George Bell and Sons 1854

This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton


An extract from
Ordericus Vitalis, History of
England and Normandy
by Thomas Forester

Volume 2


Ch. I. The Conqueror founds two abbeys at Caen, and Battle
abbey--Restores order in England--The great English
nobles submit--Aggrandizes his Norman followers.

IN the time of Pope Alexander II, many states throughout
the world were a. prey to severe calamities; the nations
plunging into furious contests to their mutual ruin. This
was particularly the case with the western states, which
suffered great disasters. On the death of those excellent
kings, Henry of France, and Edward of England, the
French and English had long reason to lament their loss, as
the princes who succeeded were little like them for virtue
and gentleness of disposition. When these fathers of their
country were removed, they were followed by tyrants who
abused the royal authority. England, stained by the cruel-
ties and perjury of Harold, fell to decay, and deprived of its
race of native kings, became a prey to foreign adventurers,
the adherents of William the Conqueror, presenting a
melancholy subject for the pen of the feeling historian.
Writers of learning and eloquence found ample materials
for several works, having lived for many years at the court
of King William, and had opportunities of observing all he
did, and the varied and illustrious events of his reign; they
were privy to his most secret counsels, and by his muni-


ficence rose to wealth and eminence, to which their origin
gave them no pretensions. The churches he erected, or
which were built in his time to the glory of God, both in
Normandy and England, are noble monuments of his devo-
tion and his liberality in providing for the service of God,
and have left to posterity an example worthy of their
imitation. His piety led him also to found a number of
monasteries, and to enlarge those which he and others had
already built, liberally endowing them with ample pos-
sessions, and taking them under his protection against all
adversaries. The two convents he founded at Caen, the
one for monks the other for nuns, are special witnesses of
his munificence. They were both erected in honour of the
King Eternal, while be himself was yet a duke only, select-
ing one for his own tomb, the other for that of his consort.
The war in England being terminated, his enemies having
submitted to his victorious arms, and the royal crown being
placed on his head at London, William founded at Senlac,
where the decisive battle was fought, the abbey of the Holy
Trinity. endowing it with revenues and domains fitting a
royal foundation. Goisbert, a pious monk of Marmoutier,
was appointed the first abbot. under whose rule monastic
order and regular discipline were duly established. The
monastery at Marmoutier, begun by the most holy Martin,
bishop of Tours, became by God's grace an increasing semi-
nary of excellent men. In our tunes Albert and Bartho-
lomew, Bernard, and Hilgot, and afterwards William of


Nantz, were abbots of that monastery; men by whose
sanctity and virtues numbers were benefited, and whose
fame was diffused not only throughout the neighbourhood,
but in foreign countries. After Goisbert's death, Henry,
the prior of Canterbury, was promoted to the government of
Battle Abbey, an office which he worthily filled. On his
decease, he was succeeded by Rodolph, prior of Rochester.
who was before a monk of Caen. He directed all his efforts by
a zeal for holiness and sound doctrine to secure his welfare
and that of his contemporaries, and persisted with ardour
in his spiritual exercises to a good old age. At length the
aged monk departed happily out of this world to God his
maker, in the 25th year of the reign of Henry, king of
After his coronation at London, King William ordered
many affairs with prudence, justice, and clemency. Some
of these concerned the profit and honour of that city, others
were for the advantage of the whole nation, and the rest
were intended for the benefit of the church. He enacted
some laws founded on admirable principles. No suitor ever
demanded justice of this king without obtaining it: he con-
demned none but those whom it would have been unjust to
acquit. He enjoined his nobles to comport themselves with
grave dignity, joining activity to right ,judgment, having
constantly before their eyes the Eternal King who had
given them the victory. He forbade their oppressing the
conquered, reminding them that they were their own
equals by their Christian profession, and that they must be
cautious not to excite revolt by their unjust treatment of
those whom they had fairly subdued. He prohibited all
riotous assemblages, murder, and robbery, and as he
restrained the people by force of arms, he set bounds to
arms by the laws. The taxes and all things concerning the
royal revenues were so regulated as not to be burdensome
to the people. Robbers, plunderers, and malefactors had
no asylum m his dominions. Merchants found the ports
and highways open, and were protected against injury.


Thus the first acts of his reign were all excellent, and
eminent for the great benefits flowing from good government
conferred on his subjects, which were confirmed by perse-
verance in a right course, with plain indications of a suc-
cessful result.
The king, quitting London, spent some days at Barking.
a place not far off, while some fortifications were completed
in the city for defence against any outbreak by the fierce
and numerous population. Edward and Morcar, the sons
of Earl Algar, and the most powerful of the English nobles
from their birth and possessions, now came to the king,
asking his pardon, if in aught they had offended him, and
submitting themselves and all they had to his mercy. Then
Earl Coxo, a nobleman. of singular courage and prudence,
Turkil of Lime, Siward and Aldred, sons of Ethelgar, the
late king's grandson, with Edric surnamed Guilds, that is,
"The Wild," nephew of the infamous prince surnamed
Streone, that is, " The Rapacious," and many others of high
rank and great wealth made their peace with William, and
taking the oath of fealty, were honourably restored to their
respective domains. The king then made a progress through
several parts of the kingdom, making regulations to the


mutual advantage of himself and the inhabitants of the
country. He gave the custody of castles to some of his
bravest Normans, distributing among them vast possessions
as inducements to undergo cheerfully the toils and perils of
defending them.
He built a strong castle within the walls of Winchester,
a fortified and wealthy city contiguous to the sea, and
placing in it William Fitz-Osbern, the best officer in his
army, made him his lieutenant in the south of the kingdom.
Dover and all Kent he committed to his brother Odo,
bishop of Bayeux, a prelate distinguished by great liberality
and worldly activity. These two were entrusted with the
chief government of the realm of England; and he joined
with them Hugh de Grantmesnil, Hugh Montfort, William
de Warrene, and other brave warriors. Some of them
governed their vassals well; but others, wanting prudence,
shamefully oppressed them.

Ch. II. Rejoicings on William's arrival in Normandy--
Abbey churches consecrated--Death of .Maurilius, arch-
bishop of Rouen--His epitaph, and successor.

The king, having thus provided for the security of the
kingdom, rode to Pevensey, where many English knights
assembled to meet him. Here the stipendiary soldiers who
were returning to their own countries received handsome
pay. King William then set sail in the month of March,
and crossed the sea in safety to his native dominions. He
took with him, in honourable attendance, Stigand the arch-
bishop, Edgar Etheling, cousin of King Edward, and the
three powerful earls, Edwin, Morcar, and Waltheof. with
Ethelnoth, governor of Canterbury, and several others of
high rank and most graceful person. The king adopted a
courteous policy in thus preventing these great lords from
plotting a change during his absence, and the people would
be less able to rebel when deprived of their chiefs. Besides,
it gave him an opportunity of displaying his wealth and
honours in Normandy to the English nobles, while he de-
tained as a sort of hostages those whose influence and
safety had great weight with their countrymen.
The arrival of King William with all this worldly pomp


filled the whole of Normandy with rejoicings. The season
was still wintry, and it was Lent; but the bishops and
abbots began the festivals belonging to Easter, wherever the
new king came in his progress; nothing was omitted which
is customary in doing honour to such occasions, and every-
thing new they could invent was added. This zeal was
recompensed, on the king's part, by magnificent offerings of
rich palls, large sums in gold, and other valuables to the
altars and servants of Christ. Those churches also which
he could not visit in person were made partakers of the
general joy by the gifts he sent to them.
The feast of Easter' was kept at the abbey of the Holy
Trinity at Fecamp, R-here a great number of bishops, abbots,
and nobles assembled. Earl Radulph, father-in-law of
Philip king of France' with many of the French nobility,
were also there beholding with curiosity the long-haired
natives of English-Britain, and admiring the garments of
gold tissue, enriched with bullion, worn by the king and his
courtiers. They also were greatly struck with the beauty of
the gold and silver plate, and the horns tipped with gold at
both extremities. The French remarked many things of
this sort of a royal magnificence, the novelty of which made
them the subject of observation when they returned home.
After Easter, the king caused the church of St. Mary on
the Dive to be consecrated. at which he himself reverently
assisted, with a great attendance both of the nobles and com-
monalty, on the calends [lst] of May. He there pro-
claimed by a herald, ordinances which were very beneficial
to his whole people. On the calends [lst] of July, he
ordered the consecration of the church of St. Mary at
Jumieges, and was present himself at the holy ceremony.
He made large endowments on both of these churches out
of his own domains, and devoutly assisted at the celebration
of the holy mysteries. Mauritius, archbishop of Rouen,
with his suffragen bishops, humbly and reverently performed


the consecration, and shortly afterwards took to his bed in
the twelfth year of his episcopate. Having fulfilled all the
duties of a devout servant of God, he departed to him
whom he had long served on the 5th of the ides [9th] of
August. His body was conveyed to the cathedral church,
which five yearn before [the first indiction] he had dedicated
to St. Mary, mother of God, and it was there interred with
high honours before the crucifix. His epitaph, composed
by Richard, son of Herluin, a canon of that church, and
inscribed in letters of gold on a plate of brass, runs thus:-

Men of Rouen! drop a tear
on your honour'd Maurille's bier:
Monk and bishop, such the claim
Of that venerable name.
Lordly Rheims beheld his birth,
Academic Liege his worth,
While he wisdom's treasures gain'd,
From her triple fountain drain'd.
Citizens! to him endear'd,
'Twas for you this fans he rear'd;
Rais'd its pillar'd arches high,
Fill'd it with sweet minstrelsy,
And, amid your joyous throng,
Led the holy prayer and song.
Scarcely past the sacred mirth,
In the consecrated earth
Maurille's honour'd relics rest;
While his soul is with the blest,
And, released from mortal clay
On the eve of Laurent's day,
Borne to mansions in the sky
Keeps the laurelled feast on high.

After the death of Maurilius, the church of Rouen elected
Lanfranc, abbot of Caen, archbishop, a choice which King
William with his nobles and the whole people gladly con-
firmed. But full of devotion to God and unfeigned humility,
Lanfranc refused to take upon himself the burden of this


high dignity, and used all his influence for the promotion to
it of John, bishop of Avranches. That this might be
canonically accomplished, he event to Rome and obtained
from Pope Alexander a licence for bishop John's conse-
cration, and brought back with the licence the pallium,
which conferred so much honour on himself and the whole
of Normandy.
In consequence John was translated from the nee of
Avranches, which he had filled seven years and three months,
to the metropolitan chair of Rouen. He wan animated by a
lively zeal for virtue both in his words and actions, and like
Phineas, his hatred of vice wan fervent. As for worldly
honour, his birth was most illustrious, being a son of Ralph,
count of Baieux, the uterine brother of Richard the elder,
duke of Normandy. He governed the metropolitan see
with firmness and :activity ten years, taking severe measures
to separate incontinent priests from their concubines; and
when in a synod he prohibited their intercourse under pain
of excommunication, he was assailed with stones, and
forced to make his escape, on which occasion when flying
from the church he intoned with a loud voice the verse
" O God, the heathen are come into throe inheritance."
John was succeeded at Avranches by an Italian named
Michael, a prelate of great learning, and venerable for his
religious zeal, who was raised by canonical election to the
see of Avranches. He worthily filled the pastoral office
more than twenty yearn, and after a happy old age, died
in the time of Duke Robert. At his death Turgis wan


appointed, and has now held that bishopric almost thirty

Ch. III. Norman oppression.--The English secretly form,
conspiracies.--Large bodies emigrate to Constantinople and
join the emperor's body-guard.--Attempt of Eustace, count
of Boulogne, to surprise Dover Castle.

MEANWHILE the English were oppressed by the insolence
of the Normans, and subjected to grievous outrages by the
haughty governors who disregarded the king's injunctions.
The chief's of inferior rank, who had the custody of the
castles, treated the natives, both gentle and simple, with
the utmost scorn, and levied on them most unjust exactions.
Bishop Odo himself, and William Fitz-Osbern, the king's
lieutenants, puffed up with pride, gave no heed to the
reasonable complaints of his English subjects and disdained
to weigh them in the balance of equity. They screened
their men-at-arms who most outrageously robbed the people
and ravished the women, and those only incurred their
wrath who were driven by these grievous affronts to be loud
in their remonstrances. The English deeply lamented the
loss of their freedom, and took secret counsel how they
might best shake off a yoke so insupportable, and to which
they were so little accustomed. They accordingly sent a
message to Sweyn, king of Denmark, entreating him to take
measures for recovering the crown of England, which his
ancestors Sweyn and Canute had formerly won by their vic-
torious arms. Some went into voluntary exile, either to
free themselves from the domination of their Norman
masters, or for the purpose of obtaining foreign aid to
renew the contest with their conquerors. Some, the very
flower of the English youth, made their way to distant
regions, and served valiantly in the armies of Alexius,
emperor of Constantinople. a prince of great sagacity and


astonishing munificence. Being attacked by Robert Guis-
card, duke of Apulia, with all his force in support of Michael,
whom the Greeks had expelled from the imperial throne for
the despotism of his government, the English exiles met a
favourable reception, and were arrayed in arms against the
Norman bands with which the Greeks were unable to cope.
The emperor Alexius laid the foundations of a town called
Chevetot, beyond Byzantium, for his English troops, but as
the Normans gave them great annoyance in that post, he
recalled them to the imperial city, and committed to their
guard his principal palace and the royal treasure. In this way
the Anglo-Saxons settled in Ionia, they and their posterity
becoming faithfully attached to the holy empire, and having
gained great honour in Thrace, continue to the present day,
beloved by the emperor, senate, and people.
Provoked to rebellion by every sort of oppression on the
part of the Normans, the English sent messengers to Eustace,
count of Boulogne, inviting him to despatch a powerful fleet
to take Dover by surprise. They were formerly, much at
variance with Eustace, but as differences had now risen
between him and the king, and they knew by fatal experi-
ence that he was a skilful and fortunate commander, they


were reconciled to him, and used their utmost efforts to
wrest Dover castle from the royal garrison and deliver it to
Eustace. He no sooner received the message of the Ken-
tish-men, than, his fleet being in readiness, he embarked his
troops and made a quick passage in the dead of the night,
hoping to find the garrison off their guard. He had with
him many knights, but all their horses were left behind,
except a very few. The whole neighbourhood was in arms,
and especially a strong body of Kentish-men who seconded
Eustace's attack with all their might. The bishop of Bayeux
and Hugh de Montfort, who were principally charged with
the defence of the coast, were on the other aide of the
Thames, and had drawn off with them the main part of the
troops. If the siege had been prolonged for two days a
large body of the enemy would have assembled from a dis-
tance. But while the assailants made desperate attacks up-
on the place, the garrison were prepared for an obstinate
defence, and offered a determined resistance at the points
most open to attack. The conflict was maintained with fury
on both aides for some hours of the day. But Eustace
beginning to be doubtful of success, and being apprehensive
of a sally by the besieged, which might force him to a more
shameful retreat, gave the signal for retiring to the ships.
Upon this the garrison immediately opened the gates, and
falling on the rear-guard with spirit, but in good order,
killed a great many of them. The fugitives, panic-struck by
a report that the bishop of Bayeux had unexpectedly arrived
with a strong force, threw themselves in their alarm among
the crevices of the perpendicular cliffs, and so perished with
more disgrace than if they had fallen by the sword. Many
were the forms of death to which their defeat exposed them,
many, throwing away their arms, were killed by falling on
the sharp rocks; others, slipping down, destroyed themselves
and their comrades by their own weapons; and many, mor-
tally wounded, or bruised by their fall, rolled yet breathing
into the sea; many, more, escaping breathless with haste to
the ships, were so eager to reach a place of safety that they
crowded the vessels till they upset them and were drowned
on the spot. The Norman cavalry took prisoners or slaw as
many as they could overtake. Eustace escaped by having the
advantage of a fleet horse, his knowledge of the road, and


finding a ship ready to put to sea. His nephew, a noble
youth who bore arms for the first time, was taken prisoner.
The English escaped through by-roads, the garrison of the
castle being too few in number to pursue a multitude who
thus dispersed themselves.
Not long afterwards Count Eustace effected a reconcilia-
tion with King William, and enjoyed his friendship for many
years afterwards. This count's origin was most illustrious,
as he was a descendant of Charlemagne, the mightiest king
of the Franks. His power also was very great, he being
sovereign prince of the three counties of Boulogne, Guinea,
and Terouanne. He married Ida. a noble and religious
woman, who was sister of Godfrey, duke of Lorraine. She
bore him three sons, Godfrey, Baldwin, and Eustace, and a
daughter who married Henry IV., emperor of Germany.
While most of the English, sighing for their ancient liber-
ties, were plotting rebellion for the purpose of recovering
them, there were numbers of that nation who kept the faith
they had pledged to God, and were obedient to the king whom
he had set up, according to the apostle's precept: " Fear God,
honour the king." Earl Copsi, one of the most distin-
guished of the English nobles both by birth and power, and
still more by his singular prudence and entire honesty of pur-
pose, faithfully adhered to King William, and espoused his
cause with much zeal. His own vassals were, however, very
far from following his example, being determined supporters
and friends of the malcontents. They therefore assailed
him in every way, using prayers, threats, and protestations,
to induce him to desert the party of the foreigners and
second the wishes of good men of his own race and nation.
But finding that his mind was too firmly fixed in the right


course to be diverted from its purpose, his country neigh-
bours rose against him, and he was treacherously slain on
account of his devoted fidelity. This excellent man thus
sealed with his blood the truth that their lord's dignity
ought always to be respected by loyal subjects.
Then Aldred, primate of York, and some other bishops,
rendered themselves serviceable to the king, in obedience to
.justice, remembering the admonition of the wise man
"My son, fear God and the king." At the acme time
some of the most discreet citizens of the towns, and noble
knights of distinguished names and wealth, with many- of the
commonalty, espoused the cause of the Normans against
their own countrymen with great zeal.
Meanwhile, King William was employing his residence in
Normandy to provide carefully for its tranquillity during a
long period. With the advice of wise counsellors, he
enacted just laws, and rendered equal justice to the poor as
well as the rich. He selected the best men for ,judges and
governors in all the provinces of Normandy. He freed the
holy monasteries and the domains granted to them from all
unjust exactions, by royal privileges and charters of
protection. He proclaimed by the voice of heralds security
to all, both natives and foreigners, throughout his dominions,
and at the same time the severest penalties against thieves,
rioters, and those who broke the peace of the country.

Ch. IV. William returns to England--Overawes the mal-
contents--Besieges Exeter--Queen Matilda comes over and
is crowned--The English nobles break into open rebellion.

WHILE the king was thus occupied, reports reached him
from beyond sea, and, mingling evil with his best hopes,
caused him great disquietude; for, the disaffection of the
English, joined by the efforts of the Danes and other
barbarous nations, threatened the Normans with great
losses. Leaving the government of Normandy to his Queen


Matilda, and his young son Robert. with a council of
religious prelates and valiant nobles to be guardians of the
state. He then rode on the night of the 6th of December
to the mouth of the river of Dieppe, below the town of
Arques, and, setting sail with a south wind in the first
watch of the cold night, reached in the morning, after a most
prosperous voyage, the harbour on the opposite coast called
Winchelsea. Hitherto the wintry winds had made the sea
very tempestuous, but the church was then celebrating the
feast of St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, and prayers were
offered in Normandy on behalf of their pious prince. The
providence of God, therefore, which conducts all those it
favours when and where it wills, brought the good king to
port of safety, amid the storms of winter. In his present
voyage he was attended by Roger de Montgomery. who, at
the time of his former expedition to invade England, was
left, with his wife, governor of Normandy. The king first
conferred on him the earldoms of Chichester and Arundel,
and, after a time, made him earl of Shrewsbury.
On the king's landing he was well received by the English,
and entertained with fitting honours, both by the monks and
secular officers. He kept the feast of Christmas at London,
treating the English bishops and nobles with great courtesy.
He received each with open arms, gave them the kiss of
welcome, and was affable to all. When they made any
request it was graciously granted, and he listened favourably
to what they reported or advised. By these arts the numbers
of the treasonably disposed were reduced. While he some-
times gave instructions to the Normans with equal care and


address, at others he privately warned the English to be
continually on their guard, in all quarters, against the crafty
designs of their enemies. All the cities and provinces
which he had himself visited or had occupied with garrisons,
obeyed his will; but, on the frontiers of the kingdom, in the
northern and western districts, the same wild independence
prevailed which formerly made the people insubordinate
except when they pleased, to the kings of England in the
times of Edward and his predecessors.
Exeter was the first to contend for freedom, but being
attacked with vigour by powerful troops it was compelled to
submit. It is a rich and ancient city, built in a plain, and
fortified with much care, being distant about two miles from
the sea coast, where it is reached by the shortest passage from
Ireland or Brittany. The townsmen held it in great force,
raging furiously, both young and old, against all Frenchmen.
In their zeal they had invited allies from the neighbouring
districts, had detained foreign merchants who were fit for
war, and built or repaired walls and towers, and added
whatever was reckoned wanting to their defences. They
had also engaged other towns, by envoys they sent, to join in
league with them, and prepared to oppose with all their
strength the foreign king, with whom before they had no
connection. When the king heard of these proceedings, he
commanded the chief citizens to take the oath of fealty to
him. But they returned this reply: " We will neither
swear allegiance to the king, nor admit him within our walls;
but will pay him tribute, according to ancient custom." To
this, the king gave this answer: "It does not suit me to
have subjects on such conditions." He then marched an
army into their territories, and in that expedition called out
the English for the first time. The elders of the city, when
they learned that the king's army was approaching near,
vent out to meet him, entreating for peace, promising to
obey all his commands and offering him such hostages as he
required. When, however, they returned to their fellow
citizens who were in great alarm at the guilt they had
incurred, they found them still determined to persist in
their hostilities, and for various reasons roused themselves to
stand on their defence. The king, who had halted four


miles from the city, was filled with anger and surprise on
receiving this intelligence.
In the first place, therefore, he advanced with five hundred
horse to reconnoitre the place and the fortifications, and to
ascertain what the enemy was doing. He found the gates
shut, and crowds of people posted on the outworks, and
round the whole circuit of the walls. In consequence, by
the king's order, the whole army moved to the city, and one
of the hostages had his eyes put out before the gate. But
the mad obstinacy of the people neither yielded to fear nor
to commiseration for the fate of the other hostages ; but
strengthened itself in the determination to defend themselves
and their homes to the last. The king therefore strongly
invested the city on all sides, assaulted it with the utmost
force of his arms, and for many days continued his attacks
on the townsmen stationed on the walls, and his efforts to
undermine them from beneath. At length the chief
citizens were compelled, by the resolute assaults of the
enemy, to have recourse to wiser counsels, and humbling
themselves, to implore mercy, a procession of the most lovely
of the young women, the elders of the city, and the clergy,
carrying the sacred books and holy ornaments, went out to
the king. Having humbly prostrated themselves at his feet,
the king, with great moderation, extended his clemency to
the repentant people, and pardoned their offences as if he
had forgotten them obstinate resistance to his authority,
and that they had before treated with insult and cruelty
some knights he had sent from Normandy, and who were
driven by a storm into their port. The citizens of Exeter
were full of joy, and gave thanks to God at finding that, after
so much anger and such terrible threats, they had made
their peace with the foreign king better than they expected.
William refrained from confiscating their goods, and posted
strong and trusty bands of soldiers at the city gates, that the
army might not force an entrance, in a body, and pillage
the citizens. He then selected a spot within the walls for
erecting a castle, and left there Baldwin de Meules, son of
Count Gislebert, and other knights of eminence to complete
the works and garrison the place. Continuing his march
afterwards into Cornwall, the furthest extremity of Britain.


and having everywhere restored order by his sudden move-
ments, he disbanded his army, and returned to Guent in
time for the vacation at the feast of Easter.
In the year of our Lord, lO68, King William sent persons
of high rank to Normandy to bring over his queen Matilda,
who quickly obeyed her husband's commands with a willing
mind, and crossed the sea with a great attendance of
knights and noble women. Among the clergy who were
attached to her court for the performance of sacred offices,
the most distinguished was Guy, bishop of Amiens, who
had composed a poem on the battle between Harold and
William. Aldred, archbishop of York, who had crowned
and anointed her husband, consecrated Matilda to partake
in the honours of royalty, at the feast of Whitsuntide, in
the second year of William's reign. Being now a crowned
queen, Matilda, before a year was ended, gave birth to a
eon named Henry. who was declared heir to all the king's
dominions in England. This young prince had his attention
turned to a learned education as soon as he was of age to
receive instruction, and after the death of both his parents,
had a bold career in arms. At last, having distinguished
himself by his various claims to merit, he filled his father's
throne for many years.
The same year, Edwin and Morcar, sons of Earl Algar,
and young men of great promise, broke into open rebellion,
and induced many others to fly to arms, which violently
disturbed the realm of Albion. King William, however,
came to terms with Edwin, who assured him of the
submission of his brother and of nearly a third of the
kingdom, upon which the king promised to give him his
daughter in marriage. Afterwards, however, by a fraudu-
lent decision of the Normans, and through their envy and
covetousness, the king refused to give him the princess who
was the object of his desire, and for whom he had long
waited. Being, therefore, much incensed, he and his
brother again broke into rebellion, and the greatest part of


the English and Welsh followed their standard. The two
brothers were zealous in the worship of God, and respected
good men. They were remarkably handsome, their relations
were of high birth and very numerous, their estates were
vast and gave them immense power, and their popularity
great. The clergy and monks offered continual prayers on
their behalf, and crowds of poor daily supplications.
Earl Algar had founded a monastery at Coventry. and
amply endowed it with large revenues for the subsistence of
the monks belonging to it. The countess Godiva also, a
devout lady, had contributed all her wealth to the monastery,
and employed goldsmiths to convert all the gold and silver
she possessed into sacred tapestries, and crosses, and images
of saints, and other ecclesiastical ornaments of wonderful
beauty, which she devoutly distributed. These excellent
parents, thus devoted to God and praiseworthy for their
piety, had a fine family which merited the greatest distinc-
tion, viz., Edwin, Morcar, and a daughter named Edith, who
was first married to Griffith, king of Wales, and after his
death to Harold, king of England.
At the time when the Normans had crushed the English, and
were overwhelming them with intolerable oppressions Blethyn,
king of Wales. came to the aid of his uncles, at the head of a
large body of Britons. A general assembly was now held
of the chief men of the English and Welsh, at which uni-
versal complaints were made of the outrages and tyranny to
which the English were subjected by the Normans and their
adherents, and messengers were despatched into all parts of
Albion to rouse the natives against their enemies, either
secretly or openly. All joined m a determined league and
bold conspiracy against the Normans for the recovery of
their ancient liberties. The rebellion broke out with great
violence in the provinces beyond the Humber. The insur-


gents fortified themselves in the woods and marshes, on the
estuaries, and in some cities. York was in a state of the
highest excitement, which the holiness of its bishop was
unable to calm. Numbers lived in tents, disdaining to dwell
in houses lest they should become enervated; from which
some of them were called savages by the Normans.
In consequence of these commotions, the king carefully sur-
veyed the most inaccessible points in the country, and, select-
ing suitable spots, fortified them against the enemy's excur-
sions. In the English districts there were very few fortresses,
which the Normans call castles; so that, though the English
were warlike and brave, they were little able to make a deter-
mined resistance. One castle the king built at Warwick, and
gave it into the custody of Henry, son of Roger de Beau-
mont. Edwin and Morcar, now considering the doubtful issue
of the contest, and not unwisely preferring peace to war, sought
the king's favour, which they obtained, at least, in appear-
ance. The king then built a castle at Nottingham, which he
committed to the custody of William Peverell.
When the inhabitants of York heard the state of affairs,
they became so alarmed that they made hasty submission, in
order to avoid being compelled by force; delivering the keys
of the city to the king, and offering him hostages. But,
suspecting their faith, he strengthened the fortress within
the city walls, and placed in it a garrison of picked men. At
this time, Archill, the most powerful chief of the Northum-
brians made a treaty of peace with the king, and gave him
leis son as a hostage. The bishop of Durham. also, being
reconciled to King William, became the mediator for peace
with the king of the Scots, and was the bearer into Scotland
of the terms offered by William. Though the aid of Mal-
colm had been solicited by the English, and he had prepared
to come to their succour with a strong force, yet when he
heard what the envoy had to propose with respect to a peace,
he remained quiet, and joyfully sent back ambassadors in
company with the bishop of Durham, who in his name swore
fealty to King William. In thus preferring peace to war, he
best consulted his own welfare, and the inclinations of his
subjects; for the people of Scotland, though fierce in war,


love ease and quiet, and are not disposed to disturb them-
selves about their neighbours' affairs, loving rather religious
exercises than those of arms. On his return from this
expedition, the king erected castles at Lincoln, Huntingdon,
and Cambridge, placing in each of them garrisons composed
of his bravest soldiers.
Meanwhile, some of the Norman women were so inflamed
by passion that they sent frequent messages to their hus-
bands, requiring their speedy return, adding that, if it were
not immediate, they should choose others. They would not
venture as yet to join their lords, on account of the sea
voyage, which was entirely new to them. Nor did they like
to pass into England where their husbands were always in
arms, and fresh expeditions were daily undertaken, attended
with much effusion of blood on both aides. But the king
naturally wished to retain his soldiers while the country was
in so disturbed a state, and made them great offers of lands
with ample revenues and great powers, promising still more
when the whole kingdom should be freed from their opponents.
The lawfully created barons and leading soldiers were in
great perplexity, for they were sensible that, if they took their
departure. while their sovereign, with their brothers, friends
and comrades, were surrounded by the perils of war, they
would be publicly branded as base traitors and cowardly
deserters. On the other hand, what were these honourable
soldiers to do, when their licentious wives threatened to stain
the marriage bed with adultery, and stamp the mark of
infamy on their offspring? In consequence, Hugh de
Grantmesnil, who was governor of the Gewissae, that is, of
the district round Winchester. and his brother-in-law Hum-
phrey de Tilleul, who had received the custody of Hastings
from the first day it was built, and many others, departed,
deserting, with regret and reluctance, their kink struggling


amongst foreigners. They returned obsequiously to their
lascivious wives in Normandy, but neither they nor their
heirs were ever able to recover the honour and domains
which they had already gained, and relinquished on this
England was now a scene of general desolation, a prey to
the ravages both of natives and foreigners. Fire, robbery,
and daily slaughter, did their worst on the wretched people,
who were for ever attacked, trampled down, and crushed.
Calamity involved both the victors and their victims in the
same toils, prostrating them alternately by the sword, pesti-
lence, and famine, according to the dispensations of the
Almighty Disposer of events. The king, therefore, taking
into consideration the impoverished state of the country,
assembled the stipendiary soldiers he had in his pay, and,
rewarding their services with royal munificence, kindly per-
mitted them to return to their homes.

Ch. V. Descent of the sons of Harold from Ireland in the
west of England--invasion of the east and north by the
troops of Sweyn, king of Denmark--They are joined by the
Anglo-Danish nobles and population--King William's cam-
paign in Yorkshire and Durham--Lays waste the country
between the Humber and the Tees-Marches against the
insurgents in Cheshire and the borders of Wales.

IN the third year of his reign, King William gave the
county of Durham to Robert de Comines, who soon after-
wards entered the city, with great confidence, at the head of
five hundred men. But the citizens assembled early in the
night, and massacred Robert and all his troops, except two,
who escaped by flight. The bravest of men were unable to
defend themselves, taken at disadvantage, at such an hour,
and overwhelmed by numbers.
Not long afterwards, Robert Fitz-Richard, the governor of
York, was slain with many of his retainers. Confidence


now became restored among the English in resisting the
Normans, by whom their friends and allies were grievously
oppressed. Oaths, fealty, and the safety of their hostages,
were of little weight to men who became infuriated by the
loss of their patrimony and the murder of their kinsfolk and
Marlesweyn, Cospatric, Edgar Atheling, Archill, and the
four sons of Karol, with other powerful and factious nobles,
collected their forces, and joining a band of the townsmen
and their neighbours, made a desperate attack on the royal
fortress of York. William Malet, the governor of the castle,
was, therefore, compelled to inform the king that he must
surrender, unless his harassed troops received immediate
reinforcements. The king flew to the spot, and fell on the
besiegers, none of whom he spared. Many of them were
taken prisoners, numbers slain, the rest put to flight. The
king spent eight days in the city, malting an additional for-
tification, and committed the place to the custody of the
earl William Fitz-Osbern. He then returned in triumph
to Winchester, where he celebrated the feast of Easter.
After the king's departure, the English re-assembled and
renewed their attack, menacing both the fortresses; but
Earl William and his troops, falling on the insurgents in a
certain valley, defeated them, many being slain or taken
prisoners, and the rest, for the present, escaped by flight.
Being thus unceasingly occupied by revolts which broke
out in every quarter, King William sent back Matilda, his
dearly beloved wife, to Normandy, where, sheltered from the
tumults with which England was distracted, she might have
leisure to devote herself to religious duties, and watch over
the safety of the province and of Robert her son. This
princess was cousin to Philip, king of France, and being
descended from the royal line of the French kings and the
emperors of Germany. she was no less distinguished by her
illustrious birth, than by the effulgence of her virtues. Her
august husband had by her an enviable family, consisting
both of sons and daughters: Robert and Richard, William
Rufus and Henry, Agatha and Constance, Adeliza, Adela,
and Cicely, who met with different fates in this uncertain


life, and have afforded ample materials from which eloquent
writers have composed voluminous works. Beauty of person,
high birth, a cultivated mind, and exalted virtue, combined
to grace this illustrious queen, and, what is still more worthy
of immortal praise, she was firm in the faith, and devoted to
the service of Christ. Her charities, which she daily
distributed with fervent zeal, contributed more than I am
able to express to the prosperity of her husband, continually
struggling in his warlike career.
The two sons of Harold. king of England, took refuge
with Dermot, king of Ireland, disconsolate at their father's
death and their own expulsion. Obtaining succour from
him and his chief nobles, they appeared off Exeter, with
sixty-six vessels, full of troops. Landing on the coast they
began boldly to ravage the interior of the country, subjecting
it to severe losses by fire and sword. But they were quickly
encountered by Brian, son of Eudes, count of Brittany,
and William Gualdi, at the head of an armed force, which,
after two battles on the same day, reduced their fearful
numbers so much that those who were left escaped in two
vessels, and on their return filled Ireland with grief. Indeed,
if night had not put an end to the conflict, not even one
would have returned home with tidings of the disaster. So
,just a fate befell the tyrant's sons, attempting to revenge
him and those who aided them in such an enterprize
During these occurrences Githa, the wife of Godwin and
mother of Harold, secretly collected vast wealth, and from


her fear of King William crossed over to France, never to
At that time Sweyn, king of Denmark, equipped with
great care a powerful fleet, in which he embarked both
Danes and English under the command of his two sons'
and his brother Osbern, with two pontiff's and three
distinguished earls, directing the armament against England.
For he had often been invited by the earnest prayers of the
English, accompanied by large sums of money, and he was
also moved by the loss of his countrymen recently shin in
the battle with Harold; and being the nephew of King
Edward, who was son of Hardicanute, his ambition was
excited by his near relationship to the throne. This king
was possessed of great power, and he assembled the whole
strength of his kingdom, which was augmented by aux-
iliary forces from neighbouring countries with which he
was allied. He was thus supported by Poland, Frisia, and
Saxony. Leutecia also furnished a body of stipendiary
soldiers hired with English wealth. That populous country
was inhabited by a nation which, still lost in the errors of
paganism, was ignorant of the true God, but, entangled in
the toils of ignorance, worshipped Woden, Thor, and Frea,
and other false gods, or rather demons. This nation was ex-
perienced in war both by sea and land, but Sweyn had often
gained victories over it under its king, and had reduced it
to submission. Grown arrogant by repeated successes, and
seeking to raise his power and glory to a still higher pitch,
Sweyn, as we have already mentioned, fitted out an expedi-
tion against King William. The Danes attempted a landing
at Dover, but were repulsed by the royal troops. Making


another attempt at Sandwich, they were again repulsed by
the Normans. However they found an opportunity of
disembarking at Ipswich, and dispersed themselves to pillage
the neighbourhood ; but the country people assembled, and
slaying thirty of them, compelled the rest to save themselves
by flight. Having landed at Norwich for a similar incur-
sion, they were encountered by Ralph de Guader, who put
numbers of them to the sword, caused many to be drowned,
and forced the rest to retire with disgrace to their ships
and put to sea. King William was at this time in the
forest of Dean following the chace, as it was his custom to
do. Receiving intelligence there of these descents of the
Danes, he instantly despatched a messenger to York, with di-
rections to his officers to be on their guard against the enemy,
and to summon him to their support if necessity required.
Those to whom the custody of the fortresses was entrusted
cent word in reply that they should need no succour from
him for a year to come. By thin time the Atheling,
Waltheof, Siward, and other powerful English lords, had
joined the Danes, who landed at the mouth of the
broad river Humber. The Atheling had gone there on a
predatory excursion with his own followers, and was sepa-
rated from the allied troops. But they were unexpectedly
attacked by the king's garrisons, sallying forth from
Lincoln, who took them all prisoners, except two who
escaped with the Atheling, and destroyed their ship which
those who were left to guard it abandoned in alarm.
The Danes now invested York, their force being much
increased by the number of the natives who assembled to
support them. Waltheof, Cospatric, Marisweyn, Elnoc,
Archill, and the four cons of Karol, marched in the van,
taking their stations in front of the Danes and Norwegians.
The garrison of the castle made a rash sally, and, engaging
within the city walls, fought at a disadvantage. Being
unable to resist the numbers of the assailants, they were all
killed or made prisoners. The castles having lost their
defenders were open to the enemy. The king was still en-
joying a false security when the news of thin disaster reached
him. Report magnified the force of the invaders, and said
that they were prepared to join battle with the king himself.


William, roused by grief and anger, hastened his preparations
for advancing, against them; but they, fearing to measure
themselves with so renowned a commander, fled to the
Humber, and sailed over to the shore which borders on
Lindsey. The king pursued them with his cavalry, and
finding some marauders in the almost inaccessible fens, put
them to the sword and destroyed some of their fastnesses.
The Danes escaped to the opposite shore, waiting an oppor-
tunity of revenging themselves and their comrades.
At that time the West Saxons of Dorset and Somerset,
and their neighbours, made an attack on Montacute, but by
God's providence they were foiled in their attempt; for
the men of Winchester, London, and Salisbury, under the
command of Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, came upon them
by surprise, slew some of them, and mutilating a number
of the prisoners, put the rest to flight. Meanwhile the
Welsh, with the men of Cheshire, laid siege to the king's
castle at Shrewsbury, aided by the townsmen under Edric
Guilda, a powerful and warlike man, and other fierce
English. The same thing was done at Exeter by the people
of Devonshire, and a host of men assembled from Cornwall.
It is the. extreme point of the west of England towards
Ireland, from whence it derives its name of Corms Bri-
tannice, the horn of Britain, or Cornwall. The citizens of
Exeter took the king's aide, for they had not forgotten the
sufferings they had formerly endured. The king receiving
this intelligence lost no time in giving orders to two earls,
William and Brian , to march to the relief of the two
places which were attacked. But before they reached
Shrewsbury, the enemy had burnt the town and retired.
The garrison of Exeter made a sudden sally, and charging
the besiegers with impetuosity, put them to the rout.
William and Brian, meeting the fugitives, punished their
rash enterprise with a great slaughter.
Meanwhile the king found no difficulty in crushing con-


siderable numbers of the insurgents at Stafford. In so
many conflicts blood flowed freely on both sides, and the
defenceless population, as well as those who were in arms,
suffered from time to time severe disasters. The divine law
was everywhere violated, and ecclesiastical discipline became
almost universally relaxed. Murders were wretchedly fre-
quent, men's hearts were stimulated to evil by the incentives
of covetousness and passion, and they were hurried in
crowds to hell, condemned by God whose judgments always
prove just. Upon King William's return from Lindsey he
left there his half brother Robert Count de Mortaine,
and Robert Count d'Eu, to restrain the incursions of
the Danes. The invaders lurked for awhile in concealment,
but when they supposed it was safe, they issued from their
dens to join in the festivals of the country people on what
are called their farms. Upon this the two earls fell upon
them unexpectedly, and mingling their blood with the feasts,
followed them up while they were in disorder, and pursued
them to their very ships, slaughtering them as they fled.
It was again reported that the brigands had gone to York,
to celebrate the feast of the nativity, and prepare themselves
for battle. The king was hastening thither from Notting-
ham, but was stopped at Pontefract, where the river was
not fordable, and could not be crossed by boats. He would
not listen to those who advised him to return ; and to those
who proposed to construct a bridge he replied that it was
not expedient, as the enemy might come upon them un-
awares, and take the opportunity of their being so engaged
to inflict a loss upon them. They were detained there
three weeks. At length, a brave knight named Lisois des
Moutiers, carefully sounded the river, searching for a ford
both above and below the town. At last, with great diffi-
culty, he discovered a place where it was fordable, and
crossed over at the head of sixty bold men-at-arms. They
were charged by a multitude of the enemy, but stoutly held
their ground against the assault. The next day, Lisois
returned and announced his discovery, and the army crossed
the ford without further delay. The road now lay through
forests and marshes, over hills and along valleys, by paths
so narrow that two soldiers could not march abreast. In


this way they at last reached the neighbourhood of York,
when they learned that the Danes had already retreated.
The king, therefore, detached a body of men-at-arms, with
commanders and officers, to repair the fortresses inside the
city walls, and posted others on the banks of the Humber to
oppose the advance of the Danes; while he himself con-
tinued his march through an almost inaccessible country,
overgrown with wood, in the full intention of pursuing the
enemy, without relaxation, into the fastness in which they
lurked. His camps were scattered over a surface of one
hundred miles ; numbers of the insurgents fell beneath his
vengeful sword, he levelled their places of shelter to the
ground, wasted their lands, and burnt their dwellings with
all they contained. Never did William commit so much
cruelty; to his lasting disgrace, he yielded to his worst
impulse, and set no bounds to his fury, condemning the
innocent and the guilty to a common fate. In the fulness
of his wrath he ordered the corn and cattle, with the imple-
ments of husbandry and every sort of provisions, to be
collected in heaps and set on fire till the whole was con-
sumed, and thus destroyed at once all that could serve for
the support of life in the whole country lying beyond the
Humber. There followed, consequently, so great a scarcity
in England in the ensuing years, and severe famine involved
the innocent and unarmed population in so much misery,
that, in a Christian nation, more than a hundred thousand
souls, of both sexes and all ages, perished of want. On
many occasions, in the course of the present history, I have
been free to extol William according to his merits, but I
dare not commend him for an act which levelled both the
bad and the good together in one common ruin, by the
infliction of a consuming famine. For when I see that
innocent children, youths in the prime of their age, and
grey headed old men, perished from hunger, I am more
disposed to pity the sorrows and sufferings of the wretched
people, than to undertake the hopeless task of screening one
who was guilty of such wholesale massacre by lying flatteries.
I assert, that such barbarous homicide could not
pass unpunished. The Almighty Judge beholds alike the


high and low, scrutinizing and punishing the acts of both
with equal justice, that his eternal laws may be plain to all.
While the war was in progress, William ordered the
crown and the other ensigns of royalty, and plate of value,
to be brought from Winchester, and stationing his army in
camps, went himself to York where he spent the feast of
Christmas. He learnt that a fresh band of the marauders
was in a corner of the country defended on all sides
either by the sea or by marshes. There was only one ac-
cess to this retreat, by a sound strip of land not more than
twenty feet wide. They had collected abundance of booty,
and lived in perfect security, believing that no force could
hurt them. However, when they heard that the royal troops
were at hand they quickly decamped by night. The indefatiga-
ble king pursued his desperate foes to the river Tees, through
such difficult roads that he was obliged sometimes to dis-
mount and march on foot. He remained seven days on the
Tees. There he received the submission of Waltheof in per-
son, and of Cospatric by his envoys who swore fealty on his
part. Their former allies, the Danes, were now exposed to
great perils, having become wandering pirates, tossed
by the winds and waves. But they suffered no less from
famine than from storms. Part of them perished by
shipwreck; the rest sustained life by feeding on a misera-
ble pottage ; and these sot only common soldiers, but the
princes, earls, and pontiffs. Meat entirely failed, even musty
and putrid as they had long eaten it. They did not venture to
laud in search of plunder, nor even touch the shore, so great
was their terror of the inhabitants. At last the small re-
mains of that powerful fleet sailed back to Denmark, and
carried to Sweyn, their king, a miserable account of all the
misfortunes they had undergone, the savage courage of the
enemy, and the loss of their comrades.
In the month of January, King William returned from
the Tees to Hexham, by a road hitherto unattempted by
an army, where the peaked summits of the hills and the deep
glens were often covered with snow at a season when the
neighbouring plains were clothed with the verdure of spring.
The king passed it in the depth of winter during a severe
frost, but the troops were encouraged by the cheerfulness
with which he surmounted all obstacles. Still the march


was not accomplished without great difficulty and the loss of
a great number of horses. Every one had enough to do in
providing for his own safety without having much concern
for that of his chiefs or his friends. In these straits, the
king lost his way, having no escort but six men-at-arms, and
spent a whole night without knowing where they were.
Having returned to York he repaired the several castles in
that place, and ordered affairs advantageously for the city
and neighbourhood. He then engaged in another expedi-
tion against the people of Chester and the Welsh, who, in
addition to their other delinquencies, had lately besieged
Shrewsbury. The troops who had just gone through so
much suffering were apprehensive that they would be expo-
sed to still greater in the present enterprise. They dreaded
the ruggedness of the country, the severity of the winter,
the dearth of provisions, and the terrible fierceness of the
enemy. The soldiers of Anjou, Brittany, and Maine com-
plained that they were ground down with a service more
intolerable than that of guarding the castles, and made
vehement claims on the king for their discharge. They said,
for their ,justification, that they could not serve under a lord
who was venturing on enterprises which were unexampled
and out of all reason, nor carry into effect impracticable
orders. The king, in this emergency, imitated the example
of Julius Caesar, and did not condescend to reconcile them
to his service by earnest entreaties or fresh promises. He
proceeded boldly on his march, commanding the faithful
among his troops to follow him, and giving out that he
cared little for these who would desert him, considering
them as cowards, poltroons, and faint-hearted. He promised
repose to such as contended successfully with the difficulties
they had to surmount, declaring that there was no road to
honour but through toilsome exertions. With unwearied
vigour he made his way through roads never before travelled
by horses, across lofty mountains and deep valleys, rivers
and rapid streams, and dangerous quagmires in the hollows
of the hills. Pursuing their track they were often distressed
by torrents of rain, sometimes mingled with hail. At times
they were reduced to feed on the flesh of horses which
perished in the bogs. The king often led the way on foot
with great agility, and lent a ready hand to assist others in


their difficulties. At length he conducted his whole force
safely to Chester, and put down all hostile movements
throughout the province of Mercia by the power of a royal
army. He then built a castle at Chester, and another on
his return at Shrewsbury, leaving strong garrisons and
abundant stores of provisions in both. From thence march-
ing to Salisbury, he recompensed his soldiers for all their
sufferings by an ample distribution of rewards, giving due
praise to all who deserved it, and dismissing them with
many thanks. To mark his displeasure with those who had
threatened desertion, he detained them forty days longer
than their comrades, a slight penalty for men who deserved
a much severer punishment.

Ch. VI. King William's care of the church in England--
Digression on its origin, eminent men, and monastic esta-
blishanents--Lanfranc's early life; he is appointed arch-
bishop of Canterbury.

