BOOK XI

323

BOOK XI.

PREFACE.

O MERCIFUL God of Sabaoth, mighty King, who governest all things, and reignest through all ages, vouchsafe to be the Saviour of the work of thy hands! Restrain the violence of Satan, who continually vents his rage against thee by seeking everywhere to vex thy servants. Listen, I beseech thee, to my prayers, O gracious Creator of the world! I adore thee, I seek thee, I labour, as I ought, to do thy will. I, an old man, now record the acts of popes and kings; and, a sexagenarian, make them clear to the young. But I do it gratuitously, careful only for the approbation of my brethren. If new miracles were openly wrought in these days, I would endeavour to give a faithful report of them in my annals. I think that a summary of them would be more acceptable both to the present generation and posterity, would more profit myself, and please others, than to examine and describe at large worldly wants and transitory honours. I aim at glorious things, and would write of miracles, filling my pages with prodigies in Christ's name. My delight is to offer praise to Him who governs the whole world, and who can easily cure us of all our ills. But I am compelled to speak of the evil we see or suffer, and to record the unstable acts of mortals; for love of the world drags crowds of men to the bottomless pit, nor can the file of justice polish off the rust of crime. Inclined to evil, they dwell on the earthly and despise the heavenly, being so bent on the earth that they cannot behold the other. Sinners carry their fatal burdens, and the splendid miracles of the saints naturally cease. Transgressors of the law merit the punishment of the divine wrath, instead of miracles. We might enlarge on the suits and hostilities which the fierce desire of gain occasions in the world. If learned men could condescend to dwell on infamous subjects, they might descant on murder, incest, and a thousand crimes. The fool perplexes himself to no purpose and wastes his time, while no wise man permits his to be ill-spent. He, indeed, wastes his time who writes

324 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B. XI.

useless verses, and that labour is lost from which no profit is gained. The elect devote themselves to goodness with ardent zeal, and apply diligently to laudable studies. There is no need ef using compulsion to those who voluntarily take up their burdens, collecting the sheaves of corn and carrying them to the garner. There is no need of the spur for a horse that goes freely; a gentle rein only is wanting to prevent him from stumbling; but the rider uses sharp spurs to a dull horse, and applies frequent strokes of the whip to quicken his pace. Such is the law of the church with gentle teachers; they urge the indolent to action by admonitions, while they restrain the forward.

The evil beast with ten horns already triumphs; and the fierce populations are everywhere polluted with the leprosy of sin. The Lord showed the Behemoth in an allegory to his friend Job; and this insidious demon rages in a perverse world. Erynnis pursues her furious course over the earth, and daily plunges her victims into the depths of hell. Amphisilena makes sport of and deludes mankind, and by her wiles deprives them of the joys of paradise. Alas! the foul serpent infects them with his deadly poison, so that they lose their reason and engage in mutual slaughter. The foolish bring on themselves diseases and pestilences, and the perverse add sin to sin. We observe the misfortunes of men, and the miserable disasters with which a skilful writer can fill his sheets of parchment; if he wants to use empty words on various subjects, he will find abundant materials in the calamities of the world.

The malicious enemy of the human race is described by various names in the Scriptures inspired by Heaven. He is called a lion, wolf, dragon, partridge, [1] basilisk, a kite, a boar, a fox, a dog, a bear, a leach, a satyr; and he becomes a deadly serpent when be deludes us with his wiles, and compasses by force or fraud the destruction of fools. A thousand other names will occur to the intelligent reader, derived from the various artifices to which the enemy of mankind resorts. He corrupts countless numbers with sin,


[1] One wonders to see the timid partridge figure in his list of savage animals. Perhaps some magical virtues may have been attributed to it. Otherwise we might venture to propose pardus, or pardalis, the panther, for perdrix, the reading of the text.

A.D. 1102.] HENRY PUNISHES THE REBEL BARONS. 325

and often brings them to destruction. Alas! they often perish in vast bodies.

Merciful Jesus, our holy King and great High Priest, save us front being infected like the reprobate with the poison of the old serpent; and raise us purified from our sins above the storms of the world, and graciously admit us into the company of the saints in thy courts above! Amen.

CH. I. King Henry punishes the barons who had revolted.

IN the year of our Lord 1102, the ninth indiction, Henry, king of England, having concluded a peace with his brother, and being firmly established on the throne, began gradually to reek his vengeance on the traitors who had infamously deserted him in the time of need. Robert Malet, [1] Ivo de Grantmesnil, Robert of Pontefract, son of Ilbert de Laci, and Robert de Belesme, the most powerful of these barons, with many others, were brought to trial, not all at once, but separately and at different times, charged with various treasonable acts. Some of them, not being able to clear themselves of the crimes alleged against them, were heavily fined, while others, who were greater objects of suspicion to the king, were utterly disinherited by him and driven into exile.

CH. II. King Henry's harsh conduct to his brother Robert and the nobles who had joined the duke in the league against him - Henry's prosperity and character.

THE year following William de Warrenne presented himself in great distress to Robert, duke of Normandy, and represented to him the severe loss he had sustained in his service, having forfeited his earldom of Surrey, which produced him the yearly revenue of a thousand pounds of silver; claiming in consequence Robert's good offices to reconcile him with the king, his brother, and procure his restoration to his former honours. The duke readily asssented to his


[1] Robert de Malet is mentioned in the succeeding chapter. For the rest of these persons, see the notes to b. x.

326 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.I.

request, and crossed over to England. The king was in great wrath when he heard of his coming, and said to his courtiers and counsellors: "What should I do to my enemies who presume to intrude upon me, and trespass on the borders of my kingdom without my licence?" Various replies were made, but the king sent some of his own guard to meet the duke and plainly tell him his mind. The ill-advised duke then discovered by private communications that he had rashly ventured within the bounds of England, and, unless he followed prudent counsels, he would never escape from the island in which he was, as it were, enclosed, and return when he pleased to his own dominions. However, the politic king gave orders that the duke should be honourably conducted to court with his retinue; and their deep counsels were kept private, lest strangers should detect any appearance of ill-will between the brothers. The duke, though much terrified, concealed his alarm under an assumed gaiety, and the king, on his part, dissembled the fury that raged in his bosom under a smiling countenance. Among other things [1] the king accused the duke of having violated the treaty, by not punishing public traitors, nor proceeding with princely rigour against rebels, and that he had given a gracious reception in Normandy that same year to Robert de Belesme, restoring to him his patrimonial domains, the castle of Argentan, the bishopric of Seez, and the forest of Gouffern. That butcher having sailed over to Normandy had obtained the county of Ponthieu in right of William Talvas, in consequence of the death of Guy, count of Abbeville, his father-in-law. [2] The duke, alarmed at these reproaches, promised submissively to remedy all the grievances. He was also induced by the queen's influence to forego the annual pension of three thousand pounds, which had been agreed on. In consequence, the king restored him to favour, renewed the late treaty, and reinstated William de Warrenne in the earldom of Surrey. The earl, having thus recovered his father's inheritance, which he had foolishly forfeited, learned wisdom


[1] It was probably in this conversation that the king told his brother, ut comitem, non monachum ageret, to conduct himself like an earl, instead of behaving like a monk.

[2] Guy I., count of Ponthieu, father-in-law of William Talvas.

CHARACTER OF HENRY. 327

from his misfortunes, and afterwards adhered faithfully to the king during thirty-three years they lived together, ranking among the chief of his intimate friends.

Duke Robert now returned to Normandy, an object of greater contempt to his subjects than he was before, having gained nothing by his expedition but fear, trouble, and disgrace. The king, prospering in all his affairs, found his power greatly augmented, and report spreading his fame far and wide, he was considered one of the greatest princes in the four quarters of the globe. No king of England had been more powerful, nor possessed wider territories within the island, nor was more favoured by fortune in the acquisition of all that mortals need in the fullest abundance. [1] If life be spared me, the sequel of my history will, by God's aid, clearly exhibit this. He reduced all his enemies to subjection


[1] "Our author prides himself in regarding Henry I. as one of the most powerful, rich, and successful kings who ever wore the crown of England. As to the happiness resulting from a quiet conscience and peace of mind, things still more desirable it is our duty to remark, that the case was very different, and that this Lewis of the twelfth century painfull expiated, if not by his remorse, by his violent passions and the terrors of his life, all the apparent prosperity which, so to speak, dazzled the eyes of his cotemporaries. We cannot too strongly recommend readers who would desire to form a precise idea of the contrast afforded by Henry's history to consult a little treatise by Henry of Huntingdon, which is very curious and distinguished for its high philosophical views. It is inserted in the second volume of the Anglia Sacra, under the title, De episcopis sui temporis. In this treatise the prosperities of the English monarch are appreciated at their real worth with great impartiality, but at the same time with lofty views which would do honour to a modern historian of the first rank. We exceedingly regret that the limits to which we are compelled to confine ourselves, will not permit the insertion of this review, the interest of which is increased by its having been published during the life of a prince who was implacable in his resentments against every one who ventured to scrutinize the secrets of his conscience. We must be content with quoting the concluding words which form a striking contrast to the language of Ordericus: 'You will soon witness the wretched end of a miserable life'. The historian's prediction received its accomplishment in the course of the same year". Note to Ordericus by M. Le Prevost.

We have been induced to insert a literal translation of our fellow labourer's note, as presenting just views of the character of Henry I., as well as, we are ready to confess, from being flattered at finding our own view of the value of the treatise referred to confirmed from so high a quarter, having been instrumental in rescuing it from obscurity by adding it to Mr. Bohn's Edition of Henry of Huntingdon's History, to which it forms a suitable appendix. See that work, pp. 301-319.

328 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.II.

either by policy or force, and rewarded those who served him with riches and honours. Many there were of high condition whom he hurled from the summit of power for their presumption, and sentenced to the perpetual forfeiture of their patrimonial estates. On the contrary, there were others of low origin, whom, for their obsequious services, he raised to the rank of nobles, taking them, so to speak, from the dust, surrounding them with wealth, and, exalting them above earls, and distinguished lords of castles. Such men as Geoffrey de Clinton, [1] Ralph Basset, [2] Hugh de Bocheland, [3] Guillegrip, Rainier de Bada, [4] William Troussebot, [5] Haimon de Falaise, [6] Guigan Algaso, [7] Robert de Bostare,


[1] Geoffrey de Clinton is called chamberlain of Henry I. in the charter of foundation of the priory of Kenilworth.

[2] The family of Basset appears in all the lists of distinguished persons at the time of the Conquest. It was probably settled originally at Ouillie-la-Basset, near Falaise. Ralph Basset and his son Richard, both successively great-justiciaries of England, merited, notwithstanding what our author says, the character given them of clarissimi viri by Henry of Huntingdon in the work of which we have just spoken, in which he passes so severe a judgment on most of the celebrated persons who were his cotemporaries. Ralph Basset was in 1106, one of the five commissioners employed to decide the controversy between Gerard, archbishop of York, and the abbey of Ripon. He died in 1120. His son, Geoffrey Basset, was, like his father, justiciary of England. The first person known of this family appears to be Osmond Basset, a cotemporary with William the Conqueror, mentioned in the great charter of Montevilliers.

[3] The Monasticon Anglicanum shows several charters addressed by Henry I. to Hugh de Bocheland, attesting that this person was one of his principal officers. Of Guillegrip we have no information.

[4] De Bada, probably Bath. Of this family Richard de Bada, perhaps the son of Regnier, appears as witness to a charter of King Stephen.

[5] William Troussebot, son of Geoffrey, son of Paganus, married Aubrey de Harcourt. They had estates in Yorkshire; see Monast. Anglic., t. ii. p. 43. He was governor of Bonneville-sur-Touque in 1138, an office hereditary in that one branch of which possessed domains in the neighbourhood of Bonneville, which was a royal residence. The original seat of the family of Troussebot is supposed to have been in the north-western part of the district of Neuborg, near that of Robert I. de Harcourt, father of Aubrey, who was married to William Troussebot.

[6] We have no information respectiag Haimon de Falaise; but Geoffrey and William de Falaise were witnesses to a charter by William de Briose, and its confirmation by William the Conqueror. The latter especially seems to have been a person of importance, being mentioned before Roger Bigot and Humphrey de Bohun. Monast. Anglic. t. p.

[7] Guigan Algaso had been viscount d'Exmes, and appears with that title in several charters of St. Evroult. Robert de Bostare is unknown.

CHARACTER OF HENRY I. 329

and many others, are examples of what I have stated. Having acquired wealth and built themselves mansions, they established a position far beyond that of their fathers, and often revenged themselves on those who had lorded over them, by false and unjust accusations. These and many others of humble birth, whom it would be tedious to mention individually, were ennobled by the king; his royal authority raising them from a low estate to the summit of power, so that they became formidable even to the greatest nobles.

While however, King Henry, heaped such munificent rewards on his faithful adherents, he was an implacable enemy to the disloyal, sparing none who where convicted from punishment, either in their person, or by fines, or forfeiture of their honours. Many criminals had miserable experience of this, having ended their days in the king's prisons, from which neither their high connections, or noble descent, or the offer of an enormous ransom could procure their release. Robert de Pontefract [1] and Robert Malet [2] having been prosecuted in the king's court, were condemned to forfeit their honours, and depart the realm. Ivo [3] had set the example of engaging in war on his own account, and given to the flames the territories of his neighbours, such private wars being hitherto unknown in England, [4] and being therefore severely punished. Upon this charge from which he could not clear himself, he was mulet by the king's stern justice in a heavy fine, and involved in the deepest trouble and distress. In consequence, the knight


[1] Robert de Laci, lord of Pontefract. See before p. 277.

[2] Robert Malet, son of William Malet one of the companions of the Conqueror, was made sheriff of Yorkshire. Robert was also a favourite with that king, who granted him vast estates in Suffolk, as well as with Henry I., to whom he was chamberlain before his disgrace. He had a sister named Beatrice, and a brother, named Gilbert Malet. See in the Monast. Anglic. t. i. p. 356, the charter of foundation for an abbey of Benedictine monks, which he founded at his residence at Eye, in Suffolk, during the Conqueror's lifetime.

[3] Ivo de Grantmesnil, fourth son of Hugh de Grantmesnil.

[4] The private wars which devastated Normandy during the minority of William the Conqueror, and under the weak government of his son Robert, were for the most part unknown in England till the turbulence of the Anglo-Norman barons became unrestrained during the distracted reign of King Stephen.

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implored the assistance of Robert Earl of Mellent, one of Henry's principal counsellors, and was driven by many unhappy circumstances to place himself under the earl's protection. In the first place, he was galled by the derision with which he was assailed as one of the rope-dancers, who had been let down from the walls of Antioch; [1] and besides, on deep reflection, he was afraid that he should never, or without great difficulty, reinstate himself in the king's favour which he had lost. [2] He therefore resolved to join the crusade again, and made an agreement with the earl of Mellent to the following effect. The earl was to procure his reconciliation with the king, and to advance him five hundred silver marks for the expenses of his expedition, having the whole of Ivo's domains pledged to him as a security for fifteen years. In consideration of this, the earl was to give the daughter of his brother Henry, earl of Warwick, in marriage to Ivo's son, who was yet in his infancy, and to restore him his father's inheritance. This contract was confirmed by oath, and ratified by the king's consent. Ivo then set out on his pilgrimage, accompanied by his wife; but he died on the road, and his inheritance passed into the hands of strangers. [3]

The town of Leicester had four masters, the king, the bishop of Lincoln, Earl Simon, [4] and Ivo, son of Hugh. The earl of Mellent contrived to get a footing in it by the posession of Hugh's share, who was chief of the municipality and viscount, and also farmed the king's fourth of the borough. By the royal favour and his own address he got the whole place into his own hands, and being, in consequence, created an English earl, his wealth and power surpassed those of any other peer of the realm, and he was exalted above almost all his family. He married the


[1] Funambuli. See before pp. 128, 194.

[2] Ivo de Grantmesnil's predilection for the duke Robert, one of whose evil counsellors he was from the first, and his aversion to the two brothers of that prince, began early. See vol ii. pp. 108, 109.

[3] In spite of the claims of Ivo the Younger, his English patrimony remained in the hands of the earl of Mellent, whose grandson Robert, earl of Leicester, reunited the rest of the vast estates of the family of Grantmesnil, by his marriage with Petronilla de Grantmesnil, this Ivo's daughter. Simon de Senlis, earl of Huntingdon in right of his wife Matilda, daughter of the unfortunate Earl Waltheof. See vol. ii. p. 49.

A.D. 1102.] ROBERT DE BELESME'S REVOLT. 331

beautiful Isabel, niece of the king of France, [1] by whom he had twin-sons, Waleran, [2] and Robert, [3] and another son called Hugh the Poor, [4] with five daughters. His conscience blinded by such prosperity, he forfeited his oath in favour of Ivo's son, so that at the time appointed the young man did not obtain the wife he had been promised, nor recover his hereditary estates according to the contract to which the earl of Mellent had sworn.

CH. III. Robert de Belesme in open rebellion against King Henry - The king's campaign against him - Takes his castles of Arundel, Bridgnorth, and Shrewsbury, and drives him out of England - He raises disturbances in Normandy - The duke's campaign against him.

IN the year of our Lord 1102, the tenth indiction, King Henry summoned the powerful earl, Robert de Belesme, to plead in his court to an indictment containing forty-five counts of offences, in word or act, against himself or his brother, the duke of Normandy; and the earl was required to make a distinct answer to each charge. The king had employed a whole year in having him closely watched, causing his evil deeds to be carefully inquired into by secret spies, and reduced to writing with great precision. Robert demanded licence, as the custom is, for himself and his friends to attend the trial, and, it being granted, finding that it was out of his power to clear himself of the charges alleged, he departed at once, and with his retainers mounting swift horses, fled with alarm in breathless haste to his own castles. Meanwhile, the king and his barons were waiting for Robert's answer, until one of the royal attendants brought the news of his sudden flight. Henry was vexed at having been thus duped, but rested sure that the day of vengeance would soon arrive.

In consequence, the king publicly branded Robert for not having legally cleared himself of the crimes with which


[1] Elizabeth de Vermandois, niece of Philip I.

[2] Waleran was count de Meulan, or earl of Mellent, after his father.

[3] Robert I., earl of Leicester, surnamed the Hunchback.

[4] Hugh the Poor, earl of Bedford. See the "Acts of King Stephen", printed with Henry of Huntingdon's History in Antiq. Lib., pp. 346 and 330.

332 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.III.

he had been charged in open court, and proclaimed him a traitor unless he returned, and submitting to judgment, was ready to do right. The rebel, being once more summoned to appear in court, gave a flat refusal, and, what is more, lost no time in adding to the fortifications of his castles in every quarter by trenches and walls, and in demanding aid from his Norman kinsmen, and the alien Welsh, and all his allies. The king called out the whole military array of England, and laying siege to Arundel castle, which stands near the sea-coast, [1] he erected forts, and stationed his officers in them with bodies of troops for three months. Meanwhile the garrison of the fortress humbly requested the king to grant them a truce, that they might either obtain succour from their lord, or his licence to give up the place. The king acceding to their proposal, messengers were despatched to Robert, who was then in the province of Mercia, and having found him, laid before him in great distress the severe chastisement with which the king's attack threatened them. The earl was then building the very strong castle of Bridgnorth, on the river Severn, in that country, and trying, in vain, to levy an auxiliary force, for the purpose of making a resolute defence. He was deeply grieved at learning the defection of his vassals at Arundel, but as he could not afford them any aid, he released them from the fealty they owed him, and with great reluctance gave them permission to come to terms with the king. On the return of the messengers, the garrison of Arundel gladly surrendered the castle into the king's hands, and were honourably and kindly treated, receiving large presents. The king then marched his army to Blithe, a castle formerly belonging to Roger de Buthli, [2] where the garrison came out to meet him with joy, and acknowledging him as their liege lord, submitted to him with great readiness. After these events King Henry allowed his people to enjoy a short interval of repose, and the great bulk of the nobility found reason to dread his prudence and valour.


[1] Arundel castle, now belonging to the Howards, dukes of Norfolk, stands on the bank of the river Arun at some distance from the sea.

[2] Blythe in Nottinghamshire. Respecting this castle and its former possessor, Roger de Bulli, see before, p. 220.

A.D. 1102.] BELESME'S NORMIN ADHERENTS. 333

Meanwhile, the king sent envoys to Normandy, bearing authentic despatches to the duke, informing him that Robert de Belesme was an outlaw in both countries, having fled clandestinely from the royal court. He then reminded him that, according to the treaty they had concluded in England, they were to unite in punishing traitors with extreme vengeance. The duke therefore summoned to his standard the military force of Normandy, and laid siege to the castle of Vignats, [1] which which was in the keeping of Girard de St. Hilary. [2] The garrison hoped for an assault, being prepared to surrender the place, if the attack was vigorous. They could not honourably capitulate without fighting, lest they should justly merit to be branded as disloyal deserters. But the duke being lost in sloth and indolence, and wanting the firmness becoming a prince, Robert de Montfort, [3] and other conspirators, who were not in agreement between themselves, set fire to their encampment, and, throwing the whole army into confusion, fled of their own accord, though no one pursued them, compelling others also, who, detesting Robert, wished his humiliation, to join in their shameful flight. The garrison of Vignats, witnessing the disgrace of the Norman army, raised shouts of derision after them as they ran away, and afterwards, having little to fear, began to make cruel irruptions into the territory of Oxmes. Robert de Grantmesnil, Hugh de Montpincon, and Robert de Courci, [4] with their vassals, made all the resistance in their power to the savage freebooters, and endeavoured to protect their domains. But the outlaws, flushed with their success in pillaging, became bolder in their attacks, and proudly boasting of their castles at Gunter, Fourches, and Argentan, [5] were greatly incensed that any of their neighbours,


[1] Vignats, two leagues and a half from Falaise.

[2] There are six communes of the name of St. Hilaire in Normandy, four of which are in the department of the Orne. Gerard must necessarily have belonged to that which forms part of the canton of Seez, and which has preserved the name of St. Hilaire-le-Girard in memory of its ancient lords.

[3] Robert de Montfort who, as we have seen before, commanded the army of William Rufus in his expedition to Maine.

[4] Robert, eldest son of Hugh de Grantmesnil; Hugh de Montpincon and Robert de Courci were his brothers-in-law.

[5] Chateau Gontier-au-Houlme, a fortress now ruined, in the commune of La Courbe, near Argentan Econche; so called beoause it stands on a peninsula formed by the river Orne; not Chateau-Gontier in the department of La Sarthe; Fourches, in the canton of Couliboeuf.

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without the duke at their head, should even venture to snarl [1] at them. They therefore plundered the peasants through the whole province, and carrying off their booty, set fire to the houses.

Meanwhile, the king of England did not, like his brother, abandon himself to sloth, but in the autumn arrayed the military force of the whole of England, and leading them into Mercia, besieged Bridgnorth for three months. Robert de Belesme had retired to Shrewsbury, entrusting the defence of Bridgnorth to Roger, son of Corbet, [2] Robert de Neuville, and Ulger the hunter, [3] with eighty stipendiary men-at-arms. He had now entered into an alliance with the Welsh, and attached to his cause, Cadogan and Gervase, [4] sons of Rees, frequently employing the troops to beat up the quarters of the royal army. He had disinherited William Pantoul, a brave and experienced knight, and had even given him a sharp repulse when he proffered his valuable services at the time they were urgently needed. Being thus rejected with disdain, William Pantulf [5] went over to the king, who, having already proved his vigour of mind, received him graciously. He gave him the command of two hundred men, and entrusted to him the custody of Stafford castle, in the same neighbourhood. This knight proved Robert de Belesme's worst enemy, never ceasing from persecuting him both by his counsels and his arms till his ruin was completed.

The earls [6] and barons of the realm now met and


[1] Vel latrare.

[2] Roger, son of Corbet, and Robert his eldest brother, are mentioned in the charters relating to the foundation of the abbey of Shrewsbury to which they were benefactors. See also vol. ii. pp. 48, 49.

[3] We do not find the names of Robert de Neuville (probably of Neuville near Seez), nor the hunter Welger in the above charter, but that of another hunter attached to the family of Belesme, Normannus Venetor. See Monast. Anglic. t. i. p. 375, etc.

[4] It is not always easy to discover the real names of the Welsh princes in our author's version of them. Cadogan and his brother were probably sons of Rhys-ap-Owen, who was slain in 1076. See vol. ii. p. 449.

[5] For William Pantulf, or Pantoul, see vol. ii. b. v. c. xvi. pp. 207, aad following.

[6] Our author now returns from his digression to the siege of Bridgnorth.

A.D. 1102.] SIEGE OF BRIDGENORTH. 335

consulted together as to the means of reconciling the rebellious earl to his sovereign. They said among themselves: "Should the king succeed in crushing this mighty earl and carry his resentment so far as to disinherit him, as he is endeavouring to do, he will then trample us all under foot like feeble women. Let us therefore use our utmost efforts to plant the seeds of concord between them, that we may serve in a lawful way both our sovereign and our brother peer, and thus make both of them our debtors by putting an end to their quarrels". In consequence, one day they all went to the king in a body, and earnestly addressing him in the middle of the camp, used a variety of arguments calculated to soften the royal asperity. At that moment there happened to be some provincial troops, to the number of three thousand, drawn up on a hill close by, who becoming aware of the intentions of the nobles, shouted aloud to the king: "Henry, lord king, trust not these traitors. They are endeavouring to deceive you, and prevent the vigorous exercise of your royal justice. Why do you listen to those who persuade you to pardon a traitor, and let the conspiracy against your life go unpunished? For ourselves, we are all ready to stand by you faithfully and second all your undertakings. Press the siege vigorously; close in upon the traitor on all sides; and make no peace till you take him, alive or dead".

The king's resolution was strengthened by the voice of the people, and returning shortly after listening to them, he negatived the proposals of the factious nobles. He then made overtures to the Welsh princes through William Pantulf, and allured them by presents and promises subtilly used, to desert the cause of his enemy and join his own with all their forces. He also sent for three of the principal townsmen, and swore to them publicly that unless the place was surrendered to him within three days he would hang all of them he could lay his hands on. They were terrified at the king's violence, and thinking it time to look to their own safety, sought a conference with William Pantulf, who was a neighbour of theirs, that they might hear what he advised. The knight undertook to negotiate between the garrison and the king, and in persuasive language recommended them to surrender the fortress to their lawful king, on whose part he

336 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.III.

engaged to augment their funds by granting them lands of the value of three hundred pounds in annual rent. The townsmen, having taken into consideration what was for the common good, agreed to this, and submitted to the royal pleasure rather than risk their lives by further resistance. At last, with the king's leave, they sent envoys to Robert de Belesme their lord, informing him that they could not hold out any longer against the attack of the powerful king. The stipendiary troops were kept in ignorance of the capitulation, the regular garrison and the burgesses having concluded it, to save their lives, without consulting the others. When however they discovered what was thus unexpectedly arranged, they flew to arms in great dudgeon and tried to render the negotiation abortive. The garrison soldiers however blockaded them in one part of the fortress, and let in the king's troops, with a royal ensign, amidst the cheers of the townsmen. The king, taking into consideration that the stipendiaries had faithfully performed their service to their lord, as was their duty, gave them free liberty to depart with their horses and arms. Marching out of the castle in great tribulation they made public complaints of having been shamefully outwitted by the garrison and chiefs of the municipality, protesting before the whole army against their disaster being considered a slur on the character of stipendiary troops, and throwing the whole blame on the treachery of their comrades.

When Robert de Belesme received intelligence that the king had reduced his castle of Bridgnorth, on which he greatly relied, he was in the greatest distress, and, driven almost frantic, was at a loss what course to take. The king now issued orders for his army to march by the Huvel Hegen, [1] and lay siege to Shrewsbury, which stands on a rising ground washed on three sides by the river Severn. The road through a wood on this route is called by the English Huvel Hegen, which in Latin means malum callem vel vicum (bad road or street.) This road was for a thousand paces full of holes, and the surface rough with large stones, and so narrow that two men on horseback could scarcely pass


[1] The literal translation of these words in modern English would be Evil-Hedge; the intrepretation given by our author a few lines before is therefore not quite exact.

A.D. 1102.] ROBERT DE BELESME BANISHED. 337

each other. It was overshadowed on both sides by a thick wood in which bowmen were placed in ambush ready to inflict sudden wounds with hissing bolts and arrows on the troops on their march. There were more than sixty thousand infantry in the expedition, and the king gave orders that they should clear a broad track by cutting down the wood with axes, so that a road might be formed for his own passage and a public highway for ever afterwards. The royal command was promptly performed, and vast numbers of men being employed, the wood was felled, and a very broad road levelled through it.

Robert de Belesme was extremely terrified when he heard of Henry's movements, and finding himself surrounded by perils, was compelled to submit to the humiliation of imploring pardon from the invincible monarch. The stern king, however, could not forget the injuries he had received, and determined to follow up the attack with his powerful army until he had forced his enemy to surrender at discretion. At last, Robert was driven to despair by his unhappy fate, and, after consulting his friends, went to meet the king as he approached the town, and confessing his treasonable offences laid the keys of the place at his feet. Thus King Henry became master of all the estates of Robert and his vassals who had joined him in the rebellion, but he permitted him to retire unmolested, with his horses and arms, and gave him a safe conduct through England to the coast. When the banishment of the cruel tyrant was known all England was in a tumult of joy, and numbers congratulated the king with flattering words, to this effect: "Rejoice, King Henry, and return thanks to the Lord your God, for you began to reign independently from the moment you reduced Robert de Belesme to subjection, and drove him out of your kingdom".

Robert de Belesme having been thus expelled, the realm of Albion enjoyed peace and tranquillity, and during the thirty-three years of Henry's subsequent reign no one afterwards dared to revolt in England, nor held any fortress against him, Robert crossed over to Normandy boiling with rage and overwhelmed with grief; and making fierce attacks on those of his countrymen who had joined the standard of their weak prince, he chastised them severely

338 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.III.

with fire and sword. For like the dragon mysteriously described by St. John in the Apocalypse, who, cast forth from heaven, cruelly vented his wrath on the dwellers upon the earth, so this bloody butcher when driven from England spent his fury on the Normans. Sweeping their farms of all that could be carried off, he devoted them to the flames, and inflicted the torments of death or mutilation on the soldiers and others who fell into his hands. Indeed, so great was his cruelty that he preferred torturing his prisoners to enriching himself by the large ransoms he might have obtained.

Roger of Poitiers and Arnulph, Robert's brother, [1] were wealthy English earls, and through the care of their father, the earl, Roger de Montgomery, obtained great honours and domains. Arnulph married the daughter of an Irish king called Lafracoth in right of whom he aspired to get possession of her father's kingdom. [2] Insatiable ambition in attempting to gain more than is right often forfeits suddenly what has been justly acquired. The powerful king of England was so incensed against Robert's whole kindred and race, that he resolved to root them all out of his dominions. In consequence he sought favourable opportunities of dealing harshly with the two brothers, and making vigilant inquiries into such as occurred, he declared their estates forfeited and banished them from England. So implacable was his resentment that the nuns of Almeneches [3] were cruelly stripped of the lands with which Earl Roger the elder had endowed them, because their abbess, Emma, was sister of the young earls, and the king granted them to Savaric, son of Chama, [4] in knight-service.


[1] See what has been said before of these two brothers of Roger de Belesme, vol. ii. p. 203, and in the present vol. p. 277.

[2] Some further account of Arnulph's Irish affairs will be found in a subsequent chapter (xviii.) of the present book.

