BOOK III

374 ORDERICUS VITALIS.

BOOK III. [1]

THE PREFACE.

IT is our duty to devote ourselves unceasingly to the Creator's praise in all his works, although his majesty and might are beyond our powers of comprehension, and we are quite incapable of speaking in fitting terms of his ineffable loftiness and unwearied loving kindness. These are exhibited in every page of the Old and New Testament; these are the subjects of the study and meditations of every wise man. But who can penetrate the mystery of the immensity of God? The knowledge of the love of Christ is above the skill of man, while to search it out and embrace it, and use our utmost efforts in pursuing it, is both our proper task and fraught with the fulness of everlasting salvation. For this, holy men whose worth is recorded in authentic writings, now associated with the angels, triumph in the heavens; having despised transitory things and courted eternal realities, and abhorred carnal delights, that they might enter upon the blessed fruition of those that are spiritual. Following their Saviour's footsteps through the difficult path of a holy life, they have left us a salutary example, by imitating which we also may reach by the way of righteousness the heavenly inheritance; an interprise rendered so difficult to our sloth and weakness by the burden of our sins. Still it is our duty to struggle faithfully in their steps and follow the course they have pursued, that participating in their merits, we may, by God's mercy, be one day found worthy to share the joys of their blessed society. In the former part of my work, I have had the satisfaction


[1] The title prefixed by our author to this book in his own MS. of St. Evroult, is BOOK III. OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF ORDERICUS VITALIS, THE ENGLISHMAN. In Duchesne's edition, the words SECOND PART are added, with the following enumeration of the contents: Containing a clear account of the Norman wars in France, England, and Apulia; of the foundation of monasteries; and a nearly complete series of the bishops and abbots of Normandy, with many other important matters in the time of Duke William II., surnamed the Bastard.

PREFACE TO BOOK III. 375

of giving an account of some of these friends of God, and masters and rulers of his people, to meditate on whose lives, or to speak of them faithfully is an agreeable exercise for the soul, and a salutary remedy for her inward disorders. Now, however, my superiors have set me another task, and an ample field opens before me in the history of the Normans, who issuing from Denmark [1] were addicted, not to letters but to arms, and who, until the time of William the Bastard, were more given to fighting than to reading or writing.

Dudo, dean of St. Quentin, has related with eloquence the wars of the first three dukes, of whose actions his work is a copious and poetical panegyric. [2] It was dedicated to Richard, the son of Gonor, whose good graces the author wished to secure. This work was neatly abridged by William, surnamed Calculus, a monk of Jumiege, who


[1] Dacia. At the time our author wrote, and, indeed, long afterwards, Denmark was confounded with Dacia; the Danes called Daci, and the Norwegians, Norici. We may also observe, that the Normans as well as the Anglo-Saxon writers made no distinction between the tribes of the Northmen who came from Denmark, and the Norwegians. They are for the most part indiscriminately called Danes; Denmark having been more known, lying nearer to the eastern coast of England, and consequently supplying, at one time at least, the great body of the adventurers. It need hardly be remarked that both these people were derived from a common stock. Rollo, we know, came from Norway. Tradition still points out the coves where his gallies were fitted out, near Aalesund, on a small island at the mouth of the Romsdal's Fjord.

[2] The word panegyric is justly applied. The work of Dudo de St. Quentin: Dudonis super congregationem S. Quintini decani de moribus et actis primorum Normanniae Ducum libri iii., published in Duchesne's Historian Normannorum Scriptores Antiqui, is, in truth, much less a history, properly so called, than a verbose, rhetorical, and often false panegyric of the first three dukes of Normandy. Though the author had great opportunities for collecting and describing faithfully the events of the times, as he lived at the courts of Richard I. and Richard II., he has in most cases either omitted, altered, or falsified the facts, and replaced them sometimes by the exaggerations of the grossest flattery, and at others by accounts taken haphazard from the lives of persons who lived in earlier times, or from traditions altogether fabulous. The consequence is, that instead of throwing light on the annals of the first age of Norman history, he has only made the darkness in which they are involved more visible. The three dukes of Normandy, whose history was written by Dudo, are Rollo, William I., surnamed Longue-epee, and Richard L, surnamed Sans-Peur.

376 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III.

flourished somewhat later, and added a short but perspicuous account of the four succeeding dukes. [1]


[1] This historian is vastly superior to Dudo de St. Quentin, but still he has committed the error of copying and adopting the, more or less, monstrous fables of his predecessor, and his work has had the misfortune of being disfigured by a continuation, the author of which has so interpolated it, and made so many injudicious additions, as to have essentially altered its character. William de Jumieges wrote the histories of Richard II., Richard III., Robert I., and William II., called at first the Bastard, and afterwards the Conqueror. It appears from what Ordericus Vitalis here says, that the eighth book of William de Jumiegees in our editions was not written by him, as it gives the history of Henry I., eighth, or rather ninth duke of Normandy. In point of fact, he died in 1090, and his work, as it now stands, extends far beyond that year.

377

BOOK III.

CH. I. Foundation of monasteries in Normandy - they are ravaged by the Danes - restored by Rollo and succeeding dukes - others founded - series of the dukes to William the Bastard.

I COMMENCE my present undertaking with speaking of that vine of the Lord of hosts which he himself plants, [1] and preserves throughout the world against the devices of Behemoth. The shoots of this vine were freely propagated by the labours of the Lord's husbandmen in the country formerly called Neustria, but now Normandy, [2] producing abundant fruit in men devoted to a holy life. These faithful labourers founded in that province many monasteries where the true branches of the vine, that is good Christians, planted themselves in common accord, in order to struggle more safely to the end against the wiles of their spiritual enemies.

The blessed bishop Ouen, who flourished in the time of Dagobert king of the Franks and his son Clovis, and was of distinguished worth both in civil and ecclesiastical affairs, founded a convent for nuns at Fecamp, and another for monks in the city of Rouen, where he was himself buried in the year of our Lord 678, and his remains lay undisturbed for one hundred and sixty-five years, until Rouen was ravaged by the Northmen. [3]


[1] The metaphor of our Lord's vine, so frequently used in the holy scriptures and the writings of the fathers, seems to have been a favourite with our author. He had already made use of it in the commencement of his first book.

[2] It was a common error to consider Neustria as synonymous with Normandy; it included not only Normandy, but all the territory between the Meuse, the Scheldt, the Loire, and the sea. More lately, indeed, the name was no longer given to the country between the Seine and the Loire, and from this era may be dated the improper application of the term to describe exclusively sometimes Brittany, sometimes Normandy.

[3] St. Ouen, who died, not in 678, but in 683, cannot be considered the actual founder of the convent for nuns at Fecamp, which was commenced by his contemporary, St. Waninge, in 658. Still less did he erect that of St. Peter at Rouen, which took his name when his remains were translated there, but which dates its foundation as far back as the reign of Clotaire I. One hundred and fifty-eight, not one hundred and sixty-five years, elapsed between the translation of St. Ouen's remains to Rouen and the ruin of the abbey by the Northmen in 841.

378 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.I.

In the time of this bishop, St. Wandrille collected a numerous society of monks at Fontenelles, and the blessed Philibert, the brave standard-bearer of this noble army, shed lustre on Jumieges. [1]

In earlier times, also, when Hilperic, and Childebert his nephew, governed the Franks, and protected the innocent against evil-doers by their royal authority, Evroult, a native of Bayeux, guided by the instructions of an angel, founded a monastery in the forest of Ouche. [2] He thus effected the reformation of the rude natives who before lived by plunder and robbery, attracting them to a better course of life by doctrines he taught them and the miracles he exhibited. In other places also the Lord propagated his vine by the labours of faithful husbandmen, abundantly filling the hearts of the Gauls with the sweetness of his salvation.

The kingdom of the Franks having been, by God's favour, highly exalted above the neighbouring nations, and widely extended by the frequent triumphs of the Frank kings, Pepin, Charlemagne, and Lewis the Pious, [3] avarice, pride, and lust, began to prevail excessively among all ranks of men, from the highest to the lowest, plunging them into the depths of iniquity, and causing them to rebel against the Author of their salvation, whose commandments they no longer obeyed. Both the clergy and laity of every degree, infected with these disorders, fell from their former virtue, and yielding to the seductions of the world, the discipline for which they were once remarkable, became enervated and extinct. Still the divine compassion long spared the guilty, calling them to repentance in various ways. The penitent mercifully snatched from the snares of iniquity obtained


[1] The abbey of Fontenelle, now St. Wandrille, was founded in 648, and that of Jumieges in 654.

[2] St. Evroult, a native of Bayeux, retired with three companions to the vast solitudes of the forest of Ouche in 560.

[3] The emperor Lewis, called Pius by the Romans, Le Debonaire by the French. The laxity of manners, and of ecclesiastical discipline, which our author attributes to this age, began long before, at least as far back as the usurpation of the property and dignities of the church by laics in the time of Charles Martel.

A.D. 841-876.] THE DANES RAVAGE NORMANDY. 379

pardon, while those who perished in their evil courses incurred the infliction of the scourge of the divine anger.

In the time of Charles, king of the Franks, surnamed the Simple, Biorn, also called Iron-sides, son of Lodbroc, king of the Danes, accompanied by Hasting, his tutor, and a numerous band of young warriors, issued from their homes like a sword from the scabbard, for the destruction of the nations. Suddenly sweeping over the shores of France, like a whirlwind rising from the sea, and reducing to ashes towns, cities, and holy minsters, for thirty years the invaders and their confederates harassed the Christians with continual inroads. [1] Then Rouen and Noyon, Tours and Poictiers, and other principal cities, were burnt, [2] the defenceless inhabitants were butchered, the monks and clergy were scattered, and the relics of the saints were either left unhonoured in their tombs within the ruined churches, or were transported by their pious worshippers to desolate places.

But, in the dispensations of Providence, the same race which inflicted desolation on Neustria, became not long afterwards the means of her restoration. About thirty years after the ravages of Hastings, [3] Duke Rollo, at the head of a powerful band of Danish youths, invaded Neustria, and strove by ceaseless attacks to exterminate the Franks. In a pitched battle he slew their standard-bearer Roland, and


[1] The whole of this paragraph, borrowed by Ordericus from preceding writers, is a tissue of misrepresentations, which contemporary writers enable us to correct. Blorn I., king of Upsala, surnamed Jarnsida (Ironsides), appears to have lived about the end of the eighth century, or beginning of the ninth, and he never set foot in France. Hasting, whose invasions and ravages are singularly exaggerated, according to authentic accounts did not make his appearance in the valley of the Loire and in Brittany till 867, and again in 869 and 882; afterwards, in that of the Somme, in 890.