AFTER these events, King William kept the feast of Easter
at Winchester, where certain cardinals of the Roman church
solemnly crowned him. For, at his request, Pope Alexan-
der had sent over to him, as his most beloved son, three
special legates, Ermenfrid, bishop of Sion, and two cardinal
canons. He detained them at his court for a year, listening
to and honouring them as if they were the angels of Clod.
They so ordered affairs with respect to various places and
on several occasions, as to distinguish the districts which
needed canonical examination and orders.
But what was most important, a numerous synod was
held at Windsor' in the year of our Lord 1070, at which
the king and the cardinals presided. In this synod, Stigand,
who had been already excommunicated, was deposed. His
hands were stained by perjury and homicide, and he had not
entered on his archiepiscopal functions by the lawful door,
having been raised to his dignity by the two bishops of
Norfolk and Winchester, by the steps of an infamous am-
bition, and by supplanting others. Some suffragans were
also deposed for having disgraced the episcopal office by


their criminal life and ignorance of pastoral duties. Two
Norman prelates, chaplains of the king, were nominated
bishops, Walkelin of Winchester, and Thomas of York;' the
first in the place of one who was deposed, the second of one
who was dead. Both of these prelates were prudent, fill of
gentleness and humanity, venerated and beloved by men,
and venerating and loving God. Others were replaced by
bishops translated from France, men of letters, of excellent
character, and zealous promoters of religion.
King William exhibited in various ways his desire to
further what was good, and especially he always esteemed
true piety in the servants of God, on which the peace
and prosperity of the world depend. This is abundantly
proved by general report, and it is most clearly esta-
blished by his actions. When one of the chief shepherds
was at any time removed by death from the scene of his
labours, and the church of God deprived of her ruler was
sorrowing in her widowhood, the careful prince sent pru-
dent commissioners to the bereaved house, and caused an
inventory to be made of the goods of the church, that they
might not be wasted by sacrilegious guardians. He then
assembled bishops and abbots and other wise counsellors,
and with their assistance made inquiry who was most fit
and proper to have the government of the house of God,
both as regarded its spiritual and temporal wants. Accord-
ingly, the person recommended by them for his virtuous
life and proficiency in learning, was appointed by the king's
tender care to the vacant bishopric or abbey. He acted on
this principle during the fifty-six years he governed the
dukedom of Normandy and the kingdom of England, leaving
thus an excellent example and pious custom to his suc-
cessors. He held simony in the utmost detestation, being in-
fluenced in his choice of abbots and bishops by their sanctity
and wisdom, and not by their wealth or power. He advanced
persons of worth to the government of the English monas-


teries, by whose zeal and discipline the monastic rule, which
had somewhat relaxed, became more strict, and, where it
seemed to have failed, was restored to its former vigour.
It must be recollected that Augustine and Lawrence,
and the other first missionaries in England were monks, and,
instead of canons, piously established monks in their episcopal
sees, a system rarely found in other countries. They
founded a number of famous abbeys, and recommended to
their converts monastic institutions both by word and ex-
ample. This order, therefore, flourished in England with
great lustre for more than two hundred years, and Christian
perfection happily numbered among its votaries the English
kings Ethelbert and Edwin, Oswald and Offa, with many
others, whom it rained for their souls' health to the highest
pitch of virtue, until the time that Edmund, king of the
East-Angles, and two other English kings received martyr-
dom at the hands of the pagans. After that, the Danish
kings, Oskytel and Guthrum, Anwind and Halfdene, Inguar
and Hubba, invaded England with their heathen bands,
giving to the flames the monasteries and churches of the
monks and clergy, and butchering the flock of Christ like
After some years, Alfred king of the Gewissae and son
of King Ethelwulph, made a bold stand against the pagans;
and having, by God's help, slain, expelled, or subjugated his
enemies, was the first of the English kings who united in
his person the monarchy of the whole of England. In my


opinion he surpassed all the kings of England, before or
after him, in courage, munificence, and above all in pru-
dence, and after a glorious reign of twenty-nine yearn left
his sceptre to his son Edward the elder. When peace and
order were re-established throughout the realm, pious
princes and bishops began to employ themselves in restor-
ing the monasteries; and as all the monks in England had
either perished or been driven out by the fury of the hea-
thens in the troublesome times already mentioned, they
commissioned a young man of high character whose name
was Oswald, to proceed to the abbey of Fleury in France,
built by Leodebod of Orleans on the banks of the Loire in
the time of Clovis, son of Dagobert, king of the Franks.
The place is held in great reverence on account of the bones
of St. Benedict, the founder and master of the monastic
order, which the monk Aigulf sent by the abbot Mummo-
lus, translated from Beneventum to the country of Orleans'
This happened after the devastation of the abbey of Monte
Cassino, which the holy father Benedict foretold with tears
to the monk Theoprobus, a worthy servant of God, as we
read in the second book of the dialogues which Pope
Gregory, the illustrious doctor of the church, so eloquently
addressed to Peter the sub-deacon .
After the death of King Clepo, before his son Autarith
was of age to govern, when the whole Lombard nation,
having no king, was subject to thirty-four dukes; some
Lombard brigands made an attack in the night with a view
to plunder and pillage the abbey of Monte Cassino ; but all
the monks, by God's protection, escaped in safety with their
Abbot Bonitus. For a hundred and ten years afterwards
the abbey remained desolate, until Petronax, bishop of
Brescia, went there, and by the help of Pope Zachary rebuilt
it in a style of great magnificence, and from that day to this
the abbey of Monte Cassino has continually increased in
splendour . During, however, the continuance of the deso-


lation, and while the abbey was destitute of worshippers, the
house of Fleury was, according to God's will, enriched by
the possession of the precious remains of the illustrious
father Benedict, whose translation the Cisalpine monks
commemorate yearly, with solemn and pious offices, on the
fifth of the ides [11th] of July. To Fleury, therefore, was
the reverend youth Oswald sent, to be professed a monk,
and, being instructed in the monastic rule, order his own
life well according to the will of God, as well as conduct
others who should attach themselves to that discipline, in the
footsteps of the apostles, to the summit of their heavenly
vocation. And so it happened.
For, after some years, Oswald was sent back to England
by the abbot of Fleury, at the courteous request of his
countrymen, and being distinguished by great sagacity, as
well as excellence, he was placed at the head of all the
monastic institutions in England. Those venerable men,
Dunstan and Athelwold, seconded him with all their
influence, and their first effort was to introduce the regular
discipline at Glastonbury and Abingdon. These doctors
were faithfully obeyed by Athelstan, Edred, Edmund, and
(especially) Edgar, son of Edmund, kings of England. In
their reigns Dunstan was raised to be metropolitan of
Canterbury, and Athelwold to be bishop of Winchester, and
Oswald became, first, bishop of Worcester and afterwards
archbishop of York. At their entreaty Abbo, a wine and
pious monk of Fleury, was sent over the sea and instituted
the monastic rule at Ramsey. and other English monasteries,
after the same manner in which it was practised in France
at that period. He inspired the bishops just named with


the love of holiness and all goodness, shedding lustre on
them by their doctrines, and the miracles they performed,
thus rendering great services to men of learning as well as
to the vulgar.
Bishop Athelwold then restored in the time of King
Edgar, in the town now called Burg, the abbey of Medes-
hamsted, which bishop Sexulf founded in the reign of
Wulfere, king of the Mercians. He also endowed with
great wealth the church dedicated to St. Peter, prince of the
apostles. Afterwards, Thorney abbey, Ely abbey. and
many other monasteries, were built in different places; and
societies of monks, clerks, or nuns, were suitably established
in them. Abundant revenues were assigned to each of these
houses, sufficient to supply the servants of the altar with
meat and clothing, in order that they might not fail in the
divine service for want of necessaries.
Monastic discipline being thus restored in England, a
glorious army of monks was furnished with the arms of the
Spirit to contend against Satan, and taught to persevere in
fighting the Lord's battle until victory was gained. But
after the lapse of some years, in the time of King Ethelred,
son of Edgar, a violent storm rose in the north, to winnow
the wheat in which tares had abundantly multiplied. Sweyn,
king of Denmark, a bigoted idolater, sailed to the coast of
England with a powerful fleet, manned by pagans, and,
making a descent with formidable numbers when it was least
expected, drove the terrified king Ethelred, with his sons
Edward and Alfred, and his queen Emma, to take refuge in
Normandy' It was not however long before, by God's
providence, Sweyn, the cruel persecutor of the Christians,
eras lulled by St. Edmund, and Ethelred, on learning his
death, returned to his own kingdom. Then Canute, king
of Denmark, when he heard his father's fortunes, made
an alliance with Lacman, king of Sweden, and Olave, king of
Norway, and their allied forces landed in England. In the


end, after many defeats, on the death of King Ethelred and
his son Edmund Ironside, he ascended the throne of England,
which he and his sons, Harold and Hardicanute, possessed
for more than forty years.
During these events Canterbury, the metropolitan city,
was besieged and burnt, and St. Elphege, the archbishop,
was tortured by the heathen Danes and suffered martyrdom.
At that time other cities were also burnt, and episcopal and
abbey churches destroyed, with their sacred books and
ornaments. The flock of the faithful was dispersed by
these storms through various quarters, and dreadfully torn
by the ravages of the wolves, to which it became a prey.
I have made a long digression, I trust to some advantage,
and collected facts from former annals, for the purpose of
showing to the attentive reader how it was that the
Normans found the people of England so clownish and
almost illiterate, notwithstanding the Roman pontiffs had
long since supplied them with institutions best calculated
for their instruction. Gregory and Boniface had sent
excellent teachers, with sacred books and all the necessaries
for performing the offices of the church for the service of the
English people, and had taught them, as their dear children,
all that was good. After that, Pope Vitalian, in the reigns
of Oswy and Egbert, sent into England those learned men,
Theodore, archbishop, and Adrian, abbot, by whose labours
and intelligence the English clergy were well instructed,
both in Latin and Greek literature, and became much
distinguished. In the next age flourished Abbot Albinus
and Bishop Aldelm, whose learning and piety enlightened
numbers, and whose writings have handed down to posterity
memorable proofs of their virtues. All these and many


more have been rendered illustrious by the labours of the
eloquent Bede, who has equalled them to the most
accomplished masters of the liberal arts, and inquirers into
the secrets of nature. This venerable man divided the life-
giving bread of the Old and New Testament among the
children of Christ, by his lucid commentaries, explaining in
his works more than sixty mysterious subjects, and thus
gained lasting honour, both in his own and foreign
When the precious stones were happily set in the walls
of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the grains of wheat safely
housed in the garner of the true Joseph, the stones were
scattered in the streets, and the chaff was cast on the dung-
hill, and carelessly trodden under foot by those who passed
by. Thus, by the just judgment of Almighty God, when
his chosen servants had passed out of this transitory world
to that which is eternal, the Danes, as we have already seen,
restrained by no fear of God or man, long revelled in the
ruin of England, practising, without remorse, innumerable
breaches of the divine law. Human actions, always prone
to evil, become by an infamous course truly abominable,
when rulers, who ought to govern with the rod of discipline,
are taken away. This freedom from control had relaxed
the bonds both of the clergy and laity, and inclined both
sexes to every species of license. The abundance of meat
and drink led to excess, and levity and wantonness paved
the way to crime. With the ruin of the monasteries,
religious discipline was enfeebled, and canonical rules were
not restored till the times of the Normans.
For a long period the monastic life had fallen into decay
among the islanders, and the lives of monks little differed
from those of men of the world; their dress and their name


was a mere deception; they were abandoned to gluttony, to
endless peculation, and foul prevarication. By the care of
King William the order was reformed according to the
canonical rules, and its blessed usages being restored, be-
came highly honoured. Some new abbots were appointed
by the king, and several monks received instruction in the
monasteries of France, who, placed by the king's command
in the English abbeys, perfected the discipline and gave
examples of a religious life. Scolland, an abbot, distin-
guished for his learning and great worth, was instituted
to the abbey of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, founded by
Augustine, the first doctor of the English nation. Born in
Normandy, of a noble family, and strictly educated at the
monastery of Mount St. Michael the archangel-in-peril-of-
the-sea, he was preferred by the Normans to be abbot for
the reformation of the monks of Canterbury. In like man-
ner there was a change of rulers in other monasteries,
which in some was profitable, in others dangerous, both to
those who governed and to those who were placed under
The see of Canterbury, in which St. Augustine sat, and
which, by a decree of Pope Gregory, obtained the primacy
over all the bishops of Britain, was, on the deposition of
Stigand, committed to Lanfranc, abbot of Caen, by the
choice of the king and all his council. Born of a noble
family, in the city of Pavia, in Italy, he learnt from child-
hood in the schools the liberal arts, and applied himself
with zeal to the study of the civil law, according to the cus-
tom of his country, with the intention of continuing a
layman. The youthful orator, when pleading a cause, fre-
quently triumphed over his veteran opponents, and by a
torrent of eloquence won the prize from men long in the
habit of eloquent speaking. At a ripe age his opinions
were given with so much wisdom, that learned doctors,
judges, and praetors of the city, readily adopted them. But
when in exile, the former academician, like Plato, learnt to
philosophize, the light eternal flashed into his mind, and the


love of true wisdom enlightened his soul. He saw with
Ecclesiastes, though he had not as yet learnt the use of
ecclesiastical writings, that the things of the world are but
vanity. Casting off the world therefore with sovereign con-
tempt, he took on himself the profession of religion, and
submitted to the yoke of the monastic rule. He selected for
his retreat the abbey of Bec in Normandy, for its secluded
site and poor endowment, enriching it by his prudent and
ever watchful care, and bringing it into a state of the most
perfect order, ruling the brotherhood with a discipline at
once mild and strict, and aiding the holy abbot, Herluins,
with profitable counsel. A novice and an exile, while he
mortified himself from sin and the world, and laboured most
for what was spiritual and heavenly, God, the searcher of
hearts, decreed, that his light should be set in a candlestick,
that it might lighten the spacious house of the Lord.
Forced from the quiet of the cloister by his sense of obe-
dience, he became a master, in whose teaching a whole
library of philosophy and divinity was displayed. He was
a powerful expositor of difficult questions in both sciences.
It was under this master that the Normans received the
first rudiments of literature, and from the school of Bec
that so many philosophers proceeded of distinguished at-
tainments, both in divine and secular learning. For before,
in the time of six dukes of Normandy, scarce any Norman
devoted himself to liberal studies, nor did any doctor arise
among them until, by the Providence of God, Lanfranc
landed on the shores of Normandy. His reputation for
learning spread throughout all Europe, and many hastened
to receive lessons from him out of France, Gascony, Brit-
tany, and Flanders.
To understand the admirable genius and erudition of
Lanfranc, one ought to be an Herodian in grammar, an
Aristotle in dialectics, a Tully in rhetoric, an Augustine
and Jerome, and other expositors of the law and grace, in the
sacred scriptures. Athens itself, in its most flourishing
state, renowned for the excellency of its teaching, would
have honoured Lanfranc in every branch of eloquence and


discipline, and would have desired to receive instruction
from his vise maxims. Our monk was full of zeal to cleave
asunder, with the sword of the word, whatever sects at-
tacked the Catholic faith. In the counsels of Rome and
Vercelli he crushed with the weapons of spiritual elo-
quence, Berenger of Tours, esteemed by some an heresiarch,
condemning his doctrine, which made the consecrated host
the ruin instead of the salvation of souls. Lanfranc there ex-
plained, with deep reverence, and most conclusively proved,
that the bread and wine which are placed on the Lord's
table are, after consecration, the true flesh and the true
blood of the Lord our Saviour. He publicly defeated Be-
renger, after a most elaborate controversy, both at Rome
and at Tours, and compelled him to abjure his heresy and
to profess in writing the orthodox belief. Afterwards the
blasphemous heretic, blushing for shame at having cast into
the fire at Rome, with his own hands, the books containing
his perverted doctrines, to save himself from being burned,
corrupted his disciples by his money and his deceitful
arguments, to conceal at home his latest writings, and after-
wards convey them to foreign countries, that his old errors
might receive fresh support, and their duration be extended to
future years. To refute which Lanfranc published a work,
written in a clear and agreeable style, and founded on sacred
authorities, which treats on the subject of the eucharist
with the strongest force of reasoning, and while it is lucid
with eloquent discourse, is not prolix and tedious. Many
churches earnestly desired to have Lanfranc for their bishop
or abbot, and even Rome, the capital of Christendom, so-
licited him by letters to come there, and used prayers and
even force to detain him. So illustrious in the sight of all


men was one whom virtue and wisdom especially orna-
When the bishop of Sion had deposed Stigand, as before
related, he invited Lanfranc to undertake the primacy, and
announced to him the petition of the church of God in e
synod of the bishops and abbots of Normandy. Lanfranc,
in much distress of mind, and fearing to take on himself so
great a charge, begged for time to consider, holding it for
certain that the retirement of a monk and the active duties
of an archbishop could not be reconciled. Abbot Herluin
laid his commands upon him, and he was accustomed to
obey him as he would Christ. The queen and her son the
prince entreated him; the elders of the council also who
were assembled earnestly exhorted him. He would not
give a hasty reply, because every word and act of his was
guided by the rule of discretion. He was unwilling to for-
feit his obedience, and to offend those who entreated, per-
suaded, admonished him. He, therefore, mournfully crossed
the sea to make his excuses, hoping for a happy return. The
king cordially received his coadjutor in Christian culture,
and, combating with dignity and grace the excuses his humi-
lity offered, succeeded in overcoming his reluctance.
In the year of our Lord, 1070, Lanfranc, the first abbot
of Caen. was sent by divine providence, to become the
teacher of the English, and after a canonical election, and
lawful consecration enthroned in the archiepiscopal see of
the church of Canterbury on the fourth of the calends of
September August 29th. A number of bishops and
abbots, with a great concourse of the clergy and people, were
present at the ceremony. The inhabitants of the whole of
England, whether present or absent, were raised to the
highest pitch of joy, and would indeed have offered bound-
less thanks to God if they had known how much good,
Heaven was then bestowing upon them.
In the church of Caen, Lanfranc was succeeded by
William, son of Radbod, bishop of Seez, who, I think, nine
years afterwards was translated by King William to the


metropolitan see of Rouen. He was cousin of William
bishop of Evreux, son of Girard Fleitel, the influence of
which family was extremely powerful in Normandy in the
time of the Richards. As canon and archdeacon of Rouen
he was under Maurilius, archbishop of that see, and
becoming more ardent in his love of God, he went abroad
with Theodoric, abbot of St. Evroult, devoutly malting a
pilgrimage to the glorious sepulchre of our Lord at Jerusa-
lem. After his return, being apprehensive of losing the
fruit of his former labours, he withdrew altogether from the
temptations of the world, and devoted himself with delight
to his holy warfare in the abbey of Bec. He was afterwards
sent with Lanfranc to instruct the novices who assembled
from all parts for the service of Christ in the city of Caen,
and in the course of time became their worthy father and
At the death of William, bishop of Evreux, he was suc-
ceeded by Baldwin, the duke's chaplain, who regularly
governed the bishopric nearly seven years. At his decease
Gislebert Fitz-Osbern, canon and archdeacon of Lisieux,
became his successor. He held the see to its great benefit
more than thirty years, augmenting its revenues in various
ways, and skillfully regulating its affairs. On the death of
Ives, bishop of Seez, Robert, son of Hubert de Rie, succeeded
him, governing the see nearly twelve years, and being him-
self zealous for the service of God, was a kind friend to the

Ch. VII. The earls Edwin and Morcar slain. or imprisoned
--Their vast estates distributed among the Norman lords--
Names and titles of the new possessors.

IN these times, by God's gracious providence, tranquillity
prevailed in England, and the brigands being driven to a


distance, the cultivators of the soil renewed their labours in
some sort of security. The English and Normans lived
amicably together in the villages, towns, and cities, and
intermarriages between them formed bonds of mutual
alliance. Then might be seen in some of the towns and
country fairs French traders with the merchandize they
imported, and the English, who before in their homely dress
cut a sorry figure in the eyes of the Normans, appeared in
their foreign garb a different people. No one dared any
longer to live by robbery, but all cultivated their lands in
safety, and, though thin did not last long, lived happily with
their neighbours. Churches were built and repaired, and
the ministers of religion zealously performed in them the
service of God. The king's great activity watched over the
public good, and roused the people by all possible means to
profitable pursuits. He took some pains to make himself
master of the English language, to enable himself to hear
the complaints of his subjects without an interpreter, and
to render equal justice to all according to the rules of
equity; but his time of life rendered this study a work. of
difficulty, and his attention was necessarily diverted to
other objects by the multiplicity of his occupations.
But as the enemy of man goeth about like a roaring lion
seeking whom he may devour, fresh disturbances of a
serious character arose between the English and Normans,
so that the relentless furies were again let loose, and for a
long period wrought endless mischief. This originated in
the evil counsels which led King William, much to the
injury of his reputation, to a breach of faith in shutting up
the illustrious earl Morcar, in the Isle of Ely, where he was
besieged, though at the time he was in alliance with the
king, and neither plotted nor suspected any evil. Their


differences were fomented by wily newsmongers, who went
to and fro propounding the treacherous terms that the earl
should surrender himself to the king, and the king restore
him to his favour as a trusty adherent. The earl might
have defended himself for a considerable time in his inac-
cessible retreat, or when things came to the worst, have
taken advantage of the river which surrounded it to escape
by sea. But weakly listening to false representations, he
left the island, and came to court with his attendants in
peaceable guise. The king, however, was apprehensive that
Morcar would avenge the evils unjustly inflicted on himself
and his countrymen, and be the means of raising endless
disturbances in his English dominions; he, therefore, threw
him into prison without any distinct charge, and committing
him to the custody of Roger de Beaumont, confined him in
his castle all the rest of his life. When Earl Edwin, that
handsome youth, heard of his brother's imprisonment, he
declared that he would prefer death to life unless he could
deliver Morcar from captivity, or have his revenge by a
plentiful effusion of Norman blood. For six months he
solicited aid from the Scotch, the Welsh, and the English.
Meanwhile three brothers who were admitted to his fami-
liarity, and were his principal attendants, betrayed him to
the Normans, assassinating him, though he made a despe-
rate defence at the head of twenty men-at-arms. The high
tide, which rendered it necessary for Edwin to halt on the
bank of a stream, aided the Normans in perpetrating this
outrage, by cutting off his retreat. The report of Edwin's
death, spread throughout the kingdom, was the cause of
deep sorrow, not only to the English, but even to the Nor-
mans and French, who lamented his loss like that of a friend


or kinsman. This young nobleman was, as I have before
said, born of pious parents, and lent himself to all good
works as far as his multifarious engagements in difficult
worldly affairs allowed. The graces of his person were so
striking that be might be distinguished among thousands,
and he was full of kindness for the clergy, the monks, and
the poor. King William was moved to tears when be
heard of the treason which had cut off the young earl of
Mercia, and with a just severity sentenced to banishment
the traitors who, to gain his favour, brought him the head
of their master.
Thus far William of Poitiers carries his history, which
imitating the style of Sallust, eloquently and acutely recounts
the acts of King William. This author was by birth a
Norman, being a native of the town of Preaux, where his
sister was abbess of a convent of nuns dedicated to St.
Leger. He is called William of Poitiers, because in that
city he drank deeply at the fountain of learning. Returning
into his own country, be became eminent as the most
learned of all his neighbours and fellow students, and made
himself useful to Hugh and Gislebert, bishops of Lisieux, in
ecclesiastical affairs, as archdeacon of that diocese. He had
served with courage in a military career before be took
orders, fighting bravely for his earthly sovereign, so that be
was the better able to describe with precision the scenes of
war, from having himself been present and encountered
their perils. As age came on he devoted himself to science
and prayer, and was more capable of composing in prose or
verse than of preaching. He frequently wrote clever and
agreeable poems, adapted for recitation, submitting them
without jealousy to the correction of his juniors. I have
briefly followed, in many parts, his narrative of King Wil-
liam and his adherents without copying all he has written,
or attempting to imitate his elegant style. I come now,
with God's help, to recount events which took place among


our neighbours in the times which succeeded, not allowing
myself to doubt that, as I have freely made use of what my
predecessors have published, so those who come after me and
are yet unborn, will diligently investigate the history of the
present age.
The two great earls of the Mercians having been got rid
of, Edwin by death, and Morcar by strict confinement, King
William distributed their vast domains in the richest
districts of England among his adherents, raising the lowest
of his Norman followers to wealth and power. He granted
the Isle of Wight and the county of Hereford to William
Fitz-Osbern, high-steward of Normandy, giving him the
charge, in conjunction with Walter de Lacy and other tried
soldiers, of defending the frontier against the Welsh, who
were breathing defiance. Their first expedition was a bold
attack on the people of Brecknock, in which the Welsh
princes, Rhys, Cadogan, and Meredith. with many others,
were defeated. The king had already- granted the city and
county of Chester to Gherbod of Flanders, who had been
greatly harassed by the hostilities both of the English and
Welsh. Afterwards, being summoned by a message from his
dependants in Flanders, to whom he had entrusted his
hereditary domains, he obtained leave from the king to
make a short visit to that country, but while there his evil
fortune led him into a snare, and, falling into the hands of
his enemies, and thrown into a dungeon, he had to endure
the sufferings of along captivity, cut off from all the
blessings of life. In consequence, the king gave the earldom
of Chester to Hugh d'Avranches, son of Richard surnamed
Goz, who, in concert with Robert of Rhuddlan, and Robert
of Malpas, and other fierce knights, made great slaughter
among the Welsh. This Hugh was not merely liberal but
prodigal; not satisfied with being surrounded by his own
retainers, be kept an army on toot. He set no bounds
either to his generosity or his rapacity. He continually


wasted even his own domains, and gave more encouragement
to those who attended him in hawking and hunting, than
to the cultivators of the soil, and the votaries of heaven:
He indulged in gluttony to such a degree as to become so
fat that he could scarcely wall;. He abandoned himself
immoderately to carnal pleasures, and had a numerous
offspring of both sexes by his concubines,-but they lave
almost all been carried off by one misfortune or another.
He married Ermentrude, daughter of Hugh de Clermont, in
the Beauvais, by whom he had Richard, who succeeded him as
his heir in the earldom of Chester, and when yet young and
childless perished by shipwreck in company with William,
son and heir apparent of Henry, king of England, and many
of the nobility, on the seventh of the calends of November
[26th October].
King William gave first to Roger de Montgomery the castle
of Arundel and the city of Chichester, and afterwards the
earldom of Shrewsbury, which town is situated on a hill by
the river Severn. This earl was wise, moderate, and a lover
of justice; and cherished the gentle society of intelligent and
unassuming men. For a long time he had about him three
well-informed clerks, Godebald, Odelirius, and Herbert
whose advice he followed with great advantage. He gave
his niece Emerie and the command of Shrewsbury to
Warin the Bald. a man of small stature but great courage,
who bravely encountered the earl's enemies, and maintained
tranquillity throughout the district entrusted to his
government. Roger de Montgomery also gave commands in
his earldom to William, surnamed Pantoul, Picot de Say, and
Corbet, with his sons Roger and Robert, as well as other


brave and faithful knights, supported by whose wisdom and
courage he ranked high among the greatest nobles.
King William conferred the earldom of Northampton on
Waltheof, son of Earl Siward. the most powerful of the
English nobility, and, in order to cement a firm alliance with
him, gave him m marriage his niece Judith. who bore him
two beautiful daughters. The earldom of Buckingham was
given to Walter Giffard, and Surrey to William de
Warrenne, who married Gundred, Gherbod's sister. King
William granted the earldom of Holdernesse to Eudes, of
Champagne, nephew of Count Theobald, who married the
king's sister, that is, Duke Robert's daughter ;' and the
earldom of Norwich to Ralph de Guader, son-in-law of
William Fitz-Osbern. To Hugh Grantmesnil he granted
the town of Leicester, and distributed cities and counties
among other lords, with great honours and domains. The
castle of Tutbury, which Hugh d'Avranches before held, he
granted to Henry, son of Walkelin de Ferrers, conferring on
other foreigners who had attached themselves to his
fortunes, such vast possessions that they had in England
many vassals more rich and powerful than their own fathers
ever were in Normandy.
What shall I say of Odo, bishop of Baieux, who was earl
palatine, and generally dreaded by the English people,
issuing his orders everywhere like a second king. He had
the command over all the earls and barons of the realm,


and with the treasures collected from ancient times, was in
possession of Kent, the former kingdom of Ethelbert, son
of Ermenric, Eadbald, Egbert, and his brother Lothaire,
and where the first English kings were converted to the
faith of Christ by the disciples of Pope Gregory, and
obtained the crown of eternal life by their obedience to the
divine law. The character of this prelate, if I am not
deceived, was a compound of vices and virtues; but he was
more occupied with worldly affairs than in the exercise of
spiritual graces. The monasteries of the saints make great
complaints of the injuries they received at the hands of
Odo, who, with violence and injustice, robbed them of the
funds with which the English had piously endowed them is
ancient times.
Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, of an ancient Norman
family, who rendered essential services and support at the
battle of Senlac, and was a commander of troops in other
conflicts, in which natives and foreigners crushed each
other, received for his share, by grant from King William,
two hundred and eighty vills, which are commonly called
manors, which, at his death, he left to his nephew De
Mowbray, who speedily lost them by his rashness and mis-
Likewise, Eustace de Boulogne, and Robert Morton,
William d'Evreux, Robert d'Eu, Geoffrey, son of Rotrou de
Mortagne, and other counts and lords, more than I can
enumerate, received from King William great revenues and
honours in England. Thus strangers were enriched with
English wealth, while her sons were iniquitously slain, or
driven into hopeless exile in foreign lands. It is stated that
the kind himself received daily one thousand and sixty
pounds, thirty pence, and three farthings, Stirling money,
from his regular revenues in England alone, independent y
of presents, fines for offences, and many other matters which
constantly enrich a royal treasury. King William also caused


a careful survey to be taken of the whole kingdom, and an
accurate record to be made of all the revenues as they stood
in the time of King Edward. The land was distributed
into knights' fees with such order that the realm of England
should always possess a force of sixty thousand men, ready
at any moment to obey the king's commands, as his occasions

Ch. VIII. Tyranny of the conquerors--Abuses of ecclesias-
ical patronage--The English ejected to make way for
Normans--Story of Guitmond, afterwards bishop of Aversa.

POSSESSED of enormous wealth, gathered by others, the
Normans gave the reigns to their pride and fury, and put to
death without compunction the native inhabitants, who for
their sins were subjected by divine Providence to the
scourge. In them we find fulfilled the couplet of the Man-
tuan Maro:-

O mortals! blind of fate, who never know
To bear high fortune, or endure the low.

Young women of high rank were subject to the insults of
grooms, and mourned their dishonour by filthy ruffians.
Matrons, distinguished by their birth and elegance, lamented
in solitude; and, bereaved of their husbands and deprived of
the consolation of friends, preferred death to life. Ignorant
upstarts, driven almost mad by their sudden elevation, won-
dered how they arrived at such a pitch of power, and thought
that they might do whatever they liked. Fools and perverse,
not to reflect, with contrite hearts, that, not by their own
strength, but by the providence of God, who ordereth all
things, they had conquered their enemies, and subjugated a
nation greater, and richer, and more ancient than their own;
illustrious for its saints, and wise men, and powerful kings,
who had earned a noble reputation by their deeds, both in
war and peace ! They ought to have recollected with fear, and


deeply inscribed in their hearts, the word which says: " With
the same measure that ye mete, it shall be measured to you
Some churchmen, who, to all appearance, were wise and
religious, constantly followed the court, and became abject
flatterers, to the no small disgrace of their Christian pro-
fession, that they might obtain the dignities they coveted..
As the hire for their services is demanded of princes by
newly enlisted soldiers, so some of the laity repaid the
clergy for paying them court by gifts of bishoprics and
abbeys, wardenships, archdeaconries, deaneries, and other
offices of power and dignity, which ought to be conferred
for the merits of holiness and learning. The clergy and
monks now attached themselves to an earthly prince to
obtain such rewards, and, for their worldly advantage, lent
themselves without decency to a service which was incom-
patible with their spiritual duties. The old abbots were
terrified by the threats of secular power, and, unjustly
driven from their seats without the sentence of a synod, to
make way for hirelings, who, more tyrants than monks, were
intruded m their places. Then such traffic and agreements
took place between prelates of this class and the flocks com-
mitted to their charge, as may be supposed between wolves
and sheep having no protector. This may be easily proved
by what happened in the case of Turstin, of Caen, and the
convent of Glastonbury. This shameless abbot, attempting
to compel the monks of Glastonbury to disuse the chant
which had been introduced into England by the disciples of
the blessed Pope Gregory, and to adopt the chant of the
Flemings or Normans, which they had never learned or
heard before, a violent tumult arose, which ended in
disgrace to the holy order. For when the monks refused
new fashions, and their haughty superior persisted in his
obstinacy, all of a sudden, laymen, armed with spears, came
to their master's aid, and surrounding the monks severely
beat some of them, and, as report says, mortally wounded
them. I could relate many such instances, if they would .
edify the reader's mind; but such subjects are by no means


agreeable, and, therefore, without dwelling on them, I gladly
employ my pen on otter matters.
Guitmond was a venerable monk of the monastery called La
Croix d'Helton, where we read that Leudfred, the glorious
confessor of Christ, happily served the Lord forty-eight years
in the reigns of Childebert and Chilperic. Guitmond
crossed the sea on s royal summons, and was offered by the
king and great men of the realm a high ecclesiastical office,
but he positively refused to undertake the charge. He was
in the prime of years, devout and deeply learned; having
left to the world a remarkable proof of his genius in the book
he wrote against Berenger, On the Body and Blood of our
Lord, as well as in his other works. When the king
entreated him to remain in England until he should have an
opportunity of suitably promoting him, Guitmond took time
to consider the matter carefully, and pointed out how mach
his own views differed from the proposal which had been
made, in a long letter replying to the king to the following
effect :-
" I am averse to undertaking any ecclesiastics; function for
many reasons, which I am not willing, nor would it become
me, fully to detail. In the first place, when I consider well
the infirmities, both bodily and mental, which I continually
suffer, I painfully feel my inability to undergo the scrutiny
of the divine Judge, for even now I lament that in my daily
struggles to keep the path of life I am in continual danger
of erring from the truth. But if I cannot safely rule my-
self; how shall T be able to direct the course of others in
the way to salvation ? Besides, after carefully considering
all circumstances, I do not see by what means I can fitly
undertake the government of a community whose foreign
manners and barbarous language are strange to me ; v
wretched people, whose fathers and near relations and
friends have either fallen by your sword, or have been disin-
herited by you, driven into exile, imprisoned, or subjected
to an unjust and intolerable slavery. Search the scriptures


and see if there be any law by which a pastor chosen by
enemies can be intruded by violence on the Lord's flock.
Every ecclesiastical election ought to be purely made in the'
first instance by the society of the faithful who are to be
governed, and then confirmed by assent of the fathers of
the church and their friends, if it be canonical; if not, it
should be rectified in a spirit of charity. How can that
which you have wrung from the people by war and bloodshed
be innocently conferred on myself and others who despise
the world and have voluntarily stripped ourselves of our own
substance for Christ sake ? It is the general rule of all who
take religious vows to have no part in robbery, and, for the
maintenance of justice, to reject offerings which are the
fruits of pillage. For the scripture with : ' The sacrifice of
injustice is a polluted offering;' and a little afterwards:
' Whoso offereth a sacrifice of the substance of the poor is
like one that slayeth a son in his father's sight. Reflecting on
these and other precepts of the divine law, I cannot but
tremble. I look upon England as altogether one vast heap
of booty, and I am afraid to touch it and its treasures as if
it were a burning fire. As God commands every man to
love his neighbour as himself, I will tell con sincerely what
I learn from divine inspiration : what I think profitable for
myself is also for your good. Let not that whisk is spoken
in friendship be considered offensive; but do you, brave
prince, and your fellow soldiers, who have encountered with
you the greatest perils, receive with kindness the expression
of my advice. Reflect every day of your lives on the
operations of the Lord, and in all your undertakings have
his judgments, which are incomprehensible, before your eyes,
so weighing your course of life m the scales of justice accord-
ing to the will of God, that the righteous Judge, who orders
all things rightly, may be merciful to you m the day of
doom. Let not flatterers betray you into a deceitful secu-
rity, and from the success which has attended you in the
present life lull you into the death-sleep of worldly prospe-
rity. Vaunt not yourself that the English lame been
conquered by your arms, but gird yourself carefully for that
more difficult and dangerous combat with your spiritual
enemies which still remains and is to be fought daily. The


revolutions of earthly kingdoms are exhibited in the pages
of scripture in which the. knowledge of past events is
divinely furnished. The Babylonians, under their king
Nebuchodnosor, subdued Judea, Egypt, and many other
countries, but seventy years afterwards they were themselves
conquered and subjugated by the Medes and Persians under
Darius and his grandson Cyrus. Two hundred and thirty
years afterwards, the Macedemonians, under the command of
Alexander the Great, defeated Darius the king of Persia and
his innumerable hosts; and many years afterwards, when the
'Romans sent forth their legions into every quarter of the
globe, the Parthians were utterly subdued under their king
Perseus. The Greeks, led by Agamemnon and the son of
Palamede, laid siege to Troy, and having slain the king
Priamus, son of Laomedon, and his sons Hector and Troilus,
Paris, Deiphobus and Amphimacus, after a ten years' siege,
destroyed with fire and sword the famous kingdom of
Phrygia. A remnant of the Trojans, with Eneas for their
chief, established themselves in Italy ; another band, under
the command of Antenor, after a long and difficult journey,
reached Denmark, and made a settlement there which their
posterity inhabit to the present time. The kingdom of Je-
rusalem, enriched by David and his powerful successors with
the spoils of other nations and aggrandized by their conquest
of the surrounding barbarous tribes, was overturned by the
Romans in the reigns of Vespasian and Titus, and the stately
temple of the Jews destroyed one thousand and eighty-nine
years after its foundation, eleven hundred thousand Jews
perishing by the sword or famine. The Franks formed an
alliance with the Gauls in the time of their duke Sunno, and
having resolutely shaken off the Roman yoke began to lord
over them. It is now almost six hundred years since the
Anglo-Saxons, under their chiefs Hengist and Horsa,
wrested by force or fraud the government of Britain lion-!
the natives now called Welsh. The Guinili, driven by chance
from the Scandinavian island invaded that part of Italy now
called Lombardy in the reign of Alboin, son of Audo, and, long
resisting the Romans, have held possession of it to the pre-
sent day. All these great men whom I have described,
as elated by victory, not long afterwards miserably perished,
and together with their victims are subject to endless tor-


tures under which they groan in the noisome caverns of hell.
The Normans, under their chief Rollo, wrested Neustria from
Charles the Simple, and have now held it for one hundred
and ninety years. against all the efforts of the French, not-
withstanding their frequent attacks. Need I speak of the
Gepidi and the Vandals, the Goths and the Turks, the
Huns and the Heruli, and other barbarous nations P Their
whole business is to ravage and rob, and to tread under foot
every vestige of peace. They lay waste the soil, burn
houses, disturb the world, scatter the means of subsistence,
butcher the population, spread every where barbarism and
confusion. Such signs as these are omens of the end of
the world, as we are plainly told in the word of truth
'Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against
kingdom ; and there shall be great earthquakes in divers
places, and famines and pestilences : and fearful sights and
great signs shall there be from heaven.'

So sinks the reeling world with woes oppressed.

"Reflecting thoughtfully on these and such like revolutions
in human affairs, let not the conqueror glory in the ruin of
his rivals; .for he himself shall hold his footing no longer
than his Maker wills. I will now, O king, apply what I
Lave said to your own case, beseeching you to listen to me
with patience for your soul's sake. Before you, no one of
your race obtained the kingly dignity ; that high honour
did not accrue to you by inheritance, but by the free gift of
Almighty God, and the loud preference of your kinsman
Ding Edward. Edgar Atheling and many other scions of
the royal stock, are, according to the laws of the Hebrews
and other nations, nearer in degree than yourself as heirs
to the crown of England. They have been set aside by the
lot which has led to your advancement: but the more
mysterious is God's providence, the more terrible is the
account you will have to give of the stewardship committed
to you. I submit these considerations to your highness


with the fullest good wishes, humbly beseeching you to be
ever mindful of what must come at last, and not to be
wholly engrossed with present prosperity, which is too often
followed by intolerable suffering, wailing, and gnashing of
teeth. And now I commit you, your friends and followers,
to the grace of God, intending, with your permission, to
return to Normandy, and leave the rich spoils of England
to the lovers of thin world, as dross and dung. I truly pre-
fer, for my part, that poverty for the love of Christ which
was the choice of Anthony and Benedict, above all the
riches of the world which were the coveted portion of
Croesus and Sardanapalus, and when they afterwards
miserably perished, became the spoils of their enemies.
Christ, the good shepherd, has uttered the warning: ' Woe
to the rich of this world. who enjoy here vain and super-
fluous luxuries, while he promised the blessings of the world
to come to the poor in spirit ; which may He vouchsafe to
grant us, who liveth and reigneth through all ages. Amen."
The king, who with his great lords admired the firmness
of the venerable monk, treated him with deference, and
taking leave of him with marked respect, commanded him,
with fitting honours, to return to Normandy, and there wait
his own presence where he pleased. When Guitmond re-
turned to the enclosure of his own monastery, it was noised
abroad that he had preferred monastic poverty to episcopal
wealth, and further, that he had in the presence of the king
and his nobles stigmatized the conquest of England with
the character of robbery, and accused of rapacity all the
bishops and abbots who had obtained preferment in England
against the feeling of the natives. These allegations of his
becoming known throughout the kingdom, and causing much
discussion, were very distasteful to numerous persons who
being little disposed to follow his example, were extremely
exasperated by what he had said. Not long afterwards, on
the death of John, archbishop of Rouen, the king and others
selected Guitmond for his successor; but his enemies, the
men he had so severely rebuked, did all in their power to
hinder his preferment. They found nothing, however, to
object to, in a man of his worth, but that he was the son of
a priest. Upon this, Guitmond, wishing to be clear of all
suspicion of covetousness, and preferring to suffer poverty in


a foreign country, rather than foment disturbances in his own,
applied respectfully to Odilo, the abbot of his monastery, and
humbly petitioned for permission to travel abroad, which was
granted. This illiterate abbot little knew what treasures
of wisdom were concealed under the humble exterior of the
learned monk, and so he made no difficulty in parting with
a philosopher of inestimable worth, who was received with
joy by Pope Gregory VII. on his arrival at Rome, and made
a cardinal of the holy Roman church, and by Pope Urban,
after experience of his abilities, solemnly consecrated metro-
politan of Aversa. That city, built in the time of Leo IX.,
by the Normans when they first settled in Apulia was called
Adversa by the Romans, because it was founded by
their adversaries. Abounding in wealth, powerful from the
warlike character of its Cisalpine inhabitants. formidable
to its enemies, and respected by its faithful subjects and
allies, that city, by the determination of the Normans, was
immediately dependent in ecclesiastical affairs on the pope
himself, from whom it received the philosopher Guitmond;
honoured with the mystical decoration of the gallium, as its
bishop. This prelate long governed the church entrusted
to his care, enjoying the apostolical privileges of his see free.
from all the exactions of men. Having diligently taught
his flock, and given them the protection of his merits and
prayers, after many struggles in the exercise of his virtues
he departed in the Lord.


Ch. IX. Affairs of Flanders-- William Fitz-Osbern
killed in battle there--King William crosses over to Nor-

In the fifth year of his reign king William sent William
Fitz-Osbern to Normandy to assist Queen Matilda in the
defence of the duchy. At that time there was great con-
tention in Flanders between the heirs to that province.
Baldwin, son-in-law of Robert king of France, and count of
Flanders, of distinguished bravery had by his wife Adela
several sons and daughters of great merit. Robert, the
Frisian, Arnold, Baldwin, Odo, archbishop of Treves, Henry
the clerk, Queen Matilda, and Judith, wire of Earl Tostig, were
all children of Baldwin and Adela. Their characters and
the various occurrences of their lives, would furnish histo-
rians with matter for extended works. Robert the eldest,
having offended his father, and being banished by him,
sought the court of Florence, duke of Frisia, his father's
enemy, and, in reward for his services, received his
daughter's hand in marriage; at this the duke of Flanders
was much incensed and in his anger gave his son Robert
the name of the Frisian, and, proclaiming him an outlaw,
appointed his second son Arnold his heir. A short time
afterwards, Duke Baldwin died, and Arnold held Flanders
for a short time. But Robert the Frisian invaded it vigo-
rously with a large body of Frisian and other troops. Philip
king of France, who was their kinsman, came to the aid of
Arnold, with a French army, summoning Earl William
[Fitz-Osbern] to attend him as governor of Normandy.
But Earl William joined the king with only ten men-at-
arms, and rode with him gaily to Flanders, as if he was only
going to a tournament. Meanwhile, Robert the Frisian,
had united his forces with those of the emperor, and on Sep-
tuagesima Sunday, the tenth of the calends of March [20th
of February], attacked the enemy by surprise early m the
morning, and Philip, king of France, and his army flying,
Arnold, and his nephew Baldwin, and Earl William were
slain. Robert afterwards held the dukedom of Flanders


for many yearn, and at his death left it to his cons Robert
of Jerusalem and Philip. The body of Earl William was
carried to Normandy by his men-at-arms, and interred amid
much sorrow in the abbey of Cormeilles. He had founded
two abbeys on his patrimonial estates in honour of St. Mary,
Mother of God; one at Lire, on the river Rills, where
Adeliza his wife was buried, and the other at Cormeilles
where, as I have just mentioned, he was himself interred.
This baron, the bravest of all the Normans, was deeply
lamented by all who knew his generosity, his good humour,
and general virtues. King William thus distributed his
inheritance among his sons. William the eldest son had
Breteuil, Pacy, and the rest of his patrimonial estates in
Normandy which he possessed during all his life, nearly
thirty years. Roger, the younger brother, had the earldom
of Hereford and his father's other possessions in England ;
but he shortly afterwards lost all by his perfidy and folly,
as will appear in the sequel.
Though Matilda's government was powerful and her
resources vast, she was plunged into the deepest affliction
by the death of her father, her mother's bereavement, the
cruelty of one brother, which caused the loss of another, as
well as of her beloved nephew, and a number of her friends.
It is thus that the Almighty God punishes the inhabitants
of the earth when they forget him, casts down the proud, and
snakes it plain that he is the Ruler of the universe. Robert
the Frisian now subjugated the whole of Flanders, and held
possession of it for almost thirty years. securing with ease
the alliance of Philip king of Prance. Those two princes
were cousins by descent, and both married daughters of
Florence, marquis of Frisia; and their sons are to the


present day united in the same bonds of amity. But a new
cause of dissension between the Normans and Flemings
sprung out of the death of the queen's brother and other
relations, and especially that of Earl William [Fitz-Osbern].
Affairs in Normandy becoming thus disturbed, the king put
his English dominions into a good condition, and then
hastened over to Normandy that be might order things
there to the best advantage. The king's arrival being
known, the hearts of the peaceable were gladdened, but the
promoters of discord, and those stained with crimes, whose
consciences reproached them, trembled at the approach of
an avenging power. The king assembled the leading men
of Normandy and Maine, and in a royal speech recommended
them all to maintain peace and do justice. The bishops and
churchmen he exhorted to lead good lives, continually to
study God's law, to consult together for the welfare of the
church, to correct the morals of their flocks according to
the canonical decrees, and in all things to govern with

Ch. X. A synod held at Rouen under John the archbishop--
Acts of the synod.

