formerly ascribed to


By J. A. GILES, D.C.L.
late fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.



This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton



an extract from
Roger of Wendover
by J. A. Jiles


A.D. 1030. Robert, son of Richard duke of Normandy, after a vigorous government of seven years, devoutly made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He left behind him a son seven years of age, named William, begotten of a concubine whom he chanced to see while dancing, and was so enamoured of her beauty that he lay with her the same night, and thenceforth, cleaving to her alone, he loved her as a wife. The boy who was born of her was called "William the Bastard," as not having been begotten in wedlock. This boy's future greatness was indicated to his mother in a dream, in which her bowels seemed to be spread over all Normandy and England; and at the very moment of his birth, as soon as he had come into life and had touched the floor, he immediately grasped with both hands the rushes which were spread on it. As soon, therefore, as the midwives had heard the mother's dream, they all with glad applause declared that he would be king. Duke Robert therefore, when about to set out for Jerusalem, called a council of nobles at Feschamp, where he declared his son William his heir, and made all of them swear fealty to the boy. Earl Gilbert was made the boy's tutor, and the guardianship of the tutor was given to Henry king of the French, with the understanding that, if his father should not return at the time appointed, the dukedom of Normandy sbould by free disposition he conceded to William. At the same time died Haco, the earl before mentioned.


A.D. 1031. Cnute, the most potent king of England and Denmark, set out in great state for Rome, bearing with him ample presents to the apostle Peter, gold and silver, silken garments and precious stones. He obtained from pope John that the English school should be exempt from tribute, and procured, by payment of a sum of money, the destruction of certain border forts on the journey, where toll was extorted from strangers. Before the altar of the blessed Peter, in which his body reposes, he made a vow to God to amend his life and morals. In a letter addressed to Agelnoth and Alfric, archbishops of Canterbury and York, and to all the bishops and nobles of the realm, he wrote, among other matters, that he was at Rome at the great festival of Easter, before pope John and the emperor Conrad, in the presence of all the kings and princes of the nations from mount Garganus to the nearest sea, all of whom received him with marks of honour and made him ample presents. The emperor also gave him many gifts, vessels of gold and silver, silken garments, gems, and precious vestments. Moreover, the magnificent king Cnute complained before our lord the pope, that when the archbishops of his realms sent to Rome to obtain the pall, an immense sum of money was extorted from them, insomuch that they could not obtain the pall without simony; at which the pope was greatly confounded, and forbade the repetition of the offence for the future. He signified by letter to the aforesaid bishops that, before his return to England, all ecclesiastical dues, as plough-alms, the small tithes of gardens and of agistment, the first-fruits of seeds, called in English "chiriescat," the tithe of sheaves, with St. Peter's penny, called in English "Romescot," should be faithfully paid. He moreover strictly enjoined the viscounts and officers of the realm, to do no wrong to any of their people, but to execute right judgment alike to nobles and servants, and not in anything to deviate from justice for the sake of placing money in the treasury, there being no necessity for making unrighteous gains.


A.D. 1032. Agelnoth, archbishop of Canterbury, on the 18th day of October, dedicated, in honour of God's mother and St. Eadmund, the monastery of the latter saint, which king Cnute had devoutly built at Bederichesworth.


A.D. 1033. On the return of the most potent king Cnute, he led a hostile expedition against the Scots who had rebelled, and easily defeated Malcolm and two kings his allies. And, in the same year, on the death of Leofsy bishop of Worcester, Britheg succeeded to the episcopal see.


A.D. 1034. Benedict attained the Roman chair, and sat fourteen years. And in the same year died Eadric bishop of Dorchester, and was succeeded by Eadnoth.


A.D. 1035. Cnute the great king of England, Denmark, and Norway, made his son Sweyn, whom he had by Algiva, king over the Norwegians; and caused his son Hardecnute, begotten of queen Emma, to be crowned in Denmark ; after which he returned to England.


In the same year the most potent king Cnute ended his days at Shaftesbury, on the 12th of November, and was buried in royal fashion in the Old Minster in the city of Winchester. May his soul enjoy everlasting glory! I think I ought not to omit, that when in the flower of his reign over the realms he had acquired, he caused his royal seat to be placed on the sea-shore at the flow of the tide, and, seating himself, he said in a threatening tone, "Thou art my vassal, and the land whereon I sit is mine, nor is there any of its inhabitants who would resist my rule. I now command thee not to mount up to my land, nor presume to wet my royal garments. "But the sea, despising his orders, washed his royal feet and legs. Scarcely in time, the king leaped up and said, "Let all the inhabitants of the world know that the power of kings is vain and frivolous, and that there is no one worthy, the name of king besides Him whose eternal laws the heaven, and earth, and sea, and all things that are therein, obey. "After this the king never wore the crown as long as he lived; but setting it on the head of the image of Him that was crucified, afforded to future monarchs an eminent pattern of humility.


After the death of the great king Cnute, the nobles of the realm assembled at Oxford to elect a successor. There earl Leofric, and all the Danish nobles, with the Londoners, with common consent chose Harold, son of Cnute by Algiva a concubine; but Godwin earl of Kent, and all the nobles of Wessex, preferred to have for their king Hardecnute, son of Cnute by queen Emma, or one of the sons of king Ethelred by the same Emma, who were in exile in Normandy. But as Hardecnute was then in Denmark, and Alfred and Eadward, the sons of Ethelred, in Normandy, Harold's party prevailed, and graced him with the diadem of England. On his advancement, he hastened to Winchester, where he violently laid hands on the treasures which king Cnute had committed to queen Emma; and moreover banished Emma from England, as being his step-mother. She directed her course to Baldwin earl of Flanders, who gave her the castle Of Bruges for a residence, her kinsman, William duke of Normandy, being yet under ward, and not having the free administration of his duchy.


A.D. 1036. On hearing of Cnutes death, Alfred, Ethelred's eldest son, came to England with fifty vessels, full of soldiers, to reduce it, if so compelled, by force of arms; and landing at Sandwich, he advanced to Canterbury. On hearing of his arrival, Godwin earl of Kent came to meet him with assurances of fidelity, but in the ensuing night acted the part of the traitor Judas towards him and his followers; for, after giving him the kiss of peace and a joyful entertainment, in the dead of night, when Alfred and his companions were buried in sleep and unarmed, they were all seized in their beds, when they suspected no evil, by a multitude of armed men, who bound their hands behind their backs, and compelled them to sit down in a row. Nine were then beheaded, and the rest reserved for a short space; but the traitor Godwin, thinking that more survived than need be, ordered them to be decimated again; so that but very few remained alive. This took place in the royal town of Guildford. He then sent the young man Alfred, who was in every way worthy to be king, bound unto the city of London, to his enemy king Harold, with a view to ingratiate himself with him, and also the few soldiers that survived the decimation. All the latter king Harold slew immediately; but after looking on the youthful Alfred, he caused his eyes to be put out, and then sent him to the isle of Ely, where he died of grief and was buried.


A.D. 1037. The body of Pallas, the son of Evander, of whom Virgil makes mention, was found at Rome, and, to the great admiration of all, had remained uncorrupted after so many ages. The mouth of the wound, inflicted by Turnus in his breast, was four feet and a half in length. The following epitaph was found written over him :-

"Filius Evandri Pallas, quem lancea Turni Militis occidit, more sue jacet hic."

There was found at his head a burning lamp, so contrived by mechanical skill as to defy the power of wind or water to extinguish it, which greatly astonished every one, till some one, more cunning than the rest, bored a hole underneath the flame, on which the air entered and the fire ceased. The corpse was much higher than a wall against which it was reared; but after some days, being exposed to the influence of the rain and dew, it experienced the common corruption of mortals in the dissolution of the flesh and nerves


A.D. 1038. Athelnoth archbishop of Canterbury, Ethelric bishop of Selsey, Alfric bishop of Helmham, and Britheg bishop of Worcester, died. Athelnoth archbishop of Canterbury was succeeded by Eadsy, the bishop of Selsey by Grinketel, the bishop of Helmham by Stigand, and the bishop of Worcester by Living bishop of Crediton. But Stigand was afterwards put out, and Grinketel bishop of Selsey, by payment of a sum of money, obtained two bishoprics, Selsey and Helmham. At length Grinketel was put out, and Stigand admitted. The latter then obtained by money the bishopric of Helmham for his brother Egelmar; and, to satisfy his own avarice, by means of his money ascended the sees of Canterbury and Winchester, and scarcely would allow the see of Selsey to be governed by a bishop of its own.


A. D. 1039. Hardecnute, king of Denmark, sailed to Flanders, to his mother Emma, late queen of England, and continued awhile with her at Bruges; and in the same year died Brithmar, bishop of Lichfield, and was succeeded in the bishopric by Wulsy.


A.D. 1040. Harold king of England, after a reign of four years, died in the city of Oxford, and was buried at Westminster. The English and Danish nobles thereupon, with one consent, sent messengers into Flanders to Hardecnute king of Denmark, who was staying there with his mother, and invited him into England to assume the diadem. He accordingly came into England, where he was received with universal joy, and received the royal consecration from Eadsy archbishop of Canterbury. As soon as he was settled on the throne, remembering the injuries which his predecessor had done to himself and his mother, he sent soldiers and executioners to the city of London, to dig up the body of king Harold, and after cutting off the head, to throw it into the Thames. This being done, the body was found shortly after by a fisherman, and buried by the Danes in their burying-ground in London.


After these things, the king ordered the English nation to pay eight marks to each rower, and ten marks to each pilot of his fleet; by which he made himself odious to all who before had wished to have him for their king. Added to this, the king was exasperated against the traitor Godwin earl of Kent, and Living bishop of Worcester, who were charged before him by Alfric archbishop of York, and many others, with the murder of his brother Alfred; insomuch that the king degraded Living from his bishopric and conferred the see on Alfric. But the traitor Godwin, to make his peace with the king for the murder of his brother, presented him with a golden vessel with its prow and all its equipments of gold, and eight hundred soldiers with golden arms. Each of these soldiers had on his arms two golden bracelets of the weight of fifteen ounces, a coat of mail of golden tissue, a golden helmet on the head, a sword girt to the loins with golden clasps, a weighty Danish axe of gold on the left shoulder, in the left hand a shield with bosses and studs of gold, and in the right a golden lance, called "hategar" by the English. In addition to all this, he took an oath before the king and almost all the nobles of the realm, that neither by his device or concurrence had his brother been murdered and deprived of his eyes.


A.D. 1041. Hardecnute king of England sent his officers through the whole kingdom, without excusing any, to collect the tax which he had appointed, to supply his pirates with necessaries. Two of these officers were slain by the citizens of Worcester and the people of those parts, in a monastery to which they had fled for refuge; whereat the king, highly enraged, to revenge so great an enormity, sent an armed force, with orders to slay the inhabitants, sack and burn the city, and devastate the whole province. This was done, and they returned to the king with an enormous booty, and so his fury was in some measure assuaged. In the same year, Eadward, brother of king Hardecnute, and son of king Ethelred, arriving in England from Normandy, met with a welcome reception from the king, and continued with glory and honour in his brother's court as long as the latter lived.


At this time, Hardecnute, king of England, married his sister Gunilda, the daughter of king Cnute and queen Emma, to Henry the Roman emperor. This damsel, in her father's lifetime, was, for her matchless beauty, wooed in vain by many nobles ; so that now the point of her nuptials was such, that the king her brother, and all his people, were so lavish of gold and silver, silken garments, precious jewels, and costly horses, that to this very day, at feasts, hostelries, and other places of resort, players and minstrels cannot worthily extol the splendour thereof. For a season the marriage knot remained unbroken, but at last, some sewers of discord charged the empress before the emperor of adultery. It was necessary therefore, according to the custom of the country, that Gunilda should clear her reputation by duel against her accuser, who was a man of gigantic size. But of all the knights and attendants who had come with her from England, there was not found one bold enough for the encounter with a man of such terrible stature. In this extremity, a boy, whom Gunilda had carried from England and brought up in her chamber, and who for his diminutive size was called Mimecan, undertook to do battle for his mistress, well assured of her purity; and encountering the giant, by the just judgment of God, cut through his hamstring, so that he fell to the earth, and Mimecan, cutting off his head, presented it to his mistress. Rejoicing in the unlooked for victory, the empress repudiated the emperor, and neither threats nor blandishments could prevail on her thenceforth to ascend his bed.


The same emperor, in the lifetime of his father Conrad, had received from a certain clerk a silver pipe, on condition that, when he became emperor, he would confer on him a bishopric. Accordingly, when he arrived at man's estate, and was made emperor after his father, the bishopric was claimed and bestowed on the clerk. Shortly after this, the emperor was seized with severe illness and confined to his couch, and so much did the malady increase, that for three days he lay senseless and speechless, and, as it were, rapt from the body, affording no other sign of life than a slight heaving of the bosom, and a feeble breathing which became sensible on applying the hand to the nostrils. The bishops and his friends who were present appointed a fast for three days, and with tears and prayers besought the compassion of Heaven for the restoration of the emperor. To these remedies, as is believed, he owed his recovery, and summoning before him the bishop who had purchased his promotion with the silver pipe, he degraded him by a decree of the council; and, in the hearing of all, the emperor confessed, that for the space of three days during which he had lain lifeless, he was beset by demons, who assailed him and shot into his face flames of fire through that same pipe, burning his whole body as well inwardly as outwardly. And so intense was that flame, that, in comparison of it, our earthly fire would seem cool and without heat. But in the midst of these intolerable flames, the said emperor had with him a young man, holding in his hands a golden cup of extraordinary size full of water, by whose assiduity in sprinkling the water, the violence of the heat was extinguished, and he returned to his former health; and while the emperor was wondering who that youth could be that had afforded him such refreshment, a voice from heaven said to him, "Recall to memory the monastery of the blessed martyr Laurence, formerly destroyed by the pagans, and which thou restoredst, and how thou placedst monks therein, and conferredst thereon many lands and ornaments, and among them a golden cup adorned with jewels, in honour of that martyr. Wherefore, know for a certainty, that that youth is the blessed St. Laurence, who in requital gave thee space for repentance and refreshed thee in thy torments."


A.D. 1042. At a marriage feast, on the occasion of Osgod Glappa marrying his daughter to a Dane named Cnute, at Lamheia [Lambeth], Hardecnute king of England merry hearted and in the enjoyment of health and spirits, while standing by the aforesaid bride, in the midst of his cups fell to the earth, and remaining speechless died on the 8th of June. He was carried thence to Winchester, and was buried by the side of his father Cnute. His brother Eadward, elected king with the assent of the clergy and laity, was consecrated by Eadsy archbishop of Canterbury and Alfric archbishop of York, on Easter-day. Now this Eadward was the son of king Ethelred, who was the son of Eadgar, who was the son of Eadmund, who was the son of Eadward, who was the son of the great king Alfred, whose genealogy has been traced already up to Adam. Now king Eadward, immediately that he was raised to the throne, took away from his mother, queen Emma, all her gold and silver and other valuables, inasmuch as, before he was king, she had never given him any thing that he bad asked for. Nevertheless he ordered that she should be supplied with all necessaries while she remained at Winchester.


A.D.1043. Eadsy, archbishop of Canterbury, weighed down with infirmity, appointed a certain Siward his deputy. And in the same year, Ethelstan abbat of Ramsey, was stabbed beneath his church at the hour of vespers by a certain person unknown, and expired.


A.D. 1044. King Eadward, to strengthen his administration, married Edith, daughter of the most potent earl Godwin ; and in the same year Alfric, bishop of Helmham, died, and was succeeded by Stigand the king's chaplain.