[2] Rouen was first ravaged the 14th of June, 841, Tours in 853, and Noyon in 859. As for Poitiers, it was first attacked in 855, but making a vigorous defence, it did not fall into the hands of the Northmen till 863.

[3] According to the Saxon Chronicle, followed by Henry of Huntingdon and Florence of Worcester, Rollo landed in Normandy in A.D. 876. Our author, who has placed the invasione of Hastings under the reign of Charles the Simple, here makes his first expedition in France to have been in 847 or 848, forgetting that he had before told us that Rouen was first attacked by the Northmen a hundred and sixty-five years after the year 678, and consequent1y in 843, which of all his calculations is that nearest the truth.

380 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.I.

defeated Reginald duke of Orleans with the army of the Franks. He besieged the city of Paris for four years, but, God defending it, was unable to reduce it. Baieux he took by storm, putting to the sword its count Berenger, whose daughter Poppa he married, and had by her a son called William Longue-epee. [1] In this and innumerable other conflicts he crushed the Franks, and laid waste almost the whole kingdom, as far as Burgundy, with fire and sword. The Franks being unable to resist these attacks, and uniting in their supplications for peace, King Charles gave his daughter Gisela in marriage to Rollo, and ceded to him in perpetuity the entire country from the river Epte to the ocean. [2]

In consequence, Rollo was baptized by the lord Francon, Archbishop of Rouen, in the year of our Lord 912, and casting away the idols which he before worshipped, with all his army devoutly embraced Christianity. He died five years after his baptism. [3] William, his son, who


[1] Roland seems to have been a supposititious character, invented by the Norman historians; and the person they call Duke of Orleans was a duke of Maine, killed under the walls of Rouen in 885. Rollo, who is not mentioned in any authentic account till 911, was not present at this battle, nor at the siege of Paris. All that concerns his taking Baieux, including Count Berenger and his daughter Poppa, is still the subject of controversy.

[2] The French editors of Ordericus Vitalis consider that all these expeditions of Rollo, as well as his marriage with Gisela, are but attributions to that chief of misrepresentations of anterior occurrences.

[3] It certainly appears from a charter of Richard I. to the abbey of St. Denys, that his grandfather Rollo took the name of Robert. This is the only authentic proof we have of his baptism, and there is reason to doubt his having been so faithful and zealous a Christian as our author supposes. It appears, however, that he did make donations or restitutions to several churches, and particularly to those of St. Denys in France and Rouen in Normandy.

The French editors of Ordericus consider that Dudo made a great mistake in fixing the death of Rollo five years after his baptism, namely, in 917, an account, they say, implicitly copied by all the authors of the middle ages. Our Saxon Chronicle says, under the year 876, when it first mentions, and for the only time, Rollo's invasion of Norway, "And he reigned fifty winters", which would agree with our author's calculation - 917. M. Le Prevost, however, says that several MSS. of the Saxon Chronicle (one as old ns 1001) place folio's death fifteen years after his baptism, namely, in 927. M. Deville quotes a passage from Frodoard, which speaks of Rollo retaining the son of Odo as an hostage, to prove that the Norman duke was alive in 928; but M. Le Prevost refers to another passage from the same historian, in which he mentions a treaty concluded between William Longue-epee with Charles the Simple at Eu, in 927, to establish the fact that Rollo was then dead, or otherwise his son would not have been the party to that treaty. M. Le Prevost also adduces the testimony of the monk Richer, to prove that Rollo was slain in 925, when defending Eu against the Franks under the command of King Rodolph.

A.D. 942-996.] DUKES OF NORMANDY. 381

succeeded him in the duchy of Normandy and held it twenty- five years, restored to its former condition the monastery of Jumieges, which Philibert had founded, but which had been laid in ruins by Hasting.

In the year of our Lord 942, when Lewis was king of the Franks, Duke William was murdered by the treachery- of Arnulph governor of Flanders; and Richard his son, then ' a boy of twelve years of age, became duke of Normandy, and through various turns of fortune, soma prosperous and some adverse, held the dukedom fifty-four years. Among his other good deeds, he founded three monasteries, one at Fdcamp, dedicated to the Holy Trinity,' another at Mont St. Michel in honour of St. Michael the archangel, and the third at Rouen in honour of St. Peter the apostle, and St. Ouen the archbishop.

In the year of our Lord 996, on the death of Richard the elder, he was succeeded by Richard Gonorrides his son,' who piously governed the duchy of Normandy thirty years. He rebuilt the abbey of Fontenelles which +St. Wandrille had founded and Hasting had ruined; and Judith his wife, sister of Geoffrey earl of Brittany, founded a monastery at Bernai in honour of St. Mary, mother of God.

On the death of Richard Gonnorides, his young son Richard succeeded, but he held the dukedom not quite a year and a half.3 Then it fell to his brother Robert, who


[1] Richard I. founded a college of canons at Fecamp, the church of which was dedicated in 990, but they were not replaced by monks till after the year 1101, at which time also the abbey of St. Ouen was restored, and therefore under Richard's successor.

[2] Gonnor was second wife of Richard I. For the singular occurrences which introduced this lady into the ducal family, see the continuator of William de Jumieges, book viii. c. 36.

[3] All this part of the chronology of Normandy is surrounded with diffi- culties. The following are the probable results of a careful examination by the French editors: Richard II. (Gonnorides) died a.n. 1027; Richard III. is supposed to have taken the administration of affairs in 1026, during the life of his father, who passed the last months of his life in the abbey of Fecamp, and to have died in 1028. The same uncertainty attends the date of Richard III.'s death; it appears that he died before the 12th of November, 1028, and the probability is that both he and hisfather died in the month of August of that year. k'rom,July, 1035, to September 9, 1087 , dhe time of William the .Conqueror's death, the .fifty-third year was not completed, but only commenced.

382 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.I.

held it with great honour seven years and a half, and following the example of his ancestors, laid the foundations of the abbey of Cerisi. Moved however with the fear of God, he relinquished his worldly honours and undertook a voluntary pilgrimage to the tomb of our Lord at Jerusalem, and died as he was returning home at Nice, in Bithynia, in the year of Christ 1035.

William his son, who was then only eight years old, was invested in the duchy of Normandy, which he governed firmly fifty-three years, notwithstanding the machinations of his jealous enemies. He devoted himself to follow the example of his ancestors in all that related to the worship of God, and by his favour surpassed them all in wealth and power. He founded two monasteries at Caen; one for monks in honour of St. Stephen the first martyr, and the other for nuns in honour of the Holy Trinity.

The barons of Normandy, moved by the zeal for holy religion which they observed an their princes, were eager to imitate them, and animated themselves and their friends to similar undertakings for the good of their souls. They vied with each other in taking the lead in such good works, and in the liberality with which they made ample endowments. The most powerful nobles held themselves cheap if they had not on their domains some establishment of monks or clergy provided by them with whatever was necessary for the service of God.

Thus Roger de Toni founded the abbey of Chatillon, otherwise called Conches, [1] where Abbot Gislebert, a man of great worth and wisdom, rose to eminence. Goscelin d'Arques was the founder of a monastery, outside the walls of Rouen on the mount of the Holy Trinity, commonly called St. Catherine's, [2] which the venerable abbot Isambert governed with much prudence and piety. William, count d'Eu, at the instance of Lesceline his pious wife, caused the abbey of St. Mary to be built on the river Dive, [3] the discipline


[1] This abbey of Conches, called originally Chatillon, from the territory on which it was built near the town of Conches, was founded in 1035.

[2] Founded A.D. 1030.

[3] It was Lesceline herself who founded the abbey of St. Peter sur Dive, A.D. 1078. It did not stand in the town of Dive, a small seaport at the mouth of the river of that name, but on its banks some leagues inland.

A.D. 1034.] ABBEY OF BEC FOUNDED. 383

of which was long maintained by Ainart, a German of beat holiness and extensive learning.

In the time of Duke Robert I., Gislebert, count of Brionne, made an inroad with three thousand armed followers into the district of Vimeux, but it did not turn out as prosperously as he expected; for Ingelran, count of Ponthieu, opposed him with a strong body of troops, and, giving him battle, vanquished and put to flight all his force, taking some of the fugitives prisoners and killing or wounding others. In this extremity a knight named Herluin, being in peril of his life, and using every effort to save himself by flight, made a vow that if he escaped safely from this imminent danger, he would never again devote himself to any other service than that of God. Being delivered in honour, by God's help, from the fate which threatened him, the knight, mindful of his vow, retired from the world and founded an abbey on his estate, at a place called Bec, which he dedicated to St. Mary, mother of God. [1] The clergy of God's holy church then elected this noble and pious man to be the first abbot of the new monastery he had built. While it was under his rule Lanfranc, Anslem, and other profound philosophers, resorted there to the Christian schools; [2] and there William Fitz-Giroie, and Hugh count of Mellent, and other illustrious knights, enlisted themselves in the army of Christ. There, up to the present time, numbers both of clerks and layman live under the monastic rule, and fighting against the devil, laudably devote themselves to God's service.

Humphrey de Vieilles, son of Thurold, began to erect two monasteries, one for monks and the other for nuns, at Preaux, which his son Roger de Beaumont kindly fostered, endowing them liberally from his own revenues. [3] William


[1] The precise date of this inroad into the Vimeux is not known, but Ingelran, count of Ponthieu, who made so brave a resistance, was living in 1043. The invasion must have taken place before 1034, which is the date assigned to the foundation of the abbey of Bec.

[2] The celebrated school at Bec was founded by Lanfranc in 1046. We shall hear more of this abbey and its inmates in the sequel.

[3] The abbey for monks called St. Pierre de Preaux, near Pont-Audemer, was founded shortly before the departure of Robert I. for the Holy Land in 1035, and that for nuns, dedicated to St. Leger, shortly afterwards.

384 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.II.

