THE CHRONICLE OF HENRY OF HUNTINGDON.

COMPRISING

THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND, FROM THE INVASION OF JULIUS CAESAR TO THE ACCESSION OF HENRY II.

ALSO,

THE ACTS OF STEPHEN, KING OF ENGLAND AND DUKE OF NORMANDY.

TRANSLATED AND EDITED By THOMAS FORESTER, A.M., AUTHOR OF "NORWAY IN 1818 AND 1819", ETC., ETC.

LONDON: HENRY G. BOHN, YORK STREET, COYENT GARDEN,

MDCCCLIII.

CONTENTS.

Editor's Preface: vii
Henry of Huntingdon's Preface: xxv
The History of the English 1-300
The Letter to Walter on the Illustrious Men of his age: 301-319
The Acts of King Stephen, by an Anonymous Author: 323-430
General Index 431-442
Index to Huntingdon's Poems 442

DESCRIPTION OF THE FRONTISPIECE.

The plate is copied from a pen-and-ink drawing in the margin of a MS. of Huntingdon's History, in the British Museum, of the fourteenth century. One of King Stephen's barons, Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert, appears in the act of addressing the royal army before the battle of Lincoln, the issue of which was so disastrous to Stephen's fortunes, he having been taken prisoner on the field. Baldwin is standing on a hillock, according to the history, and leaning on his battle-axe. The army is represented by its leaders - knights in chain armour - among whom we discover, by the device on his shield, one of the powerful family of De Clare, to which Baldwin belonged. Stephen himself, distinguished by the diadem encircling his helmet, stands in front of the group, listening to the address which, we are told, he deputed Baldwin to make, because his own voice was not sufficiently powerful. An attendant has dismounted, and is holding his horse.

PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.

The credit to be attached to an historical writer depends so much on his individual character, and his opportunities of acquiring information, that the student must naturally wish to know something of the personal history of an author to whose works his attention is invited. Such memoirs are frequently compiled from scanty materials, but it may be reasonably expected that their details, however defective, be at least correct as far as they extend. The author, one of our earliest national historians, the most valuable of whose works is now presented for the first time to the English reader, happily supplies the means of satisfying a natural curiosity, in the incidental references of a personal nature which may be collected from them. It is, therefore, somewhat singular, that most of the writers who have supplied biographical notices of one so well known as Henry of Huntingdon, should be at variance with each other, while they have been led into some inaccuracies. A careful examination, however, of his own works will serve to place the few facts, of his personal and literary history, to be gleaned from them, on a correct footing.

There appeal's little doubt that our author was a native of Lincoln, or of some part of that formerly very extensive and important diocese; and that he was born towards the close of the eleventh century, probably between the years 1080 and 1090. His father's name was Nicholas, and that he was an ecclesiastic of some distinction in the church of Lincoln, we learn from an affectionate tribute to his

viii EDITOR'S PREFACE.

memory in the eighth Book of his History. It would appear from this avowal of his parentage, that the circumstance of his being the son of a priest was considered no blemish on Henry's origin; the struggles of the papal court to enforce the celibacy of the secular clergy not having at that time been successful in England. Still, however, our historian seems to betray some personal feeling in his remarks on the act of the synod held at London A.D. 1102, which prohibited the clergy from living with wives, "a thing", he observes, "not before forbidden", while he cautiously adds, that "some saw danger in a stiictness which, requiring a continence above their strength, might lead them to disgrace their Christian profession". This feeling further appears in the evident satisfaction with which, "despite of any Roman, though he be a prelate", he tells the story of the incontinence of the cardinal who inveighed so bitterly against the married clergy in that synod. [1]

Some passages in our author's "Letter to Walter", translated in the present volume, have led to a conjecture that his father Nicholas held the archdeaconry of Huntingdon, to which Henry was afterwards preferred; for in enumerating the dignitaries of the church of Lincoln, he mentions Nicholas [2] as the Archdeacon of Huntingdon to whom he himself succeeded; though he does not call him his father, probably because he was writing to a friend familiar with his family history. The terms "Star of the church", etc., which he applies to his father in the poetical epitaph composed on his death, [3] seem to imply that he held a high ecclesiastical position; and he again takes occasion to pay a tribute of filial duty in the "Letter to Walter", in which he speaks of the deceased archdeacon as "distinguished no less by the graces of his person than by those of his mind". He then proceeds to give an account of his own appointment, relating that "about the time of the death of Nicholas, who was Archdeacon of Cambridge, as well as of Huntingdon and Hertford, when Cambridgeshire was detached from the see of Lincoln and attached to a new bishopric, he himself succeeded to the archdeaconry of the two remaining


[1] History, pp. 241. 252.

[2] Letter to Walter, p. 305.

[3] History, p. 244.

EDITORS PREFACE. ix

counties". Ely was the new bishopric, created, as Matthew Paris relates, by Henry I. in the year 1109; and as our author informs us that his father died A.D. 1110, there seems to be a significance in the phrase that, "about the time" of the death of Nicholas, he himself succeeded to the archdeaconry of two of the counties. The appointment may have been made in the lifetime, and on the resignation of the former incumbent; but, however this may be, the account furnishes almost conclusive evidence that Nicholas, the father of our historian, preceded him as Archdeacon of Huntingdon, and that Hertfordshire was attached to that archdeaconry.

While yet "a mere child", Henry was admitted into the family of Robert Bloet, a prelate of great talents and influence, who held the see of London from A.D. 1093 to 1123, taking a distinguished part in the civil, as well as the ecclesiastical, affairs of the time. Our author gives a lively account in his "Letter to Walter" [1] of the sumptuous magnificence of the bishop's household, in which he had opportunities of associating with noble, and even royal, [2] youths, who, according to the custom of the age, were nurtured in such establishments. Here he pursued his studies under the tuition of Albinus of Anjou, a canon of Lincoln, and subsequently Abbot of Ramsey, of whom he speaks in terms befitting his learning and worth.

Henry appears to have continued in the Bishop Bloet's family until he arrived at manhood, and probably received from him, as his first preferment, a canonry of Lincoln; which Bale [3] states as a fact, though he does not refer to any authority for it. Our author informs us, that during these early years, he composed several books of epigrams, satires, sacred hymns and amatory poems, which he afterwards published with his more important works. He could not have been much more than thirty years of age at the time of his appointment to the archdeaconry, and he was probably indebted for his early promotion to so important an office, to the estimation in which his talents and his father's character were held by the bishop.


[1] P. 302.

[2] P. 307.

[3] "Illustrium Britanniae Scriptorum".

x EDITOR'S PREFACE.

On the death of Bishop Bloet, in the year 1123, it appears that Bishop Alexander de Blois, his successor in the see of Lincoln, becoming sensible of Henry of Huntingdon's extended knowledge and aptitude for business, admitted him to the same confidence and familiarity which he enjoyed with his predecessor, and employed him frequently in important affairs. Both Bale and Pitts [1] state that he accompanied Bishop Alexander to Rome; but they have not informed us on what occasion. The bishop went there twice, in 1125 and 1144, and it is most probable that our author attended him in both his journeys, as, although he does not mention it in express terms, his manner of speaking of his patron's munificence, which gained for him at the Roman court the surname of "The Magnificent", conveys the impression of his having, on both occasions, been an eye-witness of his reception. Pitts also intimates that, after his return, Bishop Alexander preferred Henry to the archdeaconry, on account of his faithful services and his great learning; but it seems clear, that he owed his promotion to the patronage of Bishop Bloet many years before.

The History of England was probably commenced soon after Bishop Alexander's return from his first journey. It was undertaken at his request, and dedicated to him. The first part, comprising seven of the eight Books included in the present volume, and terminating with the reign of Henry I., was given to the world soon after that king's death in 1135. Thirteen years afterwards Huntingdon continued his History to the period of the death of Bishop Alexander, the thirteenth year of Stephen's reign, A.D. 1148. This portion of the work forms the first part of the eighth Book, according to the present arrangement, concluding with an aspiration for the welfare, in "those evil times", of his patron's successor, the young bishop, Robert de Chaisney. Huntingdon afterwards brought down the course of events to the death of Stephen and the accession of Henry II. in 1154; the latter pages of the seventh Book, and the whole of the eighth Book of the History, in its present form, being occupied with this part of the narrative. It may be inferred from a sentence with


[1] "Pitzius de illustribus Angliae Scriptoribus".

EDITOR'S PREFACE. xi

which one of the MSS., apparently revised by the author himself, concludes - "The accession of a new king demands a new Book";- that he had formed the intention of adding a further continuation to the History, relating the transactions of the reign of Henry II. His death probably frustrated this design, for he speaks of himself as an old man in his "Letter to Walter", published many years before, and it is supposed that he did not long survive the accession of Henry II., being at that time, it may be calcalated, seventy years of age or upwards. The precise date of his death is unknown, nor can anything further be added to the slight notices which have been now given of his personal history.

Henry of Huntingdon's other works - besides the History of England, and the epigrams, satires, hymns and other poems, already mentioned - consist of:

1. An Epistle to Henry I. "On the Succession of the Jewish, Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman kings and emperors to his own time"; which is supposed to have been written in the year 1130.

2. An Epistle to Warin, the Briton, containing an account of the ancient British kings, from Brute to Cadwaller. The author accounts for his having commenced the History of England from the invasion of Julius Caesar by his having been unable at that time to discover any records of an earlier period. He then tells his friend, that while at the abbey of Bec, in Normandy, on his way to Rome, be met Robert Del Mont (called also De Torigny), a monk of that monastery, and a great antiquarian, who, conversing with him on the subject of his History lately published, showed him, to his great surprise, the British History of Geoffrey of Monmouth, recently written, from which he extracted the accounts of the British kings given in his letter. The year 1139 is fixed as the date of this Epistle, on the authority of Pertx, [1] who quotes a passage from it to the effect that it was written in that year during the author's journey, to Rome in company wilh Archbishop Theobald, who was, or had been, Abbot of Bec. The editor of the "Monumenta Britannica", [2] who does not


[1] "Monumenta Germanica", vol. vi. p. 481.

[2] Preface, p. 89.

xii EDITOR'S PREFACE.

notice Huntingdon's attending Archbishop Alexander to Rome, while most of his other biographers agree in that particular, adopts this statement. Wharton, however, in his "Anglia Sacra", gives another version, quoting a Manuscript of the Epistle which says nothing of the archbishop's journey; whence Wharton conjectures that Huntingdon was at Bec in company with Bishop Alexander on their way to Rome when the letter to Warin was written.

3. An Epistle to his friend Walter, "On Contempt of the World, or on the Bishops and other Illustrious Men of his Age". Wharton [1] and Hardy [2] agree in assigning the date of this celebrated Epistle to the year 1145, or thereabouts; but it bears internal evidence of having been written many years before. Not only does it mention Bishop Alexander who died in 1148, as living at the time, but, moreover, expressly asserts of Henry I. that "his reign has now lasted thirty-five years" and quotes a prediction that it would not last two years longer, which was singularly verified, as Henry I. died in the month of December of that same year 1135. Huntingdon, indeed, in a former passage, refers to his History, to explain the discrepancy between the character he has drawn of Henry I. in the two works, but it is most probable that both were published together shortly after the king's death, this paragraph being inserted after the Epistle was written. The order in which he arranged his works, as will subsequently appear, confirms this conclusion; but, however this may be, nothing can be clearer than that Huntingdon himself assigns the year 1135 as the date of his letter to his friend Walter.

4. Our author's only other work is an account of English saints and their miracles, principally collected from Bede, the intention of compiling which he had announced in an early part of his History.

There appears to be no copy extant of what may be called the first edition of Henry of Huntingdon's History of England, which ended with the reign of Henry I.; but


[1] Preface to the "Anglia Sacra".

[2] Preface to the "Monumenta Britannica".

EDITOR'S PREFACE. xiii

the Arundel MS., forming, so to speak, the second edition, ends with the death of Bishop Alexander de Blois in the year 1148. So far as it extends, the Arundel MS. follows the same order of arrangement as those MSS., which contain the entire History together with the whole series of Henry of Huntingdon's prose works. They are divided into ten Books, of which the first seven correspond with the Books similarly numbered in the present volume. The eighth Book in the MSS. of both editions, according, it would appear, to Huntingdon's own arrangement, includes the three Epistles, to King Henry I., to Warin, and Walter, already mentioned. The ninth Book contains the account of saints and miracles compiled from Bede. The tenth Book of the complete MSS. of the prose works continues the History from the death of Henry I. to the accession of Henry II. Two beautiful MSS. in the Library at Lambeth contain two additional Books, comprising our author's poetical works; the eleventh consisting of the satires and epigrams, and the twelfth of the hymns and other poems already referred to.

Henry of Huntingdon's History of England was first printed in Sir Henry Savile's collection of the "Rerum Anglicarum Scriptores", published in the year 1596. It was reprinted at Frankfort in 1603, and the first six Books are given in the "Monumenta Historica Britannica", published under the auspices of the Record Commission in the year 1848. Savile omitted the eighth and ninth Books of the manuscript copies, as interrupting the course of the narrative, and made the tenth Book of Huntingdon's order the eighth of his own. This arrangement is followed in the present volume, but our author's tract on the bishops and illustrious men of his time, contained in his "Letter to Walter", and forming originally a section of the eighth Book of the History appeared to be so valuable an historical document, and throwing such additional light on the characters of many eminent personages connected with the History, that, although it could not be inserted in its former place, it was considered desirable to append it to the History.

Mr. Petrie's collation of Savile's edition with four of the

xiv EDITOR'S PREFACE.

MSS. has supplied a text of great purity for the first six Books of Huntingdon's History which only are printed in his collection. He observes, that the variations obtained by the collation of the first seven Books were, on the whole, very few, and those mostly verbal; but that in the eighth Book they were much more valuable, rectifying many mistakes of Savile's printed text, and affording several additions. [1] Mr. Petrie's notes of these variations having been lost, it was deemed advisable that a fresh collation of the eighth Book should be made with two valuable MSS. in the British Museum, Arundel, No. 48, and Royal 13, B. 6, both on vellum, and of the thirteenth, or fourteenth century. This collation, some of the results of which are referred to in the notes, has not only served to improve the present version of the eighth Book, but an examination of the MSS. has supplied the means of forming correct conclusions as to the order of Huntingdon's works and the dates of their publication. The "Letter to Walter" was printed in Wharton's "Anglia Sacra", [2] and in Dacher's "Spicilegium"; [3] both of which editions have been consulted for the present translation.

Henry of Huntingdon's merits as an historical writer were, perhaps, overrated by the old bibliogmphers, Pitts, Polydore Virgil, and John Leland, while modern critics have done him but scanty justice. The value of his History varies, of course, with its different epochs. The earlier Books being, as he informs us in the Preface, a compilation from Bede's Ecclesiastical History and the Chronicles, meaning the Saxon Chronicle, they are of little worth, although occasionally supplying additional facts. The third Book, describing the conversion to Christianity of the several kingdoms of the Heptarchy, though wholly compiled from Bede, has the merit of being a well-digested epitome, and of omitting the greater part of the miraculous accounts which break the thread of the venerable historian's narrative, our author judiciously reserving them for a separate book. Indeed, Henry of Huntingdon's works in general are interspersed with very few of those sacred legends which, however characteristic of the age, mar the historical effect, though they


[1] Preface to the "Monumenta Historica Britannica", p. 81.

[2] Vol. ii. p. 694.

[3] Tom. viii. p. 157.

EDITOR'S PREFACE. xv

may not weaken our reliance on the general truthfulness of the narrative. In this respect he contrasts favourably not only with Bede, but with Roger de Wendover and most other chroniclers, not excepting hie illustrious contemporary William of Malmesbury. His frequent references to the immediate interposition of Providence may be unsuited to the taste of many readers of the present day, but it must not be forgotten, that while he sometimes claims the divine interference for very questionable objects, he generally takes just views of the human means employed in working out the dispensations of Providence.

Approaching his own times, our author assumes the character of an original historian, and, at the commencement of his seventh Book, tells us that now he has to deal with events which had passed under his own observation, or which had been related to him by eye-witnesses. Still, however, the Saxon Chronicle seems to have been the basis of his History for the reign of William II., although additional matter is frequently introduced. But the latter part of the seventh, and the whole of the eighth Book, containing the reigns of Henry I. and Stephen, are more valuable, the author having been contemporary with the events he describes, and possessing singular opportunities of being well informed on all that passed, from his familiar intercourse with Bishops Bloet and Alexander de Blois, the nephew of Roger Bishop of Salisbury, the greatest statesmen of the time; as well as from his personal knowledge of many other eminent characters, as we learn from his "Letter to Walter".

Borrowing large portions of his materials from the Chronicles, it was natural that Huntingdon's History, which Matthew of Westminster, indeed, calls "his Chronicles", should partake of the same character. Although the science of history may be considered as then in a transition state, Henry of Huntingdon has the merit of being among tha earliest of our national Historians, as distinguished from Chroniclers. The skeleton of history now began to be invested with consistency of form and proportions, the scattered limbs to be united, and life breathed into the dry bones. Political changes were traced to their origin,

xvi EDITORS PREFACE.

events connected with their causes, and developed in their effects, and the lines of individual character fully and vigorously drawn. Huntingdon's colouring is often florid, but he was too much of a chronicler to fall into the error of some of our most esteemed modern historians, who, under a specious guise, and in polished sentences, convey a very small amount of exact information. The genius, however, which enabled him to form the plan of his extended work, distributing it into the successive periods of the Roman, the Saxon, the Danish, and the Norman occupations of England, and the sagacity of his observations, while tracing the origin of some of these revolutions, distinguish him from the mere recorder of passing events. The climax of the long series of events is wrought out with dramatic effect, when, in glowing language, but without losing sight of historical truth, he pictures England as panting for a deliverer from her ruined and distracted state, hailing, with exultation, the accession of Henry II., and entering on an era of peace and prosperity, the anticipation of which forms a happy conclusion to the work.

The freedom with which he canvasses the conduct of the great men of the time, both in his History and his "Letter to Walter", not sparing even his patron, King Henry I., and the two Williams, his immediate predecessors, gives a favourable idea of our author's independence of character, and exhibits, what we should call, the liberty of the press, in a light we should hardly have expected under the iron sway of the Norman kings. But suspicion is thrown on parts of his narrative which are unsupported by concurrent testimony. That would, however, be a singular canon of criticism which should, on such ground, discard the statements of an old writer, whose general credit is unimpeachable, where there is no improbability in the circumstances related; and Huntingdon's History contains several incidents, unnoticed by other contemporaneous writers, which we should be reluctant to surrender. [1] No one could have clearer views of the duty of an historian, as we have


[1] For examples see the notes pp. 195 and 199. See also the note, p. 189.

EDITORS PREFACE. xvii

already shown, and as is also apparent in the Preface to his "Letter to Walter": "I shall relate nothing", he says, "that has not been told before, except what is within my own knowledge" - in which expression he evidently includes the testimony of other credible persons - "the only evidence", he adds, "which can be deemed authentic". He appears, on the whole, to have faithfully adhered to this sound principle, but his great fault being amplification, it occasionally leads him to exaggeration in details, which the careful reader will easily distinguish from the fabrication of facts. There are very few instances in which any serious doubts of his veracity can be entertained, and in these it is fair to suppose that he has been misled by the authorities on which he relied.

A fervid imagination, and a diffuse style of composition, naturally betrayed our historian into these occasional errors. Such was his poetical temperament, which, as we have already learnt, he cultivated from his earliest years, that even his own vivid prose sometimes failed of giving expression to his feelings, and he vents them in verse. In an age when it might have been little expected, the court of Henry Beauclerc was the resort of the learned: our author dedicated his first historical work to that patron of letters; William of Malmesbury found a Mecaenas in the king's natural son, the Earl of Gloucester, and his two accomplished queens, Matilda and Alice, successively, extended their favour to men of genius. Geoffrey Gaimar and his brother, minnesingers of Normandy, flocked to their presence to celebrate their praises and partake of their bounty. Nor were there wanting scholars who paid their homage to the Latin Muse, and made their offerings at the royal shrine. In most instances, alliteration and rhyme disfigure the metres, and fanciful conceits and quaint antithesis mark the wide departure of the versifiers of those times from the classical models they professed to follow. Henry of Huntingdon, though not entirely free from these faults, was one of the few composers of Latin verse, in that or preceding centuries, who rose above the common level. He occasionally writes with a freedom and elegance, a pathos and poetic feeling, which have lightened the task of making

xviii EDITORS PREFACE.

a version of his poems suited to the taste of modern times.

The chronology of the History is very defective. During the Saxon period, it is based on the reigns of the kings of Wessex, with reference to which the series of events in the other kingdoms of the Heptarchy is calculated, and the whole is adapted rather misatisfactorily to the reckoning of the Saxon Chronicle. This cumbrous system occasions great confusion. His subsequent chronological references are scanty and erroneous. Some of the errors are pointed out in the notes, and the dates have been generally rectified from the Saxon Chronicle, and, when that fails, from later authorities. The subject is fully discussed in the Preface to the "Monumenta Historica Britannica", and the introductory remarks on the chronology of the medieval historians prefixed to that work.

"The Acts of King Stephen", now first translated into English, forms an appropriate sequel to Henry of Huntingdon's History. Nothing is known of the anonymous author of this valuable fragment; for such it is, time and neglect having so injured the only MS. copy extant, that several portions of the narrative are obliterated, and the concluding pages entirely lost. The work, however, bears internal evidence of having been written by an author contemporaneous with the events related, an eye-witness of many of them, and not only present at the councils where affairs of state were debated, but privy to the king's most secret designs and springs of action. As he also appears to have been an ecclesiastic, it has been conjectured that he was the king's confessor. The ancient MS. referred to, preserved in the library of the duke-bishop of Laon, was brought to the notice of Duchesne, who printed it in his collection of the Norman Historians, published at Paris in the year 1619: it has been lately republished by the Historical Society of London, under the careful editorship of Dr. Sewell, from whose improved text the present translation has been made.

Singularly enough, "The Acts of Stephen" do not contain a single date, but, as far as can be ascertained (a variety of events being related which have found no place in any

EDITORS PREFACE. xix

history), the order of time is duly preserved. The movements of Stephen, who was in incessant action througout his stormy reign, are described with a minuteness which shows that the author was present at the scenes he depicts. Many of them lay in the west of England, and in South Wales, where the Earl of Gloucester, the chief supporter of the cause of the empress, had great possessions, and much influence in right of his wife, and of his mother, who was daughter of a prince of that country. But the enterprises of other individual actors in those turbulent times fill a large portion of the author's pages, and these episodes form a very interesting part of the narrative. They enable us to realize the state of society, when every defensible position was occupied by a strong castle, there being no safety outside the walls, and when, every man's hand was against his neighbour. In these scenes, the high-born baron, and the ruffianly freebooter, alike living amid fraud and violence, are prominent figures, while licentious men-at-arms, and Flemish and Norman mercenaries, whose wages were rapine, follow in their train; and groups of violated and plundered citizens, and impoverished ecclesiastics, lend it horrors. Indeed, as Dr. Sewell remarks, the whole narrative "is one stirring series of events of personal and individual interest, and, in this respect, it partakes much more of the character of a romance than of a history. We are transported at once into the camp of Stephen and his barons; we are present at his councils; we are hurried forward in the night march; we lurk in the ambuscade; we take part in the storming of castles and cities. Now we stand in the wild morasses of the isle of Ely; at another time we reconnoitre the fortifications of Bristol; from the hard-fought field of Lincoln we are carried to the walls of Oxford; from the dungeon of the captive king we hasten to witness the escape of the empress, during all the severities of a December night".

History presented in this attractive garb, leaves on the mind a far more durable impression than is made by the generalizations of modern writers, too many of whom seem to have been very superficially acquainted with the authorities whence they profess to derive their information,

xx EDITORS PREFACE.

while most of them have written under some particular bias, political or religious, which has given a colouring to their statements, if it has not led to a perversion of facts. Truth must be sought at the fountain head, and happily for those who desire to form an independent judgment on the earlier periods of our national history, the contemporaneous chronicles which not long since were confined to the libraries of the opulent, and sealed up in the obscurity of a dead language, are now brought within the reach, and opened to the perusal of the general reader.

In the present volume, the transactions of King Stephen's reign will be found recorded by two different authors. They should be read in connection with William of Malmesbury's "Modern History", which embraces the same period. "Taken together", as Dr. Sewell observes, "they constitute a valuable body of history. They reciprocally develope the politics of contending parties; they serve as guides whereby to arrive at the probable springs of action; they supply mutual defects of information, they may serve to correct mutual errors". In comparing Henry of Huntingdon's eighth Book with the "Acts of King Stephen", we have the advantage of considering the history of the times from opposite points of view, Huntingdon being warmly attached to the family of Henry I., while our anonymous author was a partisan of Stephen. But it is satisfactory to find how little their personal feeling was allowed to influence their statements of facts, or their estimates of character. Huntingdon does full justice to the bravery of Stephen, particularly at the battle of Lincoln, of which he has given so spirited a description; while he seldom takes an opportunity of charging the king with those repeated breaches of faith, which were the worst stain on his character, and which the anonymous author freely admits, with the palliation that he was influenced by evil counsels. Both very much agree in their observations on the arrest of the bishops, which, though it might be justified by political expediency, was one of Stephen's most tyrannical acts. But while Huntingdon remarks that this prepared the way for his eventual ruin, which it probably

EDITORS PREFACE. xxi

did, by alienating the powerful clergy from his cause, the anonymous author considers that he expiated his crime by the restoration of the bishops' confiscated property, and a penance which was probably unknown to the other historian. It maybe observed, in passing, that neither has done justice to the noblest character of the age, Robert, earl of Gloucester, the natural son of Henry I. They have not failed to describe his military achievements, which were not unrivalled at such a period; to appreciate his higher merits of disinterestedness, firmness, and moderation, we must have recourse to the pages of his admirable biographer, William of Malmesbury.

Notwithstanding this general agreement of our two authors, there is one part of their narrative in which they are found at entire variance; and as it brings to notice a trait of some importance towards forming an estimate of Stephen's character, and is also connected with the early career of one of the greatest and wisest of our English kings, the subject may be worth a few concluding remarks. Perhaps no part of Huntingdon's History does him more credit, both in point of style, and as a clear and succinct narrative of events, than his account of the expedition in which Henry, duke of Normandy, embarked, to enforce his rights to the English crown. The historian represents the young prince as having hazarded a landing with a small body of troops, depending upon the justice of his cause, and the attachment of a large part of the suffering nation; and that, impatient of delay, he shortly afterwards took Malmesbury Castle by storm. He then, we are told, offered battle to Stephen, who had hastened to its relief; but the king drawing off his army, the duke threw succours into Wallingford Castle, and then having laid siege to the neighbouring castle of Crawmarsh, again offered battle to Stephen under its walls, though his forces were far inferior to the royal army. The history relates that the barons, on both sides, interfered to stop the further effusion of blood, and a truce was agreed upon, which, after some further successes of the Duke of Normandy, led to a treaty of peace, by which his right of succession to the throne was solemnly guaranteed.

Such is Henry of Huntingdon's account of the campaign

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and its results. Left us now turn to that given by the anonymous author of the "Acts of King Stephen". It relates that, on Henry's landing, he took no brilliant enterprise in hand, but wasted his time in sloth and negligence; that he was repulsed with disgrace from Cricklade and Bourton, the only places he is said to have attacked; and that his army, unnerved and enfeebled by their disasters, at length disbanded. We are then informed that the young duke, worn out with shame and distress, applied to his mother, the Countess of Anjou, whose treasury being exhausted, she had no means of supplying his pressing necessities. He also, it is said had recourse to his uncle, the Earl of Gloucester - who, according to all other accounts died before his nephew's expedition - but he, we are told, was too fond of his money-bags, and chose to reserve them for his own occasions. In this dilemma the young duke applied to King Stephen, his cousin, who generously supplied the wants of his greastest enemy.

This noble trait is perhaps not inconsistent with Stephen's general character, but, to say nothing of the anachronism respecting the Earl of Gloueester, and the improbability of the conduct attributed to so faithful an adherent to the cause of his sister and nephew, the account given of the young duke's pusillanimity and negligence is as much at variance with the personal history of that gallant and indefatigable prince afterwards Henry II., as it is with Huntingdon's account of these transactions. Nor can it be understood how, with the ruined fortunes here described, Henry was shortly afterwards able to establish his right to the throne, as it is an undisputed fact that he did.

Our anonymous author's account of the closing scenes of Stephen s reign, of which we are deprived by the ravages of time, may have thrown some light on the consistency of the two statements, and it is just possible that his description of Henry's failure and distress may refer to some previous unsuccessful enterprise of the young prince, which Henry of Huntingdon and all the other chroniclers have passed over in silence. But this is by no means probable, and the reasonable conclusion appears to be, that the present is one of these

EDITOR'S PREFACE. xxiii

not uncommon cases in which writers, whose general truth and honesty cannot be questioned, are occasionally found to differ, not only in their details of minute circumstances, but in their narratives of facts which might seem to have been sufficiently notorious.

March 5, 1853.

HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S PREFACE.

TO ALEXANDER BISHOP OF LINCOLN. [1]

As the pursuit of learning in all its branches affords, according to my way of thinking, the sweetest earthly mitigation of trouble and consolation in grief, so I consider that precedence must be assigned to History, as both the most delightful of studies and the one which is invested with the noblest and brightest prerogatives. Indeed, there is nothing in this world more excellent than accurately to investigate


[1] Alexander de Blois was preferred to the see of Lincoln by Henry I. A.D. 1123, on the recommendation of his uncle Roger, bishop of Salisbury, the king's powerful and trusted minister. After Henry's death, the two bishops were suspected of secretly favouring the cause of his right heirs against the usurper, and Stephen, taking umbrage at their erecting strong castles on their estates, caused them to be suddenly arrested and severely treated. The bishops were thus compelled to surrender their fortresses, including the stately castle of Newark, which Bishop Alexander had erected. They severely resented this harsh treatment, though Bishop Alexander was afterwards apparently reconciled to Stephen's government, and took a distinguished part in public affairs, as he had also done in the latter part of Henry's reign. His biographers state that he was justiciary of all England and Papal Legate, but it would appear that what Huntingdon says of the uncle, the Bishop of Salisbury, has been inadvertently applied to the nephew. Alexander de Blois went twice to Rome where he displayed so much munificence, that at that court he was called "The Magnificent". He also visited his friend Pope Eugenius IX. in France in the month of August, 1147, and died the following year, of a fever caught during his journey from the extraordinary heat of the summer. He was buried in the cathedral at Lincoln, which having been injured or destroyed by fire, he had restored to more than its former magnificence. His general munificence was great, and, according to the usage of the times, the episcopal establishment was splendid and sumptuous, and he was more engaged in civil affairs than befitted his ecclesiastical functions. But Henry of Huntingdon informs us that he was an excellent bishop, and much beloved and revered by his clergy and people. See his character drawn by our historian, pp. 284, 285, and 316. It is copied implicitly by Roger de Hoveden. That the bishop did not neglect the culture of literature may be inferred from his suggestions to our author, which were the basis of the following History.

xxvi HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S PREFACE.

and trace out the course of worldly affairs. For where is exhibited in a more lively manner the grandeur of heroic men, the wisdom of the prudent, the uprightness of the just, and the moderation of the temperate, than in the series of actions which history records? We find Horace suggesting this, when speaking in praise of Homer's story, he says:-

"His works the beautiful and base contain,-
Of vice and virtue more instructive rules
Than all the sober sages of the schools". [1]

Crantor, indeed, and Chrysippus composed laboured treatises on moral philosophy, while Homer unfolds, as it were in a play, [2] the character of Agamemnon for magnanimity, of Nestor for prudence, of Menelaus for uprightness, and on the other hand portrays the vastness of Ajax, the feebleness of Priam, the wrath of Achilles, and the fraud of Paris; setting forth in his narrative what is virtuous and what is profitable, better than is done in the disquisitions of philosophers.

But why should I dwell on profane literature? See how sacred history teaches morals; while it attributes faithfulness to Abraham, fortitude to Moses, forbearance to Jacob, wisdom to Joseph; and while, on the contrary, it sets forth, the injustice of Ahab, the weakness of Oziah, the recklessness of Manasseh, the folly of Roboam. O God of mercy, what an effulgence was shed on humility, when holy Moses, after joining with his brother in an offering of sweet-smelling incense to God, his protector and avenger, threw himself into the midst of a terrible danger, [3] and when he shed tears for Miriam, [4] who spoke scornfully of him, and was ever interceding for those who were malignant against him! How brightly shone the light of humanity when David, assailed and grievously tried by the curses, the insults, and


[1] Epistles, Book i. Ep. 1.

[2] Two of the MSS. read speculo, instead of spectaculo. The version would then be "displays as in a mirror". I have followed the reading given by Petrie as well as by Savile.

[3] Numb. xvi. 46.

[4] The MSS. and printed editions read "Maria", clearly an error of the transcribers; see Numb. xii. 13.

HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S PREFACE. xxvii

the foul reproaches of Shimei, [1] would not allow him to be injured, though he himself was armed, and surrounded by his followers in arms, while Shimei was alone and defenceless; and afterwards, when David was triumphantly restored to his throne, he would not suffer punishment to be inflicted on his reviler. So, also, in the annals of all people, which indeed display the providence of God, clemency, munificence, honesty, circumspection, and the like, with their opposites, not only provoke believers to what is good, and deter them from evil, but even attract worldly men to goodness, and arm them against wickedness.

History brings the past to the view, as if it were present, and enables us to judge of the future by picturing to ourselves the past. Besides, the knowledge of former events has this further pre-eminence, that it forms a main distinction between brutes and rational creatures. For brutes, whether they be men or beasts, neither know, nor wish to know, whence they come, nor their own origin, nor the annals and revolutions of the country they inhabit. Of the two, I consider men in this brutal state to be the worst, because what is natural in the case of beasts, is the lot of men from their own want of sense; and what beasts could not acquire if they would, such men will not though they could. But enough of these, whose life and death are alike consigned to everlasting oblivion.

With such reflections, and in obedience to your commands, most excellent prelate, I have undertaken to arrange in order the antiquities and history of this kingdom and nation, of which you are the most distinguished ornament. At your suggestion, also, I have followed, as far as possible, the Ecclesiastical History of the venerable Bede, making extracts, also, from other authors, with compilations from the chronicles preserved in antient libraries. Thus, I have brought down the course of past events to times within our own knowledge and observation. The attentive reader will learn in this work both what he ought to imitate, and what he ought to eschew; and if he becomes the better for this imitation and this avoidance, that is the fruit of my labours which I most desire; and, in truth, the direct path of history frequently leads to moral improvement. But, as


[1] 1 Kings ii. 8.

xxviii HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S PREFACE.

we undertake nothing without imploring divine assistance, so let us commence by invoking God's holy name:-

Prostrate beneath the terrors of thy frown,
Some, till they fill their cup of crime, remain.
Some, with its bitter dregs, thy vengeance drain.
The thoughts of kings and nations fluctuate.
Thou, in thy wisdom, rulest all their state,
Inflicting evil, as the prophet sings, [1]
And wafting blessings upon angels' wings,
When such the pleasure of thy righteous will;
Thou self-existent, dread unchangeable,
From whom, by whom, and in whom all things are!
Creator, Lord and shepherd, king of kings,
Beginning, source, and growth, and end of things.
Fountain of light, whence heavenly radiance flows.
My work inspire, and guide it to its close;
My work, which tells the marvels of thy hand.
Thyself our Father, in our father's land.
Thou, by whose counsels and whose mighty aid.
Great in thy counsels, secret or displayed,
Realms are exalted, or again brought down.

And thou, exalted prelate, England's pride,
Our country's father, and our monarch's guide.
What I have well performed, in grace approve.
Where I have erred, correct me in thy love.
See here how nations prosper, realms decay,
And draw the moral for the future day.
Mark, holy father, how their power arose.
Their wealth, their fame, their triumphs o'er their foes,
Mark how in nothing all such glories close.


[1] Isa. xiv. 7.

HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH.

BOOK I. [1]

Britain is truly an island of the utmost fertility, abounding in corn and fruit trees, which are nourished by perennial streams. It is diversified by woods, sheltering birds and beasts of chace, affording merry sport to the hunter. Wild fowl of all sorts are exceedingly plentiful, both those which are peculiar to the land and those which frequent the water, whether the rivers or the sea. Moreover, the island is remarkably adapted for feeding cattle and beasts of burthen; insomuch that Solinus remarks that "in some parts of Britain the herbage of the meadows is so luxuriant that unless the cattle are shifted to poorer pasture there is risk of their suffering from surfeit". The never-failing springs feed rivers abounding in fish. Salmon and eels, especially, are very plentiful. Herrings are taken on the coasts, as well as oysters and other kinds of shell-fish. Among these are the muscles, which produce beautiful pearls, of a great


[1] Henry of Huntingdon, in this First Book, after giving a general description of Britain, and some slight account, mostly fabulous, of its early history, embraces the period from the invasion of Julius Caesar to the final abandonment of the province by the Romans in the time of Theodosius II. But this Book is rather an epitome of the lives and characters of the Roman emperors, than a narrative of events in British, or Roman-British history. His principal authorities for the former are Eutropius, and the Epitome of Aurelius Victor; but Bede's Ecclesiastical History furnishes the staple of his narrative; and he also draws largely from the history of the Britons attributed to Nennius - by some to Gildas; and he has also interwoven in his history information derived from other sources which cannot now be traced.

2 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

variety of colours, red, purple, violet, and emerald; principally, however, white. Nor are the cockles wanting from which a scarlet dye is made, whose exquisite tint does not fade by exposure either to the sun or rain; the older it is the brighter the colour becomes. Dolphins and whales are also caught, as Javenal says:- [1]

"Far as the giant whales of Britain's sea Exceed the dolphin".

Britain is also rich in metallic veins of iron, tin, and lead. Some of these contain silver also, though not so commonly; silver, however, is received from the neighbouring parts of Germany, with which an extensive commerce is carried on by the Rhine in the abundant produce of fish and meat, as well as of fine wool and fat cattle which Britain supplies, so that money appears to be more plentiful here than in Germany itself, and all the coins introduced into Britain by this traffic are of pure silver. Britain, also, furnishes large quantities of very excellent jet of a black and brilliant hue. Rendered sparkling by fire, it drives away serpents; when it becomes heated by friction substances adhere to it, as they do to amber. The island contains both salt-springs and hot-springs, the streams from which supply baths accommodated to the separate use of persons of every age and of both sexes. "For water", as St. Basil observes, "acquires the quality of heat by running over certain metals, so that not only it becomes warm, but even scalding hot".

This celebrated island, formerly called Albion, afterwards Britain, and now England, extends between the north and the west 800 miles in length and 200 in breadth, except where the jutting out of some of its bolder promontories expands its breadth. Including these, its complete circuit reaches 4875 miles. [2] Britain has Germany and Denmark on the east, Ireland on the west, and Belgic-Gaul on the south. The first place which presents itself to those who cross the sea from the coast of Gaul is called Rutubi-portus,


[1] Sat. x. v. 14.

[2] Bede, from whose history this description of Britain it partially borrowed, makes the circuit of the island 3675 miles. See vol. i. of this series, p. 4.

BOOK I.] DESCRIPTION OF BRITAIN. 3

a city whose name the English have corrupted into Reptacester. [1] The distance across the sea from Gessoricum, [2] a town belonging to the tribe of the Morini, and the nearest point from which the passage can be made is 50 miles, or, accordining to some writers, 450 furlongs. Belgic-Gaul derived its name from Beluaci, formerly a flourishing city of that part of Gaul. It appears that the province is now divided into two parts, one of which is called Ponthicu, and the other, where the Normans, a powerful and foreign race, are settled, Normandy. To the north of Britain, where it is exposed to the open and boundless oeean, lie the Orkney Islands, the furthest of which is called Thule, [3] as it is said:-

"Ev'n utmost Thule shall thy power obey". [4]

Britain is, indeed, surrounded by a number of islands, three of which are greater than the rest. First, we have the Orkneys, already mentioned; next, the Isle of Man, which lies in the middle of the sea, between Britain and Ireland; and third, the Isle of Wicht, which is situated to the south, over against the Normans and the Armoricans who are now called Bretons. Thus it was said in an ancient discourse, where it treated of judges and rulers, "He shall judge Britain with her three islands". Britain was formerly famous for 28 cities, which, as well as innumerable castles, were well fortified with walls and towers, and with gates secured by strong locks. The names of these cities in the British language were Kair-Ebrauc, York; Kair-Chent, Canterbury; Kair-Gorangon, Worcester; Kair-Lundene‚ London; Kair-Legion, Leicester; Kair-Collon, Colchester; Kair-Glou, Gloucester; Kair-Cei, Chichester; Kair-Bristou, [Bristol]; Kair-Ceri, Cirencester; Kair-Guent, Winchester; Kair-Grant, Grantchester, now called Cambridge; and


[1] Richborough, in Kent

[2] Boulogne.

[3] The ancients appear to have had no certain idea of the situation of what they called Thule. The name seems to have been variously attributed to the furthest island in the North Sea, unknown with any certainty from the imperfect geographical knowledge of those regions. Some modern writers have discovered Thule in Thelle-marken, one of the western districts of Norway.

[4] Georg. 1. 30.

4 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

Kair-Lion, which we call Carlisle. Kair-Dauri is Dorchester; Kair-Dorm, Dormchester, a town on the river Nen, in Huntingdonshire, which is entirely destroyed; Kair-Loitchoit is Lincoln; Kair-Merdin still retains its former name [Carmarthen]. There were also Kair-Guorcon, Kair-Cucerat, Kair-Guortigern, Kair-Urnac, Kair-Celemion, Kair-Meguaid, Kair-Licelid; Kair-Peris, that is, Porchester; and Kair-Legion, which was the seat of an archbishop in the time of the Britons, but now there are only the remains of its walls on the bank of the river Usk, not far from its confluence with the Severn. [1] Besides these there were Kair-Draiton, Kair-Mercipit, and Kair-Segent, on the Thames, not far from Reading, and which the Saxons called Silchester. These were the names of the cities in the times of the Romans and Britons. [2]

Since the beginning of history there have been five inflictions of the Divine wrath on the people of Britain; the visitations of Providence falling on the faithful, as well as its judgments on unbelievers. The first was by the Romans, who conquered Britain, but after a time withdrew from the island. The second was by the Scots and Picts, who grievously harassed it by hostile inroads, but never succeeded in gaining permanent possession. The third was by the Angles, who completely subjugated and occupied the country. The fourth was by the Danes, who established themselves on the soil by successful wars, but afterwards disappeared and were lost. The fifth was by the Normans, who conquered all Britain, and still hold the English in subjection. When the Saxons had subjugated the country they divided it into seven kingdoms, to which they gave names of their own selection. Their first kingdom was called Kent; 2, Sussex, in which Chichester is situated;


[1] There are still considerable remains of the walls of Carleon, probably much in the same state as they were in the time of our Archdeacon of Huntingdon. The discovery of some tesselated pavements have authenticated its claims to having been a Roman station - the Isca Silurum of the second Augustan legion; whence its Roman-British name - the city of the legion.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon has taken this catalogue of ancient British cities, for the most part, from Nennius, omitting three - Kair-Manch-guid, Kair-Pensavelcoyt, and Kair-Guentwig; but adding to the list of Nennius, Kair-Glou, Kair-Ceri, Kair-Merdin, Kair-Dorm, and Kair-Cei. The three first of these are found also in Mark the Anchorite.

BOOK I.] THE HEPTARCHY. 5

3, Wessex, of which the capital was Wilton, now given to the monks: Winchester, Salisbury, and several other cities were in this kingdom; 4, Essex, which did not long remain independent, but became subject to other kingdoms; 5, East Anglia, which contained the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk; 6, Mercia, in which was Lincoln and several other cities; 7, Northumbria, of which the capital was York. Afterwards, when the kings of Wessex acquired the ascendancy over the rest, and established a monarchy throughout the island, they divided it into 37 counties, which, though their situations and names are well-known to those who inhabit them, it may be worth the trouble to describe. For it may chance, perhaps, that as the names of the cities we have just enumerated, famous as they once were, are now considered barbarous and turned into derision, so also, in the lapse of time, those which are now very well-known may pass out of memory and become the subject of doubt. Kent, then, is the first county, in which are the sees of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Rochester. The second is Sussex, in which is the bishopric of Chichester. The third is Surry. The fourth is Hampshire, in which is the see of Winchester. The fifth is Berkshire. The sixth is Wiltshire, in which is the bishopric of Salisbury. The seventh is Dorset. The eighth is Somerset, in which is the bishopric of Bath, or Acemancester. The ninth is Devonshire, in which is the see of Exeter. The tenth, Cornwall; the eleventh, Essex; the twelfth, Middlesex, in which is the see of London. The thirteenth, Suffolk; the fourteenth, Norfolk, in which is the see of Norwich. The fifteenth is Cambridgeshire, in which is the see of Ely. The sixteenth is Lincolnshire, of which the capital city is Lincoln, and to which are subject seven other counties, viz., Leicester, Hampton, Huntingdon. Hertford, Bedford, Buckingham, and Oxford; for the great bishopric of Lincoln extends from the Humber to the Thames. The twenty-fourth is Gloucestershire; the twenty-fifth is Worcestershire, in which, is the see of Worcester. The twenty-sixth is Herefordshire, in which is the see of Hereford. The twenty-seventh is Salop; the twenty-eighth, Cheshire, in which is the bishopric of Chester; [1] the twenty-ninth


[1] The seat of this bishopric, which Peter transferred to Chester, about A.D. 1075, was afterwards restored to Litchfield.

6 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

is Warwick; the thirtieth, Stafford. After the thirtieth, the first is Derby; the second, Nottingham; the third, Yorkshire, in which is the archbishopric of York. The fourth is Northumberland, over which presides the Bishop of Durham. The fifth is that district in which the new [1] bishopric of Carlisle is established. Counties are called, in English, shires. At the present time, therefore, England can boast of having seventeen bishoprics; but it contains many more cities than such as are bishops' sees, such as Gloucester, Leicester, Oxford, and many others which have no bishops. In the western part of the island, which is called Wales, there are three bishoprics: one at St David's, another at Bangor, and the third at Glamorgan; [2] but these are sees without cities, by reason of the desolation of Wales, the only part of the island retained by the Britons after the Saxon conquest. In our times the Bishop of St. David's receives from the Pope the pallium, which formerly belonged to Carleon, but which it has now lost.

The cities which have been enumerated have for their sites the pleasant and fertile banks of rivers. Two of these rivers are more celebrated than the rest, the Thames and the Severn; the two arms, as it were, of Britain, by which it draws to itself the produce of other countries, and exports its own. But it is peculiar to the English that, being much addicted to foreign travel, they are remarkable for their superior style of dress and living, by which they are easily distinguished from other nations. Since, then, Britain abounds in so many things (even vineyards flourish in it, though they are not common), those who covet its wealth must bring their own in exchange for what they receive. In whose praise some one thus wrote:-

"Corn, milk, and honey, fuller shed their stores
On Britain's plains, than over all the isles
Where foaming ocean washes sea-girt shores".

And a little afterwards:-


[1] The see of Carlisle, which was founded by Henry I. in 1133, in Henry of Huntingdon's own time, included Cumberland, Westmorland, and part of Northumberland.

[2] Llandaff, in Glamorganshire, was the seat of this bishopric from the earliest times.

BOOK I.] CLIMATE OF ENGLAND. 7

"London for ships, and Winchester for wine,
Hereford for herds, Worcester for corn renown'd;
Bath for its waters, Salisbury for the chase;
For fishes, Canterbury; York for its woods;
Exeter boasts its rich metalic oars.
Narrow the sea 'tween Chichester and France,
While Northern Durham fronts the surging waves
On which old Norway launch'd her conq'ring sons.
In grace proud Lincoln's children foremost stand,
Ely's high towers the wide champaign command,
Rochestor rises bright on Medway's winding strand".

Nor must it be omitted that the climate of Britain is very temperate, and healthy to its inhabitants; for since it lies between the north and the west, the cold of the north is tempered by the influence of the sun in its course westward. The malady called St Anthony's Fire never afflicts the natives, while diseased persons brought over from Gaul obtain a cure. The island lies so near the North Pole, the nights are so light in summer that at midnight it is often doubtful to the beholders whether the evening twilight still remains, or daybreak has already commenced, so short is the period before the sun's return from having passed underneath the northern regions to appear again in the east. For this reason the days are of great length in summer, as, on the contrary, the nights are in winter, the days and nights during the alternate seasons being each only six hours long; while in Armenia, Macedonia, and Italy, the longest day or night is of fifteen hours, the shortest of nine.

There are four things in England which are very remarkable. One is that the winds issue with such great violence from certain caverns in a mountain called the Peak, [1] that it ejects matters thrown into them, and whirling them about in the air carries them to a great distance. The second is at Stonehenge, where stones of extraordinary dimensions are raised as columns, and others are fixed above, like lintels of immense portals; and no one has been able to discover by what mechanism such vast masses of stone were elevated, nor for what purpose they were designed. The


[1] In Derbyshire.

8 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

third is at Chedder-hole, [1] where there is a cavern which many persons have entered, and have traversed a great distance under ground, crossing subterraneous streams, without finding any end of the cavern. The fourth wonder is this, that in some parts of the country the rain is seen to gather about the tops of the hills, and forthwith to fall on the plains.

So important was the safely of Britain to its loyal people that, under royal authority, they constructed four great highways from one end of the island to the other, as military roads, by which they might meet any hostile invasion. The first runs from west to east, and is called Ichenild. The second runs from south to north, and is called Erninge Strate. [1] The third crosses the island from Dover to Chester, in a direction from south-east to north-west, and is called Watling Street. The fourth, which is longer than the others, commences in Caithness, and terminates in Totness, extending from the borders of Cornwall to the extremity of Scotland; this road runs diagonally from south-west to north-east, passing by Lincoln, and is called the Foss-way. These are the four principal highways of Britain, which are noble and useful works, founded by the edicts of kings, and maintained by venerated laws.

Five languages are spoken in Britain; those of the Britons, the Angles, the Scots, the Picts, and the Romans. Of these the Latin has, by the study of the Holy Scriptures, become common to all. The Picts [3] however, have entirely


[1] Wookey Hole, in Cheddar Cliffs, under the Mendip Hills, in Somersetshire.

[2] Or Ermeninge Street.

[3] On the origin of the Picts see vol. i. of this series, p. 5. It is to he observed, that Henry of Huntingdon does not notice the Norsk or Danish among the languages commonly spoken in Britain, though at least one-third of England was colonised by Norwegians and Danes, and their language, a cognate dialect, indeed, of the Anglo-Saxon, has left traces of its distinct character in some districts even to the present day, which must have been still more rife in the times of the Archdeacon. See Worsaae's "Danes in England", and an Essay on the same subject in the Jubilee Edition of King Alfred's works. Henry of Huntingdon implicitly copies Bede, without any reference to the further element which was added to the languages spoken in Britain after the time of his author.

BOOK I.] ORIGIN OF THE BRITONS. 9

disappeared, and their language is extinet, so that the accounts given of this people by ancient writers seem almost fabulous. Who will not mark the difference between the devotion to heavenly and the pursuit of earthly things, when he reflects that not only the kings and chiefs, but the whole race of this heathen people have utterly perished; and that all memory of them, and, what is more wonderful, their very language, the gift of God in the origin of their nation, is quite lost.

Let what we have thus far written, though of many things we have treated briefly, suffice with regard to the site and general characteristics of Britain. We come now to speak of the people by whom, and the time at which, the island was first inhabited. What we do not find in Bede we borrow from other authors. [1] They tell us that the British nation was founded by Dardanus, who was the father of Troius. Troius was the father of Priamus and Anchises. Anchises was father of AEneas, AEneas of Ascanius, Ascanius of Silvius. When the wife of Silvius was pregnant, a soothsayer predicted that the son she should bring forth would slay his father. The soothsayer was put to death for this prophecy; but the son that was born, and who was called Brute, after a time, while he was playing with boys of his own age, struck his father with an arrow and killed him. It was done not purposely, but by chance-medley; whereupon Brute, being banished from Italy, came into Gaul. There he founded the city of Tours, and having afterwards invaded the district of the Armoricans, he passed from thence into this island, subjugated its southern regions, and called it, after his own name, Britain. Some writers, however, affirm that when Brute reigned in Britain, Eli, the high-priest, was judge of Israel, and Posthumus or Silvius, son of AEneas, reigned among the Latins. Brute was his grandson. After an interval of 80 years, it happened that the Picts, a Scythian race, having embarked on the ocean, were driven by the winds round the coast of Britain, till at length they reached the north of Ireland, where, finding the nation of the Scots already in possession,


[1] This fabulous account of the origin of the Britons is taken from Nennius, iii. v.

10 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

they begged to be allowed to settle also, but failed in obtaining their request. For the Scots said, "This island would not contain us both, but we know that there is another island not far from ours, to the eastward, which we can see at a distance when the days are clearer than ordinary. If you will go there you will be able to establish yourselves; and if you meet with opposition we will come to your assistance". The Picts, therefore, crossing over to Britain, began to colonize the northern parts of the island; for the Britons were already settled in the south. The Picts having no wives asked them of the Scots, who consented to grant them upon the sole condition that when any uncertainty arose in state affairs they should elect a king from the royal race in the female line rather than in the male; which custom, it appears, is maintained among the Picts to the present day. Such, then, are the traditions which we find in old writers concerning the arrival of the Britons in that part of the world which is called Britain, as well as the arrival of the Picts in the same island. And though it is an island, being very extensive, its excellence is not diminished on that account; when, in truth the whole earth is itself an island. But as it is a common saying, "rain is mingled with wind, and laughter with sighs", the pre-eminent wealth and advantages of England have excited the envy and cupidity of neighbouring nations. It has, therefore, been very frequently invaded, and often subdued. Thus, in process of time, the Scots also migrated from Ireland into Britain, under their chief Reuda, and either by fair means, or by force of arms, obtained possession of that part of the country belonging to the Picts which these new settlers still occupy. They are called Dal-Reudins, from the name of their chief; Dal, in their language, signifying a portion or district. This leads me to say something with regar to Ireland, for though properly, it is not my subject, it is nearly connected with it. May what I shall add be to the honour of Almighty God.!

Next to Britain, Ireland is the finest island in the the world; and, indeed, though it is inferior to Britain in wealth, it greatly surpasses it in the salubrity and serenity of its climate, arising from the nature of its position. For while it is less extended towards the north, it stretches much

BOOK I.] ORIGIN OF THE BRITONS. 11

farther than Britain towards the northern coast of Spain, from which, however, a wide sea divides it. In Ireland snow seldom or never lies on the ground more than three days; no man there, on account of winter, either makes hay in the summer, or erects buildings to shelter his cattle. No reptiles are seen there: no serpent can exist; for though serpents have been often carried there from Britain, when the ship approaches the shore, as soon as they breathe the air wafted from the land they instantly die. On the other hand, almost all the products of the island are antidotes to poison. In short, we have known persons bitten by serpents, to whom the scrapings of the leaves of books brought from Ireland, immersed in water, having been given to drink, the potion immediately absorbed the venom, which was spreading throughout the body, and allayed the swelling. God hath therefore endowed the Island with this wonderful gift, and has appointed a multitude of the saints for its protection. Moreover, He has enriched it with milk and honey; vineyards are not wanting, and it abounds with fish and fowl, deer and goats. This is truly the country of the Scots; but if any one is desirous of knowing the time when it was first inhabited, though I find nothing about it in Venerable Bede, the following is the account given by another writer. At the time the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea, the survivors banished from among them a certain nobleman named Scyticus, that he might not acquire the dominion over them. The banished man having wandered for some time in Africa, at last came with his family to the dwellings of the Philistines, and by the Salt Lake they journeyed between Russicada and the mountains of Syria, and came to the River Malva, and traversed Mauritania, navigating the Tuscan Sea to the Pillars of Hercules. Thus they arrived in Spain, where they dwelt many years, and their posterity multiplied greatly. Thence they came into Ireland 1200 years after the passage of Israel through the Red Sea. The Britons, however, inhabited Britain before. For the Britons occupied Britain in the third age of the world; the Scots, Ireland, in the fourth. These accounts are not much to be depended on; but it is certain that the Scots came from Spain to Ireland, and that part of them,

12 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

migrating from thence to Britain, added a third nation there to the Britons and the Picts; for the part which remained still speak the same language, and are called Navarrese. There is a broad gulf of the sea which formerly divided the nation of the Picts from the Britons. It runs from the west deep into the country, where stands, to the present day, a strongly-fortified city called Alcluith, [1] on the north side of which the Scots, of whom we have already spoken, fixed their settlement.

Julius Caesar was the first of the Romans who invaded Britain, sixty years before the incarnation of our Lord, [2] and in the year 693 after the building of Rome. He was joined in his consulship with Lucius Bibulus, and, having subjugated the Germans and Gauls, who were then parted by the river Rhine, he came into the country of the Morini, from which is the shortest passage to Britain. Here he caused eighty ships of burthen and light galleys to be equipped, and transported his legions into Britain. Things did not at first turn out according to his expectation; for, when disembarking, he had to encounter an attack from the Britons much severer than he had expected, and, finding his force outnumbered by a foe whom he had greatly underrated, he was compelled to re-embark his troops. On his return to Gaul he met with a violent storm, in which he lost a considerable part of his fleet, great numbers of his soldiers, and almost all his horses. Exasperated at his ill success, having established his legions in winter quarters, he caused six hundred ships of both sorts to be fitted out [B.C. 54], and early in the spring sailed again for Britain with his whole force. But, while he marched his army against the enemy, his fleet lying at anchor was assailed by a furious tempest, which either dashed the ships against each other, or drove them on shore as wrecks. Forty of the ships were lost; the rest were after some time, and with great difficulty, repaired. The consummate general, therefore, seeing all hopes of retreat cut off, the more urgently


[1] Dunbarton.

[2] This date, borrowed from Bede, is incorrect, like many others of both authors. It is now generally agreed that Caesar's second and successfnl invasion of Britain was effected B.C. 54, U.C, 700. The abortive expedition here mentioned took place the summer before.

B.C. 54.] INVASION OF JULIUS CAESAR. 13

roused the spirit of his troops, and, while he was in the act of exhorting them, battle was joined with the enemy. It was fought on both sides with the greatest ardour, the Romans having no hope of a retreat, the Britons an assured hope of conquering as they had done before. Labienus, the tribune, who led the van of the Roman army against the division of Dolobellus, who was the lieutenant of the British king, charged it with such vigour that it was routed, put to flight, and pursued. But the main body of the royal army was stationed between the columns of Caesar and Labienus. It was commanded by Belinus, the brother of the king Cassibelaun, and the son of Lud [1] a very brave king, who had gained possession of many islands of the sea by the success of his arms. The royal army was therefore able to surround the cavalry of Labienus, who was slain with all his troops. And now Julius perceiving his ill fortune and being sensible that to avoid greater disaster he must have recourse to manoeuvring, instead of direct attacks, he feigned a retreat. The Britons pursued the retiring army and slew great numbers, but were checked by a wood into which the Romans threw themselves. Preparing there for a third attack, Caesar thus exhorted his troops:-

"Invincible fellow soldiers, who have braved the perils of the sea and the toils of marches and battles by land, and have been daunted neither by the fierce onset of the Gauls, nor the resolute courage of the German nations, think not that I suppose any words of mine can add to that disciplined courage which is already perfect, and which, tried in so many fields, can neither be added to nor diminished: that valour, I say, which has always shone brightest when danger was greatest, and, while others have despaired, has led you exultingly onward to certain victory. I need not recall to your minds what is fixed in your own memories, and in those of all nations, how often, seemingly conquered, we have conquered our conquerors; and, not disheartened by our disasters, have become braver than the brave by whom we have been repulsed. Courage, when provoked, becomes desperate. Now then, if you have any regard for


[1] According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Lud was brother of Cassibelaun.

14 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

the glory of the Roman name, now is the time to exhibit that military discipline in which you have been perfectly trained, and which you have always perfectly maintained, in its highest perfection in this time of our utmost need. For myself, of two issues I have irrevocably chosen, either to conquer, which is glorious or to die for our country, which is in the power of every man. Flight is only the refuge of cowards. Let those then among you who are of the same mind with myself hold up their invincible right hands, and let our enemies be astonished to find us reanimated by our repulses, and recruited by our losses". [1]

Having thus spoken be extended his right hand, and the whole army with loud shouts raised their hands to heaven, and thus cheering began the battle. Then it was that the legions being skilfully disposed, the persevering obstinacy with which they fought displayed the superiority of the Roman discipline. Content to stand on their defence, while the Britons exhausted themselves by repeated attacks, the troops of Caesar were fresh when the islanders had lost their vigour. Victory was on the side of the Romans, though not without severe loss. From thence Caesar marched to the river Thames. A large body of the enemy had posted themselves on the further side of the river under the command of Cassibelaun, who had planted sharp stakes in the river bank and in the water where it was crossed by a ford. The remains of these stakes are to be seen at the present day; they appear to be about the thickness of a man's thigh, and, being shod with lead, remain immovably fixed in the bed of the river. This being discovered, and avoided by the Romans, they attacked the barbarians, who, not being able to stand the shock of the legions, retired into the woods, from the shelter of which they grievously galled the Romans by repeated sallies. The strongly-fortified city of Trinovantum [3] surrendered to Ceesar, under its governor Androgeus, delivering to him seventy hostages.


[1] Being unable to discover where the Archdeacon found the record of this stirring address, we may attribute it to his own invention, in imitation of the speeches which both poets and historians have put into the mouths of their heroes on similar occasions.

[2] This ford of the Thames is supposed to have been near Richmond.

[3] Supposed to be London.

B.C. 54-44.] JULIUS CAESAR WITHDRAWS. 15

In like manner several other towns entered into treaties with the Romans, and supplied guides by whose aid Caesar penetrated to the capital city of Cassibelaun, covered on both sides by morasses and further protected by thick woods, while it was stored with abundant supplies. The city was taken after an obstinate defence. [1]

Eventually, Caesar returning into Gaul, and being distracted by the cares of wars which beset him on every side, withdrew from Britain the legions which he had placed in winter quarters, in order that they might accompany him to Rome: a fact to which Lucan refers:-

"The free-born Britons toss their yellow hair, No longer curb'd by stationary camps". [2]

Returning with regret to Rome, he ordered the fifth month to be called July in honour of his own name. He was afterward treacherously assassinated in the senate-house on the Ides of March. As we have to speak of Caesar and his successors who ruled Britain to the time of Martian, who was the forty-fourth in succession from Julius Caesar, we have no wish to diminish their renown. We should hesitate to compare them in point of morals to our own Christian princes, while it would be a shame that the latter should be inferior.

The panegyrick of Solinus on Julius Caesar is just; "As much as Sergius and Sisinnius, the bravest of soldiers,


[1] There seems to be little doubt that Verulam or St Albans, was the capital of Cassibelaun.

[2] Lucan's Pharsalis, Book i. 1. 402. Henry of Huntingdon has substituted Britanni for Ruteni, without any authority, which I have been able to discover. Some have read Suevi, considering the reading justified by the descriptive appellation, flavi; but the epithet "yellow-haired" was applied, not only to the Germans, but to all the northern nations. Lucan himself thus designates the Britons:-

"celsos ut Gallia currus
Nobilis, et flavis sequeretur mista Britannis". Phars. iii. 78.

In the passage quoted by the Archdeacon, Ruteni is evidently the true reading, for the context names various Gaulish tribes; those of the Vosges, the Lingones, about Langres, and the Isarae, on the Isere. Then the Ratemi, a people of Narbonese Gaul, aftemrwards le Revergue, an mentioned; followed by reference to the tribes on the Atar, now L'Aube, in Languedoc, and the Var in Provence.

16 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

outshone all other soldiers, so much did Caesar excel all other generals, nay, other men of all times. In the wars carried on under his command, 1,192,000 of the enemy were slain. How many were slain in the civil wars he was reluctant to record. He fought fifty-two pitched battles; being the only general who exceeded Marcus Marcellinus, who fought thirty-nine. No one wrote more rapidly, no one read with greater facility; he was able to dictate four letters at one and the same time. So great was his excellence that those whom he conquered by his arms, he conquered yet more by his clemency.

Augustus, succeeding Julius Caesar, obtained the empire of the whole world; and received tribute from Britain as well as from his other dominions, as Virgil remarks:-

"Embroidered Britons lift the purple screen". [1]

This he did in the forty-second year of his reign, when the true Light shone upon the world, and all kingdoms and islands, before over-shadowed with darkness, were taught that there is One only God, and saw the image of Him that created them. When Augustus had reigned fifty-five years and a half, he paid the debt of nature, Eutropius thus panegyrizes him: "Besides the civil wars, in which he was always victorious, Augustus subdued Armenia, Egypt, Galatia, Cantabria,


[1] Geor. iii. 25. The sense is not very clear, and I have therefore rendered the words literally, in preference to offering any gloss upon it. Dryden thus paraphrases it:-

"When the proud theatres disclose the scene
Which interwoven Britons seem to raise,
And show the triumphs which their shame displays".

Heyne conjectures that allusion is made to the curtain of the theatre on which were pictured embroidered, or interwoven, the tall and gaunt forms of British captives, represented in the act of rising from the ground and lifting the curtain. However this may be the quotation from the Georgics, which Henry of Huntingdon borrows from Nennius, fails of proving the subjection of the Britons in the time of Augustus. We find no authority for the statement, that this emperor received tribute from Britain, except a passage in the De Rebus Geticis of Jornandes, the Goth, a work of the sixth century, in which he made use of the now lost Ecclesiastical History of Cassiodorus, who was governor of Sicily in the same century - no authorities whatever against the silence of contemporary classical authors. Dion Cassius tells us, that Augustus came into Gaul with the intention of invading Britain, as the Britons refused to enter into a treaty with him, but was prevented by the revolt of some recently-subdued tribes of Gaul.

B.C. 43.] AUGUSTUS.-TIBERIUS. 17

Dalmatia, Pannonia, Aquitania, Illyricam, Rhetium, the Vindelici, the Salassi, Pontus, and Cappadocia. He so completely reduced the Dacians and Germans, that he transported 400,000 captives of their race into Gaul, where he settled them on the further hank of the Rhine. The Persians gave him hostages, which they had never done before, restoring the standards taken from Crassus. He was mild and gracious, affable in spirit, and handsome in person; his eyes, particularly, were beautiful. Clement to his subjects, he so treated his friends that he almost raised them to a level with himself. He engaged in war with no nation but upon just grounds, esteeming triumphs founded upon unfounded pretences, worthless. He was so loved by foreign and even barbarous peoples, that in some instances their kings spontaneously came to Rome to do him homage; others, as Juba and Herod, founded cities to his honour. He devoted some part of every day to reading, writing, and elocution. He was sparing in his diet, patient of rebuke, and placable to conspirators. He found Rome built of bricks, he left it of marble".

Tiberius, the step-son of Augustus, succeeded him in the empire, which extended over Britain as well as the other kingdoms of the world. [1] He reigned twenty-three years.


[1] There is no authority for the statement, that Britain formed part of the Roman Empire during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. It would be a bootlest task to correct all Henry of Huntingdon's errors and misstatements, in some of which he copies Bede. [See notes to the Eccles. Hist, cc. iii. iv. in the present series.] We should not have noticed the present misstatement, but on account of a popular error which attributes ihe conquest of Britain to Julius Caesar, and supposes that from his time the island, or some part of it, remained in subjection to the Romans. The facts are, that in his second and most successful expedition, Caesar was not able, after much opposition and one signal defeat, to penetrate further into the country than about eighty miles from his place of landing, near Walmer, to Verulam, or St Albans, following for the most part the valley of the Thames, which river he crossed near Richmond. London and St Albans were the only towns he reduced, and these he abandoned after a few months' occupation, withdrawing his whole army from the island, to which he never returned. The Britons recovered their independence, and continued unmolested under the government of their native kings and chiefs during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula, though the latter menaced them with a fresh invasion, which ended in an idle and ridiculous parade. A period, therefore, of nearly a century elapsed before the more successful invasion under the Emperor Claudius, from which the establishment of the Roman dominion in Britain dates.

18 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

He was prudent and fortunate in war, and thus became worthy to be the successor of Augustus. In literature he was hihly accomplished, but still more remarkable for eloquence, being happier in unpremeditated replies than in set speeches. He was charged with dissemling, inasmuch as he assumed indifference to those he really loved and courtesy to persons he disliked. [1]

Cauis, surnamed Caligula, ruled the empire of the world about five years. Claudius, who succeeded him A.D. 62, [2] and U.C. 798, visited Britain in the fourth year of his reign, and received the submission of some revolted tribes without recourse to arms. He added the Orkney Islands, [3] already mentioned, to the empire, and, returning to Rome after an absence of six months, assumed for himself and his son the surname of Britannicus, which is given him by Juvenal:- [4]

"And show'd, Britannicus, to all that came,
The womb that bore thee".

In this year that grievous famine prevailed in Syria, which is recorded by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles to have been predicted by Agabus. In the time of Claudius, Peter, the chief founder of our faith, became bishop of Rome, which see he filled for twenty-five years, i.e. to the last year of Nero. Vespasian, commissioned by Claudius, went into Gaul, and afterwards to Britain, where he had thirty-two engagements with the enemy, reduced two very


[1] Aurel. Victor.

[2] The real date of the expedition of Plautius under Claudius, was A.D. 44, U.C. 796. The same year upon his general's success, the Emperor himself crossed over to Britain, but only remained in the island sixteen days. This happened ninety-seven years after Caesar's abandonment of his enterprise. Bede says that "he was the only one either before or after Julius Caesar, who had dared to land in the island", so that Henry of Huntingdon's atory of the "revolted tribes" seems to be pure invention.

[3] This also is incorrect. The Orkneys were not reduced till the conquest of Agricola, under Vespasian, and his successors reduced the nortthern part of Britain to subjection.

[4] Juv. Sat. vi. 124.

A.D. 55.] NERO.-VESPASIAN. 19

powerful tribes, took twenty towns, and added the Isle of Wight to the empire. When Claudius had reigned thirteen years, he went the way of his fathers. His character is thus summed up: "The administration of Claudius was generally moderate, though in some affairs he acted incautiously. Successful in war, he enlarged the empire; while in peace he was so gracious to his friends, that when Paulinus, [1] a general of great eminence who had distinguished himself in Britain, celebrated his triumph, the emperor marched on his left hand as he ascended to the capitol". [2]

Nero, who reigned thirteen years and rather more than half, though he had been an active soldier in his youth, lapsed into into sloth after he had obtained the empire. Hence, besides other injuries to the empire, he nearly lost Britain; for during his government two of the greatest cities in the island were sacked and ruined. [3] Nero perished miserably in same year in which he slew Peter and Paul.

Vespasian, who destroyed Jerusalem, reigned nearly ten years. It was he who under Claudius was sent into Britain and reduced the Isle of Wight to the power of the Romans. This island extends from east to west about 30,000 paces; from north to south, twelve; and is distant in its eastern just six, and in its western twelve, miles from the southern coast of Britain. This great man erected a column of the height of 107 feet. The eulogium of Vespasian is thus


[1] For Paulinus, who did not command in Britain till the time of Nero, had Plautius. By the victories of this general over Cunobeline, the southern regions of Britain were reduced to a Roman province. He was succeeded by Ostorius, the conqueror of Caradauc, or Caractacus as he was called by the Romans.

[2] The successes of Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, a British tribe, who were natives of Derbyshire, are here alluded to. She is said to have reduced to ashes London, Colchester, and Verulam, and to have massacred 70,000 of the Romans and their allies. We do not wonder at Henry of Huntingdon's imperfect acquaintance with the history of the Roman emperors; but it is surprising that he gives so confused an account, and collected such few incidents of their transactions in Britain. Now it was that Suetonius Paulinus commanded in Britain. He reduced Mona, and exterminated the Druids, and was ultimately successful in recovering the province after the losses in the time of Boadicea.

[3] Eutrop. vii. 8.

[4] The short reigns of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, are not noticed.

20 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

faithfully given: [1] "He conducted his government with great moderation, but was inclined to avarice: not, indeed, that he raised money by unjust methods, and what he carefully collected he spent freely, being especially bountiful to those who were in need; so that it would be difficult to name any prince whose liberality was at once so great and so just. His clemency was such that he was not disposed to inflict severer punishment than exile even on those who were guilty of treason. He was conqueror of Judaea, Achaia, Lycia, Rhodes, Byzantium, Samos, Thrace, Cilicia, Comargene. Injuries and enmities he buried in oblivion; he bore patiently the invectives of lawyers and philosophers, and was courteous and affable to the senate, the people, and all the world".

Titus, his son, reigned two years and two months, a prince endowed with every virtue, so that he was called the idol and the darling of the human race. He built the amphitheatre of Rome, at the dedication of which five thousand wild animals were slain. His panegyric is of the highest order: [2] "Eloquent as well as brave, of great moderation, he transacted the business of the law-courts in Latin, and wrote poems and tragedies in Greek. At the siege of Jerusalem, serving under his father, he struck down twelve of the foremost of the garrison, each with a single arrow. At Rome his government was so humane, that he scarcely inflicted punishment on any, pardoning those who were convicted of conspiracy against his person, and admitting them to the same familiarity as before; so great was his kindness and liberality, that when some of his friends blamed him for never denying any request, he replied, that 'no one should depart sad from the presence of the emperor'. He was so much beloved for this singular graciousness, and so severe was the public grief for his death, that all lamented him as if each had lost a private friend. He expired at a distance from Rome, and the senate receiving the intelligence late in the evening thronged into the senatehouse and paid such a tribute of praise and acknowledgment to the memory of the deceased emperor, as they had never offered to him when he was alive and among them".


[1] Eutrop. vii. 13.

[2] Ibid. vii. 14.

A.D. 82.] DOMITIAN.-TRAJAN. 21

Domitian, the brother of Titus, reigned fifteen years and five months. Next to Nero, he was the most cruel persecuter of the Christians. Hateful to all, particularly to the senate, he brought about his own destruction. [1]

Nerva held the empire of the world little more than a year.

Trajan reigned nineteen years and a half; governing Britain, as well as the other provinces, with singular vigour, and extending the empire, which since the time of Augustus had rather been defended than enlarged. He is the prince who for justice' sake plucked out one of his own eyes and one of his son's; and whom St. Gregory does not leave in hell. Those who read him will understand how perfect was the character of the man whom, though a heathen, he would not consign to condemnation. Suetonius thus eulogizes him: "Trajan, a prince highly accomplished and of exemplary courage, conquered Dacia and the country about the Danube, together with Armenia, which the Parthians had seized. He gave a king to the Albanians, and admitted to his alliance the kings of the Iberi, the Sauromati of the Bosphorans, the Arabs, the Osroenians, and the Colchians. He subdued and took possession of the countries of the Cordueni and the Marchamedians, with Antemusium, a great province of Persia, Seleucia and Ctesiphon, Babylon and the Messeni. He extended his frontier to the borders of India and the Red Sea, forming three provinces, Armenia, Assyria, and Mesopotamia, with the nations who border on Madena. Afterwards he reduced Arabia to the condition of a province, and fitted out a fleet on the Red Sea by means of which he ravaged the coasts of India. But his military glory was excelled by his humanity and moderation; bringing himself to the level of all, both at Rome and in the provinces, and visiting familiarly his friends and the sick. He mingled with them on festive occasions, and sat with them in the same chariots. No senator received injury from him, and though he was liberal to all, his revenue was


[1] Our author does not notice the affairs of Britain during the reigns of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian, in which its complete subjugation was effected under Julius Agricola, the greatest and best of the Roman generals in Britain, and who may be considered the founder of British civilization.

22 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

augmented by no injustice. He conferred riches and honours on those with whom he was but slightly acquainted. He embellished the whole empire with public buildings, conceding many privileges to the municipalities; doing nothing that was not gentle and kind, insomuch that during his whole reign only a single senator was condemned, and that one by the senate itself, without the knowledge of Trajan. Thus throughout the whole world he was the representative of the Deity; and there was no homage which he did not merit, whether alive or dead. Among other sayings which are attributed to him, the following is remarkable. When his friends objected to him, that he carried his complaisance to his subjects too far, he replied, that 'he wished so to treat private individuals, as emperor, as he himself, if in a private station, would wish emperors to treat him'. He was the only one who was buried within the city walls, his bones being collected in a golden urn, which was deposited in the forum he built, under a column 140 feet in height. His memory is still cherished, so that even in our age the phrase of the acclamations with which the emperors are hailed in the senate is, that they be 'fortunate as Augustus, worthy as Trajan'"!.

Hadrian ruled the world twenty-one years. He reduced fresh rebellion of the Jews, and having rebuilt Jerusalem, withheld from them permission to visit it. This is his character: [1] "He was a prince of great moderation, and maintained peace during his entire reign. Once only he engaged in war, and then by one of his generals. He made a progress through the whole circuit of the Roman world. The edifices he built were numerous. He was very eloquent in Latin, and learned in Greek".

Antoninus Pius held the empire of the world twenty-three years and a half: [2] "An upright and exemplary prince, he may be compared to Numa Pompilius, as Trajan likened to Romulus. Severe to none, gracious to all, he wielded his military power with moderation, defending rather than extending the provinces. He sought out men of the greatest rectitude for the administration of affairs, holding the good in honour, recoiling without any bitterness


[1] Eutrop. viii. 3.

[2] Ibid. viii. 4.

A.D. 162.] MARCUS.-AURELIUS. 23

from the evil. He was so respected by kings in his alliance, that they submitted their quarrels to him, and accepted his arbitration. Munificent to his friends, he yet left the treasury rich. His clemency gained him the surname of Pius".

Marcus Antoninus Verus, [1] with his brother Aurelius Lucius Commodus, reigned jointly nineteen years and two months. The empire had been hitherto governed by a single monarch. A Parthian war was conducted with admirable valour and good fortune. During their reign, Eleutherius being the pontiff who governed the Roman Church, Lucius the British king implored him by letter to take measures for his conversion to Christianity. His embassy was successful, and the Britons retained the faith they received, inviolate and undisturbed, until the time of Diocletian. A panegyric of Antoninus Verus from the Roman history: [2] "After the death of Antoninus his consort from apoplexy, he remained sole emperor, with high renown. He never changed countenance either from joy or sorrow. Embued with the Stoic philosophy, of the purest morals, and the highest erudition, he was profoundly versed both in Greek and Latin literature: never elated, he was courteous to all; his liberality was prompt, and his administration of the provinces mild and benignant. He fought successfully against the Germans; and waged the Marcomannic war against the Iquades, the Vandals, the Sarmatians, the Suetes, and the whole barbarism: no other such fourth war, to equal the Punic, is recorded. The hero of this great conflict triumphed as conqueror, with his son Commodus. The treasury being exhausted, he was compelled to sell the imperial regalia, which he afterwards redeemed from those who were willing to restore, taking no umbrage at those who chose to retain, what they had purchased. He allowed illustrious men to exhibit the like splendour, and to be served with similar ceremony in their entertainments, as himself. The magnificence of the games he celebrated in honour of his victories


[1] There is some confusion in the names of these emperors, which Henry of Huntingdon borrows from Bede. Antoninus the philosopher was also called Marcus Aurelius. His associate in the empire was named Lucius Verus.

[2] Hist. Miscell. x.

24 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. {BOOK I.

was such that a hundred lions are said to have been exhibited at one time".

Commodus, son of the last-named Commodus, was emperor during thirteen years. He was fortunate in war against the Germans; and having caused the head of the Colossus to be removed, he replaced it by one taken from his own statue. AElius Pertinax having reigned six months, was assassinated in his own palace by Julian a lawyer.

Severus Pertinax having put to death Julian the lawyer, reigned seventeen years. An African by birth from Lepti, a town of Tripoli, he was of a savage disposition and provoked by continual wars, but he ruled the state by vigorous efforts fortunately. Victorious in the civil wars, which were very harassing, and Didius Albinus, who had proclaimed himself Caesar at Lyons, in Gaul, being slain, he passed into the British Islands. There, after many fierce battles, he resolved on dividing the part of the island he had recovered from that held by the unconquered tribes, not, as some consider, by a wall, but by a rampart. For a wall is built with stones, but a rampart for defence of a fortified camp is constructed of turfs, which, being cut from the soil, are built up like a wall; having in front a trench from which the turfs are raised, and in which stakes of stout wood are planted. Severus thus made a deep trench with a very strong rampart, fortified besides with frequent towers, from one sea to the other. He afterwards fell sick and died at York. He left two sons, Bassianus and Geta, of whom Geta was adjudged a public enemy, and died. Bassianus becoming emperor assumed the surname of Antoninus. Eutropius thus eulogizes Severus: [1] "He was engaged in various and successful wars; conquering the Parthians, the Arabs, and the Azabenians, whence he was surnamed Parthicus, Arabicus, Azabenicus. He restored the honour of the Roman name throughout the world; but he was illustrious also for civil pursuits, and was called Divus from his learning and cultivation of philosophy".

Antoninus Caracalla, the son of Severus, held the empire seven years. Macrinus, having reigned one year at Archelais, was slain, with his son, in a military tumult. Marcus


[1] Eutrop. viii. 9.

A.D. 219.] ELAGABALUS.-CLAUDIUS II. 25

Aurelius Antoninus [1] was emperor four years; Aurelius Alexander [2] thirteen. The latter was uniformly dutiful to his mother Mammea, and on that account was universally esteemed. "In the war which he carried on against the Persians, he conquered with glory their king Xerxes. He severely regulated the military discipline, cashiering entire legions which were insubordinate. At Rome he was very popular. He was slain in a military tumult in Gaul". [3]

Maximin the First reigned three years, and gained a victory over the Germans; Gordian, who conquered the Persians, reigned five. At this time Origen flourished, who wrote five thousand books, as Jerom relates. Philip, and his son Philip, reigned seven years. He was the first Christian emperor. In the third year of his reign, a thousand years from the building of Rome were completed, and this most august of all preceding eras was celebrated by the Christian emperor with magnificent games. "The temper of Philip the younger was so severe, that he was never provoked to merriment, and he turned his face away from his own father when he indulged in laughter. He continually resisted vice, and struggled in the upward path of virtue". [4] Decius reigned one year and three months. He persecuted the Christians from hatred to the two Philips, father and son, whom he had slain. Gallus, with Volucianus his son, reigned two years and four months. Valerian, with his son Gallienus, reigned fifteen years. Having raised a persecution against the Christians, he was soon afterwards taken prisoner by the Persian king, and, being deprived of sight, wore out the rest of his days a wretched captive.

Claudius the Second reigned one year and nine months. He subjugated the Goths who had devastated Illyrium and Macedonia for fifteen years; for which a shield of gold was dedicated to him in the senate-house, and a golden statue in the capitol. Aurelian reigned five years and six months. He being a persecutor of the Christians, a thunderbolt fell near him, to the great horror of the bystanders, and shortly afterwards he was slain by the soldiers. The eulogy of Aurelian from the Acts of Remarkable Men: [5] "As the


[1] Known as Elagabalus.

[2] Alexander Severus.

[3] Eutrop. viii. 13.

[4] Aura Victor.

[5] Ibid.

26 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. {BOOK I.

world was subdued by Alexander in thirteen, by Caesar in fourteen years, Aurelian restored peace to the universe by thirteen battles. He first of the Romans assumed the diadem and robes adorned with gold and jewels. Firm in correcting military licence and dissoluteness of manners, his temper was somewhat morose and haughty, and he was habitually cruel". Tacitus reigned six months, and, being killed at Pontus, was succeeded by Florian, who three months afterwards was slain at Tarsus. Probus, who was emperor six years and four months, completely liberated Gaul from the hostile barbarians who infested it. "He was a prince illustrious for his activity, vigour, and justice; scarcely equal to Aurelian in glory, but excelling him in civil virtues. Having laid the foundatians of peace by immumerable wars, he said that shortly there would be no need of soldiers". [1] Carus, who reigned two years, having been victorious over the Persians, fell near the river Tigris.

Diocletian was joint emperor with Herculius Maximian for twenty years. In their time a certain Carausius, a man of low origin, but bold in counsel and action, had the superintendence of the shores af the ocean which were infested by the Franks and Saxons. But his administration was more to the loss than the advantage of the state; for he applied the plunder taken from the pirates to his own private use, instead of restoring it to the owners, and he was suspected of allowing the enemy opportunities of making incursions by designed negligence. His execution for these delinquencies having been ordered by Maximian, Carausius seized Britain, assuming the purple, and maintained his power for seven years with great determination and courage. At length, he was slain by Allectus, one of his followers, who, usurping the government, retained it for three years, until the prefect Asclepiodotus vanquished him in his palace, and recovered Britain after a revolt of ten years. In consequence of the wars, the emperors associated with themselves Constantius in the West, and Galerius Maximus in the East. In their time a most cruel persecution of the Christians raged throughout the world. In the course of it St. Alban devoted himself a sacrifice to


[1] Eutrop. ix. 11.

A.D. 305.] SAINT ALBAN.-DIOCLETIAN. 27

God; of whom Fortunatus, in his poem in praise of virginity, thus speaks:-

"The sainted Alban fruitful Britain bears".

He was a citizen of Verulam, who gave shelter to a priest escaping from the Pagans, and having been converted by him while he lay concealed, offered himself in his stead when the persecutors came to search the house. Having been subjected to torture, Alban was led out to be beheaded. Then the river was dried up, at the prayer of the saint, because the concourse was too great for the people to cross the bridge. When the executioner, among others, witnessed this, he threw himself at his feet, believing, and was martyred with him. A fountain also burst forth at his martyrdom, which was afterwards dried up. Moreover, the eyes of the headsman rolled on the ground with the head of the saint. St. Alban was martyred near Verulam, i.e. Wirlamcester or Wadlingcester, where afterwards a magnificent church, with a noble abbey, were erected; and to this day the sick are cured and miracles wrought. There suffered during the same persecution two citizens of Caerleon, Aaron and Julius, with a multitude of both sexes who bore witness to Almighty God when torn limb from limb, and exposed to unheard-of tortures. So violent was the persecution, that in the course of one month, 17,000 martyrs suffered for Christ's sake. But when Diocletian had laid aside the purple at Nicomedia, and Maximian at Milan, in the twentieth year of their reign, the persecution was abated for a time. Arrius thus writes of Diocletian: "He was shrewd, but crafty, and of a sagacious, though subtle spirit; disposed, withal, to vent his own ill humours in malice towards other people. Still he was a most industrious and politic prince, though, contrary to the free habits of the Romans, he required them to adore him, whereas his predecessors had only been saluted. He wore jewels on his robes and sandals, and yet with unprecedented self-denial, he abdicated his lofty rank for a private station. There occurred in his case, what had never before been known since the existence of man, that a private individual received divine honours. His coadjutor, Maximian, was a prince of a most cruel disposition and a most forbidding aspect". [1]


[1] Eutrop. ix. 16.

28 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

Constantius, who, under the late emperors, ruled Gaul, Britain, and Spain, for fifteen years, continued his reign for one year afterwards over the whole empire in the West, Maximin being emperor in the East. He founded Coutances in that part of Gaul which is now called Normandy, and received in marriage the daughter of the British king of Colchester, whose name was Hoel or Helen, our Saint Helena, by whom he had Constantine the Great. Constantius, a great and accomplished prince, died at York. "He was studious to advance the prosperity of the provinces and of private individuals; he was unwilling to avail himself of the power of taxing them severely, saying that the public wealth was better in individual hands than locked up in a single coffer. His own expenses were moderate, his temper gentle. He was not only beloved, but venerated, by the Gauls". [1]

Constantine, who reigned thirty years and ten months, was the flower of Britain; for he was British both by birth and country; and Britain never produced his equal, before or afterwards. He led an army from Britain and Gaul into Italy, for Maximian had proclaimed Maximin his son Augustus at Rome. When marching against him, being yet a heathen, he beheld an angel of God exhibiting to him the sign of the cross, and calling upon him to have faith in the Crucified, and he believed instantly, and God overwhelmed Maxentius in the river's flood. Constantine then, having twice overcome Maximian in battle, became sole emperor of the world, and having been, as we find it written, cleansed from his leprosy by St. Sylvester in the water of baptism, he founded at Rome, on the spot where he was baptized, the Basilica of John the Baptist, which is called the Constantine church. He also founded the basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, on the site of the temple of Apollo, surrounding their bodies with a tomb of brass five feet in breadth. He also founded a basilica in the Sosorian Palace, which is named Jerusalem, where he deposited a piece of the wood of the cross. He also dedicated a basilica to St. Laurence, on the land of Veranus, near the Tiburtine Road; and another, on the Lavican Way, to Peter and Marcellus, martyrs; where he


[1] Eutrop. x. i.

A.D. 307.] CONSTANTINE.-JULIAN. 29

fixed the mausoleum of his mother, with a sarcophagus of red marble. He also founded a church at Ostia, near the Roman gate; with one at Albano, dedicated to St. John Baptist; and another in the city of Naples. Constantine founded a city, called after his own name, in Thrace, which he made the seat of the imperial power and the capital of the East. [1] Rebuilding the city of Deprana in Bithynia, in honour of the martyr Lucian, who was there buried, he changed its name to Helenopolis, in memory of his mother. Tradition says that Helen, the illustrious daughter of Britain, surrounded London with the wall which is still standing, and fortified Colchester also with walls. But more especially she rebuilt Jerusalem, adorning it with many basilica purified from idols. The praises of Constantine: [2] "Constantine may be compared to the best princes of the first age of the empire; to the ordinary ones of the last. His natural endowments both of mind and body were brilliant. Raised to the highest pitch of military glory and fortune, he devoted himself assiduously to the arts of peace and liberal studies. He was distinguished for cultivating a sincere regard for his friends; but the pride of his great prosperity tended in some degree to diminish that amiable disposition". Constantius, with whom were associated his brothers Constantine and Constans, reigned twenty-four years and five months. The Arian heresy, patronized by Constantius, caused many and great troubles to the Catholics.

Julian, the Apostate, who reigned two years and eight months, justly perished, as the enemy of God, in fighting with the barbarians. His eulogy by Paulus: [3] "He resembled Marcus Antoninus, who was the object of his emulation. His learning was profound and extensive, his memory powerful and comprehensive, his eloquence prompt and fertile, such as become a philosopher. Courteous to all, he was covetous of glory to a degree that frequently overpowered his natural equanimity". Jovian, an excellent and pious emperor, reigned only eight months; a premature death cutting short his early promise. Valentinian, with his brother Valens, possessed the imperial authority only two


[1] Constantinople, the ancient Byzantium.

[2] Eutrop. x. i.

[3] Hist. Miscell.

30 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

years. His character is thus described in the history of Paulus: "Resembling Aurelian, his aspect was comely; his wit shrewd, his judgment sound; he was austere, impetuous, a great enemy to vice, especially to avarice. He was, skilful in painting beautifully, in designing new implements of art, and in modelling statues both in wax and in plaster. His discourse was polished, sagacious, and astute".

Valens, with his brothers Gratian and Valentinian, sons of his brother just named, reigned four years. Having been baptized by the Arians, he persecuted the Christians, and issued a decree that monks should serve as soldiers, and those who refused should be scourged to death. In this reign the nation of the Huns issued suddenly from their mountain fastnesses; and threw themselves on the Goths, routing and expelling them from their ancient seats. The Goths, who fled across the Danube, were received by Valens, without being disarmed; but afterwards a famine, occasioned by the avarice of Maximus, the governor, having driven them to rebellion, they defeated the army of Varens, and overran all Thrace with slaughter, fire, and rapine. Gratian continued for six years, from A.D. 377, the reign which he had commenced jointly with his uncle Valens. Driven by necessity in the troubled and well-nigh ruined state of the republic; he invested with the purple, at Sermia, Theodosius; a Spaniard, allotting to him Thrace and the East for his share of the empire. Theodosius, in several campaigns, reduced the great Scythian nations, the Alani, the Huns, and the Goths. Meanwhile, Maximus, who was of British origin, an active and meritorious officer, except that he broke his oath of allegiance and declared himself emperor in Britain, passed into Gaul, and by a sudden attack destroyed, Gratian, the Angustus, and then expelled from Italy his brother Valentinian, also Augustus, who took refuge with Theodosius in the East. The eulogy of Gratian: [1] "He was not wanting in erudition, wrote verses, and discoursed elegantly, devoting his days and nights to apply the keen edge of rhetorical disquisition to questions of the deepest interest. Sparing of food and sleep, he controlled his passions".


[1] Hist. Miscell.

A.D. 379.] THEODOSIUS. 31

Theodosius, after the death of Gratian, reigned eleven years jointly with Valentinian, whom he reinstated, having shut up within the walls of Aquileia, and slain the tyrant Maximus. The Britons who followed Maximus remain to this day in Armorican Gaul, to the great loss of Britain: as that the Armoricans are now called Bretons. The praise ef Theodosius: "His defence and extension of the empire rendered him illustrious. He resembled Trojan, from whom he was descended, both in disposition and person, as we learn both from ancient writings and portraits. He was like him in being tall in stature, in the shape of his limbs, and the colour of his hair; but his eyes were not so full, but perhaps there was not so much grace and gaiety in his countenance, nor so much dignity in his motions. But in disposition so great was the resemblance, that there is nothing which the old writers say of Trajan which does not apply to Theodosius. Declaring that he only differed from other men in the accidents of his rank, he was pitiful to the unfortunate, respectful to all, having the highest regard for the good. He loved men of ingenuous dispositions, and admired men of learning, being liberal in his bounty to those most worthy of it. The faults which stained the character of Trajan, excessive conviviality and lust of victory, he so detested, that he never engaged in war unless compelled, and made an edict prohibiting lascivious exhibitions and female dancers at entertainments. He was but moderately learned, but had a large share of common sense, and delighted in becoming acquainted with the acts of his predecessors, execrating the perfidy and the heartlessness of those who were haughty tyrants; for he was easily moved to anger by unworthy actions, though quickly appeased. He had the rare merit of making restitution in many instances from his own fortune of the wealth which in the course of years tyrannical emperors had wrung from private individuals. He regarded his uncle in the light of a father; his nephews and cousins as sons. He invited to his table men of worth and eminence, engaging them in familiar conversation, in which sense was seasoned with an agreeable hilarity. A kind father and a loving husband, he preserved his health by an abstemious diet and moderate exercise. Thus kind.

32 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

and gentle to man, his devotion to God was still more exemplary". [1]

Arcadius, the son of Theodosius, reigned thirteen years jointly with his brother Honorius. During their reign, the Goths invaded Italy, the Vandals and Alaric Gaul. Then also Pelagius in Britain, [2] and Julian in Campania, planted widely the seeds of that heresy which Saint Augustine and many other orthodox fathers attacked with innumerable authorities from Catholic writers, without succeeding in correcting their folly. Indeed their assurance seemed rather to be augmented by the controversy, than to be abated by listening to the truth. Whence the rhetorician Prosper poetically says:-

"Insidious, with the serpent's hellish spite,
A scribbler 'gainst Augustine dar'd to write;
Sure he was fed on Britain's sea-girt plains,
Or else Campanian plenty swell'd his veins".

Honorius reigned fifteen years with Theodosius the younger, son of his brother Arcadius. In whose times, when the Alani, the Suevi, and the Vandals desolated all Gaul, Gratian was elevated to the provincial sovereignty of Britain, but was speedily killed. In his stead was elected Constantine, a man taken from the lowest ranks of the army, and having no other merit than the promise of his name. Passing into Gaul to invade the empire, he did great mischief to the affairs of the state by suffering himself to be deluded by the Gauls into pretended treaties, till at last, under the orders of Honorius, the Count Constantine shut him up in the city of Arles, seized and put him to death. His son also, Constans, whom, from having been a monk, he had proclaimed Caesar, was by the Count Gerontius dispatched at Vienne. In these times also, A.U.C. 1164, Alaric, King of the Goths, besieged and took Rome, and having plundered the city and burned part of it, evacuated it after six days. This happened about 470 years after


[1] Hist Miscell.

[2] Pelagius was of British extraction, being a native of Wales. His patronymic name seems to have been Morgan, in Welsh sea-born, Pelagius (pslaysos) signifying the same in Greek.

A.D. 412-421.] INCURSIONS OF PICTS AND SCOTS. 33

Julius Caesar subdued Britain. The Romans had settled its southern region within the wall built by Severus, as the remains of their cities, bridges, watch-towers, and roads, testify to this day. They also claimed the dominion of the parts of Britain beyond the wall, and the neighbouring islands. The Roman forces being thus withdrawn from Britain, with the flower of her youth, who principally followed the tyrant Maximus, the rest being exhausted by the expedition of Constantine just before named, the province lay open to the incursions of those barbarous tribes the Scots and Picts. It was separated from them by two friths, or arms of the sea, one entering from the east, the other from the west, which approach each other very nearly without forming a junction. About the middle of the eastern frith lies the city of Guidi; the western frith has on its further, i.e. its right shore, the city called Alcluith, [2] which in their language signifies the rock Cluith, and near it is a river of the same name. [3] Terrified by the inroads of these fierce tribes, the Britons sent messengers to Rome bearing letters imploring assistance. One legion was marched to their aid, which, after slaughtering vast numbers of the enemy, drove the rest beyond the border, and retired in great triumph. It was recommended to the Britons to build a wall of stone on the rampart of Severus, so that they might be defended by it where the protection of the friths failed. But as they constructed it with turf instead of stone, it answered no good purpose. The remains of this wall, which was of great height as well as breadth, may be seen at the present time. It commences about two miles from a place called Peneltune, [4] and terminates westward near the city of Alcluith. As soon as the enemy heard that the Romans were withdrawn, they embarked in boats and made a still more fierce irruption. Again the Romans returned


[1] Henry of Huntingdon, who is following Bede, changes the expression of his author, which runs, "after Julius Caesar entered the island". Bede adds "from this time the Romans ceased to rule in Britain".

[2] Alcluith is now Dumbarton. The situation of Guidi is not exactly known; but from the description it must be somewhere about Leith or Queensferry.

[3] The Clyde.

[4] Near Abercorn (Abercurnig), a village on the south bank of the Frith of Forth, where formerly was a monastery.

34 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

at the prayer of the Britons, and drove the barbarians with great slaughter over the frith. They also aided the Britons in constructing the wall of stone, not as before of turf, and carrying it from one sea to the other. They also built at intervals on the southern shore watch-towers, from which the approach of the enemy might be discerned. Then they bid farewell to their allies, giving them to understand that they should return no more, for they could not exhaust themselves in such distant expeditions. When the Roman forces were thus withdrawn, the enemy again flew to arms, and possessed themselves of all the island as far as the wall. Nor was it long before they laid that in ruins, as well as the neighbouring towns. They soon began to devastate the country within the wall, so that the Britons themselves were driven by famine to resort to thieving and plunder, and nothing was left in the whole country for the sustenance of life, but what was procured by hunting. The eulogy of Honorius: "In his moral and religious character he greatly resembled his father Theodosius, and, although in his times there were many wars, both foreign and civil, they occasioned a very small effusion of blood".

Theodosius also called the Younger, lost the dominion of Britain. He held, however, the empire of the Romans 28 years. In the twenty-third year of his reign, AEtius, an illustrious man, was Consul together with Symmachus. To him the remnant of the Britons transmitted an epistle; in the sequel of which (addressed "to AEtius, Consul for the third time") they thus unfold their lamentable story: "The barbarians drive us to the sea, the sea throws us back to the barbarians; between both we have the choice of death in two shapes, either to be massacred or drowned". But their prayers were of no avail; AEtius could afford them no relief, as he was at this time embarrassed by serious wars with Bledda and Attila, kings of the Huns. And although the year afterwards Bledda, the brother of Attila, fell into an ambush and was slain, Attila was himself so formidable an enemy to the republic that he laid waste nearly the whole of Europe, overthrowing everywhere cities and castles. At the same time a severe famine prevailed at Constantinople, followed by a pestilence, and great part of the city walls, with 56 towers, fell down. So

A.D. 421-448.] THE BRITONS LEFT TO THEMSELVES. 35

also in many of the ruined cities famine and a pestiferous atmosphere destroyed thousands both of men and of beasts. The famine affected Britain, as well as the rest of the provinces, so that the Britons, perceiving that all human aid failed, invoked the divine. Then the Almighty, having tried them, had compassion on them, giving strength to their arms and point to their swords. They burst, therefore, from their fastnesses in the mountains and the woods, and, rushing on the Scots and Picts, routed and slew them in every quarter; while the enemy's assaults were no longer what they had been, and their arms were feeble, opposed to those of the Britons. Thus their heart failed them, their strength was broken, and they fled in their terror, great numbers being slaughtered. The Scots, with shame, returned to Ireland; the Picts seeking revenge in the remotest parts of the island, then first and forever discontinued their inraods. Thus the Lord gave victory to his people, and confounded their enemies. About this time, i.e. in the eighth year of Theodosius, Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine to the Scots, as their first bishop. Theodosius also lost the dominion of Gaul, Spain, and Africa, which the Vandals, the Alans, and the Goths laid waste all lands with fire and sword. In the third year of the siege of Hippo by the fierce Genseric, Augustine, its bishop, deputing in the Lord, was spared the grief of witnessing its fall.

After the victory of the Britons had restored peace, they were blessed with an harvest of such extraordinary abundance as was in the memory of no prior times, so that as their triumph had restored order, this plenty relieved the famine; the Almighty making trial whether, when adversity had failed to correct them, prosperity would render them thankful But excess was followed by every kind of wickedness, without respect of God; and so much did barbarism and malice and falsehood prevail, that whoever manifested a more gentle and truthful disposition was considered the enemy of Britain, and became the common mark for hatred and persecution. Not only secular men, but the pastors of the Lord's flock, casting off his light and easy yoke, became the slaves of drunkenness, revenge, litigious contention, animosities, and every kind of wickedness.

36 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK I.

Then the anger of the Lord was moved, and He visited the corrupt race with a terrible plague, which in a short time carried off such great multitudes that those who survived scarcely sufficed to bury the dead. But not even the sight of death, nor the fear of death, were sufficient to recall the survivors from the more fatal death of the soul into which their sins had plunged them. The righteous judgment of God was therefore openly shown in his determination to destroy the sinful nation; and He stirred up against them the Scots and Picts, who were ready to avenge their former losses by still fiercer attacks. They rushed on the Britons, like wolves against lambs, driving them again into the fastnesses of the woods in which it was their custom to take refuge. There they took counsel what was to be done, and in what quarter protection was to be sought against these repeated irruptions of the northern tribes. It was agreed, therefore, by common consent, with the concurrence of their king Vortigern, that the nation of the Saxons should be invited to come to their aid from over the sea; a counsel disposed by divine Providence to the end that punishment should follow the wicked, as the issue of events sufficiently proved.

