BOOK XII

446 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.I.

BOOK XII.

CH. I. Pope Gelasius II. - War between Henry and Lewis in Normandy - A legend of Brittany - Death of Queen Matilda and the earl of Mellent - And of the count of Evreux - The succession to that county.

IN the year of our Lord, 1118, the eleventh indiction, [1] on Christmas eve, a violent tempest overthrew many buildings and trees in the western parts.

On the death of Pope Paschal, John of Gaieta, formerly chancellor and master of requests in the Roman Church, was elected pope, and contrary to the emperor's wishes, was canonically consecrated by the clergy of Rome. [2] At the same time Bourdin, archbishop of Prague, who received from his adherents the name of Gregory VIII, was by the emperor's intrigues intruded into the church of God. [3] In consequence, a grievous schism was made, and a cruel persecution ensued to the great injury of the catholics.

At that time there was a serious misunderstanding between Lewis, king of France, and Henry, king of England, and the hostilities of those powerful monarchs frequently devastated their respective territories. King Lewis rendered aid to the exiled William for the recovery of his inheritance, and a great number of the Normans espoused his cause with all their might. Meanwhile, Henry surprised the castle of St. Clair, [4] and holding possession of it for a long time against Osmond [5] and other freebooters in that neighbourhood, he inflicted from thence great losses on the French. On his part, King Lewis surreptitiously entered Ford-Nicaise, [6]


[1] We believe that it should be 1117, the tenth indiction.

[2] John of Gaieta, a monk of Monte-Cassino, elected pope the 15th of January, 1118, by the name of Gelasius II.; ordained priest the 9th of March and consecrated at Gaieta the next day.

[3] Maurice Bourdin, archbishop of Prague, was elected pope at Rome the 9th of March following.

[4] Saint Clair-sur-Epti.

[5] Osmond de Chaumont, first of that name, surnamed the Elder. He is mentioned before, vol. i. p. 472, It appears that he was lord of St. Clair, and married the heiress of Quitri.

[6] See note, vol. i. p. 131. The modern name of this place is Gane. In the ninth century it was a priory dependent on the abbey of St. Ouen at Rouen, whose relics were deposited in it in 872.

A.D. 1118.] HENRY AND LEWIS AT WAR. 447

commonly called Vani, in the disguise of a monk, he and his knights being muffled in black cowls; and, fortifying the cell of the monks of St. Ouen which stands there, shamefully made the house of God, set apart for divine offices, a den of thieves. The king of England hearing of this, flew to the spot with his troops, and built two forts, to which the enemy in derision gave foul names, calling one of them Malassis, and the other Gete-a-Lievres. [1] This war, furiously raging for nearly four years, devastated the states of both princes with fire, rapine, and cruel slaughter.

Pope Gelasius was a prelate of great erudition, and having been chancellor of the holy see nearly forty years, had great experience in affairs and was an able politician. But his government of the Roman church did not last quite two years. His avarice was so excessive, that, paying a visit to France, he oppressed the churches in those parts to supply the inordinate expenditure of the Roman court, but he passed away like the morning dew at the breath of God.

At that time, in Brittany, the devil appeared to a woman who was confined by childbirth, in the shape of her husband, and on her asking for food he gave it her. The woman, deby the guise he assumed, ate of it, and having finished the meal, the devil vanished. Shortly afterwards her husband came in, and hearing what had happened, was greatly terrified,and told it to the priest. The priest having invoked God's name, touched the woman, sprinkled her with holy water, and instructed her what to say if the deceiver should appear again. On Satan's return, she put the questions to him with which she had been furnished. "What", she said, "did the violent wind which roared so terribly before Christmas, and caused us great alarm, portend? Houses and churches were unroofed, the pinnacles of towers blown down, and numberless oaks levelled in the woods". The devil replied, "God had resolved that great part of mankind should perish, but the efficacious prayers of the saints procured pardon for the race of man, and the storm fell on


[1] Trulla Leporis; its site is not known. The ruins of Malassis form an enclosure on a farm to the south of Gani, on the road to Vernon. The fosse is about a yard deep.

[2] Pope Gelasius died at Cluni the 20th of January, 1119, so that he was pope only one year and fourteen days.

448 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.I.

the trees. Notwithstanding, within three years, there will be grievous tribulation in the world, and several persons of exalted rank will perish". At these words the woman sprinkled holy water, and the devil vanished.

About the same time a prodigy was seen in England. A rustic having bought a pregnant cow at Ely, he killed and opened it by order of Hervey the Breton, bishop of that diocese. [1] Strange to say, instead of a calf, three little pigs were found in it. A certain pilgrim from Jerusalem, [2] who chanced to meet the countryman driving the cow home from market, told him, and afterwards repeated to the bishop and other bystanders, that three great persons in the dominions of King Henry would die that year, and many severe calamities would follow. The pilgrim's prophecy was justified by events which occurred in the time specified. [3]

In fact, William count of Evreux died on the fourteenth of the calends of May, [18th April], and was interred at Fontenelles, in the abbey of St. Wandrille, by the side of his father Richard. [4] Soon afterwards, Queen Matilda, whose baptismal name was Edith, died on the calends [the 1st] of May, and lies buried in the church of St. Peter, at Westminster, likewise, Robert, earl of Mellent, expired on the


[1] Hervey, the Breton, at first bishop of Bangor, and translated to Ely in 1109, died the 30th of August. Respecting his attempt to obtain the see of Lisieux, see before, p. 416.

[2] Quidam Ierosolymitanus, a surname often adopted or attributed to those who had taken part in the crusades, and not meaning, as it would sound, a native of Jerusalem. Our author applies it here to a simple pilgrim, returned from the Holy Land. But in general they were designated as palmers, on account of the palm branch which they were in the habit of carrying.

[3] Without attaching to this episode more importance than it deserves, we may be allowed to remark that the paragraph, as well as the opening of the present book, has reference to somewhere about the period of Christmas, 1117; but our author, reckoning the beginning of the year from that feast, has naturally placed these occurrences in 1118.

[4] The counts of Evreux were neighbours of St. Wandrille in their domain of Trait. Richard, William's father, had died the 13th of December, 1067.

[5] Queen Matilda, whose monastic ideas did not accord with her husband's irregular life, retired to the monastery of Westminster after having given birth to two children. In posterum et parere et partire destitit, says a cotemporary historian. She wore haircloth even under the royal mantle, and during Lent trod the pavement of the churches with naked feet. Having quitted the gay and busy court of England, she resumed her habits of gathering about her the sick, suffering under the most disgusting disorders, whom she nursed, and clerks skilled in church music, whom she encouraged by a lavish use of her revenues. It was not at Westminster, as our author says, but at Winchester, that her remains were interred, in vetere coenobio. Afterwards, King Henry transferred them, with the bones of Queen Frytheswyde, to The Holy Hole. Ordericus makes an important remark on Queen Matilda's name, which is probably applicable to other persons of the middle ages. It is, that the name she bore in the world was not that of her baptism.

A.D. 1118.] CLAIMS TO COUNTY OF EVREUX. 449

nones {the 5th] of June, and reposes with his father and brother in the chapter of the monks, at Preaux. [1] After the death of these distinguished persons, there were great troubles in Normandy.

Amauri de Montfort, son of Simon and Agnes, Count William's nephew by his sister, laid claim to the country of Evreux, but the king gave him a prompt denial, by the advice of Ouen, bishop of that city. In consequence, Amauri flew to arms with all his force, and nearly the whole of France espoused his cause against King Henry. He was warlike and powerful, possessing fortified castles with strong garrisons; and his kindred abounding in wealth and resources, he held a high rank among the French nobility.

The same year, in the month of October, William Pointel [1] put him in possession of the citadel of Evreux, so that


[1] Robert, earl of Mellent (comte de Meulan in Normandy), terminated very unhappily a long career surrounded by all the eclat, power, and wealth that great talents and unbounded ambition and avarice could command. His wife betrayed and deserted him, the powerful faculties of his mind became clouded, and in his last moments the clergy who attended him, even the archbishop of Rouen himself, who hastened to his deathbed, failed of obtaining from him any restitution to those he had wronged, or any sign of repentance. See his character noticed before, p. 358, and in that interesting tract by Henry of Huntingdon, in which he gives an account of the most eminent persons of the age in the shape of a Letter to Walter (Bohn's Antiq. Lib. p. 309), where fuller details are given of his last moments than those supplied by Ordericus.

[2] Punctellus; there is a commune of this name in the canton of Briouse, and we are furnished with the names of two persons, one called Mansellus de Punctello, the other Willelmus de Pointel, who are mentioned in a charter of William de Briouse in favour of St. Florence at Saumur. Here, however, Punctellus is evidently a surname. A Tedricus Pointel appears in Domesday-hook as tenant in capite. William Pointel is twice named as one of the justiciaries of Amauri, count d'Evreux, in a judicial proceeding at Gaillon. He is the same person who is mentioned here. We shall find afterwards that he was a nephew of Ralph de Vitot (near Neubourg), who must have been grandson of Robert de Vitot, one of the assassins of Gilbert, count de Brionne. See vol. i. p. 450. This family was always devoted to the counts of Evreux.

450 ORDERICUS VITALTS. [B.XII. CH.II.

the whole place was exposed to pillage. All the bishopric was also ravaged, and bishop Ouen, with his clergy and attendants, compelled to seek safety in flight. Then Hugh de Gournai, Stephen, Count d'Aumale, Eustace de Breteuil, Richer de Laigle, Robert du Neubourg, [1] and several others, revolted against King Henry, and used every effort to restore William the exile, Duke Robert's son, to his father's rank and states.

CH. II. Baldwin VII., earl of Flanders, dies from a wound received in Normandy - His cousin, Charles of Denmark, succeeds him.

BALDWIN the younger, the intrepid earl of Flanders, [2] took arms against King Henry with his whole force, to re-establish his cousin William in his paternal inheritance. Henry, Count d'Eu, [3] was among the first to aid the rebels by joining their league, but the wary king, discovering this, arrested him at Rouen with Hugh de Gournai, and threw him into prison till he surrendered his fortresses. Upon this Baldwin, at the head of a large body of Flemings, made an eruption into Normandy as far as Arques, and burnt the villages in the Talou in Henry's sight, who, with his Norman followers, witnessed the flames. The king, in his moderation, contented himself with fortifying Bures, [4] and, suspecting the fidelity of most of the Normans, threw into it a garrison of Bretons and English, whom he took into his pay, and provided with abundant supplies. Baldwin's daring courage often led him there to provoke the Bretons to feats of arms. At last he was wounded by one Hugh Boterel, [5]


[1] Robert, lord of Neubourg, third son of Henry, earl of Warwick, and Margaret du Perche.

[2] Baldwin a la Hache, earl of Flanders, 1111-June 17, 1119.

[3] Henry, count d'Eu, was son of William, count d'Eu, and Helisende d'Avranches, sister of Hugh, earl of Chester. His wife, Margaret de Sulli, was great niece of Henry I.

[4] Bures en Brai, in the valley of the Bethune, about four leagues from Arques. It formed part of Queen Matilda's dowry.

[5] This family was established in England in the county of Warwick. Several persons of the name of Boterel are mentioned in the Monasticon Anglicanum, but none with the Christian name of this Hugh, who does not appear to have been a person of any note. Henry I. gave one moiety of Alcester to William Boterel, who married Alice Corbet, and was a benefactor to that abbey.

A.D. 1119.] DEATH OF BALDWIN VII., EARL OF FLANDERS. 451

and being on excellent terms with Count Stephen and the Countess Havise, [1] he withdrew to Aumale, where, it is reported, the night following he supped on meat which was too young, drank mulled wine, and slept with a woman. These indulgences, when suffering from his wound, brought on a mortal disease, which ended in death, after he had languished in great pain from the month of September to the June following. [2] All who founded hopes on him might thus learn, that we must not trust in man but in the Lord. On Baldwin's death Charles d'Ancre, his cousin, [3] the issue of one of the daughters of Robert the Frisian, succeeded to his estates, and being occupied with his own affairs, made peace with the king of England and his other neighbours.

CH. III. Insurrection in the Talou and Caux, in which Hugh de Gournai takes the lead, and is joined by many of his barons, freebooters in Normandy.

HUGH, son of Gerard de Gournai, [4] had been brought up by


[1] This name is spelt Advise in the charter of foundation of the abbey of St. Victor, in Caux, where it designates the wife of Roger de Mortemer, grandmother of Avise de Mortemer, daughter of Ralph de Mortemer and countess of Aumale.