Fitz-Osborne also founded two monastaries on his own domain, one at Lire, and the other at Cormeilles, where he himself lies buried. [1] Many other Norman nobles, also, according to their means, constructed houses for monks or nuns in various quarters. Hugh de Grand-mesnil and Robert, having their zeal roused by such examples, made a vow to build a monastery on their hereditary estates, for the good of their own souls and the souls of their ancestors.

CH. II. The abbey of St. Evroult - Notices of its founders and benefactors, and other Norman lords - Particulars of its endowments.

IT was determined by Hugh and Robert that the monastery should be erected at Norrei, [2] a vill belonging to them near Grand-mesnil; and the work was already in progress, when a report was carried to William Fitz-Giroie their uncle, that his nephews, Hugh and Robert, had commenced building a convent. This knight had been a man of great eminence in that age, terrible to his enemies, faithful to his friends. He was at the head of a powerful family, including sons, brothers, and numerous nephews, who were formidable to their foes, far and near. This knight, being invited by William Talvas, son of William Belesme, to his nuptials, and unsuspectingly accepting the invitation, was, without any cause of accusation cruelly deprived of his eyes and his genitals, and the tips of his ears cut off. So odious a crime rendered Talvas universally detested, and some time afterwards he was stript of his honours by his own son Arnulf.

William Giroie was all his life devoted to holy church, and held the monks, and clergy, and other men of religion in high honour. Twice he made pilgrimages to the tomb of our Lord at Jerusalem; [3] once when he was in the full


[1] William Fitz-Osborne founded the monastery of Cormeilles about the year 1060, and that of Lire as early as 1046. We shall presently find this powerful nobleman playing a distinguished part in the conquest of England and succeeding events.

[2] Norrei is situated between Grand-mesnil and Falaise. The foundations of the castle of the ancient lords of Grand-mesnil may yet be traced. Robert, the father of this Hugh and Robert, lost his life in the same battle in which Roger de Toni, founder of the abbey of Conches, fell.

[3] It will appear in the course of this history, that pilgrimages to the Holy Land were as frequent among the Normans in the eleventh century, as those to Rome were among the Anglo-Saxons in the eighth.

A.D. 1050.] ABBEY OF ST. EVROULT RESTORED. 385

enjoyment of health and prosperity, and a second time when he had suffered the outrage which we have just mentioned. On his return from this second pilgrimage he determined on quitting the world, and going to Bec, there assumed the monastic habit, and piously granted the church of Ouche to that abbey. Upon this, abbot Herluin sent Lanfranc, who was afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, with three other monks to Ouche, causing them to re-establish there the divine worship which had fallen into disuse. Mantling ivy overspread the mouldering walls of the church, and the place was deserted, except by two aged monks, Restould and Ingran, who maintained the service of God in deep poverty, but to the best of their power, in the desolate wilderness.

Some time afterwards, when William Giroie was informed of his nephews' vow to build a monastery, he sought them out and thus addressed them: "It causes me great joy, my dear sons, to find that Almighty God has vouchsafed to inspire you with the design of building a house in his name. But you must be sensible that the spot on which you have begun to build is not suited for a habitation of monks, because it wants water, and the forest is at too great a distance. [1] It is quite certain that these two elements are absolutely necessary to the subsistence of a convent. Now, if you will take my advice, I will point out to you a more convenient site. The place is in the canton of Ouche, where there formerly dwelt a holy abbot, the friend of God, whose name was Evroult, who assembled there a large body of monks, and after performing many miracles died happily in the Lord. Restore that monastery which was ruined by the pagans. You will find there abundance of water, and I possess a forest close by which will enable me to supply the convent with whatever is necessary. Come then and see this spot, and if it pleases you, let us join in building there a house of God, and place in it a company of faithful men who shall offer continual prayers on our behalf; and we will endow it from our domains with such secure


[1] It was almost indispensable in those times that the monasteries should be established near the verge of extensive forests for two reasons; first, on account of having an abundant supply of fuel, and, secondly, for the pasturage of their large herds of swine.

386 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.II.

revenues that they may devote themselves altogether to the worship of God".

Upon hearing this, his nephews Hugh and Robert thanked him for his proposal, and they all proceeded together to survey the spot he had pointed out. On their coming there, a book containing the life of the holy father Evroult was presented to Robert, which he carefully perused and explained with intelligence to Hugh and the rest of his companions. Need I say more? The situation of Ouche pleased the two brothers; but as it had been formerly granted to the abbey of Bec, and certain monks from that convent were already stationed there, as before mentioned, the brothers made over to the abbot and monks of Bec a vill called La Roussiere, [1] securing in exchange the fee of the land at Ouche.

In the year of our Lord 1050, the plan of restoring the abbey of Ouche being thus determined on, William and Robert, the sons of Giroie, with Hugh and Robert, the sons of Robert Grand-Mesnil, applied to William duke of Normandy, and informing him of their intentions entreated the assistance of his paramount authority in the good work they had undertaken. They likewise made over the place so often mentioned to his guardianship, on a tenure so free that neither they nor any other persons whosoever should claim from the monks or their people either rent or customary dues, or anything else except the benefit of their prayers. The duke, very willingly acceding to their wishes, ratified the charter of the possessions which his nobles granted to St. Evroult, and caused it to be confirmed by the signatures of Mauger, archbishop of Rouen, and his suffragan bishops.

Hugh and Robert, having the duke's licence to choose an abbot, then proceeded to Jumieges, and besought the lord Robert, who was then superior of that abbey, to allow the monk Theodoric to take the government of their new abbey; and abbot Robert, readily complying with the request of his noble guests, yielded to them the monk whom he well knew to be well qualified for such a pastoral care. Hugh and


[1] This is still the name of a commune in the arrondissement of Bernai, between Broglie, Montreuil, and La Barre. Its church continued to belong to the abbey of Bec till the revolution.

A.D. 1050.] THEODORIC FIRST ABBOT OF ST. EVROULT. 387

Robert now, with great satisfaction, presented him to the duke, who receiving him with due distinction, delivered to him the pastoral staff, as the custom was, thus giving him the preferment of the abbey of Ouche. Afterwards Hugh, bishop of Lisieux, [1] with Osbern his archdeacon, and others of his clergy, came to Ouche with the venerable monk Theodoric in their company, and there solemnly consecrated him on the 3rd of the nones [5th] of October, being the Lord's day. Thus ordained, he betrayed no pride or arrogance, but both by his words and works pointed out the way of true religion to those over whom he was set. Brought up from his childhood in the Lord's house he had learnt by long practice the regular course of a religious life. He was constant in holy prayers, in vigils, in fasting. He so exposed himself to the rigour of the cold, that he sometimes went without a cloak the whole winter. However, one day when he was preparing, as he was wont, to offer the sacrifice of the mass, he perceived a cloak of dazzling whiteness laid on the altar. Not doubting that it was placed there by no human hands but by the ministry of angels, he returned thanks to God, and investing himself with it joyfully performed the divine service. That this happened in the church of Jumieges, while he was yet a cloistered monk, I have heard from trustworthy monks who then belonged to that monastery. He was baptized by the venerable Theodoric abbot of Jumieges, [2] who caused him to be educated according to the monastic rule in the school of Christ and loved him much. Arriving at man's estate and being proved fruitful in good works, the abbot appointed him his vicar, to the great gain of the brethren's souls; and he was afterwards made master of the novices, and charged with the care of the monastery as prior. At length, as we have before related, he was translated from Jumieges in the time of abbot Robert, and placed at the head of the new abbey of Ouche, in the year of our Lord 1050, the fourth indiction, being the nineteenth year of the reign of Henry


[1] Hugh, who was bishop of Lisieux from 1049 to 1077, was son of William Count d'Eu, and Lesceline, foundress of the abbey of St. Pierre-sur-Dive.

[2] He was a native of Dijon, and abbot of Jumieges from A.D. 1014 to 1027 or 1028.

388 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.II,

king of the Franks, and the fifteenth of the dukedom of William duke of Normandy.

In founding the new society, Theodoric had the assistance of his nephew Rodolph, with Hugh the chanter, and others of the brethren who suited his purpose. It was with them and by them that the new abbot zealously established a regular system, and mild discipline, and becoming order, in divine worship. He admitted as probationers for a change of life applicants of every age and rank, diligently instructing them in the rule of the holy father St. Benedict. Among the first of those he humbly taught a stricter life in the school of Christ, were Humfrey, Reginald, and Fulk, son of the dean Fulk, with some other skilful grammarians. He likewise treated with the greatest kindness Riculf, an old man, and Roger, both country priests, and Durand the gardener, with Geoffrey, Olric, and other simple disciples, As these were unable to comprehend the depths of scripture doctrine, he fed them with the milk of pious exhortation, and imparted to them health and strength in their faith and devotion by the example of his holy life. In that house of God, also, Herbert and Berenger, Joscelin and Rodolf, Gislebert and Bernard, Richard and William, with other youths of good natural disposition, were carefully instructed in reading, singing, and writing, and the diligent prosecution of other useful studies, suitable to the servants of God seeking to acquire the true knowledge. Meanwhile, the rude natives, witnessing the growth of so much holiness on a barren soil, now long deserted, were struck with admiration. This was the salvation of some, the ruin of others. Those who remarked the good conversation of the monks imitated their example; while others, becoming jealous of them, caused them all sorts of inconveniences: both received their just reward from God, who doeth equal justice. Nobles and men of the middle order flocked to the abbey under a divine impulse, commending themselves devoutly to the prayers of the servants of God, and, offering their alms, gave blessings to God, who provided sustenance for his ministers, though on a barren soil.

The abbey of Ouche, thus flourishing through the merits of the holy father St. Evroult, and continually increasing, to the glory of God, by the care and labours of the family of Geroie,

A.D. 1050.] ABBEY OF TROARN FOUNDED. 389

Roger de Montgomery, [1] Viscount d'Exmes, began to be jealous of his neighbours, because they showed more zeal for the love of God than himself, and he bethought him what work he could undertake of a like nature for the good of his own soul. He therefore resolved on attaching to himself Gislebert, abbot of Chatillon, with his monks, who had begun to establish themselves at Norrei; but, on Hugh and Robert's altering. their plans, as before mentioned, refused to follow them, nay, more, left them altogether, accusing them of fickleness, for having changed the site of their intended monastery. Roger de Montgomery, therefore, invited these monks, and granted Troarn to them, that they might there erect an abbey, expelling the twelve canons who had been placed there by his father. [2] These secular clergy being thus ejected because they abandoned themselves to gluttony, debauchery, carnal delights, and worldly occupations, he settled in their place monks who were subject to regular discipline. In short, under the government of father Gislebert, the monks established a strict religious rule in the church of St. Martin at Troarn, the maintenance of which they committed to their successors to the time of their death, and which has been preserved to this day under the enlightened, fathers Gerbert, Durand, and Arnuif successively.