A.D. 449.] ARRIVAL OF THE SAXONS. 37

BOOK II. [1]

IN the former book we have treated of the forty-five emperors who reigned in Britain, as well as the rest of the world, of whom, if any now possess heavenly glory, it is because they are no longer in possession of earthly. Our discourse of them has indeed been meagre, but a longer narrative of their actions would have been wearisome, tedious, and disgusting. Let us rather reflect, from the contemplation of those for whose majesty and dominion the whole world barely sufficed, how worthless is all the glory and power and loftiness for which men toil and sweat and are frantic. If they desire glory (I speak after the manner of men), let them seek that which is true; if fame, that which does not vanish; if honour, that which will not fade: not that of the emperors we have spoken of, all whose glory is now an empty tale. That true glory and fame and honour will be ours, if we follow Him who alone is the Truth with joy and gladness, and if we rest our whole trust and hope in God, and not on the children of men, as the Britons did, who, rejecting Him, and having no fear of his great majesty, sought for aid from Pagans, and obtained that which befitted them.

For the nation of the Saxons or Angles, being invited by the aforesaid king, crossed over to Britain, in three long ships, in the year of grace 449, [2] when Martian and Valerian, who reigned seven years, were emperors, and in the twenty-fourth year after the foundation of the kingdom of


[1] This Second Book of Henry of Huntingdon's History is principally founded on Bede, with the assistance occasionally of the Saxon Chronicle. It relates the arrival of the Saxons and Angles in Britain, and the establishment, seriatim, of the several kingdoms of the Heptarchy, the history of which it pursues to the year 685, when all the English kings and nations bad been converted to Christianity.

[2] See Bede, book i. c. 15.

38 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

the Franks, of whom Pharamond was the first king. The Saxons, therefore, were settled by the British king in the eastern part of the island, that thus they might fight for a country which was to become their own, while in truth their object was to subjugate the whole.

A battle was fought by the Saxons against the Scots and Picts, who had penetrated as far as Stamford, [1] in the south of Lincolnshire, 40 miles from the town of that name. But as the Northerns fought with darts and spears while the Saxons plied lustily their battle-axes and long-swords, the Picts were unable to withstand the weight of their onset, and saved themselves by flight. The Saxons gained. the victory and its spoils; their countrymen receiving tidings of which, as well as of the fertility of the island and the cowardice of the Britons, a larger fleet was immediately sent over with a greater body of armed men, which, when added to the first detachment, rendered the army invincible. The new comers received from the Britons an allotment of territory on the terms that they should defend by arms the peace and security of the country against their enemies, while the Britons engaged to pay the auxiliary force. The immigrants belonged to three of the most powerful nations of Germany, the Saxons, the Angles, and Jutes. From the Jutes sprung the people of Kent and the Isle of Wight, with those who are still called Jutes in the province of the West Saxons, opposite to the Isle of Wight. From the Saxons, that is, from the country which is now distinguished as that of the Old Saxons, are descended the East Saxons, the South Saxons, and the West Saxons. From the Angles, that is, the people of the country called Angle, which has remained a desert from that time to the present, and is situated between the districts of the Jutes and the Saxons, are descended the East Angles, the Middle Anglian, the Mercians, all the race of the Northumbrian, that is, the tribes which settled to the north of the river Humber, with the rest of the English people. Their principal chiefs are reported to have been two brothers, named


[1] This account of the battle of Stamford, and the first settlement of the Saxons in Britain, Henry of Huntingdon introduces from some other authority, now unknown, into his history, in which he generally follows Bade.

A.D. 450.] RAVAGES OF THE SAXONS. 39

Hengist and Horsa, who were sons of Victgils, who was son of Wicta, who was son of Vecta, who was son of Woden, who was son of Frealof, who was son of Fredulf, who was son of Fin, who was son of Flocwald, who was son of Jeta, who, they said, was son of God, that is, of some idol. From this stock the royal race of many nations derived its origin. Before long such swarms of the nations we have just mentioned spread themselves throughout the island, that the foreign population increased exceedingly, and began to alarm the native inhabitants who had invited them over. A certain author says that King Vortigern, from apprehension of their power, married the daughter of Hengist, a heathen; others, that, as a climax to his wickedness, he married his own daughter, and had a son by her; for which he was excommunicated by St. Germans and the whole episcopal synod. [1]

The king Vortigern was called upon by his son-in-law and the whole army, who, God permitting, sought an occasion for quarrel, to furnish larger supplies; and they threatened that, unless these were forthcoming, they would break the treaty, and ravage the whole island. Nor were they slow in carrying their threats into execution; for they formed an alliance with the Picts, and having collected an immense army there remained no one able to resist them. So that the fire kindled by the hands of the Pagans executed the just judgment of God for the sins of the people, as that formerly lighted by the Chaldaeans consumed the walls and buildings of Jerusalem. So here by the agency of the heathen conqueror, but by the disposition of the righteous Judge, they ravaged the neighbouring cities and lands, and the conflagration extended from the eastern to the western sea, there being none to oppose it, and spread over almost the whole face of the devoted island. Public and private buildings were levelled to the ground; the priests were everywhere slain before the altars; the prelates and the people, without respect of persons, were destroyed with fire and sword; nor were there any to bury those who were thus cruelly slaughtered. Some who were taken in the mountains were instantly butchered; some, exhausted


[1] See Nennius, cc. 37 and 39.

40 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

by famine, delivered themselves up to the enemy, willing to undergo perpetual slavery in return for food, if they escaped slaughter on the spot. Some, with grief, sought refuge beyond the sea; others, cleaving to their native country, prolonged a wretched existence among the mountains, woods, and inaccessible cliffs, in want of everything, and continually trembling for their lives. Meanwhile, the king Vortigern concealed himself in the forests and mountain fastnesses of the west of Britain, hated by all. It is reported, [1] also, that when the king withdrew himself to avoid hearing the exhortations of St. Germanus, who followed him in his flight, fire from heaven struck the castle in which he was secluded, and the king, perishing in the ruins, was never more seen.

When, however, the army of the Saxons, having entirely routed the natives, returned to their own territory, the Britons, emerging from their hiding-places, began to take heart, and, assembling a great force, marched into Kent against Hengist and Horsa. They had for their leader at that time Ambrosius Aurelian, an able man, the only one of Roman extraction who had chanced to survive the late troubles, in which his parents, who had been invested with the name and the ensigns of royalty, both perished. Two sons of Vortigern, Gortimer and Catiger, acted as generals under him. Ambrosius himself led the first rank, Gortimer the second, Catiger the third; while Horsa and Hengist, though their troops were inferior in numbers, led them boldly against the enemy, dividing them into two bodies, of which each of the brothers commanded one.

[A.D. 455.] The battle was fought at Aeillestreu, [2] in the seventh year after the arrival of the Saxons in Britain. At the first onset, Horsa charged the troops of Catiger with such fury that they were scattered like dust before the wind, and the king's son was dashed to the earth and slain. Meanwhile, his brother Gortimer, a most resolute soldier, throwing himself on the flank of Horsa's band, routed it, and, their brave leader being slain, compelled the survivors


[1] See Nennius.

[2] Sax. Chron., AEgclesthrep, "a thorp, or village, near Aylesford", in Kent.- Ingram. See Nennius, c. 46, and Bede, book i. c. 16.

A.D. 455.] VICTORY OF AMBROSIUS. 41

to retreat on the division of Hengist, which was engaged unbroken with the van of the British army commanded by Ambrosius. The brunt of the battle now fell on Hengist, who, straitened by the skilful advance of Gortimer, though he made a long resistance and caused a great loss to the Britons, at length, what he had never done before, fled. It is reported by some writers that Hengist subsequently fought three battles in the same year against the Britons, but could not make head against the proved valour of Gortimer and the superior number of his forces; so that once he was driven into the isle of Thanet and once to his ships, and dispatched messengers to recall the Saxons who had returned to their own country.

The year following, when Leo was emperor, who reigned seventeen years, Gortimer, the flower of the youth of Britain, fell sick and died, and with him ended the victories and the hopes of his countrymen. Encouraged by his death, and strengthened by the recall of his auxiliaries, who had for a time left the island, Hengist, with his son Esc, prepared for war at Creganford; [1] while the Britons mustered four powerful bodies of men, under four of their bravest chiefs. [2] But when the game of war commenced they were disheartened by the unusual superiority of the Saxons in number. Besides the newly-arrived were chosen troops, who dreadfully gashed the bodies of the Britons with their battle-axes and long swords; nor was there any respite till they had cut down and slain all the four leaders, and the Britons fled in the greatest terror out of Thanet, as far as London. They never again appeared in arms in Kent, where Hengist and his son Esc thenceforth reigned, the kingdom of Kent dating from the eighth year after the arrival of the Angles.

In those times [A.D. 429] Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, who was illustrious for his sanctity and miraculous powers, together with Lupus, bishop of Troyes, came into Britain


[1] Crayford, the ford of the river Cray, near Bexley, in Kent.

[2] The Saxon Chronicle says nothing of this division; but states that four thousand Britons were slain. Henry of Huntingdon, who seems to have had before him some of the worst MSS. of the Saxon Chronicle, ingeniously perverts the text, but very naturally kills the four leaders of the four divisions he has conjured up.- See Ingram, Sax. Chron.

42 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

to extinguish the Pelagian heresy. In confirmation of their arguments, to convince the assembled people, he restored sight to the daughter of a tribune, who had been blind ten years; and he also stopped the burning of a cottage wrapt in flame, in which lay a sick man, who was thus rescued from the conflagration. He placed in the tomb of St Alban the relics of several other martyrs, carrying away from it a particle of dust still red with the blood of the saint; on the same day, and at that place, converting to the Lord a vast crowd of people. Meanwhile, the Saxons and Picts having united their forces, made war upon the Britons, who implored the aid of the holy Germanns. The saint promised to be himself their leader. Acting, therefore, as general, he drew up the army in a valley surrounded by hills, posting it in the quarter at which the enemy was expected to approach. [1] And now the scouts announced that their savage foes were in sight. Immediately the holy man, raising the standard aloft, exhorted them all to repeat his words with a loud voice. The enemy was advancing carelessly, thinking to take them by surprise, when thrice he cried "Hallelujah", and thrice the priests repeated it. The word was resounded by all the people. Their shouts were multiplied by the echoes of the surrounding hills, and the enemy was struck with terror, believing that not only the overhanging cliffs, but the very skies themselves, were falling upon them. Such was their terror that they fled in disorder; and their feet being hardly swift enough to carry them from the scene of their alarm they threw away their arms, well satisfied if they could escape the danger with only their naked bodies. Many in their retreat, blinded by their fears, plunged into the river which they had crossed, and were swept away by the torrent. The Britons unhurt looked on while they were avenged of their enemies, and joyfully collected the spoils which their heaven-wrought victory had secured. The prelates exulted in a triumph gained without bloodshed, by faith, and not by human strength. The foe thus conquered, the prelates, blessed both in body and mind, returned to their own


[1] This battle was fought near Hold, in Flintshire. See Note to Bede's History, p. 31 of the present series.

A.D. 466.] BATTLE OF EBBFLEET. 43

country. Not long afterwards, the Pelagian heresy bursting forth again, Germanus, at the entreaty of all the priests of Britain, returned again, accompanied by Severus, Bishop of Treves, and, re-establishing the orthodox faith, healed the son of Elafius, a chief, who was lame from a contraction of the tendons of the knee, in the sight of all the people. Having restored order he then went to Ravenna, to implore peace for the Armorican nation. There, having been received with the greatest honour by Valentinian, he departed to Christ. Not long afterwards Valentinian was murdered by the followers of AEtius, the patrician, whom he had put to death; the same to whom the Britons addressed the letter before quoted. With Valentinian ended the empire of the West.

After a little time Hengist the king and Esc his son, supported by the auxiliaries from beyond the sea, collected an invincible army in the seventeenth year after their arrival in Britain. [1] Against this was gathered the whole strength of Britain, in twelve columns, admirably arrayed. The armies met at Wippedesflede, [2] where the battle was long and obstinate, until at length Hengist overthrew the twelve chiefs, taking their standards, and putting their followers to flight. He, too, lost many of his troops and principal leaders; one especially, called Wipped, from whom the place where the battle was fought took its name. This victory was therefore a source of regret and lamentation on both sides, so that for a long time neither the Saxons invaded the territories of the Britons, nor the Britons ventured to come into Kent. But still, though there was a respite from foreign, there was none from internal, war. [3] Amidst the rains of the cities which the enemy had destroyed, the inhabitants who had escaped the rain fought with one another. While, indeed, the calamities they had suffered were fresh in their memories, both kings and priests, chiefs and people, maintained their respective ranks; but


[1] [A.D. 465.] From this date to the year 527, Henry of Huntingdon introduces many recitals, for which it is not known whence he collected materials.

[2] Wippedfleet, or Ebbfleet, Kent.

[3] Bede, book i. 22.

44 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

when a younger generation grew up, which had no experience beyond the present settled state of affairs, all the sanctions of truth and justice were violated and subverted, so that, not to say all traces of them, the very memory of their existence, remained to very few indeed. God, therefore, sent over from time to time from amongst the German nations most cruel chiefs, to be destroyers of the nation which was hateful to Him. Among the principal of these was the chief AElla, with his three sons, Cymen, Pleting, [1] and Cissa.

[A.D. 477.] AElla and his sons having fitted out a fleet, in which a large body of troops was embarked, appeared off Cymenesore [2], where their landing was opposed by vast numbers of the Britons, who flew to arms from the neighbouring districts, and with loud shouts gave them battle. The Saxons, who were vastly superior in stature and strength, received their attacks with much coolness; the onset of the natives was disorderly, as rushing on without concert, and in desultory bands, they were cut down by the serried ranks of the enemy, and those who escaped increased the confusion by reports of their disaster. The defeated Britons fled to the shelter of the neighbouring forest, which is called Andredsleige; [3] while the Saxons possessed themselves of the sea-coast of Sussex, continually occupying more territory from time to time, until the ninth year of their descent on that coast. Then, however, their further advance was so audacious that the kings and chiefs of the Britons assembled at Mercredesburne, where they fought a battle with AElla and his sons. The issue was doubtful, both armies being greatly crippled and thinned, and, vowing against a continuation of the conflict, retired to their own districts, while AElla sent messages to his compatriots entreating aid. AElla came into Britain about the thirtieth year after the arrival of the Angles.

[A.D. 488.] Hengist, King of Kent, died in the fortieth


[1] Wlencing.

[2] Shoreham, in Sussex; some, however, place it near Selsey.

[3] The Anderida Sylva of the Romans, and Coed-Andred of the Britons; the vast forests of which the wealds of Sussex and Kent are the present remains.

A.D. 488-495.] KINGDOM OF SUSSEX. 45

year after his invasion of Britain, and his son Esc reigned 34 years, [1] in the time of the Emperor Zeno, whose reign lasted 17 years. Esc, inheriting his father's valour, firmly defended his kingdom against the Britons, and augmented it by territories conquered from them.

[A.D. 490.] The kingdom of Sussex, which Ella founded, he long and valiantly maintained. In the third year after the death of Hengist, in the time of Anastasius, Emperor of Rome, who reigned 27 years, AElla was joined by auxiliaries from his own country, with whose assistance he laid siege to Andredecester; a strongly-fortified town. [2] The Britons swarmed together like wasps, assailing the besiegers by daily ambuscades and nocturnal sallies. There was neither day nor night in which some new alarm did not harass the minds of the Saxons; but the more they were provoked, the more vigorously they pressed the siege. Whenever they advanced to the assault of the town, the Britons from without falling on their rear with their archers and slingers drew the Pagans away from the walls to resist their own attack, which the Britons, lighter of foot, avoided by taking refuge in the woods; and when they turned again to assault the town, again the Britons hung on their rear. The Saxons were for some time harassed by these manoeuvres, till, having lost a great number of men, they divided their army into two bodies, one of which carried on the siege, while the other repelled the attacks from without. After this the Britons were so reduced by continual famine that they were unable any longer to withstand the force of the besiegers, so that they all fell by the edge of the sword, with their women and children, not one escaping alive. The foreigners were so enraged at the loss they had sustained that they totally destroyed the city, and it was never afterwards rebuilt, so that its desolate site is all that is now pointed out to travellers.

[A.D. 495.] In the forty-seventh year from the arrival of


[1] Saxon Chronicle, 24 years.

[2] Saxon Chronicle. Pevensey Castle is supposed to stand on the site of Andred-cester, though some antiquarians place it elsewhere on the coast of Sussex. Its name, and the subsequent details of Henry of Huntingdon, show that it stood on the verge of the great wood mentioned in a preceding note.

48 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

The kingdom of Wessex was founded in the year 71 of the Angles in Britain, A.D. 519, in the time of the Emperor Justinian the elder, who reigned eight years. In the course of time the kings of Wessex subjugated all the other kingdoms, and established a monarchy over the whole of England, so that we may reckon the times of all the other kings with reference to those of the kings of Wessex, by whose growing power the others may be noted. When Cerdic had reigned seventeen years in Wessex, that same year some of the most powerful of the British chiefs joined battle against him. It was fought bravely and obstinately on both sides, till when the day was declining, the Saxons gained the victory; and there was great slaughter that day of the inhabitants of Albion, which would have been still more terrible had not the setting of the sun stayed it. Thus was the name of Cerdic glorified, and the fame of his wars, and of his son Kenric was spread over all the land. From that day is reckoned the beginning of the kingdom of Wessex, which, absorbing all the rest, has continued to our times. Cerdic and Kenric, his son, in the ninth year of his reign [A.D. 527], fought another battle against the Britons at Cerdicesford, in which there was great slaughter on both sides. At that time large bodies of men came successively from Germany, and took possession of East-Anglia and Mercia; they were not as yet reduced under the government of one king; various chiefs contended for the occupation of different districts, waging continual wars with each other; but they were too numerous to have their names preserved.

In those times Arthur the mighty warrior, general of the armies and chief of the kings of Britain, was constantly victorious in his wars with the Saxons. He was the commander in twelve battles, and gained twelve victories. The first battle was fought near the mouth of the river which is called Glenus. [1] The second, third, fourth and fifth battles were fought near another river which the Britons called Duglas, in the country of Cinuis: the sixth on the river called Bassas. The seventh was fought in the forest of Chelidon, which in British is called "Cat-coit-Celidon". The eighth battle against the barbarians was fought near the


[1] Or Glenn.

A.D. 527-530.] KINGDOM OF ESSEX FOUNDED. 49

castle Guinnion, during which Arthur bore the image of St. Mary, mother of God and always virgin, on his shoulders, and by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed Mary his mother, the Saxons were routed the whole of that day, and many of them perished with great slaughter. The ninth battle he fought at the city Leogis, [1] which in the British tongue is called "Kaerlion". The tenth he fought on the bank of a river which we call Tractiheuroit; the eleventh, on a hill which is named Brevoin, where he routed the people we call Cathbregion. The twelfth was a hard-fought battle with the Saxons on Mount Badon, in which 440 of the Britons fell by the swords of their enemies in a single day, none of their host acting in concert, and Arthur alone receiving succour from the Lord. These battles and battle-fields are described by Gildas the historian, [2] but in our times the places are unknown, the Providence of God, we consider, having so ordered it that popular applause and flattery, and transitory glory, might be of no account. At this period there were many wars, in which sometimes the Saxons, sometimes the Britons, were victors; but the more the Saxons were defeated, the more they recruited their forces by invitations sent to the people of all the neighbouring countries.

The kingdom of Essex, that is, of the East-Saxons, was founded, as far as we can collect from old writers, by Erchenwin, who was the son of Offa, who was the son of Biedcan, who was the son of Sigewlf, who was the son of Spoewe, who was the son of Gesac, who was the son of Andesc, who was the son of Saxnat. Slede, the son of Erchenwin, succeeded his father in the kingdom of Essex; he married the daughter of Ermeric, king of Kent, and sister of Ethelbert. His son by her, Sibert, was the first king of Essex converted to the Christian faith.

[A.D. 530.] Meanwhile, Cerdic, with his son Kenric, having assembled a great army, fought at Wit-land, and being successful in the war, reduced the whole island after a prodigious


[1] Or Legionis, of the legion.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon quotes Nennius under this name. See cc. 63-4 of the Hist. Nenn.

50 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

slaughter of the enemy in battle at Witgaresburg, [1] in the thirteenth year of his reign. Four years afterwards, Certic conferred the island, which in Latin is called "Vecta", on his nephews, Stuf and Witgar. Cerdic, the first king of Wessex, reigned eighteen years. On his death [A.D. 534] Kenric, his son, reigned after him 26 years, in the times of the Emperor Justinian, whose reign lasted 38 years, and when Vigilius was Pope.

[A.D. 538.] In the fifth year of Kenric, the sun was eclipsed from daylight to the third hour, in the month of March; and in the seventh year of his reign [A.D. 540], it was eclipsed from the third to almost the ninth hour, on the xii. kal, July [20th June], so that the stars were visible. In the tenth year of Kenric's reign, died Witgar, and was buried at Witgaresburg, which derived its name from him.

The kingdom of the Northumbrian dates from the thirteenths year of the reign of Kenric. The chiefs of the Angles who subdued that province, after a series of severe battles, elected Ida, a young nobleman of the highest rank, king. He was the son of Eoppe, [4] the son of Esc, [5] the son of Inguim, the son of Angenwite, the son of Aloc, the son of Beonoc, the son of Brand, the son of Baeldaet, the son of Woden, the son of Fredelaf, the son of Fredewlf, the son of Fin, the son of Godwlf, the son of Heatae. [6] Ida, a valiant prince, reigned twelve years, indefatigable and always in arms. He built Bebanburgh, [7] fortifying it by surrounding it with an earthen mound, and afterwards with a wall. He began his reign in the year of grace 547.

[A.D. 552.] Kenric, in the eighteenth year of his reign fought against the Britons, who advanced with a great army as far as Salisbury; but having assembled an auxiliary force from all quarters, he engaged them triumphantly, overthrowing their numerous army, and completely routing and dispersing it. In the twenty-second year of his reign


[1] Carisbrook?

[2] Sixteen?

[3] Fourteenth?

[4] This genealogy follows the Saxon Chronicle.

[5] AEscwine.

[6] Or Geatae.

[7] Bamborough Castle, in Northumberland. See Saxon Chronicle. Henry of Huntingdon, who attributes both the bridge and the wall to King Ida, is followed by M. of Westminster, an. 548.

A.D. 556.] BATTLE OF BANBURY. 51

[A.D. 556], Kenric, with his son Ceaulin, had another battle with the Britons, which was after this manner: to avenge the defeat which they had sustained five years before, the Britons assembled vast numbers of their bravest warriors, and drew them up near Banbury. Their battle array was formed in nine battalions, a convenient number for military tactics, three being posted in the van, three in the centre, and three in the rear, with chosen commanders to each, while the archers and slingers and cavalry were disposed after the Roman-order. But the Saxons advanced to the attack in one compact body with such fury, that the standards being dashed together and borne down, and the spears being broken, it became a hand-to-hand fight with the sword. The battle lasted till night-fall without either party being able to claim the victory. Nor is that wonderful, considering that the warriors were men of extraordinary stature, strength, and resolution; while in our days they are so degenerate, that when armies come into collision, one or other of them is put to flight at the first onset. Kenric, having reigned 26 years, died [A.D. 560], and Ceaulin his son reigned in his stead 30 years. In the same year, Ida, king of Northumbria, also died, and after him Ella reigned 30 years, though he was not the son of Ida, but the son of Iffa, the son of Uscfrea, the son of Witgils, the son of Westrefalena, the son of Sefugil, the son of Seabald, the son of Sigegeat, the son of Wepdeg, the son of Woden, the son of Fredealaf.

In the sixth year of Ceaulin's reign in Wessex, Ethelbert, that great king, began to reign in Kent. [1] He was the third of the English kings who ruled all their eastern provinces which are divided by the river Humber, and the neighbouring boundaries, from the northern kingdom. The first who possessed this supreme power [2] was AElla, king of the East-Saxons; the second, Ceaulin, king of the West-Saxons; the third, as just stated, Ethelbert, king of Kent; the fourth,


[1] The Saxon Chronicle fixes the accession of Ethelbert in the first year of Ceaulin, instead of the sixth, in which it appears to agree with the computation of Bede. See book i. c. 5.

[2] These paramount kings were called Bretwalds. The rank was personal and not hereditary.

52 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

Redwald, king of the East-Angles, who, during the life time of Ethelbert, held the government of his own state The fifth monarch was Edwin, king of the Northumbrian, the most powerful people of all who inhabited Britain, His dominion extended over all the tribes both of the English and Britons, with the exception of the people of Kent. He also reduced to the dominion of the English, the Isle of Man and the other islands which lie between Britain and Ireland. Sixthly, Oswald, king of Northumbria, a prince of great sanctity, held the sovereignty of the various nations within the same boundaries. Seventhly, Oswy, his brother, in a short time established his rule with almost equal limits; and he also subjugated and rendered tributary most of the tribes of Scots and Picts who occupied the northern districts of Britain. The eighth was Egbert, king of Wessex, whose rule extended as far as the Humber. The ninth was Alfred, his grandson, who established his authority in all parts of the kingdom. The tenth was Edgar, great-grandson of Alfred, a brave though peaceful king, whose dominion, or at least his ascendancy, extended over all the English and Scottish people; which his successors inherit to the present day. It was in the time of Ethelbert that the English were converted to the Christian faith, which will be diligently treated of in the sequel of our history. [1]

[A.D. 568.] Ceaulin, in the ninth year of his reign, with his brother Chuta, two very valiant men, were compelled by various causes to engage in war with Ethelbert, who had arrogantly intruded himself into their kingdom. (In a battle fought at Mirandune, [2] his two generals, Oslap and Cneban, thunderbolts of war, with a vast number of their followers, were slain, and Ethelbert himself was pursued as far as Kent.) This is remarkable as the first international war among a English kings.

[A.D. 571.] In the twelfth year also of Ceaulin, his brother Cutha fought a battle with the Britons at Bedeanford, now called Bedford, the chief town of the neighbouring district.


[1] In Book iii. following.

[2] Query, Merton, in Surrey. Some MSS. read Wipandune or Wibbandune.

A.D. 571-590.] EAST-ANGLIA AND MERCIA. 53

In this battle he was victorious, and the fruits of his arms were four fortified places, namely, Lienbirig, Aelesbury, Benesintune, and AEcgnesham; [1] but Cutha, a great man, the king's brother, died the same year.

The founder of the kingdom of East-Anglia, which includes Norfolk and Suffolk, was Uffa, from whom the kings of the East-Angles were called Uffingas. It was afterwards held by his brother Titulus, the bravest of the East-Anglian kings.

[A.D. 577.] Ceaulin, with his son Cuthwine, in the eighteenth year of his reign fought a battle with the Britons at Deorham. [2] Three British kings, Commagil, Candidan, and Farinmagil, led their followers against them splendidly and skilfully arrayed, so that the conflict was very obstinate. But the Almighty gave the victory on that day to his enemies, and discomfited his own people, who had foolishly offended Him, so that the three Christian kings were slain, and the survivors from the slaughter were put to flight. The Saxons pursued them fiercely, taking three important towns, Gloucester, Cirencester, and Bath.

[A.D. 584.] In the twenty-fifth year of his reign, Ceaulin and Cuthwine again fought with the Britons at Fedhanlea. [3] The battle was fought with great loss and fury on both sides. Cuthwine, overcome by numbers, was struck down and slain; and the English were routed and put to flight. But the king Ceaulin succeeded in rallying his troops, and snatched the victory from those who had been at first victors, and, pursuing the vanquished, gained much land and great booty.

Crida, as far as we learn from old records, was the first king of Mercia. Such were the beginnings of the several English kingdoms, of which I have pointed out the dates and revolutions as clearly as I could from what we find in the books of ancient writers, bringing them into relation with the aeras of the kings of Wessex.

[A.D. 590-596.] Ceaulin died in the thirtieth year of his


[1] Lygcanburh (Petrie), Lenbury (Ingram). The three last places are dearly Ailesbury, Benson, and Ensham.- See Sax. Chron.

[2] Dyrham, in Gloucestershire.

[3] Frethern, near the Severn in Gloucestershire.

54 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

reign, [1] and after him Ceolric reigned five years. Ella, king of the Northumbrian, died the same year, [2] and after him Ethelric reigned also five years. In the third year after this, the Britons and Saxons fought a battle at Wodnesburie. [3] The British army advanced in close order, after the Roman fashion, but the Saxons rushed forward with desperate, but disorderly, courage, and the conflict was very severe. God gave the victory to the Britons; and the Saxons, who commonly were as much superior to the Britons in fight, as they were slower in flight, suffered much in their retreat. After these times Crida, king of Mercia, departed this life, and his son Wippa [or Pybba] succeeded him. About this time also Ethelfert, who is named the Fierce, succeeded Ethelric in Northumbria. Now also the Lombards invaded Italy; and not long afterwards Gregory introduced the word of God into England.

[A.D. 597.] During the reign of Ceolric in Wessex, of Ethelfert in Northumbria, and of Wippa in Mercia, Ethelbert, the king of Kent, and the Kentish people, were converted to the faith, as will be shown in the Book following. [4] Wippa was succeeded by Keorl, [5] who was not his son, but his kinsman. Ceolric departed this life after a reign of five years, after whom Ceolwulf reigned in Wessex fourteen years, through all of which he was engaged in wars, either with the English, or the Scots, or the Picts. Ceolwulf was


[1] The Saxon Chronicle states that Ceaulin "was driven from his kingdom" in 590 [or 591], and died in 593. It does not speak of his having been restored, and dates the accession of Ceolric from his expulsion. Henry of Huntingdon, however, confuses the two events, though he computes Ceaulin's reign correctly at 80 years.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon also errs in fixing the death of Ella and the accession of Ethelric the same year as the death of Ceaulin. The Saxon Chronicle, the better authority, places it in 588.

[3] Wansborough, or Wanborough, Wilts. According to the Saxon Chronicle, it was after this battle, which was in 591, that Ceaulin was expelled.

[4] Book iii.

[5] "Flor. of Worcester makes Keorl the same person as Crida; but as the name of 'Keorl' does not appear in the genealogies of the kings, Henry of Huntingdon considers him a different person, and describes him as a kinsman, and not a son, of Wippa".-Petrie.

A.D. 604.] SAXONS AND BRITONS. 55

son of Chute, who was son of Kenric, who was son of Cerdic.

In the seventh year of Ceolwulf, [1] which was the first of the Emperor Phocas, who governed the Roman Empire eight years, Ethelbert, the fierce king of the Northumbrian, who was more powerful and more ambitious than all the English kings, made great havoc of the Britons. No one of their generals, no one of their kings, reduced more of the land to the condition of being either tributary to the Saxons or colonized by them, after the native inhabitants were either exterminated or enslaved. What was said of Benjamin truly be applied to him: "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil". [2] Wherefore, roused by his aggressions, AEden, king of the Scots who had settled in Britain, marched against him with a numerous and powerful army, but was defeated and fled with a very few followers.

[A.D. 603.] In this battle, which was fought at a well known place called Degsfanstan, [3] almost the whole army of the Scots was slaughtered. Tedbald also, the brother of Ethelfrid, was slain with the body of troops which he commanded. From that time none of the Scottish kings ventured to engage in war with the English nation.

[A.D. 607.] In the ninth year of Ceolwulf, the king Ethelfrid obtained a victory over the Britons at Carlisle; of the events of this, the greatest of his wars, we propose to treat in the Book which follows, respecting the conversion of the English. Among the various wars in which Ceolwulf was engaged, which we omit to notice for the sake of brevity, there was a very memorable battle against the men of Sussex, in which both armies suffered grievously, that of Sussex the most severely, Ceolwulf died after a reign of fourteen years, and after him Kinigils was king of Wessex during 31 years, in the time of Heraclius, who was emperor 26 years. Kinigils was son of Ceolric, the son of Chute, the son of Cerdic. In the fourth year of his reign [A.D. 614] he associated with himself in the regal dignity his brother Kiehelm, [4] and they assembled an army against the Britons


[1] Bede, i. 34.

[2] Gen. xlix. 27.

[3] Dauston(?) in Cumberland.

[4] Saxon Chronicle, Cwichelm.

56 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

at Beandune. [1] As soon as it was formed into sections, companies, and battalions, with centurions, generals, and commanders in due order, it was led against the enemy. But when the Britons saw it advance in terrible array, with the gay standards pointed towards them, the long spears advanced, and the edges of the heavy battle-axes gleaming in their eyes, they were struck with a sudden panic, and at once had recourse to flight; but not in time to save themselves. The Saxons were victorious without any loss on their side, and on numbering the slain they counted two thousand and sixty-two bodies of the Britons.

[A.D. 616-17.] In the sixth year of Kinigils, died Ethelbert, king of Kent, and was succeeded by his son AEdbold. In the following year, Ethelfrid, king of the Northumbrians, and Redwald, king of East-Anglia, levied numerous armies on both sides, in consequence of provocations mutually received. A battle was fought between them on the borders of Mercia, on the eastern bank of the river Idle: [2] from whence, it is said "the river Idle was stained with English blood". The fierce king Ethelfrid, indignant that any one should venture to resist him, rushed on the enemy boldly, but not in disorder, with a select body of veteran soldiers, though the troops of Redwald made a brilliant and formidable display, marching in three bodies, with fluttering standards and bristling spears and helmets, while their numbers greatly exceeded their enemies. The king of the Northumbrians, as if he had found an easy prey, at once fell upon the close columns of Redwald, and put to the sword Rainer, the king's son, with the division he commanded, his own precursors to the shades below. Meanwhile Redwald enraged, but not appalled, by this severe loss, stood invincibly firm with his two remaining columns. The Northumbrians made vain attempts to penetrate them, and Ethelfrid, charging among the enemy's squadrons, became separated from his own troops and was struck down on a heap of bodies he had slain. The death of their king was the signal for universal flight. Ethelfrid was succeeded by Edwin, who was afterwards converted to Christianity. [3] So great was the peace in Britain during his


[1] Bampton, in Oxfordshire.

[2] See Sax. Chron.

[3] See Bede, ii. 16.

A.D. 617-628.] WARS OF THE SAXONS. 57

reign, as far as his dominion extended, that a woman would travel with a little child from sea to sea without apprehension of danger. The king also caused posts to be fixed on the highways near clear fountains, and caused brazen cups to be suspended from them for the refreshment of travellers, for which either fear or love secured a safe respect. Ensigns were constantly borne before the king; and on the roads that kind of standard which the Romans call "Tuffa", and the English, Tuff, [1] was carried before him wherever he went.

[A.D. 626.] In the sixteenth year of Kinigils, he, together with Kichelm, made war on Edwin, whom they had before attempted to assassinate; but they were deservedly defeated, as will hereafter appear. In the same year Penda the Strong began to reign over Mercia. He was the son of Wippa, the son of Crida, the son of Cinewald, the son of Cnibba, the son of Icil, the son of Eomer, the son of Angeltheau, the son of Offa, the son of Weremund, the son of Witlac, the son of Woden. The same year died Sebert, king of Essex, whose two sons succeeded him in his kingdom. Not long afterwards they engaged in war with Kinigils and Kichelm, bravely, indeed, for their army was inferior in numbers, but unfortunately, for both the young men were slain, and of their entire army scarcely a man effected his flight over the masses of the slain and the torrents of their blood. Sigebert, surnamed "the Little", succeeded them; and to him Sigebert, a holy and virtuous king, who was assassinated by his own followers.

[A.D. 628.] The third year after this, Kinigils and Kichelm fought a battle against Penda at Cirencester, where a powerful army was assembled on both sides. Both having vowed not to turn their backs on their enemies, each firmly maintained its ground until they were happily separated by the setting of the sun. In the morning, as they were sensible that, if they renewed the conflict, the destruction of both armies must ensue, they listened to moderate counsels, and concluded a treaty of peace.


[1] Probably a tuft of feathers, mentioned by Vigetius, b. ii. c. 5, among the standards of the Romans; and afterwards used as an armorial ensign, as in the plume of the Prince of Wales, and the crests of the Scropes and other families.

58 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

[A.D. 633.] In the twenty-third year of Kinigils, King Edwin was killed by Penda the Strong, as will be fully and properly related in the following Book. The year following, Oswald, a holy king, mounted the throne of the Northumbrians, which he filled nine years. The year following, Kinigils was converted to the Christian faith, and the next year Kichelm was baptized, who reigned jointly with his father Kinigils, who died that year. About the same time, Earpwald, [1] king of the East-Angles, and brother of Redwald, was converted to the true faith; and when, shortly afterwards, he was slain by Penda the Strong, his brother and successor Sigbert was converted by Felix, the bishop; and the whole nation of the East-Angles at the same time. Eadbald, king of Kent, died four years afterwards [A.D. 640], after a reign of 23 years. He was succeeded by Ercombert, [2] his son, who reigned 26 years, and lived in the time of Heracleonas, who was emperor two years.

[A.D. 643.] Kinigils, after reigning 31 years, departed this life in the time of the Emperor Constantine, who had reigned 33 years, and was the son of the elder Constantine, whose reign lasted half a year. Kinigils was succeeded by his son Kenwald, who held the kingdom of Wessex 31 years, as his father had done. The same year was slain the holy king Oswald, as will be related in the Book following, and after him his brother Oswy reigned 28 years. Kenwald, in the fifth year of his reign [A.D. 645], was attacked by Penda, who had divorced his sister, and, not being able to resist him as his father had done, he was routed before him in battle, and driven out of his kingdom. Recovering it three years afterwards, Kenwald granted to Cedred, [3] his kinsman and ally, three thousand farms, situate near Esesdune. [4] About this time, Sigebert, a servant of God, succeeded his brother Earpwald, king of the East-Angles; whose devotion was such that, having relinquished his kingdom to his cousin Ecgric, he entered


[1] Or Carpwald.

[2] Or Erchenbriht.

[3] Or Cuthred; Sax. Chron. The Chronicle calls this grant "three thousand hides of land by Ashdown", which Ingram suggests may be Cwichelmes-hesaeaf, Cuckamsley-hill, Berks, from Cwichelm, father of Cuthred.

[4] Or AEscendune.

A.D. 655.] PENDA, KING OF MERCIA. 59

a monastery and received the tonsure. After many years, however, they compelled him to go out against the king Penda; but he would only carry a staff in the battle, in which he was slain. The king Ecgric and his whole army fell with him. Anna succeeded, who was son of Eni, of the royal race, an excellent man, and the father of an excellent son.

In the thirteenth year of Kenwald's reign, Penda the Strong attacked Anna, the king of the East-Angles, before named, to whom the verse of Lucan may be applied: [1]

"But Penda for destruction eager burns,
Free passages and bloodless ways he scorns".

Thus he rose with threatening aspect before the doomed host of King Anna:-

Fierce as a wolf, by hunger rendered bold,
O'erleaps the fence, and ravine in the fold,
Mangling the fleecy flock, besmeared with blood;
His jaws, his shaggy hide, reek in the gory flood.
Some he devours, insatiate; some he tears;
Nor one of all the quivering crowd he spares.
So mighty Penda, dealing furious blows,
Prostrates the foremost of his cowering foes".

So King Anna and his army fell quickly at the edge of the sword, and there was scarcely one who survived. Ethelhere succeeded his brother Anna, and was slain in his turn by Penda, Ethelwulf succeeding. The kingdom of East-Anglia having been plundered, Penda the Strong withdrew his army into Northumbria. In the fourteenth year of Kenwald [A.D. 655], Penda, who had slain others with the sword, himself fell by the sword; as it is written, "He who smiteth with the sword, shall perish by the sword". [2] Penda was slain by King Oswy near the river Winwed, [3] whence it is said:-

"At the wined was avenged the slaughter of Anna,
The slaughter of the kings Sigbert and Ecgric,
The slaughter of the kings Oswald and Edwin".

He was succeeded by his son Peda, the first of the kings of


[1] Phars. ii. 439.

[2] Matt. xxvi. 52.

[3] The river Aire, near Leeds.

60 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

Mercia who was baptized; and the people of Mercia, also called Midel-engle, that is, Middle-England, were by him and with him converted to the faith. He was slain shortly afterwards [A.D. 657], upon which Wulfere, his brother, reigned in his stead twenty years; a king who inherited the virtues of his family. At that time also was baptized Sigbert, king of Essex, that is, of the East-Saxons, who succeeded to that kingdom upon the death of Sigbert, surnamed the Little.

[A.D. 658.] Kenwald, king of the West-Saxons, was compelled to fight the Britons near Pen. [1] For, learning that he had been conquered and driven from his kingdom by Penda the Strong, and concluding that he was ill-prepared for war, they mustered a great army, and commenced hostilities with great insolence. At the first onset, the English, for a time, gave way; but, as they dreaded flight more than death, and stood on their defence, the Britons were exhausted, their strength melted away like snow, and, turning their backs on the enemy, they fled from Pen even to Pedred, [2] and an incurable wound was inflicted that day on the race of Brute {A.D. 661]. Kenwald also, in the twentieth year of his reign, engaged in war with Wulfere, king of Mercia, who was son of Penda. For the king of Mercia, [3] inheriting his father's valour and good fortune, having put to flight and expelled the king of Wessex, marched through the enemy's country with a numerous army, and reduced and took possession of the Isle of Wight, which lies opposite. By his influence, Ethelwulf, king of Sussex, was first converted to the faith; and, receiving him from the laver of baptism, he conferred on him the Isle of Wight in token of his adoption; and that he might convert the inhabitants to the faith of Christ, he sent to him Eppa, a presbyter, to preach the Gospel: but at first he was unsuccessful. The third year afterwards [A.D. 664], on the 3rd of May, there was an eclipse of the sun, followed by a grievous pestilence both in Britain and Ireland. That year, Erchenbert, king of Kent, together with Deusdedit, archbishop of Canterbury, died the same day. After that, Egbert, the


[1] See Saxon Chronicle. Pen, near Gillingham, Dorset

[2] Petherton, on the Parret, in Somersetshire.

[3] See Sax. Chron.

A.D. 670.] SAXON KINGS. 61

son of this king, reigned nine years in Kent; and Egbert king, and Oswy king, sent Wighard, the priest, to Rome, that he might be appointed archbishop [A.D. 667]. But, Wighard, dying while he was at Rome, the Pope Vitalian, consecrated in his stead Theodore the Great, archbishop, whose vigorous administration will be noticed in its place.

[A.D. 670.] In the twenty-ninth year of the reign of Kenwald, the great king of Northumbria, Oswy, fell sick and died. Egfert, his son, who succeeded him, reigned fifteen years. Kenwald himself died in the thirty-first year of his reign [A.D. 672]. Upon his death, his wife Sexburgh, reigned one year. The preceding year, flights of birds in England encountered each other in a desperate fight. The same occurrence was repeated in my own time in Normandy during the reign of Henry [A.D. 1119], who is the first of the kings of England so named, and is thus distinguished from any future king of the same name. Birds were distinctly seen engaged in flight near Rouen, in such numbers that myriads of their dead bodies were found; and the foreign birds appeared to have been put to flight. This prodigy was considered to portend the battle between Henry, sovereign Lord of England and Normandy, and Lewis, son of Philip, king of France, in which the powerful King Henry was victorious, and Lewis was defeated and put to flight. [1]

During Sexburgh's short reign, Egbert, king of Kent, died, and was succeeded by his son Lothaire, who reigned twelve years. In his time, Theodore the archbishop held a council at Thetford. [2] Escwin also succeeded to the throne of Essex, but his reign was cut short by premature death. In his second year, however, he had a terrible battle with Wulfere, king of the Mercians. [3] [A.D. 675.] Inheriting the valour of his father and grandfather, the Mercian king had rather the better of it in the conflict, though both armies were severely handled, and on either side many thousand soldiers were sent to the shades below. We are led to reflect how worthless are human achievements, how perishable the warlike triumphs of kings and nobles, when we find that,


[1] The battle of Noyon, in which Henry was nearly killed by Crispin, a Norman officer.

[2] Or "Heortford".

[3] See Sax. Chron.

62 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

of the two kings, who, for the sake of vain pomp and empty glory, inflicted such grievous sufferings on their country, the one, Wulfere, died from disease the same year, the other the year following. Ethelred succeeded him in the kingdom of Mercia. Escwin's reign in Wessex lasted only two years: Kentwin, who succeeded him, reigned nine years. The same year, Ethelred, the new king of Mercia, engaged in an expedition against Lothaire, king of Kent; upon which Lothaire, terrified by the hereditary renown of the Mercian king, shrunk from his approach, and did not venture to march against him. Ethelred, therefore, destroyed the city of Rochester, and, having overrun the whole of Kent, retired with an enormous booty.

[A.D. 678.] In the third year of King Kentwin, a comet was seen during three months, which every morning shone with a brightness like that of the sun. The year following, Egfert, king of Northumbria, and Ethelred, king of Mercia, had a fierce battle near the Trent; in which was slain Alwin, brother of Egfert, a young noble [1] dear to the people of both kingdoms, inasmuch as Ethelred had married his sister Osrith. It seemed now that the seeds were sown of a fierce contest and protracted hostilities between the two warlike nations and kings; but Theodore, a prelate beloved of God, by divine assistance succeeded by his salutary counsels in altogether extinguishing the flames which threatened to burst forth, so that the kings and people on both sides were appeased, without the forfeiture of a single life for the death of the brother of the Northumbrian king, whose revenge was satisfied by the payment of the regulated fine. For a long time afterwards the treaty of peace concluded between the two kings and their respective kingdoms continued unbroken. The same year died AEtheldrida, who was married to King Egfert, but continued to observe her vow of perpetual virginity.

[A.D. 680.] In the seventh year of his reign, Kentwin engaged in war with the Britons, who, making a feeble defence, were furiously driven with fire and sword as far as the sea. About this time a council was held at Hatfield, by Theodore the archbishop. After the death of Kentwin, Cedwalla became king of Wessex [A.D. 685], who caused


[1] "The Etheling".

A.D. 685.] THE HEPTARCHY CHRISTIANISED. 63

the conquered Isle of Wight to be converted to the faith, to which he himself became a convert. All the kings of England, therefore, were now believers, and all parts of the land were blessed with the light and grace of Christ.

In this Book, which might have for its title, "Of the arrival of the English"; I have traced, so to speak, the labyrinth of English affairs while the people were still heathens, bringing them down from the time of the first invasion of Britain by the Saxons, until each of the kingdoms could boast of their illustrious kings, and each of the kings were illuminated by the glorious light of the gospel. And here I bring to a close the present Book, which, though the narrative is contained in a few words, yet describes a long succession of events, achievements, and wars. In the Book following, I propose to relate particularly who were the missionaries, by what exhortations, by what miracles, by what preaching, what kings, and in what order, our countrymen were converted to the faith of the Lord.

The wars which have been described were carried on during the reigns of fourteen emperors, comprising a period of about 218 years: in the time of Mercian, who reigned 7 years; of Leo, who reigned 17 years; of Zeno, who also reigned 17 years; of Anastasius, who reigned 18 years; of Justin the elder, who reigned 8 years; of Justinian the elder, who reigned 38 years; of Justin the younger, who reigned 11 years; of Tiberius, who reigned 7 years; of Maurice, who reigned 21 years; of Phocas, who reigned 8 years; of Heraclius, who reigned 26 years; of Heracleon, who reigned 2 years; of Constantine, who reigned half a year; and of Constantine, his son, who reigned 38 years.

I now propose to collect the names of all the kings of England to this aera, which are scattered throughout the history, in short tables referring to each kingdom; which, it appears to me, so far from being tedious, will be clear and satisfactory to the reader. [1]


[1] "In this recapitulation, the total of each series neither agrees with itself, nor with the truth. The kings of Kent, from Hengist to Baldred, filled a period of 376 years; but according to Henry of Huntingdon, their reigns lasted either 367 or 397 years; and so of the rest".- Petrie.

64 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK II.

The following are the, kings of Kent, in succession:-

Hengist, the first king, was 8 years in making the conquest, and reigned afterwards 32 years; Esc his son reigned gloriously 34 years; Octa reigned obscurely about 20 years; Irmiric reigned in like manner about 25 years; Ethelbert, son of Irmiric, and the first Christian king, had a glorious reign of 56 years; Eadbald, 34; Erchenbert, 34; Egbert, 9; Lothaire, the ninth king, 12.

The following are the kings of Wessex, in succession:-

The first king Cerdic, from the twentieth year after the arrival of the Saxons, reigned 17 years; Kenric, son of Cerdic, reigned 26 years; Ceaulin, son of Kenric, reigned 30 years; Ceolric, son of Ceaulin, reigned 5 years; Ceolwulf, son of Cutha, brother of Ceaulin, reigned 14 years; Kinigils, son of Ceola, son of Cutha, reigned 31 years, the first who was converted to the faith; Kenwald, son of Kinigils, also reigned 31 years; Sexburgh, wife of Kenwald, reigned 1 year; Escwin, son of Kenwald, reigned 2 years; Kenwin, kinsman of Escwin, reigned 9 years.

The following are the kings of Essex, in succession:-

Erchenwin, the first king; Slede; Sebert, first received the faith; Sigebert; Sibert; Swithelm; Sebbi; Sigard.

The following are the kings of Northumbria, in succession:-

Ida, the first king; AElla; Ethelfert; Edwin, first received the faith; Oswald; Oswy; Egfert.

The following are the kings of East-Anglia, in succession:-

Uffa, the first king; Titulus; Redwald; Erwald, first received the faith; Sigebert; Ecgric; Anna; Ethelhere; Ethelwulf; Aldulf.

The following are the kings of Mercia, in succession:-

Crida, the first; Wippa; Ceorl; Penda; Peda, first received the faith; Wulfhere; Ethelred.

The following are the kings of Sussex, in order:-

AElla, the first king; Scisse.

The other kings of Sussex are unknown, through the paucity of their chroniclers, or the obscurity of their annals,

A.D. 685.] CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS. 65

except the king Ethelwold, who is justly had in remembrance, because he was the first who adopted the Christian faith. Let this then suffice. And now, reader, observe and reflect how soon great names are lost in oblivion; and since there is nothing enduring in this world, seek, I pray you, carefully to obtain a kingdom and treasure which will not fail, a name and honour which shall not pass away, a memorial and glory which shall never grow old. To meditate on this is the highest wisdom, to attain it the highest prudence, to enjoy it the highest felicity.

66 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

BOOK III. [1]

IN the year of grace 582, Maurice, the fifty-fourth of the Roman emperors from Augustus, began his reign. In the fourteenth year of this prince, about 150 years after the arrival of the Saxons in England [A.D. 596], Gregory, the servant of God, commissioned Augustine, with several other monks, to preach the gospel to the English nation. [2] In obedience to the Pope's commands, they proceeded on their journey, and had arrived in the neighbourhood of Britain, when they became so alarmed for their safety among a barbarous people, of whose very language they were ignorant, that they determined to abandon the undertaking and return to Rome. In short, they sent back Augustine, who was to have been consecrated bishop in case they were received by the English, that he might humbly entreat their release from the obligation to prosecute so perilous, so toilsome, and so hopeless a mission. In reply, the Pope addressed to them an epistle, exhorting them to proceed in the work confided to them, in reliance on the word of God, and to put their trust in his divine aid. The purport of this letter was as follows:-

"Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to the servants of our Lord.

"Forasmuch as it would have been better not to begin a


[1] In this third Book, Henry of Huntingdon relates the conversion to Christianity of the Angles and Saxons settled in England. It is wholly an abridgment of Bede's Ecclesiastical History; but by reducing it to order, and describing the conversion of the several kingdoms of the Heptarchy seriatim, confining his narrative to the principal events, he has avoided the prolixity and confusion of Bede's History. The Archdeacon has better preserved the thread of his narrative, by judiciously omitting, in general, to insert the accounts of the miracles with which the history of Bede is largely in interspersed. These he reserved for a separate Book. On the other hand, our historian sometimes indulges his rhetorical vein in embellishing and expatiating on incidents which Bede relates simply and succinctly.

[2] Bede's Eccl. Hist., book i. c. 23.

A.D. 596.] POPE GREGORY'S LETTER. 67

good work, than to think of withdrawing from that which has been begun, it behoves you, my well-beloved sons, to fulfil that good work which by the help of the Lord you have now entered on. Let, therefore, neither the toil of the journey, nor the tongues of evil-speaking men, deter you, but persist with all perseverance and with all zeal in what you have undertaken by the will of God, knowing that the greater the suffering the greater is the glory of the eternal reward. When, therefore, Augustine your chief, whom we also appoint your Abbot, returns to you, humbly obey him in all things; being assured that whatever ye shall do by his direction will in all respects be profitable to your souls. May Almighty God defend you with his gracious assistance, and grant that I may behold the fruits of your labours in the heavenly country; inasmuch as although it is not permitted me to labour with you, I shall be found with you in the joys of the reward, because I am willing to partake of your labours. God have you in his holy keeping, my well beloved sons! Dated on the tenth of the kalends of August, in the fourteenth year of the reign of our Lord Mauritius Tiberius, the most pious Augustus; and in the fourteenth indiction".

Reassured by this message from the holy Father, the missionaries pursued their journey to Britain. [1] At that time Ethelbert was king of Kent, and possessed of great power; for he had extended the frontier of his dominions to the Humber, a great river which is the boundary between the southern and northern tribes of the Saxons. On the eastern side of Kent lies Thanet, an island of considerable size, containing after the English way of reckoning 600 families. The river Wantsum, which separates it from the main-land, is about three furlongs wide, and is fordable in two places only, both ends of it being aestuaries. Augustine, the servent of God, with his companions, being, as is reported, nearly forty men, having landed on this island, they announced to the king by their interpreters, that they were come from Rome, and were bearers of a joyful message, which beyond all doubt assured to those who obeyed it


[1] Bede, book i. 25.

68 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

eternal joys in heaven, and an everlasting kingdom with the living and true God. The King, upon hearing this, commanded them to remain in the island in which they had landed, where they should be supplied with all things necessary, till such time as he should consider how he should deal with them. For he had some cognizance of the Christian religion, his wife, a princess of the nation of the Franks, Bertha by name, being a Christian: having been given to him by her parents upon the express condition, that she should have full liberty to preserve her faith inviolate, and to practise the rites of her religion under the ministration of Luidhard, a bishop who attended her. In a few days time the King crossed over to the island, and, seating himself in the open air, ordered Augustine and his companions to be invited to a conference with him. For he was cautious not to meet them in any house, lest, according to an ancient superstition, if they practised any magical arts, they might unawares gain an advantage over him. But they came endowed with divine, not with magical virtue, a silver cross and a picture of Our Lord and Saviour being carried before them as their ensigns, while they chanted litanies making supplications to God for the eternal salvation of themselves, and of those for whom and to whom they were come. By the King's command, they then sat down and preached to him and his attendants, and all who were present, the word of life. After which the King thus replied:- "Your words and the promises you hold out to us are indeed specious; but as much as they are a novelty and hard of comprehension, I cannot assent to them, forsaking that which I have so long held in common with the whole English nation. But because you have travelled hither from a far distant country, and, as far as I can judge, for the purpose of communicating to us the benefit of what you believe to be excellent and true, so far from molesting you, it is our wish to receive you with generous hospitality, and to take care you are supplied with whatever is necessary for your subsistence. Nor do we prohibit you from converting all whom you are able to persuade by your preaching to the belief of your religion".

Accordingly he assigned them a residence in the city of

A.D. 597.] ST. AUGUSTINE ENTERS CANTERBURY. 69

Canterbury, which was the metropolis of all his dominions, and, pursuant to his promise, while he made provision for their maintenance, did not withhold the liberty of preaching. It is reported that as they drew near to the city, carrying, according to their custom, the holy cross and the image of our Sovereign Lord and King Jesus Christ, they sung in concert this litany: "We beseech thee, O Lord, of thy infinite mercy, that thy wrath and thy anger be turned away from this city, and from us thy holy family, notwithstanding we have sinned against thee. Hallelujah"!

As soon as they were settled within the city, [1] they devoted themselves to the course of life practised in the primitive church from apostolical times, and by their heavenly-minded frame and conversation, and the sweetness of their doctrine, brought many to believe and be baptized. They administered baptism and said mass in the church of St. Martin, [2] to the east of the city built in former times by the Britons, in which the Queen Bertha, already mentioned, had been accustomed to pray. But when the King, attracted, like others, by the pure life of these holy men, and by the miracles they wrought, became a convert to the faith, great numbers were added to the church of Christ. But though he embraced these with more affection, yet he compelled none to embrace Christianity; for he had learnt from the authors of his own salvation, that the service of Christ ought to be voluntary, and not by compulsion. Nor was it long before he granted them a fixed abode, and conferred on them whatever possessions their new society required. And now Augustine, the man of God, repaired to Arles, and was consecrated archbishop by AEtherius, archbishop of that city, in compliance with the command of our Lord the Pope. On his return to Britain, he sent to Rome Laurentius the priest, by whom he transmitted to the Pontiff accounts of what had taken place, and also consulted him as to his future conduct, by submitting to him nine questions; for the answers given to which by the Pope, as they are


[1] Bede, book i. 25, 26.

[2] The church of St. Martin, near Canterbury, which has been recently restored, presents an appearance of great antiquity; and if the walls and foundations are not the identical structure here mentioned, the masonry is composed of the same materials, Roman bricks being worked up in it.

70 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

somewhat long, the reader is referred to the books in which the ecclesiastical canons and decrees are contained.

[A.D. 601.] [1] Moreover, the same Pope Gregory sent fron Rome at the same time to Augustine the bishop several fellow-labourers and ministers of the word, of whom the first and chief were Mellitus, Justus, Paulinus, and Rufianus and with them sacred vessels and vestments, books, and the necessary ornaments for the churches. He sent also a letter, of which the following is a copy:-

"To his most reverend and holy brother and fellow-bishop Augustine, Gregory, the servant of the servants of God.

"Although we are assured that the unspeakable rewards of the eternal kingdom are reserved for those who labour for Almighty God, yet it is requisite that we invest them with honourable distinctions, to the end that by this reward they may be qualified for more abundant labours in the performance of their spiritual duty. And in regard that the newly-founded English church has been brought to enjoy the favour of Almighty God, by his mercy and your labours, we grant you the use of the pall in the same during the performance only of the service of the mass: so that you ordain twelve bishops in so many several sees who shall be subject to your jurisdiction. Thus the bishop of London [2] shall for the future always be consecrated by his own synod, and will receive the honour of the pall from this holy and apostolical see, which, by the grace of God, I now serve. But we will have you send to York a bishop, to be chosen


[1] Bede, book 1. 29.

[2] It would appear to have been Pope Gregory's intention that, after the death of St. Augustine at least, London should be the metropolitan see of the south of England, and York of the north, as those two cities were in the times of the ancient British church. Augustine himself is said, by Parker, in his Antiquities of Britain, to have been consecrated by the general title of "Bishop of the English". This, however, was contrary to the primitive and usual custom which derived the title of a bishop from some particular city. We shall find presently that St. Augustine is said to have fixed the episcopal seat of himself and his successors in Christ Church, then, as it still is, the cathedral of Canterbury. In compliance, therefore, with this designation, and from respect to St. Augustine's memory, as having there laboured and governed, as well as probably from the circumstance of that city being the capital of the first and greatest of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the original claims of London and the rescript of Pope Gregory were disregarded, and the primacy was fixed at Canterbury.

A.D. 597.] POPE GREGORY'S LETTER TO ST. AUGUSTINE. 71

and ordained by you, so that, if that city, with the places in its neighbourhood, shall receive the word of God, such bishop shall also ordain twelve suffragans, and have metropolitan rank. On him also, if we live, it is our design, by the help of God, to confer the pallium, and yet we will have him to submit to your authority. But after your decease, he shall so preside over the bishops he shall ordain, as to be no wise subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop of London. But for the future let the distinction of rank between the bishops of the cities of London and York be this, that he shall have the precedence who is first ordained.

"Let them, however, take order with unanimity, by common counsel and uniform proceedings, for whatever is to be done, with Christian zeal. Let them determine rightly, and what they determine let them carry into execution without disagreement with each other. Meanwhile, you, my brother, shall have subject to you in our Lord Jesus Christ not only the bishops who shall be ordained by you, and those who shall be ordained by the bishop of York, but all the priests in Britain, to the end that from your mouth and your example of a holy life they may be taught both to believe rightly and to live well, and thus fulfilling their office with a true faith and right conversation, they may, when it shall please the Lord, attain to the heavenly kingdom. May God have you, most reverend brother, in his safe keeping.

"Dated the 10th of the Kalends of July, in the 17th year of the reign of our Lord Mauricius Tiberius, most pious Augustus".

While the before-named delegates were on their way to Britain, the Apostolical Father sent after them letters, wherein he plainly shows how concerned he was for the spiritual welfare of our nation. [1] Thus he wrote:-

"To his most beloved son Mellitus, the Abbot; Gregory the servant of the servants of God.

"Since the departure of those we associated with you, we have been very anxious because no tidings have reached as of the success of your journey. When, however, Almighty


[1] Bede, book i. 30.

72 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

God shall have conducted you safely to the most reverend Bishop Augustin, our brother, tell him what, after long deliberation on English affairs, I have determined upon, viz. that the temples of idols in that nation ought by no means to be pulled down; but let the idols that are in them be destroyed; let holy water be consecrated and sprinkled in the said temples; let altars be raised and relics deposited under them. For if these temples are well built, it is requisite that they be converted from the worship of devils to the service of the true God; that the people seeing that their temples are not destroyed may cast out error from their hearts, and knowing and adoring the true God, may the more familiarly resort to places at which they have been used to worship. And inasmuch as they have been accustomed to slaughter many oxen in their sacrifices to devils, some solemnity ought to be substituted for this on the anniversary of the feast of dedication, or the nativities of the holy martyrs whose relics are there deposited, they may erect booths with the boughs of trees round those churches which have been converted from temples, and celebrate the commemoration with religious feasting. Let them no more offer victims to the devil, but slaughter cattle to the praise of God in their eating, rendering thanks in their fulness to the Giver of all things; that so while some fleshly enjoyments are outwardly permitted, they may more readily be moved to inward and spiritual joys. For it is, doubtless, impossible to extinguish the desire for such indulgences from obdurate minds, and he who endeavours to mount to a lofty summit, ascends by degrees or steps, and not by leaps. Thus the Lord revealed himself to the people of Israel in Egypt; but, permitting the use of sacrifices, He reserved to his own worship what before they were accustomed to offer to devils; commanding them to sacrifice animals in the worship of Himself, to the end that, changing their hearts, one thing in sacrifice they might abolish, another they might retain; that although the animals were the same they were wont to offer, yet now being offered to God and not to idols, the sacrifices were no longer the same. These things, beloved, we require you to communicate to our brother aforesaid, that he being now

A.D. 601.] GREGORY'S LETTER RESPECTING MIRACLES. 73

present on the spot may consider how he may order all things. May God have you, most beloved son, in his holy keeping.

"Dated this 15th of the Kalends of July, in the 19th year of the reign of the Emperor our Sovereign Lord Mauricius Tiberius, most pious Emperor; the 18th year after the consulship of our said Lord; the fourth indiction". At the same time he sent Augustine a letter [1] concerning miracles wrought by him, warning him against being puffed up by reason of them. The letter was in these words:-

"I learn, most dearly beloved brother, that Almighty God works miracles by your hands in the midst of the nation which it has been his will to choose for himself. Wherefore it is necessary that you rejoice with trembling, and fear in rejoicing for this heavenly gift; that you should rejoice because the souls of the English are by outward signs drawn to inward grace; but that you should fear, lest, amidst the miracles which are wrought, the weak mind be lifted up with presumption, and as it is externally raised to honour, it may thence inwardly fall through vain glory. For we must call to mind that when the disciples returned rejoicing from preaching the word, and said to their heavenly Master, 'Lord, in thy name, even the devils are subject to us', they were forthwith told, 'Rejoice not for this, but rather rejoice for that your names are written in heaven'. For they fixed their thoughts on selfish and temporal joy while they rejoiced in miracles, but they were recalled from rejoicing in themselves to joy for others, from transitory to eternal joys, when it was said, 'Rejoice for this, that your names are written in heaven'. For not all the elect work miracles, and yet the names of all are written in heaven.' For the disciples of the truth ought not to rejoice save for the good which they have in common with others, and their enjoyment of which is without end.

"It remains, therefore, brother most beloved, that amidst those outward signs, which by the operation of the Lord you openly work, you inwardly judge yourself and clearly understand both what you are yourself, and how much grace there is in that nation for whose conversion you have even received the gift of working miracles. And if you remember


[1] Bede, book i. 31.

74 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

that you have at any time offended our Creator, either by word or deed, you will continually call these things to mind, that the memory of your guilt may suppress the pride which rises in your heart; and whatever you shall receive, or have received, in relation to working miracles, that you consider the same not as conferred on you, but on those for whose salvation these gifts have been vouchsafed to you".

Pope Gregory sent a letter also to King Ethelbert, [1] with presents of various kinds, that he might honour with worldly offerings him whom he had been the means of endowing with spiritual blessings:-

"To the most illustrious lord, and our most excellent son, Ethelbert, king of the English, Gregory, bishop.

"It is for this purpose that Almighty God promotes the good to be rulers of the people, that by them He may impart the bounties of his mercy to those over whom they are set. This we know to have been done in the English nation over whom your majesty was placed in order that by means of the privilege which has been vouchsafed to us, heavenly benefits may be conferred on the people your subjects. Preserve, therefore, with care, my illustrious son, the grace which has been divinely given you, and hasten to extend the Christian faith among the nations subject to your rule. Let the earnestness of your zeal for their conversion be increased; suppress the worship of idols, overthrow their temples; edify the minds of your subjects, and purify their morals by exhortation, by threatenings, by gentleness, by correction, and by setting them an example of good conduct, that you may have your reward in heaven from Him whose name and whose knowledge you shall spread abroad upon earth. For He will render your name glorious even to future generations, whose honour you seek and defend among the nations.

"For thus in old times Constantine, the most pious emperor of Rome, recovering the commonwealth from the perverted worship offered to idols, subjected it, together with himself, to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ, and was with his whole heart and with the nations his


[1] Bede, book i. 32.

A.D. 601.] LETTER TO KING ETHELBERT. 75

subjects converted to Him. Whence it followed that the glory of this prince transcended that of former emperors, and he as much excelled his predecessors in renown as he did in good works. Now, therefore, let your illustriousness hasten to infuse the knowledge of the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, among the kings and people that are subject to you, that you may both surpass the former kings of your nation in fame and merit, and the more you wipe away the sins of other men among your subjects, by so much the more you may find security against your own sins before the terrible judgment of Almighty God.

"Our most reverend brother Augustine, your bishop, is well informed in the monastic rules, full of the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and by the grace of God endued with good works; whatever admonitions, therefore, you receive from him, hear willingly, devoutly follow, and carefully retain in your memory. For if you listen to him in what he speaks for Almighty God, he will be more readily heard by Almighty God when he prays for you. But if (which God forbid!) you disregard his words, how can Almighty God listen to him on your behalf whom you neglect to hear for God's sake? Unite yourself, therefore, with him in the fervour of faith with all your mind, and in reliance on that grace which has been divinely communicated to you through him; further his endeavours that he may make you a partaker of this kingdom whose faith you cause to be received and maintained in your own.

"Moreover, we would have you, illustrious king, to understand that as we find in Holy Scripture from the words of the Almighty Lord, that the end of the present world is near, and the kingdom of the saints which can never end is about to come. But as this end of the world draws near, many things are at hand which have not before happened, as changes in the air, terrible signs in the heavens, tempests out of the common order of the seasons, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes in various places; all which will not indeed happen in our days, but after our days all will come to pass. If you, then, find any of these things to happen in your country, let not your mind be any way disturbed, for these tokens of the end of the world are sent before in order that we may be careful for our souls,

76 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

looking for the hour of our death, and that we may be found prepared by good works to meet the impending judgment. Thus much, my illustrious son, I have now shortly spoken, that when the faith of Christ shall have further increased in your kingdom, our discourse to you may grow more full, and it will be our pleasure to say the more, in proportion as the joys of our heart for the entire conversion of your people are multiplied.

"I have sent you some presents, which are small indeed, but which will not be trifling if they are accepted by you accompanied with the benediction of the blessed apostle Peter. May Almighty God perfect his grace which he has begun in you, prolonging your life here for the course of many years, and after a lengthened period receive you into the society of the blessed in the heavenly country. May the divine favour preserve your excellency in safety.

"Given the 10th day of the Kalends of July, in the 19th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Mauritius Tiberius, our most pious Emperor, in the 18th year after the consulship of our said Lord; the fourth indiction".

There had been a church built formerly by the Roman Christians in what was now become the royal city. [1] This church Augustine dedicated to the honour of our blessed Saviour, [2] and made it the episcopal seat of himself and his successors. The King also erected to the east of the city the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, in which the bodies of the archbishops of Canterbury and the kings of Kent might be buried. The first abbot of this church was the priest Peter, [3] who, having been sent ambassador to France, was drowned in a creek of the sea which is called Amfleat, [4]


[1] Bede, book i. 33.

[2] Christ Church, still the cathedral of Canterbury. The oldest part of the present structure was founded in 1085, on the site of the ancient Roman-British church, restored by St. Augustine.

[3] Henry of Huntingdon does not, except by naming the first abbot, mention, as Bede does, the monastery which was attached to this church, and founded at the same time by Ethelbert. It was afterwards called St. Augustine's Abbey, and was for many ages one of the most magnificent and celebrated in the kingdom. After being ruined and long desecrated, the site, with part of the remains, has recently been restored to sacred uses, as a missionary college.

[4] Ambleteuse, near Boulogne.

A.D. 605.] DEATH AND CHARACTER OF GREGORY THE GREAT. 77

and being unknown was humbly interred by the inhabitants of the place. But Almighty God, to show the merit of such a man, caused a light from heaven to appear over his grave every night, until the neighbours noticing it understood that he who was there buried was a holy man, and making inquiries who and whence he was, they disinterred the body, and carried it to the city of Boulogne, where they deposited it in the church with the honour due to so great a person.

In the year of grace 605, the second of the reign of the Emperor Phocas, Pope Gregory the Great exchanged this life for that which is true. [1] He was a Roman by nation and noble by birth, but, surrendering the wealth attached to his rank, he devoted himself to a monastic life. In course of time, however, he was withdrawn from his monastery and sent to Constantinople as his surrogate by Pope Felix [2]. While there he commenced his commentaries on the Book of Job, which he completed after he became pope. While there he also refuted the Eutychian heresy in the presence of the emperor. [3] He composed also an excellent book called "The Pastoral", and four books of Dialogues, and forty Homilies; with an explanation of the first and last parts of the prophecy of Ezekiel. Through all his youth he was tormented with pains in the bowels, and weakness of the stomach, and was constantly suffering from a slow fever. Thus much may be said of his immortal genius, which could not be restrained by such severe bodily pain. Other popes busied themselves in embellishing churches; but Gregory bestowed all wealth on the poor; so that the words of holy Job may be applied to him:- "When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness and clothed


[1] Bede, book ii. 1.

[2] Felix IV. was Bishop of Rome A.D. 526.

[3] Bede calls him "Tiberias Constantine", but there was no such emperor. St. Gregory was at Constantinople in the early part of the reign of Justinian.

78 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

myself as with a garment, and my justice was as a diadem. I was an eye to the blind, and a foot to the lame. I was a father of the poor, and the cause which I knew not I diligently searched out. I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the prey from his teeth". And a little after he says:- "If I have disregarded the desire of the poor, and have caused the eyes of the widow to wait in vain, if I have eaten my morsel selfishly, and the fatherless hath not partaken thereof with me, for from my youth pity grew up with me, and from my mother's womb it came forth with me". [1]

Among other things which this holy pope did, he caused masses to be celebrated over the relics of St. Peter and St. Paul; and in the service of the mass he added three sentences of the highest perfection:- "Dispose our days in thy peace; preserve us from eternal damnation; and rank us in the number of thine elect"! [2] It is reported also, as Bede tells us, that this man of God, going one day into the marketplace, saw there some English youths whose bodies and countenances and hair were exceedingly fair. He learned, upon inquiry, that they were just arrived from Britain, and also that they were heathens. Upon which he exclaimed with a sigh:- "Alas! how sad that the author of darkness has in his power men of so fair a countenance". Again he inquired, "what was the name of that nation"? and was answered that they were called Angles.

"It is well", he said, "for they have an angelic face, and such as they ought to be coheirs with the angels in heaven": adding, "What is the name of the province from which they are brought"? It was replied that the natives of that province were called Deiri. [3] "Truly", said he, "they are plucked out from wrath, 'De ira', and called to the mercy of Christ: How is the king of that province called"? They told him that his name was AElla; upon which, in allusion to the name, he said, "Allelujah must be sung to the praise of God in those regions". Present


[1] Job xxix. 11-17; and xxxi. 16-18. According to the Vulgate.

[2] These words still form part of the Canon of the mass used in all the churches of the Roman communion, occurring in the Offertory, just before the consecration.

[3] The ancient name of the kingdom of Northumbria.

A.D. 605.] TOMB AND EPITAPH OF GREGORY THE GREAT. 79

ing himself, therefore, to the bishop who then governed the Roman church, [1] for he himself was not yet pope, he entreated that he would commission him to preach the gospel in that country; but not being able to accomplish his desire, as soon as he was advanced to the primacy he carried into execution, by means of others, the work on which his heart had long been set. Gregory was interred in the church of St. Peter the Apostle before the sacristy, where this epitaph is inscribed on his tomb

"Earth! take that body which at first you gave,
'Till God again shall raise it from the grave.
The soul mounts upwards to the realms of day.
Vainly the pow'rs of darkness strive to stay
Him, ev'n whose death but leads to life the way.
He, best of prelates, to the tomb descends;
But fame his good deeds through the world extends.
The Saxon race he taught the way of peace,
And to the fold of Christ brought fresh increase.
Hail, Gregory; Roman, Christian, soldier, hail!
The laurels of thy triumphs ne'er shall fail".'

Meanwhile St. Augustine ordained Justus bishop in Dorubrevi, a city of Kent, which the English call Rofecester, from one of their chiefs named Rof. King Ethelbert founded there a church dedicated to St. Andrew the apostle. The place is distant from Canterbury 24 miles.

We have now completed our task of showing how the king and people of Kent were converted to the faith of Christ; and here the second part begins, in which is shown how the king and people of Essex, that is, the East-Saxons, received the word of God. They were evangelized by Mellitus, a faithful and holy man, who was sent to them by Augustine; being at that time governed under Ethelbert, whose rule, as we have said before, extended over the whole country as far as the Humber, by his nephew Sebert. The mission proving successful, and the king Sebert, with his people, being converted to the faith, King Ethelbert founded in London the church of St. Paul for an episcopal see, and,


[1] Benedict I. Gregory himself was made Bishop of Rome A.D. 690.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon omits some lines of this epitaph given by Bede.

80 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. BOOK III.

munificently endowing it, Mellitus was worthily appointed bishop.

[A.D. 803.] Meanwhile [1] Augustine, with the assistance of King Ethelred, assembled the bishops or doctors of the largest and nearest province of the Britons at a place which is to this day called in the English tongue Augustine's Ac, that is, "Augustine's oak", on the confines of the Wiccii and the West-Saxons. [2] There was a controversy with the Scots and Picts respecting the celebration of Easter, [3] and when they refused their assent to the unanswerable reasoning of Augustine, it was mutually agreed that the confirmation of their several opinions should rest on the healing of a blind man of the English race, who was brought into the assembly. When, therefore, the priests of the Britons were unable to cure him, Augustine bending his knees in prayer before them all, restored sight to the blind man, that through him he might give light to the whole nation. Afterwards [4] the Britons and Scots, for their greater satisfaction, sought advice as to what they should do from a certain man who was esteemed to be wise and holy. He


[1] Bede, book ii. 2.

[2] The Wiccii, Huiccii, or Jugantes, were a tribe of Britons who inhabited Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and the north of Gloucestershire. On the north was a kindred tribe, the Ordovices, or noble Viccii [from Vic, a warrior, and Ord, honourable], who originally possessed Salop, and part of Cheshire and North Wales; and afterwards conquered Worcestershire, etc., from the Wiccii proper.- Whitaker's History of Manchester. Henry of Huntington might, therefore, justly describe this country as one of the largest provinces of the ancient Britons, being divided on the south-east from the kingdom of the West-Saxons by the river Avon. Aust, a village which is situated just above the confluence of that river with the Severn, where the synod is supposed to have been held, answers the Archdeacons description of St. Augustine's oak; being on the confines between the two provinces.

[3] The ancient British and Irish churches kept the feast of Easter by a cycle, in which the improvement adopted at Rome in the fifth century had not been introduced. The controversy was not, as generally supposed, between the practice of the Roman and the ancient Eastern churches. See note to Bede's Ecclesiastical History, p. 104 of the present series.

[4] This incident is related by Bede to have occurred at a second synod, held at Banchor, now Bangor-Iscoed, in Flintshire, where there was a celebrated British monastery. Henry of Huntingdon, in his imperfect notice of these occurrences, omits to mention the latter synod, and confuses the two accounts.

A.D. 603.] SYNOD AT BANGOR 81

replied, "If he is a servant of God, agree with him". But they said, "How shall we know this"? To which he answered: "If he is meek and humble of heart, he will appear to be a servant of God". Upon which they rejoined, "How shall we know that he is humble"? "If", said he, "he rises up when you approach him, consider that he receives you in the spirit of humility; but if, you being more in number, he shall yet disdain to stand up to you, do you disdain to submit to him". When, therefore, they met, and Augustine, who was seated in a chair after the Roman fashion, did not rise up to receive them, they departed with indignation and clamorous reproaches. To whom Augustine predicted that since they would not accept the peace offered them by their brethren, they would have war with them as enemies, and that if they would not preach the way of life to the English nation, they would undergo by their hands the penalty of death. All which was by agency of Divine Providence accomplished just as he foretold.

For afterwards Ethelfrid, the formidable king of the English, of whom we have spoken, [1] having assembled a vast army, made an immense slaughter of the perfidious nation at the city of the legions which is called by the English people Lege-cester, but by the Britons, more correctly, Kaer-legion. [2] When about to give battle, observing their priests, who had gathered together to offer prayers to God on behalf of the soldiers engaged in the conflict, standing in a place of some safety, he inquired who they were, and for what purpose they were thus assembled? Most of them belonged to the monastery of Bangor, in which, it is reported, the number of the monks was such, that when the monastery was divided into seven parts, with a superintendent for each, none of these divisions contained less than 300 men, who all lived by manual labour. Many of these having completed a three-days' fast, had now, among others, joined the army to offer their prayers, having one named Brocmail as their champion to protect them while they were thus engaged from the swords


[1] King of Northumbria.

[2] Chester, the Deva of the Romans, which was garrisoned by the legion called the twentieth Valerian, one of its eight auxiliary cohorts, the Frisian, being stationed at Manchester.- Whitaker's History.

82 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

of the barbarians. When King Ethelfrid was informed of the occasion of their coming, he said, "If, then, they invoke their God against us, truly they fight against us, though they are unarmed, inasmuch as they oppose us with their hostile imprecations". He therefore commanded that the first attack should be made on them, and then destroyed the remainder of the impious army, not without great loss of his own troops. Of those who came to pray, it is said that about 1200 [1] were slain, and 50 only escaped by flight. Brocmail and his followers, turning their backs on the enemy at the first attack, left those whom he ought to have protected, unarmed and defenceless, to the swords of the assailants. Thus was fulfilled the prediction of Augustine, the holy bishop, though he himself had been translated long before to the celestial kingdom; that those perfidious men should suffer the punishment of temporal death also, because they had despised the offers made them of eternal salvation.

Augustine, beloved of God, was, indeed, now dead, and had been buried near the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, but outside the walls, because it was not yet finished nor consecrated. But after its consecration by his successor Laurentius, the remains were transferred with due honour to the north porch of the church, in which the bodies of all the archbishops to the time of Theodore were interred, after which the porch could contain no more. The following epitaph is inscribed on the tomb of St. Augustine:-

"Here lies the Lord Augustine, first archbishop of Canterbury, who, having been formerly directed here by the blessed Gregory, bishop of the city of Rome, and strengthened by God with the power of working miracles, brought King Ethelred and his people from the worship of idols to the faith of Christ, and having ended the days of his office in peace, departed this life the seventh of the kalends of June, during the reign of the same king".

While Augustine was yet alive he had consecrated


[1] See Saxon Chronide, A.D. 607. The number there stated is 200. "It was originally perhaps in the MSS. ICC, the abbreviation for 1200; which is the number of the slain in Bede. The monks of Bangor are said to have numbered 2100; most of whom appear to have been employed in prayer, and only 50 escaped by flight".- Ingram.

A.D. 605-616.] LAWRENCE, SECOND ARCHBISHOP. 83

Laurentius as his successor in the archbishopric, following the example of St. Peter, who ordained Clemens in like manner, lest upon his own death the state of the church, as yet unsettled, should totter even for a single hour. Laurentius indefatigably built up the religion which had been founded, not only superintending with care the new church of the English nation, but also those of the ancient Britons and Scots, who were mistaken in the time of keeping Easter. To them he sent a letter, the beginning of which is as follows:- [1]

"To our most dear brothers the lords, bishops, and abbots, through all Scotland, Laurentius, Mellitus, and Justus, bishops; the servants of the servants of God.

"When the apostolic see, according to its custom throughout the world, sent us to these western parts to preach to heathen nations, it happened that we came into this island without any previous knowledge of its inhabitants; but we held both the Britons and Scots in great esteem for sanctity, believing that they had proceeded according to the custom of the universal church. And when we became acquainted with the usages of the Britons, we thought that those of the Scots were better. But we found from Daganus the bishop, and Columban the abbot, that the Scots no way differ from the Britons in their customs. For Dagan the bishop, when he came to us, refused not only to eat with us, but in the same house of entertainment in which we were".

Mellitus, bishop of London, going to Rome, was present at a council held by Pope Boniface, in which he made regulations concerning the peace and order of the monks. It was this Pope Boniface, the fourth after Pope Gregory, who obtained from the Emperor Phocas the temple called the Pantheon, that he might dedicate it to All Saints.

King Ethelbert died A.D. 616, and in the fifty-sixth year of his own reign, and was buried in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul before mentioned. [2] This great and excellent man, among other benefits which he conferred on his people, compiled a book of judicial decrees. After the death of


[1] Bede, book ii. c. 4.

[2] Bede, book ii. c. 5.

84 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

Ethelbert, Eadbald, his son, who was a heathen, took his father's wife. From his example many relapsed into their former uncleanness; but the king was punished by frequent fits of madness. On the death also of the king of the East-Saxons he left three sons the heirs of his kingdom who were heathens. Being idolaters, they said to the bishop, when he was celebrating the mass: "Why do you not offer to us also that white bread which you used to give to our father, and still hand to the people"? To which he answered: "If you consent to be washed in that laver of regeneration, in which your father was washed, you also may be partakers of the holy bread of which he partook; but if you despise the water of life, you can by no means partake of the bread of life". Whereupon they replied, "We will not enter that laver, because we do not know that we have any need of it, and yet we choose to eat of that bread". And being often diligently admonished by him, that it could by no means be permitted that any one should partake of the holy eucharist without the holy purification, at last they said in a rage, "If you will not comply with our wishes in so small a matter, you shall no longer dwell in our country". And they banished him and his followers from the kingdom. Being thus expelled, he came into Kent to consult with his fellow bishops, Laurentius and Justus, what was to be done in this juncture. Whereupon it was unanimously agreed that they should all return into their own country, where they might serve God in freedom, than continue to reside among barbarians who had renounced the faith. Accordingly, Mellitus and Justus departed first, withdrawing into Gaul with the intention of waiting there the issue of affairs. But the kings who had driven from them the preachers of the truth, did not long continue their heathenish worship unpunished, for, going forth to battle with the nations of the Gewissse, they were all slain, together with their army. However, though the leaders, in their wickedness, were cut off, the people who had fallen into it could not be reclaimed and restored to the simplicity of the faith and charity which is in Christ.

Laurentius being about to follow Mellitus and Justus, and to quit Britain, ordered his bed to be laid the night

A.D. 616-619.] LAWRENCE'S VISION, AND DEATH. 85

before in the church of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, which has been often mentioned. [1] Here, after pouring forth many tears and supplications to God for the state of his church, he composed himself to rest. While he was yet sleeping in the dead of the night, the blessed prince of the apostles appeared to him and chastising him for a long time with sharp stripes, [2] demanded with apostolical severity, "Why he was forsaking the flock which he had committed to him? or to what shepherds he would intrust Christ's sheep that were in the midst of wolves? Hast thou", said he, "forgotten my example, who, for the sake of those little ones whom Christ commended to me in token of his love, suffered at the hands of infidels, his enemies, bonds, stripes, imprisonment, afflictions, and in the end death itself, the death of the cross, that I might thereafter share his crown"? Thus admonished, Laurentius forthwith related all this to the king, who, struck with alarm, dissolved his illegitimate marriage, and was baptized. He likewise sent to recall Mellitus and Justus from Gaul. The people of Rochester received Justus, but the Londoners rejected Mellitus, preferring to be under their idolatrous high-priests; for King Eadbald had not so much authority as his father, so that he was unable to restore the bishop against the will of his subjects.

[A.D. 619.] Laurentius died in the reign of Eadbald, [3] and was succeeded by Mellitus, bishop of London, who with the co-operation of Justus, bishop of Rochester, governed the English church with much diligence. Mellitus, indeed, was afflicted with gout, but his mind was sound. He was noble by birth, but much more noble in mind. For one instance of his virtue, when a fire broke out in the city of Canterbury, he ordered himself to be carried to the raging flames, and by his prayers extinguished the conflagration. Justus, bishop of Rochester, succeeded to the archbishopric after the death of Mellitus, who held it five years.


[1] Bede, book ii. c. 6.

[2] In Saxon Chronicle, literally, "swinged, or scourged him". The expression of King Alfred, in his translation of Bede, is still stronger. But both Bede and Alfred begin by recording the matter as a vision, or a dream, whence the transition is easy to a matter of fact, as it is stated by Henry of Huntingdon and all their copiers.

[3] Bede, book ii. c. 7.

86 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

[A.D. 624.] Pope Boniface, the successor of Deus-dedit, sent him the pallium with the letter following:-

"Boniface to his dearly beloved brother Justus.

"How devoutly and diligently your fraternity has laboured for the gospel of Christ, I have learnt not only from the contents of your epistle, but from the success of your work. Almighty God hath not withheld the blessing of his sacraments nor the fruit of your labours, having regard to his sure promise to the ministers of his gospel, 'Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world'. For we have received accounts from our son Eadbald, the king, by which we perceive with how much wisdom of holy eloquence your fraternity has led his mind to embrace a pure life and an undoubtingly sincere faith

"We have, therefore, beloved brother, sent you the pallium by the bearer of this letter, granting you licence to wear it in the celebration of the holy mysteries, and also permitting you to ordain bishops, the grace of our Lord directing you, as occasion may require; that so the gospel of Christ may be made known by the preaching of many to all the nations which are not yet converted. God have you in his safe keeping, most beloved brother"!

Our third section commences with the conversion of the Northumbrians, that is, of the people who inhabit the country to the north of the Humber. Their king, Edwin, had been raised to a pitch of temporal power such as no English king had enjoyed before; [2] for his rule extended throughout the bounds of Britain, and all the provinces which were inhabited either by English or Britons were under his dominion. He also reduced to his subjection the Menavian Islands; [3] the first of which, the one lying to the south, is the largest in size, and, from its fertility, most productive of corn. It contains the farms of 960 families; the other, of 300 and more.

[A.D. 625.] This king, when yet a heathen, had married Ethelburga, a Christian, and the daughter of King Ethelbert, who was also called Tate. She was attended by Paulinus, ordained bishop by Justus the archbishop, that


[1] Bede, book ii. c. 8.

[2] Bede, book ii. c. 9

[3] Mona, or Anglesey, and the Isle of Man.

A.D. 625.] CONVERSION OF KING EDWIN. 87

he might propagate the gospel in that region. The following year there arrived a certain assassin named Eumer, who was employed by Chichelm, king of Wessex, to murder Edwin. This man, pretending that he brought a message from his master, made a sudden attack on King Edwin, near the river Derwent, with a poisoned and two-edged dagger. Lilla, an officer of the king, observing it, intercepted the stroke by interposing his own body, which it transfixed, at the same time slightly wounding the king. The assassin was immediately cut down by the swords of the king's attendants, but not before he had slain another officer.

The same night the queen gave birth to a daughter, whose name was Eanfled, upon which the king gave thanks to his gods; but Paulinus asserted that his prayers to God had obtained for the queen a safe deliverance. The king, delighted with his words, vowed that he would become the servant of Christ if he granted him victory over Chichelm; and as a pledge for the fulfilment of his promise he commanded that his daughter should be baptized, which was done, eleven others of his family receiving baptism at the same time. When, however, he returned victorious into his own country, his enemies being either slain or reduced to subjection, he did not immediately become a Christian; but, being naturally a man of great sagacity, he often when alone, and often in company with others, having heard the arguments for the new religion, deliberated what was to be done.

Pope Boniface addressed to him a letter [1] exhorting him to embrace the faith, and therewith he sent presents, which he mentions at the close of his epistle in these words: "We have, moreover, sent you the blessing of your protector, the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, viz. one shirt, with an ornament of gold, and one cloak of Ancyra, which we pray your mightiness to accept with the same feeling of regard with which you are assured it is offered by us". The Pope sent also a letter to Ethelburga, accompanied by presents, of which he thus speaks at the close of his letter: "We have, moreover, sent you the blessing of


[1] Bede, book ii. cc. 10, 11.

88 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

your protector, the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, viz. a comb of gilt ivory and a silver mirror, which we entreat your highness to accept with the same feeling of regard with which you are assured it is offered by us".

Meanwhile, [1] the Holy Spirit revealed to Paulinus a vision which had been formerly presented to King Edwin after this manner. When Ethelfrid, his predecessor, persecuted him so that, becoming a fugitive, he had sought refuge at the court of King Redwald, he received information through one of his friends that Redwald, corrupted by the gifts of King Ethelfrid, meant to put him to death; his friend, at the same time, offering to conduct him out of the province. To which he replied, "Whither shall I now flee, when I have been so long a wanderer through all the provinces of Britain, to escape the snares of my enemies? But if I must die, I would rather fall by his hand than by that of any meaner person". Having said this he remained alone, brooding over his misfortunes in distress of mind, when he suddenly saw a stranger; in the silence of the night, who said to him, "Fear not, for I am not ignorant of the cause of your grief. What, then, will you give to one who will deliver you from it, and influence Redwald to restore his regard to you"? Upon his replying that he would give all he was worth, the other added, "What if he should also piously engage that you should become a more powerful king than any of your predecessors, and that all your enemies shall be destroyed"? Edwin making the same reply as before, the stranger added again, "But in case he should propose to you a better way of life than any of your fathers knew, would you submit to his counsel"? Upon Edwin's faithfully promising this, the stranger laid his hand on his head, saying, "When this sign shall be given you, remember this hour and this discourse". Having said this he suddenly vanished, that the king might understand it was not a man, but a spirit. While the royal youth sat there alone, the friend before mentioned came to him and said, "Rise and be joyful; the king's resolution is altered, and the queen's persuasion has induced him to keep faith with you". In short, King Redwald assembled an army,


[1] Bede, book ii. c. 12.

A.D. 627.] THE NORTHUMBRIANS CONVERTED. 89

and slew Ethelfrid, who was advancing against him on the borders of the kingdom of Mercia, on the eastern bank of the river which is called Idle. In this battle the son of Redwald, Regnhere by name, was slain. In this manner Edwin obtained possession of the kingdom of Northumbria.

[A.D. 627.] When Paulinus reminded the king of the vision, laying his hand on his head, the king would have thrown himself at his feet if the other had not prevented him. The king being now ready to acknowledge the faith, conferred with his followers, that he might induce them to accept it with him; [1] upon which Coifi, the chief of the heathen priest, said: "O king, no one has more devotedly served our Gods than I have done, in the hope of the worldly advantages I might obtain through them. But there are many who have received from you richer gifts than I have, and therefore I am satisfied that our Gods are good for nothing". Another of the king's chief men presently added, "The present life of man, O king, on this earth, seems, in comparison of that time which is unknown to us, as when you are sitting at supper with your warriors and counsellors in the season of winter, the hall being warmed by a fire blazing on the hearth in the centre, the storms of the wintry rains or snow raging meanwhile in gusts without; and then a sparrow entering the house should swiftly flit across the hall, entering at one door, and quickly disappearing at the other; for the time that it is within it is safe from the wintry blast, but the narrow bounds of warmth and shelter are passed in a little moment, and then the bird vanishes out of your sight, returning again into the winter's night from which it had just emerged. So this life of man appears for a short interval; but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant. If, therefore, this new doctrine conveys to us any more assured promise, it has just claims that we should embrace it".

When others had also spoken to the same effect, Coifi added, that he wished to hear Paulinus himself discoursing of his God; after listening to whom, he exclaimed that he


[1] Bede, book ii. c. 13.

90 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. BOOK III.

and the rest were lost in error, and they all agreed to embrace the faith of Christ together. Coifi himself, the chief priest, having procured from the king a charger which was a stallion (for it was not lawful for the pagan high-priest to ride on any but a mare), and seizing a sword and spear (which also it was not lawful for him to wield), galloped to the temple in the sight of all, and burnt and destroyed the shrines which his own hands had consecrated. The spot where this idol-temple stood is still shown in the neighbourhood of York, to the eastward beyond the river Doruencion, that is, the Derwent, and the place is now called Godmundham. [1]

King Edwin, therefore, was baptized, [2] with many others at the same time, in the church of St Peter, [3] which he had constructed of timber for the seat of the episcopate of Paulinus. Before long he began to build there a larger church of stone, which Oswald afterwards finished. There were baptized also Ofrid and Eadfrid, King Edwin's sons, both of whom were born to him while he was in exile, of Quenburga, the daughter of Cearl, king of the Mercians. At a later period his children by Queen Ethelburga were also baptized, two of whom were snatched away while they were yet in their white baptismal robes, and were buried in the church at York. So great then was the faith in the gospel, and so eager the desire for the water of salvation among the people of Northumbria, that at one time when Paulinus came with the king and queen to the royal villa called Adgebrin, [4] he stayed with them there 36 days, wholly engaged in the offices of catechising and administering baptism. The people were baptized in the river Glen, near the town of Melmin, [5] in the province of Bernicia. He


[1] Now Goodmanham, in the East Riding of York.

[2] Bede, book c. 14.

[3] At York, on the site of the present cathedral, where parts of the original fabric of stone, built by Paulinus, have been recently discovered beneath the present choir; and the position of the first timber church is pointed out by a spring, supposed to be that which supplied the baptistery of King Edwin. Paulinus also built a church at Goodmanham, where Stukeley says the font is shown in which the heathen priest Coifi was baptized.

[4] Yeverin in Glendall, near Wooler.

[5] A royal vill; Milfield? in Northumberland.

A.D. 628.] LINDSEY CONVERTED. 91

baptized also in the river Swale, which runs by the village of Cataract. [1]

[A.D. 628. [2]] Paulinus also converted the province of Lindissey, [3] which lies on the south of the river Humber, beginning with the governor of the city of Lincoln, whose name was Blecca, who was converted with all his household. He built in that city a church of beautiful workmanship, in which he consecrated Honorius archbishop. The city of Lincoln, which was then called Lindocolin, with the neighbouring district of Lindissey, which is surrounded on all sides either by rivers or marshes or the sea, belongs to the kingdom of Mercia. The city is nobly situated, and the district abounds in wealth; so that it is somewhere written:

"On a high hill the noble city stands,
Facing the south".

The abbot of Peartaneu [4] reported that he had seen an old man who was baptized by Paulinus with a crowd of people, in the presence of King Edwin, in the river Trent, near the town now called Fingecester. [5] He described the person of Paulinus as being tall of stature and a little bent; his hair black, his face meagre, his nose slender and aquiline, his aspect both venerable and majestic.

[A.D. 634.] When Pope Honorius was informed of what had occurred, he addressed a letter of exhortation to King Edwin, of which I have thought it proper to extract the latter clause, viz. that in which the circumstances of the English archbishops are clearly handled in the following words: [6]


[1] Catterick, in the North Riding of Yorkshire; a place of great antiquity.

[2] Bede, book ii. c. 16.

[3] Lindsey, a district comprising the eastern part of Lincolnshire, bounded by the Trent and the sea, the Humber, and the Wash, which in early times was a separate state, subordinate to Lincoln, and dependent on the kings of Mercia.

[4] His name was Deda, and he was the first abbot of Partney, a cell to Bardney Abbey. Bede says that this anecdote was told him by Deda himself.

[5] In Bede, Tvul-fingacaestir. The place is supposed to be Southwell in Nottinghamshire, remarkable for its ancient collegiate church.

[6] Bede, book ii. c. 17.

92 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

"Employ yourself in frequently reading the works of my Lord Gregory, of apostolical memory, who first caused the gospel to be preached among you, having before your eyes the savour of his doctrine, which he zealously employed for your spiritual good; to the end that his prayers may benefit your kingdom and people, and present you blameless before Almighty God. But concerning those things which you have requested us to regulate respecting your priests, being moved by the sincerity of your faith, of which we have been satisfactorily assured by a variety of information from the bearers of our present letters, we are disposed to make provision with a willing mind and without any delay. We have therefore sent two palls to the two metropolitans, Honorius and Paulinus, in order that, when either of them is called out of this world to his Creator, the survivor may, pursuant to this our authority, substitute another bishop in the place of the one that is deceased. And this privilege we are induced to grant as well on account of your loving regard to us, as of the vast distance through so many provinces which intervenes betvveen us and you; that we may in all things manifest our concurrence with your devotedness in conformity to your wishes. May God's grace keep your Excellency in safety"!

[A.D. 627.] Our fourth section [1] begins with the conversion of the East-Angles, whose king, Erpwald, the son of Redwald, accepted the faith at the instance of King Edwin, with whom he maintained the most friendly relations. His father, Redwald, indeed, had long before adopted the Christian religion, but to no purpose; for returning home he was seduced by his wife and certain false brethren, so that he set up altars to Christ and to the devil in the same chapel, which, as Aldulf, king of that same province, who lived in the time of Venerable Bede, testifies, were standing in his time. Not long after his conversion, Erpwald was slain by one Rigbert, a pagan. He was succeeded by his brother Sigebert, a Christian himself and zealous in christianizing others, with the aid of the bishop Felix, who being a Burgundian by origin, Honorius, the archbishop, had sent there to preach the gospel. This bishop Felix,


[1] Bede, book c. 15.

A.D. 634.] LETTER OF POPE HONORIUS. 93

fixing his episcopal seat in the city. of Domoc, [1] occupied it with a felicity appropriate to his name for seventeen years, and there ended his days in peace.

[A.D. 627-630.] In the meantime, on the death of the archbishop Justus, Paulinus consecrated in his stead Honorius, who repaired to him at the city of Lindocoln, which is now called Lincoln, and was ordained in the church which Paulinus built there, as before related. Whereupon Pope Honorius sent the pall to Honorius the new archbishop, with a letter concerning the ordering and the precedence of the two archbishops, of which the following is the tenor

"Honorius to his dearly beloved brother Honorius.

"Among the many good gifts which the mercy of our Redeemer is pleased to bestow upon his servants, the fullness of his loving-kindness is largely shown as often as He permits us by brotherly intercourse, as it were face to face, to make known our mutual regard. For which gift we continually return thanks to his Divine Majesty; and we, humbly beseech Him that He will confirm you with continual strength while you labour, and are fruitful in preaching the gospel, and in following the rule of your master and head, the blessed Gregory, and that He may, through you, raise up fresh instruments for the enlargement of his church: so that the increase gained by you and your predecessors, beginning in the time of our lord Gregory, being in continual growth, may be multiplied and strengthened both in faith and works in the love and fear of the Lord. Thus the promise of our Lord shall hereafter have respect to you, while those words of his shall call you to everlasting happiness, 'Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'. And again, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord'. And we,


[1] Afterwards Dunwich, but now no longer in existence, it having been washed away by the sea. The name of this bishop appears to be still preserved by the village of Felixstow, "the dwelling of Felix, on the Suffolk Coast".- Note in Bede's Eccles. Hist., Bohn's edition.

[2] Bede, book ii. c. 18. He does not mention the date of this archbishop's death. The Saxon Chronicle places it in 627, and Dr. Smith in 630.

94 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

most beloved brothers, offering you these words of exhortation. out of our abundant love, do not hesitate to grant you what we perceive is possible to consist with the privileges of your churches.

"According, therefore, to your petition, and the requests of the kings our sons, we have granted you by these presents, by authority as vicar of the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, authority, that when the Divine grace shall call one of you to himself, the survivor shall ordain another bishop in the place of the deceased. For which purpose we have sent to each of you a pall for your use in such consecrations, that by the authority of our precept you may make an ordination acceptable to God. Considering the wide space of sea and land which lies between us and you, we find ourselves compelled to make this concession, in order that no loss may under any circumstances occur to your churches, but that the devotion of the people committed to your charge may be freely furthered. God have you in his safe keeping, most beloved brother!

"Given the third day of the Ides of June, in the reign of our most pious emperors, the Lords Heraclius, that is, in the 24th year of the reign, the 23rd year after the consulship of the Emperor Heraclius; [1] and in the third year of the most illustrious Caesar, his son Heraclius; the seventh indiction; that is, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 634".

The same Pope Honorius wrote letters also [2] to the Scots, correcting their practice with respect to keeping the feast of Easter, that they might not, few as they were, pretend to be wiser than the churches of Christ established throughout the world. John, likewise, who became pope after the death of Severinus, the successor of Honorius, addressed letters to them for the purpose of correcting the same error, and combating the Pelagian heresy, which he had been informed was revived among them, asserting that man could be without sin, of his own free will, independently of the grace of God. [2] "No man", he said, "can be without sin, except


[1] There is some confusion in Henry of Huntingdon's quotation of the date of this epistle. Bede adds, "in the 23rd year of his son Constantine, and the third after his consulship".

