single arm of her King. But the fortune of the day was still far from being determined. The two Earls had fallen, but the fight at the barricades went on as fiercely as before. The men of the Earldoms of the two fallen chiefs shrank not because of the loss of their captains. The warriors of Kent and Essex fought manfully to avenge their leader. As for the Duke, we left him on foot, an enemy as dangerous on foot as when mounted on his destrier. But Norman and horse could not long be severed. William called to a knight of Maine to give up his charger to his sovereign. Was it cowardice, was it disloyalty to the usurper of the rights of the old Cenomannian house, which made the knight

of Maine refuse to dismount at William's bidding? But a blow from the Duke's hand brought the disobedient rider to the ground, and William, again mounted, was soon again dealing wounds and death among the defenders of England. But the deed and the fate of Gyrth were soon repeated. The spear of another Englishman brought William's second horse to the ground, and he too, like the East-Anglian Earl, paid the penalty of his exploit by death at the Duke's own hand. Count Eustace had by this time better learned how to win the favour of his great ally. His horse was freely offered to the Duke; a knight of his own following did him the same good service, and Duke and Count pressed fiercely against the English lines. The struggle was hard; but the advantage still remained with the English. The second attack had indeed to some extent prevailed. Not only had the English suffered a personal loss than which one loss only could have been greater, but the barricade was now in some

places broken down. The French on the right had been specially active and successful in this work. And specially distinguished among them was a party under the command of a youthful Norman warrior who was afterwards to fill a great place in both English and Norman history, Robert the son of the old Roger of Beaumont. They had perhaps met with a less vigorous resistance, while the main hopes and fears of every Englishman must gave gathered round the great personal struggle which was going on beneath the Standard. Still those who were most successful had as yet triumphed only over timber, and not over men. The shield-wall still stood behind the palisade, and every Frenchman who had pressed within the English enclosure had paid for his daring with his life. The English lines were as unyielding as ever; and though the second attack had not been so utterly unsuccessful as the first, it was still plain that to scale the hill by any direct attack of the Norman horsemen was a hopeless undertaking. But the generalship of William, his ready eye, his quick thought, his dauntless courage, never failed him. In the Norman character the fox and the lion were mingled in nearly equal proportions; strength and daring had failed, but the object might perhaps still be gained by stratagem.

William had marked with pleasure that the late flight of his troops had beguiled a portion of the English to forsake their firm array and their strong position. He had marked with equal pleasure that some impression had at last been made on the English defences. If by any means any large part of the English army could be drawn down from the heights, an entrance might be made at the points where the barricade was already weakened. He therefore ventured on a daring stratagem. If his army, or a portion of it, pretended flight, the English would be tempted to pursue; the pretended fugitives would turn upon their pursuers, and meanwhile another division might reach the summit through the gap which would thus be left open. He gave his orders accordingly, and they were faithfully and skilfully obeyed. A portion of the army, most likely the left wing which had so lately fled in earnest, now again turned in seeming flight. Undismayed by the fate of their comrades who had before broken their lines, the English on the right wing, mainly, as we have seen, the irregular levies, rushed down and pursued them with shouts of delight. But the men of Britanny, Poitou, and Maine

had now better learned their lesson. They turned on the pursuing English; the parts of the combatants were at once reversed, and the pursuers now themselves fled in earnest. Yet, undisciplined and foolhardy as their conduct had been, they must have had some wary leaders among them, for they found the means to take a special revenge for the fraud which had been played off upon them. The importance of the small outlying hill now came into full play. Either its defenders had never left it, or a party of the fugitives contrived to rally and occupy it. At all events it was held and gallantly defended by a body of light-armed English. With a shower of darts and stones they overwhelmed a body of French who attacked them; not a man of the party was left. Another party of English, men without doubt from the levies of the neighborhood, had the skill to use their knowledge of the country to the best advantage. They made their way to the difficult ground to the west of the hill, to the steep and thicklywooded banks of the small ravine. Here the light-armed English turned and made a stand; the French horsemen, recklessly following, came tumbling head over heels into the chasm, where they were slaughtered in such

numbers that the ground is said to have been made level by their corpses. The men who had committed the great error of pursuing the seeming fugitives had thus, as far as they themselves were concerned, retrieved their error skilfully and manfully. But the error was none the less fatal to England. The Duke's great object was now gained; the main end of Harold's skilful tactics had been lost by the heedless ardour of the least valuable part of his troops. Through the rash descent of the lightarmed on the right, the whole English army lost its vantageground. The pursuing English had left the most easily accessible portion of the hill open to the approach of the enemy. While French and English were scattered over the lower ground, fighting in no certain order and with varied success, the main body of the Normans made their way on to the height, no doubt by the gentle slope at the point west of the present buildings. The great advantage of the ground was now lost; the Normans were at last on the hill. Instead of having to cut their way up the slope and through the palisades, they could now charge to the east, right against the defenders of the Standard. Still the

battle was far from being over. The site had still some advantages for the English. The hill, narrow and in some places with steep sides, was by no means suited for the movements of cavalry, and, though the English palisade was gone, the English shield-wall was still a formidable hindrance in the way of the assailants. In short the position which the keen eye of Harold had chosen stood him in good stead to the last. Our Norman informants still speak with admiration of the firm stand made by the English. It was still the hardest of tasks to pierce through their bristling lines. It was a strange warfare, where the one side dealt in assaults and movements, while the other, as if fixed in the ground, withstood them. The array of the English was so close that they moved only when they were dead, they stirred not at all while they were alive. The slightly wounded could not escape, but were crushed to death by the thick ranks of their comrades. That is to say, the array of the shield-wall was still kept, though now without the help of the barricades or the full advantage of the ground. The day had now turned decidedly in favour of the invaders; but the fight was still far from being over. It was by no means clear that some new chance of warfare might not again turn the balance in favour of England. It is hard to tell the exact point of time at which the Normans gained this great advantage. But it was probably

about three in the afternoon, the hour of vespers. If so, the fight had already been raging for six hours, and as yet its result was far from certain. But the last stage of the battle was now drawing near. The English, though no longer en trenched, had still the fortress of shields to trust to, but gradually the line became less firmly kept, and the battle seems almost to have changed into a series of single combats. It is probably at this stage that we should place most of the many personal exploits which are told of various warriors on both sides. The names of the Normans are preserved, while the English, though full justice is done to their valour, remain nameless. Of Harold himself, strange to say, we hear nothing personally beyond the highest general praises of his courage and conduct. His axe was the weightiest; his blows were the most terrible of all. The horse and his rider gave way before him, cloven to the ground by a single stroke. He played the part alike of a general and of a private soldier. This is a praise which must have been common to every comman der of those times; still it is given in a marked way both to William and to Harold. But the two rivals never came together in the strife. William, we are told, sought earnestly to meet his enemy face to face, but he never succeeded. He found however adversaries hardly

less terrible. Like Gyrth earlier in the fight, another Englishman, whose axe had been dealing death around him, now met the Duke in single combat. William spurred on his horse, and aimed a blow at him with his mace; the Englishman swerved, he avoided the stroke, and lifted his own axe against William. The Duke bent himself; the axe fell, it beat in his helmet and nearly struck him from his horse. But William kept his seat; he aimed another blow at the Englishman, who now took shelter among his comrades. A party of the Normans pressed on, singled him out, and pierced him through and through with their lances. Another Englishman smote at the Duke with his spear, but William was beforehand with him; before the blow could be dealt, a stroke of the war-club had smitten him to the ground. Personal encounters of this sort were going on all over the hill. One gigantic Englishman, captain, we are told, of a hundred men, did special execution among the enemy. Beneath his blows, as beneath those of the King, horse and rider fell to the ground; the Normans stood aghast before him, till a thrust from the lance of Roger Montgomery left him stretched on the earth. Two Englishmen, sworn brothers in arms, fought side by side, and many horses and men had fallen beneath their axes. A French knight met them face to face; for a moment his heart failed him and he thought of flight; but his courage came back; he raised his shield to save his head from the axes; he pierced one Englishman through with his lance; as the Englishman fell, the lance broke in his body; the Frenchman then

seized a mace which hung at his saddle-bow, and smote down the comrade of the slain man, crushing head-piece and head with a single blow. One gallant Norman, Robert Fitz-Erneis, a near Kinsman of Ralph of Tesson, died in a more daring exploit than all. He galloped, sword in hand, right towards the Standard itself. He sought for the honour of beating down the proud ensign beneath which the King of the English still kept his post. More than one Englishman died beneath his sword, but he was soon surrounded, and he fell beneath the axes of their comrades. On the morrow his body was found stretched in death at the foot of the Standard. Other tales of the same sort, characteristic at least, whether verbally true or not, abound in the pages of the Norman poet. All bear witness to the enduring valour displayed on both sides, and to the fearful execution which was wrought by the national English weapon. But at last the effects of this sort of warfare began to tell on the English ranks. There could have been no greater trial than thus to bear up, hour after hour, in a struggle which was purely defensive. The strain, and the consequent weariness, must have been incomparably greater on their side than on that