I wish now to take some short notice of Giroie, son of Arnold-le-Gros, of Courceraut, [3] son of Abbo the Breton, whose family conferred many benefits on the monks of St. Evroult, in order that posterity may know who and what he was. He derived his origin from nobles of the highest rank, both of France and Brittany, and distinguished himself by his virtues and courage in the reigns of Hugh the Great


[1] Roger II. de Montgomery, who by his marriage with Mabel, daughter of William Talvas, inherited the vast domains of that family. He was afterwards one of the most distinguished followers of William duke of Normandy and conqueror of England, by whom he was created earl of Shrewsbury. There are frequent notices of this great nobleman in the course of the present history, the more so, perhaps, as Odelirius, our author's father, attended him to England, and became his trusty counsellor, being probably born in the earl's household.

[2] In 1050 Roger de Montgomery substituted monks for the canons who had been settled at Troarn since the year 1022.

[3] Courceraut, near Mortagne, in the department of Orne.

390 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.II.

and Robert, kings of the Franks. His sister Hildiarde had three sons and eleven daughters, who, being married to honourable men, gave birth to numerous sons, who, in the next generation, became formidable to their enemies in the wars in France, England, and Apulia. Among the other gallant exploits of Giroie, was his battle, in concert with William of Belesme, against Herbert, count of Maine. William and his followers were vanquished and put to flight; but Giroie stood firm, and bore the brunt of the conflict, until Herbert and his troops were forced to retreat, and Giroie gained a victory, which, to this day, commands the applause of all who are informed of it. Heugon, [1] a powerful Norman knight, offered him his only daughter in marriage, and gave him Montreuil and Echaufour, and all his lands adjoining these two places. Heugon dying soon afterwards, Geroie succeeded to all his domains, although the lady to whom he was betrothed died prematurely before the marriage. In consequence, William de Belesme [2] introduced Giroie to Richard the duke of Normandy at Rouen; and the generous duke, in acknowledgment of his high deserts, granted all the lands of Heugon to him and his heirs for ever. On his return, Giroie married Gisela, a daughter of Turstin de Bastembourg, by whom be had seven sons and four daughters, whose names are as follows: Arnold, William, Fulk, Ralphmal-Corona, Robert, Hugh, and Giroie; Heremburge, Hawise, Emma, and Adelaide.

Possessing richly all that this world can give, children, riches, and ample domains, the brave knight so often mentioned faithfully served the Giver of all good things, and reverenced his church, and servants, and worship. From his own funds he erected six churches to God's honour, two of which were at Verneuces, one dedicated to St. Mary, mother of God, and the other to St. Paul, doctor of the gentiles. The third, in a vill called Glos, in the canton of Lisieux, was dedicated to St. Peter, prince of the apostles; the fourth at Echaufour, to St. Andrew the apostle; the


[1] The commune of Heugon derives its present name from this baron, being situate between his two principal domains, Montreuil l'Argillier and Echaufour.

[2] William I. de Belesme was the father of William Talvas. The battle mentioned just before was fought about the year 1020.

ABOUT 1020-1030.] FAMILY OF GIROIE. 391

fifth, which he built at Montreuil, to St. George the martyr; and the sixth at Hautrive, to St. Martin the confessor. With such saints as his patrons, this brave knight lived long in honour in this world, and, dying, obtained, as we trust, by the merits of their intercessions, the pardon of his sins and everlasting rest in the society of the blessed.

At the death of Giroie, his sons were of tender years, except two, Arnold and William, who had received knight-hood under these circumstances: Gislebert, count of Brionne, relying on his valour, and coveting an extension of his boundaries, invaded the territories of the young heirs with a formidable band, endeavouring to wrest Montreuil from them by force of arms. However, they collected a body of their kinsmen and retainers, and, boldly offering battle to Gislebert in the open fields, defeated him with much slaughter, and put him to flight, not long afterwards forcibly seizing, by way of revenge, the burgh called Sap. [1] Meanwhile, Duke Robert interfered, and compassionating the orphans, while he praised their bravery, he induced Gislebert to cede Sap to them, that the peace might be lasting. In the end, that same count, giving uneasiness to the seven sons of Giroie, and attempting to recover the burgh of Sap, which he had given up to them at the instance of Duke Robert, met his death through their boldness and courage, although he was attended by a large body of men. [2]

All these brothers were brave and generous, skilled and active in warlike exercises, formidable to their enemies, gentle and courteous to their associates. They prospered in various ways; but, notwithstanding, such is human life, they fell to decay at last. It would be too long and impossible for me to relate distinctly the acts of all the brothers; but I am desirous, at least to leave something on record for


[1] Sap is a village near Montreuil and St. Evroult.

[2] It has been already remarked that the circumstances which caused the death of Gislebert, count of Brionne, were far from honourable to his memory. It appears that on two occasions he took advantage of the youth and weakness of Giroie's sons, to endeavour to wrest from them one of the best of their patrimonial domains. At the same time the details of his death, which did not take place till after the succession of Duke William, are also discreditable to the family of Giroie, two of whom, as William de Jumieges tells us, set upon him, and cruelly murdered him, when he was peaceably riding near Echaufre, expecting no evil. Hist. Norman. vii. 2.

392 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.II.

posterity as to the end of each. Arnold, the eldest, a brave and honourable man, while one day amusing himself with sports at Montreuil, in wrestling with a powerful young man, fell against the sharp angle of a bank, and breaking three of his ribs, died on the third day afterwards. William, the second in order of birth, lived for many years, and all his life governed his brothers; for he was eloquent and gay, liberal and brave, beloved by his inferiors, and the terror of his enemies. None of his neighbours ventured to make inroads on his territories in any shape, nor to subject his people to any kind of exactions. He exercised episcopal jurisdiction in the lands of Montreuil and Echaufour, and no archdeacon was permitted to interfere with the priests of those two lordships; for it happened that when his father Giroie succeeded to the domains of Heugon, as before related, he inquired of the inhabitants of the district in what bishopric it was situated. They replied that they belonged to no bishopric; upon which he exclaimed: "This is quite wrong; far be it from me to live without a pastor, and exempt from the yoke of ecclesiastical discipline". Upon further inquiry, which of the neighbouring bishops was most devoted to his religious duties, being informed of the virtues of Roger, bishop of Lisieux, he placed all his territories under his jurisdiction, persuading Baldric de Bauquencei and his sons-in-law Wascelin d'Echanfre and Roger de Merlerault, who enjoyed a similar exemption, to place their domains, in like manner, under the same bishop. Roger, bishop of Lisieux, observing that these nobles made a voluntary surrender of their immunities, complimented them on their devotion, and granted them the privilege that the clergy on their estates should not be impleaded out of their lords' jurisdiction, and should be exempt from the oppressions of the archdeacon's visitations. This privilege was strictly maintained by William de Giroie, who obtained the same exemption for the monks of St. Evroult from Bishop Hugh. [1]


[1] This exemption from episcopal jurisdiction of territories which were the fiefs of lay lords, was not, we believe, very common. There are, or were till recently, some traces of it in England in the case of parishes where the patronage had the name of a donative. It was very usual for the greater abbeys to obtain such exemptions, either from the pope, or the bishops themselves, as the monks of St. Evroult obtained from bishop Hugh; and this was often accompanied by the abbots having conferred on them the jurisdiction of an ordinary in the parishes included in their domains, the origin probably of that kind of jurisdiction in deans and other dignitaries of the English church.

BEFORE 1050.] FAMILY OF GIROIE. 393

William de Giroie married Hiltrude daughter of Fulbert de Beine, who had built the castle of L'aigle in the time of Duke Richard. By her he had a son named Arnold d'Echaufour; and afterwards marrying Emma, daughter of Walchelin de Tannei, who bore him William, called afterwards in Apulia the Good Norman.

The knight of whom we have repeatedly spoken was much beloved by Richard and Robert dukes of Normandy, for the fidelity which he maintained towards his liege lords Robert de Belesme, Talvas and Geoffrey, and others, either his [feudal] superiors or allies. In so doing he was subjected to constant molestation and even danger. He even voluntarily razed his own castle of Montacute [1] to effect the redemption of his Lord Geoffrey de Mayenne, when he was taken prisoner by William Talvas, and his liberation was refused on any other terms than the demolition of that castle which overawed the territories of Talvas. The release of Geoffrey from captivity having been thus obtained, he built the castle of St. Ceneri on the Sarthe, for the baron Giroie, in return for the devoted fidelity he had shown. I could say much more of this William de Giroie, but with so much before me I must pass on to other affairs; and I will now, as I promised, give a short account of his brothers.

Fulk, the third, had one moiety of the fief of Montreuil. He had two sons by a concubine, Giroie and Fulk. After the death of Duke Robert he was killed, along with his countryman Count Gislebert, with whom he served. Robert [the fourth brother] held the castle of St. Ceneri with the adjacent territory for a long course of years. Duke William gave him his cousin Adelaide in marriage, and he had by her a son also named Robert, who now serves in the army


[1] Monte-Acuto, or Montagu, near Bais, in Mayenne; a name preserved in the English peerage. Drogo de Montacute gave the same name to his castle in Somersetshire. The domain of St. Ceneri, otherwise St. Selerin, on the Sarthe, which William Giroie received in exchange, was famous for the monastery founded on it by its lord about the middle of the seventh century.

394 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.II.

of Henry king of England. After many brilliant achievements, when there were violent disputes between the Normans and Anjevins, this Robert, lord of St. Ceneri, held the castle against Duke William, and while besieged in it, in the twenty-fifth year of William's dukedom, died five days after eating a poisoned apple which he had snatched out of the hands of his wife.