[3] The abbey of Almeneches at Mortree between Argentan and Seez. It was a monastery of nuns as early as the eighth century, under the direction of St. Lanthilde, and is supposed to have been one of the twelve religious houses founded by St. Evroult. After the Normans established themselves in that country, it was given to the monks of Fecamp by Richard II., and subsequently ceded by them to Roger de Montgomery who re-established it as an abbey of nuns in 1070. The first abbess was named Adelasie. Emma, Roger's daughter, replaced her in 1074, and lived till March 4, 1113.

[4] Savaric, son of Cham or Cane, was a brother of Hubert de Suzanne, as we have seen before, vol. ii. p. 505. Cane, or Cham, was his mother's name; she was the second wife of Ralph, viscount of Maine.

A.D. 1102-1105.] FRESH DISTURBANCES IN NORMANDY. 339

The expulsion of these nobles from England aggravated the state of bitter evil in Normandy, and during three years endless crimes were perpetrated there. Many villages were burnt, and the churches, with the inhabitants who fled to them for refuge as to a mother's bosom, were set on fire. Almost all Normandy rose in arms against Robert, and there was a general league to resist his tyranny; but these attempts proved fruitless, because there was no one of capacity to take the lead against the powerful freebooter. He had vast resources and great talents, and the immense wealth he had been long gathering was laid up in thirty-four strong castles, which he had formerly erected to support his rebellion. Having sole possession of nearly the whole of his father's inheritance, he relinquished no part of it to his brothers, who had forfeited their English estates through him. In consequence Roger retired to the castle of Charroux, which he possessed in right of his wife, and living there till he became old, left at his death brave sons, who became his heirs. [1] Arnulph, after many thankless enterprises in his brother's cause, became so indignant, that he went over to the duke, to whom he ceded the castle of Almeneches which he had taken by surprise, and collected about him many of his brother's partisans. [2] In consequence, there were great disturbances in the district of Seez, many of the provincials leaving Robert to join Arnulph, and giving up their castles to the duke's adherents. Robert, thus deserted by his own brother, suffered such alarms from all quarters that he scarcely trusted any one, and as he was an object of terror to all the world, he even doubted the sincerity of those who still adhered to him.


[1] Roger-le-Poitevin retired to the castle of Charroux, near Civrai, where he passed the rest of his life, as our author states. He was engaged in constant hostilities with Hugh II., lord of Lusignan, surnamed the Devil, who disputed with him the county of La Marche. He bequeathed the war to his son, Albert III., and his grandson, Albert IV.

[2] We shall find a further account of Arnulph in 1118. He gave to the abbey of St. Martin de Seez the church of St. Nicholas, within the walls of the castle at Pembroke, in 1098. It was afterwards erected into a priory, endowed as a cell of the same abbey by William Marshall. Some picturesque ruins of the church of this priory (afterwards called Monkton) are still standing.

340 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.III.

In the month of June the duke's army assembled at the convent of nuns (at Almeneches), prepared to ravage the country, and made stables of the sacred buildings. Robert, hearing this, flew to the spot, and setting the abbey on fire, took prisoners Oliver de Frenai [1] and several others, some of whom he subjected to the miseries of a long and severe imprisonment, and sentenced the others to death, or mutilation of their limbs. Duke Robert and his army marched to Exmes for the purpose of protecting his adherents. Robert de Laci, [2] who had then command of his troops, had given the custody of that castle to Malger, surnamed Malaherbe. [3] Numbers were filled with delight at the disasters which now threatened their odious tyrant, and joined the expedition against him full of zeal. William, count of Evreux, Rotro, count of Mortain, Gilbert de Laigle, [4] and all the people of Exmes leagued together to oppose him, but they were unable to fulfil their desire to the full extent of exacting from him a fitting recompence for the many wrongs they had suffered at his hands. However, Robert de St. Ceneri, [5] and Burcard his steward, with Hugh de Nonant, [6] made a long


[1] There are a dozen communes in Normandy of this name, and it is not known to which of them Oliver belonged. He was probably a son or relation of Odo-the-Red of Frenai, mentioned in a charter of William de Briose in favour of St. Florent de Saumur, confirmed by William the Conqueror. See Monastic Anglic. v. i. p. 584.

[2] Robert de Laci, son of Walter who was present at the Conquest, and probably nephew of Ilbert, held more than a hundred and twenty manors in England; but he forfeited them in 1092, and was compelled to retire to Normandy in consequence of the part he took in Robert de Mowbray's conspiracy. See before, p. 277.

[3] There have been, and still are, several noble families in Normandy of the name of Malherbe. Mauger de Malherbe probably belonged to that of Adam de Malaherba mentioned in the great charter of the Trinity of Neubourg by William, count de Mortain, in 1105, as a benefactor to that house. In England John de Malherbe appears to have been the founder of the priory of Thornyholm, in Yorkshire, about the time of King Stephen.

[4] Rotrou and Gilbert were the immediate neighbours of Robert de Belesme, and by inevitable consequence always at war with him.

[5] For Robert de St. Ceneri, second of the name, see before, vol. ii. p. 459.

[6] Hugh de Nonant-sur-Quenge, one of the favourites of Robert Curthose. See vol. ii. p. 453. He must not be confounded with another person of the same name, who was cotemporary with Henry II., and nephew of Arnulph, bishop of Lisieux. This other Hugh de Nonant was probably the bishop of Chester in 1194, of whom Matthew Paris speaks.

Our author has already mentioned twice in his eighth book Hugh de Nonant as one of the lords most exposed to the violence and treachery of Robert de Belesme; he describes him as of moderate means pauper oppidanus, but, notwithstanding, as so resolute that he resisted his powerful neighbour for a number of years, and was successful in making reprisals on him.

A.D. 1103.] ROBERT DE BELESME'S SUCCESSES. 341

resistance against him, and inflicted on him more loss and disgrace than any other Normans had done.

On the approach of the duke's army, Robert drew out his forces, and after making several false attacks on his inactive prince, fell upon him with great impetuosity at Challoux, [1] taking William de Conversana, [2] brother of the countess Sibylla, and several other prisoners. The brave Normans were filled with shame, that after their brilliant victories over foreign nations, in barbarous regions, they should be now vanquished and put to flight in the bosom of their own country by one of her sons; while Robert, encouraged beyond measure by his success, engaged in the boldest enterprises, and thenceforth held the duke so cheap, that he contemplated the conquest of the whole of Normandy. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the country, having no leader, and not being able to support the cruel tyranny of the warlike count, bowed their necks under his yoke, though with great reluctance, becoming his adherents from fear instead of love; and under his protection carried on fierce hostilities against their neighbours, with whom they were at variance. The duke's influence being thus on the wane, Robert still became more formidable, and the lords of the adjacent fiefs going over to his side, he got possession of the fortress at Exmes. He also reduced the castle of Gunter, [3] and some others in his neighbourhood.

The abbey of nuns at Almeneches having been burnt as already stated, the feeble society of virgins was miserably dispersed. Each, as hazard furnished the means, returned


[1] M. Du Bois places the field of this battle at Chailloue, a short distance from Seez, on the road to Nonant. M. Le Prevost considers it to have been fought between Le Viel-Urou and Briquetiere (Ste. Anastasie).

[2] He was also one of the principal counsellors of his brother the duke.

[3] We find (p. 333) this castle in the hands of some of the brigands of the country, who were in arms against the duke; probably the count retook it from them.

342 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.IV

to the houses of their relations or friends. Emma, the abbess, with three of the sisterhood, took refuge at Ouche, and abode for six months in the chapel where the holy father St. Evroult, intent on heavenly contemplations, had dwelt in solitude. The year following she returned to her own monastery, and by the aid of God and his faithful servants endeavoured to restore it from its ruins. She lived nearly ten years afterwards, in the course of which by great exertions she erected the church of the Virgin Mother, with the buildings required for regular order, and took great pains to collect the scattered nuns, and bring them back to the cloister. On her death she was succeeded by Matilda, her brother Philip's daughter, who, when the abbey was again injured by an accidental fire, [1] carefully repaired the church and buildings.

CH. IV. Deaths of Walter Giffard and the Duchess Sibylla - Their epitaphs - Continued hostilities in Normandy.

AT the same time, several distinguished barons in Normandy, namely, Walter Giffard, William de Breteuil, and Ralph de Conches, departed this life, and were succeeded by young men. Walter Giffard, earl of Buckingham, died in England, and his body was brought over to Normandy, as he had ordered, and buried at the entrance of the church of the blessed Virgin Mary, at Longueville. [2] His epitaph was inscribed on the wall, which was ornamented with pictures:

Among his sires, the lords of Longueville,
His bones to rest was WALTER GIFFARD'S will;
Borne hither from fair England's shores to lie
In his own work, St. Mary's priory.
The generous knight, his country's faithful son,
Gave to religion what his valour won;
And Cluni's grateful monks rejoice to raise
This pictured tablet to their founder's praise.

The monks of Cluni paid great honours to this baron's memory, and commended his soul to the Lord God by


[1] It has been already stated that Emma died March 4, 1113; all that we know of her niece Matilda is that she died on the 6th July.

[2] Longueville-la-Giffard, near Dieppe. Walter Giffard, the second of that name, died July 15, 1102. He founded in 1084 the priory of Sainte-Foi at Longueville. It was this lord who was with the army of William Rufus when he invaded the Vexin in 1097, and not his father, Walter I., as we stated in mistake. The latter died before 1084.

A.D. 1103.] DEATH OF THE DUCHESS SIBYLLA. 343

incessant prayers, mindful of the benefits they richly enjoyed on his foundation at Longueville. His wife Agnes was sister of Anselm de Ribemont, and fifteen years after their marriage gave birth to a son, who was named Walter. [1] After his father's death, she carefully educated him until he arrived at manhood, and managed his hereditary domains for him many years with great prudence. This lady, giving way to the feelings of her sex, formed an affection for Duke Robert, and entangled him in an illicit connection, by the blandishments of love. Promising him succour against his enemies, both from her own resources and those of her powerful relations, she induced the silly duke to engage that on the death of his present wife, he would not only marry her, but entrust to her the government of the whole of Normandy.

Not long afterwards the duchess Sibylla took to her bed, infected by poison, and died in the season of Lent, to the general sorrow. [2] William, archbishop of Rouen, celebrated her obsequies with the clergy and people, respectfully interring her in the church of St. Mary, mother of God. Her grave in the nave of the church is covered with a polished slab of white marble, on which the following epitaph may be distinctly seen.

Not birth, nor beauty, rank, or power,
Can lengthen this life's fleeting hour;
Ev'n the illustrious SIBYLLE must,
Laid in this tomb, return to dust.
Apulia mourns her daughter's fate,
And Normandy is desolate;
The duchess gone, whose conduct pure,
And all that could her hopes secure
The wisdom to promote her weal
And liberal hand her wounds to heal
She lost, when in the Golden Fleece
The bright sun shone: God give her peace.


[1] Walter Giffard, third of that name, died in 1164, according to Robert du Mont (Hist. de France, t. xiii. p. 309), without leaving any issue by his wife Ermengarde.

[2] This duchess had, according to the continuator of Jumieges, more intelligence and capacity for business than her husband, who often entrusted her with the administration of affairs during his absence. Sibylla paid dearly during her short residence in Normandy for the mistake she made in quitting the delicious climate and advanced civilization of Italy to attach herself to a prince who possessed neither talent nor morals.

344 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.IV.

After these occurrences, the tumults of war which had already commenced, spread, from circumstances which suddenly happened, through almost the whole of Normandy. They raged so furiously that the duke was unable to marry again, and Agnes, remaining a widow, aspired in vain to share the bed of her sovereign.

At that time violent hostilities broke out between the people of Breteuil, Evreux, and others in that neighbourhood. William de Breteuil had married Adeline, the daughter of Hugh de Montfort, but he had no son born in wedlock. He died at Bec on the second of the ides [the 12th] of January, but was buried at Lire, in the abbey which his father had founded on his own fief. His nephews William de Guader [1] and Reynold de Grancei [2] disputed the succession; but the Normans chose Eustace, his son by a concubine, preferring a countryman of their own, although he was a bastard, to a Burgundian or Breton of legitimate birth. In consequence, the parties flew to arms with great violence, and the country was still further desolated. William de Guader dying soon afterwards Reynold became stronger, and William earl of Evreux joined with many others in affording him aid. Ralph de Conches, [3] son of Isabel, Ascelin Goel, [4] and Amauri de Montfort [5] collected their forces on the side of Reynold, and did much mischief to their neighbours, devastating their country by hostile inroads, but they rendered but little service to the cause they espoused. For Eustace, supported by William Alis, Ralph-the-Red, [6]


[1] William de Guader, son of Ralph de Guader (see vol. ii. p. 78), and eldest brother of Ralph Il. de Guader, who will appear hereafter. There was a third brother, Alan de Guader, who accompanied his father to the crusade, and probably never returned. See before, p. 97.

[2] Reynold de Grancei, of the noble house of Grancei in Burgundy. We shall have an opportunity in the sequel of speaking of this person and his family.

[3] Ralph de Conches, third of that name, son of Isabel, of Montfort l'Amauri.

[4] Ascelin Gouel, lord of Ivri, son of Robert Gouel, lord of Breval.

[5] Amauri de Montfort, third of that name, brother of Isabel.

[6] William Alis was one of the principal vassals of the lords of Breteuil. This family gave its name to two mills, one at Breteuil, the other at Carentonne near Bernai, an estate which it had held for a long period. The father of this person was witness of the confirmation by William Fitz-Osborne of the grant of Guernanville to St. Evroult. The name of the one or other of them appears in Domesday-book as tenant in capite in Hampshire. The one mentioned by our author was probably the donor of lands to the canons of the priory of St. Denys, near Southampton, confirmed a long time afterwards by Geoffrey Laci, bishop of Winchester. See the Monastic Anglic. v. xi. p. 110.

Ralph-the-Red, lord of Pont-Echanfre, now Notre-Dame-du-Hamel. The third person mentioned is unknown. He was probably, like Ralph-the-Red, from the neighbourhood of St. Evroult, so that our author did not think it necessary to point him out more distinctly.

A.D. 1107.] POPE PASCHAL VISITS ADELA DE BLOIS. 345

Theobald, and other barons, made a brave resistance, and by their advice he implored help from the king of England against his numerous adversaries. The king gave him his daughter Juliana in marriage, promising him effectual succour against Goel and all his other enemies. At the same time he married another daughter to Rotro count of Mortain, who bore her husband a daughter named Philippa. [1]

CH. V. Paschal II. visits France - Goes to Chartres - Character and history of Adela, countess de Blois - Her children and death.

IN the year of our Lord 1103, [2] Pope Paschal paid a visit to France, and being received with great honours faithfully performed his sacred office. The venerable Ivo, bishop of Chartres, was then distinguished among the doctors of France for his learning, both sacred and profane, and, on his invitation, the pope celebrated the feast of Easter at Chartres. The Countess Adela contributed large sums for the pope's expenses, and received the benediction of the apostolical see for herself and her house for ever. That honourable lady, on her husband's pilgrimage, took upon herself the government of his county, and carefully educated their children to become protectors of holy church. [3]

William, the eldest, married the daughter of Gilo de Sulli, and succeeding to the domains of his father-in-law had a


[1] The name of this natural daughter of Henry I. was Matilda.

[2] Our author is mistaken in his date of this visit of the pope, which did not take place till 1107. He left Cluni in the month of February, and arrived at St. Denys in April.

[3] The countess Adela, a woman of great spirit and a warm heart, possessed a more cultivated understanding than either of her brothers. It is supposed that the history of Normandy which has the singular title of Draco Normanicus, was composed for her. La Porte du Theil has given the contents of the chapters in his Notices et Extraits des MSS. de la Bibliotheque du Roi.

346 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.V.

long and peaceable life, and left a worthy offspring, Odo, Rahier. *** [1]

Theobald, [2] count Palatine, distinguished himself in the wars, but he loved peace and ruled with equity, and was the most eminent of the princes of France for wealth and valour. He married Matilda, daughter of Duke Ingelbert, and after the death of King Henry, his uncle, obtained the duchy of Normandy and checked the savage feuds of his subjects by using freely the rod of lawful discipline.

As for Stephen, the third son of Stephen de Blois, having been knighted by his uncle Henry, and taken prisoner by William count of Mortain at the battle of Tinchebrai, the king granted him that county. He married Matilda, daughter of Eustace count of Boulogne, by his wife Mary; and in her right inherited all his states. At last, when King Henry died at the castle of Lions on the fourth of the nones [the 2nd] of December, Stephen crossed the sea and was crowned king of England in the beginning of the year 1136.

In the last place, Henry, the youngest son [of Stephen de Blois] became a monk of Cluni while he was yet a boy; he was made abbot of Glastonbury when a young man, and afterwards promoted to the see of Winchester on the death of William Giffard. [3]


[1] The MS. of St. Evroult has a blank in this place which is only noticed in one of the printed editions. As William de Blois had, as it will shortly appear, three children besides the two here named, it was probably intended to be filled up with their names. This William de Blois, the eldest brother of this illustrious family, was deformed and stammered; he was also narrow-minded and subject to violent bursts of passion. He married the daughter of Gilo do Sulli of whom we have had occasion to speak on several occasions. From disgust to the memory of parents who had disinherited him, he took the name and arms of his wife, who bore him five children, three sons and two daughters. His third son, Henry, had the abbey of Fecamp given him by his uncle, King Stephen, and lived till 1189. Margaret, his eldest daughter, married Henry, count d'Eu, and Elizabeth, the second, was abbess of Caen, as appears before, vol. ii. p. 377.

[2] Theobald IV., surnamed the Great, married Matilda, daughter of Engelbert, duke of Carinthia and Frioul. He will appear on the stage in the course of this history as a supporter of his uncle and brother.

[3] The two last of these sons of Stephen and Adela will become prominent actors in the sequel of our author's history, and afford many opportunities of referring to them. It is only necessary to remark at present that our author fixes the coronation of King Stephen in the year 1136, because he begins the year at Christmas, but the ceremony was performed on the 26th December, the feast of the patron saint of the new king.

A.D. 1107.] ADELA TAKES THE VEIL. 347

At length the mother of this illustrious progeny, began to reflect on the dark hour of the shades of death, after enjoying great wealth and those delights, the abundance of which corrupts and ruins the souls of sinners; she therefore voluntarily resigned the fleeting pleasures and vain pomps of the world, and becoming a nun at Marcigni [1] under the severe rule of the Cluniac order, devoted herself to the service of the King of Sabaoth. I have anticipated the current events in giving this account of an illustrious mother and her prosperous offspring, the end of whose uncertain fortunes I cannot yet know. I must now recur to the regular course of my narrative, from which I have somewhat digressed. [2]

CH. VI. King Henry interferes to settle the disputes respecting the succession to William de Breteuil's fiefs - During the hostilities, a rich burgess carried off by surprise.

THE king of England commissioned Robert, earl of Mellent, to put an end to the intestine divisions of Normandy, enjoining Duke Robert and the other lords to support his son-in-law, and oppose his enemies, or they would otherwise incur the consequences of his royal indignation. In consequence many of them, on understanding that Eustace enjoyed the king's favour, remained quiet, and those who had most opposed him were the first to render him aid. Reynold, however, and Goel, [3] with other bold men, persisted in their iniquitous enterprises, and instead of paying any respect to the royal injunction, refused to desist from their attacks on the king's son-in-law; and with wicked daring still carried fire and sword through the country. Among Reynold's other cruel deeds, having taken by assault one of the enemy's castles, he intercepted the whole garrison as they were


[1] At the priory of Marcigni-sur-Loire, founded in 1056 by St. Hugh, abbot of Cluni. She took the veil before 1117, and died there in 1137, according to the continuator of William de Jumieges.

[2] Our author now returns to the competitors for the inheritance of William de Breteuil, having broken the thread of his narrative very unfortunately, for the purpose of introducing the visit of the pope to Chartres four years before it took place.

[3] Ascelin de Goel, lord of Breval and Ivri.

348 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.VI.

marching out, and plunging his own sword into the bosom of each individual, butchered them all without mercy, as if they had been brute beasts. Becoming universally odious, principally on account of this barbarity, and Eustace obtaining signal successes and recovering the whole of his father's fief, Reynold was driven out of Normandy. On his return to his native country, he began to plot against William [de Guader], his elder brother, but, by a just judgment of God, while he was fomenting disturbances, he fell into his brother's hands, who threw him into prison, where he suffered the just punishment of his criminal enterprises. [1]

About the same time Goel placed a watch on John, [2] son of Stephen, who lived at Meulan, and seizing him as he was returning from a conference with the count his lord, who was then at Beaumont, in Normandy, he kept the avaricious usurer nearly four months in close prison. The count made earnest efforts for the liberation of his burgess, who was extremely rich, but he could not draw him out of the fox's mouth without the good offices of several lords. The politic count Robert, therefore concluded a peace with William, count of Evreux, betrothing his daughter Emma, then only a year old, [3] to William's nephew Amauri. Ralph de Conches, Eustace, and Goel, and other belligerent lord marchers were included in this pacification. In consequence John was set at liberty, and peace and security were restored to many others.

The year following Isabel, the wife of the earl of Mellent, gave birth to twins, who were named Walter and Robert, and from some impediments which occurred, Amauri was prevented from espousing the child he had been promised.


[1] As we have already remarked, this nobleman belonged to the illustrious house of Grancei, which derived its name from Grancei-le-Chatel, Cote-d'Or, in Burgundy. His wife's name was Agnes.

[2] A rich burgess of Meulan.

[3] Adeline de Meulan, who married Hugh, lord of Montfort-sur-Risle.

[4] In 1104.

A.D. 1103.] ROBERT DE BELESME'S TYRANNY. 349

CH. VII. Duke Robert makes peace with Robert de Belesme - The bishop and abbot of Seez take refuge in England from Belesme's tyranny - The abbot becomes bishop of Rochester, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury.

THE duke, abandoned to sloth, and perceiving the country laid waste, and that he was unable to defend the territories of his duchy against Robert de Belesme, broke the engagement he had made with the king, and without his consent concluded peace with Robert, restoring to him his patrimonial estates, namely the bishopric of Seez, and other domains before mentioned. In consequence the venerable Serlo, bishop of Seez, [1] rather than submit to Robert's tyranny and live under his yoke, chose to retire from his bishopric. Abandoning his see, he became a wanderer in foreign countries, and excommunicated Robert and his adherents.

Robert de Belesme also persecuted in various ways Ralph the abbot of Seez, a cheerful, facetious, and amiable person, and oppressing the vassals of St. Martin. [2] The Bishop, with iniquitous exactions, forced the abbot to secede by these unjust inflictions on his subjects. Thus both bishop and abbot, weary of the tyrant's yoke, took refuge in England, where they met a kind reception and comfort from King Henry.

About this time, the venerable Gundulf, bishop of Rochester, died, and abbot Ralph was appointed his successor by canonical election. He was consecrated bishop of Rochester, by Anselm, the reverend archbishop of Canterbury, and became some years afterwards his successor in that see.

CH. VIII. Magnus Barfod's expedition to Ireland, in which he was slain - King Henry seizes his treasure at Lincoln - Relieved by his death from alarms in that quarter - Arnulph de Montgomery in Ireland.

AT that time, Magnus, the powerful king of Norway, sailed round the British isles, [3] and landing on the islands as


[1] Serlo d'Orgeres, near Gace, the ex-abbot of St. Evroult. See vol. ii. p. 521, and the present vol. p. 30.

[2] Ralph d'Escures, abbot of St. Martin at Seez. Respecting this bishop, see vol. ii. p. 464.

[3] See the notes on Magnus Barfod's naval expeditions before, pp. 213, 216, 217. The opening of this chapter may apply to several of them, but Ordericus goes on to give some further details of the last in which the Norwegian king was slain in 1103.

350 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.VIII.

far as Ireland, prudently founded colonies in them, and commanded towns and villages to be constructed as in other countries. In consequence the Irish were extremely hostile to him, and did all in their power to oppose him, using every device to crush their enemy, either by force or fraud. Thereupon, the valiant king undertook an expedition against them, appearing with his fleet on the coast of Ireland. The Irish, struck with terror at the king's power, called on the Normans, and Arnulph, [1] and his auxiliaries hastened to bring them succour. But the united forces were awed by the presence of the formidable Magnus, and not daring to give him battle consulted how they might best manage to lead him into a snare by base treachery.

At last, some smooth-speaking men came to him with apparent amity, and enticed him on frivolous pretences to land from his ships and see the country, which they persuaded him he would be able to subdue with a small force. Magnus, too easily trusting the traitors, left his armed troops on the shore, and being conducted two miles by the traitors fell into the trap which cost him his life. For he found a large band of his enemies lying in ambush, who rushed on him from their place of concealment, and the daring Norwegian, disdaining to fly, encountered them bravely. But a handful of men could not withstand the attack of innumerable assailants. Magnus, setting his back against a tree, and covered by his shield, hurled his darts against the enemy, and wounded several of them, but, alas! he fell overwhelmed by numbers. [2]

A rich citizen of Lincoln kept the treasure of king Magnus, and supplied him with ornaments, plate, arms, furniture, and whatever else the royal service required. This man, having


[1] Arnulph de Montgomery being at this time governor or keeper of Pembroke castle, on Milford Haven, from which there has been easy communication with Ireland from the earliest times, the calling in of the Normans from that strong fortress was very natural. Strongbow's expedition afterwards embarked there for the conquest of Ireland.

[2] Magnus Barfod was slain in a sudden attack of the Irish in Ulster on St. Bartholomew's day, August 24, 1103, when he was on the point of re-embarking for Norway. His Saga in Snorro Sturleson's Heimskringla gives all the details in the vivid style of the Icelandic scalds.

A.D. 1103.] MAGNUS OF NORWAY SLAIN. 351

learnt the king's death, hastened home, and trafficking with the king's treasure, speedily amassed vast wealth. [1]

Meanwhile, the king of England received the intelligence that Magnus was slain, with great satisfaction, feeling himself relieved from a great burden, and some time afterwards required the citizen of Lincoln to give up the late king's treasure. The merchant at first denied that he had any such deposit, but the king, having convicted him of the falshood, suddenly arrested him, and extorted from him, as it is said, more than twenty thousand pounds of silver.

The Irish, having tasted the blood of king Magnus and his followers, became still more savage, and made a sudden attempt to massacre the Normans. Their king also carried off his daughter, who was married to Arnulph, and contracted an illicit union for the wanton with one of his cousins, resolved to kill Arnulph himself, as the reward of his alliance; but the knight, discovering the execrable frauds of this barbarous people, made his escape to his countrymen, and lived for nearly twenty years afterwards without having any settled abode. At last, in his old age, having been reconciled with the king, to outward appearance at least, he married, and on the morrow of his nuptials fell asleep after a banquet, and shortly expiring, left the guests to listen to funeral dirges instead of an epithalamium.

King Henry grew stronger, [2] as his enemies on every side


[1] Our author supplies us in this paragraph with a short but curious notice of the mercantile connection which subsisted at that period between England and Norway. The Northmen had long been the greatest maritime power in Europe, and besides their trade by sea, had commercial relations with the east. Their merchants were settled in many of the great towns in England, and particularly in the "Five-Burghs", of which Lincoln, where this agent of Magnus Barfod is stated to have lived, was one. He was doubtless of Anglo-Norwegian origin, as almost all the free people of the north and east of England were. See Warsae's "Danes in England", pp. 104 and 152, and an Essay in the Jubilee edition of the Works of King Alfred.

[2] "I do not understand how the death of the king of Norway could so powerfully consolidate the throne of Henry I., but usurpers are surrounded by terrors; and, besides, there still existed great sympathy for the Norwegians in the north of England".- Le Prevost. The facts are that the free population of that part of the island was essentially composed of the descendants of the Northmen, the Anglo-Saxons having been exterminated or reduced to slavery; and their colonies and influence were also extended throughout the eastern and central districts in fifteen out of the thirty-two counties of England. This hardy and independent race bowed reluctantly to the Norman yoke, and neither the Conqueror nor his sons were able fully to establish their power north of the Humber. Besides which, the kings of Norway had not forgotten that their ancestors once wore the English crown. The malcontents in England maintained intimate relations with their kinsmen in Scandinavia, and the kings were ready to take advantage of any opportunity of re-establishing their power, so that even so late as 1138 King Eric-Lam contemplated an invasion. Scarcely was Henry I. seated on the throne, when it was shaken by the northern rebellion, which it required all his talent and force of character to quell. Aware of this element in the political state of his kingdom, that sagacious prince might well exult at the death of so powerful and enterprising a king as Magnus Barfod, and we are indebted to our author for conveying to us the impression which it must have generally made at that period.

As to Henry's seizure of the Norwegian king's treasure at Lincoln, Magnus Barfod being at that time (as he has told us himself, before, p. 259) at peace with England, the act was contrary to all principles of international law, but our Norman kings were not scrupulous in their confiscations and exactions, and Henry was as avaricious as most of his family.

332 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.IX.

yielded to the adverse issues of their variable fortunes, but his security was especially increased by the fall of King Magnus, and his resources were aggrandised, to his great satisfaction, by the royal treasure on which he had laid hands.

CH. IX. Lewis of France at the court of King Henry - Intrigues of Queen Bertrade - Lewis escapes being poisoned - Succeeds Philip I.

AT the same time, the young Lewis crossed over to England, [1] by his father's leave, with a retinue which though small was composed of men of ability. The illustrious youth came to the court of Henry as an aspirant in arms, and was received by him with the honours due to his royal birth, and treated with perfect good will under all circumstances. However, he was speedily followed by a messenger from his step-mother Bertrade, who was the bearer of despatches to King Henry under the seal of Philip, king of France. The king, who was a scholar, [2] read the letter, and after perusing it, hastily


[1] It was not at this time as our author states, but as early as Christmas in the year 1100, that the visit of the heir of the crown of France to the English court took place. The young prince was then twenty-three years of age.

[2] Literatus rex. We have not ventured to put a gloss on the phrase adopted by our author, as there seems to be some doubt respecting Henry's claims to be considered a man of letters in the modern sense of the words, notwithstanding his surname of Beauclerc. It is singular that neither Henry of Huntingdon nor William of Malmesbury, cotemporary writers, who have taken extended views of his character, the latter even describing his person, should be altogether silent on the subject of his literary attainments. Malmesbury, indeed, says incidentally that "he could not much read aloud", quamvis ipse nec multum palam legeret, which gives occasion to M. Le Prevost to remark that it must have given him some trouble to peruse the French king's letter.

A.D. 1101.] BERTRADE ATTEMPTS TO POISON LEWIS. 353

summoned his council and had a long consultation on the affair. The purport of the letter, he had just read, was, that Philip, king of France, requested him to arrest his son, who had come over to the English court, and keep him in close confinement for the rest of his life. Henry, with his usual sagacity, ably discussed with his faithful barons the folly and indecency of the demand which the king of France had addressed to him through his queen's intrigues, and gave a flat refusal to a proposal altogether so abominable and unworthy of a king, and so repugnant to himself and his nobles.

William de Buschelai, [1] a knight of intelligence, who was in attendance on Lewis, discovered the affair while it was still a secret, and, in consequence, although he had not been summoned to the council, entered the apartment as if for amusement. The king immediately gave him a gracious message to Lewis, requesting him to retire quietly from his court; and sent him back to France, having loaded both the prince and his companions with munificent presents. Lewis, discovering his step-mother's perfidy, went to his father in great wrath, and informed him of the terrible calamity to which his letter had exposed him in a foreign country. The king, who knew nothing of the infamous treachery, denied the whole, and the young prince, boiling with rage, sought his step-mother's death; she however tried every means to be before him in the work of destruction, and, having sent for three wizards, who were of the number of the clergy, promised them a large sum of money to procure Lewis's death. [2] These miscreants performed their cursed sorceries for three days, and promised the cruel adulteress that Lewis would be a corpse in nine days more, if they continued their incantations. In the interval one of them revealed the


[1] William de Buchelai, near Mantes, one of the most devoted servants of Lewis-le-Gros.