of their assailants. It may well have been in sheer relief from physical weariness that we read, now that there was no artificial defence between them and their enemies, of Englishmen rushing forward from their ranks, bounding like a stag, and thus finding opportunity for the personal encounters which I have been describing. Gradually, after so many brave warriors had fallen, resistance grew fainter; but still even now the fate of the battle seemed doubtful. Many of the best and bravest of England had died, but not a man had fled; the Standard still waved as proudly as ever; the King still fought beneath it. While Harold still lived, while the horse and his rider still fell beneath his axe, the heart of England failed not, the hope of England had not wholly passed away. Around the twofold ensigns the war was still fiercely raging, and to that point every eye and every arm in the Norman host was directed. The battle had raged ever since nine in the morning, and

evening was now drawing in. New efforts, new devices, were needed to overcome the resis tance of the English, diminished as were their numbers, and wearied as they were with the livelong toil of that awful day. The Duke bade his archers shoot up in the air, that their arrows might, as it were, fall straight from heaven. The effect was immediate and fearful. No other device of the wily Duke that day did such frightful execution. Helmets were pierced; eyes were put out; men strove to guard their heads with their shields, and, in so doing, they were of course less able to wield their axes. And now the supreme moment drew near. There was one point of the hill at which the Norman bowmen were bidden specially to aim with their truest skill. As twi light was coming on, a mighty shower of arrows was launched on its deadly errand against the defenders of the Standard. There Harold still fought; his shield bristled with Norman shafts;

but he was still unwounded and unwearied. At last another arrow, more charged with destiny than its fellows, went still more truly to its mark. Falling like a bolt from heaven, it pierced the King's right eye; he clutched convulsively at the weapon, he broke off the shaft, his axe dropped from his hand, and he sank in agony at the foot of the Standard. The King was thus disabled, and the fate of the day was no longer doubtful. Twenty knights now bound themselves to lower or to bear off the ensigns which still rose as proudly as ever while Harold lay dying beneath them. But his comrades still fought; most of the twenty paid for their venture with their lives, but the survivors succeeded in their attempt. Harold's own Standard of the Fighting Man was beaten to the earth; the golden Dragon, the ensign of Cuthred and Aelfred, was carried off in triumph . But Harold, though disabled,

still breathed; four knights rushed upon him and despatched him with various wounds. The Latin poet of the battle describes this inglorious exploit with great glee. One of the four was Eustace; in such a cowardly deed of butchery he might deem that he was repeating his old exploit at Dover. Nor are we amazed to find the son of Guy of Ponthieu foremost in doing despite to the man who had once been his father's prisoner. But one blushes to see men bearing the lofty names of Giffard and Montfort, names soon to be as familiar to English as to Norman ears, taking a share in such low-minded vengeance on a fallen foe. The deeds of the four are enumerated, but we know not how to apportion them among the actors. One thrust pierced through the shield of the dying King and stabbed him in the breast; another assailant finished the work by striking off his bead with his sword. But even this vengeance was not enough. A third pierced the dead body and scattered about the entrails; the fourth, coming, it would seem, too late for any more efficient share in the

deed, cut off the King's leg as he lay dead. Such was the measure which the boasted chivalry of Normandy meted out to a prince who had never dealt harshly or cruelly by either a domestic or a foreign foe. But we must add, in justice to the Conqueror, that he pronounced the last brutal insult to be a base and cowardly act, and he expelled the doer of it from his army. The blow had gone truly to its mark. Harold had fallen, as his valiant brothers had fallen before him. And with the King the ensigns of his kingdom had fallen also. In the struggle in which he fell, his own Standard of the Fighting Man was beaten to the ground; the golden Dragon, the ensign of Cuthred and Aelfred, was carried off in triumph. Still all was not over. The sons of Godwine had fallen, and England had fallen with them. As ever in this age, everything turned on the life of one man, and the one man who could have guarded and saved England was taken from her. The men who fought upon the hill of Senlac may have been too deeply busied with the duty of the moment to look forward to the future chances of their country. But they knew at least that with their King's death that day's battle was lost. Yet, even when Harold had fallen, resistance did not at once cease. As long as there was a ray of light in the heaven, as long as an English arm had strength to lift axe or javelin, the personal following of King Harold continued

the unequal strife. Worn out by the strain of along resistance, while the Normans, as assailants, seemed to draw fresh vigour from the conflict, they, the highest nobility, the most valiant soldiery of England were slaughtered to a man. Quarter was neither given nor asked; not a man of the comitatur fled; not a man was taken captive. There, around the fallen Standard, we may call up before our eyes the valiant deaths of those few warriors of Senlac whose names we know. There fell Thurkill and Godric beside their friend and former Earl. There Aelfwig died by his royal nephew, leaving an inheritance of sorrow to the house over which he ruled. And there the East-Anglian deacon lay in death by the side of the lord whom, from his early days, he had served so faithfully. Those alone escaped, who, smitten down by wounds, were on the morrow thrown aside as dead, but who still breathed, and who in time gained strength enough to seek their homes and still to serve their country. Abbot Leofric, sick and weary, made his way home to die in his own Golden Borough; and Ansgar, the valiant Staller, was borne back to London, his body

disabled by honourable wounds, but his heart still stout and his wit still keen to keep up resistance to the last. Few however could those have been who escaped by accidents like these. As a rule, no man of Harold's following who marched to Senlac found his way back from that fatal hill. The nobility, the warlike flower, of southern and eastern England was utterly cut off. But we cannot blame men of meaner birth and fame for not showing the same desperate valour. Night was now coming on, and, under cover of the darkness, the light-armed took to flight. Some fled on foot, some, like the two traitors at Maldon, on the horses which had carried the fallen leaders to the battle. The Normans pursued, and, as in an earlier stage of the day, the flying English found means to take their revenge upon their conquerors. On the north side of the hill the descent is steep, almost precipitous, the ground is irregular and marshy. No place could be less suited for horsemen, unaccustomed to the country, to pursue, even by daylight, light-armed foot, to many of whom every step of ground was well known. In the darkness or imperfect light of the evening, their case was still more hopeless than in the similar

case earlier in the day. In the ardour of pursuit horse and man fell headforemost over the steep, where they were crushed by the fall, smothered in the morass, or slain outright by the swords and clubs of the English. For the fugitives, seeing the plight of their pursuers, once more turned and slaughtered them without mercy. Count Eustace, deeming that a new English force had come to the rescue, turned with fifty knights, and counselled William to sound a retreat. He whispered in the ear of the Duke that, if he pressed on, it would be to certain death. The words were hardly out of his mouth, when a blow, dealt in the darkness, struck the Count between the shoulder-blades, and he was borne off with blood flowing from his mouth and nostrils. But William pressed on; his good fortune saved him from the bad luck of his less fortunate soldiers, and he did not come back to the hill till all danger was over. This was the last scene of the battle, and no scene stamped itself more deeply on the minds of the descendants of the victors. The name of Malfosse, borne for some ages by the spot where the flying English turned and took their last revenge, showed how heavy was the loss which the victors there met with in the very hour of their triumph.

I have thus described, as well as I could reconcile various and conflicting narratives, the chief vicissitudes and incidents of this memorable and hard-fought battle. On its historic importance I need not dwell; it is the very subject of my history. England was not yet conquered. The invader, as it was, had hard struggles to go through before he gained full possession of the length and breadth of the land. Had Harold lived, had another like Harold been ready to take his place, we may well doubt whether, even after the overthrow of Senlac, England would have been conquered at all. As it was, though England was not yet conquered, yet, from this moment, her complete conquest was only a matter of time. The Norman had to face much local resistance against the establishment of his power; he had to quell many local revolts after the establishment of his power; but he never again met Englishmen in a pitched battle; he never again had to fight for his Crown against a rival King at the head of a national army. Such being the case, it is from the memorable day of Saint Calixtus that we may fairly date the overthrow, what we know to have been only the imperfect and temporary over throw, of our ancient and free Teutonic England. In the eyes of men of the next generation that day was the fatal day of England, the day of the sad overthrow of our dear country, the day of her

handing over to foreign lords. From that day forward the Normans began to work the will of God upon the folk of England, till there were left in England no chiefs of the land of English blood, till all were brought down to bondage and to sorrow, till it was a shame to be called an Englishman, and the men of England were no more a people. Looking also at the fight of Senlac simply as a battle, it is one of the most memorable in all military history. Two utterly opposite systems of warfare came into conflict under two commanders, each worthily matched against the other both in conduct and in personal prowess. We read with equal admiration of the consummate skill with which Harold chose his position and his general scheme of action, and of the wonderful readiness with which William formed and varied his plans as occasion served, how he seized on every opportunity, and made even discomfiture serve his final purpose. And each chief was thoroughly and worthily served by at least a part of his army. As a mere question of soldierly qualities, one hardly knows which side to admire most. Each nation displayed, in this the first important battle in which they met as enemies, qualities which to this day remain eminently characteristic of the two nations respectively. The French--for the praise must not be confined to the native Normans only--displayed a gallantry at once impetuous and steady, and

a quickness and intelligence in obeying difficult orders which is above all praise. They came again and again to the charge, undismayed by repeated reverses, and they knew how to carry out successfully the elaborate stratagem of the feigned flight. This last task must have been all the harder, because it seems not to have been a deliberate scheme planned from the beginning, but to have been suggested to William's ready wit by the needs of the moment. Yet almost more admirable, and far more touching, is the long, stubborn, endurance of the English, keeping their post through nine hours of constant defence, never yielding till death or utter weariness relieved them from their toil. Had the whole English host been like Harold's own following, the defeat of Senlac would undoubtedly have been changed into a victory. Even writers in the Norman interest allow that so great was the slaughter, so general at one time was the flight of the Norman host, that nothing but the visible interference of God on behalf of the righteous cause could have given William the victory. The battle was lost through the error of those light-armed troops, who, in disobedience to the King's orders, broke their line to pursue. Their error was a grievous and a fatal one, but it was the natural error of high-spirited and untried men, eager for combat and for distinction, and chafing no doubt at the somewhat irksome restraints involved in Harold's plan of defence. And some credit is due to them and to their immediate leaders for the skill and presence of mind with which they did their best to retrieve their error. Indeed, as far as they themselves were concerned, they did retrieve it amply. Never was a battle more stoutly contested between abler generals supported by more valiant soldiers. Like the whole English history of this age, it shows how little the