Ralph, the fifth brother, was surnamed the Clerk, on account of his knowledge of letters and skill in other arts. He was also called Mala-corona, because in his youth he gave himself up to military exercises and other frivolities. He was versed in medicine, and in many deep secrets of nature, so that old men even now speak of him with wonder to their children and grand-children. In the course of time, he retired from the seductions of the world to the convent of Marmoutier, where he became a monk under the abbot Albert, and devoutly prayed to God that his body might be overspread with the loathsome disease of leprosy, that so his soul might be cleansed from the foulness of his sins. Obtaining his pious wish, he died happily six years after his conversion.

Hugh, the sixth brother, was unfortunately slain in the flower of his youth; for while he was returning one day from the castle of St. Scholasse, accompanied by his brothers and a large retinue, he stopped near the church of St. Germanus, on the lands of Echaufour, to practise with the lance, and his own squire, hurling a spear carelessly, mortally wounded him. Being of an amiable disposition, he presently called for the squire and said to him privately: "Flee with all haste, for you have severely wounded me. God have mercy on you! escape before my brothers are apprised of this accident, or they will certainly kill you". The noble youth expired the same day.

Giroie, the youngest of the seven brothers, while he was yet in the flower of his youth having plundered the lands of the church of Lisieux, while on his return to Montreuil


[1] It need hardly be remarked that in the middle ages clericus, clerk, was the designation of a person in holy orders, a clergyman, as it still is in legal phrase. By a metonymy it was sometimes applied to laymen, distinguished for their literary attainments, as our author here remarks respecting Ralph Giroie. King Henry I. was thus surnamed Beau-Clerc.

A.D. 1050.] ENDOWMENT OF ST. EVROULT. 395

was seized with a frenzy, of which he died. Thus death, in various shapes, carried off all the sons of Giroie, without allowing one of them to live to old age.

Heremburge, the eldest of the daughters was given in marriage to Vascelin du Pont-Echanfre, and had by him two sons, William and Ralph, who afterwards were firm adherents to Robert Guiscard, duke of Calabria, in Apulia and Sicily. Hawise, the next daughter, was married to Robert de Grand-mesnil, by whom she had three sons, Hugh, Robert, and Arnold, with the same number of daughters. On his death she married William, son of Robert the archbishop, to whom she bore Judith, who became the wife of Roger, count of Sicily. The third daughter of Giroie was Emma, who was given in marriage to Robert de Melerant, from which marriage sprung Rodolph, and William, father of our neighbours Rodolph and Roger. Adelaide, the fourth, married Solomon de Sable, and bore him Reginald, whose son Lisiard is now a great supporter of Henry, king of England, against the count of Anjou. Having said enough of the family of Giroie, let us now return to the matter from which we have somewhat digressed.

In the first year of the foundation of the abbey of St. Evroult, William and Robert, sons of Giroie, and Hugh and Robert, their nephews, assembled at Ouche, with their sons, nephews, and barons. Consulting together for the advantage of the unfinished monastery which they had begun to erect, they agreed in common that each of them should at his death bequeath his body to St. Evroult with the whole of his substance, and that none of them should make a gift whether of tithes, or of a church or anything appertaining to a church, nor even offer it for sale, without first giving the option to the monks of St. Evroult. This agreement was firmly ratified by the priest Fulcoin, and Osmond Basset, by Louvet and Fulk, sons of Fredenlend, Odo the Red and Richard son of Gulbert, Robert de Torp, and Giroie des Loges, with others their barons. The founders of the monastery then took account of their possessions, and granted a fair portion, according to their ability, to the church they were building.

These are the possessions which Robert and Hugh and

396 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.II.

Arnold, sons of Robert do Grand-mesnil, granted to the abbey of St. Evroult for the good of their souls. In Norrei, the church, and all the tithes, with the priest's glebe and three plough-lands, together with the vill called Soulange; in Outllie, all the benefice which Tezcelin the clerk held, and the tithes of the mills of that vill; English-Ville with its monastery; [1] the church of Villers with one yearly tenant; in the vill called Oth, the monastery, the priest's land, and the tithes of the mills of that vill; and in the monastery of Gueprei, they gave that part which their father Robert held; besides the tithe of La Bigne, and at Beaumais the third part of a mill with the tithe of the same; and the benefice of the priest Fulcuin, namely the church and tithe of Grand-mesnil, and the tithe of the mill of Olivet; one yearly tenant at Colleville with the tithe of the whole vill; also the tithe of wax, and the tithe of St. Pierre d'Entremont; moreover the church in the village called Fougi, and that portion of the tithes of Coulonces which was held by their father Robert. Hugh gave the lands of Quilli to the aforesaid abbey, on the petition of the lords of that vill, whose tenure was allodial; also the tithe of all his ploughs and beasts of burden, and the tithe of Mont-Chauvet, both of tolls and of corn, and the church of Louvigni with the priest's glebe. He gave besides the land called Noyer-Mesnard; at the place named Mesnil Bernard, one plough-land, and the fields of the vill of La Tanaisie; moreover the cell of Manselles with the priest's glebe; and the tenth of the tolls of Sap; and the farm called Mesnil Dode, and the church of


[1] The French editors have bestowed great pains in ascertaining the exact localities and modern names of all the places mentioned here, and elsewhere throughout the work, but as they possess little interest for the general English reader, these topographical notices are often omitted in the present edition.

The number of "monasteries" enumerated in this terrier of the possessions of the abbey of St. Erroult, renders a word of explanation necessary. The French editor remarks, that in this case, and frequently in the writings of the middle ages, the word "monasterium", moutier, ought to be taken in the sense of parish church. But the churches are generally mentioned separately, and it is apprehended that the residences of the clergy attached, the manse, or parsonage, are what is meant; there being generally two or more priests employed in the services of the church in the larger country parishes, who lived together in a sort of conventual life, celibacy beginning to prevail even among the secular clergy,

A.D. 1050.] POSSESSIONS OF ST. EVROULT. 397

Limbeuf with the priest's glebe; together with the portion which belonged to their mother in Vieux-Mesnil. At Neuf-Marche Hugh gave the fourth part of the monastery of St. Peter, and the tithe of one half of the tolls of the whole vill, as well as of the mills; and in Serifontaine the monastery and the third part of the tithe with all the first fruits and five curtilages.

William, son of Giroie, with the consent of his sons Arnold and William, and his brothers Robert and Rodolph Mala-corona, who joined in the grant, gave to the aforesaid abbey the monastery of Echaufour and the tenth of the tolls of that vill, with the land of the priest Adelelm, and the tithe of the whole forest belonging to that vill, both in swine and in money, and the wood for all necessary uses; and moreover all the monasteries which were on his domain, one of which, dedicated to St. George, was built at Montreuil; two at Verneuces, one in honour of St. Mary, the other in honour of St. Paul; two at Sap, one in honour of St. Peter, the other in honour of St. Martin. All these he granted with the tithes and lands thereto belonging, and the tenths of all tolls, and all forest rights and other customary dues in Echaufour and Montreuil, and also in Sap.

When Theodoric had been, by the grace of God, consecrated abbot of the convent of St. Evroult, he bought of Arnold, son of William before-mentioned, with the consent of his uncle Robert and at the command of Count William, [1] the farm of Bauquencei, as it had been held by Baldric the said count's archer, and that part of the domain of Echaufour which is situated between le Noir-Eau and Charenton, and Essart d'Henri, and the tithes of the mill of Echaufour. Moreover, Arnold himself gave to the same abbey the lands of Haute-rive, with all that belonged thereto, with all his monasteries and glebe-lands, and the farm of Douet-Moussu.


[1] The dukes of Normandy were indiscriminately called counts, or earls, and sometimes they assumed, or had conferred on them, the title of marquis, which is occasionally used by Ordericus. Richard II. received the title of marquis of Normandy from the king of France and the pope, and he is sometimes also called consul, and in a charter of his to Ralph, count of Ivri, all these titles of duke, marquis, count, and consul of Normandy are accumulated in his single person.

398 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.II.

Finally, William his brother, son of the William already mentioned, with the consent of his brother Giroie, and his cousins Giroie and Fulk, granted all the monasteries he possessed, in consideration of no small sum of money paid him by the abbot of the said convent. One of these, dedicated to St. Sulpicius, was, situated at Mesnil-Bernard, another at Roiville dedicated to St. Leger, another at Monnai dedicated to St Mary, with the moiety of the same Monnai in the tenure of Robert, he consenting; the monastery also of Ternant, and one in Les Essarts dedicated to St. Peter, another at Augerons with the whole vill, and one in Bois-Herbert. All these monasteries, with the tithes and glebe-lands, were given to the abbey of St. Evroult, as well by the said William as by the lords thereof; viz., Roger Goulafre de-Mesnil Bernard, Herfred de Roiville, Robert de Monnai, Herfred de Ternant, William priest of Essarts, William provost of Augerons, and Roger Faitel of Bois-Hebert.

Moreover William gave to the said abbey for the redemption of the soul of his mother Emma a farm of one plough, situate at Verneuces. He also, his brother Arnold consenting, gave one moiety of the mills of Verneuces, together with what he possessed there in his own right, viz., the farm of Warrin, and the wood of Landigou, and the farm of Burnend in Verneuces, and two fishermen at Ternant, with two kilns and one burgess at Montreuil. Moreover, William, son of Vauquelin de Pont-Erchanfre, gave the church of St. Mary to the said abbey, together with whatever Osborn the priest held, with the tenth of the tolls and the tithe of the mills and ploughs which he possessed or should possess there or elsewhere; as also all the monasteries which he possessed, or should thereafter possess, and that part of Roiville which belonged to him.

Moreover, Robert son of Heugon, with the concurrence and assent of his lords, viz., William and Robert, and their sons and nephews, sold the church of St. Martin on the rivulet called Bailleul to the monks of St. Evroult, and the glebe of the same place with another farm of eight ploughs, for which they paid no small price. He also gave the moiety of the monastery of St. Andrew, with the priests' glebe, and the moiety of all his land in the vill. Robert

A.D. 1050.] POSSESSIONS OF ST. EVROULT. 399

also, the son of Theodelin, gave the other moiety of the same monastery and of the whole vill.