IN the year of our Lord 1072 a synod assembled in the city
of Rouen, the metropolitan see, in the church of the blessed
St. Mary, ever virgin, mother of God. John, archbishop of
that see, presided, and following in the steps of the fathers,
consulted on various points regarding the necessities of the
church with his suffragans, Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Hugh of
Lisieux, Robert of Seez, Michael of Avranches, and Gisle-
bert of Evreux. The doctrine of the church on the holy
and undivided Trinity was first taken into consideration,
which they affirmed, ratified, and made profession of their
belief with their whole hearts according to the decrees
of the sacred councils of Nice, Constantinople, the first of
Ephesus, and Chalcedon. After this profession of the


Catholic faith, the following articles were added as they are
hereunder written.
First. It is ordered by us, that according to the decrees
of the fathers, the chrism, and the oil for baptism and the
holy unction, be consecrated at a convenient hour, that is,
after the second nones, as the aforesaid fathers decreed. The
bishop should take care that twelve priests, or as many as be
has with him, assist at the consecration in their sacerdotal
Item. In some dioceses an odious practice has grown up
for the archdeacons, in the absence of the bishop, to obtain
from some other bishop small portions of oil and chrism,
and to mix them with oil of their own; which custom is
condemned, and every archdeacon is to present the whole of
his chrism and oil to the consecrating bishop, the same as if
it was his own diocesan.
Item. The distribution of the chrism and oil shall be made
by the deans with the greatest care and reverence, so that
they wear albs while the distribution taken place, and it be
so made in such vessels, that no portion be lost by care-
Item. It is ordered, that no priest shall celebrate mans
without also communicating.
Item. No priest shall baptize a child unless he wear his
alb and stole, but upon urgent necessity.
Item. There are some priests who reserve the viaticum
and holy water beyond the eighth day, which is condemned.
Others, when they have no consecrated host, make a fresh
consecration, which is severely forbidden.
Item. It is ordered, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit shall
not be conferred without both givers and receivers having
fasted, nor the confirmation be made without fire [candles ?].
This is enjoined, that in conferring holy orders we may not
violate apostolical authority. For we read in the decrees of
Pope Leo, that holy orders shall not be given indiscrimi-
nately every day, but after Saturday in the beginning of the
succeeding night, the holy benediction be given, both those
who give and those who receive it being then fasting. The
same rule will be observed when the office is performed on
the morning of the Lord's day, the fast having been pro-


longed. This portion of time is a prolongation of tire
commencement of the night preceding, and it is not to be
doubted that it belongs to the day of the resurrection as is
also declared in our Lord's passion.
Item. The observance of the dour seasons, according to
the divine institution, is to be kept among us with general
accord at the proper periods; viz., the first week in March,
the second in June, the third in September, and the same
in December, in honour of the nativity of our Lord. It
would be unseemly that an institution of the saints should
be nullified by worldly cares and occupations.
Item. Clerks, who, without election, vocation, or the
intervention of a bishop, intrude themselves into sacred
orders; those who have been ordained [priests] by the
bishop, supposing them to be already deacons; and those
who are ordained priests and deacons, without having had
the minor orders; all these ought to be deposed.
Item. Those who have received the tonsure, and afterwards
relinquished it, shall be excommunicated until such time as
they make due amends. Clerks offering themselves for
ordination are to present themselves at the bishop's residence
on the fifth day ['Thursday].
Item. Monks and nuns, who, quitting their convents,
wander about from place to place, and those who have been
expelled for their offences, ought to be compelled by pastoral
authority to return to their convents. If the abbots shall
refuse to re-admit those who have been expelled, let them be
supplied with food as alms, or which they may earn by the
labour of their hands, until it be ascertained that they have
amended their lives.
Item. Forasmuch as the cure of souls is tracked in by
buying and selling, both by the clergy and laity, and even by
monks, such practices are strictly forbidden.
Marriages are not to be solemnized in private, nor after
dinner; but the bride and bridegroom shall receive the
nuptial benediction fasting, from a priest who is also fasting,
at the manse. And, before they are united, their family
shall be inquired into; and if there be found to be any con-


sanguinity within the seventh generation, or if either of the
parties has been divorced, they must not be married. Any
priest who breaks this rule shall be deposed.
Concerning priests, deacons, and subdeacons, who have
taken women to live with them, the decree of the synod of
Lisieux shall be observed; that they are not to have the care
of churches, neither of themselves, or by their vicars, and
shall receive no part of the revenues. Archdeacons, who
eught to enforce discipline, may not be allowed to have con-
cubines, or handmaids, or any women smuggled in; but
should set an example of continence and holiness to their
subordinates. Those should be chosen deans who know
how to reprove and correct the inferior clergy, whose life is
irreproachable, and who merit the preferment more than
Item. It is forbidden any one who, in the lifetime of his
wife, has been charged with adultery, after her death to.
marry the woman with respect to whom he was accused.
For great mischief has ensued from this, practice; and men
have even murdered their wives.
Item. No one whose wife has taken the veil, shall marry
again while she is living.
Item. If the wife of any man who has gone in pilgrimage
or elsewhere, shall marry another before she has received.
certain intelligence of his death, she shall be excom-
municated until she has made due satisfaction.
Item. It is decreed that those who fall publicly into mortal
sins shall not be very soon reinstated in holy orders. For,
as St. Gregory says, if the lapsed obtain license to return to
their order, the influence of canonical discipline is undoubt-
edly weakened, as the hope of being restored diminishes the
fear of encouraging the inclination to evil conduct. It should,


therefore, be an established rule, that those who fall into
open sin, should on no account be restored to their former
rank, but under special circumstances, and after making
amends by a long penance.
Item. If any clerk who has lapsed, is liable to be deposed,
and a sufficient number of bishops, according to the canons,
cannot be assembled for that purpose, viz. six, in the case of
priests, and three, in that of deacons, any bishop who
cannot attend may substitute his vicar-general with equal
Item. It is decreed, that during Lent, no one shall dine
till the hour of nones is passed, and vespers begin. No one
who eats before shall be considered as fasting.
Item. It is decreed, that, on the Saturday of Easter, the
office shall not commence before nones. For it has regard
to the night of our Lord's resurrection, in honour of which
the Gloria in Excelsis and Alleluia is sung. It is also
marked by the benediction of the candle at the beginning of
the office. The book of Offices' says that, on these two
days, the eucharist is not celebrated. By the two days are
meant the sixth day [Friday] and Saturday, on which the
grief and mourning of the apostles are commemorated.
Item. If the feast of any saint occurs on a day on which
it cannot be kept, it shall be celebrated not before but
within the octave.
Item. According to the decrees of the holy fathers, Popes
Innocent and Leo, we order that general baptism shall only
be administered on the Saturday of Easter and Whitsuntide ;
with this provision, that the washing of regeneration shall
not be denied to infants, at whatever time, or on whatever
dap it is required. However, we entirely forbid the adminis-
tration of baptism on the eve or the feast of the Epiphany,
unless in case of sickness.
The decrees of this synod were subscribed by John, arch-
bishop of Rouen Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Michael, bishop of
Avranches, Gislebert, bishop of Evreux, and some venerable
abbots, who were at that time the honour of the monasteries
of Normandy, and maintained the monastic discipline.


CH. XI. Notices of eminent men in the abbeys of -Normandy
in the author's age particularly in the abbey of Bec.

I THINK It well to transmit to posterity an account of the
holy fathers who wisely governed the abbeys of Normandy,
in the time of King William, and whose study it was worthily
to serve the eternal King, who reigns unchangeably. Their
disciples, I think, hale already committed to writing many
of their memoirs for the information of future times, but
there are some whom it is pleasant to me, as well as to my
superiors, at least to mane in these pages, for the particular
regard I bear them, and not for any worldly advantage, but
simply from my love of learning, and the piety with which
they were divinely inspired.
The abbey of Fecamp, which stands in sight of the sea,
and is dedicated to the holy and undivided Trinity, Creator
of all things, was nobly founded by Richard I, duke of
Normandy, and afterwards richly endowed with lands and
possessions by Richard II. After William of Dijon, a man
of great wisdom and zealous for religion, the venerable abbot
John governed this monastery fifty-one years. Next, it was
held for almost twenty-seven years by William de Ros, a
clerk of Bayeux and monk of Caen. Like the mystical
spikenard, he was an odour of sweet smelling in the house
of the Lord by his charity, munificence, and many virtues.
The works he diligently performed either before the world,
or in secret before few witnesses, bore witness to the spirit
which dwelt within him, and entirely possessing him, con-
ducted him to his crown before the throne of the Lord of
The monk Gontard was removed from the abbey of
Fontenelles' by the election of prudent men, mud appointed
ruler of the abbey of Jumieges, after the death of Abbot
Robert. He diligently spread the food of spiritual wisdom
before the flock committed to his charge, and sustained with
vigour the strictness of monastic discipline. He cherished


and honoured the gentle and submissive, as a father treats
his children, but applied the rod of correction to the repro-
bate and contumacious and despisers of discipline, like a
severe master. At length, having accompanied his col-
leagues, the bishops of Normandy, to the council of Cler-
mont held by Pope Urban, A.D. 1095, the third indiction,
Father Gontard, by God's will, died there on the sixth of
the calends of December [November 26]. He was suc-
ceeded by Tancard, prior of Fecamp, who proved to be
fierce as a lion.
On the death of Herluin, who was the founder and first
abbot of the monastery of Bec. and being endowed with
spiritual graces in his lifetime, contributed much to the
profit of the children of the church, he was succeeded by
the venerable Anselm, a man of deep erudition, who, by
God's grace, filled the abbey much to its renown, with
devout and learned brethren. As the number of the
servants of God increased, their means of subsistence did
not fail, but there was abundant provision for the honour-
able entertainment of the noble friends and attached
brothers who flocked to the abbey iron all quarters.
Learned men of eminence, both clergy and laity, resorted to
hear the sweet words of truth which flowed from his mouth,
pleasing to the seekers of righteousness as angels' dis-
courses. Anselm, who was a native of Italy, had followed
Lanfranc to Bec, and as the Israelites carried off the gold
and wealth of the Egyptians, so he entered with joy the
land of promise with a full lading of the worldly erudition
of the philosophers. Becoming a monk, he gave himself up
to the study of theology, and poured forth abundantly the
honeyed streams of wisdom from the rich fountain of
wisdom. He skilfully cleared up the difficulties of the
obscure passages of scripture, threw light upon them by his
discourses and writings, and expounded with soundness the
mysterious predictions of the prophets. All his words were
valuable, and edified his attached hearers. His attentive
pupils committed to writing his letters and typical dis-
courses; so that, being deeply imbued with them, they


profited others as well as themselves, to no small degree.
His successors, William and Boso, were deeply penetrated
with this spirit, and having drawn deeply at the source of
so much wisdom, were able to distribute large draughts of
the pure stream to their thirsting disciples. Anselm was
courteous and affable, replying with kindness to all who
questioned him in simplicity. At the instance of his friends
he published books, keenly and profoundly written, en the
'trinity, on Truth, Freewill, the Fall of Satan, and the
question, Why God was made Man ? His disciples spread
the report of his talents through all the Latin world, and
the western church was filed to inebriation with the nectar
of his exalted character. The vast deposit of learning and
theology at the abbey of Bec, begun by Lanfranc, was nobly
added to by Anselm. and thence proceeded a succession of
enlightened teachers, careful pilots and spiritual cha-
rioteers, to whom were confided the helm and the reins by
which the church is divinely guided in the concerns of the
present world. The monks of Bec are thus become so
devoted to literary pursuits, and so exercised in raising and
solving difficult questions of divinity, and in profitable dis-
cussions, that they seem to be almost all philosophers; and,
those among them who appear to be illiterate, and might be
called clowns, derive from their intercourse with the rest
the advantages of becoming fluent grammarians. Delight-
ing in God's worship with mutual good-will and sweet
affection, and taught by true wisdom, they are unwearied in
the offices of devotion. The hospitality of the monks of
Bec I cannot sufficiently praise. Ask the Burgundians and
Spaniards, and their other visitors from far and near, and
their replies will tell truly with what kindness they are
entertained; and they will doubtless strive to imitate it
under similar circumstances. The gate of the abbey of Bec
stands for ever open to every traveller, and their bread is
never refused to any one who asks it for charity's sake.


What more can I say of the merits of the monks of Bec ?
May He who graciously began and carries on the good
works which so eminently distinguishes them, keep them
stedfast in the right way, and conduct them safe to the
haven of salvation!
Gerbert de Fontenelles, Ainard of Dives, and Durand of
Troarn, three illustrious abbots, shone brilliantly in the
temple of the Lord like bright stars in the firmament of
heaven. They were no less distinguished by their piety
and charity, than by numerous accomplishments, among
which they were remarkably eminent for the zeal with
which they studied sacred psalmody in the house of God.
Standing in the first rank among the masters of music who
have applied their art to sweet modulation, they composed
some charming chants for antiphons and responses. The
Ding supreme, who is lauded by angels and archangels, and
all the company of heaven; Mary, the immaculate virgin
who bore the Saviour of the world; angels, apostles, and
martyrs; confessors and virgins; these were the themes
which drew- from them mellifluous streams of heart-felt
braise; and with these they carefully instructed the youth-
ful choristers of the church to sing praises to the Lord
with Asaph and Eman, Elthan and Idithun, and the sons
of Corah.
Nicholas, son of Richard Ill., duke of Normandy, after
being from his boyhood a monk of Fecamp, governed for
nearly sixty years the abbey of St. Peter, prince of the
apostles, in the suburbs of Rouen. He began building a
church, remarkable for its size and elegance, in which
reposes the body of St. Ouen, archbishop of that city,


with many other relics of saints. There were also in Nor-
mandy at that time many other superiors of monks, whose
numerous virtues I am compelled to omit, least I should
weary the reader by too great prolixity.

Ch. XII. Popes Alexander II. and Gregory VIII. (Hilde-
brand)--Singular nomination of Hoel to the see of Mans.

IN the year of our Lord 1073 (the eleventh indiction), Pope
Alexander II. departed this life, after filling the Roman and
apostolical see eleven years; and Gregory VII., whose baptis-
mal name was Hildebrand, succeeding him, sat in the chary of
St. Peter seventeen years. A monk from his childhood,
Gregory was deeply read in the law of God, and his fervent
zeal in the path of justice brought on him much persecution.
He launched his apostolical decrees through all the world,
and, sparing no one, thundered forth the holy oracles with
terrible effect, summoned all men to the marriage feast of
the Lord of Sabaoth with both prayers and threats. At the
request of this pope, the venerable Hugh, abbot of Cluni,
sent to Rome Oslo, prior of that monastery, who had been a
canon of Rheims, accompanied by other chosen monks, who
were joyfully received by the pope as fellow labourers sent
him by God. He selected Odo for his principal counsellor,
and made him bishop of Ostia, which see has the prerogative
of having its bishop elected by the clergy of Rome, and
consecrated by the pope himself. Benedict also promoted
the other monks, as circumstances permitted, preferring
them to the government of different churches.
On the death of Arnold, bishop of Plans, King William
said to Samson, bishop of Bayeux, his chaplain: " The


bishopric of Mans being now void, I wish, by God's will, to
promote you to that see in his place. Mans, an ancient city
which derives its name from canine madness. has a popula-
tion which is always aggressive and blood-thirsty as regards
its neighbours, and insolent and rebellious to its lords. I
have, therefore, resolved to place the reins of its ecclesias-
tical government in your hands, having cherished and
dearly loved you from your childhood, and desiring now to
place you high among the great men of my dominions."
Samson replied: " According to the apostolical precept, a
bishop ought to be irreproachable; but I have been far from
answering to that character, during the whole course of my
life, for I feel that before God I am polluted with sins, both
of body and mind; and, wretched and unworthy as I am,
my manifold offences forbid me to aspire to so high a
dignity." The king said: " With your natural shrewdness
you see clearly that you act rightly in confessing yourself a
sinner; but I have set my mind on you, and shall not
depart from my purpose, unless you either accept the
bishopric, or recommend me another to take it in your
place." Simon heard this with joy, and replied: "My lord
and king, you have now spoken well; and you will find me
ready, with God's help, to do what you wish. You have in
your chapel a poor clerk, who is well born and of good
conversation. Give him the bishopric, in the fear of the
Lord, for I think he is worthy of that honour. On the
king's inquiring who he meant, Simon replied: " His name
is Hoel, and he is a native of Brittany, and a humble and
truly good man." Hoel was presently summoned at the
kings command, without being informed for what purpose.
But when the king saw before him a mere youth, in mean
apparel, and of emaciated aspect, he conceived a contempt for
him, and, turning to Simon, said: "Is this the person you
praised so highly? " To which Samson replied: " Even so,
my lord; I honestly recommend him without the slightest
hesitation, and it is not without reason that I prefer him to
myself and such as me. His gentleness and benevolence
make trim fit to be a bishop. Do not despise him for his
emaciated appearance. His humble dress only makes him


more estimable in the eyes of wise men; God himself does
not regard a man's exterior, but has respect unto the worth
concealed beneath it." The king, in his wisdom, reflected
on observations so full of sagacity, and, coming to a better
mind, and bringing his scattered thoughts under the control
of reason, hastened again to call the clerk we are speaking
of to his presence, and committed to him the charge and
temporalities of the bishopric of Mans. The royal will
being made known among the clergy, testimonies of Hoel's
good conversation were universally forthcoming. The faithful
offered their devout praises to God for so just and excellent
a selection, and the pastor-elect was introduced with fitting
honour to the sheepfold of his flock by the bishops and
other servants of God who received the king's commands.
The new bishop was not more astonished at his sudden pro-
motion than David, when he was scorned by his brethren, at
Samuel's raising him to the throne of Judah. Hoel, bishop
of Mans, thus elevated to the government of that see,
presided over it in great sanctity for fifteen years. He laid
the foundations of the cathedral church in which the
remains of St. Julian the confessor, and first bishop of Mans,
were deposited; and began other works, which the church
required, labouring to complete them as opportunity offered.
At his death, he was succeeded by Hildebert, a distinguished
versifier, who worthily filled the see for thirty years. He
completed the cathedral church begun by his predecessor,
which he solemnly consecrated amid the great rejoicings
of the people. Not long afterward, in the year of our
Lord 1125, the fourth indiction, when Gislebert, arch-
bishop of Tours, died at Rome, at the same time as Pope
Callistus II., he was called to the metropolitan see of Tours
in the time of Pope Honorius, by the demands and orders
of the holy church, and still continues to hold it with laud-
able care and exemplary conduct.


Ch. XIII. Affairs of Maine--Expedition of King William,
which established his power in that province.

As the ocean never remains in a state of complete rest,
but its troubled waves are always in motion; and, though
its surface at times appears calm to the unobservant spec-
tator, those who navigate it are not the less in dread of
changes and fluctuations: so this world is in a constant
state of turmoil from the tide of events, and is always pre-
senting new forms of sorrow or joy. Thus, endless alterca-
tions are constantly arising and proceeding to extremities
among those unsatisfied worldlings, whose wishes the world
itself is insufficient to satisfy. While each strives to be first
and endeavours to tread under foot his rivals, the law of God
is broken in the disregard for justice, and human blood is
shed without mercy in the struggle to obtain what every one
covets. This is abundantly shown by the records of ancient
history, and modern reports tell the same tale in our very
streets and villages. It follows that some rejoice for the
moment, while others are filled with sorrow and trouble. I
lave already treated shortly of some instances of this kind
in my present work, and shall add more, faithfully detailing
what I have heard from my seniors.
Herbert, count of Maine, who was, it is said, of the race
of Charlemagne, merited by his great bravery the name by
which he was commonly known, in bad Latin signifying
watch-dog. For after the death of Hugh his father, who
was subdued by the powerful Fulk the elder, he rose in
arms against the conqueror, and by his nightly expeditions,
frequently alarmed the men and dogs of the city and for-
tified towns, so that their fears made them be on the watch
against his formidable attacks.


Hugh, the son of Herbert, after Alan count of Brittany,
died in Normandy from poison given him by the Normans,
married his widow Berths, daughter of Theobald count de
Blois, by whom he had a son named Herbert and three
daughters;' one of them was given in marriage to Azzo,
marquis of Liguria; another, named Margaret, was be-
trothed to Robert, son of William duke of Normandy, but
died while she was his ward, before marriage. The third
married John, lord of the castle called Fleche, by whom she
had three sons, Goisbert, Elias, and Enoch.
Geoffrey Martel, the brave count of Anjou, dying, was
succeeded by his two nephews, sons of his sister by Alberie,
count du Gatinois, one of whom, Geoffrey, a prince of
simple and gentle manners, obtained the county in right of
his being the eldest. After the death of the younger
brother Herbert, William duke of Normandy acquired his
share of the inheritance, and Count Geoffrey conferred the
fief on Robert, with his daughter's hand in marriage,
receiving from him homage and fealty in the presence of his
father at Alencon. Not long afterwards Fulk, surnamed
Rechin, revolted from Geoffrey his brother and liege lord,
and treacherously siezing him kept him prisoner in the
castle of Chinon more than thirty years. Such were the
revolutions which disturbed the province of Anjou and its
neighbours, and in which the nobles of the country took
different sides, according to their inclinations.
While Fulk himself was deeply grieved at seeing Maine
under the supremacy of the Normans, the turbulent citi-
zens and neighbouring garrisons, with some hired soldiers,
joined unanimously in a conspiracy against their foreign
masters, and, vigorously assaulting the citadel and other


fortifications of the city, defeated and expelled Turgis de
Traci and William de la Ferte, and the rest of the king's
officers. Some were slain, making a brave resistance, others
were cruelly thrown into prison, and, ample revenge was
taken on the Normans thus deprived of their liberty. All
the country was now in a state of disturbance, the Norman
power was eclipsed, and assailed by almost all, as by an
universal blight. In like manner Geoffrey de Mayenne and
other barons of Maine, formed a conspiracy and rose against
the Normans; a few only, for their own reasons and under
various circumstances, maintained their allegiance to King
When this great king heard the dreadful reports of the
massacre of his officers, his anger was roused, and he took
measures for checking the progress of his enemies, and
revenging, by arms, the rebellion of the traitors as it de-
served. The Normans and English were quickly summoned
to the field, and the several bodies of troops being formed
into one army, with horse and foot skilfully arrayed under
their several commanders, he marched at the head of this
formidable force into the country of Maine. He first be-
sieged the castle of Fresnai, where he knighted Robert de
Belesme. Hubert, the governor, however, came to terms,
and, surrendering his castles of Fresnai and Beaumont' to
the king, continued his submission for some time. Having
next laid siege to the castle of Sills, the governor gave him-
self up to the king and obtained peace. No one indeed was
able to make any resistance to the overwhelming force of
the royal army, but all the garrisons of the castles and the
country people, with the clerks and monks, decided on
receiving the king as the restorer of peace, with fitting
honours. At length he came before Maine, and investing
the place with several divisions of his army, made his royal
commands duly known, imperiously requiring the citizens
to consult their own safety by quietly surrendering the
place, and so avoiding an assault and the consequent horrors
of fire and sword. Listening to this wise counsel, the citi-
zens came the nest day, bringing with them the keys of the


city, and offering their submission, which the king received
with favour. The rest of the people of Maine were terrified
at seeing so vast and fierce an army marching through their
territories, and they found that their fellow conspirators
and supporters were unable to make any stand against SO
experienced a general. They therefore sent delegates to
the conqueror to ask for peace, and terms being made, they
gladly joined their standards with the royal ensigns, and
were permitted thenceforth to live in peace in their own
homes and under their vines, and enjoy themselves as they
Order being thus restored in Maine without much fight-
ing, and the province continuing tranquil under the , do-
minion of King William, Count Fulk' became mischievously
,jealous, and has anger broke forth against some of the ad-
herents of the Normans. John de la Fleche, the most
powerful lord in Anjou, who was particularly obnoxious to
him on this account, having ascertained that the count was
ready to fall upon him with an armed force, summoned his
confederates in the neighbourhood to his assistance, and
demanded the support of King William, which was granted
him. For, without delay, the king sent to him William de
Moulins, Robert de Vieux-Pont, and other brave and ex-
perienced knights, who were at once united by John with
his own followers in the defence of his towns. Fulk,
learning these dispositions, was much vexed, and
collecting a body of troops laid siege to John's Castle.
Count Hoel also came to the succour of Fulk with a large
force of Bretons, with which he did all in his power to
second the enterprise of Fulk. King William, knowing
that such large bodies of troops must completely surround
his own adherents, again issued a royal proclamation for
mustering the Normans and English and other people
under his rule, and like a resolute general led an army of
60,000 men, as report says, against the enemy. Meanwhile
the. Angevins and the Bretons, on hearing of the approach
of the royal army, did not retire, but boldly crossed the
Loire, and after effecting the passage destroyed their boats,
that the hope of retreat might not make them less des-


perate in fighting. While, however, the two armies were
in face of each other, drawn out for battle, and many hearts
quailed at the fearful death, and the still mare fearful fate
rafter death, which awaits the reprobate, a cardinal priest of
the Roman church, and some pious monks, interfered by
divine inspiration, and remonstrated with the chiefs of both
armies. They firmly forbade the battle in God's name, and
used exhortations and prayers to effect a peace. Their
endeavours were powerfully seconded by William of Evreux
and Roger [de Montgomery]. and other counts and brave
soldiers, who, bold and forward as they were in legitimate
contests, were slack to engage in odious quarrels, brought
about by pride and injustice. The messengers of Christ
thus sowing the seeds of concord, the arrogance of the am-
bitious gave way, and the fears of the timid were gradually
allayed. Many conferences were held, a variety of proposals
were discussed, there was a contest of words; but by the
power of God the ambassadors of peace were successful
with both parties. The count of Anjou ceded his rights in
Maine to the young prince Robert, the king's son, with all
the fiefs which the prince acquired by Margaret his wife
from Count Herbert. Finally, Robert performed due
homage to Fulk, as a vassal to his superior lord. John
and the other Angevins, who had borne arms for the king
against the count, were reconciled to their sovereign, while,
on the other hand, those of Maine, who had revolted with
the count against the king, were included in the treaty.
The grace of God thus reconciling the hearts of the princes,
offences were repented and forgotten on one side and the
other, and the good people made great rejoicings at the
peace which delivered them from the lowering storms that
disturbed their tranquillity. The peace between the king
and the count, which was concluded at a place commonly
called Blanch-Land or Blanche-Bruyerre, lasted all the
kind s life to the advantage of the two states.


CH. XIV. Conspiracy of the great .English nobles against
King William-Arguments used to induce Earl Waltheof
to join, it--The rest break into open rebellion, and are

AT the same period [A.D. 1074] there arose another violent
storm fraught with trouble and disaster to vast numbers in
England. Two powerful English noblemen, Roger, earl of
Hereford, and his brother-in-law, Ralph, earl of Norwich.
concerted together an open revolt, being resolved to wrest
the dominion of England. from King William, and to set up
themselves as its sovereigns, or rather its tyrants. They
therefore, rivalled each other in fortifying their castles,
preparing arms, and mustering soldiers, sending frequent
messengers far and near to their trusty adherents, and
inviting, by entreaties and promises, all over whom they had
any influence to aid their enterprise. Having reflected on the
revolutions of affairs and the chances of the times, they said
to their confederates and allies; "All prudent men know
that a favourable moment must not be neglected, and that
when the right time is come, then it is that brave men
ought boldly to engage in a work of glory. But there never
was a more fitting opportunity than that which is
afforded us by the mysterious dispensations of Providence
for aspiring to the throne. He who now bears the title of
king is unworthy of it as being a bastard, and it must be
evident that it is displeasing to God such a master should
govern the kingdom. He is involved in endless quarrels in
his dominions over the sea, being at variance not only with
strangers but with his own children, and in the midst of his
difficulties his own creatures desert him. He has deserved


this by the crimes which are openly tallied of all over the
world. He disinherited and drove out of Normandy William
Werlenc, Count de Mortain, for a single word. Walter,
Count de Pontoise, nephew of King Edward, and Biota his
wife, being his guests at Falaise, were both his victims by
poison in one and the same night. Conan, also, was taken
off by poison at William's instigation ; that valiant count
whose death was mourned through the whole of Brittany
with unutterable grief on account of his great virtues.
These, and other such crimes have been perpetrated by
William in the case of his own kinsfolk and relations, and
he is ever ready to act the same part towards us and our
peers. He has impudently usurped the glorious crown of
England, iniquitously murdering the rightful heirs, or
driving them into cruel banishment. Ho has not even
rewarded according to their merits his own adherents, those
by whose valour he has been raised to a pitch of eminence
exceeding that of all his race. Many of these who sired
their blood in his service have been treated with ingratitude,
and on slight pretests have been sentenced to death, as
if they were his enemies. To his victorious soldiers, covered


with wounds, were allotted barren farms and domains depo-
pulated by the ravages of war; and even these his avarice
subsequently compelled them to surrender in part or in
whole. These things cause him to be generally hated, and
his death would be the signal for universal joy. Now,
the greatest part of his army is detained beyond sea, busily,
employed in continual wars. The English think of nothing
but cultivating their lands, they are more intent on feasting
and drinking bouts than on the thoughts of battle; but,
notwithstanding, they thirst for revenge for the blood and
ruin of their relations." In such language as this the con-
spirators vented their treason, and encouraging themselves
by all sorts of motives to the execution of their wicked pro-
ject, they called to their councils Waltheof, earl of North-
ampton, and tempted him to ,join them by a variety of sug-
gestions, to this effect: " Brave sir, you may plainly see that
now is your time for recovering your forfeited honours, and
for securing vengeance for the unmerited injuries you have
lately suffered. Join our party, and support it without
faltering in your resolution, and the third part of England
shall be yours, by an equal division among ourselves. It is
our object that the realm of England should be restored to
the same state in which it lately was in the time of Edward
our most pious sovereign. Let one of us be king, the other
two dukes, and all the honours of England will be
divided among us. William is now engaged beyond the
sea in endless wars which absorb his whole strength, and we
know for certain that he will never land again on the shores
of England. Come, then, noble sir, listen to counsels so
advantageous to you and your family, and act in the manner
which will prove the salvation of our enslaved fellow
Waltheof replied as follows: "In such enterprises the
utmost caution is required; and in all nations the fealty
sworn by every subject to his liege lord should be faithfully
kept. Ding William has received mine, lawfully given as
to his superior lord by one holding under him, and to secure
my fidelity he gave me his niece in marriage. He also gave
me a rich earldom, and admitted me into the number of
his familiar companions. How- can I be faithless to such
a prince without entirely breaking my fealty to him ? I am


well known in many countries, and far from me be the
disgrace which would attend my being proclaimed a sacri-
legious traitor. Never was there a song so sweet as to
charm away the disgrace of treason. All nations curse
traitors and turncoats, as they do wolves, thinking them
only fit to be hanged, and if they can catch them, condemn
them to the gibbet, with all the insults and tortures they
can devise. Ahitophel and Judas, both traitors and apos-
tates, and each of them doomed to the gallows, to be
suspended between heaven and earth as fit for neither,
perished by their own hands. The law of England sen-
tences a traitor to lose his head, and on his attainder
the inheritance of his children is escheated. God forbid
that such a crime should taint my honour, and my name be
held up to acorn with such infamy throughout the world!
The Lord God, who showed his power in saving David from
the hands of Goliah and Saul, Adarezer and Absalom, bath
delivered me also from many dangers both by sea and land.
I commit myself entirely to his keeping, trusting in him
that my life will never be stained with treason, and that I
shall not be branded with apostacy like Satan and the fallen
When Ralph the Breton and Roger heard the determi-
nation of Waltheof, they were sorely troubled, and bound
him by a terrible oath not to divulge their conspiracy. Not
long afterwards it suddenly burst forth into open rebellion
in all parts of England, and the opposition to the king's
officers became general. Upon this, William de Warrens,
and Richard de Bienfaite, son of Earl Gislebert, who had
been appointed chief justiciaries of England, summoned the
rebels to appear in the king's high court. They, however,
disdained to pay any attention to the precept, and, following
up this contempt of court, set the royal authority at de-
fiance. William and Richard, therefore, without further
delay, assembled the English army, and fought a severe
battle with the rebels on the plain called Fagadun. By God's
help they defeated the enemy, and taking them prisoners,
marked every one, without regard to his rank, by ampu-
tating his right foot. Ralph the Breton was pursued to his
own castle without being taken. They then concentrated


their forces and invested Norwich, and adding to their
strength by their display of valour and military skill, they
harassed the besieged with constant assaults and their
engines of war, pressing the siege for three months with
unwearied vigour. The besieging army was continually aug-
menting, and was abundantly supplied with abundance of
food and other necessaries to prevent desertion. Ralph de
Guader, finding himself thus shut up and expecting no
relief from his accomplices, entrusted the fortress, with
many cautions, to the trusty garrison, and embarked at the
nearest sea-port to seek for help in Denmark. Meanwhile,
the king's lieutenants, William and Robert, pressed the
townsmen to surrender, while they despatched hasty messen-
gers over the sea to the king, giving an account of these
transactions and begging him to return with all speed for
the defence of the kingdom.
No sooner had the indefatigable king received these
tidings than he set in order the affairs of Normandy and
Maine, and all being arranged, crossed over to England
without loss of time. He then summoned all the great men
of the realm to attend his court, and having addressed in
flattering terms the lords who had been faithful to their
allegiance and proved their fidelity, he demanded of the
authors and supporters of the rebellion the reason why they
preferred wrong to right. The garrison of Norwich having
made terms, the place was given up to the king, and Ralph
de Guader, earl of Norwich, was disinherited-of his English
honours and domains. Being banished the kingdom, he
returned to Brittany with his wife and settled on his patri-
monial estates which his attainder by the sovereign of
England could not affect. In that province he had on his
domains two noble castles, Guader and Montfort, which his
sons possess by hereditary right to the present day. He
himself, some years afterwards, took the cross, and accom-
panying Robert IL, duke of Normandy, in his crusade against
the Turks, and reaching Jerusalem, died, as well as his wife,
a penitent and a pilgrim.
Roger de Breteuil, earl of Hereford, having obeyed the
summons to attend the king's court, and an inquiry being
made, his treason was so plain that he could mat deny it.
He was therefore judged by the Norman laws and sentenced


to the forfeiture of his lands and perpetual imprisonment.
Even there he often caused the king great annoyance, and
rendered him implacable by his obstinate contumacy. For
instance, on one occasion when the faithful were celebrating
the feast of Easter in clue form, and the king had sent to
Earl Roger in prison, by the hands of his guards, a box con-
taining a suit of very valuable robes, the earl caused a large
fire to be made and committed to the flames the royal
presents, the surcoat, and silken tunic, and mantle of
the furs of precious ermines brought from abroad. The
king, hearing of this, exclaimed m great wrath: " He
is very insolent to put such an affront upon me; but,
by God's light, he shall never get out of prison while I
live." And the royal will was so determined, and so firmly
carried out, that even after the king's death the earl was
detained in captivity until his death released him from
it. His two sons, Reynold and Roger, young men of great
promise, are now in the service of King Henry. and in great
distress, are waiting for the exercise of his clemency, which
appears to them sufficiently tardy.
Truly the world's glory droops and withers like the
flower of grass, and is spent and scattered like smoke.
Where is William Fitz-Osbern, earl of Hereford, the
king's lieutenant, high-steward of Normandy, and the valiant
commander of the royal troops ? He was, without excep-
tion, the first and greatest of the oppressors of tae people
of England, and amassed an enormous fortune by his exac-
tions, causing the ruin and death of thousands by his severi-
ties. But the righteous Judge, who seeth all things, rewards
every man according to his deserts. Miserable fate! Earl
William falls, and the bold warrior receives the punishment
he deserves. Many had fallen by his sword, and by the
sword he himself was suddenly cut off. After his death,
before five years elapsed, the spirit of discord stirred up his son
and son-in-law to hostilities against their lord and kinsman,
the same spirit which wrought in the Schechemites against
Abimelech whom they had set over them after slaying the
seventy sons of Jerobaal. I have thus correctly described


the crime for which the race of William Fitz-Osbern
has so entirely disappeared in England, that, if I mistake
not, the slightest trace of it cannot there be found.

Ch. XV. Trial and execution of Earl Waltheof for alleged
complicity in the rebellion.

EARL WALTHEOF was summoned before the king, and
accused, on the testimony of his wife Judith, of having been
privy to and encouraged the conspiracy already spoken of,
and thus become guilty of treason against his sovereign.
The earl fearlessly, acknowledged that the conspirators had
communicated to him their nefarious designs, but declared
that he had refused all concurrence in such wickedness. This
confession caused much discussion on the judgment to be
pronounced, and there being great difference in opinion
among the members of the court, it was deferred, by successive
adjournments, for a whole year. Meanwhile, the earl was
kept in close custody in the king's prison at Winchester,
where he often deplored his offences, confessing them with
tears in his eyes to the good bishops and abbots who visited
him in his confinement. For the space of a year, under
the direction of the priests, he continued his penance,
chanting in his daily devotions the one hundred and fifty
psalms of David which he had learnt in his childhood.
Waltheof was in person tall and stout, very handsome, and
superior to thousands in generosity anal courage; devoted
to God, he listened with humility to the instructions of
the clergy of every class, and was a kind friend to the
church and the poor. For these and many other Christian
virtues which distinguished him above all the rest of the
laity, he was much beloved both by his own people and by
strangers who had regard to the will of God, so that his
deliverance from prison was anxiously looked for during the
year's delay. At last his enemies assembled in such numbers
in the king's court as to form the majority, and after much
discussion prevailed in getting him sentenced to death for
having made himself a party to the treasonable conspiracy
of his fellow lords by not openly resisting their designs
against the king's life, or at once denouncing their criminal
projects. No time for respite was grunted, as the Nor-
mans were apprehensive of his escape, and greedy to get


posession of his ample domains and high honours. He was
therefore hurried, at dawn of day, while the people were yet
asleep, to the hill on which the church of St. Giles, abbot
and confessor, was afterwards built;' and having distributed
among the clergy and poor who happened to be present the
robes of honour which his rank of earl entitled him to wear,
he threw himself on the ground and continued some time in
prayer to God, mixed with sobbings and tears. The execu-
tioners, dreading that the townsmen when they awoke
would rise in arms to resist the king's warrant, and,. taking
the part of so noble a countryman, massacre the royal
guards, called to the kneeling earl: "Rise, sir, that we may
execute our lord's commands." To which he replied, " Wait
awhile, for the love of God Almighty, at least while I say
the Lord's prayer on your behalf and my own." As they
gave their consent, the earl rose from the ground, and on
bended knees, with eyes raised to heaven and hands up-
lifted, began to say aloud" Our Father which art in heaven."
But when he came to the last petition, having said, " Lead
us not into temptation," his tears fell so fast, and his sobbings
were so violent, that he was unable to conclude the prayer
he had begun. The executioner would wait no longer, but
drawing his sword severed the earl's head from his body
with a single stroke. But the head, after it was severed,"
uttered with a loud and distinct voice, in the hearing of all
present, the words: " But deliver us from evil. Amen!"
Thus Earl Waltheof was beheaded at Winchester, on the
morning of the second of the calends of May [30th April]."
His body was, without ceremony, thrown into a hole dug on
the spot, which is now covered with the green turf. The
townsmen, roused from their sleep by reports of what was
going on, abandoned themselves to grief, men and women


joining in loud lamentations for the fate of Earl Waltheof.
Fifteen days afterwards, at Judith's request and with the
king's permission, Ufkytel, abbot of Croyland, came to the
place, and raining the bloody corpse which exhibited no signs
of decay, the blood being as fresh as if the earl was just
dead, conveyed it to the abbey of Cropland, followed by the
lamentations of vast crowds of people, and there gave it
honourable interment in the chapter-house of the monks.


Ch. XVII. Foundation of Croyland, abbey, by Ethelbald,
king of Mercia--Ravages of the Danes--Its restoration
by Turkytel--Series of abbots to Ingulphus and Godfrey--
Miracles wrought at the tomb of Earl Waltheof--his

Thus far I have followed the account of bishop Felix' in
my short abridgment of the acts of St. Guthlac, inserted in
this work for the glory of God and the edification of the
faithful. What now remains to be told of the building of
Croyland Abbey and its possession by the monks, I derive
from the exact recital made to me by Ansgot the sub-prior,
and others of the oldest monks. King Ethelbald, as his
blessed comforter was displaying his glory in the working
of miracles, visited his tomb with joy, and granted for ever
to the servants of the saint the possessions which he had
conferred on him on mounting the throne. For on one
occasion, the king coming to Croyland to visit his patron
before his departure, the man of God asked for the grant of
a quiet abode in the island, and Ethelbald gave him a tract
of land five miles long on the east, where it was bounded by
a, ditch, called Asen-dyk. three on the west, two on the
south, and two on the north, free from all rent, and secular


customs and demands of every sort. The charter granting
it was sealed by Ethelbald in the presence of his bishops
and great men.
The soil of Croyland being marshy, as the name indicates,
(for Croyland signifies a crude or spongy land), it would
not allow of a foundation of masonry, and therefore king
Ethelbald caused an immense number of oak piles to be
driven into the ground, and hard earth to be conveyed is
boats from the uplands. at a distance of nine miles, and
mixed with the loose soil of the marsh. Thus he laid the
foundations of a stone church, which he afterwards com-
pleted, but St. Guthlac had been content with an oratory of
wattled boughs. The king assembled there men devoted to
a religious life, founded a monastery, enriched it with orna-
ments, revenues, and other possessions, in honour of God and
the holy hermit to whom he had been firmly attached by
reason of the soothing consolation he had often received
from him during his banishment. He showed his regard for
the place all his life, and since its first foundation by this
king the house of Croyland has not ceased to be a settlement
of monks to the present day. Kenulf who governed the
monastery of St. Guthlac for some time, had a great reputa-
tion in those days, and from him the boundary stone which
he set up between the abbey lands and those of the people
of Deeping, is still called Kenulf-Stan.
England was soon afterwards shaken by the tempests of
successive wars, and the native kings being defeated by
Inguar, Halfdene, and Guthrum. and other Danish and
Norwegian chiefs, the abbey of Croyland was ravaged, like
many others; it was stripped of its ornaments, the farm
laid waste, and subjected to laymen contrary to canonical
law. But the divine goodness, which sometimes allows the
wicked to prevail for a season to punish the people's sins,
saw fit, after their chastisement, to restore quiet times under
the government of their lawful rulers. The cruel tyrants


who had murdered St. Edmund, king of the East Angles, and
numbers of the faithful, and had given the churches of the
saints and the habitations of Christian men to the flames,
were, by God's help, destroyed, subjugated, or expelled;
Alfred, son of King Ethelwulf, obtaining the ascendancy, and
being the first of the English kings who was monarch of all
England. After him, his son Edward, surnamed the Elder,
had a long and prosperous reign, and at his death left his
dominions to his three sons, Athelstan, Edmund, and Edred.
All these successively ascended the throne of England, and
each in his time exerted himself to govern well and benefit
his subjects.
In the time of king Edred, a clerk at London named
Turkytel asked the king to give him the abbey of Croyland,
with which request the king willingly complied. This clerk
was of the royal race, and a relation of Oskytel metropolitan
of York; he was very wealthy, having vast domains, all which
he thought of no value compared with the heavenly inheri-
tance. He had asked Croyland of the king, as we have
already seen, not to increase his possessions, but because he
knew the religious men who dwelt in its solitudes surrounded
by swamps and marshes, and determined to devote himself
there to God's worship, spurning all the delights of the
present world. Having therefore ordered his affairs with
prudence, he became a monk of Croyland ; and the number of
monks having been increased by his zeal, he became their
superior and abbot, by the will of God and lawful election of
the brethren. Turkytel was an intimate friend of some of the
holy bishops who then presided over the English church.


Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, Ethelwold, bishop of
Winchester, and Oswald, bishop of Worcester, afterwards
archbishop of York, by whose counsels he earnestly strove
to be guided. He was, as I have before remarked, of high
birth, and, inheriting sixty manors from his ancestors, he
gave for the good of their souls six vills to the abbey of
Croyland, viz., Wendlinburg, Beby, Wridthorpe, Elminton,
Cottenham, and Oakington. The charter was confirmed by
the seal of the powerful king Edgar, son of Kill, Edmund.
Archbishop Dunstan also and his suffragans ratified the
grant of the aforesaid lands by making the sign of the cross
on the charter, and the archbishop denounced the penalty of
excommunication. and eternal malediction on those who
should plunder the church of any of the possessions before
named, unless they made sufficient amends.
A long time afterwards, Turkytel having died on the
4th of the ides [12th] of July. was succeeded by his nephew
Egelric, who on his death left the abbey of Croyland to
another Egelric, his kinsman. At his decease Oskytel, a
monk who was of the royal race, was made abbot. His
sister Leniova was abbess of Eynesbury, where the body of
St. Neot, abbot and confessor; then lay, but the service was
not such as befitted the memory of so great a saint. In
consequence, this lady removed to Whittlesea, and invited
there abbot Oskytel her brother, and some monks of Croy-
land, and delivered to them the body of St. Neot, which she
had brought there with all honour, thinking them more
worthy than herself. The monks received with joy the gift
God had sent them, and deposited it with great ceremony
near the altar of St. Mary, mother of God, on the 'north


side of their church. To this day it is the object of the
faithful's veneration, and St. Neot's feast is kept on the
second of the calends of August 31st July. On the death
of Oskytel, on the twelfth of the calends of November
21st October. he was succeeded by Goodrich, who going
the way of all flesh on the fourteenth of the calends of
February [14th January], Brihtmer was appointed abbot.
At that time there was a convent at Pegeland, presided
over by an abbot named Wulfgate, a man of noble birth.
There Pega, St. Guthlac's sister, was for a long time a servant
of the Lord. After her brother's death, she used all her
endeavours to wear out her life for the love of Christ, by
still severer austerities. She therefore undertook a pilgrim-
age to Rome, to pray at the threshold of the holy apostles
for herself and her kinsfolk, and she there triumphantly
departed on the sixth of the ides [8th] of January' Her
remains repose in the church built at Rome to her honour
by the faithful, and are in high veneration for the many
benefits conferred by her on those who faithfully invoke
Brihtmer, abbot of Croyland, having died on the seventh
of the ides [7th] of Aprils Wulfgate, the superior of the
monastery of Pegeland, asked permission of King Edward,
son of Ethelred, to unite the flocks of the two monasteries,
and to make of them, for God's glory, a single convent,
under one abbot and one rule, which the king soon af-
terwards graciously acceded to. After having the charge
of Croyland for a number of years, Wulfgate died on the
hones [7th] of July, and Ulfkytel, a monk of Peterborough,
by permission of his abbot Leofric, received the government
of the abbey of Croyland from King Edward. He held it
twenty-four years, and began the building of a new church,
the old one threatening to fall to ruins. His great patron
in this undertaking was Waltheof, earl of Northampton,


son of Siward, earl of Northumbria, who gave the vill of
Barnack to the servants of God and St. Guthlac. Not
long afterwards the malice of the Normans, who were
jealous of him, and feared his distinguished qualities, brought
him to the block, at Winchester, contrary to all justice, and
to the great grief of the people at large, on the day before
the calends of June [30th May], his body being carried to
Cropland by Abbot Ulfkytel, at the entreaty of his wife
Judith, and by permission of King William.
Not long afterwards, this abbot, who was English born,
and therefore disliked by the Normans, being accused by
his competitors, was deposed by archbishop Lanfranc,
and sent into confinement at Glastonbury. Upon this,
the abbey of Croyland was conferred by King William
on Ingulfus, a monk of Fontenelles ; and he governed it
twenty-four years in difficult circumstances. Ire was an
Englishman by birth, had been secretary to the king. and
made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. On his return, he went
to Fontenelles and assumed the monastic habit under Abbot
Gerbert, from whom, having made proficiency in the con-
ventual rules, he received the office of prior. The king,
who had long known him, requested his abbot to give him
up, and sent him to preside over the monks of Croyland.
After he became abbot, he kindly used his influence with
King William on behalf of his predecessor, and obtained
permission for him to return to Peterborough abbey, of
which he had been a monk, and where he died some years
afterwards on the 7th of the ides [7th] of June.4
Meanwhile, abbot Ingulfus did all he could to benefit the
monastery of which he had undertaken the charge; but he
had, by God's will, to struggle with many difficulties. In
the first place, part of the abbey church, with the sacristy,


vestments, books, and many other necessary articles, were
consumed by a fire which broke out suddenly. Then, he
himself, being grievously afflicted with the gout, was in a
bad state of health long before his death, but his active
mind would not allow the society to suffer by his infirmities.
Ingulphus caused the remains of Earl Waltheof to be trans-
ferred from the chapter-house into the church, and ordered
warm water to be got ready to wash the bones. But when
the lid of the coffin was removed, the corpse was discovered
to be as sound after its repose of sixteen years as on the
day it was buried, and the head was reunited to the body;
only there was a red streak round the neck where the head
had been severed; and this was seen by the monks and
several laymen who had gathered round. The body having
been thus translated into the church, and interred with
great ceremony near the altar. miracles were often per-
formed there. The truth of this is experienced by the sick,
who, seeking their cure in faith, frequently obtain the benefit
they implore.
At length, Abbot Ingulph, dying on the sixteenth of the
calends of December 16th November. he was succeeded
by Geoffrey, who conferred many benefits on the abbey of
Croyland and its inhabitants, through his love of goodness
and virtue. He was a Frenchman by birth, of the city of
Orleans, and having pursued liberal studies from an early
age, and become deeply versed in literature, took a distaste
to worldly objects, and, inflamed with divine love, devoted
himself to a monastic life in the abbey of St. Evroult,
which that saint had founded at Ouche in the time of
Childebert, king of the Franks' In that monastery where
piety is more abundant than wealth, Geoffrey becoming a
novice under Abbot Mainier, whose zeal procured him a great
reputation, after a time took the vows and became a monk,
and having worthily filled various offices was promoted to


that of prior fifteen years after his profession. At last, in
the year of our Lord 1109. by command of Henry king of
England, he undertook the government of the abbey of
Croyland. He began the new church in a splendid style of
architecture, and many other useful works; and during the
fifteen years he held the dignity of abbot, earnestly la-
boured for their completion, for the benefit of his own soul
and of those committed to his charge.
In the third year of abbot Ingulph, miracles began to
be wrought at the tomb of Earl Waltheof, the news of which
caused great delight among his countrymen. The English
common people crowded m great numbers to his tomb,
hearing that God had honoured him with many significant
tokens of his merits, and both exhibiting their joy at this
new thing, and interceding for succour in their various ne-
cessities. On seeing this, a Norman monk whose name was
Audin, was much enraged, laughing at the crowd of votaries
and mocking and disparaging the earl himself, and giving
out that he was a base traitor and deserved to lose his head
for his crime, as he had done. Abbot Geoffrey, hearing of
this, mildly expostulated with Audin, as he was a foreigner,
reminding him that it was sinful to disparage the divine
operations, because God had promised to display his pre-
sence to the faithful to the end of the world, and had de-
clared that the sincerely penitent should drink of the
fountain of his inexhaustible mercy. However, while the
abbot was thus endeavouring to restrain his folly, and he
vented his spleen in words which became continually more
unbeseeming, he was suddenly seined with fainting at the
heart in the abbot's presence, and died a few days after-
wards in the church of St. Alban the first English martyr;
where be had made his monastic profession. The following
night, when Abbot Geoffrey was lying on his bed reflecting
anxiously on the events dust related, he presently saw
himself m a vision at the tomb of Earl Waltheof, and
the holy saints, Bartholomew the apostle and Guthlac the
hermit, standing near in robes of shining white. The apostle,
as appeared in the vision, laid his hand on the head of tile'
earl reunited to the body, saying: " He is not headless."
Guthlac, who stood at the foot of tile corpse, now took up the


word, and said: " He was an earl" . . . . The apostle inter-
rupted the speaker and thus finished the sentence: "And is
now a king."' The abbot having heard these things and re-
ported them to the brethren, they were filled with joy and
gave glory to the Lord God, who in all ages never ceases to
show his mercy to those who believe in him. Having spent
fifteen years in his government, the venerable abbot and priest
Geoffrey died on the nones [5th] of June ; and was succeeded
by Waltheof, an Englishman and monk of Croyland, who
was brother of Earl Cospatrick, and of high English lineage.
Miracles becoming more frequent at Croyland the monks
were filled with joy, and wishing to pay all the honour in
their power to the remains of the great earl, engaged Vita-
lis, the Englishman, to write his epitaph in heroic verse.
Paying a ready obedience to their request, after some
reflection, he repeated the following verses:-

Beneath this stone a noble warrior lies,
Earl Waltheof, great in arms, in council wise;
Stout Siward's son, 'twas his an ancient race
Through Danish Jarls, Northumbrian earls to trace.
But honours, power, and riches counting dross,
With contrite heart he knelt before the cross:
For Christ he loved, his righteous judgments feared,
His servants honour'd, and his saints revered.
But chief, where Croyland spreads her wide domain,
And holy Guthlac holds his mystic reign,
He joyed to tread the cloister's hallowed ground,
Her monks he cheriah'd, and her altars crown d.
On Winton's hill the patriot how'd his head,
By Norman malice numbered with the dead.
Ah, fatal last of May ! Unrighteous doom !
Now marshy Croyland boasts her patron's tomb,
where, living, oft he came an honour'd guest
God rest his soul in mansions of the bleat !