A.D. 1045. Brithwold, bishop of Ramesbury, died, and was succeeded by Herman, the king's chaplain. In the same year king Eadward assembled a large fleet at the port of Sandwich against the king of Norway, who was making hostile preparations against England; but the expedition of the latter monarch was prevented by a war commenced against him by Sweyn, king of Denmark.


A.D. 1046. Silvester sat in the Roman chair fifty-six days, and was succeeded the same year by Gregory, who sat two years. In the same year died Living, who held the bishoprics of Worcester, Crediton, and Cornwall. After his decease, Leofric, the king's chancellor, obtained the prelacy of Crediton and Cornwall, and Aldred took the see of Worcester.


A.D. 1047. Grinketel, bishop of Selsey, died, and was succeeded by Hecca, the king's chaplain. In this year too died Elfwin bishop of Winchester, and Stigand bishop of Helmham, being placed in his room, kept both sees.


A.D. 1048. After Gregory, Clement sat in the Roman chair nine months and six days; and in the same year Damasus succeeded him, and sat twenty-six days; after whose decease, Leo succeeded, and filled the chair five years, two months, and six days.


In the days of this pope there was discovered at Rome a case of diabolical witchcraft unheard of in our times. There lived together in a cottage situated on a public road leading to Rome, two old women, both given to witchcraft. When a stranger came to them unattended, they would transform him into a horse, or swine, or some other animal, and they spent in drunkenness and gluttony the money they acquired by the sale of these animals. It happened that these women entertained a certain youth, who gained his livelihood as a jongleur and was skilful in dancing; and in the night they transformed him into an ass, and made much gain by him; for by the change the youth had by no means lost his understanding with his speech, but performed as an ass whatever tricks and vagaries the old women bade him. The ass's sports attracted a multitude of people who paid money to the wicked bags to witness his performance. As the ass's fame spread through the country, a certain wealthy man came and bought him of the witches for a large sum of money; and as he took the ass away, they warned him to keep the ass from getting into water, if he would have daily entertainment from him. Accordingly the rich man set a vigilant keeper over the ass, and whenever he wished for amusement, he delighted his guests with the ass's tricks. Satiated at last with this sort of entertainment, the ass was kept with less vigilance; and one day, breaking his halter, he made his escape, and plunged into a neighbouring pool, where, after a few turns in the water, he recovered his human form. The ass's keeper followed him, and on sight of the man, asked him whether he had seen an ass. The man replied that he was the ass, and that he had resumed the human form; and then related the whole of his adventures. The man in amazement related the story to his master, who communicated it to pope Leo, before whom the women were at last convicted and made confession of their guilt. But on the pope expressing his doubts and affirming that it was a frivolous tale, Peter Damian proved the truth of it, and cited the case of Simon Magus, who made Faustian appear in the likeness of the said Simon, to the horror of his sons.


A.D. 1049. Eadmund bishop of Durham died, a religious man, whose promotion and sanctity have been mentioned before. He was succeeded in the bishopric by Eadred.


A.D. 1050, died Eadsy archbishop of Canterbury, Siward his deputy, and Eadnoth bishop of Dorchester. Eadsy was succeeded by Robert bishop of London, who was succeeded in that see by William, and Ulf the king's chaplain was promoted to Dorchester.


A.D. 1051. King Eadward freed the English from the payment of a most heavy tribute of thirty-eight thousand pounds, which for a long time they had paid to the Danish mercenaries. In the same year died Alfric archbishop of York, and was succeeded by Kinsy the king's chaplain. At the same time William duke of Normandy visited England, and was honourably received by king Eadward, who sent him home laden with presents. In this year a number of the nobles of Northumberland assembled at a certain church near the city of Lindisfarne, to hear causes and requested the priest to be so good as to perform mass for them; but having that night slept with a concubine, he feared to undertake so high an office; but yielding to their urgent entreaties, he with much trembling celebrated the divine mysteries. But when he was about to take the sacred mystery, he beheld the portion, which according to custom he had placed in the chalice, changed to so black a colour, as to be more like pitch than bread and wine. Conscious of his guilt, the priest knew not what to do; and fearing that, whatever he did, he could not escape the judgment of almighty God, he with loathing and exceeding trepidation took the terrible substance, which he found so bitter, that he thought he had never before tasted the like. The service being ended, he communicated the matter to the bishop, who appointed him a penance, and exhorted him thenceforth to study to offer unto God a chaste life; which he faithfully promised to do, and kept his vow as long as he lived.


In those days, Eustace earl of Boulogne, who had married Goda, king Eadward's sister, landed at Dover, where his rough soldiers slew a man of the town as they were in quest of lodgings. Another townsman enraged at this sight, slew the soldier who had done it; whereat the earl and his comrades in great wrath slew a number of men and women, and trod their children under their horses' feet. But a multitude of people coming together to attack them, the enemy took to flight and after a loss of eighty men the rest escaped to king Eadward, who was then at Gloucester. Indignant at the slaughter of his people, Godwin earl of Kent, out of his country, which comprised Kent, Sussex and Wessex, and his eldest son Sweyn, from the whole of his country, which comprised the counties of Oxford, Gloucester Hereford, Somerset, and Berke, and his son Harold, out of his honour of Essex, East-Anglia, Cambridge, and Huntingdon, collected a great army. With these forces earl Godwin marched into Gloucestershire, and sending messages to the king, demanded, under the threat of making war, the surrender to him of Eustace and all his men. Being well provided with troops, king Eadward replied that he should not give up earl Eustace, and commanded him, as one who had levied an army against his sovereign and disturbed the peace of the realm, to come to court and make answer to the charge, and submit himself to the laws. But Godwin, as he did not dare to encounter the king in battle, so was he equally afraid of coming to court; wherefore, by the common sentence of his court, the king banished Godwin and his five sons from England. He accordingly with his wife Gyva, and his son Tosti with his wife Judith, daughter of Baldwin earl of Flanders, and two others of his sons, Sweyn and Gurth, took shipping with immense treasures, and directed their course into Flanders to the aforesaid earl. His sons Harold and Leofwin, went to Bristol and crossed the sea to Ireland. The king, too, repudiated his wife Edith for her father Godwins sake, and ignominiously sent her with a single attendant to Redwell, where she was committed to the keeping of the abbess.


A.D. 1052, died queen Emma, wife of the kings Ethelred and Cnute, and was buried at Winchester; and in the same year, Marianas Scotus, a most veracious chronicler, departed this life. At this time, Griffin king of Wales ravaged Herefordshire, and slew a number of the inhabitants for revolting from him. And not long after, earl Harold and his brother Leofwin returned from Ireland into Wessex, where they made much booty, and slew such as offered resistance. Their father Godwin, after committing piratical ravages in Kent, Sussex and those parts, at length sailed to the Isle of Wight, where he was joined by his sons, and they took counsel how they might avenge themselves on king Eadward. They had gained over a number of warriors from among the people, and having assembled a large army, he directed his fleet to the city of London on the day of the exaltation of the holy cross, and made his camp at Southwark. King Eadward, who was then at London, had assembled a large army and a numerous fleet, to press Godwin and his sons by sea and land. But the English, whose sons, nephews, and kindred were with Godwin, refused to fight against them; wherefore five wise men from each party acted as mediators between the king and Godwin, and sought to re-establish peace. After holding a council of his nobles, the king restored Godwin and all his sons to their former honours, except Sweyn, who had slain Beorn the king's cousin; for which cause he did penance by journeying from Flanders to Jerusalem barefooted, and died on his return from an illness brought on by excess of cold. He moreover deigned to take back queen Edith, but had no carnal knowledge of her. Peace and concord being thus established, the king promised good laws and strict justice to all his people, and sent back to their native land all the Normans who had given him evil counsel against the English; among whom Robert archbishop of Canterbury, William bishop of London, and Ulf bishop of Dorchester, and their Norman followers, narrowly escaped banishment by crossing the sea. But Robert, [William,] bishop of London, was, for his great goodness, restored shortly after to his former dignity. Stigand, who had formerly quitted the see of Helmham and intruded himself into that of Winchester, now took advantage of king Eadwards simplicity, and obtained the dignity of Canterbury, while archbishop Robert was yet living. Osbern and Hugo, who were Normans, quitted their castles and found refuge with the king of Scots.


A.D. 1053. Rhesus, brother of Griffin king of Wales, was slain at a place called Bullendon, and his head was presented to king Eadward at Gloucester on the vigil of the Epiphany.


A. D. 1054. Eadward king of England kept the festival of Easter at Winchester, and as he sat at meat, his butler, while carrying the king's goblet of wine to the table, struck one foot against the floor, but recovering himself with the other, saved himself from falling. On seeing which, earl Godwin, who, as was his custom sat with the king at table, remarked, "One brother has helped the other. To whom the king gave this cutting reply, "And my brother would now be able to aid me, had it not been for Godwin's treachery." Godwin, who had betrayed the king's brother, not enduring this reply, said, "I know O king, that you have me in suspicion touching the death of your brother; but, as God is true and righteous, may this morsel of bread choke me if ever your brother received his death or bodily harm through me or by my counsel." The king then blessed the morsel, which Godwin put into his mouth, and, being conscious of his guilt, he was choked and died. Seeing him pale and lifeless, the king exclaimed, "Take forth this dog and traitor, and bury him in a cross-way, for he is unworthy of Christian sepulture." But his sons who were present, removed their father from the table, and buried him, without the king's knowledge, in the Old Minster of that city. The king then gave the dukedom of Kent to Godwin's son Harold, who was the commander of his forces. In the same year Siward duke of Northumberland, a valiant man, led a numerous army into Scotland, and drove king Macbeth from the kingdom after slaying many thousands of the Scots, together with all the Normans of whom we have made mention above. The king gave the kingdom of Scotland to Malcolm, son of the king of Cumberland, to hold of himself.


A.D. 1055. Victor governed the Roman see two years, three months, and thirteen days. In the same year, Siward duke of Northumberland, died, and king Eadward conferred that dukedom on Tosti, duke Harold's brother. Not long after this, king Eadward held a council at London, and banished from England earl Algar, who thereupon went into Ireland, where he got eighteen piratical vessels, and joining himself to Griffin king of Wales, made incursions into the kingdom of England. Having invaded Herefordshire, they were met by duke Ranulph, son of king Eadward's sister; but at the first onset Ranulph and his men fled; whereupon Algar and Griffin pursued the fugitives and slew five hundred of them. After this victory they entered the city of Hereford, and having slain seven ecclesiastics who defended the doors of the cathedral, they burned that church with its ornaments and relics. Then, after slaying some of the inhabitants, and taking others captives, and burning the town, they retired with a rich booty. On hearing of this deed, king Eadward assembled a large army at Gloucester, and giving it in command to Harold, son of Godwin, he ordered him to make a fierce attack on the enemy. Accordingly, he boldly entered Wales and advanced with his army as far as Snowdon; but Algar and Griffin, well acquainted with Harold's valour, avoided an encounter. After terribly ravaging Wales, Harold marched to Hereford, which be environed with a broad and high rampart, and strengthened the city with gates and bars. At length, by the intervention of messengers, a peace of short duration was made between Algar and the king. In the same year, Hermann bishop of Ramesbury, annoyed at the king's refusal to allow the episcopal seat to be transferred to Salisbury, reigned his bishopric, and crossing the sea, assumed the monastic habit at St. Bertin's, and remained three years in that monastery. The first bishop of Ramesbury, was Ethelstan, the second Odo, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, the third Osulf, the fourth Algar, the fifth Elstan, the sixth Siric, the seventh Alfric, the eighth Brithwold, who continued from the time of king Ethelred to St. Eadward. We read of this Brithwold, that in the time of king Cnute, he would frequently turn his thoughts to the English royal race, then well nigh destroyed, and would wonder whether it would ever be restored, and that one night, as he lay on his bed musing on this subject he was caught up on high, where he saw Peter, the prince of the apostles, holding in his arms Eadward the future king, then in Normandy, whom he consecrated to be king, and foretold that he would lead a life of celibacy and reign twenty-four years. It is said also that Brithwold inquired respecting the succession of the kings of England, and received this answer, "The kingdom of England belongs to God, and he will provide himself kings." The aforesaid Hermann returned to his bishopric, and, with king Eadward's leave, united the bishopric of Sherborne with that of Ramesbury, and transferred the cathedral see to Salisbury.


A.D. 1056. Ethelstan bishop of Hereford died, and was succeeded by Levegar, duke Harold's chaplain. This prelate, who was a model of piety, was slain by Griffin king of Wales, who burnt the city of Hereford. Levegar was succeeded by Walter who continued to the time of king William. In the same year Egelric bishop of Durham voluntarily left his bishopric, and took the monastic habit at Peterborough, where he lived an exemplary life twelve years.


A.D. 1057. Eadward king of England, being advanced in years, sent Aldred bishop of Worcester into Hungary, and recalled thence Eadward, son of king Eadmund his brother, with the intention of making him his successor. Eadward came accordingly, with his son Eadgar and his daughters Margaret and Christina, but died not long after his arrival in the city of London, leaving the king the charge of his son Eadgar and his daughters before mentioned. On the thirty first of August in the same year died Leofric earl of Chester, a man of praise-worthy life; he was buried in the monastery which he had founded at Coventry. Having founded this monastery by the advice of his wife the countess Godiva, he, at the prayer of a religious woman, placed monks therein, and so enriched them with lands, woods, and ornaments, that there was not found in all England a monastery with such an abundance of gold and silver, gems and costly garments. The countess Godiva, who was a great lover of God's mother, longing to free the town of Coventry from the oppression of a heavy toll, often with urgent prayers besought her husband that from regard to Jesus Christ and his mother, he would free the town from that service, and from all other heavy burdens; and when the earl sharply rebuked her for foolishly asking what was so much to his damage, and always forbade her ever more to speak to him on the subject; and while she, on the other hand, with a woman's pertinacity, never ceased to exasperate her husband on that matter, he at last made her this answer, "Mount your horse, and ride naked, before all the people, through the market of the town, from one end to the other, and on your return you shall have your request." On which Godiva replied, "But will you give me permission, if I am willing to do it?" "I will," said he. Whereupon the countess, beloved of God, loosed her hair and let down her tresses, which covered the whole of her body like a veil, and mounting her horse and attended by two knights, she rode through the market-place, without being seen, except her fair legs; and having completed the journey, she returned with gladness to her astonished husband, and obtained of him what she had asked; for earl Leofric freed the town of Coventry and its inhabitants from the aforesaid service, and confirmed what he had done by a charter. The said earl also, at the instigation of his countess, munificently enriched with lands, buildings, and various ornaments the churches of Worcester, St. Mary of Stone, and St. Wereburg, with the monasteries of Evesham, Wenloc, and Lenten.