English people had really gone back in any true patriotic or military qualities. But again it shows how wholly everything depended on the presence of some one man ready and fit to seize the post of command at the right moment. As long as an Eadmund or a Harold is forthcoming, defeat may alternate with victory, but even defeat never is disgrace. How the same people fared under an unworthy King we have seen throughout the long wretchedness of the reign of Aethelred. How they fared under selfish and vacillating chiefs we shall see in the interregnum which followed the death of Harold. But we must first cast one more look upon Senlac hill, upon the victors and upon the vanquished. We have to behold William the Conqueror in his hour of triumph, and we have the hero of England to follow to his grave.

The Burial of Harold
October-December 1066

The fight was now over; night had closed in, and those among the English host who had not fallen around their King had left the field under cover of the darkness. William now came back to the hill, where all resistance had long been over. He looked around, we are told, on the dead and dying thousands, not without a feeling of pity that so many men had fallen, even as a sacrifice to his own fancied right. But the victory was truly his own; in the old phrase of our Chroniclers, the Frenchmen had possession of the place of slaughter. A place of slaughter indeed it was,

where, from morn till twilight, the axe and javelin of England, the lance and bow of Normandy, had done their deadly work at the bidding of the two mightiest captains upon earth. Dead and dying men were heaped around, and nowhere were they heaped so thickly as around the fallen Standard of England. There, where the flower of England's nobility and soldiery lay stretched in death, there, where the banner of the Fighting Man now lay beaten to the ground, the Conqueror knelt, he gave his thanks to God, and bade his own banner be planted as the sign of the victory which he had won. He bade the dead be swept aside; the ducal tent was pitched in this, as it were, the innermost sanctuary of the Conquest, and meat and drink were brought for his repast in the midst of the ghastly trophies of his prowess. In vain did Walter Giffard warn him of the rashness of such an act. Many of the English who lay around were not dead; many were only slightly wounded; they would rise and escape in the night, or they would seek to have their revenge, well pleased to sell their lives at the price of the life of a Norman. But the strong heart of William feared not; God had guarded him thus far, and he trusted in God to guard him still. Then he took off his armour; his shield and helmet were seen to be dinted with many heavy blows, but the person of the Conqueror was unhurt. He was hailed

by the loud applause of his troops, likening him to Roland and Oliver and all the heroes of old. Again he gave thanks to God, again he thanked his faithful followers, and sat down to eat and drink among the dead. The Normans watched upon the hill all night. On the morrow of that fearful Sabbath, the morning light of the day of Christian worship first showed the full horrors of the scene. The first duty was the burial of the dead. The Duke went over the ground in person, superintending the funeral rites of the slain of his own army. Nor had he, either by temper or by policy, any mind to treat the vanquished or their kinsfolk with needless cruelty or insult. The women of the surrounding country came to the camp, praying for the bodies of their husbands, sons, and brothers, and, by William's express order, they were allowed to take them away for burial to the neighbouring towns and minsters. The bodies of Aelfwig and his monks were among

the first to be recognized by the monastic garb beneath their harness. We hear nothing of the disposal of their bodies, but we know that their presence in the fight was not forgotten by the Conqueror. We hear nothing of the place of burial of Godric or Thurkill, or even of that of Gyrth and Leofwine. We may suppose that the bodies of the two Earls were borne away to some church on one of the many estates held by their house within the South-Saxon land. But there was still one corpse which was not forthcoming, one corpse for which, when it was found, the stern policy of the victor decreed a harsher fate. Wives and sisters had borne away the bodies of Thegns and churls, but there was neither wife nor sister to claim the mangled corpse of the Emperor of Britain. One widowed Lady sat in her palace at Winchester, weeping for the fate of Tostig, perhaps waiting for the coming of William. And where was the other, the daughter of Aelfgar, the wife of Harold, the bride who, as William deemed, had usurped the place which was designed for his own child? Are we to deem that she had chosen to cast in her lot rather with her recreant brothers than with her dauntless husband? Or was it rather that she bore within her a future hope of England, one to whom men might fondly look as an Aetheling born

of a crowned King and his Lady, a son of Harold and Ealdgyth, a grandson alike of Aelfgar and Godwine? All that we know is that, at that moment, the wife of Harold was far away, perhaps already on her journey, under the care of Eadwine and Morkere, to seek shelter within the distant walls of Chester. But there were still those who loved the fallen hero; there were those who clave to him in life, and who in death would not forsake him. There was the widowed mother, bereaved of so many valiant sons; there were the bedesmen who had tasted of his bounty, and the woman who had loved him with a true, if an unlawful love. It was from the holy house of Waltham that men came to do the last duty to the dead of Senlac. Two of the canons of Harold°s minster, Osgod and Aethelric the Childmaster, had followed the march of the English host. They came, either through the mere instinct of affection or, as was told in the legends of their house, made fearful of coming evil through the mysterious warning which the Holy Rood had given to the King. They followed their founder to the hill of slaughter; but they themselves joined not in the fight; they stood afar off that they might see the end. With them, it may be, had come the now aged Danish princess, Gytha, the widow of

Godwine, the mother of the three heroes who had died beneath the fallen Standard. She came to the Duke and craved the body of her royal son. Three sons of hers had fallen by his hand or the hand of his followers; let the Conqueror grant one at least of the three to be honoured with solemn and royal rites. Harold's weight in gold should be the price of his burial within the walls of his own minster. But in the case of his great rival the Conqueror was inexorable. His soul was indeed too lofty to be moved by petty spite towards an enemy who could no longer harm him. But his policy bade him to brand the perjurer, the usurper, the excommunicate of the Church, the despiser of the holy relics, with the solemn judgement of a minister of righteous vengeance. The proffered bribe had as little weight with him as it had with the Homeric Achilleus. He whose insatiable ambition had caused the slaughter of so many men should not himself receive the honours of solemn burial. He was not indeed to be left to

dogs and vultures; but he who had guarded the shore while living should guard it still in death. A cairn on the SouthSaxon shore, raised high upon the rocks of Hastings, should be the only memorial of the usurper. But the royal corpse was still unrecognized; it had been thrown aside among the other bodies which lay around the Standard, when the ground was cleared for William's midnight meal. Who could undertake to find one single body in an Aceldama? Who could under take to recognize a form mangled and mutilated by the base malignity of unworthy foes? Ealdgyth was far away; Gytha could not be asked to take upon her such an office. The two faithful priests did their best, and failed in the attempt. There was one alone who could be trusted for the mournful duty; one who knew him, alas, too well; one who had loved the man and not the King, and whose love, it may be, had been sacrificed to the duty or the policy of the ruler. The proud daughter of Ealdormen, the widow of two Kings, had left him to his fate; it was one of humbler rank, whose love had brought him not crowns or earldoms, but who had been the well-beloved of his less exalted days, who was called on to do the last

bidding of affection upon earth. His former mistress, Eadgyth of the Swan's Neck, was brought to the spot by Osgod and Aethelric, and was bidden to search for Harold amid the slain. Her eye at last recognized the disfigured corpse, not by its mangled features, but by marks which his faithful priests, perhaps even his mother, knew not. The body thus found awaited the bidding of the Conqueror. William had no mind for simple insult beyond what the stern bidding of his policy dictated. Christian burial was refused; yet William could show to the corpse of Harold honours not less marked than Kleomenes had shown to the corpse of Lydiadas. The mangled limbs were wrapped in a purple robe, and the body was borne to William's camp by the sea-shore. The charge of this unhallowed yet honourable burial was entrusted by the Duke to the willing hands of one of his own chiefs, who was at least not the personal foe of Harold or of England. By the care of William Malet, a name again to appear in our history, the body of Harold the son of Godwine was buried beneath a heap of stones upon the rocks of Sussex. Thus far we have the certain guidance of contemporary

writers. Harold died on Senlac and was buried on the heights of Hastings. But there ate two other tales, the evidence for which I shall discuss elsewhere, but whose substance I cannot here pass by. One indeed, with some doubt as to the details, I do not hesitate to accept, as resting on evidence which, though not strictly contemporary, seems fully trustworthy. The other is a mere romance, food for the comparative mythologist rather than for the historian, and valuable only as illustrating a certain ever-recurring tendency of the human mind. This is the well-known tale, which told that Harold did not die in the great battle. He escaped, it was said, and lived for a longer or a shorter time, according to different accounts, devoting his latter days, according to the most celebrated version, to a life of penance. The King, so the story runs, was found half dead by some of the women who came to tend the wounded. He was then carried to Winchester by two men of middling rank, Thegns of the lowest class or churls of the highest. There he was nursed for two years, not by his royal sister, but by a Saracen woman skilled in surgery. He then went into the kindred lands of Saxony and Denmark, to ask help for England from her brethren on the mainland. No such help however was forthcoming, and, after a long series of adventures, Harold