Further, the abbot Theoderic purchased for eighteen pounds of William and Robert, sons of Robert surnamed Fresnel, the church of Our Lady of the Wood, [1] as it was held by a certain monk of the name of Placidus. Moreover, Hubert de Anceins sold to the abbot the church of that vill, and some acres of land. All these belonging to the lordship of William Fitz-Osbern the steward, were granted by him.

Next, Robert son of Giroie, ratifying and confirming all that his brothers and nephews with their allies had given to the abbey of St. Evroult, gave also to the same, of his own possessions, St. Ceneri, St. Peter de la Pote-des-nids, with all the tithes belonging thereto, and one half of the wood of St. Ceneri, with fishings in the Sarthe for the use of the monks who lived there, and St Mary of Mount Gandelain, and the whole tithes of Siral, and of all the lands which he should thereafter acquire. Then also, Ralph, son of Godfrey, his man-at-arms, gave with his consent the church of Radon to the same abbey. Hearing of these benefactions, a good knight named Wadon de Dreux made a gift of the church of St. Michael on the Arve, in the canton of Evreux, with the consent of the lords under whom he held it, and his sons, kindred, and friends.

These were the benefactions with which William and Robert and others their kinsmen, endowed the abbey of St. Evroult, and, making a charter of them, presented it to William duke of Nomandy for his confirmation. The duke gave a favourable reception to their petition, and graciously ratified their donations to the before-mentioned abbey. He also granted this special privilege to the abbey of St. Evroult, that it should be for ever exempt from all foreign jurisdiction. With respect also to the election of the abbots, he vested it entirely in the chapter of the brethren, subject to the rules of regular discipline, but on condition that the votes were not corruptly obtained, either by favouritism, or relationship, or certainly not by bribery. At the end of the charter the duke had this clause inserted, ratifying the


[1] "Sanctae Mariae de Bosco", Notre-Dame-du-Bois, originally the mother church of the parish in which the abbey of St. Evroult was built.

400 ORDERICUS VITALIS, [B.III. CH.II.

whole in the following words: "I, William, count of Normandy, have caused this deed of gift to be put in writing, and have had it confirmed, under pain of excommunication by the signatures of the archbishop of Rouen, and the bishops, abbots, and nobles, whose names and marks are hereunto subscribed, in order that its provisions may remain firm and undisturbed henceforth and for ever; so that if any one shall presume to infringe them or shall in any wise injure them, either by himself or any other, he shall, by the authority of God and all the saints, be excommunicated from all Christian privileges, and, if he do not repent, be accursed for ever". Duke William subscribed this charter with the sign of the cross; and it was afterwards signed by Mauger archbishop of Rouen, son of Richard Gonnorides, duke of Normandy; by Hugh, bishop of Lisieux, son of William, count d'Eu; by Odo, bishop of Bayeux, uterine brother of Duke William; by William, bishop of Evreux, son of Gerard Fleitel; Gislebert, abbot of Chatillon; William, Robert, and Ralph, sons of Giroie; by their nephews Hugh de Grand-mesnil, Robert and Arnold; by William, son of Vascelin; by Ralph de Toni; by Ralph Taison; by Roger de Montgomery; by William Fitz-Osbern; by Richard de Beaufour, Richard de St. Scholasse; and many others of the Norman nobles, who were assembled in the forest of Lions at the duke's palace on the river Lieure, [1] before the church of St. Denys, and confirmed the charter of the abbey of St. Evroult, in the year of our Lord 1050, the fourth indiction.

The same year Robert de Grand-mesnil put off the secular habit, and submitted to the monastic rule under abbot Theodoric at St. Evroult. We have already mentioned that he was the son of Robert de Grand-mesnil, a powerful baron by Hawise the daughter of Giroie. In his childhood he applied himself diligently to letters, and was distinguished among those of his own age for his retentive memory. But from his earliest youth he began to despise the inaction of learning, and sought with eagerness the toils of arms,


[1] Formerly St. Denis-en-Lions. This seems to have been a favourite hunting-seat of the dukes of Normandy. Henry I. died there of eating lampreys, after returning from the chase (December 1, 1135). See Henry of Huntingdon's history, b. vii. p. 259 of Bohn's edition.

A.D. 1051.] ROBERT DE GRAND-MESNIL TURNS MONK. 401.

becoming for five years an esquire of Duke William. He was then raised by the same duke to the honours of chivalry; and having been knighted, received at the duke's hands noble rewards. Reflecting however on the chances of life, he chose rather to serve humbly in the Lord's house than to flourish like grass in the courts of the wicked. For he recollected the perils of worldly warfare, which had been experienced by his father and a host of others, who attacking their enemies fell into the snares which they had laid for others and perished. Thus his father Robert joined with Roger de Toni in battle against Roger de Beaumont, in which fight Roger de Toni, with his two sons Elbert and Elinance were slain outright, and Robert received a mortal wound in his bowels. Being carried off the field he survived three weeks, and divided his lands between his sons Hugh and Robert. Dying on the 14th of the calends of July [18th of June], he was interred without the church of St. Mary at Norrei. [1] This calamity roused his son Robert to strive in a better warfare. His first intention was to found a convent at Norrei, as it has been already stated, for the good of his soul and those of his ancestors, and to endow it liberally with the whole of his patrimony, if his brother Hugh consented. But his plans being changed, by the advice of his uncle William Giroie, he made the general deed of gift, jointly with his brother Hugh of the possessions already enumerated, and coming to St. Evroult there solemnly professed himself a monk according to the rule of St. Benedict. He suffered much inconvenience in supplying the necessities of the church, and often laid hands on the substance of his kinsfolk; who were very wealthy, charitably distributing it in the support of the faithful, for the salvation of their souls. Paying his mother Hawise forty livres of Rouen, he deprived her of her dowry, consisting of lands in Noyer-Menard, Vieux-Mesnil, La Tanaisie, and Mesnil-Dode, which he transferred to the abbey of St. Evroult. He also presented to the monks of St. Evroult as his mother's gift, the great psaltery illuminated with pictures, which the choir frequently uses to the present time in chanting the praises of God. This volume was given


[1] See before, in book i. p. 150, what is said of the battle in which Robert de Grand-mesnil was mortally wounded.

402 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.III.

by Emma, wife of Ethelred king of England, to Robert, archbishop of Rouen, her brother, and William who was son of that prelate had secretly abstracted it from his father's chamber and given to his wife Hawise to whom he was so much attached, that he sought every means of pleasing her. This Robert de Grand-mesnil conferred many other benefits on his church, and rendered himself very agreeable to his brethren both by the ecclesiastical ornaments he furnished, and by the necessary comforts he procured for them.

CH. III. Notices of Theodoric first abbot of Evroult - His care in collecting and mulitiplying copies of the scriptures and the fathers - Legend respecting a copyist - Norman conquests in Apulia, and other parts of the south of Italy.

THE venerable abbot Theodoric zealously enforced the monastic rule, and studied, both in his words and actions the profit of the community entrusted to his charge. He was a Norman by birth, of the district of Talou; he was of middle stature, his face ruddy, and his voice agreeable; well versed in the sacred scriptures, and engaged in the duties of divine worship from childhood to old age. But as tares spring up unexpectedly among the wheat and are rooted out by the careful husbandman at the time of harvest, and delivered to the destroying flames, so sons of Belial are mingled in the company of the faithful, until at the time predestined, they are detected by the righteous Judge, and strictly subjected to the punishment they deserve. In the time of abbot Theodoric there was a monk in the society of Evroult named Romanus, who was instigated by the devil to steal the linen, and breeches, and other articles of that nature; and when he was repeatedly called to account by father Theodoric for such misdeeds, he stoutly denied being guilty of the theft, though he soon after confessed it. One night, however, while he was in bed he was seized by the demon and grievously tormented. The monks heard his horrible shrieks, and, coming to him and shaking him, sprinkled him with holy water, and with difficulty released him from the evil spirit which tormented him. Being come to himself, the monk understood that the devil had obtained this power over him on account of the thefts he had committed, and

1050-1057.] MONKS OF ST. EVROULT. 403

made promises of keeping himself for the future from such offences. But afterwards he returned like a dog to his vomit, so that father Theodoric ordered his cowl to be stripped of, and turned him out of the convent. Thus expelled from the society of the brethren, it is reported that he undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but what was his future lot we are wholly uninformed.

A certain priest whose name was Ansered, who lived in the commune of Sap led a very irregular life. But while suffering from disease he entreated the monks of St. Evroult to give him the habit of St. Benedict. Wrapped in this he was carried to the abbey and sent to the infirmary. But as soon as he recovered from his sickness, he resumed as nearly as possible the same irregularity of conduct which he had exhibited under the secular dress, so true it is as a wise writer says

"No change of clime can bring an altered mind". [1]

This man changed, indeed, his habit, but not his habitual conduct. The abbot Theodoric observed his reprehensible life and conversation, and heard that he detested the religious rule; for he had sent word to his father and mother that he was slandered, and entreated them to remove him from the monastery. The abbot therefore, acting in this case on the apostolic precept, "Put away from among yourselves the wicked person"; and that which saith: "If an unbelieving brother depart, let him depart", [2] permitted him to retire from the abbey and enter again into the world. The man, adding sin to sin, kept company with a woman of light character: and not satisfied with her, made love to another whose name was Pomula. He made an appointment with her that they should go together to the shrine of St. Giles, hoping to keep the affair from coming to the knowledge of his parents and friends. Having fixed with her a place of meeting from which they should proceed in company, he himself set forth with some pilgrims who were going to the church of St. Giles. The woman, however, without informing Ansered, broke her engagement,


[1] "Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt". Hor. Ep. I. xi. 27.

[2] 1 Cor. v. 13-vii. 15.

404 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.III.

and formed a connection with another clerk. Ansered, arriving at the appointed place of meeting, and not finding the woman there, said to his fellow pilgrims: "I must return home, having forgotten something for which I have occasion; but you need not lose any time on the road, for I shall soon overtake you". Retracing, then, his steps, and getting into the house in which the woman lived, by night, he found her in bed with the clerk. She signified to her lover that Ansered was there, upon which the clerk snatched up an axe, and striking Ansered on the head killed him on the spot. He then enclosed the body in a sack, and dragging it to a distance concealed it from sight in a hole in the ground. Sometime afterwards the body was found, for the wild beasts had disinterred it, devouring a leg and a thigh, and the discovery was made by the offensive smell. Indeed it was so pestiferous that no one could go near the spot. His father and mother, who were attached to him more than to any others, took up the remains and buried them outside the cemetery of the church. Such was the end of one who preferred returning to the vanities of the world, to spending his days with the servants of God in the religious life which would lead him upwards to the heavenly kingdom.