The death of Earl Waltheof was the cause of much censure


on King William from many quarters, and numerous were
the troubles, which by the righteous judgment of God be
afterwards suffered from various attacks which never after-
wards permitted him to enjoy any continuance of tranquillity.
He indeed, such was his resolution, still maintained a
manful struggle against all his enemies, but success did not
attend his enterprises as it had done before, nor were his
conflicts often crowned with victory. In the thirteen years
which he afterwards lived, he never won a pitched battle,
nor succeeded in taking a town he besieged. The Almighty
Judge disposes all events aright, suffering no crime to go
unpunished, in this world or the neat.

Ch. XVIII. King William invades Brittany and lays siege
to Dol--Precipitate retreat--The Duke Alan Fergan
marries the king's daughter Constance--Her character
and death.

KING WILLIAM being desirous to extend the frontiers of
his dominions, and to reduce the Bretons under the same
subjection which they had formerly been forced to pay to
Rollo and William [Long-sword] and other dukes of Nor-
mandy, he laid siege to the town of Dol, endeavouring to
terrify the townsmen with tremendous threats, and swearing
a great oath that he would not raise the siege till he had
taken the place. But by the overruling will of God,
things turned out very differently; for while the king,
having pitched his tents, was swelling with pride, and
glorying in his riches and power, news was brought him
that Alan Fergan, earl of Brittany, was at hand with large
bodies of troops, hastening to the relief of the besieged
town. Alarmed at the intelligence, King William patched
up a peace with the defenders of the place, who had as yet
received no account of the approaching succour, and de-
camped at once. But his retreat was attended with severe
loss, for in their haste the royal army was forced to abandon
their tents, baggage, arms, and all kinds of utensils and
equipments, the value of which was estimated, to their deep
grief, at 15,000 pounds sterling. The politic king, finding


that he could not conquer the Bretons by force of arms,
prudently adopted measures more advantageous to himself
and his successors, concluding a treaty of peace with Alan
Fergan, and giving him his daughter Constance in marriage,
the ceremonies of which were conducted with great state at
Caen. Constance lived virtuously nearly fifteen years with
her husband, studying her subjects' good, and that of all
connected with her. Diffusing around her the balm of
peace, she was kind to the poor, and treated with great
respect all the servants of God, who were greatly afflicted
at her death, and the more so as she left no offspring. All
right-minded persons in Brittany would have been exceed-
ingly delighted if there had been any issue from this happy
marriage to govern them worthily, holding fairly, from their
innate goodness, the balance of justice among the indomi-
table Bretons, and curbing them by the restraints of the di-
vine law and civilization. Earl Alan Fergan, after the death
of Constance, married the count of Anjou's daughter, by
whom he had a son named Conan, to whom Henry, king of
England, lately gave his daughter in marriage to cement the
peace between them.

Ch. XIX. Short notice of Ainard, abbot of St. Pierre-sur-
Dive--His epitaph.

ABOUT this time, the revered Ainard, first abbot of Dive,
was obliged to take to his bed, and, having caused all that is
befitting a servant of God to be done on his behalf, departed
this life on the nineteenth of the calends of February
[14th January]. He was a native of Germany, and well
taught in both sciences, as well as accomplished in versi-
fying, chanting, and composing charming music. This is


proved by his histories of Kilian, bishop of Wurtzbourg,
Catherine the Virgin, and many elegant canticles which he
composed in praise of the Creator. Burning with zeal for
religion in his youth, he sought out Abbot Isembert, and
voluntarily submitted himself to his discipline for the love
of God, and made his profession as a monk in the convent
of the Holy Trinity founded by Goscelin d'Arques on the
hill at Rouen to the west of the city. Thence he was
removed by the rulers of the church in the year of our Lord
1048, and set upon a candlestick, that he might give light
to all that are in the house. Having been consecrated abbot
of Dive. built by the countess Lesceline, wife of William
count d'Eu, he profitably, filled the charge be had received,
both by his life and teaching, for thirty-one years, when at
last, old and full of days, he finished his course. The vene-
rable Durandus, abbot of Troarn, interred his body in the
church of St. Mary, and composed some memorable verses
to be engraved on the face of his tomb, in which the moral
virtues of Abbot Ainard, and the Christian graces with
which he was divinely inspired, are thus described:-

Odours breathe from Ainard's tomb,
Like the spikenard's rich perfume ;
While his virtues blooming round
Flower in consecrated ground.
He with boundless coat and care
Reared this holy house of prayer ;
Here he spent his peaceful life,
Lamb-like, innocent of strife;
Gave to learning all his days,
Speeding on in wisdom's ways:
Sober, honest, chaste, and mild,
Humble, simple as a child,
Save when, in his high degree,
Bearing modest dignity.
When the new year's wintry sun
Fourteen times its coarse had run.


With shrunk form and hoary head
He was number'd with the dead.
Passing stranger! breathe a prayer
That he may Christ's mercy share.

The widowed church of Dive, on the loss of her former
lord, was given to Fulk, prior of St. Evroult, who was con-
secrated abbot by Robert bishop of Seez. He governed
that house for many years in the time of King William and
several under duke Robert IL, and advanced it nobly as
opportunity occurred. This lord carried with him from St.
Evroult the monks Bernard, surnamed Matthew, his cousin,
Richard, William de Montreuil, and Turketel, quick and
skilful copyists, and well skilled in the services of the
church. These were his peaceful coadjutors, and took the lead
in zealously putting their shoulders to God's work both by
day and night, saying cheerfully to others their associates
by word and unwearied example, "Come with us to Bethel."

CH. XX. Quarrels between the sons of King William--
Robert attempts to seize Rouen by surprise--His followers
dispersed--The king marches against the malcontents.

ROBERT, the king's son, it is reported, was the cause and
fomenter of the disturbances which broke out as we have
seen, between the people of Maine and the Normans; for
Drake William, both before the battle of Senlac. and after-
wards at a time when he fell sick, had declared his eldest
son Robert his heir, causing all his barons to do him fealty
and homage, which they had readily consented to. But the
young prince, after the death of his wife Margaret, urged
on by youthful ambition and the imprudent suggestions of
those about him, demanded of his father the honours which
he claimed as his right, viz., the sovereignty of Maine
and Normandy. His politic father, after much reflec-


tion, refused to gratify his pretensions, and recommended
his son to wait for a more fitting opportunity of obtaining
what he desired. The prince was talkative and prodigal,
very bold and valiant, and a strong and sure archer; his
voice was loud and clear; his tongue fluent; his features
dull and heavy; his body stout, and his stature short;
whence he commonly received the surname of Gambaron
or Courte-heuse.
One day, when the king was preparing an expedition
against the inhabitants of the Corbonnais, and was enter-
tained at the house of Gunher, in the village of Richer
(which is called L'Aigle, on account of an eagle's nest
being found in an oak tree while Fulbert was building his
castle), a diabolical quarrel arose between the king's sons,
from which sprung afterwards endless contentions and
crimes' For two of the brothers, William Rufus and
Henry, took their father's part, and thinking their strength
equal to their brother Robert's, were indignant that he
alone should make pretensions to their father's inheritance,
and affect equality with the king among the crowd of para-
sites who paid their court to himself. In consequence they
came to the castle of L'Aigle to visit Robert, who was
sojourning in the house of Robert Calcege, and there began
to play at dice in the gallery. as the custom of military men
is. They, then made a great noise, and threw water on the
heads of Robert and his hangers-on who were underneath.
Upon which No and Aubrey de Grantmesnil said to


Robert: " Why do you put up with this insult ? see your
brothers have mounted above you, and shower their filth
upon you and us, in contempt. Do not you perceive what
they mean? if you do not instantly resent this insult, you
are a lost man, and can never lift up your head again." This
speech roused his fury, and he hurried to the banqueting
room where his brothers were, determined to chastise them.
The clamour which ensued brought the king from his lodg-
ings, and by interposing his royal authority he put an end,
for the time, to his sons' quarrels. But the night after-
wards, Robert and his attendants withdrew from the king's
troop of horse, and making for Rouen attempted to seize
the castle by surprise. However, Roger d'Ivry, the king's
butler, who had the custody of the tower, having anticipated
the plot, put the fortifications in order to resist the treason-
able enterprise, and in all haste sent messengers to his lord
the king, to apprize him of the state of affairs. The king
in his wrath ordered all the malcontents to be arrested;
hearing which they were in the greatest consternation.
Some were taken, others fled and secured their safety by
taking refuge in foreign countries.
Then Hugh de Chateau-Neuf, nephew and heir of Albert
Ribald, was the first to receive the exiles, and opened the
hates of Chateau-Neuf, Raimalard, Sorel, and other places
belonging to him, in order that they might make predatory
incursions on Normandy. He was son-in-law of Earl
Roger, having married Mabel," sister of Robert de Belesme,
who had attached himself to the king's son, with Ralph de
Conches and many others. These deserters, embarking in
a wicked and detestable enterprise, had left their towns and
rich farms for vain hopes and worthless promises. The
king took their domains into his own hands, and with the
rents paid the stipendiary troops who fought against them.
These troubles caused great commotions among the inha-
bitants of the country and their neighbours, who flew to
arms in every quarter either for or against the king. The
Trench, the Bretons, the Manceaux, the Angevins, and other
people fluctuated in their opinions, and knew not which side


they ought to take. war threatening them on all sides, the
king, full of determination, assembled an army, and marching
against the enemy, made terms with Rotrou count de
Mortagne. This count had often pillaged the lands of the
church of Chartres, which is dedicated to St. Mary-ever-a-
Virgin, and having been frequently remonstrated with by the
bishop and clergy, and continuing incorrigible, had been ex-
communicated. By an infliction of divine justice, he became
deaf, and remained so to the end of his days. King William
took him into his pay, employing him with his own troops
in the siege of Raimalard, because it was a fief held of him.
Re fortified four castles in the country round, and placed
garrisons in them. Meanwhile, on a certain day, Aimer de
Villerai was conducting the steward of the king of France'
on his return to his master, and came with three men-at-
arms to his own castle, where King William's enemies
were protected, when it chanced that four knights of the
royal army sallied forth and stopped his way, just as he
had nearly reached the castle gate, and falling upon him
killed him on the spot. They then laid the body of the un-
fortunate freebooter across a horse, like the carcass of a pig,
and threw it down before the buts of count Roger with
whom he had long been in hostilities. Goulfier, Aimer's son,
struck with terror at his father's fearful end, made peace
with the king, and he and his heirs remained faithful more
than fifty years.
The calamities which threaten the sons of earth are end-
less, and if they were all carefully committed to writing
would fill large volumes. It is now winter, and I am
suffering from the severity of the cold, and propose to allow
myself some respite for other occupations, and fatigued with
my work, shall here bring the present book to a close.
When the returning spring brings with it serener skies, I
will resume in the sequel, my narrative of matters which I
have hitherto treated cursorily, or which still remain to be
told, and, by God's help, employ my faithful pen in elucidat-
ing the causes of peace and war among my countrymen.


Ch. I. The author gives a short account of himself and the
contents of two of his former books--Proposes to treat of
the abbey of St. Evroult and public affairs from the year
1075 to the death of William I.

TREADING in the steps of those who have gone before us, it
is our duty to contend ceaselessly with enervating sloth,
devoting ourselves to profitable studies and healthful exer-
cises, by application to which the mind is purified from
vice, the life-giving discipline nobly arming it against all
wickedness. " Every slothful man," says Solomon, " is a
slave to his desires." And again: " The desire of the
slothful killeth him." He indeed is slothful and idle who
abandons himself to a vicious life for want of a good reso-
lution. That man may be considered as sunk in the lethargy
of idleness who fails to meditate on the law of God day and
night, that is, in prosperity and adversity, and does not
earnestly struggle to resist the wiles and assaults of Satan
that he may be worthy to obtain the reward of his heavenly
calling. Such a one, doubtless, hurtful " desire killeth ;"
drawing him into evil courses, while he is lulled to sleep by
prosperity, and sinking him into the pit of perdition by the
broad road of his own lusts. The ancients therefore strongly
condemn idleness and sloth as the enemy of the soul, in-
viting their followers to profitable labour and exertion, both
by word and example; and on this point the heathen poets
agree with Christian writers. For Virgil says :-

Ah ! what avail. his service, what his toil?
. . . . . Stern labour all subdues
And ceaseless toil that urging want pursues


Ovid also gives this advice to those who endeavour to
resist their passions and strive against Venus:-

Advised by me, all slothful habits shun,
Those foes to worth by manly vigour won.
'Tis idleness that fosters Cupid's arts,
And lights his torch and points his shining darts.

Weighing with attention, father Warin, such sentiments as
these, I have determined to publish something which may be
useful and interesting to our brethren in the house of the
Lord, pursuing with diligence the task I have commenced,
that when the Lord cometh to judgment I may not be con-
demned, like the unprofitable servant, for having buried my
talent in the ground. In the first instance, I endeavoured
to obey the commands of the venerable abbot Roger, and
yours also, received at a later period, by undertaking a short
account of the state of the abbey of Ouche, a work which
our predecessors have often called on each other to engage
in, but which none of them have been willing to undertake:
for they chose rather to be silent than to speak, preferring
tranquil leisure to the consuming toil of investigating past
transactions. They were willing enough to peruse the acts
of former abbots and brethren, and the annals of their own
house, which, having been slenderly endowed at first by poor
but pious founders, have been gradually aggrandized by the
indefatigable exertions of our reverend fathers; but they
shrunk from bending their minds to the task of dictating or
writing the result of their researches. At length it fell to my
lot, a stranger and an Englishman, who coming here, when
only ten years old, from the furthest borders of Mercia.


and rude of speech and manners, mixed with a people full
of intelligence, to compose, by Cod's help, a narrative of
Norman events and transactions for the use of the natives
of Normandy. I have already, by the divine assistance,
published two books. in which I have given a true account
of the restoration of our house and of three of our abbots,
with some public affairs of that period which I have care-
fully collected from information given me by men of years
and experience.
I now begin my third book from the year of our Lord
1075, meaning to treat of my own abbot and the society of St.
Evroult, as well as of public affairs generally, during the suc-
ceeding period of twelve years, that is, to the time of King
William's death. I choose the former year for the com-
mencement of my present undertaking, because it was then
I was born, on the fourteenth of the calends of March
16th February, and was regenerated in the holy font of
baptism by the ministry of Ordericus the priest, at Atting-
ham, in the church of St. Eats the confessor. which stands
on the bank of the river Severn. Five years afterwards, my
father entrusted me to a noble priest, whose name was
Siward, for instruction in the first rudiments of learning, to
whose mastership I remained subject for five years. Then,
being in my eleventh year, I was separated from my father,
for the love of Cod, and sent a young exile from England to
Normandy to enter the service of the King Eternal. Here
I was received by the venerable father Mainier, and having
assumed the monastic habit, and become indissolubly joined
to the company of the monks by solemn vows, have now


cheerfully borne the light yoke of the Lord for forty-two
years. and walking in the ways of God with my fellow
monks, to the best of my ability, according to the rules of our
order, have endeavoured to perfect myself in the service of
the church and ecclesiastical duties, at the same time that I
have always devoted my talents to some useful employment.
If our bishops and other rulers of the world were so
gifted with sanctity that, for them and by them, miracles
were divinely wrought, as was frequently the case with the
primitive fathers, and these accounts scattered through
ancient books sweetly influence the readers' mind, refresh-
ing their memories with the glorious signs and wonders of
the early disciples; I also would fain shake off sloth, and
employ myself m committing to writing whatever may be
worthy of the eager ken of posterity. But in the present
age, in which the love of many wages cold and iniquity
abounds, miracles, the tokens of sanctity, cease. while crimes
and lamentable complaints multiply in the world. The
litigious quarrels of bishops, and the bloody conflicts of
princes, furnish more abundant materials for the writers of
history than the propositions of theologians, or the pri-
vations or prodigies of ascetics. The time of antichrist is
at hand, whose appearance, as the Lord intimated to holy
Job. will be preceded by the failure of miracles anti the
rapid growth of outrageous vices in those who are given up
to their own fleshly lusts. Now, most reverend abbot, I
will resolutely apply myself, in the name of the Lord, to the
task I have undertaken, trusting with confidence that your
experience will correct whatever errors my own ignorance
may suffer to escape.


Ch. II. William's daughter Cecilia becomes a nun at Caen
--Mission of three English bishops to Rome--Consecration
of cathedrals and abbeys in Normandy--Anselm, abbot of
Bec, made archbishop of Canterbury.

[1075-1127.] IN the year of our Lord 1075, the four-
teenth indiction, King William spent the holy feast of
Easter at Fecamp, and presented his daughter Cecilia to be
consecrated to God by the hands of Archbishop John. She
had been brought up with great care, and well educated in
the convent at Caen, where, being dedicated to the holy
and undivided Trinity, she became a nun under the vene-
rable abbess Matilda, faithfully submitting to the holy rule.
The reverend mother departing this life after governing
the convent forty-seven years, Cecilia succeeded her, and
having presided over the nuns for nearly fourteen years
with great credit, she expired on the third of the ides
[13th] of July, in the year of our Lord 1127. She thus
worthily devoted herself to the service of God, in the habit,
and order, and religious exercises of a nun, for fifty-two
years after she was first dedicated by her father. and her
death happened in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of her
brother Henry.
While King William was residing in Normandy, and, by
God's help, defended his dominions against all adversaries,
the English bishops, Lanfranc of Canterbury, Thomas of
York, and Remi of Lincoln, undertook a journey to Rome,
and were received with great honours by Pope Gregory and
the Roman senate . The wealth of England supplied pro-


fuse presents for the greedy Romans, and the prelates
appeared to the Latins no less admirable for their munifi-
cence than for their eloquence and their learning, both
sacred and profane. The pope and clergy of Rome received
favourably the message of 'King William, accompanying the
offerings, of which the bishops were bearers, and readily
confirmed the privileges, formerly granted to his prede-
cessors, which the king demanded by his envoys.
In the year of our Lord 1077. the bishops just named
returned to Normandy highly delighted, and the king with
all the Norman people were transported with joy at their
arrival. At that time several churches in Normandy were
consecrated with great ceremony, at which the king and
queen, with their sons Robert and William, and vast assem-
blages of the nobles and commons were present. The
mother churches of the bishoprics of Bayeux and Evreux
and the abbey church of Bec, were dedicated to the honour
of St. Mary, mother of Clod, always a virgin.
The same year, the abbey church of St. Stephen the pro-
to-martyr, at Caen, was also consecrated, being enriched by
the king and his nobles with valuable offerings and large
sums of money. The solemnities of these consecrations
were performed by John archbishop of Rouen and his suffrar-
gans, the reverend metropolitans Lanfranc and Thomas being
present, with many abbots and a vast concourse of people.
The venerable abbot Herluin rejoiced in spirit at the


consecration of the church of Bec, and, having witnessed
the accomplishment of his most ardent earthly hopes, was no
longer for this world. He had retired from military service
in the year of our Lord 1034, and changing his course of
life received the religious habit from the Lord Herbert,
bishop of Lisieux. Three years afterwards he was ordained
by the same bishop and appointed abbot. It was then that
the abbey of Bec was first established. He died on the
seventh of the calends of September [26th August], in
the year of our Lord 1078, being the eighty-fourth year of
his age, and the forty-fourth of his profession as a monk.
After an interval of a few days, Anselm, then prior of that
house, was elected abbot. The year following he was
consecrated abbot in the abbey church at Bec by the lord
Gislebert, bishop of Evreux, on the festival called " The
Chair of St. Peter."' He submitted to the monastic rule
when he was twenty-seven years old, and continued three
years in the cloister without being preferred to any office.
He then succeeded Lanfranc as prior, which rank he held
for fifteen years, and then, on the death of Herluin the first
abbot of Bec, was appointed to the government of the abbey
which he administered for another fifteen years. He was
afterwards raised to the archiepiscopal throne of Canterbury
on the demise of the venerable Lanfranc, and filled the see
for sixteen years, during which he was exposed to many
trials. He departed out of this life on the eleventh of the
calends of May [21st April], being the fourth day before
Holy Thursday, in the seventeenth year of his archiepiscopate,
the Forty-fourth of his monkhood, and the seventy-sixth of
his age.

Ch. III. Hugh, bishop of Lieux, his singular death--His
epitaph--He is succeeded by Gislebert Maminot--His

[A.D. 1077.] FORASMUCH as thoughtless mortals are apt
to be inflated by a false appearance of prosperity, while they
are driven to and fro, bending like reeds before the blasts


of adverse fortune, the providence of God, which governs all
things, therefore mixes the rough with the smooth, to retain
within safe bounds the fickle enterprises of mankind. For
while King William was much puffed up with worldly pomp,
and the people of Normandy abandoned themselves to every
sort of luxury, giving no thought to the punishment which
awaited their accumulated offences, a terrible thunder storm
burst over the sanctuary of the church of Lisieux, and the awful
crash struck down the people assembled en the pavement of
the cathedral church. It happened one morning on a Sun-
day in the summer season, when the holy mysteries of the
mass were being celebrated, and a priest named Herbert was
standing, mitred. at the altar, that there was suddenly a fear-
ful flash of lightning, immediately followed by a tremendous
crash and the falling of a thunderbolt. Striking the cross which
stood on the pinacle of the tower, it shattered and threw it
down, and descending from thence into the body of the
church it was attracted by the crucifix, from which it tore
off a hand and foot and drew the iron nails which attached
them to the cross in a most singular manner. A dark
cloud concealed all objects from the trembling congregation,
and the lightning shot flashes through all the church, killing
eight men and one woman. It burnt the beards and hair of
men and women, and gave forth a most offensive smell.
One woman, whose name was Mary, preserved her footing,
under great alarm, in a corner of the church, from whence
she beheld the whole crowd of people lying apparently,
lifeless on the floor of the church, while she herself was
ready to faint.
This occurred before the feast of the nativity of St. John
the Baptist, and soon afterwards Hugh, bishop of Lisieux.


fell sick. In the month of July, his disease increasing, the
bishop, perceiving that his death was at hand, began carefully
to examine himself as the servant of God summoned to his
Master's presence, and prepared himself with great reve-
rence to give an account of his stewardship. Purified by
confession and penance, washed with prayers and floods of
tears, and strengthened by the blessed communion of the
life-giving mysteries, he exhorted the clergy and laymen
who were assembled about him, and gave them absolution
and his blessing. As his end approached, he recollected
tine thing which caused him especial regret, and in refe-
rence to which he thus implored all who were present: "I
know that I am now going the way of all flesh, but it
troubles me to think that I die at a distance from my see,
away from that spouse to which by God's ordinance I have
been lawfully united for almost forty years. I therefore
entreat all you whom I have formerly loved, nourished, pro-
moted, and raised to honour, that you carry me forth from
hence, and transport me to the spouse I have so dearly loved.
I have completed the church of St. Peter the apostle, which
my venerable predecessor Herbert' began; I carefully em-
bellished it, supplied it with clergy, and furnished it with
the sacred vessels and all other requisites for divine worship.
Humbly commending it to the protection of the Lord of
heaven, in its sacred bosom I wish to repose, and there wait
in faith the second advent of our Lord." At these words
all present immediately arose, and, placing the bishop on a
convenient hand-litter, they carried him from the village of
Pont l'Eveque to Lisieux, the clergy of the highest rank
and the most honourable among the laity bearing their
beloved father on their shoulders. But while they were
using their utmost efforts to reach the city as quickly as
possible, his death becoming imminent, they turned out of
the road on a piece of level turf, and tarried there expecting
every moment the bishop to breathe his last in the open air
amidst their prayers and tears :-

The sun in Cancer, flashing brightest rays,
Shrouded the dying prelate in its blaze.

Laid in the bright sunshine on this delightful spot, the illus-


trious Bishop Hugh, surrounded by his attached friends, and
commended to God by their prayers, breathed his last on
the sixteenth of the calends of August [17th July].

Thus calmly died the venerable Hugh
Such honours to their country are too few ;
The gem of priesthood, and the best of men,
Alas! we ne'er shall see his like again.

May Christ, the chief bishop, whose vicar on earth he was
for a time, be ever propitious to him! Pont l'Eveque is four
leagues distant from Lisieux; a cross was erected in the
field near the road, where the bishop died, which is called
to this day the Bishop's Cross. His body was carried to
Lisieux, but the funeral was deferred for eight days in con-
sequence of a dispute between the canons and nuns. For
the clergy wished to bury him in their cathedral, but the
nuns strongly remonstrated, saying: " Our father Hugh
built our abbey of Notre Dame; he assembled us here to
serve God. and brought us up in the fear of the Lord with
the love of a father to his daughters; when death approached
he chose the church which he had founded for his burial
place; cursed be he who should attempt to deprive us his
daughters of our father's remains."
The case was brought before the king's court at Rouen,
and the question was argued on both sides, but the royal
decision was in favour of the weaker sex. Whereupon Wil-
liam sent for Archbishop John, and commanded to hasten
with all speed to Lisieux, and honourably inter the bishop's
corpse in the chapel of St. Mary. But the archbishop, being
a harsh and haughty prelate, and having a dreadful enmity
to the deceased bishop lurking in his bosom, was much
incensed, and, treating the royal command with contempt,
refused to go and bury his fellow bishop. As he was
returning from the king's court, riding on his mule through
the city, speaking arrogantly about the present affair, he


was seized with violent spasms, by the divine permission,
just as he approached his own house, and, filling to the
ground in the sight of the multitude, lost the use of his
speech for the two years he survived. Upon this, Gislebert,
bishop of Evreux, went to Lisieux, with a great concourse
of the faithful, and interred the bishop, as was becoming, in
the choir of the nuns, in the presence of Robert, Count
d'Eu, his brother. A suitable atone was laid over the grave
of this great bishop, and an epitaph in Adonic metre, which
consists of a dactyl and a spondee, was engraved in letters of
geld, on a brass plate, as follows:-

Underneath lies Bishop HUGH,
Honoured lord of Lisieux:
Not more noble was his birth
Than the splendour of his worth.
Doubly gifted, he combined
Wit and sanctity of mind.
France's sceptre Philip eway'd,
England William's rule obey'd,
And the blazing lamp of day
On the verge of Leo' lay,
When the bishop paes'd away.
Heavenly mercy speed him well,
With the blest above to dwell !

Gislebert, surnamed Maminot, the king's physician and
chaplain, was chosen bishop of Lisieux, and consecrated
by Michael, bishop of Avranches, in the presence of the
lord archbishop John, who, as we have just said, had lost the
use of his speech. He was the son of Robert de Courbe-
pine, a brave knight; and, filling the see twenty-three years,
managed ecclesiastical affairs with a strong hand. Though
deeply skilled in the art of medicine, after he became bishop
he was unable to cure himself. He was eminent for his
learning and eloquence, abounded in wealth and the luxuries
it procured, but was a slave to his own gratification and the
care of the flesh. Ease and leisure were his great objects,
and he indulged frequently in dice and other games of
hazard. Negligent and slothful in his ecclesiastical duties,
he was ready and active enough in hunting and hawking.
He therefore devoted his life to worldly exercises and


employments, and did not give them up till age com-
pelled him. I could write more about him, but I
check my pen, because it was by him that I was
admitted to the order of subdeacon, with (as well as I can
recollect) three hundred others. But, as I have mentioned
some things that are not very creditable to him, it is but
right that I should record his merits and his doings which
are worthy of imitation. He gave alms freely to the poor, and
was distinguished for a stately sumptuousness and wise
liberality. In his judgments he keenly investigated the
truth, and was indefatigable in defending the right, dis-
pensing justice freely to all who came for it. He treated
with gentleness offenders who humbly confessed their sine,
and judiciously gave wise and salutary counsel to true peni-
tents. He performed the ceremony of conferring sacred
orders, and of consecrations, with care and devotion; but he
was inert and difficult to be roused to undertake them, nor
would he engage in these offices until he was compelled by
the united entreaties of numbers. The church of Lisieux
at that time numbered among its clergy some honourable
persons and eminent archdeacons and canons; such as
William de Glanville, dean and archdeacon, Richard de
Angerville, and William de Poitiers. archdeacons, Geoffrey
de Triqueville the treasurer, Turgis the chanter, and his son
Ralph, with many others who had been educated by Bishop
Hugh, and advanced to offices of dignity in the church. His
successor attached these persons to himself, and gave them
instructive lessons in the wide field of arithmetic, astronomy,
physics, and other profound sciences, receiving them as his
guests, and familiarly conversing with them at his entertain-

Ch. IV. John d'Avranches, archbishop, of Rouen--his epi-
taph--William Bonne-Ame succeeds--His character--
Translates the relics of St. Roman us.

In the year of our Lord 1079, the archbishop John died,
after governing his church eight years. He was buried in
the baptistery of his cathedral church, on the north side,


under a tomb of alabaster, on which this epitaph was skil-
fully cut :-

Reft of thy patron, of thy glory shorn,
Thy honoured primate, widowed Rouen, mourn !
Joan sleeps beneath, and, as in days of old,
Devotion flags, and priests again grow cold.
'Twas his with foul incontinence to strive,
The canon's rigour and the laws revive.
No venal bribes the priesthood's honour gain'd,
The church's state his liberal hand maintain'd.
Alas! this little stone, this narrow space-
Is all that genius, eloquence, and grace,
And noblest birth, and wisdom's highest aim,
And purest life, and excellence can claim.
Nine times September's sun had mounted high.
And shed its brightness from the autumnal sky,
When bishop Joan put off this mortal coil;
God rest his soul, and with his grace assoil !

On the death of the primate John, William, abbot of
Caen, being canonically elected, was removed from his
monastery, where he had duly served God as a professed
monk, and called to govern the church of Rouen. He was
consecrated by the great Gislebert, bishop of Evreux, in the
church of St. Mary, mother of God, and was the forty-sixth
metropolitan of Rouen from St. Nicasius, who was first
appointed by St. Dionysius, bishop of Paris, to the see of
Rouen. William was good, cheerful, and courteous, and
continued shepherd of the flock divinely committed to him
for thirty-two years. He furnished the mother church with
ample stores of all the ornaments necessary for divine wor-


ship, and rebuilt from the foundations the cloisters of the
bishop's palace and convenient offices. The relics of St.
Romanus the bishop were translated with great ceremony
from his own church to the cathedral, and enshrined m a
coffer of gold and silver, exquisitely enriched with precious
stones. He appointed his feast to be celebrated throughout
the diocese on the tenth of the calends of November (Octo-
ber 23rd); and by a general decree ordered a solemn pro-
cession to be made every year to the deposit of the body of
the holy bishop without the city, inviting almost all the
inhabitants of the diocese to be present by monitions and
the promise of absolution and benediction. Like a tender
father, this bishop was kind to the clergy and monks, and all
who were under his rule. He occupied himself continually
with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, and celebrated
regularly the sacred mysteries. He was a stranger to deceit
and malice, seeking no one's injury, but succouring the
indigent as occasion required. He had naturally a fine
voice, and was a skilful chanter; was deeply versed in
ecclesiastical law, and had a great command of clear and
expressive language in preaching the word of God to the
uninstructed. His patience and benevolence charmed all
who enjoyed his society, and he committed without jealousy
a large share of his official burdens to his deans and arch-
priests, admitting good men without reserve to a participa-
tion in the honours of his station.

Ch. V. Acts of the synod and assembly of nobles held at
Lillebonne, in the year 1080.

[A.D. 1080.] In the year of our Lord 1080, King William
spent the feast of Whitsuntide at Lillebonne, where he
summoned William the archbishop, and all the bishops and
abbots, with the counts and other barons of Normandy to
attend him. The king's commands were obeyed. It was
in the eighth year of the papacy of Pope Gregory VII.,


that the celebrated synod was held at Lillebonne, in which
the wants of the church and the state generally were care-
fully provided for by the wisdom of the king, with the
advice of his barons. I propose to insert here the canons
of the council, as they were faithfully committed to writing
by persons present, in order that posterity may know what
were the laws of Normandy in the time of King William.
1.The Peace of God, or as it is commonly called, the
truce of God. is to be strictly observed, as our Duke William
established it at first; and let it be proclaimed afresh in every
diocese, with the penalties of excommunication. If any
contumaciously refuse to observe it, or shall in any manner
break it, let the bishops take cognizance of the offence, and
do justice according to what is already decreed. But if the
offender will not submit to his bishop's decision, the bishop
shall report him to the lord under whom he holds his land,
and be shall carry into effect the bishop's sentence. And if
the lord shall disregard the order, let the king's viscount
execute it, all pretences to the contrary notwithstanding.
2.Let the bishops do justice, according to the canons, on
those who marry roves within the prohibited degrees of kin-
dred, and on wives who marry their kinsmen. The king
will not succour or defend any such, but, on the contrary-,
admonishes and gives his support to the bishops in strictly
enforcing the divine law.
3. Let no priest, deacon, or subdeacon, nor any dean or
canon, have in his house a woman under any pretext: if
any one shall be found to have relapsed into this sin, after
having had the charge brought against him by the bishop's
officials, let him clear himself in the episcopal court. But
if one of his parishioners or liege lords before accused him,
let there be an adjournment till be can refer to the bishop;
and if he designs to clear himself, let him do it in the pre-
sence of some of his parishioners in the presence of the
bishop's officers, who shall give their judgment on his
defence. But if he cannot clear himself he shall forfeit his
preferment for ever.


The king has decreed this, not for the purpose of encroach-
ing, in perpetuity, on the judicial rights of his bishops, but
because the bishops of that time had been supine m that
matter; but when he should find them doing their duty, he
would restore, as matter of grace, the power of which they
were temporarily deprived for their default.
4. Let no layman receive any part of the altar-dues, or
burial-fees, or of the third of the tithes; nor take money in
any shape for their sale or grant. Let no priest do any ser-
vice for his preferment, except it be to carry a message from
his lord, but so that he return the same day to his duties in
the church. He may go with his lord as chaplain, if the
lord wishes it, but not out of Normandy'; being maintained
in the lord's household, and providing a curate to take charge
of his church while he is absent.
5. Priests shall not be compelled, by force or threats, to
give anything to the bishops or their officers, beyond their
just episcopal dues. No money shall be exacted from them
on account of their women.
6. The archdeacons shall hold visitations once a year
throughout their jurisdictions, at which they shall inspect
the vestments, vessels, and books belonging to the church;
the bishop appointing three places only in every arch-
deaconry where the priests of the neighbourhood shall
produce them for inspection.
7. While the archdeacon is engaged in his visitations he
shall receive from the priests who attend it sustenance for
three days.
8. If a priest incurs any forfeiture in the king's forests
or those of his barons, the bishop shall receive no part of
the fine.
9. Once a year, about the feast of Whitsuntide, the
priests shall cause processions to be made to the mother
church, and wax from each house of the value of a penny,
or the worth of it, shall be offered at the altar for lighting
the church. Whoever neglects shall be compelled by the
priest, in exercise of his office, to pay the due without
10. No layman shall prefer a priest to a benefice, nor
deprive him, without the bishop's consent. But the bishop


shall not refuse to institute any one who is duly qualified;
nor admit any priest who is not fit.
11. In cemeteries which belong to churches, whether in
cities, castles, or burghs, the bishops shall retain whatever
rights they had in the time of Count Robert, or with the
consent of King William.
12. As for the cemeteries in the marches, if there be war,
and any persons come to dwell there while hostilities con-
tinue, and making the sacred inclosure their habitation on
account of the war, the bishop shall amerce them in no fine
except such as they incurred before they took refuge in the
churchyard. When peace is restored, those who thus sought
an asylum during the war shall be compelled to depart, or
shall become subject to the bishop's jurisdiction. Those
however who had ancient dwellings in the cemeteries, shall
possess their former holdings without disturbance.
13. The country churches shall preserve the same extent
of cemeteries which belonged to them in the time of Count
Robert, or up to the period of the present synod. The
bishops shall possess the same rights in those inclosures
which they had in the time of Count Robert, or now hold
with the consent of King William, unless they have given
any release for them with the king's permission.
14. If after this council a new church is built within any
village, the bishop shall make a cemetery with the concur-
rence of the lords of the soil and parishioners. But if a
new church is erected where there is no village, it shall have
five perches of land round it, allotted for a cemetery.
15. If a church be granted to monks, the priest who is
in possession of it shall enjoy whatever belonged to it before
it was given to the monks, and so much the more because
he is then connected with more holy men. On his death
or other avoidance, the abbot shall select a qualified
priest, and present him to the bishop, either in person or
by letters dimissory. If he is a fit person the bishop shall
institute him: but if the priest should wish to live with the
monks under their strict rule, let him see that the church
to which he has been instituted by episcopal licence, be
decently provided with vestments, books, and other things
necessary for divine service, according to its means. But if


the priest has no desire to live with the monks, let the
abbot make him such allowance from the revenues of the
church as will enable him to live comfortably, and to per-
form properly the service of the church. If the abbot
refuse, let him be duly compelled by the bishop. The
priest who has the cure is to be under the jurisdiction of
his bishop, and shall pay him the dues belonging to his see.
What remains, the abbot may take for the use of his
monastery; let the same rules be observed with respect to
churches held by canons.
16. Profanation of churches and churchyards, as it has
been before decreed, and offences causing interruptions to
divine worship, shall be punished by fines inflicted by the
bishops. Assaults on the road to church shall be punished
in the same manner.
17. Item. If any person shall pursue another in a rage
into the churchyard or church.
18. Item. If any one ploughs or builds in the churchyard
without the bishop's licence.
19. If a clerk commits a robbery or rape, or strikes,
wounds, or kills any one, or engages m a duel, without the
bishop's license, or accepts a pledge of battle, or makes an
assault, or seizes anything unjustly, or is guilty of arson,
or any one in his service, or dwelling in the church-
yard; they shall be mulct by the bishop in a fine, in like
20. Item. If a clerk commits adultery or incest.
21. Item. If a priest forfeits his ministry.
22. Item. In the case of priests who neglect to attend the
23. Item. If any priest shall not pay the synod and
visitation fees at the appointed times.
24. Item. If a clerk shall give up the tonsure.
25. Item. If a monk or nun, not living under any rule,
put off the monastic dress.
26. Item. If priests excommunicate any persona, except
for breaking the truce of God, and robbery without the
bishop's licence.
27. If any stray cattle, commonly called waifs, come to
the yard of the priest, or of a clerk living in the churchyard,
they shall belong to the church or the bishop.


28. Whatever is left through a dispute, in the house of a
priest or a clerk, or in the yard of the priest or clerk or their
servant, shall belong to the bishop.
29. If any thing is lost and found in the church or church-
yard, it shall belong to the bishop.
30. If any one shall assault or strike a priest, monk, or
nun, or shall seize them, or slay them, or burn their houses in
the churchyard, he shall be mulcted in the same way.
31. Item. If any man commits adultery or incest with his
mother, or his godmother, or his daughter.
32. Item. If a woman does the like. '
33. Item. If a husband divorces his wife, or a wife her
husband without the bishop's licence.
34. Item. If any one consults ghosts, or has dealings with
35. Item. If any one repudiates or denies a crime with
which he is charged, and is convicted by the ordeal of hot
iron, unless during the Peace of God.
36. Item. As to any one who, in contempt of a sentence,
suffers himself to be excommunicated.
37. The offences of parishioners which belong to the juris-
diction of the bishop, shall, where such is the custom, be
judged by the bishop.
38. If a sentence be disputed, let it be decided in the
bishop's presence.
39. If the ordeal by hot iron be sentenced, let it take
place in the mother church.
40. If the law is to be made clear, let it be done where
the plea was first commenced.
41. No one is allowed to preach in a bishop's diocese
without his license.
42. Whoever falls into these delinquences, and voluntarily
offers to do penance, shall have it assigned him according to,
the nature of his offence, and no fine shall be exacted.
43. If a layman commits a robbery in the churchyard, he
shall be mulct to the bishop; if the robbery is committed
elsewhere, whatever be its nature, the bishop shall have
44. The bishops shall have their customary dues in those
places in which they possessed them in the time of Count
Robert, or now have them with the consent of King


William. Those which have been released shall have the
freedom which they have maintained till now. In all these
jurisdictions and customary rights, the king retains in his
own power what he has hitherto possessed.
45. If a priest disputes his lord's judgment for some
ecclesiastical cause, and unjustly wearies him by proceedings
in the bishop's court, he shall pay a fine of ten shillings to
tae lord.
46. If the bishops can prove in the king's court that they
possessed in the time of Count Robert or of King William,
with his consent, any thing which is not here mentioned, the
king does not deprive them of their right, only let them not
take seizin of it until they have shown in his court what it
is they claim. Likewise, the king, by this instrument,
takes none of their rights from the laity which they can
prove in his court to belong to them and not to the
bishops; only let them not disseize the bishops, until they
have proved in the king's court that the bishops ought not
to have it.
Thin synod wits held at- a royal country-seat on the Seine,
where once stood an ancient city called Caletus. From
which the neighbouring district from the sea, to Talon is
still called Caux. This city, as we read 'in ancient
annals of the Romans, was besieged by Julius Caesar, and
was destroyed on account of the obstinate defence made by
the warlike inhabitants. Having reduced the enemy in this
place to submit to his will, he was so struck with the
advantageous site, that he took the precaution of making it
a Roman garrison, and called it after his own name Julia
Bona, which the barbarians corrupted into the name it now
bears, of Lillebonne.

Ch. VI. Description and antiquities of the city of Rouen--
The mission and martyrdom of St. Nicaisius.

CAESAR, having over-run the whole of Neustria, commanded
the city of Rouen to be built in a desirable situation on the
river Seine, where, to the east of the place the rivers


Aubette and Robec, and on the west, the Maromme, form a
,junction with the Seine. It was called by its founders
Rodomus, signifying the house of the Romans. and became
the station of a Roman legion, to overawe and command the
provincials in the neighbourhood.
The city of Rouen is populous, and enriched by commerce,
its busy port, and flowing rivers, and pleasant meadows,
making it a cheerful residence. It abounds in fruits and fish,
and is affluent in its supplies of all commodities, is
surrounded on all sides by woods and hills, is strongly
fortified by walls, trenches, and bulwarks, and its public and
private buildings, its houses and churches, make a fine
appearance. St. Nicaisius the bishop, was commissioned to
come to this city with his companions by St. Denys, in the
time of the Emperor Domitian, but on the road he was
arrested by Sisinnius Fescenninus, at a place called Scamnis,
and remaining constant in the faith of Christ was beheaded,
as well as Quirinus the priest, and Scuviculus the deacon,
on the fifth of the ides [11th] of October. Their bodies
were left by their persecutors to be devoured by birds of
prey-, dogs, and wild beasts, but by command of the
Almighty God, angels preserved them untouched. The
heathen guards being withdrawn the night following, the
holy martyrs miraculously arose by God's help, and having
replaced their heads, crossed the river Epte by a ford
unknown to man, and reposed themselves on a pleasant islet
in that river. The place has been called, in memory of the
saints, from that day to the present Vani, that is the ford of
Nicaisius; and there the Almighty conferred many good
gifts on those who asked in faith, for the merits of the
martyrs. Its former heathenism long held, possession of
Rouen, after the martyrdom of its missionary, and filled it
with idolatrous abominations until the time of St. Mellon
the archbishop.


Duke William and Gunhard, archbishop.
of Rouen, both died in the year of our Lord 942, when
Louis d'Outremer was king of France.
41. "Hugh' succeeded Gunhard; a violator of the law of
God, a prelate of illustrious birth, but who failed to be
illuminated by the light of Christ." He held the bishopric
forty-seven years, but is not spoken of in terms of praise by
any of the writers who have given accounts of him and his


predecessors. Indeed, they plainly intimate that he was a
monk by his habit only, and not by his conduct. In his
time, Marinus, Agapete, Octavian, Leo, Benedict, and John,
filled the apostolical see; and the kingdoms of the world
were agitated by great revolutions. King Lewis got
possession of Rouen, and, taking Richard the duke captive
by surprise, brought him to Laon, and there threw him into
prison; but by God's providence and the prudence of
Osmond, his guardian, he made his escape. Then Harold,
king of Denmark, at the instance of Bernard, the Dane,
landed in Normandy at the head of an army to punish King
Lewis for the murder of William Long-sword. A battle
was fought on the river Dive, in which Herluin, count of
Montreuil, with his brother Lambert, and sixteen other
French counts wore slain, and Lewis was taken prisoner and
sent captive to the tower of Rouen. Gerberg, queen of
France, who was daughter of Henry, the Trans-Rhenish
emperor, made peace with the Normans, by the advice of
Hugh the Great, giving as hostages fur the observance of the
treaty her son Lothaire and two bishops, Hilderic of
Beauvais, and Guy of Soissons. In consequence, the king
was set at liberty, and the Count Richard, the father of his
country, was established in power. The emperor Otho
over-ran Italy; Stephen and Constantine, the sons of
Romanus, deposed their father Romanus from the throne of
Constantinople, but Constantine expelled them in turn, and,
having associated his son Romanus in the government, they
reigned sixteen years, and were succeeded by the Emperor
Nicephorus. Ludolf, son of King Otho, died, after having
subdued Italy, and Otho, an infant, was raised to the
throne at Aix-la-Chapelle. Nicephorus, having been
murdered by his wife, was succeeded by John, whose niece
w-as married to the Emperor Otho. In England, King
Edmund was traitorously murdered in the sixth year of his
reign, and his brother Edred was raised to the throne. At
his death, Edgar, Edmund's son, succeeded, and during a
long reign rendered great services to the people and the
church. At that time, Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury,


and Oswald, of York, with Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester,
ruled the church with great lustre; and, by their care and
exertions, seconded by the favour and assistance of King
Edgar, twenty-six abbeys were erected in England. After
the death of Lewis, his son Lothaire reigned six years.
He was the last of the race of Charlemagne who eat on the
throne of France: for Charles, and the other sons of King
Lothaire were placed in confinement, and Hugh the Great,
sun of Hugh the Great, was elected king.
42. " Robert, an eminent prelate, of most illustrious
origin, after governing happily, ended his days devoutly."
He was son of Duke Richard the Elder by Gunner, and
was for forty-eight years archbishop of Rouen and count of
Evreux, in the time of Robert, king of France, and his son
Henry. During that period Agapete and Silvester
[Gerbert], John and Benedict, and another John and
Benedict, filled the see of Rome. Otho, Henry, and
Conrad, were emperors in lawful succession. Archbishop
Robert was amply endowed with the goods of this world,
and took a deep interest in the secular affairs of his city, nor
did he observe the continence which was becoming his order.
For, in his character of count, he took a wife named
Harleve; by whom he had three sons, Richard, Ralph, and
William, to whom he bequeathed his county of Evreux, and
his other ample honours and possessions, according to the
secular laws. But, as he advanced in years, be became
sensible of his errors, and repenting of them was struck
with alarm at his many and great offences. He therefore
distributed alms largely to the poor, and began to rebuild
from the foundations the cathedral church of Rouen,
dedicated to the holy mother of God; and he completed a
considerable part of the new erection. Richard IL, duke
of Normandy, governed the province thirty years with
signal success. He was a great friend to the poor in
Christ, the clergy and monks, treating them as a father, and
augmented and protected three monasteries which his


father had founded, viz., that of Fecamp, St. Ouen in the
suburbs of Rouen, and St. Michael-in-peril-of-the-Sea. He
also restored the abbey of Fontenelles. and ratified by lira
charter all the endowments made in its favour by Turstin,
and Gerard Fleitel, and other barons. At his death he
bequeathed his dominions to his sons Richard the younger
and Robert, who did not enjoy their honours more than nine
years. For Richard III. was taken off by poison before two
years were over, and after seven years and a half, his
brother Robert undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. On
quitting his country never to return, he left the dukedom to
his son William, a boy eight years old, appointing his
cousin Alan count of Brittany to be his guardian. At
this time, Alfred and Edward, the young English princes,
became exiles in Normandy; for Richard II. had given his
sister in marriage to Ethelred Icing of England, who had
by her Alfred, and Edward, who was afterwards king. That
princess after her husband's death sent her sons to
Normandy, and married Canute king of Denmark, to whom
she bore Hardicanute, king of Denmark and England, and
Gunilde who was married to Henry, emperor of the


43. " Mauger was still young when he was elevated to
the highest ecclesiastical rank: he was illustrious only for
his birth and not for his actions." He was the son of
Richard II. by his second wife named Papia, and governed
the see of Rouen eighteen years, in the times of popes
Clement, Damasus, and Leo, without the apostolic
benediction and the pallium. He was unbecomingly
addicted to the desires of the flesh, and involved in worldly
pursuits; he had a son named Michael, a brave and honest
knight, who is now in England in the decline of life, and
much beloved and honoured by King Henry. There were
at this time great commotions in the world, grievously
harassing and afflicting the nations. The Saracens
invading Sicily, Italy, and other Christian kingdoms,
carried fire, and sword, and rapine, into every quarter.
Manichetus, emperor of Constantinople, assembled the
imperial forces, and, after many disasters, attacked and
defeated the infidels, and delivered the frontiers of Christen-
dom from their ravages. He also translated the bones of
St. Agatha, virgin and martyr, and the relics of many other
saints from Sicily to Constantinople, that they might not be
profaned in fresh irruptions of the infidels. Diogenes
succeeding him, Osmund, Drengot, and Drogo, and other
Normans began to settle in Apulia, and to turn their arms
manfully against the Arabs and pseudo-Christians. In the


end, Robert Guiscard, after long hostilities, obtained, first
from Harduin the Lombard and his nephew Melo, and
afterwards from Pope Leo, a grant of Apulia, on condition
of his for ever defending it against the enemies of St.
Peter. By the help of God he bravely held it, extending'
his power into Sicily, Calabria, and Bulgaria, and be-
queathing his territories to his children as their hereditary
In Normandy many crimes were perpetrated at this time.
The Normans took o$' by poison Alan, count of Brittany,
their own duke's guardian, and defeated his successor,
Count Gislebert, in a bloody battle, the two nations
massacring each other incredibly in almost daily encounters.
Likewise, Turketil de Neufmarche, and Roger de Toni, and
Osbern, steward of Normandy, and William and Hugh, the
two sons of Roger de Montgomery, and Robert de
Beaumont, Walkelin de Ferrers, and Hugh de Montfort,
and many other powerful knights, made war on each other
in turn, causing great confusion and distress in the country,
which was now deprived of its natural protectors.