[2] Bede, book c. 19.

A.D. 633.] PENDA PERSECUTES THE CHRISTIANS. 95

Jesus Christ, who was conceived and born without sin; "for all other men, though they may be free from actual transgression, have the taint of original sin, according to the saying of David: 'Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me'".

[A.D. 633.] After Edwin [1] had reigned seventeen years, he was slain in a desperate battle in the plain which is called Hethfeld, [2] by Cedwall, king of the Britons, supported by Penda the Strong, at that time king of the Mercians. In this battle his whole army was either put to the sword or dispersed. His warlike son, Osrid, was slain before him; another son, Eanfrid, was compelled by necessity to take refuge with Penda, by whom he was afterwards, during the reign of Oswald, treacherously put to death. Report says that in the battle just mentioned, the plain of Hethfeld reeked throughout with red streams of noble blood; it was, indeed, the scene of a sudden and deplorable slaughter of the bravest warriors [3]. For Cedwall, who was a most powerful king, was at the head of an immense army; and Penda the Strong was truly the strongest. At this time, therefore, there was a general massacre of the Northumbrian Christians; for Penda was a pagan, and Cedwall (though he professed himself a Christian) was worse than a pagan, sparing neither women nor children, and threatening to exterminate all the English who were in Britain. Nor was it the custom of the Britons to communicate with the English any more than with the pagans, paying no respect to their profession of Christianity.

King Edwin's head was carried to York, and deposited in the church of St. Peter, which he had began to erect, and Oswald finished. And now the Northumbrians, finding no safety but in flight, Paulinus, taking with him the queen Ethelburga, whom he had formerly conducted thither, returned into Kent by sea, where he was honourably received by the Archbishop Honorius and King Eadbald. He brought with him also the son and daughter of Edwin, whom their mother afterwards, for fear of the kings Eadbald and Oswald, sent into France to be bred up by King


[1] Bede, book ii. c. 20.

[2] Heathfield, now Hatfield, near Doncaster.

[3] This passage is an addition by Henry of Huntingdon to the more simple narrative of Bede

96 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

Dagobert, who was her friend; and there they both died young. He brought with him also the precious vessels of Edwin, with a cross of gold and a golden chalice, which are still preserved in the cathedral at Canterbury.

Romanus, bishop of Rochester, having been drowned in the Italian sea while he was on his way to Rome on a mission from Honorius, Paulinus took charge of that bishopric, which he held for the rest of his life, and, there dying, left the pall, which he had received from the pope. He had left behind him in his church at York, James the Deacon, a holy man, who, from that time, employed himself in baptizing and teaching, until peace being restored in the province, and the number of the faithful increasing, he became precentor or master of church song, after the Roman custom. [1] And being old, and full of days, as the Scripture says, he went the way of his fathers. [2]

Edwin was succeeded in the kingdom of the Deiri by his cousin Osric; while Eanfrid, the son of Ethelfrid, obtained the kingdom of the Bernicii. These were the two provinces into which the Northumbrian nation was anciently divided. The two young princes had been baptized while they were in exile among the Scots and Picts in the time of King Edwin; but when they became kings they relapsed to heathenism. They were justly, but treacherously, slain by King Cedwall. First, the very next summer, he slew Osric; for, being besieged by him in a free town, [3] Cedwall made a sudden sally, and, taking him by surprise, destroyed him and his whole army. The year afterwards he put to death Eanfrid, who came to him with only twelve soldiers to sue for peace. It was a disastrous year, both on account of the apostacy of the English kings and the tyranny of Cedwall, who ravaged, as with a pestilence, the lands which he had ingloriously acquired. Hence that year is passed over and added to the reign of his successor Oswald. This king, after the murder of his brother Eanfrid, advanced with a small army, before which he carried aloft the standard of the holy cross. Having planted it in a hole dug in the ground, and secured it with turfs, he said, "Let us kneel


[1] What is now called the Gregorian chant.

[2] Bede, book iii. c. 1.

[3] "Municipiens", probably York.

A.D. 635.] AIDAN PREACHES IN NORTHUMBRIA. 97

down, and let us pray together, that the living and true Almighty God may of his mercy save us from our cruel and proud enemy; for He knows that we are engaged in a righteous war for the safety of our country". After which, at break of day, they gave battle to Ceadwall and his army, vaunting that no one was able to resist them. But they were defeated and slain at Denises-burn', that is, Denis'sbrook, so that it is said, "The corpses of Ceadwall's soldiers filled the channel of the Denis". The place is held in great veneration, as shall be related in the " Book of Miracles". [2]

Oswald, becoming king, for the furtherance of the faith, sent into Scotland, where he had been exiled, and obtained the assistance of Aidan, an excellent man, though he kept Easter incorrectly according to the usage of the northern Scots. However, the Scots, who dwelt in the south of Ireland, had long since, by the admonition of the pope, observed Easter correctly. On the arrival of the bishop, the king fixed his episcopal seat in the island of Lindisfarne. The faith now began to spread; and it was a beautiful spectacle, when Aidan was preaching in the English tongue, which he spoke imperfectly, to see the king himself interpreting, as he often did, to his officers and counsellors. For, during his long exile, he had perfectly learnt the language of the Scots. Thus the faith grew, and some monks, coming from Scotland, zealously taught the people; for the bishop himself was a monk of the island called Hii, where there is a monastery which was for a long time the chief of all that were among the northern Scots and the Picts. This island properly belongs to Britain, being divided from it only by a narrow strait; but it had been granted by the Picts, who inhabit those parts of Britain, to the Scottish monks, because they had received from them the faith of Christ. [3]

For in the year of grace 565, when Justin the younger,


[1] The place has not been identified.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon added a Ninth Book to his History, containing an account of the miracles related by Bede, and also of some modern saints who flourished in Britain after the time of Bede.

[3] Bede, book iii. c. 3. Henry of Huntingdon here, following Bede, breaks the thread of his narrative to introduce an account of the conversion of the Picts by Columba, one of whose followers, the fourth abbot, was Aidan, the apostle of the Northumbrians, whose conversion Henry of Huntingdon then proceeds to notice.

98 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

who succeeded Justinian, was emperor, there came over from Ireland an abbot who was named Columba, to preach to the Picts of the north, those I mean who are separated from the southern Picts by ridges of lofty and rugged mountains. For the southern Picts had been already converted by Ninian, a British bishop, who was instructed. at Rome, whose episcopal see, named after St. Martin, where Columba himself was buried, is now possessed by the English. The place lies in the province of Bernicia, and is commonly called "The White-house", [1] because he there erected a church of stone, which was not the usual practice of the Britons.

Columba arrived in Britain in the twenty-first year of the reign of Bride, the son of Meilochon, a very powerful king of the Picts; and having converted the people, received from them the aforesaid island, which contains about five families, according to the English mode of reckoning. His successors possess it to this day; and there Columba himself was buried. There was also another noble monastery in Ireland, which is called De-Armach, or the Field of Oaks. From these two monasteries, many others, both in Ireland and Britain, were offsets, that of Hii having the rule over them all. For to the abbot of that island, the whole province and even the bishops, contrary to the usual order, are wont to be subject, because the missionary Columba was not a bishop, but a priest and a monk. His successors, imitating his example, became very celebrated, though they were in error respecting the observance of Easter, till they were set right by Egbert the English king.

[A.D. 635.] From this monastery, Aidan came, [2] and was appointed bishop of Northumbria. King Oswald, having his mind formed by such a man, was more proficient in knowledge, and more prosperous in his affairs, than all his progenitors. For he brought under his dominion all the nations who inhabited Britain, viz. the Britons, the English, the Picts, and the Scots. But though he was so exalted, he continued humble, and was liberal and kind to the stranger and the poor.


[1] Whitherne, or Candida Casa, in Galloway.

[2] Bede, book iii. c. 5.

A.D. 635.] CONVERSION OF THE WEST-SAXONS. 99

Here follows our fifth section, [1] which treats of the conversion of the West-Saxons, who were formerly called Gewissae. It was accomplished by Birinus, a bishop, who came into Britain by the advice of Pope Honorius; for which purpose he was ordained bishop by Asterius, bishop of Genoa. Having arrived among the Gewissae, a nation plunged in the darkest heathenism, he brought to baptism the people and their king Kinigils [A.D. 636]. It happened fortunately that the holy king Oswald was visiting Kinigils, whom he held in the laver of baptism, and took his daughter in marriage. The two kings gave to Birinus the city of Dorcie [2] for the seat of his episcopacy, where, having built churches, he was buried; but many years afterwards, when Hedda was bishop, his remains were translated thence to the city of Went, which is now called Winchester, and were laid in the church of St Peter and Paul.

Kinigils also departing this life was succeeded by his son Kenwalch, who held the truth, but imperfectly; for having divorced his wife, who was sister of Penda king of Mercia, and married another, he was conquered and driven out of his kingdom by Penda, and became for three years an exile in the court of Anna, the Christian king of the East-Angles, where Benwalch was restored to the faith. But when he had recovered his kingdom, he chose for bishop a Frenchman naaned Agilbert, who then came from Ireland, where he had resided for the sake of study. Afterwards the king, who knew no language but English, growing weary of the bishop's barbarous tongue, brought into the province another bishop of his own nation, whose name was Wini, who had been ordained in France, and, dividing his kingdom into two dioceses, gave one to Wini, with Went, or Winchester, for his episcopal seat. Upon this Agilbert, being offended that the king had so done without consulting him, returned into France, and, accepting the bishopric of Paris, held it till his death. Afterwards, the same king drove Wini from his bishopric, who, taking refuge with Wulfhere, king of the Mercians, purchased from him for money the see of London, and continued in that


[1] Bede, book iii. c. 7.

[2] Dorchester, near Oxford. The see was afterwards transferred to Lincoln,

100 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

bishopric till his death. The province being thus without a bishop, and the king undergoing much suffering from his enemies, and many hindrances on that account, he sent to Paris for Agilbert. But he being unwilling to relinquish that bishopric, sent to the king his nephew Eleutherius, who having been consecrated by Theodore the archbishop, for a long period had the sole government of the entire diocese of the Gewissae.

[A.D. 640.] Meanwhile, [1] after Eadbald, king of Kent, Erconbert his son reigned in honour 24 years. He was the first of the English kings who utterly destroyed idols throughout his dominions. He also commanded the fast of the 40 days of Lent to be kept, and enacted penalties on those who broke it. He married Sexberga, the eldest daughter of King Anna, who had sent his youngest daughter Ethelberga, and his wife's daughter Sethred, to be Servants of the Lord in the monastery of Brie, [2] both of whom, though foreigners, were for their virtues elected abbesses of Brie. For at that time the English nobles were accustomed to send their daughters to be brought up in the convents of Brie, of Challes, [3] and Andelys. Erconbert also sent to Brie his daughter Erchengote, a holy and venerable virgin, whose virtuous acts, and the wonders of whose miracles, are to this day related by the inhabitants of that place. We shall set forth her merits in the "Book of Miracles". [4]

[A.D. 642.] About the same time Oswald, [5] after a reign of nine years, including the year which has been before referred to, [6] was slain by Penda the Strong, in a great battle at Mesafeld, on the 5th of August, in the thirty-eighth year of his age. Whence it is said, "The plain of Mesafeld [7]


[1] Bede, book iii. c. 8.

[2] Or Faremoutier, a monastery founded by St. Fara, A.D. 616, according to the rule of St. Columba.

[3] Chelles, four leagues from Paris. It was founded by St. Clotilda. Bede says that the noble English ladies were sent to these convents to be educated, from there being few such in England.

[4] See note, p. 97.

[5] Bede, book iii. c. 9.

[6] See before, p. 96, for the reason this year was erased from the calendar of the Christian kings, as Bede expresses it.

[7] Antiquarians differ about the site of Mesafeld, or Maserfield, as Bede names it; Camden placing it at Oswestry, in Shropshire; and others at Winwick, in Lancashire.

A.D. 642.] MURDER OF OSWIN. 101

was whitened with the bones of saints". By an inscrutable providence, the foes of God were allowed to massacre his people, and give them for food to the fowls of the air. On the spot where Oswald was slain, miracles are wrought to the present day.

[A.D. 642.] This holy king was succeeded in the province of Bernicia by his brother Oswy, [1] who reigned 28 years; but Oswin, the son of King Osric already named, reigned seven years in the province of Deira. Between these two kings there were causes of disagreement, which became so aggravated that they were on the point of encountering each other at Wilfares-dune, that is, "Wilfar's hill", distant almost ten miles from the village called Cataract, [2] about the autumnal solstice. Oswin, however, finding himself inferior in force, dismissed his army, and, attended only by a single soldier, whose name was Tondhere, sought concealment in the house of Earl Hunwald, whom he imagined to be his surest friend; but he was betrayed by the Earl to Oswald, and was put to death, with the trusty follower, by an officer of Oswy's named Ethelwin, a murder universally execrated, at a place called Getlingum, [3] where afterwards a church was built, for the sake both of him that was murdered and of him by whose command he was slain. King Oswin was of a graceful aspect, and tall of stature, affable in discourse, courteous and liberal, and so beloved that his court was frequented by the nobles of both the provinces [of Northumbria]. Of his humility we propose to give memorable instances from the acts of St. Aidan, who was much beloved by him.

[A.D. 644.] In the second year of the reign of Oswy, [4] Ithamar succeeded the most reverend Father Paulinus in the see of Rochester. At this times the kingdom of the East-Angles, after the death of Earpwald, the successor of Redwald, was governed by his brother Sigebert, a religious


[1] Bede, book iii. c. 14.

[2] Catterick, in the West Riding, mentioned before. The spot called Wilfar's Hill cannot now be pointed out.

[3] Gilling, in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Bede calls it Ingethlingham.

[4] Bede, book iii. cc. 14, 18, 19, 20.

[5] Sigebert became king of Kent A.D. 635, long before the death of Paulinus. Henry of Huntingdon is frequently confused in his chronology,

102 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

man, who bad been baptized in France, where he had fled from the persecution of Redwald. After he became king he established a school for youths, such as he had observed in France; in which he was assisted by Bishop Felix. A holy man from Ireland, named Fursey, was also nobly entertained by him. This king was so devoted to God that, resigning his crown to his cousin Ecgric, he entered a monastery and received the tonsure. Many years afterward he was compelled to quit it, that he might take the field against King Penda; but he would not consent to bear anything but a staff in his hand during the battle; whereupon he was slain, together with King Ecgric, and most of his army. Anna, the son of Eni, of the royal race, a good man and the father of a worthy offspring, succeeded. He also was afterwards slain by Penda. Felix, bishop of the East-Angles, was succeeded by Thomas, after whom was Boniface. They were all consecrated by Honorius, on whose death Deus-dedit became the sixth archbishop of Canterbury [A.D. 655]. He was consecrated by Ithamar bishop of Rochester, who was succeeded in that see Damianus.

[A.D. 653.] The sixth part, which follows, relates the conversion of the Middle-Angles, [1] that is, the Angles of the midland district, under their prince Peada, who governed that people for his father Penda. King Oswy had given his daughter in marriage to Penda, on condition that he would become a Christian; but he was mainly influenced to this by the persuasion of Alfrid, a son of Oswy's, who had married his sister, the daughter of Penda. Accordingly, Penda was baptized, with his family, by Bishop Finan, at a village which is called At-the- Wall; and having secured the help of four priests, Cedda and Adda, Betti and Duma, he returned with them to his own country. Nor did King Penda oppose the conversion of those of his own nation, that is, the Mercians who were so disposed, but he treated with contempt believers who were ill-livers. Two years afterwards the general conversion of the people of Mercia took place in this way: King Oswy, being unable to bear the intolerable inroads of King Penda, offered him an enormous tribute; but Penda the Strong, having resolved on


[1] Bede, book iii. c. 21.

A.D. 655.] THE TYRANT PENDA SLAIN. 103

exterminating the people of Oswy, rejected the offering. Upon this Oswy, driven to despair, exclaimed, "If this heathen refuses to accept our gifts, let us offer them to him that will, even God". [1] Thereupon he made a vow that he would dedicate his daughter to the Lord, and would give twelve farms to the monasteries. Then with a few troops he attacked a multitude; indeed it is reported that the army of the heathens was thrice as great as his, as they had 30 legions in battle array under renowned generals. Against these Oswy and his son Alfrid mustered but a very small force, but, trusting in Christ as their leader, they joined battle with the pagans. Oswy's other son, Egfrid, was at that time detained as a hostage among the Mercians, by the Queen Cynwise; and Ethelwald, King Oswald's son, who ought to have come to their aid, was on the side of their enemies, and was one of their leaders against his country and his uncle. However, during the battle he withdrew from the fight, and waited the issue in a place of safety. In this engagement the pagans were defeated, and all the 30 commanders were slain; for the God of battles was with his faithful people, and broke the might of King Penda, and unnerved the boasted strength of his arm, and caused his proud heart to fail, so that his assaults were not as they were wont to be, and the arms of his enemies prevailed against them. He was struck with amazement at finding that his foes were now become to him what he had formerly been to them, and that he was to them what they had been to him. He who had shed the blood of others now suffered what he had inflicted on them, while the earth was watered with his blood, and the ground was sprinkled with his brains. Almost all his allies were slain, amongst whom was Ethelhere, brother and successor of Anna, king of the East-Angles, the promoter of the war, who fell with the auxiliary troops he led. The battle was fought near the river Winwed, [2] the waters of which, from excessive rains, were not only deep, but overflowed its banks, so that many more were drowned in the flight than fell by the sword.

In consequence, Ethelfreda, King Oswy's daughter,


[1] Bede, book iii. c. 24.

[2] The Aire, near Leeds.

104 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

became a nun in the convent of Herteu, that is, "the Isle the Hart". [1] Afterwards she founded a monastery Streaneshalch, [2] of which she became the abbess, and then died. In it were interred her father Oswy, with her mother Eanfleda, and her mother's father, Edwin. King Oswy governed the people of Mercia and the other southern provinces for three years after the death of Penda, and also reduced to submission great part of the nation of the Picts. He conferred on his kinsman Peada, the son of Penda, the government of the southern Mercians, containing 500 families, divided by the river Trent from the northern Mercians, who amounted to 7000 families. Peada, however, was soon after murdered, through the treachery of his wife. The Mercian tribes were for three years subject to King Oswy, who freed them from their impious tyrant, and converted them to the Christian faith. Diuma became the first bishop of the Middle- Angles, as well as of Lindisfarne and the Mercians. He died and was buried in Mercia and was succeeded by Ceollach, who, however, retired to the Scots from whom he came. But after the three years before mentioned, the chiefs of the Mercians rebelled against King Oswy, setting up Wulfhere, the son of Penda, for king. He reigned seventeen years, during which Trumher was the first bishop, Jaruman the second, Chad the third and Wilfrid the fourth.

[A.D. 653.] At that time also the East-Saxons, [3] who had formerly expelled Mellitus, rettuned to the faith. For Sigebert, who reigned next to Sigebert, surnamed the Little, was then king of that nation, and an ally of King Oswy. He often visited him, and being instructed by him was baptized by Bishop Finan, in the royal village called At-the-Wall, which is distant twelve miles from the eastern sea. Cedd, invited from Middle-Anglia, became the bishop in Essex, and baptized multitudes in the town of Itancester, [4] which is on the bank of the river Pente, and in Tilaburgh, [5] which lies on the bank of the Thames. There


[1] Now Hartlepool.

[2] "The bay of the Lighthouse".- Bede. Now Whitby, in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

[3] Bede, book iii. c. 22.

[4] Near Maldon, in Essex: the river Pente is now called the Blackwater.

[5] Tilbury, in Essex, opposite Gravesend.

A.D. 652.] CHURCH BUILT AT LINDISFARNE. 106

was a certain nobleman with whom communion was forbidden, because he had contracted an unlawful marriage. The king, however, slighting the prohibition, partook of an entertainment at his house. On his return he met the bishop, and threw himself at his feet. The bishop incensed, touched the king, thus humbled before him, with his rod, and foretold his death in the same house in which he had offended. It happened soon afterwards that the nobleman and his brother assassinated the king in that house, saying they did it because he was too gentle and forgiving to his enemies.

Sigebert was succeeded by Suidhelm, who was baptized by Cedd himself in East-Anglia, at Rendlesham, that is, Rendle's-House; and Ethelwald, king of that nation, and brother of Anna, king of the same people, was his godfather. Ethelwald, king of the Deiri, and son of Oswald, granted to this same Cedd an estate at Lestingau, [1] for building a monastery. After its erection he often retired there from his bishopric in Essex, and happening to do so in the time of a mortality, he there died.

[A.D. 652.] In the meantime Finan the bishop erected a church of hewn timber in the Isle of Lindisfarne. [2] It was afterwards consecrated by the Archbishop Theodore, and Eadbert, bishop there, covered the walls and roof with lead. When Finan died, he was succeeded by Colman, who kept Easter irregularly, as Aidan and Finan had done. Whereupon a conference was held in the presence of King Oswy and King Alfrid his son. On one side were Colman and Cedd before named; on the other was Agilbert, bishop of the West-Saxons, who had come to his friend King Alfrid, with James, a deacon of Paulinus. Of whom the right part prevailed. Cedd afterwards observed the Feast of Easter properly; while Colman, being unwilling to change the usage of Father Aidan, returned to his own country, carrying part of his relics with him. Tuda succeeded him in the see of Northumbria; but Eata was appointed, first abbot, and then bishop, of Lindisfarne. The three Scottish bishops - Aidan, Finan, and Colman - were extraordinary patterns of sanctity and frugality. They


[1] Lastingham, in Yorkshire.

[2] Bede, book iii. cc. 25, 26.

106 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

never entertained the great men of the world, for such never visited them except to pray. The king himself, when he came to prayer, had only five or six attendants, and either at once departed, or partook of the repast of the brethren. So free from avarice were the priests of that age, that they refused to accept grants of land, unless they were forced upon them.

[A.D. 664.] Not long afterwards there was an eclipse of the sun, on the 8rd of May, about the tenth hour of the day. [1] It was followed by a grievous pestilence, which depopulated Britain and Ireland with its ravages. Bishop Tuda died of this pestilence, and was buried at Wemalet. [2]

In the meantime [3] Alfrid, the son of Oswy, who already governed part of his father's dominions, sent Wilfrid the priest to the king of the Franks [4] to be consecrated bishop. Accordingly, he was solemnly ordained by Agilbert already mentioned, who presided over the see of Paris, assisted by many other bishops, at the royal villa of Compeigne. King Oswy also, imitating the prudent policy of his son, when the Archbishop of York died, sent the priest Ceadda [Chad] to Wini, bishop of the East-Saxons, by whom he was ordained bishop of the church of York. Chad being consecrated bishop, set himself to follow the rule of his master Aidan, and the example of his brother Cedd, travelling not on horseback, but on foot, devoted to learning, studying the truth, continent and humble. Wilfrid also returning into Britain after his consecration, added many things to the teaching of the English church.

[A.D. 665.] Sighere and Sebbi succeeded King Suidhelm in Essex, [5] but Sighere and his people relapsed to idolatry in consequence of the mortality which has been already mentioned. Whereupon King Wulfhere sent to them Bishop Jaruman, who happily succeeded in recovering them to the faith. [6] At that time Pope Vitalian addressed letters to Oswy and


[1] Bede, book iii. c. 27.

[2] Bede calls this place Pegnaleth; the Saxon Chronicle, Wagele. It was probably Finchale, in the parish of St. Oswalds, on the western bank of the Wear, near Durham.

[3] Bede, book iii. c. 28.

[4] Clotaire, king of Neustria.

[5] Bede, book iii. c. 30; and book iv. c. 1.

[6] Sighere and Sebbi were two petty kings, subject to Wulfhere, paramount king of all Mercia. Jaruman was bishop of Litchfield.

A.D. 669.] THEODORE ARCHBISHOP. 107

Egbert, the greatest of the English kings, who had consulted him on the state of the church, and the question regarding the feast of Easter. Soon afterwards he sent over Theodore, whom he had consecrated archbishop [of Canterbury].

[A.D. 669.] Theodore [1] ordained Putta to the see of Rochester in the place of Damianus, and at the request of King Wulfhere he translated Cedd from the monastery of Lestingham to the see of Lichefeld, [2] where he became celebrated for miracles, which will be related in their proper place. King Oswy falling sick and dying, he was succeeded by his son Egfrid, in the third year of whose reign Theodore assembled a council of bishops, the decrees of which will have a place in our last Book. After this, Theodore deposed Winfrid, bishop of the Mercians, for some act of insubordination, and ordained Sexwulf in his stead. He also made Erconwald bishop of London in the time of the kings Sebbi and Sighere. The mirades wrought by Erconwald will be mentioned in their place. At that time [A.D. 676 [3]], Ethelred, king of the Mercians, ravaged Kent, and laid Rochester in ruins. Putta, the bishop, retired, and Chichelm was appointed to the see in his place; he also was compelled to relinquish it from the penury to which it was reduced. He was succeeded by Gebmund. That same year [A.D. 678 [3]] a comet was visible every morning for time months.

Egfrid, king of Northumbria, expelled Wilfrid from his bishopric. [4] In his place Bosa was appointed to the diocese of Deira, and Eata to that of Bernicia, the one having his cathedral at York, the other at Haugulstad or at Lindisfarne. At that time also Eadhed was ordained bishop over the province of Lindsey, which King Egfrid had lately wrested from Wulfhere. Eadhed was the first bishop, Ethelwin the second, Edgar the third, and Kinebert the fourth; who, according to Bede, held it in his time. Before Eadhed, it was governed by Serwulf, who was also bishop both of the Mercians and the Middle-Angles; so that when he was


[1] Bede, book iv. cc. 2. 6. 15.

[2] "The field of the dead". The see of Lichfield, now founded, was for a short time, in the reign of Offa, an archbishopric.

[3] Sax. Chron.

[4] Bede, book iv. c. 12.

108 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. BOOK III.

expelled from Lindsey, he retained his jurisdiction over those provinces. Archbishop Theodore consecrated Eadhed, Bosa, and Eata at York; and three years after the departure of Wilfrid, he added two other bishops to their number, Tumbert for the church of Haugulstad, Eata remaining at Lindisfarne; and Trumwine to the province of the Picts, which was at that time subject to the English. Eadhed returning from Lindsey, because King Ethelred had recovered that province, governed the church of Ripon.

[A.D. 681.] Our seventh division relates to the conversion of the South-Saxons, [1] which was accomplished by Wilfrid, who when he was expelled from his bishopric, as already mentioned, after visiting Rome, returned into Britain, and converted to the faith the South-Saxons, consisting of 7000 families. Ethelwalch, their king, had been baptized shortly before in the province of Mercia by the persuasion of King Wulfhere, who was his godfather, and in token of adoption gave him the Isle of Wight and the district of Meanwara [2] in the nation of the West-Saxons. With the concurrence, therefore, or rather to the great satisfaction of the king, the preaching of Wilfrid brought first the nobles and soldiers, and then the rest of the people, to the sacred fount of ablution. On that very day rain fell, the failure of which for three years had caused a grievous famine, by which the country was depopulated. So much so, that it is reported, that forty or fifty men, exhausted with hunger, would go together to some precipice overhanging the sea, and hand-in-hand cast themselves over to perish by the fall or be swallowed up by the waves. But the rain thus concurring with the baptism, the earth revived again, fresh verdure was restored to the fields, and the season became prosperous and fruitful. Thus the hearts and the flesh of all rejoiced in the living God. The bishop also taught the people to fish in the sea; for, up to that time, they had fished only for eels. Having collected nets, he had them cast in the sea, and 300 fishes being taken, he gave 100 to the poor, 100 to the owners of the nets, reserving 100 for his own disposal. Seeing which, the people listened more willingly to the promises of spiritual


[1] Bede, book iv. cc. 13-15.

[2] Part of Hampshire.

A.D. 681-686.] ISLES OF SELSEY AND WIGHT 109

good from one from whom they derived temporal benefits. King Ethelwalch had granted him an island containing 87 families called Selsey, or the island of the Sea-Calf. It is surrounded on all sides by the sea, except the space of a sling's-cast towards the west. Such a place is called by the Latins a peninsula, by the Greeks a chersonesus. Here Wilfrid founded a church and monastery, where he lived for five years, that is, until the death of King Egfrid; having converted and given freedom to 250 men and women slaves who were attached to the land. [1]

[A.D. 685.] Meanwhile, Ceadwalla, a young man of the royal race of the Gewissae, being banished from his country, invaded Sussex and slew King Ethelwalch; but he was soon afterwards expelled by the king's commanders, Berthun and Andhun, who before [2] held the government [of that province]. When, however, Ceadwalla became king of the Gewissae, he put Berthun to death, and both he and his successors grievously ravaged that province; so that during the whole period, Wilfrid having been recalled home, it was without a bishop of its own, and was subject to the Bishop of Winchester.

Ceadwalla likewise, [3] when he became king, conquered the Isle of Wight, the inhabitants of which were still idolaters, and in fulfilment of a vow granted the fourth part of the island to Bishop Wilfrid, who happened to be there on a visit from his own nation. The island is of the measurement belonging to 1200 families, so that the possession given to the bishop included 300. The two sons of Atwald, the king of the island who had been already slain, being also about to be put to death, the Abbot of Retford, [4] that is "the Ford of Reeds", obtained leave from King Ceadwalla to baptize them first. Thus the Isle of Wight was the last district of Britain which was converted;


[1] This church and monastery, shortly afterwards, in 711, were made the seat of the first bishop of the South-Saxons. In 1070 Bishop Stigand translated it to Chichester. There are no vestiges remaining of the former cathedral, Selsey Island itself having entirely disappeared, from the gradual encroachments of the sea on the Sussex coast.

[2] Bede says "afterwards", which seems a better reading than Henry of Huntingdon's.

[3] Bede, book iv. c. 16.

[4] Redbridge, at the head of the Southampton Water.

110 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK III.

and when all the provinces of Britain had received the Christian faith, the Archbishcrp Theodore, that he might confirm the faith both of the old and new converts, held a council of the bishops of Britain to expound the Catholic belief; and what they declared was committed to writing for a perpetual memorial. Which synodal letter I have judged it right to prefix to the beginning of the following Book, in which is purposed a continuation of the acts of the Christian kings of the English to the time of the arrival and wars of the Danes; all the divisions of this present Book being now completed in the order I proposed.

A.D 680.] SYNOD OF HATFIELD. 111

BOOK IV. [1]

In the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: in the reigns of our most pious lords, Egfrid, king of the Humbrians, his tenth year; Centwine, king of Wessex, the fifth year of his reign; Ethelred, king of the Mercians, the sixth year of his reign; Aldulf, king of the East- Angles, the seventeenth year of his reign; and Lothaire, king of Kent, the seventh year of his reign; on the 17th day of [the kalends of] October, the seventh indiction; Theodore, by the grace of God Archbishop of Canterbury and of the whole island of Britain, presiding, and the other bishops of the British Island, venerable men, sitting with him at the place which in the Saxon tongue is called Hethfeld; [2] the holy gospels being placed before them.

"Having consulted together, we have set forth the true and orthodox belief, as our Lord Jesus Christ, when incarnate, delivered it to his disciples who saw him present and heard his words, and as it has been handed down to us by the creed of the holy Fathers, and, in general, by all the holy and universal councils, and with one voice by all the


[1] Henry of Hnntingdon, in this Fourth Book, returns to the general history of the English kings and people, the thread of which he had broken, to introduce in his Third Book an account of their conversion, and of ecclesiastical affairs generally, to the time when the last of the kings of the Heptarchy embraced the Christian faith; the period ranging from the arrival of St. Angustine and the conversion of Ethelbert and the kingdom of Kent, A.D. 597, to that of the South-Saxons, A.D. 681. Henry of Huntingdon, however, commences this Fourth Book by inserting a document, the synodal letter of the Council held at Hatfield [A.D. 680], which properly belongs to the subject of the Third Book; and as it would have formed a fitter conclusion to that part of his history, one does not see why it was reserved for the commencement of this. Henry of Huntingdon still follows Bede, as his main authority, to the point where Bede's History ends, in 731; making also occasional use of the Saxon Chronicle.

[2] This Council was held A.D. 680, at Bishop's Hatfield, in Hertfordshire.

112 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

approved doctors of the Catholic Church. We, therefore, following them religiously and orthodoxly, in conformity with their divinely-inspired doctrine, do profess that we firmly believe and confess, according to the holy Fathers, properly and truly, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, a Trinity consubstantial in unity, and unity in trinity; that is, one God subsisting in three consubstantial persons of equal glory and honour".

And after more of this sort appertaining to the profession of the true faith, the holy Council added this to its synodal letter: "We accept the five holy and general councils of the blessed Fathers acceptable to God; viz., that of Nice, where 318 bishops were assembled against the heretic Arius and his most impious doctrines; that of Constantinople, composed of 150 bishops, against the insane tenets of Macedonius and Eudoxius; the first council of Ephesus, of 200 bishops, against the wicked subtlety of Nestorius and his doctrines, that of Chalcedon, composed of 430 bishops against Eutyches and Nestorius and their tenets; and the fifth council which was again assembled at Constantinople in the reign of Justinian the younger, against Theodore and Theodoret, as well as the epistles of Iba and their controversies with Cyril". And a little afterwards: "We receive also the council held at Rome, when the most holy Martin was Pope, the first indiction, and in the ninth year of the most pious Emperor Constantine: and we glorify our Lord Jesus Christ as the holy Fathers glorified Him, neither adding nor diminishing anything; and we anathematize with heart and mouth those whom they anathematized, and whom they received we receive, giving glory to God the Father, who was without beginning, and to his only-begotten Son, begotten by the Father before all ages, and to the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son in an ineffable manner, as they taught who have been already mentioned, the holy apostles, prophets, and doctors. We also, who with Theodore, archbishop, have thus set forth the Catholic faith, have subscribed our names thereto".

There were present at this synod, John, the precentor of the church of St. Peter at Rome, and abbot of the monastery of St. Martin, who had lately come from Rome by order of Pope Agatho, as also the venerable Abbot Benedict

A.D. 686.] WEST SAXONS INVADE KENT. 113

who had founded a monastery dedicated to St. Peter near the mouth of the river Were. [1] He had gone to Rome to obtain a confirmation of the privileges granted to that monastery by King Egbert, and now returned in company with the said John the precentor. Benedict was succeeded by Abbot Ceolfrid, under whom Bede lived. John taught them to sing in this monastery after the Roman practice. He also left there a copy of the decrees of the council held by Pope Martin, at which he was present. As he was returning to Rome, carrying with him the testimony of the conformity of the faith of the English bishops, he died on the way at Tours, where he was buried. [2]

Having now treated of these [ecclesiastical] affairs, I return to a continuation of the history of the English kings, from which we broke off at the end of the Second Book: [3] and the sequel of our narrative must be connected with that context, that it may now proceed in regular order.

[A.D. 686.] After the death of Kentwin, king of the West-Saxons, Ceadwall, who succeeded him, with the aid of his brother Mul, obtained by force possession of the Isle of Wight. This Mul, his brother, was a man of courteous and pleasing manners, of prodigious strength, and of noble aspect, so that he was generally esteemed, and his renown was very great. These two brothers made an irruption into the province of Kent for the sake of exhibiting their prowess and augmenting their glory. They were not yet baptized, though their predecessors, and the whole nation, had become Christians. They met with no opposition in their invasion of Kent, and plundered the whole kingdom. For, at this time, the throne was vacant by the death of Lothaire, king of Kent. This enterprising king had been wounded in a battle with the East-Saxons, against whom he had marched in concert with Edric, son of Egbert, and so severe were his wounds, that he died in the hands of those who endeavoured to heal them. After him Edric reigned


[1] Now Monk-Wearmouth, where Venerable Bede passed the early part of his monastic life.

[2] Bede's Eccles. Hist., book iv. cc. 17, 18.

[3] Book II. concludes with the year 681, the period of the conversion of the last of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and with a summary of the reigns of all the kings of the Heptarchy to that time. See p. 63.

114 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

one year in Kent without the love and respect of his people. [1] Meanwhile [A.D. 684] died Egfrid, king of Northumbria. The year before he had sent an army into Ireland under his general Beorht, who miserably wasted the inoffensive inhabitants, though they had been always friendly to the English. However, the Irish made all the resistance they could, and, imploring the aid of the divine mercy, invoked the vengeance of God on their enemies with continual imprecations. Those, indeed, who curse cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; but it is believed that those who were thus justly cursed, on account of their cruelty, did soon suffer the penalty of their guilt under the avenging hand of God. For the very next year afterwards, that same king, rashly leading his army to ravage the country of the Picts, much against the advice of his friends, and particularly of Cuthbert, of blessed memory, lately ordained bishop (for the same year the king had made him bishop of Lindisfarne), he was drawn by a feigned retreat of the enemy into the recesses of inaccessible mountains, where he was cut off with the greatest part of his army. It was his lot to fail of hearing the shouts for his recall raised by his friends, as he had refused to hear the voice of Father Egbert, dissuading him from the invasion of the Irish who had done him no wrong.

From that time the hopes and courage of the English. began to fail, and, "tottering, to slide backwards": for on the one hand, the Picts recovered that part of their territory which had been occupied by the English, and on the other, the Britons regained some degree of liberty, which they still enjoy. [2] Among the fugitives was a man of God, named Trumwine, abbot of Abercorn, a place just within the English pale, but near the straits which divide the country of the English from that of the Picts. He retired to the monastery of Streneshalch, [3] often mentioned before, and there he died. On King Egfrid's death he was succeeded by Alfrid, a man very learned in the Scriptures, who is reported to have been Egfrid's brother, and the son of


[1] Bede, book iv. c. 26.

[2] i.e. in the time of Bede, from whom Henry of Huntingdon is quoting; "which they have now enjoyed", says Bede, "for about 46 years". Book iv. c. 26.

[3] Whitby.

A.D. 687.] MUL'S DEATH REVENGED. 115

King Oswy: he nobly retrieved the ruined condition of the kingdom, though it was now reduced within narrower bounds.

[A.D. 687.] Ceadwall, in the second year of his reign, gave permission to his brother Mul, a brave warrior, to make a predatory excursion into Kent, followed by a band of brave youths. He was allured by the rich booty which had been gained the preceding year, [1] nor did he despise the reward of a glorious renown. On this irruption into Kent, finding no one able to resist him, the country was reduced to a solitude by his ravages, and he cruelly afflicted the inoffensive servants of Christ. But he was made to feel the justice of their curses. For believing the enemy to be quite enervated, and foreseeing no opposition to his violence, he made an attempt to plunder a certain mansion remote from his camp, followed by only twelve soldiers. Finding himself, however, here surrounded by numbers he had not expected, he fought desperately, and slew many of the enemy; but resistance was vain, for though he stood his ground against their assaults, they had recourse to setting fire to the house, and Mul, with every one of his twelve followers, perished in the flames. Thus fell the flower of the youth of Wessex, upon which his band of young warriors dispersed; and thus it appears how vain is all confidence in human might, when opposed to the almighty power of God. When this reverse was reported to Ceadwall, he again entered Kent, and after a fearful slaughter and immense pillage, when there was no longer any one to slay or anything to plunder, he retired to his own dominions, exulting in his triumphant success and cruel revenge.

[A.D. 688.] After reigning two years, [2] Ceadwall abdicated his kingdom for the sake of God, and of a kingdom which is everlasting, and went to Rome; considering that it would be a singular honour for him to be baptized there and then die. Accordingly, Pope Sergius baptized him, giving him the name of the apostle Peter. Seven days afterwards, on the 20th day of April, according to his wish, the


[1] Ceadwall himself, attended by Mul, led the inroad the year before.- See Sax. Chron.

[2] Bede, book v. c. 7.

116 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

king died, while he yet wore the white baptismal robes. He was buried in the church of St. Peter, and the following epitaph was inscribed on his tomb:-

"High state and place, kindred, a royal crown,
The spoils of war, great triumphs and renown;
Nobles, and cities walled to guard his state,
His palaces and his familiar seat;
Whatever skill and valour made his own
And what his great forefathers handed down;
Ceadwall armipotent, by heaven inspir'd,
For love of heav'n left all, and here retir'd;
Peter to see and Peter's holy seat,
The royal stranger turn'd his pilgrim feet;
Drew from the fount the purifying streams,
And shar'd the radiance of celestial beams;
Exchang'd an earthly crown and barb'rous name
For heav'nly glory and eternal fame;
While, following Peter's rule, he from his Lord
Assum'd his name at Father Sergius' word:
Washed in the font, still cloth'd in robes of white,
Christ's virtue rais'd him to the realms of light.
Great was his faith, Christ's mercy greater still,
Whose counsels far transcend all human skill.
From Britain's distant isle his vent'rous way,
O'er lands, o'er seas, by toilsome journeyings lay,
Rome to behold, her glorious temple see,
And mystic offerings make on bended knee.
White-rob'd among the flock of Christ he shone;
His flesh to earth, his soul to heav'n is gone.
Sure wise was he to lay his sceptre down,
And 'change an earthly for a heav'nly crown".

Next to Ceadwall, Ina reigned in Wessex 37 years. Ina was son of Cenred, who was son of Ceolwold, who was brother of Cinewold; and both [1] [Ceolwold and Cinewold] were sons of Cudwine, who was son of Ceauling, who was son of Cenric, who was son of Cerdic. In the second year of Ina's reign, Theodore, the archbishop, departed this life, in the twenty-second year of his episcopacy. In his place, Berthwald, abbot of Reculver, was elected and consecrated archbishop. Up to this time, the archbishops had all been Romans, henceforth they were of English race. Berthwald ordained to the see of Rochester Tobias, a man well


[1] See Saxon Chronicle, and the genealogy of the kings of Wessex in Florence of Worcester.

A.D. 694.] PEACE BETWEEN KENT AND WESSEX. 117

taught in the Latin, Greek, and Saxon tongues. At that timne there were two kings in Kent, reigning not by right of royal descent, but by conquest, Withred and Suoebhard.

[A.D. 694.] In the sixth year of King Ina, Withred, the legitimate king of Kent, being established on the throne, freed his nation by his zeal and piety from foreign invasion. Withred was the son of Egbert, who was son of Erchenbert, who was son of Eadbald, who was son of Ethelbert. He held the kingdom of Kent 32 years in honour and peace. The same year King Ina marched a formidable and well-arrayed army into Kent to obtain satisfaction for the burning of his kinsman Mul. King Withred, however, advanced to meet him not with fierce arrogance, but with peaceful supplication, not with angry threats, but with the honeyed phrases of a persuasive eloquence; and by these he prevailed on the incensed king to lay aside his arms and receive from the people of Kent a large sum of money as a compensation for the murder of the young prince. Thus the controversy was ended, and the peace now concluded was lasting. Thenceforth the King of Kent had a tranquil reign. The third year after this [A.D. 697], the Mercians, who are also called South-Humbrians, perpetrated a scandalous crime, for they barbarously murdered Ostrythe, the wife of their King Ethelred, and sister of King Egfrid.

[A.D. 699.] In the eleventh year of Ina, Beorht, the general of Egfrid, already named, became a victim to the maledictions of the Irish, whose churches he had destroyed, just as his master had before suffered. For in like manner as Egfrid invading the territory of the Picts fell there, so Beorht marching against them to revenge the death of his lord was by them slain. About this time 700 years are reckoned from our Lord's incarnation. Ethelred, the son of Penda, king of Mercia, under the influence of divine grace, became a monk in the twenty-ninth year of his reign, and was buried in peace at Bardenic. [1] He was succeeded by his kinsman Kenred, who was like him in piety and fortune; for when he had nobly reigned for five years, he still more nobly resigned his crown, and going to Rome, became a monk, in


[1] Bardney Abbey, in Lincolnshire.

118 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

the pontificate of Pope Constantine, and remained there to the end of his days. With him went Offa, son of Sighere, king of the East-Saxons, who would otherwise have succeeded to the kingdom, but coming to Rome in the same spirit of devotion, he also submitted to the monastic rule. We may well imitate the blessed resolve of these two kings, Ethelred and Kenred, whose names are held in everlasting remembrance. Relinquishing their crowns, their wives, their cities, their kindred, and all they possessed, they became an example to thousands for doing the like. O, gracious God! how glorious will be the crowns which Thou wilt restore to them, and which Thou, the great high priest, wilt Thyself place on their heads in the day of joy and triumph, when all the millions of the heavenly hosts, and of saints from the earth, accompanying those holy kings, and desiring to see their faces, they shall bear fruit, not a hundred, but a thousand-fold, fruit of a sweet savour, fruit much to be desired, and which shall be grateful even in thy sight, O merciful God! Who, even now, kindled by the fire of the Holy Spirit, would not follow the example of those kings who are kings indeed, that their joy may be still increased by fresh fruits, and that they may present to Thee richer offerings of those who follow them in righteousness, with holy triumph! Alas! I must cut short my discourse concerning these kings of heaven, but I pray that it may be fixed in our abject and sluggish souls. Returning now from heaven to earth, we find that Ceolred succeeded these kings in the kingdom of Mercia, which he governed with honour for eight years, inheriting his father's and grandfather's virtues.

[A.D. 705. [1]] In the twentieth year of his reign, Ina divided the bishopric of Wessex, which had formed one diocese, into two. [2] The eastern part from the woods [the Weald], was held by Daniel, the western by Aldhelm, [3] who was


[1] Bede, book v. c. 18.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon here falls into two errors: first, the division of the diocese of Wessex was made in the seventeenth year of King Ina, A.D. 705; secondly, Aldhelm died A.D. 709, in the twenty-first, not the twentieth year of Ina. His dates are erroneous to the year 725.- Petrie.

[3] Daniel was Bishop of Winchester, the see of which included the counties of Hants, Surrey, Sussex, and the Isle of Wight. Aldhelm was appointed to the new bishopric of Sherborne, consisting of the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, Devon, and Cornwall. This see continued for more than three centuries, when it was removed first to Wilton, afterwards to Old Sarum, and finally to New Sarum, or Salisbury.- Giles.

A.D. 705.] DEATH OF WILFRID. 119

succeeded by Forthere. The same year Bishop Wilfrid, who will not be forgotten in my Book of Miracles, died at Oundle, in the forty-fifth year of his episcopacy, and was buried at Ripon. [1] The next year, Ina, and Nun his kinsman, fought with Gerent, king of Wales. [2] In the beginning of this battle Sigbald, a general, was slain; at length, however, Gerent and his followers were put to flight, leaving their arms and spoils to the enemy who pursued them. At that time also, Beorhtfrith, the ealdorman, checked the arrogance of the Picts, engaging them between Haefeh and Caere, and by the numbers that were slain he revenged the deaths of King Egfrid and his general Beorht. Acca, his priest, succeeded Wilfrid as bishop. Alfrid, king of Northumbria, had died four years before [A.D. 705] at Driffield, having not quite completed the twenty-fourth year of his reign. He was succeeded by his son Osred, a youth only eight years old. He reigned eleven years, and fell in battle by the chance of war near Mere [A.D. 716]. Cenred his successor reigned two years; after whose death, Osric reigned there eleven years. All these four kings, therefore, governed Northumbria in the time of King Ina.

[A.D. 715.] There was a battle between Ina, in the twenty-sixth year of his reign, and Ceolred, king of Mercia, the son of Ethelred, near Wonebirih, [3] where the slaughter was so great on both sides, that it is difficult to say who sustained the severest loss. The year following the same Ceolred, king of Mercia, departed this life, and was buried at Litchfield. He was succeeded in the kingdom of Mercia by Ethelbald, a brave and active prince, who reigned victoriously 41 years. That same year Egbert, a venerable


[1] Bede, book v. c. 19.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon means Cornwall. Higbald was slain the same year, but not in this battle.- See Sax. Chron., A.D. 710.

[3] Or Wodnesbeorg (Woden's town); Wanborough, on the Wiltshire downs, mentioned in a former note. "There is no reason to transfer the scene of action to Woodbridge, as some have supposed, from an erroneous reading".- Ingram.

120 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

man, brought over the monks of Hii [1] to the Catholic observance of Easter and the Catholic tonsure. Having lived with them fourteen years, and being fully satisfied with the reformation of the brotherhood, during the paschal solemnities on the feast of Easter he rejoiced that he had seen the day of the Lord, "he saw it, and was glad". At that time [2] Naiton, king of the Picts, was converted to the true Pasch by a letter of admonition addressed to him by Abbot Ceolfrid, who, after the death of Benedict before mentioned, presided in the monastery which is situated at the mouth of the river Wear, and near the river Tyne, at a place called Ingirvus. [3] The letter which he wrote to the king concerning the Pasch and the greater tonsure was full of weight, so that what the abbot recommended in his letter, the king enforced by his royal authority throughout his kingdom. [4] About this time Cuthburh, sister of Cwenburh, who had been married to Egfrid, king of Northumbria, but separated from him during his life, founded an abbey at Wineburne. [5]

[A.D. 725.] Ina, in the thirty-sixth year of his reign, marched his army into Sussex, and fought against the South-Saxons with vigour and success. In this battle he slew Ealdbert, whom he had before compelled to flee from a castle called Taunton, which Ina had built. This same Eadbert, the Etheling, who was the king's enemy, had got possession of the castle, but Ina's Queen Ethelburga stormed and razed it to the ground, compelling Eadbert to escape into Surrey. The same year, Withred, king of Kent, died, after a reign of almost 34 years, leaving three


[1] Iona, or Icomkill.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon transposes the acts of Egbert and Ceolfrid in this controversy. Bede, book v. c. 21, makes the letter of Ceolfrid to Naiton precede the conversion of the monks of Iona. Its supposed date is A.D. 710.

[3] Jarrow, between the Wear and the Tyne.

[4] This long epistle is given in full by Bede, book v. c. 21. See an explanation of the controversy concerning Easter by Professor de Morgan, of University College, London. As to the tonsure, see Dr. Giles's note in Bede's Ecclesiastical History, book iii. c. 26. The Roman clergy shaved the crown of the head in a circle; the Scottish priests permitted the hair to grow on the back, and shaved the forepart of the head from ear to ear, in the form of a crescent.

[5] Wimburn, Dorsetshire.

A.D. 728.] INA GOES TO ROME. 121

sons his heirs, Ethelbert, Edbert, and Alric. About this time Tobias, bishop of Rochester, the disciple of Archbishop Theodore and Abbot Adrian, departed this life, and was succeeded by Aldwulf.

[A.D. 728.] Ina, that powerful and prosperous king, resigning his crown to Ethelward, his kinsman, went to Rome, [1] and there, a pilgrim upon earth, was enrolled in the service of heaven. How rapid are the changes of the world may be remarked from what occurred in the time of this king. During his reign [2] the emperors were, Justinian the younger, who reigned ten years; Leo, three years; Tiberius, seven years; Justinian II., six years; Philip, one year and a half; Anastasius, three years; Theodosius, one year; Leo, nine years; and Constantine, in the third year of whose reign Ina went to Rome. The successors of the apostles in his time were these: Popes Sergius, John, another John, Sisinnius, Constantine, and Gregory, in whose pontificate Ina, voluntarily relinquishing worldly ambition, became an exile. The line of the kings of the Franks, in the time of Ina was this: King Childeric, King Theodoric, King Clovis, King Childebert, King Dagobert. In the time of Ina, there were admitted to the heavenly mansions, St. Heddi, bishop of Winchester; St. Guthrac, hermit of Croyland; and St. John, archbishop of York. The two kings nearly connected, Ceadwall and Ina, excelling in strength, which they possessed in common with brutes, but more excellent in their sanctity, in which they were partakers of the nature of angels, acted nobly, whence "all generations shall call them blessed". So also two nearly connected kings of Mercia, Ethelred and Kenred, had done before; who, resigning all false pretensions to good, gained the true and highest good, which is God. Let, then, the kings who are now ruling imitate these wise and blessed kings, instead of insane and unhappy princes, the difference of whose lives, and of the end of their lives, my present


[1] Bede, book v. c. 7; Saxon Chronicle [A.D. 728], "This year King Ina went to Rome, and there gave up the ghost". The establishment of the "English School" at Rome is attributed to Ina; a full account of which, and of the origin of Rome-Scot, or Peter-pence, for the support of it, may be seen in Matthew of Westminster.

[2] Ina reigned in Wessex 37 years.- Bede.

122 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

work exhibits. Wherefore the four kings I have named are lights to all the kings of the earth, affording them examples for imitating the good, and leaving them no excnse for imitating the evil. And you who are not kings, imitate them, that ye may become kings in heaven. For, if indeed, they resigned their great estate, while you are unwilling to resign your lesser advantages, those holy kings will be judges of your just condemnation.

[A.D. 728.] In the first year of Ethelward, king of Wessex, he fought a battle with Oswald, a young prince of the royal blood, [1] who aspired to the crown. For Oswald was son of Ethelbald, who was son of Kinebald, who was son of Cudwine, who was son of Ceaulin, who was son of Kinric. But the followers of the young prince being outnumbered by the royal troops, though for some time he stoutly bore the brunt of the battle and resisted to the utmost, he was compelled to flee, abandoning his pretensions to the crown. The aforesaid king was therefore firmly established on the throne.

In the third year of King Ethelward, two [2] portentous comets appeared near the sun, one preceding its rising, the other following its setting, presaging, as it were, dreadful calamities both to the east and the west; or assuredly one was the percursor of day, the other of night, to signify that misfortunes threatened mankind at both times. The


[1] The Saxon Chronicle calls him "the AEtheling". Henry of Huntingdon invariably renders this word "a young man", or a "young noble". But AEtheling was among the Anglo-Saxons a designation of rank, generally applied to the heir apparent to the throne, though sometimes extended to the more distant branches of the royal race; and, more rarely, to youths of noble blood. The word is derived from aedel, noble; and ling, expressing condition, as we say, hireling, fatling, and also diminutives, as in duckling, suckling, etc. We use this title of honour in the translation, instead of the inexpressive phrases by which Henry of Huntingdon has rendered it; as also of ealdorman for "dux", thane for "consul", grieve for "vicecomes", etc.

[2] The Saxon Chronicle, in its established reading, speaks of only one "comet star". Some of the MSS., however, describe two comets a version adopted by Bede, book v. c. 23. Henry of Huntingdon follows his amplification of the story, which was probably founded on this various reading. The Saxon Chronicle and Bede give the date of A.D. 729, which was, at farthest, the second, and not, as Henry of Huntingdon says, the third year of Ethelward's reign.

A.D. 729.] REMARKABLE COMET. 128

comets turned their blazing tails towards the north, as if to set the pole on fire. Their first appearance was in the month of January, and they remained visible for nearly a fortnight. At which time, the Saracens, like a fell pest, spread destruction far and wide in France and Spain; but not long afterwards they met in the same country the fate their impiety deserved. [1] The same year, Osric, king of Northumbria, departing this life, left that kingdom, which he had governed fourteen years, to Ceolwulf, brother of King Kenred, who had reigned before him. Ceolwulf filled the throne eight years. It was for this king that Bede, that holy and venerable saint, a man of cultivated genius, and a Christian philosopher, wrote the Ecclesiastical History of the English, with what advantage to the king his happy end shows.

[A.D. 731.] In the fifth year of Ethelward's reign Berthweld, who had been archbishop [2] nearly 38 years, departed this life, and Tatwine, who had been a priest at Bredune [3] in Mercia, was appointed archbishop. He was consecrated by those prelates of blessed memory, Ingwald, bishop of London; Daniel, bishop of Winchester; Aldulf, bishop of Rochester; and Aldwin, bishop of Litchfield. Two years afterwards, Ethelbald, the very powerful king of Mercia, assembling a formidable army, besieged Sumerton, [4] investing it with camps formed all round, and as there was no force to throw in succours to the besieged, and it was impossible to hold out against the besiegers, the place was sturendered to the king. Ethelward, indeed, who was distinguished by his great qualities above all the contemporary kings, resolved to reduce all the provinces of England, as far as the river Humber, with their respective


[1] The important battle of Tours, in which Charles Martel defeated the Arabs of Spain, and delivered Western Europe from that desolating scourge, was fought A.D. 732. Bede closed his History with the year 731, in the reign of Ceolwulf, king of Northumberland, to whom it was dedicated. The reference, therefore, to the victory of Charles Martel, in 732, must have been either an interpolation, or an addition made by the author after the conclusion of his History; which latter is probable, as Bede survived till 735, or, according to the computation of the Saxon Chronicle, 734.

[2] Of Canterbury.

[3] A monastery near the Breedon Hills, Worcestershire.

[4] Somerton, in Somersetshire.

124 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

kings, which he accomplished. There was an eclipse of the sun the same year.

In the eighth year of Ethelward, Archbishop Tatwine, a prelate of exemplary piety and wisdom, eminently versed in sacred literature, was taken from among men. Egbert [1] was raised to the vacant dignity, and received the pallium from Rome. The same year, Venerable Bede was raised to the heavenly mansions, where his heart had always dwelt. This great man, who, with royal virtue, held the reins over his own evil propensities and those of others, was not inferior even to kings, and therefore may most worthily be esteemed a king, and placed in the ranks of kings.

Bede, a priest of the monastery at Wiremundham and Ingurvus, [2] having been educated and brought up by Benedict, abbot of that place, and his successor Ceolfrid, continually devoted himself to the study of the Scriptures. He was taken from the world in the sixty- second year of his age, mature in years and in wisdom, full of days not spent in vain, as appears by the number of his works. Amongst these he composed three books of commentaries, from the beginning of Genesis to the birth of Isaac; three books concerning the tabernacle, its vessels and vestments; four books on the early part of Samuel to the death of Saul; two books in which he treated allegorically of the building of the Temple; a book containing 30 questions out of the Books of Kings; three books on the Proverbs of Solomon; three on the Canticles; two books of Homilies on the Gospels; three on Esdra and Nehemiah; one on the Prophecy of Habakkuk; one on the Book of Tobias; a collection of Lessons from the Old Testament; four on the Gospel of St. Mark; two on St. Luke. Whatever he found in the minor works of St. Augustine, concerning the apostle, he transcribed in order; two books on the Acts of the Apostles; seven books on the Seven Apostolical Epistles; three on the Apocalypse; also chapters of Lessons from the New Testament, except the Gospels; also a book of


[1] Henry of Huntingdon here makes two mistakes. Egbert was made archbishop of York the same year that Tatwine died [A.D. 734], and received the pallium the year following. Nothelm succeeded Tatwine in the see of Canterbury, receiving the pall in A.D. 736.- See Sax. Chron.

[2] Or "In Guroum". Jarrow.

A.D. 734.] VENERABLE BEDE'S WORKS. 125

Epistles to various persons; also a book on the Histories of the Saints; also on the Life of St. Cuthbert, first in heroic verse, afterwards in prose; two books also of the Lives of the Abbots of his own Monastery; also a Martyrology; also a book of Hymns; also a book concerning Times; also a book on the Art of Poetry; and lastly, the Ecclesiastical History of the English, in five books, in the conclusion of which he devoutly entreats that he may have the benefit of the prayers of all who read it.

Concerning the state of ecclesiastical affairs in his time, Bede thus speaks': "At this time, Tatwine is archbishop of Canterbury; Aldulf, bishop of Rochester; Ingwald, bishop of London; Aldbert and Hadulao preside as bishops over the East-Angles; Daniel and Forthere are bishops in the province of the West-Saxons; [2] Aldwin is bishop in Mercia; [3] over the people who live to the west of the river Severn, Walstod is bishop; [4] in the province of the Huiccii, Wilfrid is bishop; [5] in the province of Lindsey, Cunebert; [6] the Isle of Wight belongs to Daniel, bishop of Winchester, and he administers the province of the South-Saxons, which has been for some years without a bishop of its own. [7] Subject to the King Ceolwulf there are four bishops, Wilfrid, of York; Ethelwald, of Lindisfarne; Acca, of Haugulstad; [8] Pecthelm, of 'Candida Casa', [9] in which newly-erected see he is the first bishop.

"Moreover, Eadbert is king of Kent; Ethelward, king of Wessex; Selred, king of the East-Angles; [10] Ceolwulf, king of Northumbria; and Ethelbald, king of Mercia, who is the greatest of them all. Such is the state of affairs in the year since the coming over of the English about the 288th;


[1] Eccles. Hist., book v. c. 23.

[2] The one having his seat at Winchester, the other at Sherborne.

[3] At Litchfield.

[4] The see of Hereford.

[5] As to the Huiccii, see note, p. 80. Worcester was the seat of this bishopric.

[6] Sidnacester.

[7] The original seat of the bishops of the South-Saxons was at Selsey, which was then vacant.

[8] Hexham.

[9] Whitherne, where indeed St. Ninius founded a bishopric among the Picts, A.D. 412; but Pecthelm was the first Saxon bishop.

[10] Selred was king of the East-Saxons. Flor. of Worc. He succeeded Ina.

126 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

in the 734th year of the incarnation of our Lord, [1] in whose never-ending reign let the earth rejoice, and Britain being united with them in the joys of the true faith, let the multitude of the isles be glad, and rejoice in remembrance of his holiness!'"

Thus far I have relied on the authority of Venerable Bede, the priest, in weaving the thread of this my history, but chiefly in all those passages in which I have treated of ecclesiastical affairs, and in other matters also as much as I could. Henceforth, it will be my endeavour to commit to writing, for the instruction of posterity, whatever I have been able to find by diligent inquiry collected in the works of old authors; for, as our learned Bede asserts, in the preface to his History of the English, "The true rule of history is to commit to writing with simplicity, for the instruction of posterity, what is gathered from common report".

[A.D. 736.] In the tenth year of King Ethelward, Nothelm, the archbishop, received the pallium from the Pope. Not long afterwards, Forthere, the bishop, [2] and the queen Frithogitha, leaving her splendid possessions and luxurious pleasures, went to Rome. In those times very many of the English nation, both nobles and common people, clerks and laymen, men and women, vied with each. other in so doing. The same year Ethelwald, bishop of Lindisfarne, departed this life, and Conwulf was advanced to the episcopal dignity. Not later, the venerable Acca, priest and afterwards bishop of Haugulstad, put off this mortal coil.

In the eleventh year of King Ethelward, Ceolwulf, the most illustrious king of Northumbria, performed a most


[1] Henry of Huntingdon alters this date in Bede, which are An. 285 of the Saxon era, and 731 of the Christian. This error is the more extraordinary, as he is here quoting verbatim from Bede's History; and as Bede died in 734, he could hardly have brought up his history to, and dated it it that year. Henry of Huntingdon had the Saxon Chronicle before him, which gives this date; and he himself places the death of Bede in the eighth year of King Ethelward, which coincides with A.D. 733, or 734. I perceive that Dr. Giles, on the authority of Cuthbert's letter, gives the death of Bede in 735.- See his life of Bede, prefixed to the History, in Bohn's Edition, p. 21.

[2] Of Winchester.

A.D. 737.] CEOLWULF'S PIETY. 127

memorable deed. Now Ceolwulf was son of Cutha, son of Cuthwin, son of Ledwold, son of Egwold, son of Aldelm, son of Ocche, son of King Ida. Ceolwulf, then, who frequently conversed with Bede while he was yet living, and often studied, both before and after the death of Bede, the History which he had dedicated to him, began to ponder with himself diligently on the lives and deaths of various kings. He saw, as clear as light, that earthly kingdoms and worldly possessions are gained with toil, are possessed in fear, are lost with regret. And while, to persons of inferior judgment and less experience, it might appear foolish and irrational, seeing how fair and delightful worldly things are to be told that these must be relinquished and despised, not yet understanding how disquieting is this world's wealth, how it comes to an end, producing no fruits but a late repentance, yet no temptations entangled the wise and experienced king. He felt within himself that his royal power had been established with difficulty, and was maintained in fear, while he was unwilling to lose it in sorrow. As the lord, therefore, and not the slave of his high estate, he magnanimously cast from him what he considered worthless. Especially he was excited by the thought, that while women and boys, and even the better sort, thronged to behold him and admire his grandeur, he himself was inwardly tormented with horrible fears of murder and treason, by which he was consumed both in mind and body; so that while others counted him most fortunate, he, who alone knew the secrets of his heart, esteemed himself most wretched. When, then, his reign had lasted a short period, that is, eight years, it became very evident to him, and he bitterly lamented, that for such an interval he had wasted his life in vain cares and frivolous pursuits, and he resolved to dedicate at least the rest of his days, not to mistaken folly, but to wisdom and his own best interests. Imitating, therefore, the examples he found in the History of the holy man just named, this truly illustrious king followed in the track of six illustrious kings. These were Ethelred, king of Mercia, and Kenred, his successor; Ceadwall, king of Wessex, and Ina, his successor; as also Sigebert, king of East-Anglia, who became a monk, and was afterwards killed by Penda; with Sebbi, king of

128 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

Essex, who, also becoming a monk, foresaw with joy the day of his death- "he saw it, and was glad"! They wasted not their substance with harlots, but spent their days in tribulation, sowing good seed, that they might come again with joy, and bring their sheaves with them, an offering to God. Accordingly, Ceolwulf filled up the number of seven perfect kings, and having assumed the monastic habit, the Lord set a crown of precious stones upon his head. He resigned his throne to Edbert, who was his kinsman; for he was the son of Eata, the son of Ledwold; and he reigned 21 years.

[A.D. 737.] Ethelbald, the haughty king of the Mercians, a prince of a different character in this royal fellowship, and therefore destined to a different end, despising holiness, and setting might above right, invaded Northumbria, where, meeting with no resistance, he swept away as much booty as he could transport with him to his own country.

[A.D. 741.] King Ethelward died in the fourteenth year of his reign, and Cuthred, his kinsman, who succeeded him, reigned over Wessex sixteen years. Meanwhile, the proud king Ethelbald continually harassed him, sometimes by insurrections, sometimes by wars. Fortune was changeable; the events of hostilities were, with various results, now favourable to the one, then to the other. At one time peace was declared between them, but it lasted but for a short interval, when war broke out afresh. The same year Egbert was consecrated archbishop, during the pontificate of Zachary, and Dun was ordained to the see of Rochester.

[A.D. 743.] In the fourth year of his reign, Cuthred joined his forces with those of Ethelbald, king of Mercia, with whom he was then at peace, against the Britons, who were assembled in immense multitudes. But these warlike kings, with their splendid army, falling on the enemy's ranks on different points, in a sort of rivalry and contest which should be foremost, the Britons, unable to sustain the brunt of such an attack, betook themselves to flight, offering their backs to the swords of the enemy, and the spoils to those


[1] That is, the year of Cuthred's accession. For "Egbert", read Cuthbert, according to the Saxon Chronicle. He was Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeding Nothelm.

A.D. 743-752.] CUTHRED'S REIGN IN WESSEX. 129

who pursued them. The victorious kings, returning to their own States, were received with triumphant rejoicings. The year following died Wilfrid, who had been bishop of York [1] 30 years. That same year [A.D. 744] there was a remarkable appearance in the heavens; stars were seen shooting to and fro in the air, which seemed a prodigy to all beholders. The year following Daniel deceased, in the forty-third year after he became bishop. [2] The next year King Seldred was slain, as we learn from old writers, but they do not tell us how or by whom he was slain.

[A.D. 748.] In the ninth year of Cuthred, Kinric, his son, was slain, a brave warrior and bold hunter, tender in age, but strong in arms, little in years, but great in prowess; who, while he was following up his successes, trusting too much to the fortune of war, fell in a mutiny of his soldiers, suffering the punishment of his impatient temper. [3] The same year died Eadbert, king of the Kentish men, who wore the diadem 22 years.

[A.D. 760.] In the eleventh year of his reign Cuthred fought against Ethelhun, a proud chief, who fomented a rebellion against his sovereign, and although he was vastly inferior to his lord in number of troops, he held the field against him for a long time with a most obstinate resistance, his exceeding caution supplying the deficiency of his force. But when victory had well nigh crowned his enterprise, a severe wound, the just judgment of his traitorous intentions, caused the royal cause to triumph.

[A.D. 752.] Cuthred, in the thirteenth year of his reign, being unable to submit any longer to the insolent exactions and the arrogance of King Ethelbald, and preferring liberty


[1] So also the Saxon Chronicle and Florence of Worcester. He is there called "Wilfrid the Younger"; but Wilfrid, bishop of Worcester, is probably meant, as Wilfred II. of York was succeeded by Egbert in 734.

[2] Daniel was Bishop of Winchester, which see he resigned the year before his death.

[3] The Saxon Chronicle states simply that Kinric, who is called " the Etheling of the West Saxons, was slain". From what source Henry of Huntingdon gathered the particulars of his death, and the traits of his character, we are as in many other instances, unable to discover. In this case, however, there is an air of truth and genuineness in the story.

130 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

to the hope of life, encountered him at Bereford [1] with bannered legions. He was attended by Ethelhun, the aforesaid chief, with whom he was now reconciled, and, supported by his valour and counsels, he was able to try the chances of war. On the other side, Ethelbald, who was king of kings, had in his army the Kentish men, the East-Saxons, and the Angles, with a numerous host. The armies being drawn up in battle array, and, rushing forward, having nearly met, Ethelhun, who led the West-Saxons, bearing the royal standard, a golden dragon, transfixed the standard-bearer of the enemy. Upon this, a shout arose, and the followers of Cuthred being much encouraged, battle was joined on both sides. Then the thunder of war, the clash of arms, the clang of blows, and the cries of the wounded, resounded terribly, and a desperate and most decisive battle began, according to the issue of which, either the men of Wessex, or the men of Mercia, would for many generations be subject to the victors. Then might be seen the troops with rustling breastplates and pointed helmets and glistening spears, with emblazoned standards shining with gold; but a short time afterwards stained with blood, bespattered with brains, their spears shattered, and their ranks broken, a horrible spectacle. The bravest and boldest on both sides gathering about their standards, rank rushed desperately on rank, dealing slaughter with their swords and Amazonian battle-axes. There was no thought of flight, confidence in victory was equal on both sides. The arrogance of their pride sustained the Mercians, the fear of slavery kindled the courage of the men of Wessex. But wherever the chief before mentioned fell on the enemy's ranks, there he cleared a way before him, his tremendous battle-axe cleaving, swift as lightning, both arms and limbs. On the other hand, wherever the brave King Ethelbald turned, the enemy were slaughtered, for his invincible sword rent armour as if it were a vestment, and bones as if they were flesh. When, therefore, it happened that the king and the chief met each


[1] Burford. "This battle has been much amplified by Henry of Huntingdon; and after him by Matthew of Westminster. The former, among other absurdities, talks of Amazonian battle-axes. They both mention the banner of the golden dragon, etc".- Ingram, note to Sax. Chron.

A.D. 753.] WESSEX BECOMES POWERFUL. 131

other, it was as when two fires from opposite quarters consume all that opposes them. Each of them, to excite terror in the other, came on with threatening mien, thrusting forth the right hand, and gathering themselves up in their arms struck furious blows, the one against the other. But the God who resists the proud, and from whom all might, courage, and valour proceed, made an end of his favour to King Ethelbald, and caused his wonted confidence to fail. Since then he no longer felt courage or strength, Almighty God inspiring him with terror, he was the first to flee while yet his troops continued to fight. Nor from that day to the day of his death was anything prosperous permitted by divine Providence to happen to him. Indeed, four years afterwards, in another battle at Secandune, [1] in which the carnage was wonderful, disdaining to flee, he was slain on the field, and was buried at Ripon. So this very powerful king paid the penalty of his inordinate pride, after a reign of 41 years. From that time the kingdom of Wessex was firmly established, and ceased not continually to grow pre-eminent

[A.D. 753.] In the fourteenth year of his reign, Cuthred fought against the Britons, who, being unable to withstand the conqueror of King Ethelbald, soon took to flight and justly suffered a severe defeat without any loss to their enemy. The year following, Cuthred, this great and powerful king, after a prosperous and victorious career, ended his glory in death.

Sigebert, a kinsman of the late king's, succeeded him on the throne, but he held it only for a short time. For his pride and arrogance on account of the successes of his predecessors became intolerable even to his friends. But when he evil-entreated his people in every way, perverting the laws for his own advantage or evading them for his own purposes, Cumbra, the noblest of his ministers, [2] at the entreaty of the whole people, made their complaints known to the inhuman king, counselling him to rule his subjects with greater leniency, and, abating his cruelty, to be more amiable in the sight of God and man. For this counsel


[1] Saxon Chronicle, "Seckington", Warwickshire?

[2] "Consul", Henry of Huntingdon; "Earldorman", Saxon Chronicle.

132 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

the king most unrighteously put him to death, and, becoming still more inhuman and insupportable, his tyranny increased.

[A.D. 755.] In the beginning of the second year of King Sigebert's reign, when his pride and wickedness appeared incorrigible, the nobles and people of the whole kingdom assembled, and, after a careful deliberation, he was by unanimous consent expelled from the throne. Cynewulf, an illustrious youth of the royal race, [1] was elected king. Upon which, Sigebert, driven from his States, and fearing no less than he deserved, fled into the great wood called Andredeswald, [2] where he concealed himself. There, a swineherd of Cumbra, the ealdorman, whom he had iniquitously put to death, as I before mentioned, found the king lying in concealment, and, recognising him, slew him on the spot in revenge for his master's death. Behold the just judgment of the Lord! See how his justice recompenses men according to their deserts, not only in the world to come, but even in this life! Raising up wicked kings for the merited chastisement of their subjects, one is permitted to continue long in his mad career, that a depraved people may be the longer oppressed, and the king, becoming still more depraved, may be more severely tormented hereafter, as in the case of Ethelba1d, the king of Mercia, lately spoken of; another, Providence visits with swift destruction, to give room to breathe for the people ground down by his tyranny, and that they may not quickly incur, through the unbridled wickedness of their prince, the just doom of eternal retribution, as in the case of this Sigebert, of whom we are now speaking. As for him, indeed, the greater his crimes, the lower he sunk in his punishment, which was inflicted by the hand of a vile swineherd, being plunged from a depth


[1] The Etheling, or heir apparent.

[2] Andredes-wald, now the Weald of Sussex. The account given by the Saxon Chronicle though shorter, is more graphic and precise. It tells us that "Cynewulf and the West-Saxon 'Witan' deprived his kinsman Sigebert of his kingdom, except Hampshire, for his unjust doings; and that he held, until he slew the Ealdorman, who longest abode by him. And then Cynewulf drove him into Andred, and he abode there until a swineherd stabbed him at Privets-flood [Privett, Hampshire], and avenged the Ealdorman Cumbra". The Archdeacon of Huntingdon would have done better if he had given the details with more precision, and spared us the homily.

A.D. 756.] OFFA, KING OF MERCIA. 133

of woe, to woe still deeper. Wherefore, to the eternal justice of God be praise and glory, now and ever! Amen.

[A.D. 755.] In the first year of King Cynewulf, Beornred succeeded Ethelbald in the kingdom of Mercia; but his reign was short. For Offa dethroned him the same year, and filled the throne of Mercia 39 years. He was a youth of the noblest extraction, being the son of Thingferth, who was son of Eanwulf, who was son of Osmod, the son of Epa, [1] the son of Wippa, [1] the son of Creoda, the son of Cynewald, the son of Cnebba, the son of Icel, the son of Eomaer, the son of Ageltheow, the son of Offa, the son of Weremund, the son of Withlaeg, the son of Woden. Offa proved a most warlike king, for he was victorious in successive battles over the men of Kent, and the men of Wessex, and the Northumbrians. He was also a very religious man, for he translated the bones of St. Alban to the monastery which he had built and endowed with many gifts. He also granted to the successor of St. Peter, the Roman pontiff, a fixed tax for every house in his kingdom for ever.

In the third year of King Cynewulf, Eadbert, king of Northumbria, reflecting on the troubled lives and the unhappy deaths of the kings before named, Ethelbald and Sigebert, and on the meritorious life and the glorious end of his predecessor Ceolwulf, he chose the better part which shall not be taken away from him. For, resigning his crown, he submitted to the tonsure which would secure to him an everlasting diadem, and put on the black gown which would be turned into a robe of celestial splendour. He makes the eighth of the kings who voluntarily abdicated their kingdoms for the sake of Christ; nay rather, to speak more correctly, exchanged them for an everlasting kingdom; in the blessedness of which eight kings joy without end exults in manifold and unspeakable delights, while it is most blessed to imitate their determination. Eadbert was succeeded by his son Oswulph, who only reigned one year, being treacherously murdered by his own household. Moll Ethelwald, his successor, reigned six years. About this time Cuthbert the archbishop [2] died.

[A.D. 760.] Ethelbert, the Kentish king, attained the


[1] Eawa; Pybba; Sax. Chron.

[2] Of Canterbury.

134 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

term of life in the sixth year of the reign of Cynewulf. The same year Ceolwulf, formerly king, but now a monk, died, or rather was translated to the fruition of his unspeakable reward. The following year, Moll, king of Northumbria, slew at Edwins-cliff, Oswin, the most powerful of his nobles, who, rebelling against his sovereign, in contempt of the law of nations, was justly punished according to the law of God. The year afterwards Lambert was ordained archbishop of York; [1] and Frithwald, bishop of Whitherne, who had been consecrated in the sixth year of the reign of Ceolwulf, ended his days. At the same time, Petwin was made bishop of Whitherne. Alchred succeeded to the kingdom of Northumbria on the demise of Moll, in the sixth year of his reign, and held it eight years. In his second year, Egbert, archbishop of York, died, who had been archbishop 36 years, and Frithbert, bishop of Hexham, in the thirty-fourth year of his episcopate. Ethelbert succeeded Egbert in the archdiocese, and Alcmund obtained Frithbert's bishopric. In the fourth year of King Alchred, died Pepin, king of the Franks, and Stephen, pope of Rome, as well as Eadbert, the son of Eata, the most illustrious of the English nobles.

In the year of our Lord 769, the fifteenth of the reign of Cynewulf, the operations of the right hand of the Most High began to change; for the Roman Empire, the summit of power for so many years, became subject to Charlemagne, king of the Franks, after the thirtieth year of his reign, which commenced this year, [2] and has continued in the line of his posterity from his time to the present day.

[A.D. 773.] In the twentieth year of the reign of Cynewulf, King Offa fought a battle with the Kentish men at Ottanford [3] in which, after a dreadful slaughter on both


[1] Henry of Huntingdon calls him "Jambeth", bishop of "Ceastre". It should have been Archbishop of Canterbury in the place of Bregowin, who, A.D. 759, succeeded Cuthbert.- See Sax. Chron. Henry of Huntingdon confuses Lambert with Frithwald, bishop of Whitherne, the Scottish diocese, who also died this year, having been consecrated long before at "Ceastre", meaning York.

[2] Charlemagne succeeded Pepin in the kingdom of the Franks, A.D. 768, became king of Lombardy in 774, and was crowned emperor of Rome A.D. 800.

[3] Or Orford, in Kent. One MS. reads "Oxenford", Oxford.

A.D. 777.] OFFA'S REIGN. 135

sides, Offa gained the honour of victory. The same year the Northumbrians drove their King Alchred from Eoverwic [York] in the Paschal week, electing as their king, Ethelred, the son of Moll, who reigned four years. The same year red signs appeared in the heavens after sunset, [1] and horrible snakes were seen in Sussex, to the wonder of all. Two years afterwards, the Old-Saxons, from whom the English nation is descended, were converted to Christianity: the same year, Petwin, bishop of Whitherne, died, in the twenty-fourth year of his episcopate.

[A.D. 777.] In the twenty-fourth year of his reign, King Cynewulf fought against Offa round Benetune; [2] but by the fortune of war he was worsted and evacuated the town, so that Offa took the castle. The same year Ethelbert was consecrated at York, bishop of Whitherne. The following year Ethelbald and Herbert, officers [3] of the King of Northumbria, rebelling against their master, slew Aldulf the son of Bosa, the commander-in-chief of the royal army, in a battle at King's-cliff, and afterwards the officers above named slew Cynewulf and Eggan, also royal officers, in a great battle at Hela-thyrn. The King Ethelred, losing together his officers and his hopes, fled from the face of the rebels; upon which they raised Alfwold to the throne, and he reigned ten years. The year following, [4] the chief men and governors of Northumbria burnt a certain justiciary and chief officer [5] for unjust severity. The same year, archbishop Edbert [6] died at York, and was succeeded by Eanbald. That year also Kinebold was made bishop of Lindisfarne, and the Old-Saxons and Franks fought a battle, in which the Franks conquered. The year following, Alfwold king of Northumbria, sent to Rome for a pall, which he delivered to Eanbald the archbishop. Then, on the death of Alchmund, bishop of Hexham, he was succeeded by Tilberht. The same year


[1] The Saxon Chronicle calls this appearance "a fiery crucifix".

[2] "Bensington", Saxon Chronicle; Benson, Oxfordshire. This battle was fought in the twenty-second year of Cynewulf's reign.

[3] Henry of Huntingdon calls them "duces"; the Saxon Chronicle, "high-grieves", or sheriffs, i.e. shire-grieves, stewards of the shire. The date there is A.D. 778.

[4] Saxon Chronicle dates it in 780.

[5] Saxon Chronicle, "ealdorman".

[6] It should be " Ethelbert".

136 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

Charlemagne was at Rome; and about this time there was a synod at Acle. [1]

[A.D. 784.] After Cynewulf had been king 26 years, [2] and had fought many battles against the Britons [Welsh], in which he was always victorious, subduing them in every quarter, he took it into his head to banish a young man [3] [the Etheling] named Cyneard, Sigebert's brother. But he beset the king at Merton, where he had gone privately to visit a certain woman [A.D. 786]. On the first alarm, the king went to the door, where he manfully defended himself, till recognising the Etheling, he rushed forth and wounded him; but the whole band of his followers surrounded the king and slew him. Cries being raised, the king's thanes [4] who were in the town ran to the spot, and, refusing the offers of lands and money made by the Etheling, fought with him till they were all killed except one, a British hostage, who was desperately wounded. The next morning the king's thanes of the neigbourhood beset the Etheling and his party in the house where the king was slain. Upon which he said to them, "Your kindred are with me and I will bestow on you land and money, as much as you desire, if


[1] Acley, in Durham.

[2] The Saxon Chronicle says "about one-and-thirty years". Henry of Huntingdon, as Petrie remarks, gives the date of Cynewulf's accession correctly, A.D. 755; but he considers that our historian has fixed a wrong date for his death, by confining his calculation of the intermediate years. It appears, however, to have escaped the observation of the learned editor that Henry of Huntingdon himself, in the latter part of this same paragraph, expressly states that the reign of Cynewulf lasted 31 years, in agreement with the Saxon Chronicle. The reading, therefore, which gives the twenty-sixth year as the date of Cynewulf's death, must either be a mere inadvertence, or an error of the transcribers of the MSS.; unless, as the sense seems to allow, the latter era applies to the termination of this king's wars with the Britons, or to his banishment of the Etheling: the latter nourishing his revenge for five years, till he had an opportunity of fatally taking it.- See note. p. 731 of Petrie's Monumenta Historica. It may be observed, however, that the Suxon Chronicle places the death of Cynewalf in 784 while 31 years from 755 would make it 786. Perhaps he was not called to the throne for some time after Sigebert was expelled.

[3] Henry of Huntingdon calls him "Javenis", unmeaningly. The Saxon Chronicle, "The Etheling". Matthew of Westminster says that Cynewulf suspected Cyneard of aspiring to the kingdom, or revenging his brother's death.

[4] Henry of Huntingdon, "milites"; Saxon Chronicle, "theigns".

A.D. 784.] BERTRIC SUCCEEDS IN WESSEX. 137

you will not fight against me; the same offer I made to your friends, but they rejected it and all perished". They replied that no money was dearer to them than their lord, and that they would avenge him and their kinsman. Then after a severe struggle, they burst in through the gate, and slew the Etheling and 84 persons, his followers, with him. One only survived, a young lad, but he was wounded. [1] Cynewulf, who was slain in the thirty-first year of his reign, was buried at Winchester, and the Etheling at Axminster.

Bertric, who was of the race of Cerdic, often mentioned, succeeded Cynewulf in the kingdom of Wessex, over which he reigned sixteen years. In his second year Pope Adrian sent legates to Britain to renew the faith which Augustine had preached. They were honourably received by the kings and people, and established it on a sound foundation, the grace of God happily aiding them. They held a synod at Chalk-hythe, at which Lambert [2] gave up some portion of his bishopric, and Higbert was elected by King Offa. The same year Egfert was consecrated king of a province of Kent. [3] The year following, being the year of grace 786, men's garments bore the appearance of being marked with the cross; a prodigy which must appear wonderful in the sight and hearing of all ages. Whether it prefigured the crusade to Jerusalem, which took place 309 years afterwards, in the time of William II., when the badge of the cross was assumed; or whether it was sent for the warning


[1] Henry of Huntingdon seldom loses an opportunity of amplifying the accounts he borrows from others; but in this instance he has spoiled an interesting narrative, by omitting some of its most graphic details, given in the Saxon Chronicle. "Its minuteness and simplicity", says Ingram, "proves that it was written at no great distance of time from the event. It is the first that occurs of any length in the older MSS. of the Saxon Chronicle". The reader will do well to refer to the original account, p. 327 of Bohn's Edition.

[2] This relates to Offa's temporary division of the province of Canterbury into two archbishoprics; one of which he placed at Lichfield, in his own kingdom of Mercia, under Bishop Higbert.- See William of Malmesbury.

[3] I have adopted the indefinite instead of the definite article, "a province", as, though both the Saxon Chronicle and Florence of Worcester mention the coronation of Egfert in his father's lifetime, neither of them call him king of Kent. He may have had a district granted to him with the title of king, as was common in those times.

138 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

of the nations, that they might escape by reformation the scourge of the Danes which speedily followed, it is not for me rashly to determine. The secrets of the Lord I leave to the Lord.

[A.D. 787.] In the fourth year of his reign, Bertric took to wife Eadburga, daughter of Offa, king of Mercia, by which alliance the king's power was strengthened, and his arrogance increased. In those days the Danes landed in Britain, from three ships, to plunder the country. The king's officer, [1] descrying them, set upon them incautiously, making no doubt but he should carry them captives to the king's castle; for he was ignorant who the people were who had landed, or for what purpose they had come. But he was instantly slain in the throng. He was the first Englishman killed by the Danes, but after him many myriads were slaughtered by them; and these were the first ships that the Danes brought here. The following year a synod was convened at Pincenhall. [2]

[A.D. 789.] In the sixth year of Bertric's reign a synod was assembled at Acley. Likewise, Sigga infamously and treasonably murdered Alfwold, king of Northumbria, and a heavenly light was often seen in the place where the king, the servant of the Lord, was buried, which was at Hexham. Osred succeeded him, but the year afterwards he was betrayed and driven out of the kingdom, and Moll, the son of Ethelred, was restored to the throne. But four years afterwards, Osred, returning with a force he had collected to expel Ethelred, by whom he had been dethroned, was surrounded, seized, and put to death. He was buried at Tynemouth. [3] Truly it is said, "How blind to the future is the mind of man"! For when the young Osred ascended the throne with a light step and a merry heart, he little thought that in two years he should vacate the royal seat, and in four should lose his life; so that in prosperity we should be always thoughtful, not knowing how near adversity is at hand. At that time Offa, king of Mercia, gave orders that St. Ethelbert [4] should be beheaded. Lambert


[1] The "reeve".- Sax. Chron.

[2] Fingall, Spelman Concil., i. 304.

[3] "In the abbey at the mouth of the river Tine".- Flor. Wor.

[4] He was king of the East-Angles.

A.D. 795.] KING OFFA DIES. 189

did not survive this period, and Abbot AEthelard was elected archbishop. [1] Also Eanbald, the archbishop of York, consecrated Baldulf bishop of Whitherne. [2]

[A.D. 793.] In the tenth year of Bernic's reign, fiery dragons were seen flying in the air, and this prodigy was followed by two calamities. The first was a severe famine; the second was an irruption of the heathen nations from Norway and Denmark, who first cruelly butchered the people of Northumbria, and then, on the 14th of January, destroyed the churches of Christ, with the inhabitants, in the province of Lindisfarne. At the same time, Sigga, the thane, who had foully betrayed the holy king Alfwold, perished as he deserved.

In the eleventh year of Bertric's reign, the Northumbrians slew their king Ethelred, who, the same year that King Osred was killed, elated with pride, had put away his wife, and married another; unconscious that within two years he also would be cut off, and soon end the joy of a short reign in the desolation of the grave. Eardulf succeeded him in the kingdom of Northumbria. He was anointed king, and installed in the royal seat at York, by Archbishop Eanbald, and bishops Ethelbert, Higbald, and Baldulf. Not long afterwards Archbishop Eanbald died at York, and was succeeded by another of the same name. About this time Pope Adrian, as well as the powerful king Offa, departed this life [A.D. 795]. Egfert, the son of Offa, became king of Mercia, but he died 141 days afterwards, and was succeeded by King Kenulf. The same year Eadbert, whose other name was Pren, obtained the kingdom of Kent. Then, also, the heathens ravaged Northumbria, and pillaged Egfert's monastery at "Donemuth". [3] But the bravest and most warlike of the English meeting them in battle, their leaders were slain, and they retreated to their ships. Pursuing their flight, some of their ships were wrecked by a storm, and many men were drowned; but some were taken alive, and beheaded on the beach. Not long afterwards,


[1] Of Canterbury.

[2] "Beadalf", Flor. Wor.; the same as Badulph, Biddulph, etc.- Ingram.

[3] "That is to say, Wearmouth. Henry of Huntingdon is mistaken, as well as Simeon of Durham; see him, A.D. 794".- Petrie.

140 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

Kenwulf, the king of Mercia, over-ran and ravaged the country of the Kentish men, and took prisoner and carried off with him their king Pren, [1] who was unable to resist his victorious arms, and was lurking in the winding glens and fastnesses.

[A.D. 797.] In the fourteenth year of the reign of Bertric, the Romans cut out the tongue and put out the eyes of Pope Leo, and drove him from his see. But he, as writers report, was by the mercy of God again able to see and speak, and became again pope. Three years afterwards [A.D. 800], King Charles being made emperor, and consecrated by Pope Leo, condemned to death those who had so disgracefully treated the pope, but at his intercession he changed the sentence of death for banishment. Time years afterwards, also, Bertric, king of Wessex, died. At this time there was a great battle at Hweallege, [2] in Northumbria, in which fell Alric, the son of Herbert, and many others. But I should be too prolix if I were to relate all the particulars of these wars, their nature and results; for the English people were naturally rude and turbulent, and thus were incessantly torn by civil wars.

In the year of grace 800, Egbert, the eighth in order of the ten kings mentioned in the Second Book for their high and singular prerogative, [3] began his reign over Wessex, which lasted 37 years, and 6 months. In his youth he had been driven into banishment by King Bertric, his predecessor, and Offa, king of Mercia, and spent two years of exile in the court of the king of ths Franks, [4] where he


[1] See Saxon Chronicle for the cruelties Kenwulf is alleged to have inflicted on his captive. But "this wanton act of barbarity", says Ingram, "seems to have existed only in the depraved imagination of the Norman interpolator of the Saxon annals. Hoveden, and Wallingford, and others, have repeated the idle tale; but I have not hitherto found it in any historian of authority".- Notes to Sax. Chron. Our historian, Henry of Huntingdon, to his credit, rejects it. He also omits the account which follows, of a synod of small importance, and which Ingram considers to have been also an interpolation.

[2] Whalley, in Lancashire, then included in the great kingdom of Northumbria.

[3] See before, pp. 51, 52; Egbert was the eighth Bretwalda, or paramount king of the Heptarchy.

[4] Charlemagne, by whom Egbert was admitted to familiar intimacy, and intrusted with important employments.

A.D. 800.] EGBERT, KING OF WESSEX. 141

was honourably distinguished. After the death of Bertric he returned, and succeeded to the throne. That same day, Ethelmund, the "ealdorman", [1] rode over from Wic, [2] and coming to Kinemeresford [Kempsford] met Weoxtan, the ealdorman, with the men of Wiltshire. There was a great fight between them, in which both the chiefs were slain, but the Wiltshire men got the victory. Four years afterwards, AEthelard, the archbishop of Canterbury, died, and Wulfred was consecrated in his place. Two years after that [A.D. 805], Cuthred, the king of Kent, died also; and the next year, Eardulf, king of Northumbria, was driven a fugitive from his kingdom.

[A.D. 813.] Egbert, in the fourteenth year of his reign, ravaged the dominions of the Welsh kings from east to west, there being no one able to resist his power. The year afterwards, Charles king of the Franks and emperor of Rome, departed this life; and the following year, the venerable Pope Leo was a corpse. He was succeeded by Stephen, [3] and Stephen by Paschal. Two years afterwards A.D. 819] Kermit king of Mercia, died; and Ceolwulf was raised to the throne, which he filled only three years, when he was driven from it by Bernwulf.

[A.D. 823.] In the twenty-fourth year of Egbert's reign, he fought a battle against Bernwulf, king of Mercia, at Ellendune, [4] from whence it is said, "Ellendune's stream was tinged with blood, and was choked with the slain, and became foul with the carnage". There, indeed, after a prodigious slaughter on both sides, Egbert obtained a dearly-bought victory. From thence, pushing his advantage and following up his success, he detached his son Ethelwulf, who afterwards became king, with Ealcstan his bishop, [5] and Wulfheard his ealdorman, and a large force into Kent,


[1] Saxon Chronicle; Henry of Huntingdon Latinizes the title by the word "consul".

[2] The country of the Wiccii (see before, p. 80), of which Worcester was the capital. Kempsey, on the Severn, a short distance from that city, may have been the scene of this combat. Ingram, mistranslating the Saxon Chronicle, says that Ethelmund rode over the Thames. Dr. Giles's translation is correct. Wick-war, in Gloucestershire, retains the name it derived from its British founders.

[3] Popes Leo III. and Stephen IV.

[4] Wilton.

[5] Of Sherborne.

142 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

who drove Baldred over the Thames. Then the men of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Essex, submitted to King Egbert's government, having been unjustly deprived some years. before of that of his kinsman Pren. [1] The same year the king and people of East-Anglia acknowledged King Egbert as their sovereign, after which, in the course of the year, the East-Anglians slew Bernwulf, the Mercian king. He was succeeded by Ludecen. The same year there was a great battle between the Britons [2] and the men of Devonshire at Camelford, in which several thousands fell on both sides. The year following, Ludecen, king of Mercia, and five ealdormen with him, were slain.

[A.D. 827.) Egbert, in the twenty-seventh year of his reign, expelled Withlaf, who had succeeded Ludecen, from his kingdom of Mercia, and annexed it to his own dominions. When he had thus established his power over all England south of the Humber, he led an army against the Northumbrians to Dore. But they humbly offering this powerful king submission and allegiance, parted in peace. The year following, King Egbert, from motives of commiseration, yielded to Withlaf the kingdom of Mercia, to be held in subjection to himself. Next, King Egbert led an army into North Wales, and by the power of his arms reduced it to submission. The year following these events, on the death of Wulfred, archbishop of Canterbury, he was succeeded by Ceolnoth.

[A.D. 832.] In the thirty-third year of King Egbert's reign the Danes again made their appearance in England, 38 years after they had been defeated at "Thone-muth". [3] The first place they ravaged was "Sepeige". [4] The next year they came over in 35 very large ships, and Egbert, with his army, fought against them at Charmouth, and there by chance of war the Danes gained the day, and two bishops fell, Herefrith and Wigfrith, with two ealdormen, Dudda and Osmod. The year following, the Danes landed in West-Wales, and the Welshmen joined them, and revolted against King Egbert. The king, however, with his usual good fortune, soundly beat both the Danes and the Welshmen


[1] See p.140. Of Pren's relationship to Egbert there is no account.

[2] Of Cornwall.

[3] See note, p. 138.

[4] The Isle of Sheppey, in Kent.

A.D. 836.] DEATH OF EGBERT. 143

at Hengest-down, triumphantly routing the bravest of their bands. The year afterwards [A.D. 836], Egbert, king [of Wessex] and paramount monarch of all Britain, yielded to fate and died. He left to his sons the inheritance of the kingdoms which were under his immediate government, Ethelwulf succeeding him in the Kingdom of Essex; while he gave to Athelstan, Kent, Sussex, and Essex.

We are now arrived at a period when England was united under one paramount king, and the terrible scourge of the Danes was introduced. It is fitting, therefore, that this new state of affairs should be reserved for a separate Book. But as was done in the Second Book of this History, it may be well shortly to recapitulate the contents of the present Book. The succession of the several kingdoms shall, therefore, be arranged in regular order, that this summary may clearly elucidate any confusion caused by the names of such a number of kings being mixed up together. If by so doing I may be serviceable to the reader, I shall, through God's mercy, reap the desired fruit of my labour.

A summary of the kings of KENT, of whom the present Book treats:-

LOTHAIRE reigned xii. years, and met his death in battle with the East-Saxons.

EDRIC, who was not of the royal race, reigned one year and a half.

NITHRED and WIBBEHARD, neither of whom also were of the blood royal, reigned vi. years, and then were expelled.

WITHRED, in whom the royal line was restored, reigned peaceably xxxiv. years, and made an alliance with King Ina.

EADBERT, son of Withred, with his two brothers, reigned xxii. years.

ETHELBERT'S reign lasted xii. years.

EGFERT reigned, as fax as I can gather from former writers, xxxiv. years.

EADBERT PREN reigned iii. years, when he was carried away captive by Kenwulf, king of Mercia.

CUTHRED wore the diadem ix. years.

BALDRED reigned xviii. years, when he was driven from his kingdom by Egbert, king of Wessex.

EGBERT, king of Wessex, retained the kingdom he had

144 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON [BOOK IV.

conquered as long as he lived, and at his death left it t his son Athelstan. The royal race of the kings of Kent then failed, and their right to the kingdom passed into other hands.

A summary of the kings of WESSEX, of whom this Book treats:-

CEADWAL, in the second year of his reign, obtained possession of the Isle of Wight; twice he ravaged Kent and, going to Rome, died there in his garments of baptism having exchanged for them the ensigns of royalty.

INA reigned xxxvii. years. He conquered in battle Gerent, king of the Welsh, and subdued in his wars the East-Saxons. Piously resigning his crown, he went to Rome.

ETHELHARD, a kinsman of King Ina, governed the kingdom he resigned to him, peaceably, for xiv. years.

CUTHRED reigned xvi. years, and twice conquered the Britons by the laws of war, as also King Ethelbald.

SIGEBERT, a cruel king, reigned one year and a little more, when he was justly deposed, and afterwards slain.

CYNEWULF reigned xxiii. years, who was put to death by the king's [Sigebert's] brother.

BERTRIC reigned xvi. years. In his time the barbarities of the Danes were first inflicted on Britain.

EGBERT'S reign lasted xxxvii. years. He overran Britain [Wales?] from east to west, and was victorious in his wars against Bernwulf, king of Mercia, and Baldred, king of Kent, together with King Whitlaf and the Danes.

A summary of the kings of NORTHUMBRIA mentioned in this Book:-

ALFRID, brother of King Egfrid, learned in the Scriptures and warlike, reigned xx. years.

OSRED, his son, reigned xi. years, and was killed in battle.

KENRED reigned ii. years, and falling sick shortly died.

OSRIC [II.] reigned xii. years till his death.

CEOLWULF, brother of King Kenred, just named, after a reign of viii. years, became a monk. In whose time Bede, the venerable priest and Christian philosopher, made a blessed end.

EGBERT, a kinsman of Ceolwulf, after a reign of xxi. years, made a feeble life illustrious by a glorious end.

SUMMARY OF KINGS. 145

OSWULF, his son, reigned one year, and was traitorously murdered by his household.

MOL-ETHELWOLD reigned vi. years, and was compelled to abdicate.

ALRID reigned viii. years, and was driven out and deposed by his people.

ETHELRED, the son of Mol, reigned iii. years, and fled from the face of his rebellious nobles.

ALFWOLD reigned x. years, and was traitorously slain by Sigga, one of his officers.

OSRED [II.], the nephew of the last-named king, after reigning one year, was driven from his kingdom by his people, and three years afterwards was killed.

ETHELRED, the son of Mol, was restored to the throne; but, after reigning iv. years, was slain by his ever turbulent people.

ARDULF, after a reign of xii. years, was expelled by his subjects. Afterwards, the Northumbrian people, actuated, as it appears, by an insane spirit of insubordination, were for some time without any king, and submitted by treaty to King Egbert.

A summary of the kings of MERCIA mentioned in this Book:-

ETHELRED, son of Penda, after a reign of xii. years, nobly submitted to the monastic rule. KENRED, his kinsman, reigned v. years, and then, going to Rome, triumphantly joined a society of monks.

CEOLDRED, son of King Ethelred, reigned viii. years, and fought stoutly against King Ina.

ETHELBALD the Proud reigned xli. years. He ravaged Northumbria, and subdued the people of Wales, and became paramount over all the kings of England; but at last he was conquered by King Cuthred, and was afterwards slain.

BERNRED held the kingdom one year, but Offa the powerful expelled him.

OFFA reigned xxxix. years. In his wars he worsted Cynewulf, king of Wessex, and the Kentish men, and the Northumbrians.

EGFERT, the son of Offa., scarcely mtrvived him one year.

146 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK IV.

KENULF reigned xxvi. years in peace, and died the common death of mortals.

CEOLWULF held the kingdom iii. years, but it was then wrested from him by Bernulf the ferocious.

BERNULF reigned one year, and, being overcome by King Egbert, disappeared.

LUDICEN was slain in the first year of his reign, with his five principal officers.

WITHLAF, having been conquered in the war with King Egbert, was restored to his kingdom as a tributary.

As to the kingdom of EAST-ANGLIA, it had already been, by various means, annexed to the other kingdoms. [1]


[1] These tables, which embrace a period of little more than a century and a half, extending from A.D. 681 to 836, contain a melancholy record of the unsettled state of the time. Wars, revolutions, treason, and murder so did their work, that, of the 45 kings of the Hexarchy enumerated in these lists, fifteen only, and three of these after very short reigns, died peaceably, and in possession of their kingdoms. Of the remainder, eleven were driven from the throne; eleven died violent deaths, some in battle, but most of them murdered by their rebellious subjects; and eight became monks, as much, Henry of Huntingdon admits, to escape a violent death as from motives of piety. The kingdom of Northumbria presents the worst spectacle. There, of thirteen kings during the period above mentioned, three only died possessed of the throne, one of them falling sick and dying in the second year of his reign. It is remarkable also that all the three died in less than half a century of the period referred to. Afterwards, for a century and a quarter not one of the kings who successively filled the throne of Northumbria died in it. Four were expelled by their subjects; and of four who were killed, one only fell in battle; the rest were traitorously murdered, and two became monks.