[2] His illness lasted till June 17, 1119. He did not expire at Aumale, but at a place called Rosselar, now Roulers, south-west of Bruges, being then twenty-six years old. Others say that he died at St. Bertin itself, after having taken the cowl, and spent the last two months of his life in monastic habits. His body was interred in that abbey. We give in the original another account, which confirms that of our author: Crebis ictibus galea quassata, cerebrum violatus. Caussam ferunt morbi augmentati quod ea die allium cum auca priesumpserit, nec nocte Venere abstinuerit.

[3] Charles, son of Canute, king of Denmark, and of Adela of Flanders; consequently cousin-german to Baldwin. The surname given him by our author was derived from a castle granted him by his cousin as long before as 1115. This domain of Ancre is now called Albert, since it belonged to the Constable Albert de Lugnes, after being confiscated in 1617 by the forfeiture of Concini, the famous Marshal d'Ancre.

Charles of Denmark also assumed the title of count d'Amiens after his marriage, about the year 1118, with Margaret, daughter of Reynold, count de Clermont, and Adelaide, or Alice de Vermandois.

[4] Hugh de Gournai, second of that name, son of Gerard de Gournai, and son-in-law of Dreux de Monchi-le-Chatel in the Beauvoisis.

452 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.III.

the king as his own son; he had knighted him when he was of age to bear arms, placed him among his highest nobles by restoring to him his father's lordships, which had been for some time administered by his father-in-law, Dreux, and, from the king's misplaced confidence, he took possession as a friend of the fortresses entrusted to his custody. Hugh, however, did not repay the favours of his munificent patron with the gratitude he owed him; for he allied himself with traitors, and presumed to rebel against his lord and foster-father.

In the month of June he consulted with the king respecting his sister Gundrede, and by his advice betrothed her to Nigel d'Aubigni, a powerful nobleman. After the espousals, while the bridegroom and bride were celebrating their marriage, Hugh and his friends suddenly retired, and took arms the same day against the king. Coming unexpectedly to the castle of Plessis, he slew on the spot Bertrand, surnamed Rumex, who had faithfully guarded it for the king and himself, [1] and entrusted its custody to Hugh Talbot, his nephew. [2] However, the king recovered the place soon


[1] All this paragraph is very obscure. The situation of the castle of Plessis, of which Bertrand Rumex had the custody, for the king and Hugh at once, cannot be fixed with any certainty, but it was probably at St. Martin-du-Plessis, on the confines of Brai and the Rumois. Nor can the exact signification be given of Bertrand's strange surname.

[2] Hugh Talbot was a vassal of the lords of Gournai. The first member of this family who bore the name of Hugh appears to have been Hugo cognomine Taleboth, who was probably father of the Hugh of whom we are speaking, and who made a charter in favour of La Trinite-du-Mont. Among the witnesses to it we find a person named Guilbert d'Eu; and there is reason to believe that the family of Talbot derived its origin from that county. Then come Richard and Geoffrey Talbot, appearing as mesne-tenants in Domesday-book. Richard was witness to a grant by Walter Giffard in the time of the Conqueror. The English genealogists make his wife to have been a daughter of Gerard Gournai, and Hugh Talbot to be the offspring of this marriage, being thus nephew of Hugh Gournai, son of Gerard. But this opinion is scarcely borne out by the present passage of Ordericus, and the words nepoti ejus, are susceptible of another interpretation. However that may be, the person mentioned by our author is undoubtedly the same as the Hugo Talebot who subscribed a charter to the abbey of Savigni in the time of Turgis, bishop of Avranches. He held twenty knights' fees in England in the time of Henry I., and probably married a sister of Geoffrey de Mandeville, earl of Essex, in the time of King Stephen. This family made several grants to the abbey of Beaubec, to which also Hugh, son of Gerant de Gournai was a benefactor, and where he assumed the monastic habit.

The name of TALBOT, before it was adopted by a family, was that of a place on the river which gave its name to the Talou, the Tale, or Tele. The termination bot or bod, signifies a domain. TALBOT may be interpreted "a habitation in the valley", and would then be synonymous with DAUBEUF.

A.D. 1119.] HUGH DE GOURNAI REVOLTS. 453

afterwards, and having strongly fortified it, stationed there Robert and William, sons of Amauri, with a gallant band of knights for the protection of the country.

Meanwhile Hugh obstinately persisted in his rebellion, collecting arms and troops in his castles of Gournai, la Ferte, and Gaillefontaine, [1] and laying waste the whole country between the Seine and the sea with fire and pillage. Robert, surnamed Hachet, [2] Gerard de Fecamp, [3] Enguerrand de Vasceuil, [4] Anselm and Gilbert de Cressi, [5] and other greedy freebooters, became his partisans, and waged a cruel war in the Talou and the district of Caux. Making incursions during the long winter nights, they carried off


[1] Gournai-la-Ferte, in Brai. Gaillefontaine; a charter during the minority takes for its date the foundation of this place: Primo anno constructionis castri quod Goislenfontana dicitur ...

[2] This name appears to have been originally spelt Haget. Geoffrey Haget is mentioned in the great charter of Beaubec as having given to that abbey possessions in Beaubec itself. The family became established in Yorkshire, where it was long settled, and in Gloucestershire. See the Monasticon Anglicanum. Walter Hageth was the first we find in Normandy, who was witness to a charter made to the Trinite-du-Mont.

[3] Gerard de Fecamp undoubtedly belonged to the family of William de Fecamp, the founder of Beaubec, and a great proprietor of lands between that place and la Rosiere. The signatures of Robert and Richard de Fecamp appear on the great charter of Beaubec; probably sons of William de Fecamp. They must have been persons of distinction, as their signatures immediately follow that of the suzerain. There is also in Domesday-book a William de Fecamp among the mesne-tenants in Hampshire.

[4] Enguerrand de Vascoeuil was still living in 1149, at which time, by order of Geoffrey Plantagenet, he submitted to a judgment in court in favour of the monks of Preaux, who complained of wrongs he had done them.

[5] Anselm and Gilbert do Cressi did not belong to the district of Brai, but to the central part of the Talou. They were vassals of the earls Warrenne. Several persons of this family are mentioned in Norman and English charters; among others Hugh de Cressi, under Henry II., and Roger de Cressi in Normandy. They were also barons by tenure of English domains. But the Norman Roger de Cressi lived long before one of the same name in England. It appears certain that he was cotemporary with William de Warrenne, earl of Surrey, who died in 1135.

454 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.IV.

both knights and farmers, with their wives and even infants in the cradle, and throwing them into their dungeons exacted enormous ransoms. They had many accomplices in those districts who gave them an asylum, and even concealed them for a long time when it was necessary. Refreshed by this hospitality the robbers sallied forth on their criminal enterprises, and committed great havoc among the farmers. It was thus that the people of Brai ravaged the whole of the Roumois, and threatened it with worse evils, harassing their neighbours by the aid of numbers who joined them from France and Normandy.

There was no one who opposed them except William de Roumare, castellan of Neuf-Marche, and his companions in arms. Those who lived near the rich meadows, on the banks of the Epte, frequently drove to their home-steads the cattle which they had carried off from a great distance.

At that time treason chilled and numbed the hearts of eighteen of the noble castellans of Normandy, whose power and renown surpassed all the rest, so that, favouring the side of the exile William, they rejoiced to find the royal cause weakened.

CH. IV. Hostilities of Fulk count of Anjou - Henry cedes a frontier district of Normandy to him - Irruption of Lewis of France into the duchy - Henry's expedition to Laigle and recall to Rouen.

AT that time Fulk, count of Anjou, being called in by Robert Giroie, [1] who was defending the castle of St. Ceneri against the royal forces, marched to his aid at the head of five hundred troops, and laying siege to La Motte-Gautier, [2] which the king had garrisoned, and pressing it with great vigour, assaulted it for eight days with increasing forces, in the end of July. When news of this reached King Henry he hastened to Alencon, and despatching heralds called out the warlike array of the whole of Normandy. Meanwhile the Angevins harassed the Normans by frequent assaults, and shattered the fortifications with the enormous stones they hurled against them. Thus the


[1] Respecting Robert Giroie, see before, pp. 26-28.

[2] At Clinchamp, commune, of Chemilli, department of the Orne. The place was razed to the ground the 1st of August following.

A.D. 1118.] HENRY CEDES ALENCON TO THEOBALD DE BLOIS. 455

garrison, consisting of one hundred and forty knights and men-at-arms, were forced to surrender, on the terms that they should not undergo mutilation, and should keep their arms. Their leaders, Roger de Saint-Jean, and John his brother, were selected by the king. On the calends [the 1st] of August, the Angevins, having razed the fortress to the ground, returned triumphant to their own territory. The garrison retired to Alencon in great distress, and much ashamed of their surrender, at which the king was very indignant. However they excused themselves with great show of reason, alleging that they had frequently sent messengers to demand relief, which, though long expected, did not arrive in time, while they were continually exposed to the violent assaults of the besiegers.

Then Henry granted Seez, Alencon, and all the domains of Robert de Belesme in that country to Count Theobald [1] and the count, with the king's licence, gave that fief to his brother Stephen in lieu of his portion of his father's inheritance which lay in France. The young Stephen, therefore, took possession of Seez, Alencon, Merle-sur-Sarthe, Almeneches, and La Roche d'Ige, and arming and garrisoning the castles with his own troops, oppressed the inhabitants of the country by his outrages and exactions, and, changing their customary payments and services under the king, made himself odious, and the vassals disloyal.

In those days the sons of iniquity sat in the chair of contagious evil, and were guilty of many crimes throughout the world. Richer de Laigle claimed his father's lands in England, [2] but the king gave him a positive refusal, saying, that his brothers Geoffrey and Engenulf served in his army, and confidently depended on obtaining those domains by hereditary right. The young Richer frequently urging his claim with great insolence, the king who was much


[1] Theobald, count de Blois, surnamed the Great, for what reason we cannot discover. It was certainly not for his loyalty to his sovereign.

The concession of this frontier of Normandy was a humiliating avowal of weakness on the part of so powerful a monarch as Henry I. It appears from it that he did not feel himself in a position to defend it against the invasions of the count of Anjou. By suffering it to be made over to Stephen, he placed almost insurmountable obstacles in the way of his direct heirs.

[2] They lay in the counties of Surrey and Norfolk.

456 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.IV.

engaged, altogether rejected his suit, adding some words of contempt. In consequence the haughty young lord left the court of Normandy in a rage, and shortly afterwards made an agreement with the king of France, that unless his paternal inheritance was restored to him, he would desert from the king of England. King Lewis promised Richer that if he came over to his side he would constantly maintain sixty soldiers, and Amauri [1] fifty, in the castle of Laigle.

After this assurance, Richer returned to the English court, and again required of the king to restore him his inheritance; but he obtained no redress, and retired sorrowful. The next day, his uncle, Count Rotrou, spoke to the king on the subject, and tendered him good advice to prevent the revolt from spreading. The king accepted his counsels, and gave him a message to Richer that he would grant him what he asked. Being greatly delighted at this, he hastened to meet King Lewis, who was already on the march with a large body of troops. "I, my lord" he said, "lately made an agreement with you which I am unable to keep: for the king of England, my own sovereign, has restored to me all that I demanded, and it is but just that I should perfectly maintain my fealty to him". King Lewis replied: "Be gone! I shall effect all that is in my power". Upon this, Richer returned home, and Lewis following in his steps, with his whole force, appeared before the gates of Laigle. As the garrison were determined to resist, the king commenced the assault, and someone, it is not known who, having set fire to the place, it was so fanned by a strong wind that the flames spread, and the whole of it was reduced to ashes. Richer was compelled by this disaster to resort to the king, and having confirmed the former compact, he surrendered the fortress to the French on the third of the nones [the 3rd) of September. The king of France and his troops remained there three days in great want, and, retiring on the fourth, committed the custody of the castle to Count Amauri, William Crispin, and Hugh de Chateau-Neuf. [2] Then William de Rai, with Sancho, [3] William de Fontenil,


[1] Amauri de Montfort.

[2] Hugh II., lord of Chateau-Neuf in Thimerais, son of Gervase and son-in-law of the earl of Mellent, who appears to have been already in possession of his father's estates, although the latter did not die till 1140.