In England, on the death of King Hardicanute, Edward,
his half-brother succeeded, and reigned worthily and
prosperously twenty-three years. In Brittany, Eudes
succeeded his brother Alan, and held his principality for
fifteen years as freely as if be owed no fealty to a superior
lord. God also gave him seven sons, who became remark-
able for the singular and changeable events of their lives.
The studious might compose a long and pleasing history,
from true accounts of their various fortunes.
44. " Maurilius, a prelate enlightened with sound learn-
ing, and of exemplary life, was no less distinguished by his
good deeds." A native of Mayence, he had governed a
monastery at Florence, with the rank of abbot, but exposing
himself to the hatred of offenders by the severity of his
discipline, he detected them in mixing poison m some
beverage which was offered to him. Upon this, he imitated
the example of the most holy father and doctor, St.
Benedict, and, leaving those incorrigible sinners, accom-
panied his countryman Gerbert a learned and pious monk, to
Normandy, where be came to Fecamp in the time of Abbot
John, and chose that house dedicated to the worship of the
holy and undivided Trinity for his fixed abode. Some time
afterwards he was taken from thence and raised by a


canonical election, on the deposition of Mauger, to the
metropolitan throne of Rouen. He filled it for twelve years,
in the times of popes Victor, Stephen, Nicholas, and
Alexander, and consecrated the metropolitan church in the
ninth year of his episcopate. He removed with great

ceremony the bodies of the dukes Rollo and William into
the new church he dedicated, depositing the remains of

Rollo near the south door, and those of Duke William
within the north door, and caused their epitaphs to be
inscribed in letters of gold. This is the inscription on
Rollo's tomb :-

ROLLO the brave lies buried here,
A name to Normans ever dear;
They glory on this tomb to see
His style of Duke of Normandy.
In battle's front his followers' shield,
His sword made boldest foeman yield:
In the far north his ancient sires,
From whom he breathed his martial fires,
To king or lord ne'er bowed the knee,
But held their lands from service free.
And first he fleshed his maiden sword,
With bands obedient to his word,
On kindred Danes, whose numerous hosts
Before him hushed their warlike boasts.
Then Hainault's sand, and Frisia's fen,
And coast of marshy Walcheren
Poured forth their mingled bands to feel
The terrors of the Northmen's steel;
But Frisons, spite their neighbours aid,
Their tribute and their homage paid.
From firths and islets of the north,
Again he launched his galleys forth,
And boldly sailing o'er the main,
Burst like a tempest on the Seine.
The plains of Franca were stained with gore,
Her bravest sons he backward bore;


Now Bayeux yielded to his arms,
And sweeping on with war's alarms
In the full tide of victory,
Twice regal Paris groaned to see
The Northmen thundering at her gates.
For thirty years the cruel fates
Gave France to rapine, sword, and fire,
Till helpless Charles the conqueror's ire
Soothed by his gifts, to stay the strife,
A province and n royal wife.
Then the fierce heathen humbly bent
Before the Christian sacrament ;
And Franco on that happy day
Washed in the font his sins away.
The savage wolf a lamb became,
May God, propitious, cleanse his shame !

A funeral elegy was engraved in letters of gold on the
tomb of William Long-sword, which stands on the north

DUKE WILLIAM'S friends who dared assail ?
Against his arena who could prevail !
Princes and kings his will obeyed,
Imperial Henry's mind he swayed.
Five times five years his skill and might
The Normans led through field and fight.
He reared Jumieges's mouldering towers,
And raised again her cloistered bowers;
While to her shades his willing feet,
Fain would have turned in habit meet,
And, heaven-taught, in that holy school,
Submitted to St. Bennett's rule.
But wiser MARTIN checked his zeal,
And bade him seek his country's weal.
'Twas not for him in peaceful cell
With pious anchorites to dwell,
But still in arena to spend his life,
And end it by the assassin's knife,
Where on the Somme's translucent stream
An islet's shadows softly gleam
Arnold the Fleming planned the deed.
May heavenly grace the victim speed
In the last awful day of need !


In the year of our Lord 1063, in the month of October, in
the second indiction, Archbishop Maurilius consecrated with
great ceremony the metropolitan church of St. Mary, mother
of God, in the city of Rouen, which Robert had begun.
This was the eighth year of the reign of the emperor Henry
IV., and the fourth of that of Philip, eon of Henry king of
France. The same year the Normans obtained possession
of the city of Mans. It was also the tenth year from the
battle of Mortemer, and the seventeenth from that fought
between William and Guy at Vales-dunes. At the same
time Michael drove his father-in-law Diogenes from the
imperial throne at Constantinople, and seized the crown
which he not long afterwards disgracefully lost. In
England, there was great dissension on the death of King
Edward, Harold, the perjured son of Godwin, who had no
claim to royal blood, having usurped the throne by fraud
acid violence.

History's ancient annals fix
The year one thousand sixty-six
(Then a fiery comet whirled,
Dreadful omen, round the world),
As the time when England's lord
Fell before the Norman's sword.

The same year the battle of Senlac was fought, in which
Harold was slain. It was on the second of the ides [14th]
of October that William obtained this victory, and he was
crowned on the following Christmas day.
45. " John, raised to the see of Rouen, was a vigilant
pastor, and studied to observe the lessons of the apostolical
law." He was the son of Ralph, count de Bayeux, and
laving been originally bishop of Avranches, was elevated to
the primacy, which he held for ten years in the time of
popes Alexander and Gregory VII
46. " Next, William, a prelate of high birth and great
benevolence, canonically governed the people of Rouen."


He was the second abbot of Caen, from whence he was
removed to the archbishopric, which he filled thirty-two
years. in the time of popes Gregory, Victor, Urban, and
Paschal. He buried King William and his queen Matilda
at Caen. Their son Robert succeeded to the duchy of
Normandy, and William to the kingdom of England.
In the year of our Lord 1095, there was a great drought
and mortality, and falling stars were seen in the heavens on
a night in the month of May. Pope Urban held a great
council at Clermont, and preached the crusade to Jerusalem
against the infidels. At the same time there was a severe
famine in France. In the year of our Lord 1099, the
seventh indiction, Jerusalem was taken by the holy pilgrims,
the infidels who had long held it being conquered ; and the
abbey church of St. Evroult at Ouche was consecrated on
the ides [13th] of November. The year following, William
Rufus, king of England, was pierced by an arrow in
hunting, and died on the 4th of the nones [2nd] of August.
He was buried at Winchester, and his brother Henry
ascended the throne, and was crowned at London on the
nones [5th] of August. It is now the twenty-seventh
year since he began his reign. By God's providence, he
has enjoyed a full share of worldly prosperity, mixed
however with some adverse events among his family and
friends, arising from disturbances among his subjects.
Philip, king of France, died, after a reign of forty-eight
veers, and his son Lewis succeeded in the ninth year of
King Henry.
47. " The Breton, Geoffrey, wise, eloquent, and severe,
raised to the highest episcopal rank, fed the people with
spiritual food." He had been dean of the church of Mans,
in the time of the venerable bishops Hoel and Hildebert,
and becoming the forty-seventh metropolitan of Rouen, has


now governed the church seventeen years. in the time of
popes Paschal, Gelasius, Calixtus, and Honorius. Henry I,
and Lothaire, governed the Latins, and Alexius and John,
his son, the Greeks. During this period many memorable
events occurred in the world, which my pen will have to
record faithfully in their several places, for the information
of posterity, if my life is spared and attended by divine
goodness and mercy.
Kind reader, I entreat your indulgence, now that I am
about to resume the regular thread of my narrative. I
have made a long digression while giving an account of the
archbishops of Rouen, as I was extremely desirous to put
on record, in full detail, their continuous succession for the
benefit of those who come after us. For this reason I have
traced the annals of nearly eight hundred years, and have
enumerated the whole series of Roman apostles. from Pope
Eusebius to Lambert of Ostia, who, under the name of
Honorius, now fills the apostolic see. I have also inserted
in any work the names of all the emperors, from Constan-
tine the Great, the founder of Constantinople, to John, the
son of Alexius, the reigning emperor there. and to Lothaire,
the Saxon, who is now emperor of the Romans. I shall
now return to my own times and to my own country, and
endeavour to relate what happened in Normandy under
King William, after the council of Lillebonne.

Ch. X. Quarrels between William I. and his eldest son--
Robert leaves his father's court--William besieges him in
Gerberoi--They are reconciled for a time--Robert finally
separates from his father.

[A.D. 1077?] A set of factious young men took advantage


of the inexperience of the king's son Robert, by continually
flattering him, and urging him to fruitless enterprises.
Their language was of the following description: " Most
illustrious son of the king, how is it that you are suffered
to live in such extreme indigence ? Your father's courtiers
so securely guard the treasury that you can scarcely extract
a penny from it to serve a friend. It is a great disgrace to
you, as well as loss to us and to many more, that you are
thus excluded from all share in the royal wealth. Why do
you submit to this ? He it is who deserves to have money,
who has the heart to distribute it freely among those who
ask it. Alas! your great liberality is miserably curtailed
by the poverty to which your father's parsimony restricts
you; and, not content with choosing his own attendants, he
imposes upon you men of his own choice for yours. How
long, brave prince, will you bear this ? Rouse yourself
manfully, and demand from your father a share of the
kingdom of England, or at least claim the duchy of Nor-
mandy, which he long ago granted you in the presence
of a numerous assemblage of the barons, who are ready to
support you. It does not become you to submit any
longer to be lorded over by those who are born to be your
servants, and to have your demands for your hereditary
domains rejected, as if you were a stranger and a mendicant.
If your father agrees, and grants your request, your natural
spirit and incomparable goodness will be magnificently dis-
played. But if; on the other hand, he persists in his
obstinacy, and, giving way to his avarice, refuses you the
dominions which are your right, assume the lion's part, drive
from your presence those who are a disgrace to you while
they serve you, and rely on the counsels and support of


your friends. Depend upon it, you will find us ready to
second all your wishes."
Prince Robert, listening like a raw youth to speeches of
thin sort, had his wrath and ambition violently inflamed, so
that he went to his father and said: "My lord the king,
put me in possession of Normandy, which you granted me
long ago, before you crossed the sea to make war on
Harold." To which the king replied: " What you ask,
my son, is not convenient. It was by Norman valour that
I made the conquest of England. Normandy is mine by
hereditary descent, and I will never, while I live, relinquish
the government." Robert then said: " But what am I to
do, what have I to bestow on my followers?" His father
answered: " Be obedient to me m all things, as becomes
you, and be wisely content to share my power in all my
dominions, as a son under his father." But Robert re-
torted: "I am not content to act for ever the part of a
mercenary. I desire to have an establishment of my own,
that I may be able worthily to recompense my attendants
for their services. I therefore pray you give up to me the
dukedom which is my own, that while you are king of
England, I may be duke of Normandy, but subject always
to fealty to you." But the king replied: " What you ask,
my son, is quite preposterous. It is shameful to wish to
deprive your father of the dominions, which, if you are
worthy, you will receive from him in due course, with the
willing assent of the people and the blessing of God.
Choose good advisers, and drive from your presence the
rash young men who imprudently tempt and urge you to
criminal enterprises. Remember what Absalom did; how
he rebelled against his father David, and how ill it turned
out, not only to himself but to Ahitophel and Amass, and
his other councillors and abettors. The Normans, always
restless, are eagerly longing for some disturbance. They
are endeavouring to incite you to some absurd attempt, in
order that in the confusion which would ensue, they may
give the reins to their own insubordinate desires, and
commit evil with impunity. Do not listen to the persua-


aions of a parcel of headstrong youths, but be advised by
the archbishops William and Lanfranc, and other men of
wisdom, and experienced nobles. If you carefully attend
to what I say to you, you will in the end be glad of your
good conduct. But if; on the other hand, you follow the
example of Rehoboam, who treated with contempt the
counsels of Benaiah and other wise men, and suffer yourself
to be led by these foolish youths, you will long suffer to
your own cost the humiliation and contempt which he
experienced before his own people and strangers." Robert
then said: " My lord the king, I did not come here to hear
speeches, of which I have had enough, and more than
enough, to my infinite disgust from my teachers of grammar;
answer me plainly concerning the dominion which is my
right, that I may know what I have to do. One thing I am
resolved on, and I wish every one to know it, that I will no
longer do service to any one in Normandy in the mean
condition of a dependant."
The king was greatly incensed at this language, and re-
plied: " I have already told you plainly enough, and I have
no hesitation in most distinctly informing you that I will
never suffer my native land of Normandy to pass out of my
hands as long as I live. Nor will I, neither is it advisable
that I should, during my life, divide the kingdom of Eng-
land which I have acquired by immense exertions; for, as
our Lord says in the gospel, 'Every kingdom divided against
itself is brought to desolation.' He who gave me the king-
dom will dispose of it according to his will. I wish it to be
understood by all as my fixed purpose that, so long as I live,
I will not abdicate my prerogative in favour of any one, and
no human being shall share my kingdom. The consecrated
crown was solemnly placed on my head by Christ's repre-
sentatives, and the royal sceptre of Albion was given to me
alone to bear. It is therefore unbecoming, and altogether
unjust, that while life remains, I should suffer any one to
become my equal or my superior within my dominions."
Upon hearing his father's irrevocable determination, Robert
said: " Compelled, like Polynices the Theban, to betake my-
self to a foreign land, henceforth I shall serve strangers, and
see whether by fortune's favour I cannot gain in exile those


honours and advantages which are shamefully withheld from
me in my father's house. Would that it may be mine to
find a prince like the old Adrastes, to whom I can cheerfully
offer the tribute of my faithful service, and from whom I
may receive a grateful acknowledgment.
Having said this, Robert left his father's presence in
great anger, and departed from Normandy. There went
with him Robert de Belesme, William de Breteuil, Roger,
son of Richard de Bienfaite, Robert de Moubray, William
de Molines, William de Rupierre, and several others of high
birth and chivalrous courage, swelling with pride, terrible m
their fierce encounters with enemies, and ready to undertake
any enterprise however formidable or unjust. At the head
of a band of such associates, the young Robert wandered in
foreign lands for five years to no purpose! He had already
freely distributed among them his private patrimony, making
vain promises of aggrandizing their possessions. On their
part they exalted his hopes by empty professions; and they
thus mutually deceived each other by. false representations.
When Robert first quitted his nature land, he joined his
uncle Robert the Frisian, count of Flanders, and his brother
Dudes, who was archbishop of Treves. He afterwards
visited other noble kinsmen, dukes, counts, and powerful
lords of castles in Lorraine, Germany, Aquitaine, and Gas-
cony. To these he stated his grievances, in which he often
mixed falsehood with truth. Many listened readily to his
complaints, and the higher nobles made him liberal presents;
but he foolishly lavished on jugglers, parasites, and harlots,
the supplies he received from his generous friends. When
they were thus improvidently spent, he was compelled by
his extreme necessities to have recourse to begging, and, an


exile and poor, he sought loans of money from foreign
Queen Matilda, compassionating her son's distresses with
a mother's tenderness, often sent him, without the know-
ledge of her husband, large sums of gold and silver, and
other things of value. The king, discovering this, forbade
her with terrible threats from continuing to do so; but
finding shortly afterwards that she contumaciously repeated
the offence, he acid to her, in great wrath, "A wise man
remarked truly, as I myself have reason to find, that-

' A faithless woman is her husband's bane.

Who in the world can henceforth reckon on finding a mis-
tress who will be faithful and devoted to him ? Behold my
own wife, whom I love as my very soul, and who is entrusted
by me with my treasures and jurisdiction through my whole
dominions, succours my enemies who are plotting against
my life, enriches them with my wealth, carefully supplies
them with arms to attack me, and abets and strengthens
them in every way." To this Matilda replied: " Do not
wonder, I pray you, my lord, that I have a tender affection
for my first-born son. By the power of the Most High. if
my Robert was dead, and buried seven feet in the earth out
of the eight of living men, and I could bring him to life at
the expense of my own blood, I would freely shed it for
him, and I would undergo sufferings greater than can be
expected from female weakness. How can you suppose that
I can take any delight in the abundance of wealth, while I
suffer my son to be crushed by the extremity of want and
distress ? Far from me be such hardness of heart, nor
should you, in the fulness of your power, lay such an injunc-
tion upon me."
At hearing this the stern prince turned pale, and he
became so enraged that he ordered one of the queen's
messengers, whose name was Samson, a Breton by birth, to
be apprehended, and to have his eyes forthwith put out.
However, learning the king's animosity by intelligence from
those the queen trusted, he made his escape to avoid the


barbarous command, and took refuge in all haste at the
abbey of St. Evroult. He was admitted, at the queen's
request, by Abbot Mainier, and entered on the monastic life
for the safety equally of his soul and body. He was
shrewd, talked well, was continent, and lived as a monk
twenty-six years.
At this time there lived in some part of the Teutonic
country a hermit, who was a devout and holy man, and
among his other gifts and graces had the spirit of prophecy.
To this man, Queen Matilda sent messengers and presents,
earnestly entreating him to pray for her husband and her
son Robert, and besides to send her a prediction of what
would happen to them in time to come. The hermit gra-
ciously received the messenger of so great a queen, and
begged time to the third day for making his reply. When
the third day dawned, he summoned the queen's envoys and
said to them: " Go, carry back this message from me to
your mistress. According to your request I have prayed to
God and have seen a vision, in which he revealed to me the
things I will relate to you. I saw a certain meadow, beau-
tifully clothed with grass and flowers, and in it there was a
fierce horse feeding. Herds of cattle stood all round, keenly
desiring to graze m the meadow, but the wild horse drove
them away, not suffering any animal to come there and crop
the grass and the flowers. Unfortunately, the stately and
high-bred horse suddenly disappeared, and a lascivious heifer
undertook the guardianship of the luxuriant meadow. Forth-
with, the whole herd of animals which stood outside ran
freely in, and depasturing the meadow in every part, de-
stroyed all its former beauty, without fear of its guardian,
treading it under foot, and defiling it with their dung. On
seeing this I was much astonished, and asked my conductor
what it meant. He therefore explained the whole, saying
' The meadow which you behold is Normandy, and the grass
is the multitude of people, living in peace and in abundance
of all things. The flowers represent the churches, where
are to be found the chaste companies of the monks and
clergy and nuns, and where faithful souls are continually
engaged in holy contemplations. The unbridled horse sig-
nifies William, king of the English, under whose protection


the sacred orders of the devout securely war for the king
of angels. The greedy animals which stand around are the
Franks, the Bretons, and the men of Picardy and Anjou,
and other neighbouring people, who are jealous of the pros-
perity of Normandy, and are ready to pounce upon its
resources, like wolves on their prey, but are repelled by the
unconquerable might of King William. But when, accord-
ing to the laws of human nature, he shall be taken away,
his son Robert will succeed him in the dukedom of Nor-
mandy. Then her enemies will gather around her on all
aides, and, as she will have lost her protector, they will
invade her rich and noble territory, despoil her of her
honour and her wealth, and holding in contempt her weak
ruler, nefariously tread under foot the whole country. He,
like the lascivious heifer, will abandon himself to lust and
sloth, and set others the example of plundering the property
of the church, and spending it on filthy pimps and lechers.
To such he will give up his dominions, and they will be his
counsellors in his urgent necessities. In the dukedom of
Robert, favourites and effeminate persons will bear rule,
and under their government crime and misery will abound.
The cities and villages will be burnt, and the churches of
the saints shamefully profaned. The societies of the faith-
ful, of both sexes, will be dispersed, and thousands of
human beings will perish by fire and sword, many of them
unabsolved and without the last sacraments, so that for
their sins they will be plunged at once into the bottomless
pit. Such calamities will fall upon Normandy, and as of
old she was enormously puffed up, as the conqueror of
neighbouring nations, so under a lax and debauched prince,
she will be held in contempt, and will be long and miserably,
exposed to the arms of her enemies. The weak duke will
have only the name of prince, while in truth rogues will
have the rule, both over him and the distracted province, to
the general loss. Such was the vision which I lately had
in answer to my prayers, and such the explanation which
my spiritual guide gave of it. But you, venerable lady, will
not witness the calamities with which Normandy is threat-


ened; for, after a good confession, you will die in peace, and
neither behold your husband's death, nor the misfortunes of
your son, nor the desolation of your beloved country."
Having received this message from the hermit, the messen-
gers returned and related to the queen the prophecy in
which good was mired with evil. The men of the succeeding
age, who were partakers in the disasters of Normandy and
saw the fires and other ravages, found to their cost that the
prophecy of the horrible calamities and destruction which
awaited them was but too true.
At last, after many useless peregrinations, Robert began
to repent of his folly, but still he was unwilling to return
frankly to his incensed father whom he had so inconsiderately
left. He therefore repaired to his cousin Philip, king of
France, and earnestly entreated him to render him aid. He
was well received, and the castle of Gerberoi assigned to him
for his residence, because it stands in the Beauvais on the
borders of Normandy, and is a very strong fortress
both from its site and its walls and other defences. Elias
the vidame, and his fellow governor of the castle, received
the royal exile with great good-will, promising all sorts of
succour to him and fns followers. For it is the custom of
that castle that it has two equal lords. and that all
fugitives are harboured there from whatever quarter they
come. Robert collected in this place a troop of horse,
promising them and the barons of France who flocked about
him, in return for their assistance, more than he could ever
perform. Many evils ensued from this arrangement, the
eons of perdition taking arms and devising mischief against
the peaceable and defenceless, and contriving endless iniqui-
ties. Numbers who to all appearance had been peaceably
inclined, and gave good words to the king and his adherents,
now unexpectedly joined the enemies of the state, betraying
their kinsfolk and lords to the disinherited exiles. Thus Nor-
mandy had more to suffer from her own people than from
strangers, and was ruined by intestine disorders.
Meanwhile, the undaunted king had levied numerous bodies
of troops with prudent forethought and quartered them in
the castles of his own province which stood nearest the


enemy's borders, making head against his adversaries in all
quarters, and suffering no one to make inroads on his
territories with impunity. He was also much annoyed that
his enemies had chosen a post so near his own frontier,
nor would he submit to it any longer without a sharp
contention. He therefore, although it was mid-winter,
assembled his mailed troops, as soon as Christmas was
past, and paid a visit to the enemies' quarters at Gerberoy
from which he had received threatening messages; and for
three weeks he besieged the garrison with great vigour. The
chiefs on both sides had frequent encounters, and often chal-
lenged each other to the conflict with a select number of
followers chosen for their bravery and skill in arms. On one
aide the Normans, with the English and the king's auxiliaries
from the immediate neighbourhood, made fierce onslaughts,
on the other, the French and King William's enemies on
the borders, who took the side of Robert, made a desperate
resistance. In these conflicts many were unhorsed, horses
were killed, and the combatants suffered considerable losses.
The king having returned to Rouen, his faithful coun-
sellors took into consideration the means of reconciling the
father and son. With this view Roger, earl of Shrewsbury,
Hugh de Gournay and Hugh Grantmesnil, Roger de Beau-
mont, with his sons Robert and Henry. and many others
assembled. They addressed the king in the following
terms : " Great king, we humbly approach your highness,
beseeching you favourably to receive our supplications.
Your son Robert has been led astray by the pernicious
advice of evil counsellors, from which violent dissentions
and much mischief have arisen. He now repents of his


errors, but he cannot venture to approach your presence
without receiving your commands. He humbly implores
your clemency to take pity on him, and he seeks to obtain
your favour through our interference, who are your devoted
subjects. He acknowledges himself to be guilty of many
and grave offences, but he confesses them, and promises to
conduct himself batter in future. We all, therefore, join in
imploring your clemency to extend your gracious pardon to
your repentant son. Correct your erring child, permit him
to return home, and mercifully accept his penitence." The
assembled nobles also earnestly interceded with the king on
behalf of their sons, brothers, and kinsmen, who accom-
panied Robert in his exile. The king replied to them as
follows : "I am surprised that you so earnestly plead the
cause of a traitor, who has dared to make a most infamous
attempt on the peace of my dominions. He has stirred up
intestine disturbances against me, and seduced the flower of
my young nobility whom I myself have educated and in-
vested with the ensigns of chivalry. He has also brought
on me Hugh de Chateauneuf, and other foreign enemies.
Which of my predecessors, from the time of Rollo, has
been subjected to such a conflict on the part of his sons as
I have ? Kook at William, the son of the great Rollo, and
the three Richards, successively dukes of Normandy, and
my own father Robert, and sea how faithfully they obeyed
their fathers to the hour of their death. This youth en-
deavoured to wrest from me the dukedom of Normandy and
the earldom of Maine, and he has formed against me a
powerful combination of the French, the people of Anjou
and Aquitaine, and many others. If it were m his power
he would arm the whole race of mankind against me,
and put me, and yourselves too, to the sword. According
to the law of God given by Moses, he is worthy of death
his offence is like that of Absalom, and should meet with
the same punishment."
Still the nobles of Normandy had frequent conferences


with the king, and endeavoured to mollify his resentment
by gentle remonstrances and entreaties. The bishops, also,
and other men of religion, tried to soften the hardness of his
heart by lessons drawn from the word of God. The queen,
also, and the envoys of the king of France, and the neigh-
bouring nobles who were in alliance with him, used their
efforts to restore peace. At last the stern prince, giving
way to the entreaties of so many persons of rank, and
moved likewise by natural affection, was reconciled to his
son, and those who had been leagued with him. He also,
with the concurrence of his nobles, ratified and renewed the
grant which he had made to him, when he was sick at
Bonneville. of the succession to the duchy of Normandy
after his own death. The restoration of peace caused great
joy to the people of Normandy and Maine, who had now
grievously suffered for many years from the calamities of
war. But this long-wished-for tranquillity, arising from the
reunion of father and son, was speedily overclouded. Far
the obstinate young prince was too proud to attend or obey
his father, and the passionate monarch often loaded him in
public with accusations and reproaches for his disobedience.
He, therefore, after a time, again left his father's courts ac-
companied by a small number of adherents; nor did he ever
return until his father on his death-bed sent Count Aubrey'


to him in France to invite him to take possession of the
duchy of Normandy.

Ch. XI. Account of the family of William I, particularly
his son Richard, killed when young, and his daughters.

IF William, though a father, sometimes cursed in his anger
his rebellious son, and wished him all sorts of evil for the
attempts which have been just related, his sons William and
Henry, who had been always dutiful, received his hearty
blessing. As for his son Richard, born after Robert, and
who had not yet received the honour of knighthood, while
he was hunting in the new forest not far from Winchester,
and running down a stag at full speed, he sustained a violent
blow on the pommel of the saddle from a stout hazel bough,
and was mortally injured. Receiving the same week the
supports of confession and absolution, and the last sacra-
ments, he shortly afterwards died to the great sorrow of
many of the English. William Rufus and Henry having
always been devoted to their father obtained his blessing,
and had for many years been advanced to the highest pitch
of power both in the kingdom and the duchy. His daughter
Agatha, who had been betrothed to Harold, was afterwards
demanded in marriage by Alphonzo, king of Galicia, and
delivered to his proxies to be conducted to him. But she,
who had lost her former spouse who was to her lilting, felt
extreme repugnance to marry another. The Englishman
she had seen and loved, but the Spaniard she was more
averse to because she had never set eyes on him. She,
therefore, fervently prayed to the Almighty that she might
never be carried into Spain, but that he would rather take
her to himself. Her prayers were heard, and she died a
virgin while she was on the road. Her corpse was brought


back by her attendants to her native country, and interred
in the church of St. Mary-ever-a-Virgin, at Bayeux. King
William's daughter Adeliza, who was very beautiful, when
she reached the age of marriage, piously devoted herself to
God, and made a holy end under the guardianship of Roger
de Beaumont. Constance was given amid great rejoicings
at Bayeux to Fergan, count of Brittany, son of the count of
Nantes; and she died in Brittany without leaving any
Stephen, palatine count de Blois. wishing to make a firm
alliance with King William, demanded his daughter Adela
in marriage, who, by the advice of his counsellors, gave his
consent, and they were united with great rejoicings. The
espousals took place at Breteuil, and the marriage was
celebrated at Chartres. Stephen was son of Theobald.
count palatine, and nephew of Berths, countess of Brittany
and Maine. His two most powerful counts were his
brothers Odo and Hugh, and he had four sons by his wife
first mentioned, William, Theobald, Stephen, and Henry,
the three first of whom are puissant lords, and rank with
the highest nobles of France and England. William, the


eldest, son-in-law and heir of Gillon de Sully, is a worthy,
quiet man, whose family and wealth make him powerful.
Theobald, who succeeded to the hereditary, states, is distin-
guished by his valour and merits. Stephen, who is son-in-
law and heir of Eustace, count de Boulogne, has had the earl-
dom of Moreton, in Normandy, and many English honours
conferred on him by his uncle king Henry' The fourth
son, Henry, was devoted from infancy to the service of the
church at the abbey of Cluny, and under the monastic rule
was fully instructed in sacred learning. Should he persist
in this religious life he will be an heir of the kingdom of
heaven, and present a memorable example of contempt for
the world to earthly princes. Let what I have shortly
noted respecting the decendants of King William since
for the present, for I am urged onward by an earnest
desire to complete my undertaking, and unceasingly
actuated by the determination to fulfil my promise.


CH. XII. Mainier, fourth abbot of. St. Evroult--Began the
new church--His administration--Men of rank become
monks--State of the church in Normandy after the con-
version of the Danes.

The eternal Disposer of all events impels by his power and
guides by his wisdom, his bark, the church, through the
storms of this world, and mercifully gives his daily support
to the labourers in his vineyard, strengthening thorn by his
holy inspirations for their toils and dangers. He thus
providentially guides his church among the tumults of wars
and battles, and secures its advancement in a variety of
ways. This has been most especially shown with respect
to the abbey of St. Evroult, which, though founded m a
poor country, and surrounded by worthless people, has been
defended by divine help against all the threats and malice
of its enemies. Abbot Mainier undertook the charge of
this abbey in the month of July, and has now presided
over it with great advantage twenty-two years and eight
months. He introduced into the Lord's fold ninety-two
monks, prudently selected to do his work; and diligently
instructed them how they ought to conduct themselves in
it. He also began to erect the new church, and suitable
houses for the residence of the monks, and by God's aid
completed them with all the beauty so desert a country per-
mitted. The good reports of their religious life raised the
abbey of St. Evroult to high honour, and gained them the
love of great numbers of persons of all ranks. Many
hastened there to connect themselves with this society, and
become worthy of partaking of its benefits in divine things.
They gave their worldly possessions in order to receive
heavenly ones from God.
Some, inflamed with divine love, entirely renounced the
world, resigning their wealth to the monastery, according to
the monastic rule, and enforcing on their friends and relations
similar conduct, by their advice and entreaties. Among


these were Roger de Sap and his brother Odo, Serlo de
Orgeres, Razso son of Ilbert, Odo of Dole, Geoffrey of
Orleans, and John of Rheims, and many more who were
both well imbued with learning and fit for God's service.
Some were men of high birth, and took charge of the exter-
nal affairs of the abbey. Among these, Drogo, son of
Geoffrey de Neuf-Marche' and Roger, son of Erneis de
Coutances, nephew of William Warrenne, and Arnold, son
of Humphrey de Tilleul, nephew by his sister of Hugh de
Grantmesnil, and the physician Goisbert, were men about
the court, through whose exertions lands, churches, and
tithes, were obtained for their brethren. Mainier did not
fail to make use of such supporters, and by their means
the abbey increased its advantages, its means, and its pious
This abbot chose for his assistant in the management of
the house Fulk de Guernanville, a clever and proper per-
son, to whom he committed the superintendence of the
monastery. He was son of Fulk, dean of Evreux, and
being full of zeal for his order, diligently seconded his
abbot in all things, besides inducing his father to enter the
abbey, and endow it with a great part of his patrimony.
The dean was one of the pupils of Fulbert, bishop of Chartres,
and held a knight's fee by inheritance from his father.
According to the custom of that period, he had a noble
partner. whose name was Orielde, who bore him a numerous
offspring. Ho had eight sons and two daughters, whose
names are as follows: Warin, Christian, Ralph, William,
Fulk, Fromont, Hubert, and Walter, surnamed Tyrrel;
Avise, and Adelaide. At this time, and ever since the com-


ing in of the Normans, the celibacy of the clergy was so
little preserved, that not only priests, but even bishops,
used freely the beds of concubines, and openly boasted of
their numerous families of sons and daughters. This cus-
tom generally prevailed among the neophites who were
baptized at the same time as Rollo, and who took posses-
sion of the unpopulated country, not versed in letters but
in arms. These priests of Danish origin, with very little
learning, obtained possession of the parishes, and were
always ready to take up arms to defend the lay fees by
military service. At length, Bruno of Lorraine, bishop of
Toul, was called to Rome, and by the providence of God,
became pope, under the name of Leo. While he was
journeying to Rome, he heard the angels singing: " I know,
the thoughts that I think towards you, with the Lord
thoughts of peace and not of evil," &c. This pope applied
himself to do much good, and rendered great services to
those who were committed to his charge, both by his good
deeds and his faithful teaching. He came into France in
the year of our Lord 1019, and consecrated the church of
St. Remigius, the archbishop, at Rheims, on the calends
[1st] of October; and at the instance of Abbot Hermar,
translated the body of the saint with great ceremony to the
place where it is now held in veneration. He then held a
general council at Rheims, and among other canons for the
good of the church, one was made prohibiting priests from
carrying arms and having wives. From that time the fatal
practice began gradually to decline. Priests have now
readily ceased from bearing arms, but they are still reluc-
tant to give up their concubines, and observe celibacy.
[1066-1089]. Dean Fulk, before mentioned, after being
defiled by a long continuance in corrupt habits, turned his.
mind to better things, and now- bent with age, was induced
by the advice and admonitions of his son Fulk to flee to
Ouche, where he entreated admission as a monk, not indeed
so much giving up the world, as that the world gave him
up. When he became a monk, he gave to St. Evroult


the church of Guernanville, and the land belonging to it; he
also gave another farm he possessed in the same village,
which Hugh, bishop of Bayeux, had given him, and which
he had long held under William Fitz-Osbern, nephew of
the same bishop. William, the son and heir of Fulk, pub-
licly ratified these grants in the chapter, and joined his
father in offering the deed of gift on the altar of St. Peter,
whereupon he received by the good-will of the monks an
mince of gold as an acknowledgment. The grant was also
confirmed by William de Breteuil and Gislebert Crispin
with his two sons, and the witnesses present were, Roger
de Clare, Hugh de L'Ane, Robert d'Estoteville, Rodolph
de la Lande, Rodolph des Fourneaux, Walter de Chaumont,
and William de Longueville and Guernanville. These lands
were also granted by William Gastinel, in the presence of
Richer de L'Aigle, and he received for it an ounce of gold.
The witnesses were William Halis, Morin du Pin, Robert,
son of Heugo, and Rodolph Cloeth.

Ch. XIII. Founders and benefactors of the abbey of St.
Evroult, particularly Roger de Montgomery, afterwards
earl of Shrewsbury.

I propose here shortly to enumerate the possessions of the
abbey of Ouche, that the endowments piously made may be
known to the novices, and that by reference to this account
it may be ascertained by whom or at what time they were
made, or for what price they were purchased. The greedy
owners of worldly possessions are engrossed with these
passing interests, and think little of those which are
supreme and eternal, and men in general scarcely attempt to
do any thing for the hope of heaven, unless they find it for
their temporal advantage. Tithes, which the Lord required
by Moses to be devoted to his service for the use of the
sanctuary and the Levites, are withheld by our temporal
lords, who refuse to restore them to the ministers of the
church, except they are redeemed at a great price. The


stewards of the alms for the poor admonished laymen to give
back the tithes to the church of God, and in their zeal to
obtain them by any means have often given large sums for
them, in ignorance that the sacred canons absolutely
prohibit any bargains of this sort. Even in modern
councils, the holy bishops have pronounced an anathema
against this traffic, but from merciful considerations have
passed by former offences of the kind, and allowed the
possessions which the church then held to remain in her
hands, under the sanction of this episcopal authority.
The founders of the abbey of St. Evroult were men of
moderate fortune, who, erecting it on an unfertile soil,
endowed it with some small possessions, widely dispersed,
according to their moderate means, for the support of the
brethren. Their neighbours all around them were ground
down by poverty, and driven by want and their evil dis.
positions to live by dishonesty, fraud, and robbery, so that
the monks at Ouche were compelled to procure food for
themselves and their visitors from a great distance. But as
they submitted themselves to regular discipline from the
time of their first institution, great nobles and pious
prelates conceived a high regard for them, and providing for
their necessities by gifts of tithes, and churches, and other
endowments, came to be held in great respect.
Thus Ralph de Conches, son of Roger de Toni, the
renowned standard-bearer of Normandy, intending to go
into Spain. came to Ouche, and, attending a chapter of St.


Evroult, implored pardon from the abbot and monks for
laving some time before abetted Arnold d'Echaufour when
he burned the town of Ouche. He then made recompense
to the monks, and laid his gage on the altar, making many
pious vows in case of his safe return. He likewise recom-
mended to them his physician Goisbert, whom he much
loved, who, as soon as he was departed made his profession
as a monk, and firmly kept it for nearly thirty years to the
end of his days. The aforesaid knight returning home some
time afterwards, did not forget his vow, but, coming to St.
Evroult, gave two acres of vineyard which he had at Toni
for the service of masses in the abbey. He further gave all
that he had at Guernanville, that is to say his land and the
pasnage, so that the first, that of the servants, was not granted,
but the second or third was granted, and none was to be
given for the monks. He also gave three yearly tenants.
one at Conches, another at Toni, and the third at Acquigni,
which Gerald Gastinel had held of him, and voluntarily
ceded to St. Evroult. Ralph de Toni some years afterwards
took Goisbert the monk with him to England, and through
his means gave to the monks of St. Evroult two farms, one
named Caldecot in Norfolk, and another in the county of
Worcester, called Alvington. All these grants King
William confirmed, and ratified them by a royal charter in
the presence of his great nobles. Likewise Elizabeth, the
aforesaid knight's wife, and Roger and Ralph, his sons,
freely joined m the grant. The witnesses to the charters of
these grants were Roger de Clair, Walter d'Espagne,
William de Pacey, Robert de Romilly, Gerald Gastinel,
Gislebert son of Thorold, Roger de Mucegros, and Walter
de Chaumont.


Also, Robert de Vaux gave to St. Evroult one moiety of
two parts of the tithes of Berners. His son Roger, after
his father's death, confirmed the aforesaid gift m Frank
Almoign, receiving forty shillings of the currency of Dreux,
and his wife had ten shillings from the monk's charity.
This was freely confirmed by the aforesaid Ralph, who was
the chief lord, and he kindly procured the concurrence of his
wife and children. This Ralph [de Toni] gained great glory
in the wars, and was reckoned among the first of the
Norman nobles for honours and wealth, serving bravely in
the armies of King William and Duke Robert his son,
princes of Normandy, for nearly sixty years. He carried
off by night Agnes, his half-sister, daughter of Richard,
count of Evreux, and married her to Simon de Montfort.
He obtained, in return, the hand of Isabel, Simon's
daughter, who bore him noble children, Roger, and
Rodolph, and a daughter named Godehilde, who was first
married to Robert, count of Mellent, and then to Baldwin,
son of Eustace, count of Boulogne. At length Ralph the
elder, after various turns of fortune, good and bad, died, on
the ninth of the calends of April [24th March], and Ralph
his son held the patrimonial estate nearly twenty-four dears.
Both on their death were buried with their ancestors m the
abbey of St. Peter at Chatillon. Isabel, having been for
some time a widow, repenting of the sinful wantonness in
which she had too much indulged in her youth, gave up the
world, and took the veil in a convent of nuns at Haute-
Bruyere, where she reformed her life and worthily per-
severed in the fear of the Lord.
When Count William Fitz-Osbern fell in battle in
Flanders, King William divided his honours and estates
between his two sons, giving Breteuil and all his father's do-
mains in Normandy to William, and to Roger the earldom of
Hereford in England. William, who was more gentle than
his father, had a great regard for the abbey of St. Evroult,


and made it great gifts for the repose of the souls of his
father and mother. He sent by the monk Roger de Sap a
copy of the gospels, enriched with ornaments of gold, silver,
and jewels; he also confirmed all the grants his vassals had
made to St. Evroult, either by gift or sale. He also granted
them a yearly payment of one hundred shillings out of his
tolls at Glos, and freely executed in presence of his principal
men a charter to the following effect :-
" I, William de Breteuil, son of Count William, do give
and grant to St. Evroult and his monks, out of the tolls of
Glos, one hundred shillings yearly to buy fish at the begin-
ning of Lent, for the repose of the souls of my father and
mother, and that of my own ; and that their anniversaries
and my own may be observed by all the monks as a feast ;
and that on each of our anniversaries, a portion of meat and
drink equal to a monk's share be given to the poor. During
my life also a mass of the Holy Trinity is to be sung for
me in the abbey every Sunday. I also grant to the monks
one burgess in Breteuil, and whatever my mesne-tenants,
Richard Fresnel, William Halis, and Ralph de La, Cunelle,
and others, have granted to them I also give and confirm.
All this I grant by these presents, and I faithfully promise
them hereafter my counsel and aid and other privileges.
Whoever, after my death, shall take away or diminish the
things granted, let him be accursed." This charter was
ratified and witnessed by the signatures of William de
Breteuil himself; Ralph his chaplain, William the steward,
son of Barno, Arnold, son of Arnold, and Robert de Lou-
In the year of our Lord 1099, the seventh indiction,
William, so often mentioned before, was present at the
consecration of the church of Ouche, when he added one
hundred shillings from the rents of Glos, to the like sum
which he had before given to St. Evroult. He deposited
the deed of gift on the altar still wet with the holy water
sprinkled in the consecration, in the presence of three
bishops, five abbots, and the whole clergy and people stand-
ing round. He died at Bec not long afterwards, on the
second of the ides [12th] of January. and lies buried in the
cloister of the abbey of Lire, which his father founded on


his own domains : his anniversary is kept as a festival every
year at St. Evroult. The charter of the aforesaid grant of
two pounds was afterwards confirmed by the seal of Henry,
king of England, and Eustace and Ralph de Guader, and
Robert of Leicester, William's successor, renewed the grant
to the monks, and have regularly paid it to this day.
William de Molines, with the consent of his wife Albe-
rede, gave to St. Evroult the church of Maheru, with the
tithes, and all the priest's land, and the cemetery belonging
to the same church. He also gave the church of St
Lawrence in the town of Molines, and his demesne-land
near the castle, in the same manner as he himself held it.
He made this grant in the chapter before his chief men
Walter d'Apres and Everard de Ray, with some others. It
was thus he merited the good offices of the church, as a
brother and munificent benefactor. Then abbot Mainier
offered to the aforesaid marquis, as a free gift from the
brethren, fifteen livres in pennies, and conducted him to
the altar with Alberede, Guitmond's daughter, whose
inheritance it was, to confirm the gift. They freely granted
all that has been described in the presence of the whole
convent, and confirmed it by a charter duly offered on the
altar of St. Peter. Sometime afterwards, the aforesaid
knight granted to St. Evroult the church of Bonmoulines,
with all the tithes of corn, and of the mill and oven; to
which Reynold the Little, who at that time had the affairs
of the monks in that place entrusted to him, charitably,
added thirty shillings.
After Alberede had borne her husband two sons, William
and Robert, a divorce took place between her and her
husband on account of consanguinity. The proceedings for
the divorce before the bishop having been completed,
William married another wife, Duda, daughter of Waleran
de Mellent, who bore him two sons, Simon and Hugh, who
were both cut off in their youth by cruel death, leaving no
children. Meanwhile, Alberede embraced a religious pro-


fession, and ended her days in a monastery of nuns. The
aforesaid William was son of Walter of Falaise, and being
a gallant soldier, King William gave him Guitmund's
daughter, with the whole fief of Molines. He was too fond
of vain and empty glory, in pursuit of which he was guilty
of indiscriminate slaughter. It is reported that he shed
much blood, and that his ferocity was so great that no one
who was wounded by him, however slightly, escaped with
life. Through prosperity and adversity, he lived to grow
old, and so far as this world is concerned, spent his days in
honour. At length he died at his own castle on the four-
teenth of the calends of November 19th October, and lies
buried in the chapter-house at St. Evroult.
His son Robert, inheriting the domains of his ancestors,
was not unmindful of his eternal salvation; he therefore
came to Ouche and renewed the grants of all that his father
and mother had given to the abbey, and freely confirmed all
that the tenants m his lordship had either given or sold to
St. Evroult. This grant he laid on the altar upon the copy
of the gospels, and afterwards received as a free-gift from
the monks five marks of silver and the best horse. For fif-
teen years he justly governed his paternal fief; defending it
stoutly against his neighbouring enemies, for be was a brave
soldier, though rather slow in his movements. He even
transgressed the command of King Henry, and attacked
Engerrand, surnamed d'Oison, with whom he had frequent
conflicts. This exasperated the king against him, and his
anger being enflamed by malicious accusations, he disin-
herited him; after which he left Normandy and went to
Apulia, with his wife Agnes, daughter of Robert de Grant-
mesnil, whom he was lately married, and he died there
some years afterwards, having been a wanderer among the
dwellings of strangers. The eldest brother being thus vio-
lently thrust out from his inheritance by the duke, Simon
succeeded to it, and freely confirmed, with the concurrence
of his wife Adeline, all that his predecessors had granted to
St. Evroult.
Roger de Montgomery possessed for twenty-six years,
after the fall of the family of Giroie, all their patrimony of
Echaufour and Montreuil, and at first, as long as his wife
Mable lived, was, at her instigation, a very troublesome


neighbour to the inmates of Ouche, she having been
always opposed to the family of Giroie, the founders of the
abbey of St. Evroult. At last the righteous Judge, who
spares repentant sinners but exercises vengeance on the im-
penitent, permitted that cruel woman, who had caused many
great lords to be disinherited and to beg their bread in
foreign lands, to fall herself by the sword of Hugh, from
whom she had wrested his castle on the rock of Ige, thus
unjustly depriving him of the inheritance of his fathers. In
the extremity of his distress, he undertook a most audacious
enterprise ; for with the assistance of his three brothers,
who were men of undaunted courage, he forced an entry by
night into the chamber of the countess at a place called
Bures on the Dive, and there, in revenge for the loss of his
inheritance, cut off her head, as she lay in bed just after
enjoying the pleasures of a bath. The death of this cruel
lady caused much joy to many persons; and the perpe-
trators of the bold deed instantly took the road for Apulia.
Hugh de Montgomery, who was then in the place with
sixteen men-at-arms. on hearing of his mother's murder,
instantly pursued the assassins, but was unable to come up
with them, as they had taken the precaution to break down
behind them the bridges over which they crossed the rivers,
to prevent their falling into the hands of Mabel's avengers.
It was the winter season, the night was dark, and the
streams being flooded, there were such obstacles in the way
of pursuit, that the assassins, having satiated their revenge,
were able to escape out of Normandy. The brethren of
Troarn, where Durandus was then abbot, gave burial to the
mangled corpse on the hones [5th] of December. and caused
the following epitaph to be inscribed on her tomb, due more
to the partiality of her friends than to her own merits :-

Sprung from the noble and the brave,
Here MABEL finds a narrow grave.


But, above all woman's glory,
Fills a page in famous story.
Commanding, eloquent, and wise,
And prom pt to daring enterprise;
Though slight her form, her soul was great,
And, proudly swelling in her state,
Rich dress, and pomp, and retinue,
Lent it their grace and honours due.
The border's guard, the country's shield,
Both love and fear her might revealed,
Till Hugh, revengeful, gained her bower,
In dark December's midnight hour.
Then saw the Dive's o'erflowing stream
The ruthless murderer's poignard gleam.
Now, friends, some moments kindly spare,
For her soul's rest to breathe a prayer!