A.D. 1058. Stephen sat in the Roman chair nine months, and was succeeded by Benedict, who likewise governed the church nine months. At that time a certain youth, a citizen of Rome, and of senatorial dignity, married a noble virgin, and in honour of the occasion made a feast to his companions for many days. One day, being satiated with delicacies, they went out into the plain to strengthen their stomachs with exercise, and spent a great part of the day in playing at ball. But not to lose his nuptial ring, the youth, unobserved by his companions, put it on the extended finger of a certain brazen statue; after which he joined in the game; but becoming heated with violent running, he was the first to give up play, and on coming to the statue, he found the finger on which he had placed the ring, bent against the palm, and the ring held firmly on it. After many vain attempts to break the finger, or get off the ring by any means, finding that all was of no avail, he retired in great confusion, concealing what had happened from his companions. Returning at night to the statue with his servants, he was amazed at finding the finger extended and the ring taken off. Concealing his loss, as he the following night lay down by the side of his bride he was sensible of the presence of some misty and dense substance interposed between him and her, but which nevertheless could neither be felt nor seen. Prevented by this obstacle from embracing his wife, he heard a voice addressing him, "Lie with me; for thou marriedst me to-day: I am Venus, on whose finger thou placedst the ring, which I have, and will not give up." A long time elapsed, during which as often as he sought to lie on his wife's bosom, the same thing interposed, and the same voice was heard. In other things the youth was strong and daring, as well in the forum as in military exercise. At length, by his wife's advice, the matter was made known to their parents, who, after holding a speedy council, communicated the occurrence to a priest near to the city named Palumbus. The man was skilled in necromancy, could raise magical appearances, call up devils, and compel them to do any work he pleased. They therefore agreed to give him a large sum of gold and silver, if by any possibility he could recover the ring. The priest thereupon delivered a letter to the youth neatly written in these words, "Go to the cross roads at night, and stand there in silence carefully awaiting the issue. For there will pass by figures of people of both sexes, of every age, grade, and condition, some on foot, some on horseback, some with downward looks, and others with heads erect and haughty mien. If they address you, make no reply; for whatever pertains to joy or sadness you will at once perceive by their looks and actions. That multitude will be followed by one of more beautiful person and larger size than the rest, and sitting in a chariot. Speak not, but give him the letter to read, and if you only have fortitude, your desire will be immediately accomplished." The young man accordingly set about the enterprise with great spirit, and boldly took his stand at the cross-ways to prove the faith of the priest's words. Among the rest who passed by he saw a woman in the attire of a harlot, riding on a mule, her hair flowing loosely over her shoulders, and holding in her hand a golden rod, with which she managed her steed, and as she went she exhibited wanton gestures, her garments being so thin that she was all but naked. The last, who seemed to be above the rest, directed his haughty eyes on the youth from his proud car, studded with emeralds and union-pearls, and demanded the cause of his coming. The youth made no reply, but extended his hand and gave him the letter. The demon did not dare to slight the well known seal, but when he had opened and read it, he exclaimed with arms stretched towards heaven, "Almighty God, how long wilt thou endure the wickedness of the priest Palumbus?" He then despatched his satellites to take away the ring from Venus, which, with much evasion, she was at length compelled to resign. The happy youth then without any obstacle attained the enjoyment of his bride for which he had so long sighed. But the priest Palumbus, on hearing the demon's complaints of him unto the Lord, perceived that the end of his days was at hand; wherefore he cut off all his members with a knife, and died in this astonishing act of penance, after making public confession to the pope of unparalleled acts of wickedness.


A.D. 1059. While earl Harold was visiting his estates at Boseham, he one day for recreation entered a fishing boat, and to obtain better sport, put out to sea, when a sudden storm arising, he was driven with his companions to the coast of Ponthieu, where he was seized by the inhabitants of that country and thrown into fetters, on the charge of being a spy. To procure his deliverance, Harold by his liberal promises induced a messenger to go and acquaint William duke of Normandy, that he had been sent to him by king Eadward to open to him matters of great moment; and that he was detained in prison by Godwin count of Ponthieu so that he could not execute the king's commands. Harold was in consequence, by William's mediation, set at liberty by Godwin, and conducted to Normandy, where he was received with honour by William, and courteously supplied with food and clothing. To ingratiate himself with William, Harold made him a grant of the castle of Dover, which was his own by right, and promised on his oath to confirm to him the kingdom of England after the death of king Eadward. In return, duke William promised to give him his little daughter in marriage with her ample patrimony, and henceforth treated him as one of his family. But some authors have given a different account, and say that Harold was sent into Normandy by king Eadward, to conduct duke William into England, inasmuch as the king purposed to make him his son.


A.D. 1060. Nicolas sat in the Roman chair two years and six months; and in the same year died Kinsy archbishop of York, and was succeeded by Aldred bishop of Worcester. The bishopric of Hereford, which had also been committed to him on account of his great industry, was given to Walter the Lotharingian, chaplain of queen Edith; and in the same year, on the death of Duduc, bishop of Wells, Gisa, the king's chaplain, succeeded him.


A. D. 1061. Aldred, archbishop elect of York, set out for Rome with earl Tosti, and received the pall from pope Nicolas. Gisa, prelate of Wells, and Walter of Hereford, were also consecrated there.


A.D. 1062. Wulstan, prior of the church of Worcester, a man of notable piety, was elected to the prelacy of that church, and, with the acclamation of the king and people, consecrated as bishop. His consecration was performed by Aldred, archbishop of York forasmuch as archbishop Stigand was at that time suspended from his office, for having presumed to enter on it while Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, was yet living. At thus time there was an extraordinary birth, on the confines of the lesser Brittany and Normandy. For in one, or rather in two women, there were two heads, and four arms, and every thing else double down to the navel ; but below there were two legs, two feet, and every thing else single. The one laughed, ate, and talked; the other wept, fasted, and kept silence. What they ate with two mouths was expelled at one orifice. At last, one of them died, and the other survived: the living bore the dead for three years till at length she died also from the oppression and stench of the corpse.


A.D. 1063. By the command of king Eadward, earl Harold made an expedition into Wales to harass king Griffin; but warned of his approach, the latter took ship and escaped with difficulty. Finding that he had escaped, Harold assembled a greater army, and being met by his brother Tosti at the king's command, they, with united forces, began to lay waste that country by sea and land; so that, urged by necessity, the Welsh gave hostages, and promised thenceforth to pay tribute to king Eadward, and moreover drove their king, Griffin, into exile.


A.D. 1064. On the fifth of August the Welsh people put king Griffin to death, and sent his head to duke Harold, who transmitted it to king Eadward. Harold then set over the Welsh another king, who did fealty to the king of England, and promised faithfully to him and his successors all their dues.


A.D. 1065. The sacred bones of the king and martyr, the blessed Oswin, were discovered as follows. After the passion of the said most illustrious king, as has before been clearly set forth in treating of his martyrdom, his body was borne to the monastery of Mary, God's blessed mother, to the north of the mouth of the river Tyne, and there buried in royal state. For the number of his miracles through a long series of years, the place of his sepulchre was had in so great reverence by the people of that region, that they chose to have the king and martyr who was buried among them, said who had been their lord and patron on earth as their protector also in heaven; wherefore, in process of time, to do greater honour to the noble martyr, holy nuns, from the monastery of the abbess St. Hilda, were brought to his body, and continued in the height of devotion, in the church of Mary, God's blessed mother, until the Danish persecution which was stirred up by the fury of the brothers, Hinguar and Hubba. In the heat of thus diabolical persecution, this monastery, and all its buildings, is believed to have been demolished, with the other English monasteries, by the aforesaid servants of the devil, and the holy virgins were translated by martyrdom to the heavenly kingdom. For many years after this, that country continued under the power of the infidel Danes, by which the memory of the holy martyr was well nigh blotted out from the minds of the people; but when at length the devotion of the faithful began to return, and the purity of the faith to revive, the bishop of that district placed priests and clergy in the church of God's mother to celebrate the divine mysteries for the parishioners of that place. Meanwhile, the most blessed martyr lay entombed under the humble turf, until the time of Egelwin bishop of Durham, and Tosti earl of Northumberland, who succeeded Siward in that dignity, not by hereditary succession, but by the grant of king Eadward. It pleased therefore the divine goodness, in the lifetime of the aforesaid bishop, to bring to light the blessed martyr's relics for the profit of the whole church, that the candle which bad been long placed under a bushel, being set on a candlestick, might illuminate the darkness of infidelity. There was a certain warden of the aforesaid church, in which the body of the blessed martyr had been buried, whose name was Eadmund, a religious man, and devoted to the blessed martyr, and, though not professedly of any particular monastery, yet wearing the religious habit. One night, after he had given his members to rest in the church, when the nightly vigil was over, there stood by him a man of lofty stature and heavenly brightness, who called him by name and said, "Brother Eadmund, brother Eadmund, I am king Oswin, who lie in this church unknown to all. Arise therefore, and tell bishop Egelwin to search for my body under the pavement of this oratory; and when he has found it, let him not fail to place it in the same oratory with more than ordinary honour." Awaking from sleep, and glad at the vision, Eadmund in the early twilight went to the bishop, and reverently opened to him the matter of the vision. On hearing this, the prelate rejoiced with unspeakable joy, and reverently going to the spot, found a multitude of people assembled there from distant parts, and by his command, after prayer had been made by all, they set about digging up the floor of the oratory, and by the time the day was far spent, had discovered nothing. Emulous for the saint's credit, Eadmund seized a mattock, and with much warmth struck the ground where they had all for a long while been digging, and after repeated blows discovered the slab of a tomb, and on removing the stone, he with joy beheld the holy relics. The bishop himself raised the sacred body, which he then washed with his own hands, and after wrapping it in clean linen, placed it with honour in a more conspicuous part of the church. The water with which the most sacred body was washed in a corner of the chapel, was of benefit to a number of people as well as cattle, on whom the bishop directed it to be sprinkled ; and the dust of the saint, diluted in water, restored to health a number of sick persons who drank of it. These things took place on the 11th of March, in the four hundred and fortieth year after his passion.


As the bishop was on his way to make the above discovery, the countess Judith, wife of Tosti, begged that some small portion of the sacred relics might be given her, and accordingly she received by his gift a large portion of the uncorrupted hairs of the holy martyr. Led by holy devotion, she wished to confirm in the faith some who were incredulous. Commanding therefore a large fire to be kindled in the middle of her hall, she boldly threw the hairs into it, when, so far were they from receiving injury from the violence of the flame, that they rather acquired greater beauty thereby. In admiration at the miracle, the countess took the holy martyr's hairs out of the fire, and, by the bishop's advice, laid them by with due honour. She then dismissed a crowd of simple people, who had come together to the sight, confirmed in devotion to the blessed martyr.


In the same year duke Harold built a great edifice in Wales, and stored it with an abundance of provision, that king Eadward might be able to amuse himself there awhile in the hunting season. But Craddoc, son of Griffin, whom Harold had exiled in the preceding year, came there in a hostile manner on the feast of St. Bartholomew, and slew nearly all the workmen and their masters, and carried off all the provisions.


It happened in the same year, in the presence of king Eadward at Wyndeleshore [Windsor], Tosti earl of Northumberland, moved with envy, seized by the hair his brother Harold as he was pledging the king in a cup of wine and handled him shamefully, to the amazement of all the kings household. Provoked to vengeance at this, Harold seized his brother in his arms, and, lifting him up, dashed him with violence against the ground; on which the soldiers rushed forward from all sides, and put an end to the Contest between these famous brothers, and separated them from each other. The king thereupon foretold that the destruction of those brothers was at hand, and that God's vengeance would not long be delayed. For all the sons of the traitor Godwin were so enormously wicked, that if they saw a beautiful mansion, they would cause the owner and all his offspring to be murdered by night, and so would obtain the possessions of the deceased. Yet notwithstanding these enormities, they so abused the king's simplicity, that he made them justiciaries and guardians of the realm. After thus strife with his brother Harold, Tosti quitted the king's court in a rage, and coming to the city of Hereford, where his brother Harold had prepared a great feast for the king, he cut off the limbs of all the servants, and put an arm, or some other member, in each of the vessels of wine, mead, ale, or pickle; after which he sent a message to the king, that on coming to his lodging, he would find the food seasoned to his mind, and that he should take care to carry away the delicacies with him. On hearing of this detestable wickedness, the king sentenced him to banishment.


At this time the Northumbrians assembled with one consent at York, on the 3rd of October, and expelled Tosti their earl, putting to death all his household, whether Danes or English, and seizing on his treasures and arms and all his possessions. After his expulsion, they made Mercher, son of earl Algar, earl of that country, and requested the king to confirm hum in that dignity. King Eadward having complied, Tosti went with his wife into Flanders to count Baldwin, and passed the winter at St. Omer.


A.D. 1066. Eadward, king of England, held his court at Christmas at Westminster; and, on the blessed Innocent's day, caused the church which he had erected from its foundations, outside of the city of London, to be dedicated with great pomp in honour of St. Peter the prince of the apostles; but both before and during the solemn festival of this dedication, the king was confined with severe illness. As his illness increased, he took to his bed, where after lying two days speechless and apparently lifeless, he on the third day revived, and fetching a heavy and deep sigh, exclaimed, "Almighty God, if it be not an illusion, but a true vision, which I have beheld, grant me strength to tell it to those wjo are by; but if, on the other hand, it be false I pray thee withhold from me the power of telling it" After this prayer, he narrated with sufficient ease and clearness as follows : "I just now saw standing by me two monks whom I had seen before in Normandy in my youth, and knew to have lived most religiously, and died most Christianly. These men assured me that they were sent to me with a message from God, and proceeded as follows,-'Forasmuch as the princes, dukes, bishops, and abbats of England are not the servants of God, but of the devil, therefore God will, within a year and a day, deliver this kingdom into the hand of the enemy; and this land shall be wholly overrun with demons.' On my saying that I would declare this to the people, that they might repent of their sins and make confession and satisfaction, and, like the Ninevites obtain mercy; 'It will be to no purpose,' they replied, 'for they will not repent, nor will God have mercy upon them.' Then said I, 'But when may we hope for a remission of such dire calamities?' 'If,' they replied, 'a green tree be cut down, and the head carried far away from the root, and after this they of their own accord unite, and blossom and bear fruit, then may a remission of these evils be hoped for.'" The English afterwards proved the truth of this prophecy; for England truly became the dwelling of foreigners, and felt the yoke of strangers, none of her dukes, or prelates, or abbats being English, nor was there any hope of ending this misery.


The pacific king Eadward, the glory of England, the son of king Ethelred, exchanged a temporal for an eternal kingdom, in the fourth indiction, on the vigil of our Lord's epiphany, being the fifth day of the week, [Thursday, Jan. 5, 1066]. The day after his death, the most blessed king was buried at London, in the church which he himself had built in a new and costly style of architecture, which was afterwards adopted by numbers. With him ended the line of the English kings, which commencing with Cerdic, the first English king of Wessex, had continued unbroken for five hundred and seventy-one years, except by a few Danish sovereigns, who, for the sins of the English nation, reigned a short time. Having now said enough of the secular cares and warlike occupations of this most blessed king and confessor, it seems not amiss to add a few words touching his sanctity and virtues. For while yet in this mortal body, he was a most diligent inquirer into heavenly secrets; and the King of kings vouchsafed to reveal to him, by the spirit of prophecy, some mysteries worthy of relation. Once on a time, when holding his court at Westminster with royal state, on Easter-day, as he sat at table, he suddenly raised his voice to a laugh with less restraint than usual, and thereby drew on himself the eyes of all the guests, who wondered exceedingly at the king's laughing in that manner, without any cause as they supposed. When they had retired from dinner, and the king was sitting among the bishops and nobles, earl Harold said to him, "My lord, O king, we have had an unusual spectacle to-day, which has caused us much wonder; for we never before saw you laugh so freely." The king answered, "I saw a wonderful sight, and so had reason to laugh." On which the nobles who were present, well knowing that it was not a silly matter which had drawn a laugh from a man of his dignity, earnestly besought him to vouchsafe to disclose to them the cause of his extraordinary joy. Overcome by their entreaties, "It is now," said he, "upwards of two hundred years that the seven sleepers have been resting on their right side in the cave of Mount Coelius at Rome ; but to-day, after we had taken our seats at table, they turned on their left side, and will so remain for seventy years." On hearing this, all the audience inquired what was signified by this change; to which he replied, "This change doubtless portends some terrible calamities to mankind, who will suffer severely from wars and other plagues; and, by Christ's power, the pagans will be vanquished by the Christians." After hearing this and much besides to the like effect, the aforesaid nobles retired from the king in astonishment, and sent messengers to search out the truth of the matter. Earl Harold sent a knight, a bishop who was present sent a clerk, and an abbat a monk, with presents from the king and a letter under his seal, to Michael emperor of Constantinople, requesting that the seven sleepers might be shown to the messengers of Eadward king of England. The emperor graciously received the ambassadors of England, who had come from such distant parts, and commanded that the aforesaid seven sleepers should be shown to them; whereupon, finding that everything relating to the holy sleepers agreed with what king Eadward had declared in England and having presented their gifts, they gave God thanks, and returned home.