[3] Sancho; we need not wonder to find a Spanish name in this country, when we recollect that Rotrou II., count of Perche, was nephew of Sancho Ramirez, king of Navarre and Arragon.

A.D. 1118.] HENRY'S ABORTIVE EXPEDITION. 457

and Isnard d'Ecublei, [1] observing their fealty to Henry, drew off to Pont Echanfre, and, abandoning all that they held under the disturber of the peace, attached themselves to Ralph-the-Red in opposing the king's enemies. [2] The French, finding that the whole place was burnt to the ground, were not frightened like timid hares; but, bold as lions, established themselves among the ruins of the houses, where they pitched their tents, and ransacked the country for provisions with arms in their hands.

This state of affairs becoming known, King Henry made a forced march to Laigle the next day, and lost no time in laying siege to the place, although it was in ruins, to the terror of all who were in it. But his plans were frustrated by the adverse news brought by William de Tankerville, which the king too easily credited. This person met the king at a village called Livet, [3] and said to him: "My lord, king, where are you going? The Cauchois have commissioned me to entreat you to return with your troops into their country. Hugh de Gournai, and Stephen d'Aumale, with their adherents, have taken possession of the hill above Rouen, [4] and are employed in building a fort in the abbey of the Holy Trinity, expecting your nephew's coming, with a great body of French, to take possession of the place which the citizens are ready to betray to him". As soon as the king heard this he retraced his steps; and the garrison of Laigle pursued his army as it retreated by different roads.


[1] He was son of Reynold de St. Martin Ecublei, son of Solomon and Adelaide Giroie, according to an annotator.

[2] These persons met Ralph-the-Red at Pont-Echanfre, now Notre-Dame-du-Hamel, a commune intersected by the Charenton. The church is on the left bank, but the site of the castle on the right. Ralph-the-Red was the devoted servant and confidential agent of Henry I. in this part of Normandy.

[3] This name appears to signify a marshy place, where rushes grow. There are several communes in Normandy so called. M. Le Prevost thinks that the place here mentioned lies between Laigle and St. Evroult, but that there are probabilities in favour of Livet in Ouche; which is M. Dubois's opinion.

[4] Mount St. Catherine. The abbey of La Trinite-du-Mont.

One does not see how this expedition to Rouen from the east could have materially affected the Cauchois, whose territory was not violated.

458 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.V.

The French took nearly forty of the people of Moulins, [1] and, having strengthened their position by the booty which they collected from all quarters, restored the fortifications of Laigle, and held it stoutly for a whole year. King Henry reached Rouen with the utmost despatch, but did not find the enemies he had been led to expect, when his chamberlain, deceiving him, recalled him from Laigle. William de Tankerville thus rendered a great service to the French who, in their exposed situation, were trembling with cold and fear, by drawing off the royal army to another point on a false pretext and to no purpose.

CH. V. King Henry attacks the castles of La Ferte and Neubourg - Loses all confidence in the Normans - Disturbed state of the duchy.

THEN the king undertook an expedition with a thousand troops into Brai, and laid siege to Hugh's castle of La Ferte, [2] but violent rains came on which caused great inundations. At length having completely devastated the country, he marched from thence to Neubourg [3] against Robert who had rebelled, and assaulting the place, burnt it to the ground. This Robert was son of Count Henry and Margaret, [4] and was engaged in a lawsuit against his uncle Robert, earl of Mellent, son of Count Robert. However, as the king's authority was employed to protect his cousin, he could not pursue his plea as he wished. He was therefore inveigled by the public enemy to take arms against the king; but although he incurred great losses by his domains being ravaged and given to the flames, he failed of recovering what he claimed. Although he possesses the gift of eloquence, he is slow in action, and is more successful with his tongue than with his lance. [5]


[1] The inhabitants of Moulins-la-Marche.

[2] La Ferte en Brai, which stands on an isolated summit near Forges.

[3] The territory of Neubourg was an extension of the vast domain of Beaumont-le-Roger, which was wrested by the lords of Pontaudemer front the abbey of Bernai, but it originally formed no part of their property. It is, however, certain that Roger de Beaumont possessed it, and that it was dismembered from the rest of his estates as the share of his second son, the good and loyal earl of Warwick, Robert de Neubourg's father.

[4] Margaret, sister of Rotrou, count du Perche.

[5] Our author speaks of Robert de Neubourg as a person still living, and in point of fact he survived Ordericus, not having died till the 30th of August, 1158, after having enjoyed the entire confidence of Henry II., who conferred upon him the offices of steward and justiciary of Normandy.

A.D. 1118.] A COUNCIL AT ROUEN. 459

At this time King Henry was unwilling to engage in any long siege, for in the disruption of all ties which generally attends family quarrels, he put no confidence in those he employed. Even those who ate at his table favoured his nephew and other enemies, and by betraying his secrets rendered them essential service. It was worse than a civil war; brothers, friends, and kinsmen were leagued against each other on different sides, from which they did all they could for each other's injury. Many of the Normans then followed the example of Ahithophel, Shimei, and other rebels, imitating those who, deserting the king anointed by Samuel, joined the parricide Absalom. [1] Such was the conduct of numbers who revolted from the peaceful king chosen and consecrated by the bishops, and, forfeiting the fealty which they owed him as their lord, voluntarily and without any just cause, went over to a beardless count, bent on doing mischief.

CH. VI. King Henry holds a council at Rouen, which is attended by the legate of Pope Gelasius II.

IN the eleventh indiction, on the nones [the 7th] of October, [3] a council was held at Rouen, in which the king took order for the peace of his states with Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, and the other barons he had summoned. At this meeting Geoffrey, archbishop of Rouen, represented the condition of the church of God, with four of his suffragans, Richard of Bayeux, John of Lisieux, Turgis of Avranches, and Roger of Coutances, besides many abbots. For there were present Roger abbot of Fecamp, Urso of Jumieges, William of Bec, Odo of Caen, Richard of Preaux, Andrew of Troarn, William of la Croix, [4] and Osberne of Treport, with many others I need not name.

At this council, the legate of Pope Gelasius, a Roman clerk named Conraci, made an eloquent discourse, having


[1] See 2 Samuel xv-xix.

[2] William, the Pretender; "Clito", as our author generally calls him.

[3] The 7th of October, 1118.

[4] La Croix-Saint-Leutroi, in the department of the Eure.

460 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.VII.

from his youth imbibed Latinity from its pure fountain, complaining of the emperor Charles, [1] the irreligious destoyer of the good works and buildings of Pope Paschal, and cruel persecutor of the catholics. He added a protest against the anti-pope Burdin, the intruder into the apostolical see, and described the many tribulations to which the church was exposed in various parts of Italy. He mentioned the exile of Pope Gelasius, who bending before the storm had taken refuge on this side the Alps, and implored the church of Normandy to aid him with its prayers, and still more with its money.

Serlo, bishop of Seez, was not present at this council, but his representative accounted for his absence by alleging his age and infirmities.

Ouen, bishop of Evreux, sent word by his delegate that he could not attend, because he was engaged in the defence of the country against the common enemy. But, "unless the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain": the same day the citadel of Evreux was given up to Amauri. [2]

CH. VII. Evreux seized for Amauri de Montfort - The bishop's residence plundered - He escapes.

WILLIAM POINTEL, nephew of Ralph de Guitot, who was entrusted by the king with the custody of the castle of Evreux, remembering his former friendship with Amauri at the court of Duke William, and considering that according to his ideas, this distinguished man had been unjustly deprived of the inheritance of his ancestors, introduced by surprise a band of his faithful followers into the citadel, and regardless of the general peace that prevailed deserted the king's service, and espoused the cause of Amauri. He was quickly joined by Elinance d'Auteuil [3] and several others,


[1] Charles Henry, commonly known as Henry V., who married the Princess Matilda of Englaad.

[2] The 7th of October, 1118.

[3] Elinance d'Auteuil, near La Croix-Saint-Leufroi, son of Ansketil d'Auteuil, one of the benefactors of the abbey of St. Saviour at Evreux at the period of its foundation. This commune is on the right bank of the Eure, not far from Evreux.

The name of Elinance is foreign to Normandy, where we find only a single instance of it in the family of Toeni, almost a century before. It has been already remarked that this family was not of Scandinavian origin, whatever the Continuator of William de Jumieges may have said of it. The introduction of the name into the house of Auteuil may indicate some ancient connection with their powerful neighbours, whose principal stronghold, Acquigni, was not more than three leagues distant from their own residence.

A.D. 1118.] THEOBALD DE BLOIS SEIZES ALENCON. 461

and a widespread insurrection disturbed the whole neighbourhood. The party which had seized the citadel took possession of the episcopal residence and the town, plundering the bishop's furniture, library, and ornaments; and reduced the whole of the adjacent district to submission by force of arms.

Bishop Ouen was compelled to flee with his servants for the safety of their lives, and wandered about for twelve months in exile. He left his beard unshaved, [1] and exhibited in the disorder of his dress his grief for the desolation of the church. Such was the tribulation into which Evreux was plunged, that the clergy being driven away the divine office was discontinued during a whole year.

CH. VIII. Theobald, count of Anjou, obtains possession of Alencon, after a battle under the walls, in which Henry's troops were defeated.

IN the second week of November, King Henry approached Laigle with a strong body of cavalry and infantry, and ravaged all the country round. Upon this, the garrison of the citadel, who boasted their prowess, sallied forth and were not slack in engaging the royal troops. Count Theobald [2] having been thrown from his horse was taken prisoner, but the King and Count Stephen pursued them with a band of brave knights and nobly snatched the captive count from the hands of his enemies. The engagement then became general, and so sharp that the king himself was struck on the head with a stone; but his brazen helmet warded off the blow without its wounding him.

At this time the burgesses of Alencon revolted against King Henry. I will relate the cause of their giving the king so great offence. Stephen, earl of Morton, their present lord, was a very young man and had not the regard for the burgesses which he ought, nor did he treat them with due


[1] This was a mark of deep mourning in a man of Ouen's profession, which had a great horror of long beards.

[2] Theobald, count de Blois.

462 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.VIII.

respect. Like another Rehoboam he listened to the flatteries of his parasites rather than the counsels of the elders, and imagined that the people of Alencon were disloyal to himself and the king. In consequence he oppressed them with injuries and unusual exactions, little foreseeing what the consequences would be. At last, he summoned a general assembly and required them to deliver to him their sons as hostages for their good behaviour. Obeying this command reluctantly and by compulsion, they waited their time of vengeance full of ill will. At first, they dissembled their resentment, but it was not long before they took open measures for their redress.

The count received the hostages, but did not give them honourable treatment. He caused the wife of a worthy townsman, who was daughter of Paganus de Cacei, [1] a gallant knight, to be imprisoned in the citadel, where, much to her sorrow, she was in the hands of debauched guards. Her husband Amiot, [2] being much incensed, and feeling the disgrace of this affront, made a secret association with several others who had similar causes of complaint. They imprudently shrunk from appealing to the king who was a lover of justice, from apprehension that he would turn a deaf ear to their charges against his nephew. Under these circumstances they had recourse to Arnulph de Montgomery, Robert de Belesme's brother, through whom they sent a requisition to Fulk, count of Anjou, to take possession of Alencon, which they were ready to give up to him, upon his securing the free rights of the townsmen and expelling the count's garrison from the citadel. The count of Anjou was well pleased at the proposal, and assembling his knights, archers, and foot soldiers, marched to Alencon, and his forces being admitted into the place in the night, he invested the fortress and vigorously assaulted the garrison. Report, than which there is nothing swifter, spread the news far and wide, and it quickly came to the king's ears while he was deeply anxious about the state of affairs.

As soon as the undaunted king had ascertained the accuracy of the report, he assembled by his royal authority the


[1] Paganus de Chasse, a commune in the arrondissement of Mamers, on the left bank of the Sarthe, opposite Hautrive.

[2] Amiot is a name still very common in all this part of Normandy.