After the murder of Mabel, count Roger married a
second wife, Adeliza, daughter of Everard du Puiset, one of
the highest of the French nobility. The earl had by his
first wife five eons and four daughters. whose names are as
follows: Robert de Belesme, Hugh de Montgomery, Roger
tire Poitevin, Philip, and Arnold; Emma, a nun and abbess
of Almenesches, the countess Matilda, wife of Robert, earl
of Morton, Mabel, wife of Hugh de Chateauneuf, and
Sybil, wife of Robert Fitz-Hamon. By his second wife he
had only one son whose name is Everard, and who being
brought up to learning, became attached to the courts of
William and Henry, kings of England, as one of the royal
chaplains. The successor to the former countess was of quite
a different character ; for she was remarkable for her good
sense and piety, and frequently used her influence with her
husband to befriend the monks and protect the poor.
In consequence, the earl repented of the ill turns he had
often done the monks, and prudently endeavoured to efface
his former errors, by his subsequent amendment of life. In


short, he afterwards strongly supported the monks, and
made them large grants both in Normandy and England.
His charter, made freely before the great officers of his
household, is in these terms:-
"I, Roger, by the grace of God, earl of Shrewsbury,
desiring to honour the monastery of the holy father St.
Evroult, hereby give thereto, for the repose of my own soul
and those of my ancestors, as follows: I order that every
year, at the beginning of Lent, thirty shillings sterling of
Maine be paid out of my rents at Alencon, for lights to be
burnt day and night in the church of St. Evroult, before the
crucifix of the Lord. I also grant to the monks, out of my
own rights, free passage at Alencon, and release them from
all tolls and customs throughout my territories; and I give
right of pasture for the monk's swine in all my forests for
ever. At Echaufour, I irrevocably give one plough land,
and the tithes of the mill, and of all the rents of that place;
and I freely add, of my own part, the tenth of the fair at
Planches. Of my own free will, and for the love of God,
I grant the church of Radon and all the tithes which William
Sor gave to St. Evroult, and the church of St. Jouin, and all
the tithe which Reginald the priest gave, and Odo de Peray
released; and the altar of St. Leonard, in the church of
Baliol, and one part of the tithe of the same village, and
the land which Reginald de Baliol, and Aimeria his wife,
my niece, gave to the monks. Likewise, in England, I give
two manors, Onne and Merston, in Staffordshire. the tithe
of my cheese and cool at Paulton, and all that I have at
Melbourne, in Cambridgeshire, and one hide of land at
Grafham in Sussex, and the land of Wulfine, the goldsmith,
at Chichester. Moreover, I confirm whatever Warin my vis-
count. and William Pantulf, and Hugh de Medavi, and my


other mesne-tenants have before given to St. Evroult, in
England or Normandy. All this, with the consent of my
sons Robert de Belesme, Hugh, and Philip, I thus grant,
before God, for the repose of my soul, and of those of
Mabel and Adeliza my wives, and those of my ancestors,
and my future heirs, and ratify this instrument with the
sign of the cross, and whosoever shall diminish, annul, or
abstract, the premises, let him be anathema."
Earl Robert granted this charter, and ratified it with his
signature; and after him it was subscribed at Alencon by
his sons, Robert and Hugh, and Philip the Scholar, and by
others, his chief officers, Robert, son of Theobald, and Hugh
his son, Gislebert, the constable, Hugh the son of Turgis,
Fulk du Pin, Engelbert, the master of the household,
Reginald de Baliol, William Pantulf, Odo de Pire, and
several others.

Ch. XIV. Foundation of the abbey of Shrewsbury by Roger
de Montgomery--The share of the author's father, Ode-
lirius, in that work--Has character, and death, and that
of the earl his patron.

MOREOVER, Earl Roger made many grants to other monas-
teries, such as Troarn, Seez, Almenesches, Cluny, Caen, and
several others, of domains he had acquired which were not
part of his hereditary estates. He also began the erection
of a new monastery m honour of St. Peter, prince of the
apostles, near the east gate of his own capital town of
Shrewsbury, on the river Meole, where it rune into the
Severn. There stood on that spot a chapel built of timber


which had been erected in former times by Siward, son of
Ethelgar, a cousin of King Edward. and which then be-
longed to Odelirius of Orleans, son of Constantius, a man
of talent and eloquence, as well as of great learning, it
having been granted to him by Earl Roger. He was
much devoted to pious objects, and being of the privy
council of the earl, took convenient opportunities of ex.
homing him to erect the monastery, and when there were
some difficulties about the spot on which it should be
founded, and the means of prosecuting so great an under-
taking, Odelirius addressed to him advice of the following
" You are surrounded, noble sir, by a number of persons
who are actuated by different motives in their efforts to
serve your lordship, both byword and deed. Some, in their
cupidity, are more anxious to secure advantages to them-
selves from your munificence than to counsel you to seek
for possessions which will not pass away. But he who
endeavours to serve you faithfully ought always to have in
view your interest more than his own, and never to shrink
from proposing to you what is for the good of your soul.


You, most noble lord, have entertained the project of founding
monastery, but you have received little encouragement
towards so arduous an undertaking from those about you,
who, in their eagerness to receive benefits for themselves,
are jealous of what is given to others. Now, it appears to
me most desirable that you should found this monastery,
and carefully establishing in it a society of monks belonging
to the holy order of St. Benedict, endow it largely out of
your vast possessions with the means of providing food
and raiment for the true poor in Christ. Consider well
low it is that the well-disciplined brethren are constantly
employed in the monasteries which are under strict rule.
In them, innumerable good deeds are performed daily, and
war is manfully waged against the devil by the soldiers of
Christ. There can be no doubt that the severer be the
conflict to the resolute champion, the more glorious will be
his victory, and the greater his triumphant reward in the
heavenly kingdom. Who can recount the watchings of the
monks, their chants and psalmody, their prayers and
alms-givings, their daily offerings of the mass with floods of
tears ? Followers of Christ, they have but one object, to
crucify themselves, that so they may please Clod in all things.
They despise the world and lovers of the world, counting
its delights as dung and its treasures as nothing compared
with their eternal hopes. They have chosen for their lot
coarse and mean garments, insipid and scanty food, and the
entire sacrifice of their own wills for the love of Jesus their
Lord. I need not speak of the chastity of the monks, their
perfect continence, their silence, their modesty of deport-
ment, their profound submission. My mind is bewildered
in recounting so many virtues, and I feel that my tongue
fails entirely m the attempt to describe them. Monks who
are worthy of the name are inclosed in royal cloisters, as if
they were king's daughters, lest they should wander forth
like Dinah, Leah's daughter, and be shamefully defiled, as
she was by Shechem, son of Hamor the Hivite, to the
distress of her righteous father, and the dishonour of her
cruel brethren. Shut out from the world they become their
Own guardians against offences, and if they lapse they are
their own accusers in the depth of their retirement, proving


themselves, like gold in the furnace, that they may be
purified from all sinful dross. I believe, therefore, that
their prayers on behalf of those for whom they are offered
ascend direct to the mercy-seat, and obtain from the Lord
of Sabaoth what they supplicate. I have been in most
intimate communication with monks from my earliest youth,
and had a most familiar acquaintance with their proceedings
by close observation. When, therefore, I reflect on the
conduct of all clauses of persons who inhabit this earth, and
especially examine the liven of hermits and canons, I con-
sider them all to be inferior to monks, who live canonically
and observe the rules of their order. I therefore offer to
you, moat noble earl, my faithful advice, that while it is in
your power, you cause a stronghold for monks against Satan
to be built for the service of God in the chief seat of your
earldom, which is not yours by inheritance from your
ancestors, in order that these Bowled combatants may with-
stand the devil in a continual conflict for the good of your
" There stands on the river Meoel, a homestead which you
lately granted me, on which I have commenced building a
church of stone, in fulfilment of a vow I made last year
when at Rome before the altar of St. Peter, prince of the
apostles. This church, which, as I said before, I lately com-
menced building in performance of my vow, with the home-
stead and all my property appertaining to it, I freely offer
to Almighty God, and promise that I will aid the work in all
things according to the best of my ability in the name of
Jesus Christ. Come to an immediate decision, resolutely
begin and prosecute worthily thin work of God:-

" 'Tis dangerous to delay a work resolved on.

" Fellow labourers in the good work will not be wanting,
nor those who will offer devout prayers for you after your
death. In the first place, as soon as the monks arrive with
masons to lay the foundations of the abbey, I will advance,
as a beginning, fifteen pounds sterling. In the neat place, I
will devote myself with my son Benedict, who is now five
yearn old, and all that I possess to the service of the


monastery, under the condition that whereas one moiety of
all shall pass with myself under the power of the monks,
the other moiety shall be held by my son Everard as a fief of
the abbey. Having placed my eldest son Ordericus for
some time, under a learned master to acquire the rudi-
ments of a liberal education. I have secured him a safe
retreat among the servants of God at the abbey of St.
Evroult in Normandy, paying out of my substance thirty
marks of silver to his future superiors and fellows as an
offering on his reception. I thus surrender my eldest son for
the love of my Saviour, and destine him to banishment over
the sea, that, a voluntary exile, he may enter the service of
the King of heaven among foreigners, where, free from all
family ties and hurtful affections, he may be the more de-
voted to the monastic duties and the worship of the Lord.
All this I have long wished, by God's inward motions, and
have above all things desired to devote myself and my chil-
dren to this way of life, that I may be found worthy by
God's grace to be numbered with them among the elect at
the day of account."
Accordingly, in the year of our Lord 1083, the fourth
indiction, Earl Roger, approving the prudent advice of his
faithful counsellor, summoned his viscount Warin, and Pigot
de Say. and the rent of his great officers, to meet on Saturday


the fifth of the calends of March [25th February]. Having
made known his design, it was generally approved; upon
which the earl, attended by his chief men, proceeded to the
church of St. Peter the apostle, where he took a vow before
many witnesses that he would erect an abbey on that spot,
and he gave to St. Peter the whole suburb situated outside
of the east gate, in token of which he pledged his gauntlets
on the altar. The same year two monks of Seez, Reginald
and Frodo, came over for the first time, and with the aid of
Odelirius, Warin, and many others, began to erect the monks'
lodgings. The eloquent Fulchred was the first abbot of this
monastery in the reign of William Rufus, and he was suc-
ceeded by Godfrey m that of King Henry. Both were
learned and pious pastors, who for nearly forty years care-
fully nurtured the Lord's flock. Under their superintendence
the external affairs of the new monastery became prosperous,
and they established within an excellent discipline among their
disciples for the good of souls. Odelirius (the father of
Vitalis), who has been so often mentioned, fully performed
all that he had promised, offering his son Benedict to God in
that society with two hundred silver livres ; and he himself
took the monastic habit there after the death of Earl .Roger.
He served God in that monastery as a monk under the rule
of the holy father St. Benedict seven years, and after many
labours for God, having penitentially confessed his sins and


received absolution, holy unction, and the viaticum, be died
on the third of the nones [3rd] of June, being the sixth-day
in Whitsun week
Earl Roger survived William the Bastard six years, the
aged lord being among the greatest of the English nobles.
The abbey, of which I have related the foundation, he
moderately endowed with lands and rents. He died there
in the year 1094, on the sixth of the calends of August
[July 27], and was buried with distinguished honour in the
new church, between the two altars. His son Robert suc-
ceeded to all his fiefs in Normandy, and being both cruel
and proud, as well as unjust, be was guilty of endless crimes.
Hugh de Montgomery succeeded to the earldom of Shrews-
bury, but some years afterwards he was pierced suddenly
by the stroke of a javelin by Magnus, brother of the king
of Norway, and died on the seashore; but his corpse was
conveyed to Shrewsbury with great lamentations, and buried
by the monks in the abbey cloister. The prudent old earl
obtained earldoms for his two remaining sons, Roger and
Arnulph, who, after his death, lost them both for their trea-
sonable practices in the reign of King Henry.
I have thus made a short digression respecting the foun-
dation of the abbey on my father's property, which is now
occupied by Christ's family, and where he, at the age of
sixty, if my memory serves me, voluntarily submitted to the
Lord's yoke till the end of his life. Forgive me, I pray you
good reader, and let it not be thought wearisome, if I have


committed to writing these few short particulars respecting
my father, whom I have never seen since the day when, for
the love of the Creator, he sent me into exile as if I had
been a hateful step-son. It is now forty-two years since
that time. a period during which there have been many re-
volutions in the affairs of the world. Often meditating on
these, I insert some of them in my pages, and, as I have
ever been an enemy to idleness, I thus employ myself in
composition. I return again to the subject I have under-
taken, meaning, though a foreigner, to inform my juniors,
who are natives, of things which they might otherwise be
unacquainted with, and thus render them, by God's help, a
profitable service.

Ch. XV. Further benefactions to the abbey of St. Evroult.

[ABOUT A.D. 1075.] When Goisbert, a citizen of Chartres,
came to make his profession, as before related, he sold an
excellent house, which he possessed in that city, for thirty
pounds sterling of Chartres, and gave the whole to the
monks of St. Evroult with the utmost satisfaction. In per-
son he was tall and thin, of a kind disposition, conversible,
magnanimous, and liberal. His great skill in medicine made
him well known, and an intimate and useful friend to many
persons. It was through him that Fulcher of Chartres,
Peter de Maule, and several others, became acquainted
with the monks of St. Evroult, and, respecting their worth
and piety, gave them a becoming share of their property.
Fulcher was of noble birth, and inherited a large estate
from his father, and being tolerably well educated, became a
canon in the church of the holy Mother of God. He made
a charter of the possessions he granted to St. Evroult, which
Robert Andrew, an excellent scribe, wrote down from his
clear and agreeable dictation in the following terms:-
" I, Fulcher, son of Gerard, an unworthy canon of the
church of St. Mary at Chartres, frequently reflecting on my
own condition and the state of mankind in general, have


found that almost all things under the sun are, as Solomon
says, vanity, and that there is nothing on earth which can
bring a blessing to men after the troubles of this life, unless
they have done some good action while they lived. Moved
by these considerations, and in great alarm at the enormity
of my sine, as every one must give an account to God of all
his actions, it has seemed fitting to me (I believe inspired
by God) to make over to St. Evroult some part of my pos-
sessions for the repose of my own soul and those of my
friends; so that my dear brothers who dwell there may have
something towards the sustenance of their bodies, and may,
in consequence, sometimes be willing to hold me in remem-
brance. For as to what we leave to our posterity by the
right of inheritance, I not only say that it can be of no
benefit to ourselves after we are dead, but more, that if
we bequeath it ill, it will be greatly injurious. Be it
known therefore to all faithful members of holy church,
that of my own free will, and to the end that provision may
be made for my future welfare, I do hereby grant to St.
Evroult and his monks, to be held by them for ever, the fol-
lowing hereditaments, though small, as hereinafter mentioned,
that is to say: The church of Moulicent, and one moiety of
the tithes of that village, the church-yard and three acres
of land behind it; also the right of safe keeping at the
manse as Goscelin held it, and the tithe of my mill; if I
establish a market there, they shall also have the tithe of it
also, the monk who resides at Moulicent shall never pay toll
for his corn. If he desires to grind at his own mill, let him do
so; if he choose rather to grind at mine, let him be toll-free.
Also whatever I possess in Marcheville, the lands, the
manse, the mill, all these I give to the monks for ever.
Moreover I give one plough-land and the manse in the vil-
lage of Landelles. I also give the tenth of my woods, viz.,
of the dues for pasture, and of the honey and beasts-of-chace
there taken. Also, the monks' swine shall be subject to no
dues for pasturage. Neither shall the monks be liable to
any work, or service, or expedition, for me or my heirs, at
any time. And if any of my mesne-tenants shall desire to
give or sell anything to St. Evroult, I grant them full power
to do so without fear of me. All these gifts I freely offer
to Almighty God, to whom I owe my being, and to St,


Evroult, the glorious confessor; and if any evil-minded or
senseless person shall, either by force or fraud, attempt to
lessen, violate, or take them away, let him lie under an
everlasting curse, and not see the goodness of the Lord in
the land of the living, unless he repent and make an ample
satisfaction. At my request the Lord Robert, bishop of the
church of Chartres, in whose fief the premises before-men-
tioned are situated, has willingly confirmed this present gift
out of my poor means. My brothers, canons of the said
church, and my wife Alpes and my sons, have also con-
firmed it."
The monks of St. Evroult have held for fifty years the
property which the worthy person just mentioned granted to
them, and which his heirs, Bartholomew, surnamed Boel,
and Gerard his son willingly confirmed. There have lived
upon it Aimer, Ralph, Hugh the Englishman, William de
Merle, and several other monks distinguished for their
eloquence and virtues, who were kindly patronized by
Robert, and Geoffrey, Ivo, and Geoffrey IL, bishops of
Chartres. In this manner, by the zeal of the monks and
the assistance of good men, the church of Marchesville was
erected, and consecrated to St. Mary, mother of God,
through whom the Saviour of the world came.
At the same time, Landric, Geoffrey, and Gunhier, gave to
St. Evroult all the land of Charancei. Isnard, of whom they
had long held it, releasing it to the monks from all claims,
received six pounds from Abbot Mainier. Afterwards,
Landric and the others before named received back one
moiety of the land, and did fealty for it to the abbot in the
presence of Isnard by joining hands. The same three,
before Isnard and several others, granted the church of that
village with its appurtenances, and the whole tithes, both of
the land which belonged to Isnard and of that which belonged
to St. Stephen or any one else. This grant was made in the
presence of Gerard the priest and many others.


Ch. XVI. History of William Pantulf, a Norman and
English knight--Robert, ex-abbot of St. Evroult pays a
visit to Normandy.

IN the year of our Lord 1073, the tenth indiction, and in
the reign of William the Great, king of England and duke
of Normandy, the knight named William Pantulf, at the
instance of his friend the venerable Abbot Mainier, and with
the permission of his lord, the Earl Roger, gave to St.
Evroult the churches at Noron, one of which was built in
honour of St. Peter, and the other of St. Cyr the martyr,
with his own enclosed park, and part of the wood of Pont-
Ogeret, and his share in a farm called Molinx, and of
another situated over the brook commonly called Ruptices.
He also gave the whole fee of William de Maloi, comprising
about thirty acres of land. Thereupon he received from the
charity of the monks sixteen pounds of Rouen money to
enable him to undertake a pilgrimage to St. Giles. He also
gave to St. Peter all the land which Walter, son of Rufa
sold to Robert the monk, for which the aforesaid monk gave
him a hundred shillings of Rouen. Moreover, the said
William gave to the monks sixty acres of land in the same
place, the mill at Hommet and the tithes of a moiety of the
mill at Noron. He gave also the church of Emieville, with
the tithes and all the rents belonging to the church, and in
the same Till the land of one vavasor, and two sheaves of
the tithes of his own estate, and of all his means-tenants in
Mesnil-Baclai, and the whole tithe of the mill of Roiville.
He gave to St. Peter all the land which his mother
Beatrice held in his fief Des Fosses, and the cottier's free


tenements at St. Germain-d'Aubri. Helvis, sister of the
said William, gave to St. Peter all her dowry in Aubri,
which the said William confirmed. He also added the tithe
of his tenants Raimbault, Robert the heretic, and Walo, son
of Saffred. Moreover, the same William gave to St. Peter
de Noron all his churches and the tithes of all places in his
possession in England or Normandy, or which he should
thereafter acquire; together with the tithe of all his chattels,
such as mares, cows, and cheese, and every thing else which
would admit of tithing. In like manner he confirmed what-
ever his tenants should give or sell to St. Evroult, so that
the fealty due to himself should not be parted with. As for
his effects, he gave them in such wise that after his death
the monks of St. Evreux should have one half, and the monks
of Norun the other.
All this, William Pantulf, and Lesceline his wife freely
gave to God (as before mentioned), for the repose of their
souls and of those of their friends, and they ratified the gift
in the chapter of the monks of St. Evroult, convened
generally, before many witnesses. William at the same time
paid forty marks of silver towards the support of the monks,
who were about to proceed to Norun to build a cell there.
Afterwards, Abbot Mainier and Fulk the prior, with
William Pantulf, went to Earl Roger, who was then residing
at Belesme, and humbly petitioned him to confirm the said
knight's grants by his own charter. He, being pious and
liberal, received favourably their lawful petition, and rati-
fied all their demands, in the presence of those who, on
various affairs, were then attending his court. The feast of
St. Leonard was then being celebrated at Belesme, to pay
due honour to which the count, with his usual munificence,
had assembled a great number of guests. Among these
were Hoel, bishop of Mans. and Robert, bishop of Seez ;
also the abbots Ainard of Dive, Durand of Troarn, Robert
of Seez, and Hugh of Lonlai, with Emma, abbess of Alme-


nesches ; also Herve, chaplain to the bishop of Lisieux,
Roger Faitel, Hugh, son of Foucault, Robert, son of Theo-
deline, Roger Gulafre, and many others, both clerks and
laymen, who were witnesses to the above-mentioned charter.
In the year of our Lord 1077, the fifteenth indiction, Ro-
bert, the. noble abbot. brother of Hugh de Grantmesnil,
sought an interview with William, king of England, in Nor-
mandy, and at the king's request pardoned him for having
unjustly driven him into exile. He had received an in-
vitation from Philip, king of France, who wished to make
him bishop of Chartres, but, as the French disliked sub-
mitting to Normans, Geoffrey, nephew of Eustace count de
Blois, was appointed to the see. Therefore the illustrious
Robert, having assisted at the consecration of the churches
of Caen, Bayeux, and Bec, which took place that year, and
having had friendly intercourse with King William, and
others his friends and relations whom he had not seen for
many years, went back to Apulia, taking with him William
Pantoul, and Robert de Cordai, his nephew, with many
other gallant knights. At that time Robert Guiscard com-
manded in Apulia, and had acquired the dukedom of Gisulf
duke of Salerno. He was the son of Tancred de Hauteville,
a person of moderate station, who, by his bravery and good
,"tune, had succeeded in acquiring great power in Italy.
With the aid of his brothers and others of his countrymen
who joined him, he imposed his yoke on the people of
Apulia, and having most unexpectedly risen to great emi-
nence, he was exalted above all his neighbours, amassed
great wealth, and was continually enlarging his territories.


He received William Pantoul with distinguished honours,
and making him great promises, tried to retain him in his
service on account of his merit. He made him sit by his
side at dinner on the feast of Easter, and offered him three
towns if he would remain in Italy.
Meanwhile, the Countess Mabel had perished by the
sword of Hugh d'Ige, the revengeful knight;' and this
murder was the cause of great troubles after William
Pantoul's return from Apulia. For he was accused of
treason, and the charge was prosecuted with great ani-
mosity by some of his rivals. The deceased lady had taken
possession of the castle of Perai, which had been given to
William; on which account there had long existed a
violent hostility between them. It was hence suspected
that William had contrived her death, particularly as he
was on terms of intimacy and frequent communication
with Hugh. Earl Roger therefore and his sons seized his
whole estate, and sought an opportunity of putting him to
death. In consequence, William and his wife took refuge at
St. Evroult, where they remained for a long time under the
protection of the monks, but in the greatest alarm. The
knight boldly denied the crime of which he was accused;
and no one was able to convict him of it by certain proof,
but while he asserted his innocence, no opportunity was
allowed him of lawfully clearing himself of the charge, as he
offered to do. At length however, by the interference of
many of the nobles, it was determined by the king's court
that the accused should purge himself from the stain at-
tached to him, by undergoing the ordeal of hot iron at
Rouen, in the presence of the clergy, which was done; for
having carried the flaming iron m his naked hand, by
God's judgment, there was no appearance of its being
burnt, so that the clergy and all the people gave praise to
God. His malicious enemies attended the trial m arms,
intending, if he was declared guilty by the ordeal of
fire, to have immediately beheaded him. During the
troubles to which William Pantoul and his family were
exposed, he was mach comforted by Abbot Mainier and the
monks of St. Evroult, who rendered him all the help they
could both with God and man. This increased their mutual


regard, and William offered to St. Evroult four of the
richest palls he had brought from Apulia, out of which were
made four copes for the chanters in the church, which are
preserved there to this day, and used in the solemn services
of divine worship.
After the death of William, king of England, William
made another visit to Apulia, and on his return brought
with him the relics of the body of the holy confessor of
Christ, St. Nicholas, with which he enriched the church of
Moron, where they were deposited. He afterwards gave
to the monks of that place a manor in England, called
Trotton. with the church and mill of that village, and the
tithes of six hamlets, which belonged to that church. In
the year of our Lord 1112, that is to say, the twelfth year
of the reign of Henry, king of England, and the fourth of
that of Lewis, king of France, William Pantoul came to St.
Evroult, it being the fortieth year after he founded the cell
for monks at Moron, and mindful of his former friendship
and the grants which, as we have already related, he before
made, he recapitulated them, and, with his wife Lesceline,
confirmed them all in a general chapter of the monks. At
the same time Philip, Ivo, and Arnulph, his sons, confirmed
all the grants of their father to the monks of St. Evroult,
and they all, that is to say, William and Lesceline, and their
three sons, Philip, Ivo, and Arnulph, laid the grant on the
altar together. Robert the Bald, Geoffrey and Ascelin, and
several other pious monks, occupied the cell at Moron,
while four bishops, Robert, Gerard, Serlo, and John, were
bishops of Seez, and living in the fear of God and love to
man, they set the rustics examples of an honest life.
William Pantoul, so often mentioned, lived long, respecting
the clergy and being kind to the poor, to whom he was
liberal in alms; he was firm in prosperity and adversity,
put down all his enemies, and exercised great power through
his wealth and possessions. He gave sixty marks of silver
towards building the new church at St. Evroult, under-
taking a work of great beauty to the honour of God, which
death prevented him from completing. His sons succeeded


to his estates, Philip in Normandy, Robert in England,
but they have failed of prosecuting their father's enterprises
with equal spirit.

Ch. XVII. The family of Mount-Pincon (near Falaise),
benefactors to the abbey of St. Evroult.

RALPH of Mount-Pincon, steward of William the Great,
king of England, devoted himself with entire fidelity to St.
Evroult, and humbly requested the lord abbot Mainier,
that some clerk, fit for God's service, should be admitted
into the monastery, and made a monk, for the purpose of
constantly offering prayers to God for the souls of himself
and his wife. And this was accomplished; for by God's
providence a certain scholar of Rheims, whose name was
John, was then a postulant for admission to the order. He
was accordingly taken to court, and engaged with the knight
to give him the benefit of his prayers, and of the duties
which he was about to undertake for Christ. Ralph was so
greatly delighted that he humbly kissed the scholar's feet
before all who were present. Upon this the monks most
willingly admitted this John, and had good reason to rejoice
at having . him, for he was an excellent grammarian, and
devoted himself unremittingly to useful studies, until he
was advanced in years. The said knight, in consideration of
his maintenance, gave to St. Evroult for ever five mills,
three at Jort, the fourth at a place they call Heurtevent,
and the fifth at Mont-Pincon ; also, two sheaves of the
tithes of the villeins of Vaudeloges, and one moiety of the
tithes of Epanai, with two acres of meadow at Emendreville.
Some years afterwards Ralph, the steward, died on the ides
[13th] of February, and his body was carried to Ouche, and
there buried by the monks in the cloisters at St. Evroult
with great honours. His two sons were present, with their
mother Adeliza, and truly devoted themselves, and all that
their father had given, to St. Evroult, before many witnesses
who were assembled at the funeral of so great a baron.
Thirty years afterwards, Hugh de Mont-Pincon paid a visit


to his spiritual brothers at St. Evroult, bringing with him
his eldest son Ralph and his wife Matilda, the daughter of
Hugh de Grantmesnil, who was in trouble for the recent
death of her sister Adeline. Hugh now renewed his
brotherhood with the monks which he had accepted in his
childhood, and entreated their prayers for his brother Ralph,
who had died on the road while performing a pilgrim-
age to Jerusalem. Ralph, Hugh's son, a young boy, was
adopted by the monks as his relations had been, and being
led round the chapter by Walter the Bald, a talkative
knight, he kissed the brethren, and then consented to the
grants made by his father and uncle to St. Evroult.
At length Hugh also died at Rouen when he was sixty
years old on the nones [7th] of March, and by order of his
wife and sons his body was carried to St. Evroult, where
the monks buried their brother's remains with high honour
in the chapter-house, and his soul, Ralph, William, and
Arnulf devoted themselves and all that their ancestors had
granted to the church of St. Evroult. Ralph, the eldest,
married the daughter of Ranulph, chancellor to King Henry.
and dying soon afterwards, was buried by the convent in the
chapter-house by the side of his father. William then suc-
ceeded to the patrimonial estates in Normandy. Arnulf
went into Apulia to seek his uncle William de Grantmesnil.
Matilda, their mother, after her husband's death, fell in love
with a young adventurer named Matthew, in whose company,
deserting her relations and friends, she undertook a journey
to Jerusalem; but both were cut off by premature deaths
in the same year, Matthew dying in Apulia, on the journey
outward, and Matilda at Joppa, on her return.

CH. XVIII. Account of John of Rheims, a learned monk
of St. Evroult.

HAVING shortly referred before to John [of Rheims], I


now purpose to bring more clearly before the reader's mind
who ha was, and in what manner and how long he lived
under the monastic rule. His genius was acute, and he was
persevering in his studies; he spent nearly forty-eight years
in the practice of his duties as a monk, and employed him-
self indefatigably in searching out the meanings of difficult
passages he found in books. He entered the Lord's fold,
being admitted by Abbot Mainier, when he was a young man,
and continuing his service, and being promoted to the priest-
hood under Serlo and Roger, he engaged others, both by
precept and example, to fight the good fight, and at last died
in the confession of Christ on the tenth of the calends of
April [23rd March]. when Warin was abbot. He long held
the office of subprior, and often supplied the abbot's place
in preaching the word of God. By order of abbot Roger,
he went to Rome in the time of Pope Urban with the de-
posed abbot Fulk; during which journey he suffered greatly
from sickness, and encountered many hardships. As old
age came on, he suffered for more than seven years from stone
in the bladder; but though he was thus afflicted with a
chronic disease, he did not take to his bed, but rose every dap
to join in the divine offices, giving thanks to God; and
being, as I believe, well-prepared, departed in the beginning
of a stormy night. As he was a great versifier, Vitalis the
Englishman. his disciple, in the midst of his tears, com-
posed some verses to his memory on the day he went to his
rest, when the funeral was over, to the following effect:-

Thrice had Match, lowering, windy, cold, and bleak,
Held her inclement course throughout a week;
Dark, stormy night closed a tempestuous day,
When JOHN'S pure spirit calmly passed away.
Poncia to Rheimish Ilbert gave him birth,
Numbered among the humblest sons of earth.


His destiny, to learn the cobbler's art,
John early changed, to choose a nobler part,
Gave all his youthful hours to wisdom's lore,
With manhood left the low paternal door,
And, Rheims deserting, traced his venturous way
To where St. Evroult's distant cloisters lay.
Enrolled among the faithful band, to heaven
For fifty years his ardent vows were given.
Nor, sheltered in that safe retreat, the monk
In slothful ease and useless leisure sunk ;
But well his subtle genius exercised,
And learning's hoarded treasures keenly prized,
Turning with eager hand the fruitful page
Which held the records of an older age.
Still, first, Christ's claims his earnest care he made,
In daily service, nightly vigil, paid.
By word and deed he true religion taught,
His whole discourse with sacred wisdom fraught.
Sagely he culled for each the doctrines fit,
With lessons chosen well from holy writ;
In every heart strove heavenly thoughts to raise,
And trained the novices in wisdom's ways;
Gave counsel, comfort, and with sharp rebuke,
When duty called, the sinner's conscience shook;
As bees which honey bear beneath their wings,
For time of need are also armed with stings.
His pregnant genius shone in prose and verse,
His matter copious, but his style was terse.
To Christ, the Virgin, and the Saints most blest,
He noblest praise in tuneful songs addressed,
And paid our sainted patron honour due,
Singing the virtues of the good Evroult,
(A work his reverend father, Ralph of Rheims.
The duteous offering of his pupil claims).
Nor was our monk from spite and envy free,
Who in this evil world can perfect be?
But still the shafts of malice pointless fell
From one who kept the rule of life so well.
'Twos others' sins gave venom to the dart,
For others flowed his tears, for others bled his heart.
At length, with sharp disease by power divine
His flesh was given for seven long years to pine:
Scourged by a Father's hand, he kissed the rod,
In meek submission to the will of God;
And prayed that, having run his painful race,
He might in heaven behold his Saviour's face.
Then from the storms and tumults of the world,
When equinoctial hours around it whirled,


Our holy monk's pure spirit passed away,
And soared to mansions of celestial day.
Christ grant him light serene, eternal rest,
In those abodes of pence, among his saints most blest!



Ch. I. Introduction, containing re-marks on scurrilous criti-
cism, and the decay of piety among the prelates of the au-
thor's age.

THE human mind has continual need of being usefully
exercised, so that it may be well directed in a virtuous
course for the future, by its researches into the annals of
the past, and its observation on what is passing around.
It is every man's duty to be daily learning how he ought to
live, by having the examples of ancient worthies ever present
before his eyes, and profiting thereby. It sometimes happens
that many events present themselves to the ignorant as
unheard-of things, and new circumstances are frequently
occurring in modern times on which no light can be thrown
to inexperienced minds but by reference to former transac-
tions. Studious persons' therefore inquire into the obscure
passages of history with anxious care, and set a high value
on whatever can profit a well-disposed mind. Animated in
their labours by this good design, they unfold the past to
posterity with perfect impartiality, while, notwithstanding
their ability, senseless men snarl at their works and tear
them in pieces with their currish fangs. Smarting under
such attacks, even wise men sometimes flag in their energies,
abandoning their undertakings and shutting themselves up
in perpetual silence. Thus it happens that from some frivo-
lous circumstance, the world suffers a lamentable loss. If
this were not irreparable, and a kindly-feeling posterity could
recover what it had lost, it would shake off its indifference
and joyfully rouse itself to gather with eagerness the flowers
and the fruit of the labours thus subjected to malicious
attacks, and to study them with lively and careful attention.
Ave often find complaints of this sort in ancient writers, and
unite with our illustrious masters in their lamentations over
the injuries heaped upon them by their envious contempo-
raries. We hear St. Jerome and Origen, and other doctors
of the church complaining in their works of the cavils of
scurrilous critics, and it is a cause of regret that on this
account we have been deprived of many important commu-


nications; able men preferring to rest in peace rather than
employ their talents m skilfully treating difficult subjects,
when by so doing they exposed themselves to malicious
attacks. Let those, I beg and entreat, observe silence, who
neither produce any, thing of their own, nor accept the
labours of others in a friendly spirit nor correct with temper
any thing which dissatisfies them. Let them learn what they
are ignorant of, and if they are incapable of learning, at least
let them suffer their fellow disciples to publish what they
think right.
The primitive state and the fall of man, the revolutions of
the passing age, the vicissitudes in the lives of our prelates
and princes, the events of peace and war, and the never-
ending chances which affect mankind, offer a vast field for
any writer to expatiate on. As for miracles and wonders
wrought by the saints, they are now of such rare occurrence
in the world that authors have little need of bestowing
much attention on stories of that kind. Time was when
our ancient fathers, Martial and Tsarinas, Silvester, Martin
and Nicholas, and other admirable men, whose tongues were
the keys of heaven, and who were full of supernatural graces
and gifts, shone in the church like the light of the sun, and
in the power of the Almighty gave laws to the elements of
nature and the power of the air; but these now enjoy the
rest of the blessed with their heavenly King, from whom they
have received everlasting rewards. Their present successors,
who are raised to the summit of power, and, sitting in Moses'
seat are called Rabbi, while they revel in worldly riches and
pomp, of which most of them are too fond, are far from
being equally illustrious as their predecessors for the merits
of sanctity and miraculous powers and influences. Still we
may faithfully relate the revolutions of the world and the
course of human events, and history can be made the vehicle
for the praise of Him who is the Maker and righteous
Governor of all things. The eternal Creator works without
ceasing and disposes all things in a wonderful order; let
every one treat devoutly of these glorious acts, according as
his inclination and ability prompt him and as he shall be
divinely instigated.


Ch. II. Some account of Hugh d'Avranches, earl of Chester
--His character--His excellent chaplain Gerald.

In the year of our Lord 1066, the fifth indiction, the race
of the great king Edgar having so degenerated that none of
his descendants were able to sustain the weight of the royal
sceptre, William, duke of Normandy, crossed over to England
with many thousand troops, and on the field of Senlac slew
Harold the usurper of the English throne. Soon afterwards
on Christmas day, he was crowned at Westminster by Aldred
archbishop of York, with the acclamations of both Normans
and English, and governed the kingdom of England with a strong
hand twenty years, eight months and sixteen days. Under
his rule the native inhabitants were crushed, imprisoned;
disinherited, banished and scattered beyond the limits of
their own country; while his own vassals and adherents
were exalted to wealth and honours and raised to gall
the offices of the state. Among these Hugh d'Av-
ranches, son of Richard surnamed Goz, was highly dis-
tinguished among the chief nobility, and invented with the
earldom of Cheater by the advice of the king's counsel after
Gerbod of Flanders had returned home' This Hugh was
fondly attached to the world and worldly pomps, in which
he considered the highest portion of human happiness to
consist. He was a brave soldier, lavish in his liberalities,
and took great delight in riotous sports, in ,jesters, horses
and dogs, with other vanities of that sort. He was always
surrounded by a numerous household, in which a crowd of
young men of all ranks both low and high continually
revelled. But the earl also entertained about him many,
honourable men, clerks as well as knights, and was well,
pleased to share with them both his cares and his riches.
Attached to his chapel was a clerk from Avranches, named
Gerald. who was eminent for piety and virtue as well as,
for learning. This chaplain performed daily the service of
God and frequently celebrated the holy offering with great
devotion. He used his best offices with the courtiers of by


lord, by setting before them the example of those who had
gone before, to move them to amendment of life. He observ-
ed in many, and, justly condemned, their headstrong tendency
to carnal pursuits, and mourned over the neglect of divine
worship generally shown. Great barons, simple knights, and
noble youths all received their share of his salutary admoni-
tions, and he drew both from the Old Testament and the
more recent Christian records copious accounts of holy
warriors who were worthy of their imitation. He described
with eloquence the combats of Demetrius and George, The-
odore and Sebastian, of Maurice, tribune of the Theban legion,
and Eustachius, the illustrious commander of the forces,
with his comrades, who obtained heaven by the crown of
martyrdom. To these he added the history of William the
noble champion, who after a long military service renounced
the world and gloriously fought the fight of faith under the
monastic rule. Many profited by Gerald's exhortations,
and like gallant ships were towed through this world's
waves and safely moored in the haven of a regular life.

Ch. III. The story of St. William (Court-nez) duke of Sep-
timania and count of Toulouse and Barcelona under Char-
lemagne--His wars with the Saracens--Becomes a monk
founds the abbey of St. Saviour in the Herault.

HAVING happened to mention St. William, I take the oppor-
tunity of inserting in my history a short account of his life.
I am satisfied that it is very little known in this province,
and there are many persona who will be gratified by being
furnished with a faithful memoir of so distinguished a saint.
Anthony, a monk of Winchester, brought it here not long
since, and, complied with our eager desire to see it. There
is indeed a story in verse concerning St. William which is
commonly sung by glee-men. but the preference must be


justly given to an authentic narrative, written with care
by learned monks, and which is respectfully recited by;
studious readers in the presence of the assembled brethren.
But as the bearer was in haste to depart and the severe
winter's frost prevented me from writing, I made a short
abridgment on my tablets. which I now hasten to transfer.
correctly to parchment and thus spread abroad the fame of
the brave lord-marcher.
In the time of Pepin, king of the Franks, count Theodoric'
had by his wife Aldana a son named William. The boy
was taught letters from his childhood, and afterwards took
arms in the service of Charlemagne. He obtained the title and.,
office of a count and the command of the first cohort in the
army. Charles afterwards made him duke of Aquitain, and,
confided to him an expedition against king Theodebald. the.
Spaniards and Saracens. Having lost no time in marching
into Septimania, he crossed the Rhone and laid siege to the:
city of Orange which he reduced, defeating the invaders.
He then fought many battles with the infidels from beyond
sea and the Arabs of the neighbourhood, his sword, by God's,
help, giving safety to the faithful, enlarging the bounds of


the Christian empire, and subduing the Saracens. William
built a monastery in honour of St. Saviour and the twelve
apostles in the territory of Lodeve in a valley called Gellone
surrounded by rocks. placing in it an abbot and a company,
of devout monks, and largely endowing it with all things
necessary for them, and he had their grants confirmed by
his own and royal charters. His two sisters Albana and
Bertha became nuns there and continued perseveringly in
the service of God.
A long time afterwards, William coming to France on the
summons of Charles' was honourably received and disclosed
to him his desire of becoming a monk. The king could not
refrain from tears in granting his permission, and bid him
take whatever he would from his treasury to carry to his
church. However William rejected all worldly riches, but
asked for and obtained a reliquary containing a portion of
the wood of the holy cross. It had been sent to Charles by
Zachariah, patriarch of Jerusalem, a prelate of great worth,
while the king was at Rome in the first year of his reign.
When William's intention to change his state of life became
known, the king's court was agitated and all the city in an
uproar. A crowd of nobles forced their way into his presence,
and sorrowfully entreated him not to desert them. He
however, inflamed with divine ardour, abandoned all, and,
being brought on his way with great honour, bidding them
farewell, at length left the army of the Franks amid their
tears and groans. When he reached the town of Brives he
offered his armour on the altar of St. Julian the martyr.
hanging his helmet and splendid shield over the martyr's
tomb in the church, and suspending outside the door his


quiver and bow with his long lance and two-edged sword,
as an offering to God. He then set forth in the guise of a
pilgrim of Christ and passed through Aquitain to the monas-
tery which he had built a short time before in the wilderness.
He drew near to it with naked feet and with hair-cloth
about his body. When the brethren heard of his approach,
they met him at the cross roads, and forming a festive pro.
cession against his will, conducted him to the abbey. Ho
then made his offering of the reliquary more precious than
gold, with gold and silver vessels and all kinds of ornaments,
and having proffered his petition gave up the world with ail
its pomps and enticements.
In the year of our Lord, therefore, 806, in the fifth' year,
of the reign of the Emperor Charles, on the feast of SS.
Peter and Paul, Count William became a monk, and was
suddenly changed and made another person in Christ
Jesus. For after his profession he was taught without
being offended, and corrected without being angry. He
suffered blows and injuries unresistingly and without
having recourse to threats. He rejoiced to be subject, and
delighted in every kind of humiliation, being ready to serve,
obey, and submit to all. He made daily progress in all
sanctity and religion and the observance of the sacred rule,
like gold made bright in the furnace. He completed,
according to his design, the monastery which was m an
unfinished state when he became a monk, receiving the aid
of his sons Bernard and William (to whom he had resigned
his counties), and of other counts in the neighbourhood.
He made a road to the monastery by a sharp and difficult
ascent through the mountains, cutting the rocks with


hammers and pickaxes and other iron tools, and kith the
fragments laid the base of a causeway along the river
Herault and abutting on the heights.
Lewis, king of Aquitain, the son of Charlemagne, at the
request of William, gave to the monastery, with great
willingness, several fiefs in his territories, and confirmed the
grant by a royal charter sealed with his ring. Meanwhile,
William caused vineyards and oliveyards, and several gardens
to be laid out on the ground surrounding the monastery, and
clearing the valley of the woods which naturally grew there,
planted fruit-trees vi their place. He devoted himself with
intense industry to these and similar works, labouring with
his own hands, for the love of God, in rural occupations, and
continually thus employed himself with true humility and
religion. He often prostrated himself before the abbot and
brethren, beseeching that for God's mercy, he might be
allowed still greater self-renunciation and humiliation. He
sought the lowest offices in the monastery; it wax his
desire to be considered the vilest of all, and to be held in
contempt. He would be a beast of burthen, and as an ass's
colt bear the burthens of the brethren in the house of the
Lord. He who had been a mighty duke was not ashamed
to mount a miserable ass with a load of bottles. See the
Lord William from a count become a cools, from a duke
become a menial, loading his shoulders with faggots, carry-
ing vessels of water, lighting and extinguishing fires. With
his own hand he washes the bowls and platters, gathers
vegetables, makes the soup and mixes the pulse with it.
When the hour of refection is come, without delay he
spreads the table for the monks in due order, while ho
himself, still fasting, watches and guards the house. He


undertakes the baking, heats the oven, places the loaves in
it and draws the bread when it is baked.
Once, when wood for baking was scarce, he was forced to
gather twigs, straw, and whatever he could lay hands on,
which he threw into the oven in order to heat it quickly.
But as time pressed and those within sharply chid this
servant of God because the usual hour for the brethren's
meal was somewhat passed, and he had nothing that would
serve to clear out the ashes, he invoked Christ, and making
the sign of the cross, entered the oven and did all that was
needful without sustaining any injury. Throwing out the
hot cinders with his naked hands, he collected the ashen in
his cowl without its being singed, put the oven in order
and sprinkled it for putting in the loaves. Though William
thus stood in the fire for some time, neither his body nor his
clothes were scorched. After this, however, the abbot, by
the advice of the brethren, forbad his engaging in any servile
works, and, allotting him a suitable cell, enjoined him to
apply his leisure to prayer and holy meditation. Thus
having had a long experience of active exercises, he began
to take rest in a life of reflection, and, having performed
toe service and busy occupations of Martha, joined with
Mary in the delights of heavenly contemplation.
When, at length, William was full of perfection in virtue,
he was endowed with the spirit of prophecy, and his course
of life was shown him by divine revelation. He predicted
the day of his death to the abbot and brethren, and even
announced it in writing to many of the neighbours. He also
sent a messenger to Charlemagne to inform him distinctly by
what sign he should know the hour of his death. At last,
after all offices had been duly performed, the blessed
William departed on the fifth of the calends of June, [May
28], to the boy of angels and the grief of men. There im-
mediately followed in all the churches, great and small,
throughout the neighbouring districts, a loud and strange
tolling of the bells, both tenor and treble ; and the knell
was rung and the small bell tinkled for a long space of time,


although no human hands pulled the ropes or swung the
clappers, but solely by divine power acting on them from
heaven. The holy body of the illustrious saint was honourably
interred in the abbey of St. Saviour, and the praises of God
were devoutly sung for many miracles gloriously performed,
The venerable monastery remains there to the present day,
in which a great company of monks, the army of the Lord
God of Sabaoth triumphantly serves, and by the merits of
St. William, who from an illustrious knight became a pious
monk, crowds of nick people receiving health rejoice in
Christ Jesus, who gives eternal glory to all who are united
to him.

Ch. IV. Gerald of Avranches, prior of Cranbourn--after-
wards abbot of Tewksbury-Robert Fitz-Hamon, its
founder--Roger Fitz-Warrene a noble monk of St.