forsook the world and became a recluse in a cell attached to Saint John's minster at Chester, the minster which had once witnessed the homage done to Eadgar the Peaceful by all the Under-kings of Britain. There he died at a great age, having only in his last moments revealed to those around him that the lowly anchorite was no other than the native King of conquered England. That this tale is a mere legend I have not the slightest doubt. But that such a tale should arise is by no means wonderful. It was indeed almost a matter of course. Whatever might be the feeling among Earls and Prelates who had other objects, popular English feeling would be for a while unwilling to believe in the death of the true national hero. Harold was expected to return, just as Baldwin of Constantinople, as Sebastian of Portugal, as many other princes in the like case, were expected to return. The really strange thing is that we do not hear of any false Harolds, as we hear of false Baldwins and false Sebastians. The cause may be that the later hopes of England gradually drifted away into other directions, towards a restoration of Eadgar or a deliverance by the arms of Swegen. Still, as long as resistance to the Norman lasted, rumours that Harold lived, that he would again appear to lead his countrymen, would be rife within the walls of Exeter and within the camp of refuge at Ely. But Harold came not. Where then, if living, did he hide himself? Why did he not join the patriot bands of Hereward and Waltheof? Why did not the Standard of the Fighting Man once more float over an English host, and the Holy Rood of Waltham again resound as the war-cry of a happier field than Senlac? That Harold lived and

yet was not in arms against the invader, could be explained in one way only. He had betaken himself to a life of penitence; by prayer and scourge and fasting he was wiping out the great sin of his life, his fatal oath to the Norman. In our eyes such a selfconsecration on Harold's part would seem a weak forsaking of a higher duty. It would not seem so in the eyes of an age which saw its highest type of holiness in Eadward. The character of a patriot King was indeed honourable, but the character of an ascetic penitent was more honourable still. The tale would appeal to a certain vein of feeling in Englishmen generally. It would even appeal to a certain vein of local piety among Harold's own bedesmen at Waltham. On the one hand it upset every local tradition, and robbed Waltham of its most cherished treasure. But on the other hand, it magnified in a certain way both the founder and the foundation, and it went far to raise the church of Harold to a level with the church of Eadward. It was something to be founded by the last native King; it was something to be the last resting-place of his body; but it was something higher still to be founded by one who was no mere King or lawgiver or conqueror, but whose deeds of penance had won him a place in the roll of eremites and saints. But of all this history knows nothing. In her pages Harold died, without a shadow of a doubt, on the hill of Senlac, on the day of Saint Calixtus. Florence tells the true tale, in words speaking straight from the depths of England's grief" Heu, ipsemet cecidit crepusculi tempore. In that Twilight of the Gods, when right and wrong went forth to battle, and when wrong for a moment had the victory, the brightest light of Teutonic England sank, and sank for ever. The son of Godwine died, as such King and hero should die, helm on head and battleaxe in hand, striking the last blow for his Crown and people,

with the Holy Rood of Waltham the last cry rising from his lips and ringing in his ears. Disabled by the Norman arrow, cut down by the Norman sword, he died beneath the Standard of England, side by side with his brothers in blood and valour. His lifeless and mangled relics were all that was left either for the scoffs of enemies or for the reverence of friends. What the first resting-place of those relics was we have already seen, but need we hold that the first resting-place of those relics was also the last?
This brings us to the other story to which I have already alluded, and which, in its main outline, I am prepared to accept. This is that the body of Harold, first buried under the cairn by Hastings, was afterwards translated to his own minster at Waltham. That Waltham always professed to be the buryingplace of Harold--that a tomb bearing his name was shown there down to the dissolution of the abbey--that fragments of it remained in the middle of the seventeenth century, are facts beyond dispute. But these local traditions would not, under the circumstances, be of themselves enough to lead us to accept a local claim which at first sight seems to be opposed to the witness of contemporary writers. But a little examination will show that the two stories, the story of the cairn-burial and the story of the burial at Waltham, are not really contradictory. And there is a mass of evidence of all but the highest kind in support of the claim of Waltham to have at last sheltered the bones of its founder. I then accept the view that the body of Harold, like the body of Waltheof ten years later, was removed from a lowlier restingplace to a more honourable one, in short from unhallowed to hallowed ground. Waltheof was first buried on the scene of his martyrdom by Winchester, and was afterwards removed for more solemn

burial in the abbey of Crowland. Such I believe to have been the case with Harold also. This view reconciles the main facts as stated by all our authorities, and it falls in with all the circumstances of the case. With out feelings we might wish that the body of Harold had tarried for ever under its South-Saxon cairn. In William's own words, no worthier place of burial could be his than the shore which he had guarded. But even modern feelings would cry out at such a burial of any hero of our own time. And in those days the religious feeling of Harold's friends and bedesmen would never be satisfied till their King and founder slept in a spot where all the rites of the Church could be offered around him by the hands of those who were nourished by his bounty. Nor was it at all unlikely that William should relent, and should allow such honours to be paid to the memory of his fallen rival. The first harsh order exactly fell in with the policy of the first moment of victory. But, before the end of the great year, a time came when William might well be disposed to listen to milder counsels. When the Conqueror had become the chosen and anointed King of the English, he honestly strove for a moment to make his rule as acceptable as might be to his English subjects. In those milder days of his earlier rule, it would quite fall in with William's policy to yield to any petition, either from Gytha or from the brotherhood at Waltham, praying for the removal of Harold's body from its unhallowed resting-place. He had then no motive for harshness. The Crown was safe upon his own head; he was the acknowledged successor of Eadward, and he could now afford to be generous to the memory of the intruder of a moment. Then it was, as I believe, that the body of Harold was translated from the cairn on the hill of Hastings

to a worthier tomb in his own minster at Waltham. There the King and founder was buried in the place of honour by the high altar. A later change in the fabric, most likely an enlargement of the choir, caused a further translation of his body. On that occasion our local informant, a subject of the Norman Henry, saw and handled the bones of Harold. For his tomb we now seek in vain, as we seek in vain for the tombs of most of the noblest heroes of our land. The havoc of the sixteenth century, the brutal indifference of the eighteenth, have swept over Hyde and Glastonbury and Waltham and Crowland and Evesham, and in their destroyed or ruined choirs no memory is left of Aelfred and Eadgar and Harold and Waltheof and Simon of Montfort. But what the men of his own time could do they did; the simple and pathetic tale of the local historian shows us how the fallen King was mourned by those who had known and loved him, and how his memory lived among those who shared his bounty without having seen his face. Their affection clave to him in life, their reverence followed him in death; they braved the wrath of the Conqueror on his behalf; they bore him first to his humble and unhallowed tomb, and then translated him to a more fitting resting-place within the walls of the noble fabric which his own bounty had reared, 'hos hoig amphiepon taphon Hektoros hippodamoio'. Thus was the last native King of the English borne to his last home in his own minster. Once only since

that day has Waltham seen a royal corpse, but then it was one which was worthy to rest even by the side of Harold. Two hundred and forty years after the fight of Senlac, the body of the great Edward was borne with all royal honours to a temporary resting-place in the church of Waltham. Harold was translated to Waltham from a nameless tomb by the seashore; Edward was translated from Waltham to a still more glorious resting-place beneath the soaring vault of the apse of Westminster. But for a while the two heroes lay side by side, the last and the first of English Kings, between whom none deserved the English name or could claim honour or gratitude from the English nation. The one was the last King who reigned purely by the will of the people, without any claim either of conquest or of hereditary right. The other was the first King who reigned purely as the son of his father, the first who succeeded without competitor or interregnum. But each alike, as none between them did, deserved the love and trust of the people over whom they reigned. With Harold our native kingship ends; the Crown, the laws, the liberties, the very tongue of Englishmen, seem all fallen never to rise again. In Edward the line of English Kings begins once more. After two hundred years of foreign rule, we have again a King bearing an English name and an English heart, the first to give us back our ancient laws under new shapes, the first, and for so long the last, to see that the Empire of his mighty namesake

was a worthier prize than shadowy dreams of dominion beyond the sea. All between them were Normans or Angevins, careless of England and her people. Another and a brighter aera opens, as the lawgiver of England, the conqueror of Wales and Scotland, seems like an old Bretwalda or West-Saxon Basileus seated once more upon the throne of Cerdic and of Aethelstan. The conqueror of Gruffydd might welcome a kindred soul in the conqueror of Llywelyn ; the victor of Stamfordbridge might hail his peer in the victor of Falkirk; the King with whom England fell might greet his first true successor in the King with whom she rose again. Such were the men who met in death within the now vanished choir of Waltham. And in the whole course of English history we hardly come across a scene which speaks more deeply to the heart, than when the first founder of our later greatness was laid by the side of the last kingly champion of our earliest freedom, when the body of the great Edward was laid, if only for a short space, by the side of Harold the son of Godwine.