A.D. 1118.] HENRY'S TROOPS DEFEATED BEFORE ALENCON. 463

English and Norman levies and many other troops, summoning also to his aid Theobald count of Chartres, with his vassals. At last, in the month of December, they met in great numbers near Alencon for the purpose of affording effectual relief to the besieged. The gallant brothers, Theobald and Stephen, had preceded the king's army, and attempted to throw a convoy of provisions into the place under a guard, but without success. The count of Anjou marched out against them, and disposing his troops in battle array, encountered them boldly. Some were slain, more made prisoners, and the rest being routed, the count returned to the town with much booty [1]. Thenceforth he pressed the siege with more security, and cut off the supply of water by subterranean works, secretly carried on; for the inhabitants were well acquainted with the conduit by which the founders of this citadel introduced the water of the Sarthe into the place. The troops shut up in the fortress finding their provisions fail, and that no relief arrived from any quarter, submitted, and surrendering the citadel, marched out under safe conduct with all their baggage. These disasters gave occasion to much pillage, and the season of our Lord's Advent was little observed. Thus evils grew on all quarters, and Normandy was polluted in every direction by blood, robbery and fire, so that as the scorpions' brood tear open their mothers' entrails by prematurely emerging to life, [2] so the Normans violated the peace of their country before the period of William's legitimate succession to bhe duchy [3] and miserably wasted it by their cruel enterprises.

While the faithful were celebrating the feast of the


[1] It was an actual and very serious battle, which ended triumphantly for the count of Anjou, but as it afforded little honour to Henry I., the hero for whom our author has so much sympathy, he has done all he can to lessen its importance. It appears to have been fought under the walls of Alencon, at a place still called Le Champs de Bataille, between the castle of Alencon and Hertre. See the Histoire d'Alencon by Odolant Desnos, t. i. p. 173.

[2] An allusion to the opinion then prevailing, that the scorpion was viviparous, and that the young brood tore their mother's entrails at their birth.

[3] In this passage our author appears to acknowledge the legitimacy of Prince William's claims; an admission which he has suffered to escape from him, contrary to his general tone on this subject.

464 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.IX.

Apostle Thomas, [1] a violent wind occasioned great damage, portending future disturbances among men and revolutions of states. Soon afterwards the world was afflicted with severe tribulations, many exalted persons falling from the summit of power, while by the Providence of God, who lifteth the poor out of the dust, others were raised to great honours.

CH. IX. Death of Pope Gelasius II. - He is succeeded by Callistus II.

IN the year of our Lord, 1118, the twelfth indiction, Pope Gelasius II. died at Cluni, where he was buried, on the fourth of the calends of February [24th January]. [2] Guy, archbishop of Vienne, was elected pope on the fourth of the nones [the 1st] of February, by the name of Callistus. There were present on this occasion Lambert, bishop of Ostia, Boso, bishop of Porto, Conon, bishop of Praeneste, with John of Crema, [3] and several other clerks belonging to the Roman senate, who enjoyed the special privilege of electing and consecrating the popes. Guy thus enthroned, had from his youth upwards been continent, devout, charitable, zealous in God's service, and endowed with many virtues. He was son of William Tete-Hardie, duke of Burgundy, whose father was Duke Reynold, and his mother Adeliza, daughter of Richard II., Duke of Normandy. [4] Guy was the nephew of that cruel Guy, who attempted to sieze the duchy of Normandy, and fought at Valesdunes against William the Bastard and Henry, king of France, and stoutly defended Vernon and Brionne against them during three years. [5] Thus, sprung from the blood royal, the brother of


[1] The 21st of December.

[2] See before, p. 446, note 2.

[3] John of Crema was not a bishop: we shall have future occasion to speak of him. Our author has omitted to mention the Cardinal, Peter de Leon, who so powerfully contributed to promote this election, and afteafterwards, through the influence of his father, Peter II. of Leon, to secure its acceptance by the members of the sacred college residing at Rome.

[4] Callistus II. appears, as it is here stated, to have been the son of William Tete-Hardi, but the latter was not the son, but the grandson of Reynold, count (not duke) of Burgundy, and Adeliza of Normandy.

[5] Guy of Burgundy, son of Reynold I., count of Burgundy, was great uncle of the new pope, and not his uncle. Our author here confirms what he has said in his eighth book, of the three years this nobleman made head against the duke, in his castles of Brionne and Vernon, after the battle of Valesdunes fought in 1047.

A.D. 1118.] CRUEL TREATMENT OF HOSTAGES. 465

dukes, and cousin of kings and emperors, as well as eminent for his great virtues, he was advanced to the papacy, which he administered worthily during five years, making many excellent decrees, and doing much for the good of the church of God. [1]

CH. N. Cruel treatment of hostages - King Henry besieges his own daughter, wife of Eustace de Breteuil, in that place.

IN the course of the same year, Eustace de Breteuil, [2] Henry's son-in-law, was frequently advised by his countrymen and kinsmen, to break with the king, unless he restored to him the castle of Ivri, which belonged to his predecessors. Henry deferred for a time granting his demand, but promised it at some future period, and, satisfying him by gracious words, retained his allegiance. He was unwilling to quarrel with Eustace, who was one of the most powerful of the Norman nobles, was supported by numerous friends and vassals, and possessed strongly fortified castles; in order, therefore, to secure his fidelity, he delivered to him as an hostage, the son of Ralph-Harenc, [3] who had the custody of the fortress, and in turn took as hostages Eustace's two daughters, who were his own grand-daughters.

Eustace shamefully treated the hostages he received, for at the instigation of Amauri de Montfort, who used every artifice that malice could suggest to renew the quarrel and made many promises to Eustace on oath which he never performed, he put out the boy's eyes, and in this state sent him back to his father, a most worthy knight. Upon this the father went to the king in a rage, and made known to him the cruel treatment his son had received. Henry, receiving the intelligence with lively grief, delivered up his two granddaughters, that the father might immediately wreak his vengeance on them. Accordingly, Ralph Harenc, with the permission of the incensed monarch, seized


[1] This pope died the 12th or 13th of December, 1124, after governing the church five years, ten months, and twelve days.

[2] Eustace, a natural son of William II., lord of Breteuil. See what is said respecting him before, book xi. p. 344.

[3] There were several families of this name in Normandy. This one was from the district of Evreux, and held the domains of Gauville-la-Campagne. We find in 1203, Radulfus Harenc, probably a descendant of this person, and father of Roger Harenc, dominus de Gauville.

466 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.X.

Eustace's daughters, and savagely tore out their eyes and cut off the tips of their noses, in retaliation for the cruelty shown to his son. [1] Thus, alas! these innocent children suffered the penalty of their father's ill deeds, and on both sides parental regard had to mourn the injury and mutilation of their offspring. Ralph, consoled by the king, and honoured with presents, returned to the castle of Ivri, and announced to Eustace the revenge which the royal severity had exacted from the persons of his daughters. On learning their calamity, the father and mother were overwhelmed with grief, and the count placed his castles of Lire, Glos, Pont-Saint-Pierre and Paci in a state of defence, that neither the king or his partizans might obtained admittance into than. He sent his wife Juliana, the king's daughter by a concubine, to Breteuil, attended by a sufficient body of troops to guard the place.

The burgesses, [2] who were faithful to the king and unwilling to give him any offence, comprehending that Juliana's arrival would be the ruin of a number of people, sent a message to Henry, begging him to lose no time in coming to Breteuil. That prudent monarch, recollecting what was said by the audacious Curio to Caesar, relative to military enterprises-

"Delays are dangerous when your plans are laid", [3]

having listened to the envoys of the burgesses, came in all haste to Breteuil, and the gates being readily opened to him, passed into the place. He returned thanks to the loyal inhabitants for their loyalty to him, and, prohibiting his soldiers from laying hands on their property, laid siege to the citadel in which his contumacious daughter had shut herself up. Juliana was now involved in anxieties, not knowing where to turn, and feeling sure that her father was deeply


[1] We shudder at such atrocities, and wonder that they could be perpetrated with the sanction of a prince who made great pretensions to piety and justice.

[2] It appears that the municipalities in France were rising to some importance, for we hear continually in this part of our author's history of the burgesses of towns in Normandy taking measures for their own security, among the conflicting interests of the king and the various parties of factious nobles in these troublesome times.

[3] Lucan Phars. i. 281.

A.D. 1119.] HENRY BESIEGES BRETEUIL. 467

exasperated against her, and would never retire from the castle he had invested, but as a victor. At length, as Solomon says, "There is no wickedness like that of a woman", [1] she determined on lifting her hands against the Lord's anointed. In consequence, she treacherously sought a conference with her father, and the king who suspected no such fraudulent design in a woman, giving her the meeting, his unhappy daughter attempted his life. Drawing a crossbow she launched a bolt at him, but through God's protection he escaped unharmed. Thereupon the king ordered the drawbridge of the castle to be broken down, so that no one could either enter or come out.

Juliana now finding herself blockaded on all points and that there was no one to succour her, surrendered the castle to the king; but he would on no account consent to allow her to depart freely: so that the king's orders compelled her to let herself down from the summit of the walls without support, and as there was no bridge she descended into the foss indecently, with naked legs. This took place in the beginning of Lent, the third week of February, [2] when the castle-ditch was full of snow-water which, being half frozen, her tender limbs of course suffered in her fall from the severity of the cold. The unfortunate heroine, getting out of it how she could and covered with shame, joined her husband who was then at Paci, and gave him a faithful account of the sad occurrence. Meanwhile the king assembled the burgesses, commended them for maintaining their allegiance, honoured them with promises and benefits, and by their advice placed the castle of Breteuil in the custody of William, son of Ralph.

Shortly afterwards, King Henry restored to Ralph de Guader, [3] a brave warrior, because he was William de Breteuil's nephew by his sister, all the lordships of his ancestors, except Paci which Eustace held. Ralph kept vigilant


[1] Eccliasiasticus xxv. 26. As we have already had several occasions to observe, the text quoted by our author is not precisely what we find ia the Vulgate, which begins with these words: "Brevis omnis malitia".

[2] Between the 15th and 22nd of February. Lent began the 4th of the same month.

[3] Ralph de Guader, second of that name, and nephew of William II. de Breteuil.

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

guard of the castle the king had given him; and, faithful to the king under all circumstances, was distinguished by his eminent services, and valiantly resisted the public enemy in all quarters.

CH. XI. Fresh disturbances in the southern districts of Normandy - King Henry quells them in person.

AT the same time the people of Exmes meditated revolt, for those who held Courci, [1] and other strong places in the neighbourhood, hearing that almost all the Normans had deserted from the king and espoused the cause of his nephew, resolved to adopt a similar resolution. In the first instance Reynold de Bailol [2] went to Falaise, and withdrawing his fealty to the king, insolently rejected his demand for the surrender of his mansion house at Renouard. [3] The king then said to him: "As you are come to my court, I will not have you arrested; but you will repent of your evil designs against me". Shortly after his departure, Henry assembled his troops, and appeared before Reynold's castle in the evening, almost as soon as he returned to it himself. The knight, finding that he was not equal to the burden he had taken on himself, came out in the morning, and imploring the royal clemency surrendered his fortress. The king immediately set fire to the mansion which was built of stone, with the stores of provisions, and all that it contained. On hearing this news the garrison of Courci, Grantmesnil, and Mont-Pincon, [4] who had proposed to revolt, remained quiet, and forthwith abandoning their malicious designs from apprehension of suffering like disasters, did not again venture to lift up their horns against their lord the king.


[1] Courci sur Dive, in the arrondissement of Falaise.

[2] Reynold de Bailleul, in Gouffern, near Argentan. We have already seen a person of this name, probably the father of the one here mentioned, among the parties or witnesses to Roger de Montgomery's charter in favour of St. Evroult in 1082. By his mother, Aimerie, Reynold II. de Baillent was great nephew of Earl Roger. It appears that this lady had contracted a first marriage with Warren-the-Bald, castellan of Shrewsbury.

[3] Renouard, in the canton of Vimoutier.

[4] The two last places are in the arrondissement of Lisieux.

A.D. 1119.] CAPTURE OF ANDELYS. 469

CH. XII. Lewis, the French king, seizes Andelelys on the Seine - In consequence King Henry fortifies Noyon.

GEOFFREY, archbishop of Rouen, continually harassed Asceline, son of Andrew, [1] with lawsuits, and much aggravated him by depriving him of his property, unjustly as it was thought by some persons. In consequence, in the bitterness of his resentment he went to the king [2] at Pontoise, and promised to deliver Andelis to him if he would come and take it with an armed force. The French were highly delighted at the proposal, and advised the king to suffer no delay. An agreement having been concluded on both sides, Asceline took with him a select band of soldiers whom he introduced into his barn by night and concealed under the straw; while Lewis followed him closely with a body of troops. The next morning, at sight of the king, the people raised loud shouts, the inhabitants being thrown into a state of great tumult by so unexpected an occurrence. The party who were hidden under the straw now rushed forth, and joining the people in shouting the royal cry of the English, [3] made directly for the citadel. But changing their note as soon as they were admitted, they shouted Mon-joie, [4] the war-cry of the French. Having driven out the natives of the country who were in possession, the French established themselves in the interior of the fortress, [5] and the king's troops took possession of the town by forcing their way through the gates. Richard the king's son and others belonging to the garrison were surprised by this sudden attack, and abandoning all hope of maintaining either the interior or exterior defences, sought for sanctuary in the church of St. Mary the Virgin. [6] In the end, Lewis, being master of the citadel as well as of the whole


[1] This person lived in the Andelis, now Andelys, on the Seine. They were part of the domains of the archbishops of Rouen.