Another priest, whose name was Adelard, having assumed the monastic habit in consequence of his infirmities, gave to God and St. Evroult and his monks the church of Sap, with the tithes, of which he was enfeoffed, to be held by them in perpetuity. But having recovered his health, he repented of what he had done, and was bent on returning to the world. Abbot Theodoric, upon hearing this, caused the rule of St. Benedict to be read to him, and then thus addressed him: "You have heard the rule under which you have engaged to serve, if you can keep it, continue with us, but if you cannot, depart free"; for he would not detain any such against their will. Whereupon, Adelard, obstinately persisting in his evil design, withdrew himself from the monastery, and resumed the secular habit which he had relinquished; but when he sought to recover the church of Sap which he had made over to the monks of St. Evroult, Hugh de Grantmesnil, to whom the lordship of Sap belonged, would not consent. He therefore retired among his relations at Friardel, for he was of a good family, and

A.D. 1050-1057.] ABBEY OF ST. MARTIN AT SEEZ. 405

lived there nearly fifteen years. But he was never restored to good health, being afflicted with incessant infirmities. At last, perceiving that his end was approaching, and alarmed at the punishment which awaited his apostacy, he entreated abbot Mainer, who was the fourth in succession from the venerable Theodoric, that he might be allowed to resume the monastic habit which he had forfeited for his sins. But he died three weeks after his request was granted, being in such a state of weakness that he could not dispense with female attendance, so that he never returned alive to the monastery from which he had withdrawn.

In the time of William, duke of Normandy, Ivo, son of William de Belesme, held the bishopric of Seez, [1] and, on the death of his brothers Warin, Robert, and William, inherited the town of Belesme as his father's heir. The bishop was handsome in person, learned, wise, and eloquent; witty, and of a most cheerful temper. He treated his clergy and the monks with parental kindness, and held Abbot Theodoric in great reverence, as among the chief of his friends. They had much private intercourse, for the city of Seez is only seven leagues from the abbey of St. Evroult. [2] Roger de Montgomery, Viscount d'Exmes, had married Mabel, the bishop's niece, with whom he acquired a large portion of the domains of William de Belesme. This Roger, at the suggestion and by the advice of the bishop, transferred the church of St. Martin at Seez to Theodoric, abbot of St. Evroult, and, in conjunction with his wife, earnestly begged that he would erect a monastery in that place. The bishop without delay commenced the work assigned to him, in the Lord's name, and settled at Seez Roger, a monk of St. Evroult, in priest's orders, together with Morin and Engelbert, and others of his disciples, while he often repaired thither himself, remaining sometimes four or five weeks at a time, urging the prosecution of the work for the love of God and the good of posterity. [3] Now, this Mabel was both powerful and politic, shrewd and fluent, but extremely


[1] He was bishop of Seez from 1035 to 1070.

[2] The leagues here spoken of appear to be about 2200 toises, of six feet each.

[3] This Roger de Montgomery, afterwards earl of Shrewsbury in England, was the patron of our author's father. See the preface to this volume, and b. v. c. 1.

406 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.III.

cruel. Still she had a high regard for the excellent Theodoric, and in some things submitted to his admonitions, although in general she was severe with men of religion. In consequence, her son Roger, whose cruelties to his wretched dependants has made him notorious in the times in which I live, was brought to Roger and the rest of the monks settled at Seez, to receive from them the holy sacrament of baptism.

True grace makes those in whose hearts it rules the delight of the good and the terror of evil-doers. Thus Abbot Theodoric was deservedly beloved by all good men, while he was feared by the wicked. As far as possible avoiding worldly cares, he devoted himself with earnest zeal to the worship of God. But, though diligent in the offices of prayer, he did not neglect such manual labours as were fitting his station. He was a skilful scribe, and he left to the young monks of St. Evroult some splendid specimens of his calligraphy. The book of Collects, the Gradual, and Antiphonary, were all written in the convent with his own hand. He procured also, by gentle solicitations, from his colleagues who accompanied him from Jumieges, several precious books of the divine law. Thus, his nephew Rodolf transcribed the Heptateuch, [1] and the missal from which the mass was sung daily in the choir; Hugh, his companion, made a copy of the commentary on Ezekiel, and the Decalogue, and the first part of the moral books; and Roger the priest, of the Paralipomena, the books of Solomon, and the third part of the moral books.

The worthy abbot, so often named, by these scribes and other antiquaries whom he succeeded in engaging in this work, during the eight years he governed the convent of St. Evroult, was able to procure for the library of the abbey all the books of the Old and New Testament, with the entire works of the eloquent Pope Gregory. From the same school proceeded some learned and excellent penmen, such as Berenger, who was afterwards made bishop of Venusa, Goscelin and Rodolph, Bernard, Turketil, and Richard, with many more, who filled the library at St. Evroult with the works of St. Jerome and St. Augustine, St.


[1] The first seven books of the Old Testament. The books before mentioned were offices used in the daily services of the church.

A.D. 1050-1057.] THE CONVENT LIBRARY. 407

Ambrose and Isidore, Eusebius and Orosius, and other doctors of the church, [1] while, by their useful labours and example they encouraged the youths who were to succeed them in similar pursuits.

These novices the man of God himself instructed, often admonishing them carefully to shun the idleness of an unstable disposition, which is apt to enervate both mind and body; and addressing them in such words as these: "One of the brethren in a certain convent was guilty of repeated transgressions of the monastic rule, but he was a good scribe, and so applied himself to writing that he copied of his own accord a bulky volume of the holy scriptures. [2] After his death, his soul was brought before the tribunal of the righteous Judge. There the evil spirits sharply accused him, laying to his charge his innumerable offences; the holy angels, on the other hand, produced the volume which the brother had transcribed in the sanctuary of the Lord, counting letter for letter of the enormous volume against the several sins which the monk had committed. At last the letters had a majority of only one, against which all the devices of the devils failed to discover an equivalent failing. The mercy of the Judge was, therefore, extended to the sinful brother; and his soul was permitted to return to the body, in order that he might enjoy an opportunity of amending his life. Reflect frequently, my dearly beloved brethren, on this example, and cleanse your hearts from vain and sinful desires, offering continually the works of your hands as an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord your God.


[1] The French editors of Ordericus caused diligent search to be made in the public library at Alencon, to which the books saved at the destruction of the abbey of St. Evroult were removed, in the hope that one of the MSS. here mentioned might have escaped the ravages of time or violence, but nothing was discovered which could be traced to the period of abbot Theodoric, except St. Gregory's Homilies. The precious psalter, which had belonged to Queen Emma, and was given to the abbey of St. Evroult by Robert de Grant-mesnil, had probably been long worn out by its daily use in the choir service.

[2] Mr. Maitland, in his valuable Essays on the State of Religion and Literature in the Ninth and following Centuries, refers (p. 198) to these interesting notices of the diligence with which copies of the holy scriptures and writings of the early fathers were collected and multiplied by the monks, as part of a great mass of evidence tending to show that the condemnation of what are called the dark ages in the popular idea, is far too sweeping.

408 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.III.

Shun sloth, that deadly poison, with the utmost care, for what saith our holy father Benedict?- 'Sloth is the mortal enemy of the soul'. Ponder often, also, on what is said by a doctor of eminence in his Lives of the Fathers: that only a single evil spirit vexes with his wiles the monk who is laboriously occupied, while a thousand devils infest the idler, and provoke him by the keen impulse of manifold temptations, on every side, to loath the restraints of the cloister, and to hanker after the soul-destroying vanities of the world, and indulgence in fatal delights. You, indeed, have not the means of feeding the poor with your alms, being possessed of no worldly substance; nor can you build noble churches, like the kings and great men of the world, confined, as you are to the cloister, and deprived of all power and influence; at least, then, bear in mind the exhortation of Solomon, and guard unceasingly the avenues to your hearts, striving earnestly to please God without ceasing. Pray, read, chant, write; and be instant in other occupations of the like kind, thus prudently arming yourselves against the temptations of evil spirits".

By such admonitions, Father Theodoric instructed his disciples, diligently stirring them up by argument, by entreaty, and by rebuke, to those good works of which he he himself set them the example, not only in the offices of devotion, but by writing and other useful occupations. For these he was hated by some of the monks, who preferred secular concerns to their religious duties. Alas! they censured him for that which merited the highest respect; while they muttered: "This man is not fit to be an abbot, for he undervalues and neglects all worldly thrift. But how are the men of prayer to subsist, if the men of the plough are not forthcoming? [1] He must be a fool who is more anxious about reading and writing in his monastery than about the means of procuring subsistence for the brethren". Some of the monks indulged insolent talk of this description, wronging the man of God with more of the same sort; but William, the son of Giroie, constantly paid him deep reverence for his sanctity, and checked the ebullitions of the


[1] We are obliged to use a periphrasis for one of those antithetical phrases, in which the writers of those times delighted: Unde vivent oratores, si defecerint aratores?

A.D. 1050-1057.] THEODORIC ABBOT OF ST. EVROULT. 409

malcontents, whom I forbear to name, with great severity, affording him ready aid in all contentions which arose, both within and without the monastery. However, after some time, this noble soldier resolved on a journey to Apulia, upon business in which the welfare of the abbey of St. Evroult was concerned; and during his absence, which was much prolonged, the holy father Theodoric was left alone and forlorn in Normandy.

The conduct of wicked men is no less repugnant to the good, than theirs is to men of corrupt minds; so that as good men, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, use all the means in their power to bring the wicked into the way of righteousness; so these, actuated by the malignant influence of the devil, often strive zealously to turn the righteous into the, paths of wickedness. They may not, perhaps, succeed in ruining them utterly, but they are sometimes able to perplex them in various ways, and cause them to be sluggish in their sacred calling. In this manner, while the abbey of Evroult was rising, and, enriched by good works, was becoming glorious both in the sight of God and man, some flagitious persons fomented various grudges against the society, causing infinite trouble in what concerned the subsistence, and the clothing, and the sacred entertainments [1] of the monks. But although tempestuous waves threatened to overwhelm the ship of the church, Christ, her true spouse, graciously manifested the brightness of his presence to succour his servants and confound the machinations of their enemies.