THE DANISH INVASION. 147

BOOK V.

THE PREFACE.

In the beginning of this History I remarked that Britain had been afflicted with five scourges; the fourth of which - that inflicted by the Danes - I propose to treat of in the present Book: indeed this infliction was more extensive as well as vastly more severe than the others. For the Romans subjugated Britain in a short time, and governed it magnificently by right of conquest. The Picts and Scots made frequent irruptions from the northern districts of Britain, but their attacks were confined to that quarter, and they were never very destructive; and, being repelled, their invasions quickly ceased. The Saxons, as their strength increased, gradually took possession of the country by force of arms; they then settled on the lands they conquered, established themselves in their possessions, and were governed by fixed laws. The Normans, again, suddenly and rapidly subjugating the island, granted to the conquered people life and liberty, with their just rights, according to the ancient laws of the kingdom. Of them I shall have to speak hereafter.

The Danes, however, overran the country by desultory inroads; their object being not to settle but to plunder it, to destroy rather than to conquer. If they were sometmies defeated, victory was of no avail, inasmuch as a descent was made in some other quarter by a larger fleet and a more numerous force. It was wonderful how, when the English kings were hastening to encounter them in the eastern districts, before they could fall in with the enemy's bands, a hurried messenger would arrive and say, "Sir king, whither are you marching? The heathens have disembarked from a countless fleet on the southern coast, and are ravaging the towns and villages, carrying fire and slaughter into every quarter". The same day another messenger would come running, and say, "Sir king, whither are you retreating? A formidable army has landed in the west of England, and if you do not quickly turn your face toward them, they will think you are fleeing, and follow in your rear with fire and sword". Again, the same day, or on the morrow, another messenger would arrive, saying, "What place, noble chiefs, are you making for? The Danes have made a descent in the north; already they have burnt your mansions,

148 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

even now they are sweeping away your goods, they are tossing your young children raised on the points of their spears, your wives, some they have forcibly dishonoured, others they have carried off with them". Bewildered by such various tidings of bitter woe, both kings and people lost their vigour both of mind and body, and were utterly prostrated; so that even when they defeated the enemy, victory was not attended with its wonted triumphs, and supplied no confidence of safety for the future.

The reason why the anger of God was inflamed against them with such fury is this. In the early days of the English church religion flourished with so much lustre, that kings and queens, nobles and bishops, as I have before related, resigned their dignities, and entered into the monastic life. [1] But in process of time all piety became extinct, so that no other nation equalled them for impiety and licentiousness; as especially appears in the history of the Northumbrian kings. This impiety was not only manifest in the royal annals, but extended to every rank and order of men. Nothing was held disgraceful except devotion, and innocence was the surest road to destruction. The Almighty, therefore, let loose upon them the most barbarous of nations, like swarms of wasps and they spared neither age nor sex; [2] viz. the Danes and Goths Norwegians and Swedes, Vandals and Frisians. These desolated this country for 230 years, from the beginning of the reign of King Ethelwulf, until the time of the arrival of the Normans under the command of King William. France also, from its contiguity to England, was often invaded by these instruments of the divine vengeance, as it richly deserved. With these explanations I will now resume the course of my history.

[A.D. 837.] While Ethelwulf himself, in the first year Of his reign, opposed the enemy just spoken of in one past of


[1] It did not occur to Henry of Huntingdon that the practice he extols, of abandoning the duties of their station for the cloister, common among all ranks at this time, was at least one of the causes of that national enervation which laid the kingdom open to the successful irruptions of the Northmen.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon, in common with most of the early annalists, overstates both the atrocities of the Northmen, as compared with other invaders, and the duration of their ravages. His account in this Preface of the progress of the Saxons in subduing and settling the country, would as fitly apply to that of the Danes and Norwegians. Long before the Norman conquest the first immigrants had settled down into peaceable and industrious habits; and though we must receive cum grano salis some recent attempts to place the civilization of the Northmen, in the ninth and tenth centuries, on a high footing, there is sufficient evidence that the unmitigated barbarism attributed to them by such writers as Huntingdon, must be a very exaggerated representation.

A.D. 837.] DANES LAND IN SOUTH AND EAST. 149

his kingdom, as the heathen hordes were overrunning every quarter he detached the ealdorman Wulfherd, with part of his army, to attack the Danes who had landed near Hamton [Southampton], out of 33 ships; whom he triumphantly defeated with great slaughter. King Ethelwulf also dispatched the ealdorman Ethelhelm, with the Wessex forces, against another band of the enemy, at Port; [1] but after a long fight Ethelhelm was slain, and the Danes gained the day. The year following, Herebert, the ealdorman, fought with them at "Mercsware"; [2] but the Danes defeated and routed his troops, and he was slain. The same year the heathen army reduced all the eastern coast of England, in Lindsey, East-Anglia, and Kent, putting vast numbers of the inhabitants to the sword. A year later, the army of the Danes, penetrating further into the country, made great slaughter about Canterbury, Rochester, and London.

[A.D. 840.] In the fifth year of his reign, Ethelwulf having divided his army, fought with one division against the men who disembarked from 35 ships at Charmouth, where he was defeated by the Danes, for, though their fleet was small, the largest ships were crowded with men. The fifth year afterwards, Elcstan, the venerable bishop [of Sherburn], and Ernwulf, the ealdorman, with the Somersetshire men, and Osric, the ealdorman, with the men of Dorset, fought with the Danes at the mouth of the Parret, and, by God's help, gained a glorious victory, having slain great numbers of the enemy [A.D. 851]. In the sixteenth year of his reign, Ethelwulf, with his son Ethelbald, collectmg his whole force, fought a battle with a very great army, which, landing from 250 ships at the mouth of the Thames, had taken by storm two noble and famous cities, London. and Canterbury, and routed Berthwulf, king of Mercia, with his army, a defeat which he never recovered. He was succeeded by Burhred in the kingdom of Mercia. The


[1] Portland Island. The Saxon Chronicle says that Ethelhelm headed the men of Dorset.

[2] Matthew of Westminster mistakes the name of a people for the name of a place. Both Ingram and Giles translate it "among the marshlanders". Florence of Worcester interprets the passage "quamplures Merscuariorum", some of the Mercians.

150 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

Danes, entering Surrey, encountered the royal troops at Ockley, where ensued between the two numerous armies one of the greatest battles ever fought in England. The warriors fell on both sides like corn in harvest, and the bodies and limbs of the slain were swept along by rivers of blood. It would be tedious and wearisome to describe particulars. God vouchsafed the victory to the faithful, and caused the heathen to suffer a disgraceful defeat; so King Ethelwulf signally triumphed. The same year, Athelstan, king of Kent, and Eathere, the ealdorman, had a naval action with the Danes, at Sandwich, in which they took nine ships, and put the rest of the fleet to flight, with great slaughter of the enemy. An ealdorman named Ceorl, also, with the men of Devonshire, fought against the heathens at Wieganbeorge, [1] slaying many and obtaining the victory. This year, therefore, was fortunate to the English nation; but it was the first that the heathen array remained in the country over winter. [2]

[A.D. 853.] In the eighteenth year of his reign, Ethelwulf gave powerful assistance to King Burhred in reducing the North-Welsh to subjection: he also gave him his daughter in marriage. The same year, King Ethelwulf sent his son Alfred to Rome, to Leo the pope, and Leo afterwards consecrated him king, and adopted him for his son. This year, the ealdormen Ealhere, with the men of Kent, and Huda, with the men of Surrey, fought against the army of the pagans in the Isle of Thanet, and great numbers were slain and drowned on both sides, and both the ealdormen were killed.

In the nineteenth year of his reign, Ethelwulf gave the tenth of all his land [3] to ecclesiastical uses, for the love of God and for his own salvation. Afterwards he went to Rome in great state, and abode there a year. On his return, be obtained in marriage the daughter of Charles the Bald, king of France, and brought her with him to his


[1] Wembury, near Plymouth.

[2] One MS. of Henry of Huntingdon's adds "in Thanet", which agrees' with the Saxon Chronicle.

[3] Not only the tenth of the royal domains, but the tenth of all the lands, in the kingdom. See the Saxon Chronicle, and Matthew of Westminster who transcribes the original charter.

A.D. 858.] DEATH OF ETHELWULF. 151

own country. Two years after his marriage he departed this life, and was buried at Winchester [A.D. 858]. At first he had been bishop of Winchester; [1] but on the death of his father Egbert, from the necessity of the case, he was made king. He had by his [first] wife four sons, all of whom, in turn, succeeded him in the kingdom. About this time the heathens wintered in Sheppey.

This illustrious king Ethelwulf left his hereditary kingdom of Wessex to his son Ethelbald; and to his other son, Ethelbert, he left the kingdoms of Kent, Essex, and Sussex. Both brothers were young men of princely virtues, and ruled their kingdoms well as long as they lived. Ethelbald, the king of Wessex, held his peaceably five years, and then prematurely died of disease. All England lamented the royal youth and mourned over him deeply, and they buried him at Sherborne [A.D. 860], and the English people felt what they had lost in him.

Ethelbert, the brother of the last-named king, succeeded him in the kingdom of Wessex, having been before king of Kent In his time a large fleet came over, and the crews stormed Winchester. Thus it was that

"The ancient city, long the seat of power,
To ruin fell". [2]

Then Osric, the ealdorman, with the men of Hampshire, and Ethelwulf, the ealdorman, with the men of Berkshire, fought against this army, and, routing it with great slaughter, remained the victors.

[A.D. 885.] In the fifth year of Ethelbert's reign, the army of the heathens came into Thanet, and the Kentish men came to terms with them, promising money; but, pending the treaty, the enemy stole away by night, and ravaged all the eastern part of Kent. The same year, Ethelbert, after a reign of five years in Wessex and ten years in Kent, departed this life [A.D. 866]; upon which, Ethelred, his brother, ascended the throne. The same year a great army of pagans landed in England, under the


[1] Henry of Huntingdon is the only authority for Ethelwulf's having received ordination as a bishop. Some of the old writers describe him as a sub-deacon. See Goscelin's Life of Swithun. Roger of Wendover agrees with Huntingdon.- Petrie.

2 "Urbs antique ruit", Virg. AEn. ii. 368.

152 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

command of their chiefs, Hinguar and Ubba, most valiant but cruel men; Hinguar being of great ability, and Ubba of extraordinary courage. They spent the winter in East Anglia, entering into a treaty and receiving horses from the inhabitants, who, being awed into tranquillity by the enemy's force, were spared for the present.

In the second year of Ethelred's reign, this army, under the command of Hinguar and Ubba, marched into Northumbria as far as York. There was great dissension among the people of that province, they having, with their usual fickleness, ejected their king Osbert, and set up one named Ella, who was not of the royal blood. Being at length reconciled, they assembled an army and came to York, where the pagan army lay. Having effected a breach in the wall, they entered the town, fighting boldly, and both kings, Osbert and Ella, were slain, with a vast nmnber of the Northumbrians within and without the city: the survivors made a treaty with the heathens. This year died Bishop Elcstan, and he was buried at Sherborne, where he had been bishop 50 years.

[A.D. 868.] King Ethelred, in the third year of his reign, went to Nottingham, with his brother Alfred, to the help of Burhred, king of Mercia; for the army of the Danes had marched to Nottingham, and there wintered. Hinguar, seeing that the whole force of the English was assembled, and that his army was besieged and inferior in strength, had recourse to smooth words, and with dangerous cunning obtained terms of peace from the English. He then retired to York, and with great cruelty maintained possession one year. St. Edmund was taken to heaven in the year of our Lord 870, the fifth of the reign of Ethelred. For the army, mentioned before, under the command of their King Hinguar, marching through Mercia to Thetford, established itself there for the winter, causing entire ruin to the wretched inhabitants. Whereupon Edmund, the king, preferring rather to suffer death than to witness the sufferings of his people, was seized by the infidels, and his sacred body was fastened to a stake, and transfixed by their arrows in every part. But God, in his mercy, honoured the spot with numerous miracles.

[A.D. 871.] In the sixth year of King Ethelred there came

A.D. 871.] NINE BATTLES THIS YEAR. 153

a new and immense army, which, rushing like a torrent, and carrying all before it, advanced as far as Reading. Their numbers were so great that as they could not march in one body they advanced in troops by separate routes. They were led by two kings, Boegsec and Healfdene. Three days after this, Ethelwulf, the ealdorman, attacked two of the enemy's chiefs [1] at Englefield, and slew one of them who was called Sidroc. Four days afterwards, King Ethelred, with his brother Alfred and a great host, arrived at Reading, and gave battle to the army of the Danes. Great numbers fell on both sides, but the Danes gained the victory. Four days afterwards, King Ethelred and his brother Alfred fought the whole army assembled at Ashdown. It was formed in two divisions: one, headed by the pagan kings Boegsec and Healfdene, was encountered by King Ethelred, and Boegsec was slain; the other division was led by the pagan earls, and Alfred, the king's brother, attacked them, and killed the five earls, Sidroc the elder, Sidroc the younger, and Osbern, and Frena, and Harold. The army was routed and many thousands were slain, the battle lasting till night-fall. Fourteen days afterwards, King Ethelred and Alfred his brother again engaged the enemy at Basing, but there the Danes obtained the victory. Again, in the course of two months, King Ethelred and his brother Alfred fought another battle with this same army at Merton, in which numbers fell on both sides; and the Danes, though they gave way for a time, in the end remained victors. In this battle were slain Heahmund, bishop [of Sherborne], and many other great men of the English. After this battle the great army came in the summer to Reading. This year King Ethelred died after Easter; he had reigned five years, and was buried at Wimburn Minster. Then Alfred, his brother, the son of Ethelwulf, began his reign over Wessex; and one month afterwards, he fought with a small band against the united army at Wilton, and put them to flight for a time, but afterwards the Danes gained the day. This year, therefore, there were nine pitched battles with the Danish army in that part of


[1] Henry of Huntingdon calls them "consuls", the Saxon Chronicle "earls", the Norwegian "jarls".

154 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

the kingdom lying south of the Thames, besides the sudden inroads which Alfred, the king's brother, and the king's officers, frequently made into the enemy's quarters. In this year were slain one king and nine earls; and the chief men of Wessex made a truce with the army of the pagans.

[A.D. 872.] In the first year of King Alfred, the army [1] came from Reading to London, and there wintered; and the Mercians made peace with the army. The second year, King Healfdene led the same army into Lindsey, and they wintered at Torksey; and the third year they had their winter quarters at Repton. There were confederated with him three other kings, Guthrun, and Oskytel, and Anwynd, so that they became irresistible, and drove beyond the sea King Burhred, who had reigned 22 years over Mercia. He went to Rome, and, there dying, he was buried in the church of St Mary, at the English sehool. But the Danes transferred the kingdom of Mercia to one Ceolwulf, a weak king, who was to do their bidding. For he gave them hostages, and swore that he would yield up the kingdom to them whenever they desired, and that he would be always ready to aid them in his own person and with all the force he could muster.

[A.D. 875.] In the fourth year of King Alfred the army broke up from Repton in two divisions, with one of which King Healfdene marched into Northumbria, and fixed his winter quarters on the Tyne; and he took possession of the land, and divided it among his followers, and they cultivated it two years. [2] He also made predatory excursions against the Picts. [3] But the larger division of the army


[1] By "the army", Henry of Huntingdon, following the Saxon Chronicle, means throughout this narrative the main body of the invading Northmen, who had now permanently quartered themselves in England; wintering there, and not retiring, like the first piratical bands, at the close of summer.

[2] The Saxon Chronicle says, AN. 875, when "the army" took up their winter quarters on the Tyne, "the army subdued the land"; and, AN. 876, "that year Healfdene apportioned the lands of Northumbria, and they thenceforth",- not merely cropping it for two years, as Henry of Huntingdon seems to intimate,- "continued ploughing and tilling it". This early colonization of the north of England is an important fact in reference to recent disquisitions on the progress of the Northmen.

[3] The Saxon Chronicle adds, "and the Strathclyde Britons"; the Danes thus turning their arms against the common enemies of the English and of themselves as now settlers in the country.

A.D. 875-878.] THE DANES PARAMOUNT. 155

followed the before-mentioned three kings to Cambridge, where they sat down one year. This year King Alfred fought a naval battle against seven ships, one of which he took and the rest he put to flight. The year following, the army of the three kings came [1] to Wareham, in Wessex; and King Alfred made a truce with them, taking some of their chief men as hostages. They also swore to him, as they had never before done to any one, [2] that they would shortly depart the kingdom. Notwithstanding which, those of the army who had horses stole away a few nights afterwards, and made for Exeter. This year [876], Rollo, with his followers, landed in Normandy. The year following, the [remainder of the] perjured army marched from Wareham to Exeter; and the fleet, sailing round, was overtaken by a storm, so that 120 ships were wrecked at Swanage. But King Alfred had pursued, with a large force, the part of the army which was mounted; but he could not come up with them before they reached Exeter; and there they gave him hostages, as many as he would, and swore to keep the peace, which they did faithfully. Afterwards the army marched into Mercia, and took possession of [3] some part of that kingdom; part they gave up to Ceolwulf.

[A.D. 878.] In the seventh year of King Alfred, the Danes were in possession of the whole kingdom, from the north bank of the Thames; King Healfdene reigned in Northumbria, and his brother in East-Anglia, while the three other kings before named, with Ceolwulf, the king they had appointed, reigned in Mercia, the country about London and Essex; so that there only remained to King Alfred the country south of the Thames, and even that was grudged him by the Danes. The three kings therefore advanced to Chippenham in Wessex, with fresh swarms of men arrived from Denmark; they spread over the country like locusts, and there being no one able to resist them, they took possession of it for themselves. Some of the people fled beyond sea, some to King Alfred, who concealed himself in the woods with a small band of followers; others submitted to the enemy. But when King Alfred neither


[1] Saxon Chronicle, "stole into", took by surprise.

[2] Saxon Chronicle, "upon the holy ring or bracelet". See Petrie's note.

[3] Saxon Chronicle, "apportioned".

150 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

possessed any territory, nor had any hope of possessing it, the Lord had regard for the remnant of his people. For the brother of King Healfdene, coming with 23 ships to Devonshire in Wessex, King Alfred's people slew him, with 840 men of his army, and their standard, called the Raven, was there taken. Upon which King Alfred, who had constructed a fortified post at Athelney, encouraged by this success, sallied forth from thence with the men of Somersetshire who were nearest to it, and had frequent encounters with the army. Then in the seventh week after Easter, he rode to Brixton, on the eastern side of Selwood, and there came to meet him all the Somersetshire and Wiltshire men, and the residue [1] of the Hampshire men, and they were glad at his coming. The day following he went to Iley, [2] and in another day to Heddington; and there he gave battle to the army and routed and pursued it to their place of strength, before which he sat down fourteen days. Then the army delivered hostages to the king, and promised on oath to quit the kingdom. Their king also agreed to be baptized; and it was done. For Guthrun, the chief of their kings, came to Alfred for baptism; and Alfred became his god-father, and, having entertained him for twelve days, dismissed him with many gifts.

[A.D. 879.] In the eighth year of Alfred, this same army went from Chippenham to Cirencester, and there wintered peaceably. The same year the foreigners, that is the Vikings, [3] assembled a new force and sat down at Fulham on the Thames. There was an eclipse of the sun this year [A.D. 880]. The year following, the before-named army of King Guthrun retired from Cirencester and marched into East-Anglia, where they settled on the land and apportioned it among them. [4] The same year the army


[1] Saxon Chronicle, "that portion of the men of Hampshire which was on this side of the sea".

[2] Iley-mead, near Melksham, Wilts.

[3] The word "Vicinga " is used in the Saxon Chronicle, but all the translators render it "pirates". Spelman derives the appellation from vic, a bay or harbour, as well as a camp or fortress, which the vic-ing either dwelt in, or plundered.

[4] East-Anglia, comprising Norfolk and Suffolk, was now settled permanently, as Northumbria had been before. Alfred's treaty with Guthrun, defining the boundaries, is extant.- See Wilkins, Leges Anglo-Sax.

A.D. 883.] ALFRED'S SUCCESSES. 157

which had been posted at Fulham crossed over the sea, and was stationed one year at Ghent. The year afterwards they fought with the Franks, and overcame them; and the third year they went along the banks of the Maese into France; at which time King Alfred took four Danish ships in a naval battle, destroying the crews. In the fourth year [A.D. 883], the army went up the Scheldt to Conde, and there established itself for a year. This year Pope Marinus sent to King Alfred a piece of the wood of the Holy Cross; and Alfred sent alms to Rome, and also to the shrine of St. Thomas in India, in performance of a vow which he had made when the enemy's army wintered at London.

[A.D. 885.] In the fourteenth year of King Alfred, part of the army which was in France came over to Rochester, and besieging the city began to construct another fortress; but on Alfred's approach they fled to their ships, and crossed over the sea. King Alfred also sent a naval expedition from Kent to East-Anglia, and when the fleet was off the mouth of the river Stour, it encountered sixteen ships of the Vikings, and obtained the victory in the engagement. On their return with the booty in triumph, they were met by a large fleet of the Vikings, and a battle ensued, in which they were worsted. The same year Charles, [1] king of the Franks, was killed by a wild boar. He was a son of Lewis, the son of Charles the Bald, whose daughter Judith was married to King Ethelwulf. Then also Pope Marinus fell asleep. The year following the army of the Danes ascended the Seine to the bridge at Paris, and there wintered. [2] King Alfred besieged London, the greatest part of the Danish force having joined their army in France; and the Danes being departed, all the English submitted to him and acknowledged him king. And he committed the city to the keeping of Ethelred the ealdorman. [3] The


[1] Meaning Carloman, second son of Lewis le Begue. He died in 884.

[2] "This celebrated siege of Paris is minutely described by Abbo, abbot of Fleury, in two books of Latin hexameters, which, however barbarous, contain some curious and authentic matter relating to the history of that period".- Ingram. The bridge, the most ancient of Paris, called "le grand Pont", or "pont du change", was built by Charles the Bald, to prevent the Danes from making themselves masters of Paris so easily as they had often done before.

[3] Roger of Wendover calls this Ethelred earl of Mercia, and says that he was of the royal stock of that nation, and had married Elfleda, the king's (Alfred's) daughter. According to him, Alfred now rebuilt London, and repaired the walls.

158 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

year following these, the army breaking up from the bridge at Paris, went along the Seine as far as the Marne, and along the Marne as far as Chezy [1] and sat down there and on the Yonne two years. About this time, by the act of Arnulf, five kings were created in France. [2]

[A.D. 890.] In the nineteenth year of King Alfred, Guthrun, the Danish king, who was god-son of King Alfred, and governed East-Anglia departed this life. The same year the army went from the Seine to St. Loo, which is between Brittany and France; and the Bretons fighting with them and driving them into a river, many were drowned. Now Plegmund was chosen of God and all the people to be archbishop [of Canterbury]. The year following the army went eastward, and King Arnulf, with the Franks, Saxons, and Bavarians, fought against it and routed it. Afterwards this great army returned into England, with all that belonged to it, disembarking from 250 ships at Limne-mouth, a port in the eastern part of Kent, near the great wood of Andred, [3] which is 120 miles long and 30 miles broad. On landing, they threw up a fortified camp at "Awldre". [4] Meanwhile Hasteng came with 80 ships into Thames harbour, and constructed a camp at Milton. Afterwards, however, he swore to King Alfred that he would never injure him in any matter. The king, therefore, conferred upon him, and his wife and sons, many gifts; one of them the king had held in baptism, and his great general Edred the other. Hasteng, however, always faithless, constructed a


[1] A corruption of caz-rei, casa regia, softened by the French into Chezy.

[2] i.e. the empire of Charlemagne was dismembered, and thus divided.

[3] See a previous note, p. 44.

[4] Appledore, near Romney, in Kent. These fortified places were merely earth-works surrounding the camps. Such works are thus described:- "The Northmen secured their station by a fortification constructed of turfs in their usual manner".- Ann. Fuldens. Cont. "The Northmen fortified themselves, according to their custom, with stakes and mounds of earth".- Ann. Mettens. Bouquet, viii. 53, 73. Henry of Huntingdon, in speaking of these "works", generally says, "construit castrum", which might be literally, but improperly, translated built a castle. All the translators of the Saxon Chronicle use the phrase "constructed a fortress", or "wrought a fortress". I have preferred, in interpreting Henry of Huntingdon, to call these field-works fortified camps, or simply "camps". Every one knows what a Danish camp, or a Roman camp, means.

A.D. 895.] DANES DRIVEN FROM THE LEA. 159

camp at Bamfleet; and when he issued forth to plunder the king's country, the king stormed the castle and took there his wife, with his sons, and his ships. But he restored his wife and sons to Hasteng, hecause he was their godfather. And now a messenger came to King Alfred saying, "A hundred ships have come from Northumbria and East-Anglia, and are besieging Exeter". While, therefore, the king was marching there, the army which was at Appledore invaded Essex and constructed a camp at Shoebury. Pushing on from thence they reached Buttington near the Severn, and there they threw up a fortification; but being driven from it they took refuge in their camp in Essex. Meanwhile the army which had laid siege to Exeter, when the king's approach was known, betook themselves to their ships and carried on piracy by sea. A fourth army came the same year from Northumbria to Chester, but they were there besieged, and suffered so much from hunger that they were compelled to eat most of their horses.

[A.D. 895.] In the twenty-third year of King Alfred, the Danes who were in Chester made a circuit by North Wales and Northumbria to Mersey, an island of Essex; and, afterwards, in winter, they towed their ships up the Thames into the river Lea. But the army which had besieged Exeter was overtaken plundering near Chichester, where huge numbers perished, and they lost some of their ships. The year following the army which was in the river Lea made a sort of entrenchment near that river, 20 miles from London. The Londoners issued forth to attack it, and fighting with the Danes, slew four of their leaders, Almighty God giving them the victory in time of need. The Danes retreated to their camp, whereupon the king caused the waters of the Lea to be diverted into three channels, that they might not be able to bring out their ships; which the Danes perceiving, they abandoned their ships and went across the country to Bridgenorth, near the Severn, where they fortified their camp and established their winter quarters; having committed their wives to the care of the East-Angles. The king pursued them with his army, while the Londoners brought some of the deserted ships to London, and burnt the rest. In the three years, therefore, which I have mentioned, that is, from the time

160 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

the Danes entered the port of Limne-mouth, they inflicted great losses on the English, but they suffered far greater themselves. In the fourth year "the army" was divided, one part going into Northumbria, another into East-Anglia, and a part of it crossed the channel and entered the Seine; afterwards, however, some ships of the Danes came on the coast of Wessex, and by frequent descents for the sake of plunder, and continual skirmishes, caused no small loss to the provincials of Wessex. Of these numerous conflicts I will relate one, because it was out of the conamon course. King Alfred caused long ships, of 40 oars or more, to be fitted out against this Danish fleet. There were six of the Danish vessels, in a harbour of the Devonshire coast, which nine of the royal ships attempted to surprise. However, the Danes, becoming aware of it, launched three of their vessels to engage the enemy, the others being aground, high on the beach, and the tide being out. Six, therefore, of the English ships engaged with these three Danish, and the other three English ships made for the three Danish vessels which lay on the shore. Though the odds were six to three, the Danes fought bravely and desperately, maintaining the unequal conflict a long time. But numbers prevailed, and two of the Danish ships were taken; the third sheered off, after all that manned them had fallen, except five. After this success, in attempting to join their consorts near the Danish ships on shore, the English got aground. Upon observing which the Danes from the three vessels on the beach attacked the three English ships that were opposed to them. Then those who were on board the other six ships might be seen beating their breasts and tearing their hair, [1] while they looked on unable to afford assistance. But the English defended themselves manfully, while the attack of the Danes was bold and spirited. Forty-two fell on the side of the English, and 120 on that of the Danes. Among these was Lucumon, the commander of the royal force, who fell fighting bravely; upon which the English gave way by degrees, and the Danes might almost claim the victory. And now by the return of


[1] This is an interpolation, in Henry of Huntingdon's usual style, in the unaffected narrative of the Saxon Chronicle, while he omits some characteristic details; but the whole episode is extremely interesting.

901.] DEATH OF KING ALFRED. 161

the tide, the Danes were enabled to put to sea, pursued too late, and to no purpose, by the nine English ships. But the victorious Danes were met by a contrary wind, which drove two of their ships on shore, and the crews were made prisoners and brought to the king, who commanded them all to be hanged at Winchester. Those who were in the third ship sailed to East-Anglia, though severely wounded. The same year twenty ships with their crews perished on the south coast.

[A.D. 901.] King Alfred died, after a reign of twenty- eight years and a half over all England, except those parts which were under the dominion of the Danes. His indefatigable government and endless troubles I cannot worthily set forth except in verse:-

"Toilsome thy onward path to high renown,
Thorny the chaplet that entwin'd thy crown,
Unconquer'd Alfred! Thine the dauntless mind,
That in defeat could fresh resources find.
What though thy hopes were ever dash'd with care,
Still they were never clouded with despair:
To day, victorious, future wars were plann'd,
To day, defeated, future triumphs scann'd.
Thy way-soil'd garments, and thy blood-stain'd sword,
Sad pictures of the lot of kings afford;
Who else, like this, throughout the wide world's space,
Bore in adversity so brave a face?
The sword, for ever bare in mortal strife,
Fail'd to cut short thy destin'd thread of life;
Peaceful thy end: may Christ be now thy rest!
Thine be the crown and sceptre of the blest!

[A.D. 901.] Edward, the son of King Alfred, succeeded to his father's kingdom, which he held 24 years. His younger brother Ethelwald [1] married a wife and seized on Wimborne [2] without leave of the King and the great men of the realm, [3] whereupon King Edward led a body of troops as far as Badbury near Wimborne. But Ethelwald and his men held possession of the place, and closing the gates he declared that he would either hold it or there die. How-


[1] The Saxon Chronicle calls him "the Etheling" (see note, p. 122), and brother's son of Edward.

[2] Wimborne, in Dorsetshire.

[3] Saxon Chronicle, "His Witan", the great council of the nation.

162 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

ever, he sallied forth by night and made for the army which was in Northumbria. His illustrious birth caused him to be received with open arms, and he was elected king and paramount lord over the vice-kings and chiefs of that nation. King Edward, however, arrested the woman whom the young prince had married contrary to the will of the bishop, because she had been consecrated a nun. The same year died Ethelred, ealdorman of Devonshire, one month before the death of King Alfred, to whom he had been a faithful servant and follower in many of his wars.

[A.D. 905. [1]] In the third year of King Edward, Ethelwald, the king's brother, [2] assembled an army, which he transported in a numerous flotilla into Essex, the people of which were speedily reduced to submission. The year following, he led a powerful army into Mercia, and completely ravaged it as far as Cricklade. There he crossed the Thames, and swept off all the plunder he could find in Braeden [3] and the neighbourhood. After accomplishing this, they returned home in triumph. King Edward, however, having hastily collected some troops, followed their rear, ravaging the whole territory of the Mercians between the Dyke and the Ouse, as far northward as the Fens. After which he resolved to retreat, and commanded his whole army to retire together; and they all withdrew, except the Kentish-men, who remained contrary to the king's order, though he sent seven messages after them. Then the army of the Danes intercepted the Kentish-men, and a battle was fought, in which fell Siwulf and Sighelm, ealdormen; and Ethelwald, a king's thane; and Kenwulf, the abbot; and Sigebert, son of Siwulf; and Eadwold, son of Acca, and many others, though the most eminent are named. On the side of the Danes were slain King Ehoric, and the Etheling Ethelwald, whom they had elected king; and Byrtsige, son of Brithnoth the Etheling; and Ysop,


[1] The date taken from the Saxon Chronicle does not agree with Henry of Huntingdon's chronology. There is much confusion in his dates throughout Edward's reign, by the years which he reckoned.

[2] See note on preceding page.

[3] Florence of Worcester describes it as a wood or forest, called in Saxon "Bradene".

A.D. 906.] KING EDWARD THE ELDER. 163

the Hold; [1] and Osketel, the Hold, with many others; for I cannot name them all. There was great slaughter on both sides, most on that of the Danes, though they claimed the victory. This same year died Elswitha, wife [2] of King Edward.

[An. 906.] King Edward, in the fifth year of his reign, concluded a peace with the East-Angles and Northumbrians at Hitchingford. The year following, [3] the king levied a powerful army in Wessex and Mercia, which took great spoils, both in men and cattle, from the Northumbrian army, and, slaying numbers of the Danes, continued to ravage the country for five weeks. The next year the Danish army entered Mercia, with intent to plunder; but the king had collected 100 ships, and dispatched them against the enemy. On their approach they were mistaken for allies, [4] and the Danish army supposed that they might therefore march securely wherever they would. Presently, the king sent troops against them out of Wessex and Mercia, who fell on their rear, as they were retiring homewards, and engaged them in fight. A pitched battle ensued, in which the Lord severely chastised the heathen, many thousands of them meeting a bloody death, and their chiefs were confounded, and, falling, bit the dust. There were slain King Healfdene and King Ecwulf [Ecwils], and the earls [5] Uthere and Scurf; with the "Holds" Othulf, Benesing, Anlaf [Olave] the Black, Thurferth, and Osferth, the collector of the revenue; and Agmund the Hold, and Guthferth the Hold, with another Guthferth. [6] The servants of the Lord, having gained so great a victory, rejoiced in the living God, and gave thanks with hymns and songs to the Lord of hosts. The year following [A.D. 911-912],


[1] Hold, a Danish title of office, the signification of which is unknown. It seems to have been inferior to that of Jarl. Was it the custody of a castle or fortified town?

[2] "Queen mother of King Edward".- Rog. Wendov.

[3] The Saxon Chronicle gives these dates as A.D. 910-911, the ninth and tenth years of Edward.

[4] Henry of Huntingdon's account of this armament seems confused, and that of the Saxon Chronicle is not more satisfactory.

[5] The Norwegian "Jarl", a dignity or office not as yet introduced among the Anglo-Saxons.

[6] The Saxon Chronicle places this battle under A.D. 911.

164 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

on the death of Ethered, ealdorman of Mercia, King Edward took possession of London and Oxford, with all the land belonging to the province of Mercia. [1]

King Edward, in the ninth [2] year of his reign, built Hertford, a very fair, though not a large castle, [3] between the Benwic, the Memer, and the Lea, very clear, though not deep, rivers. The same year he built a town at Witham, in Essex, meanwhile remaining at Maldon; and great part of the neighbouring people, who were before in subjection to the Danes, submitted to him. The following year, [4] the Danish army issued forth from [North] Hampton and Leicester, breaking the truce which they had with the king, and made great slaughter of the English at Hockerton, and thence round in Oxfordshire. As soon as they returned to their quarters, another troop marched out and came to Leighton; but the people of that country, having intelligence of their approach, gave them battle, and, routing them, regained the plunder which they had collected, as well as took the horses of the troop.

In the eleventh [5] year of King Edward, a great fleet came from the south out of Lidwic [Britany], under two earls, Ohter and Rahold, and they steered west about till they reached the Severn shore; and they pillaged the country in North Wales, wherever they could, near the coast, and took prisoner Canacleac the bishop [of Llandaff], and carried him off to their ships. However, King Edward ransomed him for forty pounds. Afterwards, the army landed in a body, intending to pillage the neighbourhood of Archenfield, [7] but they were met by the men of Carleon [8] and Hereford, and other neighbouring burgs, who fought and defeated them, with the loss of Earl Rahold, and Geolkil,


[1] Probably the neighbouring districts, certainly not the whole province of Mercia, in which we find Ethelfleda exercising rights of sovereignty after her husband's death.

[2] Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 913.

[3] The Saxon Chronicle calls it a "burg".

[4] The Saxon Chronicle places this irruption under the year 917.

[5] Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 918.

[6] The Saxon Chronicle agrees with Henry of Huntingdon in calling it North Wales; but it appears clearly to be an error, as all the places mentioned border on South Wales; access being obtained to them through the estuary of the Severn.

[7] In Herefordshire.

[8] The Saxon Chronicle has "Gloucester"; but Henry of Huntingdon is probably right, Carleon being so much nearer the scene of action.

A.D. 918.] THE DANES IN THE SEVERN. 165

the brother of Earl Ohter, and great part of the army, and they drove the rest into a certain fortified camp, where they besieged them till they gave hostages and solemnly swore to depart the king's territories. Then the king caused the shores of the Severn to be guarded, from the south coast of Wales round to the Avon; so that the Danes durst nowhere attempt an irruption in that quarter. Twice, however, they contrived to land by stealth; once to the eastward, at Watchet, [1] the other time at Porlock; [1] but on both occasions very few escaped destruction besides those who could swim to their ships. These took refuge in the Isle of Stepen [and Flat-holm [2]], in the greatest distress for want of food, which they were unable to procure, so that numbers died from hunger. Thence they retreated into Demet, [3] and from thence crossed over to Ireland. The same year King Edward went with his army to Buckingham, where he sat down four weeks, and made an entrenchment on both sides of the water before he went thence. Earl Thurkytel submitted to him there, and all the earls and chief men that belonged to Bedford, with some of those belonging to Northampton.

The old chronicles [4] mention a battle between the Kentish men and the Danes at the Holme, in the twelfth year of King Edward; [5] but they leave it uncertain who were the conquerors. The second year afterwards, the moon was eclipsed, to the great consternation of the beholders; the third year, a comet appeared; the fourth year, Chester was


[1] Watchet and Porlock are two small harbours on the Somersetshire coast of the Severn Sea, or Bristol Channel.

[2] The Steep and Flat-holms are two islets off the same coast.

[3] Demet or Divet, Pembrokeshire, where, from Milford Haven, is the nearest passage to Ireland from the west of England.

[4] Henry of Huntingdon here introduces a series of events of an earlier date than that to which he had arrived.

[5] The Saxon Chronicle, which contains no further particulars of this battle, gives the date of it A.D. 902; the second, instead of the "twelfth", year of Edward's reign. As Henry of Huntingdon notices the events of the succeeding years in a tolerably accurate sequence, we might suppose that the numeral x. had crept in before ii., by an error of the transcribers, did not all the MSS. agree with the received text, and were it not plain, from subsequent entries, that Henry of Huntingdon himself is generally at fault in his chronology of this period.

166 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

rebuilt; the fifth year, the body of St. Oswald was translated from Bardeney into Mercia; the sixth year the English and Danes fought at Totenhall. Who can find language to describe the fearful encounters, the flashing arms, the terrible clang, the hoarse shouts, the headlong rush, and the sweeping overthrow of such a conflict? In the end, the divine mercy crowned the faithful with victory, and put to shame the heathem Danes by defeat and flight. The same year, Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians, who governed them in the name of Ethered, her infirm father, [1] built the fortress at Bramsbury.


[1] Ethered was the husband, not the father, of Ethelfleda. Mr. Petrie remarks: "The Saxon Chronicle nowhere tells us who Ethelfleda was, except as it describes her to be the lady of the Mercians. When, therefore", he continues, "Henry of Huntingdon found that she succeeded Ethered, but did not know why, he had recourse to the fiction of her being his daughter. And what he tells us of the infirmity of Ethered is invested to account for her being so warlike a woman". Henry of Huntingdon has certainly fallen into the error of calling Ethelfleda the daughter, instead of the wife of Ethered; and the Saxon Chronicle is singularly silent as to the family history of so distinguished a character as this daughter of Alfred, though it recounts her great achievements. But it has escaped Mr. Petrie's observation, that in one passage, under the year 922, the Saxon Chronicle does describe her as the "sister" of King Edward, with which the chronicle of Ethelwerd, as well as Florence of Worcester, agree. Ethered may or may not have been infirm, as Henry of Huntingdon describes him; but the character given him by Florence of Worcester points rather to excellence suited to less troublesome times. There was, however, no necessity for Henry of Huntingdon to invent the story of his infirm health, in order to account for the active part taken by Ethelfleda in those wars; for there is no record of her having done so in his lifetime. The first act attributed to her, the building of the burgh of Bremesbury, bears date the very year, or according to one MS., the year before the death of Ethered. My own impression is, that the great fief of the province of Mercia, formerly a kingdom of the Heptarchy, was granted to Ethelfleda and her husband jointly, her royal birth giving her pretensions to be associated with him in the government, he himself, though a high and trusty officer of her father King Alfred, being of inferior rank, though of the blood royal of the Mercian kings, as Roger of Wendover describes him. At his death the sole government fell to her as a matter of right; and it is so described by Florence of Worcester, though Edward usurped part of her dominions. It may be remarked also that he mentions an act of their joint government, just as we should speak of an act of "William and Mary";- "the city of Carlisle was rebuilt by command of Ethered and Ethelfleda". This was A.D. 908, two years before Ethered's death.

A.D. 910-912.] ETHELFLEDA, LADY OF MERCIA. 167

In the eighteenth year of King Edward, Ethered, [1] lord of Mercia, the father [husband [2]] of Ethelfleda, having been long infirm, departed this life, and as he had no son he left his territories to his daughter [wife]. Two years afterwarcls, Ethelfleda, lady of Mercia, built a burg at Scaergate, and the same year another burg at Bridgnorth; the third year, Ethelfleda, lady of Mercia, built a burg at Tamworth, in the early part of the summer; and before August, that of Stafford. The fourth year, in the beginning of summer, she built a burg at Edderbury; and at the end of August, the burg at Warwick. The fifth year, she built a burg at Cherbury, after Christmas; and that at Warburton, in the summer; and the same year also that at Runcorn. The sixth year, she sent an army into Wales, which, having defeated the Welch, stormed Brecknock; they took prisoners the wife of the King of Wales, with thirty-three of her attendants. The seventh year, Ethelfleda, lady of Mercia, got possession of Derby, with the country dependant upon it; there was a numerous garrison in the town of Derby, but they durst not sally forth against her. Whereupon she commanded a vigorous assault to be made on the fortress, and a desperate conflict took place at the very entrance of the gate, where four of Ethelfleda's bravest thanes were slain; but, notwithstanding, the assailants forced the gate, and made a breach in the walls. The eighth year, [3] Ethelfleda, lady of Mercia, reduced Chester,


[1] Henry of Huntingdon has recorded Ethelred's death before, see p. 163. It occurred, according to different MSS. of the Saxon Chronicle, between AD. 910-912. It may have been in the eighth instead of the eighteenth year of Edward's reign, erroneously given by Henry of Huntingdon; and the mistake would be explained by the interpolation of the numeral, similar to that suggested in a former note. But Henry of Huntingdon seems to have fallen into the mistake of substituting the death of Ethered for that of Elfleda, which may concur with the 18th year of Edward, being noted in the Chronicle as A.D. 918 or 919.

[2] See note on p. 166.

[3] Henry of Huntingdon has collected the acts of the eight years of Ethelfleda's government from various entries in the Saxon Chronicle into one continued series, and has coupled them with an erroneous calculation of periods in Edward's reign. Not only so, but this has led him to extend the reign to 26 years, though he states at the commencement that it lasted 24 only.

168 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

and most of the troops stationed there submitted to her; the Yorkshire people also promised her their alliance, to which some gave pledges, and some confirmed them with their oaths. After this convention, she died at Tamworth [A.D. 918-922 [1]], twelve days before the feast of St. John, and in the eighth year of her government of Mercia. She was buried at Gloucester, in the porch of St. Peter's. This princess is said to have been so powerful that she was sometimes called not only lady, or queen, but king also, in deference to her great excellence and majesty. [2] Some have thought and said that if she had not been suddenly snatched away by death, she would have surpassed the most valiant of men. The memory of so much eminence would supply materials for endless song; it demands, at least, a short tribute in verse:-

"Heroic Elflede! great in martial fame,
A man in valour, woman though in name;
Thee warlike hosts thee, nature too obey'd,
Conqu'ror o'er both, though born by sex a maid.
Chang'd be thy name, such honour triumphs bring,
A queen by title, but in deeds a king.
Heroes before the Mercian heroine [3] quail'd: Caesar himself to win such glory fail'd".

King Edward, in the twenty-sixth [4] year of his reign, deprived Elfwina, the sister [5] of Ethelfleda, of the lordship of Mercia, to which she had succeeded; the king regarding more the policy than the justice of the act. Subsequently,


[1] Two MSS. of the Saxon Chronicle place it in 918; the version generally received is 922.

[2] Ethelfleda seems to have possessed a large share of her brother Alfred's spirit. She was indeed an extraordinary woman at a period when even manly virtues were rare. Henry of Huntingdon does justice to her great qualities, respect for which must be my apology for the length at which I have attempted to clear up her history.

[3] "Virgo virago". Our author unaccountably lost sight of her real position.

[4] Edward's reign lasted only 24 years; see note 3 on p. 167. From the death of King Edward, known in History as Edward the Elder, to the year 1000, very few chronological notices are found in Henry of Huntingdon's History.

[5] Elfwina was the daughter of Ethelfleda, by Ethered. She is named Elgiva by Roger of Wendover, who calls her the only child, and gives a curious reason for it.- Rog. of Wendover, Bohn's Edition, vol. i. p. 243.

A.D. 924.] KING ATHELSTAN. 169

he built a burg at Gladmuth. [1] He died not long afterwards at Ferandune, [2] and Edward, his son, expired very shortly after, at Oxford; and they were both buried at Winchester. Not long before, Sihtric, king of Northumbria, had slain his brother Nigel; after which outrage King Reginald won York.

[A.D. 924.] Athelstan, the son of Edward, was elected king of the Mercians, and crowned at Kingston; whose reign was short, but not the less illustrious for noble deeds; who fought with the bravest, but was never conquered. For in the course of the year following, [3] Guthfrith, king of the Danes, brother of Reginald, the king already named, having provoked him to war, was defeated and put to flight, and slain. Not long afterwards, by a stroke of adverse fortune, Athelstan lost his brother Edwin, the Etheling, a young prince of great energy and high promise, who was unhappily drowned at sea. After these events, [4] King Athelstan, resolving to subjugate entirely the heathen Danes and faithless Scots, led a very large army, both by sea and land, into Northumbria and Scotland, and as there was no one able to offer resistance, he overran the country, pillaging it at his will, and then retired in triumph.

In the year of grace 945, [5] and in the fourth year of his reign, King Athelstan fought at Brunesburh [6] one of the greatest battles on record against Anlaf, king of Ireland, who had united his forces to those of the Scots and Danes settled in England. Of the grandeur of this conflict, English writers have expatiated in a sort of poetical description, [7] in which they have employed both


[1] Or Clede-muth, the mouth of the Cleddy, in Pembrokeshire. Henry of Huntingdon strangely takes no other notice of the three last busy years of Edward's reign.

[2] Farndon, in Northamptonshire, which was in Mercia; not Farringdon, in Berkshire, and part of Wessex, as Gibson and others interpret it.

[3] The expulsion of Guthfrith (from York?) did not take place till 927.

[4] Edwin was drowned A.D. 933. The expedition into Scotland took place the same year.

[5] This should be 937, the fourteenth, not the fourth, year of Athelstan.

[6] Ingram in his map places Bruneburg or Brunanburg in Lincolnshire, near the Trent. Ingram and Giles call it Brumby.

[6] Henry of Huntingdon refers to the metrical account of this battle, inserted in the Saxon Chronicle, which contains several other such relics of ancient poetry. His "version" is tolerably "faithful", as far as it goes, exhibiting the character and much of the spirit of the original poem; but it is much curtailed. The historian adopts a sort of rythm suited to the short lines of the Anglo-Saxon poem, which it is attempted to preserve in the present translation.

170 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

foreign words and metaphors. I therefore give a faithful version of it, in order that, by translating their recital almost word for word, the majesty of the language msy exhibit the majestic achievements and the heroism of the English nation.

"At Brunesburh, Athelstan the king, noblest of chiefs, giver of collars, [1] emblems of honour, with his brother Edmund, of a race ancient and illustrious, in the battle, smote with the edge of the sword. The offspring of Edward, the departed king, deft through the defence of shields, struck down noble warriors. Their innate valour, derived from their fathers, defended their country, its treasures and its hearths, its wealth and its precious things, from hostile nations, in constant wars. The nation of the Irish, and the men of ships, rushed to the mortal fight; the hills re-echoed their shouts. The warriors struggled from the rising of the sun, illuminating depths with its cheerful rays, the candle of God, the torch of the Creator, till the hour when the glorious orb sunk in the west. There numbers fell, Danish by race, transfixed with spears,; pierced through their shields; and with them fell the Scottish men, weary and war-sad. But chosen bands of the West-Saxons, the live-long day, unshrinking from toil, struck down the ranks of their barbarous foe; men of high breeding handled the spear, Mercian men hurled their sharp darts. There was no safety to those who with Anlaf, coming over the sea, made for the land in wooden ships, fated to die! Five noble kings fell on the field, in the prime of their youth, pierced with the sword; seven earls of King Anlaf, and Scots without number. Then were the Northmen quelled in their pride. For not a few came over the sea to the contest of war; while but a few heard their king's groans, as, borne on the waves, he fled


[1] "Torquium dator". The Anglo-Saxon phrase is beals-giva, "giver of bracelets".

A.D. 987.] BATTLE OF BRUNEBURG. 171

from the rout. Then was fierce Froda, [1] chief of the Northmen, Constantine with him, king of the Scots, stayed in his boasting, when corpses were strewed on that battlefield, sad remnant left of kindred bands, relations and friends, mixed with the common folk slain in the fight; there, too, his dear son was stretched on the plain, mangled with wounds. Nor could Danish Gude, [2] hoary in wisdom, soft in his words, boast any longer. Nor could Anlaf himself, with the wreck of his troops, vaunt of success in the conflicts of war, in the clashing of spears, in crossing of swords, in councils of wise men. Mothers and nurses wailed for their dear ones, playing the game of ill-fated war with the sons of King Edward.

"The Northmen departed in their nailed barks, and Anlaf, defeated, over the deep sought his own land, sorrowing much. Then the two brothers Wessex regained, leaving behind them relics of war, the flesh of the slain, a bloody prey. Now the black raven with crooked beak, the livid toad, and eagle and kite, the dog and the wolf, with tawny hide, gorged themselves freely on the rich feast. No battle ever was fought in this land so fierce and so bloody, since the time that came hither, over the broad sea, Saxons and Angles, the Britons to rout; famous war-smiths, who struck down the Welsh, defeated their nobles, seized on the land".

I now return to the history, which has been interrupted for the sake of introducing this interesting record.

(A.D. 940.] King Athelstan, after a reign of fourteen years, was no more seen among men. He was succeeded by his son [brother] Edmund, who reigned six years and a half. In the fourth year of his reign, the king of the Franks treacherously put to death William, the son of Rollo, who obtained possession of Normandy, a province of France, and was the founder of the Norman nation. King Edmund led his army into that part of Mercia


[1] Hylde-rine is the name given to this worthy in the original poem. Henry of Huntingdon has transferred another word from its place and made it a proper name.

[2] The old chief is called Inwidda-Inwood in the Saxon poem. Henry of Huntingdon, probably not very well versed in the old English tongue, makes Gude, "fight", into one of the heroes.

172 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

which had been long subject to the heathens, as far as the broad river Humber, conquering the Danes, and triumphantly recovering the "Five Burghs", Lincoln, Leicester, Stamford, Nottingham, and Derby; and, utterly extirpating the Danes, who even at that time were called Normans, he purified those towns from heathenism, and, by God's grace, restored to them the light of the gospel. At that time [A.D. 942] died King Anlaf, before mentioned. Afterwards, King Edmund received another Danish king, named Anlaf, in baptism; who yielded as much to the force of arms, as to his convictions of the truth of the faith. A few days afterwards, he also received, from the hand of the bishop, Reginald king of York, who is already spoken of as having subjected that city.

After King Edward's return into Wessex, where he was received in great triumph, these Danish kings, Anlaf, son of Sihtric, and Reginald, son of Guthfrith, broke the treaty of peace they had entered into, and ravaged that part of the kingdom which they had ceded to Edward; therefore that most warlike king declared war against them, and having assembled an army, marched into Northumbria, from which he not only expelled both those kings, but for the first time annexed the kingdom of Northumbria to his own kingdom of Wessex. The year following, he ravaged and overran the whole of Cumberland; but inasmuch as he was unable permanently to subjugate the people of that province, a treacherous and lawless race, he made it over to Malcolm, king of Scotland, on the terms of his granting him aid both by land and sea.

[A.D. 946.] When Edward, this victorious king, had reigned gloriously six years and a half, all things happening prosperously, and he being sole king of all England, he was traitorously stabbed on St. Augustine's day; an impious murder, which will be held in detestation through all ages. Thus snatched away by a sudden death, may Christ, in his mercy, be gracious to him!

Edred, brother of King Edmund, [1] and son [brother, also] of King Athelstan, succeeded, and the same year he led a strong party of troops into Northumbria, the people of


[1] Edmund's children were minors.

A.D. 946-955.] KING EDRED'S REIGN. 173

which submitted with impatience to the yoke of his dominion, and completely subjugated it. He then advanced his standards into Scotland; but the Scots were so terrified at his approach, that they submitted, without recourse being had to arms. Both the Northumbrians and the Scots confirmed by oaths the fealty due from them to their liege lord; oaths which were not long respected: for after Edred's return to the southern part of his dominions, Anlaf, [1] who had been expelled from Northumbria, returned thither [A.D. 949] with a powerful fleet. He was welcomed by his adherents, and reinstated in his kingdom, which he held by the strong hand for four years. But in the fourth year, the Northumbrians, with their usual fickleness, expelled Anlaf, and raised to the throne Eric, the son of Harold. His tenure of the kingdom was also short. For the glorious king, Edred, resumed again his sway in Northumbria, in the eighth year of his reign; as the people of that country, never long submissive to the same master, after Eric, the son of Harold, had been king three years, dismissed him as carelessly as they had received him; and, inviting King Edred, voluntarily replaced him on the throne.

[A.D. 955.] Edred, an exemplary and powerful king, having at length become sole king over all the provinces of England, yielded to fate in the eighth year from that in which he had assumed the crown. Edwy, the son of King Edmund, succeeded Edred in the monarchy of all England. [2] For Edmund was the son [brother] of Athelstan, a most virtuous king, who was son of Edward, whose reign was prosperous, the son of Alfred the unconquered warrior, the son of Ethelwulf of paternal excellence, who was son of Egbert, who first raised the kingdom of Wessex to the ascendancy, exalting it by his valour and policy to the monarchy of all England. Edmund had two sons, Edwy the first-born, and Edgar the youngest, who succeeded to the throne in


[1] The third of the Danish kings of this name in these times: Anlaf, son of Guthfrith, Anlaf, son of Sithric, and this one, Anlaf Cuaran.

[2] One MS. of the Saxon Chronicle allots Wessex to Edwy, and Mercia to Edgar; and the latter may have held his kingdom in some sort of subjection to his elder brother, as the paramount king. Roger of Wendover says that the Mercians revolted from Edwy, and chose Edgar king.

174 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

the order of their birth. In the second year of Edwy's reign, Wulfstan, the Archbishop [of York}, departed this life. This king wore the diadem not unworthily; [1] but after a prosperous and becoming commencement of his reign, its happy promise was cut short by a premature death.

[A.D. 969.] Edgar the peaceful, the brother of the lastnamed king, reigned sixteen years. In his days this land received great benefits, and through the mercy of God, which he merited to the best of his power, his whole reign was tranquil. For he widely established the Christian faith in his dominions, and, by his bright example, encouraged fruitfulness in good works. Beloved both by God and man, his great concern was to promote peace among all the nations of his realm, nor did any of his predecessors hold the reins of power so quietly and so happily. Honouring God's name, and studying his law, he willingly learnt and gladly taught it, and was ready both by word and deed to invite his people to the practice of virtue. But the Divine Providence rewarded his servant Edgar for his good deeds, not in the next life only, but even in the present; for the several subordinate kings, and the chiefs and people of all the nations of the land, submitted to him voluntarily in fear and love without a struggle, and without any hostile movements. Meanwhile, the fame of the king's illustrious character was spread through all countries, and foreigners came to witness his glory and to hear the words of wisdom from his mouth. In one thing only he erred, establishing too securely the heathens who were settled under him in this country, and being too partial and giving too much countenance to strangers who were attracted here. [2] But nothing human is altogether perfect.

[A.D. 963.] In the fifth year of the reign of King Edgar


[1] Both Henry of Huntingdon and the Saxon Chronicle are silent on the subject of the unhappy and tragic passages of Edwy's reign, related or invented by later writers. Roger of Wendover blackened his memory with all the virulence with which some of the monkish writers treated it.

[2] It was Edgar's wise policy to conciliate the Northmen settled in England, and to encourage colonization by their countrymen. The panegyric is borrowed from a metrical composition in honour of King Edgar in the Saxon Chronicle.

A.D. 959-975.] REIGN OF EDGAR. 175

the peaceful, the venerable Ethelwold was happily raised to the see of Winchester. This prelate, in the second year of his episcopacy, ejected some canons from the old monastery of Winchester, who observed the rules of their order with sloth and negligence, and introduced monks in their stead. This [conventual] church has been taken down in my time, because it was too near to the mother-church, which is the bishop's cathedral: with the consent, therefore, of the bishop and abbot, a new monastery [1] has been founded without the city walls. This excellent prelate, Ethelwold, was diligent in fencing about the Lord's vineyard, and, setting deep the roots of charity, in diverting from it the paths of unrighteousness. For he sowed good counsels, so that by his advice, King Edgar made new plantations, and nursed up offshoots of young growth most aceeptable to God. The king built the abbey of Glastonbury; he ornamented the abbey of Abingdon, near the Thames; he built up the abbey at Burch, near Stamford, and founded an abbey at Thorney, near Burch, on a very pleasant spot, though in the midst of the Fens. At the instance also of Bishop Ethelwold, Ailwin, the king's ealdorman, founded Ramsey Abbey on a fair island in the same Fens. These Fens are of wide extent, and the prospect is beautiful; for they are watered by numerous flowing streams varied by many lakes, both great and small, and are verdant with woods and islands. Within them are the church of Ely, Ramsey Abbey, Catteric Abbey, Thorney Abbey, and the abbey of Croyland. In the neighbourhood are the abbey of Peterborough, Spalding Abbey, the church of St Ivon upon the Ouse, a river in Huntingdonshire, and the church of St. Egidius on the Granta in Cambridgeshire, with the church of the Holy Trinity at Thetford.

[A.D. 968.] In the eleventh year of his reign, King Edgar commanded the Isle of Thanet to be wasted, because the inhabitants had treated his royal rights with contempt. But it was done not as by a raging enemy, but by a king inflicting punishment for evil deeds. In the thirteenth year of his reign, King Edgar was crowned at Bath on the day of Pentecost; and soon afterwards he went at the head


[1] The "new monastery " was built A.D. 1110.

176 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

of his army to Chester, where six [1] kings came to meet him, all of whom were subordinate to him, and who pledged him their fealty, and the service, due both by land and sea, to his imperial crown.

[A.D. 975.] Edgar the peaceful, that glorious king, that second Solomon, in whose time no foreign army landed in England, to whose dominion the English kings and chiefs were subject, to whose power even the Scots bent their necks, after a reign of sixteen years and two months, died as happily as he had lived. For he could not die unhappily who had lived well, who had dedicated so many churches to God, and who had in a short time founded so many establishments consecrated in perpetuity to pious uses. The more zealously the societies of his foundation offer without ceasing their praises to God, the higher will be the degree of glory to which the blessed king will be advanced in heaven; in whose praise my Muse prompts some short verse, which his worth demands:-

"Blest in his kingdom's wealth, his people's love,
The royal Edgar soars to realms above.
Just laws he gave, and with the arts of peace,
Made crime, and violence, and war to cease.
Another Solomon, his fame extends
To distant lands, and time that never ends.
New temples crown'd the hills at his command,
Heap'd with rich gifts the sacred altars stand;
And hoary minsters own'd his lib'ral hand.
Wisely he learnt the true and false to scan,
And with eternity weigh life's short span".

[A.D. 975.] Edward, the son of King Edgar, who is called St. Edgar, succeeded to his father's kingdom. In the beginning of his reign there appeared a comet which, doubtless, foretold the great famine which followed in the year ensuing. For at that time a certain dissolute noble, Elfhere by name, with the consent and the help of a powerful faction, [2] destroyed some of the abbeys which King Edgar and Bishop Ethelwold had founded. Wherefore the Lord


[1] Other accounts make the number of these tributary princes eight; the kings of the Scots, Cumbrians, Mona and the Isles, South Wales, two of North Wales, Galway, and Westmoreland.

[2] Elfhere was earldorman or governor of the late kingdom, and now important province, of Mercia.

A.D. 978.] MURDER OF ST. EDWARD. 177

was moved to anger, and, as of old, brought evil on the land.

In the fourth year of the reign of St. Edward, all the great men of the English nation fell from a loft at Calne, except St. Dunstan, who supported himself by taking hold of a beam. Some of them were much hurt, and some were killed. It was a sign from the Most High of the impending forfeiture of his favour by the assassination of the king, and of the evils it would bring on them from various nations.

[A.D. 978.] St. Edward, the king, after reigning five years, was treasonably slain by his own family at Corfe-gate, at even-tide; and, carrying to the grave their malice towards him in life, he was buried at Wareham without royal honours, that his name might perish also. But here it was found that the depraved and dark counsels of man are of no avail against the Divine Providence. For he who was was rejected by traitors on earth was received with glory by God in heaven, and he whose name his murderers sought to obliterate had his memory made for ever illustrious by the Lord. Whereupon the Lord was again moved to anger, more than He was wont, and determined to visit the wicked nation with a grievous calamity. It is reported that his stepmother, that is the mother of King Ethelred, stabbed him with a dagger while she was in the act of offering him a cup to drink.

Ethelred, son of King Edgar, and brother of Edward, was consecrated king before all the nobles of England at Kingston. An evil omen, as St. Dunstan interpreted it, had happened to him in his infancy. For at his baptism he made water in the font; whence the man of God predicted the slaughter of the English people that would take place in his time. In the early part of Ethelred's reign, the ealdorman Elfere, by Divine command, translated the body of St. Edward from Wareham to Shaftesbury. In the third year of King Ethelred's reign, there came seven ships of the Danes, the precursors of future ravages; and they plundered Hampshire. After that Elfere, the ealdorman before named, died and was succeeded by Alfric, whom the king harshly banished. At that time St. Ethelwold, the bishop [of Winchester], father of the monks and the star of the English church, obtained the vision of the Lord,

178 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

which he had earnestly desired. Not long afterwards, St Dunstan was translated from the darkness of earth to the glory of heaven. When these two great lights of the English nation were removed, England lost the armour of her defence, and was exposed, in her desolation, to the threatened wrath of the Almighty. The successor of St. Dunstan was Ethelgar, who was succeeded by Siric the year following; and King Ethelred unmercifully wasted the bishopric of Rochester. Then the Lord, again provoked to wrath, no longer deferred what He had designed; and the Danes landed in various quarters and overshadowed England like the clouds of heaven [A.D. 988]. In one quarter Watchet was plundered, and the Danes, advancing from thence, [1] fell in with a body of English troops, and, engaging them, slew Goda their leader, and crushed that part of the army [A.D. 991]. In another quarter, Ipswich was plundered, and Brithnoth, the ealdorman, who opposed them with a great force, was defeated in battle and slain, and his troops dispersed.

It was in the thirteenth year of King Ethelred, that the pernicious counsel of Archbishop Siric was adopted by the English, that tribute should be paid to the Danes to induce them to refrain from plunder and slaughter. The sum paid was ten thousand pounds. And this infliction has continued to this present day, and, unless God's mercy interposes, will still continue. For we now pay to our kings, from custom, the tax [2] which was levied by the Danes from intolerable fear. After this, the king contrived a stratagem against the Danes; but Alfric, the ealdorman, who was banished by the king and again restored, forewarned them of it. It is truly said, "The man whom you have once seriously injured, you should not afterwards easily trust". When, therefore, the royal fleet, under the command of Elfric, the ealdorman, and Eorl Thorold, [3] sailed front London to intercept the Danes, they, having been forewarned, made their escape. Then a more powerful Danish


[1] Into Devonshire.

[2] This tax was called Dane-geld.

[3] Thorold was a Dane or Norwegian, as appears both by his name and title. Long before this time naturalized Northmen fought in the English ranks against new invasions of their countrymen, as well as filled the highest offices in church and state under the English kings.

A.D. 994.] INVASION OF OLAVE AND SWEYN. 179

fleet fell in with the royal fleet, and a naval battle ensued, in which many of the Londoners were slain, and the Danes captured the whole armament, with Elfric, who was on board and had the command. That same year, St. Oswald, archbishop of York, passed to his heavenly reward, and Aldulf succeeded him. Afterwards Bamborough was stormed and pillaged, and the Danish fleet sailed up the Humber and ravaged the shores on both sides, in Lindsey and Northumbria. An English force was collected and marched against them, but as soon as the two armies met, Frene, Godwin, and Frithegist, the English commanders, gave the signal for flight. At this time Ethelred ordered Elfgar, son of Elfric the ealdorman, to be deprived of sight, thereby increasing the odium in which his cruelty was held. Now, also, Richard the Second succeeded his father, Richard the Elder, in Normandy. After these transactions [A.D. 994], Olave and Sweyn came up to London on the nativity of St. Mary, with ninety- four ships; but by the aid of the blessed Virgin, the Christians were delivered from their heathen foes; for the city being assaulted, and preparations made to set it on fire, the assailants were repulsed in great confusion. Frustrated in this enterprise, they spread themselves through Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire, procuring horses and overrunning the country more fiercely than usual, and carrying everywhere fire and sword. Whereupon the king sent messengers to them with a promise of ransom and provisions, which they accepted, and spent the winter peaceably at [South] Hampton. King Ethelred also sent for King Olave, giving hostages for his safe conduct, and entertained him honourably at Andover, where he received him at confirmation from the bishop's hands, and gave him many rich presents. Upon this, Olave promised the king that he would never again appear in arms on the English territory, which promise he kept. About that time, Siric, archbishop [of Canterbury], died; after whom Elfric received the pall.

[A.D. 995.] In the nineteenth year of King Ethelred, the Danes sailed round the coast of Cornwall into the Severn, and pillaged Devonshire and South Wales. They also landed at Watchet, laying waste the country with fire and sword.

180 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

Returning from thence they sailed round Penwith-ster to the south coast and entered the Tamar, which they went up as far as Liddyford, committing everything to the flames, and burning Ordulfs Minster at Tavistock. After this the enemy sailed to Frome-mouth, and, landing, overran Dorsetshire with their usual success, there being no resistance. This year also [A.D. 998] they established themselves for a time in the Isle of Wight, drawing their supplies from Hampshire and Sussex. Afterwards they entered the Thames and sailed up the Medway to Rochester. There the Kentish men assembled and gave them battle; their attack was spirited, but the Danes, who were inured to constant war, repulsed it and remained masters of the field.

[A.D. 1000.] Now King Ethelred assembled a powerful army and marched into Cumberland, which was at that time the stronghold of the Danes, and he vanquished them in a great battle, and laid waste and pillaged almost all Cumberland. After this a party of the Danes landed at Exmouth and assaulted the town, but, meeting with a determined resistance, they drew off. Then they spread themselves over the country under their constant leaders, Mars and Vulcan. The Somersetshire men assembled to oppose them, and engaged with them at Penhoe, but the Danes, whose only business was war, had the advantage.

This Book, which relates to the Danes, though not too large for the importance of the subject, will now be brought to a close. I must, however, according to my custom, carefully set before the reader, as a light for his guidance, a short summary of the contents of the present Book.

Of the kingdom of Kent, there is little to be said; inasmuch as Egbert, the king of Wessex, after expelling Baldred, retained it in his own hands, and at his death left it to his [second] son, Athelstan. After the death of Athelstan, the kingdom of Kent reverted to Ethelwulf, his [elder] brother, who was also king of Wessex; and he left it to his [youngest] son, Ethelbert, who, on the death of his brother Ethelbald, five years afterwards, inherited also the kingdom of Wessex, in which Ethelbald had succeeded Ethelwulf; so that both kingdoms were again united under the rule of


[1] The Land's End.

A.D. 1000.] THE KINGS OF WESSEX. 181

Ethelbert, and were never again separated. This suffices with respect to the kingdom of Kent.

The following summary will elucidate the history of the kingdom of WESSEX:-

ETHELWULF reigned xix. years. He was defeated by the Danes at Charmouth, but gained a great victory over them at Ockley.

ETHELBALD, his son, reigned v. years. He was buried at Sherburn.

ETHELBERT, his brother, reigned v. years. His officers and army defeated the Danes at Winchester.

ETHELRED, the brother of the two last kings, reigned v. years and a little more. He and his brother Alfred had a sharp encounter with the Danes at Reading.

ALFRED, his brother, reigned xxviii. years and a half. His acts were so numerous and so marvellous that nothing can be said of them in a short compass.

EDWARD, the son of Alfred, reigned xxiv. years. He fought against the Danes in Northumbria; and again as they evacuated Mercia, when he gained a glorious victory and slew valiant kings. He also defeated the Danes at Tettenhall, and reduced Mercia.

ATHELSTAN, the son of Edward, reigned xiv. years. In his time was fought the great battle of Bruneburh.

EDMUND, the son of Athelstan, reigned vi. years and a half. He took from the Danes the "Five Burghs", and, reducing them to subjection, added Northumbria to his dominions.

EDRED, the brother of Edmund, for ix. years governed fortunately all the divisions of England.

EDWY, the son of Edmund, for iv. years possessed the same dominions, and the same extent of power.

EDGAR, son of Edmund, reigned xvi. years in peace and greater glory than all the rest.

St. EDWARD, the son of Edgar, reigned v. [1] years; his death (though sudden) was happy.

ETHELRED, his brother, suffering under the wrath of God, had a troublesome reign. Much of it I have still to relate.


[1] It should be three years; Edward succeeded his father A.D. 975, and was killed A.D. 978.

182 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK V.

A short notice must now be given of the kingdom of NORTHUMBRIA. In the time of Ethelwulf, Osbert was king there; but his subjects ejected him, as their custom was, and elected AElla king. Both of them were killed by the Danes, and for many years a succession of Danish kings reigned in Northumbria. These were Healfdene, Godfred, Nigel, Sitric, Reginald, and Olaf. But their history is confused; at one time we find a single king, at another two, at another several inferior kings. In the end, the kingdom fell under the dominion of Edred, king of Wessex, and his successors. Thus much is clear concerning the kingdom of Northumbria.

A short account must be given of the kingdom of MERCIA. Berthwulf, king of Mercia, in the third [1] year of his reign, was driven out by the Danes. Burrhed, also, after reigning xxii. years, was driven from his kingdom. The Danes having thus subjugated it, they allowed Ceolwulf to hold it; but afterwards they divided it into several small portions. Part of the territory, and the lords of it, were still subject to the laws of Wessex. At length, Edmund, king of Wessex, reduced the whole of it under his dominion. We find, then, that the kingdom of Mercia became altogether a dependency of the crown of Wessex.

The kingdom of EAST-ANGLIA, which, as we have already observed, had by various means been long subjugated, was either held by the kings of Kent or of Wessex, and at other times by some one or by various persons to whom they granted it. Thus there was sometimes a single king, at others many subject kings. St Edmund was the last of the English kings who governed East-Anglia under the king of Wessex; when he was slain, Guthrum, the Dane, became king there; and afterwards the Danes divided the kingdom into small portions, and it continued under their government until King Edward reduced the greatest part of it to submission to himself. Thus it appears how the kingdom of East-Anglia became annexed to the crown of Wessex.

I now come to treat of the origin and the causes of the coming of the Normans into England.


[1] Thirteenth year.

A.D. 1000.] POLITICAL STATE OF ENGLAND. 183

BOOK VI.

In the year 1000 from our Lord's incarnation, King Ethelred, before mentioned, in order to strengthen himself on the throne, formed the design of demanding in marriage the daughter of Richard, duke of Normandy. For he was a valiant prince, and all-powerful in the kingdom of France; while the English king was deeply sensible of his own and his people's weakness, and was under no small alarm at the calamities which seemed impending. It is clear that these were the work of God, who brings evil on the reprobate. For it was the purpose of the Almighty to distract and afflict the English nation, whose wickedness called for punishment; just as before He had humbled the Britons, when their sins accused them. He therefore prepared a double chastisement and a snare, as it were, into which they might fall as the device of an enemy. And thus it was that while on the one hand the Danish invasion was raging, and on the other the Norman alliance was springing up, if they escaped the open attacks of the Danes, they might not have the firmness to break the meshes in which the subtlety of the Normans would entangle them unawares. And so it appeared in the sequel, when from this union of the king of England with the daughter of the Duke of Normandy, the Normans justly, according to the law of nations, established a footing in England, while they vilified it. Indeed, a certain man of God had predicted to them that, on account of the enormity of their offences, not only because bloodshed and rebellion were ever in their thoughts, but also because they abandoned themselves to gluttony and to the neglect of the temples of the Lord, a tyranny they little expected would come upon them from France, which should for ever trample their greatness in the dust, and scatter their glory to the winds, never to be recovered. He also predicted that not only

184 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

that nation, but the Scots whom they despised, would lord over them to their merited confusion. He predicted, no less, the revolutions of the coming age; as the inconstancy which lurked in men's minds, and became apparent in their acts, was exhibited by the endless changes of their apparel and ornaments. The English king having therefore, with the policy before adverted to, dispatched an embassy to the Duke of Normandy, and his proposals being accepted, English nobles of high rank, fitting such an employment, were sent into Normandy at the appointed time to receive and bring over their future lady; and they accordingly conducted her with royal pomp into England.

In the year 1002, Emma, [1] the flower of Normandy, came into England, and was crowned and received the title of queen. After her arrival the king was so elated with pride that he committed a breach of faith by giving clandestine orders that all the Danes who were living peaceably in England should be treacherously massacred in one and the same day, on the feast of St. Brice. I have heard in my youth some very old persons [2] give an account of this flagrant outrage. They said that the king sent with secrecy into every town letters, according to which the English suddenly rose on the Danes, everywhere on the same day and at the same hour, and either put them to the sword, or, seizing them unawares, burnt them on the spot. [3] The same year, the king banished Leofsy, the ea1dorman, because he had slain Effic, the king's high-grieve.

In the year 1003, the fury of the Danes was inflamed,


[1] Emma was called by the Saxons Elfgiva.- Flor. of Wor.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon now approaches his own times, and this is the earliest instance of his referring to what may be called contemporary authority; but as he was born at the close of the tenth century, his informants must have been from 80 to 90 years of age. In his next Book he professes to relate only what he had seen himself or heard from eye-witnesses; but, as it has been elsewhere observed, it is not until his eighth and last Book that he has the merit of being an original and contemporary writer.

[3] Henry of Huntingdon does not mention the motives assigned by the Saxon Chronicle to Ethelred for this treacherous massacre, viz. that the Danes were conspiring to murder the king and his "witan". It may therefore be concluded that he did not believe the story, and he conveys the impression that the massacre was a wanton and unjustifiable cruelty.

A.D. 1003-4.] NEW DANISH INVASIONS. 185

like fire when any one should attempt to extinguish it with blood. Overspreading the country like a swarm of locusts, some of them came to Exeter, which they stormed and sacked, carrying off all the booty, and leaving nothing but its ashes. Hugh, the Norman, Emma's bailiff [1] in the town, was the cause of its destruction. Then the people of Hampshire and Wiltshire assembled to combat the enemy; but when they were closing for battle, Elfric, their leader, feigned sickness, and pretended to vomit, and thus betrayed those whom he should have led; so true is the proverb, "When the general fails, the army quails". [2] The Danes, taking advantage of the enemy's weakness, pursued them as far as Wilton, which they pillaged and burnt, and thence went to Salisbury, and then retired in triumph to their ships with much booty.

In the fourth year, [3] Sweyn, one of the most powerful of the Danish kings, for whom the kingdom of England was destined by Providence, brought over a numerous fleet, and came to Norwich, which he sacked and burnt. Then Ulfcytel, the chief governor of the province, [4] who was taken unawares, and unprepared to offer any defence, made a treaty with the invaders; but three weeks afterwards, during the truce, the enemy's army decamped privately, and marched to Thetford, which they also plundered and burnt. Upon learning this, Ulfcytel took post with a small band in ambush for the enemy, as at break of day they were retiring to their ships; but though he attacked them


[1] Henry of Huntingdon calls him "Vicecomes"; the Saxon Chronicle, "grieve", and a "churl", which Florence of Worcester amplifies into "eorl". We see here the first fruits of the Norman alliance.

[2] An old English proverb. The reader may like to see the original text, with its rhyme, antithesis, and alliteration:-

"Donne se heretoga vacad, Donne bith call se here gehindrad".

Literally-

"When the army-leader is sick, Then all the army are hindered".- See Sax. Chron.

[3] Henry of Huntingdon, for the sake of brevity, reckons from A.D. 1000 during the rest of Ethelred's reign.

[4] East-Anglia. Ulfcytel was of Danish extraction; the Danish colonists were still predominant in the east, the centre, and the north of England.

186 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

resolutely, and held them long in check, his force was too weak to cut off their retreat.

In the fifth year, the Danes sailed for their own country; but meanwhile there was no lack of calamity to the English, for they were visited with a desolating famine, beyond any known in the memory of man.

In the sixth year, the audacious Sweyn re-appeared off Sandwich, with a powerful fleet. He was accompanied by his three usual attendants, fire, slaughter, and pillage; and all England trembled before him, like the rustling of a bed of reeds shaken by the west wind. The king, however, assembled an army, and kept the field all the autumn, without any results; for the enemy, playing their usual game, eluded his attacks by taking to their ships, and making descents in other quarters. But in the beginning of winter they stationed themselves in the Isle of Wight; and as it was said by the prophet, [1] "I will turn your feasts into mourning", at Christmas they overran Hampshire and Berkshire, as far as Reading; from thence to Cholsey; and from thence by Ashdown to Cuckamsley Hill. [2] Feasting merrily wherever they went on what was set before them, on their departure they recompensed their entertainment by the slaughter of their hosts, and by burning the houses in which they had received hospitality. The Danes retiring to the sea-coast were encountered by the army of Wessex, which gave them battle. What, however, was the result, but that the Danes were enriched with the spoils of the conquered! So the people of Winchester beheld the enemy's army passing boldly and insolently by the gates of their city, and conveying to the sea, the supplies of food which they had collected 50 miles inland, together with the booty which had been the fruit of their victories. Meanwhile, King Ethelred lay in sorrow and perplexity at his manor in Shropshire, where he was often sharply wounded with rumours of these disasters.

In the seventh year, the king and "witan" of the English, perplexed what to do and what to leave undone, at length resolved, by common consent, to make terms with


[1] Amos viii. 10.

[2] In Berkshire.

A.D. 1009.] THE ENGLISH FLEET WRECKED. 187

the enemy. They accordingly paid him 30,000l. [1] to secure a peace. The same year, Edric was appointed ealdorman over Mercia; a new traitor, but one of the highest class.

In the eighth year, which was the thirtieth of Ethelred's reign, the king caused a fleet to be fitted out, to which the whole of England contributed in the proportion of one ship for every estate of 310 hides; and for every eight hides, a helmet and breastplate were to be furnished. A hide of land means so much land as can be tilled in a year by one plough.

In the ninth year, the king sent messengers to the Duke of Normandy, to intreat for counsel and aid. Meanwhile, the fleet just mentioned assembled at Sandwich, with well-armed crews; there had never before been so large a naval armament in Britain in the time of any man. But Providence frustrated it. Thus it happened: the king had banished Child-Wulnoth, [2] the South-Saxon, upon which he collected 20 ships, and began to pillage the country near the [south] coast. Then Brightric Edric, the ealdorman's brother, thinking to acquire renown, took with him 80 ships of the fleet which had been assembled, and vowed to the king that he would bring him his enemy either alive or dead. But after he had sailed, a most tempestuous wind drove all his ships ashore as wrecks, and Wulnoth presently landed and burnt them. Struck by the evil tidings, the rest of the fleet returned to London; the army also broke up; and thus the toil of the whole English nation was fruitless. And now, at harvest time, a fresh and innumerable army of the Danes arrived at Sandwich, and, marching


[1] Florence of Worcester and Sim. Durham, 36,000l. So the Saxon Chronicle, according to one MS. and Dr. Giles's version.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon's expression is "a noble youth". Ingram translates the phrase, in his version of the Saxon Chronicle, "the South Saxon knight" [father of Earl Godwin], which he corrects in the Appendix, observing that child was a title given to an heir of noble rank, as aetheling was properly applied to those of royal birth. The title is familiarized to the modern reader by the pilgrimage of "Childe Harold". It occurs again repeatedly in the Saxon Chronicle, and is applied to the heir apparent to the throne; at least it is given to Edgar AEtheling. Wulfnoth or Wulnof is called Ulfnadr by the old Scald or Saga writer, who gives a romantic account of the early fortunes of Earl Godwin, who afterwards became so powerful.

188 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. (BOOK VI.

to Canterbury, would soon have taken it, unless the citizens had obtained peace by payment of a ransom of 3000l. The Danes then came to the Isle of Wight, and pillaged Sussex, Hampshire, and Berkshire. But King Ethelred, having mustered the whole force of England, marched to intercept them as they returned; and then an end would have been put to their savage inroads, had not Edric, the ealdorman, again traitorous, dissuaded the king from fighting, by false reports and fictitious alarms. Afterwards, the Danes, countermarching, fixed their winter quarters near the Thames, from whence they made frequent assaults on London, and were as frequently repulsed. After Christmas they crossed the Chiltern [1] to Oxford, which place they burnt, and then retiring established themselves in Kent. Their ships were brought round to meet them, and, during Lent, they employed themselves in putting them in repair.

[A.D. 1010.] In the tenth year the Danes landed at Ipswich on Ascension day, and their army attacked Ulfcytel, who governed the province; but the East-Anglians incontinently fled. The Cambridgeshire men, however, made a brave resistance; and for this they were highly honoured as long as the English kings filled the throne. Their ranks being unflinchingly engaged, fearless of death, Athelstan, the king's son-in-law, and Oswy, and Edwy Efy's brother, with Wulfric the thane, and many other chief men, were slain. But while the English gave no thought to flight, Turketil Myre-head, that is, "Ant-head", first began it, thereby deserving endless disgrace. The Danes, being victorious, held possession of East-Anglia for three months, as well as the Fens described in the preceding Book, with the churches, which they either plundered or burnt. They also destroyed Thetford and burnt Cambridge; and retreating thence over the hills, through a very pleasant country near Balsham, they massacred all whom they found in that place, tossing the children on the points of their spears. One man, however, whose name ought to have been recorded, mounted the steps to the top of a church-tower, which is still standing there, and on


[1] The Chiltern Hills, on the sonth-east of Oxfordshire.

A.D. 1011.] DANISH ASCENDANCY. 189

this vantage post, by his great courage, he defended himself, single handed, against the enemy. [1] Then the Danes, passing through Essex, reached the Thames, and without lingering there pushed their advance into Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and so to Bedford on the Ouse and to Tempsford. The river Ouse washes three fortified places, which are the chief towns of the counties of Bedford, Buckingham, and Huntingdon. Huntingdon, that is, "the hill of hunters", stands on the site of Godmanchester, once a famous city, but now only a pleasant village on both sides of the river. It is remarkable for the two castles before mentioned, and for its sunny exposure, as well as for its beauty, besides its contiguity to the Fens, and the abundance of wild fowl and animals of chase. [2] At the feast of St. Andrew they proceeded to Northampton, which they burnt; and at Christmas they crossed the Thames, and rejoined their fleet.

In the eleventh year, the Danes, after ravaging the north side of the Thames, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, with the part of Huntingdonshire which is on that [south] side the river [Ouse]; and after plundering on the south of the Thames, Kent and Surrey, Hastings and Sussex, Berkshire and Hampshire, and great part of Wiltshire, laid siege to Canterbury, the metropolis of England, which was treacherously surrendered to them by Aylmer, whose life Elphege, the archbishop, had saved. Having gained an entry, they took prisoners Elphege, the archbishop, and Bishop Godwin, [3] and the Abbess Lefwine, [4]


[1] This anecdote, though in itself unimportant, seems to indicate, among other such incidental notices, that Henry of Huntingdon, in compiling his history, occasionally made use of traditionary reports, or of written documents now lost. The attentive inquirer will easily discover where his additions to the Saxon Chronicle, the staple of his narrative, are merely rhetorical embellishments, and where new facts are introduced. In the present instance, the retreat over the hills from Cambridge, and the defence made from Balsham church-tower, are not, we believe, noticed by any other ancient writer. At the same time the account of the proceedings of the Danes in the present year is otherwise less circumstantial, as is often the case, than that of the Chronicle.

[2] The Archdeacon of Huntingdon takes occasion to celebrate the praises of the town from which he derived his ecclesiastical title.

[3] Of Rochester.

[4] Of St. Mildred's, in the Isle of Thanet.

190 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

with Elfward, the king's grieve, and numbers of men and women, and then they returned in triumph to their ships. It was terrible to witness the spectacle of an ancient and noble city reduced to ashes, its streets heaped with the corpses of the citizens, the ground and the river discoloured with blood, to hear the shrieks of women and boys led away captives, and to see the head of the English church, the source of its doctrine, shamefully dragged away, bound in fetters.

In the twelfth year, on Saturday in Easter week, the Danes were in a rage with the Archbishop, because he refused to be ransomed, and they were at the time drunk with wine, which had been brought from the south. They therefore dragged him into the middle, [1] and casting stones and horns of oxen upon him, at last, when he had offered an earnest prayer and thanksgiving to Almighty God, they dashed out his brains with a battle-axe. Thus fell the man of God, his sacred blood sprinkling the earth, while his beatified soul was received within the heavenly temple. On the morrow, the Bishops Ednoth and Elfhun [2] received the body, which they carried with due honour, and buried in St. Paul's Minster, where God manifests the merit of the holy martyr. Lefwing succeeded as archbishop. Too late the king made peace with the Danish army, paying them as tribute 8000l.; but it was just in time to save the country from being wasted by intolerable suffering. Forty-five of the Danish ships took service under the king, engaging to defend England, the king finding them in food and clothing.

In the thirteenth year, Sweyn, king of Denmark, entered the Humber as far as Gainsborough, and Uhtred the earl, and all the Northumbrian nation, quickly submitted to him. The people, also, of Lindsey and the Five Burghs, [3] and all to the north of the Watling Street, [4] gave him


[1] The Saxon Chronicle says "hustinge", the huis-thing being the popular assembly, as well as the court of judicature, of the Northmen. The name is still preserved in our courts of hustings and elective assemblies.

[2] Bishops of Dorchester and London.

[3] See p. 172.

[4] The Watling Street, the great highway between London and Chester, was by treaty the boundary line between the Danelag, the Danish territory comprising all England east and north of that line, and the remaining possessions of the kings of Wessex.

A.D. 1013-14.] SWEYN AND CANUTE, KINGS. 191

hostages. The king intrusted the hostages and ships to the guardianship of his son Canute, and marched himself to Oxford and Winchester, receiving the submission of the people of those parts. On his return to London, many of his troops were drowned in the Thames, because they would not cross it by the bridge. The citizens, encouraged by the presence of King Ethelred, made a stout resistance, and Sweyn was forced to draw off his troops. He retreated to Wallingford, and from thence marched on Bath, where all Wessex gave in their submission to him. The Londoners, also, on his return with the fleet, gave him their allegiance, being in alarm lest he should utterly destroy their city. Upon this King Ethelred sent his queen, Emma, to her brother Richard, in Normandy, and afterwards his sons Edward and Alfred. Sweyn was now acknowledged king by the whole nation, and he ordered provisions and pay to be levied for his army throughout all England; as Thurketil did for his troops at Greenwich. Meanwhile, King Ethelred went to Whitland, [1] where he spent Christmas, and then crossed over the sea, and took refuge with Richard, duke of Normandy.

[A.D. 1014.] In the fourteenth year, Sweyn, now become king of England, died suddenly; and the Danish army elected his son Canute [2] king. The English, however, dispatched messengers to King Ethelred, giving him to understand that if he would govern them more clemently than he had done before, they would willingly acknowledge him king. Upon which he sent over his son Edward, to promise on his part all that was fitting for the king and the people; and, following himself, he was received with joy by the whole English nation. Meanwhile, Canute remained at Gainsborough, with his army, till Easter, and he made a certain agreement with the people of Lindsey; [3] upon hearing which, King Ethelred came with a great army, and taking the country by surprise, laid it waste with fire, and put most of the provincials to the sword.


[1] Isle of Wight

[2] The name is properly "Cnute", or "Knute"; but I have thought it most advisable to follow the familiar form.

[3] They were to find horses, and the king was to join them in plundering the English. The Danes had been long paramount in Lindsey.

192 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

Canute, however, who was very crafty, left the people he had deceived to their fate, and sailed on board his fleet to Sandwich, and there he put on shore the hostages given to his father, having cut off their hands and noses. Besides all these evils, the king ordered that 21,000l. should be paid to the army stationed at Greenwich. [1] To these ordinary evils the Lord added an extraordinary calamity; for the tide rising unusually high, many villages and much people were washed away.

In the fifteenth year, Edric, the ealdorman, foully betrayed Sigeferth and Morcar, chief thanes [of the Five Burghs], inviting them into his chamber, where he had them murdered. Whereupon Edmund, the king's son, [2] took Sigeferth's wife and married her, and seized the lands of the two thanes. Meanwhile, Canute, returning from Denmark, landed at Sandwich; from thence he sailed to Frome-mouth, in Wessex, and from thence pillaged Dorsetshire, Somersetshire, and Wiltshire. King Ethelred lay sick at Corsham; but Edmund, the Etheling, and Edric, the ealdorman, levied an army to oppose Canute. When they came together, Edric attempted to betray the Etheling; so they parted, and the contest was abandoned, and all Wessex submitted to Canute, the Danish king.

In the fifteenth year, Edric, who had gone over to the side of Canute, joined him with 40 ships, with which the king's fleet of 160 ships united in the Thames. Thence the army crossed the river to Cricklade, and they laid waste all Warwickshire with fire and sword. Then King Ethelred issued a proclamation that every able man throughout England should join his army. But when vast numbers had been thus assembled, the king was informed that his followers were ready to betray him; he therefore disbanded the army, and retired to London. Edmund, however, joined Utred, earl of Northumbria, and they plundered in company throughout Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Leicestershire. On the other side, Canute went through Buckinghamshire into Bedfordshire, and so into Huntingdonshire, and by the Fens to Stamford. He then


[1] Stationed there, probably, to overawe the Londoners.

[2] The "Etheling".

A.D. 1016.] KING EDMUND IRONSIDE. 193

passed through Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, and entered Northumbria in his way to York. When Utred heard this, he gave up his plundering, and, returning northward, was compelled to submit to Canute, as did all Northumbria; but though he gave hostages, he was put to death. Edmund retreated to London, where his father lay; while Canute, having made Eric earl over Northumbria, in the place of Utred, went back to his fleet before Easter. After Easter he sailed to London.

[A.D. 1018.] Ethelred, the king, had died there before the arrival of the enemy's fleet, his reign of thirty-seven years having been attended with almost incessant toil and perplexities. His son Edmund, surnamed "Ironside", on account of his prodigious strength and his extraordinary resoluteness in war, was chosen king. After his election he went into Wessex, where all the people rendered him their allegiance. Meanwhile, the Danish fleet sailed up to Greenwich, and thence to London; and they dug a great canal on the south, and dragged their ships through it to the western side above the bridge. They likewise dug a trench round the city, so that no one could go in or go out They also made frequent and desperate assaults against it, but the citizens offered a stout and wary resistance.

Of the wars of King Edmund and his great prowess, the following account is given in ancient histories which celebrate his praise. Edmund's first battle with the Danish army was at Pen, near Gillingham, where fortune inclined to the side of Edmund; his second battle was fought with Canute at Sherston, and was severely contested. In this battle Edric, the ealdorman, and Almer the beloved, [1] took part against King Edmund, and there was great slaughter on both sides, and the armies separated of themselves. [2] In


[1] Henry of Huntingdon's text has Almer Dyrling, which Ingram and Giles, in their translations of the Saxon Chronicle, render "Almer the Darling".

[2] Ingram gives an opposite turn to the parallel passage in the Saxon Chronicle; "and the leaders came together in the fight". He remarks in a note, "This is a new interpretation, but the word heras, the plural of hera, will justify it; and it points at once to the distinguishing feature of this battle, which was the single combat between Canute and Edmund. See an interesting description of the engagement, with many minute particulars,- Antiq. Celto-Scand., p. 130".

194 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

the third, he marched to London with a chosen band of troops, and, driving the besieging army to their ships, raised the siege and entered the city with the triumph he had won. The fourth [1] battle was fought against the same army two days afterwards on their retreat to Brentford. Here many of his soldiers, in their too great haste to cross the river, were drowned, but notwithstanding he obtained the victory. Upon this, King Canute became alarmed, and drew together a number of troops to increase his force. Canute also and Edric laid their plans for obtaining by treachery the success which they could not gain by arms; and Edric undertook to betray King Edmund. In consequence, by his advice, the king went into Wessex to lead a very powerful army against Canute, who, meanwhile, had laid siege to London, which he furiously assaulted both by land and water, but the citizens defended it manfully. The fifth time, [1] King Edmund again fording the river Thames at Brentford, went into Kent to give battle to the Danes, but at the first encounter of the standard-bearers in the van of the armies, a terrible panic seized the Danes, and they took to flight. Edmund followed them with great slaughter as far as Aylesford, and if he had continued the pursuit, the Danish war would have been ended that day. But the traitorous counsel of the ealdorman Edric induced him to halt. Never had more fatal counsel been given in England. The sixth battle was fought between Edmund, at the head of a powerful army, and Canute, who had assembled the whole force of the Danes at Esesdune. [2] The engagement was obstinate and decisive, for both armies stood their ground undaunted and despising death. Then the young King Edmund distinguished himself for his valour. For perceiving that the Danes were fighting with more than ordinary vigour, he quitted his royal station which, as was wont, he had taken between the dragon and the ensign called the Standard, and rushed impetuously on the foremost


[1] The Saxon Chronicle does not reckon the first fight at Brentford, which appears to have been only a skirmish, in the number of Edmund's battles, so that it makes this engagement at Brentford the fourth, while Henry a Huntingdon calls it the fifth.

[2] Saxon Chronicle, "Assan-dun"; Assingdon, in Essex.

A.D. 1016.] EDMUND IRONSIDE'S BATTLES. 195

rank. He fell on it like lightning, wielding a chosen sword fit for the hand of the royal youth, and hewing a passage through the centre, exposed himself and those who followed him to be cut off by the enemy. But he charged right on to King Canute's body-guard, when a fearful outcry and horrible shrieks were heard, and the ealdorman Edric, seeing that the rout of the Danes was imminent, shouted to the English "Flet Engle, flet Engle, ded is Edmund", which means "Flee English, flee English, Edmund is dead". Thus shouting, he fled with his own troops, followed by the whole English army. A dreadful slaughter of the English was made in this battle; there fell in it the ealdormen Ednod, Elfric, and Godwin [of Lindsey], and Ulfcitel of East-Anglia, and Ailward, son of Ethelsy, [1] the ealdorman, and the flower of the English nobility. King Canute after this victory took London, and obtained possession of the regalia of England. The seventh time, the two armies met in Gloucestershire, [2] but the great men of the realm, fearing on one side the power of King Edmund, and on the other that of King Canute, said among themselves, "Why are we such fools as to be so often putting our lives in peril? Let those who wish to reign singly decide the quarrel by single combat". [3] The proposal was approved by the kings, for Canute was not wanting in courage. Lists were erected in Olney, and the duel of the kings began. Their spears on both sides were shattered against the highly-wrought armour they wore, and the affair came to be decided by the sword. Both nations heard and saw with groans and shouts the fearful clang and the


[1] Some MSS. of the Saxon Chronicle call him Elfwine and Etheline.

[2] Near Deerhurst, on the Severn.

[3] There is nothing in the Saxon Chronicle about this decision of the quarrel by single combat of the kings; the statement there being, that the nobles interfered to procure peace by an amicable division of the kingdom. Roger of Wendover copies and amplifies Henry of Huntingdon's details of the single combat. The silence of the Saxon Chronicle is important, yet still, considering how much the duel was in vogue among Canute's country-men, and the character of Edmund Ironside, there is nothing improbable in the two kings having adopted this mode of deciding the contest. An examination of the Icelandic Sagas would probably throw some light on this subject. An adventure of so romantic a character could hardly have escaped the notice of the Scalds and writers of that class, whose compositions were current in the courts of the Norman king.

196 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

gleaming flash of their arms. But at length the incomparable strength of Edmund [Ironside] dealt thunder on his rival, and Canute, though he defended himself stoutly, begirming to quail, cried out, "Bravest of youths, why should either of us risk his life for the sake of a crown? Let us be brothers by adoption, and divide the kingdom, so governing that I may rule your affairs, and you mine. Even the government of Denmark I submit to your disposal". The generous mind of the young king was moved to gentleness by these words, and the kiss of peace was mutually given. The people assenting with tears of joy, the kingdom of Wessex was allotted to Edmund, and the kingdom of Mercia to Canute, who then returned to London.

[A.D. 1010.] King Edmund was treasonably slain a few days afterwards. Thus it happened: one night, this great and powerful king having occasion to retire to the house for relieving the calls of nature, the son of the ealdorman Edric, by his father's contrivance, concealed himself in the pit, and stabbed the king twice from beneath with a sharp dagger, and, leaving the weapon fixed in his bowels, made his escape. Edric then presented himself to Canute, and saluted him, saying, "Hail! thou who art sole king of England"! Having explained what had taken place, Canute replied, "For this deed I will exalt you, as it merits, higher than all the nobles of England". He then commanded that Edric should be decapitated and his head placed upon a pole on the highest battlement of the tower of London. [1] Thus perished King Edmund Ironside, after a short reign of one year, and he was buried at Glastonbury, near his grandfather Edgar.

[A.D. 1017.] Canute, now king of England, married Emma, the daughter of the Duke of Normandy, who was before the wife of King Ethelred. He quickly paid to the English nobles the just reward of their treason; for whereas he assumed the government of Wessex, while Eric held that of Northumbria, Thurkill of East-Anglia, and Edric of Mercia, Edric was put to death, Thurkill banished, and Eric compelled to flee. Moreover, his displeasure fell on some other nobles of the highest rank: he put to death


[1] The Saxon Chronicle says nothing of the mode of Edmund's death.

A.D. 1017-1024.] REIGN OF CANUTE. 197

Norman the ealdorman; Edwy the Etheling was driven into exile; Ethelwold was beheaded; Edwy, king of the Churls, [1] was banished; and Britric was slain. He also levied an enormous tax throughout the whole of England, to the amount of 73,000l., besides 11,000l. paid by the Londoners. So severe a task-master did the justice of God inflict on the English.

In the third year of his reign Canute, with an army composed both of English and Danes, went over to Denmark to war with the Vandals. He had come up with the enemy and was prepared to give battle the day following, when Earl Godwin, who commanded the English troops, made a night attack on the enemy's camp, without the king's knowledge. Taking them by surprise, he made great slaughter and entirely routed them. At daybreak the king, finding that the English were gone, supposed that they had either taken flight or deserted to the enemy. However, he marshalled his own force for the attack, but when he reached the camp, he found there only the corpses of the slain, blood, and booty. Whereupon he ever afterwards held the English in the highest honour, considering them not inferior to the Danes. After this he returned to England. About this time, on the death of Archbishop Lyfwing, Ethelnoth, his successor, went to Rome; he was accompanied by Leofwine, abbot of Ely, who had been unjustly deprived of his abbey, but was now restored by command of Pope Benedict. On his return from Rome, the archbishop caused the body of St. Elphege [2] to be translated from London to Canterbury.

[A.D. 1024.] In the eighth year of Canute's reign, Richard the Second, duke of Normandy, father of Emma, queen of England, departed this life. Richard, his son, who succeeded him, lived about a year, and then his brother Robert,


[1] "Ceorla cyneg", Saxon Chronicle. None of the translators have offered any comment on this singular title. Was Edwy the Robin Hood of those times?

[2] The Archbishop of Canterbury, martyred by the Danes A.D. 1012. The Saxon Chronicle gives an account of the pomp with which his remains were translated from St. Paul's Cathedral to Canterbury. St. Elphege's name is retained in our calendars on the 19th of April, the day of his martyrdom.

198 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

eight years. The year following, the king went into Denmark with English troops against Ulf and Eglaf, who had invaded it by sea and land with a great force of the Swedish nation. In that war numbers both of the English and Danes fell on the side of Canute; and the Swedes were victorious.

King Canute, in the twelfth year of his reign, sailed from England with 50 ships for Norway, and, having defeated Olave the Norwegian king, [1] reduced that country to subjection. On his return to England, Olave endeavouring to reinstate himself was slain by the people, and Canute retained the kingdomn till his death. About this time Robert, king of the Franks, was succeeded by his son Henry.

[A.D. 1031.] In the fifteenth year of Canute's reign, Robert, of Normandy, died during his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and was succeeded by his son William the bastard, of tender age: Canute also went to Rome with great pomp, and granted in perpetuity the alms called "Roanscot", which his predecessors had given to the Roman Church. No king of the western parts displayed so much magnificence in his pilgrimage to Rome. Who can reckon the alms, and the offerings, and the costly banquets which the great king gave during his pilgrimage? The year he returned he went into Scotland, and Malcolm, king of the Scots, paid him allegiance, as did also two other kings, Melbeathe and Jermarc.

[A.D. 1035.] [2] Canute died at Shaftesbury, after a reign of 20 years, and was buried at Winchester in the old minster. A few particulars of his grandeur must be collected, for before him there was never so great a king of England. He was lord of the whole of Denmark, England, and Norway; as also of Scotland. Besides the various wars in which he gained so much gloiy, his nobleness and


[1] St Olave, who first introduced Christianity in Norway, and fell in fighting with his heathen subjects at the battle of Stikkdistad, near Drontheim. He was afterwards canonised, and esteemed the patron saint of Norway; and many churches in England were dedicated to him. "Canute's journey to Rome is placed by Hippo, a contemporaneous writer, in the year 1027. Pistonus, iii. 472".- Petrie.

[2] The date given for Canute's death is that of the Saxon Chronicle. Henry of Huntingdon reckons his reign at 20 years; one MS. of the Saxon Chronicle says, "He was king over all England very nigh 20 years".