[2] The king of France.

[3] Regale signum Anglorum. It does not exactly appear what this was.

[4] Meum Gaudium; this ancient war-cry of the French is incorrectly translated by Ordericus, who is the first of the Norman writers who mentions it. According to his derivation, it should he Ma joie, but every one knows that the cry really was Montjoie St. Denis. The first French author who notices it is William Guiart, in describing the siege of Antioch in 1191, seventy-two years after the affair of Andelis, which occurred in 1119.

[5] A citadel connected with the town is plainly meant; which must not be confounded with the Chateau Gaillard, or the castle de l'Isle, opposite Little Andelis, erected at a much later period by Richard Coeur-de-Leon.

[6] The church of Notre-Dame in Great-Andelis.

470 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XII.

burgh, gave licence to Richard and his comrades to have a free passage to any place they wished, out of reverence for the mother of our Saviour, always a virgin, whose church he devoutly visited, to implore her succour. On the king's departure the French kept vigilant guard in the fortress they had taken in the heart of the country, and subjected the whole neighbouring district on the banks of the Seine to their dominion. Godfrey de Serans, [1] Enguerrand de Trie, [2] Alberic de Bouri, [3] and Baldric de Brai, [4] and other gallant French knights remained there, and although they were excommunicated by the archbishop for usurping the domains of the church, they obstinately held their ground for some time encouraged by the state of affairs and the continuance of the war. Meanwhile, King Henry put the castle of Noyon [5] into a state of defence against the French, and stationed in it a hundred soldiers under command of William, son of Theodoric, [6] general of his army.

CH. XIII. Richard Fresnel, of La Ferte near St Evroult, takes arms - He is opposed by Ralph of Pont-Echanfre - The King in person quells the revolt - Richard Fresnel dies at the abbey.

RICHARD FRESNEL, [7] who boasted of no less than eight sons,


[1] Godfrey de Serans-le-Bouteiller.

[2] Enguerrand de Trie, eldest brother of William Aiguillon.

[3] Alberic de Bouri, son of Eustace, founder of the priory of Bouri.

[4] Baudri de Brai-sous-Baudemont.

[5] Now called Charleval. Respecting this domain of the counts of Evreux, recently confiscated by Henry I., see before, p. 419.

[6] We have no information respecting this person. Judging from his father's name, he was neither Norman nor English, and may rather be considered a Fleming.

[7] Richard Fresnel, founder of La Ferte-Fresnel, a near neighbour of the monks of St. Evroult, and a vassal of the lords of Breteuil. The fief of La Ferte-Fresnel was held under them for the service of five knights completely armed. The first person we know of this ancient family is Thorolf, father of Ralph Fresnel, who appears to have been lord-paramount of St. Evroult-de-Montfort and St. Evroult proper, between the years 1030 and 1050. See vol. ii. p. 314. The name Thorolf smacks of its Scandinavian origin.

Ralph Fresnel had two sons, William and Robert (vol. ii. p. 399), who sold to Theodoric, abbot of St. Evroult, the church of Notre-Dame-du-Bois in 1050. The Richard Fresnel mentioned in this chapter must have been the son of one of them.

A Richard Fresnel, lord of Balbec, appears on a charter of the year 1064; relating to the grant of the priory of Balbec to the abbey of Bernai, but it should seem that he belonged to another family.

A.D. 1119.] ROBERT FRESNEL REVOLTS. 471

when near his end became so infatuated by the injudicious counsels of his wife that, in conjunction with them, he took measures against the welfare of the community. He caused a fort to be built with the king's money on the territory of Anciens, [1] and following Eustace his lord employed himself in ravaging the lands of his neighbours, so that, old as he was, he had no shame at being ranked among the public enemies.

At this period, the observance of Lent was damnably violated by the sons of men.

Robert, son of Asceline Goel, [2] the first of the king's enemies who repented, being sorry for the rebellion into which he had plunged, implored the prince's favour; which being extended to him, he retained faithfully and advantageously to the end of his days, which was not far distant. Several others wisely followed his example.

The king also invited Amauri to make peace with him, promising that if he would surrender the citadel, he should occupy the whole county of Evreux without molestation. The count, being a turbulent man, absurdly rejected the offers voluntarily made him by the royal grace; and, having weighty grounds for hostilities in the loss of the inheritance of his ancestors, he hurried in breathless haste from one castle to another by night, keeping every one in continual commotion by his restless activity, encouraging his confederates, and warning them carefully to guard their fortresses, to be on the watch against crafty spies, and, making irruptions throughout the neighbourhood with prudence and activity, pillage everything but the churches, and put down by force of arms all opposition. Such were the hostilities which he indefatigably urged for the recovery of the county to which he was heir, but of which the king had deprived him. Ralph-the-Red [3] was generally his most formidable opponent, and the greatest obstacle to the success of his enterprises. He was a brave knight, experienced in the art of war, and had rendered himself illustrious for his courage and daring.


[1] Anceins, a very small commune near St. Evroult. Herbert d'Anceins sold the church and site to the monks at the same period just mentioned (vol. ii. 399). It would appear from what our author here states that la Ferte-Fresnel was built on the dismemberment of the domain of Anceins.

[2] Robert d'Ivri, eldest son of Asceline Goel, lord of Ivri and Breval.

[3] Ralph-the-Red, lord of Pont-Echanfre.

472 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XIII.

On one occasion, when Lewis's army had made an irruption into the Vexin, and, as is the case in war, the French, being the strongest, put their enemies to flight, the horse of Richard, the king's son, [1] was killed under him, and the young prince was on the point of being made prisoner. Ralph, perceiving this, sprang from his horse without a moment's delay, and said to the king's son: "Mount instantly and flee, or you will be taken". The prince was scarcely gone when Ralph fell into the enemy's hands, but he was exchanged fifteen days afterwards for Wallon de Trie. [2] That knight was brother of Enguerrand de Trie, who, having been taken prisoner a short time before, languished and groaned in the strict confinement of the king's dungeons, and soon afterwards died of his wounds and the sufferings to which he had been exposed. [3] Ralph, who preserved his fealty, was honoured by the king, and thenceforth esteemed one of his principal and intimate friends, who promised him high promotion if he lived.

On another occasion, three lords of castles, Eustace, [4] Richer, [5] and William de la Ferte, [6] in Perche, assembled their forces and made an irruption into Normandy for the sake of plunder as far as the source of the Ternant, [7] setting fire to the houses in the village of Verneuces, on the domains of St. Evroult. Ralph, seeing the smoke from Pont Echanfre, where he then was, immediately collected troops from all quarters, and hastened to give the enemy battle, for the king had stationed thirty men-at-arms at Sap, [8] with as many at Orbec, to check the inroads of the freebooters, who assembled from all parts to pillage the country. Ralph, having drawn these together, attacked with this small band three hundred cavalry at the ford of the Charenton, [9] and, recovering the vast booty which they were


[1] Richard, the second of King Henry's natural sons, who was drowned in the wreck of the Blanche-Nef.

[2] Wallon de Trie, Enguerrand's eldest brother.

[3] Another instance of Henry's inhumanity. See the note, p. 426.

[4] Eustace de Breteuil.

[5] Richer de Laigle.

[6] William Fresnel was the eldest son of Richard, who was too old to engage in this expedition.

[7] Fontem Ternanti. The Ternant gives its name to a hamlet a little below the church, and soon falls into the Guiel.

[8] A village near St. Evroult, the birthplace of one of the abbots.

[9] We suppose that Ralph-the-Red, marching from his castle at Pont-Echanfre, waited for the band of pillagers at the ford of Anciens.

A.D. 1119.] THE REVOLT QUELLED. 473

carrying off, and taking some prisoners, pursued them as far as La Ferte Fresnel; and, unless this castle had offered them a near asylum, they would have suffered greater loss.

Not long afterwards, this same brave knight made an amicable appeal to the king, humbly representing the advantages of his only showing himself before Fresnel, the garrison of which were as cowardly as they were troublesome. In consequence, the king, at last, after Whitsuntide, [1] gave way to the earnest entreaties of Hugh, and was induced to appear before the fortress from which the devastations of the territory of St. Evroult were carried on. On the king's arrival the people of Fresnel were struck with panic, and in their alarm consulted together what was to be done; but Ralph-the-Red, of Pont-Echanfre, having vigorously assaulted the place, they laid the keys of the fortress at the king's feet, and, having submitted to his judgment on their rebellion, returned to their allegiance.

About the end of June, the old Richard came to St. Evroult, and, being ill, assumed the monastic habit. He died shortly afterwards in the beginning of July, and was buried in the monks' chapter-house, having given to the abbey one portion of the church of La Gonfriere [2] and the moiety of his tithes, and obtained from William, his eldest son, and his other children, the confirmation of his gift.

CH. XIV. The fortresses in Normandy garrisoned by King Henry - The Norman lords who adhered to hum.

WHILE these numerous and violent storms were fiercely raging, King Henry stoutly maintained his regal authority, and strictly guarded all his own fortresses, carefully selecting trusty garrisons to whom he committed the custody, so that no hostile manceuvres might gain an entrance into them. Thus Rouen, the metropolis, Bayeux, Coutances, Avranches, Seez, Arques, Nonancourt, Illiers, Caen, Falaise, Exmes, Fechamp, Lillebonne, Vernon, Argentan, and other places under his dominion, were not subject to be wrested from him by insidious counsels. The loyal nobles, such as Richard, earl of Chester, Ranulph de Bricasard, his cousin and successor, Ralph de Conches, William de Warrenne, William de Roumare, William de Tankerville, Ralph de


[1] Whitsuntide fell that year on the 11th of May.

[2] Between Ferte-Fresnel and St. Evroult.

474 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XV.

Saint-Victor, [1] Walter Giffard, Nigel d'Aubigni, and William his brother, with other great lords, adhered to the king both in prosperity and adversity, disdaining the distinctions to be acquired by treason and perjury. Waleran and Robert, the young sons of the earl of Mellent, were also faithful to their allegiance, and their vassals in their well-fortified castles obeyed all the royal commands, and stoutly resisted the incursions of his adversaries. Thus Pont-Audemer, Beaumont, Brionne, and Vatteville [2] remained true to the King, and their lords, with their dependants, served him faithfully in the wars with all their forces.

CH. XV. Marriage of William, King Henry's eldest son, to the daughter of the count of Anjou - Henry does some acts of grace - Calls a council at Rouen, and burns a number of castles.

IN the month of May, William the Etheling, [3] the king's son, crossed the sea from England to Normandy, and the king, rejoiced at seeing him, presently made known what he had already determined in his own mind. Sending envoys to propose peace to the count of Anjou, he made a treaty of amity with him on favourable terms, and graciously invited him to his court.

In the course of June, William the Etheling was married to the daughter of the count of Anjou at Lisieux. This illustrious union gave universal joy to all who were sighing for tranquillity; and, although the young prince's thread of life was soon broken in the depths of the sea, the marriage for the time gave needful repose to hostile nations. Then, at the count's request, Henry admitted to his favour William Talvas, son of Robert de Belesme, and restored to him the whole of his father's lands in Normandy. He granted to him Alencon, Almeneches, and Vignats, except the citadels, [4] which he reserved for garrisons of his own.


[1] Ralph de Saint-Victor must have belonged to the family of Mortimer. He was probably son of Ralph, and eldest brother of Hugh de Mortimer, the chief benefactor to the abbey of St. Victor.

[2] Vattevile is on the left bank of the Seine, opposite Caudebec, and on the verge of the forest of Brotonne.

[3] We have often had occasion to observe that this Anglo-Saxon title of the heir to the throne was adopted by the Normans.

[4] Dangiones, the donjons: a word sometimes adopted by English writers to describe the interior defences, the keep as it is also called, of a Norman castle.