[2] Bertrade's infamous attempts on the liberty, and then on the life of her step-son, are quite in character with her previous history. See before, pp. 3, 4.

354 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.IX

jugglery of his fellows, and they were both arrested, so that, by God's mercy, their machinations were incomplete. Then the audacious step-mother had recourse to dealers in poison, and induced them, by promises of great rewards, to administer it to the king's son. In consequence, the illustrious youth took to his bed, and for many days could neither eat nor sleep. Almost all the French were in despair at the danger to which, the lawful heir to the crown was exposed. At last, all remedies adminstered by the French physicians having failed, a man from Barbary, [1] with a long beard, [2] presented himself, and applied the experience of his medical skill to the desperate case of the young prince, and by God's help succeeded, in spite of the jealous interference of the native physicians. This person had long resided among the infidels, where he had studied under masters deeply versed in the secrets of physical science, who had become eminent among the wisest of the barbarians for their knowledge acquired by the patient investigation of philosophical truth. The royal youth recovered at last, but he was pale to the day of his death. [3]

Bertrade was in despair at her step-son's being restored to health. Fear of the consequences of the injury she had tried to do him produced hatred, which became daily on the increase. Sparing no efforts to accomplish her anxiety for his destruction, she engaged many partners in her iniquity, that, released from all fear of the young prince she had so much offended, the government might fall into her own hands, and on his death she might be better able to place her own sons, Philip [4] and Florus [5] on the throne. However, the king humbly implored his son's forgiveness of his


[1] Barbarie. Probably not Barbary in Africa, but the country occupied by the African Moors in Spain, where there were at this period very flourishing schools of medicine, the Arab races furnishing, as is well known, physicians and writers on that science, far in advance of the Christians.

[2] Hirsutus. Our author loses no opportunity of marking the horror felt by the clergy of that age for long hair and long beards.

[3] Notwithstanding his corpulence, Lewis continued pale all his life in consequence of the poisons administered to him by Bertrade's means.

[4] Philip, count of Mantes and lord of Mehun-sur-Ievre, married in 1104 Elizabeth, daughter of Gui Troussel, lord of Montlheri, one of the Fanan-bules of Antioch. See before p. 129.

[5] Fleuri married the heiress of Nangis, by whom he had Elizabeth de Nangis, wife of Ansel de Venisi.

A.D. 1103.] LEWIS LE GROS SUCCEEDS PHILIP I. 355

criminal step-mother, promising amendment on her behalf, and ceding to him Pontoise and all the Vexin, as the price of his reconciliation. Lewis, after consulting the bishops and barons, who he knew were devoted to him, and out of respect for his father's dignity, pardoned the offence. Bertrade trembled at his frown, now that she found her wickedness was discovered, and, covered with shame, humbled herself to become his handmaid, and thenceforth, though reluctantly, abstained from further attempts on the life against which she had so much practised. Lewis succeeded to the throne of France five years afterwards, on his father's death, and reigned twenty-seven years. [1] He always esteemed Henry, the king of England, who had been so true to him as before related, and never had any disputes with him, but against his own inclination, and through the intrigues of mischievous traitors.

CH. X. King Henry crosses over to Normandy with a powerful armament - Norman barons, his adherents - Conference with Duke Robert - The country of Lisieux ceded to the king.

RALPH DE CONCHES crosed over the sea after his father's death, and received a gracious reception from the king, who confirmed him in his father's English honours and estates. He married Adeliza, the daughter of Earl Waltheof and Judith, the king's cousin, [2] who bore him Roger and Hugh, besides several daughters. Many other lords, who were men of spirit, thus deserted the spiritless duke, and prudently attached themselves to the sagacious king, imploring him


[1] "From the 3rd of August, 1108, the day of his coronation, to the 1st of August, 1137 (?) which makes twenty-nine years instead of twenty-seven".- Le Prevost. This prince has the same character for gormandizing given him by Henry of Huntingdon as his father. "Whose god", he says "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".- Letter to Walter, in Henry of Huntingdon's works, Antiq. Lib. p. 313, and see preface p. xii., where it is shown that the letter to Walter was written in 1135, which, connected with the assertion that Lewis was then dead, confirms the computation of Ordericus.

[2] Adeliza, daughter of Earl Waltheof and Judith, daughter of the countess of Aumale, sister of William the Conqueror. We shall find in the year 1134, Roger de Toeni, the eldest of their children.

356 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.X.

with tears in their eyes to succour the suffering church of God, and their wretched country. Henry was therefore gently entreated, or rather earnestly petitioned, by many honourable persons, both of the clergy and laity, to visit the heritage of his ancestors, which was miserably desolated, and, cheering by his presence a country which had no governor, take posession of it, and defend it against abandoned robbers by bringing them to justice.

In the year of our Lord 1104, Henry, king of England, sailed over to Normandy with a powerful fleet, and visited Domfront, and the other castles which were under his dominion, [1] in great state. He was received honourably by his principal vassals who made him large presents, fitting a king. Robert earl of Mellent, and Richard of Chester, Stephen earl of Aumale, and Henry count d'Eu, Rotrou count de Mortain, Eustace of Boulogne, Ralph de Conches, Robert Fitz-Hamon, Robert de Montfort, and Ralph de Mortemer, with several others, held many lordships under him in England, and having espoused his cause in Normandy with their vassals, were ready to have recourse to arms and support it zealously against all the world. In a few days he summoned his brother to a conference and accused him, in the presence of his parasites, with having broken the treaty they had concluded in England, by making peace without his consent with Robert de Belesme, who was a traitor to them both, restoring to him, contrary to law and justice, the fiefs held by his father. Henry further reproached the duke with having by his indolence abetted thieves, robbers, and other malefactors; and having hopelessly abandoned Normandy to the shameless bullies by whom he was enslaved, and with filling the office of shepherd and prince to no purpose, while he did not exercise the powers of government for the benefit of the church of God and the defenceless people, instead of leaving them to the tender mercies of their persecutors, like sheep in the jaws of wolves. The king stated his case with great reason and ability, asserting that the


[1] This passage shows with what regard to the faith of treaties Henry had observed the stipulation in that of 1101, by which Domfront was the only castle be reserved in Normandy. See before p. 285.

[2] Deserviret. Duchesne's reading is deseraeris, which must be a mistake.

A.D. 1105.] DUKE ROBERT HUMBLED BY KING HENRY. 357

duke had broken the treaty made between the two brothers in many important particulars which he could not deny, but excused himself by throwing the blame on his contemptible associates. In fact he was equally destitute of judgment and friends, making light of the society and counsels of good and wise men, and miserably following an opposite course, to the detriment of his people as well as himself. In the present embarrased state of his affairs, having advised with those about him, he implored, as was natural, for the weaker of the two brothers, the favour of the stronger, and gave up to him William count of Evreux, [1] with his county and all his vassals; for both Robert and his adherents were alarmed lest they should be brought to public trial, and the duke be justly deprived of the duchy which he nominally, not really, governed, or should have to sustain a formidable war against his royal brother, to his utter destruction.

The illustrious count [of Evreux], hearing that he was to be transferred like a horse or an ox, and wishing to preserve his integrity and fealty, said publicly to the princes: "I have served your father faithfully all my days, never having stained my sworn fealty in any matter hitherto; I have also observed it to his heir, and determined to use every effort to continue in the same. But it being impossible, as I have often heard learned doctors quote from the scripture, and God himself has declared in the gospel, for any one to serve in peace two masters who disagree with each other, it is my earnest desire to be subject to only one lord, lest being liable to a double service, I shall satisfy neither of them. I love both the king and the duke; both are the sons of the king my lord, and I wish to respect both; but I will only do homage to one of them, and him I will loyally serve as my lord". This candid declaration pleased every one.

The duke Robert himself placed the count's hand in the king's; and peace being restored between the brothers, Henry returned to England before winter. Soon however,


[1] William, who was at the battle of Hastings, became count of Evreux on the death of his father, which happened on the 13th of October, 1067, and died himself the 18th of April, 1118. He was grandson of Archbishop Robert, and consequently cousin, one degree removed, from William the Conqueror.

358 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH. XI.

the fierce freebooters renewed their hostile excursions, and quickly overturned all that the king and great men had ordered for the good of the country. For Robert de Belesme was greatly disturbed at the advantages the king, whom he cordially hated, had obtained by his journey, and in concert with his nephew, William, earl of Morton, [1] and such others as he was able to seduce, commenced hostilities against the king's adherents. In consequence, the evil disposed subjects in that district were guilty of greater excesses than I can describe. They presently stained the whole province with murder and robbery, and, carrying off their booty and putting the inhabitants to death, set fire to the houses. The country people with their wives and children fled into France where they suffered greatly in their exile. Thus the Normans, who boasted of being the conquerors of the English and Apulians on their native soil, were now reduced to labour in misery and sorrow on the fields of France. Meanwhile, their own gardens, left deserted, were overrun with thistles and nettles, which covered the ground, for want of cultivation.

CH. XI. The bishop of Seez officiates in presence of King Henry at Carentan - The bishop's discourse on the miseries of the country and the evil fashions of the age - He crops the long hair of Henry and his courtiers.

AMIDST these calamities, holy church was grievously persecuted; and while she frequently witnessed the deaths of her


[1] William, earl of Morton, cousin-german of Robert Curthose and Henry I.

[2] Our author has omitted to mention the grounds of the animosity which subsisted between the king and the earl of Morton. It appears that their mutual hatred was of old date, but it broke out in consequence of the demand made by William to the investiture of the earldom of Kent, to which he founded his pretensions on a devise by his uncle Bishop Odo. He was a young nobleman of a most active disposition, and as much distinguished for ability as his father was for want of talent, from whom he inherited the earldom of Cornwall. Indignant at the refusal he received from King Henry, and the forfeiture of his earldom of Cornwall in 1104, he retired to Normandy, where, guided by the counsels of Robert de Belesme, his uncle, he became one of the king's most dangerous enemies. He also entertained great antipathy towards the young Richard, earl of Chester, his neighbour in Normandy, who, being a minor, was placed by the king under his guardianship, nonnulla partibus ejus appenditia invasit, carpsit, abrasit. He was exposed to horrible and long-continued cruelties, after falling into Henry's hands at the battle of Tinchebrai.

A.D. 1105.] KING HENRY INVADES NORMANDY. 359

innocent children, and the irreparable loss of lives, pure hands were lifted to heaven with heart-felt prayers to her Spouse, who rules above, to afford her relief. Cries of distress from suffering Normandy were wafted across the channel, and the complaints of the desolate people of Normandy were addressed to the king of England. Gunhier d'Aunai, [1] who had the custody of Bayeux, and Reynold de Warrenne, [2] who espoused the cause of the duke, with his other partizans, broke the treaty of peace, and, making prisoners Robert Fitz-Hamon [3] and some other of the king's adherents, detained them long in prison, both to extort heavy ransoms and and to show their contempt and hatred of the king. [4] In consequence, the vigilant monarch no sooner heard


[1] Gontier de Launai, or d'Aunai, nephew of Hugh de Nonant. There are two places of the name of Launai, and seven with that of Aunai in Normandy. Probably this was Aunai-le-Bois, in the canton of Mesle-sur-Sarthe, or Notre Dame-d'Aunai, near Sap, both not far from Nonant.

[2] Reynold de Warrenne, brother of the earl of Surrey.

[3] Grandson of Hamon-aux-Dents, lord of Torigni, Creuilli, and other vast domains, who was killed at the battle of Valesdunes. It has already appeared, vol. ii. p4 473, that he married Sibylla de Montgomery.

[4] This happened in the commencement of the year 1105. Robert Fitz-Hamon was surprised by troops from Bayeux and Caen, placed in ambush at Sicqueville in Bessin, while he was overrunning the country to reduce it to submission to the king of England. He took refuge in the church tower, but his assailants set it on fire, and he was obliged to come down and surrender. While they were conducting him to Bayeux, his guard kept shouting in his ear (as Wace tells us, who supplies these details, t. ii. p. 392)-

La hart, la hart al traitor, Ki a guerpi son dreit seignor!

However justly merited these imprecations, they were probably lost upon him, as he received a contusion on the brain, while defending himself in the church tower, which deprived him of his reason for the rest of his life, prolonged till March, 1107. This circumstance was regarded as a sign of the divine wrath, not at Robert Fitzhamon's rebellion against his lawful sovereign, but for the disasters occasioned by his captivity, such as the pillage of Bayeux and the burning of the cathedral. It might be remarked that they happened after the accident which deprived Robert of his reason; but the historian himself adds that the impression is erroneous, as the king repaired the injuries received by the cathedral of Bayeux with great magnificence, and Robert Fitz-Hamon founded an abbey at Tewkesbury, distinguished both for its noble architecture, and the worth of its monks. See Monast. Anglic. vol. i. p. 153.

360 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XI.

these occurrences, than he gave orders to fit out a fleet. Crossing over to Normandy the spring following, he landed at the port called Barbaflot, in the last week of Lent, [1] and on Easter eve, [2] found quarters in the village of Carentan, on the fords of the Vire, where he rested for a while.

Serlo, the venerable bishop of Seez, met him there, being the first of the Normans who offered their services to King Henry; and undertook the celebration of the Paschal solemnities in honour of the King of kings. Entering the church in company with Henry, and being robed in his sacred vestments in readiness to commence the holy office, while waiting patiently the assembling of the people and the royal household, he observed that the church was encumbered with the chests of the villagers, and a quantity of implements and furniture of various kinds. Drawing a deep sigh, he thus poured forth his grief to the king, who had humbly seated himself with some of his nobles among the peasants' paniers [3] at the lower end of the church: "The hearts of the faithful may well be afflicted on observing the humiliation of the church and the sufferings of the unhappy people. The spectacle exhibited in this church shows the desolation to which the Cotentin is subjected. In truth, the whole of Normandy is a prey to irreligious freebooters, for want of a fitting ruler. The church of God, which was once called the house of prayer, is now, as you see, indecently filled with this vile lumber; and the edifice which ought to be set apart for the sole purpose of celebrating the divine sacraments, is, for want of a just protector, become the storehouse of the people. It is impossible for the congregation to bend their knees with due reverence before the altar, nor even stand as they should with ease and devotion in presence of the Divine Majesty, on account of the heaps of goods which the defenceless peasants have collected in this house of God, to save them, in their alarm, from the sons of violence. The church is thus made the people's stronghold, but even there perfect security is not found. This very year, Robert


[1] Barfleur. Holy-Week.

[2] Holy Saturday, the 8th of April.

[3] Cistas. M. Le Prevost considers that the large round baskets suspended by the peasants on the sides of their pack-horses, are meant.

A.D. 1105.] THE BISHOP OF SEEZ ADDRESSES HENRY. 361

de Belesme set fire to the church of Tournai in my diocese, [1] destroying in it forty-five persons of both sexes. I relate this, overwhelmed with sorrow, in the presence of God; I tell it in your ears, my lord king, to inflame your heart with holy zeal, that you may strive to imitate Phineas, [2] Mattathias [3] and his sons. Rouse yourself to action in the name of the Lord, and with the sword of justice make yourself master of your father's inheritance, and recover the territory of your ancestors and the people of God from the dominion of abandoned men. Your brother Robert is not really in possession of Normandy, and does not govern his subjects as a duke who ought to guide them in the path of justice, but, abandoned to sloth, is subservient to William de Conversana, Hugh de Nonant, the governor of Rouen, Gunhier, his nephew, and other worthless men. Alas! he dissipates in trivial follies the wealth of his noble duchy, while he often fasts till nones [4] for want of bread. The greatest part of his time he lies in bed, and is prevented from going to church, because such is his want of clothes, that he has neither trowsers, stockings, or shoes. The buffoons and harlots, by whom he is constantly surrounded, carry off his clothes during the night, while he is drunk and snoring, and boast with derision that they have robbed the duke. Thus, the head being sick, the whole body faints, and the prince being weak, the entire country is in peril, and the wretched people are exposed to all sorts of calamities. From the time of Rollo, the first of the Normans who ruled in Normandy, from whom you derive your descent, till this weak prince, Normandy has been governed by powerful dukes. In this affliction of your native land, brave king, 'be angry', as David, the king and prophet, says, 'and sin not'; [5] inasmuch as you take arms for the defence of your country, and not from ambition to extend your territorial power". This discourse of the bishop so inflamed the king's ardour, that, having consulted with the nobles who were


[1] Tournai-sur-Dive, in the canton of Trun.

[2] Numb. xxv. 7, 8.

[3] Macab. ii. 24.

[4] Three o'clock p.m.

[5] The two words, noli peccare, may have been borrowed from Ps. iv. 5; but it would rather appear that the quotation our author puts into the bishop's mouth, is not from the psalmist, but from St. Paul, Ephes. iv. 26.

362 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XI.

present, he thus spoke: "In God's name, I will not shrink from toiling earnestly for the restoration of peace, and with your aid will use my best endeavours to give tranquillity to the church".

The earl of Mellent supported this resolution, and none of the nobles present dissented from it, but, on the contrary, joined in earnestly entreating their common father to commence hostilities with vigour for the general defence of Normandy against those who were ruining the people.

The eloquent prelate resumed his sacred discourse, and, with salutary zeal in his holy office, added: "It is our daily duty to persevere in discovering the way of life, and to obey in all things the divine law, which is infallible. Although we cannot correct all the crimes which are wrought in secret, at least we should strike with the sword of the Spirit those which are openly committed against God, and the offenders should be cut off from amongst us in every way, according to the commandments of God and the decrees of the holy fathers. You all wear long hair, in female fashion, a thing which is unbecoming in you who are made in the image of God, and ought to exhibit manly strength. The apostle Paul, the elect vessel, and doctor of the Gentiles, points out to the Corinthians how indecent and odious it is for men to wear long hair, saying: 'A man ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man'. And a little afterwards, he adds: 'If a man have long hair it is a shame unto him; but if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given her for a covering'. [1]

"It is not for their ornament or pleasure that penitents are enjoined not to shave their beards or cut their hair; but that, as their sins make them appear inwardly rough and unseemly in the sight of God, so they may in their exterior exhibit themselves before men unshaven and unshorn, and mark the deformity of the inner man by their outward ignominy. By their long beards they make themselves like goats, whose filthy lasciviousness is shamefully imitated by fornicators and sodomites, while good men justly treat them with abhorrence on account of the odious foulness of their lusts. As for those who nourish their hair, they are


[1] I Cor. xi. 7, 14, 15.

A.D. 1105.] THE FASHION OF LONG HAIR. 363

considered as fit associates of the women by whose blandishments they are seduced from manly virtue to evil courses, and very often involved in the wretchedness of a detestable apostacy. Alas! see how the salutary medicine which the doctors of the church, who are spiritual physicians, heretofore provided, by Divine inspiration, for the cure of souls, has been used by the sons of perdition, at Satan's instigation, to fill up the measure of their condemnation, and who by long use have established the custom. The popes of Rome and other bishops have prohibited this rash innovation, and condemned it in their counsels by divine authority, but the hardened sinners persist in their evil follies, and oppose the shield of their wickedness to the sword of holy preaching. They suffer their beards to grow for fear that if they shaved, the short bristles might prick the faces of their mistresses when they were kissing them, and are so hairy that they look like Turks rather than Christians. Thus the personal neglect which is the mark of penitence is converted into a token of wantonness! In short these forward sons of Beliai dress their hair like women, while they wear things like scorpions' tails at the extremities of their feet, thus exhibiting themselves as women by their effeminacy, and serpents by their pointed fangs. This kind of men were foretold a thousand years ago by St. John the mystic, under the figure of locusts, and he has plainly foreshadowed them in the Apocalypse, written in the isle of Pathmoth. [1] Many persons adopt this perverted practice from ignorance that there can be so much mischief in the fashion of wearing the hair in which they glory. [2] For this reason, I beseech you, most illustrious king, to set your subjects a laudable example, that they may see in your person, above all others, how they ought to adjust their own". [3]


[1] Another example of the use of the aspirated t or th, mentioned before p. 221.

[2] Our author has already put on record the complaints of the clergy at the new fashions of the day, in much the same terms which are employed in the bishop's discourse. See vol. ii. pp. 477, 478.

[3] Not only fashions, but religious peculiarities, have their cycles. Such a scene as that so vividly described by Ordericus might very possibly have occurred five centuries later; Charles II. and his cavaliers taking the place of Henry I. and his barons, and some puritan minister, the prejudices of whose party it was desirable to conciliate, filling, both in word and act, the office assigned to the zealous bishop of Seez. Notwithstanding the docility with which the king and his courtiers submitted ther heads to the bishop's scissors, the fashion of wearing long hair survived the operation, to the great scandal of the clergy.

In 1129, an English knight, who, like all men of fashion, wore long hair like women, had a dream, in which some one appeared to strangle him in his own curls. The knight woke in such alarm that he lost no time in getting rid of the superfluous ornament of his head, and his example was followed by almost all the other knights, but in the course of a year, all who affected the manners of the court re-adopted the prevailing fashion.

364 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XI.

The king and all his nobles cheerfully assented to these observations, upon which the zealous bishop lost no time in taking a pair of scissors out of his scrip, with which he first cropped the king's hair with his own hands, and then that of the count [1] and several of his nobles. All the royal household and the rest of the congregation contended with each other who should be cropped first, and, anticipating in alarm an order from the king, severed the locks which were before so precious, trampling under foot, like vile refuse, what once they dearly cherished.

After having celebrated the feast of Easter, the king of England sent envoys to Philip, king of France, and summoning Geoffrey Martel, count of Anjou, proceeded to take summary vengeance on the enemies of the church of God. [2]


[1] The earl of Mellent. He is supposed to have contrived the first part of the somewhat theatrical exhibition in the church of Carentan, in which the king and the bishop were assigned their respective parts; but he can hardly be suspected of being in the secret of the denouement. The earl was the most accomplished gentleman of the age, and all men of fashion took him for their model, not only in dress, but in their phraseology, and even in the hour at which their tables were served. In imitation and by the advice of the emperor Alexis, Comnenus, he took only one repast in the course of the day; and there seems no doubt that he introduced that practice, instead of the four plentiful meals, the boast of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, which Robert du Mont so keenly regrets. Henry of Huntingdon says of King Hardecanute, "Such was his liberality that tables were laid four times a-day with royal sumptuousness for his whole court ... In our time (1090-1154) 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".- Antiq. Lib. p. 201.

[2] Geoffrey Martel, who was killed the year following at the siege of the castle of Conde on the 18th of May, was not, in fact, count of Anjou, but eldest son and presumptive heir of that nobleman, who, however, outlived him. Still it appears that he assumed the title with the administration of affairs after he had delivered his uncle Geoffrey-le-Barbu from captivity in 1096, when the rights of the latter were ceded to Geoffrey Martel, with the consent of his father, Fulk-le-Rechin.

A.D. 1105-1107.] BOHEMOND'S VISIT TO FRANCE. 365

CH. XII. Appearance of a comet - Bohemond's visit to France - Pilgrimage to St. Leonard's tomb - Marriage with Constance, King Philip's daughter.

IN the year of our Lord 1106, the world saw a variety of revolutions in the fortunes of princes, and there were several memorable occurrences in various quarters. In the last week of February, an extraordinary comet appeared in the west, which extending its long tail far in the east, struck terror into the hearts of the multitude, and its brightness in the evenings, during three weeks, caused the revelation of many secrets. [1]

In the month of March, Duke Bohemond came to France, in fulfilment of the vow he made to God while he was Daliman's captive, and solemnly accomplished his vow at the tomb of St. Leonard-the-confessor, in the Limousin. [2] Previous to his arrival in France, he had despatched messengers to England to inform the king of the reason of his journey to Italy, and of his desire to cross the sea and visit his court. The prudent king, however, apprehensive that Bohemond might induce some of his best knights to leave his service, sent him word not to risk the danger of a voyage in the winter, move especially as it was his own intention to pass over to Normandy before the celebration of Easter, and


[1] "On Friday in the first week of Lent, the sixteenth of the calends of March (February 19), a strange star appeared in the evening, and was seen at the same hour for fourteen days in the south-western quarter of the heavens. The body was small and hazy, but the light which shot from it was of extraordinary brilliance, and it reflected a meteoric brightness from the east and north. Florence of Worcester, p. 652. As to this meteor, see L'Histoire des Cometes, t. i. p. 526.

Ordericus has fallen into an error in fixing its first appearance in the last week of February. Although some authors have connected the phenomenon with the year 1105, the great bulk of testimony favours the date of 1106, and the circumstantial detail of Friday, 16th of February, furnished by Florence of Worcester, leaves no doubt that the computation generally adopted is the right one, and Ordericus agrees with it.

[2] Our author has already mentioned this journey of Bohemond (vol. ii. p. 223) as well as the appearance of the comet which preceded it, and which is supposed to have been the same as that seen in 1680. The object of Bohemond's pilgrimage was St. Leonard-le-Noblac, five leagues trom Limoges. His arrival in France did not take place in the month of March, 1106, as Ordericus states, but towards the close of 1105 and he left it in the spring of 1107.

366 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XII.

they would have an opportunity of conferring together while he was there; and so it happened.

In consequence, Bohemond having performed his devotions and left Noblac, [1] where the tomb of the excellent confessor stands, spent the season of Lent in visiting several cities and castles in France, and being received in all quarters both by the clergy and people with great respect, he related the various events in which he had taken part. He reverently offered on the holy altars, relics; and mantles made entirely of silk, and other precious objects, and, delighting in the attentions paid him in the monasteries and bishops' seats, returned thanks to God for the welcome given him by the people of the West. He was accompanied by the son of the Emperor Diogenes, [2] and other eminent men from Greece and Thrace, whose accusation of the emperor Alexius for his treasonable usurpation of their hereditary throne roused the fury of the fierce Franks against him. Many persons of noble birth came and presented their infant children to him, whom he kindly held at the holy font in baptism, and gave them his own name. His own baptismal name was Mark, but his father, having heard the story of the giant Bohemond [3] in the merriment of a convivial meeting, jocularly called his son by the giant's name. It was afterwards spread throughout the world, and in the mouths of numbers in the three climates of the globe. From thenceforth this name, which was seldom adopted before among the nations of the West, became popular in France.

The hero of whom we are speaking had an interview with


[1] Noblac, a surname added by the saint. He called it Nobiliacus, a noble domain, because it was granted to him by royal munificence. There are a number of places in the Limousin and other parts of France which have derived their names from some such circumstance, as Neuilie, of which there are two, Neuilli, twenty-five; Noaillac, or Nouilhac, three; Noailles, three, etc.

[2] Ordericus means the impostor patronised by Bohemond aad his father under the name of Michael Parapinaces to give a colour to their enterprises against Alexius Comnenus. See vol. ii. p. 335. His pretensions were generally exploded at the time our author lived.

[3] We are not aware of any other record of popular traditions respecting this character, who appears to have played the same part as the Gargantua of later times. Perhaps the fables of which he was the hero, were peculiar to the south of Italy and never crossed the mountains.

A.D. 1106.] BOHEMOND MARRIES CONSTANCE OF FRANCE. 367

King Philip, and demanded the hand of his daughter Constance in marriage. At last, after Easter, he espoused her at Chartres, the countess Adela providing a sumptuous banquet for all who attended the wedding. The king of France himself was present with a great retinue, and gave Bohemond his daughter, having divorced her from Hugh, count of Troyes, for some reason which has escaped my observation. [1] Then the duke, distinguished among the most illustrious, proceeded to the church, and standing on the steps before the altar of the Virgin Mother, related to the vast assembled multitude his adventures and achievements, exhorting all who were brought up to arms to join him in his enterprise against the emperor, and promising cities and opulent towns to knights of approved courage. In consequence, numbers assumed the cross with ardour, and leaving all they possessed, embraced the pilgrimage to Jerusalem as if they were going to a feast. Among them were Ralph de Pont-Echaufre, surnamed the Red, and Josceline, his brother, Simon d'Anet, Robert de Maule, Hugh Sans-Avoir, his cousin, [2] with several others whose names I cannot individually mention.

CH. XIII. A miraculous occurrence to Robert d'Estoteville - He is killed in battle soon afterwards.

THE same year to following occurrence happened in Normandy. Robert d'Estoteville, [3] a brave and powerful baron, was a strong partisan of the duke, and superintended his


[1] Our author has mentioned this marriage before. The first union of Constance was dissolved on account of consanguinity. Ordericus is right in fixing the marriage of Bohemond and Constance of France in 1106.

[2] Ralph and Josceline of Pont-Echaufre, near Bernai; Simon of Anet, near Dreux; Robert de Maule, son of William, and nephew of Ansold de Maule, mentioned before (vol. ii. p. 224), Hugh Sans-Avoir, of a family which had already supplied several crusaders.

Ralph and Josceline were with their eldest brother William, sons of Josceline de Pont-Echaufre and Heremburge Giroie, See vol. i. p. 395. Ralph will appear again in book xii., generally with his surname of Ralph-the-Red. William seems to have joined early his countrymen in the south of Italy. It is probable that Josceline never returned from the crusade.

[3] Robert d'Estoteville, second of that name, was son of Robert I. and brother-in-law of Hugh de Grantmesnil.

368 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XIII.

troops and fortresses in the district of Caux. It chanced on Easter-day, [1] as his chaplain was communicating the baron and his household, that a certain knight having approached the altar for the purpose of reverently receiving the eucharist, the priest took the consecrated wafer in his hand for the purpose of putting it into the communicant's open mouth, but found that he was quite unable to lift his hand from the altar. In this dilemma, both parties were extremely terrified; but at length the priest said to the knight: "Take it, if you can; for myself, it is out of my power to move my hand and deliver the Lord's body to you". Upon this the knight stretched his neck over the altar, with some effort reached the chalice, and received the host in his open mouth from the priest's hand. This extraordinary occurrence covered him with confusion, and not knowing what would happen, he was apprehensive of some misfortune, and in consequence distributed among the clergy and the poor the greatest part of his wardrobe and other effects. He fell soon after Easter in the first battle fought at Maromme [2] near Rouen. The chaplain, whose name was Robert, related to me what happened to him and the unfortunate knight, as I have related, during the celebration of the life-giving mysteries.

CH. XIV. One Robert, simoniacally appointed abbot of Dive, builds a fortress within the abbey precincts.

THEN Fulk, abbot of Dive, died at Winchester in England, on the third of the nones [the 3rd] of April, [3] and a miserable creature of the name of Robert procured himself to be intruded into the office by paying the duke one hundred and forty silver marks. This man, who had made his profession as a monk of St. Denys, caused the dispersion of the Lord's flock, instead of being its pastor, becoming generally odious as a true follower of Simon Magus. The monks


[1] The 9th of April, 1105.

[2] Maromme, near Rouen. Its original name was Matrona, borrowed probably from the river which waters it.

[3] Fulk, abbot of St. Pierre-sur-Dive, the strict disciplinarian, had resumed his authority six years before. See vol, ii. p. 207, and the present vol. p. 107. His death ought to be referred to the 3rd of April, 1105, not 1106.

A.D. 1105.] A PESTILENCE - DEATH OF GEOFFREY MARTEL. 369

therefore fled from him as from the presence of a devouring wolf, and anxious for the safety of their souls, dispersed themselves among other convents. The abbot built a castle on the banks of the Dive within the abbey walls, turning the house of God into a den of thieves. He also sold the ecclesiastical ornaments which the zeal of the faithful had furnished, and this simoniacal castellan used the money to pay his retainers. [1]

CH. XV. France visited with a contagious disorder in the summer and autumn of the year 1105.