The Interregnum
October 15-December 25, 1066

England was thus again without a King. For the second time within this memorable year the throne had become vacant. But the vacancy of October differed widely in every way from the vacancy of January. Then a King had gone to his grave in peace, and the election of his successor could be made by the free voices of the English people. That successor had now given his life for England, and, as in the days of Swegen and Cnut, a foreign invader was again in the land, claiming the votes of the Witan with a victorious army to back his claims. For we must remember that still, after the day of Senlac, William was only a candidate for the Crown. He claimed an exclusive right to become King, but he did not claim to be King as yet. One flatterer only ventures to give him the kingly title before his formal election and consecration. Till those ceremonies had been gone through, William was not King de Jure, and he was as yet very far from being King de facto. All that he had as yet was military possession of part of one shire. But

his work was practically over; he had now simply to bide his time and slowly to gather in his harvest. He had already in effect conquered England, for the one man was gone who could still have saved her from conquest. With Harold the true hope and strength of England had fallen. No one knew this better than the Conqueror himself. His belief was that all England would at once submit to him. And, though he was mistaken in that belief, the mistake was not one which carried him very far away from the truth. He simply looked for that to happen at once, which was sure to happen before long, and which did happen within two months. But for the moment no Englishman dreamed of submission. Men as little thought of acknowledging the Norman after a single victory as their fathers had thought of acknowledging the Dane in the like case. Aelfred and Eadmund had fought battle after battle with the invaders, and it was only after many ups and downs of victory and defeat that Guthrum and Cnut had won a settlement, and after all only a partial settlement, in the land. No man therefore who was not actually within the reach of William's hand thought, in the first days after the fight of Senlac, of submitting to the Conqueror. William had gone back to his camp at Hastings, and he there tarried, ready to receive the allegiance of those whom he looked on as his lawful subjects. But not a single Englishman came to his camp to bow to him and become his man. The voice of Englishmen, the voice at least of all who were neither too far off to hear the news nor too near to

be practically within William's power, called for another King to lead them forth to another battle.
The news of the defeat of the English army and of the death of the King was brought to London by some of the fugitives from Senlac. Before long, the wounded Sheriff Ansgar contrived to make his way thither from the hill of slaughter. Meanwhile the two Northern Earls were on their tardy march, waiting to see what course events might take. The news of Harold's fall reached them on their way. They hastened to London, and, as their first measure of precaution, they sent their sister, the Lady Ealdgyth, to the distant city of Chester in the Earldom of Eadwine. Men were now flocking together from the lands immediately threatened by William to seek for safety in the great city. It was therefore possible to hold a Gemot which might fairly represent the national will. The Witan, among whom the citizens of London and the sailors are especially mentioned, met to choose a King. The choice was far from being so easy in October as it

had been in January. There was now no one man who could, either by his birth or by his personal merits, command the unanimous vote of the nation. The late King had left sons, but they were not born Aethelings, sons of a crowned King; indeed they were most likely not even born in lawful wedlock. They had therefore no claim even to a constitutional preference, and young and undistinguished as they were, they could have no claim on the score of personal merit. There is nothing to show that the names of the three sons of Harold, Eadmund, Magnus, and Godwine, were so much as mentioned in the debates of the Witan. The Crown thus passed away for ever from the newly chosen dynasty. Had Harold's two brothers lived, things might have gone otherwise. One cannot doubt that Gyrth was in every way worthy to reign, and we can believe that the voice of Wessex and East-Anglia at least would have been raised in favour either of him or of Leofwine. But the two heroes had fallen with their King and brother; young Wulfnoth was personally undistinguished and was far away in the hands of the enemy; no candidate from the House of Godwine was forthcoming. Looking to the other great Houses, there was one whose name was soon to become famous and honoured among Englishmen; but as yet Waltheof the son of Siward had not shown himself as a leader of men, and the Earldom which he ruled was the

smallest in the Kingdom. In the House of Leofric indeed there was no lack of candidates. Eadwine and Morkere were open to receive any crowns that they could get. In their eyes no doubt the happy moment had come, when Mercian hands might grasp the sceptre, if possible of the whole realm, at any rate of its northern half. We do not hear what arrangements were to be made between the two brothers; but the two together were urgent with the men of London to raise one or other of them to the Imperial Crown. But their hopes were disappointed. There was in truth no general feeling to which they could appeal. The candidature of Eadwine or Morkere could have had no charm for the the men of London, of Wessex, or of East-Anglia. In the absence then of any better qualified candidate, of any one leader on whom all could agree, the sentiment of hereditary descent prevailed. There was one in the land who, whatever else he was, was the grandson of Ironside, the heir of Aelfred and Ecgberht, the last male of the stock of Cerdic and Woden. To fill the vacancy caused by the death of Harold, the Witan of England called on the young Aetheling Eadgar to ascend the throne of his fathers.

It is vain to discuss the merits of the choice. It could be justified only by the sad truths that any King was better than no King at all, and that at that moment no better King was forthcoming. There may even have been a faint hope that William might be satisfied with the overthrow of his personal ememy, and that he would not press his claims against one who had never wronged him, one who might pass as the heir, who was certainly the next of kin, of the deceased King for whom he professed so deep a reverence. How far the choice was strictly unanimous we know not. There is no doubt that Eadwine and Morkere, seeing no hopes of their own elevation, gave a formal consent to the election of Eadgar. On the other hand we find it hinted that the Bishops opposed the choice of the Aetheling. We know not how many of the English Bishops were at this time in London. It is certain that the two Primates, Stigand and Ealdred, were both present, and that both concurred in the election of Eadgar. It would appear also that Wulfstan of

Worcester and Walter of Hereford were also in the city. Now we may be sure that any influence which belonged to the Bishop of the diocese, the Norman William, would be exerted to hinder the election of Eadgar. A Norman prelate might now, without dishonour, recommend submission to the armed candidate of his own race. Even Wulfstan, the friend of Harold, might not feel himself equally bound to Eadgar, and his later conduct may perhaps show that, in face of the invasion of William, he was not unlikely to play the part of jeremiah in face of the invasion of Nabuchodnosor. We may suspect too that the Lotharingian Bishop of Hereford, and his brethren of Wells and Sherborne, would not be specially zealous in the national cause. We need not suspect them of actual treason, but to exhort to submission to the Conqueror after the death of Harold would have quite another look from an attempt to weaken the national power of resistance while the King still lived. Even a national and patriotic writer, speaking with the experience of a few weeks later, argues that an early submission would have been the wisest course. The minds of foreign churchmen would be specially open to those spiritual influences which William had learned how to array on his side. Nothing could be easier than to argue that, in the great assize of Senlac, the judgement of God

had been visibly given on behalf of the invader, and that those who continued to fight against him would incur the guilt of fighting against God. But such arguments, if used, were as yet of none effect. Young Eadgar was regularly elected King. Whether he was crowned we are not distinctly told. Every motive of policy would plead for a coronation as speedy as the coronation of Harold. But the election of Harold had taken place during one of the Church's solemn seasons, and it was possible to perform the ceremony before the festival was over. But, if the coronation of Eadgar was to take place on one of the days usually chosen for such solemnities, it would have to be delayed till the feast of Christmas. In all likelihood the rite was fixed for that festival, and, when the festival came, the rite had to be done on another. Eadgar then never was full King, King crowned and anointed. But his authority was acknowledged, and he did at least one kingly act. The Golden Borough of Saint Peter lacked an Abbot. The patriot Leofric, wounded in the great battle, had found his way home, and had died on the festival of All Saints. The monks of his house forthwith chose their Provost Brand as his successor, and sent him to Eadgar for the royal confirmation. His reception was favourable; he received his staff from the hands of the Aetheling. But we shall see that this acknowledgement of the national candidate on the part of the monks of

Peterborough was a crime in the eyes of the invader which called for a heavy atonement. The nation had thus chosen a successor to the King who had died on Senlac. The cry of every patriot heart was for a vigorous carrying on the war with the invader. The citizens of London, above all, were eager to hazard another battle. The chances of such an enterprise were still far from being hopeless. The slaughter of Fulford, of Stamfordbridge, and of Senlac had indeed been frightful, and, as ever, it had fallen most heavily on the best portions of the army, on the King's Thegns and the Housecarls. Still the strength of England was far from being broken, and we may be sure that Aelfred or Eadmund would have been fully ready to risk a fourth battle. But there was no Aelfred or Eadmund now to lead the forces of England. The King-elect was young and inexperienced, and those whom England looked to as her leaders again proved faithless. Eadwine and Morkere had consented to the election of Eadgar, as nine months before they had consented to the election of Harold. But of giving loyal support to either prince they never dreamed. The forces of Northumberland were again refused to the defence of Wessex. For Wessex, for East-Anglia, Eadgar and William might strive as they would. William would perhaps be content with that portion of the realm which formed the immediate possession of the personal foe whom he had overthrown. With the House of Leofric, with the men of Northumberland, William had no quarrel. Perhaps he might be content not to attack them. At all events, the forces of Northumberland and North-western Mercia