A.D. 1035.] CANUTE'S DEATH AND CHARACTER. 199

greatness of mind were eminently displayed on three occasions. First, when he married his daughter to the Roman emperor with an immense dowry. Secondly, when, during his journey to Rome, he reduced the oppressive tolls [1] exacted from pilgrims on the roads through France by the redemption of one-half of them at his private expense. Thirdly, when at the summit of his power, he ordered a seat to he placed for him on the sea-shore when the tide was coming in; thus seated, he shouted to the flowing sea, "Thou, too, art subject to my command, as the land on which I am seated is mine; and no one has ever resisted my commands with impunity. I command you, then, not to flow over my land, nor presume to wet the feet and the robe of your lord". The tide, however, continuing to rise as usual, dashed over his feet and legs without respect to his royal person. Then the king leaped backwards, saying: "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws". From thenceforth King Canute never wore his crown of gold, but placed it for a lasting memorial on the image of our Lord affixed to a cross, to the honour of God the almighty King: through whose mercy may the soul of Canute, the king enjoy everlasting rest. [2]

Harold, the son of King Canute, by Elfgiva, daughter of Efelin, [3] the ealdorman, was chosen king. For there was a great council held at Oxford, where Earl Leofric and all the thanes north of the Thames, with the Londoners and freemen of Danish-Norwegian origin and extraction, who appear to have been so numerous and powerful in London as to have turned the scale in honour of the princes of the Danish line. [4]


[1] "Tolones vel traversa, droits de traurte,- Du Chesne.

[2] This story, which is not found in the Saxon Chronicle, appears to rest on the authority of Henry of Huntingdon, from whose History it was adopted by succeeding writers. The reader's opinion of its authenticity will depend upon the degree of credit he is disposed to attach to Henry of Huntingdon's statements when they are unsupported by other testimony. Those who feel unwilling to surrender a very interesting story, which has become as familiar to us as "household words", will be pleased to remember that our author lived within 90 years of the death of Canute, and expressly said that he collected information of events from eye-witnesses still living. We have already had an anecdote so obtained of a date 30 years earlier than the present one; see note p. 184.

[3] "Witan", Saxon Chronicle.

[4] The "Lithsmen of London", Saxon Chronicle.

200 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

chose Harold in order to preserve the kingdom for his brother Hardecanute, who was then in Denmark. But Earl Godwin, father of Harold, who afterwards became king, with the principal thanes of Wessex, opposed the election, though to no purpose. But it was resolved that the Queen Emma should occupy Winchester with the household of the deceased king, and hold all Wessex on behalf of her son [Hardecanute], Godwin being the commander of her army. However, Harold drove Queen Emma, his stepmother, into banishment, and she sought refuge with Baldwin, earl of Flanders, who assigned to her the town and castle of Bruges, where she thenceforth dwelt; for Normandy, her native country, was a royal fief, and William the Duke, being a minor, was being brought up at the court of the king of the Franks. The year after, Ethelnoth, the Archbishop of Canterbury, died and was succeeded by Bishop Edsy.

[A.D. 1040.] King Harold died at Oxford, after reigning four years and four months. He was buried at Westminster. In his time, sixteen ships were found by each of the ports, at the rate of eight silver marks [for every steersman [1]], as in the time of his father. Hardecanute, the son of King Canute and Queen Emma, coming from Denmark, landed at Sandwich, and was unanimously chosen king both by the English and Danes. In his second year a tribute was paid to the Danish army of 21,089l.; and after that there was paid for 32 ships, 11,048l. The same year Edward, the son of King Ethelred, came from Normandy to King Hardecanute, his [half] brother, for they were both sons of Emma, daughter of Duke Richard.

Hardecanute was snatched away by a sudden death in the


[1] Henry of Huntingdon omits saying what this pay covered; certainly not the whole equipment or wages of the crew. The Saxon Chronicle says it was for the "hamelan", which Petrie and Giles translate rowers. I have preferred adopting Ingram's version of "steersman", supported by Florence of Worcester who renders it "unicuique gubernatori". Eight silver marks is too much for a common sailor of those days. The mark, a Danish coin, was worth in the time of Alfred 100 pennies; afterwards it rose to 160 pence, or 13s. 4d., a computation not altogether lost even now.

A.D. 1040.] HARDECANUTE SUCCEEDS HAROLD 201

flower of his age at Lambeth, [1] after a short reign of two years. He was of an ingenuous disposition, and treated his followers with the profusion of youth. Such was his liberality that tables were laid four times a day with royal sumptuousness for his whole court, preferring that fragments of the repast should be removed after those invited were satisfied, than that such fragments should be served up for the entertainment of those who were not invited. In our time it is the custom, whether from parsimony, or as they themselves say from fastidiousness, for princes to provide only one meal a day for their court. Hardecanute was buried in the old minster at Winchester, near his father Canute. And now the chief men of the English nation, released from the thraldom of the Danes, joyfully dispatched messengers to Alfred, the eldest son of King Ethelred, inviting him to accept the crown. And he, being English on his father's side, and Norman by his mother's, brought with him into England many of his mother's Norman kinsmen, as well as others of his own age who had been with him in the wars. Meanwhile, Godwin, the bold earl and consummate traitor, thought within himself that it might be possible to make his daughter queen by giving her in marriage to Edward, who was the younger and the more simple of the two brothers; but he foresaw that Alfred by reason of his primogeniture and his superior ability would disdain such a marriage. Godwin, therefore, whispered in the ears of the English nobles, that Alfred had brought over with him too many Norman followers; that he had promised them the lands of the English; that it was not safe for them to allow a bold and crafty race to take root among them; that these foreigners must be punished, in order that others might not thereafter presume to intrude themselves among the English on the strength of their being of kin to the royal race. So the Normans who came over with Alfred were seized and


[1] One of the Sagas of the northern literature mentions Clapham as the Place of Hardecanute's death, so called from Osgod Clapa, one of his chiefs, at whose house the king died suddenly from excess of drinking. The Saxon Chronicle, which gives the same account of his death, says that "he did nothing royal during his whole reign". Henry of Huntingdon, who deals more favourably with Hardecanute's character than other writers, glosses over his gluttony by giving it the colour of a generous hospitality.

202 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

bound, and, being seated in a rank at Guilford, nine were beheaded, and each tenth man only spared. But when the whole, except the tenth part, were slain, the English were dissatisfied that so many still survived, and they reduced the number by a second decimation, so that very few indeed escaped. They also took Alfred prisoner and carried him to Ely, where they put out his eyes, and he died. They then sent messengers and hostages into Normandy for Edward the younger, offering to establish him firmly on the throne, but stipulating that he should bring very few of the Normans with him. Edward made his appearance accordingly with a small retinue of Normans, and he was elected king by all the people, and consecrated at Winchester on Easter day by Eadsige, the archbishop [of Canterbury]. Soon afterwards he resigned the primacy on account of his infirm health, and consecrated Siward to it in his stead. Stigand also was made bishop of East-Anglia.

[A.D. 1044.] King Edward, under obligation for his kingdom to the powerful Earl Godwin, married his daughter Edgitha, sister of Harold, who afterwards became king. About this time there was so great a famine in England, that the sester of wheat, which is reckoned a horse-load, was sold for five shillings, and even more. Afterwards Stigand, who was bishop in East-Anglia, was made bishop of Winchester. And the king banished Sweyn, the son of Earl Godwin, who retired to Baldwin, earl of Flanders, and wintered at Bruges.

In the sixth year of King Edward, a battle was fought at Wallsdune between Henry, king of the French, and the barons of Normandy, because they refused their allegiance to William their duke. They were defeated, and William banished some of them and punished others in life or limb. At that time two Danish chiefs, Lothen and Irling, landed at Sandwich, where they collected an immense booty, with


[1] The cruel death of Alfred, and the massacre of his Norman followers, is assigned to the year 1036, both by the Saxon Chronicle and Florence of Worcester. King Harold was then living. Henry of Huntingdon agrees with these authorities in making Edward (afterwards King Edward the Confessor) come into England, A.D. 1040, to the court of his half-brothel Hardecanute, which cannot be reconciled with his being sent for after the death of Alfred, unless he had left the kingdom in the interval, of which there is no account.

A.D. 1042-51.] EDWARD THE CONFESSOR. 203

much gold and silver, and then going round by sea they pillaged Essex also. From thence they sailed for Flanders, where they sold their plunder, and then returned to their own country. The following year, Earl Sweyn returned to England to procure the king's pardon, but when his brother Harold and Earl Beorn prevented it, he then had recourse to his father Godwin at Pevensey, and humbly intreating him, as also his brothers Harold and Tosti, and Earl Beorn, he prevailed with them that Beorn should accompany him to Sandwich to recommend him to the king's favour. Beorn, therefore, having embarked in Sweyn's fleet as a mediator, was foully murdered and his body cast forth; but it was buried by his friends at Winchester, near King Canute, his uncle. Sweyn then returned to Flanders; but the year following he was restored to the king's favour through the mediation of his father, Godwin. At that time Pope Leo held a synod at Vercelli, at which Ulf, bishop of Dorchester, was present; and his episcopal staff would have been broken, if he had not paid a great bribe; for he did not know his duty as became a bishop. Eadsige, the archbishop, died, as did also his successor, Siward.

[A.D. 1051.] Edward, in the tenth year of his reign, made Robert, bishop of London, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was now reported to the king that Godwin, his father-in-law, with his sons Sweyn and Harold, were conspiring against him. Upon his summoning them to appear, and their refusing to do so unless they received hostages, the king banished them. Godwin and Sweyn went to Flanders, and Harold to Ireland. [1] The king, much exasperated, sent away the Queen Emma, and seized her treasure and her lands. He granted to Odda the earldoms of Devonshire, Somersetshire, and Dorsetshire, and gave the earldom of Harold to Algar, son of Earl Leofric. [2]


[1] The Saxon Chronicle gives a much fuller account than Henry of Huntingdon does of the disturbances created by the turbulent Earl Godwin and his sons. See A.D. 1046 and the subsequent years.

[2] When Godwin and his sons were at the zenith of their power, Godwin himself held the earldoms of Wessex, of Sussex, and Kent; his son Sweyn the earldoms of Oxford, Gloucester, Hereford, Somersetshire, and Berkshire; and his son Harold those of Essex, East-Anglia, Huntingdon, and Cambridgeshire.

204 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

[A.D. 1052.] In the eleventh year of Edward's reign, Emma the Norman, the mother and wife of kings, submitted to the fate common to all. Then came Earl Godwin and his son Sweyn, with full sails from Flanders to the Isle of Wight, which they plundered, as well as Portland. Harold also sailing from Ireland ravaged the country about Porlock, [1] and then joining his father at the Isle of Wight, they made descents upon Ness, [2] and Romney, and Hythe, and Folkstone, and Dover, and Sandwich, and Sheppey, everywhere collecting ships and taking hostages. A party landing at Milton, burnt the royal vill; but the fleet steering by North-mouth [the Nore] towards London, met the royal fleet of 50 ships in which the king had embarked. A parley ensued, during which hostages were given; and by the counsel of Bishop Stigand, the king and his father-in-law were reconciled; the king reinstated him in all his possessions and honours, and took again the queen his wife; but Robert the archbishop and all the Frenchmen, by whose advice the king had outlawed the Earl, were banished; and Stigand was made Archbishop of Canterbury. About this time [A.D. 1054], Siward, the powerful Earl of Northumbria, a giant in stature, whose vigour of mind was equal to his bodily strength, sent his son on an expedition into Scotland. He was slain in the war, and when the news reached his father, he inquired: "Was his death-wound received before or behind"? The messengers replied, "Before". Then said he, "I greatly rejoice; no other death was fitting either for him or me". [3] Whereupon, Siward led an army into Scotland, and having defeated the king and ravaged the whole kingdom, he reduced it to subjection to himself.

[A.D. 1053.] In the twelfth year of Edward's reign, when the king was at Winchester, where he often resided, and was sitting at table, with his father-in-law, Godwin, who had conspired against him by his side, the Earl said to him,


[1] A small port on the Bristol Channel, in Somersetshire.

[2] Dungeness.

[3] This anecdote of the stout Earl Siward, immortalized by Shakspeare, and the subsequent one of the manner in which the Earl himself met his death, rest on the authority of Henry of Huntingdon, like others for which we are wholly indebted to him. The Saxon Chronicle informs us of Siwand's expedition into Scotland against the usurper Macbeth.

A.D. 1053-1057.] DEATHS OF EARLS GODWIN AND SIWARD. 205

"Sir king, I have been often accused of harbouring traitorous designs against you, but as God in heaven is just and true, may this morsel of bread choke me, if even in thought I have ever been false to you". But God, who is just and true, heard the words of the traitor, for the bread stuck in his throat and choked him, so that death presently followed, the foretaste of the death which is eternal. [1] His son Harold received a grant of his father's earldom; and Algar, earl of Chester, succeeded to the earldom of Harold.

In the thirteenth year of King Edward's reign, the barons of Normandy fought a battle with the French at the castle which is called "Mortmar", in which Ralph, the chamberlain, who commanded the French army, was slain; and the Normans gained the victory. But Henry the French king, and William, duke of Normandy, were not present at the battle. The year following, the stout Earl Siward being seized with dysentery, perceived that his end was approaching; upon which he said, "Shame on me that I did not die in one of the many battles I have fought, but am reserved to die with disgrace the death of a sick cow! At least put on my armour of proof, gird the sword by my side, place the helmet on my head, let me have my shield in my left hand, and my gold-inlaid battle-axe in my right hand, that the bravest of soldiers may die in a soldier's garb". Thus he spoke, and when armed according to his desire, he gave up the ghost. [2] As Waltheof, his son, was of tender years, the earldom was conferred on Tosti, son of Earl Godwin. The same year Algar, earl of Chester, was banished, being convicted of treason before the king's council. He took refuge with Griffith, king of North Wales, and returning with him, they burnt Hereford and the church of St. Ethelbert.

[A.D. 1057.] Afterwards, Edward [Etheling], the son of Edmund Ironside, came into England, and he died very soon, and was buried in St. Paul's Minster at London. He


[1] This story may perhaps be considered more questionable than others which rest on Henry of Huntingdon's sole authority. The Saxon Chronicle relates that Earl Godwin was seized with sudden indisposition and became speechless at the king's table, and died a few days afterwards; but it is silent about the circumstances which give the alleged judicial character to his death.

[2] See note, p. 204.

206 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

was the father of Margaret, queen of Scotland, and of Edgar Etheling: Margaret was the mother of Matilda, queen of England, and of David, the accomplished king of the Scots. At that time also died Leofric, the renowned earl of Chester, whose wife Godiva, a name meriting endless fame, was of distinguished worth, and founded an abbey at Coventry, which she enriched with immense treasures of silver and gold. She also built the church at Stow, under the hill at Lincoln, [1] and many others. The earldom of Chester was granted to his son Algar.

[A.D. 1063.] In the twenty-second year of King Edward's reign, when Philip was king of France, on the death of his father Henry, William, duke of Normandy, subjugated Maine. Harold crossing the sea to Flanders, was driven by a storm on the coast of Ponthieu. The Earl of that province arrested him, and brought him to William, duke of Normandy. Whereupon Harold took a solemn oath to William upon the most holy relics of saints that he would marry his daughter, and on the death of King Edward would aid his designs upon England. Harold was entertained with great honour and received many magnificent gifts. However, after his return to England, he was guilty of perjury. [2] The year following, Harold and his brother Tosti made an irruption into Wales; and the people of that country were reduced to submission and delivered hostages. After that they slew their king Griffith, and brought his head to Harold, who appointed another king. It happened the same year that, in the king's palace at Winchester, Tosti seized his brother Harold by the hair in the royal presence, and while he was serving the king, with wine; for it had been a source of envy and hatred that the king showed a


[1] "Sub promontorie". Bishop Tanner says, "From this expression one would guess that Henry of Huntingdon places Stowe under Lincoln Hill, but it is pretty evident that it was in the bishop's manor by Trent side". The priory of Stowe or Mari Stowe was annexed to Eynsham Abbey in Oxfordshire.

[2] Though the Saxon Chronicle is somewhat diffuse in its account of the acts of Earl Godwin and his sons, it contains no reference at all to Harold's visit to the court of William, duke of Normandy during which this solemn renunciation of any claims to the crown of England is alleged to have taken place. William of Malmesbury gives a detailed account of Harold's adventures in Normandy.

A.D. 1064-1065.] VIOLENCE OF EARL GODWIN'S SONS. 207

higher regard for Harold, though Tosti was the elder brother. Wherefore in a sudden paroxysm of passion he could not refrain from this attack on his brother. But the king predicted that their ruin was at hand, and that the vengeance of the Almighty would be no longer deferred. Such was the cruelty of these brothers that when they saw a well-ordered farm, they ordered the owner to be killed in the night with his whole family, and took possession of the of the property of the deceased: and these men were the justiciarie of the realm! Tosti departed from the king and his brother in great anger and went to Hereford, where Harold had purveyed large supplies for the royal use. There he butchered all his brother's servants, and inclosed a head or an arm in each of the vessels containing wine, mead, ale, pigmeat, mulberry wine, and cider, sending a message to he king that when he came to his farm he would find plenty of salt meat, and that he would bring more with him. [1] For this horrible crime, the king commanded him to be banished and outlawed.

[A.D. 1065.] In the twenty-fourth year of King Edward, Northumbrians hearing these accounts expelled Tosti, their earl, who had caused much bloodshed and ruin among them. They slew a his household, both Danes and Engish, and seized his treasures and arms at York, and they made Morkar, the son of Earl Algar, their earl. Then he led the Northumbrians, and with them the men of Lincolnhire, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire, as far as Northampton; and his brother Edwin joined him with the men of his earldom and many Welsh. When Earl Harold met them, they sent him to the king, with messengers of their own, intreating that they might have Morkar for their earl. This the king granted, and commissioned Harold to return to Northampton to give them assurance of it. Meanwhile, they did not spare that district, burning, slaying, plundering,


[1] Mr. Petrie remarks: "This story seems an invention; it is certainly untrue as far as relates to the banishment of Tosti, which took place under far different circumstances; for this reference may be made to the life of King Edward by an anonymous writer of his own age. The story of the cutting off men's heads, etc., seems to be borrowed from a horrid cruelty perpetrated by Caradoc, the son of Griffith, related by Florence of Worcester under the year 1065".- Petrie Monument. Britan.

208 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

and carrying off with them, after their petition was granted, many thousand souls, so that this part of the kingdom was impoverished for many years. Tosti and his wife fled to the court of Baldwin, in Flanders, and there wintered.

In the year of our Lord 1066, the Lord, who ruleth all things, accomplished what He had long designed with respect to the English nation; giving them up to destruction by the fierce and crafty race of the Normans. For when the church of St. Peter at Westminster had been consecrated on Holy Innocents' day, and soon afterwards King Edward departed this life on the eve of Epiphany, and was interred in the same church, which he had built and endowed with great possessions, some of the English sought to make Edgar Etheling king; but Harold, relying on his power and his pretensions by birth, seized the crown. [1] Meanwhile, William, duke of Normandy, was inwardly irritated and deeply incensed, for three reasons. First, because Godwin and his sons had dishonoured and murdered his kinsman Alfred. Secondly, because they had driven out of England Robert the bishop, and Odo the earl, and all the other Frenchmen. Thirdly, because Harold, committing perjury, had usurped the kingdom, which by right of relationship belonged to himself. Duke William, therefore, assembling the principal men of Normandy, called on them to aid him in the conquest of England. As they were entering the council chamber, William Fitz-Osbert, the Duke's steward, threw himself in their way, representing that the expedition to England was a very serious undertaking, for the English were a most warlike people: and argued vehemently against the very few who were disposed to embark in the project of invading England. The barons hearing this were highly delighted, and pledged their faith to him that they would all concur in what he should say. Upon which he presented himself at their head before the Duke and thus he addressed him: "I am ready to follow you devotedly with all my people in this expedition". All the great men of Normandy were thus pledged to what he promised and a numerous fleet


[1] Florence of Worcester founds Harold's pretensions on the choice of the late King Edward: "Haraldus - quem rex ante suam decessionem regni successorem elegerat".

A.D. 1066.] BATTLE OF STANFORD BRIDGE. 209

was equipped at the port called St. Valery. Upon hearing this, the warlike Harold fitted out a fleet to meet that of Duke William. Meanwhile, Earl Tosti entered the Humber with 60 ships; but Earl Edwin came upon him with his troops and put him to flight. He escaped to Scotland, where he fell in with Harold, king of Norway, [1] with 300 ships. Tosti was overjoyed, and tendered him his allegiance. Then they joined their forces and came up the Humber, as far as York, near which they were encountered by the Earls Edwin and Morcar; the place where the battle was fought is still shown on the south side of the city. Here Harold, king of Norway, and Tosti, his ally, gained the day. When this intelligence reached Harold, king of England, he advanced with a powerful army, and came up with the invaders at Stanford Bridge. The battle was desperately fought, the armies being engaged from daybreak to noonday, when, after fierce attacks on both sides, the Norwegians were forced to give way before the superior numbers of the English, but retreated in good order. Being driven across the river, [2] the living trampling on the corpses of the slain, they resolutely made a fresh stand. Here a single Norwegian, whose name ought to have been preserved, took post on a bridge, and hewing down more than forty of the English with a battleaxe, his country's weapon, stayed the advance of the whole English army till the ninth hour. At last some one came under the bridge in a boat, and thrust a spear into him, through the chinks of the flooring. The English having gained a passage, King Harold and Tosti were slain; and their whole army were either slaughtered, or, being taken prisoners, were burnt. [3]

Harold, king of England, returned to York the same day, with great triumph. But while he was at dinner, a messenger arrived with the news that William, duke of Normandy, had landed on the south coast, [4] and had built a fort at Hastings. The king hastened southwards to


[1] Harald Hard-raad, so called to distinguish him from Harald-Harfager, who was contemporary with Alfred the Great.

[2] The Ouse.

[3] The battle of Stanford Bridge was fought on the eve of St. Matthew, 20th September, 1066.

[4] William landed at Pevensey on Michaelmas eve of the same year.

210 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

oppose him, and drew up his army on level ground in that neighbourhood. Duke William commenced the attack with five squadrons of his splendid cavalry, a terrible onset; but first he addressed them to this effect: "What I have to say to you, ye Normans, the bravest of nations, does not spring from any doubt of your valour or uncertainty of victory, which never by any chance or obstacle escaped your efforts. If indeed, once only you had failed of conquering, it might be necessary to inflame your courage by exhortation. But how little does the inherent spirit of your race require to be roused! Most valiant of men, what availed the power of the Frank king, with all his people, from Lorraine to Spain, against Hastings, my predecessor? What he wanted of the territory of France he appropriated to himself; what he chose, only, was left to the king; what he had, he held during his pleasure; when he was satisfied, he relinquished it, and looked for something better. Did not Rollo, my ancestor, the founder of our nation, with your progenitors, conquer at Paris the king of the Franks in the heart of his dominions; nor could he obtain any respite until he humbly offered possession of the country which from you is called Normandy, with the hand of his daughter? Did not your fathers take prisoner the king of the French, and detain him at Rouen till he restored Normandy to your Duke Richard, then a boy; with this stipulation, that in every conference between the King of France and the Duke of Normandy, the duke should have his sword by his side, while the king should not be allowed so much as a dagger? This concession your fathers compelled the great king to submit to, as binding for ever. Did not the same duke lead your fathers to Mirmande, at the foot of the Alps, and enforce submission from the lord of the town, his son-in-law, to his own wife, the duke's daughter? Nor was it enough to conquer mortals; for he overcame the devil himself, with whom he wrestled, and cast down and bound him, leaving him a shameful spectacle to angels. But why do I go back to former times? When you, in our own time, engaged the French at Mortemer, did not the French prefer flight to battle, and use their spurs instead of their swords; while - Ralph, the French commander being slain - you reaped

A.D. 1066.] BATTLE OF HASTINGS. 211

the fruits of victory, the honour and the spoil, as natural results of your wonted success? Ah! let any one of the English whom our predecessors, both Danes and Norwegians, have defeated in a hundred battles, come forth and show that the race of Rollo ever suffered a defeat from his time until now, and I will submit and retreat. Is it not shameful, then, that a people accustomed to be conquered, a people ignorant of the art of war, a people not even in possession of arrows, should make a show of being arrayed in order of battle against you, most valiant? Is it not a shame that this King Harold, perjured as he was in your presence, should dare to show his face to you? It is a wonder to me that you have been allowed to see those who by a horrible crime beheaded your relations and Alfred my kinsman, and that their own accursed heads are still on their shoulders. Raise, then, your standards, my brave men, and set no bounds to your merited rage. Let the lightning of your glory flash, and the thunders of your onset be heard from east to west, and be the avengers of the noble blood which has been spilled".

Duke William had not concluded his harangue, when all the squadrons, inflamed with rage, rushed on the enemy with indescribable impetuosity, and left the duke speaking to himself! Before the armies closed for the fight, one Taillefer, sportively brandishing swords before the English troops, while they were lost in amazement at his gambols, slew one of their standard-bearers. A second time one of the enemy fell. The third time he was slain himself. [1]


[1] This serio-comic prelude to the battle is also noticed in the Norman-French metrical History of Geoffry Gaimar, as well as in a Latin poem on the battle of Hastings, both of which are published in M. Petrie's collection. It is also mentioned in Wace, "Histoire des Ducs de Normandie", p. 214. It might be supposed that Taillefer was Duke William's jester; indeed the Latin poem calls him "Histrio", the Norman "Joglere". The latter is worth quoting:-

"Un des Francois done se hasta
Levant les altres chevalcha.
Taillefer art cil apelez,
Joglere estait, hardi assez.
Armes avoit e bon cheval;
Siert hardiz e noble vassal.
Dovant les altres cil se mist;
Peyant Engleis merveilles fist
La lance pris par le tuet
Comme si ce fust un bastunet:
Encontremont, halt l'en geta,
E par le fer receve la.
Trais fez issi geta sa lance:
La quarte feiz, mult pres s'avance,
Entre les Engleis la lanca,
Parmi le cors en un naffra", etc.

However, the spirited ballad of Ludwig Uhland represents Taillefer as a groom, who for his minstrelsy was knighted by William. See the Poems of Ludwig Uhland, translated by Platt, Leipsic, 1848.

212 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

Then the ranks met; a cloud of arrows carried death among them; the clang of sword-strokes followed; helmets gleamed, and weapons clashed. But Harold had formed his whole army in close column, making a rampart which the Normans could not penetrate. Duke William, therefore, commanded his troops to make a feigned retreat. In their flight they happened unawares on a deep trench, which was treacherously covered, into which numbers fell and perished. While the English were engaged in pursuit the main body of the Normans broke the centre of the enemy's line, which being perceived by those in pursuit over the concealed trench, when they were consequently recalled most of them fell there. Duke William also commanded his bowmen not to aim their arrows directly at the enemy, but to shoot them in the air that their cloud might spread darkness over the enemy's ranks; this occasioned great loss to the English. Twenty of the bravest knights also pledged their troth to each other that they would cut through the English troops, and capture the royal ensign called The Standard. In this attack the greater part were slain; but the remainder, hewing a way with their swords, captured the standard. Meanwhile, a shower of arrows fell round King Harold, and he himself was pierced in the eye. A crowd of horsemen now burst in, and the king, already wounded, was slain. With him fell Earl Gurth and Earl Leofric, his brothers. After the defeat of the English army, and so great a victory, the Londoners submitted peaceably to William, and he was crowned at Westminster, by Aldred, archbishop of York. Thus the hand of the Lord brought to pass the change which a remarkable comet had foreshadowed in the beginning of the same year; as it was said, "In the year 1066, all England was alarmed by a flaming comet". The battle was fought in the month of October, on the feast of St. Calixtus [Oct 14]. King William afterwards founded a noble abbey on the spot, which obtained the fitting name of Battle Abbey.

King William crossed the sea the year following, carrying with him hostages and much treasure. He came back the

A.D. 1067-1071.] WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR. 213

same year, and divided the land amongst his soldiers. And now Edgar the Etheling went into Scotland, with many followers, and his sister Margaret was betrothed to the king of the Scots [A.D. 1068]. The king having given the earldom of Northumberland to Earl Robert, the provincials slew him and 900 of his men; upon which Edgar the Etheling, with all the people of Northumberland, marched to York, and the townsmen made peace with him; but the king advancing northward with an army sacked the city, and made great slaughter of the rebellious inhabitants, and Edgar retired to Scotland.

In the third year of King William, the two sons of Sweyn, king of Denmark, and his brother, Earl Osbert, sailed up the Humber with 300 ships, and were joined by Earl Waltheof and Edgar the Etheling. The forces of the Danes and English being united, they took York Castle, and having slain numbers of the French, they carried off their chief men prisoners to their ships, with the treasure they had taken, and wintered in the country between the Ouse and the Trent. However, the king coming upon them drove them out, and reduced the English of that province, and Earl Waltheof made his peace with the king. The year following, on the death of Baldwin, earl of Flanders, whose daughter King William married, he was succeeded by his son Arnulph, who was supported by William, king of England, and Philip, king of France. But his brother Robert, the Frisian, made war upon him and slew him, together with William Fitz-Osbert, before-mentioned, and many thousand troops of both the kings.

[A.D. 1071.] In the fifth year of King William, the Earls Morcar and Edwin took to plundering in the open country and the woods. [1] Edwin was slain by his own followers, and Morcar, with Hereward and Bishop Elwine, took refuge in Ely. The king came there with an army, and beset it both by land and water; and having constructed a bridge and built a fort with great skill, which stands at the present


[1] "i.e. Threw off their allegiance to the Norman usurper, and became voluntary outlaws. The habits of these outlaws, or at least of their descendants in the next century, are well described in the romance of 'Ivanhoe'".- Ingram.

214 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

time, [1] he gained an entrance into the island, and took prisoners those I have named, except Hereward, who drew off his people with great resolution. [2] The year following the king led an army into Scotland, both by land and sea; and Malcolm, king of the Scots, did him fealty and delivered hostages. The next year, the king led an army of English said French into Maine, which the English wasted, burning the villages and destroying the vineyards, and the province submitted to the king. The year after, the king went into Normandy, and Edgar the Etheling was reconciled with him, and abode some time in his court.

[A.D. 1075.] In the ninth year of King William, Ralph who had been made earl of East-anglia, [3] conspired with Earl Waltheof, and Roger, son of William Fitz-Osbert to dethrone the king. Earl Ralph had married his sister, at whose nuptials the rebellion was contrived. But the principal men of the realm strenuously opposed it; and Earl Ralph, embarking at Norwich, sailed for Denmark. [4] When the king came over to England, he threw his kinsman Earl Roger into prison, but Earl Waltheof was beheaded at Winchester, and he was buried at Croyland. Of the rest who were present at the ill-fated marriage feast, many were banished and many deprived of sight. Meanwhile, Earl Ralph, accompanied by Canute, son of Sweyn, king of Denmark, and Earl Haco, returned to England with a fleet of 200 ships, but not daring to attack King William, they sailed for Flanders. The same year Queen Edith died, and was buried near her husband, King Edward, at Westminster.

[A.D. 1076.] The year following, King William went over the sea, and laid siege to Dol; but the Bretons defended the castle stoutly, till the King of France came to their relief. Soon afterwards the King of France and King William came to terms. The King of the Scots, also, ravaged


[1] Probably constructed of timber, but it was built less than 40 years before this was written.

[2] The exploits of this famous outlaw are celebrated in a Gallo-Norman poem, printed by Sparke in Caenob. Burg. Hist.

[3] The ancient kingdom of East-Anglia was now resolved into the earldoms of Norfolk and Suffolk.

[4] According to Florence of Worcester and Simeon of Durham, he sailed first to Brittany.

A.D. 1076-1084.] REIGN OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR. 215

Northumberland as far as the Tyne, and earned off a great number of captives and much booty. Robert, son of King William, having raised troops against his father, the king, was thrown from his horse in an engagement at the castle of Gerbervy, in France, where also William, the king's son, and many of his followers were wounded, and the king cursed his son Robert. Moreover, the Northumbrians treacherously killed Walcher, bishop of Durham, and 100 men, at a certain court (gemot) peaceably assembled on the Tyne.

[A.D. 1081.] King William, in the fifteenth year of his reign, led an army into Wales, and reduced it to submision. Afterwards he threw his brother, Bishop Odo, into prison; his queen, Matilda, also died [A.D. 1083]; and the king levied a tax of six shillings on every hide of land throughout England. At this time Thurstan, abbot of Glastonbury, perpetrated an atrocious crime, causing three monks to be slain, though they clung to the altar; and eighteen others were wounded, so that the blood ran down the steps of the sanctuary, on the floor of the church.

In the eighteenth year of King William's reign, he brought over such an immense army of Normans, French, and Bretons, that it was a wonder how the land could supply them with food. He had heard reports that Canute, king of Denmark, [1] and Robert the Frisian, earl of Flanders, had formed the design of invading and subduing England; but when, by God's will, the armament was dispersed, [2] he dismissed the greatest part of his troops to their own countries. The king being now all powerful, he sent justiciaries through every shire, that is, every county of England, and caused them to inquire on oath how many hides, that is, acres sufficient for one plough for a year, there were in every vill, and how many cattle; he made them also inquire how much each city, castle, village, vill, river, marsh, and wood was worth in yearly rent. All these particulars having been written on parchment, the record was


[1] "With Olave Kyrre, king of Norway. Vide Antiq. Celto-Scand., p. 226".- Ingram.

[2] By a mutiny in the Danish fleet, which ended in the murder of Canute after his return to Denmark.

216 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. {BOOK VI.

brought to the king, [1] and deposited in the treasury, where it is preserved to this day. The same year [1085], Maurice was made bishop of London; he began the building of the great church which is not yet completed. [2]

The noble King William, in the nineteenth year of his reign, held his court as usual at Gloucester during Christmas, at Winchester during Easter, and during Whitsuntide; at London (Westminster), where he knighted his youngest son Henry. Afterwards [3] he received the homage of all the principal landowners of England, and received their oaths of fealty without regard to those under whom they held their lands. And then the king, having amassed large sums of money upon every pretext he could find, just or unjust, passed over to Normandy.

[A.D. 1087.] In the twenty-first year of the reign of King William, when the Normans had accomplished the righteous will of God on the English nation, and there was now no prince of the ancient royal race living in England, and all the English were brought to a reluctant submission, so that it was a disgrace even to be called an Englishman, the instrument of Providence in fulfilling its designs was removed from the world. God had chosen the Normans to humble the English nation, because He perceived that they were more fierce than any other people. For their character is such that when they have so crushed their enemies that they can reduce them no lower, they bring themselves and their own lands to poverty and waste; so that the Norman lords, when foreign hostilities have ceased, as their fierce temper never abates, turn their hostilities against their own people; which is apparent, with continually increasing distinctness, in Normandy as well as in England, in Apulia, Calabria, Sicily, and Antioch, those fine counties which the Almighty has subjected to them. In England, at this time, extortionate tolls and most burthensome taxes were multiplied, and all the great lords were so blinded by an inordinate desire of amassing


[1] At Winchester; whence the Doomsday book is called also "Rotulus", or "Liber Wintoniae".

[2] The Old St. Paul's.

[3] At Salisbury.

A.D. 1087.] DEATH AND CHARACTER OF KING WILLIAM. 217

wealth, that it might be truly said of them, "Whence it was got no one asked, but get it they must; the more they talked of right, the more wrong they did". Those whose title was justiciaries were the fountains of all injustice. The sheriffs and judges, whose office it was to administer the law, were more greedy than thieves and robbers, and more violent than the most desperate culprits. The king himself, when he had let his lands to farm at the dearest rate he could, broke his agreements, and, never satisfied, granted them to any one who bid higher, and then to another who offered the highest rent; nor did he care what injury his officers inflicted on the poor. This year the Lord had afflicted England with the two calamities of pestilence and famine, so that those who escaped the pestilence died of hunger. King William had crossed over to France the same year, and had ravaged the territories of King Philip, and put to death many of his subjects. He also burnt a stately castle called Mantes, and destroyed all the churches in the town, with much people, and two holy hermits were burnt there. Wherefore God in his anger visited him on his return with sickness, and afterwards with death. We must glance at both the good and evil deeds of this powerful king, in order that we may take example from the good and warning from the evil

William was the most valiant of all the dukes of Normandy, the most powerful of all the kings of England, more renowned than any of his predecessors. He was wise, but crafty; rich, but covetous; glorious, but his ambition was never satisfied. Though humble to the servants of God, he was obdurate to those who withstood him. Earls and nobles he threw into prison, bishops and abbots he deprived of their possessions: he did not even spare his own brother; and no one dared to oppose his will. He wrung thousands of gold and silver from his most powerful vassals, and harassed his subjects with the toil of building castles for himself. If any one killed a stag or a wild boar, his eyes were put out, and no one presumed to complain. But beasts of chace he cherished as if they were his children; so that to form the hunting ground of the New Forest he caused churches and villages to be destroyed, and, driving out the people, made it an habitation for deer. When he

218 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

plundered his subjects, not urged by his wants, but by excessive avarice, however they might curse him in the bitterness of their hearts, he set at nought their muttered revenge. It behoved every one to submit to his will who had any regard for his favour, or for his own money or lands, or even his life. [1]

Alas! how much is it to be deplored that any man, seeing that he is but a worm of the dust, should so swell with pride as, forgetful of death, to exalt himself thus above all his fellow-mortals. Normandy was his by right of inheritance; Maine he subdued by force of arms; Brittany paid him fealty; he was monarch of all England, so that there was not a single hide of land in it of which he had not an account of the owner's name and what it was worth. [2] Scotland. he reduced to subjection; and Wales submissively rendered him allegiance. Yet he so firmly preserved the peace, that a girl laden with gold could pass in safety from one end of England to the other. Homicide, under whatever pretext, was punished by death; violent assaults by the loss of limbs. He built the abbey at Battle, which has been already mentioned, and one at Caen, in which he was buried. His wife, Matilda, also built there a convent for nuns, in which she was interred. May He have mercy on their souls who alone can heal them after death! And you, my readers, noting well the virtues and vices of so great a man, learn to follow what is good and eschew what is evil,


[1] Henry of Huntingdon, in summing up the Conqueror's character, adopts much the same language as that which is found in the Saxon Chronicle. From his position in society, and his living so near the times of which he is now speaking, he must have had opportunities of forming opinions of his own, which, doubtless, coincided with those the expression of which he has thus borrowed. It appears, from the language used in the Chronicle, that the character there drawn of William I. was written by one who was a close observer of his administration, and had been in his court. But he wrote anonymously, and probably with no view to publicity, while the independent spirit with which Henry of Huntingdon exhibits the tyranny of the Conqueror in this history, given to the world during the reign of his son Henry I., a prince equally arbitrary, is, as I have elsewhere taken occasion to remark, worthy of commendation. William of Malmsbury, a writer of nearly the same age, whatever be his general merit, speaks of the Conqueror in much more courtly phrase, descants on his liberality to the church and sums up with attributing to him one only fault - avarice.

[2] Referring to the famous Doomsday Book.

A.D. 1087.] WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR'S WILL. 219.

and thus walk in the straight path which leads to eternal life!

The same year, the Infidels in Spain made a plundering incursion on the Christian States, and seized large portions of their territory. But the Christian king Alphonso, collecting forces from the faithful in all parts, recovered his dominions, slaying and expelling the Infidels, and repairing the losses caused by their inroads. In Denmark, also, an event happened which had never before occurred. The Danes were guilty of treason, and faithlessly murdered their king, Canute, in a monastery.

William, king of England, bequeathed Normandy to his eldest son Robert; the kingdom of England to William, his second son; and the treasure he had amassed to his third son, Henry, by means of which, having purchased a part of Normandy from his brother Robert, he succeeded in depriving him of his dominions; a thing displeasing to God, but the punishment was deferred for a time. William divided his father's treasures, which he found at Winchester, according to his bequest. There were in the treasury 60,000 pounds of silver, besides gold and jewels, and his plate and wardrobe. He distributed part of this wealth, giving to some churches ten golden marks, to others six, and to the church of every vill five shillings; and he sent to each county 100l., to be given in alms; likewise, according to his father's will, all prisoners were set at liberty. The new king held his court at London during Christmas. There were present Lanfranc, the archbishop [of Canterbury], who had consecrated the king; and Thomas, archbishop of York; together with Maurice, bishop of London; Walchelm, of Winchester; Godfrey, of Chester; Wulnoth, the holy bishop of Worcester; William of Thetford, Robert of Chester, William of Durham, and Odo, bishop of Bayeux, principal justiciary of all England; as also Remi, bishop of Lincoln, of whom I am led to give a short account.

The king [William I.] had given to Remi, who was a monk of Fecamp, the bishopric of Dorchester, which is situated on the Thames. But as that see is larger than any other in England, extending from the Thames to the Humber, it seemed to the bishop to be inconvenient that

220 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VI.

his episcopal seat should be placed at the very extremity of his diocese. It was also unsatisfactory to him that it was fixed in a poor town, while there was in the diocese so noble a city as Lincoln, which seemed more worthy to be the episcopal seat. He therefore bought some fields on the top of the hill, near the castle, the lofty towers of which commanded the city; and on that elevated spot he built a cathedral church, which for strength and beauty was both fitting for the service of God, and, as the times required, impregnable to hostile attacks. The district of Lindsey, in which it was placed, had from ancient times been claimed as part of the archbishopric of York. But Remi, disregarding the archbishop's remonstrances, urged forward the work he had undertaken, and when it was completed he supplied it with clerks of approved learning and morals. Remi was small in stature, but great in heart; his complexion was dark, but his conduct was clear. He was, indeed, on one occasion accused of treason against the king, but one of his followers cleared him of the charge by the ordeal of red-hot iron, and thus restored him to the royal favour unsullied by any stain of disgrace. By this founder, at this time, and for these reasons, the modern cathedral of the diocese of Lincoln was begun.

And now the course of events being brought down to my own times, it is fitting that I should commence a new Book with those that followed. If any recapitulation be required, according to my practice hitherto, for the more clear understanding of what has been set forth in this present Book, it may be so short as not to detain the reader. Here, then, follows a summary view of the kings' reigns included in the Book now brought to an end.

ETHELRED reigned xxxvii. years, in continual disturbance, over the whole extent of England.

EDMUND, the young and the brave, was treacherously murdered, after a reign of one year.

CANUTE the Great reigned xx. years, with more glory than any of his predecessors.

HAROLD, his son, reigned iv. years and xvi. weeks.

HARDECANUTE, the munificent son of King Canute, was cut off by sudden death, after a reign of six months short of ii. years.

A.D. 1087.] SUCCESSION OF KINGS. 221

EDWARD, a pious king, reigned in peace xxiv. years.

HAROLD, the perjured, reigned scarcely one year, falling a sacrifice to his breach of faith.

WILLIAM, the last and the greatest of all that have been enumerated, had a glorious reign of xxi. years. It has been said of him:-

"What though, like Caesar, nature fail'd
To give thy brow its fairest grace?
Thy bright career a comet haird,
And with its lustre wreath'd thy face".

222 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

BOOK VII.

Thus far I have treated of matters which I have either found recorded by old writers, or have gathered from common report; but now I have to deal with events which have passed under my own observation, or which have been told me by eye-witnesses of them. I have to relate how the Almighty alienated both favour and rank from the English nation as it deserved, and caused it to cease to be a people. It will also appear how He began to afflict the Normans themselves, the instruments of his will, with various calamities

The greater nobles, breaking their oaths of allegiance to William the younger, stirred up war against him for the purpose of placing his brother Robert on the throne, and each of them revelled in rebellion and tumults within his own domains [A.D. 1088]. Odo, bishop of Bayeux, the chief governor of England, who was their leader, raised an insurrection in Kent, [1] where he seized and burnt the vills of the king and the archbishop. Roger, earl of Morton, in like manner, ravaged the country about Pevensey. Geoffry, the bishop [of Coutances], set forth from Bristol and pillaged Bath and Berkeley, and the neighbourhood. Roger, [earl of Montgomery], was not slow in beginning the work of mischief throughout East-Anglia from his castle at Norwich. Hugh [de Grantmesnil] was not backward in the counties of Leicester and Northampton. William, bishop of Durham, made a similar movement on the borders of Scotland. The chief men also of Herefordshire and Shropshire, with the Welshmen, burnt and pillaged the county of Worcester up to the city gates. They were preparing to assault the cathedral and castle, when Wulstan, the venterable bishop, in his deep necessity, implored the aid of his greatest friend, even God the Most High; by


[1] The king had granted him the earldom of Kent.

A.D. 1088.] WILLIAM II. 223

whose help, while the bishop lay prostrate in prayer before the altar, a small party of soldiers who sallied forth against the enemy, was able either to slay or capture 5000 [1] of them, and the rest miraculously took to flight.

The king, therefore, summoned an assembly of his English subjects and promised that he would restore the freedom of chace and of the woods, and that he would confirm the ancient laws they loved. He then sat down before Tunbridge Castle, where Gilbert was in rebellion against him; but upon being reduced to straits by the royal army, he made peace with the king. Marching thence, the king laid siege to Pevensey Castle, in which were Bishop Odo and Earl Roger, and invested it six weeks. Meanwhile Robert, duke of Normandy, hastened to embark for England and take advantage of the movement in his favour; he therefore sent forward a body of troops to support his friends, preparing himself to follow with a powerful army. But the English, who guarded the sea, attacked the advanced force, and immense numbers of them were either put to sword or drowned. Whereupon those who were besieged in Pevensey Castle, provisions failing them, surrendered it to the king. Bishop Odo solemnly swore to depart the realm and deliver up his castle at Rochester. But when he came there with party of the king's troops to cause it to be surrendered, Earl Eustace and the other great men who were in the city seized the king's officers, at the bishop's secret instigation, and threw them into prison. Upon hearing this the king laid siege to Rochester, which shortly capitulated, and Bishop Odo went beyond sea never to return. The king also sent an army to Durham and besieged the city: upon its surrender the bishop and many of the rebels were driven into banishment. The king distributed the lands of those who broke their fealty among such as continued faithful to him.

The year following [A.D. 1089], Archbishop Lanfranc, the enlightened doctor of the church and the kind father of the monks, departed this life; and there was a great earthquake the same year. William the younger, preparing the means of taking vengeance on his brother for the injury he had


[1] The Saxon Chronicle says five hundred.

224 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII

done him, in the third year of his reign obtained possession by bribes of the castles of St. Vallery and Albermarle, from whence the knights he placed in garrison began to plunder and burn his brother's territory. Following them himself the next year, he came to terms with his brother, and it was agreed that the castles which the king held in despite of his brother should still be his. The king also engaged to aid him in the recovery of all the places his father possessed beyond sea. And it was agreed between them that if either of them died without a son, the survivor should be his heir. This treaty was guaranteed by the oaths of twelve chief men on the king's part, and twelve on the duke's.

Meanwhile, Malcolm, king of the Scots, made an irruption into England for the purpose of plunder, and did it grievous injury; whereupon the king having returned to England, accompanied by his brother, they marched an army against the Scots. Upon this Malcolm was greatly alarmed, and did homage to the king, taking the oath of fealty to him. Duke Robert remained some time with his brother, but finding that he was insincere in his professions of amity, he crossed over to his own States. The year following, the king rebuilt Carlisle, and peopled it with inhabitants drawn from the south of England. Bishop Remi also sickened and died just as he had completed the church at Lincoln, and was about to consecrate it.

[A.D. 1093.] William, the younger, fell sick at Gloucester during Lent, in the sixth year of his reign. He then gave the archbishopric of Canterbury to Anselm the abbot [of Bec], a holy man, and the bishopric of Lincoln to his chancellor, Robert Bloet, [1] who excelled other men in grace of person, in serenity of temper, and in courtesy of speech. The king also promised at this time to amend bad laws, and protect the Lord's household in peace; but as soon as he got well he repented of his promises, and acted worse than before. Regretting that he had not sold the bishopric of Lincoln, when the Archbishop of York preferred his claims against Bishop Robert for the city of Lincoln and the district of Lindsey, as appertaining to his archiepiscopal see,


[1] Henry of Huntingdon was brought up from childhood in the family of this bishop.

A.D. 1093-1095.] AFFAIRS IN SCOTLAND AND NORMANDY. 225

the cause was not decided until Robert became bound to the king for 6000l. to secure the liberties of his church. The guilt of simony lay on the king and not on the bishop. The same year Malcolm, king of the Scots, making a predatory inroad into England, was intercepted unawares and slain, together with his son Edward, who would have inherited his crown. When Queen Margaret received these tidings, her heart was troubled even unto death at her double loss; and going to the church she confessed and communicated, and commending herself in prayer to God gave up the ghost. The Scots elected Duvenal, Malcolm's brother, king; but Duncan, the late king's son, who was residing as a hostage in the court of King William, by the help of that king drove out Duneval and was received as king: the following year the Scots, at the instigation of Duneval, treacherously put Duncan to death.

William the younger, in the seventh year of his reign, being provoked that his brother had not observed his oath, passed over into Normandy. When the brothers met the jurators who had sworn to the observance of the treaty, laid all the blame on the king; disregarding this he departed in a rage, and attacked the castle of Bures, which he took. On the other hand, the duke took the castle of Argences, in which was an earl of the king's named Roger of Poitou, with 700 soldiers; and he afterwards took the castle of Hulme. Meanwhile, the king levied 20,000 foot soldiers in England to be transported to Normandy, but when they arrived at the sea-coast he took from them the allowance they had received, which was ten shillings per man, and disbanded them. Meanwhile, Duke Robert, joined by the King of France and a large force, was proceeding to lay siege to Eu, where King William lay. However, the intrigues and the bribes of King William induced the King of France to abandon the enterprise, and thus the whole army dispersed in a cloud of darkness, which money had raised. King William had sent for his brother Henry, who was at Damfront, to meet him in England by Christmas; whereupon he came to London. The king spent Christmas day at Whitsand, from whence he sailed to Dover.

The beginning of the next year [A.D. 1095], he sent his brother [Henry] over to Normandy with a large sum of

226 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

money to be employed in continual inroads on the king's behalf. Robert, earl of Northumberland, elated at having defeated the King of the Scots, refused to attend the king's court; whereupon the king marched an army into Northumberland, and took prisoners all the earl's principal adherents in a fortress called New Castle. He then reduced the castle of Tynemouth, in which was the earl's brother. Afterwards he besieged the earl himself in Bamborough Castle, which being impregnable by assault, he built a castle against it which he called Malveisin, [1] in which he left part of his army, and retired with the rest. But one night the earl escaped, and though pursued by the king's troops, got into Tynemouth. There, endeavouring to defend himself, he was wounded and taken, and being brought to Windsor, was there kept a prisoner. The castle of Bamborough was surrendered to the king, and those who had joined the earl were severely treated; for William d'Eu had his eyes put out, and Odo, earl of Champagne, with many others, was deprived of his lands.

The same year, the indefatigable king led his army into Wales, because the Welsh had slain numbers of the French the year before, and stormed the castles of the nobles, and carried fire and sword along the borders. The present year also they had taken Montgomery Castle, and put all who were in it to the sword. The king overran the borders of Wales, but as he could not penetrate into the fastnesses of the mountains and woods, he retired, having accomplished little or nothing. About this time falling stars were seen in the heavens in such numbers that they could not be counted.

In the year 1096 began the great movement towards Jerusalem on the preaching of Pope Urban. [2] Robert,


[1] "The bad neighbour".

[2] The notice of this Crusade in the Saxon Chronicle is confined to a very brief reference to "Earl Robert's" departure for it A.D. 1096. William of Malmesbury's account is more circumstantial than Henry of Huntingdon's, but it does not appear that our historian made use of it. From what ever sources Henry of Huntingdon derived his information, this episode, which contains a rapid sketch of the progress of the Crusaders from Constantinople to Jerusalem keeping in especial view the achievements of the Anglo-Norman prince Robert, appears to be an original composition. It was written within about 60 years after the events it relates. Henry of Huntingdon does not notice the first Crusade, his subject not requiring him to do so. For the Crusades generally, William of Malmsbury may be consulted. It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that very interesting accounts of the third Crusade are contained in a volume of Mr. Bohn's "Antiquarian Library", entitled "Chronicles of the Crusaders".

A.D. 1096-1097.] THE SECOND CRUSADE. 227

duke of Normandy, joining it, gave Normandy in pledge to his brother William. There went with him Robert, duke [earl] of Flanders, and Eustace, count of Boulogne. From another quarter went also Duke Godfrey [1] and Baldwin, count de Mont, together with another Baldwin, both of whom were afterwards kings of Jerusalem. From a third quarter went Raymond, count of Thoulouse, and the Bishop of Puy. Who would omit Hugh the Great, brother of the King of France, and Stephen, count de Blois? Who would not remember Bohemond [2] and his nephew, Tancred? It was the Lord's doing, a wonder unknown to preceding ages and reserved for our days, that such different nations, so many noble warriors, should leave their splendid possessions, their wives and children, and that all with one accord should, in contempt of death, direct their steps to regions almost unknown. The vastness of the movement must be my apology to the reader for a digression from the regular course of this History; for if I were willing to be silent concerning this wonderful work of the Lord, my subject would compel me to treat of it, as it concerns Robert, the duke of Normandy.

[A.D. 1097.] Alexius was emperor at Constantinople, where, with his consort, either forced or voluntary, all the chiefs above named assembled there, and crossing over the narrow arm of the sea, which was anciently called the Hellespont, but now bears the name of the Strait of St. George, proceded to lay siege to the city of Nice, the capital of Romania. Robert, duke of Normandy, sat down before the east gate, and near him was the Earl of Flanders. Duke Bohemond took post at the north gate, and Tancred near him. At the west gate was posted Godfrey, and next to him lay Hugh the Great and Earl Stephen. At the south was Earl Raymond, with the Bishop of Puy. Immense multitudes were here assembled from England, Normandy,


[1] Godfrey of Bouillon.

[2] Son of Robert Guiscard, prince of Tarentum.

228 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

Brittany, Aquitaine, Spain, Provence, Flanders, Denmark, Saxony, Germany, Italy, Greece, and other countries. The light of the sim from the world's creation never shone on so splendid an array, so dread, so numerous an assemblage, so many and such valiant chiefs. The siege of Troy is not to be named in comparison, nor the heroes who caused the fall of Thebes. Here were to be found the most illustrious men that the western world had given birth to in any age; all bearing the sign of the cross, all the bravest of their several counties.

On Ascension day, at the sound of the trumpets in the several camps, a general assault was made on the city. Then shouts filled the air, the sky was darkened with clouds of arrows, the earth shook with the stamp of men, the water echoed the noise; the foot of the wall is reached, the sappers begin their work. The Infidels plied arrows and darts, logs and stones, fragments and masses, fire and water, to no purpose; skill, and valour, and machine-hurled missiles were of no avail. And now the powerful army of the Saracens appeared in well-ordered ranks, with gleaming standards, on the south of the city. They were gallantly encountered by the troops of Count Raymond and the Bishop of Puy, depending on the divine protection and their own bright arms. The Christians rushed on the enemy, who, struck with sudden fear, the Lord confounding them, gave way. Great numbers of the fugitives were slain, and missiles thrown into the city by machines increased the alarm of the inhabitants. Thus, beyond measure terrified, they surrendered the city to our army; and it was given up to the emperor, according to promise. The array was detained before Nice seven weeks and three days. Its course was then directed to Antioch; and on the third day's march it was divided into two bodies; at the head of one of them were Robert, duke of Normandy, Bohemond, Richard of the Principality, Tancred, Everard de Puisat, Achard de Mont Merloy, and several others. They were surrounded by 360,000 Parthians, who are now called Turks, Persians, Publicans, Medes, Cilicians, Saracens, and Augulans, besides Arabs, of whom there were not many. A messenger was dispatched by the chiefs before-named to the other part of the army, but meanwhile they

A.D. 1097.] BATTLE WITH THE SARACENS. 229

became fiercely engaged with the enemy. The Turks, Persians, and Medes discharged arrows; the Cilicians and the Augulans, javelins; the Saracens and Arabs used spears; and the Publicans, iron maces and swords, all with deadly effect, so that the Christians suffered terribly; for their horses became unsteady under the strange shouts of the Saracens, and the braying of their trumpets, and the beating of their tambours, and refused to obey the spur. Our men, also, amidst this confused din, hardly knew what it meant. The Christians, therefore, meditated flight, and some had begun to turn their backs, when Robert, duke of Normandy, rode up to them, shouting, "Where, soldiers, where are you fleeing? The Turkish horses are swifter than ours; flight will not save you, it is better to die here: if you think as I do, follow me". As he spoke he charged the chief of the Infidels, and with a single thrust of his lance pierced through his shield and armour, and the next moment struck down a second and a third of the Saracen troops. Then the fierce Tancred, and the valiant Bohemond, and Richard of the Principality, and Robert de Ansa, one of the bravest knights, were not slack in dealing furious blows. The Christians regained their courage, and the renewed conflict was long and desperate. While it was let raging, Hugh the Great and Anselm de Ripemont came up at the top of their speed with only twenty knights [1] from the other division of the army. Thus fresh, they charged and scattered the weary Infidels; for the lance of Hugh was like the lightning's flash, the sword of Anselin like the dividing flame. Two of our princes fell; while the Arabs, with their numbers, filled the places of their slain. Of the two princes, William, Tancred's brother, in the act of piercing a Saracen chief, received a mortal wound from his enemy's lance; while Godfrey de Dur-mont, as he struck off an Arab's head, was shot by a Persian arrow through the body, which his heated surcoat could no longer protect. The Franks would have been unable to make a resistance against the dense masses with which


[1] This seasonable aid from the advanced guard of Godfrey of Bouillon's division is not mentioned by William of Malmesbury, nor in the fuller account of this action compiled by Roger de Wendover.

230 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

they were engaged, when suddenly the standards of the other division were seen advancing from a neighbouring wood. The battle had now lasted till nine o'clock, and great numbers of the first division had fallen, nor would any have escaped if the remainder of the army had not come up. Never afterwards did the Infidels fight so desperately. Godfrey led the van of the relieving army, with the two Baldwins in command on the right; on the left were Earl Stephen and Osward de Nulsion. The division of Baldwin was followed at some distance by Count Raymond and his people; that of Stephen, by Robert, the valiant earl of Flanders, with his vassals. A cloud of knights, and an endless crowd of infantry, were in the rear of Godfrey's line; while the Bishop of Puy showed himself on a hill with a resolute force of men-at-arms. The Infidels were intent on the fight, when, seing so large a force unexpedtedly advancing, they were terrified, as if the very heavens were falling upon them, and took to flight, with Soliman thdr prince. This victory, which, though dearly bought, secured immense spoils, was gained on the 1st of July.

Pursuing their plan of marching on Antioch, the Christian chiefs proceeded by Heraclea to Tarsus, which was given up to the noble Earl Baldwin. Adama and Mamistra were subjugated by the brave Tancred. The noble Duke of Normandy gave a city of the Turks to Simeon; and Raymond, the powerful count, and Bohemond, the thunder bolt of war, bestowed another city on Peter de Alpibus. The Christians then advanced to Oca, which city they took; and Peter de Roissillon took Rufa and several strongholds. At length they laid siege to Antioch, the capital of Syria on the 12th of the kalends of November [the 28th of October]. It having been reported to Bohemond that the Turks were assembled in numbers at a castle called Areth, he led an expedition against them, and by the mercy of God, though his troops were few in number, he defeated the enemy, bringing back many prisoners, whose heads he cut off before the gates of Antioch, to strike terror among the citizens.

The Christians celebrated the festival of the Nativity while they lay before the besieged town. After which,

A.D. 1098.] SIEGE OF ANTIOCH. 231

Bohemond and the Count of Flanders marched at the head of 20,000 men into the country of the Saracens; for they had assembled numerous forces from Jerusalem, and Damascus, and Aleppo, and other places, for the relief of Antioch. Bohemond attacked this combined force, and routed it with great slaughter; and the chiefs of the expedition returning to the camp with rich booty were received with the triumph they had merited. Meanwhile, those who were shut up within the walls made vigorous sallies against the besieging army, in which they killed the standard-bearer of the Bishop of Puy, with many others. In the month of February, the Infidels assembled a large force at the bridge over the Fer, [1] at the castle of Areth. The Christian princes, therefore, leaving the foot soldiers to maintain the siege, drew out the knights, and detached them against the enemy in six divisions. The first was led by the Duke of Normandy; the second by Godfrey, the German duke; the third by the noble Count Raymond; the fourth by Robert, the pride of Flanders; the fifth by the most excellent Bishop of Puy; and the sixth, which was the strongest, by Bohemond and Tancred. Battle was joined with great bravery, the war-cries reaching to heaven and the air being darkened with clouds of arrows, while fierce assaults were made on both sides. There shortly advanced from the rear a great body of Parthians, who made so sharp an onset on the Christian knights that they fell back a little. Then Bohemond, the arbiter of war and judge of battles, charged with his division, hitherto unengaged, the centre of the enemy; and Robert, son of Gerard, good knight and Bohemond's standard bearer, dashed among the Turkish troops, as a lion among lambs, and the points of his pennon were for ever fluttering over the heads of the Turks. The rest, beholding this, regained their courage, and simultaneously bore down on the enemy. Then the Duke of Normandy cut one man down with a blow from his sword, which severed head, teeth, neck, and shoulders, down to his breast. Duke Godfrey, also, clove


[1] Roger of Wendover says, "over the Orontes, otherwise called the Fer"; but the bridge mentioned in the text is on the Ifrin, not on the Orontes.- See Gibbon, p. 62.

232 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

another in two through the middle of his body, so that one part fell to the ground, the other was carried by the horse he rode through the Turkish troops, to the terror of all who saw it; and thus was hurried to everlasting punishment. The heads of many of the slain were carried to Antioch in triumph. This battle was fought in the beginning of Lent.

Meanwhile, many of the tribe of the "Amiralii", [1] coming from Babylon, [2] had got into Antioch. Now our army had built a fort before the gate where there is a bridge and a mosque, and Raymond and Bohemond had gone to the gate of St. Simeon for provisions, when the garrison of the town made a desperate sally, and killing many of our men, drove the rest before them as far as their camp. The day following they attacked Raymond and Bohemond, and put to the sword a thousand of their troops; the chiefs escaped by a precipitate retreat. The Franks, enraged at these two defeats, drew up their forces in order of battle on the plains before the city gates. The Infidels were not slow in drawing out their troops to meet them. The Christians, raising the battle-cry of the cross, charged the enemy so furiously at the very first onset that they at once gave way and fled to the city. But when they reached the narrow bridge, numbers either fell by the sword or were drowned in the river; for few were able to pass the bridge, and the stream flowed with blood. There twelve of the Amiralii were killed, and the Lord gave his people a great victory. The day following, when the citizens had buried the dead, our soldiers dug up the corpses, and despoiling them of their palls, with the gold and silver ornaments, they hurled their heads over the city walls.

And now all the hopes and haughtiness of the citizens had vanished; for Tancred, carefully guarding the fort already mentioned before the city gate, cut off all chance of their obtaining supplies of victuals. Then Firouz, one of the Amiralii [3] of the Turkish nation, with whom Bohemond


[1] Henry of Huntingdon appears to have misinterpreted the authority from which he obtained his information. See note below.

[2] The Egyptian Babylon, built by Cambyses.

[3] It has been conjectured that the "Amiralii" were not a tribe or a family; but that the Latin writers have thus travestied the Arabian title of Amers or Emirs. Roger of Wendover substitutes Emifer for Firouz, as the proper name of this individual.

A.D. 1098.] THE CRUSADERS BESIEGED IN ANTIOCH. 233

had encouraged an intimacy, foreseeing the fate that awaited his friends, delivered to Bohemond those towers which were in his power. Accordingly, when flags were hoisted on the towers, the Franks broke down the gates and burst into the city. Those of the Turks who made any resistance were slaughtered; others made their escape from the city; some got into the upper hold. Axianus, [1] the lord of the city, attempting to escape, was made prisoner by the Arminians, and his head was brought to Bohemond. Antioch was taken on the 3rd of June [A.D. 1098].

Then Corboran, commander-in-chief of the army of the Sultan of Persia, with the kings of Damascus and Jerusalem, assembled Turks, Arabs, Saracens, Azimites, Curts, Persians, and Augulans, in numbers like the sand of the sea, to encompass the Franks. So Antioch was again besieged. Corboran posted part of his troops in the higher fort, who kept our army in alarm night and day. With the rest of his force he blockaded the city, so that no provisions could be brought in. On the third day the Christians sallied forth against the enemy, thinking that they could meet them fairly in the field; but the number and strength of the enemy were such that our people were compelled to retreat within the walls, not without great loss from the enemy's arms, as well as from the crush at the city gate. On the morrow, four of the Christian leaders, William [of Grantmesnil] and another William, and Alberic and Lambert, made their escape secretly to the sea, by the gate of St. Simeon, and by their contrivance all the victualling ships went with them. Meanwhile, the Franks were so galled by the attacks of the garrison in the upper fort, that they built a wall to shut them in. Hope increased on the side of the Infidels, and famine on that of the Christians. While they were in expectation of the supplies promised by the emperor, a hen was sold for fifteen shillings, an egg for two shillings, and a nut for one penny. They cooked and ate leaves of trees and thistles, and greedily devoured


[1] It is difficult to discover under this Latinized version the Oriental name of this lord of Antioch. It has been given as Akky-Sian.

234 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

the softened hides of horses and asses. Moreover, Stephen, count of Chartres, deserting his friends with unmanly weakness, met the emperor advancing, and induced him to retire by telling him with tears that all the Franks had perished. The faithful, therefore, were in the utmost despair, being so reduced by famine that they could not even bear the weight of their armour. And now a fiery light flashed from heaven over the Turkish army, and the Lord appeared in a vision to one of his faithful servants, and said, "Carry this message to the children of the West. Behold, I have given the city of Nice into your hands, and have covered you in all your battles with the Infidels; and I gave you also the city of Antioch. But when you had taken triumphant possession, you committed fornication both with the strange women and the Christian, so that your ill savour has ascended on high". Then the man of God fell at his feet, saying, "Help, Lord, thy people in their great affliction". And the Lord answered, "I have helped them, and will yet help them. Tell my people, that if they return to me, I will return to them; and within five days I myself will be their defender". There also appeared a vision of St. Andrew the apostle to a certain priest, revealing to him where the spear which pierced our Saviour would be found; the truth of which the priest confirmed to the people by an oath.

The Christians, then, after fasting for three days, and solemn processions, and the celebration of masses and giving of alms, with tears and confession of their sins, marched against the enemy, the Lord himself being their leader. The first rank was commanded by Hugh the Great and the Earl of Flanders; the second by Duke Godfrey and Baldwin; the third by Robert, the brave Norman; the fourth division, under the command of the Bishop of Puy and William of Montpelier, including the followers of Count Raymond, was left to guard the city; the fifth was under Tancred and Count Richard; the sixth was under Bohemond and the Count de Roussillon; the seventh, dedicated to the honour of the Holy Spirit, was under the command of Reginald. Meanwhile, the bishops and priests, and clerks and monks, in their sacred vestments, were to be seen on the battlements chanting litanies to God; and

A.D. 1098.] THE SARACENS DEFEATED. 235

there appeared to them a heavenly host, mounted on white horses, and with flaming arms, their leaders being St. George, St. Mercurius, and St Demetrius. Corboran drew out his countless army, exulting in anticipated triumph; he also caused large quantities of straw to be set on fire upon the opposite hill, that the dense smoke might blind the Christian troops; but the Lord, who rules the elements, made the wind to change, so that the Infidels were suffocated with the smoke, and took to flight. The Christians pursued them with great slaughter, and the booty was greater than any taken in these wars. Upon seeing this, the Amiralian [1] who had the custody of the higher fort surrendered it, and became a Christian. This victory the Lord wrought on the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, and his name only was exalted on that day. The Christians, rejoicing, remained in this country until the kalends [the 1st] of November.

Meanwhile, one af the chiefs named Raymond Pilet, placing himself at the head of some troops, took a castle called Thalamania. From thence he marched to a town named Marra, which was full of Saracens who came from Alef. The Infidels attacked him, and at first were obliged to give way, but, rallying, the Franks were at length defeated with great loss. In the month of November [2] all the Chistian princes collected their forces to march to Jerusalem. The fourth day before the beginning of October [2] they reached Marra, and having constructed a wooden tower on four wheels, with other devices, they took the place by assault on the 11th of December. They halted there over Christmas, being detained a month and four days, and their march to Jerusalem was interrupted by the disputes which arose between Bohemond and Raymond for the possession of Antioch. This delay occasioned so great a scarcity of provisions that the Christians were compelled to cook and eat portions of the dead bodies of the Infidels. Departing on the 14th of January, they took


[1] The Emir? See note 3, p. 232.

[2] Roger de Wendover says "September", both in regard to this and the preceding paragraph. It would appear from the subsequent dates that Henry of Huntingdon is here correct; but for October we must read December, in the next sentence.

236 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

two towns, full of all necessaries; they then took Zaphaila, and next a rich town in the valley of Desem. In the middle of February they sat down before the castle of Archis, the siege of which detained them three months, and there they celebrated the feast of Easter; and there, also, Anselm de Ripemont, a brave knight, was killed by the hurling of a stone, as were also William of Picardy, and many others. The King of Camela made his peace with the invading army. Meanwhile, part of it took Tortosa and Maraclea; but the Emir of Gibel came to terms. They then appeared before Tripolis, and slaughtered so many of the citizens that all the waters of the city and the very cisterns were red with blood. Upon this the Prince of Tripoli gave 15,000 bezants and 15 valuable horses, releasing also 300 foreign pilgrims, to induce the Franks to spare Tripoli, and Archis which also belonged to him; they therefore passed through his territories by the castle of Bethelon, and arrived on Ascension day at a town on the sea-coast called Beyrout. From thence they marched to Sidon, thence to Tyre, thence to Acre, thence to Caiaphas, and reached Caesarea at Whitsuntide. From thence they marched to the town of St. George, [1] and thence to Jerusalem, to which they laid siege on the 8th of the ides of June [6th of June, 1099]. The Duke of Normandy took post on the north, Count Robert on the east, Duke Godfrey and Tancred on the west, and Count Raymond on the south, on Mount Sion. After many assaults, the besiegers constructed a very lofty tower of wood; but the Infidels having built against it stone forts, our people took down the wooden tower, and rebuilt it on another side of the city which was less defended. From thence they made their last assault, and, mounting the walls with scaling-ladders, they stormed the city. Many of the Infidels were slain in the court of the Temple. Then the faithful servants of the Lord purified the holy city from the abominations of the unbelieving people, and Duke Godfrey of Bouillon was created king of Jerusalem. He was succeeded by Baldwin, his valiant brother; and, after him, Baldwin II., their


[1] Ramula, where there was a famous church dedicated to this saint.

A.D. 1097-8.] WILLIAM II. IN NORMANDY. 237

nephew, was chosen king. Geoffrey, [1] duke of Anjou, was the next king of Jerusalem, and his son Geoffrey succeeded him. They were engaged in numerous and terrible wars, and reduced much territory to subjection to the Christians, with all the neighbouring towns, except Ascalon, which still persists in its impiety. [2]

[A.D. 1097.] William the younger, in the ninth year of his reign, [3] was in Normandy, which had been left in pledge to him by his brother Robert, on his going to Jerusalem. Having disposed of all affairs there at his own will, he returned to England on the eve of Easter, landing at Arundel. He kept the feast of Whitsuntide, wearing his crown, at Windsor; afterwards he undertook an expedition into Wales, with a large army, in which he often routed the enemy's forces, but as often lost many of his own in the mountain passes. Finding, therefore, that the Welsh were better defended by the nature of the country than by their prowess in arms, he ordered castles to be built on the borders, and returned into England. Archbishop Anselm now went abroad, because the perverse king suffered nothing right to be done in England. The country was heavily burthened by taxes without end for building the wall round the Tower of London and for the works of the royal palace at Westminster, besides the rapacity which the king's household exercised in the royal progresses, like an invading army. At the feast of St. Martin the king crossed over to Normandy, having first dispatched Edgar the Etheling with an army into Scotland, where he defeated the king, Duvenal, in a great battle, and established his kinsman Edgar, the son of King Malcolm, on the throne. A comet appeared this year.

[A.D. 1098.] William the younger spent the eleventh year of his reign in Normandy, continually occupied by rebellions and hostile encounters. Meanwhile, his English subjects were oppressed and ground down by the most infamous


[1] Fulk, not Geoffrey, earl of Anjou. See note afterwards under the year 1128.

[2] This was the state of affairs in Palestine at the time Henry of Huntingdon wrote, a few years before the third Crusade, in which Richard Coeur de Lion bore so distinguished a part.

[3] Henry of Eluntingdon now returns to the series of English history, which he had interrupted to introduce an account of the second Crusade.

238 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

taxes and exactions. In the summer, blood was seen to burst forth from a spring at Finchamstead, in Berkshire; and after that the heavens seemed to be on fire for almost the whole of a night. The same year died Walkelin, bishop of Winchester, and Hugh, earl of Shropshire, [1] was killed by the Irish. [2] His brother, Robert de Belesme, succeeded him.

William the younger came over to England in the twelfth year of his reign, and kept court for the first time in the new palace at Westminster. Upon his entering the hall to inspect it, some of his attendants observed that it was large enough, others that it was much larger than was necessary; to which the king replied, that it was not half large enough: [3] a speech fitting a great king, though it was little to his credit. Soon afterwards, news was brought to him, while hunting in the New Forest, that his family were besieged in Maine. He instantly rode to the coast, and took ship, whereupon the sailors said to him, "Wherefore, great king, will you have us put to sea in this violent storm? Have you no fear of perishing in the waves"? To which the king replied, "I never yet heard of a king who was drowned". He had a safe passage, and on his landing gained more honour and glory than he had done before in all his life; for he marched into Maine, and drove out the Earl Elias, and reduced the whole province to subjection; after which he returned to England. That year the king gave the bishopric of Durham to Ranulf, his pleader, [4] or,


[1] The title was afterwards Earl of Shrewsbury.

[2] The Saxon Chronicle says "by foreign pirates in Anglesey"; Florence of Worcester, "by the king of Norway and his men".

[3] Other chroniclers report the king to have added that "it would only be a bed-room in proportion to the palace which he intended to build".

[4] The Saxon Chronicle calls him the king's chaplain, who held his courts (gemot) over all England. The administration of the law was now and for a long period in the hands of ecclesiastics. One of the bishops was generally the king's chancellor or justiciary. This Ranulf appears to have been a sort of judge in eyre or of circuit, and a very corrupt one. Ingram quotes curious notice of him from the Chronicle of Peterborough, published by Sparke, typis Bowyer, 1723, which informs us that he wrote a book (now lost), "ON THE LAWS OF ENGLAND". Ingram says, "He may therefore be safely called the father of English lawyers, or at least law-writers. It was probably the foundation of the later works of Bracton, Fleta, Fortescue, and others".

A.D. 1100.] WILLIAM II SLAIN. 239

rather, his perverter of justice, the instrument of his exactions, which exhausted all England. This year also died Osmond, bishop of Salisbury.

In the yesur of our Lord 1100, in the thirteenth year of his reign, King William's cruel life was brought to an end by an unhappy death. For after holding his court in great splendour, according to the custom of his predecessors, at Gloucester during Christmas, at Winchester during Easter, and during Whitsuntide at London, he went to hunt in the New Forest on the morrow of the kalends [the 3nd] of August. While he was hunting, Walter Tyrrel unintentionally shot the king with an tarrow aimed at a stag. The king, who was pierced through the heart, fell dead without uttering a word. A short time before, blood had been seen to spring from the ground in Berkshire. The king was rightly cut off in the midst of his injustice. For he was savage beyond all men; and by the advice of evil counsellors, and such he always chose, he was false to his subjects, and worse to himself; he ruined his neighbours by extortions, [1] and his own people by continued levies for his armies, and endless fines and exactions. England could not breathe under the burdens laid upon it. For the king's minions seized on and subverted everything; so that they even committed the most violent adulteries with impunity. Whatever wickedness existed before was now brought to the highest pitch; whatever had no existence before sprung up in these times. The impious king, hateful alike to God and the people, on the day that he died held in his own hands the archbishopric of Canterbury and the bishoprics of Winchester and Salisbury, besides eleven abbeys, which were farmed out. In short, whatever was pleasing to God was displeasing to this king and his minions; nor did he


[1] "Werra"; the Anglo-Saxon, Were-gelt; Capitis estimatio, Dufresne, the fine or penalty paid for homicide, etc., which, by the old Anglo-Saxon laws was defined in a graduated scale according to the rank of the party concerned. Henry of Huntingdon seems in this and other instances to apply the word "werra" to the fines or "reliefs" payable to the king on the renewal of their homage by those holding under him, and on other accidents of the feudal tenure; but I cannot find any authority for such a use of the word werra in Dufresne or the other Glossaries. It need hardly be remarked, that all these dues were, by the tyranny of the Norman kings, made an instrument of arbitrary exactions.

240 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

practise his infamous debauchery in secret, but openly in the light of day. He was buried on the morrow at Winchester, and Henry, his brother, was there chosen king; and he bestowed the bishopic of Winchester on William Giffard. Then, going to London, the king was there consecrated by Maurice, bishop of London, having first promised to restore good laws, and to observe the cherished customs of the nation. When Anselm, the archbishop, heard of these events, he returned to England, and soon afterwards celebrated the king's nuptials with Maud, daughter of Malcolm king of Scotland and Margaret his queen. After the city of Jerusalem was taken, as before related, and a great victory subsequently gained against the army of the emirs of Babylon, Robert, duke of Normandy, returned to his States in the month of August, and was received by all his people with great rejoicings. Thomas, archbishop of York, a prelate of great genius and a friend to the Muses, was taken from among men.

King Henry held his court during Christmas at Westminster, and during Easter at Winchester. Soon afterwards, the great men of the realm became disaffected towards him in consequence of his brother Robert's claims on the crown, which he was preparing to assert at the head of an army. The king fitted out a naval armament to prevent his landing, but part of it went over to the duke, on his arrival. He landed at Portsmouth on the 1st of August, and the king levied a large army to oppose him. But the great men on both sides, being averse to a fratricidal war, established peace between them upon the terms that Robert should receive from England 3000 silver marks [1] annually; and that the survivor of the two brothers should be heir to the other, dying without issue male. To the performance of this treaty, twelve nobles of the highest rank on both sides solemnly swore. Robert then remained peaceably at his brother's court till the feast of St. Michael, and then returned to his own dominions. Ranulph, the crafty bishop of Durham, [2] who had been thrown into prison by King Henry, at the instance of the "witan" of England, having


[1] The silver mark was worth in these times 160 pennies; and a pound weight of silver was coined into 240 pennies.

[2] The corrupt judge and minister of William Rufus, before mentioned.

A.D. 1102.] REIGN OF HENRY I. 241

made his escape from the Tower of London, went over to Normandy, and was the means of fomenting the designs of Robert against his brother.

King Henry justly banished the traitorous and perfidious Earl Robert de Belesme. The king had laid siege to his castle of Arundel, but finding it difficult to reduce, he built forts against it, and then went and besieged Bridgenorth, 'till that castle was surrendered. Robert de Belesme then departed to Normandy in great sorrow. At the feast of St. Michael, the same year, Anselm, the archbishop, held a synod at London, in which he prohibited the English priests from living with concubines, [1] a thing not before forbidden. Some thought it would greatly promote purity; while others saw danger in a strictness which, requiring a continence above their strength, might lead them to fall into horrible uncleanness, to the great disgrace of their Christian profession. In this synod, several abbots, who had acquired their preferment by means contrary to the will of God, lost them by a sentence conformable to his will. The year following, Robert, duke of Normandy, came over to England, and by the king's craftiness was induced, for various reasons, to release him from his obligation of paying the pension of 3000 marks. This year also blood was seen to spring forth from a field at Hampstead, [2] in Berkshire. In the course of the next year, quarrels arose again on several accounts between the king and his brother; whereupon the king sent some knights over to Normandy, who were harboured by the duke's rebellious nobles, and, plundering and burning on his territories, did no small damage to the duchy. William, earl of Morton, [3] also,


[1] "Uxores", a term commonly applied to either the wives or concubines of priests, the former being regarded as no better than the latter. "The histories of these times are full of the commotions excited by those priests who had either concubines or wives".- Murdoch's Mosheim, vol. ii. p. 342. Henry of Huntingdon, as the son of an ecclesiastic, speaks with some reserve of the decree of the synod, which, an archdeacon himself, he could not directly impugn. See also p. 252.

[2] Finchamstead? See the year 1098.

[3] This word is always written in Henry of Huntingdon's MSS. Morteuil or Moretuil, and generally by the Latin Chroniclers "de Moritono". The name was taken from a town in Normandy, formerly written Moretaine, now Mortaigne.

242 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

whose possessions were confiscated by the king for treason, departed to Normandy. He was a man of high character, consummate in counsel and energetic in action, so that he imposed and inflicted on the royal troops a most oppressive ransom. [1] This year there appeared four white circles round the sun.

[A.D. 1105.] King Henry, in the fifth year of his reign, sailed over to Normandy, to make war on his brother. He won Caen by bribery, and Baieux by force, with the aid of the Count of Anjou. He took also many other towns; and all the principal men of Normandy submitted to him, After this, in the month of August, he returned to England. The year following, the Duke of Normandy came amicably to the king at Northampton, entreating to be restored to his brotherly favour; but Providence not permitting their reconciliation, the duke sailed for Normandy in great anger, the king following him before August. Upon his laying siege to the castle of Tenerchebrai, [2] the Duke of Normandy, having with him Robert de Belesme and the Earl of Morton, with all their adherents, advanced against him. The king, on his side, was not unprepared; for there were with him almost all the chief men of Normandy, and the flower of the forces of England, Anjou, and Brittany. The shrill trumpets sounded, and the duke, with his few followers, boldly charged the king's numerous troops, and, well trained in the wars of Jerusalem, his terrible onset repulsed the royal army. William, earl of Morton, also attacking it from point to point, threw it into confusion. The king and the duke, with great part of their troops, fought on foot, that they might make a determined stand; but the Breton knights bore down on the flank of the duke's force, which, unable to sustain the shock, was presently routed. Robert de Belesme, perceiving this, saved himself by flight; but Robert, duke of Normandy, and William, earl of Morton, were made prisoners. Thus the Lord took vengeance on Duke Robert; because when He had exalted him to great glory in the holy wars, he rejected the offer of the kingdom of Jerusalem, preferring a service of ease and sloth in Normandy,


[1] "Werram". See note just before., p. 239.

[2] Now Tinchebrai.

A.D. 1107-1108.] ROBERT, DUKE OF NORMANDY, PRISONER. 243

to serving the Lord zealously in the defence of the holy city. The Lord, therefore, condemned him to lasting inactivity and perpetual imprisonment. On the day of our Lord's supper, [1] two moons appeared in the heavens, one in the east and one in the west.

In the seventh year of King Henry's reign, his enemies being now destroyed or reduced to submission, the king settled affairs in Normandy at his own will and pleasure, then returned to England. His illustrious brother Robert and the Earl of Morton were thrown into dungeons; then the king, now triumphant and his power undisputed, held his court at Windsor during Easter, which was attended by the great nobles both of England and Normandy with great reverence and fear. For, before that, while he was young, and even after he became king, he was held in the greatest contempt. But God, who judges otherwise than the sons of men, who exalteth the humble and subdueth the proud, stripped Robert of the honour which he was everywhere celebrated, and caused the name of the despised Henry to be famous throughout the land; and the Almighty bestowed on him three gifts - wisdom, victory, and wealth, which made him more prosperous than all his predecessors, and he was able to enrich his adherents. This year died Bishop Maurice, the founder of the new church of London, [2] and Edgar, king of the Scots, who, with the consent of King Henry, was succeeded by his brother Alexander.

A.D. 1108.] King Henry went over to Normandy in the eighth year of his reign, on the decease of Philip, king of France, to resist his son Philip, the new king, who demanded an enormous contribution. [3] The same year, on the death of Gerard, archbishop of York, he was succeeded by Thomas. In the course of the year following, there came ambassadors, remarkable for their great stature and


[1] Maundy Thursday, the day on which the Eucharist was established. St. Paul's Cathedral, burnt to the ground in 1087, and which was now being rebuilt.

[2] "Werra", again, see before, pp. 239 and 242. Was it here the tax, fine, or "relief" due to the new King of France from the Duke of Normandy on renewing his homage? The Saxon Chronicle says there were "many struggles" between the two kings at this time, but we are indebted to Henry of Huntingdon for informing us what was the disputed matter.

244 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

splendid attire, from Henry, the Roman emperor, [1] demanding the king's daughter in marriage for their master. He received the envoys at London, where he held his court during Whitsuntide, with extraordinary magnificence, and the betrothal of his daughter to the emperor was confirmed by oath. Anselm, the archbishop and Christian philosopher, died in Lent. The year following, the nuptials of the queen's daughter [2] with the emperor were solemnized, to speak briefly, with fitting splendour. The king taxed every hide of land in England three shillings for his daughter's marriage. [3] The same year, the king held his court during Whitsuntide at New Windsor, which he had himself built; and he deprived of their estates those who had been traitors to him, namely, Philip de Braiose, William Malet, and William Bainard; but Elias, the count of Maine, who held it as a fief under King Henry, was put to death. Upon this, the Count of Anjou got possession of his daughter, with the county of Maine, which he kept against Henry's will. This year a comet made a very unusual appearance; for, rising in the east, when it had mounted in the sky it seemed to take a retrograde course. The same year, Nicholas, the father of the author of this Book, departed this life, and was buried at Lincoln; of him it is said:-

"Star of the church, that set in gloom,
Light of the clergy, t,o the tomb
Quench'd in its darkness, Lincoln's son,
The honour'd Nicholas, is gone.
But the light bursts forth the heart to cheer,
And the star, seen through the dimming tear,
Dawns in a brighter hemisphere".

The writer has inserted this notice in his work, that he may obtain from his readers some equivalent for his


[1] Henry V. [of Lorraine], emperor of Germany.

[2] Matilda, better known to the reader of English history as the Emma Maud. Henry the emperor died shortly afterwards, without her he any children by him; and she then married Geoffrey Plantagenet, count Anjou, by whom she had Henry, afterwards king of England. •

[3] One of the three especial taxes, to which the kings of England were entitled by ancient custom, was this on the marriage of his eldest daghter. There was a similar levy on the knighthood of his eldest son. This was due for the king's ransom when he was taken prisoner by the enemy.

A.D. 1111-1116.] HENRY I. 245

industry, so far as they may be disposed, with a feeling of pious regard, to join him in the prayer, "May his soul rest in peace! Amen". [1]

[A.D. 1111.] In the eleventh year of his reign, King Henry went over to Normandy, because the Count of Anjou held Maine against his will, and he wasted his territories with fire and sword, according to the laws of war. Robert, earl of Flanders, now died, who gained distinguished honour in the Jerusalem expedition, whose memory will remain for ever. He was succeeded by his son Baldwin, a young and valiant prince. The next year the king banished from Normandy the Count of Evreux and William Crispin; and he took prisoner Robert de Belesme, the great offender mentioned before, and the year following, on his return to England, condemned him to imprisonment for life at Wareham. In the succeeding year, the king gave the archbishopric of Canterbury to Ralph, bishop of Rochester; and then, also, on the death of Thomas, archbishop of York, he was succeeded by Thurstan. There arose between the two archbishops, Ralph and Thurstan, a violent controversy, Ralph refusing submission to the archbishop of Canterbury, according to ancient custom. The cause was often heard before the king, and the subject was canvassed at Rome, but no decision has been yet made. This year the king led an army into Wales, and the Welsh submitted to his will, his power being so overwhelming. A bright comet appeared towards the end of May. The king crossed over to Normandy, and the next year caused all the chief men of the duchy to take the oath of allegiance to his son William, and afterwards he returned to England.

[A.D. 1116.] King Henry, in the sixteenth year of his reign, was present at Christmas at the dedication of the church of St. Albans, which was consecrated by Robert, the very reverend bishop of Lincoln, on the request of Richard, the well-known abbot. When the king crossed over the sea to Normandy, at Easter, a violent quarrel arose between him and the King of France. This was the


[1] This notice does hononr to our historian's filial piety. Nicholas, his father, was probably archdeacon of Oxford. See Memoirs of Henry of Huntingdon in the Preface to this volume.

346 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

origin of it: Theobald, count of Blois, nephew of King Henry, had taken arms against his liege lord the King of France, and the King of England had sent troops to his aid, to the no small annoyance of the French king. In the course of the year following, therefore, King Henry was in great difficulty; for the King of France, and the Count of Flanders, and the Count of Anjou had sworn together to wrest Normandy from King Henry, and give it to William, the son of the late duke. Many, also, of his own nobility revolted against the king, much to his detriment. However, he was not unprepared, for he had secured the alliance of Theobald, already named, and the Count of Brittany. The King of France and the Earl of Flanders entered Normandy at the head of an army, but after staying there one night, they were struck with panic at the approach of King Henry with the troops of England, Normandy, and Brittany, and they retreated to their own dominions without fighting a battle. This year the English were grievously burdened with continual taxes and various exactions occasioned by the king's wants. There were thunder and hailstorms on the kalends [the 1st] of December, and in the same months the heavens appeared red, as if they were on fire. At the same time there was a great earthquake in Lombardy, which threw down, overwhelmed, and destroyed churches and towers, and houses and men. In the course of the year following, the king was grievously troubled by the continuance of the warfare of the before-mentioned princes, until the valiant Count of Flanders was unfortunateiy wounded in a mutiny of his troops at Eu, in Normandy, and retired to his own States. Moreover, Robert earl of Mellent, the greatest politician among all those who had dwelt at Jerusalem, and chancellor of King Henry, exhibited his folly in the end; for when he would neither at the persuasion of the priests, give up the lands which he had appropriated, nor make the confession which it was his duty to do, he fell away and died, as it were, of initial weakness. Well then was it said, "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God". Then, also, Queen Matilda ended her days; of whose gentleness and excellence of mind it has been said:-

A.D. 1118-1119.] DEATH OF QUEEN MATILDA. 247

"Undeceiv'd by fortune's wiles,
Calm when she withdrew her smiles,
Mirth and joy were all her fears;
Crosses never cost her tears.
Lady fair! a chasten'd grace
Deck'd with modesty thy face.
Queen! yet lowliness in thee,
Temper'd thy great majesty.
At the earliest dawn of May [1]
Ent'ring on an endless day,
Thou wert wrapt in clouds of light,
We were left in darkest night".

[A.D. 1119.] King Henry, in the fifty-second year after the Normans conquered England, and in the nineteenth year of his reign, fought a great battle with the King of France. [2] That king placed the first division of his army under the command of William, the son of Robert, King Henry's brother, supporting him with the main body of his army. On the other side, King Henry posted his [Norman] vassals in the first line; the second, consisting of his household troops, he led himmelf on horseback; in the third, he placed his sons, with the main body of infantry. At the outset, the first line of the French unhorsed and quickly dispersed the Norman knights. It afterwards attacked the division which Henry himself commanded, and was itself routed. The troops under the command of the two kings now met, and the battle raged fiercely; the lances were shivered, and they fought with swords. At this time, William Crispin [2] twice struck King Henry on the head, and though his helmet was sword-proof, the violence of the blow forced it a little into the king's forehead, so that blood gushed forth. The king, however, returned the blow on his assailant with such force, that though his helmet was impenetrable, the horse and its


[1] Queen Matilda died on the lst of May, 1118.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon omits mentioning in the text of his history where the battle was fought, but the verses which follow supply the name of the the place, Noyon. We are indebted to Henry of Huntingdon for a full account of this very important and decisive action, of which the Saxon Chronicle gives only a slight notice. Indeed, from this time, or shortly afterwards, Henry of Huntingdon assumes the character of an original historian of events contemporary with the period in which he lived.

[3] Count of Evreaux.

248 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

rider were struck to the ground, and the knight was presently taken prisoner in the king's presence. Meanwhile, the infantry, with whom the king's sons were posted, not being yet engaged, but waiting for the signal, levelled their spears, and charged the enemy. Upon which the French were suddenly daunted, and broke their ranks, and fled. King Henry, thus victorious, remained on the field until all the nobles of the defeated army were taken prisoners and brought before him. He then returned to Rouen, while the bells were ringing, and the clergy were chanting hymns of thanksgiving to the Lord God of hosts. This glorious victory has been thus celebrated in heroic verse:-

"Where Noyon's tow'rs rise o'er the plain,
And Oise flows onward to the Seine,
Two banner'd hosts in ranks advance
: Here, Lewis leads the pow'rs of France;
Henry of England, there, commands
His English and his Norman bands.
See his arm the foremost crush,
The island spearmen onward rush;
While the bold chivalry of France
Recoils before the Norman lance;
And muttered oaths reveal their shame,
As they curse the conqueror's name.
So distant ages long shall tell
Of gallant Henry, first to quell
On his own soil the Frenchman's pride,
Where Noyon's field with blood was dyed;
And conq'ring England's mighty son
The spoils and laurell'd trophies won".

The same year, Pope Gelasius died, and was buried at Cluny. Then Guy, archbishop of Vienna, was elected pope, and took the name of Calixtus. He held a council at Rheims, from whence he journeyed to Gisors to meet King Henry, and the great pope and great king conferred together. Baldwin, count of Flanders, died of the wounds which he received in Normandy, and was succeeded by his kinsman Charles, son of Canute, king of Denmark. In the year of our Lord 1120, all his enemies being subdued, and peace restored in France, King Henry came over to England. But in the passage, the king's two sons,

A.D. 1120-1121.] SHIPWRECK OF HENRY I.'S SONS. 249

William and Eichard, and his daughter and niece, with the Earl of Chester, and many nobles, were shipwrecked, besides the king's butlers, stewards, and bakers, all or most of whom were said to have been tainted with the sin of sodomy. Behold the terrible vengeance of God! Sudden death swallowed them up unshriven, though there was no wind and the sea was calm. Of whom the poet thus wrote- -

"When England's chiefs, with joyous boasts,
Exulting sought her sea-girt coasts,
The French chastis'd, the Normans quell'd;
Homeward their prosperous course they held.
And o'er the tranquil straits they steer'd,
While yet no adverse sign appeared;
Th' horizon lowering suddenly,
By the Almighty's stern decree,
The bark which bore a royal freight
Was tempest torn; and, woful fate!
Henry's brave sons and daughter fair,
With England's chiefest, perish'd there,
(Where now was mirth and revelry?)
Engulph'd beneath the raging sea".

[A.D. 1121.] King Henry spent Christmas at Bramton, with Theobald, count de Blois. After that he married at Windsor, Alice, daughter of the Duke of Louvain, on account of her beauty. At Easter he was at Berkeley; and at Whitsuntide, he and the new queen wore their crowns at London. In the summer, he led an army into Wales, and the Welsh came humbly to meet him, and agreed to all which his royal pleasure required. At Christmas, such a violent wind as has scarcely ever been known not only blew down houses, but towers built with masonry.

An elegy written in praise of the queen's beauty:-

"Why, royal Alice, does the Muse
To aid my song of thee refuse?
What if thy radiant charms amaze.
And we, in awe and silence, gaze!

"Not dazzl'd by thy diadem.
And many a sparkling precious gem,
We veil our sight in mute surprise.
But 'neath the lustre of thy eyes.

250 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

"All aids of Ormustent are scorn'd,
When charms are brightest unadorn'd;
But nature stamp'd her choicest grace
On thy fair form and beaming face.

"Though poor my lay. yet still I crave
You'll reckon me your humblest slave".

[A.D. 1122.] The year following, King Henry spent Christmas at Norwich, Easter at Northampton, and Whitsuntide at Windsor. From thence he went to London and into Kent, and afterwards he made a progress through Northumberland to Durham. That year died Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, and John, bishop of Bath. The next year the king spent Christmas at Dunstable, and from thence went to Berkhampstead. There the Almighty showed forth his righteous judgments in a remarkable manner. There was a certain chancellor of the king's, named Ralph, who had laboured under an infirmity of body for twenty years, but was constantly in court, more ready for any roguery than younger men, oppressing the innocent, and robbing many of their inheritance, while he boasted that, though his body was feeble, his mind was vigorous. This man, having to entertain the king, was conducting him to his house, when, on reaching the summit of a hill from which the mansion could be seen, he was so elated that he fell from his horse, and a monk rode over him, [1] so that he received such bruises that he died a few days afterwards. What a fall had this man's pride when God willed it! From thence the king went to Woodstock that delightful place, which was both a royal residence and a preserve of beasts of chase. Robert, bishop of Lincoln, died while he was there with the king, [2] whose epitaph runs thus:-


[1] Another account relates that it was a monk of St. Albans, whose lands he had unjustly seized.- Roger of Wendover.

[2] Robert de Bloet, the author's patron, already mentioned, see p. 224. The circumstances of his death are thus related in Henry of Huntingdon's Book, "De Contemptu Mundi"; and nearly in the same words in the Saxon Chronicle: "The king was riding in his deer-park, and Roger, bishop oi Salisbury, was on one side of him, and Robert Bloet, bishop of Lincoln on the other; and they rode there talking. Then the Bishop of Lincoln sank down and said to the king, 'My lord king; I am dying'! And the king alighted from his horse, and took him between his arms and bade them bear him to his inn, and he soon lay there dead; and they took his body with much pomp to Lincoln and buried him before St Mary's altar".

A.D. 1123.] EPITAPH OF BISHOP BLOET. 251

"Immortal honour and enduring fame
Deck Robert's, best of bishops, reverend name,
Wealth, union rare! with lowliness he join'd,
And pow'r with humble piety combin'd.
Patient amidst the adverse strokes of fate,
A judge, to sinners ev'n, compassionate;
His flock ne'er found him an imperious lord,
They bow'd submissive to their father's word;
His purpose them, with sympathizing care,
To shield from evil, or their sorrows share.
The tenth of Jan'ry clos'd this false world's dreams,
And saw him wake to truth's eternal beams".

Afterwards, at the feast of the Purification, the king gave the archbishopric of Canturbury to William of Curboil, prior of Chick. [1] During Easter, he was at Winchester, where he gave the bishopric of Lincoln to Alexander, an excellent man, who was nephew to Roger, bishop of Salisbury. [2] Roger was justiciary of all England, and second only to the king. The king also gave the bishopric of Bath to Godfrey, the queen's chaplain. About Whitsuntide he crossed the sea. Robert, earl of Mellent, had revolted from him after a public quarrel; and the king besieged and took his castle of Pont-Audemer. The next year the king bad a glorious triumph; for William de Tankerville, his chamberlain, fought a pitched battle with the Earl of Mellent, in which he took prisoners the Earl of Mellent and Hugh de Montfort, his brother-in-law, and Hugh, the son of Gervase, and delivered them to the king, who committed them to close custody. The same year died Teulf, bishop of Worcester, and Ernulf, bishop of Rochester. The year following the king was in Normandy,


[1] St. Osythe, in Essex, a priory rebuilt A.D. 1118 for canons of the Augustine order, of which there are considerable remains".- Ingram.

[2] So in the text of Henry of Huntingdon, though Ingram says that the use of this name (in the Saxon Chronicle) "may appear rather an anticipation of the modern [title of the] see of Salisbury, which was not then in existence, the borough of Old Sarum, or Sares-berie, being then the episcopal seat; but as 'Sarum' is a barbarous and unauthorized corruption of 'Sorbiodunum' or 'Sar-down', that appellation would be equally improper".

252 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

and while there he gave the bishopric of Worcester to Simeon, the queen's chaplain, and the bishopric of Chichester to Sifrid, abbot of Glastonbury. Moreover, William, the archbishop, gave the bishopric of Rochester to John, his archdeacon. At Easter, John of Crema, [1] cardinal of Rome, came into England, and visited all the bishoprics and abbeys, not without having many gifts made him. At the feast of the nativity of St. Mary he held a synod at London. Now as Moses, God's scribe, records in Holy Writ the sins as well as the virtues even of his own ancestors, for instance, the incest of Lot, the wickedness of Reuben, the treacherous murders of Simeon and Levi, and the cruelty of Joseph's brothers, it is fit that I should conform to the true rules of history in speaking of the evil as well as the good. If in so doing I shall give offence to any Roman, even though he be a prelate, let him hold his peace, lest he should be thought to be a disciple of John of Crema. This cardinal, who in the council bitterly inveighed against the concubines of priests, saying that it was a great scandal that they should rise from the side of a harlot to make Christ's body, was the same night surprised in company with a prostitute, though he had that very day consecrated the host. The fact was so notorious that it could not be denied, and it is not proper that it should be concealed. The high honour with which the cardinal had been everywhere received was now converted to disgrace, and, by the judgment of God, he turned his steps homewards in confusion and dishonour. [2] The same year died the Emperor Henry, who was son-in-law of King Henry. The severity which the king exercised towards offenders is worth mentioning; for he caused almost all the moneyers of England to be mutilated of certain members, and their hands to be struck off because they surreptitiously debased the coinage. It was the year of greatest scarcity in our times; a horse-load of corn was sold for six shillings. This


[1] Cremona? But there is a town called Crema, in the Bolognese.

[2] The cardinal's visitation is mentioned in the Saxon Chronicle, but we are indebted to Henry of Huntingdon for the bit of scandal with which his own account of it closes. Our archdeacon evidently enjoys the story, though he thought it necessary to introduce it with an apology.

A.D. 1126-1128.] ALEXANDER, BISHOP OF LINCOLN. 253

year, William, archbishop of Canterbury, and Thurstan, archbishop of York, and Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, [1] journeyed to Rome. Bishop Alexander's noble liberality and enduring reputation have been celebrated in heroic verse:-

"Illustrious Alexander, thy great name
Centres not in thyself alone its fame;
Widely diffus'd, thy nobleness of mind
Sheds its bright lustre over human kind.
Not for himself of wealth he gathers store;
The prelate gathers but to give the more;
Freely he gives, anticipating pray'rs,
Counting the people's wealth not his, but theirs.

The glory of his see, his clergy's pride.
His people's kind director, teacher, guide;
His yoke is light, love is with pow'r combin'd.
And liberty with decent order join'd.
His doctrines mild are drawn from holy writ.
His converse seasoned with a modest wit.
Long may he Lincoln's noble temple grace.
And higher raise her proud and ancient race"!

[A.D. 1136.] In the twenty-sixth year of his reign, King Henry spent Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide in Normandy, where he procured the ratification of the covenants of his great vassals in a manner befitting so powerful a king. [2] Returning to England, he brought with him his daughter the empress, the widow of the great prince before mentioned. Robert, bishop of Chester, [3] now died. The year following, the king held his court during Christmas at Windsor, from whence he proceeded to London. During


[1] To whom Henry of Huntingdon dedicated this History. It is supposed that our author accompanied his patron to Rome.