Concerning this most holy king, we must not omit to mention, that he never either lost his own chastity, or injured that of any woman. Nevertheless he had a queen named Edith daughter of earl Godwin, as has been said before, whose mind was stored with all liberal knowledge, but she evinced little understanding in secular matters. The king treated her as his wife, but in such sort, that he neither abstained from her bed, nor had airy carnal knowledge of her. Whether he acted thus from hatred of her father, a convicted traitor, and all her family, which he prudently concealed for a time, or from love of chastity, is uncertain; but the presumption is strong, that the pious king was unwilling to beget successors from the stock of a traitor.


Eadward, the most holy king of England, being dead, as has been said before, the nobles in the realm were in doubt whom to choose for their king and governor, some inclining to William duke of Normandy, some to earl Harold son of Godwin, while others favoured the pretensions of Eadgar son of Eadward. For Eadmund Ironside, the natural king from the legitimate royal stock, begat Eadward, and Eadward begat Eadgar, to whom was due by right the kingdom of England. But Harold, an able and crafty man, knowing that delay is always injurious, on the day of the Epiphany, being that on which king Eadward was buried, extorted the assent of the nobles, and placed the diadem on his own head. After his promotion, his brother Tosti arrived from Flanders with sixty vessels, and landing at the mouth of the river Humber, committed piratical ravages; but being driven from that province by the brothers Eadwin and Mercard, he turned his sails towards Scotland where he fell in with Harold king of Norway, and made a league with him. The latter sailed to England with three hundred cogues to endeavour to subjugate it. As he was committing ravages in Northumberland, he was opposed by earl Mercher and the men of that region, whom he defeated in battle and drove into York. On hearing this, Harold king of England hastened thither with all his strength, and arriving at a town called Stanford he found there his armies aforesaid, and, though it is hard to believe, a single Norwegian, standing at the entrance of the bridge, slew a number of the English, and kept their whole army from passing over. On being invited to surrender, he mocked the English, and said that they were men of no spirit, who could not overcome a single warrior. When no one dared to approach him, as deeming it unadvisable to engage with him hand to hand, at last one of the king's household pierced him through with a dart, on which he fell dead into the stream, yielding the victory to the English, who finding a free passage, fell on the rear of the Norwegian fugitives. At length, after slaying Harold king of Norway, Tosti, brother of the king of England, and many others, the king of England appropriated to his own use the booty and spoils, without allowing any one to share with him, which so disgusted his army, that they unanimously forsook him.


Of chronogmphy, that is the arrangement of dates, we will first speak in answer to envious disparagers and to those who deem our labour to be useless; afterwards we will, in the present prologue, describe and briefly lay ripen the cause of events to well-wishers, and those who expect, nay, demand it of us. For our accusers say, "Why is it necessary to commit to writing the lives or deaths of men, and the different events of the world, or to perpetuate in writings the prodigies connected with various events!" Let them learn what the philosopher says, "Inasmuch as every man is naturally desirous of acquiring knowledge," and "A man without learning and a recollection of past events sinks into the dulness of an animal, and the life of that man, although in a living state, must be looked upon as if he was in his grave." And if you are forgetful of the ancient dead, and of past events, who will remember you! This is the anathema of the psalmist, who says, "Let the memory of him be blotted from the earth;" and the benediction of the same, "The righteous man shall live in memory to eternity, and his name shall be extolled for ever with blessings; but the unjust man will be mentioned with maledictions and ignominy." To avoid, therefore, the steps of the wicked, let us follow, step by step, the track of the good, whose acts we are describing, behold the fruits of the scriptures, behold the mirror of man's lot. On this account (although other examples may not be wanting) the law-giver Moses, in the Old Testament, shows forth, and by committing them to writing endeavours to perpetuate, the innocence of Abel, the envy of Cain, the cunning of Jacob, the carelessness of Esau, the simple-mindedness of Job, the evil disposition of the eleven sons of Israel, the righteousness of the twelfth son, namely Joseph, the punishment of the five cities, and the repentance of the Ninevites; that we may truly imitate the good, but dread to be followers of the wicked. Aspiring to this end, the holy evangelists, theologists, Josephus the Hebrew historian Cyprian bishop of Carthage and a martyr, Eusebius Caesariensis, Jerome the priest, Sulpitius Severnus, Fortunatus, the venerable priest Bede, and Prosper of Aquitaine, have written the acts of God and the deeds of the ancients; and, to come to modern writers, Marianus scotus the monk of Fulda, and Sigisbert a monk of Gemblour, and some others of profound genius, have published true chronicles. And at this point we also begin the chronicles of the English, from William, the leader of the Normans, who, being provoked by the perfidious and perjured king Harold, drove him from the throne of the kingdom as one who had broken his faith; and the cause of this deed I shall briefly relate to my readers.


Elated with his recent victory, Harold thought nothing of the solemn oath he had made to William duke of Normandy. Moreover, the death of duke William's daughter, whom he had betrothed in her infancy, increased his security; added to which, William was embroiled in wars with the neighbouring princes, so that his threats seemed likely never to be effective. Harold maintained that the oath he had taken when in duresse was not binding, since he could not give the kingdom to another, while king Eadward was yet living, and without consulting him. But William thought otherwise; for no sooner did he hear that Harold was invested with the diadem, than he sent messengers to him with a mild rebuke for his breach of faith, and threatening that within a year he would claim his rights. Harold, on the other hand, by the same messengers, excused himself to William on the grounds aforesaid. They accordingly returned without success to the duke of Normandy, and delivered the following message, "Harold king of England says that it is true that he did, under duresse, swear to give you the kingdom of England, when he betrothed your daughter in Normandy; but he maintains that a compulsory oath is not binding; for, if a vow or an oath, which, without consulting her parents, a damsel knowingly took respecting her person, in her father's house, could be recalled as of no effect, much more ought an oath, which he had made under duresse, being the king's liegeman, and without informing him, to be of none effect. He adds, moreover, that it would have been the height of presumption in him without consulting the great council of the nation to give the inheritance of the kingdom to a stranger; and that it is unjust in you to ask him to give up a kingdom, whose government had been conferred on him by the general assent of the nobles."


On hearing this message, William duke of Normandy was exceedingly indignant, and, that he might not prejudice the justice of his cause by any rashness, he sent messengers to pope Alexander, to obtain the sanction of apostolical authority for his enterprise. After considering both sides of the question, the pope sent William a standard in token of his right; on receiving which he called a council of nobles at Lillebone, and demanded the sentiments of each on the matter aforesaid. They all promised him their aid, and encouraged him to proceed in his enterprise; after which they broke up the council, agreeing in the month of August to assemble at the port of St. Valery with horses and arms in readiness to cross the sea. Accordingly, they all assembled at the time appointed, but the wind was unfavourable for conveying them over to England. To procure a gale, the duke ordered the body of St. Valery to be brought out into the open air, and immediately their sails were filled with the wished for breeze. All thereupon embarked, and made a rapid course to Hastings. In quitting his vessel, duke William slipped and fell; on which, a knight, who stood near, gave a happy turn to the accident by saying, "Duke, you have taken possession of England as its future sovereign." As soon as he had landed, he restrained all his army from plundering, remarking that they ought to spare the property which would shortly be their own. He then kept himself quiet for fifteen successive days, as though his object was any thing rather than war.

* This same Harold while yet young, aspiring to the kingdom of England and voluntarily travelling abroad, whilst on a voyage, was driven from his track by a storm and, when he thought that he had reached Flanders, he was driven to the province of [Ponthieu]; the ruler of which made him prisoner and presented him to William duke of Normandy. But Harold asserted that he had done all this willingly, that he might come to Normandy to enter into a treaty with the Norman duke, and take his daughter to wife; and this he swore on the relics of many of the saints that he would fulfil faithfully at a fixed period. The more secret this arrival was, the more honourably was he received; for the two chiefs had before been enemies. He moreover swore that, after the death of king Edward, who had already grown old and was without children, he would faithfuly keep the kingdom of England for the duke, who had a right to the kingdom. Having then spent some days in great rejoicings, Harold returned to England enriched with large presents; but after he was settled in safety he frequently boasted that he had escaped the snares of his enemy, though he did not mind incurring the charge of perjury. At length the time approached when all his promises ought to have been fulfilled, and it now fully expired without his doing anything. The duke therefore sent messengers to inquire the reason of this; but Harold, a false and proud man, insolently denied all his agreements, and taunting the messengers sent them back with their horses mutilated. The duke, justly incensed at this, roused the king of the French and all his neighbours, relations, and friends, to take vengeance with him for such a great insult; and by the Lord's assistance in his vengeance crushed Harold, and, as the following history mentions, gained for himself the kingdom of England. In the year of grace 1066, the peaceful king Edward, son of king Ethelred, the boast of Englishmen, on the fifth day of the week, at the feast of the Lords Epiphany, exchanged a temporal for an eternal kingdom, after having reigned twenty-four years. This most blessed king was buried on the morrow after his death, at London, in a church which he had himself built after a new fashion; and afterwards many, who built churches on the same plan, emulated the lavish expenditure of that work. In him at last ceased the line of English kings, which line is said to have continued uninterrupted, from the time of Cerdic the first king of the West-Saxons, for five hundred and seventy-one years, excepting when a few Danes reigned for some time as a punishment for the wickedness of the English nation. On the death then of the most holy king Edward in whom the line of the kings of England became extinct, the nobles of the kingdom were wavering in their choice of a ruler. For some were in favour of William duke of the Norman, some were for earl Harold son of Godwin, but others inclined to Edgar, Edward's son. But Edward was the son of Edmund Ironside who was the natural descendant of a race of kings; Edgar was the son of Edward, and to him the kingdom of England of right belonged; but Harold, a crafty and shrewd man, who knew how dangerous it was to delay when all things were ready, on the very day of the Epiphany on which Edward was buried, extorted the allegiance of the nobles, and claimed the kingdom for himself, adding to his other offences by assuming the crown without the authority of the church; and by this act he made enemies of pope Alexander and all the prelates of England. Harold also king of Norway, coming with a thousand ships to attack him, was defeated by the English king Harold, which raised his pride so that he became oppressive to his subjects. Being now become a tyrant from a king he thought nothing of the agreement between himself and duke William which had been made and confirmed by oath. His feeling of security was also increased by the death of William's daughter to whom he bad betrothed himself before she was of a marriageable age. He heard, moreover, that William was engaged in wars with the neighbouring dukes, and hoped that his threats would not come to anything. He declared too that the oath which he had been compelled to make ought not to be kept, since he could not give away the kingdom whilst Edward was alive, nor grant it to any one without consulting that king; but Harold thought one thing and William another. For that prince, as soon as he learnt that Harold was crowned, sent messengers and gently accused him of breaking their treaty, and threatened that he would exact what was due before a year was passed; Harold, in reply, sent excuses to duke William by the messengers before mentioned. But the messengers returning without effecting anything addressed the Norman duke in these words, "Harold king of the English, tells you that he was in fact driven by necessity when he betrothed himself to your daughter in Normandy and swore to yield the English kingdom to you; but in answer to this he asserts that an oath exacted by violence ought not to be kept. For if a vow or an oath which a girl in her father's house has made concerning herself without consulting her parents, is not considered binding, so much more, he declares, ought an oath which he had made on compulsion, when he was under the authority of the king, and of which the king was ignorant, to be considered nugatory. He affirms moreover, that it was too presumptuous, without the general consent to swear the hereditary right of another to you. He added moreover, that it was unjust to ask him to give up a kingdom which he had undertaken to rule, by the general consent of the nobles."


On his return from fighting with the Norwegians, Harold heard of William's arrival, and made towards Hastings with a very small force; for except his hired soldiers he had very few of the country-people with him, insomuch that it would not have been much for an enemy to defeat him. Nevertheless Harold sent forward scouts to estimate the enemy's strength and numbers. These were seized in duke William's camp, who ordered them to be conducted round and shown his army, and after giving them a plentiful refreshment, sent them back safe to their master. On their return, Harold inquired what report they had to give of matters; whereupon, after reporting the great confidence of the duke, they seriously affirmed that all his army looked like priests, inasmuch as they had the whole of the face and both lips shaven, which was not an English custom. Smiling at their simplicity, the king assured them that those were not priests, but soldiers of stout hearts and invincible in battle. On this, the king's brother Gurth, a man of great wisdom and virtue beyond his years, interrupted him and said, "As you say the Normans are so brave, I think it unadvisable that you should fight with them, to whom you are inferior in forces and in the justice of your cause; for you cannot deny that whether voluntarily or against your will, you took an oath to duke William; wherefore you will act more advisedly, if, in the present necessity, you withdraw; lest, fighting as a perjured man, you incur defeat or death. But we, who have taken no such oath, shall engage in battle with a clear conscience, fighting for our country; so shall your cause prosper better if we fight alone; while you can give us aid if we flee or avenge us if we die." But Harold's rashness would not allow him to lend a favourable ear to this advice, thinking it inglorious and a reproach to his past life, to turn his back to an enemy.


While the brothers were thus conversing, a monk arrived from duke William, with three proposals on his behalf to Harold, either that he should give up the kingdom according to his oath, or hold the kingdom as William's vassal, or lastly, that they should decide the matter by single combat in the presence of both armies. On hearing this, Harold would neither give William's messenger a benignant look nor a courteous speech, but indignantly dismissed him with the single ejaculation that the Lord might judge between him and William. On this, the monk boldly replied, that, if he denied William's right, the latter was prepared to prove it, either by the judgment of the apostolic see, or, if he preferred, by battle. Harold would add nothing to his former reply, which served to kindle the spirit of the Normans for the battle.