would be better kept back for the defence of their own homes. Eadwine and Morkere then, with the levies of their earldoms, withdrew to Northumberland, and left Eadgar and England to their fate. This was the consummation of the manifold treasons of the sons of Aelfgar. An united England might yet have held out; for a divided England there was no hope. A people who could not agree under any leader of their own race, became of necessity the prey of the stranger. But the fault tested wholly with the men who put their own selfish interests before the public welfare. The patriotic zeal of the men of London was thwarted by the base secession of the Northern traitors. By their act all was lost. After the day of Senlac William never again met Englishmen in a pitched battle. He met with much gallant local resistance before his power was fully established over the whole land. But never again did he see the forces of all England, or even the forces of all Wessex, drawn out against him. Indeed it does not seem that any English weapon, save those of the great city itself, was again lifted against him till his formal investiture with the kingship of England enabled him to treat all further opposition as rebellion. While England was thus betrayed and ruined within the walls of London, the Conqueror was, step by step, taking possession of the devoted land. He had returned, as we

have seen, to Hastings, in the hope of receiving an immediate submission. In that hope he remained in his camp for five days. During that time he also received some reinforcements from Normandy to supply the serious losses which the battle had inflicted on his army. As no English homagers came in to him, he now thought it time to set forth to follow up his great success by force of arms. But he had no intention of marching at once upon London. It again was William's policy to bide his time. He no doubt fully understood the state of the case; he felt certain that the divided land, shorn of its one born leader, would never come together for any general or effective resistance. He knew that in a short time either he would be able to overcome local resistance piecemeal, or else the English, unable to unite under a single native chief, would submit to him in sheer despair. It was therefore his policy not to hasten. But it was equally his policy not to remain idle. His policy in fact was much the same in England as it had been in Maine. Political and military reasons alike bade him to secure the south-eastern portions of England before he hazarded any attack on the great city. Six days therefore after the battle, William began his eastward march along the south coast. The first point which he reached was Romney, where he was within the borders of the ancient kingdom of Kent. Romney was, in those days, no less than Pevensey, a famous haven, but the physical agencies which have wrought so

much change along that whole line of coast, have destroyed the importance of the town by removing the sea from its immediate neighbourhood. Like most of the havens of this coast, it was endowed with special privileges, and in return for them it was bound to take its share in the naval defence of the land. The men of Romney had not been slack in the discharge of that duty. They had, as we have seen, at some time before the great battle, cut in pieces a body of Norman stragglers, for whose blood William now came to take vengeance. It was his policy now, as ever, to be harsh wherever he met with resistance and gentle to all who submitted easily. The line of his march was marked by ceaseless ravage, ravage inflicted, no doubt, like the ravages before the battle, with a deliberate purpose. Before the battle, he had wished to provoke Harold to come to the rescue of his suffering subjects. He now wished to strike terror, and thereby to bring about submission. Harrying then as he went, William reached Romney. The words which set forth his doings there are short, pithy, and terrible. He took what vengeance he would for the slaughter of his men.

The next point of his march was one where he might look to be checked by an obstacle such as he would seldom meet with in any part of the land which he had entered. The famous cliff of Dover was already defended by a castle before which William might have looked for a siege as long and as weary as those which he had gone through before Brionne, Domfront, and Arques. The town of Dover lies, like that of Hastings, between two heights. The easternmost of the two had been made a post of defence in the days of the ancient conquerors, and it had not been neglected either by the Kentish Kings or by the West-Saxon rulers who succeeded them. The tower of Roman work, the famous Pharos, is still there; there too is an ancient church, lately recovered from desecration, which dates from the earliest days of English Christianity. Few buildings in England show us so well how the first believers of our race strove, under the guidance of Roman missionaries, to reproduce the works of Roman skill in their lowlier temples. The eye of Earl Harold had marked the importance of the site, and the spot which lay so temptingly open to an invading enemy had

been made secure against all attack. It may well be that the evil deed of Eustace had caused special heed to be given to the necessity of strengthening the town. And Harold, the observant pilgrim and traveller, who had so carefully studied all that Gaul had to offer him, as he introduced the latest improvements of Norman ecclesiastical art into his church at Waltham, introduced also the latest improvements of Norman military art into his castle at Dover. A fortress arose, of whose strength, both from its position and from its defences, Norman writers speak with all respect; a fortress whose fame had crossed the sea, and whose surrender William was said to have specially demanded as being the surrender of one of the keys of England. The castle on the cliff was commonly deemed to be safe against all assailants, and a vast crowd of people from the surrounding country had sought for shelter within its precincts when the invading host drew nigh. That a fortress like this should have been surrendered without a blow not only moves our indignation, but moves our amazement also, when we think of the valour which

Englishmen had just before shown at Senlac and which they were again to show at York and at Ely. Englishmen were undoubtedly far better used to fighting pitched battles than they were to either the defence or the attack of fortified places. And it has been conjectured with some likelihood that the garrison placed to defend the castle against attack from the sea might, when the invader had actually landed at another point, have joined the King's muster and have fought and died along with the rest of his personal following. Whatever was the cause, the fact is certain. Before William had thrown up a bank or shot an arrow against the castle of Dover, town and castle were freely surrendered into his hands. It was now as plainly his policy to show himself mild and debonair as it had been his policy at Romney to show himself beyond measure stark. The men of Dover were, according to William's code, rebels who had laid down their arms, and who were therefore entitled to pardon. To do them any wanton harm was wholly against his scheme of conduct. But some of the unruly soldiers of his army felt themselves defrauded of their expected plunder, and they betook themselves to the wonted Norman means of destruction. Fire was as

freely used at Dover as it had been at Mayenne or at Dinan, but this time it was used without any order from Duke William for its use. A large part of the town was burned. But the politic liberality of the Duke made good their losses to the owners of the destroyed houses, and the offenders were only sheltered from punishment by their numbers and by the baseness of their condition. William remained at Dover eight days. He further strengthened the fortifications of the castle, which now received that Norman garrison with which Harold had failed to people it. The sick, who were a numerous body, were left behind, and William marched on, ready to receive other surrenders or to subdue other enemies. The politic severity of William at Romney and his no less politic lenity at Dover did their work thoroughly. There was no King, no national army, in the field; each town

or district had to shift for itself and to defend itself how it could. The examples of Romney and Dover showed that, for each isolated place, submission was a safer course than resistance. The fear of William's name fell upon all the towns and villages of Kent, and they were not slow in making their submission. First among them was the head of the ancient kingdom, the famous metropolis of England. As William was on his march from Dover to Canterbury (October 29), messengers met him bearing the submission of the city. They brought hostages and the tribute due by custom from the citizens to the King. The example of the local capital was soon followed by the other towns of the shire. From all parts of Kent men came to do their homage to the Conqueror, to offer him gifts, and, as his own poet adds, to kiss his feet. At an unknown point in

the neighborhood of Canterbury, known as the Broken Tower, William pitched his camp, and, like his rival earlier in the year, he was here somewhat checked in his progress by a severe sickness. Like Harold, he is said to have struggled with all his power against the weakness of the flesh; but it is plain that his sickness acted as a real check to his advance, for he stayed in the neighbourhood of the Kentish capital for a whole month. But even this time of unwilling inaction was not wasted. Where William could not be present in the flesh, he could be present by the terror of his name and in the persons of his messengers. Kent and Sussex might now be looked on as conquered. William now stretched forth his hands to the West, and sought for the submission of the ancient capital of the WestSaxon Kings. Winchester, the city of Aelfred and Cnut, once the morning-gift of Emma, was now again the morning gift and the dwelling-place of the widowed Eadgyth. It was on every ground, political and military, a great object to obtain early possession of so important a city. It was also a manifest part of William's policy to put himself into friendly relations with the widow of the King whose lawful successor he gave himself out to be. Out of deference, we are told, to the widowed Lady, he would not appear before the city in any military array; he simply sent messengers to the magistrates of Winchester asking for submission

and tribute. Eadgyth, as we have seen, was perhaps actually William's partizan; at all events she had no motive to run any risk either on behalf of the young Eadgar or on behalf of the Mercian brothers. She took counsel with the chief men of her city, and the result of their debates was at once to offer their submission to the Duke, accompanied with gifts both from the Lady and from the citizens. William had not yet been two months in England; since his great victory he had had no need to strike a blow; and the strongest fortress in England, the ancient ecclesiastical metropolis, and the ancient temporal capital, were already in his hands. But there was one spot where another spirit reigned; there was one city which even now had no mind to bow to the invader. The men of London, whose forefathers had beaten back Swegen and Cnut, whose brothers had died around the standard of Harold, were not men to surrender their mighty city, guarded by its broad river and its Roman walls, without at least meeting the invader in the field. William, master of Dover, Canterbury, and Winchester, now directed his march along the old Roman road,

directly on the great city. He marched on, ravaging, burning, and slaughtering as he went, and drew near to the southern bank of the river. One account seems to describe him as occupying Westminster--therefore as crossing the river--as planting his military engines by Saint Peter's minster, and as beginning, or at least threatening, a formal siege of the city. But nothing in the whole story is plainer than that William did not cross the river till long after. A more credible version represents him as sending before him a body of five hundred knights, whether simply to reconnoitre or in the hope of gaining something by a sudden attack. The citizens sallied; a skirmish followed; the English were beaten back within the walls; the southern suburb of the city, Southwark, where Godwine had waited in his own house for the gathering of two memorable assem blies, was given to the flames. The pride of the citizens was deemed to be somewhat lowered