[2] The sense is very obscurely expressed, and there is nothing of the sort in the Saxon Chronicle under this year; but as it appears that the Empress Maud had now returned to her father after the emperor's death, Henry of Huntingdon probably means that the king obtained from his Norman barons an acknowledgment of the fealty due to her as his heir apparent; more especially as we find him taking the same course with the "head men of England, both clergy and laity", the year following.- See Sax. Chron.

[3] The present bishopric of Chester was one of the new sees founded after the Reformation; but the seat of the bishopric of Lichfield was removed in 1075 to Chester, and the bishops of Lichfield, who for a short time sat there, are sometimes styled bishops of Chester.

254 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON [BOOK VII.

Lent and Easter he was at Woodstock. While he was there he received this message: "Charles, earl of Flanders, your dearest friend, has been treacherously assassinated by his nobles in a church at Bruges; and the King of France has bestowed the earldom of Flanders on your nephew and enemy, William; whose power being established he has revenged the death of Charles by subjecting his murderers to various kinds of torture". Upon hearing this the king was in great trouble, and held a council at London during the Rogation days; and William, archbishop of Canterbury, was there also at his vill in Westminster. When the king went to Winchester at Whitsuntide, he sent his daughter to Normandy, to be married to the son of the Earl of Anjou, [1] and the king himself followed her in the month of August. Richard, bishop of London, having died, the king conferred the bishopric on Gilbert, a man of universal learning, Richard, bishop of Hereford, also now died.

[A.D. 1128.] Henry, the wise king, spent the whole of the next year in Normandy, and made a hostile incursion into France, because the French king supported his nephew and enemy. He encamped eight days at Epernon as securely as if he had been in his own dominions, and compelled King Lewis to withdraw his succour from the Earl of Flanders. While King Henry abode there he made inquiries concerning the origin and progress of the reign of the Franks; upon which some one present, who was not ill-informed, thus replied: "Dread king, the Franks, like most European nations, sprung from the Trojans. For Antenor and his followers, becoming fugitives after the fall of Troy, founded a city on the borders of Pannonia, called Sicambria. After the death of Antenor, these people set up two of their chiefs as governors, whose names were Turgot and Franction, from whom the Franks derived their name. After their deaths, Marcomirus was elected; he was the father of Pharamond, the first king of the Franks. King Pharamond was the father of Clovis the Long-haired, from whence the Frank kings were called


[1] The Empress Matilda now contracted a second marriage with Geoffrey, eldest son of Fulk, count of Anjou.

A.D. 1128.] THE KINGS OF THE FRANKS. 255

'long-haired'. On the death of Clovis he was succeeded by Merove, from whom the Frank kings were called Merovingians. Merove begat Childeric; Childeric, Clovis, who was baptized by St. Remi; Clovis, Clothaire; Clothaire, Chilperic; Chilperic, Clothaire II.; Clothaire II. begat Dagobert, a king of great renown and much beloved; Dagobert begat Clovis [II.]; Clovis had three sons by his pious queen Bathilde, viz. Clothaire, Childeric, and Theodoric; King Theodoric begat Childebert; Childebert, Dagobert [II.?]; Dagobert, Theodoric[II.?]; Theodoric, Clothaire[III.?], the last king of this line. Hilderic, the next king, received the tonsure, and was shut up in a monastery. In another line, Osbert was the father of Arnold, by a daughter of King Clothaire; Arnold begat St. Arnulf, who was afterwards bishop of Metz; St. Arnulf, Anchises; Anchises, Pepin, the mayor of the palace; Pepin, Charles Martel; Charles, King Pepin; King Pepin, Charles the Great, the emperor, a bright star, which eclipsed the lustre of all his predecessors and all his posterity; Charles begat Lewis the emperor; Lewis the emperor, Charles the Bald; Charles, King Lewis, father of Charles the Simple; Charles the Simple, Lewis [II.]; Lewis, Lothaire; Lothaire, Lewis, the last king of this line. On the death of Lewis, the Frank nobles chose for their king, Hugh, who was son of Hugh the Great. Hugh begat the pious King Robert. Robert had three sons, Hugh, the beloved duke; Henry, a most clement king; and Robert, duke of Burgundy. Henry begat King Philip, who ultimately became a monk, and Hugh the Great, who in the holy wars joined the other princes of Europe, and rescued Jerusalem from the Infidels, in the year of our Lord 1095. Philip was the father of Lewis, the king at present reigning. If he trod in the footsteps of his warlike ancestors, you, O king, would not now be so safe within his dominions". After this, King Henry withdrew into Normandy. And now, by the king's intrigues, a certain duke named Theodoric [1] came from out of Germany, having with him some Flemish nobles, and set up false pretensions to the possession of Flanders. William, the earl of Flanders, assembled troops, and


[1] Landgrave of Alsace.

256 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

marched to oppose him. The battle was fought with great bravery. Earl William supplied his inferiority in numbers by his irresistible valour. His armour all stained with the enemy's blood, his flaming sword hewed down the hostile ranks; and, unable to withstand the terrible force of his youthful arm, they fled in consternation. The victorious earl shut up the enemy in their camp, [1] which would have been surrendered on the morrow, but he received a slight wound in the hand, of which, by the will of God, he died, just as he had completed the destruction of the invaders. The noble youth, short as his life was, earned immortal renown; the poet Walo thus speaks of him:-

"Let stars a bright star, from its orbit torn,
And Deities, a god-like hero mourn!
Can they be mortal? See the God of war,
A prodigy, fall lifeless from his car.
'T is one, at least, divinity inspires,
Filling his manly soul with martial fires.
Dauntless he turns to flight from no attack;
No winged arrows pierce him in the back;
Onward he rushes with the storm of war,
His foes, with wonder startled from afar,
As from the clouds receive the coming crash,
Himself the thunder's bolt, the lightning's flash.

In Normandy his infant cradle stood,
And Flanders rais'd his tomb beside her oozy flood;
One saw him rise in smiles, the other set in blood".

The same year, Hugh Paganus, master of the order of the Knights Templars of Jerusalem, visited England. On his return he was accompanied by many nobles, amoung whom was Geoffrey, [2] duke [count] of Anjou, afterwards king of Jerusalem. Randulph Flambard, bishop of Durham, and William Gifford, bishop of Winchester, died that same year.


[1] The Saxon Chronicle is silent as to the German invasion, but says the earl died in war with his uncle King Henry, being wounded in battle by a servant, of which he died, after being received at the monastery of St. Bertin, where he became a monk four days before his death. Roger of Wendover agrees with Henry of Huntingdon, only that he says the earl was besieging Eu against King Henry when he was wounded and died.


[1] It was Fulk, count of Anjou, who took the cross and went to Jerusalem, relinquishing his county to his son Geoffrey, who married the Empress Maud.

A.D. 1129.] REIGN OF HENRY I. 257

The year following [A.D. 1129], Lewis, king of France, raised his son Philip to the throne; and King Henry returned with joy to England, leaving all things in tranquillity in France, Flanders, Normandy, Brittany, Maine, and Anjou. He then held a great council at London on the first of August regarding the prohibition of priests having concubines. [1] There were present at this council William, archbishop of Canterbury, and Thurston, archbishop of York, Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, Roger, bishop of Salisbury, Gilbert, bishop of London, John, bishop of Rochester, Sigefrid, bishop of Sussex [Chichester], Godfrey, of Bath, Simon, of Worcester, Everard, of Norwich, Bernard, of St. David's, and Hervey, the first bishop of Ely. The sees of Winchester, Durham, Chester, and Hereford were vacant. The bishops were the pillars of the State, and bright beams of sanctity at that time. But the king deceived them through the simplicity of William, the archbishop, inasmuch as they gave the king jurisdiction in the matter of priests' concubines; imprudently as it afterwards appeared, when the affair ended disgracefully. For the king received large sums of money from the priests for licence to live as before. Then, when it was too late, the bishops repented of the concessions they had made, it being apparent to all that they had been deceived, and had subjected the clergy to exactions. The same year those who had followed Hugh Paganus to Jerusalem, as before mentioned, met with a serious disaster. For the new settlers of the Holy Land had offended the Almighty by their lust and robberies, and all kinds of wickedness. But as it is written in Moses and the Book of Kings, "Their wickedness in those places shall not long remain impunished", on the eve of St. Nicholas a large body of the Christians were overcome by a very few of the unbelievers, contrary to what generally occurred. During the siege of Damascus, when the greatest part of the Christian army had marched out to collect provisions, the infidels were astonished at seeing those who were so numerous and brave take to flight at their approach. They pursued and slaughtered great numbers of them, and those who escaped the sword, and sought refuge in the mountains, suffered


[1] See note before, page 241.

258 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

so severely from a snow storm and excessive cold, the instruments of Providence, that scarcely any one survived. It happened also the same year that the son of Philip, king of France, who had been crowned king as already mentioned, when riding out for sport, his horse's feet stumbling over a boar he met with, he was thrown to the ground, and, breaking his neck, died on the spot. What a sad, singular, and wonderful casualty! In what a little moment, and by how trivial an accident, was such great majesty brought to its end!

[A.D. 1130.] In the thirtieth year of his reign, King Henry was at Winchester during Christmas, and during Easter at Woodstock, where Geoffrey de Clinton was arraigned on a false charge of treason against the king. At the Rogations he went to Canterbury, to be present at the consecration of the new cathedral church. At the feast of St. Michael he crossed over to Normandy. The same year Pope Honorius deceased. The year following the king entertained Pape Innocent at Chartres, refusing to acknowledge Anaclete. These popes were chosen by contending parties at Rome; but Innocent having been expelled from the city by the violence of Anaclete, who before was called Peter of Lewes, was, by the influence of King Henry, acknowledged by all the States of France. After that, in the summer, he returned to England, bringing his daughter with him. There was then held, on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, a great council at Northampton, in which were assembled all the great men of England, and on deliberation, it was determined that the king's daughter should be restored to her husband, the Count of Anjou, so he demanded. She was accordingly sent, and received with the pomp due to so great a princess. After died Reginald, abbot of Ramsey, the founder of the new church there. In the beginning of winter died Hervey, first bishop of Ely. The year following the king was at Dunstable during Christmas, and at Woodstock during, Easter. After that, there was a great plea at London, where, among other matters, the main subject was the dispute between the Bishop of St. David's and the Bishop of Glamorgan [1] respecting the boundaries of their dioceses.


[1] Llandaff.

A.D. 1135.] DEATH OF HENRY I. 249

Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, died, and was succeeded by Geoffrey. [1]

In the thirty-third year of his reign King Henry, during Christmas, lay sick at Windsor. In the end of Lent there was a meeting at London respecting the Bishops of St David's and Glamorgan, [2] and also the contention between the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Lincoln. The king spent Easter in the New Hall at Oxford; and at the Rogations there was another meeting at Winchester about the above matters. After Whitsuntide the king gave the bishopric of Ely to Nigel, and the bishopric of Durham to Godfrey the Chancellor. The king also erected a new bishopric at Carlisle, [3] and then he crossed over the sea. There was an eclipse of the sun on the 10th of August. The year following King Henry remained in Normandy, by reason of his great delight in his grandchildren, born of his daughter by the Count of Anjou. Gilbert, bishop of London, and the Bishop of Llandaff died this year on their way to Rome, respecting their cause so long pending. This year, also, Archbishop William, and Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, went over the sea to the king, on the controversy there was between them respecting certain customs of their dioceses.

In his thirty-fifth year King Henry still continued in Normandy, though he often proposed to return to England, an intention which was never fulfilled. His daughter detained him on account of sundry disagreements, which had their origin in various causes, between the king and the Count of Anjou, and which were fomented by the arts of his daughter. These disputes irritated the king, and roused an ill feeling, which some have said resulted in a natural torpor, which was the cause of his death. For, returning from hunting at St.Denys in the "Wood of Lions", he partook of some lampreys, of which he was fond, though they always disagreed with him; and though his physician recommended him to abstain, the king would not submit to his salutary advice; according to what is written:-

"Men strive 'gainst rules, and seek forbidden things".


[1] Fulk? see note, p. 256.

[2] Llandaff.

[3] The Saxon Chronicle does not mention the foundation of this bishopric. Ithelwulf, prior of St. Oswalds, the king's confessor, was the first bishop.

260 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VII.

This repast bringing on ill humours, and violently exciting similar symptoms, caused a sudden and extreme disturbance, under which his aged frame sunk in to a deathly torpor; in the reaction against which, Nature in her struggles produced an acute fever, while endeavouring to throw off the oppressive load. But when all power of resistance failed, this great king died on the first day of December [1135], after a reign of thirty-five years and three months. And now, with the end of so great a king, I propose to end the present Book, entreating the Muse to furnish such a memorial of him as he deserved:-

Hark how unnumber'd tongues lament
HENRY, the wide world's ornament.
Olympus echoes back the groan,
And Gods themselves his fate bemoan.
Imperial Jove from his right hand
Might take the sceptre of command;
Mercury borrow winged words,
Mars share with him the clash of swords
Alcides' strength, Minerva's wit,
Apollo's wisdom, him befit:
Form'd like the Deities to shine,
He shed their attributes divine.
England, his cradle and his throne,
Mourns, in his glory lost, her own;
Her great duke, weeping, Normandy
Saw in her bosom lifeless lie.

A.D. 1136.] CHARACTER OF HENRY I. 261

BOOK VIII. [1]

ON the death of the great King Henry, his character was freely canvassed by the people, as is usual after men are dead. Some contended that he was eminently distinguished for three brilliant gifts. These were, great sagacity, for his counsels were profound, his foresight keen, and his eloquence commanding; success in war, for, besides other splendid achievements, he was victorious over the king of France; and wealth, in which he far surpassed all his predecessors. Others, however, taking a different view, [2] attributed to him three gross vices: avarice, as, though his wealth was great, in imitation of his progenitors he impoverished the people by taxes and exactions, entangling them in the toils of informers; cruelty, in that he plucked out the eyes of his kinsman, the Earl of Morton, in his captivity, though the horrid deed was unknown until death revealed the king's secrets: and they mentioned other instances of which I will say nothing; and wantonness, for,


[1] This Book of Huntingdon's History has been collated for the purpose of the present translation, with two MSS., from which a number of corrections of Savile's text, besides those mentioned in the notes, and several additions, have been made. In Savile's arrangement, which has been followed, it forms the eighth Book; but in the order of the two MSS. the tenth; two others being inserted before it, and forming the eighth and ninth. See the Observations in the Preface.

[2] The Royal MS. differs here from the Arundel MS. and Savile's printed text. After "others taking a different view", it reads as follows:-

"For their poisoned minds led them to htuniliate him, [and they alleged that his extreme avarice induced him to oppress the people with taxes and exactions, entangling them in the toils of informers.] But those who asserted this did not recollect, that although his character was such that it struck terror into all his neighbours, yet this very affluence contributed, in no small degree, to make him formidable to his enemies; and that he governed his sea-girt territories in great peace and prosperity, so that every man's house was his castle. [Thus men's opinions were divided.]"

In the Royal MS. the portions in brackets are crossed through in red, and there is the following note in the margin: "This is borrowed from Horace in his Epistles, who calls the secret robbery of the poor a low poison".

262 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

like Solomon, he was perpetually enslaved by female seductions. Such remarks were freely bruited abroad. But in the troublesome times which succeeded from the atrocities of the Normans, whatever King Henry had done, either despotically, or in the regular exercise of his royal authority, appeared in comparison most excellent.

For in all haste came Stephen, the youngest brother of Theobald, count de Blois, a resolute and audacious man, who, disregarding his oath of fealty to King Henry's daughter, tempted God by seizing the crown of England with the boldness and effrontery belonging to his character. William [Corboil], archbishop of Canterbury, who had been the first to swear allegiance to the late king's dughter, consecrated, alas! the new king; [1] wherefore, the Lord visited him with the same judgment which he had inflicted on him who struck Jeremiah, the great priest: he died within a year. Roger, also, the powerful bishop of Salisbury, who had taken a similar oath, and persuaded others to do the same, contributed all in his power to raise Stephen to the throne. He, too, by the just judgment of God, was afterwards thrown into prison, and miserably afflicted by the very king he had assisted to make. In short, all the earls and great barons who had thus sworn fealty, transferred their allegiance to Stephen, and did him homage. It was a bad sign, that the whole of England should so quickly, without hesitation or struggle, as it were in the twinkling of an eye, submit to Stephen. After his coronation, he held his court at London.

Meanwhile, the remains of King Henry lay still unburied in Normandy; for he died on the 1st of December, [A.D. 1135.] His corpse was carried to Rouen, where his bowels, with his brain and eyes, were deposited. The body being slashed by knives, and copiously sprinkled with salt, was sown up in ox hides to prevent the ill effluvia, which so tainted the air as to be pestilential to the bystanders. Even the man who was hired by a large reward to sever


[1] Henry of Huntingdon omits to notice the debates which took place among the great ecclesiastics respecting the validity of Stephen's pretensions and the propriety of crowning him, which are related in the "Acts of Stephen": see them under the year 1136.

A.D. 1135.] KING STEPHEN'S ACCESSION.

the head with an axe and extract the brain, which was very offensive, died in consequence, although he wore a thick linen veil; so that his wages were dearly earned. [He was the last of that great multitude King Henry slew [1]]. The corpse being then carried to Caen, was deposited in the church where his father was interred; but notwithstanding the quantity of salt which had been used, and the folds of skins in which it was wrapped, so much foul matter continually exuded, that it was caught in vessels placed under the bier, in emptying which the attendants were affected with horror and faintings. Observe, then, reader, how the corpse of this mighty king, whose head was crowned with a diadem of precious jewels, sparkling with a brightness almost divine, who held glittering sceptres in both his hands, the rest of whose body was robed in cloth of gold, whose palate was gratified by such delicious and exquisite viands, whom all men bowed down to, all men feared, congratulated, and admired; observe, I say, what horrible decay, to what a loathsome state, his body was reduced! Mark how things end, from which only a true judgment can be formed, and learn to despise what so perishes and comes to nothing! At last, the royal remains were brought over to England, and interred, within twelve days of Christmas, in the abbey at Reading, which King Henry had founded and richly endowed. There, King Stephen, after holding his court at London during Christmas, came to meet the body of his uncle, and William, archbishop of Canterbury, with many earls and great men, buried King Henry with the honours due to so great a prince.

From thence the king went to Oxford, where he recorded and ratified the solemn promises which he had made to God and the people, and to holy church, on the day of his coronation. [2] They were these:- First, he vowed that he would never retain in his own hands the churches of deceased bishops, but forthwith consenting to a canonical [3]


[1] This sentence is omitted in the Royal MS.; but it is found in the Arundel MS., and occurs in Roger de Wendover.

[2] The charter is given in William of Malmesbury's Modern History. See p. 493 of the translation in "Bohn's Antiquarian Library".

[3] The Royal MS. omits "canonical".

264 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

election, would invest those who were chosen. Secondly, that he would not lay hands on the woods either of clerks or laymen, as King Henry, had done, who continually impleaded those who took venison in their own woods, or felled or diminished them to supply their own wants. This kind of pleading was carried to so execrable a length, that if the king's supervisors set eye from a distance on a wood belonging to any one whom they thought to be a moneyed man, they forthwith reported that there was waste, whether it was so or not, that the owner might have to redeem it, though the charge was groundless. Thirdly, the king promised that the Dane-gelt, that is two shillings for a hide of land, which his predecessors had received yearly, should be given up for ever. These were the principal things which, among others, he promised in the presence of God; but he kept none of them.

Stephen, coming in the first year of his reign to Oxford, received intelligence that the king of the Scots, pretending to pay him a friendly visit, had marched to Carlisle, and taken Newcastle by stratagem. The king replied to the messenger, "What he has gained by stratagem I will compel him to yield". King Stephen, therefore, immediately assembled one of the greatest armies levied in England within the memory of man, and led it against King David. [1] They met at Durham, where the king of the Scots came to terms, surrendering Newcastle, but retaining Carlisle by permission of Stephen; and King David did not do homage to King Stephen, because he had been the first of all the laymen to swear fealty to the late king's daughter, who was his own niece, acknowledging her queen of England after her father's death. But Henry, King David's son, did homage to Stephen, and that king gave him in addition the town [and earldom] of Huntingdon. King Stephen returning from the north, held his court during Easter at London, in a more splendid manner than had ever been before known, both for the number of attendants, and the


[1] Henry of Huntingdon does not notice an expedition of Stephen's against some insurgents in the neighbourhood of London in the first days of his reign, nor one under his brother Baldwin, into Wales, where disturbances arose after the death of Henry I.- See the Acts of King Stephen.

A.D. 1136.] SIEGE OF EXETER. 265

magnificent display of gold, silver, jewels, costly robes, and everything that was sumptuous. At Rogation days it was reported that the king was dead; upon hearing which Hugh Bigod seized Norwich Castle, nor would he surrender it except to the king in person, and then very reluctantly. Breach of fealty and treason now began to spread rapidly among the Normans. The king took the castle of Bathenton, [1] which belonged to one Robert, a rebel. Then he laid siege to Exeter, which was shut against him by Baldwin de Rivers, who held out a long time, till the king had constructed machines for the assault, and expended much treasure. Then, at last, the castle was surrendered; but being ill advised, he permitted the rebels to go without punishment, whereas if he had inflicted it, so many castles would not have been afterwards held against him. From thence the king went to the Isle of Wight, which he took from this Baldwin de Rivers, whom he banished from England. [2] Elated by these successes, the king went to hunt at Brampton, which is about a mile distant from Huntingdon, [3] and there he held pleas of the forests with his barons, that is, concerning their woods and hunting, in violation of his promise and vow to God and the people.

In the second year of his reign, King Stephen spent Christmas at Dunstable, and in Lent he sailed over to Normandy. [4] Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, and many nobles


[1] Royal MS. Bachentune; Arundel MS., Bakentune. In the translation of Roger of Wendover, in "Bohn's Antiquarian Library", this place is named "Badington". There is a full account of Robert the Rebel and the siege of his castle of "Bathenton", in the "Gesta Stephani", in a subsequent part of the present volume. Dr. Sewell calls it Bath. That city certainly lay in Stephen's road to Exeter, and one of its suburbs still retains a similar name, Bathampton: but it is to be observed that the author of "Gesta Stephani", who subsequently gives a particular account of Bath, and of transactions there, invariably calls it Batta, and, as it appears to me, entirely disconnects Robert de Bathenton from Bath.

[2] The "Acts of Stephen" contains a circumstantial account of the siege of Exeter and other transactions in the west of England.

[3] MS. Arundel, "Branton". We probably owe this local reference to Henry's connection with Huntingdon.

[4] The Saxon Chronicle, Malmesbury, and Roger of Wendover, notice this expedition to Normandy; but there is no account of it in the "Acts of King Stephen".

266 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

crossed with him. There the king, from his experience in war, succeeded in all he undertook, defeated the schemes of his enemies, reduced their castles, and obtained the highest glory. He made peace with the king of the French, to whom his son Eustace did homage for Normandy, which is a fief of the French crown. The Count of Anjou was his mortal enemy, for he had married King Henry's daughter, who had been empress of Germany, and had received oaths of fealty for the kingdom of England; so that the husband and wife laid claims to the crown. But seeing that at present he could not make head against King Stephen, on account of his numerous forces, and of the abundance of money found in the treasury of the late king, which still remained, the Count of Anjou came to terms with King Stephen. [1] Thus successful, the king returned to England in triumph on the very eve of Christmas. These two first years of King Stephen's reign were completely prosperous; for the next year, of which I have now to speak, his fortunes were moderate and fitful; for the two last, they were ruined and desperate.

[A.D. 1138.] King Stephen in the third year of his reign, with his usual activity, flew to Bedford, and, sitting down before it on Christmas eve, pressed the siege during the whole festival, which was displeasing to God, inasmuch as it made that holy season of little or no account. After the surrender of Bedford, King Stephen led his army into Scotland, for King David, in consequence of the oath which he had taken to King Henry's daughter, and under colour of religion, caused his followers to deal most barbarously with the English. They ripped open pregnant women, tossed children on the points of their spears, butchered priests at the altars, and, cutting off the heads from the images on crucifixes, placed them on the bodies of the slain, while in exchange, they fixed on the crucifixes the heads of their victims. Wherever the Scots came, there was the same scene of horror and cruelty; women shrieking, old men lamenting, amid the groans of the dying


[1] Stephen consented to pay 5000 marks a year to the Count of Anjou; agreeing at the same time to allow 2000 marks annually to his own elder brother Theobald, count de Blois.

A.D. 1138.] THE BARONS REVOLT. 267

and the despair of the living, King Stephen, therefore, making an irruption into Scotland, carried fire and sword through the southern part of the dominions of King David, who was unable to oppose him. After Easter the treason of the English nobles burst forth with great fury. Talbot, one of the rebels, held Hereford Castle in Wales against the king, which, however, the king besieged and took. Robert, the earl [of Gloucester], bastard son of King Henry, maintained himself in the strongly fortified castle of Bristol, and in that of Leeds. William Lovell [1] held Castle-Cary; Paganus held Ludlow Castle; William de Mohun, [2] Dunster Castle; Robert de Nichole, Wareham Castle; Eustace Fitz-John held Melton; and William Fitz-Alan, Shrewsbury Castle; which last the king stormed, and hung some of the prisoners; upon hearing which Walkeline, who held Dover Castle, surrendered it to the queen, who was besieging it. While the king was thus engaged in the south, David of Scotland led an immense army into the north of England, against which the northern nobles, at the exhortation and under the command of Thurston, archbishop of York, made a resolute stand. The royal standard was planted at Alverton, [3] and as the archbishop was prevented by illness from being present at the battle, he commissioned Ralph, bishop of Durham, [4] to fill his place, who, standing on an eminence in the centre of the army, roused their courage with words to this effect:-

"Brave nobles of England, Normans by birth; for it is well that on the eve of battle you should call to mind who you are, and from whom you are sprung: no one ever withstood you with success. Gallant France fell beneath your arms; fertile England you subdued; rich Apulia


[1] Arundel MS., "Ralph Luvel".

[2] "Moiun", Arundel MS.

[3] Allerton. This famous battle of the Standard is also fully described by Roger of Wendover. See also William of Newbury and Trivet; but the MS. of the "Gesta Stephani", after relating the irruption into Northumberland, becomes imperfect just in this place.

[4] Both the MSS. which I have consulted concur with Savile's printed text in the reading of "Orcadum"; but as Roger of Wendover calls Ralph Bishop of Durham, and he was evidently a suffragan of the Archbishop of York, I have adopted that reading. Perhaps the bishops of Durham had jurisdiction in the Orkneys?

268 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

flourished again under your auspices; Jerusalem, renowned in story, and the noble Antioch, both submitted to you. Now, however, Scotland which was your own rightly, has taken you at disadvantage, her rashness more fitting a skirmish than a battle. Her people have neither military skill, nor order in fighting, nor self command. There is, therefore, no reason for fear, whatever there may be for indignation, at finding those whom we have hitherto sought and conquered in their own country, madly reversing the order, making an irruption into ours. But that which I, a bishop, and by divine permission, standing here as the representative of our archbishop, tell you, is this: that those who in this land have violated the temples of the Lord, polluted his altars, slain his priests, and spared. neither children nor women with child, shall on this same soil receive condign punishment for their crimes. This most just fulfilment of his will God shall this day accomplish by our hands. Rouse yourselves, then, gallant soldiers, and bear down on an accursed enemy with the courage of your race, and in the presence of God. Let not their impetuosity shake you, since the many tokens of our valour do not deter them. They do not cover themselves with armour [1] in war; you are in the constant practice of arms in times of peace, that you may be at no loss in the chances of the day of battle. Your head is covered with the helmet, your breast with a coat of mail, your legs with greaves, and your whole body with the shield. Where can the enemy strike you when he finds you sheathed in steel? What have we to fear in attacking the naked bodies of men who know not the use of armour? Is it their numbers? It is not so much the multitude of a host, as the valour of a few, which is decisive. Numbers, without discipline, are an hindrance to success in the attack, and to retreat in defeat. Your [2] ancestors were often victorious when they were but a few against many. What, then, does the renown


[1] "Nesciunt armare se"; and just afterwards the historian calls them "nudos et inermes"! Not that they went to battle unarmed, as the passage has been rendered, but the rank and file of the Scots used no defensive armour, and perhaps, like their posterity, they only wore the kilt.

[2] Arundel MS., "our".

A.D. 1138.] BATTLE OF THE STANDARD. 269

of your fathers, your practice of arms, your military discipline avail, unless they make you, few though you are in numbers, invincible against the enemy's hosts? But I close my discourse, as I perceive them rushing on, and I am delighted to see that they are advancing in disorder. Now, then, if any of you who this day are called to avenge the atrocities committed in the houses of God, against the priests of the Lord, and his little flock, should fall in the battle, I, in the name of your archbishop, absolve them from all spot of sin, in the name of the Father, whose creatures the foe hath foully and horribly slain, and of the Son, whose altars they have defiled, and of the Holy Ghost, from whose grace they have desperately fallen".

Then all the English replied with a shout, and the mountains and hills re-echoed, "Amen! Amen"! At the same moment the Scots raised their country's war-cry, "Alban! Alban"! till it reached the clouds. The sounds were drowned amid the crash of arms. In the first onset the men of Lothian, to whom the king of the Scots had reluctantly granted the honour of striking the first blow, bore down on the mailed English knights with a cloud of darts and their long spears, but they found their ranks impenetrable as a wall of steel; while the archers mingled with the knights, pierced the unarmed Scots with a cloud of arrows. The whole army of English and Normans stood fast round THE STANDARD [1] in one solid body. Then the chief of the men of Lothian fell, pierced by an arrow, and all his followers were put to flight. For the Almighty was offended at them, and their strength was rent like a cobweb. Perceiving this, the main body of the Scots, which was fighting bravely in another quarter, lost courage, and retreated also. King David's chosen body of soldiers also, which he had selected from various tribes, when they saw this, began to flee, first singly, and then in troops, until the king stood almost alone; upon which his friends compelled him to mount a horse and escape. But his brave son, heedless of what his countrymen were doing, aud inspired only by his ardour for the fight and for glory, made a fierce


[1] From which this battle was called "The Battle of the Standard".

270 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

attack, with the remnant of the fugitives, on the enemy's ranks. The body under his own command, composed of English and Normans attached to his father's household, had retained their horses. But this body of cavalry conld by no means make any impression against men sheathed in armour, and fighting on foot in a close column; so that they were compelled to retire with wounded horses and shattered [1] lances, after a brilliant but unsuccessful attack. It is reported that 11,000 of the Scots fell on the field of battle, besides those who were found in the woods and corn-fields, and there slain. Our army gained this victory with very little effusion of blood. its leaders were William Peperel, of Nottingham, Walter Espec, and Gilbert de Lacy, whose brother was the only knight slain. When the issue of the battle was reported to King Stephen, he and all who, were with him offered solemn thanks to Almighty God. It was fought in the month of August. During Advent, Alberic, the pope's legate, and Bishop of Ostia, held a synod at London, in which Theobald, abbot of Bec, was made Archbishop of Canterbury, with the concurrence of King Stephen. [2]

In the fourth year of his reign, when Christmas was past, King Stephen besieged and took Leeds Castle; after which he went into Scotland, and by fire and sword compelled the king of the Scots to come to terms, and brought away to England his son Henry. He then besieged Ludlow; where this Henry was dragged from his horse by an iron hook, and nearly taken prisoner, but was gallantly rescued from the enemy by King Stephen. As soon as the castle surrendered [3] he went to Oxford, where he perpetrated a deed of great infamy and out of all precedent. For, after receiving amicably Roger, bishop of Salisbury, and his nephew Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, he violently arrested them in his own palace, though they refused nothing which justice demanded, and earnestly appealed to it. The king


[1] Savile's text has "shortened", but both the MSS. collated for contractis read confractis, shattered.

[2] See the "Acts of King Stephen", for a long account of transactions in the west of England this year, not even referred to by Huntingdon.

[3] Savile's text has it, "re imperfecta", but his marginal reading and both the MSS. collated have "perfecta".

A.D. 1139.] STEPHEN IMPRISONS THE BISHOPS. 271

threw Bishop Alexander into prison, and carried the Bishop of Salisbury with him to his own castle of Devizes, one of the most stately in all Europe. There he tormented him by starvation, and put to the torture his son, the king's chancellor, [1] who had a rope fastened round his neck, and was led to the gallows. Thus he extorted from him the surrender of his castle, unmindful of the services which the bishop had rendered him, more than all others, in the beginning of his reign. Such was the return for his devotedness. [2] In a similar manner he obtained possession of Sherborne Castle, which was little inferior to Devizes. Having got hold of the bishop's treasures, he used them to obtain in marriage for his son Eustace the hand of Constance, Lewis the French king's sister. Returning thence, the king took with him to Newark, Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, whom he had before thrown into prison at Oxford. The bishop had built at Newark a castle in a florid style of architecture, on a charming site, among the meadows washed by the river Trent. Having inspected this castle, the king enjoined the bishop a fast not authorized by the rubric, swearing that he should be deprived of food, until he gave up his right to the castle. But the bishop had some difficulty in persuading his garrison with prayers and tears to deliver it into the custody of strangers. Another of his castles, called Sleaford, not inferior in beauty and site, was surrendered in a similar manner. Not long afterwards, when Henry, bishop of Winchester, the king's brother and the pope's legate, held a synod at Winchester, Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, and all the bishops present, joined him in imploring the king on their bended knees to restore their possessions to the bishops above


[1] "Roger, the Chancellor of England, was the son of Roger, bishop of Salisbury, by Maud of Rainsbury, his concubine".- Hardy.

[2] Compare Henry of Huntingdon's account of the king's proceedings against the bishops with that given by William of Malmesbury in his Modern History, p. 498, Bohn's Antiquarian Library; and with that in the "Acts of King Stephen", in the latter part of the present volume. Henry of Huntingdon evidently leans to the side of his patrons the bishops, while the view of the king's policy by the anonymous author of the "Gesta Stephani", though an ecclesiastic, is just and statesman-like, whatever may be thought of the king's harshness and breach of faith. Malmesbury also treats the subject very fairly.

272 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

named, with the understanding that they should overlook the indignities to which they had been subjected. But unmoved by the supplications of such an august assemblage, the king, following evil counsels, refused to grant their petitions. [1]

This prepared the way for the eventual ruin of the house of Stephen. For forthwith, the Empress Maud, the daughter of the late King Henry, who had received the fealty of the English, came over to England, and was received into Arundel Castle. [2] There she was besieged by the king, who, listening to perfidious counsel, or finding the castle too strong to be taken, granted her a safe conduct to go to Bristol. The same year died Roger, [3] the bishop of whom I have lately spoken, worn out by trouble and weight of years. My readers may well marvel at his sudden change of fortune. For from his youth upwards her favours had so accumulated, that we might say that for once she had forgotten to turn her wheel; nor in his whole career did he meet with any adverse events, until a cloud of miseries gathered about him, and overwhelmed him at the last. Let no one, then, depend on the continuance of Fortune's favours, nor presume on her stability, nor think that he can long maintain his seat erect on her revolving wheel

In the fifth year of his reign King Stephen expelled from his see Nigel, bishop of Ely, because he was the nephew of the late bishop of Salisbury, against whom he was so incensed that his anger extended to all his kindred. Where the king spent Cluistmas and Easter it matters not; for now all that made the court splendid, and the regalia handed down from the long line of his predecessors, had disappeared. The treasury, left well filled, was now empty


[1] See a full amount of the proceedings of this synod in Malmesbury's "Modern History".

[2] By William d'Aubeney, husband of Queen Alice, who had in dowry for the late King Henry the castle and earldom of Arundel. See the "Acts of King Stephen" and William of Malmesbury, for a full account of the progress of the Empress and her brother Robert, earl of Gloucester, after her arrival.

[3] Roger, bishop of Salisbury, was one of the greatest statesmen and most powerful prelates of his time. See further particulars of him in Huntingdon's Treatise, "De Contemptu Mundi", in the latter part of the present volume.

A.D. 1141.] SIEGE OF LINCOLN. 273

the kingdom was a prey to intestine wars; [1] slaughter, fire, and rapine spread ruin throughout the land; cries of distress, horror, and woe rose in every quarter. The state of affairs is described in the following elegy:-

"Oh! for a fount of tears to flow.
And weep my country's bitter woe.
Clouds shroud her in the darkest gloom,
And thicken round her day of doom;
Fated intestine wars to see,
Fire, fury, blood, and cruelty.
Rapine stalks boldly through the land,
Ruthlessly baring the strong hand;
A castle's walls are no defence
Against the sons of violence;
All truth is fled; unblushing fraud
And flaunting treason walk abroad:
Churches, in vain, and holy ground
Which erst religion fenced round.
Open their gates to shelter those
Who refuge seek from bloody foes.
The monks and nuns, a helpless train.
Are plundered, tortured, ravish'd, slain.
Gaunt famine, following, wastes away
Whom murder spares, with slow decay.
Who for the dead shall find a grave?
Who England's hapless children save?
The cup of mingled woe she drains.
All hell's broke loose, and chaos reigns".

[A.D. 1141. [2]] In the sixth year of his reign, during the season of Christmas, King Stephen laid siege to Lincoln, the defences of which Ranulph, earl of Chester, had fraudulently seized. The king sat down before it, till the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Mother of God [3]]. Then the earl aforesaid, with Robert, King Henry's


[1] The "Acts of King Stephen" largely supply details of the movements which Huntingdon thus briefly notices, particularly those in the west of England.

[2] Roger of Wendover notices the battle of Lincoln under the year 1140. The Saxon Chronicle under the date of that year describes it as "afterwards". "Several MSS. of William of Malmesbury, as well as the printed copy, read 1142; but one has 1141, which is right".- Note to the "Modem History" p. 513, "Bohn's Antiquarian Library". The date in Huntingdon, "the sixth year of Stephen's reign", agrees with this.

[3] "Mother of God", not found in either of the MSS. collated.

274 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

son, his own father-in-law [1] and other powerful nobles, assembled to raise the siege. The same day the earl, boldly crossing a marsh which was almost impassable, drew up his troops, and offered the king battle. He himself led the first line, composed of his own retainers; the second was headed by the nobles exiled by King Stephen; Robert, the powerful earl [of Gloucester], commanded the third. The Welsh, ill armed, but full of spirits, were disposed on the wings of the army. And now the Earl of Chester, a man of great prowess, in bright armour, thus addressed Earl Robert and the other barons: "Receive my hearty thanks, most puissant earl, and you, my noble fellow-soldiers, for that you are prepared to risk your lives in testimony of your devotion to me. But since it is through me you are called to encounter this peril, it is fitting that I should myself bear the brunt of it, and be foremost in the attack on this faithless king, who has broken the peace to which he is pledged. While I, therefore, animated by my own valour, and the remembrance of the king's perfidy, throw myself on the king's troops, and hew a road through the centre of his army, it will be your part, brave soldiers, to follow up my success. I have a strong presage that we shall put the king's troops to the rout, trample under foot his nobles, and strike himself with the sword". When he had spoken, Earl Robert thus replied to the young earl, while, standing on an eminence, he spoke to this effect:

"It is fitting that you should have the honour of striking the first blow, both on account of your high rank and your exceeding valour. If, indeed, it were a question of rank only, no one has higher pretensions than myself, the son and nephew of mighty kings; and for valour, there are many here who stand among the most renowned, to whom no man living can be preferred. But I am actuated by considerations of a very different kind. The king has inhumanly usurped the crown, faithless to the fealty which he swore to my sister, and by the disorder he has occasioned has caused the slaughter of many thousands; and


[1] Arundel MS. "secarum"; the text of Sevile reads "generum", son-in-law, incorrectly.

A.D. 1141.] BATTLE OF LINCOLN. 275

by the example he has set of an illegal distribution of lands, has destroyed the rights of property. The first onset ought, therefore, to be made by those he has disinherited, with whom the God of justice will cooperate, and make them the ministers of his just punishment. He who judgeth the people with equity will look down from his habitation in the heavens above, and will not desert those who are seeking for justice, in this their hour of need. There is one thing, however, brave nobles and soldiers all, which I wish to impress on your minds. There is no possibility of retreat over the marshes which you have just crossed with difficulty. Here, therefore, you must either conquer or die; for there is no hope of safety in flight. The only course that remains is, to open a way to the city with your swords. If my mind conjectures truly, as flee you cannot, by God's help you will this day triumph. Those must rely wholly on their valour who have no other refuge. You, victorious, will see the citizens of Lincoln, who stand in array nearest their walls, give way before the impetuosity of your attack and, with faint hearts, seek the shelter of their houses. Listen, while I tell you with whom you have to do. There is Alan, earl of Brittany, in arms against us, nay against God himself; a man so execrable, so polluted with every sort of wickedness, that his equal in crime cannot be found; who never lost an opportunity of doing evil, and who would think it his deepest disgrace, if any one else could be put in comparison with him for cruelty. Then, we have opposed to us the, Earl of Mellent, crafty, perfidious; whose heart is naturally imbued with dishonesty, his tongue with fraud, his bearing with cowardice. Vain-glorious in temper and boastful in words, he is pusillanimous in deeds; slow in advance, quick in retreat, the last in fight, the first in flight. Next, we have against us Earl Hugh, [1] who not only makes light of his breach of fealty against the empress, but has perjured himself most patently a second time; affirming that King Henry conferred the crown on Stephen, and that the king's daughter abdicated in his favour; and this man considers fraud to be a virtue, and perjury to be admired. Then we have the Earl of Albemarle, a man


[1] Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk.

276 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

singularly consistent in his wicked courses, prompt to embark in them, incapable of relinquishing them; from whom his wife was compelled to become a fugitive, on account of his intolerable filthiness. The earl also marches against us, who carried off the countess just named; a most flagrant adulterer, and a most eminent bawd, a slave to Bacchus, but no friend to Mars; redolent of wine, indolent in war. With him comes Simon, earl of Northampton, who never acts, but talks, who never gives, but promises, who thinks that when he has said a thing he has done it, when he has promised he has performed. [Hitherto I have said nothing of that runaway, William de Ypres; for words have not yet been found to describe fitly the wiles and crooked paths of his treasons, and the disgusting loathsomeness of his impurities]. [1] So of the rest of Stephen's nobles: they are like their king; practised in robbery, rapacious for plunder, steeped in blood, and all alike tainted with perjury. You, brave nobles, whom the late King Henry exalted, this Stephen has humbled; whom the one raised, the other ruined. Rouse yourselves, and relying on your valour, nay rather on God's justice, take the vengeance which He offers you on these iniquitous men, and gain for yourselves and your posterity immortal renown. If you are of one mind in executing the divine judgment, swear to advance, execrate retreat, and, in token of it, unanimously raise your hands to heaven".

The earl had scarcely finished speaking, when the whole army, raising their hands to heaven, abjured flight with tremendous shouts, and closing the ranks, marched against the enemy in excellent order. Meanwhile King Stephen, in much tribulation of mind, heard mass celebrated with great devotion; but as he placed in the hands of Bishop Alexander the taper of wax, the usual royal offering, [2] it broke, betokening the rupture of the kings. The pix also, which contained Christ's body, snapt its fastening, and fell on the altar, while the bishop was celebrating; a sign of


[1] The sentence within the brackets, omitted in Savile's text, is inserted from the Royal MS.

[2] On the Feast of Purification, when the blessing of candles is part of the office of the Roman church.

A.D. 1141.] BATTLE OF LINCOLN. 277

the king's fall from power. [1] Nevertheless, he set forth with great firmness, and drew up his army with much caution. He took post himself in the centre of the men-at-arms, a numerous body, whom he caused to dismount, and drew up in the closest order. His earls and their knights retained their horses and formed, by his order, two lines; but this part of his force was small. For his false [2] and factious earls had few retainers; but the king's own followers were very numerous, and one body of them was entrusted with the royal standard. Then, as King Stephen's voice was not clear, Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert, a man of the highest rank, and a brave soldier, was deputed to address a word of exhortation to the assembled army. Placed on a commanding spot, [3] where the eyes of all were directed to him, after arresting their attention by a short and modest pause, he thus began:-

"All ye who are now about to engage in battle must consider three things: first, the justice of your cause; secondly, the number of your force; and thirdly, its bravery: the justice of the cause, that you may not peril your souls; the number of your force, that it may not be overwhelmed by the enemy; its valour, lest, trusting to numbers, cowardice should occasion defeat. The justice of your cause consists in this, that we maintain, at the peril of our lives, our allegiance to the king, before God, against those of his subjects who are perjured to him. In numbers, we are not inferior in cavalry, stronger in infantry. As to the valour of so many barons, so many earls, and of our soldiers long trained to war, what words can do it justice? Our most valiant king will alone stand in place


[1] William of Malmesbury does not notice these omens, which, however, we find mentioned in Roger of Wendover; and the breaking of the taper in "Gesta Stephani".

[2] Stephen was the first who created merely titular earls, called by another old writer Pseudo-comites; the earls or counts having hitherto had jurisdiction over the counties from which they took their titles, and from which they derived certain revenues.

[3] The Royal MS. has a clever pen and ink drawing at the foot of the page, representing Baldwin leaning on his sword, and standing on a hillock in the act of addressing a group of knights in chain armour, at the head of whom King Stephen is distinguished by a royal circlet on his helmet, and others by the devices on their shields.

278 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

of a host. Your sovereign, the anointed of the Lord, will be in the midst of you; to him, then, to whom you have sworn fealty, keep your oaths in the sight of God, persuaded that He will grant you his aid according as you faithfully and steadfastly fight for your king, as true men against the perjured, as loyal men against traitors. Fearing nothing, then, and filled with the utmost confidence, learn against whom you have to fight. The power of Earl Robert is well known; but it is his custom to threaten much and do little; with the mouth of a lion and the heart of a hare, he is loud in talk, but dull in action. The Earl of Chester is a man of reckless audacity, ready for a plot, not to be depended on in carrying it out, rash in battle, careless of danger; with designs beyond his powers, aiming at impossibilities; having few steady followers, but collecting a confused multitude; there is nothing to be feared from him. None of his undertakings prosper; he is either defeated in battle, or, if by any chance he obtains a victory, his losses are greater than those of the conquered. You may despise the Welsh he has brought with him, as ill armed and recklessly rash; and being unskilled and unpractised in the art of war, they are ready to fall like wild beasts into the toils. For the other nobles and knights; they are traitors and turncoats, [and I would that there were more of them, for] the more there are the less are they to be feared. Ye, then, earls, and men having pretensions to that rank, ought to be mindful of your valour and renown. Raise your military virtues this day to the highest pitch, and, following the examples of your fathers, leave to your children undying glory. Let the determination to conquer be your incentive to fight, while the certainty of defeat is theirs to fly. Already, if I am not mistaken, they repent of their coming, and their thought is of retreat, if the difficulties of their position permit it. Since, then, they can neither fight nor fly, what remains but that, by God's will, they surrender themselves and their baggage to you? Lift up then your hearts, and stretch out your hands, soldiers, exultingly, to take the prey which God himself offers to you".


[1] The words within the brackets are omitted in the Royal MS.

A.D. 1141.] KING STEPHEN MADE PRISONER. 279

Before the close of this speech the shouts of the advancing enemy were heard, mingled with the blasts of their trumpets, and the trampling of the horses, making the ground to quake. In the beginning of the battle, the exiles who were in the van fell on the royal army, in which were Earl Alan, the Earl of Mellent, with Hugh, the earl of East Anglia [Norfolk], and Earl Symon, and the Earl of Warrene, with so much impetuosity, that it was routed in the twinkling of an eye, one part being slain, another taken prisoners, the third put to flight. The division commanded by the Earl of Albemarle and William de Ypres, charged the Welsh as they advanced on the flank, and completely routed them. But the followers of the Earl of Chester attacked this body of horse, and it was scattered in a moment like the rest. Thus all the king's horse fled, and with them William of Ypres, in Flanders, who had ranked as an earl, and was a valiant soldier; but, as an experienced general, perceiving the impossibility of supporting the king, he deferred his aid for better times. King Stephen, therefore, with his infantry, stood alone in the midst of the enemy. These surrounded the royal troops, attacking the columns on all sides, as if they were assaulting a castle. Then the battle raged terribly round this circle; helmets and swords gleamed as they clashed, and the fearful cries and shouts re-echoed from the neighbouring hills and the city walls. The cavalry, furiously charging the royal column, slew some and trampled down others; some were made prisoners. No respite, no breathing time, was allowed, except in the quarter in which the king himself had taken his stand, where the assailants recoiled from the unmatched force of his terrible arm. The Earl of Chester seeing this, and envious of the glory the king was gaining, threw himself upon him with the whole weight of his men-at-arms. Even then the king's courage did not fail, but his heavy battle-axe gleamed like lightning, striking down some, bearing back others. At length it was shattered by repeated blows; then he drew his well-tried sword, with which he wrought wonders, until that, too, was broken. Perceiving which, William Dekains, [1] a brave soldier, rushed on him, and, seizing him


[1] De Kahains, MSS. Royal and Arundel.

280 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

by his helmet, shouted, "Here, here; I have taken the king"! Others came to his aid, and the king was made prisoner. Baldwin, who had exhorted the troops, was also taken, having received many wounds, and, by his determined resistance, gained immortal honour. Richard Fitz-Urse was likewise made prisoner, who had also fought manfully and gained great glory. Until the king was taken his troops continued to fight, for they were so hemmed in that retreat was impossible. All were, therefore, slain or surrendered. The city was given up to plunder, according to the laws of war, the king having been conducted to it in miserable plight. [1]

The judgment of God on King Stephen having thus been executed, he was brought before the empress, and committed to close custody in Bristol Castle. The whole English nation now acknowledged her as their sovereign, [2] except the men of Kent, who, with the Queen and William de Ypres, made all the resistance in their power. The empress was first recognised by the Legate, bishop of Winchester, and the Londoners. But she was elated with insufferable pride at the success of her adherents in the uncertain vicissitudes of war, so that she alienated from her the hearts of most men. Therefore, either by some secret conspiracy, or by the providence of God - indeed, all human affairs are directed by Providence - she was driven out of London. In revenge, with a woman's bitterness, she caused the Lord's anointed to be bound with fetters. [3] After some time she, with her uncle the King of the Scots,


[1] This account of the battle of Lincoln may be compared with William of Malmesbury's, at p. 515 of his works in Bohn's series, and with the "Gesta Stephani" in the sequel of the present volume. Of these Henry of Huntingdon's is the fullest and most exact.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon passes over very briefly the events connected with the short period during which the Empress Maud was acknowledged queen of England, and gives no account of her rupture with the Legate bishop of Winchester. William of Malmesbury gives considerable details; and see hereafter further particulars in the "Acts of King Stephen".

[3] Malmesbury relates that Stephen was at first treated with every mark of honour, and, through the kindness of his relative Robert, earl of Gloucester, was not fettered - until, by bribing or eluding his keepers, he had been found beyond the appointed limits, especially in the night-time.

A.D. 1141.] KING STEPHEN LIBERATED. 281

and her brother Robert, collecting their forces, sat down and besieged the castle of the Bishop of Winchester. [1] The bishop summoned to his relief the queen, and William of Ypres, and almost all the barons of England. Large armies were therefore assembled on both sides; and there were daily engagements, not indeed regular battles, but desultory skirmishes. In such encounters valiant deeds were not lost, as in the confusion of battle, but every man's gallantry was seen by all, and he gained renown according to his deserts. This interval was therefore universally pleasing, as exhibiting the splendour of their illustrious achievements. At length the arrival of the Londoners so increased the army opposed to the empress, that she was compelled to retreat. [2] Many of her adherents were taken prisoners in their flight; among others Robert, her brother, in whose castle the king was imprisoned. His capture secured the king's release, by a mutual exchange. Thus the king who, by God's judgment, had been exposed to a painful captivity, was by God's mercy liberated; and the English people received him with great rejoicings.

In the seventh year of his reign, King Stephen built a castle at Wilton, but the enemy assembled in numbers, and the royal troops not being able to repel them by the sallies they made, the king was compelled to make his escape. Many of his adherents were taken prisoners, among whom was William Martel, who gave up for his ransom the strong castle of Sherbourn. The same year the king besieged the empress at Oxford, from after Michaelmas till Advent. At the end of which, not long before Christmas, the empress escaped across the Thames, which was then frozen over, and, wrapped in a white cloak, deceived the eyes of the besiegers, dazzled by the reflection of the snow. She got into the castle of Wallingford, and Oxford was surrendered to the king


[1] Savile's text reads "London", but both the MSS. now collated have "Winchester".

[2] See a very circumstantial account of the siege of Winchester Castle, and the rout of the empress's army, in the "Acts of King Stephen" in the present volume.

[3] There is an interesting account of the escape of the empress in the "Acts of King Stephen".

282 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

In the eighth year of his reign, King Stephen was present at a synod in London in Mid-Lent, which was held there by the Legate-bishop of Winchester, on account of the extra rarities to which the clergy were reduced. For no respect was paid to them or to God's holy Church by marauders, and the clergy were made prisoners, and submitted to ransom just as if they were laymen. The synod therefore decreed that no one who laid violent hands on a clerk should be absolved, except by the pope himself in person. This decree obtained for them some relief.

The same year the king arrested Godfrey de Mandeville, in his court at St. Alban's, an act more fitting the earl's deserts than public right, more expedient than just. But if he had not taken this step, the king would have been driven from the throne. To obtain his liberty he surrendered the Tower of London, and the castle of Walden, with that of Plessis. The earl, thus stripped of his possessions, seized the Abbey of Ramsey, and, expelling the monks, garrisoned it with retainers, turning the house of God into a den of thieves. He was a man, indeed, of great determination, but resolute in ungodliness; diligent in worldly affairs, but negligent in spiritual. The same year, before Christmas, the Bishop of Winchester, and afterwards the Archbishop of Canterbury, went to Rome on the affair of the appointment of the legate. Pope Innocent was then dead, and was succeeded by Celestine.

King Stephen in the ninth year of his reign laid siege to Lincoln. While he was preparing a work for the attack of the castle, which the Earl of Chester had taken possession of by force, eighty of his workmen were suffocated in the trenches, whereupon the king broke np the siege in confusion. The same year Godfrey, earl of Mandeville, gave the king much trouble, and distinguished himself more than others. In the month of August, Providence displayed its justice in a remarkable manner; for two of the nobles who had converted monasteries into fortifications, expelling the monks, their sin being the same, met with a similar punishment. Robert Marmion was one, who had committed this iniquity in the church of Coventry; Godfrey de Mandeville had perpetrated the same, as I have said before, in Ramsey Abbey. Robert Marmion issuing forth

A.D. 1143.] COVENTRY ABBEY CASTELLATED. 288

against the enemy was slain under the walls of the monastery, being the only one who fell, though he was surrounded by his troops. Dying excommunicated, he became subject to death everlasting. In like manner Earl Godfrey was singled out among his followers, and shot with an arrow by a common foot soldier. He made light of the wound, but he died of it in a few days, under excommunication. See here the like just judgment of God, memorable through all ages! While that abbey was converted into a fortress, blood exuded from the walls of the church and the cloister adjoining, witnessing the divine indignation, and prognosticating the destruction of the impious. This was seen by many persons, and I observed it with my own eyes. How then can the wicked say that the Almighty sleeps? He woke indeed in this sign, and that which it signified. Moreover, the same year Arnulf, the earl's son, who after his father's death continued in possession of the fortified abbey, was taken prisoner and banished, and the leader of his horsemen being thrown from his horse at his inn, died of a concussion of the brain. The commander of his foot soldiers, Reiner by name, who was employed in breaking open and burning churches, was crossing the sea with his wife, when, as many relate, the ship stuck fast. The sailors, in amazement, cast lots to discover the cause of the strange occurrence, and the lot fell upon Reiner. He, however, vehemently resisting the decision, the lot was again cast, and a second and third time it fell to him. He was therefore put in a boat, with his wife and the money he had iniquitously amassed, upon which the ship resumed its course rapidly, ploughing the waves as it had done before; but the boat with its ungodly burthen was quickly swallowed up and for ever lost The same year Lucius was elected pope in the place of Celestine deceased.

In the tenth year of King Stephen, Hugh Bigod was the first to make a movement; but in the summer Earl Robert and the whole body of the king's enemies set to work to build a castle at Faringdon. The king lost no time in collecting troops and marching there at the head of a numerous and formidable body of Londoners. After daily assaults on the castle, while Earl Robert and his adherents were, with great resolution, waiting for fresh forces not far

284 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

from the king's army, the castle was taken with much slaughter. At this time the king's fortune began to change for the better. [1] The same year Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, went to Rome, where he exhibited the same munificence which he had done before. He was therefore honourably entertained by Pope Eugenius, who was recently elevated to his high dignity. The bishop's disposition was at all times courteous, his discretion always just, his countenance good-humoured and cheerful. On his return the following year, in high favour with the pope and his whole court, he was received by his people with great reverence and joy. His church at Lincoln, which had been disfigured by a fire, he restored in so exquisite a style of architecture, that it appeared more beautiful than when it was first built, and was surpassed by none in all England.

King Stephen in the eleventh year of his reign assembling a great army, built an impregnable castle at Wallingford, where Ranulph, earl of Chester, who had now joined the royal side, was present with a large force. Afterwards, however, when the earl came peaceably to attend the King's court at Northampton, fearing nothing of the sort, he was arrested and kept prisoner, till he gave up the strong castle of Lincoln, which he had seized by a stratagem, as well as all the other castles which belonged to him. Then the earl was set free to go where he pleased.

In the twelfth year of King Stephen, he wore his crown during Christmas at Lincoln, which no king, from some superstitious feeling, had before ventured to do. This showed the great resolution of King Stephen, and how little importance he attached to such superstitions. After the king's departure, the Earl of Chester came to Lincoln with an armed force to assault the castle; but the chief commander of his troops, a man of great courage and fortune, was slain at the entrance of the north gate of the town, and the earl himself, having lost many of his followers,


[1] The powerful Earl of Chester came over to the king's side for a time, and great consternation prevailed among the adherents of the empress. This probably led to a meeting which now took place between her and Stephen; but the treaty for a reconciliation was fruitless. See the "Acts of King Stephen".

A.D. 1147.] THE CRUSADE FAILS. 285

was compelled to retreat; upon which the citizens, rejoicing in their successful defence, offered signal thanks to the most blessed Virgin, their patron and protectress. At Whitsuntide Lewis, king of France, and Theodoric, earl of Flanders, and the Count de St. Egidius, with an immense multitude from every part of France, and numbers of the English, assumed the cross and journeyed to Jerusalem, intending to expel the Infidels who had taken the city of Rohen. A still greater number accompanied Conrad, emperor of Germany; and both armies passed through the territories of the Emperor of Constantinople, who afterwards betrayed them. In the month of August, Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, proceeded to Auxerre to meet Pope Eugenius, who, after some stay at Paris, was residing there. He was honourably entertained by the pope, but from the extraordinary heat of the weather the seeds of a low fever were sown in his constitution, and he brought it with him to England. Shortly afterwards he fell into a state of infirmity and languor, which ended in death.

Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, died in the thirteenth year of King Stephen's reign, and was buried at Lincoln towards the end of Lent. Of the character of this prelate, following the example of Moses, I will say nothing that is not true. Nurtured in great affluence by his uncle Robert, bishop of Salisbury, he contracted habits which were beyond his means. Rivalling, therefore, other men of rank in his munificence and the splendour of his appointments, his own incomings being inadequate to his expenditure, he carefully drew from his friends the means by which, comparing his wants with the superfluity in which he was bred, the deficiency might be supplied. But this was out of the power of one who the more he had the more he gave. He was at the same time a man of prudence, though so generous, that in the court of Rome he was surnamed the Magnificent. [1]

The same year the armies of the Emperor of Germany and the King of France were annihilated, though they were led by illustrious commanders, and had commenced their


[1] Our author dedicated his History to this bishop. Some account of him given in a note appended to Huntingdon's Preface to the History.

286 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

march in the proudest confidence. But God despised them, and their incontinence came up before Him; for they abandoned themselves to open fornication, and to adulteries hateful to God, and to robbery and every sort of wickedness. First they were wasted by famine, through the false conduct of the Emperor of Constantinople; and afterwards they were destroyed by the enemy's sword. The king and the emperor took refuge at Antioch, and afterwards at Jerusalem, with the remnant of their followers; and the King of France, wishing to do something to restore his character, laid siege to Damascus, havind the assistance of the Knights Templars of Jerusalem, and a force collected from all quarters. But wanting the favour of God, and therefore having no success, he returned to France. Meanwhile a naval armament, containing no men of rank, and trusting in no leader of renown, but in God only, beginning humbly, prospered greatly. For though few in number, and opposed by a numerous force, God being their helper, they reduced to subjection the city of Lisbon in Spain, with another place called Almeria, and all the neighbouring country. Thus truly "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble". For the army of the King of France and the Emperor of Germany was more numerous and splendid than that which had formerly besieged and taken Jerusalem; but, notwithstanding, it was crushed by inferior numbers, and destroyed and disappeared like a spider's web. But the humble expedition of which I have just spoken overcame all who opposed it, hovrever great their multitude. The largest part of it was supplied from England.

The same year, at the approach of Christmas, Robert, surnamed De Querceto, [1] the young archdeacon of Leicester, a man worthy of all praise, was chosen bishop of Lincoln. He was esteemed by all men worthy of this great dignity, and the king, the clergy, and the people joyfully assenting, he was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anxiously expected, his arrival at Lincoln was welcomed [on our Lord's Epiphany] [2] by the clergy and people with great reverence and rejoicings. May God prosper


[1] Called also "De Chaisney".

[2] The words within brackets are in the Royal MS. only.

A.D. 1148.] HENRY (II.) AND EUSTACE KNIGHTED. 287

him in these evil times, and cheer his youth with the dew of wisdom, and make his face to shine with holy joy! [1]

In the fourteenth year of King Stephen's reign David, king of Scots, knighted his nephew Henry. As during this solemnity a large force was assembled, David being numerously attended, and his nephew having in his retinue the nobles of the west of England, King Stephen was alarmed lest they should proceed to attack York; he therefore established himself in that city with a large army, and remained there all the month of August. Meanwhile Stephen's son Eustace, who was also knighted the same year, made an irruption into the territories of the barons who were in attendance on Henry, the empress's son, and, as there was no one to oppose him, he laid them waste with fire and sword. But the kings of England and Scotland, the one at York, the other at Carlisle, fearing a rupture, mutually avoided meeting, and thus separated peaceably, each to his home.

King Stephen, in the fifteenth year of his reign, collecting troops, made a brilliant assault on the city of Worcester, and, having taken it, committed it to the flames; but he was unable to reduce the castle which overlooked the city. It belonged to Waleran, earl of Mellent, to whom King Stephen had granted it much to his own disadvantage. The royal army, having plundered the city, overran the territories of the hostile lords, and, no one resisting them, carried off an immense booty.

In the sixteenth year of the king's reign, Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury and legate apostolical, held a general synod at London, in the middle of Lent, at which were present King Stephen, with his son Eustace, and the great men of England. Its proceedings were disturbed by new appeals, loudly preferred. They were not in use in Engand until Henry, bishop of Winchester, while he was legate, mercilessly introduced them, as it turned out to his


[1] This bishop of Lincoln, of whom the Archdeacon, now an old man, speaks so affectionately, was the third he had been contemporary with in that see. Here Henry of Huntingdon's History concludes in the Arundel MS., and there is the following note in the Royal MS.: "Many copies have no more". We may conclude, therefore, that what follows is a continuation afterwards added to the work, and which did not find its way into the earlier copies.

288 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

own injury. In the present synod there were three appeals to the judgment of the Roman pontiff. The same year, King Stephen again attacked Worcester; [1] and, having been unable to reduce the castle the year before, he now assaulted it with the utmost determination. The garrison making an obstinate resistance, he constructed two forts to cover the attack, and leaving some of his nobles there he himself departed. But it was the king's habit to undertake many projects with zeal, but to pursue them indolently; and now by the management of the Earl of Leicester, who was brother of the Earl of Mellent, the two forts erected by the king were demolished, and the siege was skilfully raised: thus the king's project failed, and his labour was lost. The same year, the Earl of Anjou, brother-in-law of the late King Henry, and son of the King of Jerusalem, a man of great eminence, ended his days. He left to Henry, his eldest son, Anjou and Normandy, together with the hereditary right to the kingdom of England, which he had never reduced to possession. It now happened also that Lewis, king of France, was divorced from his wife, the daughter of the Earl of Poitou, by reason of alleged consanguinity. Henry, therefore, the young duke of Normandy, married her, and with her obtained the county of Poitou, a great accession to his honours and power. But the marriage caused great dissensions, fomented imto hatred, between the King of France and the duke.

Upon this, Eustace, King Stephen's son, with the King of France, made formidable attacks on Normandy, while the duke obstinately resisted both of them, and the whole strength of the French army. However, the king, collecting all his large forces, assaulted an almost impregnable castle called Neuf-Marche, which he took and gave up to Eustace, son of the King of England, who had married his sister.

King Stephen, in his seventeenth year, wished [3] to have his son Eustace crowned, [4] and he required Theobald, archbishop


[1] The text of Savile reads "Winchester"; but it is clearly an error, independently of the authority of the Royal MS., which has "Worcester".

[2] Savile, reddidit; Royal MS., tradidit.

[3] Royal MS., "proposed".

[4] Eustace died the following year.- Roger de Wendover. The anonymous author of "The Acts of King Stephen" speaks highly of his character.

A.D. 1152.] HENRY [II.] LANDS IN ENGLAND. 289

of Canterbury, and the other bishops whom he had assembled with that design, to anoint him king, and give him their solemn benediction; but he met with a repulse, for the pope had by his letters prohibited the archbishop from crowning the king's son, because King Stephen appeared to have broken his oath of fealty in mounting the throne. Upon this, both father and son, greatly disappointed and incensed, ordered the bishops to be shut up together, and by threats and hardships endeavoured to compel them to comply with their demand. But although they were very much alarmed, for Stephen never much liked the bishops, and had some time before imprisoned two of them, [1] they remained firm in spite [2] of the danger they incurred. However, they escaped unhurt in their persons, though they were deprived of their possessions, which the king afterwards penitentially restored. The same year, the king besieged and reduced the castle of Newbury, not far from Winchester. He then laid siege to the castle of Wallingford, building a fort, to beleaguer it, on the bridge at the entrance, which prevented all ingress, so that provisions could not be introduced. Beginning to feel the pressure, they petitioned their lord the Duke of Normandy that he would either send them relief, or that they might have licence to surrender the castle into the king's hands.

In the eighteenth year of King Stephen, the Duke of Normandy, impelled by the necessity of the case, made a sudden descent on England. That wretched country, before reduced to ruin, but now regaining new life by the prospect of his coming to her assistance, may be supposed to address him, weeping, in such language as this:-

Heir to thy grandsire's name and high renown,
Thy England calls thee, Henry, to her throne:
Now, fallen from her once imperial state.
Exhausted, helpless, ruined, desolate.
She sighs her griefs, and feinting scarcely lives:
One solitary hope alone survives.


[1] See before, p. 270.

[2] The reading in the margin of Savile's text, confirmed by the Royal MS., is here followed. The word "nihil" omitted in the printed text, gives it a different turn.

290 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

She turns to thee her dim and feeble eye,
But scarce can raise the suppliant's plaintive cry; "Save me, oh save me Henry; or I die:
Come, saviour, to thy own; by right divine
Fair England's royal diadem is thine".

What dawning light bursts through the lurid gloom?
What echoing shout resounds, "I come, I come"?
Who stands on Normandy's wave-beaten strand,
Lisening to voices from his fathers' land
'T is he, the duke, the flower of chivalry,
His mien commanding, lightning in his eye;
Scarce twenty summers mantle o'er his brow,
Yet hoary years no wiser gifts bestow:
And hark! with life-reviving words he cries,
"Rise from thy death-swoon, prostrate England, rise"!

High on her beetling cliffs the island queen
Beck'ning her hero to the shore is seen,
As the fierce tempest's baffling surge he braves:
And thus her voice comes hoarsely o'er the waves;
"I breathe, I live again at thy command;
But ah how few thy barks, how small thy band!
Before thee, Stephen's countless hosts advance,
Behind thee, low'rs the mighty pow'r of France".
"Fear not for me", the hero answering cried,
"Be mine the glory, mine the noble pride,
Though kings o'er hosts their flaunting banners fling,
Conquering with few, to earn the name of king".

"What banner thine Fain would my aching eye
Midst baffling winds its bright device descry".
"Thy own red cross, proud England, leads me on,
To fields where glory, freedom, shall be won;
Fit emblem ours to consecrate the fight,
Of suffering innocence with lawless might.
I come to cause the tyrant's rule to cease,
And o'er the gasping land spread smiling peace;
Land of my sires! thy blest deliverer be,
And, Christ me aiding, give thee liberty,
Or lifeless on thy blood-stained soil to lie,
For thee to conquer, or for thee to die".

When now the illustrious duke, making the passage in a violent gale, was landed on the English shore, the kingdom was suddenly agitated by the mutterings of rumours, like a quivering bed of reeds swept by the blasts of the wind. Reports, as usual, rapidly spreading, disseminated matter

A.D. 1152.] HENRY'S SUCCESSES. 291

of joy and exultation to some, of fear and sorrow to others. But the delight of those who rejoiced at his arrival was somewhat abated by the tidings that he had so few followers, [1] while the apprehensions of their enemies were by the same reports not a little relieved. Both parties were struck at his encountering the dangers of a tempestuous sea in mid-winter; what the one considered intrepidity, the other called rashness. But the brave young prince, of all things disliking delay, collected his adherents, both those he found and those he brought with him, and laid siege to Malmesbury Castle. [2] The excellences of such a man are so many and great that they must not be enlarged upon, lest the extended narrative of his achievements should lead to wearisome prolixity. In short, then, having invested this castle, for he was not long in executing what he undertook, he presently took it by storm. After the place was taken, the strong keep, which could only be reduced by famine, was still held for the king by Jordan, who sallied from it, and, making all haste, informed him of what had taken place. Disturbed by messengers of the evil tidings, the king's countenance changed from dignity to grief; nevertheless, he lost no time in collecting all his forces, and pitched his camp near Malmesbury. The day after his arrival, he drew out his army in battle array. It included a great body of distinguished knights, and made a splendid and formidable appearance, with its noble chiefs, and their banners glittering with gold; but God was not with them, in whom only there is entire safety. For the floodgates of heaven were opened, and heavy rain drove in their faces, with violent gusts of wind and severe cold, so that God himself appeared to fight for the duke. The royal army, however, marched in good order, though suffering greatly, and contending with the elements, which seemed to be in arms against them. The young duke's army trusted more


[1] Roger of Wendover aays that Henry brought with him a fleet of 36 sail and a large army.

[2] The "Acts of King Stephen" represent the young prince as having on his first landing attacked successively Cricklade and Bourton, from both of which places he was repulsed; after which his force dwindled away, and he was reduced to great extremities. Roger of Wendover says he took Malmesbury on the eve of the Epiphany, and then besieged Crawmarsh, near Wallingford.

292 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. {BOOK VIII.

to its valour than its numbers, but its especial dependence was on the mercy of God and the justice of the cause for which it stood in arms. It was drawn up on the bank of a stream of water, not far from the walls of the town just named, which was so flooded by the torrents of rain and snow that no one could venture to ford it without shrinking from the attempt, and, once committed to the current, there was no gaining the bank. The young and illustrious duke was at the head of his troops in splendid armour, which set off his noble person, so that we may say his arms did not so much become him as he his arms. He and his followers had the tempest of wind and rain at their backs, while it drove in the faces of the king and his army, so that they could hardly support their armour and handle their spears, dripping with wet. It was the Almighty's design that his child should gain possession of the kingdom without the effusion of blood; so that when neither party could cross the river, and the king could no longer endure the severity of the weather, he marched back to London, his operations having failed, and his discomfiture being complete. The tower, therefore, which the duke was besieging, being speedily surrendered, he lost no time in following out with alacrity his main object of marching to the relief of the garrison of Wallingford Castle, now almost exhausted by famine. Having collected a large body of troops to convey a supply of provisions to the beleaguered garrison, he effected his design without opposition, under favour of Providence; for though there were several castles in the neighbourhood held by strong parties of the king's troops, they offered him no molestation either in going or returning. This having been speedily accomplished, the valiant duke, assembling all the militia of the country, which flocked to his standard, laid siege to the castle of Crawmarsh, commencing the difficult and important enterprise by diggirg a deep trench round the walls and his own camp, so that his army had no egress but by the castle of Wallingford, and the besieged had none whatever. Upon hearing this, the king, assembling the whole force he could muster throughout his territories, seriously threatened the duke's position. But the duke, under no alarm, though his forces were inferior to the king's, caused the work

A.D. 1153.] TRUCE WITH KING STEPHEN. 293

which he had thrown up for the protection of his camp to be levelled, and, raising the siege, marched in good order against the enemy. The royal troops, when, unexpectedly, they perceived the duke's army drawn up in battle array in their front, were struck with a sudden panic, but the king, not disheartened, gave orders that his troops should march from their camp prepared for battle. Then the traitorous nobles interfered, and proposed among themselves terms of peace. They loved, indeed, nothing better than disunion; but they had no inclination for war, and felt no desire to exalt either the one or the other of the pretenders to the crown, so that by humbling his rival they themselves might become entirely subject to the other. They preferred that, the two being in mutual fear, the royal authority should, with respect to themselves, be kept in abeyance. The king and the duke, therefore, being sensible of the treachery of their adherents, were reluctantly compelled to make a truce between themselves. God, as usual, was the Protector of the young duke. The royal camp to which he had laid siege was raised in consequence of the truce; and the king and the duke had a conference without witnesses, across a rivulet, on the terms of a lasting accommodation between themselves, during which the faithlessness of their nobles was anxiously considered. At this meeting the business of the treaty was only entered upon, its completion being deferred to another opportunity. After each had returned to his quarters, their quarrel still unsettled, light dawned from an unexpected quarter on the fortunes of the great duke. For it happened that his two most determined and powerful enemies, Eustace, the king's son, and Simon, earl of Northampton, were suddenly snatched may, Providence so ordering it, at the same moment; in consequence of which the hopes and the courage of all who were opposed to the duke vanished at once. Earl Simon, who exemplified all that was licentious, and practised all that was unbecoming, was buried at Northampton. The king's son was buried in the abbey founded by his mother at Feversham; a good soldier, but an ungodly man, who dealt harshly with the rulers of the church, being their determined persecutor. The Almighty having removed these formidable adversaries of Henry, his beloved, He had

294 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

now in his mercy prepared the way for his reigning in tranquillity.

The third siege undertaken was that of Stamford. The town surrendered immediately, but the garrison of the castle resisted, and sent messengers to the king intreating his aid against the besiegers. At that time the king had laid siege to the castle of Ipswich, which Hugh Bigod held against him, and being unwilling to raise the siege and relieve the garrison of Stamford, that castle was surrendered to Prince Henry, while Ipswich was given up to the king. The Duke of Normandy, departing from Stamford, marched to Nottingham, which he took possession of; but the enemy, who held the castle, set the town on fire [and the duke was so afflicted at the burning of the town, that he drew off his army]. [1]

Meanwhile, Archbishop Theobald had frequent consultations with the king, in which he urged him to come to terms with the duke, with whom also he communicated by messengers. He found a coadjutor in Henry, bishop of Winchester, who had taken the lead in disturbing the kingdom, by giving the crown to his brother Stephen. Of this he now repented, and finding the whole kingdom desolated by robbery, fire, and slaughter, he proposed to find a remedy in the concord of the chiefs. More especially, the providence of God, which makes peace, and is the giver of good, withdrew the scourge which tormented Englend, causing their undertaking to prosper, so that by its blessing on their efforts the peace was solemnly ratified. What boundless joy, what a day of rejoicing, when the king himself led the illustrious young prince through the streets of Winchester, with a splendid procession of bishops and nobles, and amidst the acclamations of the thronging people; for the king received him as his son by adoption, and acknowledged him heir to the crown! From thence he accompanied the king to London, where he was received with no less joy by the people assembled in countless numbers, and by brilliant processions, as was fitting for ss great a prince. Thus, through God's mercy, after a night of misery, peace dawned on the ruined realm of England


[1] The words within the brackets are inserted from the Royal MS.

A.D. 1154.] HENRY RETURNS TO NORMANDY. 295

These rejoicings ended, the king and his new son parted, soon to meet again; for the peace was ratified before Christmas, and on the octave of the Epiphany they met at Oxford. The duke had then just spent a year in the conquest, yea, rather, the recovery, of England. There all the great men of the realm, by the king's command, did homage, and promised the fealty due to their liege lord to the Duke of Normandy, saving only their allegiance to King Stephen during his life. New rejoicings took place at this magnificent assembly, after which all departed with joy and gladness to their homes. After a short interval there was another meeting at Dunstable, where a slight cloud overshadowed the day of gladness; for the duke was dissatisfied that the castles, which after the death of King Henry were built in every part of the country with the worst designs, had not been demolished, according to the provisions of the treaty so solemnly made and ratified. Some of them indeed had been razed, but others were spared, by the indulgence or the policy of the king, and this appeared to weaken the obligations of the treaty. Upon the duke's complaining of it to the king, he met with a repulse; but, wishing to preserve a good understanding with his new father, he reluctantly deferred the matter, lest it should disturb their concord, and they parted amicably. Not long afterwards, the duke, having obtained the king's licence, returned to Normandy, flushed with his success.

These were the acts of Heniy, the most illustrious of youths, during his second visit to England. Let me not be censured for having committed to writing so few particulars of his splendid career. [1] Having to tell of so many and great kings, and the series of events for many ages, if I had attempted to give fulness to my History I must have written volumes. I have, therefore, chosen rather to collect into one volume an abridgment of history, so that posterity may not be altogether ignorant of former events. I now


[1] The anonymous amthor of the "Acts of King Stephen" represents tbe campaign of Henry II. after his landing in England, and the character of this young prince, altogether in a different light. See the account towards the close of Stephen's reign in the latter part of this volume.

296 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON. [BOOK VIII.

return to my subject. Returning into France triumphant, the duke was joyfully received by his mother and brothers, and the people of Normandy, Anjou, Maine, and Poitou, with the honours due to him. King Stephen, also, now for the first time reigning in peace, was, thanks to his adopted son, powerful enough to maintain the authority of his royal station. But O! the desperate fury of mortals! O their unaccountable perversity! Certain sons of men, "whose teeth were spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword", made zealous attempts to sow the seeds of discord between the king who was present and the duke at a distance. The king could hardly resist their persuasions, and some thought he was already yielding to them, and that he listened to their evil counsels with a secret pleasure, and, though he affected to discountenance them, more than was right. But the counsels of these sons of men were one thing, the counsels of the Almighty another; and He, as was fitting, perfected his own, and made the counsels of the wicked and their perverse machinations of no effect. The king having besieged and taken the castle of Drake, near York, and triumphantly taken and razed many other castles, he went to Dover, to hold a conference with the Earl of Flanders. While talking with him, the king fell sick; of which sickness he died eight days before the feast of All Saints [4th of October], after a distracted and unfortunate reign of nineteen years. He was interred in the abbey of Feversham, near his wife and son. Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, with many of the English nobles, dispatched messengers in all haste to their now lord the Duke of Normandy, intreating him to come over without delay, and receive the crown of England. Hindered, however, by contrary winds and a stormy sea, as well as other circumstances, it was not till six days before Christmas that, accompanied by his wife and brothers, with a retinue of great nobles and a strong force, he landed in the New Forest. England, therefore, was left for six weeks without a king; but by God's providence it was in perfect tranquillity, the love or the fear of the expected king securing it. Upon his landing he proceeded to London, and, ascending the throne of England, was crowned and consecrated with

A.D. 1154.] HENRY II. INAUGURATED. 297

becoming pomp and splendour, amidst universal rejoicings, which many mingled with tears of joy. The happiness of this period I have thus described in heroic verse:-

Low lies the head that wore fair England's crown,
Henry delays [1] to mount the vacant throne;
Yet marvel not that wars and tumults cease.
And factions strife is hushed in waiting peace.
Stephen grasped feebly, through his troubled reign.
What absent Henry's name, alone, can gain:
If such when lingering in a foreign land,
What with the reins of empire in his hand?
If thus the early dawn with distant light
Can pierce the clouds and chase the shades of night.
What then the glory when the noontide sun
Pours its full radiance from the zenith won?
Then shall beam forth, in England's happier hour,
Justice with mercy, and well-balanced power;
Unblemished loyalty, and honour bright
And love with chastened pleasure shall unite.
Such gems shall sparkle in thy jewelled crown,
And deck it with a lustre all thy own.
Fresh genial warmth shall burst the icy chain.
In which, benumbed and bound, the land has lain;
England with tears of joy shall lift her head,
And thus shall hail her saviour from the dead:
"A thing of earth - a lifeless body mine;
The soul, the vivifying spirit, thine;
Re-entering now the frame inanimate.
The soul shall, out of death, new life create".

[The accession of a new king demands a new Book.] [2]


[1] "Henry's power was so well established in England, that he continued and concluded the siege of a castle which he was investing before he came over".- Hume.

[2] Savile's printed text of the history concludes with the verses; but the sentence within the brackets follows in the Royal MS., in the same handwriting as the rest of the History; whence it may be inferred that it was Henry of Huntingdon's intention to add another Book, in continuation, containing some account of the reign of Henry II. It is probable that he did not long survive that king's accession, and death thus frustrated his design. There is a short continuation added to the Royal MS. in a different hand, as follows:- "This Henry II., son of the Countess of Anjou, reigned xxxiv. years. Enacting unjust laws, he was opposed by St. Thomas of Canterbury, who received the crown of martyrdom. He crowned his son Henry, who was called Henry III., in his own lifetime; but he died before his father. Henry II. had four sons by Eleanor, viz. Henry III., Richard, John, and Geoffrey, whose son Arthur was murdered by John".


HENRY, ARCHDEACON OF HUNTINGDON, ON CONTEMPT OF THE WORLD; OR ON THE BISHOPS AND OTHER ILLUSTRIOUS MEN OF HIS AGE. IN A LETTER TO WALTER. FORMING ORIGINALLY THR EIGHTH BOOK OF HIS HISTORY.

(301)

HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S LETTER TO WALTER. [1]

Walter, [2] my friend, once the flower of our youth and the ornament of our times, now alas! you are worn by a lingering disease, and languish under a painful disorder. When we were in the prime of our age, I dedicated to you a Book of poetical epigrams, and I also proffered for your acceptance a poem which I composed on love. Such trifles were fitting our youth, but now that we are old men what I offer you is becoming our years. I have, therefore,


[1] In the MSS. which have been collated, this epistle, with three others, form the Eighth Book of Henry of Huntingdon's History. The first edition, so to speak, of the History concluding with the reign of Henry I., in the year 1185, the epistle, which was written in that year, and treats principally of persons connected with the narrative of the Seventh Book, was a regular sequel to it. In the original order, the Ninth Book comprised an account of the miracles related by Bede; and afterwards Huntingdon composed a Tenth Book, continuing his History through the reign of Stephen to the accession of Henry II. But it appears that the transcribers of the MSS. still continued to insert the epistles and the account of the miracles as the Eighth and Ninth Books, though these interrupted the progress of the History, which proceeds consecutively from the reign of Henry I., with which the first edition closed, to the reign of Stephen, which is the subject of Huntingdon's continuation of his work in his last Book. Sir Henry Savile, in his, which was the first, printed edition of Huntingdon's history, calls this the Eighth Book; stating that some MSS. omit the two intervening ones, which he did not publish. Not to interrupt the tenor of the narrative, I have followed Savile's arrangement; but for the reasons given in the Preface, I have thought it desirable to add the "Epistle to Walter" as an appendix to the History.

[2] Savile states that Walter was Archdeacon of Oxford. Henry of Huntingdon does not insert his name in the list of dignitaries of the church of Lincoln, given in this epistle; but that may be accounted for from its being addressed to Walter himself.

302 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

written something on the contempt of the world, for your use and my own, which may occupy your hours of languor, and to which I myself may recur with profit. I do not intend a rhetorical or philosophical dissertation; the pages of holy writ speak throughout of this one thing in a voice of authority, and the philosophers have made it their earnest study; but I shall treat the subject in the simplest manner, so as to make it plain to the multitude, that is, the unlearned, and to draw from what has passed under our own observation, reasons for contemning, now that we are old men, what is really contemptible. I will not, therefore, have recourse to former Histories; I shall relate nothing that has been told before, but only what is within my own knowledge, the only evidence which can be deemed authentic. But if the great names of our times should appear uncouth to posterity, or my treatise should seem indigested and wandering, and be considered wearisome, because so many such names are introduced, at least it may be profitable to you and myself.

The first chapter shall have reference to matters concerning our Church. As, then, in youth the seeds of all manner of vices bud luxuriantly, that which rears itself most vigorously, and overtops the rest, is the love of this present world. But from the simplicity natural to the age, youth is free from many errors, such as scepticism, fickleness, and the like, while the tendency I have spoken of, being more seductive than the rest, abides and gains strength. As age advances, things which once charmed lose their relish, and the sweet becomes bitter. Evil habits fasten on the mind, as with a hook which cannot be extricated; and men are led captive by the love of wealth and of fleeting pleasures. This I have learnt by my own experience. For when I was a mere child, in my growing up, and while I was a young man, I had opportunities of closely observing the splendour in which our Bishop Robert lived. [1]


[1] Robert de Bloet, bishop of Lincoln, in whose household Henry was brought up from his earliest years. We have here a lively picture of the sumptuous mode of living of the great ecclesiastics of those times. Bishop Robert was also justiciary of all England, and much employed by Henry I. in secular affairs. See the preceding History, p. 250.

LETTER TO WALTER. 303

I saw his retinue of gallant knights and noble youths; his horses of price, his vessels of gold or of silver-gilt; the splendid array of his plate, the gorgeousness of his servitors; the fine linen and purple robes, and I thought within myself that nothing could be more blissful. When, moreover, all the world, even those who had learnt in the schools the emptiness of such things, were obsequious to him, and he was looked up to as the father and lord of all, it was no wonder that he valued highly his worldly advantages. If at that time any one had told me that this splendour which we all admired ought to be held in contempt, with what face, in what temper, should I have heard it? I should have thought him more insensate than Orestes, more querulous than Thersites. It appeared to me that nothing could exceed happiness so exalted. But when I became a man, and heard the scurrilous language which was addressed to him, I felt that I should have fainted if it had been used to me, who had nothing, in such a presence. Then I began to value less what I had before so highly esteemed.

It is very common for worldly men to experience the most painful reverses before the end of their career. I will relate what happened to Bishop Robert before his death. He, who had been Justiciary of all England, and universally feared, was in the last year of his life twice impleaded by the king before an ignoble judge, and both times condemned with disgrace in heavy penalties. His anguish of mind in consequence was such, that I saw him shed tears during dinner, while I, then his archdeacon, was sitting near him. On the cause being asked, he replied, "Formerly my own attendants were sumptuously apparelled; but now the fines extorted from me by the king, whose favour I have always cultivated, serve to clothe a base crew". After this, he so entirely despaired of the royal favour, that when some one repeated to him the high commendations which the king had made of him in his absence, he exclaimed, "The king praises no one whom he has not resolved utterly to ruin". For King Henry, if I may venture to say so, practised consummate duplicity, and his designs were inscrutable. A few days afterwards the bishop was at Woodstock, where the king had appointed a great

304 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

hunting-match; and while conversing with the king and the Bishop of Salisbury, the two prelates being the greatest men in the kingdom, our Bishop [of Lincoln] was struck with apoplexy. He was carried speechless to his inn, and there presently expired in the king's presence. [1] Then the powerful monarch whom he had always faithfully served, whom he both loved and feared, whose favour he highly valued, and in whom he once placed such confidence, could not help him in his last extremity. "Cursed be he that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm". [2] When, therefore, the child, or the stripling, or the young man looks up to those who are at the summit of fortune, let them recollect how uncertain may be their end, and that even in this world affliction may come upon and consume them. Bishop Robert was humane and humble, he raised the fortunes of many, and crushed no one's; he was the orphan's father, and beloved by all who surrounded him; but we have seen what was his end.

Something should be said of his predecessor Remi, [3] who came to England with William the First, and was present in his wars. He was raised to the bishopric of Dorchester by that king, and changing its seat to Lincoln, he founded our church there, endowed it with ample possessions, and attached to it men of worth. I speak only of what I have seen and heard. Him, indeed, I never saw, but I knew all the venerable men to whom he gave appointments in his new church. I will mention a few of the number. He chose Ralph, a venerable priest, for dean, and appointed Rayner treasurer, whose place is now filled by his nephew Geoffrey. Rayner was so pious a man, that he often chaunted psalms over the tomb which he had built to receive his remains, and there prepared himself by continual prayers for his eternal home; that when the days of his devotion were ended, and he was laid there, he might be partaker of the mercy of God. Felix was an


[1] The Saxon Chronicle adds some little details, which Henry of Huntingdon, who would seem to have the best information, omits, both here and in his History; see note, pp. 250-1. The Chronicle, with which Huntingdon agrees, fixes his death in 1123; Ordericus Vitalis in 1118.

[2] Jer. xv. 5.

[3] See the preceding History, pp. 219-20.

LETTER TO WALTER. 305

exemplar of the highest excellence. I must not omit Hugh the priest, a man indeed worthy to he remembered; for he was the first, and the prop of the whole Chapter. He was succeeded by Osbert, a most agreeable and amiable man. William, a youth of great promise, now fills his place. Guerno was appointed Precentor, whose office Ralph the chaunter now holds. I must not pass over Albinus of Anjou, who was my own master; whose brothers were most worthy men, and my associates. They were graced by the triple robe of the most profound learning, the strictest continence, and perfect purity; but, by the inscrutable judgment of God, they were afflicted with leprosy, from which they are now cleansed by the purification of the grave. Remi placed archdeacons over the seven counties comprised in his bishopric. Richard was made Archdeacon of Lincoln, and was succeeded by Albert the Lombard, who was succeeded by William of Bayeux, and now by Robert the younger, who is the richest archdeacon in England. Nicholas [1] was Archdeacon of Cambridge, Huntingdon, and Hertford, distinguished no less by the graces of his person than by those of his mind. About the time of his death, when Cambridgeshire was detached from our see, and attached to a new bishop, I myself succeeded to the archdeaconry of the two remaining counties. Bishop Remi appointed Nigel, archdeacon of [North] Hampton; he was succeeded by Robert, and, in turn, by William, the excellent nephew of our present Bishop Alexander. [2] Ralph was appointed to Leicester, and was succeeded by Godfrey, a man worthy of all praise, whose place is now filled by Robert de Merceto, a man not to be forgotten. Oxford was given to Alfred, an eminent rhetorician. Buckingham received Alfred the little, who was succeeded by Gilbert, distinguished by his courtly manners, and writings both in verse and prose. Their successor was Roger, now made Bishop of Chester. Then came Richard; but it is now held by David, the brother of your venerable Bishop


[1] It is not improbable that Nicholas was the father of Henry of Huntingdon. See the preceding History, p. 245.

[2] To whom Huntingdon dedicated his History. See note to the dedication at the beginning of this volume, and the account of this bishop's death and character given in the Eighth Book of the History.

306 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

Alexander, the fifth in succession. Bedford, the seventh archdeaconry, was given to Osbert, who was succeeded by Ralph, unhappily killed. Hugh was appointed to his office, and then Nicholas, who is the fourth in succession. I must pass over the rest of the clergy, excellent men, lest I should be prolix. Consider, then, how many of these reverend men are now dead, and will shortly be lost in oblivion. Reckon also in your mind's eye all those we have formerly seen, on the right of the choir, and on the left; not one of them now survives. These men loved what we love, sought what we seek, desired what we desire; but death has buried them all in oblivion. It is our duty to reflect that the same fate awaits ourselves, and it should be our earnest care to seek that which is durable, that which has foundation, and is not a mere dream; in short, that which has a real existence, for things here are nought.

The second chapter, on the contempt of the world, concerns those I have seen, who being nurtured in the highest prosperity, have been subjected to the severest calamities. I have seen Henry, the king's son, habited in robes of silk interwoven with gold, surrounded by troops of attendants and guards, and brilliant with almost celestial splendour. He was the only son of the king and the queen, and looked with confidence to the inheritance of the throne. In truth, I know not whether the assurance of succeeding to the crown was not better to him, than the present possession of it to his father; because the father had already spent a long period of his term of reigning, while the son might count on the entire period of his own. His father, indeed, had to reflect with sorrow on the time when it would be no longer his, while the son could anticipate its possession with unmixed joy. But unpleasing thoughts suggested themselves to my mind, the presage of future calamity, when I observed the excessive state with which he was surrounded, and his own pride. I said to myself, "This prince, so pampered, is destined to be food for the fire"! He, indeed, from his proud eminence, fixed his thoughts on his future kingdom; but God said, "Not so, unrighteous man, [1] not so"! And it came to pass that the head


[1] Huntingdon seems to indulge his cynical humour in treating of this young prince. Except the pride and indulgence, natural to his station, which our historian had opportunities of observing, I am not aware of any blemish on his character, unless there is any ground for including him in the foul imputation which Huntingdon attaches to the memory of most of those who perished in the shipwreck. But I have not found any other authority for it than the passage in Huntingdon's History. See p. 249; and our author there mentions it only as a report. The gallantry with which the prince attempted to rescue his sister, the Countess of Perche, from the wreck, and in so doing perished himself, leaves a favourable impression. See in Malmesbnry, book v. p. 455, a fuller account of this disaster than is given by our author.

LETTER TO WALTER. 307

which should have worn a crown of gold, was rudely dashed against the rocks; instead of wearing embroidered robes, he floated naked in the waves; and instead of ascending a lofty throne, he found his grave in the bellies of fishes at the bottom of the sea. Such was the change wrought by the right hand of the Most High! So also Richard, earl of Chester, the only son of Earl Hugh, nurtured in the greatest splendour, in the full prospect of inheriting his father's high honours, perished, while still young, in the same ship, and shared the same burial. Richard, also, the king's bastard son, who had been splendidly brought up by our Bishop Robert, and treated with distinction by me, and others of the same family of which I was then a member; [1] one whom we admired for his talents, and from whom we expected great things, he too was dashed on the rocks in the same ship, when no wind ruffled the sea, and, being plunged in its depths, met with a sudden death. Again, when William, the king's nephew, that is, son of Robert, duke of Normandy, who now remained sole heir to the crown, and was judged worthy of it in the opinion of all men, had, by his consummate ability, acquired the earldom of Flanders, and by his indomitable valour defeated Theodoric in a pitched battle, he perished from a slight wound. Thus the hopes of all who looked upon him as their future king were disappointed.

If I were to dwell on such examples, my letter would swell to a large book. But I must not omit to mention our dean Symon, the son of our Bishop Robert, born to him while he was Chancellor of the great King William. He being educated at court, was, while yet young, appointed our dean, and made rapid advances in the royal favour and


[1] See the earlier part of this letter, p. 302.

308 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

in courtly honours. He was gifted with a lively genius and a brilliant eloquence; his person was noble, and his manners were graceful; though young in years, he was old in wisdom: but these qualities were tainted by his pride. From pride springs envy, from envy hatred, from hatred slanders, quarrels, and. secret accusations. He spoke truly of himself when he said, "I mix with the courtiers like salt among live eels"; for as the salt excruciates them, so he tormented by his calumnies all who were attached to the royal household: but as the salt loses its pungency by the moisture exuding from the eels, so the universality of his slander deprived it of its acrimony, and nullified his malice. One part of this adage he understood very well, but the other did not occur to him. He spoke the truth of himself without knowing it: for, from having been among the highest at court and in the royal favour, after a time he fell under the king's extreme displeasure, and being thrown into prison, from which it is reported he escaped through a sewer, he became an exile and a ruined man while he was still young. In him, therefore, was well exemplified the proverb, "Those who are brought up among flower beds are not far from dung". We must not be surprised, then, when we see that noble youths, brilliant with personal graces and fortune's favours, frequently fall into the greatest misery. Then all their vain hopes vanish, and that which was nothing is reduced to nothing.

My third observation on the contempt of this fleeting life - I would it were despised by me as I could wish, and as it deserves - relates to the wisdom of this world, or that which is most desirable in it. That, indeed, is more precious than the riches of the whole earth, and all that is coveted in the world cannot be compared with it: for it is written, [1] "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God". Which saying of the Apostle I propose to exemplify from instances within my own knowledge. I will mention the Earl of Mellent, the most sagacious in political affairs of all who lived between this and Jerusalem. [2] His mind was enlightened, his eloquence persuasive, his shrewdness acute; he was provident and wily, his prudence never


[1] Cor. iii. 19.

[2] See the History, p. 246.

LETTER TO WALTER. 309

failed, his counsels were profound, and his wisdom great. He had extensive and noble possessions, which are commonly called honours, [1] together with towns and castles, villages and farms, woods and waters, which he acquired by the exercise of the talents I have mentioned. His domains lay not only in England, but in Normandy and France; so that he was able, at his will, to promote concord between the kings of France and England, or to set them at variance, and provoke wars between them. If he took umbrage against any man, his enemy was humbled and crushed; while those he favoured were exalted to honour. Hence his coffers were filled with a prodigious influx of wealth in gold and silver, besides precious gems, and the contents of his ward-robe. [2] But when he was in the zenith of his power, it happened that a certain earl carried off the lady he had espoused, either by some intrigue, or by force and stratagem. Thenceforth, even to his declining years, his mind was disturbed and clouded with grief, nor did he, to the time of his death, regain composure and happiness. After days abandoned to sorrow, when he was labouring under an infirmity which was the precursor of death, and the archbishops and priests were performing their office for the confessional purification, they required of him that as a penitent he should restore the lands which, by force or fraud, he had wrung from others, and wash out his sins with tears of repentance; to which he replied, "Wretched man that I am! if I dismember the domains that I have got together, what shall I have to leave to my sons?" Upon this, the ministers of the Lord answered, "Your hereditary estates, and the lands which you have justly acquired, are enough for your sons; restore the rest, or else you devote your soul to perdition". The earl replied, "My sons shall have all. I leave it to them to act mercifully, that the defunct may obtain mercy". But after his death his sons were more careful to augment, by fresh


[1] An "honour" was a law term not merely signifying personal rank or title, but feudal rights of a superior kind over large territories, including manors, etc., dependent upon the "honour". Thus the domains dependent upon the castle of Pevensey were erected into the Honour of the Eagle.

[2] The "wardrobe" included not only wearing apparel; but the hangings and movable furniture of palaces and castles.

310 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

injustice, the possessions their father had acquired, than to distribute any part of them for the good of his soul. It is evident, therefore, that a man's highest wisdom may, in the end, degenerate not only to sheer folly, but to blind insanity.

Need I mention Gilbert, surnamed the Universal, bishop of London? His equal for learning was not to be found even at Rome. He was an accomplished master of the liberal arts, and in speculative knowledge he had no equal living in France, he was rector of the school of Nivernois, when the bishopric of London was proposed to him, and he accepted the offer. Notwithstanding the great expectations which were formed of him, he soon began to yield to the temptations of avarice; amassing much, spending little. At his death he bequeathed nothing; but King Henry found immense hoards of wealth in his coffers. Even the bishop's boots, well stuffed with gold and silver, were brought into the royal treasury. [1] So that this man of consummate learning was universally admitted to be the greatest of fools.

I will say a word of Ralph, the king's chancellor. He was a man of the greatest sagacity, astute and crafty; and he applied all the powers of his intellect to disinheriting simple folk, and easing them of their money. During this course of life he became subject to habitual infirmity. But such was his passion for accumulating, that, even then, resisting God, as it were, and overcoming nature, he did not cease to ruin and plunder those he could. His greed grew with his grief, his sins with his sickness, his peculations with his pains; until at last, happening to fall from his horse, a monk rode over him; so that he met his death in an extraordinary way. These examples, selected from a crowd of others, may serve to exhibit the folly of this world's wisdom.

In the fourth place, I will address myself to the fortunes, of men whose names are great, such as the Lord spoke of when He said to David, "And I have made thee a great


[1] The chattels and treasures of the bishops were held to lapse to the crown on their death.

[2] See the story in Henry of Huntingdon's History, p. 250 of this volume.

LETTER TO WALTER. 311

name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth". [1] David's prosperity, indeed, was blessed; theirs of whom I speak was otherwise. For in these times no one can acquire a great name except by great wickedness. A great name was obtained by Thomas, duke of Louvain, in France, because he was great in crime. In hostility to all the neighbouring churches, he extorted from them contributions to his money-bags. When any one, by fraud or force, fell into his hands, the captive might truly say, "The pains of hell compassed me round". Homicide was his passion and his glory. He imprisoned his own countess, an unheard-of outrage; and, cruel and lewd at once, while he subjected her to fetters and torture by day, to extort money, he forced her to cohabit with him by night, in order to mock her. Each night his rude followers dragged her from her prison to his bed, each morning they conveyed her from his chamber back to her prison. Amicably addressing any one who approached him, he would plunge a sword into his side, laughing the while. For this he wore his sword naked under his cloak, more frequently than sheathed. Men feared him, bowed down to him, worshipped him. Reports concerning him were spread throughout France. Meanwhile, his possessions, his wealth, his followers, daily increased. Do you desire to hear the end of this abandoned man? When mortally wounded, he rejected the sacrament of penance, turned his head away from the consecrated host, and so died. It may well be said of him, "His life was follow'd by a fitting end".

You knew Robert de Belesme, the Norman earl who was thrown into prison. [2] He was a very Pluto, Megaera, Cerberus, or anything that you can conceive still, more horrible. He preferred the slaughter of his captives to their ransom. He tore out the eyes of his own children, when in sport they hid their faces under his cloak. [3] He impaled persons of both sexes on stakes. To butcher men in the most horrible manner was to him an agreeable feast. His name was tho theme of general discourse, and the fearful freaks


[1] 2 Sam. vii. 9.

[2] See the History in this volume, p. 245.

[3] William of Malmesbury gives rather a different account of this barbarity.