IN the month of May a contagious influenza spread through all the West, and the catarrh becoming very severe, every eye wept, and in France where I was at that time, [2] all cheeks were bedewed with tears. The unusual heat of the summer prematurely ripened the corn, and an autumn of the same weather succeeded. Burning fever and other febrile diseases with a variety of disorders grievously afflicted mankind, and prostrated numbers who took to their beds.

CH. XVI. Premature death of Geoffrey Martel - The succession to the county of Anjou.

THE same month, Geoffrey Martel, count of Anjou, laid siege to Normand-de-Montreuil in the castle of Cande, and vigorously assaulted it. [3] This prince executed justice with firmness and courage, wielding the rod of discipline over the backs of thieves and robbers with great severity, although his father had been in the habit of sparing them, and often enjoying the fruits of their pillage, portions of which were appropriated to him. When Geoffrey first arrived at manhood and witnessed the great iniquity which was wrought, with his father's infamous connivance, in the province of


[1] We shall find presently that this miserable simonist possessed the abbey only fifteen months.

[2] Probably at Orleans, his father's native place, or at Maule, of which he has given us no particular an account, vol. ii. p. 216, etc.

[3] Condatum. Modern historians call this castle Lande, and say that it stood at the mouth of the Vienne. They call the lord against whom the expedition was undertaken, Normand de Montreuil. M. Le Prevost thinks that for Montreuil should be substituted Montrevault, near Beaufreau, and for Lande, Cande, which is, in truth, the Condate Turonum of the Romans.

370 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XVI.

Anjou, inspired by divine zeal, he lamented the miseries of his country which, in the enjoyment of peace, would have abounded with everything good.

At length, by order of his uncle Geoffrey, who was the lawful heir (but who had been, though the perjury of Fulk, deprived of his county and imprisoned for nearly thirty years in the castle Chinon, from whence he with difficulty escaped in the presence and by the order of the venerable Pope Urban), his father also consenting, Geoffrey Martel undertook the government of the county of Anjou, and used every effort to do justice to the simple people and the poor, and laudably gave security to the church. By God's help, he quickly restored peace throughout the province, and gloriously surpassed all his predecessors in courage and equity: his career was soon. ended, but he accomplished much in a short time.

Three years after he undertook the government, Geoffrey Martel, as I before stated, laid siege to Conde, and gallantly pressed the rebels shut up in the fortress with the force of his arms. The chiefs of the garrison had come out to treat of concluding peace with him and surrendering the place to him on the following day, when, suddenly, a cross-bow man, instigated by the devil, levelled a bolt from the castle and shot the brave young prince while he was holding a conference with the chiefs, mortally wounding that excellent guardian of justice in the arm. The legitimate defender of his country died on the morrow, and was buried with general lamentations in the abbey church of St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra. [1]

On his death, Philip, king of France, invested his step-son Fulk [2] in the county of Anjou, but as he was a minor, the king appointed William, duke of Poitiers, [3] who happened to be then at court, his guardian to protect him during his journey


[1] This sad catastrophe happened on Friday, the 18th of May, 1106. The abbey of St. Nicholas d'Angers was founded in 1020, by Fulk Nerra, in the suburbs of Angers on the right bank of the Maine.

[2] Fulk, fifth of that name, son of Bertrade de Montfort, was afterwards count of Anjou and king of Jerusalem. Our author seems to intimate in this passage that Fulk was put into immediate possession of Anjou, whereas he was only acknowledged as heir to it in reversion of his father.

[3] William, seventh of the name, count de Poitiers, the same who had recently returned from the Holy Land with little glory.

A.D. 1105.] KING HENRY BURNS BAYEUX. 371

and conduct him in safety to his father. The duke, having led him as far as the frontier of his own territories, there arrested him, regardless of his duty and the account he would have to give, and kept him in confinement for more than a year. The plethoric king of France, [1] being informed of this outrage, was greatly displeased, and employed both entreaties and menaces to procure the liberation of the young count. [2] Bertrade, his mother, being the king's wife, used all her influence with him, and urged many others, to effect the rescue of the captive, to no purpose. At length the king, stimulated by frequent solicitations, threatened severe vengeance for the outrage. But the haughty duke, despising the king because of his corpulence, detained the young count for some time, until his father surrendered for his son's ransom some castles on the confines of the two counties. The father died soon afterwards, at an advanced age, and the young count married Eremburga, daughter of Elias, count of Maine, who bore him a noble family of both sexes.

CH. XVII. King Henry's troops reduce and burn Bayeux - Caen surrenders, he is repulsed from Falaise, and returns to England.

IN the spring of the same year, [3] as it has been already stated, King Henry sailed over to Normandy, and asserted his rights to the inheritance of his father which was trodden under foot by perjurers, robbers, and bullies. Employing Elias count of Maine and his troops, he besieged Bayeux which was held by Gunhier d'Aunai. That knight came forth to the king. and out of regard to him liberated without ransom Robert Fits-Hamon, whom he had before taken prisoner, but he gave a flat refusal to Henry's imperious demands for the surrender of the place. The king thereupon immediately issued orders for the assault, and setting fire to the city burnt it to the ground, taking the aforesaid


[1] See before p. 355.

[2] It must have been in 1107 that William, count de Poitiers, restored the young Fulk to his father. The latter died the 14th of April, 1109, and was succeeded by Fulk, whose marriage with Eremburga was solemnized in 1110. He had four children by her.

[3] In the last week of Lent, 1105, and not 1106.

372 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XVII.

governor, with his followers and fellow soldiers prisoners. [1]

On learning the destruction of this important city, the other garrisons were struck with terror, and afraid to offer any resistance to the king who was advancing with sO much resolution. The people of Caen, hearing of the destruction of Bayeux and apprehensive of being exposed to like ruin, sent envoys to the king who was hastening thither in great rage, and made peace with him on the terms he dictated. [2] Accordingly they presently expelled the governor Enguerrand, son of Ilbert, [3] with his troops and surrendered the fortress to the king. Henry gave Darlington in England, worth eighty pounds of yearly rent, to the four principal townsmen of Caen, [4] and it is called the traitors' village to this day, although it does not now belong to them. The king then marched to Falaise, but did not attack it because count Elias retired at the request of the Normans. [5] There was however a passage at arms there, in which Roger de Gloucester, a brave knight, was slain. [6]


[1] This event occurred in the month of August, 1105. The garrison of the castle abandoned the defence of the ramparts in a cowardly manner and fled to the cathedral for refuge. The destruction of that magnificent edifice was the consequence.

[2] Robert Curthose was at Caen during these negotiations, which are given by Wace in much greater detail. The duke was compelled to make a precipitate retreat, and could not even prevent the pillage of his baggage.

[3] This Enguerrand appears to have been son of Ilbert de Laci. We have seen before the devoted attachment of this family to the duke, and the confidence he placed in them.

[4] The names of the four traitors are preserved. The first who principally managed this dark intrigue was named Theodore, son of Ralph, son of Ogier, a knight.

[5] The events just related occurred in the month of July. Count Elias having been persuaded by the Normans to withdraw, and having executed this movement, Henry felt from his failure at Falaise, that his forces would not be strong enough during the rest of the campaign to terminate the struggle with his unfortunate brother. He, therefore, returned to England suddenly in the month of August, deferring the completion of his conquest to the following year. Our author's anachronism at the beginning of the chapter is therefore apparent. If these occurrences took place in 1106, Henry could not have found himself in the month of September in Normandy with Count Elias and a force sufficient to crush the duke's army at Tinchebrai. It required an interval of a year to prepare for the decisive blow.

[6] Roger de Gloucester had time enough after his mortal wound to make a gift to the abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester which was confirmed by King Henry.- Monast. Anglic. vol. i. p. 113.

A.D. 1107.] DEATH OF THE EMPEROR HENRV IV. 373

The brother princes, the king and the duke met at Cinteaux in Whitsun-week, and held a conference which lasted two days on terms of peace; [1] but as discordant factions interrupted the negotiations, they parted without coming to any agreement. Both parties now made preparations for carrying on the war with all their strength, the nobles and young knights choosing the side to which they should adhere, and from Whitsuntide to the feast of St. Michael, [2] the country was pillaged and given to the flames.

CH XVIII. Death of the emperor Henry IV. - His son Henry V. marries the princess Matilda.

THEN Henry, emperor of Germany, died on the seventh of the ides [7th] of August, but as he had not made satisfaction to God, in the judgment of the church, for his numerous crimes his remains were not committed to the earth, nor did they obtain the rites of sepulture for many years. Charles Henry V. his son succeeded him as emperor, and three years afterwards married Matilda daughter of Henry king of England, but had by her no heir [3] to the throne.

CH. XIX. The simoniacal abbot of Dive undertakes to betray King Henry - The king storms his fortress - The abbot's tragical end.

ROBERT, the intrusive abbot of Dive, amongst his other evil deeds, added the treason of Judas [Iscariot] to the iniquity of


[1] This interview between the two brothers at Cinteaux, near Falaise, must also be assigned to the year 1105, in the end of May or beginning of June, Whitsuntide that year falling on the 28th of May. The siege of Falaise must, therefore, have taken place in that month.

[2] The state of disorder and anarchy lasted not only four months, as our author states, but sixteen; from Whitsuntide, 28th of May, 1105, to the end of September, 1106. Two circumstances concurred in inducing King Henry to defer his projects for the entire deposition of his brother, the retreat of count Elias, which, as already suggested, did not leave him a sufficient force to act decidedly, and the exhaustion of his treasury by the insatiable covetousness of the Norman lords, who were quite as ready to sell themselves to the king as he was to buy them.

[3] The emperor Henry IV. died at Liege, the 7th of August, 1107. His corpse was carried to Spires, where it remained unburied, on account of his being excommunicated. Henry V. did not marry Matilda till January 7, 1114, and consequently many years later than our author states.

374 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XIX.

Simon (Magus). [1] He made an agreement with duke Robert and his barons at Falaise to bring King Henry, into their power before long, attended by only a few followers, and the Normans were to be prepared to lay hands on the king. This treachery having been planned, abbot Robert went to Caen and meeting the king said to him in a friendly manner, "If you will come with me, I will put into your hands the fortress which I have on the river Dive". The king being pleased with this offer, the abbot added: "It is not requisite that you should bring an army with you, for such numbers would occasion a great noise and might be an obstacle to our enterprise. I have only a small garrison in the place, and they are entirely devoted to me".

In consequence, the king rose by night, and putting himself at the head of seven hundred horsemen rode all night and at day break found himself near the place. Meanwhile, Reynold de Warrenne [2] and the young Robert d'Estoteville, [3] with one hundred and forty men-at- arms, had increased the garrison at Dive, and when the king arrived at sun-rise received him with shouts of laughter and abuse. They were also followed by many other troops from Falaise and other castles in the neighbourhood who sought the opportunity of coming to close quarters with the king and his partisans. Henry, much enraged at finding the snare into which he had fallen, gave orders for an instant assault on the garrison. The royal troops therefore made a fierce attack, and hurling fire burnt both the fortress and monastery. Reynold and Robert, brave young knights, and several others, were made prisoners, many also who had taken refuge in the tower of the church were burnt. Their adherents who were hastening to support


[1] This evidently belongs to the year 1106. In consequence of the anachronism which has been pointed out, Ordericus omits to mention the interview at Northampton, noticed by Henry of Huntingdon and described with simple pathos by John Brompton, when Robert threw himself in vain at the feet of the author of his misfortunes.

On Assumption day the king and St. Anselm met at the abbey of Bec, in the centre of the duke's dominions, and within ten leagues of his capital.

[2] Reynold de Warrenne, brother of William, second of the name, earl of Surrey. The two brothers fought on opposite sides.

[3] Robert d'Estoteville, third of that name, and son of the knight mentioned by our author just before (p. 367) in connection with a miraculous occurrence on Easter day, the preceding year.

A.D. 1106.] WAR, BETWEEN HENRY AND ROBERT. 375

them, seeing the vast body of flame, made all the haste they could to return to Falaise. The victorious king pursued their steps, but no one ventured to sally forth and encounter him. Evil fell upon them deservedly, according to what the apostle says. "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy". [1] Behold they had converted the house of God into a den of thieves, irreverently polluting it with the dung of men and horses, and they met the fate they merited by the sword or devouring flame.

The traitor Robert was taken, and having been thrown across a horse like a sack, was brought before the king, who said to him: "Traitor, begone from my territories: were it not for my respect to the sacred order, whose habit you wear, I would have you this moment torn limb from limb". The apostate being therefore set at liberty fled with shame to France where he was born, and not being able to submit to the poverty and quiet of a monk in a cloister, he obtained the office of provost of Argenteuil. [2] In the course of the same year having taken proceedings against one John, and violently demanded some customary payment, of which I know not the particulars, the peasant in a great rage struck him dead, and thus the miserable man expired without having done penance for his sins, of which he had great need.

CH. XX. King Henry resumes hostilities in Normandy - His message to Duke Robert - Battle of Tinchebrai - Robert taken prisoner - The king assumes the government and marches to Rouen.

THE autumn of this year in Normandy was marked by thunder storms and violent rains as well as battles, and the flames of war, fanned by a variety of circumstances, burst forth openly. In truth, Robert de Belesme and William earl of Morton, with many others, obstinately attached themselves to Robert the duke, and fearing the king too much to think of submitting to his yoke, resisted him with all their power. In consequence, Henry having assembled a vast multitude of his adherents, constructed a fort before


[1] 1 Cor. iii. 17.

[2] Argenteuil, near Paris, first an abbey for nuns and then a priory dependent on the abbey of St. Denys.

376 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XX.

Tinchebrai, [1] and stationed in it Thomas de St. Jean. [2] with a large body of horse and foot to check the sallies of the garrison. William, earl of Morton, to whom the place belonged, collected a gallant band of troops, and threw into it a convoy of provisions and other things of which he knew the besieged were in need, in sight of the royal army, and to their great annoyance. He caused the green corn to be cut in the fields [3] and supplied to the garrison as forage for the horses. The activity of this young nobleman was such, and he possessed so large a share of military skill, that the royal army engaged in the siege could not venture out of their intrenchments and engage with his troops to intercept the relief they threw into the fortress. On receiving intelligence of this the king was very indignant, and took measures for a more determined attack on the enemy. In consequence he united his troops before Tinchebrai, and pressed the siege for some time.

Under these circumstances, William earl of Morton, claimed the aid of the duke, and of Robert de Belesme and his other friends, and speedly obtained succour against the king. The duke having assembled an army, required his brother to raise the siege of a place which lay in his territories, or otherwise he challenged him to battle. The king however, persisted in carrying on the siege, and accepted the duke's hostility, though it was worse than a civil war, in order to secure peace for the future. There were four counts in the royal army, Elias of Maine, William of Evreux, Robert de Mellent, and William de Warrenne, with several great barons, viz.: Ranulf of Bayeux, [4] Ralph de Conches, Robert de Montfort, Robert de Grantmesnil, and several others, with their vassals. On the other side, Duke Robert had with him Robert de Belesme and his nephew William earl of Morton, Robert d'Estoteville, [5] William de Ferrers, [6] and many more with their followers. He could


[1] Tinchebrai near Domfront, between that place, Vine, and Briouse.

[2] His domains lay between Avranches and Granville.

[3] We cannot understand what corn-crops could he growing at this season of the year.

[4] Ranulf de Briquessart, viscount of Bayeux. See vol. ii. p. 505.

[5] Robert d'Estoteville, the father. See before pp. 367, and 374; not the son, who had been taken prisoner at the assault on Dive, and was not released till the eve of the battle of Tinchebrai.

[6] For William de Ferrers, see vol. ii. p. 508. In the interval he accompanied Duke Robert to the Holy Land.

A.D. 1106.] KING HENRY'S ULTIMATUM. 377

not muster so many knights as his brother, but his army contained a more numerous body of infantry. In the opposite forces now in presence, brothers and kinsmen were arrayed of different sides, and some of them were ready to exchange blows with each other. Some treacherous deserters were also under arms, but they were not firm in their adhesion to the duke, and in their disaffection thought more of flight than resistance.

Several men of religion interfered to prevent so horrible a conflict, dreading to be witnesses of brothers shedding each others blood. Especially Vitalis the hermit, [1] who was considered one of the most venerable persons of the times, was more zealous than the rest, and interposing as arbiter between the contending brothers, boldly interdicted them from a single combat, lest the tragedy of the sons of OEdipus, the horror of all ages, should be again acted, and the fearful and accursed fate of Eteocles and Polynices should justly become theirs.

At length the king carefully reviewed the complicated state of affairs, and, having collected the opinions of his sage advisers, reflected deeply on their various counsels. He then sent a message to his brother of the following tenor: "My brother", he said, "I have not come here actuated by worldly ambition, nor did I propose to deprive you of your rights in the duchy, but, in answer to the sorrowful complaints of the poor, my desire is to succour the church of God, which is like a vessel without a pilot, in peril from a tempestuous sea. As for you planted in this land like a barren tree, you offer no fruit of good works to our Creator. You are duke in name only, while you are openly mocked by your vassals, and take no pains to punish the insults you receive. Thus the cruel sons of iniquity, under the shade of your protection, oppress by their iniquities the Christian people, and have already almost depopulated whole parishes in Normandy. Witnessing these things, I


[1] The holy Vitalis, a native of Tierceville, in Bessin, had already received a promise of the site of his abbey from Ralph de Foucheres, but it was not confirmed by charter till 1112. He also possessed the entire confidence of the count of Mortain, whose chaplain he was, and who placed under his superintendence, in 1105, the rising abbey of Neuborg de Mortain.

378 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XX.

burn with zeal for God, who is our ruler, and am eager to expose my life in the cause of my brethren, and this beloved people and country. Taking these things into consideration, I entreat you to profit by my advice, and you will find it distinctly proved that my proceedings are not dictated by ambition, but by goodwill. Yield to me all the strong places in Normandy, with the entire administration of justice and the management of affairs, and one moiety of the duchy, reserving to yourself the revenues of the other half, without care or trouble, and I will pay you annually out of the treasury of England, a sum equivalent to the revenue of the moiety ceded to me. After that you may revel in feasts and sports and all such delights with perfect security. As for me, I shall submit to the toils required for the maintenance of tranquillity, and, while you enjoy repose, faithfully acquit myself of the engagements I enter into with you, and by God's help, bridle with justice the fury of the oppressors, so that they shall no longer buffet the people of God". [1]

On receiving this message, the duke summoned his counsellors, and laid before them the king's proposals, which they unhesitatingly rejected, and deterred the duke by their violent language from listening to the conditions of peace. The royal ambassadors having announced on their return that the duke and his adherents preferred war at all hazards rather than peace, the king commending himself to God, said: "God Almighty, in whom I trust, knows that I fight this battle On behalf of his suffering people. I implore our Maker, from the bottom of my heart, to grant the victory in this day's conflict to him by whom it is the divine will to secure to his people protection and rest. [2]


[1] We know not whether this message is authentic, but it was impossible to use language more disdainful or more hypocritical.

[2] It appears from this passage and several others that our author gave Henry credit for the truth of these hypocritical protestations. All the Norman clergy offered prayers for his success, less, perhaps, on account of their being shocked by the licentious morals of Robert Curthose, than because his indolence and weakness offered no guarantee for the security of their persons and of ecclesiastical property from the strong hand of violence.

The clergy had a third cause of aversion to Robert Curthose; his having declined the crown of Jerusalem, when it was offered him, after the city was taken, before all other competitors because of his rank as a king's son. Henry of Huntingdon says: "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 to serving the Lord zealously in defence of the holy city".- Antiq. Lib. p. 242. All the misfortunes which befel the duke, even the loss of the battle of Tinchebrai and his long and close captivity were considered the just punishment of his crime of treason against the Divine Majesty. Henry I. made good use of this prejudice, as if the refusal did not arise from a sense of his own want of ability and judgment, which rendered him unfit for a post surrounded by so many difficulties and dangers.

A.D. 1106.] BATTLE OF TINCHEBRAI. 379

Having said this, he assembled the commanders of his forces, and laying before them his plan of operations in the battle, briefly directed them to act as time and circumstances required. Releasing Reynold de Warrenne and the rest who were made prisoners in the abbey at St. Pierre-sur-Dive, he vowed to God to rebuild the church which was burnt down. He then drew out his troops in battle array, and they marched forward in well disciplined order. Ranulf of Bayeux, commanded the first division, Robert earl of Morton, the second, and William de Warrenne the third. This earl William was very thankful for his brother's liberation, and earnestly exhorted all his comrades to fight with the utmost determination. The king reserved the English and Norman infantry for his own command, stationing the Manceaux and Bretons, [1] at some distance on the field, under the orders of count Elias.

In the enemy's army, William earl of Morton led the first division, and Robert de Belesme commanded the rear. When the ranks met, and the squadrons of Earl William attempted to charge Ranulf's division, the troops were thronged so closely, and their weapons so locked together that it was out of their power to injure each other, and both parties in turn attempted in vain to break the impenetrable


[1] William of Malmesbury says of the Bretons (whom he calls the Britons over the sea) that Henry, in his early days, took into his pay a number of them from the neighbourhood of his fortresses, Domfront and Castle-St. Michael, they being a people who, suffering much want in their own country, were always ready to sell their services abroad (Hist. b. v.). These lawless bands were the scourge of Normandy and England, having no respect either for the persons or the property of the ecclesiastics. They were particularly addicted to stealing the horses belonging to the clergy, appropriating them to their own purposes wherever they could lay their hands on them.

380 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XX.

phalanx. Cries and shouts being raised from both armies, Elias made a rapid charge with his auxiliaries on the flank of the duke's ill-armed infantry, in which two hundred and twenty-five of them presently fell. As soon as Robert de Belesme perceived this, he took to flight, leaving the conquerors to deal with the duke's army, which was now in complete confusion. [1]

Then Baudri seized the duke and delivered him to the king's guards. This man was one of Henry's chaplains, who joining a body of knights' took part in the battle. He was shortly afterwards made bishop of Laon, but having deeply aggrieved the people of his diocese, he was killed by the inhabitants of his own city, in a garden, on Friday in Easter week, with seven dignitaries of his cathedral. [2]


[1] Ordericus gives a very meagre account of the important battle of Tinchebrai. Henry of Huntingdon supplies some few additional details, showing that Henry's victory was not quite so easily won as our author intimates. "The duke", he says, "with his few followers boldly charged the king's numerous troops, and, well trained in the wars of Jerusalem, his furious 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 army, which, unable to sustain the shock, was presently routed".- Antiq. Lib. p. 242.

Ordericus has not even recorded the precise day on which the battle was fought, but we know from abundant sources of authority that it was on the 28th of September, the eve of St. Michael, and the anniversary of William the Conqueror's landing at Hastings in 1066.

Our author has also omitted to inform us that Edgar Atheling, who had so often exhibited his attachment to the duke, accompanied him to the fatal field of Tinchebrai, and was made prisoner with his friend. King Henry thought the Anglo-Saxon prince a person of such small importance that he at once dismissed him.

[2] It appears that Baudri employed the wealth heaped upon him for the capture of Robert Curthose to secure his election by the chapter of Loon. But this profanation did not last long. Public opinion revolted at seeing a mere clerk attached to the court, who was not even a subdeacon, raised to the episcopal and ducal see of Laon. By the king's influence, who probably was glad to be rid of him, he was provided with a canonry of Rouen, and received subdeacon's orders. However, it was only by the intervention of Pope Paschal II. to whom Baudri appealed at Dijon, that he was confirmed in his see. But as he was grossly ignorant, associated only with the military, and could talk of nothing but dogs and horses, he became odious to his clergy, who accused him of several murders and other acts of violence. At last, having opposed the establishment of the municipality of Laon, he was massacred in a popular tumult on Tuesday, the 22nd of April, 1142, and his body having been subjected to a thousand outrages, was left naked in the public street till the next day. He was at length buried, out of compassion, but without ceremony or prayers. See Gall. Christ. t. ix. col. 526, etc.

A.D. 1106.] THE PRISONERS IN THE BATTLE. 381

The Bretons on their side, took William earl of Morton, [1] and the king and his friends had great difficulty in getting him out of their hands. Robert d'Estoteville, William de Ferrers, and many others were taken prisoners, some of whom were released by the king's favour, and rejoiced in the recovery of their liberty, while others, for their offences, were detained in prison till the day of their death.

The king, having gained the victory, re-assembled his troops, made a prudent disposition of affairs, and gave orders for the strict custody of his captive enemies. The duke Robert thus addressed him: "Some Norman traitors led me astray by their perfidious counsels, and deterred me, my brother, from following your advice, which it would have been really to my advantage to have embraced. I begged the people of Falaise, when I left them, not to surrender the fortress to any one but myself or William de Ferrers, whose fidelity to me I have never had reason to doubt. Now therefore, my brother, lose no time in sending William to receive the surrender of the place lest Robert de Belesme should forestall you by some stratagem, and being the first to get possession of this strong fortress, hold it long against you". Henry led his brother with him in a friendly manner, but with due caution, and immediately despatched William de Ferrers to obtain possession of the castle. The king himself, quickly following, made a hasty march to Falaise, and, by the duke's own order, the fortress was put into his hands, and the burgesses paid him fealty. They then presented to him the young William, who was brought up in that place, and the king, looking with an eye of compassion on the boy, who, trembling with fear, was exposed to such misfortunes in his tender years, comforted him with promises of kindness. Afterwards to prevent occasion for calumny, if any mischance should befall the lad while he was


[1] It would have been better for the earl of Morton to have remained in the hands of the Bretons than to have fallen into those of his royal uncle. They might have put him to death, but probably would not have torn out his eyes.

382 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXI.

in his hands, he resolved not to retain him under his own guardianship, and entrusted his education to Elias de St. Saens. [1] For the duke had some time before given his daughter, by a concubine, in marriage to that knight, and granting to him the county of Arques, [2] made him rank high among the barons of Normandy.

The clergy felt exceeding joy on receiving intelligence of the king's victory, while all who set the law at defiance, and were abandoned to evil courses, were filled with sorrow and dismay, knowing well that a yoke they could not shake off was now imposed by Heaven on their stubborn necks. In consequence, the factious free-booters finding that the king who had already proved a stern administrator of justice, had by God's aid defeated his enemies in the battle, were so convinced of his great qualities that they immediately dispersed into various retreats, and ceased from their outrages from mere dread of his name. The bands of robbers thus scattered, even changed their dress in order to escape being recognized by those they had before oppressed.

The king proceeded to Rouen, accompanied by the duke, and the citizens receiving him with acclamations, he restored the laws of the Conqueror, and re-established the ancient privileges of the city. Hugh de Nonant, by the duke's orders surrendered the castle of Rouen into the king's hands, and recovering his own domains by the king's assistance from Robert de Belesme, who had violently usurped them, he held them free from disturbance for the rest of his life. The other lords of castles throughout the whole of Normandy were released by the duke from their fealty to him, and, with his consent, transferred them to the victorious king, with whom they were reconciled.

CH. XXI. King Henry summons the Norman barons to Lisieux and makes decrees for restoring order - The prisoners removed to England.

IN the middle of October the king came to Lisieux, where


[1] Elias de St. Saens, near Neufchatel, son of Lambert de St. Saens, whose father, it is said, was Richard, viscount of Rouen, and his mother, a niece of the duchess Guimor. For this genealogy, which is doubtful, see the continuator of William de Jumieges, Duchesne's edition, p. 343.

[2] The county of Arques, formerly called the county of Talou.

A.D. 1106.] PEACE RESTORED IN NORMANDY. 383

he summoned all the barons of Normandy to meet him, and held a council, from which the church reaped great advantage. [1] It was there declared by the royal authority, that peace should be strictly observed through the whole of Normandy, that robbery and violence being repressed in every quarter, the churches, and other lawful proprietors should possess their lands as they held them at the time of William the Conqueror's death. He also took into his own hands all the fiefs which belonged to his father, annulling, by advice of his council, all the grants which his brother had made through his imprudence, or which had been wrung from him during his feeble administration. The king sent over to England all his enemies taken in the war, condemning William earl of Morton, Robert d'Estoteville, and several others to perpetual imprisonment. He was inflexible in his resolution to treat them with this severity, and constantly withstood all the influence of entreaties, promises, and gifts from many quarters, employed to mollify his resentment.

CH. XXII. Robert de Belesme submits to King Henry, after consulting with Count Elias, who mediates between them.

MEANWHILE, Robert de Belesme, finding all his hopes frustrated, and affairs turning out very differently from what he expected, was reduced to great distress, but still struggling to try the fate of war against King Henry, had recourse to Count Elias: "Sir count", he said, "I pray you lend me your aid, for I am your own liege- man, and have great reliance on you. Under present circumstances I look to you for succour, for the affairs of the world are in strange confusion. You see a younger son in arms against his elder brother, a vassal defeating his superior in battle, and throwing him into prison; he has robbed him of the heritage of his ancestors, and usurped his rights by forfeiting his oath of fealty. For my part, I have maintained my allegiance to my natural lord, and as I faithfully obeyed the father, will serve the


[1] The meeting at Lisieux was not a council, properly so called, as no decrees were made respecting the doctrine or discipline of the church. Ranulf Flambard must have previously submitted to the king, or it would scarcely have been held at Lisieux; the wary politician lost no time in adopting his course.

381 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXII.

son for the rest of my days. Never while my life is spared will I permit the man to govern Normandy in tranquillity who holds in chains the prince, who is my liege-lord, and, what is more, his own. I am still in possession of thirty four castles, which are strongly fortified, and from whence I can assuredly infest the usurper with most harassing irruptions. I only require your aid to enable me to succour my captive lord, and restore to him or to his heir the duchy of Normandy".

Elias replied to this application in the following words: "Every prudent man should be careful, in the first instance, not to enter on any undertaking which he cannot or should not carry into effect. Again, it is his duty not to attempt to raise any one to an elevation of which he is not worthy, or place him in command over others, who cannot rule himself. For as the common proverb says: 'He who tries to support a fool's pretensions, has the presumption to contend with God'. I am in alliance with King Henry, and I can find no pretence for severing it. I have no desire to give causeless offence to so powerful a prince, and I ought not to listen to you or any one else in this affair. He is endowed with judgment, power, and wealth, and there is no one in my opinion, who is his equal in these western countries. If, as you assert, he has made war on his elder brother and his superior lord, he was driven to it by imperious necessity, and has been called in by the prayers of the churchmen who were miserably persecuted by accursed ruffians. Moreover, to adopt a phrase which is in daily use: 'One must do evil to prevent what is still worse'. I speak thus according to the vulgar proverb, but do not mean to claim divine authority for it. For once there has been a battle between two brothers, that those everlasting conflicts which made the land drunk with the blood of her sons may for ever cease. From the moment the duke returned from Jerusalem and resumed the government of the duchy of Normandy, he abandoned himself to an idle and careless life. Encouraged by his indolence, the enemies of order have insufferably devastated Normandy by their ravages, both clandestinely and in the face of day, and our holy mother church has been for six years exposed to grievous losses by fire and pillage. In consequence crowds of poor people have been driven to

A.D. 1106.] ROBERT CURTHOSE IMPRISONED FOR LIFE. 385

to seek refuge in foreign countries, and the converts of the monks have been spoiled of the property and possessions, with which they were endowed by pious barons. No one escaped the violence of these lawless men; distress and alarm universally prevailed. The flood of evils continually increasing, almost all reverence for divine worship was lost. It is needless to dwell on this melancholy state of affairs. In various parts of Normandy we witness the churches burnt, the dioceses depopulated of the parishioners, and the cities and villages in all quarters a prey to disorders and calamities. It is you and your fellows who have ruined this noble province, and roused the anger of God against yourselves. It is by God's righteous providence that victory has been divinely vouchsafed to the guardians of peace and justice, and that their adversaries have been utterly crushed. I can by no means agree to revolt against King Henry, lest I should offend the Almighty who is evidently his protector, and provoke his wrath against myself. If however, abandoning your evil courses and crooked policy, you are desirous of conciliating the favour of this powerful monarch, you may rely on my readiness to become a mediator with him on your behalf".