by this twofold blow; but it is plain that William did not yet venture any direct attack on the city. His ships were far away, and the bridge of London would have been a spot even less suited for an onslaught of Norman cavalry than the hill-side of Senlac. He trusted to the gradual working of fear and of isolation even on the hearts of those valiant citizens. He kept on the right bank of the Thames, harrying as he went, through Surrey, Hampshire, and Berkshire, till at Wallingford a ford and a bridge supplied safe and convenient means of crossing for his army. He was now in the shire of the brave Sheriff Godric, in a King's town, part of which seems to have been set aside as a sort of special barrack or garrison for the King's Housecarls. But the stout heart of the lord of Fifhide had ceased to beat; Sheriff and Housecarls alike had dealt their last blow for England on the far South-Saxon hill. No force was ready on the bridge of Wallingford to bar the approach of the invader. He passed the great border stream, and for the first time set foot on Mercian soil. He was now on the old battle-ground of Bensington, where Angle and Saxon, now falling fast under one common bondage, had in other days fought out their border quarrels. He passed beneath the hills, so marked in the distance by their well-known clumps, where the Briton had, in yet earlier days, bid defiance to the conquerors of the world. He was now within the diocese whence the voice of England had driven his unworthy countryman, the Norman Ulf, the bishop who

did nought bishoplike. He was now within the earldom which his own hand had made vacant, when he avenged the fall of his Spanish horse by the fall of a son of Godwine. But he still did not march straight upon London. His plan evidently was to surround the city with a wide circle of conquered and wasted country, till sheer isolation should compel its defenders to submit. South and west of London, he was master from Dover to Wallingford; his course was now to march on, keeping at some distance from the city, till the lands north and east of London should be as thoroughly wasted and subdued as the lands south of the Thames. He followed out this plan till he reached Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire. But by this time the spirit of London itself had failed. The blow which had been dealt at Senlac had at last reached the heart of England. At Berkhampstead the second act of William's great work was played out. The Conquest there received the formal ratification of the conquered. The chief military command in London was in the hands of the wounded Staller Ansgar, the Sheriff of the MiddleSaxons. His wound was so severe that he could neither walk nor ride, but was carried about the city in a litter. But he is spoken of as being the soul of all the counsels taken by the defenders of London. The defection of the Northern Earls had left him the layman of highest rank in the city, the natural protector and military adviser of the young Kingelect. A tale is told of messages which are said to have gone to and fro between Esegar

and William. But it is hard to know how far we ought to believe a story which implies that London was besieged by William, which it certainly was not. William, we are told, sent a secret message to Ansgar. He asked only for a formal acknowledgement of his right. Let William have the name of King, and all things in the kingdom should be ruled according to the bidding of the Sheriff of the Middle-Saxons. Ansgar listens; he has no intention of yielding even thus far, but he thinks it prudent to dissemble. He summons an Assembly, among the members of which we may possibly discern the forerunners of the famous Aldermen of London. He sets forth the general sad estate of the country and the special dangers of the besieged city. It would be prudent to send a cunning messenger who should entrap the invader with wily words. Let him offer a feigned submission, which might at least cause delay and stave off the immediate danger. The

messenger went; but to deceive William was found to be no such easy matter. The fox--it is his own poetical panegyrist who makes the comparison--is not to be caught in a trap laid in open day. William pretends to accept the proposals of Ansgar, the exact details of which are not told us. But he wins over the messenger by crafty speeches, backed by gifts and by promises greater than the gifts. The messenger goes back to London to enlarge on the might, the wisdom, the just rights, and the various excellences of William. The invader is one whom it is on every ground hopeless to resist. His intentions are friendly; he offers peace to the city; wisdom dictates one course only, that of immediate submission to such a candidate for the kingdom. The people applaud; the Senate approves; both orders their distinct action is clearly marked, vote at once to forsake the cause of the

young Aetheling, and to make their submission to the conquering Duke. Whatever truth there may be in this story, it is certain that a resolution to the same effect as that described by the poet was actually come to within the walls of London. While William was at Berkhampstead, an embassy came to submit and to do homage to him, an embassy which might be fairly looked upon as having a right to speak in the name of at least Southern England. Thither came Eadgar, a King deposed before he was full King. Thither came the Metropolitan of York, perhaps also the Metropolitan of Canterbury. Thither came at least two other Bishops, Wulfstan of Worcester and Walter of Hereford, and with them came the best men of London, and many other of the chief men of England. And on a sad and shameful errand they came. They came to make their submission to the invader, and to pray him to accept the Crown of England. The treason of the Northern Earls, the fear struck into men's hearts by William's ravages, had done their work. They bowed to him for need. Hard

indeed the need was, but the need stared them in the face; men of cold wisdom even said that they ought to have bowed to William long before. They sware oaths to him and gave him hostages. William received his new subjects graciously; to the young rival who had so easily fallen before him he was specially gracious. The kiss of peace was given by the Conqueror to Eadgar and to his companions, and he pledged his word that he would be good lord to them. Such a submission on the part of so many men of such lofty rank might of itself be deemed equivalent to an election to the Crown. But a more direct invitation was not wanting. It was probably at Berkhampstead that William was, as we are told, prayed by the chief men of England, spiritual and temporal, to accept the vacant Crown. They needed a King; they had always been used to submit to a crowned King and to none other. Here we may clearly see the almost superstitious

importance which was then attached to the ceremony of coronation. The uncrowned Eadgar had been no full King, and he had been unable to defend his people. The armed candidate who was encamped at Berkhampstead was no longer to be withstood by force of arms. The best course was to acknowledge and receive him at once, and by the mystic rite of consecration to change him from a foreign invader into an English King. We must bear in mind that men were living who could remember how an earlier foreign invader had been changed into an English King, Into a King who had won his place among the noblest of England's native worthies. England had accepted Cnut the Dane, and she had flourished under him as she had never flourished before or since. Men might hope that the like good luck would follow on their acceptance of William the Norman. William in truth promised better than Cnut in every way. Instead of a half-heathen sea-king, he was the model prince of Europe, the valiant soldier, the wise ruler, the pious son of the Church, the prince who, among unparalleled difficulties, had raised his paternal duchy to a state of prosperity and good government which made it the wonder and the envy of continental lands. The hopes of those who dreamed that William would prove a second Cnut were doomed to be woefully disappointed. But such hopes were at the time, if not reasonable, at all events plausible. It is easy to understand how men may have been led away by them. Men too, especially churchmen, might easily argue that the event had proved that it was God's will that William should be received. Harold had appealed to God's judgement upon the field of battle, and the verdict of God's judgement had been given against him. Those who had

fought under the banner of the Fighting Man against the banner of the Apostle were proved to have been in truth men fighting against God. All these arguments, backed by the presence in the land of William's victorious army, would have their effect upon men's minds. They might even pro duce something more than a mere sullen submission to phy sical force. Men may well have brought themselves to a belief, unwilling indeed, but not either absolutely compulsory or absolutely hypocritical, that the King who had been so visibly sent to them by the hand of God ought to be frankly and loyally acknowledged. We can believe that the request made by so many Englishmen that the Conqueror would at once assume the English Crown was made in an artificial, but not a dishonest, frame of mind. It was made in that state of artificial hope, even of artificial eagerness, which is not uncommon in men who are striving to make the best of a bad bargain. For the moment they really wished to have William to their King. But it was only for the moment that the wish lasted. The Crown was thus offered to William, but we are told that it was by no means eagerly accepted by him. He summoned a Council of his chief officers and advisers--we are hardly to suppose a Norman military Gemot--and laid the matter before them. Possibly he merely wished to prove the minds of his friends and followers; possibly the arguments which they brought forward had real weight with him. Was it, he asked, expedient for him to take the Crown, while he was still so far from being in full possession of the kingdom? We must remember that though the

Prelates of York, Worcester, and Hereford were in William's camp, yet York, Worcester, and Hereford were not in William's hands. William had actual possession only of the southeastern shires. His authority reached westward as far as Winchester; it reached northward as far as his plunderers could go from the spot where he was now encamped. Was it prudent, he argued, so hastily to assume a kingship which, in the greater part of the land, would still be kingship only in name? He wished moreover--and here we may believe that William spoke from the heart--that whenever he should be raised into a crowned King, his beloved and faithful Duchess might be there to share his honours. He therefore asked the opinion of the Assembly as to the immediate acceptance of the Crown which was pressed upon him. The military Council was strongly in favour of William's acceptance of the Crown, but the decisive answer was given, not by any of William's native subjects, but by one of the most eminent of the foreign volunteers. Haimer, Viscount of Thouars, a man, we are told, as ready of speech as he was valiant in fight, had, on the height of Telham, been the first to hail the Duke as a future King. He was not unwilling that the words which had then fallen from him as an omen should now put on full shape and substance. The Aquitanian chief began in a courtly strain, by praising the condescension of the general who

deigned to take the opinion of his soldiers on such a point. It was not, he said, a matter for much deliberation, when all were united in one wish. It was the desire of every man in William's army to see his lord become a King as soon as might be. To make William a King was the very end for which all of them had crossed the sea, the end for which they had exposed themselves to the dangers of the deep and of the battle. As for England itself, the wisest men in England, the highest in rank and character, were there, offering the kingship of their land to William. They doubtless knew best what was for the good of their own country. They clearly saw in William a fit man to reign over them, one under whose rule themselves and their country would flourish. An offer thus pressed on him from all sides it was clearly his duty to accept. William, we are told, weighed what was said, and determined at once to accept the Crown. He felt that, if he were once crowned King, the magic of the royal name would have its effect. It would do something to damp the spirit of resistance in the still unsubdued parts of the country. Men who were eager to fight against a mere foreign invader, would be less inclined to withstand a King formally chosen and consecrated according to the laws of the kingdom. The Duke of the Normans therefore signified to the English embassy his readiness at once to assume