The adverse sides then drew up their forces; the English, who had spent all the night in singing and feasting, in the morning advanced against the enemy in a state of intoxication, all the foot soldiers armed with battle-axes, and holding their shields in front, presented an impenetrable mass; which would doubtless have secured the fortune of the day, had not the Normans, after their usual custom, pretended to fly, and so dissolved their close array. King Harold stood on foot near a standard with his brothers, that, sharing the common danger, no one might think of flying. On the other side, the Normans had spent the whole night in confessing their sins, and in the morning, after strengthening themselves by partaking of the body and blood of the Lord, boldly awaited the attack of the enemy. Placing his foot soldiers and bowmen in the first line, William stationed his cavalry on either wing behind them. Then with a serene countenance and loud voice declaring that God would favour his righteous cause, the duke called for his arms, and his attendants having in their haste put on his tunic the wrong way, he altered it with a smile, saying, "The might of my duchy shall be changed into that of a kingdom. Then, singing the song of Roland to kindle the courage of his men, and invoking the aid of God, they began the battle. They fought bravely on both sides great part of the day, neither giving way; till at last William signified to his men, that they should pretend to fly, and retire from the field; on seeing which, the English army broke their ranks to pursue and cut down the fugitives, and thus hastened their own destruction; for the Normans turned again, and, attacking the English, speedily put them to flight. The latter took post on a hillock, and hurling their weapons and throwing stones from the upper ground, easily repulsed the hot attack of the Normans, and slew numbers of them. Then making way by a path known to themselves to an eminence surrounded with a steep trench, they slew there such a number of Normans, that the inequalities of the ground were filled with corpses. In this way fortune altercated from one side to the other, as long as Harold's soul and body kept together. Not Content with exhorting the rest to play the part of a good soldier, he would engage hand to hand with the assailants, suffering none to approach with impunity, and severing horse and rider at a blow. William, on the other hand, moved everywhere among the foremost, encouraging his men with his voice, and not suffering them to attack the close array of the foe. Three choice horses were slain under him, and though his body-guards often in a friendly whisper reproved his rashness, the magnanimous duke persisted unwearied in his efforts, till Harold fell, pierced through the brain with an arrow, and thus yielded the victory to the Normans. A soldier cut off with his sword the leg of the dead monarch, for which unbecoming act he was ignominiously beaten by William. The English fled until night, which brought with it to the Normans a complete victory over their enemies, as has been said before. The hand of God, without a doubt, protected duke William in this battle; for though he was hit with such a number of darts on that day, the enemy could not shed one drop of his blood. Having then done all things well, duke William provided for the honourable interment of his dead, and gave the same permission to the enemy. On Harold's mother requesting the body of her son, he sent it to her without ransom though she offered a large sum. The body of the deceased king was buried at Waltham, in the church which he had built from his own means in honour of the holy cross, and wherein he had placed secular canons. This subversion of the kingdom and effusion of blood were predicted by the appearance of a large comet of bloody colour and with a long train in the beginning of that year; as some one has written,

Anno milleno sexageno quoque seno,
Anglorum metae flammas sensere cometae.

This battle was fought at Hastings, on the day of St. Calixtus the pope, on the 14th of October.


A.D. 1067. William duke of Normandy approached the city of London, where he was received with much exultation by the clergy and people, and saluted as king by all of them to a man. On Christmas day he received the crown of the kingdom from Aldred archbishop of York; for he was loath to receive this office of consecration from Stigand archbishop of Canterbury, because that prelate had irregularly been appointed to his high dignity. After this, he strengthened his sovereignty by making the nobles do homage, and take oaths of fidelity to him, and making them give hostages, by which means he struck terror into all who aspired to the sovereignty. After he had disposed of the different cities and fortresses amongst his own followers, he set sail for Normandy, taking with him his English hostages and a large sum of money. When he had lodged his hostages in safe custody in that country, he again hurried to England, where he expelled the English from their possessions and bountifully distributed them amongst the warriors who had fought with him at the battle of Hastings; and the small portion which he allowed the natives to retain, he condemned to be held in perpetual vassalage. The higher ranks of the natives, being indignant at this, fled to Malcolm king of the Scots; others took to a wild life in the woods and for a long while continued to harass the Normans. Among those who fled from England to Malcolm king of the Scots, were the earls Edwin and Morcar brothers, and the nobles Mercher and Waltheof, who, together with some bishops and others of the clergy, too many to mention individually, were honourably received by him. Amongst others Eadgar atheling, the lawful heir to the English throne, seeing the distracted state of the country, took ship, and with his mother Agatha, and his sisters Margaret and Christina, attempted to return to Hungary his native place, but they were driven by a storm to Scotland. By this accident a marriage was brought about between king Malcolm and Margaret, whose praiseworthy life and precious death the book published about her faithfully records; but her sister Christina was blessed as a nun, and united to the celestial bridegroom. In course of time the queen Margaret bore six sons and two daughters; of whom three sons, namely, Eadgar, Alexander, and David, became kings according to their rank, and thus the high standing of the kings of England, which had been driven from its territories by the Normans descended to the kings of the Scots. But of these things hereafter.


Very lamentable indeed was the downfall of our dear country England, whose kings, at the time of their first arrival, were of a barbarous appearance and mien, of warlike habits, and, incited by profane rites, dared all men to all things, and subdued all things by force of arms and by superior skill; but after a time having received the faith of Christ, by degrees giving their attention to religion, they neglected the warlike exercises; for the kings, changing their habits, some at Rome, some in their own country, striving for a celestial kingdom, sought the eternal in exchange for the temporal one; and many founded churches and monasteries bestowed money on the poor, and fulfilled all the works of charity. The island was so full of martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins, that scarcely a village could be passed in which the celebrated name of some new saint was not heard of; but after a while charity beginning to cool, the golden age was turned into the age of clay, and they gave up the pursuit of religion. As formerly on the incursion of the Danes, so now on the expulsion of the English by the Normans, the extermination of the inhabitants was for the punishment of their sins; for the aristocracy becoming slaves to debauchery and the luxuries of the table, did not according to Christian custom seek the church of a morning, but lying a-bed with their wives only listened to the solemnities and masses of matins as they were spoken by a hurrying priest. The clergy too, and others in orders, were so deficient in learning, that one who had learnt grammar was a subject of admiration to the rest; all classes were alike given to drinking, and in this pursuit they spent days as well as nights, bringing on themselves surfeits by their food, and sickness by their drink. However these bad reports are not to be understood as referring to all, since it is evident that there were many men in the same nation of every rank and station who were pleasing to the Lord.


About the same time king William laid close siege to the city of Exeter, which had revolted from him, where a certain man baring himself broke wind, in Contempt of the Normans; on which William, being driven to anger, easily subdued the city. Thence he marched to York and entirely destroyed that city and its inhabitants with fire and sword. Those who could escape from the massacre fled into Scotland to king Malcolm, who willingly received all English exiles and afforded protection to one and all, as far as lay in his power, on account of Eadgar's sister Margaret whom he had taken to wife, and for the sake of whom he harassed the neighbouring provinces of England with fire and pillage. For this, king William, having collected a large force of horse and foot soldiers, marched into the northern parts of England, ordering the cities, villages, fields, and towns of the whole of that part of the country, to be laid waste, and the crops to be burnt. He particularly ordered the devastation of the sea-ports, not only on account of this new cause for his anger, but also because there was a report of the approach of Cnute king of the Danes ; and he was determined that this pirate-robber should find no supplies about the coast. King Malcolm also came to him and tendered his submission. After this, king William having settled the cities and fortresses in England, and placed his own followers in charge of them, crossed the sea to Normandy, taking with him English hostages and a large sum of money ; but shortly after, returning to England, he distributed more bountifully than before amongst his followers who fought with him at Hastings, the lands and property of the English ; and what little remained in their possession he condemned to be held in perpetual vassalage. Upon this many departed from the kingdom, amongst whom were Edgar atheling, Edward's son, the lawful heir to the sovereignty, Morcar and Edwin brothers, Mercher and Waltheof earls of the Northumbrians, except the bishops, and clergy, and many other nobles, whom it would be too tedious to mention individually.


About this time two prelates at Rome, Alexander and Cadelus, were Contending for the papal seat; the synod assembled at Mantua, and through the mediation of Anno archbishop of Cologne, Alexander, having first cleared himself of simony, was appointed to the apostolic seat; and Cadelus, being proved to be a simoniac, was rejected from it. At the same time seven thousand men, who were making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to pray there, were besieged in a fortress on Holy Friday by the Arabs, and so many of them were killed and wounded that only two thousand out of the whole number escaped.


A.D. 1068. There was born in England to king William a son, who was called Henry; for his two elder sons, William Rufus and Robert, were born in Normandy before their father subdued England. In the same year king William gave to earl Robert the county of the Northumbrians; but the inhabitants of that region opposing him, slew him with nine hundred of his men; however, king William, coming upon the authors of this deed, destroyed them to a man.


A.D. 1069. Certain people came to king William with an accusation of treason against Egelric bishop of Durham, who was taken by the ministers of the king at the town called Burgh, and brought to Winchester, where he was thrust into prison. Afterwards, in the month of August, his brother Egelwin, who was made bishop of the same place, was ordered into banishment. About the same time, between the two festivals of the blessed Mary, in the autumn, the sons of Swane and his brother Osbern came from the kingdom of the Danes, with three hundred ships, to drive king William out of England; and, when their arrival was made known, Eadgar Atheling, son of Eadward, and earl Waltheof, with many thousand armed men, went to meet them, in hopes, with their assistance, to take king William and consign him to perpetual imprisonment. Then, after entering into a treaty, and joining forces, they came to York, and as quickly as possible took possession of the city, with the fortress, and there slew many thousand men. They then bound the chief men of the city and province in chains, and tortured them cruelly till they made them give up all their money. Then taking up their winter quarters there, between the rivers Ouse and Trent, they pitilessly harassed the inhabitants of the country. But as soon as the winter was over, William came upon them with a very large army, and put to flight the bravest of the enemy, and destroyed the rest with the edge of the sword. Though Waltheof, an earl of noble descent, had with his own hand destroyed many of the Normans in the same battle, beheading them one by one as they advanced through the gates of the fortress; but at length William gained the victory, and put his adversaries to flight. Eadgar Atheling then came to king William, and, having obtained peace and pardon, tendered his allegiance to him.


A.D. 1070. King William by evil counsel, despoiled the monasteries of the English of their gold and silver, and, what was a greater insult to holy church, he did not even spare the chalices or sepulchral ornaments. He also placed under military rule all the bishoprics and abbacies which held baronies and which, up to that time, had been free from all secular authority; enrolling, at his own pleasure, each of the bishoprics and abbacies as to how many soldiers each should furnish to him and his successors in time of war; and, placing the enrolments of this ecclesiastical slavery in his treasury, he drove from his kingdom many ecclesiastics who resisted this most evil decree. At this time, Stigand archbishop of Canterbury, and Alexander of Lincoln, made their escape to the Scots, and remained amongst them for a time; Egelwin bishop of Durham, alone of all the English prelates, although an exile and proscribed man, with a godly zeal excommunicated all the invaders of the church and the robbers of church property. In the same year, on the deposition from his prelacy of the apostate archbishop Stigand, --who by bribes had been first made bishop of Helmham, afterwards of Winchester, and lastly of Canterbury, as has been mentioned above; a man who held his honours, not with a view to religion, but to satisfy his avarice-- Lanfranc, formerly a monk of Bec, and afterwards abbat of Caen, succeeded him in the archbishopric of Canterbury; and he, having spent eighteen years in that prelacy, afforded an example of a good life to his successors. At the same time, Eadgar Atheling, who had surrendered to king William, broke his oath by making his escape to the Scots; but after spending some years among them, wishing to prove king William's liberality, he set sail to Normandy, where he was hospitably received by king William, and, after being honoured with large presents, received from the king a daily allowance of one pound of silver.


A.D. 1071. The earls Edwin, Mercher, and Siward, together with Egedwin bishop of Durham and many thousands of the clergy and laity, not being able to bear with the anger of king William, took refuge in the woods and wilds. And after they had committed many excesses in different places, to the injury of the king, they at length retired to the Isle of Ely, where they chose a place of refuge; and often sallying out from thence in a hostile manner under the command of Hereward,* a bold noble chief of English extraction, they harassed that part of the country in no slight degree to the king's cost; they also constructed a fort of wood in the marshes, which is to this day called by the inhabitants of the province, "Hereward's Fort" On this being rumoured abroad, king William came upon them with the whole strength of his kingdom, laid siege to the fort both by land and water, and then by cutting roads of great length and building very large bridges, he rendered the bogs passable to both men and beasts, and erected a new fort at a place called Wisbeach; when the enemies of the king learned this, they all, except Hereward, who led his followers out of the island with the strong hand, came in a body and gave themselves up to William to undergo whatever punishment he chose. The king on this put bishop Egelwin into confinement; of the rest he put some to death and condemned others to perpetual imprisonment. But Hereward, as long as he lived, practised all the stratagems he could think of against king William.

* Hereward was the son of Leofric, lord of Bourne in Lincolnshire. There is an account of him in Chronicon Angliae Petriburgense.


A.D. 1072. King William entered Scotland with hostile intent, in hopes to find some of his enemies there, but when he had marched through that country and found none of them there, he received the homage of the king of Scots, and taking hostages from him he returned to England. In this year, too, Egelwin bishop of Durham, who was detained in custody of the king at Westminster, died, and was buried there in the porch of St. Nicholas.


In those days there dwelt in a city of Bretagne called Nantes, two priests, who from their very childhood were so united by the ties of friendship, that, if there should be necessity for it, each would risk death for the other. Hence one day they agreed between themselves, that whichever of them should first die, should within thirty days appear to his surviving friend, either when he was sleeping or awake, and declare to him the nature of the life to come, and the condition of souls when they had left the body, that the survivor, being thus sufficiently informed on the subject, might know which of the various opinions of philosophers, concerning the soul, ought to be adopted. For the disciples of Plato set it down that the death of the body does not destroy the soul, but gives it back to God, its originator, as if released from a prison; on the other hand, the Epicureans affirm, that the soul, when released from the body, vanishes into air, and is blown away and dispersed to the winds; theologists, on the contrary, assert that there are three places of abode for the soul after death, one in heaven, another in purgatory, and the third in hell; and that, as the spirits which are in hell will not be saved, so those which exist in purgatory will obtain mercy. So when they had pledged themselves to this agreement and confirmed it by oath, it shortly after happened that one of them died suddenly without confession and without preparation; the other remained alive, and anxiously thinking of their agreement, waited in vain for the period of thirty days. After they had expired, and he in despair had turned his attention to other things, lo! the dead friend appears to the living one and addresses him thus, "Do you know me?" to which his friend answered in the affirmative; the dead man then again said, "My appearance will be of great use to you (if you are willing that it should be so), but useless to myself; for a decree is gone forth from God against me, and, wretch that I am, I am doomed to eternal punishment. Upon this, he that was still living promised that he would give all his property to monasteries and to the poor, and would pass his days and nights in continual fasting and prayers, for the rescue of his dead friend, the latter replied, "What I have told you is decreed for because I departed from life without repentance, by the just decrees of God I have been cast into the sulphury lake of hell, where, as long as the stars revolve in the sky and the sea beats the shore, I shall be tormented for my sins; and, that you may experience one of my innumerable punishments, stretch forth your hand and receive only one drop of my bloody sweat." The live man received it, and it perforated his skin and flesh as if with a heated iron, making a hole as large as a nut. While the living friend was testifying his grief; the dead man said, "This will remain to you as long as you live, and be a solemn proof of my punishment, unless you neglect a remarkable means of salvation open to you; wherefore, whilst you can, change your way of living, change your mind, that by those means you may be able to avoid the wrath of your Maker." The living friend not being willing to answer to these words, the dead one looked at him more sternly, saying, "If, wretched man, you hesitate to be converted, read these characters;" and, as he spoke, he opened his hand inscribed with hideous characters, in which Satan and all the host of hell rendered thanks to the whole assembly of the priests, because they not only would not give up their own pleasures, but also, by their neglect of preaching, they permitted such a great number of souls committed to their charge to descend to hell as had never been seen in times past; and with these words the phantom of the dead man disappeared. Then the survivor of the two, after distributing all his property amongst the churches and the poor, went to Saint Melan, and changed his mode of life, informing all those who heard and saw him, of his sudden conversion, so that they said, "This is a conversion by the hand of the Most High."


In the same year, by command of pope Alexander, to which king William consented a question was argued at Windsor, in the presence of Hubert a Romish priest and legate, concerning the supremacy of the see of Canterbury over that of York; and there it was, by the authority of ancient writings, proved and shown that the see of York ought to yield place to the see of Canterbury, and faithfully to be obedient to it in all the dispensations of its archbishop, as primate of all Britain, in all things which pertain to the Christian religion; also that, whenever the archbishop of Canterbury should think fit to call a convocation, the archbishop of York, with all his bishops and dependent clergy, should appear before him, and should live obedient to the canonical dispensations of the former prelate. The see of York ought also to receive the episcopal blessing from that of Canterbury; and to make its canonical profession to that see, with confirmation by oath. To this decree the king and the before-mentioned Lanfranc archbishop of Canterbury, and Thomas archbishop of York, agreed, as also did the before-named cardinal and all the bishops and abbats of the kingdom.