Robert de Belesme, finding Elias inflexible in his resolution not to join his disorderly faction, and being satisfied that his counsels were profitable and full of good sense, suddenly changed his mind, which was naturally versatile, and thanking his sage adviser, employed him to effect his reconciliation with King Henry. As a very confidential intercourse was maintained between the king and the count, Elias secured Argentan to Robert de Belesme, on his restoring all the fiefs belonging to the dukedom of which he had obtained possession, but he was reinstated in the viscounty of Falaise and whatever domains belonged to his father.

CH. XXIII. King Henry, keeping his brother Robert a close prisoner, holds Normandy the rest of his life - His political and personal character.

KING HENRY having, by God's help, humbled his enemies, he razed to the ground all the unlicensed castles [1] which Robert


[1] Adulterina castella. To clearly understand this passage, reference must be made to what our author has said before b. viii. c. 1, p. 427. of the number of castles illegally erected by the Norman nobility, as soon as they found themselves relieved from William the Conqueror's iron yoke. The barons who possessed ancient castles expelled at the same time the governors and garrisons who had the custody of them in the duke's name, and occupied them with their own retainers. It was Henry's first object to put an end to these disorders.

386 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXIII.

[de Belesme] and other factious nobles had erected. He sent his brothers to England to prevent the malcontents from disturbing the peace of the well-disposed, under colour of taking the duke's part, who was therefore kept a close prisoner for twenty-seven years, but amply supplied with luxuries of every kind. Meanwhile, Henry governed the duchy of Normandy as well as his kingdom of England with a firm hand, being to the end of his days careful to maintain peace; and though he enjoyed his prosperity according to his own pleasure, he never faltered in his stern career and the severity with which he administered justice. His able policy enabled him to keep the greatest nobles and lords of castles, and the most turbulent barons, in due subjection, while he was at all times ready to encourage and protect his peaceable subjects, the men of the church and the commons of the land. His power being established on both sides of the channel in the eighth year of his reign, [1] it was his constant endeavour to procure peace for the populations under his rule, and he rigorously punished offenders against whom he enacted severe laws. Surrounded by all the indulgences which his vast wealth could procure, he was criminally addicted to one vice [2] from the days of his youth until he was advanced in years, having had several sons and daughters by concubines. [3] By his unwearied industry he profusely


[1] This computation is incorrect; see the note p. 273.

[2] Huic vitio; Ordericus might have conscientiously used the plural number. Avarice, at least, was one of Henry I.'s most deeply-rooted and odious vices; he made a market of every thing, to provide means of paying for the secret information, corruption, and treachery which he organized on a vast scale.

[3] It is but justice to remark that if Ordericus has too often represented some of the worst parts of Henry's conduct in too favourable a light, he very frankly condemns in this passage his irregular life, a task from which other cotemporary historians have shrunk. The singular apology offered by William of Malmesbury must be quoted in its original language:- "Omnium tota vita obscenitatum cupidincarum expers, quoniam (ut a consciis accepimus) non effreni voluptate, sed gignendae prolis amore, mulierum gremio infunderetur, nec dignaretur advenae dilectationi praebere assensum, nisi ubi semen regium procedere posset in effectum; effundens naturam ut dominus, non obtemperans libidini ut famulus".

A.D. 1106.] CHARACTER OF HENRY I. 387

augmented his worldly wealth, amassing vast stores of all valuable objects which he coveted. Reserving for his own sport the beasts of chace in the forests of England, he even caused all dogs kept on the verge of the woods to be mutilated by having one of their claws chopped off, and reluctantly licensed some few of the greater nobles and his particular friends to have the privilege of hunting in their own forests, A close observer, he investigated all subjects with great acuteness, and his memory was very tenacious of the information he received. [1] His inquiries extended to all the proceedings of his ministers and great officers, and he regulated the multiplied affairs of England and Normandy according to the dictates of his own sagacious judgment. He penetrated every one's secrets, and the most private transactions, so that the actors were at a loss to understand how the king obtained his knowledge. After a careful examination of ancient history, I boldly assert that, in regard to worldly prosperity, no king of England was mightier or richer than Henry.

CH XXIV. Robert de Montfort banished - He joins, with other knights, Bohemond's expedition against the emperor Alexius - Its failure before Durazzo - The Franks disperse, after a humiliating treaty.

IN the year of our Lord 1107, King Henry assembled his barons, and appealed to them for judgment against Robert de Montfort, [2] on a charge of having broken his fealty. Being conscious of his guilt, he obtained leave to depart for Jerusalem, giving up all his lands to the king. He then


[1] Our author might have added that Henry I. was curious in objects connected with zoology. He established a menagerie at Woodstock, in which he collected lions, leopards, camels, and lynxes. There was also a porcupine sent to him by William of Montpellier, of which Malmesbury speaks with great admiration. The king was very proud of this collection, which he took great pains to increase by applications to princes with whom he had friendly relations. To gratify him in this particular was one of the best means of making court to him, and we are told that Paul, earl of Orkney, often employed it.

[2] This nobleman, as we have already learnt, was commander-in-chief of the Norman army in Maine in the year 1090. He was brother of Hugh, third of that name, and uncle of Hugh IV. de Montfort, who married Adeline de Meulan.

388 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXIV.

commenced his journey in company with some of his companions in arms, and arriving in Apulia, met Bohemond, and found to his joy several of his countrymen. For Hugh de Puiset, [1] Simon Anet, Ralph de Pont-Echanfre, and Josceline his brother, [2] and some other Cisalpines were with Bohemond. Several knights from other countries were waiting for an opportunity of crossing the sea, all desirous of fighting with the duke against the emperor, and in the meantime both they and their horses were maintained by Bohemond's liberality. He supported so many troops for two years that he exhausted his treasury; providing also cheerfully ships for all without any passage money. He gave a hearty welcome to Hobert de Montfort, and not having learnt the cause of his quitting his native country, as he was hereditary marshal of Normandy [3] the duke gave him a high rank in his army. He had long assembled ships and troops in the ports of Italy, and furnished all with abundant provisions out of his revenues, so that a powerful armament was prepared for making war on the emperor. At length the crusaders sailed to Thessaly, [4] with a fair wind, and besieged Durazzo for a long time. The magnanimous duke tried various methods of assaulting the place, but he found his greatest impediment in those who ought to have seconded his efforts. Even his brother Guy and Robert de Montfort, in whom he trusted most, had the treachery to espouse the emperor's cause, and being blinded by the large bribes he sent them, had the address to derange the plans of their chief. [5] For the duke having prepared his engines; and


[1] This was not the first crusader of this family who went to the Holy Land. See before p. 78.

[2] See before p. 367.

[3] It does not appear how Robert de Montfort possessed an hereditary title to command the army of Normandy; if any such right existed it would have belonged to his eldest brother.

[4] Bohemond's fleet was moored in the port of Valonna the 9th of October, 1107, and his army encamped before Durazzo the 13th of the same month.

[5] Anna Comnena denies these intrigues in the crusaders' camp, adding that the report was invented by her father to sow discord among Bohemond's followers. But as that chief was brutal and avaricious, while the emperor was a rich and practised corrupter, and the Frank warriors were greedy and dispirited adventurers, there seems nothing improbable in the accounts given by the Western writers. As to Guy's treason, the historian of Louis-le-Gros is still more explicit than our author: "Bohemond asking him what had been going on, he confessed that the emperor had promised to give him his daughter, with Durazzo, and other rewards; that the place would have been long ago stormed, or given up by the citizens but for his communications with them. Having revealed this enormous wickedness, he retired, followed with curses".

A.D. 1107, 1108.] BOHEMOND'S SIEGE OF DURAZZO. 389

appointed a certain day for making the assault, they on some crafty pretence demanded a truce or gave the enemy clandestine intelligence by which they might avoid their iminent danger. In this manner Bohemond and his army were long deceived by the treachery of his friends, and provisions begining to fail, the crusaders dwindled away in a foreign land. At length, not being able to endure the severe famine, they deserted in small bands, and dispersing through Macedonia, came to the emperor's terms, who gave them the choice of either remaining in his service, or departing where they pleased. Many of them partook of his ample donations, and enjoying his munificence, returned him thanks for relieving them from their state of utter penury.

Bohemond was much distressed on finding that he could not accomplish his vast designs, but although daily pressed by his comrades to seek the emperor's favour, he long refused. They argued thus: "We are paying the penalty of our own rashness in having engaged in a bold enterprise far from our native country and beyond our strength, and having presumed to raise our hands against the holy empire. We have not been led to join in this expedition to sustain our hereditary rights, nor has any prophet sent by God roused us to arms by divine oracles; but you are actuated by the ambition of ruling in the teritories of another prince to engage in this arduous enterprise, and, as for us, the love of money has led us to undergo the burden of toils and battles. But as God is not mocked, and his judgments fail not, nor does he subvert justice, he has heard with favour the prayers of those who cry to him against us in Greece, and has dispersed our troops, enfeebled not by battle but by famine, and destroyed our force without effusion of blood. We entreat you therefore to make peace with the emperor before you fall into his hands and are condemned to death, and by your loss all your followers are plunged into inextricable difficulties. [1]


[1] Among Bohemond's companions in arms who poured forth these complaints, we may distinguish Hugh Bunel, the assassin of Mabel de Belesme, who, being proscribed had long sought his fortunes in the East (see before p. 170). "Prince", said he to Bohemond, "of all the knights who are come here to do battle, there is not one who has had an opportunity of using his lance. We are fighting against stone walls. Make peace, and let us he gone".- Hist. du Bas-Empire, t. 84, p. 1108.

390 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXV.

By this language the valiant duke understood plainly the disaffection of his comrades, and being apprehensive of incurring the disgrace of an irretrievable disaster, he gave a reluctant consent, and, making peace with the emperor [1] returned in deep grief to Apulia. Feeling great confusion in presence of the French to whom he had promised extensive sovereignties, he gave them leave, with shame, to pursue their pilgrimage. [2] Then Hugh de Puiset, Ralph de Pont Erchanfre, with Josceline his brother, and many others proceeded to Constantinople, [3] where they were honoured by the emperor Alexius with noble gifts, and from thence they continued their journey to Jerusalem. The wife of Ralph, who was daughter of Goislen de Leves, [4] died in the imperial city, and was buried there with great solemnity. Some of the pilgrims having performed their devotions returned to their native country, and ended their career by various accidents. Guy fell sick soon afterwards, and publicly confessed the treachery of which he had been guilty, but he could never obtain his pardon from his brother. Robert de Montfort also, his accomplice in the treason, died about the same time, and no one said a word in his praise.

CH. XXV. Death of Bohemand and Tancred - Roger their successor at Antioch falls in battle with the Turks - Bohemond II. becomes prince of Antioch.

IN the year of our Lord 1111, the fourth indication, Mark


[1] This treaty, the humiliating conditions of which may be seen in the work just referred to (t. 18, p. 382), is dated in the month of September, 1108. Anna Comnena has preserved to us the verbose engagements imposed on Bohemond, but unfortunately does not give the signatures nor even the names of any of his followers.

[2] We doubt very much whether this licence was explicitly granted. Bohemond not only broke all his promises to his companions in arms, but he returned to Apulia without taking leave of them.

[3] This journey did not take place till the spring of 1109.

[4] Gouellain de Leves, near Chartres. The family of Giroie with which Ralph was connected on his mother's side, was intimately related to several houses in the distriot of Chartres. See vol. i., pp. 451, etc.

A.D. 1111.] ROGER SUCCEEDS BOHEMOND. 391

Bohemond died, after many conflicts and triumphs in the name of Jesus. [1] Tancred, that knight so renowned for his defeats of the Pagans, was his uncle's successor for several years. [2] On his death Roger, son of Richard, a cousin of the before named princes, obtained the principality of Antioch, but, entangled in difficulties, he did not hold it long. The death of these invincible princes being known through all the world became the cause of deep grief to the Christians and exultation to the Pagans. In consequence, Emir Gazis, [3] nephew of the sultan, prince of Persia, declared war against the Christians, and laid siege to Sardanas, a castle of the Christians, ten leagues from Antioch, with a numerous army. Roger, son of Richard, prince of Antioch, marched out to give battle, against the advice of the patriarch Bernard, and without waiting for the arrival of Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, who was summoned to their aid. Roger was a daring and brave knight, but inferior to his two predecessors, being careless, obstinate, and rash.

The patriarch, with paternal solicitude for the safety of his people, thus addressed the impatient duke: "Temper your valour with prudence, brave duke, and wait the arrival of King Baldwin and Josceline, and other faithful knights who are now zealously hastening to our succour. Precipitation has been the ruin of numbers, and the greatest princes have in consequence thrown away life and victory. Look into ancient and modern history, and reflect seriously on the fates of celebrated kings. Think of Saul and Josiah, and Judas Maccabaeus, as well as of the defeat of the Romans by Hannibal at Cannae, and use wise precautions that you do not precipitate yourself and your subjects into similar ruin. Wait for your venerable allies who are eminent for


[1] Bohemond died in the month of February, 1111, not at Antioch according to an interpolation adopted in Duchesne's text of Ordericus, but in Apulia. The original MS. had the word Atatiochiae, but it has been erased, probably under the eye and by order of the author.

[2] Tancred did not succeed his uncle in the principality of Antioch, but governed it as guardian of Bohemond II., who was only four years old at his father's death. Nor is it correct to say that the guardianship lasted several years, as Tancred died the 6th of December, 1112.

[3] We may easily recognize the name of Al-Gazy, the Turkoman prince of Maridin and Aleppo, of the family of Ortok, as that of the emir Gazis, given him by our author.

392 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXV.

their piety and many virtues, and in company with them fight against the Pagans, in the power of Almighty God, and by his aid you will gain the victory you covet".

The prudent bishop used language of this sort, but the arrogant duke, treating all he said with contempt, marched out and pitched his camp in the plain of Sarmatan, with seven thousand troops. Upon this, the emir Gazis and his numerous bands of Gentiles raised the siege without loss of time, and rushing suddenly from the mountains on the champaign country, covered it like clouds of locusts. Then hurrying to the tents of the Christians, who were taken by surprise, they slew their prince Roger and seven thousand men. [2] Robert de Vieux Pont, [3] and other knights and squires, who had left the camp in the morning for foraging or hawking, or other employments, witnessing this sudden attack, fled seven leagues to the city, and with the fearful news roused the citizens in alarm to defend their country. Nearly one hundred and forty escaped by being out of the camp, and were reserved, by God's mercy, for the protection of the faithful.

On learning these circumstances, the patriarch took measures manfully to defend the city with all the men, both clergy and laity, he was able to muster. Cecilia, daughter of Philip, king of France, Tancred's widow, knighted Gervase the Breton, son of Hannon, viscount of Dol, and invested several other squires with knightly arms to fight against the Pagans. Elated by their great slaughter of the Christains, the emir's troops rapidly advanced in a body to Antioch, thinking they should take the city by surprise, now that its defenders were slain; but by God's providence they were completely repulsed from the fortifications by a small band of the faithful.

At the end of fifteen days, the king of Jerusalem, and


[1] It is quite possible that the patriarch Bernard may have addressed Roger to this effect, though probably with less display of erudition, but it is certain that Bernard remained at Antioch, and the archbishop of Apamea performed the episcopal functions on the field of battle.

[2] The battle in which Roger de Principatu fell, was fought in 1119, near Artesia, at a place called the Field of Blood.

[3] Probably a son of Robert de Vieux-Pont-sur-Dive, who assumed the monastic habit in the abbey there in the reign of William the Conqueror.

A.D. 1118.] BOHEMOND II., PRINCE OF ANTIOCH. 393

Pons, count of Tripoli, [1] united their forces at the castle of Harene, and giving battle in the name of the merciful Jesus, obtained the victory and broke the power of the infidels. The young knight Gervase slew the emir Gazis, and Christian valour crushed the might of the Gentiles. [2] The Christians were enriched with the spoils of their enemies, and returned hearty thanks to God.

Then king Baldwin [3] took possession of Antioch, in consequence of Tancred's having left no issue, [4] and defended it several years against the Gentiles. At last, the young Bohemond came from Apulia to Syria, and being received with universal joy, married the king's daughter and recovered all his father's territories. He governed them with distinction for four years, treading in his father's steps, but like a bright flower, he soon faded. [5]

CH. XXVI. Baldwin II. and some Christian knights fall into an ambush near Edessa, and are detained in captivity - Their escape.

MEANWHILE, Balad, [6] Sahanas, that is the viscount, of Bagdad, who had married the daughter of Rodnan, king of Aleppo and obtained the kingdom in her right, contended fiercely with the Christians for a long period. This old warrior,


[1] Pons, count of Tripoli, grandson of Raymond of St. Giles, succeeded his father Bertrand in 1112. This brave prince married Cecilia of France, Tancred's widow.

[2] The Christians were encamped on the mountain of Danitz when the Moslems attacked them on the 14th of August, 1120. Al-Gazy did not fall in the battle as our author relates, but made his escape and died some time afterwards.

[3] Baldwin II., surnamed du Bourg, eldest son of Hugh, count de Rethel, kinsman of Baldwin I., succeeded him on Easter-day, 1118.

[4] It was not pro defectu Tancredinae stirpis that Baldwin took possession of Antioch, Baldwin's posterity having no right or pretension to the principality, but on account of the extreme youth of Bohemond II., who was then only twelve years old.

[5] He married Alice, twelfth daughter of Baldwin II., and fell in 1130, during the assault of the castle of Athareb by the Atabek Ismaelian Zenghi, leaving only an infant daughter named Constance. His widow Alice married Zenghi.

[6] In this chapter we go back to the year 1123, and the reign of Balak, nephew and successor of Al-Gazy.

394 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXVI.

while he was besieging Maubeg, [1] and breathing slaughter against the Christians, learnt that King Baldwin and Josceline with several others intended to go to Rages, and there celebrate the solemnities of Easter. He therefore cautiously drew off from the siege forty thousand men, in the last week of Lent, and on Friday of the Lord's Supper made prisoners Josceline de Turbessel [2] and Waleran de Puiset, who were in advance of the other Christians. Then he concealed himself with his troops, like a wolf, in a dense olive grove, lying in ambush at Ponte-Torres on the Euphrates, on the Saturday of Easter, and waiting for King Baldwin, who was uninformed of what had happened to his friends who preceded him. The insidious enemy on the watch first saw the chaplains and some common people who were unarmed, but, looking out sharply for a worthier prize, he allowed them to pass without molestation. The king following without suspicion at the head of thirty-five horsemen, was immediately seized, and the infidel commander then let loose all his squadrons like savage tigers on the unarmed crowd, and commanded the whole to be put to death on the spot. All these therefore, with the king's chaplains who were in front, were butchered like sheep on the Saturday of Easter.

Balad, exulting in his great success, conducted the king and the knights as prisoners to Charran, and then to Carpetra, [3] where they were confined a long time. This place is remarkable for a vast, stately, and strongly fortified citadel,


[1] Maubeg, the Hierapolis of the Greeks.

[2] Joscelin II. de Courtenai, second son of Josceline I., accompanied Stephen, count de Blois to the Holy Land in 1101. He obtained from Baldwin I. the lordship of Tiberias or Tabaria, and from Baldwin du Bourg the county of Edessa. It was not from a fancy for celebrating Easter at Edessa that the king fell into the ambuscade of Balak, but while he was imprudently on his march there for the relief of Josceline. This knight took his surname of Turbessel from one of the places which Baldwin du Bourg had given him on the west of the Euphrates. He had a brother, Geoffrey de Courtenai, surnamed Chapelu, who also distinguished himself in the Holy Land, and perished there in 1139, while endeavouring to relieve the castle of Montferrand, besieged by the infidels.

We need not be surprised to see one of the family of Puiset in his company. They were neighbours, and probably kinsmen or allies.

[3] Khartpert, Karpout, Quart-Pierre, to the east of the Euphrates and N.E. of Edessa, where Baldwin was imprisoned in the month of February, 1124. It was not till his second captivity that the king was conducted to Charan.

A.D. 1123, 1124.] BALDWIN II.'S CAPTIVITY. 395

one of the first, in the whole world, of those fortresses which are the strength of tyrants.

In this citadel King Baldwin, with Josceline and Waleran, Pons de Gavarret, the viscount, the young knight Gervase, Guiumar the Breton, son of count Alan, [1] and thirty-two knights were confined together for a whole year, as well as forty Armenian and Syrian Christians who were already captives there.

Balad committed the custody of the citadel and the prisoners to three hundred and fifty soldiers, and ordered the king to be tortured by fasting, to compel him to yield up the fortresses which were most desirable. The rest of the prisoners were employed, under guard, in various works and daily labours. Balad then levied a numerous army and led them without delay against the Christian states, whom he expected to find at his mercy in the absence of their chiefs. Having laid siege to the castle of Sardanas, near Antioch, he blockaded the place for a long time, but the mighty God of Sabaoth protecting the garrison, he could not reduce it.

Meanwhile the captives were in servitude to their Gentile keepers, and obeyed their orders, chained by one of their feet. They fetched water daily from the Euphrates, at the distance of a mile, and performed cheerfully other tasks which were enjoined them. The Gentiles treated them kindly as they would do good beasts of burden, and finding them useful artificers and workmen, fed them well that their strength might not fail. King Baldwin only and Josceline were indulged with repose, but they were strictly guarded. By Balad's orders, the king was only allowed food on Sunday and Friday in every week, and then he gave a meal to the three hundred and fifty soldiers who composed his guard. Not only so, but he provided subsistence in great great plenty for his companions in captivity, as well as the forty prisoners he found in the castle; exhibiting thus a royal munificence, and at the same time securing the good opinion of the guards. This liberality was a great advantage to the captives, for the gentile soldiers treated them with respect, and, contrary to the orders of Balad, often privately supplied the king with


[1] We know of no son of Alan Fergan called Guiumar, which appears to be the Breton form of Guy. Geoffrey-le-Roux, his second son, died at Jerusalem in 1116.

396 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXVI.

plentiful meals. The emir of Caloiambar, [1] his wife's uncle, rendered him aid by sending him a hundred bezants every week.

The crafty Gentiles were sometimes favourably disposed towards the Christians, but perish for ever their accursed faith! Twice during their solemn festivals they dragged from the prison two knights chosen by lot, and binding them to stakes shot their arrows at them till they fell amidst the jeers of the Gentiles.

At this sight the captives were sorely troubled, and preferred a noble death to life in so much misery. In consequence, at the expiration of a year, the Christians roused themselves to a bold enterprise, and one Sunday, when the guards had made a plentiful meal provided by the king, they enticed them to drink till they were intoxicated. As the Pagans fell asleep, the Franks seized their arms, and being joined by the forty Armenian and Syrian Christians who had been long in captivity, slew all the Turks, and having thus disposed of their guards, took posession of the entire fortress. The next day they made a bold irruption into the city, and putting several thousand Pagans to the sword, carried off the booty they pillaged into the castle, the strong fortifications of which protected them for nearly eight months. They then dispatched Josceline and Geoffrey le Grele, to demand succour from all the Christian states. [1]

About this time, the queen of Jerusalem, who was an Armenian by birth, employed a hundred chosen men of her own race to disguise themselves as Turks in their dress and arms, and endeavour to render assistance, to her husband in


[1] Calaat-Gieber, or Calgembar, the castle of Giabar, a fortress near the Euphrates.

[2] It would be a vain task to endeavour to separate the history from the romance of this narrative, which has the same characteristics as that of the deliverance of Bohemond in a former chapter. We know for certain that the captives were delivered by the Armenians in disguise sent by Morphia to their relief. It was during Baldwin's second captivity, and not his first, that Josceline and Geoffrey le Grele made their escape, as Ordericus himself concurs in stating a little further on. As for the particulars of their escape, they must be left on the authority of our author. Modern writers have attached too little credit to these narratives, in which there is probably a good deal of truth, Their rejection of them is the less excusable, as they have nothing to offer instead.

A.D. 1123-1124.] ESCAPE OF JOSCELINE AND GEOFFREY. 397

his captivity. These men coming to Karpout, were admitted into the castle, and being well versed in the language and manners of the Turks rendered great assistance to the Franks.

Josceline and Geoffrey, having to explore a road with which they were unacquainted, and fearing, in a strange country, all alike as enemies, chanced to fall in with a peasant who, with his wife mounted on a little ass, was journeying from Mesopotamia to Syria. As they travelled and talked together, the peasant soon recognized Josceline, who, though a valiant warrior, became so alarmed at the barbarian's assertion, that he told him he was under a mistake. The Pagan however said to him: "Your denial is useless, brave knight, for I know you are Josceline, formerly my own master; I have been often employed in your household, and was glad to do the bidding of your humblest servants. I fetched water and lit fires, receiving from your bounty food and clothing like the rest of your domestics. After some years, I went among my Turkish relations, and am now leaving them again, infidels as they are, intending to rejoin the Christians, under whom I lived more happily than with my own kinsmen and country folk. I have heard, worthy sir, of your misfortunes, and long and heartily grieved at the disaster which befel you and your friends. Now that you are released from captivity and on the way to your own country, I will be your faithful attendant, and guide you on the road to Antioch". The Pagan conversing in this manner, with much more to the same purpose, Josceline was highly delighted with his companion. They forthwith exchanged clothes, the barbarian taking the lead as master, and conversing with those they met on the road, while the two Christian knights followed like vile slaves, silently praying to the King of Sabaoth for their mutual safety. They cheerfully carried in their arms by turns the the Saracen's little daughter, who was six years old, and thus passed through the fortified places and towns without being recognized.

Listen now to what befel those who were left in extreme peril at Karpout. There were three of Balad's wives concealed in the castle, whose existence the Christians did not discover for fifteen days. Fatima, daughter of Ali, king of the Medes, was the most distinguished of these ladies for

398 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXVI.

beauty and rank; the second was the daughter of Roduan of Aleppo, and the third of the emir of Caloiambar. The daughter of Roduan wrote a letter to her husband who was besieging Sardanas with a hundred thousand troops, and fastening it to the neck of a carrier-pigeon, let loose the bird from the summit of the tower. In this letter she gave a particular account of the seizure of the castle, the massacre of the guards, and the devastation of the country. As soon therefore as Balad received this intelligence, he raised the siege of Sardanas in violent alarm, and returning hastily to Karpout collected forces from all quarters and blockaded it during eight months.

At this time Josceline and his companions passed through the camp of Balad without being recognized, and arriving at home richly rewarded his guide. Causing the whole family to be regenerated in the waters of baptism, he conferred great wealth on the husband and wife, and, as for the girl he had carried in his arms and thus passed undiscovered through the gentile tribes, he espoused her honorably to a Christian knight. [1]

Balad besieged Karpout for a long time with a numerous army, but Baldwin and his followers gallantly resisted all their attacks. The citadel contained a number of spacious and elegant apartments, and chambers within the main walls in which vast treasures were deposited, consisting of gold and silver, precious stones, purple and silk, and all kinds of valuables. A plentiful stream of water, led from the Euphrates by a subterranean canal of admirable construction, supplied abundantly the wants of those who were shut up in the castle. It contained also stores of bread, wine, and meat, both fresh and salted, sufficient for the support of a thousand soldiers for ten years. Thus the indomitable Franks could confidently rely on maintaining their position until Josceline's return with a reinforcement of Christians.

In consequence, Balad in great anxiety repeatedly sent


[1] "Il fallait que cette jeune fille de six ans eut grandi bien vite".- Le Prevost. But every one knows that in the east girls are betrothed in childhood and marriageable at a very early age. The author may have anticipated an event which did not take place for a few years, in order to wind up his romantic story, and dispose of the inferior characters in his drama according to the approved fashion.

A.D. 1123-1124.] BALDWIN'S CAPTIVITY. 399

able ambassadors to King Baldwin, who made great offers sometimes accompanied by severe reproaches. "O king", he said, "yon are guilty of a foul deed, which will stain your honour in the present and future generations. Much to your shame, you treat with cruelty and outrage the feelings of noble matrons, in a manner unbecoming your royal dignity and Christian profession. Why do you detain my helpless wives, who have never done you an injury, confined like captives in the castle? Why do you bind in fetters princesses of royal birth like thieves or traitors? Your conduct is the deepest disgrace to your nation, and will reflect dishonour on your religion throughout all ages. Harden not your heart, I beseech you, but have compassion on my grey hairs, and the feebleness of women. I entreat you to restore me my wives, and I will engage by a solemn oath that I will make no attack on you and your companions for a whole year, in order that Josceline the bearer of your message may have time to return with the relief you need. Meanwhile, if you grant me the favour of sending back my wives, I will draw off my forces, and attend to the administration of my affairs, while you will enjoy the peace I grant for the appointed term. You shall enjoy the liberty of the markets throughout my territories, and you can freely use for that purpose the vast treasure belonging to me which chance has placed in your power. Gazis, Bursethin, and other persons of rank conveyed this message to King Baldwin, and used all their eloquence to persuade him to come to terms with their own prince.

Baldwin assembled all who were in the castle, and laying before them Balad's proposals, demanded their advice. Various opinions being offered, and there being much difficulty in arriving at a positive determination on so doubtful a subject, the queen Fatima thus addressed the assembly: "I perceive, brave men, that you hesitate what reply you shall send to my lord's propositions. I beseech you therefore to listen to what I have to say. Give no heed to my lord's promises, for they are not to be trusted. All the offers by which he endeavours to wheedle you are treacherous. As long as you hold possession of this impregnable castle, and detain me and my companions in your custody, there is no doubt but Balad will be afraid of you, and not venture to

400 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXVI.

assault the fortress. He well knows, and often declares in the company of his intimate friends, that should any evil happen to us while he is attacking you, he will be afterwards exposed to endless hostilities. All our relations, who are lords of the greatest part of the East, would rise in arms against him, and never rest till they had put him to death. Wait then until you receive the succour of Heaven and your faithful friends, and beware prudently of the dangerous wiles of your crafty foe. You position is commanding, and enables you to repel assaults by hurling darts and stones on the enemy. What is wanting, if you are only firm? You are well furnished with arms, and abundantly provisioned. You have in this impregnable fortress bread, water, wine, and flesh-meat. Call to mind the ten years' siege of Troy, and think of the heroic deeds which your actors daily represent before you, and let such recollections supply you with strength and animate your courage. [1] Fight bravely according to the custom of the Franks, and persevere until you have gained the victory, lest your shame be told in songs throughout the world. Hitherto the glory of the warriors of the West is universally celebrated, and the fame of the Franks has even penetrated to the Persian realms. It does not grieve us to be confined with you, although King Balad taunts you with it as a thing to be ashamed of. We prefer such incarceration to the worship of demons with idolators, and willingly adopting your kindly manners are favourably disposed to your faith and religion, hoping that if, through the divine favour, we safely make our escape from hence in your company, we shall speedily be admitted to the heavenly sacraments of the Christians".