312 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

of Robert de Belesme became common proverbs. At length we come to his end; a thing much to be desired. This cruel man, who had been the gaoler of others, was thrown into a dungeon by King Henry, where he died after a long imprisonment. Of him, whose fame had been spread everywhere, no one knew, after he was in prison, whether he was alive or dead; and report was silent of the day of his death. I have given an account of two out of many such monsters. Such as these might be a terror to the devils themselves, and I refrain from saying any more about them.

Fifthly, I purpose to treat of those who, elevated far above all other mortals, are in human affairs as the sum of a problem. For kings are to their subjects a sort of gods. Men devote themselves to them by solemn oaths, and the very stars of heaven appear to do them service. So great is the majesty of these rulers of the world, that men are never weary of looking on them, and their subjects regard them as something more than mortal. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that not only women and children, but men of light minds, should eagerly rush to gaze at them. But even the wise, and men of grave discretion, after repeated views, are drawn by some indescribable impulse to their presence. What is the reason of this? What can be more full of bliss than their state? What more radiant with glory? Would that one of these favoured mortals could talk to you freely, and pour into your ear the secrets of his heart! You would then form a very different judgment. While others count them most happy, they are consumed with trouble, tormented with fear. No man in their dominions is equally wretched, equally wicked. Hence it is said, the royal state is wickedness. King Henry threw his brother, the Lord Robert, into a dungeon, and kept him there till he died. He caused his nephew's eyes to be torn out; numbers fell into his hands by his breach of faith; numbers he put to death craftily; broke many solemn oaths. He was a slave to ambition and avarice. What alarm seized him when his brother Robert led an army against him out of Normandy to England! He was terrified into making peace; but the result was that he caused his highest nobles to commit perjury, because he broke the treaty and took his brother prisoner. What

LETTER TO WALTER 313

was his alarm when the Count of Anjou took his castles, and he dared not march to oppose him! What was his alarm when Baldwin, earl of Flanders, carried fire through Normandy to his very face, and he was unable to check him! What was his anguish of mind when his sons, and daughters, and nobles were engulfed in the sea! With what anxiety was he devoured when his nephew William, having obtained the earldom of Flanders, it seemed certain that he himelf would lose his crown! He was reckoned the most fortunate of kings but, truly, he was the most miserable.

Need I speak Of Philip, king of France, and Lewis, his son, both of whom reigned in my time, whose god was their belly, and indeed a fatal enemy it was; for such was their gluttony, that they became so fat as not to be able to support themselves. Philip died long ago of plethora; Lewis has now shared the same fate, though a young man. What can we say of their fortunes? Was not Philip often defeated? Was he not frequently forced to fly before the vilest of the people? Was not Lewis expelled by King Henry from the Field of Mars; and driven out, as is apparent, by his own subjects? Again, the King of Norway was lately taken prisoner in battle by his own brother, who put out his eyes, dismembered him, cut off the head of his sucking child, and hung his bishop. All of these kings were alike ill-fated.

But you will allege in contradiction, Why have you so highly extolled King Henry in your History, [1] while here you bring against him such serious accusations? My answer is this: I said that this king was of great sagacity, [2] that his counsels were profound, that his foresight was keen, and that he was renowned in arms, that his achievenents were glorious, and that his wealth was extraordinary. Notwithstanding this, all that I have said to his disadvantage is but too true; would it were otherwise. [3] But perhaps


[1] See Book vii. p. 261 of the present volume.

[2] It is singular that Henry of Huntingdon, both here and in his History, is silent on the literary accomplishments of Henry I., which obtained for him the surname of Beau-clerc.

[3] The free manner in which Henry of Huntingdon treats of the character this Norman king, while he was still living, and notwithstanding his evident personal attachment to him, is creditable to his own character for impartiality as an historian. Perhaps it also exhibits the spirit of independence felt by the ecclesiastics of those times.

314 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

you will still aver, His reign has now lasted thirty-five years; [1] and the instances of his good fortune, if you count them, are more in number than adverse events. To this I reply, Yes, but not even a thousandth part of his good fortune can be admitted as evidence of his happiness; for the very occurrences which seemed fortunate were always mingled with disappointment. When he gained a victory over the French king, with what protracted anxieties was that short triumph followed! Because, in a word, another army was immediately raised, which caused him fresh uneasiness. You speak with admiration of his length of days, and the many years of his reign; but a man of God has predicted that it shall not last two years longer. Soon you will see the miserable end of a miserable life. Would it could be otherwise! But so it will be. [2] Thus, you must not fix your regards on these unhappy kings, but on God, who along is blessed, and opens the kingdoms of bliss to his faithful servants.

My sixth and last treatise concerns those great men and peers of the realm who, not long since, were most potent, and still are not powerless. But they are nothing, they are nowhere; I may almost say, with some extravagance, they never were. [3] Scarcely any one remembers them now; all memory of them has begun to vanish; presently it will be entirely lost; they will vanish like running water. Listen, then, my dear friend Walter, to my discourse concerning those illustrious men whom we have ourselves seen, though it may be somewhat tedious. In our time flourished Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, a philosopher and a politician; he was succeeded by Anselm, a wise and most religious prelate. After them we saw Ralph, who was worthy of his high dignity. Next, the see of Canterbury


[1] This computation fixes the date of Huntingdon's Letter to Walter, which has been assigned to a later period. See the observations in the Profiles to this volume.

[2] This prediction was singularly verified, if we may suppose that King Henry's state of health at this time was not such as to render it far from hazardous. The king died before the end of the year in which this epistle was written, "the day after the feast of St. Andrew " the 29th of December, 1135.

[3] Sic. The writer explains himself a little further on.

LETTER TO WALTER. 315

was filled by William, of whose merit nothing can be said, for he had none; [1] at present it is filled by Theobald, a man worthy of all praise. In our time, also, Walkeline was bishop of Winchester; he was succeeded by William Giffard, a man of true nobility. Both these are dead, and have come to nothing. Their seat is occupied by Henry, the king's son, who promises to exhibit a monstrous spectacle, compounded of purity and corruption, half a monk, half a knight. [2] In our time, also, Ingulfus was bishop of Rochester; after whom came Ralph, then Arnulf, then John. All these are dead; and Asceline, who now fills the see, cannot hold it long. [3] In our time, Maurice, bishop of London, died; he was succeeded by Richard, and afterwards by Gilbert, the great philosopher. At present, the see is filled by Robert, a man of enlarged mind. These two are dead. John, the physician, held the see of Bath, [4] and then Godfrey; Robert now fills it; and these also are nothing. At Worcester I saw Samson, a prelate of great eminence; after him came Teulf; now we see Simon there. At Chester we saw Robert bishop; then another Robert, surnamed Pecceth; [5] now the see is filled by Roger, who will soon be nothing. Herbert had Norwich, a mild and


[1] In the "Acts of King Stephen", this prelate is described as grasping and covetous.

[2] This was the Bishop of Winchester, and papal legate, of whom Huntingdon here shrewdly predicts the extraordinary part he took in the troubles of the succeeding reign.

[3] Dacher, in his edition of this epistle, inserts in the text the name of Baldulf, as Bishop of Rochester, between those of Ingulfus and Ralph. There was a bishop of Whiterne in Galloway of that name, A.D. 791. See "Huntingdon's History", p. 139. Dacher adds in a note, "Gundulf" [or Ingulf] "died in 1170; and we might suppose that Asceline, the fourth in succession, was dead in 1147"; which is most probable from what Huntingdon here says; but it is clear that the "Letter to Walter" was written in 1135, notwithstanding that Wharton and Petrie have assigned to it a much later date. See the observations on this subject in the Preface to the present work.

[4] Having removed it from Wells. See the character of this bishop in William of Malmesbury.

[5] Malmesbury says that Robert Pecceth removed tbe see of Litchfield from Coventry to Chester. The modern bishopric of Chester was founded at the Reformation in 1541.

316 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

learned bishop, whose writings we possess. [1] He was succeeded by Everard, who was deposed for his excessive cruelty. William now fills that see. Hervey was the first bishop of Ely, and was succeeded by Nigel. Osmond was bishop of Salisbury, succeeded by Roger, a great statesman, who is now the king's justiciary. Robert filled the see of Exeter; he became blind, and is now dead, and his nephew Robert has it. Ralph was bishop of Chichester; in whose place Pelochin was appointed, a great rogue, who was consequently deposed. William, who had the bishopric of Durham, was killed; after him came Ralph, who set all England on fire by his rapacity; [1] they were succeeded by Geoffrey, and William now fills it. We have seen Gerard, archbishop of York, and after him was Thomas; then came Thurstan, a most excellent man; it is now held by William, who was treasurer of that church. Remi, bishop of Lincoln, lived in our days; he was succeeded by Robert, a prelate of mild virtues; Alexander, a faithful and munificent prelate, now fills the see. [2] Thus far of the bishops.

Among our cotemporaries were Hugh, earl of Chester, and Richard his son, and Ralph their successor, and now another Ralph; all who preceded him are gone. You knew that able but abandoned man, Robert, earl of Mellent, [3] of whom I have before spoken, and now his son Robert, in praise of whom little can be said. Have you not seen Henry, earl of Warwick, and his son Roger, who is now living, men of ignoble minds? You knew also William Earl Warrenne, and Robert de Belesme, earl [of Shrewsbury],


[1] Herbert, surnamed Losinga, from a French word, signifying to cozen, removed the see of East Anglia from Thetford to Norwich. He was at one time the greatest simonist in England. William of Malmesbury gives a long character of him, representing him to have repented and become, as Huntingdon intimates, an excellent bishop as well as scholar. The "writings" here referred to are probably his letters, the MS. of which was lately discovered at Brussels, and they have since been published there and in London. See William of Malmesbury's History, "Bohn's Antiquarian Library", p. 352. He died A.D. 1100.- Sax. Chron.

[2] This distinguished prelate is frequently mentioned in the Eighth Book of Huntingdon's History. See also the "Acts of King Stephen" in the present volume.

[3] See the notes to this letter, pp. 308, 311.

LETTER TO WALTER. 317

with Robert, earl of Morton, of whom I have spoken in my History of England; [1] as also Simon, earl of Huntingdon; Eustace, count of Boulogne, and many others: their very memory is wearisome. In their day they had great power, and appeared worthy of the closest scrutiny; now they scarcely deserve mentioning. The very parchment on which their names are written seems ready to perish, nor are eyes to be found which would be willing to read it. My own letter is witness, which no one or scarcely any one, will read, though it contains the names of so many powerful men, worthy to be rescued from oblivion. Why should I mention Aldwine, [2] my own master, who was abbot of Ramsey, and Bernard, his successor; after whom came Remald, a clever but intemperate man; who was succeeded by Walter, the present dignified abbot. Where, now, are these? Thorold, abbot of Peterborough; and Arnulf, and Mathias, and Goodric, and John, and Martin, all whom I knew, are dead and come to nothing. But you ask why I include the living with the dead, and say that they all are come to nothing? For this reason: as the dead are come to nothing, the others soon will, or, to speak freely, have already come. For that which is called our life is, as Tully says, death. When you begin to live, you begin to die. I pass over those celebrated men, Ralph Bassett and his son Richard, with Geoffrey Ridel, who were justiciaries of all England, and others out of number, to offer whom respectful homage was once a pleasure to me; but now that they are dead it seems labour in vain to write even the slightest notices of them.

Reflect, then, my friend Walter, how worthless is this present life; and since we see that even the most powerful, who were in possession of the fullest measure of its wealth, accomplished nothing, and that we ourselves accomplish nothing, let us seek another way of life in which we may expect happiness and shall not fail. Rouse yourself, my brother; rouse yourself and look about you, for what you have sought for in this life you have never found. Did not Alexander, a king, so to speak, all but omnipotent, die at


[1] Pp. 242, 243.

[2] Probably the same person as Albinus, mentioned before as a member of the Chapter of Lincoln.

318 HENRY OF HUNTINGDON'S

last of a little poison? Did not Julius Caesar, equally or still more powerful, after he had become master of the world, fall by the stroke of a small poignard? What he aimed at he did not obtain. Seek, therefore, that which you can find; seek the life that comes after this life which is not to be found in the present life. Almighty God! how truly are we called mortals! For death clings to us while we live; but our dissolution, which we call death puts an end to death. Whatever we do, whatever we say perishes from the moment it is said or done. The remembrance of them, indeed, as in the case of the deceased survives for a while; but when that also has vanished, all our acts and words are annihilated, as it were, by a second death. Where is now what I did yesterday? where was I when said? They are swallowed up in the death of endless oblivion. Let us then hope for the death of this living death since we cannot escape it but by the death of our bodies which is the middle term between life and death.

I had scarcely finished this letter when it was announced to me that the friend to whom it is addressed had ceased to live. What is the lot of mortals, but to be helpless at their birth, wretched during life, painful at their end? O death, how sudden is thy grasp, how unexpected thy attack, how relentless thy stroke! May He, Walter, who is the physician of the soul after this life is ended, vouchsafe to minister to thee the healing antidote of his mercy, that thou mayest attain the life of enduring health. My letter now will never reach you: a short epitaph is all that I can offer, a memorial of you on which my tears will fall as I write:-

Satires, once, and songs of love
Woke the echoes of the grove;
Then my youthful minstrelsy,
Walter, was addressed to thee.
Now my heart, oppress'd with grief,
Yearns to find some short relief
While I deck thy fun'ral bier,
And, bedew'd with many a tear,
Fondly weaving mournful verse,
Wreathe a chaplet for thy hearse.
He, my better half, is fled,
Lying number'd with the dead;

LETTER TO WALTER. 319

He, my light, my joy, my crown,
Whose fond love return'd my own.
Chill'd the heart that freely gave,
Cold the hand outstretch'd to save;
Deeming what he gave as naught,
In his modesty of thought
Twice bless'd was his charity,
Open hand and beaming eye
Met, to stay, the suppliant's cry.
Walter, of unrivall'd worth,
Sleeps in consecrated earth;
Number'd now among the blest,
May his soul have grateful rest!

THE END OF THE LETTER TO WALTER.


THE ACTS OF STEPHEN, KING OF ENGLAND AND DUKE OF NORMANDY.

BY AN UNKNOWN BUT CONTEMPORANEOUS AUTHOR.

THE ACTS OF KING STEPHEN.

BOOK I.

On the death of King Henry, who had given peace to the realm, and was the father of his people, his loss threw the whole kingdom into trouble and confusion. During his reign the law was purely administered in the seats of justice; but when he was removed, iniquity prevailed, and they became the seed-beds of corruption. Thenceforth, England, before the resting-place of right, the habitation of peace, and the mirror of piety, was converted into an abode of malignity, a theatre of strife, and a school of rebellion. The sacred bonds of mutual concord, before reverenced by the nation, were rent asunder; the ties of near relationship were dissolved; and the people, long clothed in the garments of peace, clamoured, and became frantic for war. Seized with a new fury, they began to run riot against each other; and the more a man injured the innocent, the higher he thought of himself. The sanctions of the law, which form the restraint of a rude population, were totally disregarded and set at nought; and men, giving the reins to all iniquity, plunged without hesitation into whatever crimes their inclinations prompted. In the words of the prophet, "There was no soundness from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head"; for from the lowest to the highest their minds were diseased and wrought violence, or sanctioned the violence of others by silent assent. Even the wild animals, which in former times were preserved peaceably in parks and inclosures throughout the country, were now turned loose, and harassed, every one hunting them

324 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

without reserve. This, indeed, was a minor calamity, not much to be complained of; and yet it was wonderful how so many myriads of wild animals, which in large herds before plentifully stocked the country, suddenly disappeared, so that out of this vast number scarcely two could now be found together. They seemed to be entirely extirpated, insomuch that it is reported a single bird was a rare sight, and a stag was nowhere to be seen. The people also turned to plundering each other without mercy, contriving schemes of craft and bloodshed against their neighbours; as it was said by the prophet, "Man rose up without mercy against man, and every one was set against his neighbour". For whatever the evil passions suggested in peaceable times, now that the opportunity of vengeance presented itself, was quickly executed. Secret grudgings burst forth, and dissembled malice was brought to light, and openly avowed.

While the English were in this state of turbulence and trouble, and the reins of justice now being relaxed, gave loose to every sort of wickedness, Stephen, count of Boulogne, a nobleman of illustrious lineage, landed in England with a small retinue. He was the best beloved by Henry, the late pacific king, of all his nephews, not only because he was of near kindred to him, but on account of the virtues by which he was eminently distinguished. In him, what is rare in our times, wealth was joined with humility, munificence with courtesy; while in all warlike undertakings, every encounter with the enemy, he was bold and valiant, cautious and persevering. [1] Thus gifted, when the report of King Henry's death reached him he was beyond sea; but instantly conceiving a great design, he hastened to the coast, and embarking, with fortunately a fair wind, he sailed for England, on which his thoughts were fixed. Landing, as I have said before, with few followers, he proceeded to London, the royal metropolis. [2]


[1] The character given of Stephen by William of Malmesbury corresponds with this; but he adds, that "he was kind as far as promise went, but was sure to disappoint in its truth and execution". See "Modern History", Bohn's Edition, p. 491.

[2] "Gervase of Canterbury says, that, coming over in a swift-sailing ship, the people of Dover repulsed him, and the inhabitants of Canterbury shut their gates against him.- Coloph. 40, 10".- Sewell.

A.D. 1135.] STEPHEN ELECTED KING. 325

At his arrival, the city, which had heen in mourning for the death of King Henry, came out to meet him with shouts of joy, and received him in triumph; regaining in Stephen what they had lost in their protector Henry. The men of rank and experience, assembled in council [1] to provide for the welfare of the nation, unanimously resolved to elect him king. For they said that the kingdom was exposed to danger when the source of order and justice failed; and that it was therefore of the utmost importance to choose a king at once, who might re-establish peace for the common good, punish malcontents by force of arms, and administer the laws justly. They claimed it also as their undoubted right and especial privilege, [2] when the throne was vacant by the king's death, to provide that another should take his place and follow in his steps; and they said that there was no one, as it appeared to them, who could fulfil the duties of a king, and put an end to the dangers of the kingdom, except Stephen, who seemed sent to them by Divine Providence, and who appeared to all worthy, both from his illustrious birth and his great qualities. These allegations being favourably received, at least no one openly controverting them, the assembly came to the resolution of offering the crown to Stephen, and he was chosen king by common consent; this proviso being first made, and, as commonly reported, ratified by oath, that as long as he lived the citizens should aid him by their wealth, and support him by their arms, and that he should bend his whole energies to the pacification of the kingdom. [3]

Stephen having thus secured the name and dignity of king in so fortunate a manner, took arms with the resolution


[1] Malmesbury says that very few of the nobles attended; Huntingdon, that most of them gave in their adhesion, but that probably was afterwards. Stephen owed his election to the influential bishops of Salisbury and Winchester, and the acclamations of the Londoners.

[2] According to the free Anglo-Saxon institutions; which, it appears, were not forgotten after three reigns of Norman kings.

[3] Our author, neither here, nor in subsequently relating the circumstances of Stephen's coronation, takes any notice of the charter of liberties promised by him, and afterwards granted and ratified by his solemn oath, as Huntingdon says, at Oxford. Malmesbury has preserved the document, and charges Stephen with having, through evil counsels, violated his oath.

326 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN [BOOK I.

of restoring tranquillity; and, successfully encountering the bands of robbers who ravaged that part of the kingdom, he made his name great at the very beginning of his reign. At that time there was a man of low condition, for he was King Henry's porter, but ready at mischief, and greedy to plunder the poor. This man, at the head of a band of rude county folk and some hired soldiers, kept the whole neighbourhood in alarm by his endless depredations with fire and sword. Stephen, however, encountered him boldly, killing his comrades or throwing them into prison; and taking their leader also, he after a while hung him on a gallows. After this, suddenly collecting a strong force from all quarters, he hastened to join Henry, the bishop, on whom his chief reliance was placed. He was Stephen's brother, both on his father and mother's side, and a man Of extraordinary prudence and persuasive eloquence, and fortune favouring him, had become Abbot of Glastonbury, Bishop of Winchester, and Apostolical Legate in England. The bishop, extremely pleased with his brother's success, came to meet him with the principal citizens of Winchester, and after a short conference conducted him with great pomp into the second city of the kingdom.

There was at that time in the city of Winchester a man named William, [1] who, being the trusty treasurer of King Henry, had been frequently tampered with by the bishop, with offers of a bribe, to give up the castle and the treasure it contained; but the more he was pressed, the less he was disposed to yield. As soon, however, as he heard of the king's coming, whether through love or fear of him I know not, he presented himself before him with cheerful aspect, and made him master of King Henry's treasure, containing great hoards, gathered throughout all England from the time of the oldest kings, together with the castle. Reports of the new king's arrival spreading throughout the kingdom, he was joyfully acknowledged by numbers, those especially who were before in friendly relations with himself and his brothers, and these seconded his efforts with all their power. Among these was William archbishop of Canterbury a man with a smooth face and


[1] Surnamed Pont de l'Arche.

A.D. 1135.] STEPHEN'S TITLE CANVASSED. 327

strictly religious manners, but much more ready to amass money than to dispense it. For at his death the king's officers found immense sums secretly hoarded in his coffers, which if he had distributed for charitable uses when alive, in imitation of the steward in the Gospel, who made himself friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, and dispersed abroad and gave to the poor, so that his name should be had in everlasting remembrance, he would have better fulfilled the character of a good shepherd. The archbishop being urged by the king's adherents to anoint and consecrate, the king, and thus supply by the exercise of his sacred functions, what seemed to be wanting, he met their instances with the reasonable answer that it ought not to be done lightly or suddenly, but should be first maturely considered, and careful inquiry made whether it was wise and expedient. For the king, he argued, is chosen for the purpose of governing all, and that when elected he may enforce the rights of his government on all; so then it is plain that all should make common agreement in confirming his election, and that it should be determined by common consent whether it shall be ratified or annulled. He added that King Henry in his lifetime had bound all the principal men of the realm, by a most solemn oath, not to acknowledge the title of any one after his own death but his daughter, who was married to the Count of Anjou, or, if he himself survived her, his daughter's heir. Therefore there was great presumption in endeavouring to set aside this engagement, the more especially as not only was King Henry's daughter living, but she was favoured in having heirs of her body. To this the king's partisans replied with confidence, "We do not deny that King Henry's policy in the marriage of his daughter was wise, as it led to a firm and stable peace between the people of Normandy and Anjou, between whom there were frequent disturbances. With respect to the succession, that imperious king, whom no one could resist, with a voice of thunder compelled, rather than persuaded, the great men of the kingdom to take the oath of fealty; for though he foresaw that an involuntary oath would not be considered binding, still he wished, like Ezekiel, to have peace in his days, and by the marriage of one woman create a bond of union between

328 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

countless multitudes. We willingly admit that this thing was agreeable to him while he lived, but we say that he would not have been satisfied that it should be unalterable after his death; for those who stood round him when he was at the last extremity, and listened to his true confession of his sins, heard him plainly express his repentance for the oath which he had enforced on his barons. Since, therefore, it is evident that an oath extorted by violence from any man cannot subject him to the charge of perjury, it is both allowable and acceptable that we should freely acknowledge for king him whom the city of London, the metropolis of the kingdom, received without opposition, and who founds his claims on his lawful right, through his mother, the late king's sister. We are also firmly convinced that by acknowledging him and supporting him with all our power, we shall confer the greatest benefit on the kingdom, which, now torn, distracted, and trodden down, will in the very crisis of its fate be restored to order, by the efforts of a man of firmness and valour, who, being exalted by the power of his adherents and the wisdom of his brothers, whatever was wanting in himself would be fully supplied by their aid". [1]

Impelled by these and other considerations, which for brevity I omit, the archbishop anointed and consecrated [2] Stephen king, both in England and Normandy, with a huge attendance of the clergy, which being known, and the report spreading throughout England, almost all the great men of the kingdom willingly and reverently gave their adhesion, and many of them, receiving presents and grants of land from the king, did homage to him, and liberated. themselves from the fealty they had before sworn. Among


[1] The particularity with which the anonymous author states the discussions in this assembly, as well as in the previous council at London and on other occasions, confirms the idea suggested in another place that he was in a position to be familiar with all that passed.

[2] It would appear that the several events before related, the two councils, with the expedition against the insurgents, and the seizure of the late king's treasure at Winchester, were all crowded into a few weeks. William of Malmesbury says that Stephen was crowned on the 20th Dec., 1135, 22 days after the decease of his uncle. Others state that it took place on the 26th of December. It is remarkable that our author does not give a single date throughout his narrative. I shall add the dates of the more important events from contemporary writers.

A.D. 1136.] EXPEDITION AGAINST THE WELSH. 329

these was Robert, earl of Gloucester, the bastard son of King Henry, a man of great ability, and the highest prudence. On his father's death, report says, that the crown was offered him, but with sound judgment he did not acquiesce in the proposal; observing that it was more just to leave the kingdom to his sister's son, who had a better title to it, than to have the presumption to usurp it himself. After being frequently summoned by messages and letters from the king to attend his court, at last he came, and was received with extraordinary favour, everything he required being granted on his doing homage. [1] His submission, at length gained, was followed by that of almost all the rest of England.

Upon this, the king, attended by a large body of troops, made a royal progress through the kingdom, influencing those who were favourable to his pretensions to give him their allegiance freely and dutifully in the various monasteries, cities, and churches, and listening with courtesy and deference to all who laid their wants before him. To create tranquillity throughout the realm required great efforts, to restore union among his subjects great sacrifices; and the pacification not only of England but of Wales, was a work of much labour and vast expenditure. Wales is a woody and pastoral country, running parallel with the borders of England on one side, and bounded by the sea through its whole extent on the other. It is stocked with game and fish, and feeds large herds of milch-kine and beasts of burthen. The men it rears are half-savage, swift of foot, accustomed to war, always ready to shift both their habitations and their allegiance. When the Normans had conquered England, they established their power in the country bordering on their territories by erecting numerous castles. Reducing the natives to subjection, and settling colonies of their own followers, they introduced laws and courts of justice to promote order, and the country became so fruitful and abounding in plenty, that it might be considered not inferior to the most fertile part of Britain. But on King Henry's death, when the peace and concord of the kingdom


[1] "He dissembled for a time his secret intentions".- William of Malmesbury.

330 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

was buried with him, the Welsh, who always sighed for deadly revenge against their masters, threw off the yoke which had been imposed on them by treaties, and, issuing in bands from all parts of the country, made hostile inroads in different quarters, laying waste the towns with robbery, fire, and sword, destroying houses and butchering the population. The first object of their attack was the district of Gower [1] on the sea-coast, a fine and abundantly fruitful country, and, hemming in with their levies on foot, the knights and men-at-arms who, to the number of 516, were collected in one body, they put them all to the sword. After which, exulting in the success of their first undertaking, they overran all the borders of Wales, bent on every sort of mischief, and ready for any crime, neither sparing age nor respecting rank, and suffering neither place nor season to be any protection from their violence. When the king received intelligence of this rebellion, he raised, for the purpose of quelling it, a considerable force of cavalry and archers, whom he took into pay at a great expense, and dispatched them against the insurgents. [2] But of this force, after many of their number were slain fighting gloriously, the rest, shrinking to encounter the ferocious enemy, retreated in disgrace after fruitless toil and expense.

There lived at that time in Wales one Richard Fitz-Gilbert, a man of distinguished gallantry, surrounded by wealthy kinsmen and vassals, possessed himself of vast domains and numerous castles, who kept all his neighbours in check by leagues to which they were bound by hostages, so that the country became so peaceable and affluent, that it might have been easily taken for a second England. This man having demanded of the king some great favour which was refused him, departed, it is said, with the intention of commencing hostilities. On his entering Wales with a large retinue, he was waylaid and slain by the Welsh, his


[1] A well-known district of South Wales, which nearly corresponds with the present county of Glamorgan.

[2] Neither Malmesbury nor Huntingdon notice this expedition into Wales, which was not led by the king in person, while they mention Stephen's excursion into the north of England against the King of the Scots, shortly after his coronation, in Lent of the same year, which is passed over by the author of "The Acts of King Stephen".

A.D. 1186.] SUCCESSES OF THE WELSH. 331

escort escaping. It becoming bruited abroad that the greatest man in Wales had fallen, the people of several districts, assembling in great numbers, entered his territories, and being divided into three bodies, in military order, these foot-soldiers attacked Richard's horsemen, who, joined by others who came to their aid from the neighbouring towns and castles, made a force of 3000 men. The attack being made in three quarters, they were defeated by the insurgents, who pursued them shouting and pouring in flights of arrows. Many were were miserably slain, some were driven into a river and drowned, and others were burnt in churches and houses. The whole district, xxxvi. miles in extent, was overrun and plundered till nothing was left; the old were exposed to death or derision; the young of both sexes were bound and dragged into slavery; women of every age were openly and shamefully ravished. They stormed the castles of some barons, and closely beleaguered others, under whose yoke they had hitherto bowed, but over whom they now lorded in turn. One of Richard's castles, which was impregnably fortified, and in which his wife, the Earl of Chester's sister, had sought shelter, was closely invested. She, deprived of her husband's protection, with the despondency of her sex, was tortured with anxiety. Thus strictly inclosed, and short of provisions, for numerous bands of the enemy patrolled the country, and without hope of relief, she was worn out with grief and care. But still holding out, when her immediate neighbogs were unable to offer her any assistance, Milo, who was lord of Gloucester [1] and afterwards obtained an earldom rather by his crafty genius than his right of inheritance, devoted himself and his followers to the peril of effecting her release. He was impelled to undertake it as much by compassion and his natural feeling for the distressed lady, as by the king's command, who had written to enforce the enterprise. Tracking his way, therefore, through the enemy's posts, among the gloomy recesses of the woods and over the mountain tops, he resolutely approached the besieged castle, and withdrawing


[1] Robert, bastard son of Henry I., had the earldom of Gloucester, of which he made Bristol the chief seat, and where his tomb has been discovered in the former priory of St. James. Milo of Gloucester was afterwards created by Stephen earl of Hereford.

332 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

the lady and her people in safety, returned triumphantly to his own territories.

The king having learnt that the Welsh were endeavouring to excite rebellion in this neighbourhood, resolved to offer further resistance to their rash presumption. He therefore sent for Baldwin, the brother of Richard [Fitz-Gilbert] already mentioned, and entrusting him with a large sum of money, commanded him to carry relief, as soon as possible, to his brother's territorities, and resolutely strive to crush the enemy. On receiving the money he got ready a body of cavalry, and with the addition of 500 stout bowmen reached the castle of Brecknock with all his forces. There he heard that the enemy had advanced to meet him in vast multitudes, and, blocking up the roads by felling trees across them, had summoned their confederates to assemble from every quarter. Alarmed by this intelligence, he interrupted his march and halted for a long time, hoping that the enemy would be wearied out, or exhausted by famine. Meanwhile, he abandoned himself to gluttony and sloth, until he had prodigally spent all his supplies; when he withdrew in poverty and disgrace.

Robert Fitz-Harald, also, a man of the noblest descent, was employed in subjugating the Welsh, but with better results. For gaining a great victory over a numerous body of them, he added impregnable fortifications to a deserted castle, and placing in it a chosen garrison resolute to hold it to the last extremity, after these successful events he returned to England with a few followers to recruit his forces. Meanwhile the enemy, taking advantage of his absence, and apprehensive of his speedy return, gathered together in one body, and after a long siege, when provisions failed in the garrison, and Robert could not arrive in time to resist their furious assaults, they compelled its surrender. The Welsh creating these disturbances, the king thought that he was struggling in vain, and throwing away his money in attempting to reduce them, and that the better plan was to suffer for a while their unbridled violence, until, ceasing to oppose them, they should quarrel among themselves, and perish by famine or cut one another's throats. And this soon happened; for, thinking of nothing but robbery and murder, the country was left without men, the fields without

A.D. 1136.] ORDER RESTORED IN ENGLAND. 333

tillage, so that scarcely any means of life was left to those who came after; and the wild animals which followed the footsteps of their ravages perishing from murrain and starvation, men themselves died amongst them of the pestilential atmosphere. I have thus collected in one series all the events which occurred in Wales at different times, in a short account, in order that I may not wander from my regular narrative as often as some remarkable action requires to be related in its proper place.

The king thus actively employed, as I have before mentioned, in tranquillizing the kingdom and consolidating its peace, was courteous and obliging to all men; he restored the exiles to their estates; in conferring ecclesiastical dignities he was free from the sin of simony; and justice was administered without bribe or reward. He treated with respect churchmen of all ages and ranks; and so kind and gentle was his demeanour, that, forgetful of his royal dignity, on many occasions he gave way, in others he put himself on an equality with, and sometimes even seemed to be inferior to his subjects. And now England had assumed its ordinary state of repose, and all men, by the grace of God, through whom kings reign, quietly submitted without force or any sort of persecution, except certain of the principal and dearest friends of King Henry, whom he had raised from low degree to the highest offices in his court. These persons he attached to him in course of time by the strictest obligations, conferring on them the highest honours and large estates, making them earls and sheriffs of counties, and appointing them judges of all causes in the courts summoned by the king's command. They were now summoned to attend his court, and were promised a continuance of the same favours and the same honours which had been conferred on them by King Henry. For a while, confining themselves to the neighbourhood of their castles, they declined to obey the king's summons, partly on account of the fealty which they had sworn to his cousin, King Henry's daughter, and partly because, as the great nobles of the realm, they were disgusted at the pride and pomp of those who, though sprung from nothing, had been raised above them in rank and possessions, and exceeded them in power. There was another reason for their dreading to come to the king's

334 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

court - lest, having to answer in his presence the complaints of the poor, and the cries of the widows whose lands they had seized, they might be compelled to yield to justice what they had unjustly acquired. But the king inclined to great forbearance, and wishing to try fair means before he resorted to force, sent some of those persons he most trusted to the malcontents with a commission to use every means, either by gentle words, or, if they failed, by threats, for reconciling them to his government. The threats prevailed, and a safe conduct being granted them for going to and returning from court, and all their demands being conceded, they did homage to the king, and, taking the oath of allegiance, bound themselves faithfully to his service. Among the rest were Payne Fitz-John and Milo, already mentioned; the first having the counties of Hereford and Shrewsbury, the other that of Gloucester, under his jurisdiction. These nobles had so stretched their power during King Henry's reign, that, from the river Severn to the sea, throughout the borders between England and Wales, no one was safe from their litigation and extortion. After his death, actuated more by apprehension of King Stephen than by any feeling of their own weakness, when they were watching an opportunity of making disturbances, both came to a wretched end without having time for repentance. Payne, while he was chastising the Welshmen, was pierced through the brain by an arrow, the only one of his party who fell. Milo surviving to cause the king and the realm great trouble by his crafty policy, as will be fully related in the sequel was at last transfixed by an arrow in his breast, by one of his attendants while he was hunting deer; and died on the spot.

All the great lords having thus sworn fealty to the king, the rulers of the church, with the principal laymen, were summoned to a synod at London; [1] assembling with one accord, and the pillars of the church being arranged in order, and the commonalty also, as is their custom, intruding themselves in an irregular manner, various matters of


[1] This synod is not mentioned by Malmesbury, who seems to substitute for its proceedings one at Oxford. The present synod was probably held at Easter of this same year, 1136, which Huntingdon tells us was spent by the king at London.

A.D. 1138.] STATE OF THE CHURCH. 335

importance to the church and kingdom were brought forward and well debated. Eloquent speeches were made in the king's presence on improving the state of the church and restoring her liberties. It was said that, in King Henry's time, the church faltered like a humbled and suffering handmaid, and was subjected to many insults: and that her pastors, the stewards of the word of God and the servants at his altars, were involved in pleas and lawsuits, and were exposed to violent extortions and taxed under pretence of yearly gifts; while her gates were more frequently unlocked by the key of Simon Magus than by that of St. Peter. The bond of marriage, which God had pronounced good, was dissolved on slight pretences; the king abandoned himself to adulterous courses, and tolerated them in others; took possession of the church lands on the death of the clergy, and appropriated the offerings at the altar to laymen, or compelled those to whom they rightly belonged to pay for their redemption. If any one offered himself for the defence of the House of Israel, and opposed these scandalous practices with the rigour of the ecclesiastical laws, he was forthwith repelled with injustice by the terror of the king's name, and exposed to grievous persecution by him and his satellites, and was not permitted to be heard as plaintiff or complainant, until he had previously acknowledged and purged himself of his presumption by confession in open court. Vehement complaints were made to the king of these indignities offered to the church, and he was entreated to restore its liberties and jurisdiction, to place its laws above the decision of the secular courts, and not to suffer their infringement on any pretence whatever. The king heard all this with great patience, and freely acceding to their demands, commanded that the liberties of the church should be safe and inviolable, that its decrees should be maintained, and that its ministers, whatever was their rank or order, should be treated with reverence. He would have fulfilled his engagements, had not evil counsel, which perverts the best disposition, and his necessities, which were above law and reason, induced him to break them, as I shall relate hereafter. These discussions being concluded with great unanimity, the synod was dissolved.

336 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

There lived at that time one Robert de Badington, [1] a knight of good extraction and plentiful estate, but a glutton and a wine-bibber, who in time of peace abandoned himself to sensual indulgences. But after the death of King Henry, changing this gluttonous course of life for one of turbulence, he got together a band of soldiers and archers, and, sallying forth from his castle, harassed the whole neighbourhood with fire and sword. After a time he did homage to King Stephen, but, instead of desisting from his evil courses, he became more ferocious and malevolent than before. Upon being summoned to court to answer for breaking the peace of the kingdom, he made his appearance reluctantly and in great tribulation, well knowing that he was guilty of treason. Several persons brought forward against him charges of his having pillaged their property with violence, and, as he had no defence, judgment was pronounced against him that he should place his castle at the king's disposal, and that all his possessions should be at the royal mercy - a most just sentence, that one who had unjustly invaded the property of others, should, by a fitting retribution, lose his own. It was therefore resolved by the king, the necessity of the case requiring it, that Robert himself should accompany a troop of soldiers who were to take possession of his castle. He heard this decision with a lurking smile, turning in his mind how he might best seduce the king's soldiers and keep possession of his property. Accompanying them on their march as their leader and guide, he brought them to one of his farms, where he offered to entertain them, and, causing his servants to set before them a plentiful repast, with abundance of wine, when they had feasted, and, night coming, were buried in sleep, he mounted his horse and stole away. Fortifying his stronghold against the king, he wandered about from place to place, concealing himself in the woods, and sometimes acting in concert with outlaws; but at last he perished miserably in a foreign land. The king's soldiers, when they woke in the morning and found their companion fled, were in great trouble at their own negligence and his escape; and returned to the court in


[1] See Huntingdon's History, and the note in p. 265.

A.D. 1136.] SIEGE OF EXETER CASTLE. 337

disgrace. Meanwhile, Robert's retainers overran the neighbourhood with fire and sword, collecting large quantities of provisions to store the castle, until the king, receiving intelligence of these disorders, put himself at the head of a large body of troops and hastened to the spot. On his arrival he pitched a camp round the castle, setting a watch of archers by night, while others lay in ambush by day; and rigorously applying all his means to the attack of the place. Not long afterwards the night-watch arrested a wretched lad who had been let down from the castle walls, and was trying to escape. They brought him to the king, who commanded him to be hung on a lofty gallows in sight of the garrison; swearing that they should all share the same fate, unless they quickly obeyed his commands, and came to an agreement for the surrender of the castle. In terror at the king's threats, and thinking it was time to provide for their own safety - for what will not a man give in exchange for his life? - they consented to surrender under hard conditions; for they were banished the kingdom during the king's pleasure. They took refuge for a long time, as I have heard, with the King of the Scots.

The king had scarcely completed this enterprise, when messengers from Exeter brought intelligence of great tumults which had broken out there. Baldwin de Rivers, a man of the highest rank and descent, was breaking the king's peace in a most unusual manner. He had brought armed bands into the city among the peaceable inhabitants, and was reducing not only them, but all the neighbourhood under his dominion - and, storing the king's castle which he had seized with provisions swept from the country, loudly threatened with fire and sword all who resisted his unjust pretensions. The messengers therefore implored the king that he would come to the help of the citizens in their present distress, and afford them the only succour they could expect; so that, strengthened by his aid, they might oppose Baldwin's power, and maintain their allegiance to the king their only lord. On hearing this, the king was enraged at the presumption of Baldwin, more especially as it was as clear as day that the castle of Exeter had always been a royal castle, and that he was justly entitled to its custody. Allowing, therefore, no time for Baldwin's retainers to

338 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

overrun the country, he dispatched to Exeter an advanced guard of 200 horse, with orders to march all night and prevent, if possible, the enemy's egress; but if they found armed men mixed among the citizens, they should prevent their committing any outrages in the town. At break of day the following morning, a band of Baldwin's troopers issued from the castle incensed against the citizens because they had sent to the king for help, and intending to plunder and set on fire the town; when, behold, the king's horse were seen drawing near the city with glancing arms and flying colours, and boldly marching in at the city gates; and in the midst of the dreadful confusion, they drove the garrison back to the castle. Not long afterwards the king himself arrived with his troops in regular and brilliant order; and the citizens, going out to meet him with offerings and joy brought him into the town in great triumph.

Exeter is a large city, ranking, they say, the fourth in England. It is surrounded by ancient Roman walls, and is famous for its sea-fisheries, for abundance of meat, and for its trade and commerce. Its castle stands on a lofty mound protected by impregnable walls, and towers of hewn stone. Baldwin had thrown into it a strong garrison chosen from the flower of the youth of England, who were bound by oaths to resist the king to the last extremity. Baldwin himself, with his wife and sons, shut himself up in the citadel, prepared for the worst; and the garrison, manning the battlements and towers with glittering arms, taunted the king and his followers as they approached the walls. Sometimes they made unexpected sallies and fell furiously on the royal army; at others they shot arrows and launched missiles against them from above; using all the means in their power to molest the enemy. Meanwhile the king, with his barons, who had accompanied him, or who afterwards gathered their forces and joined his army, made every exertion to press the siege. With a body of footsoldiers heavily armed, he drove the garrison from the outer wall, which was built on a high mound to defend the citadel, and retained possession of it. He also succeeded in breaking down the inner bridge which gave access to the city from the castle, and with surprising address raised lofty wooden towers, from which the defenders of the castle were

A.D. 1136.] PLYMPTON CASTLE SURRENDERED. 339

assailed. Day and night he perseveringly pushed the siege, one time mounting the hill with his troops, on horsesback, and challenging the besieged to the fight, at another using his slingers to annoy them by hurling stones. He also employed miners to sap the fortifications, and had all manner of machines constructed, some of great height, to overlook what was passing within the garrison, and others on a level with the foundation of the walls which they were intended to batter down. The besieged, on their side, lost no time in destroying the machines, and all the ingenuity employed in their construction was wasted. Thus the contest was maintained with great vigour and ability on both parts.

Whilst they were thus actively engaged in the siege, Baldwin's soldiers, who were intrusted with the defence of his castle of Plympton, in despair for their lord, from the accounts they heard of the king's power, and fearing for their own lives, from mere cowardice and want of firmness, privately sent messengers to the king to treat for the surrender of the castle, and make terms for themselves. The king was desirous, if possible, to crush these disorders without having recourse to arms, and he therefore readily granted all they required, if only they submitted to him and became peaceable subjects. The agreement being ratified, the king detached two hundred horse, with a large body of archers, who early in the morning made their appearance before Plympton, to the great dismay of the provincials, and especially of those who were not of the faction. The traitors delivered up the castle to the king's troops on the pretence that they were not strong enough to defend it. It was razed to the ground by the king's command, and Baldwin's domains, which were very extensive that district, and were fertile and well stocked, were stripped of everything; so that the expedition returned to the king at Exeter with many thousand sheep and cattle. The intelligence spreading through the whole of Devonshire, the other adherents of Baldwin, fearing the loss of their property from the king's expeditions, offered their submission; with the exception of Alfred, son of one Joel, a man of eminence, who was a familiar and intimate friend of Baldwin's, and his sworn comrade in the contest with the

340 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

king. His mansion, however, was small, and not suificiently fortified to afford protection to his people; so that, leaving it empty, and drawing off all his retainers, his brother led a strong band to Exeter, and joined the king's troops unobserved, and under colour of coming to their aid; for it was impossible among so many armed men to make out clearly who or what he was. Then getting a messenger into the castle (for prisoners and monks were occasionally allowed the privilege of ingress), he announced to Baldwin's guard, that from love of him, and fidelity to his engagements, he had left all, and was come to share his fortunes whatever they might prove to be. The garrison rejoiced greatly at their comrades' arrival, and opening the gates they sallied forth in strong force, and joining their friends, brought them safe into the castle, in the sight of the king and his principal officers. The royal army was thrown into consternation, and especially those who had the superintendence; because they had permitted the intruders to mix among the troops unobserved; and they were still more mortified that they had been able to go over to the enemy in open day, and unopposed. The king, however, took the affair in good part, saying it would turn, out well, if it was so ordered by divine Providence, that all the disturbers of peace were shut up in one hold.

Meanwhile, the issue was long doubtful between the assailants and the besieged; for the king had been detained before the castle nearly three months, and had paid as much as 15,000 marks in various expenses. Then, however, the Almighty Disposer of events, being willing to bring his labours to an end, dried up the springs which fed two wells within the castle with water in abundance; so that, though before they furnished a plentiful supply for all the men and beasts of burthen in the garrison, there was not enough now to slake the thirst of a single man. Some say that the springs failed in consequence of the extraordinary heat of the season. Others, that their course in the bowels of the earth was diverted by some accident in the deep and hidden channels through which they flowed. For myself, I neither attribute the failure to the drought, nor to any chance accident; but I plainly assert, that the exhaustion of the springs was the work of Providence.

A.D. 1136.1 EXETER REDUCED TO EXTREMITIES. 341

For if during all the preceding ages, with so many dry summers, there had always been a plentiful supply of water, the failure now can be attributed to nothing but the interference of Providence; more especially as, before the castle was besieged, and immediately after its surrender, the springs flowed abundantly, and there was no want, but during the continuance of the siege. So that the suffering of thirst seemed to be a scourge sent by the Almighty, to compel them to give up what they had unjustly and arrogantly held.

The wells being dry, they had recourse to wine to supply their necessities; and that, too, was speedily exhausted, as they were forced to use the wine in making bread, and in cooking their food. They consumed it, also, in extinguishing the firebrands which the king's engineers threw into the castle to fire their warlike machines and barracks; so that the wine soon failed as the water had done. Having now nothing to drink, their sufferings were extreme, and they were reduced to a state of the utmost debility. For man's body can only be maintained in health and rigour by a sufficiency of nutriment; without which it becomes feeble and weak. Worn to extremity with constant watchings, fainting with the warfare of various kinds which they carried on against the besiegers from the battlements, and exhausted by insufferable thirst, the garrison held consultations as to surrendering the castle on their lives being spared; and they communicated their distress to their secret friends in the royal camp, at whose instigation Baldwin had taken arms against the king. Shortly, therefore, two of the principal men in the castle, who were gifted with a prudent and persuasive eloquence, were delegated to treat with the king; but by the advice of his brother, the Bishop of Winchester, he hardened his heart against them, and drove them from his presence with threats, without hearing their message. For the bishop had remarked their emaciated appearance, their parched and gaping lips, and difficulty of breathing; from which he inferred that there was no necessity to treat for a surrender, which the garrison must shortly make at discretion. Upon this repulse, Baldwin's wife was in great distress, ad went herself to supplicate the king, with naked feet,

342 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

ashes on her head, and shedding a flood of tears. The king received her graciously, both out of pity at seeing one of her sex in such affliction, and out of respect to the kinsmen and friends of that noble woman, who were engaged with him in the siege. But though he listened to what then she proposed, in much tribulation, respecting the surrender of the castle, he continued inexorable, and dismissed her without granting her petition. After these repulses, death began to stare the besieged in the face, and some of the barons of the king's party who were allied to them by blood, were deeply concerned for their kindred shut up in the citadel; others, who were of Baldwin's faction, complained to their fellows that the siege was too harshly pressed. All these came in a body to the king, and by their forcible arguments, mingled with soothing appeals to his humanity, caused him suddenly to change his mind.

They represented, that he would have obtained a sufficient triumph, by forcing his enemies to surrender to him what he justly claimed; but that it was more fitting his dignity, and more becoming the royal clemency, to grant their lives to the prisoners who supplicated him, than, by an act of extreme vengeance, mercilessly to deprive them of what remained of their lives. They added, also, that their adversaries had never sworn fealty to the king, and had only taken up arms in obedience to the commands of their own liege-lord; and that they, the remonstrants, had claims on the king, for having enabled him to establish his rights to what he claimed. They considered, therefore, that it would be more wise, and more for the kingdom's good, that an end should be put to this protracted siege, which had occasioned them all so much inconvenience; so that, having obtained the glory of recovering his castle, he might be at liberty to prosecute other enterprises. The king was so pressed by the importunities of the barons, who mingled arguments with their intercessions, that he was forced at last to give way, and grant what they required. To do them the greater favour, and attach them more closely to his interest, he not only allowed the garrison to evacuate the castle without molestation, but permitted them to retain their arms and property, and to take service

A.D. 1136.] BALDWIN DE RIVERS IN ISLE OF WIGHT. 343

with any lord they might choose. As they marched out, emaciated and dying with thirst, they formed a wretched spectacle, and their first object was to rush eagerly, wherever they could, to procure the means of allaying it.

When Baldwin understood that the king had declared his estates forfeited to himself, as the lord paramount, he was by no means humbled, nor did he abandon himself to despair; but, repairing his losses, he betook himself to the Isle of Wight, which was part of his territories, and turned his whole attention to the means of renewing his rebellion. The Isle of Wight, which is of considerable length on the sea-board, but very narrow, is greatly frequented by sailors, and has good fisheries, but does not produce much corn. It lies between England and Normandy, but nearest to England; and the whole island was Baldwin's patrimony. He had in it a stately castle, built of hewn stone, and very strongly fortified; from which it was his design to weaken the king's resources, by collecting a large piratical fleet, and, taking advantage of every wind, to intercept the merchant ships which plied between England and Normandy, and inflict losses on both countries by every effort in his power. But the king, anticipating this stroke of policy, [1] left Exeter and the neighbouring country to the care of the Bishop of Winchester, and followed up Baldwin with the utmost dispatch. Hastening therefore to the port called Hampton [Southampton], which is contiguous to the island, and easier of access, he commanded ships to be fitted for service. Baldwin, hearing of the king's sudden and unexpected arrival, was so alarmed, that, by the urgent advice of his friends, he presented himself before him, and pleaded for mercy. For though his castle of Wight [2] was strongly and impregnably fortified, and stored with an abundant supply of provisions to stand a siege against the royal forces, the supply of water was not sufficient for the number of the garrison. By the interposition of Providance, the springs had been dried up by a sudden drought, and Baldwin and his adherents, embarking in a fresh struggle with the king, were utterly ruined. For, having demanded in vain that his possessions should be restored,


[1] "Stropham, vulgo 'artful dodge'".- Sewell.

[2] Carisbrook?

344 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

he went into exile, and took refuge with the Count of Anjou, intending to recommence hostilities against the king. The count was delighted to receive him, and entertained him and his followers with distinguished honours; assuring him that he was ready to comply with his wishes, whether he was inclined to enter into military service at his court, or to dispute the rights of King Stephen to the crown of England.

But Baldwin, spurning for the time the allurements of a court, devoted himself to promote discord in the king's dominions. He made complaints to his friends and kinsmen of the king's persecution, of his having been driven from his country and disinherited; that he was unjustly suffering banishment, and that nothing was left him but to have recourse to arms, in conjunction with his friends, and using all the means in their power to mend their fortunes. These great barons, deeply compassionating his sufferings, rendered him such zealous aid both by word and deed, that, receiving him into their castles, among their own followers, they even yielded him the honour of placing them entirely at his command. With numbers thus in league with him, he began to organize hostilities through the whole of Normandy, and especially against the king's adherents. No acts of violence and rapine were unpractised; fire and sword were not spared. Making sudden irruptions, he mercilessly swept the country of plunder, and became formidable by carrying alarm into every quarter. He was continually stimulated to proceed in these outrages by the entreaties and counsels of the Countess of Anjou, [1] the daughter of King Henry, who had applied to her own use her father's treasures, which would have been better bestowed in alms for the good of his soul. She had fortified certain castles of her own, and used her influence, not only with Baldwin but with as many others as she could, to bring them to own her authority, claiming the kingdom of England as her just right, by inheritance from her father.


[1] Roger of Wendover shortly notices the successful irruption into Normandy, without relating that Baldwin de Rivers was the leader of it; but he mentions his having taken refuge with the Count and Countess of Anjou.

A.D. 1138.] SIEGE OF BEDFORD. 345

When the king came fully to understand what was going on in Normandy, he sent over the sea envoys of rank; for he was prevented by the importance of the movement, against which he had to take measures, from going immediately himself. [1] The envoys were commissioned to employ entreaties [2] ... created him earl of Bedford. The king, having held his court during Christmas [at Dunstable] with becoming splendour, dispatched messengers to Milo de Beauchamp, who by royal licence had the custody of the castle of Bedford, with orders that he should hold the castle of Hugh, and do service to him instead of the king. If he readily obeyed this command, he should have honour and reward; but if he withstood it in any manner, he was to be assured that it would be his ruin. On receipt of the royal message, Milo replied that he was willing to serve the king as his true knight, and to obey his commands, unless he attempted to deprive him of the possessions which belonged to him and his heirs by hereditary right. But if that was the king's intention, and he endeavoured to execute it by force of arms, he must bear the king's displeasure as best he could; and as for the castle, he would never yield it, unless he was driven to the last extremity. Finding how things stood, the king's indignation was roused against Milo, and he raised an army from all parts of England to lay siege to Bedford. Aware of his approach, Milo swept off all the provisions he could lay his hands on, making violent seizures both from the townsmen and the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, with whom before he had been on good terms, as belonging to his lordship. These supplies he stored in the castle, and securely closing the gates, he for this time excluded the king's people without any loss


[1] Stephen shortly followed in person, at the beginning of Lent, in company with Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, and many of his great nobles, and remained in Normandy till the following Christmas.

[2] The MS. of the "Acts of King Stephen" here fails; but we learn from Huntingdon's History, see before, p. 266, that he recovered Normandy, concluded a peace with the King of France, and made a truce with the Count of Anjou. Such were the principal transactions of the year 1137. Our MS. takes up the narrative with the siege of Bedford which commenced at Christmas the same year.

346 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

on his own side. The king, however, after carefully reconnoitring the fortifications, placed under cover bands of archers, at convenient posts, with directions to maintain such a constant discharge of arrows against those who manned the battlements and towers as should prevent their keeping a good look-out, and hold them always in a state of confusion. Meanwhile, he exerted all his energies to have engines constructed for filling the trenches and battering the walls. All that skill and ingenuity, labour and expense could compass, was effected. Night watches were posted at all the castle gates to prevent any communication by the besieged to their friends without, or provisions or necessaries being introduced within the fortress. By day, every effort that skill could devise was made to distress and annoy the enemy. But the castle stood on a very high mound, and was surrounded by a solid and lofty wall, and it had a strong and impregnable keep, and contained a numerous garrison of stout and resolute men, so that the expectation of soon taking it proved abortive; and the king having other affairs on his hands which required immediate attention, he withdrew, leaving the greatest part of his army to carry on the siege. His orders were, that if the engines could not effect the reduction of the place, a blockade should be maintained, till want and hunger compelled its surrender. After the king's departure the besieging army continued their hostilities, till, their provisions being exhausted and their strength failing, the garrison confessed that they could hold the place no longer. They therefore surrendered it to the king, according to the laws of war. But whatever might be their present humiliation, it was not long before they returned with increased pride and animosity; for they not only recovered the castle, but by God's ordinance, they reduced Roger himself from being an earl to his simple knighthood, and from being a knight to be a penniless man. [1] But of this more fully in the sequel.


[1] "This passage is almost unintelligible. It is conjectured that Roger was the person created earl of Bedford, and left in command of the king, who, on losing the castle, was reduced from his rank to that of a plain man-at-arms, and from that to a poor man".- Sewell. It seems to have escaped the notice of the learned editor that our author again returns, as he here promises, to the surrender of Bedford Castle (see afterwards, where he enumerates the losses which followed Stephen's imprisonment), speaking of the fortunes of its lord in nearly the same terms he uses here, but calling him Hugh, surnamed the Poor, and expressly stating that the earldom of Bedford had been conferred upon him on the forfeiture of Milo de Beauchamp. By rectifying what appears to be an error of the scribe, and substituting Hugh for Roger in the former passage, all the difficulty is removed.

A.D. 1138.] SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS. 347

Bedford being at length taken, it might have been supposed that order was restored, and that all disturbances and insurrections were quelled and put an end to; but the root of all evil sprung up in the part of England called Northumberland, producing robbery and incendiarism, insurrection and war. So stupendous was this calamity that not only mankind trembled at it, but the heavens betokened it as something awful. For, shortly before it commenced, a large quarter of the heavens was seen to emit fiery sparks like a furnace, and balls of fire of wonderful brightness, like the sparks of live coals, shot through the air in more places than one. This visible appearance of a flaming sky portended either the great effusion of blood which speedily followed, or denoted the burning of towns and villages. For the great Creator, Himself invisible, graciously condescends to instruct our ignorant minds concerning what is about to happen by visible appearances, and sometimes, in very deed, gives us a sign from heaven to teach us; at others, He certifies and forewarns our undiscerning spirits by the accidents which by his providence occur on earth. From heaven, for instance, as we find in the Book of kings, when one part of the sky appeared unusually red, a sign from the Almighty of impending war, and to explain. what was meant they said, "it is the blood of the sword". [1] Also in the Book of Maccabees, when flaming ranks were seen flitting across the sky, and celestial hosts breathing flames in mutual encounters, it was undoubtingly acknowedged to be a sign of coming evil, and the history itself clearly makes out that such it was. On earth, too, the Almighty shows many things which are evident tokens of events about to happen; such as the rending of Saul's garment, [2] which prefigured the ruin of his kingdom; and the ten shreds, which the prophet [3] commanded Jeroboam


[1] 2 Kings 22, 23.

[2] 1 Sam. xxiv. 4.

[3] Ahijah, 1 Kings xi. 31.

348 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

to take, signified that he should have the dominion over the ten tribes. No less, all the acts of the prophets, and the writing on the wall [1] in the presence of Belshazzar, and Daniel's dreams, [2] what were they but presages of future events, by which men, being forewarned, might humble themselves before God, and be cautious in the midst of evils? Let not, therefore, the reader taunt me with telling an idle tale when I say that, having myself witnessed the [northern] hemisphere [3] in a flame, and seen with my own eyes luminous flakes floating densely in the blazing sky, I considered these portents to be the precursors of coming evils, and to portend that dreadful scourge which soon afterwards devastated Northumberland. Let him who will hear and take account of it.

The King of Scotland, which country borders on England, only a river dividing the two kingdoms, was a prince of great humanity, who was born of religious parents, and had not degenerated from them in goodness and piety. He had with the other great men, the first [4] indeed of them all, taken the oath of allegiance to King Henry's daughter [5] in that king's presence, and he was therefore deeply grieved that Stephen had usurped the crown of England; but as that was settled by the barons without his concurrence, he prudently waited the result, watching in silence the course of events. At length he received letters from King Henry's daughter, complaining that she had been excluded from her father's will, robbed of the crown which had been secured to her and her husband by solemn oaths; that the laws were set aside, and justice trodden under foot; and the sworn fealty of the English barons was broken and disregarded. She therefore earnestly and sorrowfully implored him, as her kinsman, to succour her in her need; as her liege vassal, to aid her in her distress. The king was deeply grieved; and inflamed with zeal for a just cause, the ties of blood and regard for his oath induced him to foment


[1] Daniel v. 5.

[2] Daniel vii. 1, etc., etc.

[3] "Polum". These phenomena, more fully described just before, were apparently an exhibition of the aurora borealis, the northern lights.

[4] "According to William of Malmesbury, Stephen was the second to swear fealty to Matilda".- Sewell.

[5] Our author never calls the Empress Maud, or Matilda, by her name, but always "King Henry's daughter", or "the Countess of Anjou".

A.D. 1138.] IRRUPTION OF THE SCOTS. 349

insurrections in England, that by so doing, by God's help, Stephen might be compelled to resign the crown, which it appeared to him had been unjustly acquired, to the rightful owner. The King of Scots entertained at his court the English exiles, who continually urged him to these measures. Among these were Robert de Baddington's son, and his collateral kinsmen, who have been mentioned before as having, on their banishment, taken refuge in Scotland, with the hope of re-establishing themselves in their own country. There were also Eustace Fitz-John, an intimate friend of King Henry, with some others, who, in the desire of advancing themselves, or of defending what appeared to them the right cause, sought every opportunity of promoting a rupture. King David, therefore, for that was his name, published an edict throughout Scotland calling his people to arms, and, changing his line of conduct, let loose without mercy a most fierce and destructive storm on the English people.

Scotland, called also Albany, is a country overspread by extensive moors, but containing flourishing woods and pastures, which feed large herds of cows and oxen. It has safe harbours, and is surrounded by fertile islands. The natives are savage, and their habits uncleanly; but they are neither stunted by extremity of cold, nor debilitated by severe want. Swift of foot and lightly armed, they make bold and active soldiers. Among themselves, they are so fearless as to think nothing of death; among strangers, their cruelty is brutal, and they sell their lives dearly. A confused multitude of this people being assembled from the lowlands of Scotland, they were formed into an irregular army, and marched for England. Crossing the borders they entered the province of Northumbria, which is very extensive, and abounds with all necessary supplies, and there they pitched their camp. Being now mustered in regular companies [incursions were made] over the face of the country, which extended round in great fertility. [1]


[1] Here again the MS. of the "Acts of King Stephen" unfortunately fails. The blank is well supplied by Huntingdon's History, which describes at length the battle of the Standard, to which our author's account of this irruption of the Scots seems to be the prelude. Huntingdon also mentions the general revolt of the barons at this time, which was connected with the invasion of the King of Scots: see before, p. 267. When the MS. again serves us, it may be concluded that our author is speaking of some treaty which had taken place between the Earl of Gloucester, who was still in Normandy, and King Stephen, which terminating unfavourably, Robert's envoys had orders to put the earl's castle of Bristol into a state of defence.

350 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

The conference between the king and the envoys having thus terminated, they parted; the king direct for London, the envoys for Bristol, the earl's principal seat. They brought to their friends orders full of trouble for the realm of England, viz. that the castle of Bristol must be provisioned and recruits obtained from all quarters, and that hostilities should immediately commence with all vigour against the king and his adherents, as the earl's enemies. Bristol is the most opulent city of all those parts, as its shipping brings merchandise to it from the neighbouring coasts and from foreign parts. It is situated in the most fertile part of England, and its position is stronger than that of any other English town. Like what we read of Brundusium, it stands where a tongue of land, extending between two rivers which wash it on both sides, forms a flat at the confluence of the rivers, on which the city is built. The tide flows fresh and strong from the sea every day and night, and drives back the waters of the river on both sides of the city, forming a basin in which a thousand ships can conveniently and safely ride, and so encompassing the circuit of the town that it may be said to float on the waters, and appears in every quarter to touch the river banks. On one side, where it lies more open to attack the castle stands on a raised mound, fortified with a wall and outworks and towers, and furnished with engines of various kinds, to defend it against assaults. In this castle was collected so numerous a band of knights and men-at-arms, with their attendants on foot (I ought rather to call them freebooters and robbers), that it not only appeared vast and fearful to the beholders, but actually terrible and incredible. They were drawn together from different counties and districts, perfectly satisfied to serve a wealthy lord in so well-fortified a castle, with permission to work their will in the richest part of England.

A.D. 1138.] CITIES OF BRISTOL AND BATH. 851

Among others came that Geoffrey Talbot who, having been banished, as already mentioned, spread the venom of a poisoned mind wherever he went, and was ready to undertake any barbarity that his uncontrolled and outrageous temper suggested. But by the providence of God his malice recoiled on himself; for while he was contemplating the slaughter and condemnation of others, he was the first who was taken prisoner and thrown into a dungeon, where he barely escaped the sentence of death. There is a city six miles from Bristol where the hot springs, circulating in channels beneath the surface, are conducted by channels artificially constructed, and are collected into an arched reservoir, to supply the warm baths which stand in the middle of the place, most delightful to see and beneficial for health. This city is called "Batta", the name being derived from a word in the English tongue which signifies bath; because infirm people resort to it from all parts of England, for the purpose of washing themselves in these salubrious waters; and persons in health also assemble there, to see the curious bubbling up of the warm springs, and to use the baths. This city the Bristol men were anxious to get into their power, the more especially as it could be easily fortified. For that purpose a party of them marched stealthily in the dusk of the morning, carrying with them ladders and other light implements for scaling the wall, and took post under cover of a hollow, while their scouts reconnoitred the place and the most advisable point for making an assault, upon which the whole body was to rush to the attack. Geoffrey Talbot, and his cousin Gilbert de Lacy, a man of prudence, and cautious and indefatigable in military undertakings, were chosen to reconnoitre, and make the circuit of the town stealthily, and, as they hoped, unobserved. But, lo! the governor's guard espying them, came upon them, and although Gilbert got away from the middle of the band, being more wary and resolute than the other, they surrounded and took Geoffrey, and threw him


[1] An inadvertence, or a mistake of the transcriber; Bath is twelve miles from Bristol. Our author has described both cities so well that it may be inferred that he wrote from his own observation, for which he must have had opportunities, if, as we suppose, he was attached to the person of Stephen.

352 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

in fetters into the deepest dungeon of the castle. Gilbert having thus unhappily lost his cousin, returned to his comrades, and told them, sorrowfully, the mischance that had befallen him. Still they did not despair, but determined to persevere, exhorting each other, and binding themselves unanimously to liberate Geoffrey. Approaching Bath, they summoned the bishop to treat with them, under a solemn engagement for his safe conduct coming and returning. The bishop, worthy man, who gave credit to every word, and dwelt in his house with simplicity, like another Jacob, was triumphantly seized by a stratagem of these impious men. They laid their sacrilegious hands on the preacher of the Gospel, the servant of the Lord's altars; and that reverend minister of their common faith, whose office it was to dispense the bread of life, they covered with abuse, and threatened to hang, unless Geoffrey was released. The bishop, therefore, was in a great strait, since his adversaries could neither be softened by religion or by natural compassion; and his own party within the city (who as soon as the bishop was captured, closed the gates, and hastened to defend the walls) could afford him no relief. He was, therefore, obliged to yield to their violence, and to give orders that the prisoner should be unbound and given up to them; whereas if he had reserved him to be delivered into the king's hands, the prisoner would have been subject to the punishment of death, and the bishop himself might have been exposed to reproach, or even run the risk of his own life: nor was it right or becoming a bishop to return evil for evil, and to be himself an ill-doer in order to injure ill-doers; neither did reason require that for the sake of bringing another to disgrace he should expose himsdf to insult, since it is plain that no one is dearer to a man than himself, and that no one is required to sacrifice his own life in exchange for that of another. The man, then, being surrendered, or, to speak more correctly, being by God's providence reserved for the punishment of his soul hereafter, in order that the longer and more freely he persisted in his course of cruelty, the more severe might be his future torments, the bishop, assuming his pastoral authority, began to demand the fulfilment of their pledge, and to inquire what became of their solemn oath; to charge them with

A.D. 1138.] FREEBOOTERS OF BRISTOL. 353

the violation of both, and to threaten them with discomfiture in their other enterprises, because, casting aside all reverence and shame, they appeared to have offended God in the present one. In reply to the bishop's allegations they denied that they were sworn or pledged to him, as all reasonable persons must allow that the oaths of perjured men went for nothing, and that men who had broken faith could give no pledges. They said this jeering at the simplicity of the bishop, who had given credit to men who were steeped in perjury and perfidy.

The Bristolians having licence for every sort of villainy, wherever they heard that the king or his adherents had estates or property of any description they eagerly flocked to them, like hounds snatching rabidly at the carrion thrown into a kennel; yokes of oxen, flocks of sheep, whatever their hearts coveted or they cast their eyes on, was carried off, and sold or consumed. And when they had thrown into the lowest pit of destruction all that was immediately within their reach and under their hands, they quickly found their way into every part of England where they heard there were men of wealth and substance, and either violently laid hold of them, or got them into their power by fraud; then, bandaging their eyes and stopping their mouths, either by cramming something into them, or bisecting a sharp and toothed bit, they conducted their captives, thus blinded, into the middle of Bristol, as we read of the robbers of Elisha, and there, by starvation and torture, mulcted them of their property to the last farthing. Others, pursuing a more crafty course, betook themselves to the quieter parts of the country, where peace and plenty prevailed, and the population lived in ease and security. They frequented the beaten and public highways in open day, disguising their names, their persons, and business; they wore no kind of armour nor any distinguishing dress, nor did they swear and use violent language, as robbers generally do; on the contrary, their appearance was humble, their gait gentle, and they entered into courteous conversation with all persons they met, wearing the mask of this hypocrisy until they chanced to light upon some wealthy man, or could steal upon him in a lone place, upon which he was hurried off to Bristol, the dry nurse of all

354 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

England. This kind of robbery, under colour of false pretences and hypocritical appearances, so prevailed throughout the greatest part of England that there was scarcely a town or village where these frauds were not practised, where traces of this abominable felony were not left. Thus neither the king's highways were safe, as they used to he, nor was there the accustomed confidence between man and man; but as soon as a traveller espied a stranger on the road, he trembled with apprehension, and, fleeing from the alarming apparition, took refuge in a wood, or struck into a cross road, until he recovered courage enough to continue his journey with more resolution and in greater security.

Reports reaching the king's ears that the Bristolians were disturbing the kingdom by their open and secret robberies, though he had enough to do in other parts of the kingdom, he summoned the militia from all parts of England, and came unexpectedly to Bath, meaning to lay siege to Bristol. On his arrival being announced, the bishop went out of the city to meet him. In the outset of the conference, the king manifested great indignation against the bishop, for having set free from his custody the traitor Geoffrey, the enemy of peace and of his country. But the bishop satisfied him by concurrent witnesses that he had been grossly abused and well nigh hanged, and had borne the violence of the marauders with dignity; so that the king was pacified, and, restoring the bishop to favour, was conducted by him into Bath. The king having examined the entire circuit of the city, and surveyed it all round, marked a spot very capable of defence, and which defied assault; he therefore commanded the walls to be raised higher and outworks to be constructed, and intrusted it to the guard of a strong body of soldiers, for the purpose of being a check on the Bristol people, who were ordered to be narrowly watched. From thence he marched to Bristol, the seat of fraud, and, halting his army near the city, he called a council of the barons, to consult with them how best the siege could be laid, how the place could be most skilfully assaulted, and how soonest reduced. The advice he received was various and uncertain, some giving it in good faith, others treacherously. The one party

A.D. 1138.] SIEGE OF BRISTOL RELINQUISHED. 355

recommended that the approach to the city should be blocked up in its narrowest part with a pile of huge stones, timber, and earth, to close the entrance of the port, so that succour by sea, on which the citizens principally relied, might be cut off and that the current of the rivers which, as I said before, surround the city, being dammed up, the waters might stagnate and be collected in a deep pool, as in a sea, and quickly overflow and drown the place. They recommended also that forts should be constructed in both quarters of the city, to prevent ingress or egress by the bridges connecting them, while the king himself should sit down before the castle for a time, and distress the garrison by famine and other sufferings. But this wise and prudent counsel was opposed by the other party, consisting principally of those who, though they were in Stephen's camp, were secretly the earl's adherents. These said that it would be a work of time, and indeed a bootless undertaking, to attempt to dam up the channel with timber and stones and any such materials; for it was certain that whatever was thrown in would be swallowed up in the great depth of the bed of the river, or would be swept away and lost in the reflux of the tide. [1]

Swayed by these representations, the king abandoned the proposed siege, and having laid waste the country round Bristol, and destroyed or carried off the plunder, he set on foot expeditions against two castles, Carith and Harpetreu, [2] the one belonging to *** named Luvel, the other to William Fitz John. Both were in close alliance with the earl, [3] and so confederated with him by oaths and leagues, and bound by their homage, that no sooner were they informed of his intention to make head against the royal power, than they flew to arms to second his cause. Receiving also information that the king proposed to sit down before Bristol, and being of opinion that the siege would be long protracted, they agreed together faithfully to aid the earl by making hostile inroads, and


[1] There was some reason in this, considering the extraordinary rise and strength of the tides in the river Avon, as well as in the river Wye; and in the Severn, into which these rivers flow.

[2] Castle-cary and Harptree, two villages in Somersetshire south-west of Bristol and Bath.

[3] Of Gloucester.

356 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

harassing the inhabitants of all the neighbouring districts. But the king lost no time in investing Carith, and pressing the siege with vigour, throwing, by his machines, showers of missiles and fire without intermission among the garrison, and reducing them to starvation; so that at last he forced them to surrender on terms of submission and alliance. They could not hold out any longer, as they were weakened by want of food, neither had the earl, their hope and refuge, arrived in England; nor could the Bristol men march to their relief, in consequence of the superiority of the royal force. The terms of the treaty being ratified, the king marched to Harptree, where he proposed to erect a fort and place in it a proper garrison; but it was suggested to him that the garrison of this castle could also be conveniently held in check by the troops he had stationed at Bath, as the distance was short, and the communication between the two easy; whereas it would be a costly and troublesome undertaking to establish the warlike engines required for a siege in several places at once. At a subsequent period, however, when the king was passing this castle in his advance with a large force to lay siege to Bristol, the garrison sallied forth and hung on his rear; whereupon he instantly countermarched his troops, and, spurring their horses, they made a detour, and reached the castle in time to find it almost deserted. Without a moment's delay, some set fire to the castle gates, others raised scaling ladders against the walls, and all being encouraged by the king to the utmost exertions, the castle, having few defenders, was stormed, and left under a guard of his own troops and the protection of Providence.

After his success at Carith, the king's attention was called, without intermission, to the state of affairs in some part or other of England, and he was constantly in arms leading his troops from one quarter to another. As it is fabled of the hydra of Hercules, that as fast as one of its heads was lopped off more sprung forth, so it was, in a special manner, with the labours of King Stephen; one ended, others still more difficult succeeded, and, like another Hercules, he applied himself to the task with invincible energy. We read of the endless wars and difficulties, and toils of Saul, and many other kings; but they are not to be

A.D. 1138.] STEPHEN'S DIFFICULTIES. 357

compared to the pressure of those in which Stephen was involved by his attacks on others, by the loss of his adherents, and by the accidents of fortune. Such and so vast were his labours, that they must appear fearful and ahnost incredible to the reader. We read also of the great struggles of the Maccabean kings for restoring their country to tranquillity; we have heard of the wonderful wars of Alexander against foreign nations, and of the vatious conflicts of other kings in defence of their own subjects; but the struggles and contests of King Stephen will be found to have been still more severe and harassing; and the more vexatious, because they were with his own countrymen, and with his subjects conspiring against him. The word of God beareth witness, that the persecutions of familiar friends are the most painful and bitter, where it complains most of one "who did eat of his friend's bread", and yet "lifted up his heel against him". [1] So in another place, it saith, "A man's enemies are those of his own household". [2] One of the philosophers also remarks, "There is no mere grievous plague than a faithless friend". Let those, then, who wish to read and understand the marvels of history, carefully consider what it teaches.

Meanwhile, the troops left at Bath by King Stephen, to make it good against the men of Bristol, maintained themselves vigorously, using every means their art could devise to render the walls and ramparts impregnable, manning them by night with armed warders, who changed the watch by turns; and sometimes issuing forth in the dead of the night, and placing parties in ambush at posts suitable for concealment By day, also, large bodies of country folk. and men-at-arms marched out, and overrun the lands of the Bristolians, now in one quarter, then in another; and sometimes they made their appearance on a sudden with their whole force at the very city gates, as if they were going to give an assault, setting fire to churches and houses, and whatever it was possible to reduce to ashes [3] ...


[1] Psalm all. 9.

[2] Matt. a. 36.

[3] Our MS. having supplied us with very circumstantial details of transactions in the west of England, on which both Malmesbury and Huntingdon are silent, it here fails. When we find it again perfect, the author is evidently speaking, though the name is not mentioned, of the astute and powerful Bishop of Salisbury, so often mentioned in the latter portions of the present volume.

358 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

... supported by his numerous friends, and the vast power of his lordly dominion, was considered second only to the king in the government of the kingdom. Though he stood high in the royal favour, being the king's justiciary, and was consulted by him on all special affairs, he was more attached to the children of the late King Henry, and disposed to serve them faithfully, and assist them effectually. For he promised them, but secretly, that he might not offend the king, to place at their disposal the castles which he had elaborately ornamented and fortified, and profusely stored with arms and provisions, watching the opportunity, while in the interval he prudently submitted to the king, of rendering them prompt and vigorous aid on their landing in England. Expecting their speedy arrival (for they often apprised him of their intention from Normandy), he strengthened himself, by enlisting large bodies of troops to be turned over to their service, and wherever he journeyed, and especially when he went to court, he was attended by a vast body of friends and retainers; and while, in the mean time, he satisfied the king on this head, and others to whom he made himself agreeable and welcome, he was prepared forthwith to take the side of those whose arrival was expected. Of the same faction were his nephews, the Bishops of Lincoln [1] and Ely, lordly men of daring pretensions, who, neglecting the duties befitting the purity and simplicity of their christian profession, surrounded themselves with military and secular pomp, so that when they went to court, the number of their escort became the wonder of all beholders. The Earl of Mellent, and others of the king's private and most intimate friends, were offended at the magnificence thus displayed by the bishops; and, setting no bounds to their jealousy and hatred, they instilled into the king's mind many weighty charges against them. They alleged that these bishops used their pre-eminence in the kingdom, the influence of their wealth, and the power of their retainers,


[1] Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, was the king's chancellor, and, after the Bishop of Salisbury, the most powerful prelate in England. Alexander built the strong castles of Newark and Sleaford, and Roger those of Sherburne, Devizes, Malmesbury, and Salisbury.

A.D. 1139.] ARREST OF THE BISHOPS PROPOSED 359

not to maintain the king's dignity, but to forward their own pride and profit; and that they had erected stately and strongly-fortified castles, not to secure the king's throne, but to enable them to strip him of his dignity, and to plot against the honour of his crown. Wherefore, they said, it would be advisable, and the peace of the kingdom required, that they should be laid hold of and kept in custody, until they surrendered into the king's hands, as pertaining to the royal honours, their castles, and whatever other means they had of creating war and disturbances; but whatever rights belonged to them as ecclesiastics, to religion, and their episcopal functions, should be left to their own disposal, as due reverence and catholic usage required. If, therefore, the king, relying on his own courage and prudence, should be disposed to acquiesce in their suggestions, he should privately arrest these persons, not as bishops, but as transgressors of the episcopal rule, and as under suspicion of practising against the peace of the king and the realm; and they should be detained in custody until they gave up their strongholds, rendering unto Caesar the things which were Caesar's: the king would thus be rendered secure, and the country tranquil, when relieved from the suspicions of creating disturbances imputed to the bishops. On receiving this advice, continually instilled more from envy and suspicion than the love of holiness and justice, the king was in great distress of mind, both because it was a grave affair, and illegal to lay violent hands upon men of the sacred order, and because it was unjust and wrong not to give a fair hearing to men who were his privy counsellors, and filled the highest offices in his court. At last, however, overcome by the importunities of those who so continually and boldly urged him, he consented to take the measures against the bishops which they represented to be for his own honour and the peace of the realm. He was led to this by foolish, not to say mad counsels; for if it is wrong and forbidden to injure any man, according to what is written, "Do not to others what you would not have done to yourself"; much more is it disgraceful and unallowable to exhibit violence of any sort against the highest minister of ihe holy altars. In men's eyes it appears a gross transgression, but in the sight of God the greatest sin.

360 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN [BOOK I.

For the Lord said by the prophet, "Whoso toucheth you toucheth the pupil of mine eye"; and in the Gospel, "He who despiseth you, despiseth me". And that no such presumptuous dishonour, or dishonourable violence be done to the servants of his holy altar, He admonishes by the prophet, saying, "Touch not my anointed". For my part, I boldly and assuredly declare, that no offence draws down more sharply and suddenly the Almighty's vengeance, than insult by word or deed against those who officiate at his holy altars. Thus the sons of Korah, because they set themselves up with pride and arrogance against their priests, were not only reprobate before God, but were swallowed up alive, and perished. Saul, also, who impiouisly persecuted the Lord's priests, was not only in the eyes of the Lord rejected from his kingdom, but was slain in a bloody battle. With these few words, employed for the correction of the contemners of God's ministers, I return to my subject.

The bishops having come to court, [1] as before observed, with great pomp, a sudden quarrel was raised between their followers [2] and the king's soldiers, upon which the Earl of Mellent, the crafty conspirator, with some others who belonged to the royal party, particularly those who were privy to the scheme before mentioned, seized their arms, and, collecting their partisans, threw themselves on the bishops' followers; slaying some, taking others prisoners, and shamefully putting the rest to flight, leaving all they possessed in their adversaries' hands. Returning to the king, as if they had triumphed over an enemy, the malcontents, having held counsel together, hastened in a body to arrest the bishops as traitors. Report says, that the bishops having heard of the shameful treatment of their people, they were preparing for flight, when the king's guards forcibly entering their inn, and finding the Bishops of Salisbury and Lincoln, while all present were in amazement at the violence, they hastily brought them to the


[1] Malmesbury and Huntingdon inform us that King Stephen was then at Oxford. The former tells us that a great assembly of the nobles was held there on the 24th of June, 1139, at which probably the discussions just related in the text took place, ending in the arrest of the bishops soon after their arrival.

[2] Malmesbury gives some further details. See his "Modern History", p. 499, "Bohn's Antiquarian Library".

A.D. 1139.) THE BISHOPS SURRENDER THEIR CASTLES. 361

king's presence. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Ely, hearing what was going on, and being more wary and active, made his escape, after a long and hasty journey, to his uncle's castle at Devizes, where he prepared to offer a stout resistance o the king. Upon hearing that the Bishop of Ely had taken arms, the king was persuaded that what had been represented to him falsely and maliciously was true, and became enflamed with so much greater resentment against the bishops, that he determined to dispossess them entirely of their fortresses. He went, therefore, to Devizes, the Bghop Salisbury's castle, of admirable architecture, and impregmbly fortified, bringing with him the two bishops strictly guarded, and commanding them to be separately confined in two foul places, [1] and to be subjected to severe fastings. [2] Roger, the king's chancellor, and son [3] of the Bishop of Salisbury, being arrested and thrown into chains, would have been hung on a lofty gallows before the castle gate, if the Bishop of Ely had not, in the end, yielded up the castle and admitted the royal troops. The bishops were tortured with extreme anguish of mind, while it was evident to all that they would be the general laughing-stock, and that even their lives were in danger, if they did not yield the castles, which they had taken great pains in erecting, and which they highly valued, to the king's disposal. By the advice of their friends, of whom there were but few about the royal person, they were recommended and strongly enjoined that, to obtain their release from the unseemly confinement in which they were detained, they should submit themselves entirely to the king's will; more especially since the things of Caesar were to be given to Caesar, and that life must be purchased at any cost.

This castle, therefore, and the others they possessed, being surrendered to the king's hands, the bishops, humbled and mortified, and stripped of all pomp and vain glory, were reduced to a simply ecclesiastical life, and to the possessions belonging to them as churchmen; being compelled


[1] "The continuator of Flor. Vigorn. adds, that one was confined in the crib of an ox-lodge, the other in a vile hovel".- Sewell.

[2] Malmesbury says that the Bishop of Salisbury voluntarily enjoined himself abstinence from food.

[3] By Maude of Ramsbury, his concubine. Malmesbury calls him "the nephew, or, as it was reported, more than the nephew, of the bishop".

362 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN [BOOK I.

also to give up, though with an ill grace, the arms sad money which were stored in their castles. Matters being so settled, we cannot but admire the king's unexpected turn of forttme; for when he had nearly exhausted his treasury in the defence of his crown, he suddenly entered into the labours of others, and what report said was stored in the castles, for his injury and detriment, fell into his hands, to his honour and profit, without any care of his own. After this, a synod was held [1] in England, in which it was decreed that all munitions of war, and asylums of disaffection belonging to the bishops, should pass to the king as his own property. At this synod the king, having been publicly accused of the violence offered to the bishops, defended himself and his officers by what he considered valid and sufficient reasons. But whereas it was justly declared, and clearly adjudged, by the whole clergy, that it was unlawful, under any pretence, to lay hands on the Lord's servants, the king abated the rigour of ecclesiastical discipline by making humble submission; and, laying aside his royal robes, with a sorrowful mind and contrite spirit, he humbly acknowledged the guilt of his offence.

At that time [2] William de Mohun, a man not only of the highest rank but of illustrious descent, raised a formidable insurrection against the king; for, getting together some bands of foot-soldiers in his strong-hold, which was pleasantly situated on the sea-shore and strongly fortified, he made fierce inroads and swept, as with a storm, all that part of England. At all times and in all places humanity vas forgotten, and cruelty had full scope: he reduced to subjection by violence not only his neighbours but the inhabitants of remote districts; whoever resisted was relentlessly pursued with rapine and plunder, and fire and sword; when men of substance fell into his hands they were put in chains and


[1] This synod was held at Winchester in the end of August the same year. See Malmesbury and Huntingdon. The former gives a long account of the controversy between the bishops and the king, but says nothing of Stephen's submission. In this instance his narrative is at total variance with that of our anonymous author. Huntingdon's short account of the affair agrees with Malmesbury.

[2] Our author now turns again to the west of England, and furnishes details of transactions there, in the autumn, we suppose, of the year 1139, of which no other English writer of that day has given any account.

A.D. 1139.] DE MOHUN AT DUNSTER CASTLE. 363

miserably tortured; and by such acts he changed the face of the country, from peace and quiet, and joy and merriment, into a scene of grief and lamentation. When, after a time, these proceedings were reported to the king, he collected his followers in great force, and proceeded by forced marches to check the barbarities of William de Mohun. [1] But when he halted before the entrance of the castle, and saw the immense strength of its position, inaccessible on one side where it was washed by the sea, and fortified on the other by towers and walls with a ditch and outworks, he totally despaired of carrying it by storm; and, a wiser counsel prevailing, he established a fortified post within sight of the enemy, by means of which he proposed to restrain their incursions and give security to the neighbouring country. The king, therefore, gave orders to Henry de Tracy, a good knight of much experience in war, that, acting on his behalf, as he himself was wanted in other quarters, he should with all speed and vigour make head against the enemy. Henry, therefore, in the king's absence and furnished with the royal licence, drew out from Barnstaple, his own town, and made such resolute attacks on William de Mohun's retainers, that he not only checked their usual expeditions through the country, and restrained their plundering inroads, but he took 104 horse-soldiers in a single encounter. At length he so reduced and humbled William, that he desisted from attacking him any more, and left the county in tranquillity and entirely free from his disturbances.

Henry de Tracy, by his valour, not only reduced William de Mohun, but other obstinate perverters of the country and disturbers of the king's peace. Among these, especially, was William Fitz-Odo, a man of vast possessions and great wealth, who frugally managed his estates as long as there was peace, taking not even a twig from his neighbours, nor even the smallest customary gift from any man whatever; but when the troubles broke out, he also took arms against the king along with the rest. But Henry, acting with vigour on the king's behalf, enfeebled him by frequent encounters, and after a time it was reported to him


[1] William de Mohun, or Moiun, was lord of Dunster castle, the situation of which on the shore of the Bristol Channel is well described in this and a preceding paragraph, as its ruins still show.

364 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

by his scouts that William's castle was left empty by his soldiers who had gone out to plunder. Approaching it, therefore, with a party of his followers in the silence of the night, and evading the watch, he stealthily crept close to the castle, and, throwing lighted brands through the apertures of the towers, set fire to the chambers within. The lord of the castle was taken half burnt, and all his possessions, with immense hoards of money, by the king's permission, fell to the lot of Henry. On many other occasions he encountered the king's adversaries with courage and fidelity, as I shall relate in this history in the proper place.

While these disturbances of different kinds were taking place throughout England, Baldwin, [1] a man it is said of gentle birth, and an Englishman, who had been driven into banishment by the king, landed at Wareham with a bold and spirited band of soldiers, and being let into Corfe Castle, one of the strongest places in all England, he and his followers prepared themselves to hold it stoutly against the king, who, report said, was at hand. No sooner, indeed, was the king informed by his adherents of Baldwin's arrival, than he put himself without a moment's delay at the head of such of his people as could be soonest mustered, and appeared suddenly before the castle for the purpose of besieging Baldwin. He spent much time there in the attempt to distress the enemy with his engines of war, or to reduce them by famine; but at last, on good counsel, he raised the siege and permitted Baldwin to go unmolested, the more so as he received intelligence that Robert, earl of Gloucester, and his sister, the determined pretenders to his kingdom, had combined their forces and were on the point of invading England. Being anxious that they should not effect a landing unawares, he gave orders that all the ports should be watched day and night, thinking it of more importance to oppose with his utmost efforts the chiefs of the enemy's party, than that, while devoting his whole attention to Baldwin, he should suffer them to obtain a


[1] Baldwin de Rivers, whose conduct during and after the siege of Exeter forms a leading feature in the early part of our author's narrative. See before, pp. 337 to 344. It will be recollected tbat he was exiled and took refuge at the court of the Count of Anjou.

A.D. 1139-40.] ANARCHY OF THE KINGDOM. 365

footing against him. But it is written, learning and wisdom, and prudence and counsel, are nothing against the Lord; and human cunning cannot escape what has been ordained by Providence. We know that subjects are scourged sometimes for their own, sometimes for their rulers' transgressions; as it is recorded that the people of Israel, who had often offended God, were frequently punished by wars and pestilence, and that for the adulteries of Solomon and David the people were in the one case plagued by the hand of an angel, in the other grievously vexed by their enemies.

The English nation, lost in luxury and idleness, enervated by excess and drunkenness, and puffed up with pride and arrogance, had often provoked God's anger; and their great men, pursuing this scandalous course of life, abandoned themselves still more grossly to every sort of illicit connection, and to all superfluity of eating and drinking, to everything, in short, which is most vicious and most destructive to the soul, without restraint and without penitence. Thus the Almighty was greatly displeased with them, and his wrath was stirred up against them, and it was no wonder that England was torn by so many dissensions, wasted by internal wars, and stained everywhere by crimes: for it is an admitted truth that grievous sins can only be expiated by severe punishments, and that the more a man is abandoned to wickedness, the more he is fitted for suffering its consequences. Thus it was said to Babylon, "Forasmuch as she was highly exalted and in great prosperity, so shall be her torments and her lamentations". Hence it arose that although Stephen had devoted all his military skill to the restoration of peace in his realm, although he had been indefatigable in leading his troops against the enemy, all his unceasing efforts were of no avail; because, to use the words of the prophet, in all that had happened, "the anger of the Lord was not turned away, and his hand was stretched out still"; and his grievous indignation vexed them more and more, until Gomorrah should fill her cup of offences, and the Ethiopian change his skin; so He hardened Himself without mercy against all the inhabitants of England.

While the king's attention was directed to other quarters, though he had given orders that the harbours on the coast should be strictly guarded, Robert, earl of Gloucester, and

366 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

his sister the Countess of Anjou, landing at Arundel with a strong body of soldiers, were received into the castle and hospitably entertained. [1] All England was struck with alarm, and men's minds were agitated in various ways: those who either secretly or openly favoured the invaders were roused to more than usual activity against the king, while his own partisans were terrified as if a thunderbolt had fallen. But the king, who had never despaired in all the mischances of the wars and insurrections, now with unshaken firmness, and without a moment's delay, put himself at the head of a light-armed and disciplined body of troops, and by forced marches appeared boldly before the castle of Arundel. There, learning from his trusty scouts that the earl had got away by night, and was on his road to Bristol, but that his sister, with her followers from Anjou, still remained in the castle where she had disembarked, he left part of his troops to prevent her escape during his absence, and pursued the earl with the rest, intent on making him prisoner. Finding, however, that he could not accomplish his purpose - for the earl had not gone by the high road, but had betaken himself to bye ways - he quickly retraced his steps for the purpose of continuing the siege of those who were blockaded in the castle. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Winchester, hearing of their arrival, caused all the cross-roads to be beset by troops, and at last, as report was, encountering the earl, entered into amicable relations with him, and allowed him to proceed without opposition. This report, however, contradicts all sound conclusions; and it is utterly incredible that the king's brother should receive with a friendly embrace the invader of his brother's kingdom, and should permit him to pass unmolested while he was bent on urging the most serious pretensions to the crown. The bishop, however, joined the king with a numerous retinue of knights and men-at-arms, as if he had not fallen in with the earl; and finding that the king was determined on pressing


[1] The earl and his sister the countess landed, Angust 31, at Arundel, where she was kindly received, at first, by her mother-in-law, the queen-dowager of Henry I. Malmesbury says that the earl had only 150 horsemen with him, of whom twelve "scarcely" formed his retinue in his subsequent march across the country to Bristol. Malmesbury considers the earl to have been not inferior in undaunted bravery to Julius Caesar.

A.D. 1140.] THE EMPRESS MAUD AT BRISTOL. 367

the siege, he represented that his policy was as unacceptable to him as it would be to the kingdom. For while the king sat down to blockade the Countess of Anjou in one corner of the kingdom, her brother would speedily raise an insurrection and disturb the country in another quarter; so that it would be more advisable for himself, and tend more to the public advantage, to allow her to join her brother without hindrance, that both, with their respective forces, being thus united at one point, he might attempt to crush them with greater facility, and might combine all his own troops in an immediate and sharp attack of their position. A safe conduct was therefore given, ratified by oaths, for the countess to have free passage to her brother; the king trusting that he could defeat them with greater ease when both were confined to one part of the country. On their arrival at Bristol they announced their arrival to all the barons of the realm, intreating them, devoutly and sorrowfully, to come to their aid, and promising honorary rewards to some, to others an augmentation of their domains, while they required all to accomplish their object by every means in their power. Accordingly, all their adherents, who had hitherto paid a faithless and hollow submission to the king, breaking their oaths and the fealty they had pledged him, came over to the earl and countess, and with one mind entering into a league against the king, rose against him in all quarters with great vehemence.

There was at that time one Brian Fitz-Count, a man of illustrious descent and high dignity, who, being greatly elated at the late arrival, strengthened his castle at Wallingford with a numerous body of troops, and broke into active and determined rebellion against the king. Milo, also, lord of Gloucester, of whom I have already given a short notice, falsifying the fealty which he had sworn to the king, set himself against him with great resolution, and taking into his service all the king's enemies who flocked to him, desolated the whole of the districts adjoining the county of Gloucester. And now as far as the remotest borders of England, vast herds of cattle were driven off, and all those who were known to be faithful and loyal to the king were harassed with fire and sword: in one place the king and his adherents were continually betrayed by

368 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

treachery, in another the lands of his supporters, with their substance, were cruelly denuded and made a desert. Not only the persons I have named, but some others also, who were before sworn confederates of the king, now bursting the ties of amity and concord, set no bounds to their aggressions; but, rising with fury in all parts of England, perpetrated everywhere without remorse whatever their savage humour suggested. Meanwhile, King Stephen, unappalled at the tide of evils with which he was surrounded, with indomitable courage collected his forces into one powerful army, and was bent on crushing each of his enemies in turn. First, therefore, marching to Wallingford with a great force, he proposed to reduce it by a close blockade; but, listening to the better counsel of his barons, he postponed that design for the present. They asserted, as the fact was, that the castle was so strongly fortified as to defy an assault from any quarter; that it was stored with provisions for the supply of many years; that it was garrisoned by troops in the flower of youth, and confident in their strength; and that he could not maintain his present position without the greatest peril, as his army was both liable to daily assaults by the garrison of the castle, and it was also exposed to open or secret attacks from the enemy who were in arms against him on all sides. They therefore said that it would be the wisest counsel, that, having erected two forts and placed in them a sufficient number of troops to maintain a blockade, he should divert his attention to other quarters, by which means he might at the same time coerce the besieged troops, and make an immediate and unexpected attack on some other body of the insurgents.

Having therefore in all haste run up two forts over against the castle, the king marched with the utmost expedition towards the town of Trowbridge, which Humphrey de Mohun, by the advice and at the instigation of Milo, had fortified with impregnable works against the king. In the course of his march he had the great good fortune to take by assault the castle of Cerne, [1] which Milo had


[1] William of Malmesbury relates that this Fitz-Hubert had seized this castle, one of those founded by Bishop Roger, only a fortnight before. This historian gives a shorter account of Stephen's successes and reverses in this expedition, which took place in the month of October, than our author, who appears to have been particularly well informed of all that passed in the west of England, often the principal seat of war during these troublesome times.

A.D. 1139.] BLOCKADE OF WALLINGFORD CASTLE. 369

built to encourage the insurrection; and also to receive the surrender of the strongly-fortified town of Malmesbury, in which he took prisoner Robert Fitz-Hubert, with his followers, a man of great cruelty, unequalled in villainy and crime. But the fate of war is uncertain, and the changing fortune of our age now raises a man high, and presently casts him down to the lowest depth: thus, after these successful events, the king met with a sudden and unexpected mischance. For while he was on his march to Trowbridge, Milo, a man of a most active mind, and always ready for bold deeds, rode to Wallingford by night with a chosen body of soldiers, and fell with so much impetuosity on the troops left there by the king, that they were forced to yield, so that some being wounded and others slain, and all the rest being made prisoners and bound with fetters, he returned to his own castle with the glory of a brilliant victory. This severe reverse to the king's troops at that spot may clearly be attributed to his having converted the church, from a seat of religion and house of prayer, into a fortified post, and allowed it to be made a place of war and slaughter. For a church is built to be the house of God and the house of prayer; and to make it the habitation of men of war, must certainly be offensive to Him. Wherefore, since it is written, that no sin shall go unpunished, and that with the measure with which we measure, it shall be measured unto us again, we do not speak foolishly when we assert that this befell the king, because he converted the house of peace and mercy into an asylum for war and discord.

After this successful enterprise, Milo turned his whole attention to the means of annoying the king and his adherents; be therefore assembled at Gloucester all those whose possessions the king had wasted, or who were for any reason hostile to him; both because the place was strong and well stored with all necessaries, and numbers thus embodied from different quarters could make more bold and secure attacks; and thus he engaged in many enterprises with glory and success. I will not recount the immense booty which he collected from every quarter, the villages in

370 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

flames, and towns deserted, the population of all degrees butchered or bound with thongs until they were ransomed: it is better to mourn over these calamities than to relate them. But it is worthy of notice respecting the royal castles in the counties of Gloucester and Hereford, the garrisons of which crushed the people with fearful tyranny, that some he took by assault and razed to the ground, while he gave others into the possession of his adherents: in one instance making prisoners of part of the garrison and driving out the rest, as at Winchcomb; in others by surrender after a vigorous assault, as at Cerne and the city of Hereford. Nor must it be omitted, that he was so faithful and constant to the family of King Henry, that he was not only their abettor, but he entertained the Countess of Anjou and her retinue, filling the place of a father to her both in council and action, [1] until the king being in the end a captive and a prisoner, as I shall show in the sequel, he established her as queen throughout all England. Meanwhile, the king arriving at Trowbridge, and finding the place carefully fortified, and the garrison prepared for all extremities, nor likely to surrender without a desperate struggle, he set to work to construct engines with great toil, that he might press the siege with vigour. But his efforts were fruitless, for the besieged were neither injured by his machines, nor at all daunted by his blockade, though it was long and strict. The barons, therefore, who were present at the siege, some wearied out by its being long protracted, and others who were their false and treacherous comrades, united in apprehensions that the Earl of Gloucester would collect all his forces and suddenly attack them. The king, therefore, consulting his friends, retired to London to rally his strength, and then advance where fortune summoned him to some safer enterprise. He left, however, in the castle at Devizes for the annoyance of Trowbridge, to which it was near, a chosen and disciplined body of soldiers, and the two parties, alternately, by their hostile incursions reduced all the neighdouring country to a desolate solitude.

In these days died Roger, bishop of Salisbury, who while he excelled all the great nobles of the kingdom in wealth


[1] Malmesbury, who gives a high character of the Earl of Gloucester, asserts that he magnanimously refused the crown, when it was offered him.

A.D. 1139.] DEATH OF THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY. 371

and magnificence as well as in his great abilities, yet he was broken down and completely enervated by luxury; and a single vice, impurity, tainted whatever virtues he possessed. [1] He left in the church at Salisbury immense sums of money, and a vast quantity of plate, both of gold and silver, exquisitely and splendidly wrought, all which, the canons approving, nay, even making the offer, fell into the king's hands, with many other articles which the bishop had collected in his treasury; not knowing, as the Psalmist observes, for whom he heaped them up, and like the rich man in the Gospel to whom it was said, "This night thy soul shall be required of thee; whose then shall those things be which thou hast gotten"? The king applied part of the money to roofing the church, part he bestowed for relieving the wants of the canons; and the churches, lands, aad possessions, which the bishop had appropriated, turning the nuns, deprived of their pastors, into handmaids-all these he freely restored to the churches and to ecclesiastical uses, and, reinstating the two churches of Malmesbury and Amesbury in their ancient splendour, caused the abbots of those monasteries to be canonically enthroned.

When the Bishop of Ely was informed of his uncle's death, [2] he determined to put in execution what he had long plotted against the king, both that he might, as far as was in his power, have satisfaction for the injuries his uncle had suffered at the king's hands, as I have before related, and also aid the children of King Henry in recovering the crown, to the utmost of his power. Laying aside, therefore,


[1] Our author probably alludes to the connection with Maude of Ramsbury. See p. 361. William of Malmesbury has treated this bishop's character fully and impartially. See his "Modern History", p. 507. Henry of Huntingdon, who, on the whole, speaks favourably of him, says that he died worn out with age, and grief for the severity with which Stephen had recently treated him, with which Malmesbury agrees. He died in the month of December, 1139.

[2] The year on which we are now entering, A.D. 1140, the sixth of Stephen's reign, was most disastrous to that king and the kingdom in general. Huntingdon gives no details, but, summing up the horrors of the times in a few words, vents his feelings in an elegy; see before, p. 273. Malmesbury, after taking a general view of the miserable state of affairs, notices cursorily one or two of the occurrences related by our author, to whom we are indebted for a circumstantial account of the transactions of this period.