A.D. 1073. King William crossed over to Normandy with a powerful army, and reduced Maine to subjection; but the English in this expedition destroyed the cities and villages, and laid waste the vineyards with the crops, thus rendering the country less fertile for a long time to come. After this, having disposed all things to his satisfaction, he recrossed the sea to England. In this year, two great cycles having elapsed from the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, all things agreed, as to the course of the sun and moon, with that year in which Jesus Christ was baptized, that is, the eighth day before the ides of January, being the day of the Epiphany and Sunday; the beginning of his fast was on the second day of the week, his temptation on the sixth day of the week; for the great year of the paschal cycle has nineteen times twenty-eight years, which being reckoned makes five hundred and thirty-two years.


A.D. 1074. Gregory sat in the Roman church for twelve years, one month, and three days. This pope in a general council excommunicated simoniacs, removed married priests from their sacred duties, and forbade the laity to listen to their masses, thus setting a new example, and, as it seemed to many, showing an inconsiderate judgment, as being against the opinion of the holy fathers, who have written that the sacraments belonging to the church, namely baptism, unction, and the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, had, by the invisible co-operation of the Spirit, the same effect, when dispensed in the church of God by evil men as if dispensed by good men; and that, as the Spirit mysteriously quickens them, they are neither strengthened by the merits of the good, nor weakened by the sins of the bad. From this there arose so great a scandal, that never, in the time of any heresy, had the church been divided by a more serious schism: some were acting for the sake of justice, others against it; moreover few regarded continency, some pretending to it for the sake of gain and vain boasting; but many, adding adultery to incontinence rendered their perjury more glaring; in addition to which the laity took this opportunity to rise in opposition to the holy orders, and, shaking themselves free from all subjection to the church, polluted the sacred mysteries and held arguments about them; they also baptized children, using the unclean wax of the ears instead of the holy unction and oil, and thought little, when at the point of death, of receiving the holy viaticum and the obsequies of burial from married priests; they burnt the tithes due to the priests, and, treading under foot the body of our Lord consecrated by the married priests, voluntarily poured out the blood of the Lord on the ground.


In the same year earl Ralph, to whom the king had given the earldom of East-Anglia, by the advice of earls Waltheof and Roger, plotted to drive king William from the kingdom. Now Ralph married the sister of earl Roger, and it was at the celebration of the marriage that they planned this conspiracy. Ralph was born of a Welsh mother and an English father; and, as we have said, when the day of the marriage came, the friends of both parties assembled at the town of Norwich, and after a sumptuous feast, being intoxicated with wine, they began unanimously and with loud voices to plot treachery against the king. They declared that a man born in adultery was very little suited to rule over such a great kingdom and such men as the English. The accomplices in this plot were the earls Roger, Waltheof, and Ralph, others of the bishops and abbots, with many barons and warriors, who sent messengers to the king of the Danes, earnestly beseeching his speedy assistance; then, having been joined by Welsh confederates, each chief in his own domain spread fire amongst the towns of the king, and indulged in general pillage; but the keepers who were in charge of the kings fortresses came out with the people of the provinces to meet them, and strove to defeat their purpose. King William on this returned suddenly from Normandy; and, having taken earl Roger his kinsman and Waltheof prisoners, bound them in chains and committed them to prison! on hearing which earl Ralph departed in alarm from England. After thus, king William sent an army against Norwich, and there besieged the wife of Ralph with her family in the castle, until, her provisions failing, she gave her promise on oath to depart from England never to return. Of the Welsh who had been present at the marriage before-mentioned, king William ordered some to be deprived of their eyes, some to be sent into exile, and caused others to be hung on a gibbet. When these affairs were thus settled, there came from Denmark Cnute the son of Swane, and earl Hoco, with two hundred ships full of armed men; but when they heard from their friends what had happened, they altered their course and sailed into Flanders, not daring to contend against king William. In this same year, on the fifteenth day before the kalends of January, queen Edith departed to the Lord at Winchester; and, by order of the king, was buried at Westminster close to her husband king Edward.


A.D. 1075. King William ordered earl Waltheof to be deprived of his head at Winchester, and to be buried at a cross road outside the city; but, in the course of time, his body was dug up and carried to be buried at Croyland with great honours. After this the king crossed over into Brittany, and laid siege to the fortress of Dole; but the king of France, coming against him with hostile intent, cut off all his supplies of provisions; on this the king raised the siege, and in his retreat lost many men and horses together with much money. Not long afterwards, indeed in a short time, the above-named kings became friends. In the same year, too, on Easter-day, king William at the church of Feschamps presented his daughter Cecilia to be consecrated to God. About the same time, Robert, king William's son, to whom that king had given possession of Normandy in presence of Philip king of the French before he subdued England, this Robert now, because his father did not permit him to retain possession of it, withdrew to France, and, with the assistance of Philip, frequently collected much booty in Normandy, burning towns and slaying the inhabitants, and caused much anxiety and trouble to his father. Upon which king William made war against his son Robert, and at Gerberai, a castle of France, was thrown from his horse,* his son William was wounded, and many of his family were slain; on account of which the king cursed his son Robert, of which malediction the latter plainly felt the effects before he died.

Florence of Worcester and the Saxon Chronicle say that it was Robert himself who unhorsed king William, not knowing him to be his father.


At this time Walchere bishop of Durham, with no regard to the pontifical dignity, busied himself with secular affairs, and purchased of king William the county of Northumberland; and himself performing the duties of lieutenant he presided at the lay tribunals, and insolently extorted endless sums of money from the inhabitants of the province, from the nobles as well as from the lower ranks. The people at length, being reduced to the most extreme poverty by the continual exactions of the bishop and his followers, were greatly indignant that they were continually obliged to pay such heavy sums for ransom, upon which all the inhabitants of the province in common, having assembled at a secret conference, unanimously determined to come with concealed weapons to the county courts, and repel these injuries by force if it should be necessary. And when shortly after at the accustomed pleas the inhabitants assembled, as had been pre-arranged, with their minds resolutely made up, and had demanded that justice should be done them for their wrongs, the bishop cruelly answered, that he would not grant them justice for any wrong or calumny before they paid him four hundred pounds of the best money. Upon this, one of them speaking for all, requested the bishop, that they might have a conference concerning what he demanded, so that after deliberation they might be able to answer more advisedly. This being granted they withdrew for a little while and one of them, whose signal they all awaited, cried out in his native language, "Schort red, god red, slea ye the bischop;" and they all to a man, hearing these words, flew to their arms, and murdered without mercy the bishop and a hundred men with him, near the river Tyne, where the pleas which caused his death used to be held by the bishop.*

It appears from all the other authorities, that Walchere was murdered on the 14th of May, 1080.


A.D. 1076. Which is the thirteenth year of the first nineteen-year cycle, the great cycle of Dionysius having elapsed, two great cycles have revolved from the passion of our Lord, at which time all things, relating to the course of the sun and the moon, agree with the year of the incarnation of our Lord; whence it is plain that Dionysius did not correctly connect the years of our Lord with his cycle. For because he reckoned his cycle from the five hundred and thirty-second year of our Lord, he doubtlessly meant, that Christ was born in the second year of the first great cycle; wherefore this year, agreeing with the year of our Lord's passion, ought to have been not the thirteenth but the thirty-third year of the great cycle, because that was the year of the passion of our Lord; and, consequently, since the courses of the sun and moon agree with the truth of the gospel, Dionysius placed the nativity of Christ twenty-one years later than he ought.


A.D. 1077. On the fourth day before the kalends of July, Paul, a monk of Caen, was appointed to rule the church of St. Alban, the first of English martyrs, the same Paul, who, by the advice and assistance of Lanfranc archbishop of Canterbury, much enlarged that church in a short space of time; for he, at great cost, built a new church with a cloister and all proper offices, reformed in it the order of monks, at that time almost extinct, and in honour of the blessed martyr Alban, greatly ornamented the monastery, and furnished it with many holy books. In the same year Herlewin the first abbat of Bec, departed this life and restored his blessed spirit to his Creator; and in this year also, on Palm Sunday, a large star appeared near the sun in a clear sky about the sixth hour.


In the same year, the emperor Henry having called together, at Worms, a council of twenty-four bishops and many of the chief men, ordered a decree to be made that all decisions and acts of pope Gregory, formerly called Hildebrand, should be rendered null and void, and on this all the council, except a few, abjured Hildebrand. On the other hand, Hildebrand excommunicated the emperor, with this purpose, that the primates of the kingdom might have a just cause for opposing an emperor who was excommunicated. Hildebrand afterwards released the chiefs from the sentence of excommunication, and even absolved the emperor himself, in Lombardy, on a pretended reconciliation with him; on which all those who had formerly abjured Hildebrand, now abjured the emperor, and appointed Ralph duke of Burgundy to be king over them, to whom also a crown was sent by the pope, on which was written, "Petra, [a rock] gave the diadem to Peter, Peter gives it to Ralph." Sigifred archbishop of Mayence gave the benediction to him as king; but a revolt arising against them amongst the people of Mayence, Ralph with the archbishop fled by night. Hildebrand absolved all those who opposed the emperor; but the emperor, although all the approaches through the Alps were fortified against him, frustrated all their plots everywhere and came by way of Aquileia to Ratisbon, and there attacked Ralph and put him to flight; and on the return of the expedition he ravaged Suabia.


A.D. 1078. On the tenth day before the kalends of December, the church at Bec was dedicated to the honour of the blessed Mary, by Lanfranc archbishop of Canterbury, of which work, he himself laid the first foundation stone after abbat Herlewin.


A.D.1079. William king of the English led a large army into Wales, and subdued it, receiving the homage and fealty of the petty princes of that country; he also took his brother Odo, who was accused of treason against him, and imprisoned him. In the same year, Thurstan, abbat of Glastonbury, committed a base crime, for he caused three monks to be slain under the altar; and eighteen were so severely wounded that their blood flowed copiously over the steps of the altar, and from the steps to the floor. In the same year, at the feast of Whitsuntide, the emperor Henry, in a council held at Mayence, appointed Wibert bishop of the city of Ravenna, to be pope. In the same year, Antioch, the capital of Syria, together with the whole adjacent province, and many other districts, were taken by the pagans.


A.D. 1080. Pope Hildebrand, who was called Gregory, prophesied, as a thing revealed to him from God, that a false king would die in this year; and indeed be prophesied truly, but he was deceived in his conjecture as to who the false king was, for he wished it to be interpreted as referring to the emperor Henry. The emperor, however, having fought a great battle against the Saxons, slew the false king; namely Ralph, with many chiefs of Saxony.

A.D. 1081. William, archbishop of Rouen, held a convocation at Lillebonne, at which king William, with many chiefs and clergy, were present. In the same year, on the sixth day before the kalends of April, there happened a great earthquake with a loud noise at the first hour of the night.


A.D.1082. Marianas Scotus, beginning his chronicles from the nativity of Christ, brought them down to this year, and endeavoured to correct the error which is found in the cycle of Dionysius, as is plainly to be seen; he arranged the years of our Lord on the one hand according to Dionysius's cycle, on the other hand according to the truth of the gospel.


A.D. 1083. Queen Matilda, the daughter of Baldwin count of Flanders, and wife of William king of the English, closed her last day, and was honourably buried with honour at Caen in a convent which she had herself caused to be built; she was a very noble and religious matron, and in her bountiful liberality our holy church rejoices. At this same time king William sent justiciaries through all the counties of England, to inquire in each of the towns how many acres of land were sufficient for one plough in a year, in each village, and how many beasts might suffice for the tillage of one hide. He also ordered a census to be taken of all cities, castles, towns, villages, rivers, marshes, and woods, and of how many soldiers there might be in each county of the kingdom, and all these things were committed to writing and brought to Westminster, where they are preserved in the king's treasury to this day.* Then for each plough throughout the whole kingdom, that is for each portion of land that could be tilled by one plough in the year, he received six silver shillings.

* This is the record called Doomsday Book.


A.D. 1084. The Romans received Henry as emperor, and by their decision Hildebrand was rejected from the papacy; on the throne of which apostolic seat was placed Wibert archbishop of Ravenna, and to him the name of Clement was given, and all agreed in saying that Hildebrand was justly deposed, as guilty of treason to the king, because he appointed another emperor. But some who thought differently exclaimed against it, and asserted that the pope could not be removed by the decision of a few, and those few of the laity; and, what was more important, that no one else ought to be ordained in the place of a living prelate. Henry was nevertheless reinstated in his empire, and from pope Clement received the benediction as patrician of the Romans. In the same year too Desiderius, abbat of Casino was made pope in opposition to Clement, but soon after died of dysentery. In the same year at the feast of Whitsuntide, William king of the English, constituted his younger son Henry a belted knight at Westminster. Then he received the homage and oath of fealty from the inhabitants of all England for whatsoever fee or tenement they possessed, and having extorted large sums of money from all ranks where he could find any cause just or unjust, he crossed the sea into Normandy.


A.D. 1085. After the Normans had accomplished the Lord's will on the English nation, when scarcely a single noble of English extraction remained in the kingdom, all were reduced to such a state of woe and slavery that it was considered a disgrace to be called an Englishman; there sprang up in England iniquitous customs and most evil practices, and the more the new chiefs spoke of right and of justice the greater were the offences committed, those who were called justices were the authors of every injustice; whoever took a stag or a buck was deprived of his eyes, and no one dared complain; for the wild king loved wild beasts, as though he were the father of wild beasts. By a most wicked plan he contrived that, where once there used to be the conversation of human beings, or where holy worship used to be offered up in the churches, in that same place stags and every kind of wild beasts boldly ran loose; whence it was proverbially asserted that, for thirty miles and more, land capable of producing crops was converted into forests and dens for wild beasts. This king also surpassed all his predecessors in building castles. Normandy had fallen to his lot by hereditary right, he had acquired Maine by force of arms, he had made Brittany favourable to him, he was reigning alone in England, and was subjugating Scotland and Wales; but still he was such a lover of peace that a girl laden with gold might traverse the whole of England without harm.


A little before this time king William had given the bishopric of Dorchester to Remigius a monk of Feschamps; but it greatly displeased this bishop that the city was small, when the city of Lincoln in the same bishopric seemed more worthy of the episcopal seat. He therefore bought some land on the very top of a hill, and built a church there, and although the archbishop of York asserted that the place and the city belonged to his diocese, Remigius, paying but little attention to his assertions, was not slow in accomplishing the work which he had begun, and when completed he furnished it with priests of learning and of most correct morals. This priest was small indeed in size, but great in heart, dark in colour, but bright in his works; he was also at one time accused of treason, against the king, but a follower of his cleared his lord of this accusation by the ordeal of heated iron, restored him to the royal favour, and thus washed away this stain of the pontiff's disgrace. By this founder, at this time, and from these causes, the modern church of Lincoln was begun.