The other princesses heartily agreed with what Fatima had said; and the exhortations of the foreign women pleasing the Christians, they were encouraged to persist for a long while in holding the castle. At length, however, King Baldwin yielded to the prayers and promises of Balad, and restored him his three wives, much against their own wishes, escorted by five brave knights. Having conducted them to Balad, becomingly attired, the knights proposed returning to their


[1] "Voila encore", observes M. Le Prevost, "une veritable Sultane d'opera comique, bien versee en outre dans la connoissance des chansons de geste, et particulierement de celles qui roulaient sur in guerre de Troie".

A.D. 1123-1124.] CRUSADERS AT RAGDAD. 401

friends in the castle, but were detained by the tyrant to the grief of many. Thus Guiumar the Breton, Grevase of Dol, Robert of Caen, Musched of Mans, and Rivallon of Dinan, were made prisoners by the treacherous Balad and presented as captives to Ali, king of the Medes. He was a very powerful prince, and having detained the Franks and treated them honourably nine months, gave them to the caliph of Bagdad. [1] On the morrow, the soldan received them from the caliph, and shortly setting them at liberty loaded them with presents. There the four knights chose Guiumar, son of Count Alan, their leader, and took service with the soldan for three years and a half, returning to Antioch in the course of the fourth year. [2]

The merciful God did not leave his faithful children without aid in their exile, for the five knights of whom we have spoken and who were led so far in captivity, found great favour among the barbarians. The king of tbe Medes placed them under the care of the governor of the city, ordering that they should come to him every day dressed in the French fashion. They had garments of silk embroidered with gold, horses, arms, and all sorts of furniture, and whatever they chose to ask of the king or the governor. They were objects of wonder to the Persians, and the Mede's regarded with admiration the dress of the Franks. Kings' daughters were struck with their handsome persons and smiled at their pleasantries, and kings and princes wished to have descendants of the blood of the Franks. No one however compelled them to change their religion in the slightest degree, or depart from the worship of Christ.

They tell wonderful stories of the soldan's wealth and of the strange curiosities they saw in the east. The word soldan means sole-lord, because, he rules over all the princes of the east. In the fourth year, he gave them permission to return home, and presented them with a golden arrow, as


[1] Mostarchid was caliph of Bagdad at this time, 1118-September 28, 1135.

[2] Our author, as usual, is not fortunate in his chronology. He makes the Christian prisoners spend three years and a half in their travels; in the fourth they find Balak besieging Monbec, and still keeping Baldwin in close confinement. But we know that he was not taken prisoner for the first time before the vear 1123, and that Josceline slew Balak with his own hand in the spring of 1124.

402 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXVI.

a token of their liberty being restored by the prince. He offered them the daughters of his most powerful nobles, with immense riches and posessions, if they chose to remain; but as they were resolved to depart, he showed them his vast treasures and wealth of all kinds. At last, having been loaded with gifts, and taken leave of their acquaintance and benefactors, they returned to Antioch under the conduct of David, King of Georgia, and Thorold de Montanis, [1] and joyfully related to their friends how they had lived in Nineveh, Bagdad, and Babylonia, and the many strange things they had seen in the countries of the East.

They heard at Antioch that Balad was besieging Monbec, and still kept King Baldwin in close confinement, after putting to death all his companions. Josceline, after his escape from prison, had sent trusty messengers to the emperor John, [2] and the Greeks and Armenians, and after eight months hastened with a large body of troops to the relief of the king who, as before related, was left in the castle of Karpout. Meanwhile Balad had continued the siege and frequently sent Gazis his nephew, and the young Bursechinus, [3] the commander of his forces, to Baldwin, assuring him on oath that if he would surrender the castle peaceably he should have liberty to depart where he would with all his followers, and receive from him whatever he demanded. The king, weary of his long confinement and too easily trusting the treacherous pagan, surrendered the citadel, to the scandal of the Christians and great joy of the infidels. The king having marched out, Balad ordered four of his teeth to be extracted, [4] and Waleran de Puiset's left eye to


[1] We find no account of the king of Georgia mentioned by our author. As for the prince of Armenia, who appears here under the disguise of a Norman name, he must have been Thoros, brother, lieutenant, and successor, after the year 1185, of Leon, Levon, or Liven. Both were sons of Gabriel, prince of Melitene, as they were brothers of Morphia, queen of Jerusalem, and wife of Baldwin II. These princes of Armenia were called by the western nations, de Montanis, from the mountainous character of their territories. The impregnable castle which was their usual residence, stood at the distance of an easy day's journey from Antioch, and they were consequently in continual contact with the lords of that principality.

[2] The emperor John Comnenus, August 15, 1118-April 8, 1143.

[3] The same person we have already met with under the name of Bursethinus. See before, p. 399.

[4] We trust the reader will not attach more credit to the extraction of four of Baldwin's teeth, than to our author's etymology of the word soldan. After Balak's death, Baldwin remained prisoner at Charan, and was released from his captivity by being ransomed in 1125.

A.D. 1124.] BALDWIN'S RELEASE. 403

be pulled out, and the nerves of his right arm to be severed, so that he might no longer carry a lance. Their companions were sentenced to lose their heads: all which was carried into execution. Waleran died from the injuries he received; the king was again thrown into prison, where during four years his sufferings were greater than before; and twenty-four knights and one hundred and forty Syrians or Armenians were put to death by being beheaded. May they live with Christ, whose confessors they were and whom they served in this life! Josceline, having learnt on his way the king's surrender and the slaughter of his late fellow prisoners, halted his troops, and the whole Christian army joined in lamentations; then after a consultation it disbanded. The intelligence of their disaster being spread in all quarters, the Christians were overwhelmed with sorrow, and the Gentiles triumphed with excessive joy.

Balad, finding that all which we have related succeeded to his wishes, and that the Christians throughout Syria and Palestine made a firm resistance without thinking of their king, sent messengers to the kings and emirs throughout the Gentile world. Having united their forces to his, he again laid siege to Monbec. Josceline and all the Christians rejoiced at receiving this intelligence, and lost no time in assembling to give them battle. At this juncture, by the will of our Saviour, the five illustrious knights were in the army, having returned the same week from captivity among the barbarians. A great battle was fought on the vast plain between Monbec and Castle-Trehaled, in which Musci and Heron his brother, and several other emirs, engaged on the side of Balad, and strove to the utmost to defeat the Christians. Balad on the field of battle sent two ass-loads of gold to Godfrey the Monk, count de Mareis, [1] begging him to


[1] We have no information relative to this person. He may have been the father or kinsman of "Reynold de Mares", who was slain with the prince of Antioch in a battle against the Turks, the 27th of June, 1158".- Hist. de la Maison de Courtenay, p. 9. However that may he, it is not true that Balak fell by his hand, but he was killed by Josceline. "La tete du farouche enemi des Chretiens fut portee en triomphe devant les murs de Tyr, ou ce spectacle doubla l'enthousiasme belliqueux des assiegeants".- Hist. des Croisades, ii. 70.

401 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXVI.

retire alone from the battle, lest both of them should fall that day. For his sister, who was a skilful sorceress, had read in the stars that Godfrey and Balad should slay each other in the fight, and had sent in alarm a message to her brother warning him to take precautions for his safety. The religious count spurned the tyrant's gifts like dross, and offered himself willingly to the sacrifice in the confession of Christ. Having avenged the blood of the saints by slaying Balad, he fell himself gloriously fighting for Christ. His pennon was found on the corpse of Balad, by whose death a dreadful and heavy yoke was removed from the necks of the Christians. In that battle nine hundred Christian soldiers fought against three hundred thousand Pagans, and conquered them by the powerful aid of the mighty God of Israel. On the side of the Christians only six knights and eleven foot-soldiers fell in the battle, while thirteen thousand of the Pagans perished, whose names were found written in Balad's muster-rolls. The Almighty Emanuel, son of the immaculate Virgin, gave strength and victory to his Israelites, filling them with joy at the defeat of their enemies whom he had employed to chastise their offences like a rod of iron; and after the storms of their affliction were dispersed, gave them prosperity and peace. The Lord thundering from heaven broke the horns of the Gentiles, and the Christians lifted up their hands and gave praises to the invincible King of Sabaoth.

The Emir Gazis, nephew and heir of Balad, king of Aleppo, succeeded him; [1] but his recent disasters and diminution of wealth prevented him from undertaking great enterprises and withstanding the difficulties in which his predecessor, taught by long experience, had been involved, and which his fertile genius enabled him to conduct and support. In consequence Gazis, accepting fifty thousand bezants for the ransom of King Baldwin, released him from prison, requiring forty youths, chosen from the principal families of Jerusalem, or the neighbouring provinces, as hostages for the restoration of all the Pagans who were in captivity among the faithful. These terms having been agreed to, he released the king, and waited at the appointed time near the castle of Gis in the country of Caesarea Philippi. The Christians


[1] Balak's successor was not called Gazis, and was not his nephew. It was Timourtasch, son of Yl-Gazi, and he was already king of Maredin.

A.D. 1124.] SIEGE OF TYRE. 405

arrived there with the money stipulated for the king's ransom, and making a bold attack in the name of Christ, took the emir and the castle, and recovering their hostages, returned to Jerusalem with joyful thanksgivings to God. Gazis redeemed himself by paying one hundred thousand golden bezants, and engaged to maintain a durable peace with the Christians; but his sovereignty was of short duration. [1]

CH. XXVII. Siege of Tyre by the crusaders from Jerusalem, and the Venetians - On its surrender, an Englishman appointed archbishop - A church built on the spot where our Lord preached.

WHILE King Baldwin was detained a prisoner, as we have now related, and the Christians almost despaired of his deliverance, the bishop exhorted the clergy and people of Jerusalem not to faint in their tribulations, but trusting in Christ to oppose the Gentiles resolutely, and enlarge their borders by force of arms to the Creator's glory. Envoys were therefore despatched to Italy, who summoned to their aid the duke of Venice with a powerful fleet. Tyre, a city famous both in sacred and profane history, was then invested both by sea and land, and the siege was pressed till it was forced to surrender. [2] When at last the place was taken, a certain clerk, who was a native of England, was ordained bishop, [3] and a


[1] All that our author relates of the circumstances attending the liberation of Baldwin is the subject of controversy. It is a fact that in 1125 Timourtasch lost Aleppo, which was besieged by Baldwin and it was given up to his liberator, the sultan of Mossoul; but he retained the kingdom of Maredin and Miafarehin until his death in 1152.

Baldwin, whose imprisonment only dated from the month of February, 1123, was released by ransom the 29th of August, 1124. The kingdom of Jerusalem was administered during his captivity by Eustace Garnier, lord of Cesarea and Sidon.

[2] Tyre was taken on the 7th of July, 1124, after a siege of five months and a half. The doge of Venice, who assisted in its reduction, was Dominico Michaele, 1117-1130.

[3] A person named Odo was nominated by Baldwin II. to be the Latin archbishop of Tyre as early as 1122. He appears to have been consecrated by the patriarch Gormand, but never took possession of his see, as the city was in the hands of the infidels when he died in 1124. After the place was taken, the king and patriarch, with the nobles of the kingdom, assembled in 1127, the fourth year after Odo's death, and by universal concurrence raised to the archiepiscopal dignity, "William, a venerable man, a native of England, where he was prior of St. Sepulchre's, and of worthy life and conduct".- William of Tyre, 1. xiii. c. 23. The good intelligence subsisting between the two prelates did not last long, for in the course of the same year the archbishop, in opposition to the will of his patriarch, went to Rome to demand the pallium, which was granted him by Honorius II. He died in 1132 or 1133. Tyre, in the thirteenth century, was called by the Franks Sur, derived from Tyr, by introducing the s, Tsur.

406 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXVIII.

church built, under the invocation of St. Saviour, outside the city, on the spot where the Lord Jesus preached to the people the word of eternal salvation. [1] The altar was constructed of a large stone on which our Lord sat while he was teaching; not having been willing to enter a city of the uncircumcized, lest he should seem to give an occasion of scandal to the Jews, if He, being a Hebrew, should enter a city of the Gentiles and have any intercourse with them. The faithful collected the fragments which the masons chipped off from this shapeless stone, and, from reverence to our Lord's seat, carried them into various countries, where they are deposited in consecrated places among holy relics.

CH. XXVIII. Negotiations between the court of Constantinople, and afterwards that of Jerusalem, for a marriage with the heiress of Antioch.

A CERTAIN Greek of high rank, named Ravendinos, arrived at Antioch, and brought a message from the emperor Alexius [2] to Prince Roger already mentioned, demanding his daughter in marriage for John, the emperor's son. The hostility he had long fostered had gradually abated, in consequence of that sagacious monarch having reflected that the common lot of mortals had carried of Bohemond and Tancred, and other rebels, and that he had reason to apprehend that the same fate speedily threatened himself. He, therefore,


[1] Matt. xv. 21. Mark vii. 24.

The gospels appear to bear out the statement that our Lord's discourse with the Syro-Phoenician woman was held outside the city; but the precise spot, and the circumstance of his having seated himself during it on a particular stone, rest on local tradition.

[2] Our author forgets that Alexius died the 15th of August, 1118, and Roger in 1119. There is another circumstance which exhibits the incorrectness of the present narrative. Baldwin I. left no posterity, and those of Baldwin II. were not cotemporaries with the emperor Alexius. It will appear in the sequel that Ordericus speaks of the latter.

EMBASSY FROM CONSTANTINOPLE. 407

determined to form an alliance of one of his family with that warlike race, [1] that at least his heir might recover the principality of Antioch by the rights of marriage, as he despaired of accomplishing it by force of arms. He, therefore, employed in the embassy to the Normans the Greek already mentioned, who, while be was waiting for a reply to his message, met with a serious disaster. For, being thus detained at Antioch until an honourable answer was agreed on in a general assembly, the emir Gazis, the Persian, made a sudden irruption, as I have already related, into the territories of the Christians, and Ravendinos, accompanying Roger against the enemy, was taken prisoner and compelled to pay fifteen thousand bezants for his ransom. The Turks would not do him any injury because be was a Greek, sparing him from their knowledge of his nation, which was a neighbour of theirs, and from their respect for the emperor; so that having received the ransom they dismissed him in safety. The ambassador, finding that Roger and all his troops had perished, and that King Baldwin had united the principality of Antioch to the kingdom of Jerusalem, went to him on the part of the emperor, and demanded his daughter in marriage for his son John. King Baldwin received the message with great satisfaction, and, consenting to the proposal, sent the ambassador to Jerusalem to see his daughter, furnishing him with a secret despatch addressed to the queen only. Ravendinos accordingly proceeded to Jerusalem, and was well received by the queen and her daughter, the king's commands being cheerfully obeyed. The beautiful princess, appearing in public, was the delight of all beholders, and she herself, having heard tidings of her happy prospects, cherished fruitless hopes. Indeed, nothing is stable but that which the only Creator of all things orders by his providence. The emperor's ambassador, with his


[1] It was not Alexius Comnenus who wished to marry his son John to the heiress of Antioch, but John who proposed the allianoe for his son Manuel, who was born in 1120. Irritated by the preference given to Raymond, that emperor invaded Cilicia, and then turned his arms against the prince of Armenia, the ally of the prince of Antioch.

These events appear to have occurred between the years 1135 and 1137. It is, therefore, not impossible that some imperfect account of them may have reached Ordericus before he concluded his history.

408 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXVIII.

attendants and the companions of his journey, sailed to the island of Cyprus, the duke of which, resolving to accompany him to Constantinople in fifteen days, commanded them all to be hospitably entertained until Whitsuntide. Lodgings were assigned them in a handsome mansion at some distance from the palace, and while they anxiously waited for the appointed time, they were supplied abundantly with provisions at the duke's expense.

Meanwhile, he was assassinated in his own apartments during a general insurrection, and a plank was removed from each of the ships which were moored on the sea shore. The bloody homicides also fixed and published the day on which the envoy and his fellow travellers should be put to death, but impediments were adroitly raised, and it was frequently postponed by a prudent man who was in the conspirators' counsels. He said: "I beseech you, friends and brothers, to spare these men for your own sakes, and refrain from dipping your hands in the blood of those who have done you no injury. Guide your actions by discretion and the rule of right, lest you exasperate God and man against you by the enormity of your crimes, and incur the vengeance of the greatest princes on all sides. You have already perpetrated an abominable outrage against the emperor in having murdered in the night his cousin, one of the dukes of the empire of Constantinople. As yet you may shelter yourselves against his anger under the protection of the king of Jerusalem, against whom you have hitherto committed no offence. But if you give umbrage to the magnanimous Frank who rules at Jerusalem, and are threatened with war on both sides, what will you do? Where will you find refuge?" By such words as these, the prudent nobleman restrained the fury of the fierce rebels, who could hardly restrain their bloody hands from the massacre of the innocents; and with great difficulty he obtained permission for their departure about the feast of St. John.

At last, they obtained leave to embark in two old ships, and, after incurring great risks in a voyage of several days, landed in Illyrium, from whence they pursued their journey in greater security to Byzantium, through the cities celebrated in the verses of the poets, namely, Athens, the mother of eloquence and the inventrix of liberal arts, and

A.D. 1125-1130.] BOHEMOND II., PRINCE OF ANTIOCH. 409

Thebes, the nurse of tyrants, who breathed only civil war. [1] Ravendinos reported to those who had commissioned him melancholy intelligence of the events of his embassy, and, on the other hand, learnt that many changes had taken place in his own country. During the interval, King Baldwin had been made prisoner by Balad, as I have already related. The emperor Alexius having died shortly before, his son John mounted the imperial throne. In such altered circumstances, the overtures for the proposed alliance were entirely abandoned.

CH. XXIX. Bohemond II. assumes the government of the principality of Antioch - His untimely death in battle.

CONSTANCE, the illustrious daughter of Philip, king of France, had a son by Bohemond, who was educated by her with great care at Tarentum, in Italy, and duly kept under her maternal guardianship until he arrived at the age of puberty. The young Bohemond, who was naturally endowed with excellent qualities, grew up worthily, and on his attaining manhood was invested with knightly arms amidst general demonstrations of joy. Emulous of his father's glory, he studied to imitate his courage and conduct, and led those who observed him to expect great things from the indications he gave of virtue and valour. The people of Antioch, having heard of this during King Baldwin's captivity for six years in Balad's dungeons at Karpout, sent frequent messages, inviting the lawful heir to cross the sea in security, and, landing in Syria, take possession of his father's principality with the good will of his subjects. However, he was detained by his mother's anxieties until the king was released from capivity, as already stated. At last, Baldwin, learning the wishes of the inhabitants of Antioch, and believing that from the influence of his father's name it would be advantageous to the people, he offered his daughter in marriage to Bohemond, with the advice of his nobles, and invited him to take possession of his father's duchy without delay. In consequence the amiable young


[1] Our author again alludes to the story of OEdipus, more distinctly referred to before, p. 377.

[2] It has already appeared that these six years must be reduced to eighteen months.

410 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXIX.

prince embarked, with universal prayers offered to God on his behalf, and, crossing the sea to Antioch, assumed his father's principality amidst general rejoicings, and married Baldwin's daughter, who bore him a daughter. Established in his government, he ruled his subjects with a gentle sway, but made war on the Gentiles, and fell, alas! after a short reign of scarcely three years, when be was suddenly cut off to the great grief and loss of his friends and people. [1]

Dissensions having arisen between the Christian princes, Bohemond and Leo the Armenian, the blood of the faithful flowed in this accursed quarrel, and the Gentiles gained a triumphant victory. This Leo was son of Thorold de Montanis, [2] and uncle of Bohemond's wife, and the young prince assembled an army to attack him, and led it into the enemy's country. Having reached the banks of the Euphrates, where he pitched his camp, an Armenian brought him intelligence that the emir Sanguin [3] was at hand with a vast body of Turks, and was on the point of an irruption into the Christian territories. Bohemond at first gave little heed to the news, but being desirous of ascertaining its correctness, and unwilling to trust the reports of others, he left his camp, and putting himself at the head of two hundred youthful troops, climbed to the summit of a mountain to make his observations. From this eminence he discovered seven companies of foragers, forming the van of the enemy's army. Holding them cheap, he instantly charged them, and, after a sharp engagement, put them nearly all to the sword, with the loss, however, of his whole party, except twenty knights. Meanwhile the main body of the enemy came up, and the survivors perceiving their vast numbers, and that their impetuous leader was astounded by grief and surprise, they cried out to him with earnest intreaty: "Lose no time in rejoining your troops, range them in order of


[1] Correcting the calculations according to the preceding note we may fix the arrival of Bohemond II. in Palestine about the year 1125 or 1126, and as he did not fall in battle till 1130, it is not correct to state that he governed his principality scarcely three years.

[2] This prince of Armenia was not a son of Thoros, but of Gabriel prince ot Melitene as already observed. Queen Morphia was his sister, and Moros his eldest brother.

[3] Emadeddin Zenghi, sultan of Mossoul and Aleppo. This event took place in 1130, as we have just had occasion to remark.

A.D. 1107.] AFFAIRS IN NORMANDY. 411

battle, and, attacking the enemy, gallantly defend your country". Bohemond refused to follow their advice, preferring, after the loss of his comrades, death to flight. Thus the beardless youth rushed against a host, and fell fighting in the cause of Christ. [1] Some few who found means of escaping forded the Euphrates, and bore the sad tidings of the death of the duke to their companions in arms. The whole army then immediately dispersed, retiring in bodies to their fortified places, and putting the province in a state of defence against the Gentiles.

Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, on learning the death of his son-in-law, proceeded by hasty marches at the head of his troops to oppose the pagans in Syria. Being welcomed by the faithful in that region, he defended the whole country against the enemy, retaining possession of the principality of Antioch for a long period, and bequeathing it to his successor, Fulk of Anjou, whom he had made his heir. [2]

I have collected these accounts of the faithful soldiers of Christ who for his sake are exiles in the East, simply and truly committing to writing for the information of posterity the particulars which I have learnt from those who were present at these transactions. I now return to my narrative of affairs in Italy, France, Spain, England, and Flanders.

CH. XXX. King Henry regulates affairs in Normandy - The abbey church of Fecamp rebuilt - Succession of the abbots.

IN the year of our Lord 1107, the fifteenth indiction, Henry king of England, [3] having reduced Normandy to submission by the success of his arms, frequently summoned to his court those who had jurisdiction over the people, and prudently warned them against the tumults and hostilities in which


[1] We have no other details of the defeat and death of Bohemond II. than those added to our authors short account in note to p. 393. The narrative, herefore, rests on the authority of Ordericus.

[2] Fulk of Anjou, Baldwin's successor, administered the principality of Antioch until the year 1137, when he invited to the east Raymond de Poitiers, youngest son of William IX., to marry Constance, daughter and heiress of Bohemond II.

[3] We now return to the affairs of the West, with a satisfaction which will probably be participated by the reader.

412 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXX.

they had been engaged, admonishing all, both with entreaties and threats, to observe the rules of justice.

In the month of January there was a meeting at Falaise, in the king's presence, of the principal persons of that neighbourhood. During this assembly, Robert, abbot of Caen, was seized with a sudden disorder and gave up the ghost. Eudes, a monk of the same abbey, filled his place for several lustres. [1]

In the month of March, also, the king held a meeting at Lisieux, and with the advice of the nobles made a variety of edicts to meet the wants of the commons, his subjects; and thus allaying the evils of war, restored order in Normandy by his royal authority. [2] William de Ros, third abbot of Fecamp, fell sick while returning from this assembly, and died happily before the end of the same month. [3] This venerable man was eminent for his good conduct and worth. From his childhood his sweet disposition expanded in virtues of all kinds, and both as a clerk and a monk he shone in the sight of men as a mirror of good works. He was raised to the government of his convent while yet a novice in the monastic order, and administered it nearly twenty-seven years, during which he made great improvements both within and without. He pulled down the chancel of the old church erected by Duke Richard, and replaced it by a building in an improved style of exquisite beauty and of increased proportions, both in length and breadth. He also enlarged the nave of the church with great elegance, where the chapel of St. Fromond stands; and when the works were at last completed he procured their consecration by Archbishop William and four other bishops, on the seventeenth of the calends of July [4] [15th June]. At his death he was interred before the


[1] Robert I., abbot of St. Stephen at Caen, is only known by the short notice here given by our author. His successor, Eudes, governed the abbey truly, for "many lustres", as he held it until 1140.

[2] This meeting at Lisieux must not be confounded with that mentioned by our author not long before, see p. 383. There was an interval of five months between them. The acts of the second council are lost, as well as those of the first.

[3] On the 28th of March, 1107; not 1108, as the editors of the Gallia Christiana state.

[4] The 15th of June, 1106.

A.D. 1107.] WILLIAM DE ROS, ABBOT OF FECAMP. 413

altar of the glorious Virgin Mary in the new building he had caused to be constructed. [1]

Many illustrious and learned men, inspired with love of the kind abbot, flocked to Fecamp, and in that school of divine worship served with reverence under his rule the holy and undivided Trinity. His faithful and devoted disciples composed many pieces to his memory both in prose and verse, but the remarkable epitaph written by Hildebert, bishop of Mans [2] was selected and engraved in letters of gold on his tomb.

Here FECAMP'S pious abbot, WILLIAM'S days were blessed,
His body only, earth, his wealth the poor possessed,
Bending his way from Egypt's barren waste,
He sought Jerusalem with eager haste; [3]
Made war with vice, was virtue's constant friend,
The fight, the concord, keeping to the end.
Six days before the clouds of April lowered,
He gave his soul to heaven, his dust to earth restored.

Adelelm, a monk of Flavigni, [4] who had long lived at Fecamp with universal respect, and was deeply erudite in the twin sciences of sacred and profane literature, was firmly attached to Abbot William until the end of his life by the ties of an ardent affection, as may be seen in the able works he published. He inscribed his memoirs with great eloquence on the rolls of the abbey of Fecamp, [5] adapting to his venerable life the brilliant flowers of holy writ, insomuch that tears of loving regard were drawn from the eyes of those who perused


[1] Only a small portion of the works constructed by Abbot de Ros at Fecamp now remain. The nave was rebuilt in the thirteenth century, and the chapel of the Virgin in the fifteenth or sixteenth, as well as all the south side of the choir; but it is probable that we may attribute to him several of the arches on the north of the choir, and perhaps a semicircular chapel on the same side.

[2] Respecting this prelate, see before, p. 227.

[3] M. Dubois considers these lines to be figurative of Abbot William's appeal to the pope against the intrigues of the archbishop of Rouen. We conclude that they rather express in language borrowed from scripture the pious abbot's zeal to quit the world, devoting himself to a life of religion, with the holy city in prospect.

[4] L'Histoire litteraire de la France, ix. 386-388.

[5] On the subject of the Mortuary Rolls, see a Memoire, by M. Leopold Delisle, entitled: Des Monuments paleographiques concernant l'usage de prier pour les morts.- Bibl. de l'Ecole des Chartes, II. t. iii.

414 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXX.

them. In this work, it is not merely, I think, human genius which is so happily displayed, but heavenly grace has manifested to the gentle readers those inspirations with which it gloriously adorned the faithful guardians of the spouse of Christ, for the profit of multitudes, and permitted him to shine in this world like a light set in a candlestick. Many of the readers shed pious tears on the roll, and, marvelling at the gifts of divine grace, offered mournful prayers to God for the soul of his faithful servant. Hildebert composed three elegiac couplets, which I rejoice to have an opportunity of inserting, in memory of the devoted servant of the Almighty.

WILLIAM DE ROS, an honoured name,
Left in the church a triple fame:
Bayeux beheld him spurning wealth,
And Caen seeking ghostly health,
Taught in her holy discipline;
While grateful Fecamp's stately shrine
Reflects the glory all his own
She borrowed from his great renown.
Six days before the April sun,
Life's struggle ceased and heaven begun.

Soon after the death of this father, Roger of Bayeux [1] was elected abbot, and consecrated on the twelfth of the calends of January [21st December], by William the aged metropolitan. [2] He was the fourth abbot of Fecamp. The first was William de Dijon, [3] who organized the society with piety and skill in the time of Duke Richard; he was succeeded by John the Italian, who governed it fifty one- years. [4] The third abbot was William of Bayeux, who for his great modesty was surnamed Puella, and having received the profession of his successor in the monastic order taught what it would be one day his turn to teach. Then the aged prelate ordained Roger and one hundred and twenty other priests on the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, and on the following day gave Roger the benediction belonging to the office of abbot, at Rouen.


[1] Robert d'Argences, December 21, 1107-March 22, 1138 or 1139.

[2] William Bonne-Ame, archbishop of Rouen.

[3] The holy William de Dijon, 1001-1028. Our author appears to have forgotten that, like his successor, he was a native of Italy.

[4] John, first of that name, born in the neighbourhood of Ravenna, (1028-February 21, 1078 or 1079.)

A.D. 1093.] ORDERICUS ORDAINED PRIEST. 415

The new-made priest and abbot returned to Fecamp to keep the festival of Christmas, and has now continued in the government of the abbey nearly thirty-two years. [1]

I have spoken more particularly of this ordination, because I was present, and, unworthy as I am, took upon me the burden of the priesthood by the command of the lord Roger, my own abbot. [2] On this occasion great numbers of the clergy assembled at Rouen, and the household of Christ received happily an accession of nearly seven hundred clerks in orders of different degree. Inspired at that time with the fire of youth I wrote some hexameter verses, in which I enumerated in a few lines the number of priests and deacons then ordained.

When holy hands were laid upon my brow,
The office of the priesthood to bestow,
Full fivescore others shared the sacred rite,
Sent forth to combat in the Spirit's might;
Two hundred white-stoled Levites [3] joined the throng,
And while the arches pealed with chant and song,
Sub-deacons forty-four, in less degree,
Received by grace divine, authority
Rightly to minister in holy things,
And serve the altars of the King of kings. [4]

CH. XXXI Plambard resigns Lisieux to King Henry and returns to Durham - His successor in the see of Lisieux - Death of Maurice, bishop of London.

DURING the storms of troubles to which Normandy was exposed for want of a competent ruler, the see of Lisieux, after the death of Gilbert Maminot, its bishop, was long


[1] This passage must have been written in the year 1139.

[2] Our author was ordained deacon by his former abbot, Serlo, who had become bishop of Lisieux, on the 36th of March, 1093, being then of the age of eighteen years. Fifteen years then elapsed, it appears, before he "took upon him the burden of the priesthood". M. Guizot remarks in his introduction to the present work (vol. i., p. ix.), that "all the records of those ancient times concur in informing us with what holy fear truly pious men then regarded the duties of the priesthood, how they shrunk from undertaking them, and often only consented to accept the office upon the express command of their superiors".

[3] Levites, a common name for deacons.

[4] Robert d'Argences died the 22nd of March, 1139(?). Our author was ordained priest at the same time with the abbot, and one hundred and twenty others. Two hundred deacons and only forty-four subdeacons having been ordained at the same time, the rest of the seven hundred clerks must have received minor orders. The great number of clergy admitted to ecclesiastical offices at one time was probably the consequence of the distracted state of Normandy for a long period before, and of the countenance and protection now afforded the church by Henry I.