the kingship of England. The day for the consecration of the King-elect was of course fixed for the great festival of the Church which was drawing near. The Midwinter feast was to be again held at Westminster by a crowned King. On the feast of the Nativity, within less than a full year from the consecration of the minster itself, the church of Eadward was to behold another King crowned and anointed within its walls. Events had indeed followed fast on one another since the Christmas Gemot of the last year had been held by the last King of the House of Cerdic. The Conqueror was thus King-elect. His plans had answered. His arts and his arms had been alike successful. And the triumph of his subtlety had been specially his own. It was the chance shot of an arrow which had overcome the English King, but it was William's own policy which had overcome the English people. King in truth only by the edge of the sword, he had so managed matters that he had now the formal right to call himself King, not only by the bequest of Eadward but by the election of the English people. But, having won this great success of his craft, he was not minded to jeopard what he had won by the neglect of any needful military precaution. He did not trust himself in London till his position there was secured, till some steps had been taken toward holding the lofty spirit of the citizens in check. He sent on a detachment before him to prepare a fortress in or close to the city. This was doubtless one of those hasty structures of wood of which we have heard at Brionne and at Argues; but it was the germ which grew into the noblest work of Norman military art, the mighty Tower of

Gundulf. Orders were also sent to make everything ready for the recep tion of the new King and for the great rite of his crowning. Of William's conduct meanwhile two exactly opposite pic tures are given us by the Norman and by the English writers. His panegyrist tells us that all was quiet and peaceful; as there were no longer any human foes to be slaughtered, William could carry on his favourite warfare with the deni zens of the air and of the forest. The English writers, on the other hand, tell us how, notwithstanding the submission of his new subjects, notwithstanding his own promises to them, the King-elect still allowed his soldiers to harry the country and burn the towns. There is probably truth in both ac counts. William had no longer any motive for systematic ravages, such as he had been guilty of before and after the battle. There are no records of any devastations in Hertford shire, such as the records which we have seen of his devasta tions in Sussex. But we have seen, from what happened at Dover, how hard it was to control men, many of whom doubtless thought that whatever was left to an Englishman was something taken from themselves. We have seen also that, from whatever cause, William, though he made good their loss to the sufferers, failed to punish the criminals. We may believe that something of the same sort took place now. Systematic ravage, carried on by the Duke's order, doubtless stopped, but the excesses of his army, the amount of burning and plundering done without his order, but which he failed to check or to punish, was doubtless considerable.

From Berkhampstead to London, whatever was the amount of damage done by the way, William matched on without opposition. When all that was needed to keep the city in subjection had been done, William drew near in readiness for the great rite which was to change the Conqueror into a King. As to the place of the ceremony there could be no doubt. William was to be crowned in the church which had been reared by his kinsman and predecessor, and where his mortal remains, lifeless, yet undecayed, and already displaying their wonder-working powers, lay as it were to welcome him. William was thus to be consecrated within the same temple where Harold had been consecrated less than a year before. He was to be consecrated with the same rites and by the same hand. I wish we could believe, on the report of some later English writers, that William sought for consecration at the hands of Stigand, and that the high-souled Primate refused to pour the holy unction on the head of an usurper and a man of blood. But

had William offered to be crowned by Stigand, he would indeed have fallen away from his character as the reformer of English ecclesiastical discipline. The act too would have been equivalent to giving up one of his three counts against England; it would have been an acknowledgement that Archbishop Robert had been lawfully deposed. The scruple which had swayed even the mind of Harold would most likely be really felt by William with ten times as much of force; it would certainly be professed by him with ten times as much of display. The special favourite and champion of Rome could not, in common consistency, ask for consecration at the hands of a Primate whom Rome had declared to be no Primate at all, and who had no gallium save that which he had received from an usurper of the Holy See. Still Stigand, though not a lawful Primate, was at least an ordained priest and a consecrated bishop; he might perhaps even be acknowledged as the lawful holder of the see of Winchester. He was also personally the first man in England, one to whom it was William's policy for the present to avoid giving any needless offence. He was therefore allowed to take
a part in the ceremony second only to that of the actual celebrant. But the sacramental rite itself was to be performed by the hands

of Ealdred. The Northern Primate was the only canonical Metropolitan in the realm, and he was the man who, as having been the leader of the embassy at Berkhampstead, might be looked on as having been the first Englishman to take a formal part in making William King. The Primate of Northumberland had thus in one year to anoint two Kings, the champion of England and her Conqueror. He had to anoint both far away from his own province, and to anoint both at a time when he could in no way pledge himself that the willing consent of his province should confirm his own formal act. The Christmas morn at last came; and once more, as on the day of the Epiphany, a King-elect entered the portals of the West Minster to receive his Crown. But now, unlike the day of the Epiphany, the approach to the church was kept by a guard of Norman horsemen. Otherwise all was peaceful. Within the church all was in readiness; a new crown, rich with gems, was ready

for the ceremony; a crowd of spectators of both nations filled the minster. The great procession then swept on. A crowd of clergy bearing crosses marched first; then followed the Bishops; lastly, surrounded by the chief men of his own land and of his new kingdom, came the renowned Duke himself, with Ealdred and Stigand on either side of him. Amid the shouts of the people, William the Conqueror passed on to the royal seat before the high altar, there to go through the same solemn rites which had so lately been gone through on the same spot by his fallen rival. The Te Deum which had been sung over Harold was now again sung over William. And now again, in ancient form, the crowd that thronged the minster was asked whether they would that the candidate who stood before them should be crowned King over the land. But a new thing, unknown to the coronation of Eadward or of Harold, had to mark the coronation of William. A King was to be crowned who spake not our ancient tongue, and, with him, many who knew not the speech of England stood there to behold the rite. It was therefore not enough for Ealdred to demand in his native tongue whether the assembled crowd consented to the

consecration of the Duke of the Normans. The question had to be put a second time in French by Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances, one of the prelates who had borne his part in those rites in the camp at Hastings which had ushered in the day of Saint Calixtus. The assent of the assembled multitude of both nations was given in ancient form. The voices which on the Epiphany had shouted "Yea, yea, King Harold," shouted at Christmas with no less of seeming zeal, "Yea, yea, King William." Men's hearts had not changed, but they had learned, through the events of that awful year, to submit as cheerfully as might be to the doom which could not be escaped. The shout rang loud through the minster; it reached the ears of the Norman horsemen who kept watch around the

building. They had doubtless never before heard the mighty voice of an assembled people. They deemed, or professed to deem, that some evil was being done to the newly chosen sovereign. But, instead of rushing in to his help, they hastened, with the strange instinct of their nation, to set fire to the buildings around the minster. At once all was confusion; the glare was seen, the noise was heard, within the walls of the church. Men and women of all ranks rushed forth to quench the flames or to save their goods, some, it is said, to seek for their chance of plunder in such a scene of terror. The King-elect, with the officiating prelates and clergy and the monks of the abbey, alone remained before the altar. They trembled, and, perhaps for the first and the last time of his life, William trembled also. His heart had never failed him either in council or in battle, but here was a scene the like of which William himself was not pre pared to brave. But the rite went on; the trembling Duke took the oaths of an English King, the oaths to do justice and mercy to all within his realm, and a special oath, devised seemingly to meet the case of a foreign King, an oath that, if his people proved loyal to him, he would rule them as well as the best of the Kings who had gone before him. The prayers and litanies and

hymns went on; the rite, hurried and maimed of its splendour, lacked nothing of sacramental vir tue or of ecclesiastical significance. All was done in order;
while the flames were raging around, amid the uproar and the shouts which surrounded the holy place, Ealdred could still nerve himself to pour the holy oil upon the royal head, to place the rod and the sceptre in the royal hands. In the presence of that small band of monks and bishops the great rite was brought to its end, and the diadem with all its gleaming gems rested firmly upon the brow of William, King of the English. The work of the Conquest was now formally completed; the Conqueror sat in the royal seat of England. He had claimed the Crown of his kinsman; he had set forth his claim in the ears of Europe; he had maintained it on the field of battle, and now it had been formally acknowledged by the nation over which he sought to rule. As far as words and outward rites went, nothing was now wanting; William was King, chosen, crowned, and anointed. But how far he still was from being in truth ruler over the whole land, the tale which is yet in store will set before us. We have yet to see how gradually

William won, how sternly yet how wisely he ruled, the land which he had conquered. We have to see how, one by one, the native chiefs of England were subdued, won over, or cut off, and how the highest offices and the richest lands of England were parted out among strangers. We have to see the Conqueror in all his might; we have to see him too in those later and gloomier years, when homebred sorrows gathered thickly around him, and when victory at last ceased to wait upon his banners. At last, by a cycle as strange as any in the whole range of history, we shall follow him to his burial as we have followed him to his crowning, and we shall see the body of the Conqueror lowered to his grave, in the land of his birth and in the minster of his own rearing, amid a scene as wild and awful as that of the day which witnessed his investiture with the royalty of England.

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