372 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

his spiritual weapons and the warfare of ecclesiastical diecipline, he became a man of blood, and taking into his pay at Ely bands of soldiers willing to engage in any service however villainous, he molested all his neighbours, those especially who were the king's partisans. Ely is a pleasant island, extensive and well peopled, with a fertile soil and rich pasturage; it is surrounded on all sides by marshes and fens, and can be approached on one side only, where a strait and narrow road leads to the island and the castle, which from ancient times has stood above the waters at the very entrance in a singular manner; so that the whole island is one impregnable fortress. Thither the king, when he heard that the bishop had actually revolted, hastened with a large body of troops, and having surveyed the extraordinary and impregnable strength of the place, he consulted many persons how he could best invest it his troops. It was advised, and he approved the counsel, that a number of boats should be collected where the current of water round the island appeared to be slackest, and that a bridge should be constructed across them formed of bundles of wattled rods laid lengthways to the bank of the island. The king, being highly delighted, ordered the work to be immediately executed; so that shortly he and his followers easily passed over to the island on the bridge thus ingeniously constructed with boats. After crossing the water by these means, some slimy marshes were still to be passed; but the king received private information of a ford which was sound at bottom and offered a safe passage. It is said that a clever monk of Ely suggested the mode of crossing the water, and was the guide who pointed out the way to cross the marsh; and we saw him afterwards for this service, thanks not to St. Peter's key but to Simon's, admitted into the church and made Abbot of Ramsey; and we know that afterwards he was subjected to much trouble and affliction, the Almighty justly punishing secret offences, on account of his unlawful intrusion into the church. But of this hereafter. Meanwhile, the royal troops, penetrating into the interior of the island, were permitted to overrun every part of it, and having taken prisoners some of the bishop's soldiers, with a great booty and large sums of money, they got possession also of the small castle which

A.D. 1140.] ELY TAKEN.-CORNWALL RECOVERED. 373

stood at the entrance to the island in which the bishop and his soldiers had taken refuge. This great success very much damped the courage of the enemy throughout England. The bishop, who had some difficulty in making his escape from the royal troops, fled in poverty and distress to Gloucester, which all who were harassed by the king made their common receptacle: there, in his indigence, he discovered what he had not learnt in the days of his wealth and pride, that "the Lord bringeth down the mighty from their seat", and humbleth to the lowest pitch those who exalt themselves.

While this was doing in Ely, William Fitz-Richard, a man of noble descent, and who held the county of Cornwall in full lordship under the king, traitorously broke his oath of fealty, and admitting Reginald, son of King Henry into a castle which had always belonged to the royal jurisdiction, gave him his daughter, with the whole county of Cornwall. In possession of this principality, Reginald conducted himself with more courage than prudence, compelling the inhabitants to submit to him by force of arms, garrisoning all the castles with his own partisans, and grievously oppressing the king's adherents in his neighbourhood. And so far did he carry his insane audacity, that he did not even spare ecclesiastical property, nor restrain his freebooters from robbing the churches. For this cause it was not long before we saw him suffering under the infliction of the wrath of God, having been excommunicated by the bishop; for the wife of his bosom was driven to madness and became subject to demoniacal influence, and he lost the greatest part of the land the traitor his father-in-law had given him, which was recovered by the king; so that he was reduced to the castle in which he lived, his enemies becoming so powerful that even there he was in great straits. For the king, having intelligence of this rebellion in Cornwall, hastened thither before he was expected, and retaking the castles which Reginald had seized, he entrusted the country to Earl Alan, a cruel and crafty man, with whom he left an active body of soldiers, commanding him to allow Reginald no repose until he had driven him out of the country.

Meanwhile, Roberk who was Earl of Gloucester, but in

374 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

arms against the natives of that county, who were enrolled in great strength for the king's service, was greatly delighted when he learnt that the king had entered Cornwall, insomuch as he exposed himself to a successful attack while cooped up in a corner of England at a distance from his main force; where he trusted, by God's help, to be able to crush him. Having, therefore, assembled a large body of troops, with stores of all kinds, he was proceeding to Cornwall by hasty marches, when he heard rumours that the king was on his return, having successfully accomplished all his purposes, and would shortly make his appearance at the head of a powerful force. This was no false or unfounded report, for the king, receiving secret intelligence of the earl's advance, had summoned all the barons of Devonshire to his aid, and was prepared to engage the earl that very day. The two parties were already so near each other that they might have fulfilled their wishes, had not the earl, listening to the prudent advice of his friends, been persuaded to draw off his troops and commence a retreat towards Bristol with all expedition. The king, continuing his march without molestation, reduced several traitorous castles, some of which were evacuated at the mere tidings of his approach, and others were assaulted and stormed, clearing and tranquillizing all the surrounding districts over which the lords of the castles and their followers tyrannized.

About this period, Robert Fitz-Hubert, [1] a man of Flemish extraction, both bold and wily, who, as it is said of the judge in the Gospel, feared neither God nor man, with a detachment of Robert the earl's soldiers, for he was in his pay, carried by a stealthy night attack the royal castle of Devizes, a stately and strongly-fortified place, by means of scaling ladders strongly and cleverly formed of thongs, which he threw over the battlements, and which reached to the foot of the wall. Having thus effected an entrance, escaping the vigilance of the guard, he secured in their sleep the royal garrison, except a few who, roused by the noise in the dead of the night, hastily betook themselves to


[1] Our anther has mentioned this ruffian before; see p. 369. Malmesbury gives some strange anecdotes of his barbarity. He took Devizes Castle by surprise in Passion week.

A.D. 1140.] DEVIZES CASTLE SEIZED. 375

the keep of the castle; but as they had not carried provisions with them, and no succour arrived from the king's party after a few days they surrendered the keep.

The report of this bold achievement getting abroad, the Earl of Gloucester sent his son with a strong band of soldiers to share with Robert the custody of the castle; but he was driven from the gate with foul and menacing words, and returned to his father with a message from Robert, that he had taken the castle for his own benefit, and not for the purpose of giving it up to a stronger party. Things turned out as this wily plotter had calculated, for neither adhering to the side of the earl, nor submitting to the king, he drew about him a strong band of his own people, and by force or fraud got possession of all the country round. But Providence converted his enterprise to his own ruin, awarding to the divine sentence, by the sins that a man committeth, he shall be punished. For as he had circumvented others by his cunning, he also fell a victim to fraud; and, being taken and thrown into chains, died in tortures. There was in the neighbourhood a man named John, [1] equally crafty, and ready for any enterprise to be accomplished by stratagems, who forcibly held the royal castle of Marlborough. This castle Robert marked for his own, inasmuch as it was contiguous, and a convenient appendage to his own, and if he could reduce it he should be better able to promote discord throughout England. He therefore sent a message to John that he wished to come to terms of peace and alliance with him, and sought admittance to his castle for the sake of giving and receiving mutual advice, and would maintain their league unbroken and their amity entire. John, however, detected in these proposals a stratagem for surprising his castle, and, affecting to receive his orders with joy and to grant all that was desired, he admitted Robert into the castle, but, immediately closing the gate, he threw him into the dungeon to die of hunger and suffering. He then sallied forth on Robert's comrades, who were waiting without to second his attempt, and, capturing some of them, imprisoned them with their leader, while the rest were forced to flee to Devizes in disgrace.


[1] John "Fitz-Gilbert".- Malmesbury.

378 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

It was the feast of the Purification, and while mass was being celebrated at dawn of day, and the king, according to the order and office of the festival, was holding a candle of wax in his hand, it was suddenly extinguished, the candle, as it is said, being broken short; but, retaining it in his hand, it was stuck together again and relighted; a token that for his sins he should be deprived of his crown, but on his repentance, through God's mercy, he should wonderfully and gloriously recover it. For inasmuch as he still held the candle in his hand, although it was broken, that was a sign that he should not resign the crown, nor lose the name of king, though he became a captive; and it was so ordered in the wonderful dispensations of Providence, that though he fell into the hands of his greatest enemies, they were never able to deprive him of his kingdom.

Upon hearing that the enemy were at hand, and that unless he retreated a battle was inevitable, the king shrunk from staining his reputation by an ignominious flight, and, putting his troops in battle array in excellent order, drew them out of the city to meet the attack. A strong body of horse and foot was detached in advance to oppose the passage of a ford; [1] but the enemy, by a prudent disposition of their forces and an impetuous charge, obtained possession of the ford, and boldly routing the detachment and putting it to flight, they fell irresistibly, by a combined movement, on the royal army, slaying some, and reserving others as prisoners to be ransomed; while many, among whom were the Earl of Mellent and William de Ypres, flying shamefully before battle was joined, the victors took the king prisoner, fighting stoutly to the last. The citizens who fled to seek refuge in the town were closely pursued, and many were slaughtered; the houses and churches were pillaged and burnt, and lamentable scenes of destruction were exhibited in every quarter. Others congregated near the crowd of captives, and especially about the king. While he was being disarmed, he frequently exclaimed, in humiliation and grief, that this shameful disaster had befallen


[1] Over the Trent, which was now in flood from heavy rains; but the Earl of Gloucester swam over the rapid river with his whole army, Malmesbury;- whose account of the battle of Lincoln is very short. Huntingdon's is much more circumstantial than that of our present author; see before, p. 274.

A.D. 1140.] STEPHEN PRISONER IN BRISTOL CASTLE. 379

him as a punishment for his sins; but that those also were guilty of a very great crime who, breaking their fealty and disregarding their oaths, and making no account of the homage which had been voluntarily pledged to him their king and lord, had so foully and desperately rebelled against him. Upon this the surrounding multitude were moved with pity, shedding tears and uttering cries of grief, and with heart and mouth compassionating his distress.

The Earl of Gloucester carried the king [1] with him to his sister, the Countess of Anjou, in Gloucestershire, and, having held council, committed him to close custody in Bristol Castle for the remainder of his days. The earl was mistaken, and knew not the secret counsels of the Almighty, in whose hand, as it is written, are the hearts of kings, and He turneth them whithersoever He willeth. He reduced the King of Babylon, who proudly exalted himself against Him, to the condition of a beast, that by the sense of his humiliation, and his better knowledge of God, He might in the end accept and raise him up. He also drove David from the throne, on account of his sins, by the persecution of his son, and allowed him to wander about in strange hiding-places, humbled and dishonoured, that thereafter He might restore him to his kingdom with marvellous honour. He likewise, who does nothing in vain, determined in his secret counsels to cast down King Stephen for a little time, in order that afterwards he might be more highly and wonderfully exalted. How singularly that came to pass I shall distinctly relate in the sequel.

When the king was in captivity, and, as I mentioned before, condemrted, by God's permission, to imprisonment in Bristol Castle, all England was struck with astonishment. To some, who hoped that in consequence the war would be ended, a day of rejoicing and a new light appeared to dawn; others, who thought deeper, were of opinion that the crime of which they were guilty against their king and lord could not be expiated without great damage to the


[1] Malmesbury speaks in strong terms of the respect shown by the earl to the king immediately after the battle; and says that on his first imprisonment in Bristol Castle he was treated with every honour, but, abusing his privileges, he was then confined with fetters.

380 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

kingdom and themselves, and that the internal wars would not be so easily terminated, considering that the majority of the people were on the king's side, and that the strongest castles were in the hands of his adherents. It will presently be seen that thus it turned out. Now, however, the greatest part of the kingdom gradually submitted to the countess and her supporters; and some of the royal party, surprised by sudden disasters, were either taken prisoners or violently expelled from their territories; others, quickly falsifying the allegiance which they owed to the king, voluntarily offered to her themselves and their property. They were a servile and despicable crew, who, when their king and lord was borne down by a sudden disaster, but had not lost all, so quickly transferred the fealty they had pledged him. Earl Alan, a man, it is said, of a most savage disposition and of deep guile, while he was endeavouring to entrap the Earl of Chester, in revenge for the disgraceful captivity he had inflicted on his lord and master, was foiled by the enemy and taken himself. Bound with fetters, and immured in a foul dungeon, he was compelled to bow his head with forced humility and to a dishonourable servitude, doing homage to the Countess of Anjou, and placing his castles at her disposal; meanwhile, he ceded the county of Cornwall, which had been granted to him by the king, to Reginald, who was now in his native country. Earl Hervey, also, the king's son-in-law, who was long beleaguered in the castle of Devizes by a rude multitude of country people banded together for his ruin, at last gave up the castle into the countess's hands, and being driven from England by this dishonour went beyond sea with only a few followers. Hugh, also, surnamed The Pauper, who by royal licence possessed the earldom of Bedford after the expulsion of Milo de Beauchamp, conducted his affairs with so much negligence, like the careless and effeminate man he was, that, willing or not willing, he gave up the task to Milo, becoming, by the righteous judgment of God, from an earl, a simple man-at-arms, and from that, shortly, a penniless man. [2]

These and other adherents of the king, compelled


[1] See before, p. 376.

[2] See before, p. 346, and the note appended.

A.D. 1140.] MAUD PROCLAIMED QUEEN. 381

by misfortune, some also voluntarily and without compulsion, transferred their allegiance to the countess; among these were Robert de Oly, warden of Oxford under the king, and the Earl of Warwick, weak men, more addicted to pleasure than gifted with courage. The countess now, elated with pride, assumed an air of extreme haughtiness; instead of the gentle and graceful manners becoming her sex, she carried herself arrogantly, her language became imperious, and she took measures for being shortly declared queen of England, and honoured by the royal title in the capital of her lord. She took counsel how she might attach to her cause Henry, the bishop of Winchester, the king's brother, who ranked higher than all the nobles of England in wisdom, in policy, in courage, and in wealth. If he should be willing to espouse her cause, he should be first in honour and in council; but if he should oppose her, and manifest any symptoms of rebellion, she would rally the whole power of England against him. The bishop was much perplexed: on the one hand, there was the greatest difficulty in supporting the king's cause and restoring it to its former pitch, chiefly because the royal castles were not stored with provisions nor sufficiently garrisoned; on the other hand, it was a serious affair, and indecent in the eyes of the world, while his brother was alive to desert him suddenly in his adversity. In his doubts and difficulties between these two courses, but inclining to the more tempting policy, he determined to temporize, entering into a league of peace and amity with the enemy, by which he would secure himself and his adherents from molestation, and be in a situation quietly to observe the state of the kingdom and how affairs were tending, so that, if opportunity offered, he might promptly and freely stand up for his brother.

A treaty of peace and concord having been accordingly concluded, the countess was received and conducted with great festivities into the city of Winchester, where the bishop placed at her disposal the king's castle, with the royal crown, which she had always ardently desired, and the treasure, small in amount, which the king had left; causing her to be proclaimed sovereign lady and queen

382 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

in the market-place before the people. [1] Having now arrived at the summit of her ambition, she began to conduct her affairs imperiously and rashly. Some of those who were attached to the king, but had now agreed to submit themselves and all they had to her, were received with coldness, and at times with manifest displeasure; others she drove from her, overwhelmed with reproaches and threats. Indiscreetly changing the order of things, she began to diminish or to deprive them of those lands and possessions which the king allowed them to hold; and to declare forfeited, and bestow on others, the fiefs and honours of the few nobles who still adhered to the king's cause. Whatever the king had enacted by royal ordinances, she despotically reversed by word of mouth; and the grants which he had firmly and irrevocably made to churches and his followers in the wars, she at once revoked and bestowed on her own partisans. But she gave the most flagrant proof of her superciliousness and arrogance in her conduct to the King of the Scots, the Bishop of Winchester, and her brother the Earl of Gloucester, the most powerful men in England. When these, who were in constant attendance on her, having any petition to present, bent the knee as they came into the presence, so far from desiring them to rise, when bowing before her, as would have been becoming, or granting their requests, she repeatedly refused to hear them, and dismissed them, slighted, with some haughty reply. She did not rely on their counsels, as would have been fitting and she had promised, but ordered all affairs at her own will and mere motion. The Bishop of Winchester, perceiving that some things were done without his assent, and others without his being consulted, was much disgusted; but, cautiously dissembling what he felt, he watched in silence the turn of affairs.

Having now obtained the submission of the greatest part


[1] On the 2nd of March. Malmesbury gives a full account of the negotiations between the earl and the bishop which preceded the proclamation of the empress-queen; as well as of the proceedings of a council held at Winchester the week after the ensuing Easter, which lasted for several days, and terminated in a general acknowledgment of her claims.

A.D. 1140.] THE EXPRESS MAUD COMES TO LONDON. 383

of the kingdom, [1] taken hostages and received homage, and being, as I have just said, elated to the highest pitch of arrogance, she came with vast military display to London, at the humble request of the citizens. [2] They fancied that they had now arrived at happy days, when peace and tranquillity would prevail, and the kingdom's sufferings would be followed by a change for the better. She, however, sent for some of the more wealthy, and demanded of them, not with gentle courtesy but in an imperious tone, an immense sum of money. Upon this they made complaints that their former wealth had been diminished by the troubled state of the kingdom, that they had liberally contributed to the relief of the indigent against the severe famine which was impending, and that they had subsidised the king to their last farthing; they therefore humbly implored her clemency - that in pity for their losses and distress she would show some moderation in levying money from them, and that in imposing a new and vexatious tax she would at least allow a little time to the exhausted citizens: when the disturbances arising out of the wars entirely ceased and tranquillity was restored, wealth would return, and they should be better able to supply her wants. When the citizens had addressed her in this manner, she, without any of the gentleness of her sex, broke out into insufferable rage, while she replied to them, with a stern eye and frowning brow, "that the Londoners had often paid large sums to the king; that they had opened their purse-strings wide to strengthen him and weaken her; that they had been long in confederacy with her enemies, for her injury; and that they had no claim to be spared, and to have the smallest part of the fine remitted". On hearing this, the citizens departed to their homes, sorrowful and unsatisfied.

In this juncture, the queen, who was a woman of clear understanding and masculine firmness, sent messengers to


[1] Huntingdon says that the whole English nation submitted to her, except the men of Kent, who had with them Stephen's queen and her adherent William d'Ypres.

[2] Malmesbury observes that it was a work of great difficulty to soothe the minds of the Londoners to receive the empress, for though the affair was settled at Winchester immediately after Easter, it was only a few days before the nativity of St. John that they consented to do so.

384 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

the countess, earnestly imploring the release of her husband from a foul dungeon, and the restoration of her son's inheritance under his father's will. But when neither she nor her envoys succeeded in their petition, but were answered with words of cruel and shameful abuse, the queen resolved on gaining by arms what she had failed to do by her prayers; she therefore assembled a splendid body of troops, and, marching them to London, [1] stationed them over the river, with orders to harass the countess's supporters round the city with pillage and assault and fire and sword. The Londoners were thrown into great distress at seeing the country wasted before their eyes, and being driven to their houses, like hedgehogs, by these hostilities, with no one ready to resist them; and also because their new mistress exceeded all bounds in her cruel treatment of them, and there was no reason to expect in time to come gentleness and bowels of mercy from one who in the first days of her reign was pitiless in extorting from them intolerable exactions. They therefore entered into consultation on the fitness of forming a confederacy with the queen for the restoration of peace and obtaining the king's release from imprisonment; since, they justly remarked, they had unwisely deserted his cause too soon, and subjected themselves to the tyranny of new masters while he was yet living.

Accordingly, when the countess, feeling secure that her will would be obeyed, required an answer to her demands, the whole city flew to arms at the ringiiag of the bells, which was the signal for war, and all with one accord rose upon the countess and her adherents, as swarms of wasps issue from their hives. The countess was just sitting down to dinner, in unconscious security, when she heard the noise of the tumult, and, receiving private information that she was to be attacked, she sought safety for herself and her followers in instant flight. Putting their horses to a gallop, they had scarcely left behind them the houses of the suburbs, when a countless mob of the townsfolk burst into the quarters they had quitted, and pillaged everything


[1] This expedition of Stephen's queen, which is not mentioned by the other historians, agrees with what I have quoted from Huntingdon in a former note.

A.D. 1140.] THE EMPRESS EXPELLED FROM LONDON. 385

which their unpremeditated departure had left in them. Several of the barons, impelled by their fears, had fled with the countess, but they were not long the companions of her flight; for so great was the alarm occasioned by the sudden outburst of the insurrection, that, forgetting their mistress, and thinking only of their own escape, they took the first turnings of the road which presented opportunities for effecting it, and made for their own estates by various bye-ways, as if the Londoners were in close pursuit. Not only the Bishop of Winchester, who is said to have been privy to and at the bottom of this conspiracy, but some other bishops and belted knights, who had come to London with great pomp and pride for the coronation of their mistress, quickly sought shelter wherever they could find it. The countess herself, with her brother the Earl of Gloucester, and a few other barons whose course best lay in that direction, hastened to Oxford at their utmost speed. [1]

When they were in this manner frightened out of London, all those of the king's party who had been humbled and crushed by his captivity, inspired with new hopes, flew eagerly to arms amidst mutual congratulations, and, rose upon the countess's adherents in all quarters. The queen, having been received by the Londoners, laid aside all female weakness and the softness of her sex, and bore herself manfully and resolutely. She worked upon her suporters who had still held out, and the king's friends, wherever they were dispersed throughout the country, both by her entreaties and offers, to join her in compassing the kings deliverance. Still more earnestly she supplicated the Bishop of Winchester, [2] the papal legate, that, pitying his brother's captivity, he should unite his endeavours with others for the king's release, and thus restore her husband to her, the king to his people, a protector to the kingdom. The bishop was moved as well by the sorrowful intreaties of the woman constantly urged, as by the strong ties of


[1] Malmesbury states in few words that the empress, having notice of the lot, quietly withdrew her followers in good order; but the graphic account of the whole affair given by our author has every appearance of truth.

[2] The empress and the bishop had a friendly conference at Guildford.- Malmesbury.

386 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

blood, to consider deeply how he might best effect his brother's release from imprisonment, [1] and reinstate him on the throne. But the Countess of Anjou, shrewdly suspecting the bishop's secret intentions, hastened to Winchester with a body of disciplined troops, to endeavour to forestall his movements; and as she was entering one gate of the town with a numerous retinue, her arrival being wholly unexpected, the bishop, mounting a swift horse, escaped at another gate, [2] and made all haste to secure himself in one of his own castles. Upon this the countess, summoning her partisans by proclamation throughout England, collected a vast army, and formed a close blockad of the bishop's castle, a stately edifice in the centre of the town, and of his palace, which he had converted into a strong fortress.

I think fit to give here a short account of those who, collecting their forces, joined the countess in this siege, is order that the reader may reflect that it was not by man's strength, but by the marvellous power of the Almighty, that so vast and so mighty a host was quickly subdued and dispersed, made captive and annihilated, as will be shown in what follows. There was David, king of the Scots, who, as I have before related, had been already twice driven from England in shameful discomfiture, and was now a third time, to his deep disgrace and with great peril to his followers, forced to flee, as were many others. There were also Robert, earl of Gloucester; Ranulf, earl of Chester; [3] Baldwin, earl of Exeter; Reginald, bastard son of King Henry, and earl of Cornwall; Milo of Gloucester, who was now made earl of Hereford, to the satisfaction of all; Roger, earl of Warwick; William de Mohun, who was now made earl of Dorset; and also Botterel, earl of Britany. The barons were nowise inferior to the earls in faithfulness and merit, in courage and gallantry. There were Brian mentioned before; John, surnamed the Marshall; Roger de Oleo; Roger de Nunant; William Fitz-Alan, with others


[1] Huntingdon relates that the empress was so exasperated by her expulsion from London, that she ordered the king to be bound in fetters. See Malmesbury's account of Stephen's treatment in note, p. 379.

[2] Malmesbury does not mention this.

[3] Malmesbury says he came too late to be of any service.

A.D. 1140.] THE SIEGE OF WINCHESTER. 387

whom it would be tedious to enumerate. All these, having mustered their followers in great force, vied with each other in joint and indefatigable efforts to reduce the bishop's castle.

Meanwhile, the bishop had summoned the barons of the king's party from every quarter of England, and had also taken into his pay, at great expense, a number of stipendiary soldiers, and with these he harassed those who lay outside the city by all the means in his power. The queen, also, with a gallant body of men-at-arms, and the stout array of the Londoners, a thousand in rmmber, well armed with helmets and breastplates, besieged from without the besiegers of the castle inside the city with great spirit and vigour. The king had also on his side certain great men who were of his privy counsels and admitted to his familiar intimacy, but not being endowed with great domains, possessed merely of castles. The most distinguished of these were Roger de Casnet, and William, his brother, men accustomed to war, and second to none in military skill and every kind of excellence. When the rest of the king's adherents flocked to Winchester to encounter his enemies, these brothers, also, with a well-equipped troop of cavalry and archers, threatened the city in one quarter with a formidable attack. The siege was therefore of an extraordinary character, such as was unheard of in our days. All England was there in arms, with a great conflux of foreigners; and their position against each other was such that the forces engaged in the siege of the bishop's castle were themselves besieged by the royal army, which closely hemmed them in from without, so that there were perpetually skirmishes, attended with great losses on both sides. Not to speak of the soldiers who in these daily conlicts were taken prisoners on the one part or the other, or who perished by various mischances and in various ways, the position of the troops led to serious losses; for while the countess's party pressed the siege of the castle by every invention of skill and art, the garrison from within shot lighted brands, with which they reduced to ashes the greatest part of the city and two abbies. [1] On the other


[1] "An abbey of nuns within the city [St. Mary's], and the monastery of Hyde, without the walls".- Malmesbury.

388 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

hand, the royal army cantoned without the city, carefully watched all approaches by the cross-roads, to prevent supplies of provisions being thrown into the town; and thus severe famine was inflicted on the great numbers now shut up within the walls. It was therefore decided in council by common consent to be desirable that a fort should be constructed at Wherwell, which is distant vi. miles from the city, as a station for 300 soldiers, from whence they might straiten the king's troops, and facilitate the entrance of supplies into the city. But the royalists, alive to the danger they incurred by this manoeuvre, made a sudden and unexpected attack on Wherwell in great force, and, assaulting the post on all sides, many of its defenders were taken or slain, and the rest were compelled to evacuate it and seek for shelter in the church. [1] There, using the church as a fortress, they defended themselves, until brands were thrown upon it and it was set on fire, and they were compelled, half-burnt, to come forth and surrender at discretion. It was a horrid and lamentable spectacle: mailed soldiers trampled recklessly on the floor of the church, the seat of religion, the house of prayer; in one quarter there was butchery, in another the prisoners were dragged along bound with thongs; there, the flames burst forth in the church, and consumed the roofs of the monastery; there, the consecrated virgins, reluctantly compelled by the fire to issue from their inclosure, filled the air with shrieks and lamentations.

When Robert, earl of Gloucester, and the rest of his party, learnt the disastrous termination of this affair, they entirely despaired of success in prosecuting the siege, and consulted how best they might secure their own safety by retreat. For it seemed unwise and inexpedient to hold out any longer after the serious loss they had sustained; when the bishop's troops had burnt the town, the citizens were wasting with famine and want, and they themselves were threatened with the same calamity unless they made a speedy retreat. Collecting, therefore, their light baggage, they threw open the gates and marched out in a body, and


[1] "The abbey of nuns at Wherwell was burnt by one William de Ypres, because some of the partisans of the empress had secured themselves within it".- Malmesbury.

A.D. 1140.] THE ROUT OF WINCHESTER. 389

the troops being skilfully formed by divisions in close order, the whole army commenced the retreat. But they were met by the king's troops, who poured in upon them from all sides in countless numbers with so much impetuosity that they were routed and dispersed, and the Earl of Gloucester, who commanded the rear-guard, was cut off from the rest, and taken prisoner with all his followers. [1] The royal army spread itself over all the neighbouring country in pursuit of the vulgar crowd of fugitives, and not only captured the soldiers wherever they could be met with, but obtained an immense booty in valuables, which had been cast away, and lay scattered about. Coursers of high mettle, which had thrown their riders, were to be seen galloping about; others, exhausted with fatigue, were drawing their last breath. Shields and coats of mail, with all sorts of weapons and armour, strewed the ground; rich robes, precious vessels, and valuable ornaments, lying in heaps, were everywhere ready to the hand of the first comer. Need I speak of the knights and even the greatest barons, who, throwing off all the distinguishimg marks of their rank, fled on foot, disguising even their names in shame and fear? Some fell into the hands of the country people, and underwent the severest torments; others, concealing themselves in loathsome caves, half-starved and full of alarm, either lay there until an opportunity of escape presented itself, or, being discovered by the enemy, they were dragged out without shame or decency. Need I speak of the King of the Scots, who, a third time captive, as they say, but always ransomed, was set at liberty, and returned to his own country sorrowful and worn with fatigue, with a few only of his followers? What shall I say of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with other bishops and eminent men from all England, who, separated from their attendants, their horses and clothes carried off, or barbarously torn from them, were scarce able to creep to some safe hiding-place after the fearful rout? The Countess of Anjou herself, always superior to womanly weakness, and with a


[1] According to Malmesbury, the earl, who covered the rear of the retreating army, disdained to fly, and, being thus the chief object of attack, was made captive. Malmesbury's account of the siege and rout is by no means so circumstantial as our author's; and Huntingdon's is very imperfect.

390 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK I.

heart of iron in times of adversity, made her escape before them all to Devizes, attended only by Brian [1] and a small retinue. She and Brian gained the honour that, as their attachment was previously mutual and undivided, so they were not separated in danger and adversity.

While such were the events and circumstances attending, in various quarters, the dispersion and flight of the countess's army, the Londoners, with the greatest part of the royal troops, sacked Winchester in a fearful manner, breaking into houses and stores, and even some of the churches; and having obtained much booty and many valuables, they departed with it, and with a number of captives, in great triumph, to their own homes. Such, then, was the rout of Winchester; [2] so fearful and marvellous that scarcely any age has handed down any similar account to our times.

The Earl of Gloucester being now a prisoner, after a short interval a convention was agreed to between the adherents of both parties for an exchange of the king for the earl, the one for the other, the affairs of the civil war returning to their former state; a cruel and unwise conclusion, pregnant with evil for every part of the land. But at present there was no possibility of a mutual concurrence between the parties on terms of peace and amity, each betraying much arrogance in negotiating the treaty, although the convention for the exchange was cheerfully ratified on both sides. [3] On the king's release he was met by a splendid


[1] Probably Brian Fitz-Count, lord of the strong castle of Wallingford; see before, p. 367. Does our author, who seems to have known everything, delicately intimate what may have been a bit of court scandal in his time. Maud could not now have been more than 40 years old, and if Brian Fitz-count or Fitz-earl, was the son of Earl Allan Fergan, the attachment may have been of an early date, for this Brian was selected from all the nobles of England to accompany the empress and her half-brother Robert, earl of Gloucester, on her marriage with Geoffrey, count of Anjou, in 1127.- See the Saxon. Chronicle under that year.

[2] It commenced on Holy Cross day, 14th October.

[3] Malmesbury gives a very interesting account of the negotiations for the exchange, in which the earl displayed his usual prudence, firmness, and disinterestedness. The whole character of this great man, as given by this author, who seems to have been justly attached to him, is worthy of the attention of the student of our national history. See particulars, pp. 524-31 of the "Modern History", in Bohn's Antiquarian Library.

A.D. 1140.] STEPHEN LIBERATED. 391

company of the barons and others, who accompanied him in procession, piety mingling with their rejoicings and heightening their festivity; some shedding tears of religious thankfulness at the wonderful mercy of God so powerfully exerted on the king's behalf, while others burst into cries of jubilee and exultation at his safe delivery. [1]


[1] The king's liberation was effected about the Feast of All Saints, 1st November; and then ended Maud's short reign of eight months, reckoning from the 2nd March of the same year, when she was proclaimed at Winchester. But as, although she bore the title of Queen, she was not crowned, and Stephen, though a prisoner, never abdicated, Maud is not included in the list of the kings and queens of England.

392 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

BOOK II.

WHEN the king was at length released from captivity, it might have been supposed that the troubles which afflicted the kingdom would have been now ended, and that both parties, moved by their regrets for such calamities, would have united in measures for the restoration of peace. But the hand of the Lord was still heavy on the English nation, and because they had offended Him in many ways they were scourged, as it is written, with many stripes. The Countess of Anjou, always betraying a fierce and inflexible temper, though she had been much shaken and almost worn to death by the retreat from Winchester, no sooner found herself in safety and recovered her strength, than, with a strong body of troops, she moved to Oxford, which was well affected to her cause. Encouraging and supporting her friends in opposition to the king, she sent out several troops of horse to scour the country, she stirred up those who owed her fealty, both by her letters and messengers, to furnish all possible aid, and she strengthened the castles by all the means in her power, some to control the royalists with more effect, others more thoroughly to protect her own dependents. One of these, at Woodstock, was the favourite seat of privacy and retirement of King Henry; another was at the vill of Radcot? [2] surrounded by marshes, and inaccessible on account of the waters; a third was at Cirencester close to the abbey of monks, like another Dagon near the ark of the Lord; a fourth was in the village of Benton [3] in the church tower, an ancient structure of admirable


[1] Our author begins this Second Book with the events of the year 1141. The old printed text of Malmesbury, who here commences his Third Book, calls it 1142, following several of the MSS., but the date has been corrected in our English translation of that author from a MS. which gives the right one, which is 1141.

[2] "Ratrotam", probably a corruption. I have inquired in vain for any place bearing a similar name in the neighbourhood, and have suggested Radcot, because there is a bridge so called, once probably a ford over the Thames, five miles from Bampton, on the road to Farringdon and Cirencester.

[3] Query, Bampton in Oxfordshire, where such a tower is still standing. The church tower may have been fortified, in order to make a strong post of1 Bampton, the castle there not having been built till the reign of King John.

A.D. 1141.] SIEGE OF OXFORD. 398

design, and of massive and most skilful architecture; with some others which in various parts of England she permitted her adherents to fortify. In these were planted the seeds of the grievous oppression of the people, of the universal devastation of the kingdom, and of the wars and insurrections, which sprung up on all sides. [1]

King Stephen becoming aware of this, and, as it were, roused from sleep and waking to life and new activity, summoned his adherents, with whom were joined a strong band of his standing army, and came suddenly to Cirencester. Finding the castle deserted, for the guards had dispersed and concealed themselves, he set it on fire, and razing the wall and outworks to the ground, continued his march to Benton, taking the one by storm, the other by voluntary surrender. Like Caesar, he "thought nothing done while aught was left undone", and he therefore proceeded from thence to Oxford boldly to try issues with the Countess of Anjou. Oxford is a place strongly fortified, and almost inaccessible from the deep waters which flow round it; on one side it is narrowly guarded by a wall and ditch, on the other by an impregnable castle with a lofty keep of great strength and stateliness.

Here the countess had established herself with a gallant body of men-at-arms in false security, relying on her possessing the castle and all the neighbouring country, and on the strength of the position which adds to an enemy's glory, when the king with a numerous body of veteran soldiers suddenly took his ground on the opposite side of the river. Seeing the enemy running in crowds from the city to observe him, some assailing him and his people with abuse across the river, and others, shaking their arrows out of their quivers, sharply annoying them over the water, he crossed


[1] Malmesbury states that both parties remained quiet from Christmas till Lent; and King Stephen was afflicted with a dangerous disease from Easter until nearly Whitsuntide. Soon after the festival of St. John the Earl of Gloucester crossed over the sea to solicit assistance from the Count of Anjou, and the king, taking advantage of his absence, and before his expedition to Oxford, seized Wareham, Earl Robert's castle, and port of embarkation. Malmesbury briefly notices the siege of that city, his history concluding abruptly with a short account of the empress's escape from the castle. Huntingdon treats very summarily of the events of this and the two following years.

394 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

the river by an ancient and very deep ford which was pointed out to him. He boldly plunged into the stream himself at the head of his troops, and, swimming rather than wading across, they charged the enemy with impetuosity, driving them back to the city gates after a sharp engagement. The rest of his troops had now crossed the river, and, being formed in one column, the whole advanced against the enemy, who, flying through the open gates into the city, and the royalists being mingled with them, found themselves within the walls without opposition, and, throwing firebrands among the houses, obtained a signal success. None escaped suffering the consequences of this severe disaster; those who resisted either fell by the sword or were fettered and reserved for ransom; some had again to hide themselves in the coverts which had lately sheltered them; [1] and others, with their lady, in all haste shut themselves up in the castle.

After this success, the king pressed the siege of the countess and her followers in the castle with the utmost vigour; perceiving clearly that the civil wars would be brought to a close, if he were able to subdue her with whom they originated. He therefore posted vigilant guards from place to place round the castle, with orders to keep strict watch on all the avenues by day and by night. Three months he was detained before it with a large force, and the garrison were reduced to great extremities by famine. But blind man is unconscious of what the providence of God determines; for the design which the king was bent on manfully accomplishing, the Almighty frustrated. It was the king's purpose to press the siege until the countess became his prisoner; but notwithstanding the host of the besiegers, and the sentries carefully posted round the castle, and watching in the dead of the night, she escaped out of it uninjured in an extraordinary way. For provisions and the means of subsistence beginning to fail in the garrison, and the king exhausting every effort to reduce it by violent assaults and by his military engines, she became much straightened, and despairing of any relief coming from without, [2] she issued forth one night, attended only by three


[1] After the rout of Winchester.

[2] The Earl of Gloucester, her brother, and main support, was now, it will be recollected, absent in Anjou.

A.D. 1141.] THE EMPRESS MAUD ESCAPES. 395

knights chosen for their wary prudence. The ground was white with snow, which lay deep over the whole country, the rivers were frozen hard, and for six miles she and her companions had to make their toilsome way, on foot, over snow and ice. What was very remarkable, and indeed truly miraculous, she crossed dry-shod, and without wetting her garments, the way waters into which the king and his troops had plunged up to the neck on their advance to attack tbe city; [1] she passed too through the royal posts, while the silence of night was broken all around, by the clang of trumpets and the cries of the guard, without losing a single man of her escort, and observed [2] only by one man of the king's troops who had been wrought with to favour her escape. Having thus got out of the castle undiscovered and unmolested, she reached Wallingford in the course of the night, after a very toilsome journey. I know not whether it was for her future elevation to the highest honour, or whether, by the judgment of God, to aggravate the distress of the kingdom, but certainly I have never heard of any woman having such marvellous escapes from as many enemies threatening her life and from such exceeding perils. We learnt, first, that she was allowed to depart unmolested from Arundel Castle through the enemy's army: then she fled in safety from London, where the populace rose with fury against her: next, after the rout at Winchester, when almost all her adherents were interacted, she only made good her retreat; and now we have seen how she escaped in safety from the beleaguered castle at Oxford. [3]


[1] Huntingdon mentions her crossing the Thames at that time frozen over. We gather from Malmesbury that the empress escaped shortly before Christmas, in the season of Advent. According to him, Oxford was invested three days before Michaelmas, and our author says that Stephen was detained before it three months.

[2] According to Roger de Wendover, the empress was dressed in white, the better to elude observation when passing over the snowy surface.

[3] Malmesbury states that tbe countess "went to Abingdon on foot, and thence to Wallingford on horseback. "But this", he says, in concluding his very brief account of her escape, "I purpose describing more fully, if, by God's permission, I shall ever learn the truth of it from those present". Our anonymous author of the "Acts of King Stephen" has well supplied what his careful contemporary did not accomplish, Malmesbury's History ending with the words just quoted.

396 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

When the king found that the great disturber of his own and the kingdom's peace, notwithstanding his having exhausted every effort to secure her person, had been cunning enough to escape from her imminent peril, he thought it would be with a bad omen and waste of time that he should prolong the siege. With so many enemies pressing him on all sides, he might be exposed to some disastrous reverse of fortune; and, in particular, he was aware that Robert, earl of Gloucester, as soon as he heard that his sister was blockaded, though he was not in sufficient strength to come to her relief, had besieged and taken Wareham Castle, into which a body of royalists had thrown themselves, and that he was fully determined to push his advantages against him with spirit and obstinacy. Listening, therefore, to the advice of his friends, he accepted the terms of surrender proposed by the countess' troops in Oxford Castle, and placing in it a garrison of his own, established his power over a great extent of country in those parts. Shortly afterwards, putting himself at the head of a well-appointed body of troops, he marched to Wareham, [1] which castle the Earl of Gloucester had much strengthened; and finding the place so strongly fortified, wasting all the country through which he passed with fire and sword, and pillaging whatever came in his way, he proceeded to Wilton for the purpose of making that castle strong enough to check the earl's incursions through those districts. He had with him the Bishop of Winchester, with a strong body of military, to support his enterprise; and the barons who had been summoned from all parts of England either joined the king on his march, or were close at hand hastening to support him with their contingents. The Earl of Gloucester [2] being informed of this by trusty


[1] Malmesbury relates, that the earl having returned to England on receiving tidings of his sister's being beleaguered in Oxford Castle, and, landing at Wareham, laid siege to that castle in the hope of inducing Stephen to draw off from Oxford, but that the king was so intent on pressing the countess to surrender that he refused to march to the assistance of the garrison in Wareham Castle. Malmesbury indeed [see a former note, p. 393) mentions an expedition of Stephen to Wareham, but before, not after, he invested Oxford.

[2] In the mean time the earl had reduced Portland Island and Lulworth Castle.- Malmesbury.

A.D. 1141.] THE EARL DEFEATS STEPHEN AT WILTON. 397

messengers, gave notice to all his principal adherents, and prepared to give battle to the king at Wilton. The king drew up his army in order of battle by regular divisions close to the city, while the earl skilfully formed his troops in three divisions, and making the attack with spirit forced the king to retreat; and unless he had fled precipitately in company with the Bishop of Winchester, he would have been subjected to the disgrace of being again captured.

However, William, surnamed Martel, a distinguished man who was closely connected with the king by duty and regard, [1] made a stout resistance for some time with the troops under him; but the main body of the royal army having dispersed and fled along with the king, the enemy, victorious, surrounded him in such numbers, that at length he and many others were taken prisoners. Then the earl following up his success, hotly pursued the routed royalists, who endeavoured to conceal themselves in the houses and churches of the town; [2] but, setting the place on fire, he filled it with tears and blood, sparing neither the citizens nor the remnant of the royal troops, but pillaging and killing, insulting and burning in every quarter. What caused most lamentations was their forcing the convent of nuns dedicated to the Mother of God and St. Ethelreda the virgin, by violently bursting the gates open, and, without regard to the sanctity of the place, binding with thongs some persons who had taken refuge in it, and dragging them forth. And though in dealing with adversaries, it may be allowable to use them harshly, and with what measure they mete to measure to them again, yet the Earl of Gloucester and his partizans were very culpable and guilty of great presumption in not only violating the holy temple, the known refuge of the oppressed in all ages, but also in dragging from the altar with naked swords, and leading into captivity, those who fled for safety to the church. But they did not go unpunished; for God, who has respect to the sufferings of his people unjustly inflicted, and recompenses the wicked according to their deserts, did not suffer them to escape without severe punishment, as a son of Robert the


[1] Huntingdon calls him the king's steward, and says that he gave the castle of Sherborne for his ransom, when he was taken prisoner in this battle.

[2] Wilton.

398 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

earl af Gloucester, who was the glory and ornament of his family, soon after prematurely died. Milo, the earl of Hereford, also, who fomented and instigated so many disturbances was slain by an arrow the same year; likewise William, at that time mayor of Salisbury, was scared in his sleep by frightful dreams, the Virgin herself, they say, appearing to him; and was seized with an incurable disease of which he perished by slow tortures. Robert Fitz-Hildebrand, also, man of low origin, but an eminent mischief-maker, came to his end by a virulent disorder, unknown in our days, as I shall hereafter fully relate. Some others, also, experienced the visitations af the divine wrath for their share in the its pious sacrilege already mentioned, of whom I would be at the pains to give further particulars in the present work if it would not be tiresome to the reader, and lead me to wander far from my subject.

Robert, earl of Gloucester, after his victory at Wilton, returned to Bristol with splendid trophies, taking with him William Martel, as well as many other prisoners. He was kept in close confmement until he was ransomed, when be lost the lordship of Sherborne Castle, and a great tract of country which was attached to it. All the king's friends were at this time reduced to great humiliation, both on account of the king's having ignominiously fled at the battle of Wilton, leaving his adherents to be made prisoners, and because the Earl of Gloucester had got possession of the castle before named, [2] which was the key of the kingdom. The earl and his coadjutors were in high spirits, reducing the country far and near to subjection, utterly destroying the royal castles, and proudly strengthening their own to overawe the enemy; so that one-half of all England, from sea to sea, obeyed their ordinances and precepts without any one daring to resist them. They embellished their possessions in all quarters, restoring peace and tranquillity, except that the labours of the people were exacted for building castles, and that whenever they had to engage the enemy, all the people were compelled to lend their aid, either by furnishing soldiers, or by payments in lieu of enrolment


[1] "Praeceptor"; a word which is evidently used to designate the chief of the municipality, whatever his English title of office at that time may have been.

[2] Sherborne Castle.

A.D. 1141.] MAUD'S PARTY AGAIN IN THE ASCENDANT. 399

England, therefore, was under the shadow, but did not possess the substance, of peace; for nothing was more grievous to fellow-countrymen than the feeling that they were not toiling for themselves, but for others, and that their swords were drawn to keep alive civil wars.

While all others in his part of the country gave their adhesion to the earl, Henry de Tracy alone [1] maintained the king's cause, and, firmly opposing the rest, waged an intestine war, and was continually engaged in conflicts with the enemy, either together or separately, until he had almost crushed them by the inveteracy of his sharp attacks. Then he made a truce with them, until such time as the king should be more powerful in that quarter, and the country should become better subjected to him by the hostile tumults being checked.

About this time William de Pont de l'Arche, a most faithful servant, as it. is said, to King Henry [2] and his children, had a desperate quarrel with the Bishop of Winchester. The bishop having resolutely opposed him with a strong military force, and withstood all his efforts, not only by arms but by his great address, he addressed a letter to his liege lady, the Countess of Anjou, entreating her to send to his assistance a troop of horse, with a commander well versed in military tactics at their head. The countess and her friends were well pleased with this application, because they believed it would open the way both to lessen the bishop's power, and to strengthen their own position, William being not only faithfully devoted to the cause he espoused, but also possessed of large sums of ready money. They therefore dispatched Robert Fitz-Hildebrand, a soldier of experience, though of low extraction; but his military virtues were stained by lust and drunkenness. On his arrival at the head of a brilliant troop, he was graciously entertained by William, who confidentially entrusted him with all his secrets. Having thus obtained the liberty of access to the castle whenever he pleased, he abused it to debauch William's wife; and, by a horrible and abominable plot concerted between them, William was bound in fetters and


[1] Henry de Tracy was active before in the west of England; see p. 363.

[2] He had been keeper of the treasury of Henry I. at Winchester; see before, p. 326.

400 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

thrown into a dungeon. Having thus obtained possession of his castle, his treasures, and his wife, Robert spurned the alliance of the countess, to whom he owed his honourable mission, and entered into league with the king and bishop. But as I have before remarked, the infamy and audacity of this base seducer did not remain unpunished; for, after forming this adulterous connection, the just God avenging his perfidy, a worm grew in his vitals, which, gradually gnawing its way through his intestines, fattened on the abandoned man, till, tortured with excruciating sufferings and venting himself in bitter moans, he was by a fitting punishment brought to his end. This was ordered by the judgment of God, not only on account of his faithless and wicked life, but because he had violated the monastery of the holy virgin St. Ethelreda. [1]

At this period England was in a very disturbed state; on the one hand, the king and those who took his part grievously oppressed the people, on the other frequent turmoils were raised by the Earl of Gloucester; and, what with the tyranny of the one, and the turbulence of the other, there was universal turmoil and desolation. Some, for whom their country had lost its charms, chose rather to make their abode in foreign lands; others drew to the churches for protection, and constructing mean hovels in their precincts, passed their days in fear and trouble. Food being scarce, for there was a dreadful famine throughout England, some of the people disgustingly devoured the flesh of dogs and horses; others appeased their insatiable hunger with the garbage of uncooked herbs and roots; many, in all parts, sunk under the severity of the famine and died in heaps; others with their whole families went sorrowfully into voluntary banishment and disappeared. There were seen famous cities deserted and depopulated by the death of the inhabitants of every age and sex, and fields white for the harvest, for it was near the season of autumn, but none to gather it, all having been struck down by the famine. Thus the whole aspect of England presented a scene of calamity and sorrow, misery and oppression. It tended to increase the evil, that a crowd of fierce strangers


[1] At the siege of Wilton; see before, p. 398.

A.D. 1141.] MISERABLE STATE OF THE KINGDOM. 401

who had flocked to England in bands to take service in the wars, and who were devoid of all bowels of mercy and feelings of humanity, were scattered among the people thus suffering. In all the castles their sole business was to contrive the most flagitious outrages; and the employment on which all the powers of their malicious minds were bent, was to watch every opportunity of plundering the weak, to foment troubles, and cause bloodshed in every direction. And as the barons who had assembled them from the remotest districts were neither able to discharge their pay out of their own revenues, nor to satisfy their insatiable thirst for plunder, and remunerate them by pillage as they had before done, because there was nothing left anywhere whole and undamaged, they had recourse to the possessions of the monasteries, or the neighbouring municipalities, or any others which they could send forth troops enough to infest. At one time they loaded their victims with false accusations and virulent abuse; at another they ground them down with vexatious claims and extortions; some they stipped of their property, either by open robbery or secret contrivance, and others they reduced to complete subjection in the most shameless manner. If any one of the reverend monks, or of the secular clergy, came to complain of the exactions laid on church property, he was met with abuse, and abruptly silenced with outrageous threats; the servants who attended him on his journey were often severely scourged before his face, and he himself, whatever his rank and order might be, was shamefully stripped of his effects, and even his garments, and driven away, or left helpless, from the severe beating to which he was subjected. These unhappy spectacles, these lamentable tragedies, as they were common throughout England, could not escape the observation of the bishops. But they, bowed down by base fears, like reeds before the wind, their salt having lost its savour, did not rear themselves like a tower of strength for the protection of the House of Israel. They ought, indeed, to have opposed these carnal men with the sword of the Spirit, which destroys the flesh; and to have resolutely set their face like Jeremiah, or like the radiant brow of Moses, against the sons of Belial, who plundered the church, and, tearing in pieces the garment

402 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

of the Lord, left it rent and torn and scattered everywhere. The bishops are figured by the columns on which the house of God was built, by the lions which supported the laver of Solomon, by the pillars on which stood the table of shew-bread; inasmuch as it is their duty to be not only the support and bulwark, but the strong defence, against all enemies of the church; which is truly the house of God, which is represented in the laver, because there all the guilt of sinners is washed away, and is figured by the table, because on that the bread of eternal life is offered. For from this, when robbers laid violent hands on the possessions of the church, as I have often related, the bishops, some, yielding to their fears, either acquiesced or pronounced with mildness and hesitation the sentence of excomunication, quickly withdrawn; others, not indeed acting as became bishops, victualled their castles and filled them with men-at-arms and archers, under pretence of restraining the marauders and robbers of churches, while they proved themselves more inhuman, more merciless, than those sons of violence in oppressing their neighbours and pillaging their property. The bishops themselves, shameful to say, not all indeed, but several of them, assumed arms, and, girt with the sword and sheathed in bright armour, rode on mettlesome warhorses beside the ravagers of the country, received their share of the booty, and subjected to imprisonment and torture soldiers who fell into their hands by chance of war, and men of wealth wherever they met with them; and while they were at the bottom of all this flagitious wickedness, they ascribed it not to themselves, but to their soldiers only. To be silent for the present, respecting others, for it would be wrong to accuse all alike, common report stigmatized the Bishops of Winchester, Lincoln, and Chester, as more forward than others in these unchristian doings.

Though the strictness of ecclesiastical discipline, yielding to the iniquity that generally prevailed, was thus loosened, Robert, bishop of Hereford, a man of deep piety and determined resolution, did not depart from the laws of religion and the path of justice; but, taking the arms with which the apostle carefully invests the Christian, he interposed the shield of his defence against the disturbers of ihe general peace. For when the Earl of Hereford, being

A.D. 1142.] ECCLESIASTICS FORCIBLY TAXED. 403

in much want of money to pay the troops which he had levied against the king, forced the churches in his lordship submit to new exactions, and required the Bishop of Hereford to pay the tax tyrannically imposed, claiming it as his right, and enforcing it by threats; being thus frequently pressed, the bishop deliberately and positively refused to pay the demand, asserting that ecclesiastical property, assigned to the altar by the pious offerings of devout people, belonged, in perpetual frankalmoin, to the service of God and the church, and that no layman coould interfere with them, any more than he could in the sacred rites; so that by laying hands on them he incurred the guilt of sacrilege, as much as if he had violated the altar itself. Wherefore, he required the earl to withdraw his presumptuous demand, and to restrain his people, or he threatened him and them with immediate excommunication.

This resolution of the bishop inflamed Milo to the highest pitch of rage, and he sent his followers to seize the bishop's goods and lands, and lay them waste wherever they were. Upon which the bishop, assembling his clergy, who willingly attended his summons, pronounced the terrible sentence of excommunication against Milo and his adherents. He further layed an interdict on the whole country which was subject to Milo, by the rigour of which it was prohibited that any of the sacred offices of the church should be performed, and no corpse was to be buried in the earth, or committed to the waters, or consumed by fire, or removed from the place where it expired, until the author of the sacrilege restored all that he had seized, to the last farthing as valued by sworn men, and, doing penance, was reconciled to the church. But as after he had promised to make restitution, the jury had to take an account, so that while satisfaction was made to one church, others were injured by delay, and their ministers were involved in pleadings between themselves and the bishop, he perished miserably within the year, without receiving absolution; having been pierced through the breast with an arrow shot by a soldier at a stag while the earl was hunting deer on Christmas eve. His death struck the covetous with some alarm, and restrained them from laying hands so freely on

404 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

church property; and it made the other bishops bolder in afterwards resisting such sacrilegious attempts. Roger, Milo's son, succeeded him in the earldom of Hereford, and, young as he was, displayed great abilities.

There was, at this time, among the king's adherents, one Geoffrey de Mandeville, a man remarkable for his great prudence, his inflexible spirit in adversity, and his military skill. His wealth and his honours raised him above all the nobles of the realm; for he held the Tower of London, and had built castles of great strength round the city, and in every part of the kingdom which submitted to the king; being everywhere the king's representative, so that in public affairs he was more attended to than the king himself, and the royal commands were less obeyed than his own. This occasioned jealousy, particularly among those who were familiarly and intimately connected with the king, as Geoffrey, it appeared, had managed to usurp all the rights of the king: and, moreover, report said that he was inclined to confer the crown on the Countess of Anjou. They, therefore, secretly persuaded the king to arrest Geoffrey on the charge of treason, and to obtain the forfeiture of his castles, for his own security and his kingdom's peace. The king hesitated for some time, being unwilling to involve the royal majesty in the disgrace of false accusations, when a sudden strife arose between Geoffrey and the barons, in which abuse and menaces were exchanged between the parties. The king interfered to settle the dispute, but while he was endeavouring to do so, some persons came forward and accused Geoffrey boldly of a conspiracy against the king and his party. Instead of taking the least pains to clear himself of the charge, he treated it with ridicule, as an infamous falsehood; whereupon the king and the barons present arrested him and his followers. This happened at St. Alban's.

The king brought Geoffrey to London in close custody, and threatened to hang him if he did not give up the Tower of London, and the castles he had erected witb wonderful skill and labour. [1] By the advice of his friends,


[1] Huntingdon mentions the castles of Walden and Plessis, in Essex.

A.D. 1142.] THE TOWER OF LONDON GIVEN UP TO STEPHEN. 405

to escape an ignominious death, he submitted to the king's will, and agreed to the surrender; and being thus set at liberty, he escaped out of the hands of his enemies, to the great injury of the whole kingdom. For, being turbulent and fierce, by the exercise of his power he gave strength to rebellion through all England; as the king's enemies, hearing that he was in arms against the royal cause, and relying on the support of so great an earl, began, with new spirit, to raise insurrections in every quarter; and even those who appeared to be the king's supporters, as if they had been struck by a thunderbolt, were more and more humiliated by his secession from the king's party.

Geoffrey now assembled all his dependents, who were bound to him by fealty and homage, in one body, and he also levied a formidable host of mercenary soldiers and of freebooters, who flocked to him gladly from all quarters. With this force he devastated the whole country by fire and sword; driving off flocks and herds with insatiable cupidity, sparing neither age nor profession, and, freely slaking his thirst for vengeance, the most exquisite cruelties he could invent were instantly executed on his enemies. The town of Cambridge, belonging to the king, was taken by surprise, when the citizens were off their guard, and, being plundered, and the doors of the churches being forced with axes, they were pillaged of their wealth, and whatever the citizens had deposited in them; and the town was set on fire. With the same ferocity Geoffirey devastated the whole neighbourhood, breaking into all the churches, desolating the lands of the monks, and carrying off their property. The abbey of St. Benedict, at Ramsey, he not only spoiled of the monks' property, and stripped the altars and the sacred relics, but, mercilessly expelling the monks from the abbey, he placed soldiers in it and made it a garrison.

As soon as the king heard of this bold irruption, and the lawless invasion by Geoffrey of a wide extent of country, he hastened with a powerful array of troops to check the progress of the sudden outbreak. But Geoffrey skilfully avoided an encounter with the king, at one time betaking himself hastily to the marshes, with which that country

406 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

abounds, where he had before found shelter in his flight; at another, leaving the district where the king was pursuing him, he appeared, at the head of his followers, in another quarter, to stir up fresh disturbances. However for the purpose of checking his usual inroads into that country, the king caused castles, to be built in suitable places, and placing garrisons in them, to overawe the marauders, he went elsewhere to attend to other affairs. As soon as the king was gone, Geoffrey devoted all his energies to reduce the garrison which the king had left for his annoyance, supported by the king's enenies, who flocked to him from all quarters; and, forming a confederacy with Hugh Bigod, a man of note, who was very powerful in those parts, and had disturbed tke peace of the kingdom, and opposed the king's power, as before mentioned, ha ravaged the whole country, sparing, in his cruelties, neither sex nor condition. But at length God, the just avenger of all the grievous persecutions, and all the calamities which he had inflicted, brought him to an end worthy of his crimes. For, being too bold, and depending too much on his own address, he often beat up the quarters of the royal garrisons; but at last was outwitted by them and slain; and as while he lived he had disturbed the church, and troubled the land, so the whole English church was a party to his punishment; for, having been excommunicated, he died unabsolved, and the sacrilegious man was deprived of Christian burial.

Such having been tbe end of Geoffrey [de Mandeville}, the prospects of the king's enemies became gloomy; for those who trusted that the royal cause would be much weakened by his secession, now thought that by his death the king would he more at liberty, and, as it turned out, better prepared to molest them. But they set no bounds to the malevolence and impiety with which they were imbued, but, their bad spirit actuating them to every sort of wickedness, they devoted themselves to the prosecution of their rebellion, and engaged, with increased eagerness, in every destructive enterprise through all parts of England. All the northern counties were subject to the tyranny of the Earl of Chester, who subjected the king's barons in the neighbourhood

A.D. 1142.] TYRANNY OF THE BARONS. 407

to his yoke, surprised their castles, by clandestine assaults, and wasted their lands by hostile incursions; and, breathing in his rage nothing but war and devastation, was the terror of all men. John, also, that child of hell, and root of all evil, the lord of Malborough Castle, was indefatigable his efforts to create disturbances. He built castles of strong masonry, on spots he thought advantageous; he got into his power the lands and possessions of the monasteries, expelling the monks of every order and when the sword of ecclesiastical discipline was unsheathed, he was in no wise deterred, but became still were hardened. He even compelled the monks of the highest order to come to his castle in a body, on certain fixed days, when, assuming episcopal power, he issued irreversible decrees for the payment of taxes, or for compulsory labour. The sons of Robert, earl of Gloucester, also, active young. men, and well practised in all military exercises, as well as animated by their father's valour and constancy, kept the south of the kingdom in alarm; building castles in advantageous positions, surprisimg others held by their neighbours, engaging in frequent expeditions against the enemy, slaying, and plundering, and wasting their lands. With activity like their father's, they had spread their hostilities over a great breadth of country, extending across from one sea to the other, and, having at length acquired the lordship of an ample domain, they affected peace, and promulgated laws and ordinances; but though their vassals might seem relieved from hostilities and pillage, their lords' avarice subjected them to endless taxation, and involved them in vexatious suits.

Stephen de Mandeville, likewise, a man of note, and a persevering soldier; who greatly exalted the earldom of Devon, actively fomented the civil war in those parts. He repaired the old castles, which the necessities of a former age had planted on the summits of precipitous rocks, subjected wide districts to his tyrannical rule, and was a most troublesome neighbour to the king's adherents wherever he established himself. All these, and others whom I omit, not to be tedious, were busily employed, in undermining the king's power; and when he was anxiously engaged in allaying these disturbances, sometimes in one

408 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

quarter, sometimes in another, they would suddenly unite in a body, and vigilantly defeat his designs. In like manner, the royalists, in the several counties of England, attacked the castles whenever a fit opportunity offered, at one time by open hostilities, at another by surprise; so that, by these mutual depredations and alternate exclusions and encounters, the kingdom, which was once the abode of joy, tranquillity, and peace, was everywhere changed into a seat of war and slaughter, and devastation and woe.

At that time William de Dover, a skilful soldier, and an active partisan of the Earl of Gloucester, with his support, took possession of Cricklade, a village delightfully situated in a rich and fertile neighbourhood. He built a castle for himself there with great diligence, on a spot which, being surrounded on all sides by waters and marshes, was very inaccessible, and having a strong body of mercenary troops, including some archers, he extended his ravages far and wide, and, reducing to submission a great extent of country on both banks of the river Thames, he inflicted great cruelties on the royal party. At one time fiercely sweeping round their castles in a bold excursion, at another, lurking by night in some concealed ambush, his restless activity never ceased to harass them, and no place could be considered free from danger. Ceaseless as were his efforts to annoy the royalists, the citizens of Oxford and the principal burgesses of the town of Malmesbury, suffered most frequently from his predatory expeditions; because his neighbours in their encounters frequently defeated him. The Earl of Gloucester, also, hastily running up three forts close to Malmesbury, while the king was detained by hostile movements in another direction, was not only able to restrain their usual inroads through the country, but reduced them to famine by his close blockade.

But when the king received exact information of the desperate state of affairs in that quarter, he instantly mustered a large body of troops, and, coming unexpectedly to Malmesbury, threw into it provisions enough to last for a considerable time, and having wasted and pillaged the country round the earl's forts, he encamped near Tetbury, a castle distant three miles from Malmesbury, which he used his utmost endeavours to take. Having stormed the

A.D. 1142.] THE EARL OFFERS BATTLE NEAR TETBURY. 409

outer defences of the castle, some of the garrison being slain and taken prisoners, and the rest being driven by degrees into a narrow space within the inner court, with many of them wounded, he lost no time in bringing up his war engines with the intention of inclosing and besieging them there. Meanwhile, the Earl of Gloucester, on the first intelligence of the king's coming, gathered an overwhelming force from his numerous castles in the neighbourhood, some his own people, others true to the fealty they owed him. Having increased his army by levying large bodies of foot soldiers, fierce and undisciplined bands of Welshmen, and of recruits drawn from Bristol and other towns in the neighbourhood, he marched to offer the king battle. Roger, earl of Hereford, also, and other powerful barons, with one consent, collected their forces, and speedily joined him, and, advancing within two miles of the royal camp, they lay waiting until other troops who were preparing to join them reinforced the army.

The barons in the king's camp learning that such hordes of the enemy had flocked together to offer them battle, and dreading the headlong rush of the fierce Welsh and the disorderly crush of the Bristol mob, assembled by the earl in such vast numbers to overwhehn the royal troops, they wisely advised the king to raise the siege, and, for a while, draw off his army, on some other enterprise. They represented that it was rash and dangerous to expose his small band of men-at-arms among such a crowd of butchers, fighting on foot; more especially, as the king's troops were at a great distance from their resources, and were worn by a long march, while, on the contrary, the enemy, assembled from the neighbouring towns and castles, came to the battle in full vigour, fresh from their homes, and with their strength undiminished by sufferings on the road. They, therefore, said that it would be prudent to abandon the siege at present, lest they should suffer a reverse in engaging with the fierce multitudes who now threatened to surround them. The king assented to this judicious advice, and, withdrawing in great haste from that neighbourhood, marched to Winchcombe, arriving expectedly before the castle which Roger, the new earl of Hereford, had built there to overawe the royal party. The king found

410 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

it surrounded by a very high wall on the top of a steep bank, and strongly fortified on all sides; but there were few men left for its defence, for the rest had quitted it in a panic the moment they were apprised of the kings unexpected approach. He therefore ordered it to be instantly stormed, selecting the boldest men-at-arms for the assault who were to mount the walls, while the archers covered them with showers of arrows, and the main body, attacking the castle on all sides, poured into the place whatever missiles were at hand.

The assault was so impetuous and well supported, that the party within the castle were unable to withstand it, and, throwing down their arms, surrendered the place. After encouraging his adherents, who had erected many castles in Gloucestershire, and held good part of thn country, the king marched against Hugh Bigod the most turbulent of his enemies, who, when he understood that the king was gone into Gloucestershire, as report said, to undertake a siege, counting on his being long detained, engaged with great activity in predatory excursions round the royal castles. But the king, attacking him unawares with great energy, put a total end to his enterprise, taking prisoners some of his troops, dispersing the rest, and even making great devastation on his lands. He also built three castles in that country, to divert, at least, Hugh's regular excursions, and there the king rested a considerable time.

About this time one Turgis, of Norman extraction, and born, they said, at Orleans, revolted against the king, a thing so absurd that it was hardly credited. For he was of the king's privy counsels, and was reckoned the most trusty of all his courtiers, and though of low origin; and of a mean house, his connection with the king had, raised him to great riches and honours. It, therefore, struck every one with astonishment that, after receiving so many proofs of the king's favour and friendship, he could possibly be induced to rebel against him. The origin of the quarrel was this: the king had granted him the custody of the castle of Walden, with the surrounding territory, reserving the ownership to himself; but when the king wished to pay his usual visit to the castle, as being his own property and the fruit of his own labours, Turgis, fearing that the

A.D. 1142.] A REBEL CAPTURED WHILE HUNTING. 411

possession of it might be transferred to some one else, forbad the king's entrance, and withdrew privately from the royal presence and from court, doubtful what might happen, and not foreseeing that Providence, which disposes all things as it willeth, and to whom it willed, would shortly remove him from inhabiting the castle. It happened that on a certain occasion he had left the castle to hunt, and was following in great glee, sounding his horn, the hounds which were in pursuit of the game, some of the pack running on scent, and others depending on their swiftness of foot, when, behold! the king himself suddenly made his appearance at the head of a strong troop of horse, his good fortune, or rather Providence, seconding his wishes. The king, being informed that his enemy had come forth from the castle, and was now in his power, gave orders that he should be surrounded and made prisoner, and, being bound in fetters, should be at once hanged on a lofty gallows before the castle gate, unless he saved his life by its immediate, surrender. Hugh was now in a great strait; on the one hand, it was very painful to give up that on which he had set his hopes, and which was now his only refuge; on the other, there was no possibility of escape unless by surrendering the castle. To save his life, therefore, he submitted to the king's will.

While these events were occurring in that quarter, and the king went elsewhere to restore order in other districts, the partisans of the Earl of Gloucester, viz. William de Dover and his followers, whose cruelties I have briefly mentioned, carried on perpetual hostilities against the royalists. At one time, he made furious attacks on the troops the king had left at Oxford to protect the country, which, notwithstanding, was pillaged and devastated with fire and sword. At another time, his ruinous excursions were directed against those who kept ward for the king at Malmesbury, to the great injury of the neighbouring country, and the severe loss of both parties. Nor did William de Dover cease from incessant hostilities against the royalists, until he had taken by stratagem Walter, a stout soldier, experienced in war, who had been appointed by the king commander of the troops at Malmesbury. Having committed him to the custody of the Countess of

412 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

Anjou and her son, William de Dover, repenting of the great evils and cruelties which he had mercilessly inflicted on the people, joined the crusade to Jerusalem [1] to obtain pardon for his sins; and there, after many valiant and glorious achievements against the Infidels, he was at length slain, and died happily.

The Countess of Anjou, having now in her power the man whom of all others she most hated, strove, both by her blandishments, and by threats of torture and death, to induce him to surrender Malmesbury Castle; but he, resisting with constancy all the seductions of female influence, and regardless of her menaces, could not be induced to comply with her demand. Indeed, if he had agreed to the surrender, as far as he was concerned, it would not have availed; for his comrades of the royal force who, on his capture, had retired into the castle, would by no means have assented; and the king, when he heard of William's being made prisoner, came in all haste, and having reinforced the garrison, and well victualled it, turned his attention to other affairs. The countess, her hopes thus frustrated, had nothing left but to exercise her utmost cruelty against her prisoner; and, loading him with chains, he was thrown into a loathsome dungeon.

William, just before mentioned, having resigned the custody of Cricklade Castle, Philip, son of the Earl of Gloucester, a quarrelsome man, of great cruelty, ready for the most desperate enterprises, and consummately malignant, took possession of it with a strong body of soldiers. This Philip made violent attacks on the royalists wherever he could find them; pillaging, devastating, and burning their possessions, and, at other times, giving battle to the holders of their castles. On one hand, he widened the range of his tyranical power; on the other, he invaded the rights of others by his indiscriminate attacks; and wherever his fierce ravages extended, his hand was heavily laid on the property of the church. At that same time William de Chamai was governor of Oxford, and the king's commissioner and commander of the royal force. He had often


[1] Our author here somewhat anticipates the course of events. The third Crusade, which it is most probable William de Dover joined, assembled at Whitsuntide, A.D. 1146, some two years afterwards.

A.D. 1142.] FARRINGDON CASTLE BUILT AND TAKEN. 413

checked the inroads of Philip, by engaging him with some light troops; so that their mutual encounters in that part of the country made it a spectacle of strife and desolation. Philip had sometimes the superiority, because he had his father's support, and was reinforced by the followers of the Countess of Anjou, who flocked to his aid as often as there was occasion. He now recommended his father to draw nearer to Oxford, and, erecting castles in suitable places, to confine the sallies of the king's troops within narrower bounds. The earl, listening readily to this advice, collected his whole force, and, coming to a little town which in English bears the name of Farringdon, a most agreeable situation and abundantly supplied, he built there a castle [1] well fortified with a wall and outworks, and placed in it a garrison, chosen out of the flower of his troops, which severely checked the incursions of the king's soldiers from Oxford, and other castles round about, by which his adherents had been infested. The garrisons of the royal castles were now greatly straitened, being hemmed in by the enemy, and confined within narrow limits, and nothing was left them but to implore succour from the king, which they did by letters, which the bearers were to deliver with the utmost haste.

Upon receiving intelligence of the straits to which his garrisons were reduced, and of the enemy's superior power, leaving other pressing affairs unfinished, he put himself without a moment's delay at the head of a large body of troops, and, marching to Oxford, rested there a few days, until he had obtained reinforcements. His army being then swelled to a powerful force, he marched to Farringdon, where he pitched his camp, intending to lay siege to the castle. But first he gave orders for the unusual but not unprofitable undertaking of fortifying his camp, by carefully surrounding it with a trench and outworks, to protect it from the enemy's sallies; so that having this refuge to fall back on, their own safety might be secured, and when it was prudent they might attack the enemy with better certainty and courage. There was no delay in erecting war


[1] Huntingdon assigns the tenth year of Stephen's reign for the building of Farringdon Castle, and the king's expedition against it. This date answers to A.D. 1144.

414 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

engines of wonderful powers against the castle, and then with archers skilfully posted round the walls, severely annoyed the troops within. The engines crushed then with stones, or whatever else they projected, falling on their heads; the bowmen showered flights of arrows so thick in their faces as greatly to distress them; at one time, missiles of every description poised on high were hurled through the air, and falling within the place thinned the ranks of the besieged; at another, the bravest of the youth, boldly climbing the steep declivity of the rampart, engaged sharply those within, from whom they were only separated by the palisades. The royalists harassed the besieged by daily attacks of this kind; while they, on their part, made a stout resistance, till the chief men in the garrison, unknown to the rest, had a secret communication with the king, and proposed to capitulate upon terms agreed between them. The possession of this castle was, under God, the crown of his fortune and the height of his glory, [1] as it not only enabled him munificently to enrich his comrades from the ransoms paid by the captives, and the stores of arms and treasure with which it was abundantly stored, but because the enemy was deeply disheartened by his success. Consternation spread gradually amongst them; some taking arms against him with less readiness and with reluctance; while others, in alarm for their own safety, made terms of peace and concord with him as soon as they could. Thus, the Earl of Chester, who was in possession of nearly a third of the kingdom, humbly sought the king, and, confessing his cruelty and breach of faith towards him, so that at the battle of Lincoln, he had even made his lord and king prisoner, and had everywhere usurped the royal domains, their old alliance was renewed, and the earl was again admitted to favour. He supported the king in many enterprises with more vigour and with much better good faith than he had done before; for, accompanying him to Bedford, a town which had always been a trouble to the royal cause, he took it by storm, and gave it up to the king. Next he applied himself with alacrity to discomfit the rebels who had possession of Wallingford Castle, and thence sowed


[1] Huntingdon also remarks that, after the capture of this castle, the king's fortunes changed for the better.

A.D. 1142.] RANULF, THE POWERFUL EARL OF CHESTER. 415

the seeds of wars and disturbances throughout the kingdom. He was the king's constant companion, at the head of a gallant body of 900 knights and men-at-arms, until they had with great skill and labour erected a castle within sight of Wallingford, which somewhat slackened the usual invasions of the neighbouring districts. But notwithstanding that the earl, from the time he had renewed his alliance with the king, appeared to be his first and useful supporter, he was held in suspicion by the king and the great men of the realm; because he had neglected to discharge the royal taxes and to give up the castles which he had forcibly seized, and he had never compensated for that fickleness and inconstancy of mind and purpose which all men knew to be natural to him, by giving pledges and hostages for his good conduct. Thus neither the king nor the heads of his council relied much on the earl; but while affairs were in so much confusion they prudently watched the issue of events, until either the earl, abandoning entirely his pretensions to these royalties, should attach himself more firmly and faithfully to the king, or, if he should eventually refuse this, some opportunity should occur for the king's laying hands on him and making him prisoner; which in the end happened, as will be hereafter related in its proper place.

Philip, the son of Robert, earl of Gloucester, also, who has been shortly mentioned before, seeing at this time that the king's power was predominant, entered into a treaty of peace and concord with him, and obtaining large grants of castles and lands, with many magnificent gifts, he did homage to the king and gave him hostages. And now breathing threats and hostilities against the king's enemies, he carried fire and sword, violence and pillage, into all quarters. Not only did he thus attack the hostile barons, but he devastated even his father's lands, converting them into a desert, and was everywhere held in abhorrence for his insufferable barbarity. He maintained a powerful body of troops, and possessed a number of castles, some of which were granted him by the king, and others conquered from the enemy by his own prowess. He took prisoner Robert Musard, who had thoughtlessly, and, to confess the truth, imprudently, gone forth from his castle, when Philip, who

416 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

was lying in ambush, chanced to light upon him, and twisting a horse's bridle round his neck, and threatening to hang him, by this violence got possession of his castle. He seized likewise Reginald, earl of Cornwall, with his countess and a numerous retinue, as he was on his journey to court to make peace with the king, and furnished with safe conduct. But the capture was made without the king's privity, and notwithstanding the pledges given on both sides; Philip, therefore, was obliged to release his prisoners, and by so doing appeased the king's anger.

And now the king with his adherents, and the countess with hers, had a meeting to treat of peace; but as the demands of both parties were arrogant, there was dissatisfaction both on one side and the other, and the meeting was ineffectual. The countess's supporters contended that the king having usurped the throne, which was hers by right, he should abdicate it, and be deprived of the style and title of king; while he not only asserted his right to what he possessed, but vowed that, however he had acquired it, nothing should induce him to relinquish it; so that, with this difference in the views of the parties, affairs returned to their former position.

At this time, Henry de Caldoet and his brother Ralph, two brave soldiers, of great experience in war, created great disturbances in Gloucestershire. They were deeply imbued with fraud and perfidy, always ready for rapine and conflict, unsparing in crime and sacrilege. Obtaining possession of castles, sometimes by stratagem, at others by force of arms, they oppressed all their neighbours, and especially robbed the churches in various ways; not only imposing on them severe burthens in the shape of forced labour, and many other extortions, but making themselves universally abhorred by their thefts and robberies, and rapine and murders. They had often incurred the sentence of excommunication, for plundering the possessions of the church in several places; and at length the Divine wrath inflicted on them the punishment due to their offences. For the one was hung before his own castle, and perished thus horribly; the other, yielding up the castle he possessed, and being reduced to poverty and distress, was at last obliged to quit the kingdom in disgrace. Here, truly, the words of Scripture

A.D. 1145.] BERKELEY CASTLE SEIZED. 417

were verified, where God is described as a judge patient in punishing the sins of wicked men; for when He had long borne with their stiffnecked obstinacy, that they might be converted to a better state, when He had patiently suffered the tyranny and violence which they exercised everywhere, and especially over the possessions of the church, at length reducing each of them to the lowest pitch of ignominy and disgrace, He inflicted righteous judgment on both. For these men, who seemed not only to rival the neighbouring barons in glory and power, but to extend their pretensions widely in the land, fell by a sudden change of fortune, and, with all belonging to them, came to nothing. God, who punished the guilty, be praised for all things! The castles and ample possessions they had acquired passed quickly into many hands; some to those who plotted against them, others to those who purchased the domains for money; but all tended to the same wretched end, the extension of licentious tyranny over the people, and the loosening of the bonds of peace.

About this time, also, Walter, the Earl of Hereford's brother, with the concurrence, it is said, of the earl himself, seized Roger de Berkeley, an inoffensive man, who was not only allied to him by the terms of a mutual confederacy, but was his near kinsman hy blood: stripped of his garments, and exposed to mockery, they bound him tightly, and, putting a halter round his neck, hung him thrice before his own castle; the third time, they loosened the rope and let him fall on the ground. Threatening him with death in this shocking way, unless he gave up his castle to the earl, nay, bringing him to the very point of death, when he could no longer hear them, they took their departure, carrying with them the body of the wretched Robert; and, as he still breathed, and there were some faint symptoms of returning life, they reserved it for further torture in the dungeon to which it was consigned. [1]


[1] The empress is said to have granted the confiscated lordship of Berkeley to Robert Harding, a wealthy merchant and Mayor of Bristol, who aided her cause with his money and influence. He was consequently in great favour both with her and the earl her brother. Henry II. is said to have been at school in Bristol with this Harding's son, the future Lord of Berkeley. The Fitzhardings were Danes of royal descent, as appears by an inscription over the gatehouse of the Abbey of St. Augustine, in Bristol, now the cathedral, which they founded. Their history illustrates the high commercial character of the Northmen, whose settlement in England, despite of their ferocity, had important and permanent results.

418 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

Philip, however, of whom mention was made before, being much enraged at the violence done to Roger, as well because he had taken him under his protection, as that he had married his niece, flew to arms, committing great ravages, and in his fierce indignation devastating the whole district, which he proposed to reduce under his own power. While success attended his enterprise, he was suddenly taken ill, and, being feeble in body, the cruel spirit with which he had been animated was spent with his exhausted strength, and he made a vow to undertake a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with the faithful servants who attended him, and visit the holy places.

At this time, uncivilized hordes of Infidels, the enemies of our religion, acquired so much power over the Christians, that they not only reduced to submission, by force of arms, their lands and flourishing cities, but even assaulted in great force Jerusalem itself, the city of cities, the prize and glory of the crusades, putting the Christians to the sword, or shamefully carrying them away captives, and, with dreadful impiety, ruining the churches, trampling under foot sacred things, and aiming to blot out the very name of Christ. Report spread the tidings of this disgrace and intolerable persecution through all Christendom. Kingdoms were in commotion, the powers of the world were shaken, and all nations were roused to a common effort to avenge the scandal. [1] And although the flower of the English youth, all manly hearts, and the most distinguished for valour and resolution, flew with eagerness to wipe out the disgrace, so that it might have been supposed that England was depopulated and exhausted by the emigration of pilgrims in such numbers and of such classes, still civil war and rapine, the sword and the adversary, did not cease in England; because when some departed others took their places, not the less ripe for doing evil, because they had been late in addicting themselves to it.

Taking every opportunity of exercising cruelty and doing violence, they rivalled each other in crime and flagitiousness,


[1] This, the second Crusade, commenced at Whitsuntide, A.D. 1146.

A.D. 1145.] EARL OF CHESTER CHARGED WITH TREACHERY. 419

betraying and murdering one another with the utmost zeal; justice was trodden under foot, law was abolished, jurisdiction and power were everywhere contended for. The general and usual practice was, to attack with avidity the ecclesiastical possessions; another was, to take castles by surprise; another, to defraud those with whom they were connected by the ties of fealty. Thus, the Earl of Chester, when he had usurped many of the rights of royalty, and was therefore become suspected, gave himself up entirely to his habitual treachery, secretly devising means how best, without open shame, he could betray the king to his enemies. With this object, he came to court with a very small retinue, in order to allay suspicion, and made complaints that he was suffering greatly from the enemy, especially from numerous bands of savage Welshmen; that his lands were miserably pillaged and wasted; that the cities were some of them burnt, and others closely beleaguered; that he and his people would be driven out of his earldom, unless the king came to his succour quickly, as he had relieved others. He also declared that the enemy would be alarmed at merely hearing the king's name, and that his presence would strike them with more terror, than if, without him, he led thousands of soldiers against them. The earl engaged to advance large sums of money to pay the king's troops, promising also to provide subsistence, and whatever should be thought necessary. He said, also, that the king would not be long detained; but that his presence in a transitory expedition would serve to confound the rebels, and that he would speedily return with the honour of a glorious victory.

Induced by these representations, the king had agreed to accompany the earl, and was cheerfully engaged in making preparations for the expedition, when his principal courtiers, believing that there was treachery in the earl's proposal, persuaded the king suddenly to change his mind. They suggested that it was inexpedient for the king to withdraw to the remote districts of Wales at a time when he was wanted to allay the evil dissensions which were bursting forth in all parts of England; that it was not safe to lead an army through the passes of the mountains and the fastnesses of the woods, where he would continually

420. ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

run the risk of ambuscades by the wild natives, and where neither water to relieve their thirst would always be found, nor sufficient supplies of provisions for a royal army could be procured. It was therefore certain that the expedition would be attended with much peril and great difficulties, and it was a question whether, after all, they could be sure of success. Besides, it was too rash and daring a scheme for the king to commit himself so carelessly in the territories of the earl, who had before raised the greatest part of the kingdom in arms against him, and, although he might affect to espouse the royal cause, had given no securities for his fidelity by offering pledges for his good conduct; but that if he wished the king to comply with his demand, and embark with him in an expedition against the enemy, he ought in the first place to restore all that he had unjustly usurped. and, renewing his fealty, confirm it by giving hostages for keeping it faithfully: if he refused to do this at once, they declared that, so far from complying with his wishes and going to his aid, he ought to be treated as an open enemy, and instantly arrested and committed to close confinement until he gave the king satisfaction.

When the king at last acquiesced reluctantly in this prudent advice, his friends went in a body to the earl, who suspected nothing of the sort, and assured him that the king was prepared to accede to his request, whatever might be the result, on his consenting to the terms on the king's part which have been just stated. The earl replied that this was not his object in coming to court; that it was not notified to him before; and that he had no opportunity of consulting his friends. Upon this they quarrelled, and words of defiance were used on both sides; the courtiers accusing the earl of fraud and treason, and a conspiracy against the king, while he, reddening with confusion, as though he felt himself guilty, first stoutly denied it, and then had recourse to subterfuges. It ended in their laying violent hands upon him, and handing him over to the royal guard, who fettered him and conducted him to prison. [1]


[1] "Trivet, who speaks of the taking of the Earl of Chester, accuses Stephen of treachery, Ann. 20. The scene is laid by him at Northampton".- Sewell. Huntingdon also states that the earl came to Northampton peaceably, and fearing nothing of the sort.

A.D. 1145.] THE EARL OF CHESTER LIBERATED. 421

After this, when the barons of the earl's party, whom he had left dispersed in their several castles, heard that their lord was a captive, they assembled their vassals and flew to arms, determined to rise against the king, and attack his adherents; proclaiming their resolution to fight to the last extremity for the earl's liberation. Others, who considered the affair more deeply and prudently, reflecting that it was a serious and perilous thing to engage in hostilities in the absence of their leader, and that it would be more advisable to give up to the king whatever the earl held belonging to him, that having obtained his freedom they might be in a position to follow his fortunes, whatever they might be, without reserve,- sought an interview with the king in company with the earl's friends. They offered to surrender the castles which the king claimed to be his own by right, on the earl's release, and pledged themselves, both in private and publicly, to give hostages and sureties, and whatever was required for greater security. Whereupon the king held a council, at which it was resolved that it would be advantageous to him and the kingdom to accept the terms proposed; viz. that all rights admitted to be royalties being resigned, the earl should be liberated, on his giving hostages, and solemnly swearing, in presence of the court, that he would not again oppose the king, retaining only the honours of his earldom. [1]

The earl being thus set at liberty, though he ought to have preserved the peace and kept faithfully the promises he had made, yet, following the bent of his mind, he flew to arms, and, breaking his engagements and disregarding the sanctity of his oath, he engaged with his followers in hostilities against the king. Indignant with rage, be mustered his men-at-arms from all quarters, and, assembling bands of vulgar ruffians, ready for every kind of mischief, he inflicted rapine, fire, cruelty, and slaughter on his enemies, and sometimes on his own adherents; and, what was a greater calamity, the peaceful seats and domains of the church did not escape his ravages, while he exercised a


[1] Honours, it has been observed before, in law phrase, signify high seignorial rights, superior to manorial, but not extending to royalties, which were not conferred except by express grants. These latter, which had been usurped by the Earl of Chester, he was now required to renounce.

422 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

tyranny equal in truculence to that of Herod or Nero, reardless of age or sex. These many and enormous crimes drew upon him the sentence of excommunication; but it had no effect in moderating his aggressions, or obtaining indulgence for any profession. At one time he was engaged in reducing the king's castles by fraud or force; at another, in building new ones before the eyes of those he pillaged; and thus, making predatory excursions from one part of the country to another, he reduced the whole by his devastations to a desert and a solitude. He often made his appearance with his armed bands before Lincoln, [1] which he had given up to the king for his ransom, and in which the flower of the royal army was stationed, at one time with adverse fortune, at others with triumphant success against the royal troops. The earl also established a strong post in face of the castle of Coventry, in which the royalists had taken refuge, thus checking their incursions through the country. Whereupon the king, marching there at the head of a gallant force, threw a convoy of provisions into the garrison, which were much needed, though he had frequent skirmishes with the earl, who lay in wait for him at places on his march, where the roads were difficult. In these some of the king's troops were captured, and others driven to flight; and the king himself, receiving a slight wound, was for a time disabled. But shortly afterwards, recovering his strength, he had an engagement with the earl, in which he took many prisoners, and some of the enemy were wounded; and the earl himself flying shamefully, and scarcely escaping with his life, his fortified post was taken and destroyed. The king also attacked several other castles of the earl's with resolution and success; sometimes pressing the besieged garrisons with desperate attacks; at others, devastating the country round them with fire and slaughter, and never relaxing his hostilities against the earl and his adherents.

At the commencement of this insurrection, the king had made prisoner Richard Fitz-Gilbert, a man of high descent,


[1] Huntingdon tells us that Stephen spent the Christmas of the year 1145 at Lincoln, and that after the king's departure the Earl of Chester made his appearance before this city, but his assault was repulsed with great loss. See the History, p. 284 of the present volume.

A.D. 1146.] FITZ-GILBERT'S CASTLES TAKEN. 423

who was hostage for the earl, and had pledged his castles for his release, being his nephew. He was committed to close custody and strictly guarded, until, surrendering into the king's hands all his castles, as his only way of escape, he hastened to join his uncle, and, disturbing the peace of the kingdom by every means he could, he often defeated the royal troops. Earl Gilbert, [1] his uncle, required these castles to be given up to him by the king, alleging that they were his by inheritance; but the king not being prepared at present to grant his request, he withdrew privately from court, intending to break entirely with the king, and, fortifying his numerous castles in that part of the kingdom, to join the Earl of Chester and the rest of the king's enemies, who were in arms against him in all quarters, that so, as he could not obtain his rights by justice, he might by arms. But hearing that Gilbert had privately withdrawn from court, and it being plain that he intended to desert his cause, the king readily listening to those who persuaded him of this, and the more because he had himself before suspected him, he instantly mustered his whole guard, and hotly pursued the fugitive. "It is monstrous, he said, "that this Gilbert, who has been raised by me to opulence; who, being a penniless knight, I elevated to the summit of honour by making him an earl; to whom I have over and again made grants of large and rich domains, all that his heart could wish,- that this man should now of a sudden fly to arms against me, without a thought, and, joining my adversaries, strengthen their opposition. Where is faith, where is shame, when he who ought to have maintained his allegiance unbroken, and have thought himself branded with disgrace if he had in any particular disregarded my favour, neither respects his fealty to myself his only lord, nor shrinks at all from the public infamy of his conduct? Let us, then, follow the runaway in hot pursuit, and render all his plans for our injury abortive, by the speed with which we follow his flight".

No time was lost; for when the earl reached his nearest castle, with the intention of victualling it, and leaving a garrison with orders to resist the king, lo! to his great


[1] Of the powerful family of De Clare, and Earl of Hertford. John Fitz-Gilbert seized the royal castle of Marlborough. See p. 375.

424 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

astonishment, the king himself was seen on the other side of the castle, where his troops were drawn up in regular order; and the earl would have been intercepted and taken, had he not, by disguising his person and concealing his face, managed, in the confusion which ensued, to make his escape with a few of his followers. The king ordered the castle to be instantly stormed, and, the garrison being terified and vigorously pressed, it was shortly surrendered. Two other castles of Gilbert's being quickly, and, as it were, in the course of the same attack, carried by storm, the king marched without delay to a fourth, called Pevensey Castle, which, built on an elevated mound, is surrounded by a stately wall, and is rendered impregnable by the sea which flows up to it, [1] the tide filling the ditch, so that its position makes it almost inaccessible. On the king's arrival at the head of his troops, perceiving the difficulty, from the nature of the ground, of carrying the castle by assault, and that those who had thrown themselves into it were prepared for resistance, he left there the faithful and regular body of troops, on which he mainly relied, to blockade the place; giving them strict orders to use every art and device, and to spare no labour or expense, in pressing the siege on the seaboard from the ships, and on the landside by the troops, until at length the garrison, wearied out, exhausted, should own themselves unable to make a longer resistance.

While these events were in progress, [2] Henry, son of the Countess of Anjou, the right heir and pretender to the crown of England, landed in England from beyond sea with a gallant band of soldiers. [3] The kingdom was struck with


[1] The sea has receded on this part of the coast of Sussex, and no longer washes the hillock or "mound" on which the ruins of Pevensey Castle are still to be seen; the nature of the site, and the existing remains, fully justifying what our author says of its former strength.

[2] No date is assigned to the siege of Pevensey Castle, which seems, however, to have quickly succeeded the rupture with the Earl of Chester and his adherents, the Gilberts. From the last date we are able to fix, that of the assault on Lincoln, a period of six years is passed over by our author in silence, though many stirring events occurred in the interval. This chasm may, in some degree, be filled by reference to Huntingdon's History in the present volume, from p. 284 to his account of the arrival in England of the young prince, Henry Plantagenet, with which Huntingdon's narrative concludes, and our author here again takes up the thread of his.

[3] Henry came over to assert his claim to the crown in mid-winter of the year 1152, according to Huntingdon. I am aware that Malmesbury says be accompanied his uncle on his return from the Continent, at the time of the siege of Oxford, in 1141, and Huntingdon says he was knighted by King David, at Carlisle, in 1148; but on the former visit to England he was a mere stripling, and he certainly returned to Normandy after his second, for he was married there in 1151, so that I take it to be clear that his expedition for establishing his rights in 1152 is wholly disconnected with his visit in company with his uncle, though a learned editor of the Latin text of our author appears to connect them.

A.D. 1152.] HENRY II. LANDS IN ENGLAND. 425

perturbation at his arrival, for the tidings, as wont is, spreading wider and wider, idle tales were bruited abroad, such as, that he had brought many thousand men with him, and more were shortly to follow; that he was furnished with immense sums of money; now, that he had overrun one district, and then, that he had burnt and wasted another. His adherents, lending a ready ear to these reports, rejoiced as if a new light had burst upon them; while the royalists, on the other hand, were for a time depressed, as if a thunderbolt had crushed them. But when it appeared certain, and was distinctly ascertained by full inquiry, that he had brought with him not an army, but, a small body af troops; that these had no ready pay, but were to look to the future for their hire; and that he engaged in no brilliant enterprise, [1] but was wasting his time in sloth and negligence, they took courage and made a determined resistance. Thus, when he came near to the town of Cricklade, and the borough called Bourton which then belonged to the king, as if he were about to force an entrance without any obstacle, his troops were driven in disgrace from the one, and, taken with panic, precipitously fled from the other. Not long afterwards, he on many occasions felt the king's power to carry himself more resolutely, inasmuch as he had rashly and


[1] Compare Huntingdon's History, text, p. 291. He gives a very different account of the campaign of the young Duke of Normandy immediately after his landing; representing him to have marched at once on Malmesbury, which he took, and that, after throwing supplies into Wallingford and reducing the castle of Crawmarsh, he was on the eve of fighting a pitched battle with Stephen, who had assembled his whole force, when the nobles on both sides interfered, and ultimately, after some further successes of the young prince, effected the accommodation which prevented the further effusion of blood and restored peace to the kingdom. Huntingdon's narrative appears entirely trustworthy, and is supported by Roger of Wendover. Their account differs very materially from that given by our author: neither of them mentions the repulses at Cricklade and Bourton.

426 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

inconsiderately invaded England ... unnerved by sloth and inactivity, [1] and enfeebled by weak ... their gallant ... and the right heir to the crown of England, with whom they came over, being deserted ... they at length dispersed. The young Fince, overwhelmed with such a cloud of misfortune, was worn out with shame and distress; and, hence because ... the faithful bands he had selected for his support ... with him as he intended ... and because the aid he expected from the barons of his party ... could find the means of paying his troops, who ... in the castles, and were engaged in daily conflicts with the enemy.

Checked, not without reason, by this misfortune ... consulted his mother; but her treasury was exhausted, and she had no means of supplying his pressing necessities. He also had recourse to his uncle the Earl of Gloucester, but he was too fond of his money bags, and chose to reserve them for his own wants; so that all in whom he trusted ... failing him in the extremity of his necessity, at last, report says he made application to the king his cousin, sending messengers to him privately to implore him humbly, that of his goodness he would make provision for his pressing wants, and, remembering their near relationship, listen kindly to his request. The king hearing this, as he was always compassionate and overflowing with kindness, listened to the young man's entreaties, and, sending him money, [2] generously relieved the man, from whom, of all others, he ought to have withheld assistance, as the pretender to his crown, and his most inveterate


[1] It maybe remarked that these sentences, fragmentary as they are, convey an impression by no means coinciding with the idea we are led to form of the character of Henry II. from his general conduct.

[2] "It is only right to say that this noble trait in Stephen's character is not confirmed by other evidence. At the same time, it is perfectly consistent with all his actions; and the inherent evidence of truth, which is apparent in all the writings of the author of this chronicle, may fairly entitle it to credit".- Sewell. Agreeing with the learned editor as to the general character of our author, I am unable to reconcile his account with that of Huntingdon, in which there is great circumstantiality and apparent truthfulness. It is also supported by the testimony of Roger of Wendover, and the circumstance of Stephen's having so speedily come to terms with an enemy who is represented by our author to have been so feeble and destitute. Part of the statement must be incorrect, as Henry had left the empress, his mother, at Rouen, and the earl, his uncle, was now dead.

A.D. 1153.] EUSTACE, STEPHEN'S SON. 427

enemy. But although the king was blamed for this, as having acted with imprudence and even folly, I am of opinion that he did it from wise and noble views; for the more kindly and humanely a man treats his adversary, the more he humbles him, and lessens his power. Thus according to the Psalmist, he did not return evil for evil; but, as the Apostle enjoins us, he overcame evil with good, that by well-doing to his enemy he might heap coals of fire on his head.

About the same time [1] the king, in the presence of his nobles, knighted his son Eustace, a young man of high character, endowing him with ample domains, and distinguishing him by a splendid military retinue: he also conferred on him the high rank of an Earl. Young as Eusace was, his manners were grave; he excelled in warlike exercises, had great natural courage, and stood high in military fame; above all, he was courteous and affable, scattering his gifts with a generous munificence, and posessed much of his father's spirit, being in some things at times his equal, in others his superior: on the one hand, he was ever ready to draw close the bonds of peace; on one other, he never shrunk from presenting a resolute and indomitable front to his enemies. [2] Engaging in conflict with the Earl of Chester, and also with others, he bore off the prize of victory with such brilliant sucess, that the achievements of a stripling (for the first gown hardly clothed his cheeks) became the admiration of men who were perfect in military exercises. So that the son was indefatigable in crushing his enemies in


[1] Our author, as before remarked, supplies us with no dates, but we might conclude from this passage that Eustace was knighted about the time of Prince Henry's expedition whereas Huntingdon informs us that the ceremony took place A.D. 1148, the same year in which Henry was knighted by the King of Scots; see before, p. 287.

[2] Compare the character of this young prince, given by Huntingdon, p. 93 of the present volume. The dilapidated state of the MS. doubtless accounts for our not learning from it the death of Eustace, recorded by Huntingdon, and which Roger of Wendover places in the same year in which Henry came over. It greatly facilitated, of course, the arrangements between Henry and Stephen.

428 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

one part of the kingdom, while the father returned with his usual success from another. He took by sudden assault the castle named "Of the Wood", where the foes of peace and tranquillity had taken refuge, infesting incessantly all the neighbourhood; and, placing in it a garrison of his own, he reduced the whole district under his power. At this time also triumphantly he took the castle of Lideley, which was delivered up to him, to his great glory. For this castle ... in those parts, to restrain predatory excursions and defend the lands of the church which the bishop possessed in that neighbourhood.

And now, the Earl of Gloucester, the ... of the king's enemies, and always ready to undertake any great achievement, again and again ... his army, rousing his adherents by continual exhortations and admonitions, using threats to induce some, and the offer of rewards others to join him. By these means all were brought to be of one mind, and, the dissensions in the army being healed, the troops, collected from different quarters, were full of ardour to be led against the king. But as "there is neither wisdom, nor prudence, nor counsel against the Lord", while the earl was scattering the seeds of confusion and civil war more widely than before, suddenly drawing near his end, he died, as they say, without the grace of repentance, at his city of Bristol. [1] His son William succeeded to the earldom; he


[1] Robert, the great Earl of Gloucester, who bore so distinguished a part in the events of these times, was evidently no favourite of our anonymous author, though he occasionally does justice to the earl's great merits. William of Malmesbury, who dedicated his "Modern History" to him, and devotes a considerable portion of its latter pages to his personal history, places his character in the true light. The earl was a natural son of Henry I. by Nesta, daughter of Rhys ap Tudor, prince of South Wales, which accounts for his influence in the principality. He married Mabel, daughter and heiress of Robert Fitzhammon, through whom he derived his vast possessions and honours in Gloucestershire. He died at Bristol 31st August, or the beginning of September, 1147, though our author speaks of him as living at the time of Henry's expedition, and was buried in the priory of St. James, which he founded there. The earl built or rebuilt the castles of Bristol and Cardiff. The former, as appears from the present history, was impregnable; and it was of a magnificence which fitted it to become a royal abode, having been the residence of the empress for many years, as well as of King Stephen during his captivity. The Empress Maud lived for some years after her son Henry II.'s accession to the throne, dying at Rouen in 1167. Her character is pourtrayed throughout this narrative in a just and vivid manner.

A.D. 1153.] DEATH OF WALTER DE PINCHENY. 429

aS somewhat advanced in years, but effeminate, a chamber-knight rather than a brave soldier. However, soon after coming to the earldom, he happened for once to obtain a more brilliant success than any one would have given him credit for. For Henry de Tracey, a man of great experience in war, who was on the king's side, had fortified the castle of Cary, to straiten more conveniently the Earl of Gloucester, and extend his own power in the district; upon which the earl hearing of it, marched there suddenly with a large force, and demolished the works which Henry had commenced, compelling him to make a retreat.

At that time Walter de Pincheny, who has been mentioned before, [1] being released from his dungeon, mainly by the asistance of the Earl of Hereford, again flew to arms, and, assembling a gallant band of troops, he made an entry by a surprise into the castle of Christchurch, and killing some of those he found within, and putting others in chains, he ravaged the neighbourhood, and secured the lordship of a large district. But though he ought to have forsaken his old habits of cruelty and violence, lest through his sins he should fall once more into his enemies' hands, he continued to be still fierce and tyrannical; to plunder without mercy the possessions of the church; to worry his neighbours with quarrels, and continually to extort money and other offerings from all around, tormenting some and putting others to death for the mere love of cruelty. But God, the just judge, at length recompensed these grievous wrongs by a righteous judgment. For the inhabitants of this place, with some of the country folk, no longer able to bear his barbarity, forming a conspiracy with the soldiers of the lordship to which they belonged, and ... about the castle ... Walter and his followers who had gone from the castle to the church of ... and implored him humbly to ... his exactions; but he replying with an indignant power ... nay, that he would be more imperious than ever, one of them sprung forward and [severed] his neck with a single blow of a sharp axe. His


[1] See p. 411.

430 ACTS OF KING STEPHEN. [BOOK II.

comrades were instantly despatched ... those who were lying in ambush making their appearance ... those who held the castle forthwith ...; at last terms of peace were agreed on, and the castle was recovered. About the same [time] ... seized, by surprise the castle of Downton, which belonged of right to Earl Patrick, and gained by stratagem the possessioms of the church of ... the castle was plentifully victualled ... furnished with munitions of war, and a band of freebooters and other ... was quartered in it [1] ...


[1] The imperfect state of the latter pages of our author's MS. and the last of the conclusion of his memoirs, are much to be regretted. They probably extended to the death of Stephen, on the 25th of October, 1154, shortly after the pacification with Prince Henry. A short notice of the principal occurrences to that time will be found in the last pages of Huntingdon's History; but had our MS. been perfect, it would probably have thrown additional light on the important transactions which secured the reversion of the crown of England to Henry I.

THE END.

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