416 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXI.

desolate, and more in the power of wolves than of pastors, lay at the mercy of robbers, having no protectors. When, however, King Henry gained the victory of Tinchebrai, his enemy, Ranulph Flambard, who resided at Lisieux as lord of the place, considering how best he might adroitly escape the consequences of this turn of affairs, despatched in all haste messengers to Henry, while he was rejoicing in his recent triumph, and, humbly imploring his favour, offered, if peace was granted him, to give up the city which he held to the king. [1] That wise prince, who preferred peace to war, always the source of so many calamities, pardoned the pacific bishop his past offences, accepted at once the surrender of Lisieux, and restored to Flambard, with whom he was reconciled, his bishopric of Durham. He gave the see of Lisieux to John, archdeacon of Seez, and having prudently arranged the affairs of Normandy crossed over to England to attend to those of that kingdom. [2]

That archdeacon was the son of a Norman dean, and was educated from childhood in the church of Seez, being cotemporary with Robert, Gerard, and Serlo, bishops of that see, and was distinguished for his ability both in secular and ecclesiastical affairs. For his singular judgment and


[1] This transaction must have taken place immediately after the battle of Tinchebrai, as in the middle of October Henry came to Lisieux to preside at the assembly of the bishops and nobles.

[2] Our author connects two events, separated by a considerable interval. After Ranulph Flambard's submission, Hervey, bishop of Bangor, under pretext of the devastations committed on the lands belonging to his see, prayed to be translated to Lisieux. The king wrote to St. Anselm on the subject. The archbishop replied that it was a serious affair, and could not be accomplished without the consent of the bishops of the province and the apostolical sanction.

The king returned to England during Lent, bringing with him the prisoners he had taken at the battle of Tinchebrai. He held his court at Windsor on Easter-day, which, we are told, "was attended by the nobles of England and Normandy, with fear and trembling". It was, in fact, the first occasion on which the leopard, now secure of his prey, made them feel his claws. The tone in which he addressed them was very different from his humble and honeyed phrases of the preceding year.

A.D. 1107.] JOHN, BISHOP OF LISIEUX. 417

eloquence he was promoted by these bishops to the office of archdeacon, and took his place in the first rank of judicial authorities, managing ecclesiastical affairs with great prudence for many years. At length the fury of Robert de Belesme burst forth against bishop Serlo, and his animosity included the archdeacon who was the main support of his bishop; Robert therefore began to harass him with fierce threats and persecutions. As the tyrant was at that time at the height of his power, and scarcely any one in Normandy could resist his attacks, the defenceless clerk took refuge England, and being graciously received by the king, to whom he was already known, he remained there in exile. Appointed one of the king's principal chaplains, he was often summoned to the royal councils among the king's intimate advisers. At last, as I have already mentioned, Henry, becoming attached to him for his intrinsic worth, appointed him to the see of Lisieux. In the month of September, John the deacon was ordained priest by Serlo of Seez, and shortly afterwards he was consecrated bishop by William the Metropolitan. Firmly governing his see for nearly thirty-four years, [1] he reformed many things in the church and clergy and people of God. [2]

At the same time died Maurice, bishop of London, [3] a good and pious prelate, in whose time the church of St. Paul the apostle and great part of the city was burnt to the ground. He was succeeded in the see by Richard de Beaumais, viscount of Shrewsbury, who zealously exerted himself in the


[1] This appears to have been written at an advanced period of the year 1041.

[2] As already remarked, John, bishop of Lisieux, did not immediately obtain possession of his see. He was not ordained priest by Bishop Serlo till the month of September, 1107, and afterwards consecrated by William Bonne-Ame; so that he had not completed thirty-four years in his bishopric, when he died in the month of May, 1141, as will presently appear.

[3] The 26th of September, 1107. This prelate had been chancellor to William the Conqueror, before he was advanced to the see of London. William of Malmesbury speaks in terms of high admiration of the size of the new cathedral of St. Paul's, begun by Bishop Maurice, in place of the former church, burnt down in 1087. "Such", he says, "was the area of the crypt, and so spacious was the church above, that it seemed as if it would contain any number of people".

418 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXII.

construction of the new cathedral begun by his predecessor and nearly completed the works he commenced. [1]

CH. XXXII. Death of Richard de Reviers, and Roger Bigod, founder of Thetford priory - His epitaph.

AT that time Richard de Reviers, [2] and Roger surnamed Bigod, [3] barons of England, died and were interred in the the monasteries for monks which they had founded on their own domains; Roger being buried at Thetford in England, and Richard at Montebourg in Normandy. The monks of Cluni wrote this epitaph on Roger Bigod.

This little space of earth is all that's left
To ROGER BIGOD, of his honours reft.
Ah! what avail wealth, honours, eloquence,
Or royal favour, or e'en manly sense!
What enervates the soul like opulence?
Thee, may God's counsels grant a happy fate,
Thee, piety and virtue elevate!

For four-and-twenty nights the God of day
With the bright Virgin wedded, tracked his way, [4]
When thy brave spirit, ROGER, passed away.


[1] Richard de Beaumais, on the Dive. He often appears as witness to charters relating to the abbey of St. Peter at Shrewsbury, but we never find the title of viscount given him. According to the annals of Winchester he had been attached to the chapel of the count de Belesme, which seems most probable. See the Anglia Sacra, i. 297. After having exhausted all the resources of his see to complete the church begun by his predecessor on so vast a scale, he became so discouraged that he retired to St. Osythe's at Chick, in Essex, where he had founded a priory, of which William de Curboil, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, was the first superior.

[2] Richard de Reviers; see vol. ii., p. 498. Our author is mistaken in representing him as the first founder of the abbey of Montebourg. He only restored the lands which Henry I. had wrested from it and granted to him; adding a new donation. It was founded by William the Conqueror.

[3] Roger Bigot, son of Robert Bigot, a native of the county of Mortain, and one of the witnesses to the charter of foundation of St. Philibert-sur-Risle in 1066. According to the Monast. Anglic., he founded the priory of Thetford in 1103.

[4] Soli nubebat Virgo ter noctibus octo. From this fanciful mode of expression we learn that Roger Bigod died the twenty-fourth day after the sun's entrance into the sign of the Virgin, that is to say, on the 15th of September.

A.D. 1105.] WILLIAM, COUNT OF EVREUX. 419

CH. XXXIII. The count of Evreux founds a priory at Noyon - His character and that of his countess - Thorney Abbey - Succession of its abbots.

WILLIAM, count of Evreux, being advanced in years and justly alarmed at the approach of inevitable death, by the influence of his wife Helvise, [1] determined to erect on his domains a temple to God, in which a chosen body of monks might fitly carry on the war of faith under the King of kings. In consequence, both husband and wife requested the advice and aid of Roger, abbot of St. Evroult, [2] in the matter, and applied for twelve monks by name, to build a monastery at Noyon. [3] The twelve brothers, with Abbot Roger, assembled there on the third of the ides [13th] of October, [4] and began to live a regular life in a desert place called Boucheron, [5] near the chapel of St. Martin the Archbishop. [6] Many persons of different ages, offering themselves for conversion, were well received, and zealously taught the regular course of life, according to the rule of St. Benedict. However, as the seed sown is subject to many injuries before harvest, and all the grains of corn do not flourish or perish alike, but have to struggle through the rains of winter and the summer heats, so men, in their several orders or congregations are exposed to various trials, neither enjoying equal prosperity, nor subject to the same calamities.

In the year of our Lord 1108, the count of Evreux, with his wife, laid the foundations of a spacious church in honour of St. Mary, mother of God, and applied large sums of money out of his own funds towards carrying on the works,


[1] Notwithstanding his advanced age, we have lately seen this nobleman present at the battle of Tinchebrai, as he was forty years before at that of Hastings. His countess, Helvise, was daughter of William I., count of Nevers.

[2] Roger du Sap, abbot of St. Evroult.

[3] Noyon-sur-Andelle. This place has taken the name of Charleval since the time that Charles IX. frequented it, and laid the foundations of a royal residence, the plans and elevations of which are preserved in Du Cerceau's work, Des Bastiments de France.

[4] October 13, 1107.

[5] No vestiges of this local name remain in the neighbourhood.

[6] It was only a chapel, as our author states. The parish church has always been dedicated to St. Denys. The buildings of the priory were levelled to admit of the foundation of the chateau of Charles IX., and the monks were sent back to St. Evroult.

420 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXIII.

but he was prevented from completing them by grievous worldly troubles. Indeed, the count's faculties were naturally somewhat feeble, as well as blunted by age, [1] and, trusting perhaps more than was becoming to his wife's abilities, he left the government of his county entirely in her hands. The countess was distinguished for her wit and beauty; she was one of the tallest women in all Evreux, and of very high birth, being the daughter of William, the illustrious count of Nevers. Disregarding the counsels of her husband's barons, she chose rather to follow her own opinion, and her ambition frequently inspiring bold measures in political affairs, she was easily led to engage in rash enterprises. The earl of Mellent and other Norman lords were little inclined to brook this female presumption, and in consequence they denounced her to the king, and incensed him against her by their bitter accusations. At length, Count William and the countess Helvise, having levelled to the ground the king's donjon at Evreux, and offended him in other matters in which their fealty was not properly observed, he deprived them of their possessions in Normandy, and they were twice compelled to become exiles in Anjou. These troubles caused great hindrances in the work of building the monastery, and the death of both, which speedily followed, was a great loss tO many persons. The countess, who died first, [2] reposes at Noyon; the count was afterwards struck with apoplexy, and died without receiving the last sacraments; his mouldering corpse is laid with his father's at Fontenelles. [3]

As the count died without issue, and his nephew Amauri had incurred the royal displeasure by his indiscretion, the king retained the county of Evreux in his own hands. Great mischief resulted from this, as will appear in the sequel; the city and all the country round being exposed to pillage and burning. Meanwhile the monastery which the count had begun building at Noyon has remained unfinished to this day, under the priors Robert, Roger, and Ranulf.


[1] We must not forget that the good lord was nephew of Ralph Iete-d'Ane.

[2] In 1114.

[3] The 16th of April, 1118. Le Brasseur, who supplies this date, says the the count was buried at Fecamp, which is a mistake.

A.D. 1113.] THORNEY ABBEY. 421

The first of these priors, Robert de Prunieres, [1] was the son of Haimon de Prunieres, a loyal squire, and was distinguished for his profound erudition among the accomplished philosophers in the schools of the grammarians and dialecticians. The king summoned him from his priory to cross over to England, where he entrusted him with the government of the monastery of Thorney, [2] on the death of Abbot Gunter, and he ruled it ably during twenty years. [3]

Thorney means in English the Island of Thorns, so called because a wood of various sorts of trees is surrounded on all sides by flowing rivulets of deep water. [4] On it stands a monastery of monks dedicated to St. Mary, mother of God, which, secluded from all secular habitations, was distinguished for its pure worship of the Supreme Divinity. It was founded by the venerable Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in the time of King Ethelred, who translated to it the remains of St. Botolph, abbot of Ikanhoe, [5] with many other relics of saints, after the massacre by the Danes, in which St. Edmund, king of the East-Angles, fell a martyr in the confession of Christ. The monks only and their servants dwell in the deep recesses of Thorney, where in security they offer faithful service to God. No females


[1] The name was afterwards spelt Purnelai, or Punelai. In Henry I.'s charter to St. Evroult, we read, S. Gervasius de Pruneleio, in that of Robert III. of Leicester, Ecclesiam S. Gervasii de Purneleio, Anglice, Purnell. It is now one of the two churches of the commune of des Moutiers en Auge, near Couliboeuf. The other, dedicated to St. Martin, belonged probably to Haimon de Prunelai, Robert's father.

[2] Torneiae. Thorney abbey, in Cambridgeshire. Its primitive name was Aneraig; in the charter of foundation by King Edgar in 973, it is called Thorney. It is singular that our author, whose practice of introducing the Th in words to which it does not belong, as has been frequently remarked, should have always omitted it in this, where it is required.

[3] It was in 1113 that Robert de Prunelai left the priory of Noyon to succeed Gontier of Mans, the first abbot of Thorney. According to a document inserted in the Monast. Anglic., he governed the abbey not twenty, but twenty-six years, 1113-1139.

[4] From the marshy character of the soil, the underwood which gave the name to the island must have mainly consisted of the black thorn, prunus spinosa. The abbey of Westminister originally bore the name of Thorney from the same circumstance.

[5] St. Botolph, brother of St. Adulph, bishop, founded the monastery of of Ikanhoe, near Boston, in Lincolnshire (BOTULF'S TOWN), towards the middle of the seventh century.

422 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXIII.

are allowed to enter the island but for the purpose of devotion, nor are they permitted to sojourn there on any pretext whatever, and all dwellings inhabited by women are studiously prohibited by the monks within nine miles from the abbey. After England was conquered by Norman valour, and King William had reduced it to subjection conformably to his own laws, he gave the government of Thorney to Fulcher, a monk of St. Bertin's at Sithin; a man of deep erudition, who administered it for nearly sixteen years without receiving consecration as abbot. He was courteous, pleasant, and charitable, and well skilled in grammar and music. He left to future generations in England some precious monuments of his talents having published several works worthy of memory, containing charming narratives, suited to be sweetly sung, of the lives of St. Oswald, bishop of Worcester, [1] and other saints of English origin. In consequence of disputes with the bishop of Lincoln, he retired, and was succeeded by Gunter of Mans, a monk of Battle Abbey, who had been archdeacon of Salisbury. This abbot introduced the rules of Marmoutier in the government of the convent at Thorney, and erected from the foundation with great industry a most elegant church, with lodgings for the monks, where, being interred by his faithful disciples, he now reposes. The following short epitaph composed on him will convey to the reader in a few verses the knowledge of his character:-

Here in the abbey, which his care restored,
Lies GONTIER, ancient THORNEY'S mitred lord;
His care for six-and-twenty years to rule
And guide his flock in virtue's holy school.
He built this church, and by such works of love
Strove to obtain a place in realms above.
To him - who died in August, happily,
The fifteenth calend - Christ propitious be! [2]


[1] St. Oswald, bishop of Worcester in 960, and archbishop of York in 972, holding it with his former see. He died the 28th of February, 992, and was buried in the cathedral of Worcester, whioh he built. He was a great patron of the monks.

[2] In this epitaph, Abbot Gontier of Mans, monk of Battle abbey, is represented as having presided at Thorney abbey only twenty-six years. In the document before cited, he appears to have governed it twenty-eight, 1085-1113.

A.D. 1113.] PRIORY OF NOYON. 423

Robert, his successor, was his superior in learning, and became celebrated among the most eminent prelates of England for his constancy and eloquence. As for Roger, who succeeded him as prior of Noyon, he spent nearly twenty-four years in carrying on the new works and furthering the interests of his monks. At last, he took to his bed, and, being well prepared, died on the twelfth of the calends of January [December 21st]. One of his friends sung of hint these short verses:-

Fourth of NOYON'S [1] reverend priors,
Gathered to his worthy sires
On St. Thomas' festal-day
ROGER'S spirit passed away.
Studying grammar in his youth,
Still intent on sacred truth,
From the fleeting world he sped
And a life of virtue led,
Sheltered in the cloistered cell,
Where his holy burthen well
Almost forty years he bore;
Noyon's prior, twenty-four,
For the common weal he strove,
Bound the monks with cords of love;
While his life, with profit fraught,
Traced the lessons which he taught.
Most, it was his special care
To complete this house of prayer,
And the stately fabric raise
In MARY'S name, to GOD's high praise.
May He all his sins release,
Grant him endless life and peace!

Having said thus much of some of my friends and co- temporary acquaintances, I return to the course of the annals from which I have a little disgressed.


[1] If Roger was the fourth prior of Noyon, as the epitaph represents him to have been, our author has omitted to notice his two predecessors. But in the text of the history he calls him the successor of Robert de Prunelai; in that case, as we are told, he administered the priory twenty-two years, he must have died about the year 1137. Concerning Robert de Prunelai, who was described as the Foudre d'Eloquence, by his cotemporaries, see l'Histoire Litteraire de France, ix. 89.

421 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXIV.

CH. XXXIV. Philip I., king of France, dies - His son Lewis-le-Gros succeeds him - State of affairs in France.

IN the year of our Lord 1108, Philip, king of France, took to his bed, and, after a long illness, being sensible of the approach of death, he made a faithful confession, and assembling his nobles and particular friends, thus addressed them; "I am aware that the tombs of the French kings are at St. Denys, but I feel that I am too great a sinner to presume on being interred near the relics of that holy martyr. So heinous are my crimes that I am under the deepest alarm lest I should be delivered over to the devil, and be dealt with as we are told in history was the fate of Charles Martel. [1] I love St. Benedict, and, humbly imploring that beneficent father of monks, I desire to be buried in his church on the Loire. He is a kind and merciful saint, and propitious to all sinners who resolve to amend their lives and seek the favour of God according to the discipline of his rule". King Philip, having finished this sensible discourse, and added more to the same purpose, died on the fourth of the calends of August [July 29th], in the forty-seventh year of his reign, and was buried in the abbey of St. Benedict, at Fleuri, according to his request, between the choir and the altar. [2]

The following Sunday [3] Lewis Theobald, his son, was crowned at Orleans, and swayed the sceptre of France in prosperity and adversity twenty-eight years. [4] He married Adelaide, daughter of Humbert, prince of Dauphiny, [5] who bore him four sons, Philip, Lewis Florus, Henry, and Hugh. He experienced a variety of accidents, as happens in human


[1] On this tradition of the torments inflicted on Charles Martel "in the lowest depths of hell (inferno inferiore) for having abstracted the property of the saints, and distributed it among strangers", see the preface to the Life of St. Eucher, bishop of Orleans, in the Act. SS ord. S. Benedicti, saec. iii. part i. p. 395.

[2] Philip I. died at the castle of Melun on Wednesday the 29th of July, 1108, and was buried in the church of Fleuri-sur-Loire.

[3] The following Sunday, the 2nd of August.

[4] This calculation is not exact. Louis-le-Gros died the 1st of August, 1137, and consequently reigned twenty-nine years. Le Prevost.

[5] Intermontium. Adelaide was daughter of Humbert, second of that name, called Le Renforce, marquis of Susa, and count of Maurienne. Lewis had by her eight children, seven sons and one daughter.

A.D. 1108.] DEATH OF PHILIP I. OF FRANCE. 425

affairs, and in his military enterprises was often the sport of a fortune, unstable as the rolling wheel. The nobles of France were frequently in arms against him, and harassed the king and his adherents with a succession of injuries and outrages. Even during the life of his father, who was inert both in war and the administration of justice, they were arrogantly rebellious against both princes, setting at nought the commands of father and son alike.

The royal authority bad been much weakened in the hands of King Philip, worn out, as he was, by age and infirmities, and the severity of the laws against oppressors had fallen into abeyance. Lewis was therefore compelled, among his first cares, to call on the bishops through the whole of the kingdom for aid in crushing the tyranny of freebooters and rebels. At that time the communes in France were organized by the bishops, so that the priests accompanied the king to a battle or a siege with standards and the whole force of their parishioners. [1]

CH. XXXV. Lewis of France claims the county of Rochefort - His invasion repulsed with loss.

LEWIS had espoused in his youth the daughter of Guy the Red, count of Rochefort, and aimed at reducing to subjection that county, asserting claims to the inheritance. He, therefore, laid siege to Chevreuse, Montlheri, Bretencourt, and other fortified towns, but the resistance of many of the nobles was so determined that he failed of success, especially


[1] Thus, at the siege of Breval, in 1094, Ordericus informs us that "the priests with their parishioners brought their banners, and the abbots, assembling their vassals, joined the besieging army". See before, p. 24.

M. Le Prevost only remarks that "these levies en masse were inconvenient and of very little use". We are disposed, however, to attach some importance to these passages, as incidentally illustrating a well-known feature in the political system of the middle ages. Our point of view does not so much regard the bellicose spirit attributed to the clergy of those days, nor the weak and defenceless character of the Norman population as contrasted with that which the newly invigorated Anglo-Scandinavian people of England frequently displayed. We rather find evidence in our author's short notices that the bishops and clergy used their natural influence among their flocks on the one hand in the organization of the commons, for municipal purposes, we believe, as well as military; and on the other, threw their whole weight into the scale of the supreme authority, against their common oppressors, the feudal barons.

426 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXV.

as he had given in marriage to Guiscard de Beaulieu the young Lucienne, to whom he was betrothed. [1]

Then Matthew, count de Beaumont, [2] and Burchard de Montmorenci [3] ravaged the lands of St. Denys the Martyr, and in spite of the king's prohibition persisted in devastating them with pillage, fire, and slaughter. In consequence, Lewis, to whom his father had entrusted the government of the kingdom, when he heard the complaints addressed to him by Adam, the abbot of St. Denys, [4] with tears in his eyes, besieged Montmorenci, [5] assaulting the three gates of the castle at once with great vigour. The young Simon de Montfort, who had succeeded to the honours and domains of his brother Richard, [6] strengthened the French forces by his courage and activity. The countess Adela also had reinforced the king's troops with a hundred knights completely armed, count Stephen, her husband having gone on the crusade, [7] and her two eldest sons, William and Theobald, being prevented by their tender years from appearing in arms at the head of their vassals. At length the traitors


[1] In fact Lewis-le-Gros espoused in 1104 Lucienne, daughter of Guy the Red, count of Rochefort, and seneschal of France. This marriage was annulled in 1107 by the council of Troyes, on account of consanguinity, before it had been consummated, and Lucienne married Guichard, lord, not as our author says, of Beaulieu, but of Beaujeu. Guy the Red was so indignant that he joined the enemies of Lewis-le-Gros, who besieged his places of Montlheri, Chevreux, and Bertholcortis (probably St. Martin de Bretencourt, in the canton of Dourdan, about two leagues S.S.W. of Rochefort). These events took place before the death of Guy, which happened in 1108. Ordericus would make them precede the dissolution of the marriage, but his view cannot be adopted. Nor can we understand what right of "inheritance" he could assert to the domains of the families of Rochefort and Montlheri.

[2] Matthew, count of Beaumont sur-Oise, brother-in-law of Hugh de Grantmesnil. He was at the court of Duke Robert in July, 1096, and was one of the subscribers to the charter which made the abbey of Aumale a dependence on St. Lucien de Beauvais.

[3] Bouchard III. de Montmorenci, another brother-in-law of Matthew.

[4] Adam, abbot of St. Denys, Suger's predecessor, 1094-1122.

[5] The castle of Montmorenci was besieged in 1101.

[6] Amauri, third of that name, lord of Montfort, and eldest brother of Amauri the Strong, Richard and Simon, surnamed the Young, died without having been married. See vol. ii. pp. 485, 487, 495.

[7] Our author appears to have forgotten that Stephen of Blois not only joined the crusade, but had been killed in it in the year 1102. See before, p. 305

A.D. 1108-1118.] LEWIS-LE-GROS. 427

who favoured the rebels, and aimed at impunity in robbery and murder, took to flight, regardless of military discipline, and, creating a panic among their comrades more by their treacherous retreat than from fear of an attack, forced them to retire amid the jeers of the enemy. Then Rambold Creton, [1] a most valiant knight, who had been the first to mount the walls at the siege of Jerusalem, was, alas! suddenly killed, as well as Richard Centurio of Lewes, another crusader. [2]

The king again assembled the French army the following year, and laid siege to Chambli, [3] in opposition to the count de Beaumont, but, being the victim of similar treachery, he was obliged to retreat with disgrace and the loss of several of his adherents. It was not in his power to take full vengeance for so many crimes, as his father was still living when these events occurred, and his step-mother caused him much mischief by her private intrigues, and iniquitously created him many enemies.

CH. XXXVI. Lewis-le-Gros engages in hostilities against some of his turbulent nobles - Theobald de Blois - Robert, earl of Flanders, accidently killed.

ON the death of King Philip, Lewis ascended the throne, and being more firmly established in the government, held the sceptre with a firm hand, and took strong measures


[1] See before, pp. 171, 177.

[2] Ricardus Centurio de Laquis Jerosolymita. We have no other account of this person, but suppose he was a native of Lewes in Sussex, where William de Warrenne founded the priory of St. Pancras. His surname points him out to have been a crusader, as well as Rambold Creton.

Suger avoids allowing that Lewis-le-Gros was repulsed. According to him, "Burchard was so humiliated by these and other disasters that he submitted to the king's pleasure, and settled the dispute which was the cause of the hostilities".

[3] Chambli, in the Beauvoisis. A terrible storm caused a panic in the army of the young prince, which dispersed, after setting fire to their tents, while Lewis was still sleeping. In the confusion which ensued, several lords were taken prisoners, among whom we find Hugh de Clermont, Matthew's father-in-law, whose claims to a moiety of the castle of Lusarche, usurped by his son-in-law, was the cause of this unfortunate enterprise; and Guy de Senlis.

The year following, Lewis returned with a force thrice as large, at the approach of which, Matthew lost no time in reconciling himself to the king.

428 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXVI.

against the factious. First, he laid siege to Puiset and reduced Hugh to submission by the power of his arms. This knight was handsome but ill-conditioned. His castle was the special retreat of freebooters and outlaws, where unheard-of crimes were committed; and their evil deeds were neither restrained by royal threats and indignation nor episcopal censures. One day, while a body of the king's troops were in pursuit of Hugh along a narrow road, and he was endeavouring by a hasty retreat to get into the castle, he happened to meet Ansel de Garlande, commander of the French army, and suddenly killed him with a thrust of his lance. [1] Meanwhile, Theobald, count de Blois, came to the relief of the besieged with a powerful reinforcement, and compelled the king to draw off his troops. Lewis afterwards re-assembling his army, again appeared before Puiset, and by the superiority of his force compelled the rebels to surrender. He was induced by the importunities of his auxiliaries to pardon the besieged; but, although he spared their lives, little as they deserved it, he razed the fortress, to the great joy both of travellers and the country people residing in the neighbourhood.

Lewis also besieged Gournai-sur-Marne, and severely straightened the garrison for want of provisions. Hugh de Creci, son of Guy the Red, held the place, and refused to obey the knight's command to restore it to the heirs of Garlande who laid claim to it. [2]

One day, Count Theobald, at the head of a numerous body of knights, rode to the bank of the rivulet called Torci, [3] and engaged in battle with the royal troops. As they were, however, too strong for their assailants, the count and his companions in arms were forced to retire, and being pursued as far as the entrance of Lagni, many of them were taken prisoners


[1] Onr author has confounded the first siege of Puiset, in 1111, with the third, in which Ansel de Garlande, seneschal of France, was killed in 1118.

[2] Hugh de Rochefurt or Montlheri, second son of Guy the Red, lord of Creci en Brie, Gomets, and Chateaufort, and seneschal of France, after his father, and before Ansel de Garlande, was guilty of great atrocities in his war against Louis-le-Gros, and having been compelled to surrender to the king his castle of Gournai-sur-Marne, took the monastic habit in an abbey of the Cistercian order, about 1118.

[3] A stream between Torci and Gouverne, to the west of Lagni and east of Gournai.

A.D. 1111.] ROBERT II. OF FLANDERS KILLED. 429

in the vineyards and enclosures, where they had concealed themselves. In consequence, the garrison of Gournai were so much terrified that they came to terms and laid down their arms.

Theobald, descended from a race of kings and counts, was distinguished among the French lords for his wealth, influence, and illustrious birth, and had many powerful and fierce vassals, who were cruel oppressors of their countrymen and neighbours. Some of them neither respected God nor man, as was plainly exhibited by their conduct. In consequence, the king having heard frequent reports of their outrages, was much incensed, and took measures for restraining their oppression of the lower orders by his royal authority. The count's partisans, apprehending the king's power, and the restraint he endeavoured to impose on their evil enterprises, sought refuge under the protection of their powerful lord, and, relying on his support, often dared to engage in criminal undertakings against God and the church. This gave rise to frequent quarrels between the king and the count, and as the malignants persisted in their outrages, much blood was shed on both sides.

On one occasion, the king made an irruption against Count Theobald in the district of Meaux, having in his company Robert, earl of Flanders, and many other nobles. Lewis met with a vigorous resistance from the count's troops, who, being superior in numbers, put to flight the royal force. During the rout, the earl fell from his horse in a narrow way, and, being trampled under foot by the cavalry, he was unable to remount, and, having been raised from the ground with great difficulty, for his limbs were severely fractured, he expired a few days afterwards. [1] Kings, and princes and many people deeply lamented his death, and as far as Arabia the fate of the warlike crusader was deplored both by Christians and Gentiles. His corpse was carried by the


[1] We now return to the year 1111. Robert, the second earl of Flanders of that name, surnamed the Jerusalemite, and brother-in-law of Pope Calixtus II. was in fact trampled under horses' feet in an expedition in which he accompanied Lewis-le-Gros against Theobald IV., count of Chartres and Blois, and expired a few days afterwards. Some accounts give the 4th of October, and others the 4th of December, as the date of his death. His corpse was conveyed to St. Vedast's at Arras. Historians disagree as to the circumstances as well as the time of his death.

430 ORDERICUS VITALIS. {B.XI. CH.XXXVII.

Flemings with great sorrow to the city of Arras, which, not long before, he had fortified against Henry the emperor, surrounding it with a stately wall of white stones. He was interred in the church of St. Vedast the Bishop, founded by King Theodoric in expiation of his unjust murder of St. Leger, bishop of Autun. [1]

CH. XXXVII. Baldwin VII., earl of Flanders - Henry I. attempts to arrest the young prince William, pretender to the duchy of Normandy - After many wanderings he takes refuge with Baldwin.

BALDWIN, the son of Robert, earl of Flanders, succeeded his father, and, as he was still a youth, his mother Clemente was for some years joined with him in the government of his hereditary states. The opening virtues of the young prince gave indications from which his friends formed sanguine anticipations of his future worth, but he faded in an instant, as the choicest flower shrinks under the slightest touch. [2]

King Henry, returning victorious to England, condemned Duke Robert and others who were taken prisoners with him to perpetual imprisonment. He committed William, the young prince, [3] to the guardianship of Elias de Saint-Saens, but afterwards resolved by the advice of his friends to put him under arrest. For this purpose, Robert de Beauchamp, viscount of Arques, [4] by the king's orders, unexpectedly presented himself at the castle of Saint-Saens. The viscount arrived there one Sunday morning, when the people who were assembled in the church were much amazed at his sudden appearance. Elias himself, the young prince's guardian, was absent at the time, but his friends, without a


[1] It is incorrect to represent this abbey as founded by Theodoric, but he richly endowed it, and was buried there.

[2] Baldwin VII. earl of Flanders, surnamed a-la-Hache, died the 17th of June, 1119, from the consequences of a wound which he received at the siege of Arques, aggravated by his intemperance.

[3] See before, p. 382, where we find that Elias was brother-in-law to the young prince. Ordericus calls him Infantem, and in the course of the paragraph, Clitonem, equivalent phrases in those times. The former is still preserved in the Spanish title of Infanta, given to princes of the blood royal. Clito, like the Anglo-Saxon Etheling, was the peculiar designation of the heir apparent or presumptive. See the note in vol. i., p. 147.

[4] Arques is only five leagues distant from St. Saen.

A.D. 1111.] ROBERT DE BEAUCHAMP. 431

moment's delay, roused the boy, who was asleep in bed, and secreted him from the search made for him, that he might not share his father's imprisonment. Elias, hearing of this, made haste to discover the retreat of his amiable ward, and, having recovered him, conducted him into foreign lands, where he carefully nurtured him during his exile. Meanwhile, the viscount, Robert de Beauchamp, [1] seized the castle of Saint-Saens, belonging to Elias, for the king, who afterwards gave it to William de Warrenne, his cousin, to engage him to strict fidelity in his service, and determined resistance to his enemies. Elias carried the boy with him in all his wanderings, and brought him up as his own son to years of puberty. In the various countries he visited, the young


[1] Though there are several places of the name of Beauchamp in the district of Caux, and some of their former lords are known, we have reason to believe that this viscount of Arques belonged to the illustrious family of Beauchamp of Avranches, whose seat lay between that city and Granville, as in almost all the charters given in the Monast. Anglic. in which this Robert de Beauchamp is mentioned, it is either as a donor or witness in connection with William de Morton or Robert de Mowbrai, the great lords in that quarter. In the list of the benefactors to St. Pancras at Lewes, we find Dionysia, uxor quondam domini Roberti de Beauchamp, and their son Richard.