A.D. 1086. A great inundation caused danger and loss in many places, so that many rocks were loosened and overwhelmed several towns in their fall. About the same time king William founded two monasteries; one in England in honour of St. Martin, at Hastings, which was called "Battle," in the place where it is said the battle was fought between him and Harold; and there he appointed monks to celebrate masses for the soul of king Harold and others who were there slain, and enriched the monastery with suitable possessions. He also built another monastery at Caen in Normandy, which with suitable lands he consecrated in honour of saint Stephen, the first martyr, and which he rendered famous by magnificent gifts. By queen Matilda William begat many children, namely, Robert, Richard, William, and Henry; the firstborn of whom, mortified that Normandy was refused him whilst his father lived, departed in anger to Italy, being in hopes, by marrying the daughter of the marquis Boniface to get assistance in that part of the world, and so be enabled to cope with his father; but, being disappointed in his expectations there, he excited Philip king of the French against his father, on which account he was deprived of his father's blessing and disinherited; so that, having lost the right of primogeniture, at the death of his father he lost the sovereignty of England, and scarcely retained the duchy of Normandy. Richard, a noble youth and of a good disposition, was cut off by death in the flower of his youth; for it is related that he incurred a deadly disease whilst hunting stags in the New Forest, in the very same place which his father, after having destroyed towns and subverted churches, as has been said before, had converted into thick woods and abodes for wild beasts. He had five daughters; of whom Cecilia became abbess at Caen; Constance was given in marriage to Alan count of Bretagne; the third, the wife of Stephen count of Blois brought forth Stephen who was afterwards king of the English, and, after the death of her husband, took the veil as a nun at Marcigny; * of the fourth who had been promised to Harold afterwards king of the English, and of the fifth who was betrothed to Alphonse the king of Galicia, I have not heard further mention. Besides, king William in his youth had so regarded the laws of chastity, that it was publicly said that he was impotent; nevertheless, being advised to marry by the opinion of the nobles, he so conducted himself, that for many years he was not marked by suspicion of any sin. To those under his subjection he appeared submissive, but to those who rebelled against him he was inexorable; every day he attended mass, and carefully heard the morning and evening services at the regular hours; and so let these things suffice as to his morality. In the same year pope Gregory, also called Hildebrand, died at Salernum; and when at the point of death, he called his cardinals to him, and confessed that he had greatly sinned in his pastoral cure, and that, being led on by the devil, he had aroused the anger and hatred of God against the human race; Clement, in a few days, succeeded him in the Romish church; and, at his death, Desiderius abbat of Casino succeeded, and was named Victor.

* On the Loire; same say Marchiennes in Flanders.


A.D. 1087. At Christmas William king of the English held his court at Gloucester, and gave bishoprics to his three chaplains, namely, that of London to Maurice, that of Norwich to William, and that of Chester to Robert. In the same year, Wiscard * duke of Apuleia died, and his two sons Roger and Boamund, succeeded him. In this year too, the Venetians were designing to bring away the body of St. Nicholas from Myra, a town of Lycia, which was ravaged by the Turks, but some citizens of Bar to the number of forty-seven, who were coming from Antioch to Myra, forestalled them, and the latter compelled four monks, who were found at the place, to show them the tomb of the saint, which they broke open, and having taken out the bones of St. Nicholas complete, they embalmed them in oil and brought them with glory to Bar. This removal took place in the seven hundred and forty-fifth year from the death of the same holy pontiff Nicholas.

* The celebrated Robert Gaiscard.


At this same time Berengarius, archbishop of Tours, inclined to heretical opinions. He denied that bread and wine, when placed on the altar, and blessed by the priest, were the true and substantial body of Christ, as the holy universal church acknowledges; and the whole of France was full of his doctrine, which was spread abroad by poor scholars whom he supported by daily allowance. On which, pope Leo, Victor's successor, looking to the safe standing of the church, convened a council against him at Vercelli, where he cleared away the darkness of Berengarius's cloudy false doctrine by the brightness of gospel proofs; but, although Berengarius had disgraced the early part of his youth by the defence of some heretical opinions, in his more mature age he recovered his senses, so that he was considered by some as a holy man without detraction, being approved by his many good works, and chiefly by his humility and the bountifulness of his charities.


At this time too, there was found, near the sea-coast in the province of Wales called Ross, a tomb measuring fourteen feet in length, which was that of Walwen, (Gawaine) who was the son of the sister of the great British king Arthur. For he reigned in that part of Britain which till now is called Walweith; he was a man most renowned in warfare and in all courtliness, as appears plainly herein before set forth, where the deeds of the Britons were treated of.


In the same year, William, king of the English, making a stay in Normandy, restrained himself somewhat from the enmity contracted between him and the French king; and Philip, the king of the French, misconstruing his endurance is reported to have made this insulting speech, "The king of the English," said he, "lies at Rouen, keeping his bed after the manner of women in labour; but after he has brought forth I will come to his purification, and bring a hundred thousand candles with me as an offering." * The English king, piqued at this and the like speeches, collected a large army, and when the crops in the fields, the grapes in the vineyards, and the fruit in the orchards were plentiful, he invaded France cruelly, and burnt and laid waste all the country; nothing could appease the anger of the excited king, so that he revenged the insult offered him, at the cost of many. Finally, he set fire to, and burnt, the city of Mantes, with the church of St. Mary there, in which were burnt two nuns, who thought that their sanctuary ought not to be left even at such an emergency; at which deed, the king exulting, whilst urging on his soldiers to give fuel to the flames, incurred a disease by approaching too near the fire, and from the heat and changeableness of the autumnal season. The anguish of his disease was moreover increased by his horse falling whilst leaping over a broken ditch, which accident caused an internal rupture to the rider; from the pain of this the king suffered so much that he returned to Rouen. His weakness daily increasing, he took to his bed, being driven to it by the urgency of his disease: physicians were consulted, who on examination of his urinals foretold certain death. Having, however, recovered his strength a little, he performed the duties of a Christian at the confession and viaticum: he bequeathed Normandy to his son Robert, England to William Rufus and his maternal possessions with money to Henry; he ordered all those imprisoned by him to be liberated from custody and indemnified, and caused money to be brought and distributed amongst the churches; and assigned to the cathedral of the holy Mary, lately burnt by him, a sufficient sum of money to rebuild it. Having then duly arranged his affairs, on the eighth day before the ides (13th) of September he departed this life, in the twenty-second year of his reign, the fifty-second of his dukedom, the fifty-ninth of his life, and the thousand and eighty-seventh year of the incarnation of our Lord. His dead body was brought by way of the Seine to Caen, and there buried in the presence of a large concourse of prelates. Robert his first-born son, at the time his father died, rebelled against him in Normandy. William Rufus, before his father had expired, crossed the sea to England, thinking this would be more useful to him in the sequel than to be present at the obsequies of his father's burial; Henry was the only one of all his children who was present, and when the owner of the land where the king's body was buried made a difficulty about it, Henry pacified his anger by paying him a hundred marks of silver. Meanwhile, William, at a distance in England, was neither slow nor sparing in distributing money; he brought to light all the treasure of his father which was accumulated at Winchester; he apportioned gold to the monasteries; to parochial churches he assigned five shillings of silver; and to each province he charitably gave one hundred pounds to be distributed amongst the poor; in course of time, too, he conspicuously ornamented the tomb of his father with a large quantity of silver and gold and with glittering jewels; and having thus arranged things, William was soon acknowledged by the willing dispositions of the inhabitants of the provinces, subdued the whole of England at will, and received the keys of all the late king's treasures. Lanfranc the archbishop also came into favour with him, because he had brought him up and made him a soldier whilst his father was alive; and by his advice he took the crown of England on the day of the holy martyrs Cosmas and Damian, and passed the rest of the winter favourably. Nevertheless, almost all the nobles of the kingdom, each in his province, were, not without perjuring themselves, exciting wars against the king, although crowned, and adopting his first-born brother Robert to the kingdom. In the same year the Spanish Saracens, after raging against the Christians, were soon after compelled by Alphonso king of Gallicia to return to their own country, and lost some cities which they formerly possessed. At this time Cnut king of the Danes was slain by his subjects.

* In allusion to the custom of lighting tapers in churches


A.D. 1088. At Christmas king William held his court at London; and afterwards, at the beginning of the spring; he made war against his uncle Odo, bishop of Bayeux; for he, on being released from imprisonment, and after confirming his nephew Robert in the duchy of Normandy, came to England, and received the county of Kent as a gift from the king; but seeing that all the affairs of the kingdom were not arranged as formerly, according to his will, he grew jealous and left the king, infusing into many others the same spirit of discontent. He said that the kingdom was suited to the king's brother Robert, who would now atone for the follies of his youth by great diligence and activity; he affirmed that William was effeminately brought up, that he was as cruel in disposition as in appearance, that he was a coward at heart, that he would in all things act against human and divine law, and that honours, which had been acquired by many toils, would now be lost. These sayings were spread abroad by Odo himself, by Roger de Montgomery, by Geoffrey bishop of Constance, by Robert earl of Northumberland, and many others who sent letters abroad, at first secretly, but afterwards openly. William bishop of Durham also, whom king William had made a justiciary, joined them in their conspiracy. Odo collected great booty at the castle of Rochester, ravaging the royal possessions in Kent, and chiefly the lands of archbishop Lanfranc, because he asserted that it was by that prelate's advice that he had been imprisoned by king William the First. For when, some time before thus, the, elder king William complained in Lanfranc's presence that he was deserted by Odo, his own brother and a bishop of his making, Lanfranc said, "Seize him and imprison him;" and, on the king's answering that he was a priest and a bishop, Lanfranc replied, "You will not seize the bishop of Bayeux, but the earl of Kent;" and the king acted on this advice. Geoffrey, too, the bishop of Constance, with his kinsman Robert, plundered Bath and Berkeley, and collected at Bristol spoil taken in the county of Wilts. Roger de Montgomery brought forces together, with the Welsh from Shrewsbury, and laid waste the county of Worcester; but on his attacking the town of Worcester, the troops of the king, who were in charge of the fort there, being inspirited by receiving the benediction of the holy Wulstan, slew and made prisoners of a number of the hostile insurgents, and, although few in number, put to flight the large force opposed to them. Hugh Bigod at Norwich, and Hugh de Grantmenil at Leicester, were indulging in pillage, each in his own district.


King William, finding that almost all the nobles were conspiring in the common rage against him, called on the brave and good English, whom, by promises of lightening the taxes and of granting the freedom of the chase, he brought into faithful subjection to him; and, with the like cunning, he imposed upon Roger de Montgomery, who was one day riding in his company, saying that he would willingly leave the kingdom if Roger, and the others whom his father had made his guardians, wished it, and, if they chose, they might take money or lands and arrange things in the kingdom entirely at their own discretion, if they would only take care not to call in question the judgment of his father, who, if he had erred about his son, might have erred about them also; for the same authority which had made him king made them earls. By these words Roger was brought over, and he who was the first after Odo to subscribe himself to this conspiracy was the first of all who repented of it, and deserted from it. The king then advanced against the rebels, and destroyed the forts of his uncle Odo the bishop at Tunbridge and Pevensey; and having intercepted the bishop himself, he made him prisoner, and the king's troops, taking him with them to the castle of Rochester, demanded entrance from the inhabitants of the castle; they moreover told them that their lord wished it, and that the king, though absent, ordered it. There were at that time in this same castle almost all the youthful nobility of England and of Normandy, and amongst them three sons of earl Roger, and Eustace the younger, count of Boulogne, with many others whom I omit to mention individually by name. But those inside, looking out from the walls, thought that the appearance of the bishop did not agree with the words of the royal troops; they therefore quickly opened the gates, and all sallying out, they made prisoners of the soldiers, and brought them together with the bishop into the castle. The report of this transaction soon came to the king's ears, and he, hesitating between the dictates of anger and of his conscience, assembled all the English who were in his pay, and ordered them all to come to the siege, unless they wished to be called "Nithings," i.e., in English, "base fellow." The English, who held nothing to be worse than to be made notorious by the disgrace of this name, flocked in crowds to the king, and thus a large army was assembled; and those within the castle, being unable to endure a long siege, surrendered it to the king. Bishop Odo, being thus for the second time taken prisoner, abjured England for ever; the king permitted the bishop of Durham to depart free through regard for past friendship, and he soon after crossed the sea to Normandy; all the rest returned to their allegiance. In the midst of this siege the king's agents in charge of the sea-coast partly drowned and partly slew by the sword certain men whom duke Robert had sent to help the aforesaid rebels; some of them also, meditating flight, were frustrated by the wind, and so became a subject of derision to the English, whilst they brought destruction on themselves; for they plunged into the sea to avoid being taken alive. *

* Instead of the foregoing chapter, Matthew Paris has the following.

King William therefore, seeing that almost all the nobles of England, who were remarkable for bravery and honour, had conspired together in the same furious spirit, promised them easy laws, a relaxation of tribute, and free leave to hunt, and by these means he attached them to himself. Afterwards he no less craftily circumvented Roger de Montgomery when they were riding together, saying that he would willingly resign the kingdom, if it seemed good to Roger and the others, who had been left by his father as his guardians: and that he would readily allow them to take money or lands at their discretion, and settle matters in the kingdom at their pleasure, provided they would not incur the charge of treason; for if they acted otherwise than as he demanded, they would be sure to suffer for it, especially as the same power which had made him king had made them earls. At these words, Roger, who was the head of this conspiracy next to Otho, was, moved with repentance, and fell off from the rest. The king marching against the rebels took the castles of Tunbridge and Pevensey. In the latter he found the bishop, and threw him into prison. The king's knights conducted him to Rochester, demanded admittance from those who were in charge of it, by virtue of their lord's wishes and of the king's authority. At that time almost all the youthful nobles of England and Normandy were in that castle; namely, three sons of earl Roger, Eustace the younger, count of Boulogne, and many others, whom I forbear to mention. But those who were in the castle, looking out over the wall, and seeing that the bishop's look did not harmonize well with the words of the knights, opened the gates with speed, and sallying out, made prisoners of the whole party. When news of this reached the king, he was inflamed with anger, and summoned all the English soldiers who were in his pay to come and besiege the castle, orders they wish to be set as "Nithings," i. e., "base fellows." Now, as this appellation is the most disgraceful that their language can furnish, the English flocked to the king in large numbers. The besieged, unable to defend the castle, surrendered it to the king. Thus bishop Otho was a second time captured and abjured the kingdom for ever. The bishop of Durham was allowed to pass freely into Normandy, for the king was ashamed of his pretended friendship, and all the rest, having given pledges, were dismissed. Amid these delays of the siege, the king's agents who guarded the sea coast, destroyed, either by the sword or by shipwreck, some men whom duke Robert had sent to help the conspirators, some of whom, eager to escape, plunged into the waves, to prevent the enemy from taking them alive.


A.D. 1089. Odo, a monk of Cluny, and afterwards bishop of Ostia, was made pope by the name of Urban, in opposition to pope Clement and Henry the emperor. In the time of this pope, a certain German count, who was a most bitter enemy of the emperor Henry, whilst sitting one day at table in a gloomy state of mind, though surrounded by numbers of servants, was suddenly so surrounded by mice that there appeared to be no way of escape. So great was the number of the animals that, one would hardly suppose any place on earth could have furnished so many. The attendants tried to drive them away with sticks and whatever came to hand, but in vain, for they could not save their master from being attacked by the teeth of the furious animals, against which their blows seemed to have no effect. At length they carried the count down to the sea-side, and rowed with him out to sea; but even thus he could not escape; for the mice plunged into the sea, and bit through the sides of the boat; upon which, the servants, seeing that they should certainly be drowned, put back to the land, but the mice got there first, attacked the count as soon as he came on shore, and satisfied their hunger by totally devouring him.