A.D. 1119.] PHENOMENA IN THE HEAVENS. 475

Henry also, on the prayer of his son's father-in-law, pardoned his cousin, [1] Robert de St. Ceneri, for having lately revolted and gone over to the enemy, restoring to him Montreuil and Echaufour. [2]

The king called a meeting of the bishops and barons at Lisieux, and, informing them of the sudden death of Baldwin, earl of Flanders, [3] gave orders to the clergy that the bells should toll, and prayers be offered, for the absolution and repose of his soul. One party in Normandy rejoiced, and the other lamented, that the earl of Flanders, the king's bitterest enemy, was dead, and the count of Anjou, the lord of three cities, [4] had allied himself to the powerful monarch.

During the summer, after waiting long and using every means to persuade the traitors to repent of their perjury, King Henry made a terrible expedition through Normandy, and set fire to Pont Saint-Pierre [5] and other castles and vills of his enemies, taking severe revenge on them and their accomplices.

CH. XVI. An account of some extraordinary natural of phenomena.

IN the midst of these events Almighty God made known his wonders on the earth, that he might touch the hearts of those who witnessed them and correct their iniquities. In the preceding winter there had been deluges of rain, so that the rivers overflowed and the inundations rose in the houses to an unusual height. In consequence the inhabitants of Rouen, Paris, and other cities, as well as of the country villages, beheld the waters of the Seine in flood inundating their houses and damaging the corn in their homesteads.

The following Lent, a strong wind blew over the Seine and dried it up for a time, [6] so that any one might cross it


[1] By his wife Adelaide. See vol. i. p. 426.

[2] Montreuil-1'Argillier, and Echaufour, near St. Evroult.

[3] The earl died on the 7th of June (see before p. 430), the council was, therefore, assembled about the end of that month.

[4] Probably Angers, Saumur, and Tours.

[5] It stood in the valley of the Andelle, and belonged to the lords of Breteuil. To account for its destruction by Henry I., we must suppose of that it was still held by Eustace, but according to Ordericus (p. 467) Paci was the only castle he retained of all his paternal inheritance.

[6] The way in which Ordericus proposes to account for this phenomenon is very unsatisfactory. May it not rather be attributed to the level of the country having been raised by some internal convulsion, such as that which on the 10th of October, 1144, dried most of the streams in the south of England, and even extended ten miles into the sea. These phenomena are worthy the consideration of geologists. The last is mentioned by several cotemporary historians, particularly Florence of Worcester and Brompton.

476 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XVII.

from one bank to the other, if he had the courage to venture on so unusual a road. Paris was witness to this phenomenon, and was justly terrified by it.

In the month of August, the moon, in its first quarter, appeared in the evening red as blood, and its disc looked like the bottom of a large cask to people in France. Afterwards it was cut in two by a streak the colour of sapphire, and spectators beheld between the two equal moieties a space such as, if a similar occurrence took place on the earth, would be considered a human path. After the space of an hour, the moon again appeared entire, and, the ruddy hue gradually fading, her young crescent shone as it usually does.

At the same time a brilliant red light was observed shooting from Poissy by Mantes into Normandy, and during three nights this spectacle in the heavens was visible to many of the French. Those who witnessed it offered various interpretations, giving the turn that suited their own wishes to such as listened to their observations. The forward, in their folly, boasted of the future as well as the past, boldly affirming that King Lewis, who was then at Andelis with the French; would consume the Normans, like a flame, and reduce all Normandy to submission with his sharp-edged sword. The presumption of these arrogant men led them to interpret the prodigy with an insolence conformable to their own desires; but the event was very different from what they expected. Leaving this, I now proceed with the thread of my narrative.

CH. XVII. Siege of Evreux by Henry I. - St. Saviour's abbey and the cathedral burnt down - The citadel surrenders - On hearing it, King Lewis breaks up the siege of Chateau-Neuf.

KING Henry, determining to give no further indulgence to the rebels, entered the territory of Evreux and laid siege to that city at the head of a powerful army; but the garrison of the castle, joined by the citizens, making a stout resistance, he could not force an entrance. There were with him his son Richard, his nephew count Stephen, Ralph de Guader

A.D. 1119.] THE CATHEDRAL OF EVREUX BURNT. 477

and a great force of Normans. The king having called them all together, thus addressed bishop Ouen: "You see, lord bishop, that we have been repulsed by the enemy, and there are no means of reducing them but by fire. But if we set the place on fire, the churches will be burnt and much injury be done to the innocent. Now therefore, as the pastor of this church, after careful consideration, tell us wisely what is best to be done. If, by God's help, the fire secures our success, by his aid we will repair the damages the church may receive, freely defraying the cost out of our own treasury, so that the house of God will, I think, be rebuilt, even better than it now is".

The prelate hesitated how he should reply in a case of so much difficulty. He was at a loss what to decide as most conformable to the divine will, and doubted what was best for him to desire and propose. At length, after consulting men of prudence, he gave permission for firebrands to be thrown in and the city given to the flames, in order that it might be delivered from excommunicated traitors and restored to its rightful owners. In consequence, Ralph de Guader set it on fire, on the north side first, and the flames spreading without obstacle in every quarter, as it was the dry season of autumn, caught all the buildings. The abbey of St. Saviour's, which belonged to nuns, was burnt to the ground, as well as the celebrated church of St. Mary, the glorious mother and Virgin, in which the bishop and clergy officiated and where the episcopal court of the diocese was held. The king and all his nobles humbly gave the bishop pledges, in consequence of the destruction of the churches by fire, promising him distinctly, ample contributions from their wealth for the restoration of the buildings.

The prudent king had made peace with Robert Goel, as we have seen before, giving him the custody of the castle of Ivri to secure his fidelity, and receiving his brothers as hostages for his good behaviour. Ralph-the-Red was the serviceable mediator of this pacific agreement, being the knight's brother-in-law, and thus bound to him by the strictest ties. Before his expedition to Evreux, the king had given orders to Goel to attack Amauri and his countrymen in arms, and manoeuvre along the course of the Eure, near Ivri. He fixed an appointed day on which these operations should be commenced. Ralph obeyed the king's commands in every

478 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XVIII.

particular, and the affair turned out according to Henry's wishes. At length, seeing the city entirely in flames, he despatched a messenger to Roger Goel with the intelligence of the event. Thereupon Robert shouted in the thick of the fight: "My lord Amauri, listen to the news I will tell you, which will bring you nothing but grief. The king has burnt to-day the city of Evreux, and the garrison of the citadel are in fear of instant death". On hearing this, Amauri collected his troops, and returned home sorrowing for the ruin of his city.

Philip and Florus, [1] sons of Philip, king of France, and Amauri's nephews by his sister Bertrade, William Pointel, Richard of Evreux, son of Fulk the provost, and several other brave knights, defended the citadel. After the city was burnt their resistance was more secure and bold, for since the citizens had fled there was less to protect. The inhabitants of the ruined city dispersed themselves in all quarters, and having lost all they possessed, were forced to wander in wretchedness among the cottages of strangers. The king, with his usual moderation, sent word to the garrison that if they would surrender the citadel he would pardon all their transgressions, adding many other promises; and as they accepted his terms he hastened to take in hand other state affairs. However, he returned shortly afterwards in the night, at the head of a strong body of troops, and before dawn, with lighted torches, began to fortify his camp, and having completed the works he entrusted it to some brave warriors. Ralph-the-Red and Simon de Molines [2] were appointed to the command, with Gilbert d'Exmes and several others of approved valour. The king placed great confidence in them, employing them to check the enemy's irruptions and recover the country which had been taken from him.

Amauri, [3] Eustace, [4] Odo de Gometz, [5] Guy de Malvoisin, [6] and other valiant knights, were stationed there and paid


[1] Philip, count de Mantes, and Fleuri, who married the heiress of Bangis, were nephews of Amauri de Montfort as sons of his sister Bertrade.

[2] Simon, lord of Moulins-la-Marche, after his brother Robert, was son of William de Moulins, by his second wife Duda, daughter of Robert earl of Mellent.

[3] Amauri de Montfort.

[4] Eustace de Breteuil.

[5] Odo de Gometz, probably Gometz-le-Chatel.

[6] Guy Mauvoisin, lord of Boissi-Mauvoisin, deserved his name, for he was indeed a very bad neighbour.

A.D. 1119.] THE SIEGE OF THE CITADEL. 479

visits to their brethren in arms with great daring and courage, encouraging them by their presence, and frequently disturbing the royal camp by sharp attacks. The king's troops were never taken by surprise, always anticipating the manoeuvres of their insidious foe and meeting their adversaries, fierce as lions, ready armed with coats of mail and helmets, and exchanging blows gallantly with sword and spear. No one would yield to his antagonist, but each burned to distinguish himself; so that many fell in these daily encounters. There the knight, named William, son of Roger de St. Lawrence, was slain, and his body was interred in the church of St. Victor the Martyr. [1] He was of a noble house of the most illustrious barons of the district of Caux, and his bravery was often extolled among the greatest warriors of the Talou. In this manner much blood was shed in these constant feats of arms, and the cruel loss of life among the flower of the Norman youth was the cause of deep sorrow to numbers.

King Lewis laid siege to the castle of Dangu, and French volour closely straitened the governor Robert. [2] At last, by the advice of some friends among the besiegers, he set the place on fire, and marching out left the enemy nothing but its ashes. The same week, putting himself at the head of the troops of Gisors, [3] he made a sudden attack on the French, and carried off much booty from Chaumont and the neighbouring villages. The king of France, greatly elated at the burning of Dangu, sat down before Chateau-Neuf, [4] a castle which William Rufus built at Fuscelmont on the river Epte, but he did not obtain the success he desired. Walter Riblard made a vigorous resistance with the troops of King Henry, severely wounding the assailants with discharges of


[1] In the charter of Hugh de Mortemer in favour of the abbey of St. Victor, we find the names of Adam de St. Lawrence, his mother Mabel, and his two sons William and Roger, both as benefactors and witnesses.

St. Victor-en-Caux, in the arrondissement of Dieppe. It was converted from a priory to an abbey in 1074.

[2] It is not supposed that he was one of the family of Crispin, but a commandant appointed by the king.

[3] Gisors, a strong frontier fortress of Normandy on the Epte below St. Clair and Dangu. Our author is right in stating that it was built by William Rufus, although Du Plessis, in his Description de la Haute Normandie, attributes it to Henry II.

[4] Chateauneuf-sur-Epte, near St. Clair on the same river, but on the right bank.

480 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XVIII.

arrows. At the end of fifteen days Amauri despatched a messenger to King Lewis informing him that Evreux had been reduced to ashes, and that he had suffered other disasters; and earnestly demanding instant succour. On receiving this intelligence the king withdrew from the siege, burning his soldiers' huts, to the great joy of the enemy. Then Enguerrand de Trie, a very brave knight, was wounded in the brow, and some days afterwards, having lost his reason, died miserably.

CH. XVIII. The battle of Bremule, or Noyon, between Henry of England and Lewis of France - Soon after his defeat Lewis makes a second irruption into Normandy, but retreats at the approach of Henry's army.

MEANWHILE King Lewis effected his retreat into France with the utmost expedition, but quickly counter-marched from Etampes into Normandy, attended by some brave knights. On the twentieth day of the month of August, King Henry having heard mass at Noyon marched out with his principal nobles on an expedition against the French, not knowing that the king of France had arrived at Andeli. [1] The king of England rode at the head of a gallant troop of men-at-arms, and caused the harvest in the fields [2] about Etrepagni to be reaped by his rapacious soldiery, giving orders that great sheaves of corn should be carried on the backs of their horses to the castle of Lions. Four knights were stationed by the king on the top of Verclive, [3] to keep watch against any opposition that might be offered to his enterprise. These sentinels, observing the helmets and standards of troops moving towards Noyon, gave immediate notice to King Henry.


[1] Henry did not put himself in marching order until he heard that Lewis had retired. As long as he thought that Lewis-le-Gros was in the Vexin, he prudently shut himself up at Rouen, although fire and pillage were carried within four miles of his capital city. The king of France, notwithstanding his corpulence, for which he is jeered by the Norman writers, was become very active.

[2] It may he thought strange that on the 20th of August the corn should be still standing on the plains of the Vexin; but it must be recollected that there, as well as elsewhere during the middle ages, it principally consisted of late crops, barley and oats.

[3] This place standing on an isolated hill, near Ecouis, commands the whole plain of the Norman Vexin to a vast distance.