IT was thus that Gerald of Avranches frequently re-
counted the triumphs of the invincible soldiers of Christ,
and stirred up the knights with whom he associated, and
their well-born squires, both by persuasions and alarms, to a
similar course of life. The result was, that in the first
instance five men of eminence quitted the earl's household,
whose names are these; Roger, son of Erneis, nephew of
William Warrene, earl of Surry, Arnulf, son of Humphrey
de Tilleul, nephew of Hugh de Grantmesnil, viscount of
Leicester, and Guy of Mantes his squire; Dreux, son of
Geoffrey de Neuf-Marche ; and Odo, son of Arnulf of
Dol, and chaplain to the earl. At the suggestion of Ar-
nulf, whose kinsmen had assisted in building the abbey
of St. Evroult, all these went to Ouche and were gladly
received into the monastery by abbot Mainier. They lived
there regularly for a long time, and contributed to the
prosperity of the community by their exertions and care.
Thus Gerald had by preaching the word of God stirred
up to better things those who were sunk in fatal oblivious-
ness in the gulf of the world's temptations, as the cock
rouses those who are sleeping in the dead of the night. He
now shook his wings, and casting off his sluggishness, with
a lively effort prepared to follow his disciples, who have just
been named, to St. Evroult. But God's providence com-


pelled him to remain in England. For, having reached
Winchester, he was taken very ill, and, m fear of death,
devoutly assumed the monastic habit in the old monastery
of St. Peter, where he long lived a regular life under the
abbot Walkeline, and Godfrey the religious and learned
prior. Some time afterwards he was canonically advanced
to ecclesiastical rule, and was appointed the first abbot of
Tewksbury, when Samson of Bayeux' was bishop of
Worcester. Robert Fitz-Hamon had founded this abbey,
of Tewksbury, on the river Severn, in the reign of William
the younger, king of England, and richly endowed it. Ge-
rald, now raised to the summit of pastoral care, diligently ful-
filled the holy duty of preaching, which he had willingly per-
formed while he was only a clerk, and by that means drawn
many from the depths of debauchery and rapacity to purity
and innocence of life. He gave the regular institutions of
the order to his new society, admitted a number of novices


under the monastic rule, and gave them the best regulations
for a life of strictness. He took part with those who were
under his government in religious offices, and sometimes
even exceeded the juniors in the labours to be undergone;
while he managed the affairs of the monastery both internally
and externally with diligence and prudent address. How-
ever, after some years the malice of Satan was directed
against the Lord's flock, grievously afflicting the tender
sheep by the trouble iniquitously caused to their shepherd.
For, after Robert Fitz-Hamon's death, Robert of Brittany
brought some false charges before King Henry against his
abbot, by whom he had been admitted into the monastery.
The abbot being summoned before the Icing declined to
enter into long explanations, but, satisfied with the con-
sciousness of his innocence, voluntarily resigned to the king
the government of his abbey, and after submitting to
Martha's toilsome services, chose with Diary the better part,
by returning again to his retirement in the monastery at
Winchester. To finish his history, he sometime afterwards
received an invitation from the venerable Ralph, bishop of
Rochester. and at the request of many persons, went to the
bishop for the purpose of conferring with him on sacred
subjects; but while there, at the summons of God, he took
to his bed, and having duly performed all that was fitting
for a servant of God died in sanctity.
Roger de Warrenne, who was converted, as we have
already seen, by the exhortations of Gerald, escaping as it
were from the destruction of Sodom, went to St. Evroult
with four of his companions to become a monk, and lived
there nearly forty-six years, filled with zeal for the duties
of his order, and abounding in all virtues. Though his
person was handsome, he chose to disfigure it by a mean
dress. A respectful modesty marked his whole demeanour,


his voice was musical, and he had an agreeable way of
speaking. His strength of body enabled him to undergo
much toil, while he was at all times ready to sing psalms
and hymns. He was gifted with pleasing manners and
courteous towards his brother monks. He was abstemious
himself but generous to others, always alive for vigils, and
incredibly modest. He did not plume himself with carnal
ostentation on account of his noble birth, but obeyed the
rule with unhesitating humility, and chose with pleasure to
perform the lowest offices required of the monks. For
many years he was in the habit of cleaning the brethren's
shoes, washing their stockings, and cheerfully doing other
services which appear mean to stupid and conceited persona.
He ornamented a book of the gospels with gold, silver, and
precious stones, and procured several vestments and copes
for the chanters, with carpets, and curtains, and other
ornaments, for the church. He got all he could from his
brothers and relations, as occasion offered, and what he
wrested from their bodily gratifications he applied with joy
to divine offices for the good of their souls.
Richard de Coulonces, the brother of this Roger, came to
St. Evroult and gave to the abbey the church of Etouvi,
which he had redeemed from one Ernest, his tenant, adding
the tithe of two mills. The grant of these possessions, in
which Adelaide, his wife, and the aforesaid Ernest, joined,
he placed on the altar. In return for this grant, the monks
gave to Richard eight livres, and to Robert de Mowbray.
who was the paramount lord, a hundred shillings, where-
upon he forthwith, in the orchard of Turstin de Soulangi,
confirmed the grant of the church of Etouvi as the monks
required. This Richard de Coulonces became very rich,
and being a favourite with grog Henry rose to eminence
among his peers. His prosperity continued to an advanced
age, and he had by his wife eleven sons and four daughters,
whose names are here given: Hugh, Geoffrey, Richard.
John, Robert, Odo, Henry, Ivo, Rodolph, William, and
Henry; Rohais, Adeliza, Matilda, and Avicia. Of these,
two were dedicated to God from their infancy; for John


was admitted a monk at St. Evroult, and Adeliza became s
nun in the convent of the Holy Trinity at Caen.
Richard de Coulonces died on the seventeenth of the
calends of October [September 15], in the year of our Lord
1125 ; and the year following his son Hugh came to St.
Evroult, and making an offering to God upon the altar, of a
golden salver, truly confirmed the grant of all that his father
had given as before-mentioned, placing also the charter on
the altar. He also devoted himself to St. Evroult.

Ch. V. Abbot Mainier's journey to England--Obtains
grants of lands and tithes for St. Evroult--The charter
of William I.--Queen Matilda's visit--Abbots Roger-du
Sap and Warin des-Essarts.

ENCOURAGED by the serenity shed on affairs by prosperous
times, Abbot Mainier crossed the sea to England in the
fourteenth year of his government. having in his company
Roger de Warrene and Dreux de Neuf-Marche. He pre-
sented himself at the court of King William, from whom
he had often received invitations, and paid friendly visits to
Lanfranc the archbishop, and others, to whom he was greatly
attached. He was treated with great respect by the king
and his nobles, and took the opportunity of addressing pru-
dent admonitions to the brethren of St. Evroult, who had
left Normandy to better their fortunes, and obtained
promotion in England. These distinguished monks were
also received with favour by the great lords of the realm,
whose kindness to the strangers was shown by the gifts
heaped upon them out of the wealth acquired with violence
in a foreign land. The king and his nobles joyfully made
them gifts of farms, soma of money, and ornaments for their
church, commending themselves to their prayers with confi-
dence and devotion. At this time the possessions, churches,
and tithes, which the friends and neighbours of the monks
of St. Evroult had granted to them, were recorded in a
charter for the better knowledge of posterity. The charter
by which the illustrious William freely confirmed the grants
made by himself and his liege-men to the abbey of St.
Evroult, by his royal authority, is in these words:-
" William, by the grace of God, kind of England, duke of


Normandy and prince of Maine, to all who profess the
catholic faith and keep the peace of the church, sends full
and infinite joy. Whereas the life of man is short, and all
things are transitory from one generation to another, we
are pleased to confirm the statutes of our time by an instru-
ment in writing, that what we duly execute, of our own
right and the power given to us by God, none of our suc-
cessors may presume to violate, lest he should be found to
withstand Him who disposes kingdoms according to his will.
I therefore William, by the grace of God king, have deter-
mined to endow, in frank-almoign, in the kingdom commit-
ted to me by God for my eternal profit, the convent of St.
Evroult ; and whatever my faithful subjects lawfully dedicate
to God, for the common salvation of all, out of the pos-
sessions given them by me I ratify, and by these presents,
under my band, make known the confirmation to all now
living, and to all the faithful in time to come. In the first
place therefore I give, out of my domains, to the abbey of
Ouche, which Evroult the holy confessor of Christ built in
the wilderness, the vine called Rawell, that is, Goatswell,
in Gloucestershire. and, in Lincolnshire, the church of Net-
tleham. with all its appurtenances. Moreover, the lords
who hold under me having given the following domains to
St. Evroult, have demanded that they should be secured by
the authority of a royal charter against all pretenders.
Roger of Shrewsbury hath given all that he holds at
Melbourne, in Cambridgeshire. together with Onne and
Marston in Staffordshire, and one hide of land in Graff-


ham, and the land of Wulfine the goldsmith, at Chichester,
and the tithes of cheese and wool at Poulton, and the tithes
of Shengay in Cambridgeshire. Likewise Mabel, the said
earl's daughter, gave out of her rents in England sixty
pence sterling for the lights of the church. Warin, viscount
of Shrewsbury, gave to St. Evroult Newton' and the church
and tithes of Hales, with the tithes of Weston in Stafford-
shire. All these Earl Roger his lord confirmed. Moreover,
Hugh de Grantmesnil, (who, with his brother Robert and
his uncles William and Robert, sons of Giroie, rebuilt the
abbey of St. Evroult), gave the following hereditaments in
England to hold for ever: all the land he had in Little
Pillerton in Warwickshire, and two parts of the tithes of
all his lands, together with sixteen villeins to collect the
tithes, and nine churches. He gave also three villeins at
Shilton, two at Ware, two at Belgrave, one at Stoughton,
one at Laughton, one at Tormodeston, one at Kirkby, one
at Merston, one at Oxhill. one at Charlton, and one in the
other Charlton. He also gave the church of Ware, with all
the tithes belonging thereto, and two plough-lands; and


the church of Turchillestone, the tithes thereto belonging,
and two yard-lands; the church of Glendfield, with all the
tithes, and two yard-lands ; the church of Charlton with
the tithes, and five yard-lands; the church of Nosley with
the tithes, and two yard-lands; the church of Mergrave,
now called Belgrave, with the tithes and eleven yard-lands;
with Wilcot, and whatever Hugh the clerk of Sap held
under him in England; the church of Merston with the
tithes and land thereto belonging; also the church of
Pilardenton, with the tithes and tenements appertaining to
the church; the church of the other Charlton, with the
tithes and three yard-lands; the church of Cotesford,
with the tithes and one hide of land; and the church of
Peatling, with all that Leofric held there under him. These
are the possessions which Hugh de Grantmesnil hath given
to St. Evroult with my consent. Also Ralph de Conches
hath given to the said saint two manors, Alvinton in Wor-
cestershire and Caldecot in Norfolk;' and Hugh, the son of
Constantius, bath given the church of Guafra and one hide.
of land. Moreover, Hugh, earl of Chester, hath dedicated
his son Robert to God, as a monk in the abbey of St.
Evroult, and hath given to the same church one hide of


land in Little Pilardenton. and the tithes of one former in
the vill called Birch-hill, and the tithes of Shenley in
Buckinghamshire. Also Robert de Rhuddlan, with the con-
sent of his lord, the said Hugh, earl of Chester, gave Kirby,.
with two churches, one in the village itself, and the other at
the manor lying near, surrounded by the sea; together with
the church of St. Peter the apostle and its appurtenances,
in the city of Chester ; and the church of St. Lawrence at
Marston, m Northamptonshire, with its appurtenances; and
in the same county the church of Byfield, with two plough-
lands. Also other mesne-tenants of Earl Hugh gave to St.
Evroult tithes in Lincolnshire, viz., Roscelin of Stainton,
Osbern, son of Tezson, of Newbold, Baldric de Fairford,
the tythe with one villein ; Roger de Millai, and Brisard,
and Robert Pultrel in Leicestershire. All these gave their
tithes to St. Evroult, and the aforesaid earl freely con-
firmed the grant. All the aforesaid lands which I have
given to the abbey, often before mentioned, from my own
demesne, and which my barons and I have confirmed to the
same, I ratify by this present charter, made at the city of


Winchester, in the year of our Lord 1081, the fourth indic-
tion ; and I deliver this instrument to be executed with the
mark of the holy cross, to those my capital tenants, who
have given their lands in frank almoign or their sureties,
that this endowment may be for ever ratified by royal au-
thority, and that sacrilegious invaders of sacred rights may
incur the penalty of an irrevocable anathema, unless they
repent of their crime."
In consequence William, the great king of England, first
affixed the sign of the holy cross to this charter, and after
him the following nobles also subscribed, whose names are
hereunder written: 'viz. Robert and William, the king's sons
and earls of the highest rank; Roger of Shrewsbury, Hugh of
Chester, Ralph de Conches, and William de Breteuil, Hugh
de Grantmesnil and his nephew Robert de Rhuddlan. Robert
son of Murdac, Goulfier de Villerai, William de Molines,
Richer de Laigle, Eudes the steward, and Warin, Viscount
of Shrewsbury
On his return from England, Abbot Mainier brought with
him thin charter and laid it up in the archives of the church.
Then Queen Matilda, hearing a good! report of the life of the
monks, came to St. Evroult to pay her devotions, and being
received by the brethren with due honours offered a mark of
gold on the altar, and commended herself with her daughter
Constance to the prayers of the brethren. She also ordered


that a refectory of atone, for their common use, should be
built at her expense. She further gave to St. Evroult a
chasuble enriched with gold and jewels, and an elegant cope
for the chanter, with a promise to make further offerings if
she lived; but she was prevented by death from fulfilling it.
Likewise Adeline, wife of Roger de Beaumont. gave to the
monks of St. Evroult an alb fringed with gold, which the
priest was used to wear when celebrating mass on solemn
occasions. In like manner many persons of both sexes made
offerings of various kinds to the abbey, desiring to participate
in the spiritual benefits which were there conferred by the
Maker of the universe.
At this time three brothers served God with merit in the
monastic habit at St. Evroult ; Roger, surnamed Nicholas,
Roger and Odo. They were the sons of a priest named
Gervase de Montreuil, who had been long ago transferred by
abbot Theodoric from being curate of the parish of Les
Essarts to that of Sap. The three brothers made their
profession while they were youths, and becoming remarkable
among the brethren for their worth, were highly esteemed
both by God and man. The eldest was an unlearned man,
but a devoted lover of virtue, and he skilfully superintended
the work of building the new church. The two others were
eminent scholars and priests, firm supporters of their superior,
acid his able vicars, both within and without the convent.
The abbot made Odo prior of his monastery, for though he
was the youngest brother he was the best speaker and most
fitted for active affairs. Roger the eldest brother who had
made the greatest advances in learning, was sent to England
on affairs of the church. In this he promptly obeyed his
superior's command; he also made by his own efforts a shrine
to hold relics of the saints, which he elegantly ornamented
with silver and gold. His skill procured many treasures for
the church, such as a variety of furniture, and copes and
vestments for the chanters, sconces, silver dishes, and other


ornaments used in divine service. He was gentle and
modest, temperate in food, drink, and sleep, and beloved by
all for his kind disposition. Having filled the various offices
which the monastic system requires for twenty years, he was
afterwards promoted, by common consent of the brethren, to
succeed Mainier and Serlo in the government of the abbey of
St. Evroult. He held it for thirty-three years through good
and evil fortune, but finding himself broken by the infirmi-
ties of age, he committed it to one of his disciples named
Warin, and for three years before his death, made him, as
far as possible, his deputy and successor. But of these
affairs, if life be spared me, I shall, with God's help, give a full
account in the sequel of this history. I now return to the
enumeration of the possessions granted to the abbey, of
St. Evroult.

In the year of our Lord 1001, Henry dupe of Burgundy
died without issue, and the Burgundians rebelled against king
Robert, whom they refused to acknowledge as their sove-
reign. In consequence, Landri, Comte de Nevers, occupied
the city of Auxerre.
In the year of our Lord 1003, King Robert having called
in the Normans with their Duke Richard, and assembled a
very large army, ravaged Burgundy and besieged Auxerre,
for a long tune. The Burgundians, being by no means dis.
posed to submit to him, were unanimous m their resist,
ante; but he besieged the castle of Avalon for nearly three,
months, and at length it eras compelled by famine to,
surrender to King Robert, who then returned to France.
On the death of Fremont, count of Sons, he was succeeded ,
by his son Rainard, a most worthless infidel. His perse-
cution of the churches of Christ and his faithful servants
was such as has not been heard of from heathen times to
the present dap. Archbishop Leotheric was consequently
plunged into such difficulties that he knew not which way
to turn. Committing himself, however, entirely to the-
Lord, he implored Christ in prayers and vigils that of his,
heaven! mercy he would vouchsafe to afford relief.
Thereupon; in the year of our Lord 1016, the thirteenth
indiction, on the tenth of the calends of May [22nd April],
the city of Seas was taken possession of by Leotheric, by
the advice of Reynold bishop of Paris, and was given up to
King Robert. Rainard was forced to betake himself to
flight and escaped naked. His brother Fromond and some
other knights took refuge in a tower which stood within the
city. The king, however, reduced it, after an assault of


many days' duration, and taking Fromond captive, sent him
to Orleans, where he died in prison.
Robert, king of the Franks, reigned thirty-seven years."
he married Constance, a princess celebrated for her wisdom
and virtue. She bore him a noble offspring, Henry, Robert
and Adele. King Robert died in the year of our Lord
1031, the fourteenth indiction, and Henry his son reigned
nearly flirty years. Robert had the duchy of Burgundy,
and was the father of three sons, Henry, Robert, and Simon.
Henry, the eldest, had two sons, Hugh and Eudes, but he
died before his father. Hugh therefore succeeded his
grandfather in the duchy, which he governed for three
years with distinguished merit. He then abdicated in favour
of his brother Eudes, and inflamed by divine love, became a
monk of Cluni, where he piously served God fifteen years.
Adele, the daughter of King Robert, was given in mar-
riage to Baldwin count of Flanders, to whom she bore a
numerous offspring, Robert the Frisian, Arnulph, and
Baldwin, counts ; Eudes, archbishop of Troves, and Henry,
a clerk ; also Matilda queen of England, and Judith the
wife of Earl Tostig.
During this period, while Robert and Henry were kings of


France, ten popes filled successively the apostolic see ; that
is, Gerbert the Philosopher, who assumed the name of
Silvester, John, Benedict, and John his brother, Benedict
their nephew, Clemens, Damasus, eminent for his nobility
and love of justice, Leo, Victor, Stephen and Nicholas.
Henry, king of the Franks, married Bertrade, daughter of
Julius Claudius king of Russia. by whom he had Philip, and
Hugh the Great, Count de Crepi. Philip reigned after his
father's death forty-seven years, and espoused Bertha
daughter of Florence duke of Frisia, who bore him Lewis
Theobald and Constance.

Ch. II. Short notices of the battle of Val-des-Dunes--Of
King William's marriage and children--Of the invasion
of Normandy by King Henry of France--and the battle
of Mortemer.

IN the year of our Lord 1047, the fifteenth indiction,
William the Bastard, duke of Normandy, invited King
Henry into Neustria, and with his assistance fought a
battle against his kinsfolk at Val-des-Dunes, in which he
defeated Guy of Burgundy and other rebels, forcing some to
submit, and putting others to flight. After this, his power
being established, he married Matilda, daughter of Baldwin
marquis of Flanders, who bore him four sons and five
daughters;' Robert, Richard, William, and Henry, Agatha,


Adeliza, Constance, Adele, and Cecilia. A variety of for-
tunes was the lot of this illustrious progeny, and each in
their day was subject to mischance, as my pen has elsewhere
sufficiently noted. In course of time seditions burst forth,
and the seeds of dissension were sown among these princes,
which gave rise to great wars between the French and Nor-
mans, wherein much blood was shed.
At length, in the year of our Lord 1054, King Henry
invaded the territory of Evreux, and made great devasta-
tions, both by pillage and fire; at the same time causing his
brother Eudes to cross the Seine with many thousand troops
by the Beauvaisis. Meanwhile Duke William hung with
his force on the flank of King Henry's army watching for a
favourable opportunity of bringing him to an engagement.
Moreover, be ordered Roger de Mortemer and the Cauchois
to throw themselves on the royal troops [commanded by
Eudes]. Obeying his orders without delay, they encoun-
tered the French at Mortemer, and having gained the
victory, took prisoner Guy count of Ponthieu, and put
to flight Eudes and Ralph count de Mont-Didier, many of
their followers falling by the sword. Then Pope Leo died
in the sixth year of his pontificate. in the second year of
which the abbey of St. Evroult was restored, and Theodoric,
the first abbot, was consecrated on the nonce [the 7th] of
October. Eight years afterwards he went on a pilgrimage,
and died in the island of Cyprus, on the calends [the 1st]
of August, many miracles being wrought on his tomb .

Ch. III. A fragment containing part of the genealogy of
Edward the Confessor.

EDWARD, king of England, after a reign of twenty-three


years departed this life in the sixth year of Philip king of
France. His genealogy from Sheen, the son of Noah, may be
thus traced. Sheen beget Arphaxad and Beadung ; Beadung
beget Wala; Wale beget Hatra; Hatra beget Itermod:
Itermod beget Heremod; Heremod beget Sceldunea;
Sceldunea beget Beaw; Beaw begot Cetuna; Cetuna beget
Geata; whom the heathen long since worshipped as a god.
Geata beget Findggoldwulf; the father of Fidhulput ; of
whom came Fealap, the father of Frithowald. From him
sprung Woden, from whom the English call the sixth day,
Woden's day. he was highly exalted among his people
and attained great power.


Ch. VIII. Odo, bishop of Bayeux, takes measures for succeed-
ing Hildebrand in the papacy--He is arrested by King
William for abusing his authority, and imprisoned at

WHILE the storms which we have just described were
agitating the world, certain sorcerers at Rome applied their
art to discover who would succeed Hildebrand in the
papacy, and found that after the death of Gregory, a prelate


of the name of Odo would be pope of Home. When
Odo, bishop of Bayeux, who, under his brother King
William, had the chief rule over the Normans and English,
heard this, he made light of the authority and wealth which
the government of a western kingdom conferred, and aspired
to the papal power which would give him wider sway and
raise him above all earthly princes. He therefore despatched
his emissaries to Rome, where he purchased a palace, and
conciliating the senators by magnificent gifts, he ornamented
his residence with lavish expense and costly superfluities.
Attaching to his person Hugh, earl of Chester, and a goodly
company of distinguished knights, he engaged them to attend
him to Italy, by prodigal promises added to his entreaties.
The Normans are ever given to change and desirous of
visiting foreign lands, and they therefore readily joined
themselves to the aspiring prelate whose ambition was not
satisfied by the dominion of England and Normandy. In
consequence they resolved on abandoning the vast estates
which they possessed in the west of Europe, and pledged
themselves to attend the bishop beyond the Po


The wise king William speedily heard of these prepara-
tions, but the scheme did not meet his approbation, for he
considered that it was fraught with injury to his own king-
dom as well as to others. He therefore lost no time in crossing
the sea, and at the isle of Wight presented himself unexpect-
edly to bishop Odo, when he was on the point of sailing for
Normandy with a pompous retinue. Having assembled the
great nobles of the realm in his royal court, the king thus
addressed them:-
"Illustrious lords, listen attentively to what I shall say,
and give me, I pray you, salutary counsel. Before I went
over to Normandy, I entrusted the government of England
to my brother the bishop of Bayeux. There were in
Normandy many who revolted against my authority, and, if
I may so say, both friends and foes set themselves against
me. Even my own son Robert, and the young nobles whom I
had brought up and invested with the ensigns of knighthood
rebelled against me, while some traitorous vassals and my
border foes eagerly joined the ranks of the malcontents. But
by God's help, whose servant I am, they failed of success, and
got nothing from me but the sword which pierced them with
wounds. By the terror of my arms I restrained the people of
Anjou, who were leagued for war against me, and I also
curbed the rebellious inhabitants of Maine. Thus occupied,
I found myself embarrassed by affairs beyond sea, and was
long detained labouring earnestly for the public good.
Meanwhile, my brother grievously oppressed the English,
robbing the churches of their lands and revenues, and
stripping them of the ornaments with which our forefathers
enriched them; while he seduced my knights, whose duty it
was to defend England against the Danes and Irish, and
other enemies who threatened hostilities, and has made
preparations, in contempt of me, for transporting them into
foreign regions beyond the Alps. My heart is overwhelmed
with grief; especially on account of the injury he has done to
the churches of God. The Christian kings who reigned
before me were devoted to the church, on which they heaped


honours and gifts of every kind, and hence, as we believe,
they now repose in the seats of bliss, rejoicing in their
glorious rewards. Ethelbert, Edwin and St. Oswald,
Ethelwulfa and Alfred, Edward the elder and Edgar, with
Edward my cousin and most dear lord, richly endowed our
holy church, which is the spouse of Christ. And now, my
brother, to whom I entrusted the care of my entire kingdom,
has laid violent hands on her substance, has cruelly oppressed
the poor, has seduced my knights on frivolous pretences, and
has spread disorder through the whole of England by his
unjust exactions. Consider then prudently what is to be
done, and let me know, I pray you, what you advise.
All the council, however, being restrained by fear of the
powerful prelate, and hesitating to make a decision against
him, the stout-hearted king said: " A dangerous ambition
must always be curbed, and an individual must not be
spared, for favour or affection, to the public detriment.
Let thin man therefore who disturbs the state be arrested,
and closely confined, that he may not do further mischief.
No one however daring to lay hands on a bishop, the king
was the first to seize him, upon which Odo cried out, " I um
a cleric, and the Lord's minister; it is not Lawful to condemn
a bishop without the judgment of the pope." To which the
prudent king replied: " I do not condemn a clerk or a
bishop, but I arrest an earl I have myself created. and to
whom, as my vicegerent, I entrusted the government of my
realer, it being my will that he should render an account of
the stewardship I have committed to him.
In this manner the royal authority was exerted to arrest
the bishop, who was conducted to Normandy, and being
imprisoned in the castle of Rouen, was kept there in close
custody four years, that is, as long as the king lived. The
chief disturber of the peace being thus laid low, the knights
returned to their duty, and, by the king's wisdom, his throne
was fortified against all attacks from within or without.
In this prelate we see clearly exemplified what Fulgentius


says, in his book on Mythology: " The man who makes
pretensions to which he is not entitled, will sink lower than
he is." The bishopric of Bayeux, and the rich earldom of
Kent, and the exercise of royal power in common with his
own through England and Normandy, was not enough for
one clerk, who aspired to the government of the whole
world, moved neither by Divine inspiration nor a canonical
election, but by the impulses of his own insatiable ambition.
He lost therefore what he already possessed, was left to pink
in captivity, and has left a warning to posterity not to be too
eager in the pursuit of honours.

Ch. IX. Death of Queen Matilda--Her epitaph--She is
buried in the abbey of the Holy Trinity, at Caen--Succes-
sion of the abbesses.

AT this time, the seventh indiction, Matilda, queen of
England, fell sick, and, her illness being prolonged and
becoming serious, she confessed her sins with bitter tears,
and having duly performed all the offices which the Christian
profession requires, and been fortified by the life-giving,
sacrament, she died on the third of the hones [the 3rd] of'
November. Her body was carried to the convent of the
Holy Trinity, which she had founded at Caen for nuns, and
interred with great respect by many bishops and abbots,
between the choir and the altar. he monks and clergy
celebrated her obsequies with a great concourse, of the poor,
to whom she had been a generous benefactress, in the name
of Christ. A tomb was erected to her memory, admirably
ornamented with gold and jewels, and the following epitaph
was elegantly engraved on it in letters of gold :-

This stately monument Matilda's name
In gold and marble gives to endless fame.
High was her birth, sprung from a royal race,
To which her virtues lent a nobler grace,
Her Fair Adele to Flemish Baldwin bore,
The crown of France whose sire and brother wore.


When conquering William made her England's queen,
'Twas hero her noblest, holiest work was seen,
This Pane, this house, where cloistered sisters dwell,
And with their notes of praise the anthem swell,
Endowed and beautified, her earnest care.
Nor others failed her liberal alma to share;
The sick, the indigent partook her store,
She laid up wealth by giving to the poor.
To heaven by pious deeds she won the way,
Departing on November's second day.

The Abbess Matilda carefully governed the convent at
Caen, dedicated to the holy and undivided Trinity, for
forty-seven years, ably educating and instructing in the
service of God, according to the monastic rule, Cecilia, the
king's daughter, and many other noble ladies. On her
death, she was succeeded by the illustrious Cecilia, who
lined the office of mother of the nuns for several years, in
the tithe of her brother, King Henry. After her, the
daughter of Count -William, vi-ho was son of Stephen of
Blois, undertook the government of the convent, but she
held it only for a short time, being cut off by a premature


CH. XIV. Disturbances on the banks of the Eure in the Vexin
--Account of the cession of that district by Henry I. of
France to Robert, duke of Normandy--King William's
expedition to recover it--He burns the town of Mantes
--and falls mortally sick.

[1087.] The old feuds between the Normans and French.
being renewed, hostilities again burst forth, and the flames
of war occasioned the most serious losses both to the clergy
and laity. For Hugh, surnamed Stavel, and Ralph Malvoi-
sin, and other inhabitants of the fortified town of Mantes
took up arms against King William, and collecting a large
band of freebooters made frequent predatory excursions into
Normandy. Crossing in the night, at the head of their
troops, the river Eure which divides Normandy from France.
they threw themselves unexpectedly on the diocese of Evreux
determined on committing the most cruel devastations. The
brunt of the inroad fell on the domains of William de Breteuil
in the neighbourhood of Paci, and those of Roger de Ivri,
from which they drove off herds of cattle, and curried away
many prisoners, so that deriding the Normans, they were be-
yond measure elated at their success. This induced the warlike
King William, who was excessively enraged, to lay claim to
the whole province of the Vexin, requiring Philip, king of
France, to surrender Pontoise, Chaumont. and Mantes, and
making terrible threats against his enemies if' be was not


restored to his lawful rights. The grounds of his claim were
as follows.
King Henry, son of Robert king of France, after the death
of his father, was heir to the crown as his eldest son, but he
was opposed with a step-mother's hatred by Queen Constance
who used every effort to elevate his brother, Robert duke of
Burgundy, to the throne of France in his place. Henry
therefore, by the advice of Amauri, lord of Montfort, son of
William de Hainault, came with twelve attendants to
Fecamp and humbly besought the assistance of Robert
duke of Normandy, in the state of misery and exile to which
his mother's perfidy had reduced him. The duke gave him
an honourable reception befitting his lawful right as suzerain
of the duchy, and liberally entertained him during the
celebration of the feast of Easter. He then assembled the
forces of Normandy from every quarter, and making a hasty
irruption into France, assaulted Orleans with Norman
impetuosity and set fire to and burnt the place. Having
lowered the pride of the French by inflicting on them
immense losses, Robert restored the young king to his throne.
Thus reinstated, King Henry returned thanks to the duke,
and for his service ceded to him the whole of the Vexin from
the river Oise to the Epte. Dreux, the count of drat pro-
vince. assented willingly to this arrangement, and doing
homage to the duke served him faithfully as long as he lived.
Both the duke and the count were distinguished for their
merits, their regard was mutual, and each delighted to
honour the other and advance his friend's interests.
Dreux, as I have before remarked, was descended from
Charlemagne, king of the Franks. Duke Robert had given
him in marriage his cousin Goda, sister of Edward, king of
England, by whom he had the Counts Ralph and Walter, and
the venerable Fulk, bishop of Amiens s The young princess


had become an exile in Normandy with her brother, at the
time when Canute, king of Denmark had taken forcible
possession of England, having expelled the two heirs to the
crown, Alfred and Edward, and cut off by the treason of
Edric Prince Edmund, and Edwin, the presumptive heir.
After some years, on the death of Duke Robert at Nice, a
city of Bithynia, the Norman barons revolted against
William, who was then a boy; for when his father set out
on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem in company with Count
Dreux, William was only eight yearn old, and was entrusted
to the guardianship of his cousin Alan, count of Brittany.
Robert and Dreux dying on their journey, and Alan being
carried off by poison treacherously administered by the
Normans while he was besieging Montgomery, their heirs
became iniquitously deprived of their natural protector, so
that King Henry, by the advice of the French who are
always at variance with the Normans, was able to take
advantage of it, and re-annex the country of the Vexin,
which he afterwards retained in his own power. William
was at that time prevented from asserting his rights, on
account of his youth ; and afterwards being occupied with
more important affairs in Maine and England, he suffered the
matter to drop, and deferred taking up arms for the recovery
of the Vexin against Philip, his liege-lord, or his son Philip.
At length, twenty-one years after he had ascended the
throne of England, William addressed his claims to the
county of the Vexin to Philip, king of France. That prince
however adopted the frivolous subterfuges suggested by the
insurgents, and treated with contempt, and altogether dis-
regarded, the demands of the English king. Upon this.
William made his appearance suddenly before Mantes, at
the head of an army, in the last week of the month of July,
and his troops entered the city mixed with the garrison.
For the townsmen had stolen out of the place to observe the


devastations which Ascelin Goel had made with the Norman
troops the day before the king's arrival, by burning the
standing corn, and rooting up the vines. The royal army
thus rushing in pell-mell with the garrison, passed the gates,
and in their fury set fire to the castle, which was burnt, with
the churches and houses. It was there that King William,
who was very corpulent, fell sick from the excessive heat and
his great fatigues, languishing six weeks with severe
sufferings. There were some who rejoiced at this calamity,
hoping to have free scope for pillage and robbing their
neighbours' substance, others, who looked for security in
peace, greatly feared the death of their lord, on whom it
depended. The king, who during his whole life had followed
the advice of wise counsellors, had feared God as became his
faithful servant, and had been the unwearied protector of
holy mother church, maintained his exalted reputation to the
end. His death was worthy of his life. To the very last,
through all his illness, his intellect was clear and his
conversation lively; repenting of his sine he confessed them
to the priests of God, and humbly strove to appease his
wrath according to the rites of the Christian church. The
bishops, abbots, and men of religion never left him, and were
indefatigable in opening to the dying prince the salutary
doctrines of eternal life. The noise of Rouen, which is a
populous place, becoming insupportable to the sufferer, the
king gave orders that he should be conveyed out of the city
to the church of St. Gervase, standing on a hill to the west.


which his grandfather, Duke Richard, had given to the
monastery of Fecamp. There, Gilbert, bishop of Lisieux,
and Guntard, abbot of Jumieges, with some others, well
skilled in medicine, carefully watched over him, devoting
themselves zealously to their master's welfare, both spiritual
and temporal.
At length, his disorder continually ,increasing, and
perceiving that inevitable death was becoming imminent, he
became anxious about the future, which was veiled from his
sight, reflecting on which with deep concern, he wan
frequently moved to sighs and groans. He summoned to his
side his sons William Rufus and Henry, who were in
attendance on him with some of his friends, and have them
many wise and prudent directions for the regulation of his
states. Robert, his eldest son, had long since entered on a
course of repeated quarrels with his father, and had recently
taken umbrage in consequence of some new follies, and
retired to the court of tire king of France.
The wise ping hastened to make provision for the future
welfare of himself and others, ordering all his treasures to be
distributed among tire churches, the poor, and the ministers
of God. He exactly specified the amount to be given to
each, and gave directions to the notaries to reduce it to
writing in his own presence. He also contritely sent large
donations to the clergy of Mantes, to be applied to tire
restoration of the churches he lad burnt. He gave
admonitions to all who were present relative to the
maintenance of ,justice and good faith, keeping tire law of
God and peace, the privileges of the churches, and observing
the rules of the fathers. His eloquent discourse, worthy to
be held in everlasting remembrance, and at times interrupted
by tears, was to the following effect.

Ch. XV. Discourse of King William the Conqueror on his
death-bed, in which he recapitulates the principal events of
his life--His disposition of' his treasure and states.

" I tremble," he said, " my friends, when I reflect on the
grievous sins which burden my conscience, and now about
to be summoned before the awful tribunal of God, I know
not what I ought to do. I wan bred to arms from my child-
hood, and am stained with the rivers of blood I have abed.
It is out of my power to enumerate all the injuries which I
have caused during the sixty-four years of my troublesome
life, for which I am now called to render account without
delay to the most righteous Judge. At the time my father
want into voluntary exile, entrusting to me the duchy of
Normandy, I was a mere youth of the age of eight years,
and from that time to this I have always borne the weight
of arms. I have now ruled this duchy fifty-six years,
amidst the difficulties of incessant ware. My own subjects
have often conspired against me, and shamefully exposed me
to serious losses and great injuries. They have perfidiously
put to death Turketil my guardian, Osberne, non of Hirfast,
steward of Normandy; Count Gilbert, the father of his
country. and many others, who were the pillars of the state.
In these trials I had proof of the fidelity of my people
often by night I was secretly taken from the chamber of
my palace by my uncle Walter. through fear of my own


relations, and conducted to the dwellings and retreats of the
poor, that I might escape from discovery by the traitors who
sought my death.
" The Normans, when under the rule of a kind but firm
master, are a most valiant people, excelling all others in the
invincible courage with which they meet difficulties, and
strive to conquer every enemy. But under other circum-
stances they rend in pieces and ruin each other. They are
eager for rebellion, ripe for tumults, and ready for every
sort of crime. They must therefore be restrained by the
strong hand of justice, and compelled to walk in the right
way by the reins of discipline. But if they are allowed to
take their own coarse without any yoke and like an un-
tamed colt, they and their princes will be overwhelmed with
poverty, shame, and confusion. I have learnt this by
much experience. My nearest friends, my own kindred,
who ought to have defended me at all hazards against the
whole world, have formed conspiracies, and rebelling against
me, nearly stripped me of the inheritance of my fathers.
" Guy, son of Reynold, duke of Burgundy. by my aunt
Adeliza, returned me evil for good. I had kindly received
him on his arrival from a foreign country, and treated him
with the regard due to an only brother, giving him Vernon,
Brionne, and an important part of my Norman territories.
Notwithstanding this, he did all in his power to injure me,
both by word and deed, calling me bastard, degenerate and
unworthy to reign, and defaming me as if I had been his
enemy. Need I add more ? Breaking his fealty, he rebelled
against me, seduced from my service Ranulf de Bayeux .
Haymon-aux-Dents, Nigel du Cotentin. and many others,
forcing them by his nefarious counsels to be partakers of
his perjury. Regardless therefore of the homage and fealty
which he had sworn to me, he strove to strip me of the
whole of Normandy. Thus, while I was yet a beardless


youth, I found myself compelled to take up arms against
him, and to fight on the plain of Val-des-Dunes' against my
cousin and liege man. Then, by the help of God, the
righteous judge, I conquered my foes between Caen and
Argences, and having by His permission utterly defeated
them, I obtained entire possession of my paternal rights. I
then laid siege to the fortress of Brionne, in which Guy,
who fled wounded from the field of battle, had shut himself
up, and I did not depart until I had driven the public
enemy out of Normandy, and obtained possession of all his
strong holds.
"Shortly afterwards a stilt more grievous calamity befell
me. My uncles, Mauger, archbishop of Rouen, and his
brother William, to whom I had gratuitously given Argues
and the county of Talon, treated me with contempt as a
bastard, and induced King Henry and Engelran, count of
Ponthieu, to take up arms against me. I received this in-


telligence in the Cotentin, and lost no time in beginning
my march contrary to the opinions of most of my advisers.
Sending forward to Argues some light troops who were
eager for the fray, I Followed myself with the main body,
which was far from considerable, to lay siege to the castle.
But before I reached the country between the two rivers,
the Sie and the Garenne, the advanced guard fell in with
Count Engelran pushing forward to occupy the fortress, and
killed him, fighting bravely, for he was a valiant knight, and
routed his squadrons. Pressing the siege closely, I com-
pelled the perjured count to go into banishment, and did
not permit him to return to the domains he lost during all
the days of his life. I also, by virtue of a papal decree, de-
posed the insolent archbishop, who neither observed his
fealty to me, nor his duty to God, and raised to the see the
venerable monk Mauritius who was providentially sent from
Florence, an Malian city.
" Henry, in all the plenitude of his royal power and the
fervour of his chivalrous spirit, has been often seen at the
instigation of my enemies, to trample me under his feet as a
defenceless man, endeavouring to crush me and impose upon
me unjust conditions. He has made frequent irruptions
into my territories at the head of large armies, but he has
never been able to triumph in the spoils and booty he has
gained, or the captives he has made among my subjects. He
has often crossed the frontiers with great military pomp,
and terrible menaces, but he has never returned to his own
kingdom without sorrow and shame. He has brought in
his train numbers of most valiant men, who, alas! never
saw their own country again, having fallen by my sword and
the arms of my followers.


" On one occasion, king Henry, was so enraged against
me, that he invaded my territories with a vast army in two
divisions, in order to overwhelm them by a double attack.
He led one body of troops himself into the diocese of Evreux,
and ravaged the whole country on this side the Seine, while
he gave the command of the other division to his brother
Eudes, with Reynold de Clermont, and the two counts,
Ralph de Montdidier, and Guy de Ponthieu, with orders to
enter Normandy by the fords of the Epte, and, carrying fire
and sword through Brai and the Talois, with the whole dis-
trict of Rouen, to continue their devastations to the sea-


coast. Receiving intelligence of these movements, I lost no
time in preparing to meet them. Stationing myself with
part of my troops along the bank of the Seine against the
king's tents, I kept him in check, and was ready to fall upon
the enemy at whatever point he attempted to ravage my
territories. Meanwhile, I detached against Eudes and his
division Robert, Count d'Eu, with Roger de Mortemer. and
other distinguished knights; who, encountering the French
near the castle of Mortemer, the line of battle was formed by
both armies, and a desperate engagement ensued, in which the
carnage was enormous, for the combatants on both sides were
full of ardour and resolved not to yield but with their lives. On
one side, the French made furious assaults, inspired by the
hope of gaining the spoils of the victory ; on the other, the
Normans struck home, animated by their determination to
repel the enemy and defend their lives and possessions.
This battle was fought beyond the Seine in the winter
season, before Lent, eight years after that of Val-des-Dunes.
Guy, count of Ponthieu, was taken prisoner and Eudes,
Reynold, and others were put to flight, owing their escape
to the speed with which they ran away. Count Ralph [de
Valois] would also have been taken, if Roger, my com-
mander-in-chief, had not favoured his escape on account of
the fealty he had formerly sworn to him. In acting thus,
in the hour of the count's utmost need, he paid him a noble
and legitimate service; receiving him in his castle, where he
entertained him three days, and afterwards conducting him
in safety to his own territories. Notwithstanding, for this
breach of his duty to me, I banished Robert From Nor-
mandy, but, being soon afterwards reconciled with him,
restored him all his domains, except the castle of Mortemer,
in which he had sheltered my enemy; which I think he
justly forfeited, and I granted it to his cousin William de
Warrene. one of my loyal young vassals. Guy, count of


Bayeux, was detained a captive during my pleasure; but
two years afterwards I received his fealty on the terms of
his being always my faithful subject and doing military
service every year, wherever I should appoint, with a
hundred men-at-arms. I then heaped favours upon him
and dismissed him in peace thus honoured.
"As soon as I received certain intelligence of the issue of
the battle of Mortemer, I despatched Ralph de Toni to the


king of France with an account of what had .occurred on
the left bank of the Seine. On hearing the news, which
reached him in the dead of the night, King Henry lost not
a moment in putting his troops in motion, and, having made
a precipitate retreat, from that hour he has never reposed
for a single night on my territories.
" Thus, from my very infancy, I have been continually
involved in numberless embarrassments, but, by God's mercy,
I have freed myself from them all with the highest honour.
I became in consequence an object of jealousy to all my
neighbours, but by His aid in whom I always put my trust,
none of them were able to prevail against me. The Bretons
and Anjevins have found this; the French and Flemings
are witnesses of it ; the Manceaux have severely felt it.
" Geoffrey Martel, Count of Anjou. Conan, duke of
Brittany. and Robert the Frisian, count of Flanders,
engaged in perfidious enterprises against me; but as God
was my protector, though they made great efforts and laid
many snares for me, they were never able to accomplish
their designs. I have placed on my brow a royal diadem,
which none of my predecessors wore, having acquired it by
the grace of God, not by hereditary right. It would be dif-
ficult for me to recount my labours beyond sea, and the
perilous conflicts in which I have been engaged with the
people of Exeter, Chester and Northumbria, with the Scots
and Welsh, Norwegians, Danes, and other adversaries who
attempted to deprive me of the crown of England: in all
which I obtained the victory. But much as human ambition
is disposed to triumph in such successes, I am a prey to
cruel fears and anxieties when I reflect with what barbari-


ties they were attended. I therefore humbly entreat you,
the priests and ministers of Christ, to commend me in dour
prayers to Almighty God for the forgiveness of the sine
with which my conscience is burdened, and that through
his inexhaustible mercy be will vouchsafe to grant me salva-
tion among his elect. I direct my treasure to be given to
the churches and the poor, that what was amassed in crime
may be dispersed among the saints and applied to holy
uses. For you ought to remember how dearly I have loved
you, and how stoutly I have defended you against all your
" I have never injured the church of God, which is our
mother, but have always paid her, as circumstances demanded,
due honour. I never sold ecclesiastical dignities. I pro-
hibited simony, which I always detested. In the election of
prelates my choice was directed by meritorious conduct and
wise doctrine, and as far as it has been in my power the
government of the church has been committed to the most
worthy. This may be truly proved by my selection of Lan-
franc, archbishop of Canterbury; of Anselm, abbot of Bec;
Gerbert, abbot of Fontenelles ; Durand, of Troarn ; and
many other doctors of my realm, whose praise, I think, is
spread to the ends of the earth. Such were the associates
with whom I conversed, and in whose society I learnt the
maxims of wisdom and truth; so that I always delighted to
receive their counsels.
"Nine abbeys of monks and one of nuns, founded in
Normandy' by my predecessors, have, under God's blessing,
been augmented by my care, nobly enriched with the splen-
did endowments of various kinds I have conferred upon
them. Moreover, during the time I have governed the
duchy, seventeen convents of monks and six of nuns have
been erected. in which the full service is regularly


performed, and large alms are daily distributed for the
love of the King Supreme. With such fortresses Normandy
is well protected, and in them men are taught to combat the
demons and the sins of the flesh. By God's inspiration all
these abbeys have been either of my creation or foundation,
and I became their zealous benefactor and kind promoter.
Moreover, all the endowments, whether in lands or other
revenues, which my barons have given to God and his saints,
for the good of their souls, both in Normandy and England,
I have graciously confirmed, and have gratuitously ratified
by my princely authority the charters granting them, against
claims and pretensions.
"Such have been my cares from my earliest years, and
these duties I leave to my successors to be observed in all
time to come. In these, my sons; constantly follow my
example, that you may be honoured for ever before God
and men. I especially exhort you, who are my own flesh,
to cultivate unceasingly the society of good and wise men,
and to submit to their rule in all things, if you desire to
possess durable glory. From the teaching of pious philoso-
phers you will learn to discern good from evil, to adhere to
justice on all occasions, and to spare no pains in avoiding
iniquity; to be merciful protectors of the weak, the poor,
and the pious, while you bridle and put down the proud and
malicious: to refrain from injuring simple folk, to frequent
with devotion the services of holy church, to love the wor-
ship of God above all riches, and to observe unweariedly
the divine law by day and by night, in prosperity and in
" I granted the dukedom of Normandy to my son Robert,
because he was the eldest. before I fought against Harold
on the heath of Senlac. He has already received the
homage of nearly all the barons of this land. The grant
thus made and ratified I cannot annul. But I know for
certain that the country which is subject to his dominion
will be truly wretched. He is a proud and silly prodigal,
and will have long to suffer severe misfortune.


" I appoint no one my heir to the crown of England, but
leave it to the disposal of the Eternal Creator, whose I am,
and who ordereth all things. For I did not attain that high
honour by hereditary right, but I wrested it from the per-
jured king Harold in a desperate battle, with much effusion
of human blood, and it was by the slaughter and banish-
ment of his adherents, that I subjugated England to my rule.
I have persecuted its native inhabitants beyond all reason.
Whether nobles or commons, I have cruelly oppressed
them; many I unjustly. disinherited; innumerable multi-
tudes, especially in the county of York, perished through
me by famine or the sword. Thus it happened; the Deiri
and other people beyond the Humber called in the troops of
Sweyn, king of Denmark, as their auxiliaries against me,
and put to the sword Robert Comyn and a thousand soldiers
within the walls of Durham, as well as others, my barons
and most esteemed knights, in various places' These events
inflamed me to the highest pitch of resentment, and I fell
on the English of the northern counties like a raving lion.
I commanded their houses and corn, with all their imple-
ments and furniture, to be burnt without distinction, and
large herds of cattle and beasts of burden, to be butchered
wherever they were found. It was thus that I took revenge
on multitudes of both sexes by subjecting them to the
calamity of a cruel famine; and by so doing, alas me!
became the barbarous murderer of many thousands, both
young and old, of that fine race of people. Having, there-
fore, made my way to the throne of that kingdom by so
many crimes, I dare not leave it to any one but God alone,
lent after my death worse should happen by my means. I
trust that my son William, who from his earliest years has
always attached himself to me, and been dutiful under all
trials to the best of his power, may live long and prosperous
in the influence of the Spirit of God, and should it be the


divine will that he succeed to the throne, his reign may be

Ch. XVI. Odo, bishop of Bayeux, exempted from the general
amnesty--The last hours and death of William the Con-
queror--His funeral--and character.