In the same year died Lanfranc,* archbishop of Canterbury, who, besides other deeds of piety, repaired the larger church dedicated to Christ at Canterbury, built the offices of the monks, and restored the privileges of the church, which had been impaired by the neglect of his predecessors. He also reclaimed many estates which had been alienated, restored to the monastery twenty-five manors, built two guest-houses outside the city, assigning to them a sufficient sum out of his own revenues; he restored the church of Rochester, and ordained Hernost, a monk of Bec, to be bishop therein; at whose consecration this verse was found on the altar,

Bring forth the robe, &c.

The archbishop, seeing this, predicted that the bishop would soon die; and so it happened; for he died before the end of the year, and was succeeded by Gundulf, a monk of Bec, who lived till the reign of king Henry. Moreover, Lanfranc repaired the abbey of St. Alban, the first English martyr; and governed England when the king was absent. He spent much time in study, and studied to correct the books of the Old and New Testaments, which had been corrupted by the fault of the transcribers. The benefit of this revision was felt not only by the English church, but by that of France also. When the venerable Lanfranc was dead, king William kept in his own possession almost all the churches and monasteries of England, when their pastors were dead, and, plundering every thing he could lay his hands on, let them out to laymen to farm.

* Lanfranc died May 24-28, 1089.


A.D. 1090. King William took up arms against his brother Robert duke of Normandy, and having taken the castles of St. Waleric and Albemarle, sent his troops to burn and plunder his brother's territories; but when the year was nearly expired, by the intervention of their friends, concord was re-established, on these conditions, that the king should retain the castles which he had taken, and assist the duke in getting possession of all the dominions which their father had held, except England. It was also agreed that if either of them should die without heir, the survivor should inherit his dominions. This agreement was sworn to by twelve princes on the part of the king, and twelve barons on the part of the duke. In the mean time, Malcolm, king of Scots, ravaged England and carried off much booty; wherefore the king and his brother Robert came to England, and led an army into Scotland, and Malcolm, in alarm did homage and swore fidelity to the king of England. Duke Robert, after delaying a long time at his brother's court, returned at last to Normandy.


As I have mentioned Malcolm, king of Scots, I will briefly relate his disposition and modesty of character. It was once told him, that one of his chief nobles had made an agreement with his enemies to kill him: the king ordered the accuser to be silent, and said nothing himself until the arrival of the traitor, who was at that time absent. The nobleman soon after came to court with a large retinue, meditating treason against the king, who commanded his hunters with their dogs to attend him early the next morning. At the appointed time all were in attendance, and set out to hunt. The king, arriving at a level spot of ground, surrounded on all sides by a dense wood, retained the traitor with himself alone, whilst the others followed the dogs and the chase. When they were all out of sight, the king said to him, "You and I are now here alone, armed alike, and mounted on equally good horses; there is no one to see us or to bear, or to assist either of us. If, then, you have the courage, do what you intend, on this spot, and make your words good to my enemies, with whom you are in league. If you wish to kill me, where will you have so good, so secret, and so fair a chance? -- If, however, you meant to poison me, you should have left that for the women to do. If you meant to murder me in my bed, a girl from the streets might do that as well as you. If, however, you meant to stab me with a concealed weapon, that is the act of an assassin and not of a knight. -- Act, then, as a man and as a true knight -- fight me on equal terms, and, traitor though you are, your conduct will be only disloyal, but not cowardly and disgraceful." The knight, hearing these words from the king, was struck dumb, fell from his horse to the ground, and throwing away his arms, fell on his knees before the king. "Be not afraid," continued the king, "I shall do you no harm." The knight professed, with the most solemn oaths, that he would be faithful to the king for the future; and they both then returned at their leisure to the rest of the party, who knew nothing of what had happened.


About this time, Robert de Mowbray, earl of Northumberland, inspired from above, wished to rebuild the church of St. Oswin, at Tynemouth, which had long been desolate, and to place some monks there to serve God and the martyr St. Oswin. For this purpose he went to see Paul, the abbat of St. Albans, and entreated of him to send thither some of his monks, promising to provide them with all things necessary in the way of food and clothing. The abbat consented to this request, and sent thither some of the monks of St. Albans, to whom the earl gave manors, churches, revenues, fish-ponds, mills, and every other necessary, and confirmed all these donations by charter for ever, free from all secular service, assigning to the abbot Paul and his successors, and to the church of St. Alban the first English martyr, the church of Tynemouth, with all its appurtenances, as a perpetual possession, for the salvation of his own soul, and that of his predecessors and successors; so that the abbat for the time being, with the consent of the brethren, may have the government of the prior and monks, both to appoint and to remove them, as they shall deem expedient.


A.D. 1091. Remigius bishop of Lincoln, wished to dedicate his church which was now finished, but Thomas, archbishop of York, opposed it in the presence of the king and many of the bishops, affirming that the church stood in his province. In consequence of this, and the death of Remigius, which ensued soon after, the dedication of the church was not completed. In the same year, at Metae, the body of St. Clement, the first bishop ordained there by the apostles, was found and placed in a shrine.


About the same time, a mortal pestilence made such havoc at Fulda, that it carried off the abbat first, and afterwards many of the brethren. Those who remained, alarmed at the progress of the disease, began to give large alms and to offer prayers both for the souls of those who were dead, and for the escape of the survivors; but, in process of time, the devotion of the brethren, as often happens, began to flag, and the cellarer continually asserted that the means of the church were not equal to such profuse expenditure, and that it was foolish to consume on the dead what was wanted for the sustenance of the living. Soon after it happened that the cellarer was kept up late one night to attend to some pressing business, which when he had completed, he retired to rest: but as he passed the door of the chapter-house, he saw the abbat and brethren, who had died that year, sitting in due form within. Frightened at the sight he attempted to make his escape, but by the abbat's command, he was caught by the brethren, and brought before the chapter. The abbat then rebuked him, and ordered him to be scourged; after which he was told that it was presumptuous for any one to make gain by the death of another, particularly as all men must one day or another die, and that it was a wicked thing to defraud a monk after death of one year's aid from the living, when he had passed his whole life in service at the church. "Go," said the abbot, "you will soon die; be a warning then to others by your fate, as you have already been to them a pattern of avarice."


A.D. 1092. William the second was now at Gloucester, confined to his bed by illness, during the season of Lent. Being in fear of death, and suffering pain from his disease, he promised to amend the laws and give peace to the Lord's house; wherefore he gave the archbishopric of Canterbury to the venerable Anselm, abbat of Bec, and the bishopric of Lincoln to his chancellor Robert Bloet (1) But no sooner did the king recover than he was worse than he had been before; for he regretted beyond measure that he had not sold the bishopric of Lincoln, particularly as Thomas, archbishop of York, complained of bishop Robert, that the city of Lincoln and province of Lindsey belonged wholly to his province, and that the dispute between them could not be settled until bishop Robert had bargained to pay the king five hundred pounds for his church's liberty; and this was at the time set down as a simoniacal act in the king, though it was afterwards justified. In the same year, Malcohm, (2) king of Scots, entering England on a plundering expedition, was intercepted and slain. With him perished his son also, who, if he had lived, would have been his heir. When his queen Margaret heard of it, she was weighed down, both in mind and body, even to death's door; for she went to the church, where she made confession, and received the communion, and died breathing out her spirit in prayer to the Almighty. The Scots then chose Duvenal,(3) Malcolm's brother, to be their king; but Duncan, Malcolm's son, who was a hostage at the court of William, with the help of the English king, drove out his uncle and succeeded his father on the throne. In the same year John bishop of Wells, born at Tours, with the consent of the king, removed his see from Wells to Bath.

(1) Robert Bloet died Jan. 10, 1123.
(2) He was slain on St. Brice's day (Nov. 13th), by the earl of Northumberlan or his steward. See Florence of Worcester and the Saxon Chronicle.
(3) Donald, m he is couimonly called.


A. D. 1093. King William rebuilt Carlisle, which had now been desolate for two hundred years since the invasion of the Danes, and repeopled it with inhabitants from the south of England. In the same year, there was so great an inundation that no one ever remembered the like to have happened before; and, at length, on the approach of winter, the rivers were so frozen that persons could ride over them on horseback: but a sudden thaw came, and broke down the bridges with the masses of ice which were carried down against them. This year also, Iva, provost of Beauvais, was consecrated bishop of Chartres by pope Urban, and a streak of fire passed across the heavens from south to north on the 1st of August; after which there was a severe famine, followed by so dreadful a pestilence, that the living could hardly bury the dead. About the same time, king William, provoked by his brother Robert's not observing the treaty which he had made, crossed over into Normandy; and, when the brothers met at a conference, the jurors on both sides threw the whole blame upon the king. William, however, paying no attention to them and leaving the conference in anger, assaulted and took the castle of Bure. On the other hand, the duke took the castle of Argenton, and therein made prisoner the king's counsellor, Roger of Poitou, with seven hundred knights. After this he took the castle of Hulm also. In the meantime the king raised twenty thousand foot soldiers in England to meet him in Normandy; but when they were on the point of embarking, the king took ten shillings from each of them, and sent all of them home again. But duke Robert brought into Normandy Philip, king of the French with a large army, to besiege king William in the castle of Auche; but the French king, blinded by money, returned to France with all his army. Seeing this, duke Robert relinquished his expedition, and king William, returning to England afflicted the churches and monasteries of the kingdom with most oppressive exactions. The same year, Paul, abbat of St. Alban's, whilst returning from a pastoral visit to his monks at Tynemouth, was seized with a severe illness at a place called Colewich, where he died on the 13th of November: his body was carried back to St. Albans, and there honourably buried. The church of St. Albans remained four years without a pastor, in the hands of William the second.


The same year, there was a meeting of all the bishops of England, and Thomas archbishop of York, consecrated Anselm, elect of Canterbury, to be archbishop, on the 4th of December. Before, however, they came to the examination of the prelate who was about to be ordained, whilst Walkelin, bishop of Winchester, was reading the written form of election according to the ecclesiastical mode, Thomas, archbishop of York, objected that the writing was not in due order. For when they came to the words, "My brother bishops, it is known to all of us how long it is since the church of Canterbury, which is the metropolitan of all Britain, has been deprived of a pastor," Thomas answered and said, "If the church of Canterbury is the metropolitan of all Britain, the church of York, which passes for being metropolitan, is not so: now, we know that the church of Canterbury is primatial, but not metropolitan. All saw the reason of this remark, and the form was altered from "metropolitan church of all Britain" to "primatial church of all Britain," and so the controversy ended, and Thomas consecrated Anselm to be primate of all Britain. In the course of the ceremony, the book of the gospel was held open over his head by the bishops, and when the consecration was ended, these words were noticed in the page which was open. "He invited many, and sent his servant, and they all began to make excuses."


A.D. 1094. Herebert, surnamed Losinga, was abbat of Ramsey, but he now by purchase procured himself to be made bishop of Thetford; but afterwards, in penitence for his crime, he went to Rome, where he resigned his simoniacal staff and ring into the hands of the pope; but by the indulgence of the holy see, he received the same back again, and returning home, transferred his see to Norwich, where he established a congregation of monks. The same year king William sent his brother Henry with a large sum of money into Northumberland,* to harass it by every kind of annoyance in his power: for Robert earl of Northumberland, puffed up with pride, refused to attend the court of the king, who consequently marched an army against him into Northumberland, and having surprised all the principal members of the earl's family at Newcastle, threw them into confinement. He then proceeded to the castle of Tynemouth, and there took prisoner the brother of earl Robert; from thence he carried his prisoner with him to Bamborough, where he besieged earl Robert; but perceiving that the castle was impregnable, he constructed in front of it another fortress of wood, which he called Malvoisin, and leaving there part of his troops, he departed with the remainder. The earl one night left the castle privately, and was followed by the king's army as far as Tynemouth, where, as he attempted to defend himself, he was taken prisoner without a wound and thrown into prison at Windsor. The castle of Bamborough was now given up to the king, and all the partisans of the earl received cruel treatment; for William of Auche was deprived of his sight, and Ode count of Champagne, and several others were disinherited. The same year king William, ever active, led an army into Wales, because the Welsh during the preceding year had slain many of the Normans, broken the strong-holds of his nobles, destroyed Montgomery Castle, slain its inhabitants, and destroyed the whole neighbourhood with fire and sword. King William, therefore, in hostile array, traversed all Wales, but not being able to follow the enemy through the passes of the mountains and the thick woods, he returned home without having effected much. The same year the stars seemed to fall from heaven so thickly that they could not be numbered. A Frenchman observing one fall of a larger size than the rest, noted the place, and sprinkled water thereon, upon which he was much astonished to see smoke issue with a hissing noise from the spot.

* The Latin text has "Normandy;" but it is evident that it must be Northumberland.


At this time William king of England wishing to circumvent Anselm archbishop of Canterbury, demanded of him, without delay, the sum of one thousand pounds; asserting that he had a right to demand it, because he had admitted Anselm so readily to the archbishopric. But Anselm thinking it the same thing whether he paid this sum before or after his promotion, considered either conduct as deserving of severe punishment; and because he could not fill the king's coffers except by wounding his own conscience, he chose to incur the king's displeasure rather than a loss of his own character with danger to his soul at present, and to sow the seeds of future confusion and scandal in the church of God. But that he might do his duty, as he had ever done, faithfully to the church, he asked the king's licence to go and receive the pall from pope Urban. At the mention of the pope's name, the king was violently incensed, for at that time there was a schism in the Roman church. Wibert, archbishop of Ravenna, had been impudently obtruded by force on the papacy by the emperor Henry, who claimed the right of nominating the pope without the interference of any other person. King William, therefore, in the same way, asserted that no archbishop or bishop of his dominions should have respect to the court or the pope of Rome, as he had the same privileges in his kingdom which the emperor had in his empire. Anselm, therefore was arraigned before the king on this head and accused of high treason. On the opposite side were certain of the bishops who refused to render to the archbishop the obedience which was his due; and all, except Gundulf bishop of Rochester, consented to the madness of the king, and showed themselves to be dumb dogs that did not dare to bark. The king therefore threatened the archbishop with his displeasure, and informed him, by the mouth of his messengers, that there was no other mode of regaining his favour than by protesting with an oath that he would not obey the orders of pope Urban. But within a few days afterwards there came to England Walter bishop of Albano, bringing with him the pall for the archbishop, and by his mediation the two parties were reconciled. Anselm, therefore, received the pall ; and when he again asked the king's licence to visit pope Urban, they say he received some such reply as this: If he would abandon his intentions, and swear upon the holy gospels, that he would neither visit the threshold of the apostles,* nor appeal to the Roman see for any excuse whatever, he might then attend to his own affairs in peace, and retain his position as the first noble in the land; but, if not, he might put in practice his ill-advised journey, and leave England, never to return.

* Rome is so called by the monastic writers.


The archbishop, on leaving the council, went to Canterbury and gave public tokens of the answer he had got from the court. When he was on the point of embarking at Dover, William de Warenast, a friend of the king, ran up to him in a most irreverent manner, and searched not only the archbishop's sacks, but also the sleeves of his robe and his saddle-bags for money, but found none. The archbishop, during this process, used not a single word of reproach nor displayed the least sign of annoyance or offence. When he was gone, the public apparitors confiscated to the king's use all his goods and also the goods belonging to his see, besides declaring null and void all the useful and honourable acts which Anselm had done during his prelacy. Meanwhile, the archbishop, arriving at Rome, was received by pope Urban at the Lateran with much honour, and afterwards at the council of Bari assisted in refuting the error of the Greeks who dissented from the Catholic unity. He was afterwards present at the council of Rome, when pope Urban presided, and it was by Anselm's advice that the council excommunicated all laymen who bestowed investiture to benefices, and all clerics who presumed to receive it at their hands. The archbishop then left the council, and lived in exile at Lyons until the death of king William.