A.D. 1119.] MARCH OF HENRY AND LEWIS. 481

The same day King Lewis marched from Andeli with the French army, making frequent complaints to his attendants that they could not meet with the king of England in an open field, not knowing that the king was close at hand. Lewis rode in haste with his brilliant cavalry towards Noyon, expecting that the castle would be given up to him the same day, by a concerted treason, but the affair turned out very differently. Victory did not favour those who were swelling with pride and eager for the fight, but routed and put them to flight when they were exulting in the prospect of triumph. Burchard de Montmorenci, [1] and some other prudent men, dissuaded Lewis from fighting in Normandy, but the people of Chaumont urged him furiously to give battle. William the chamberlain [2] also tried to prevent Henry from engaging in the conflict, but William de Warrenne [3] and Roger de Bienfaite [4] gave him great encouragement.

At last, it was generally understood, by the exchange of messengers, and by rumours which spread the intelligence far and wide, that both kings were in presence at the head of their armies, and, if they wished, battle might be joined. The French had by this time reached the neighbourhood of Noyon, and had set fire to a granary belonging to the monks of Boucheron, [5] the smoke of which was visible to the English as it rose in the air. Near Mount Verclive there is an open ground and vast plain, called by the inhabitants of the country Bremule. [6] King Henry descended to it with five hundred cavalry, the warlike hero having put on his armour and skilfully disposed his mailed troops. He


[1] Bouchard III. de Montmorenci. He was still living in the year 1124.

[2] William de Tankerville (the Normans spelt the name Tancarville), the same person who the year before stopped Henry's expedition against Laigle by a false alarm.

[3] William de Warrenne, second of that name, earl of Surrey.

[4] Roger de Bienfaite, lord of Hommet, which he received in exchange for Brionne.

[5] The foundation of this priory, which was a cell of St, Evroult, is mentioned before, p. 419. Our author here speaks of a grange which stood on the plain.

[6] This plain belongs to the commune of Gaillard bois, and is traversed by the public road from Rouen to Paris. To the south of this road lies the farm of Bremule which appears to have been the central paint of the battle, and gave it its name, at least in the French accounts; some English historians, calling it the battle of Noyon, Henry's head quarters, three leagues distant. Duchesne's text calls the place Brenneville, but the original MS. gives the right name BRENMULA.

Near it, in the commune of Verclive, is a spot called Le Coupe-Gueule, from some incident in the engagement.

482 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XVIII.

had with him his two sons, Robert and Richard, illustrious knights, and three counts, Henry d'Eu, William de Warrenne, and Walter Giffard. The king was also supported by Roger, son of Roger, and Walter d'Aufay, his own cousins, [1] as well as by William de Tankerville, William de Roumare, Nigel d'Aubigni, and several others who may be compared to the Scipios, the Mariuses, and the Catos, the Roman censors, for their civil virtues and knightly valour, as the result proved. Edward of Salisbury [2] carried the standard, whose approved intrepidity was in high renown, and never failed him even when fighting to the death.

Lewis having come in sight of what he had long desired, called up four hundred knights, who were ready close at hand, and exhorted them to do battle valiantly in defence of justice and the liberty of the kingdom, and not to suffer the glory of the French arms to be tarnished by their cowardice. There, William Clito, the son of Robert, duke of Normandy, armed himself for the liberation of his father from his long imprisonment, and the recovery of the dominions of his ancestors. There also, Matthew, count de Beaumont, [3] Guy de Clermont, [4] Osmund de Chaumont, [5] William de Garlande, seneschal of France, [6] Peter de Maule, [7] Philip de Mont-Brai, [8]


[1] Walter d'Aufay was Henry's cousin in two ways; by his great grand-mother Papia, sister of Duke Robert I., and by his mother Beatrix, cousin of Queen Matilda. Walter was probably the third son of the Walter d'Aufay and Avicia, some account of whom, with their epitaphs, is given in vol. ii. pp. 268-270.

[2] This person had large possessions at Salisbury and in that neighbourhood. His daughter Matilda, by order of William Rufus, married Humphrey de Bohun, who had in her right part of their vast domains. The rest were inherited by Edward's son, Walter of Salisbury.

[3] Matthew I., count of Beaumont-sur-Oise, chamberlain of France.

[4] Guy de Clermont, second son of Hugh I., count de Clermont.

[5] Osmond de Chaumont, husband of the heiress of Quitri.

[6] William de Garlande, second of that name, seneschal of France.

[7] Peter de Maule, second of that name, who married the daughter of Manasses, count de Guines. See vol. ii. p. 233.

[8] For Philip de Montbrai, the reading should be Paganus de Montjai. It is the more singular that our author should have mistaken the name of this person in the present instance, as he has properly named him not long before (b. x. c. iv. p. 211). His chief seat, as before remarked was at Montjai, near Villevaude, and his real name was Alberic or Aubrey, but he appears under that of Paganus de Mont-Gaio in the chartulary of the priory of Long-Pont. He was taken prisoner by the Normans, as we have already seen, in 1097, and he formed an alliance with Count Theobald, against Lewis-le-Gros, in 1112, but reaped nothing from that war but the loss of his castle of Livri, near Meluen, which, we are told, caused him much regret. He died before the year 1127, and Henry de Chatillon, the husband of his daughter Ermengarde, assumed the title of lord of Chatillon which his posterity preserved for a long period.

A.D. AUGUST, 1119.] BATTLE OF NOYON. 483

and Burchard de Montmorenci, prepared themselves for the battle. Of the Normans, there were Baldric de Brai, [1] William Crispin, [2] and some others in the ranks of the French army. All these assembled at Bremule, swelling with pride and ready to encounter the Normans.

In this battle the first charge was made by the French with great gallantry, but as they advanced without order, they were soon overpowered and turned to flight. Richard the king's son, and a hundred horse were drawn out in battle array, but the rest with the king held the field on foot. William Crispin with eighty knights, who rode in the van, made the first attack on the Normans, but their horses being soon killed, they were all surrounded and held in check. Then Godfrey de Perans, with the troops of the Vexin, made a resolute assault, which caused the English army to stagger and fall back a little, but those veteran warriors soon recovered their courage and strength, and Burchard, Osmond, and Alberic de Mareuil, [3] and several others, being thrown from their horses, were taken prisoners. The French perceiving this, said to the king: "Eighty of our knights, who were in the van of the army, are nowhere to be seen. The enemy is more than our match in numbers and strength. Burchard, Osmond, and some others of our best knights, are already taken; our troops are generally giving way, and their ranks are thinned. Retreat, my lord, we pray, ere we are exposed to irreparable ruin".

At these words Lewis consented to retire, and himself fled at a gallop with Baudri-du-Bois. [4] The victors took one


[1] Baudri de Bray has been already noticed. This place, situate on an island in the Epte, made part of Normandy and the department of the Eure till 1812 or 1813.

[2] William Crispin, or Crespin, was lord of Etrepagni.

[3] Probably Alberic de Rouci, viscount of Mareuil-sur-Marne, nephew of Beatrix de Rouci, countess of Mortagne.

[4] Probably the same person Ordericus has just called Baudri de Brai. There was a fief called du Bos, or du Bose, in the commune of Baudemont, and the lords of Brai often assumed that name.

484 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XVIII.

hundred and forty prisoners, and pursued the rest to the very gates of Andeli. The French troops, who had advanced with pomp by the high road, now fled in confusion by various by-ways. William Crispin who, with his followers, had been surrounded as before mentioned, having caught sight of King Henry whom he mortally hated, charged at him through the throng of combatants and struck him fiercely on the head with his sword, but the chevet of the illustrious prince's hauberk warded off the blow. Roger, [1] Richard's son, instantly bore the bold assailant to the earth, and throwing himself upon him protected him from the king's friends who would have killed him on the spot in revenge for the insult. But so many thronged upon Richard that he had great difficulty in saving his fallen adversary. It was a criminal and audacious act to raise the hand and strike with the sword the head which had been anointed by the ministry of the bishop with the holy chrism, and on which the royal crown had been placed amidst the acclamations of the people, lauding and giving thanks to the Lord God. [2]

In the battle between the two kings, in which nearly nine hundred knights were engaged, I have ascertained that three only were slain. This arose from their being entirely covered with steel armour, and mutually sparing each other for the fear of God and out of regard for the fraternity of arms, and aimed less at killing the fugitives than making them prisoners. Christian warriors, they did not thirst for their brothers' blood, but exulted in the victory which God gave them for the good of holy church and the security of the faithful. The brave Guy, Osmond, Burchard, and William Crispin, with several others, were taken on the field, as I have said before, and conducted to Noyon, where the English army retired the same day. Noyon is three leagues from Andeli, and at that time the whole country was a desert in consequence of the wars which raged so furiously. It was in the plain between the two places that the princes suddenly met, and the combatants shouted their war-cries, and the clash of arms was heard, and noble barons bit the dust.


[1] Roger de Bienfaite.

[2] Henry of Huntingdon's account of this battle for the most part corresponds with our author's, but it supplies some additional details. See Bohn's Antiq. Lib. pp. 247, 248.

A.D. AUGUST, 1119.] RESULTS OF THE BATTLE. 485

The king of France in his solitary flight lost his way in a wood, [1] but he lighted by chance on a peasant to whom his person was unknown. The king earnestly entreated him, adding many promises to which he pledged himself on his oath, to show him the nearest road to Andeli, or to be his guide to the town, for a great reward. Sure of being well recompensed, the peasant consented to conduct the trembling prince, who feared as much meeting some traveller who might betray him, as being overtaken by the pursuing enemy, who would make him prisoner. At last the peasant, seeing the royal guard respectfully coming from Andeli meet the prince, making light of the reward he obtained, was much grieved at finding what a vast recompense he had lost from his ignorance of the rank of the person he saved.

King Henry purchased the standard of King Lewis from the soldier who took it for twenty silver marks, [2] and kept it as a memorial of the victory Heaven had granted him. The next day he sent back Lewis's charger, with the saddle and bridle and all the equipments, as became a king. William the Etheling also returned his palfrey to William Clito his cousin, and at the instance of his prudent father added other presents serviceable to an exile. The king dispersed his prisoners, sending them for custody to different castles; Burchard, Hervey de Gisors, [3] and some others who were vassals of both kings, he did not reserve for ransom, but liberated at once. The illustrious Guy of Chaumont fell sick at Rouen, where he died, to the king's grief who had kept the gallant warrior in prison. Osmond, the wicked old knight, was conducted to Arques, [4] and, bound in chains and fetters as he deserved, was closely confined till peace was restored between the sovereigns. His infamy in protecting thieves and robbers, to give greater scope to their iniquities, reached the ears of people in Illyrium. He even did not


[1] Probably in the woods of Musegros.

[2] According to M. Delisle's calculation, before referred to, the silver mark being worth fifty-two francs, the sum paid WaS equivalent to 1040 francs,

[3] Hervey de Gisors was son of Theobald Paganus, to whom Robert Curthose restored the castle of Gisors, which was taken from him by Henry I. It may be conceived that the king of England might consider him as half-Norman, half-French, but the same observation is inapplicable to Bouchard de Montmorenci, who held nothing, as far as we know, under Henry.

[4] The castle of Arques.

486 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XIX.

scruple to strip pilgrims, paupers, widows, and defenceless monks and clerks, tormenting them without remorse, in various ways.

Peter de Maule and other fugitives threw away their cognizances [1] to escape recognition, and adroitly mixing with their pursuers joined in their cries of triumph, and sounded the praises of King Henry and his troops with pretended satisfaction. Robert de Courci, the younger, [2] followed up the French into the heart of the burgh, where he was seized in the throng of fugitives, mistaking them for his own party. He was the only Norman taken; and that, not in escaping like a coward, but, alone in the enemy's town, he was surrounded by numbers and thrust into prison.

The news of the disaster which had befallen the French in Normandy spread far and wide, and the intelligence was received in all the provinces on this side the Alps either with sorrow or joy. Those who had exalted themselves were covered with shame, and the combatants present in the battle sought various pretexts in reply to the scorn which was heaped upon them, and forged different falsehoods, according to circumstances in excuse of their disgrace.

CH. XIX. The French make a fresh irruption into Normandy - King Lewis, foiled before Breteuil, returns to France.