WHILE King William discoursed thus, with much more to
the same effect, and the bystanders who cautiously scanned
the dim prospects of the future, were lost in amazement,
Henry, his youngest son, hearing that no provision was
made for him out of the royal wealth, said sorrowfully to the
king : " And what, my father, .do you give me ? " to which
the king replied: " I bequeath to you five thousand pounds
of silver from my treasury." Upon which Henry said
" What shall I do with this money, having. no corner of
earth which I can call my own ?" To which the king
answered: "My son, be contented with your lot, and trust
in the Lord. Suffer patiently your elder brothers to precede
you. Robert will have Normandy, and William England.
But you, also, in your turn, will succeed to all the dominions
which belong to me, and you will surpass your brothers in
wealth and power." After he had said this, the king,
fearing leaf in ouch extended territories some sudden tumults
might burst forth, addressed a letter to Lanfranc the arch-
bishop, on the appointment of a successor to the throne, and
affixing his seal, gave it to his son William Rufus, com-
manding him to embark for England without delay. He
then kissed him, and, giving him his blessing, directed him
to hasten his departure and crows the sea to secure the
crown. The prince lost no time in riding to the port of
Wissant, and there he received intelligence of his father's
death. Henry was equally prompt in securing the money
allotted to him. He had it carefully weighed that there
might be no deficiency, and, summoning his intimate friends
in whom he could confide, sought a place of safety in which
to deposit his treasure.
Meanwhile tire physicians and royal attendants in charge


of the dying prince, together with the nobles who had come
to visit him, took an opportunity of speaking in favour of
the captives who were detained in prison, humbly entreating
him to have pity on them and grant their release. The king
replied to them : " I have long kept in captivity Morcar,
the noble English earl; in this I gave been unjust, but my
fear has been that if he were liberated he would raise
disturbances in the kingdom of England. I threw into
prison Roger de Breteuil who opposed me with bitter
animosity, and stirred up against me his brother-in-law
Ralph de Guader and many others, said I swore that he
should not be set free as long as I lived. In like manner I
confined many persons to punish them for their own offences,
and others to prevent their causing future rebellions. Justice
requires this, and the divine law, through Moses, commands
the rulers of the world to restrain the guilty that the inno-
cent may not perish being now, however, at the point
of death, as I hope to be saved and, by God's mercy,
absolved from my sins, I order that the prison doors shall
be forthwith thrown open, and all the prisoners, except my
brother, the bishop of Bayeux, be released and suffered to
go free, for the love of God, that He also may have mercy
on me. But they are not to be liberated, but on condition
that they first take an oath to my ministers, for the security
of the state, that they will use every means to preserve
the peace both in Normandy and in England, and will
stedfastly resist the enemies of tranquillity to the utmost of
their power."
When Robert, earl of Morton, heard that by the king's
decision his brother was condemned to perpetual imprison-
ment he was much distressed. Herluin de Conteville had
married Harleve, the concubine of' Duke Robert, by whom
he had two sons. Odo and Robert. William, who was first
duke and afterwards king, had heaped honours and posses-
sions on his father-in-law both in Normandy and England,
and had enriched with large domains his sons, Ralph, born


of another wife. and Robert and Odo, his own uterine
brothers. For having expelled from Normandy on slight
pretences William, surnamed Werlenge, count of Morton,
son of Count Mauger, he had conferred the county of Mor-
ton on Robert, son of Herluin, and thus his own brother.
Moreover, on the death of Hugh, bishop of Bayeux, son
of Count Mauger. he gave that bishopric to his brother
Odo, whom he afterwards made earl of Kent in England.
At length, King William arrested him in the Isle of
Wight. on account of his overweening pride, as I have
before fully related, and having detained him four years in
prison, was unwilling, such was the insolence of Odo, to
release him even when he was himself at the point of death.
In consequence, the earl of Morton, of whom I have lately
spoken, was sorely afflicted, and, by his own supplications
and those of his friends on behalf of his brother, wearied
the suffering prince.
The king was exhausted by the numerous solicitations
from so many quarters for the release of the bishop of
Bayeux; but at length he said: " I wonder that your
penetration has not discovered the character of the man for
whom you supplicate me. Are not you making petitions for
a prelate who has long held religion m contempt, and who is
the subtle promoter of fatal divisions? Have I not already
incarcerated for four years this bishop, who when he ought
to have proved himself exemplary in the ,just government
of England, became a most cruel oppressor of the people,
and destroyer of the convents of monks? In desiring the
liberation of this seditious man, you are ill-advised, and are
bringing on yourselves a serious calamity. It is clear that
my brother Odo is a man not to be trusted, ambitious,
given to fleshly desires, and of enormous cruelty ; and that
he will never be converted from his whoredoms and ruinous
follies. I satisfied myself of this on several occasions, and
therefore I imprisoned, not the bishop, but the tyrannical


earl. There is no doubt that if he is released, he will
disturb the whole country and be the ruin of thousands. I
say this not from hatred, as if I were his enemy, but as the
father of my country, watching for the welfare of a Christian
people. It would indeed give me inexpressible and heart-
felt boy to think that he would conduct himself with chastity
and moderation, as it always becomes a priest and minister
of God."'
All the friends of the bishop pledging themselves for hi:
reformation, the king further said: " Whether I will or
not, your petition shall be granted, but after my death there
will immediately be a violent change in affairs. It is
against my own judgment that I permit my brother to be
liberated from confinement, for be assured that he will
cause the death or the grievous injury of many persons. Fur-
ther, as I have declared the forfeiture of all the lands of
Baudri, son of Nicholas. as a punishment for his folly in
quitting my service and going to Spain without my licence,
I now restore him his domains for the love of God. I do
not think that a braver knight exists, but he is prodigal and
inconstant, and loves to wander in foreign countries."
Thus King William, though tormented with excruciating
trains in his intestines, preserved throughout the full pos-
session of his-clearness of intellect and power of expressing
himself with his usual vivacity; and gave with readiness
useful counsels to all who addressed themselves to him on
the affairs of the state.
at length, on Tuesday, the fifth of the ides [the 9th] of
September. the king waking just when the sun was begin-
ning to shed his rays on the earth, heard the sound of the


great bell of tire cathedral of Rouen. On his inquiring
what it meant, his attendants replied: "My Lord, the bell
is tolling for primes in the church of St. Mary." Then the
king, raised his eyes to heaven with deep devotion, and
lifting up his hands said: "I commend myself to Mary,
the holy mother of God, my heavenly mistress, that by her
blessed intercession I may be reconciled to her well-
beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ." Having said this he
instantly expired. The physicians and others who were
present, who had watched the king all night while he slept,
his repose neither broken by cries or groans, seeing him
now expire so suddenly and unexpectedly, were much
astonished, and became as men who had lost their wits.
Notwithstanding, the wealthiest of them mounted their
horses and departed in haste to secure their property.
But the inferior attendants, observing that their masters
had disappeared., laid hands on the arms, the plate, the robes,
the linen, and all the royal furniture, and leaving the corpse
almost naked on the floor of the house hastened away.
Observe then, I pray you, my readers, how little trust can
be placed in human fidelity. All these servants snatched up
what they could of the royal effects, like so many kites, and
took to their heels with their booty. Roguery thus came
forth from its hiding place the moment the great justiciary
was dead, and first exercised its rapacity round the corpse
of him who had so long repressed it.
Intelligence of the king's death was quickly spread, and,
far and near, the hearts of those who heard it were filled with
joy or grief. In fact, King William's decease was known in
Rome and in Calabria to some of the exiles he had dis-
inherited, the acme day he died at Rouen, as they afterwards
solemnly asserted in Normandy. For the evil spirit was
frantic with joy on finding his servants, who were bent on
rapine and plunder, set free by the death of their judge.
O, worldly pomp, how despicable you are when one
considers that you are empty and fleeting! You are justly
compared to watery bubbles, since at one moment you are
inflated and rise, and vanish the next. Behold this mighty
prince, who was lately obsequiously obeyed by more than a
hundred thousand men in arms, and at whose nod nations
trembled, was now stripped by his own attendants, in a.


house which was not his own; and left on the bare ground
from the hour of primes to that of tierce.
Meanwhile, the citizens of Rouen having heard the
death of their prince, were in the greatest state of alarm ;
almost all of them lost their reason, as if they had been
intoxicated, and were thrown into as much confusion as if
the city had been threatened with an assault by a powerful
army. Each quitted the place where he received the news,
and ran to confer with his wife, or the first friend or
acquaintance he met, as to what was to be done. Every one
removed, or prepared to remove, his valuables, concealing
them with alarm, lest they should be discovered.
At length the religious, both clergy and monks, recovering
their courage and the use of their senses, formed a
procession; and, arrayed in their sacred vestments, with
crosses and censers, went in due order to St. Gervase,
where they commended the spirit of the departed king to
God, according to the holy rites of the Christian faith.
Then William, the archbishop, ordered the body to be
conveyed to Caen, and interred there in the abbey of St.
Stephen the protomartyr, which the kind himself had
founded. His brother and other relations had already
quitted the place, and all his servants had deserted him, as
if he had been a barbarian; so that not one of the king's
attendants was found to take care of his corpse. however,
Herluin, a country knight, was induced by his natural
goodness to undertake the charge of the funeral, for the love
of God and tire honour of his country. He therefore
procured at his own expense persona to embalm and carry
the body; and, hiring a hearse; he caused it to be carried to
the port on the Seine; and, embarking it on board a vessel,
conducted it by water and land to Caen.
Then Gilbert, the lord abbot. with the whole convent of
monks, met the hearse in solemn procession, accompanied bar
a, sorrowing multitude of clerks and laymen, offering prayers.
But at this moment a sudden calamity filled the minds of all
with alarm. For a fire broke out in one of the houses, and,
shooting up prodigious volumes of flame, spread through
great part of the town of Caen, doing great damage. The
crowds, both of clergy and laity, hastened with one accord to


extinguish the fire, so that the monks were left alone to
finish the service they had begun, and they brought the royal
corpse into the abbey church, chanting psalms.
Afterwards, all the bishops and abbots of Normandy
assembled to perform the obsequies of the illustrious duke,
who was the father of his country. I will insert in this
work a short list of some of the number, for the information
of posterity. William, archbishop of Rouen; Odo, bishop
of Bayeux; Gilbert, bishop o!' Evreux; Gilbert Maminot,
bishop of Lisieux; Michael, bishop of Avranches ; Geoffrey,
bishop of Coutances ; and Gerard, bishop of Seez. Among
the abbots were the following: Anselm, of Bec; William de
Roos, of Fecamp ; Gerbert, of Fontenelles ; Guntard, of
Jumieges ; Mainier, of St. Evroult ; Fulk, of Dive; Durand,
of Troarn ; Robert, of Seez ; Osborn, of Bernai ; Roger, of
St. Michael-in-peril-of-the-sea; the two abbots of Rouen,
Nicholas, of St. Ouen, and Walter, of Mont-de-la-Sainte-
Trinite ; with many more, whom it would be tedious to
enumerate. All these assembled at the funeral of the illus-
trious Baron, and buried him in the sanctuary, between the
choir and the altar.
The mass ended, when the coffin was already lowered into
the grave, but the corpse wax still on the bier, the great
Gilbert, bishop of Evreux, ascended the pulpit, and pro-
nounced a long and eloquent discourse on the distinguished
character of the deceased prince. He expatiated on Wil-
liam's having extended by his valour the bounds of the
Norman dominion, and raised his people to a pitch of
greatness surpassing the times of any of his predecessors;
and on his having maintained peace and justice in all his
states, wisely chastising thieves and robbers with the
scourge of the law-, while he firmly defended the clergy and
monks, and defenceless people, wrath his meritorious sword.
When he had concluded his discourse he addressed himself
to the congregation, who were shedding affectionate tears
and attested his assertions, and added this supplication:
" As in this present life no man can live without sin, I be-
seech you, for the love of Christ, that yon earnestly inter-
cede with Almighty God on behalf of our deceased prince,
and that you kindly forgive him, if in aught he has offended
against you."


Then Ascelin, son of Arthur, came forward from the
crowd, and preferred the following complaint with a loud
voice, in the hearing of all: " The land," he said, " on which
you stand was the yard belonging to my father's house,
which that man for whom you pray, when he was yet only
duke of Normandy. took forcible possession of, and in the
teeth of all justice, by an exercise of tyrannical power, here
founded this abbey. I therefore lay claim to thin land, and
openly demand its restitution, and in God's name I forbid
the body of the spoiler being covered with earth which is
my property, and buried in my inheritance." The bishops
and other great men, on hearing this, and finding from
inquiries among his neighbours that he spoke the truth,
drew the man aside, and, instead of offering him any vio-
lence, appeased his resentment with gentle words and came
to terms with him. For the small apace in which the grave
was made, they paid him on the spot sixty shillings, and
promised him a proportionable price for the rest of the land
which he claimed. This agreement they soon afterwards
fulfilled, for the good of-the soul of the master they dearly
loved .


However, when the corpse was lowered into the stone
coffin, they were obliged to use some violence in forcing it
in, because through the negligence of the masons it had
been made too short, so that, as the king was very corpu-
lent, the bowels burst, and an intolerable stench affected
the by-standers and the rest of the crowd. The smoke of
incense and other aromatics ascended in clouds, but failed
to purify the tainted atmosphere. The priests therefore
hurried the conclusion of the funeral service and retired as
soon as possible, in great alarm, to their respective abodes.
I have thus carefully investigated, and given a true ac-
count of all the manifestations of Clod's providence at the
duke's death, not composing a well-feigned tragedy for the
lucre of gain, nor a humorous comedy to provoke the
laughter of parasites, but a true narrative of the various
events for the perusal of studious readers. In the midst of
prosperity adverse circumstances were permitted to arise,
that the hearts of men might be impressed with the fearful
A king once potent, and warlike, and the terror of the
numberless inhabitants of many provinces, lay naked on the
floor, deserted by those who owed him their birth, and those
he had fed and enriched. Ire needed the money of :a
stranger for the cost of his funeral, and a coffin and bearers
were provided, at the expense of an ordinary person, for him,
who till then had been in the enjoyment of enormous wealth.
He was carried to the church, amidst flaming houses, by
trembling crowds, and a spot of freehold land was wanting
for the grave of one whose princely sway had extended over
so many cities, and towns, and villages. His corpulent
stomach, fattened with so many delicacies, shamefully burst,
to give a lesson, both to the prudent and the thoughtless, on
what is the end of fleshly glory. Beholding the corruption


of that foul corpse, men were taught to strive earnestly, by
the rules of a salutary temperance, after better things than
the delights of the flesh, which is dust, and must return to
There is but one lot for rich and poor; both become the
prey of death and corruption. Trust not then, O sons of
men, in princes who deceive, but in the true and living God,
who created all things. Turn over the pages of the Old and
New Testament, and take from thence numberless examples
which will instruct you what to avoid and what to desire.
Expect nothing from iniquity, and covet not the goods of
others. " If riches increase, set not your heart upon them."
" All flesh is grass, and the glory thereof as the flower of hay.
The grass fadeth, and the flower thereof perisheth; but the
word of the Lord remaineth for ever."
I have determined to conclude this seventh book of the
history of St. Evroult with the end of King William's reign.
In the eighth book, it is my design to leave to posterity
some account of that king's sons, and of the various
disturbances by which both Normandy and England were
long grievously afflicted.



Ch. I. William the Conqueror's tomb and epitaph--William
Rufus crowned--Robert succeeds as duke of Normandy--
His feeble character--The Norman barons become turbu-
lent--Odo, bishop of Bayeux, his character and acts--
Robert sells the Cotentin to his brother prince Henry.

IN the year of our Lord's incarnation 1087, the tenth in-
diction, William the Bastard, king of England, died at
Rouen on the fifth of the ides [9th] September, and his
remains were interred at Caen, in the church of St. Stephen,
the proto-martyr. His son Robert then became, in name
at least, duke of Normandy and lord of Maine, but aban-
doning himself to sloth and indulgence, his government was
never remarkable for virtue and justice. William Rufus de-
livered his father's letter' to Archbishop Lanfranc, on pe-
rusing which that prelate hastened with the young prince
to London, and crowned him in the old church of St. Peter
the apostle, called Westminster, on the feast of St. Michael.
His reign lasted twelve years and ten months ;g and, as to
the affairs of this world, he endeavoured to follow his
father's example in some things, being distinguished for his
valour and secular magnificence, while he was but too prom
to pride, lust, and other vices. But he had but scanty zeal
for the worship of God and frequenting the services of the
He delivered to Otho the goldsmith' a large quantity of
gold, silver, and precious stones, ordering him to erect a
monument of extraordinary magnificence over his father's
tomb. Accordingly, in obedience to the royal commands,


he executed the work in an admirable manner, and the tomb
may be now seen resplendent with gold, silver, and gems.
Skilful versifiers have composed a number of noble and ele-
gant poems on this great man, whose life furnished so
copious a theme for their poetical genius, but I shall only
insert the epitaph written by Thomas, archbishop of York,
out of respect for his metropolitan dignity.

Here WILLIAM, greatest of his princely race,
A home, a tomb, finds in this narrow space.
Him the fierce Normans faithful homage paid,
And lordly Maine his stern commands obeyed;
But mightier still, he England's sceptre swayed,
The glorious prize, when Senlac's bloody field a
Saw her brave sons before the Conqueror yield.
When seventeen days his course the August sun
'Mid the bright Virgin's stars his course had run,
To Him who rules on high he bowed his head,
And the proud king was numbered with the dead

Many of the Norman nobility died the same year as their
sovereign. During his last illness his cousin Gilbert d Au-
fay, son of Robert de Hougleville, a worthy and simple-
minded man, paid the debt of nature on the nineteenth of
the calends of September [August 14], and was interred in
the church of St. Mary, which he had endowed for the
maintenance of six monks of the abbey of St. Evroult.
Four years afterwards the pious lady, his wife Beatrix,
was also buried there on the second of the nones [9th] of


January. At the death of their duke many of the Normans
were plunged into grief, if not for hire, at least for their
friends and relations who died about the same period,
among whom were Simon de Montfort, son-in-law of
Richard, Count d'Evreux, Hugh Paganel, Hugh, son of
Hugh de Grantmesnil, a young man of distinguished
bravery, and his cousin Robert de Rhuddlan. William
d'Avranches, son of Witmond, with many other men of


eminence. Happy those who, departing thus opportunely,
were spared the pain of seeing their country desolated and
having no protector!
At that time affairs in Normandy suffered a great revolu-
tion; the unarmed population shuddered with alarm, while
the powerful gave full vent to their towering ambition with-
out any check. Robert de Belesme had been on his way to
court to confer with the king on urgent affairs, but on
arriving at the gate of Brionne he learnt the king's death.
'thereupon he immediately turned his horse round, and
hastening to Alencon took the royal garrison by surprise
and drove them out of the castle. He did the same at
Belesme and all his other strongholds, and not only in his
own, but in those of such of his neighbours as he conde-
scended to consider as his equals. All these he either got
into his power by introducing his own adherents, or razed
to the ground to prevent them offering him any resistance
thereafter. William, Count d'Evreux, also expelled the
royal warders from the keep of his castle, and William de
Breteuil, Ralph de Conches, and all the rest, got their for-
tresses into their own hands, so that every one might be
able to prosecute with impunity his infernal feuds against
his neighbours, and those whose territories bordered on his
own. In this manner the Norman lords drove out the royal
garrisons from their castles, and alternately ravaged the
country, which was rich and flourishing, with bands of their
own retainers. The wealth which had been plundered from
the English and other nations was thus deservedly lost by
rapine and violence.
All the world knew that the Duke Robert was sunk in


sloth and carelessness, so that he was despised by men of
enterprise who fomented traitorous insurrections at their
pleasure. The duke was personally brave and daring and
had many merits ; was a good speaker, but inconsiderate in
conducting his affairs, profuse in spending and liberal in his
promises, while no dependence could be placed upon them ;
he was compassionate to those who implored his mercy, but
too gentle and easy in executing justice on offenders;
changeable in his resolutions, and too affable and conde-
scending in his general behaviour, he was held in contempt
by the evil-minded and those who wanted discretion; his
figure was short and corpulent, from which his father gave
him the surname of Curt-hose. Endeavouring to please
all, he gave, promised, or yielded, what every one asked.
His prodigality led him daily to lessen the domains of his
ancestors, absurdly granting whatever was demanded of him,
so that he impoverished himself while ho augmented the
power of others to injure him. He gave to William de
Breteuil, Ivri, where there is a well-fortified castle, erected
by his grandmother Alberede; and he granted to Roger de
Beaumont, who had the custody of Ivri, under King
William, Brionne, a strong fortress in the heart of his terri-
Odo, bishop of Bayeux, being released from prison, re-
gained all his former possessions in Normandy, and became
the counsellor of the young duke, his nephew. This prelate
yeas a person of distinguished eloquence and high spirit; he
was liberal, and his bravery would have become a secular
man: but he treated men of religion with great respect,
protecting his clergy resolutely both by word and arms, and
enriching the churches with valuable ornaments wherever
they were needed. The buildings he erected are proof this,
with the splendid vessels and vestments in gold and silver
which his liberality furnished for the use of the churches
and clergy. His near relationship to Duke William pro-
cured for him the bishopric of Bayeux while he was very
young, and he was actively employed during the fifty years
he held it. The spirit had a praiseworthy pre-eminence in


some parts of his conduct, in others the flesh was sadly pre-
dominant over the spirit. Led away by carnal passions, he
had a son named John, who is now about the court of King
Henry. where he is eminent for his eloquence and virtues.
But while, in some things, Bishop Odo lent himself to
worldly vanities, externally he did much for the advantage
of the church. He laid the foundations of the church of
St. Mary, mother of God, and completed it in a beautiful
style of architecture, amply providing it with wealth and
ornaments. He established monks m the church of St.
Vigor , bishop of Bayeux, which stands outside the city-
walls, and appointed as their superior, Robert de Tombe-
laine, a pious and learned man, who, among other monu-
ments of his ability, has left the church a short and clear,
but profound, commentary on the Canticles. After Bishop
Odo was thrown into prison, Abbot Robert, abandoning
all, went into foreign countries, and arriving at Rome,
was detained by Pope Gregory VII. who paid him great
respect, and he served the Roman church faithfully until
his death' The bishop who founded it being in confine-
ment, and the abbot detained in Italy, the newly formed


convent of monks dispersed, and each one settling himself
where he could, they never returned to that monastery.
In the end, Bishop Odo gave it to Jarenton, abbot of
Dijon, and it continues to this clay to be a cell of the monks
of that abbey. It is thus plain that the prelate of whom
am speaking had a strong regard for the monastic order.
He also sent intelligent young clerks to Liege and other
places where he knew that the study of philosophy flourished
most, making them liberal allowances for their maintenance,
that they might, uninterruptedly and for a long period, em-
ploy themselves in the pursuit of learning. Among the
scholars he thus supplied with the means of education were
Thomas, archbishop of York, and his brother Samson,
bishop of Worcester, William de Roos, abbot of Fecamp, and
Thurstan, abbot of Glastonbury, with many others who flou-
risked during my time in the church of Cod, and largely pro-
fited the flocks committed to their charge with the excellence
of their teaching, and the example of their eminent virtues.
In this manner, although Bishop Odo was deeply entangled
in secular affairs, much that was laudable mixed itself with
his evil deeds, and what he iniquitously amassed was freely
bestowed on the churches and the poor. At, length, by the
will of God, he left all in the year of our Lord 1096, the
fourth indiction, and accompanied his nephew, Duke Robert,
in his pilgrimage to Jerusalem as, with God's permission,
we shall more particularly relate hereafter. He died at
Palermo in the presence. of Gilbert, bishop of Evreux ; his
body was interred in the church of St. Mary, where Roger,


count of Sicily, caused a splendid tomb to be erected for
Robert, duke of Normandy, distributed his wealth among
his knights with a liberal hand, attaching to his person a
number of young aspirants to arms who coveted his favour
and rewards. His treasury beginning to fail, he sent to his
brother Henry, requesting a supply from his abundant
wealth-a demand Henry was by no means disposed to grant.
The duke then sent word that he was ready to sell him a
part of his territories; and when Henry understood this, he
was most ready to comply with his brother's proposal. Terms
were therefore concluded between them, by which Henry
paid the duke three thousand pounds of silver, and received
in exchange the whole of the district of the Cotentin, which
is a third of all Normandy. In this way Henry first ob-
tained Avranches and Coutances, Mont St. Michael-in-
peril-of-the-Sea, and the entire of the lordship which Hugh,
earl of Chester, held in Normandy. Prince Henry governed
the Cotentin discreetly, and employed his early years in
worthy pursuits. From his very childhood, his parents had.
devoted him to the study of letters, and he became admi-
rably imbued with the knowledge both of moral and natural
philosophy. Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, as soon
as the young prince was of a fitting age, armed him for the
defence of the kingdom, clothing him with a breastplate,
putting a helmet on his head, and giving him the belt of
knighthood, in the name of the Lord, as the king's son, and
born on the steps of the throne. During the twelve years
of the reign of William Rufus in England, Henry had an
active life with various changes of fortune, and acquired ex-
perience, both from prosperity and adversity. At length,
on his brother's death, he ascended the throne, which he has


now filled nearly thirty-three years. It is my purpose, with
God's permission, if my life is spared, to give an account of
his life and actions in their proper place. I now return to
the course of my narrative, and shall instruct posterity in
the history of my own times.

Ch. II. The Norman lords in England league and revolt
against William Rufus-Invite Robert Curthose--The
insurrection breaks out in several counties -- Siege of
Rochester--Bishop Odo taken and banished.

In the first year of the government of the two brothers,
there was a meeting of the great men of both states, to con-
sult among themselves on the circumstances in which they
were placed by the division of the sovereignty formerly
lodged in the same hands. "'We are suddenly involved,"
they said, " in a serious difficulty, and threatened with a great
diminution of our power and wealth. Hitherto we have
maintained ourselves with honour, under illustrious dukes, in
the possession of Normandy, which our ancestors who came
with Rollo from Denmark, two hundred and twelve years
ago. gained with their daring valour. Afterwards we
crossed the sea with Duke William, and subduing the Anglo-
Saxons by the might of our arms, seized their lands and
wealth, for which we freely shed our blood. Alas! we are
now witnesses of a great revolution, and the sudden over-
throw of our power. What are we to do ? On the death
of our old sovereign, he is succeeded by two young princes,
and the dominion of England and Normandy is suddenly
divided. How can we conveniently serve two lords so dif-
ferent and so remote from each other ? If we do our duty
to Robert, the duke of Normandy, we shall offend his
brother William. It will follow that we shall forfeit our
great revenues and high honours in England. On the
other hand, if we keep our fealty to King William, Duke
Robert will. take from us our patrimonial estates in Nor-
mandy. It behoves us to avoid such a separation under


these princes as occurred among the Israelites in the time
of Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Then one people was divided
among itself between two rulers, and the law, the temple
and the worship of God being neglected, fell into apostasy.
At length one part of them were carried captives into
Media by the Assyrians and never returned, and the rest
underwent the Babylonish captivity under the Chaldeans.
What happened to the Thebans under the two brothers,
Eteocles and Polynices ? Did not many thousands perish
on both sides ? At last both brothers fell in mutual en-
counter, and left the succession of their inheritance to
strangers. It behoves us carefully to consider these and
such-like instances, and to take prudent precautions that
we may not be ruined by the policy of these youthful
princes. Let us therefore enter into a firm and inviolable
league, and having deposed King William or put him to
death, as he is the youngest and most arrogant, and we
owe him nothing, let us make Duke Robert, who is the
elder brother, and of a more pliable temper, and to whom we
have already sworn fealty during his father's life. sovereign
both of England and Normandy, that the union of the two
states may be maintained.
This resolution was taken, with common consent, by
Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Eustace, count of Boulogne. Robert
de Belesme, and many others, and their intentions were an-
nounced to Duke Robert. That thoughtless and inconside-
rate prince was highly delighted with their empty promises,
and pledged himself to second their undertaking in all points
and shortly afford them effectual succour for the successful
prosecution of so great an enterprise. Accordingly, after
our Ford's Nativity. the before mentioned lords crossed


over to England, and, putting their castles into a state of
defence, very soon raised insurrections against the king
through great part of the country.
Odo, as I have said before, was earl palatine of Kent, and
several earls and powerful lords owed him fealty. Roger,
earl of Shrewsbury, Hugh de Grantmesnil, who had the
government-of Leicestershire, with Robert de Rhuddlan his
nephew, and other knights of distinguished bravery, favoured
the conspirators, and fortified their castles with trenches,
increasing the garrisons, and drawing in abundant supplies
of food both for men and horses. Already rapacious free-
booters began to pillage the peasants eagerly anticipating
the arrival of Duke Robert, who had determined to follow
his precursors with the returning spring, at the head of a
large body of troops. At the same time Osbern, son of
Richard, surnamed Scroop, with Bernard du Neuf Marche'
his son-in-law, and others in league with them, who held the
frontiers of Mercia, made a savage inroad into the territory
of Worcester, pillaging and slaughtering the inhabitants, in
spite of the prohibition and excommunication directed
against them by the man of God, Wulstan, bishop of
Worcester; Meanwhile King William finding that his


nobles had formed desperate designs against him in his own
kingdom, and that, the mischief spreading, affairs were
getting worse and worse, he was far from skulking like a
frighted fox in the depths of caverns, but roused himself
boldly with a lion's courage, to strike a terrible blow on the
rebels. He therefore summoned a great council of the
archbishop with his suffragans and the earls and native;
English, and laid before them the attempts of his adver-
saries, and his own wish to give them battle. Those who
were present exhorted the king to put down the disturbers
of the peace, and promised to support him with the utmost
zeal. Thirty thousand Englishmen voluntarily enrolled
themselves in the royal service, demanding that the base
traitors should be punished without respect of persons.
" Act," they said, " with firmness as the son of a king, and,
yourself placed lawfully on the throne, command with con-
fidence all your subjects. See you not our numbers who
have already flocked to your standard, and give you willing
obedience ? Send your orders through all England, and
crush the rebels with the weight of your lawful power. We
will fight for you to death, and never shall another prince
usurp your place in our affections. It would be indeed a
folly and a crime to prefer a foreign enemy to a well-known
king. The nation which breaks its allegiance to its prince,
must be held accursed. Death to the band which exults in
the ruin of its lord! Search well the histories of the
English, and you will find them to have been always faithful
to their kings."
William Rufus, was so much encouraged by the temper
of his native subjects, that he immediately took the field
with the great army he had this assembled, and marched


once against the rebels to give them battle. Upon this,
Odo, bishop of Bayeux, shut himself up in the city of
Rochester with five hundred men-at-arms, determining to
wait the arrival of Duke Robert, with the auxiliary forces
be had promised to bring ; fur the league, although they
were very numerous, and had great resources in money and
arms, and vast supplies, dad not dare to meet the king in
open fight within his own realm. They therefore, with
great prudence, selected Rochester, because, if the king did
not blockade them in the city, the position was central for
making sudden eruptions and plundering London and Can-
terbury, and they could also take advantage of the sea, which
lies very near, and the neighbouring islands, to despatch mes-
sengers to obtain assistance. The resolute king, however,
anticipated their projects, and, in the month of May, in-
vested the place with a powerful army; and, erecting two
forts, shut up the enemy within the walls, so that every
avenue of egress was closed. As I have said before, Bishop
Odo, Count Eustace, and Robert de Belesme. with many
nobles, as well as persons of moderate station, held the
place, expecting, in vain, succours from Duke Robert, who
was detained by sloth and indulgence. However Roger,
earl of Mercia. and many other" Normans who were in the
besieging army gave secret aid to the besieged, as far as it
was in their power, although they did not venture to appear
openly in arms against the king. All the bishops of Eng-
land joined the English people in loyally supporting the
king, and laboured to restore m the country that tranquil-
lity which good men love. Also Hugh, earl of Chester,
Robert de Mowbray, earl of Northumberland. William de


Warenne, and Robert Fitz-Hamon, with other loyal and ex-
perienced barons, maintained their fealty to their sovereign
and gave him useful aid, both with their arms and their
counsels, against the common enemy.
A plague, like the plague of the Egyptians, made its
appearance-in the town of Rochester, the Almighty, who, in
all ages, superintends human affairs and orders them aright,
having chosen to renew an ancient miracle in modern times.
For as the flies tormented the Egyptians, and did not cease
a moment from whizzing round them, in the same manner
these flies grievously annoyed the besieged with their
incessant attacks; for all egress from the; castle was pre-
vented, and many of those who were thus blockaded fell
sick from their various sufferings, and, their disorders in-
creasing, at length died. Innumerable flies were engendered
in the dung of men and horses, and being nourished by the
heat both of the summer, and of the atmosphere caused by
the breath of so many inhabitants closely pent up, their
swarms horribly infested their eyes and noses, food and
drink. So severely was the insolent band of rebels afflicted
with the annoyance of the swarms that they could not eat
their meals, either by day or night, unless a great number
of them were employed, in turn, in flapping them away
from their comrades' faces. In consequence, Odo and his
allies could no longer suffer the miseries of the siege; they


therefore sent envoys to the Icing, asking far peace and offer-
ing to surrender the place. The terms proposed were these:
that they should be re-instated in the lands, the fiefs, and all
the possessions they before had, and should, for the future,
serve him loyally as their natural lord. The king was
greatly incensed at these proposals, and, so far from making
any concession, and accepting the terms offered by the
envoys, he swore that he would seize, by force of army, the
perfidious traitors shut up in the town, and forthwith hang
them on gibbets, or sweep them from the earth by other
kinds of death. When, however, those who were engaged
in the siege in the royal cause perceived that the king wag
so inflamed with passion against their relations and friends
within the fortress as to threaten their execution, they came
about him with deep supplications, and endeavoured to pro-
pitiate him by earnest prayers and flattering words. Thus
they said: " Praise be to God who is ever the helper of
those who trust in him, and grants that good parents shall
succeeded by worthy children." Lo! these aspiring youths,
and old men blinded by their ambition, have sufficiently
learnt, that the royal authority in this land is not yet
extinct; for those who flocked here out of Normandy, to
prey upon us like ravenous kites have discovered, through
the interposition of God, that William the younger is not
less powerful than William the elder. Already half con-
quered they submit to your arms; and, confessing your
might, approach you as suppliants. We too, who have
stood by you in the hour of your greatest peril, as we did
by your father, now humbly approach you with earnest in-
treaties on behalf of our fellow countrymen. It befits you,
who have subdued by your valour these senseless and trem-
bling men to extend your clemency to them now that they
are humbled and penitent. Let mercy temper the king's
severity, and a glorious victory satisfy the claims of your


distinguished valour. The great King David pardoned
Shimei who cursed him. and entreated Joab and Abishai
and his other generals, not to slay Absalom his adversary.
Examples of this sort abound in the sacred volume, and the
lines of the sagacious poet, iii his work on the Wonders of
the World, are to the same purport.

" 'Tis lion-like to spore a fallen foe,
And lion-hearted kings should thus their greatness show."

King William replied to these observations; " I confess
that it is through your prowess I have subdued the enemy,
and, by God's help, with your valour, the victory is almost
gained. But you ought to be the more cautious not to
induce me by your supplications to deviate from the course
of strict justice. When we spare perjurers and robbers,
plunderers, and execrable traitors, we destroy the peace and
security of the well-disposed, and sow the seeds of endless
slaughter and pillage among the innocent and defenceless.
In what have I offended these criminal men ? What injury
have I done them ? Why have they sought to destroy me
by every means in their power, and raised insurrections
among the people wherever they could, to so much public
loss ? I confirmed them in all their rights, and have given
them no cause to revolt against me ; and yet they are be-
come my determined enemies. I consider it just to follow
rigidly the judgment of the great king David, whose ex-
ample you set before me; thus, as Baanah and Rechab,
the sons of Rimmon, the Beerothite, who beheaded Ishbo-
aheth in his own house, were by David's sentence con-
demned to be hung. so these seditious men shall be fearfully
punished, that men of this and future ages may be deterred
and restrained by the report of this terrible vengeance."


To this the nobles replied, " We admit all that you say,
our lord the king, to be right and just, nor can we contra-
dict any of your reasons. But we are compelled by our
feelings of humanity humbly to implore your mightiness to
consider who these persons are, on whose behalf we so
earnestly implore your clemency. Odo, of Bayeux, is your
uncle, and has been consecrated a bishop. He assisted your
father' in his conquest of England, and to his great peril
stood by him in many straits. What can you do with a man of
his eminence ? Far be it from you to lay hands on a priest
of the Lord, and shed his blood for such a cause. Recollect
what Saul did at Nob, and what he suffered in Mount
Gilboah ? Who will be so wicked as to venture to advise
you to condemn the Lord's bishop, and your own uncle?
No one. It is therefore our unanimous request that you
will extend your clemency to him, and permit him to depart
without injury to his own diocese in Normandy. The count
of Boulogne was also faithful to your father, and his valiant
supporter and comrade in many a desperate battle. Robert
de Belesme likewise, who was much esteemed by your father,
and promoted by him to great honours, has now obtained
mastery of great part of Normandy, and being possessed of
the strongest castles, holds the first rank among his neigh-
bours, and the Norman lords. If you temper your animosity
against these great men, and treat them graciously here, or
permit them to depart in safety, you may advantageously
use their amity and service, on many future occasions. He
who is your enemy now, may be your useful friend another
" Under their ensigns there are many young aspirants to
the honours of chivalry. who are ready to serve under your
standard, and whose services you, O king, ought not to
despise. Those, therefore, whom you have now- subjugated
by means of your power, your wealth, and your eminent
bravery, attach to your person by generosity and cle-
In consequence, the noble-minded king, vanquished by
the prayers of his faithful followers, granted their request


and relieving the besieged from the sentence of death or
mutilation, granted them leave to depart from the place
with their horses and amts. But he utterly refused them
all expectation of having any inheritance or lands within the
realm of England, as long as he was on the throne. Then
bishop Odo attempted to procure the king's command that
the trumpeters should not sound a flourish while the gar-
rison marched out, as is the custom when an enemy is
conquered, and a fortresss is taken by storm. But the king
fell into a great passion, and would not listen to what was
asked, asserting that he would not grant it for a thousand
marks of gold. The garrison therefore marched out with
sorrow and dejection, while the royal trumpets sounded in
notes of triumph, and the crowds of English who were on
the king's aide shouted aloud, " Halters, bring halters. and,
hang this traitor-bishop with his accomplices on a gallows.
Great king of England, why do you permit this author of
all our woes to escape safe and sound? This perjured homi-
cide, who has caused the death of thousands by his plots
and his cruelties ought not to be suffered to live." The
crest-fallen bishop and his associates were compelled to
listen to the foul reproaches which were heaped upon them,
but although they were threatened with a bitter fate, per-
mission was not granted for the populace to wreak their ven-
geance on them. Thus the unholy bishop was banished from
England, and his vast domains were forfeited, so that the
prodigious wealth which he had iniquitously amassed, was,
by the just judgment of God, lost with signal disgrace. He
retired in confusion to Bayeux, and never again set foot in
It was thus, that in the first year of king William's rein,
at the commencement of summer, the city of Rochester was
surrendered to him, and the criminal enterprise of those who
had taken arms to disturb the peace of the realm was de-
feated. For the malignants and evil-doers, when they under-
stood the king's bold and resolute character, became alarmed
on account of the pillage and slaughter, and other wicked-


ness, of which they had been guilty in so much haste, and
during the twelve years of the king's reign they did not
dare to mutter a word against him. Meanwhile., William
acted with great caution, watching his opportunity for
taking revenge. The factious attempts of some of his ene-
mies he punished with the utmost severity of the law, but
designedly winked at the offences of others. The old barons
who had shown some signs of disaffection to him, were pru-
dently spared, both out of regard to his father's memory, to
whom they had been loyally attached, and from respect to
their age; for he shrewdly thought that disease and death
would soon prevent their giving him any trouble. Some,
however, served him the more faithfully in after times, on
account of their haring been deeper involved in the crime of
treason, and tried to render themselves acceptable to him by
their gifts, their services, and their flatteries.

Ch. III--History of Robert de Rhuddlan--His successes
in curbing the Welsh--Is slain by Gryffith-ap-Conan.
king of North Wales--Buried at St. Evroult-Elegy to
his memory.

IN consequence of the shock which England received from
the violence of the storm we have just described, and of the
wounds which were daily, inflicted by its inhabitants on
each other, divided as they were into two parties, one of
which tried to depose the king, while the other stoutly
maintained his cause, Gryffith, king of Wales. at the head
of an army, made an inroad on the English borders, and
devastated the country about Rhuddlan with fire and sword,
taking much booty and many captives. On the return of
Robert, lord of Rhuddlan, from the siege of Rochester. he
received intelegence of these barbarities and his severe
losses which filled him with grief, and drew from him in his


wrath the most terrible threats. Re was a bravo and active
knight free of speech, a formidabe enemy, but generous,
and celebrated for his many deeds of valour. Re had been
one of king Edward's squires, and received from him the
belt of knighthood. His father, Umfrid, was son of Amfrid
of Danish race: his mother, Adeliza, was sister of Hugh
de Grantmesnil, of the noble family of Giroie. This dis-
tinguished warrior, in the midst of his military employments,
did not neglect the church, constantly treating the clergy and
monks with great respect, and giving liberal alms to the
poor, according to his means.
The abbey of St. Evroult, where his brothers Arnold and
Roger were monks, and his father and mother and other
relations lay buried, was much beloved by him, and he en-
dowed it to the best of his power. In consequence, he gave
to it the church of Tilleul, and his portion of the church of
Damblainville, with the presbytery, and all that belonged to
him in the church of Corneres. He added the tithe of his
mills, and of all his rents, with an additional tenth from his
butlery and cellar. The same Robert gave to the monks of
St. Evroult, of his possessions in England, Little-Cwm,
comprising two plough-lands, and twenty villeins; also, the
tithes, and the whole vill called Kirkby. with the church and
presbytery, and the church of the Island. and the church of
St. Peter-in-the-Market, and three cottages in the city of
Chester: and that St. Evroult might possess all these in
perpetuity and without molestation, he came in person to a
chapter at Ouche, and confirmed his grant of all that has
been mentioned, before abbot Mainier, and the convent of


monks. There were with him at the chapter, Raszo the
dean, Hugh de Mellai, William the Butler, son of Grimold,
Roger, son of Giroie, Durant, Burnell, Osbern d'Orgeres,
and Walter the provost. These were present when Robert
proceeded to the church, and laid on the altar the charter
containing the grant of these premises.
I have inserted this short notice of the donations which
the aforesaid lord made to the church of St. Evroult, and
I think the judicious reader will not, on consideration, be
disposed to ridicule me when I conform my narrative, as
occasion offers, to the title of my work.
Robert, son of Umfrid, came over to England with his
father while he was quite young, and was in the service of
King Edward, both in his household and army, until he was
knighted by that king. Then, newly invested with splendid
armour, and enriched with honourable tokens of the royal
favour, he formed the design of visiting his relations,
and having obtained the kin's licence, returned to his
own country radiant with delight. After the .battle of
Senlac, while King William was engaged in making head
against repeated insurrections, the young knight, with his
cousin Hugh, son of Richard d'Avranches, surnamed Goz,
again came over to England, and distinguished himself in all
the actions where military glory was to be obtained. After
many exploits, he was attached to the service of Hugh before
mentioned, who was made earl of Chester and appointed
Robert commander of his troops, and governor of his whole
province. At that time the Britons on the borders, who
are commonly called Gael, or Welch, took arms with great
fury against King William and all his adherents: A fortress
was therefore built at Rhuddlan' by the king's command, to


over-awe the Welch, and the custody of. it committed to
Robert that he might defend the English frontier against
the inroads of those barbarians. The warlike lord-marcher
had frequent encounters with that turbulent people, in
which much blood was shed. The British inhabitants were,
however, repulsed after some desperate engagements, and
Robert enlarging his territories, erected a strong castle on
mount Diganwy, close to the sea. For fifteen years he
severely chastised the Welsh, and seized their territory ;
notwithstanding that, proud of their ancient independence,
they had refused all tokens of submission to the Normans.
Making inroads into their country, through woods and
marshes, and over mountain heights, he inflicted losses on
the enemy in every shape. Some he butchered without
mercy, like herds of cattle, as soon as he came up, with them.
Others he threw into dungeons, where they suffered a long
imprisonment, or cruelly subjected them to a shameful
slavery. It is not fit that Christians should so oppress their
brethren who have been regenerated by holy baptism in the
faith of Christ.
Ambition and avarice, those mainsprings of human
action in every part of the world, were the powerful stimu-
lants which urged Robert, the lord-marcher, to the indis-
criminate pillage and slaughter which afterwards plunged
him into the pit of destruction. It happened that, on the
third of July, Gryffyth, king of Wales, came to land with


three ships under a mountain called Horma-heva, and the
band of pirates presently spread itself over the country for
pillage, like ravening wolves. Meanwhile, the tide ebbed,
and the ships were left dry on the beach; Gryffyth and his.
followers scouring the coast and carrying off men and cattle,
with which they made a hasty retreat to their vessels thus'
lying on the strand.
Under these circumstances, Robert was roused from his
noon-day sleep by the people's cries, which made him aware of
this hostile inroad on his territories. He sprung up quickly,
unarmed as he was, and without delay despatched messen-
gers to summon his vassals to army through all the district.
Meanwhile, he pursued the Welsh, without further prepa-
ration, at the head of a few soldiers, and reaching the top of
mount Horma-heva, which is very lofty, saw, beneath, the
pirates binding the captives and driving them to their ships
with the cattle. Upon this, the noble lord-marcher, bold as
a lion, shouted aloud to his small hand of followers, few and
unarmed as they were, calling on them to rush on the
Welsh on the dry sands before the return of the tide. They
however excused themselves on account of their scanty
numbers and the difficulty of descending the precipitous
face of the mountain. Upon this, Robert, who saw that
the enemy was only waiting the return of the sea to make
their escape, was overwhelmed with grief; and impatient of
delay, scrambled down the mountain side to throw himself
on the enemy without armour and with only one follower,
a man-at-arms whose name was Osbern d'Orgeres. Seeing
him coming to attack them, protected by his shield only and
supported by a single soldier, the Welsh in a body hurled
their spears at him, and, piercing the shield with the insup-
portable weight, mortally wounded the brave Osbern. But as
long as Robert was able to stand and clasp his shield, no one
ventured to come to close quarters and attack him sword in
hand. At length the intrepid warrior fell on his knees,
pierced with darts, and his strength failing, the shield, heavy


with the weight which clung to it, dropped from his hand;
and he commended his soul to the Almighty and St. Mary,
mother of God. Then the whole band rushed on him, and
cutting off his head in the sight of his people, fixed it at the
mast-head as a trophy of their victory. Many witnessed
this spectacle from the summit of the mountain with grief
and rage, but they were unable to render their lord any
succour. At last the country people flocked in from the
whole district; but it was too late; they were unable to
save their lord-marcher, who was already slain. However,
they manned some ships and pursued the pirates, as they
were making their course over the sea, in a tumult of grief
at seeing their lord's head carried off on the mast of the
enemy's ship. Gryffyth and his crew, finding that they were
chased, and observing that their pursuers' rage was inflamed
by the insult to their lord, took down his head from the
mast and threw it into the sea. On seeing this, Robert's
followers ceased the fruitless chace. His body was lifted
from the sea-shore with loud lamentations both of the English
and Normans, and being carried to Chester, was buried in
the abbey of St. Werburgh the virgin. That monastery
had been lately built by Hugh, earl of Chester, who, ap-
pointing Richard, a monk of Bec, abbot there, established
a body of men devoted to the service of God in the midst of
the brutish bands of that border fortress.
Some years afterwards, Arnold the monk, son of Umfrid,
crossed over to England, and, with the licence of Robert de
Limesi, bishop of Lichfield, took up his brother's remains
and transferred them to the abbey of St. Evroult in Normandy.
They were received with due honours by Abbot Roger arid
the convent of monks, and interred in the monks' cloister on
the south side of the church. This Arnold, with four noble
companions, Guy, Roger, Dreux, and Odo, quitted the mili-
tary service in his youth, and becoming a monk, laboured
more abundantly than his associates in the duties of his


order, which he performed zealously for almost fifty years.
He devoted himself to promote the interests of his abbey,
for which he several times crossed the British sea, as well
as penetrated into Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily, that he
might procure supplies for the monastery from the gifts of
his relations. In these journeys he visited his brother
William, who was abbot of St. Euphemia, and William de
Grantmesnil his cousin, as well as other wealthy relations
in Italy, and by a gentle violence carried off all he could to
enrich his own abbey. In this way he procured from his
kinsmens' stores ornaments and other things required for
his own church, making his kindred subservient to the de-
mands of the abbey. He had to bear many slights and
rebuffs on several occasions, but he was not to be deterred
from his undertaking by the obstacles which he sometimes,
indeed frequently, met with. Nothing induced him to relax
his zeal in the cause he espoused ; and it was at his charge
that the arch of stone, which is still standing, was built over
his brother's tomb. Reynold the painter, who had the sur-
name of Bartolomeo, decorated the arch and tomb with
painting in a variety of colours, and Vitalis the Englishman,
at the earnest entreaty of Arnold, composed an epitaph in
elegiac verses, to the following purport :-

Here in the soil that gave him birth,
As mortals all return to earth,
ROBERT ors RHULDLAN'S tomb you see;
The flower of Norman chivalry,
Old Umfrid's son, of Danish race,
While beaming yet with youthful grace,
And foremost 'mong the bold and brave,
Fated to find an early grave.
What though a stormy life he led,
The fierce lard-marcher bowed his head
To holy church, the spouse of Christ;
And gave her wealth, for well he wist
'Twas shame to turn from open door,
The priest, the pilgrim, or the poor.

Where Gwyned meets the western wave,
And Clwyd's floods the meadows lave,


He Rhuddlan's Castle built, a name
Which gives him never-dying fame;
And fenced it well. mid wars alarms,
To curb a savage race in arms.
O'er Snowdon's heights and Cefyn's stream
Full oft they saw his armour gleam;
For in the fierce and wild foray
Nor stream nor mountain stopped his way.
And chief, when princely Blethyn fled
Before the scanty band he led,
Successful by a bold surprise,
A glorious booty was the prize.
Prince Howell groaned in Chester's towers,
And royal Gryffyth counted hours
Of dark and sad captivity;
And prostrate Trahaern bowed the knee
To Robert, flushed with victory.


Alas! how short his bold career!
See reckless, without pause or fear,
Alone he rushes on the foe,
Where on the sandy beach below
Orm's beetling cliffs frown fearfully ;
'Twas on the third of bright July.
Too rashly left Diganwy's walls,
Pierced by a hundred darts he falls,
And Gryffyth takes his gory head,
Sad trophy of the ruthless deed.
Fierce Owen raised triumphant song,
Prince Howell's bards the notes prolong;


The brave lord-marcher's country weeps,
While here his mangled body sleeps,
Resting in Evroult's cloistered shade;
The good saints' merits be his aid !

Now, reader kind, some moments spare,
To breathe for Robert's soul a prayer ;
ALMIGHTY FATHER, grant him rest,
In the bright mansions of the blest!
CHRIST, who life's breath and second birth
Dost give to sinful sons of earth,
Author of immortality,
Propitious to thy servant be ;
Snatch him from dreary shades below,
From fires of purgatorial woe,
And, by thy cross, his ransom's price,
Waft him to light and paradise!
And, MARY mild, the sinner's friend,
Thy powerful intercession lend;
For when his toes around him pressed,
And Gwyned's spearmen pierced his breast,
Robert to thee his prayers addressed,
Invoked thee in the hour of death,
And sighed to they his latest breath.

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