We are unable to supply the link between Robert the viscount and Hugh de Beauchamp, who attended the Conqueror and was rewarded with forty-three lordships, mostly in Bedfordshire, the ancestor of the barons Beauchamp-of-Bedford, which line, however, soon failed. Walter de Beauchamp of Elmely, in Worcestershire, of the same family, was the founder of the main line, which in its several branches became so distinguished in English history. He was steward (dispensator) to Henry I., who appointed him sheriff of Worcestershire and Warwickshire; and an especial favourite with his daughter the empress Maud. William de Beauchamp, the fourth in descent from Walter, married Isabel, sister and heiress of William Manduit, earl of Warwick, through whom he inherited the honours and estates of that powerful family. Walter de Beauchamp of Alcester and Powick was his youngest son, and his lineal descendant in the fifth generation having been created Baron Beauchamp-of-Powick, 25 Henry VI. that title became extinct in the second generation, as the honours of the Warwick line had been long before. Richard, the last Baron Beauchamp of Powick, left three daughters, the eldest of whom, Elizabeth, married Willoughby, lord Brook, in whose house the earldom of Warwick was afterwards restored. Anne, the second daughter, married William Lygon of Maddresfield, in Worcestershire, in favour of whose descendant, of the same name, through Margaret, the heiress of that family, the barony of Beauchamp of Powick was revived by a new erection. (46 George III.) An earldom was afterwards added; so that this ancient Norman name like so many others, still ranks among the peers of England.

432 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXVII.

prince was introduced to many great princes and noble lords of castles, who were attracted by his polished manners. Both by his importunities and his promises, Elias earnestly conciliated the regards of all he could influence in his ward's favour; and, publishing the piteous tale of his wrongs, inclined the hearts of many to compassionate his misfortunes. Numbers of Normans espoused his cause, and ardently desired to have him for their prince, thus offending the powerful monarch who then ruled them, and exposing themselves to suspicion in various ways. Above all, Robert de Belesme, mindful of the friendship and intimate relations which subsisted between himself and Duke Robert, and not having forgotten the vast power which, during his government, he exercised over the greatest of the Norman nobles, used his utmost efforts on behalf of the illustrious exile, the duke's son. There was a frequent interchange between them of hasty messengers who communicated secret intelligence from the one to the other. Thus Robert and Elias encouraged each other by mutual exhortations, and toiled unceasingly to advance the cause of their duke's son. They communicated with Lewis, king of France, William, duke of Poitiers, Henry, duke of Burgundy, and Alan. prince of the Bretons, and several other powerful princes; frequently stirring them up by envoys and letters, and using every means to engage them to lend their aid to William Clito.

At last, Fulk, count of Anjou, betrothed his daughter Sibylla to him, granting him the county of Maine, and for a time was a firm supporter of the young prince. [1] But through the prevailing influence of King Henry, who lavished menaces, entreaties, gold and silver, and a thousand other weighty arguments, the marriage was broken off. He


[1] Our author considerably anticipates these events. It was not till after the death of his son-in-law, King Henry's son William, in 1122, that Fulk betrothed his other daughter to William Clito, as the young Norman prince was called. However, Henry, who in the zenith of his power and prosperity never lost sight of Anjou, suspectam semper habuit podentiam Andevagensium; put every engine in motion to hinder this alliance, which he effected by all kinds of menace, entreaty, and corruption. He soon afterwards chose Fulk's son for the husband of his daughter and heiress; so indispensable did he consider the re-union of Normandy, Maine, and Anjou, as a check to the power of the French kings.

A.D. 1111-1122.] THE PRETENDER'S FORTUNES. 433.

employed able pleaders, who raised the question of consanguinity, which, according to the Christian law, prevented the union of the young couple. [1] For Richard, son of Gonnor, and duke of Normandy, was the father of Robert I., whose son was William the Conqueror, the father of Duke Robert, who was father of William the Clito. On the other side, Robert the archbishop and count, who was brother of Duke Richard, had a son named Richard, count of Evreux, which Richard had a daughter called Agnes, wife of Simon, who bore Bertrade, Fulk's mother, and whose daughter Sibylla was. It was thus that the affinity between William and Sibylla was made out, and the long-expected union of the illustrious youth was frustrated. The young prince was in consequence forced to leave Anjou, and again compelled to seek the aid of strangers with fear and toil. At last, after many wanderings, he took refuge with his cousin Baldwin, earl of Flanders, throwing himself on his good faith, intrepidity, and resources. The count gave him a cordial


[1] Questions of consanguinity, as canonical impediments to marriage, were one of the scandals which caused most vexation in the middle ages, and which the court of Rome fomented with the greatest activity. The memory of Innocent III. cannot be too much honoured for having fixed a reasonable limit in 1245. In the example now before us, there were eleven degrees of consanguinity between the parties betrothed; but Henry, that mirror of continence, who did not scruple to marry a nun, and filled the court of England with his bastards, was ready to invoke the thunders of the church on the enormity of a marriage between cousins in the eleventh degree, when it was contrary to his interests; and the impediment alleged by so rich and powerful a monarch could not fail of having immense weight.

Ivo de Chartres called marriages between kindred of the twelfth degree incestuous, the very language adopted by the pope on this occasion. It must be remarked that the court of Rome was as violent as Henry himself. A few months before his death, Pope Calixtus confirmed the sentence of excommunication, pronounced by his virtuous legate, John of Crema, against the betrothed princess. On the 26th of August, 1123, he wrote to the bishops of Chartres, Orleans, and Paris to have it executed in their dioceses, and that the holy mysteries should be suspended wherever a person guilty of so enormous a crime should reside. It was, indeed, a strange abuse of words to call such an union incestuous, and a deplorable use of the thunders of the church to launch them against such imaginary crimes. But William, the young prince, had not at command the irresistible arguments alluded to, and although powerful and zealous friends interposed in his favour, he never possessed the means which were indispensable to success at the court of Rome.

434 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXVIII.

reception, promising to stand by him under all circumstances, and maintained his rights until he was slain in battle, fighting in his cause, as we shall find hereafter. [1]

CH. XXXVIII. An epidemic disease and bad season in France - Henry's daughter Matilda married to the emperor.

IN the year of our Lord 1109, the second indiction, the divine vengeance punished the sins of men with a variety of inflictions, and mercifully terrified mankind, according to the usual dealings of Providence, in order to bring sinners to repentance, that so its clemency and pardon might be extended to the penitent. In France, particularly about Orleans and Chartres, numbers were attacked by an inflammatory disease, [2] which debilitated them, and in many cases ended in death. The harvest was rotted by deluges of rain, so that a terrible dearth ensued, and the vintage almost totally perished. The gifts of Ceres and Bacchus thus failing, a severe famine consumed the people in all quarters. This fatal year was the third of the reign of Lewis, son of Philip, king of France, and the ninth of Henry, son of William the Bastard, duke of Normandy and king of England.

The same year, King Henry gave his daughter Matilda in


[1] There was an old grudge between the kings of England and the counts of Flanders, which is worth mentioning.

William the Conqueror granted to Earl Baldwin, his father-in-law, a yearly pension of three hundred silver marks for the succour he had afforded him in his English expedition. In the time of Robert the Frisian, this pension was not regularly paid; but William Rufus was induced to admit the obligation. Robert of Flanders, the crusader, on his return from Jerusalem, haughtily demanded the arrears: it was then that Henry I. replied that if the matter was left to his generosity, he would do what he could in it, but if they made too much noise about it, he would not give a sou. However, the affair was compromised, and by a convention on the 17th of May, 1101, the payment was raised to four hundred marks, and Robert, on his part, engaged to furnish the king of England a force of five hundred men in time of war. The number was even doubled by a fresh convention of the 10th of March, 1103; hut it appears that it was not long before the misunderstanding between the two princes was renewed.

[2] St. Anthony's fire, a disease very anciently known, as it is mentioned in Virgil, under the name of ignis sacer. It appears to have been endemic if not epidemic in the middle ages.

A.D. 1109-1114.] HENRY V. MARRIES MATILDA. 435

marriage [1] to Charles, son of Henry, emperor of Germany. Burchard, [2] archbishop of Cambray, received her from her father, and conducted her to her husband. Roger, son of Richard, [3] and several others of the Norman nobility, accompanied the young princess, believing that this union would raise them to posts of eminence in the Roman empire, and that they might be able to carve out for themselves the highest honours by their valour and intrepidity. In this way their ancestors had gained a footing in England through Emma, Duke Robert's daughter, and in Apulia by means of Sichelgarde, daughter of Waimalk, duke of Salerno. [4] The politic emperor, who was well informed on such subjects, penetrated their designs, and took precautions against being subjected to the pretensions of overbearing aliens. In consequence, by the advice of his Germans, he sent them all back to their own country with presents.

CH. XXXIX. Deaths of St. Anselm, of William, archbishop of Rouen, and Hugh, abbot of Cluni.

AT that time, several doctors of the church, eminent for their sanctity and wisdom, departed this life, namely, Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, and William, archbishop of Rouen; those venerable superiors of monasteries, Hugh, abbot of Cluni; Gervase of Rennes; [5] and William of Cormeilles, [6] and several others, were also taken from the world; whose blessed spirits are, as we firmly believe, with God. The earth itself appeared to mourn the loss of these distinguished prelates, the fields and vineyards refusing to yield their


[1] It appears that the parties were betrothed in the year our author mentions, but the marriage was not celebrated till the 7th of January, 1114, when the princess Matilda must have been still very young, as the marriage of her parents only took place on St. Martin's day, 1100.

[2] Our author's memory fails here. It was not Burchard who was bishop of Cambray in 1109, but his predecessor Odo or Odouard, a native of Orleans, (July, 1108-June 19, 1113.)

[3] Roger de Bienfaite or de Clare, who was afterwards created earl of Hertford.

[4] Second wife of Robert Guiscard.

[5] Gervase, abbot of St. Melaigne at Rennes, died in the year 1109. He had been a monk of St. Florence at Saumur, like his predecessor Even, archbishop of Dol, who died the 25th of September, 1081.

[6] William, abbot of Cormeilles (July 27, 1109). Respecting him see the Histoire Litteraire de France, t. ix. p. 491.

436 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XXXIX.

usual abundance. Even the unbelieving who were not moved by affection to lament the decease of these eminent fathers, were, at least, compelled to groan under the various calamities which the judgment of God inflicted upon them for their impiety.

Anselm governed canonically the church of Canterbury sixteen years, the flower of all the men of worth who flourished in my time. Dom Eadmer, who had been a monk under the holy man and attended him in his travels, wrote his life in a clever and eloquent work. At length the saintly prelate, being called to receive the reward of his labours from the Lord, departed this life on the eleventh of the calends of May [April 21], and was interred at the foot of the crucifix in the church of the holy and undivided Trinity. [1]

Likewise, Hugh, the venerable abbot of Cluni, after celebrating the passion and resurrection of Christ, fell sick on the following Tuesday, and, taking to his bed, prepared himself, for his passage out of this life to the Lord, by confession and prayer. Having himself given commands to the brethren of the convent to choose his successor, he ratified their election of a young monk, named Pontius, by the sanction of his own authority. He then caused himself to be carried by the monks into the infirmary, where the aged abbot, on the Thursday, departed to Christ, whose soldier he had been from childhood. It is said that he governed the abbey of Cluni sixty-four years, [2] and admitted more than ten thousand monks into the service of the Lord of Sabaoth. At his death he was buried in the church which he had himself erected from the foundations.

Thus, two pillars of the church were removed together from the earthly Jerusalem, which is still engaged in pilgrimage amongst aliens, and are, as we trust, immoveably planted for their persevering sanctity in the heavenly Zion. Anselm, the illustrious archbishop of Canterbury, died before Easter, and, robed and mitred, entered on Thursday the palace of


[1] St. Anselm died at Canterbury on Wednesday, the 21st of April, 1109, in the 76th year of his age and the sixteenth of his pontificate. We have already explained what is meant by the expression, ante crucifixum,

[2] St. Hugh, abbot of Cluni, died eight days after St. Anselm, on Thursday, the 29th of April, in the 85th year of his age, and the sixty-first of his administration as abbot.

A.D. 1110.] DEATH OF WILLIAM BONNE-AME. 437

the Almighty King; and on the Thursday following, during the solemnities of Easter, Hugh, his attached friend, passed away in like manner. Ralph, bishop of Rochester, [1] was raised to the see of Canterbury, which he held nine years, although he was for some time afflicted with severe illness. Pontius, son of Count Melguel, [2] undertook the government of the abbey of Cluni, which he relinquished some time afterwards for various reasons, as will appear in the sequel. Having performed a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he died on his return in the prison of Calixtus at Rome. His sanctity was nobly exhibited by undoubted miracles performed at his tomb.

CH. XL. Death and epitaph of William Bonne-Ame, archbishop of Rouen, and of Count Elias - A comet and famine.

IN the year of our Lord 1110, the third indiction, William, archbishop of Rouen, who had worthily governed that metropolitan church for thirty-two years, died on the fifth of the ides [4th] of February. He was buried in the canons' chapter-house, which he had himself built. The following epitaph, cut on the wall on the east side, describes his character:- [3]

We cherish WILLIAM'S memory, while we weep-
His pious musings and devotion deep-
A prelate by his clergy fondly loved,
Within, without, his fostering care they proved.
Light of the church, the priesthood's honoured chief,
'Twas his in every need to give relief:


[1] Respecting this prelate, see vol. ii. p. 251.

[2] Melguel, now Mauguio or Mauguion, two leagues and a half from Montpelier. The counts of Melguel were persons of great importance. Abbot Pontius, or Pons, was nephew of Count Raimond de St. Giles, and godson of Pope Paschal II. His character was very different from what our author, who makes him a saint, represents him to have been. See the Histoire Litteraire de France, t. xi. p. 20. Ordericus's predilection for him is the more extraordinary, as having visited Cluni, as he afterwards informs us, he had an opportunity of hearing on the spot the most authentic accounts of the scandals, the acts of violence, and the devastations, still recent, which will for ever stain the memory of Pons.

[3] Respecting William Bonne-Ame, archbishop of Rouen (1079-1110), see vol. ii. p. 168.

438 ORDERICUS VITALIS, [B.XI. CH.XLII.

For them this chapter-house his skill displayed,
For them the cloisters spread their hallowed shade;
Nor less his charity embraced the poor,
He never spurned them from his open door.
Rich gifts supplied the brethren's aliment,
Churches and tithes, farms, houses, land, and rent.
His pure example those he ruled deterred
From sinful action and unseemly word.
Two days before his vernal path the sun
Traced in the Fishes, WILLIAM'S course was run. [1]

In the course of the same year a comet appeared in the zenith from the fourth of the ides of June to the day before the calends of July. [From the 10th to the 30th of June.] Elias, count of Maine, died shortly afterwards.

For three successive years, from the second to the fourth indiction, a severe famine raged in France, by which the population was much diminished.

CH. XLI. Geoffrey, a Breton, made archbishop of Rouen - His character - Pope Paschal II. a prisoner.

IN the year of our Lord 1111, the fourth indiction, Geoffrey the Breton, dean of Mans, was summoned to England by King Henry, and appointed archbishop of Rouen. This prelate, who was eminent for eloquence and learning, instructed his clergy and people in the catholic faith, and was a useful governor of the church of God for seventeen years. [2]

The same year, [3] Pope Paschal was made prisoner by the Emperor Charles, who greatly disturbed the church as I have related in another place.

CH. XLII. Death of Gilbert, bishop of Evreux - who built that cathedral.

IN the year of our Lord 1112, Gilbert, the venerable bishop of Evreux, having filled the see thirty-four years, [4]


[1] It is hardly necessary to remark that in the usual phraseology of our author's epitaphs the sun was in the constellation Pisces, at the time of William Bonne-Ame's death, February 4, 1110.

[2] He had been dean, and was proposed for the bishopric of Mans. See before p. 227. We shall presently find that this bishop's administration was neither so prudent nor prosperous as our author here describes it.

[3] The 12th of February.

[4] From 1070 to the end of August, 1112, is a great deal more than thirty-four years. That part of the nave of the fine cathedral of Evreux, which has been lately restored with great care, toward the choir, was probably built by Bishop Gilbert.

A.D. 1113.] VISIT OF HENRY I. TO ST. EVROULT. 439

died in a good old age on the fourth of the calends of September [August 29th]. He was interred in the church of St. Mary, Mother of God, which he had himself erected, and enriched with funds and ornaments, augmenting the number of its clergy, and consecrating it to divine offices during the night as well as the day. He was succeeded the year following by Ouen of Bayeux, a chaplain of the king's, who was well versed in sound learning, and taught those who were committed to his charge the way of God, according to the rules of the church. [1]

CH. XLIII. Visit of Henry I. to the abbey of St. Evroult - Grants a charter to the monks.

IN the year of our Lord 1113, the sixth indiction, King Henry paid a visit to St. Evroult, attended by a numerous retinue of his nobles, and joyously celebrated the feast of the Purification of St. Mary, mother of God. He remained seated a long time in the monks' cloister, examined closely their way of life; and, having learned their rules of discipline, gave them commendation. [2] The next day he was brought into the chapter-house, and, humbly soliciting to be admitted a member of the society, obtained his request. There were with him his nephews Theobald and Stephen, [3] with Conan of Britany, [4] William, bishop of Exeter, [5] and several other counts


[1] Ouen was a native of Conde-sur-Noireau, and brother of Thurstan archbishop of York.

[2] We may suppose some personal communication to have taken place on this occasion between Henry Beauclerc, who affected to patronise men of letters and the learned monk, our author; and the king probably knew that he was engaged in writing the annals of his reign. Henry was too politic a monarch not to avail himself of the advantage of his position, and we may perhaps in part trace to this condescension the favourable view Ordericus takes of the English king's character.

[3] Theobald and Stephen de Blois - the latter afterwards king of England - sons of the countess Adela, Henry's sister.

[4] Conan II., surnamed the Fat, in the course of the same year succeeded his father Alan Fergan, who retired to the abbey of Redon on account of his infirmities. See a curious charter on this subject in the Recueil des Historiens de France, t, xii., p. 506. Alan died the 13th of October, 1119.

[5] William Warlewast, bishop of Exeter. See what is remarked before, p. 203.

440 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XLIII.

and nobles, with their barons, Then, having advised with Robert, earl of Mellent, the king ordered a charter to be drawn, in which all the domains possessed at that time by the abbey of St. Evroult should be briefly enumerated. This was done accordingly, and afterwards Arnold the prior, and Gilbert des Essarts [1] carried the charter to the king at Rouen. Henry then willingly executed it by making a cross, and delivered it to the nobles who were present to be similarly ratified by their each affixing to it the sign of the cross. Those who subseribed were Robert, earl of Mellent; Richard, earl of Chester; Nigel d'Aubigni, Goel d'Ivri, William Peverell, [2] Roger de Thibouville, [3] William de-la-Lund, [4] Robert, the king's son, [5] and many more. This charter was, by the advice of learned men, mainly intended for a protection against greedy heirs, who were yearly plundering the convent of the charitable foundations of their ancestors, and constantly exposed the monks to litigation, to the great injury of ecclesiastical affairs. For this reason the king ratified the aforesaid instrument with his seal, and forbade all men, by his royal authority, from impleading the monks in respect of any of the matters specified in the charter, except in his own court. He then gave sixty salted hogs and ten bushels of wheat [6]


[1] A village near St. Evroult, which furnished several monks and one abbot to that house.

[2] There existed at this time two persons of the name of William Peverel. They were at least half-brothers, the eldest being the son of William the Conqueror. He had the custody of the castle of Nottingham, and his brother that of Dover. It is probably the latter who is introduced here.

[3] Roger de Thibouville, son of Robert, and father of William.

[4] Probably lord of La Londe-sous-Farceaux, son of Rodulfus de la Landa, mentioned in vol. ii. p. 187.

[5] Robert, although the king's son, is named after all the rest, because he was illegitimate. He was afterwards earl of Gloucester, and married the daughter and heiress of Robert Fitz-Hamon; and became one of the most eminent men of the succeeding times.

[6] LX. Bacones. The trifling quantity of the royal dole of wheat to digest the pork leads to the remark that this grain was not very plentiful, nor much in use for ordinary purposes, in the age of Ordericus. The charter here mentioned has not been published, but it is to be found in the chartulary of St. Evroult in the Imperial Library of France, t. i. vol. iv.

The gifts referred to in this note was not comprised in it, and appear to have been the subject of a separate order, It was not as bishop, but probably as viscount of Argenten, that John was commissioned to provide them.

A.D. 1112.] ROBERT DE BELESME's LAST OUTBREAK. 441

to the monks of St. Evroult, ordering John, the bishop of Lisieux to deliver the wheat to them at Argentan; which he did willingly and without delay. The king, having spent the feast of the Purification at St. Evroult, as I have before stated, proceeded to visit the borders of his states, and fortify the vulnerable points against enemies and freebooters.

CH. XLIV. Hostilities between Fulk of Anjou and Henry - Also between Theobald of Blois and Lewis - Robert de Belesme arrested and committed to perpetual imprisonment.

IN these times, while the children of light enjoyed peace and tranquillity, and the sons of darkness were instigated by restless iniquity, a violent quarrel broke out in France, which caused the effusion of much blood. Fulk the younger, count of Anjou, and son-in-law and heir of Elias, count of Maine, was induced by his uncle Amauri, [1] to threaten damage to King Henry's territories, earnestly imploring King Lewis to afford him succour: Henry, however, posessing both prudence and wealth, and being powerfully supported by a regular army, frustrated the designs of his enemies, as cobwebs are swept away, and felicitated himself on having crushed them without loss on his own side. He caused two forts to be erected to oppose Gervase de Chateauneuf, [3] who endeavoured to offer an obstinate resistance, one called Normancourt, the other Illiers, [4] taking from him a third which has the name of Sorel. [5] Many nobles of Maine joined Henry, and, having done fealty, put their castles into his hands. The same year, Theobald, count de Blois, stoutly opposed King Lewis, and by his enterprises caused him signal losses. He even, when the king was besieging the castle of Puiset, compelled him by force of arms to retire. [6] Thus employing his youth, Theobald so occupied the


[1] Amauri de Montfort, brother of Bertrade.

[2] These first hostilities between Fulk and Henry I. are mentioned by no other author than Ordericus. Five years afterwards we shall find that they assumed a more serious character.

[3] Gervase de Chateauneuf, in the Thimerais, son of Hugh. See before, vol. ii. p. 487.

[4] Illiers l'Eveque.

[5] Sorel, near Chartres.

[6] Count Theobald was one of the most bitter enemies of Lewis-le-Gros. Affairs did not turn out so well for him as our author would have us believe. Defeated at Mellun and Lagni, and wounded at the castle of Puiset, he was compelled to implore leave to retire to Chartres.

442 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XLIV.

king of France, that he could not molest his uncle the king of England by invading Normandy.

Then Robert de Belesme exhibited the great malice which he had long nourished against the king, and having hitherto fawned on him with concealed venom, now broke into open rebellion. He was a crafty and powerful lord, full of avarice and cruelty, and an implacable oppressor of the church of God, and the poor; so that, if I may so speak, Christian history does not exhibit his equal in wickedness. This person openly incurred the guilt of perjury by breaking his oath of fealty, and deserting Henry, his natural lord, at a time when he was exposed to the attacks of numerous enemies, and aiding Fulk of Anjou and the other open adversaries of his suzerain with his counsels and forces. [1] In consequence, lawful charges were preferred against him by the king at Bonneville on the day before the nones [the 4th] of November, [2] of having acted illegally against his lord, for that being thrice summoned to his court he had given no appearance, for not having made any return, as the king's viscount and officer, of the royal revenues from Argentan, Exmes and Falaise, as well as other offences. Not being able to clear himself of the countless and enormous iniquities of which he was guilty, both against God and the king, he was, by the just judgment of the royal court, thrown into the strictest confinement. [3] The tyrant, who had oppressed the country and was now preparing to add to his former crimes fresh enormities by rapine and fire in all quarters, being thus in captivity, the people of God rejoiced at being relieved from the robber's


[1] This must have been before Henry's reconciliation with the count of Anjou.

[2] The French historians give the date of November 4, 1112, for Robert de Belesme's journey to Bonneville-sur-Touque and arrest. He appears to have ventured there in the character of ambassador from Lewis-le-Gros, which Henry did not respect in the person of his own vassal.

[3] Robert de Belesme was taken to Cherbourg, and from thence to the castle of Warham in Norfolk, when he ended his days in strict confinement. Henry of Huntingdon, whose character of this able but profligate nobleman, we have before quoted, speaking of the termination of his career, says: "Of him whose fame had been spread every where, no one knew, after he was in prison, whether he was alive or dead, and report was silent of the day of his death". Letter to Walter, Bohn's Antiq. Lib. p. 310.

A.D. 1113-1114.] TRANQUILLITY OF NORMANDY. 443

yoke, and offering thanksgivings to God their deliverer, wished Henry a long and happy life. The king then laid siege to Alencon, which surrendered in a few days, and he gave Godfrey, Adam Sor, [1] and other knights who had the custody of the citadel, free leave to depart, setting at liberty also Hugh de Mes-David [2] and two other knights, who were arrested at the same time as Robert.

CH. XLV. Peace restored - Henry's interview with the count of Anjou - And with Lewis, king of France - Suppresses an insurrection and takes Villerai.

THE French and Normans and their neighbours made a truce for some time, and soon afterwards having interchanged friendly messages, mutually agreed on a lasting peace. In consequence Fulk of Anjou went into the country of Alencon the first week in Lent, [3] and had an interview with King Henry at Pierre-Percee, [4] and swearing fealty to him and doing homage, received the country of Maine from the king, to whose son, William the Etheling, he betrothed his daughter. At the same time, Henry restored the county of Evreux to Count William, who had been an exile for fourteen months in Anjou. He also graciously pardoned Amauri de Monfort and William Crespin [5] their offences against him. The exiles who had been expelled by the impious Robert de Belesme, were recalled and mercifully reinstated in their paternal lands. Peace and joy were restored to the


[1] It should be Adam le Sor, that is, Adam with the red hair. We find (vol. ii. p. 196,) William le Sor granting the church of Radon to St. Evroult. It was, therefore, an hereditary name which this family appears to have left to Mont-Sor, a suburb of Alencon, on the left bank of the Sarthe. Perhaps they were descendants of the Soreng, of whom William de Jumieges has traced a revolting picture. Historia Normannorum, 1. vi. c. xiii. and xiv.

[2] Medavi, in the canton of Mortree, two leagues and a half from Alencon.

[3] The first week in Lent in the year 1113 commenced on the 23rd of February.

[4] Petram-Peculalam. The historian of Alencon fixes the site at Hertre, near that city, for the sole reason that vast quarries of granite are found there. There is a place called Pierre-Pouquelee, but it is at some distance, near Ferte-Fresnel, at which there stood a dolmen, which is now destroyed. Probably the interview took place near some other druidical monument in the neighbourhood of Alencon. M. Dubois finds it at Pont-Peree, one league from that place on the road to Brittany.

[5] William Crespin, castellan of Dangu.

444 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XI. CH.XLV.

churches of God at St. Evroult, Seez, and Troarn, which had long groaned under the grievous oppression of a cruel lord, and their seizin of the churches, tithes and other possessions of which they had been unjustly deprived, were renewed. Among the rest St. Evroult recovered the thirty pence of money of Maine, [1] which earl Roger, with the consent of his son Robert, had given to St. Evroult for lights in the church, payable yearly out of the rents of Alencon at the beginning of Lent, together with all the other possessions which the same earl had granted by his charter, but his iniquitous heir had unjustly invaded.

At length, King Lewis, having proved in various ways the magnanimity as well as the great ability and valour of King Henry, abandoning the counsels of traitors who preferred revolt to peace, resolved to have a conference with him, and make a durable treaty to the advantage of holy church. The two kings therefore met at Gisors, in the sixth indiction, and the last week in March, [2] and peace having been sworn to on both sides, embraced each other in the bonds of friendship to the general joy. Then Lewis granted to Henry the lordship of Belesme and county of Maine, and the whole of Brittany, Fergan the prince of the Britons, having already done homage to the king of England as his vassal; and the king had betrothed one of his daughters to Conan, Fergan's son. [3]

Meanwhile, Aimeric de Villerai [4] and other lords of Belesme, to whom William Talvac, Robert's son, had committed the custody of the castle while he was absent in defence of his county of Ponthieu, trusting in the great strength of the fortress, and the number of their retainers, prepared to resist with vigour any one who should venture to assault it. Upon


[1] According to M. Leopold Belisle, each of these sous of Manceaux was worth about 3 franks 40 cents of present value in French money, so that the thirty sous are equivalent to 102 franks.

[2] This meeting took place in the last week of March, 1114, in the field, still remaining, of Ormeteau-Ferre, on the territory of Gisors, on the further side of the Epte.

[3] We suppose Conan III., duke of Brittany, Alan Fergan's father, had already abdicated the government of the duchy to retire to the abbey of Redon, where he ended his days. Fergan's marriage with Matilda, a natural daughter of Henry I., did not turn out well, as the Breton was compelled to repudiate the sole male issue of the union.

[4] He must have been the son of Aimeric de Villerai, whose tragic end is related, vol. ii. p. 110.

A.D. 1114.] CASTLE OF BELESME DESTROYED. 445 this, King Henry, assembling the whole military force of Normandy, laid siege to Belesme, on the calends [the 1st] of May, and was more successful than he hoped. For Theobald count de Blois, Fulk of Anjou, Rotrou of Mortain, [1] and other distinguished nobles marched to the aid of the Normans, and investing the place with their troops, entered it victoriously three days afterwards. It happened to be the feast of the Invocation of the Holy Cross, and the king had issued orders to the whole of his army to suspend the attack and not to engage in any military enterprise. However, the troops of count Theobald and Rotrou, not having heard of the kings's command, appeared in arms; upon which some knights of the garrison issued forth from the castle to engage in single combat. The besiegers charging them impetuously, they wheeled their horses round and made a hasty retreat to the western gate; but at its entrance they were overtaken and beaten down by their pursuers, and the doors were prevented from being closed by the number of lances, so that they remained wide open. The royal army forthwith marched in with loud shouts, and made themselves masters of the greater part of the place. Then, as those who guarded the citadel made a vigorous resistance, they set it on fire, and this noble edifice, which Robert had for a long period enriched and fortified, was burnt to the ground.

Henry, thus victorious, having established peace with all his neighbours, returned to England, and during five years, [2] governed his kingdom over the sea, as well as his duchy on this side the channel, in great tranquillity; his faithful adherents offering devout thanksgivings to the Lord God of Sabaoth, who disposes all wants with power and mercy. Amen.

[]1 Rotrou, second of that name, count of Perche.

[2] Our author is not more exact than usual in his chronological calculations. The king, indeed, passed part of this year in England, but he again visited Normandy before Michaelmas, and did not return till the month of July, 1115. He was again in Normandy in the month of August, 1116, and the archbishop of Canterbury found him at Rouen in September. It appears certain from Florence of Worcester and Brompton that he returned there by Easter, 1117, and that the king of France and the earl of Flanders having made an expedition into Normandy in the course of that year, only ventured to pass one night there from apprehension of being surprised by Henry. The profound tranquillity which Ordericus makes him enjoy in the bosom of his kingdom for five years, must be reduced to a few months.

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