KING Lewis returned to Paris sorrowing for the loss of the one hundred and forty knights he had gaily led to Noyon and who were now captives. Amauri, [3] who was not present in the battle, went to comfort him, and when the king lamented the rout and imprisonment of his soldiers, and gave a full account of the affair, Amauri said: "Let not my lord afflict himself for this disaster, as such are the chances of war, and they have often been the lot of the most celebrated generals. Fortune is like a revolving wheel; it overturns in a moment those whom it has suddenly raised, and on the other hand frequently lifts higher those it has prostrated and rolled in the dust. Now, therefore, taking into your consideration the resources of France, collect an


[1] Cognitiones. This passage bears on the disputed question of the period at which armorial ensigns came into use as personal distinctions. It looks very like their having been borne in this battle.

[2] Robert, second of that name, lord of Courci, near Croissanville.

[3] Amauri de Montfort.

A.D. 1119.] FRENCH LEVY EN MASSE. 487

immense force from all quarters, profit by the sound advice I give you to exert yourself to repair the losses inflicted on our reputation and power. Let the bishops and counts and other lords of the realm be rallied round you, and the priests with the whole body of their parishioners march under your standard, that an army of the commons may avenge our wrongs on the common enemy. For my part, although I did not take any part in your late expedition, I will join you with all my vassals and render you counsel and aid, with safe guidance".

"I have fortified a house at Cintrai, [1] where Walkelin de Tannei [2] and other faithful friends expect my arrival, and defend the neighbouring country on my behalf against the garrison of Breteuil. We can assemble there in security, and from thence an attack may be made on Breteuil, which is in the heart of Normandy. If we can reduce that fortress, we will restore Eustace, who was disinherited for having espoused our cause; and my nephew, Ralph de Conches, will be on our side with all his vassals and fortresses. He is in possession of the strong castles of Conches, Toeni, Portes, [3] and Acquigni, and well-tried barons hold under him, who alone will greatly augment our force. Ralph is now shut up in Breteuil, and does not at present render us any assistance, because he is afraid that by so doing he may expose his territories to devastation". Encouraged by this discourse the king resolved to act according to the advice given him by the lord of whom we are speaking. Accordingly, he despatched messengers in all haste to convey his summons to the bishops. They cheerfully obeyed the royal commands, and issued sentences of excommunication against all the priests in their dioceses, and their parishioners, who should not hasten to join the king's expedition on the day appointed, and use all their efforts to crush the refractory Normans.


[1] Citrai, near Breteuil.

[2] There are a number of places in Normandy bearing the name of Tannei, particularly four between Orbec and Broglie, and four hamlets near St. Evroult. Our author mentions in his thirteenth book, under the date of 1138, a person named Alan de Taneto, who had lands at Cisai, in the latter district, as well as, it would appear, near Pont-Audemer in the former, and it is conjectured that he was the father of the Walkelin de Tannei here mentioned.

[3] Pertes, near Conches. The other places have been already mentioned.

488 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII CH.XIX.

In consequence, the people of Burgundy, Berri, Auvergne [1] and Champagne, with those of the territory of Paris, and in Orleans, the Vermandois, the Beauvoisis, Laon, the Gatinois, and many others, flew to arms with eagerness, like wolves to their prey, and had scarcely left their homes when they began to pillage all that they could lay hands on in their own country. The disorderly multitude was so bent on rapine, that they profanely robbed the churches on their road, and treated the monks and clergy, who were their own countrymen, as if they had been enemies. The royal authority was of no avail in executing justice on these marauders; episcopal censure was benumbed, and every one did what he would, as chance suggested, with impunity. The bishops of Noyon, Laon, and several others, were present at this expedition, but such was their hatred of the Normans that they permitted their people to commit every sort of outrage. They even allowed consecrated places to be violated, under the colour of their divine authority, that this licence might increase the number of their followers, and that by winking at their proceedings, good or bad, they might be encouraged against the enemy.

Under these circumstances, King Lewis assembled at Breteuil [2] vast bodies of men from Peronne, Nesle, Noyon, Lille, Tournai, Arras, Gournai, Clermont, [3] and all the provinces of France and Flanders, prepared to restore to Eustace all he had lost, and to reinstate in their former possessions the other banished lords who were adherents of William the exile. Ralph the Breton [4] with his troops boldly opposed the march of the enemy, engaging them with vigour, and causing them lamentable losses by the fierce blows dealt on them with lance and sword. He caused all the gates of the castle to be thrown open at their approach, but no one ventured to force his way through the open doors, the astonishing courage of their opponents sufficiently repelling them. The battle raged furiously outside the three gates, and brave warriors fell in great numbers on both sides.


[1] This levy en masse was tumultuous enough without the people of Burgundy, Berri, and Auvergne, who must be erased from the list.

[2] We shall find that this siege commenced on the 17th of September.

[3] It will be observed that the only forces specified are those from places subject to the king, or Flemings engaged in the cause of the Pretender.

[4] Ralph de Guader, here called Ralph the Breton, because he was a native of Gael or Guader in Brittany.

A.D. 1119.] THE FRENCH RETREAT FROM BRETEUL. 489

The king of England, receiving intelligence of this fresh inroad of the French into Normandy, despatched his son Richard with two hundred knights to the relief of Ralph de Guader, giving directions to tho bold and active knights, Ralph-the-Red and Rualod d'Avranches, [1] to conduct their march. The royal troops arrived while the fight was hottest, and, upon their being observed, the French who were already exhausted, began to give way. The gallant Ralph flew from gate to gate, frequently changing his armour that he might not be recognized. He bore down that day several distinguished warriors, and having dismounted them, bestowed their horses on such of his comrades as needed them, thus gaining glory through all ages, among the bravest soldiers, by his prowess in arms.

A Fleming, remarkable for his fine person and gallant bearing, struck to the ground Ralph-the-Red, Luke de Barre, [2] and other valiant knights, exulting with much arrogance in taking their horses, but he was not wise enough to foresee the melancholy fate which speedly awaited him. He attacked the intrepid Breton without the usual precaution, mistaking him for a common soldier, but it was not long before Ralph gave him a mortal wound which brought him to the ground, and being made prisoner in tbe presence of many spectators, he was thrown into the dungeon at Breteuil, where he died fifteen days afterwards.

The king of England, with a great body of troops, followed his son Richard and the others he had despatched in advance, prepared to fight another battle against the many thousands in the French army, if he found them on his territories. They had expected to reduce the fortress by the length of their siege, but the hopes they entertained were frustrated the same day they marched to the place full of arrogance, and they were forced to retreat into France, repulsed with shame


[1] Rualod seems to be a Breton form of the name Roland, This person, son of William d'Avranches, acquired by his marriage with Matilda de Mandeville the lordship of Folkstone in Kent, and, according, to our English genealogists, was living in 1147. A charter of his wife Matilda and another of his son William, are given in the Monasticon Anglicanum. The family did not become extinct in England till a late period of the thirteenth century.

[2] Luke, lord of la Barre in Ouche. We shall presently find King Henry putting out the eyes of this troubadour knight for having treated him satirically in his poetical compositions.

490 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XIX.

and loss. By God's just judgment, the priests returned inglorious, and overwhelmed with fears, losses, sorrow, and confusion, because they had suffered the consecrated places, which they ought to have protected by ecclesiastical censures, to be defiled and indecently violated by greedy robbers.

Then William de Chaumont, the king's son-in-law, [1] and several aspiring youths, irritated at having gained nothing at Breteuil, made an incursion, to the number of two hundred, towards the castle of Tillieres, to obtain for themselves either profit or glory. However Gilbert, the castellan of Tillieres, [2] lay in ambush with his people in a place of concealment, watching all the roads that his farms might not be pillaged by these freebooters. When the French came up he suddently burst upon them from his ambuscade, and made William, the king's son-in-law, his prisoner; for whose ransom he received two hundred silver marks. He also took some of his comrades, and put the rest shamefully to flight.

France was in great distress when she found the pride of her sons humbled, and reckoned her losses, the shame of future generations, recently sustained in Normandy. King Henry, however, the lover of peace, was crowned with glory, God having graciously listened to the prayers of the church on his behalf, and given him repeated victories over his enemies. Restored prosperity favoured him with her smiles, while she struck the cruel robbers with alarm, and caused the public enemies bitter repentance for their fruitless revolt.


[1] This royal alliance of William de Chaumont, which was long considered doubtful, has been fully confirmed by a document in the chartulary of St. Peter at Chartres, lately published by M. Guerard (t. p. 640). It is dated the 9th of April preceding (1119), and it appears from it that the marriage took place late in 1117.

It is clear that the lady must have been a natural daughter of Lewis-le-Gros, as that prince only married Adelaide de Maurienne in 1115, and his former marriage with Lucienae was dissolved without having been consummated.

In the chartulary of St. Wandrille there is a charter, unhappily without date, from which it appears that Osmond II. of Chaumont had two sons, William and Osmond III., who were grandsons of Nicholai de Quetre. The Norman writers, with Ordericus, spell the name improperly, Otmond.

[2] Gilbert Crispin, castellan of Tillieres. Ordericus alway spells this name Crespin, and is followed by his French editors; but it is better known to the English reader under the form adopted in this translation.

A.D. 1119.] REVERENCE FOR A CROSS. 491

CH. XX. A freebooter's reverence for a way-side cross - King Henry restores order in the district of Ouche.

RICHER DE LAIGLE carried off Odo from Cisai, [1] with all the booty he found there, on the fifteenth of the calends of October [17th September], the day on which the king appeared before Breteuil with so many thousands troops, and reaped nothing but dishonour and wounds. That young soldier performed an action in this expedition which is worthy of being handed down to future ages. While the inhabitants of Gace and the neighbouring villages were in pursuit of the robbers, considering by what means they might regain their cattle, either by force or ransom, the bold troopers, facing about, charged them, and soon putting them to the rout, pursued them in turn. The peasants having no means of defending themselves against an armed band, nor any strong place in which they could take refuge, and seeing a wooden cross by the side of the road, all prostrated themselves together before it. Richer, perceiving this, struck with the fear of God, and touched with tender love for his Saviour, piously reverenced his cross. He therefore commanded his party to permit these trembling creatures to remain safe; while, in order that they might suffer no injury, his own troops continued their march. Thus, from fear of his Creator, the noble youth spared nearly a hundred peasants, from whom he might have exacted a considerable ransom if he had recklessly ventured to seize them. The same week he was reconciled with the king, through the mediation of his uncle Rotrou, [2] and recovered all his father's lands both in England and Normandy.

Then the king, at the head of his troops, visited the district of Ouche, and marched against his enemies who held Glos and Lire. At that time Roger, son of William, who was son of Barnon, [3] commanded at Glos, and Arnold du Bois [4] was


[1] Cisai, near Gace, mentioned in a preceding note.

[2] Rotrou II. count de Perche.

[3] Respecting William de Glos, son of Barnon, see vol. ii. p. 516; where a not very flattering portrait is drawn of this servant of the house of Breteuil. Our author there mentions his wife Beatrix and his son Roger, the person here referred to.

[4] This family, which has left its name to the commune du Bois-Arnaud in the canton of Rugles, was one of the oldest attached to the lords of Breteuil. As early as the charter of foundation of Lire by William Fitz-Osborne, we find these Arnolds holding the rank of their stewards. Four generations of this family are included among the benefactors to the collegiate church of Leicester, founded in 1107 for regular canons by Robert earl of Mellent.

492 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.XII. CH.XX.

castellan of Lire. These men, perceiving that the king's power crushed all who resisted him, and that every hope of success from Eustace and Amauri failed, conferred with Ralph, [1] who was their neighbour, and, having obtained favourable terms from the king through his intervention, surrendered the castles they had so long faithfully guarded. The king restored them to Ralph de Guader, and the country about Ouche being thus restored to tranquillity, he returned to Rouen where he offered thanks to God.

Meanwhile, Ralph de Guader, who had his suspicions of Ralph de Conches, and could not visit his own domains on the other side of the Seine without crossing Guader's territories, granted him Pont-St.-Pierre and the valley of Pitres, [2] under fealty to himself, and an engagement to defend the state against the public enemy with all his forces. The king also gave the rents of Glos to Ralph-the-Red, having found his services useful on many occasions, and calculating that he might rely on them in time to come.


[1] The same Ralph-the-Red, lord of Echaufre, so often mentioned. His castle was about three leagues from Lire, but only two from Glos.

[2] On the left bank of the Seine, near its junction with the Andelle.

END OF VOL. III.

J. MADDON AND SON, PRINTERS, CASTLE STREET, FINSBURY.

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