I propose in this place to give a true account of what happened to Mabel, daughter of William Talvas, though it is somewhat out of order. This lady caused many troubles, iniquitously contrived, to the monks of St. Evroult, on account of the hatred she bore to the founders of the abbey, notwithstanding that the monastic rule was strictly observed from the beginning, and the offices of charity were duly performed to all comers, as the custom is to this day. For she, as well as her father and all her kindred, fostered a never-ceasing animosity against the family of Giroie. But as her husband Roger de Montgomery loved and honoured


[1] Agapen; in the strict sense of the word, the love-feasts, peculiar to the apostolic and primitive ages of the church.

410 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.III

the monks, she did not venture to exhibit any open signs of her malicious feeling. She therefore made the abbey her frequent resort, attended by numerous bands of armed retainers, under pretence of claiming the hospitality of the monks, [1] but to their great oppression in the indigence to which they were subjected by the barrenness of their lands. At one time, when she had taken up her abode at the abbey with a hundred men-at-arms, and was questioned by abbot Theodoric why she came with such a splendid retinue to the abode of poor anchorites, and was warned to abstain from such absurdity, she exclaimed, in great wrath: "When I come again, my followers shall be still more numerous". The abbot replied: "Trust me; unless you repent of this iniquity you will suffer what will be very painful to you". And so it happened: for the very night following she was attacked by a disorder which caused her great suffering. Upon this, she gave instant orders for being carried forth from the abbey, and, hastening in a state of alarm to fly from the territory of St. Evroult, she passed by the dwelling of a certain farmer named Roger Suisnar, whose infant child she caused to suck her nipple, which occasioned her the severest pain. The infant died soon afterwards, while Mabel reached her home restored to health. She lived fifteen years afterwards, but never ventured to return to St. Evroult, after having there suffered under the chastisement of God; and from thenceforth she was very careful not to meddle, either for good or evil, with the occupants of the abbey, so long as she enjoyed the checquered delights of the present life. Notwithstanding, she had a great regard for abbot Theodoric, and confided to him much more than to the convent of St. Evroult, the cell of St. Martin, as I have already remarked in anticipation.

[A.D. 1016-1030.] [2] While Pope Benedict filled the


[1] A common grievance in the feudal ages.

[2] Our author here begins an account of the Norman conquests in the south of Italy, which is far from satisfactory; it is therefore proposed to inquire shortly how much truth and how much error it contains. It was in the year 1016 that a band of forty Norman pilgrims returning from Mount Garganus, met Melo the Lombard, who invited them to assist him in recovering Apulia. But it belonged at that time to the Greek emperor not to the Saracens, although the latter had ravaged it for two centuries, but without establishing any settlement. The year following, Melo, with the help of the Normans, recovered this fine country from the Greeks, but in 1019 he was in turn defeated by Bugienus, and his Norman auxiliaries were reduced to two hundred and seventy. Osmond, or Godfrey Drengot, did not arrive until the year 1020. William Repostel was not the favourite of Duke Robert, but of his father, Richard II. By the intervention of Pope Benedict VIII., this fresh band of Normans was received with open arms by the Lombard chief, who employed them in various wars against the Greeks, the Saracens, and sometimes among themselves. The story of the 20,000 Saracens surprised by one hundred Normans while they were taking refreshment in a meadow near Salerno, appears to be pure invention. In Naples the Normans first established themselves at Aversa, a city they built in the year 1030, on lands granted them by Sergius III., the then duke of Naples. Drengot was dead when the Emperor Conrad created his brother Ranulf count of Aversa in 1038. About that time William Bras-de-fer, Drogon, and Humphrey, the sons of Tancred de Hauteville, came into Italy. William, as the eldest, was acknowledged their chief, and assumed the title of count of Apulia in 1043. Drogo, who succeeded him in 1046, was assassinated at the instigation of the Greeks. Robert Guiscard did not obtain the government until after the death of Humphrey (1051-1057). Further particulars of the Norman conquests in the south of Italy will be found in the course of the present work.

A.D. 1016-1040.] THE NORMANS IN APULIA. 411

apostolic see, the Saracens of Africa made an annual descent with their galleys on the coast of Apulia, levying with impunity whatever contributions they pleased from the degenerate Lombards, of the Apulian cities, and the Greek colonies in Calabria. In those days, Osmond surnamed Drengot, hearing William Repostel insolently boast, in the presence of the Norman nobles, of having dishonoured his daughter, slew him in the presence of Robert the duke, in a wood where they were hunting. For this crime he was forced to make his escape with his sons and nephews, first into Brittany, afterwards into England, and at length to Beneventum. He was the first Norman who established himself in Apulia, having obtained from the prince of Beneventum the grant of a town as a settlement for himself and his heirs. Afterwards, a Norman knight who had gone on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with a hundred men-at-arms, was hospitably entertained with his followers, on their return, by the Duke Waimalch, who humanely kept them several days, in order that they might refresh themselves. While they were there twenty thousand Saracens made a descent on the coast of Italy, and demanded, with great threats, tribute from the inhabitants of Salernum. While the duke and his guards were gathering the tribute from the citizens, the

412 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.III.

pirates disembarked from their fleet, and began to prepare their meal in full security, and with great delight, on a grassy plain lying between the city and the sea-shore. The Normans, witnessing this, and finding that the duke was collecting money to pacify the infidels, gently rebuked the Apulians for thus ransoming themselves like defenceless women, instead of defending themselves, sword in hand, like brave men. They then flew to arms, and, making a sudden attack on the Africans who were waiting for the tribute in perfect security, many thousand of them were slain on the spot, and the rest were driven with disgrace to the refuge of their ships. The Normans returning, laden with gold and silver plate and other valuable booty, were much pressed by the duke to remain in honour at Salernum; but as they were anxious to re-visit their own country, they declined to accept his proposal. Some of them, however, promised to return, or speedily to send to the duke a chosen band of Norman youths. When, therefore, they had reached their native land, they had much to tell their countrymen of all that they had seen, and heard, and done, and suffered. In the end, some of them, fulfilling their engagement, retraced their steps to Italy, and by their example induced a number of their light-hearted countrymen to join in their enterprize. In short, Turstin surnamed Citel, and Ranulph; Richard, son of Ansquetil de Quarrel, [1] the sons of Tancred de Hauteville, viz. Drogo and Humphrey; William and Herman; Robert surnamed Guiscard, and Roger with their six brothers; William de Montreuil, Arnold de Grant-mesnil, and many others, left Normandy and reached Apulia, not all together, but at different times. On their arrival, they in the first instance took service, as mercenaries against the infidels under the Duke Waimalch and other nobles. Afterwards, however, disputes arising, they attacked those to whom they were previously subject, and by force of arms reduced Salernum, Bari, and Capua, with the whole of Campania and Calabria, under their own dominion. They also gained possession, in Sicily, of Palermo, Catania, Castel-Giovanni, and other cities and fine towns which are held by their heirs to the present day.


[1] Richard de Caret married a daughter of Tancred de Hautville, and obtained for his share of the conquest the principality of Capua.

A.D. 1050-1050.] WILLIAM GIROIE'S MISSION TO APULIA. 413

Among the Normans who crossed the Tiber, no one distinguished himself more than William de Montreuil, son of William Giroie, and, being appointed to the chief command of the Roman troops, he carried the banner of St. Peter to the conquest of the fertile plains of Campania. Being a friend and brother of the monks of St. Evroult, to whom he made large grants, as already mentioned, before he left Normandy, he sent to desire them to despatch a trusty messenger, by whom he might forward the presents he had prepared for them. His father William being informed of this, voluntarily offered to undertake the mission for the good of holy church. Abbot Theodoric heard the proposal with mingled joy and grief; joy, at the devotion which inflamed the heart of his friend, and induced him, old as he was, to undertake so toilsome a journey; grief, at losing the society of one who was ready at all good works. At length, the holy father and Robert the prior, with the whole chapter, commended the Lord William to God's protection, selecting for his companions Humphrey, a most intelligent monk, and Roger of Jumieges, a skilful penman, with twelve other honourable attendants. Crossing the Alps he travelled to Rome, and thence pursued his journey to Apulia, where he found his son and other friends, kinsfolk, and relations. His arrival caused them all the greatest joy, and, prevailing on him to remain with them a considerable time, during which he was entertained with the highest distinction, they committed to his charge many magnificent presents for the support of the abbey for which he was a suitor. Wishing however to send relief to the poor brethren without delay, he sent back the monk Humphrey, with a considerable sum of money; but, by the mysterious decrees of God's providence, this enterprize turned out otherwise than he had hoped; for Humphrey, having got as far as Rome, determined to winter there, in the monastery of St. Paul the apostle. But he was poisoned by the Romans for the sake of the gold he had in his possession, and so the venerable pilgrim died in the confession of the faith of Christ, on the ides [13th] of December. Shortly afterwards William himself took his departure for Normandy, conveying a large sum of money, but when he reached Gaieta, so called from the nurse of AEneas the Trojan, he was seized with a mortal disease.

414 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.III.

Thereupon he summoned to his side the two knights, Ansquetil du Noyer, son of Ascelin, and Theodelin de Tanie, and thus addressed them: "You know that your twelve companions who came out of Normandy together in full health, all but you are dead; I also am attacked by a severe disease which is fast hurrying me to the grave. I therefore commend to your custody Ansquetil, in the presence of Theodelin as witness, the money of which I am the bearer, in order that you may honestly carry it to the lord abbot Theodoric, and my nephew Robert, and the other monks of St. Evroult, for whom I am now in a foreign land. Ye are both liege-men of the abbey, and are bound to do it faithful service. Let no love of lucre lead you astray. Reflect well that all your comrades having perished, you only survive, through the merits of the blessed Evroult, in order perhaps that you may faithfully render him this service. Bear my last farewell to the monks at St. Evroult, whom I love in Christ as my own life, and earnestly entreat them to supplicate Almighty God on my behalf with zealous fervour". With this and such-like discourse he brought forth the gold, and rich palls, with a silver chalice, and other articles of great price, and, making an exact inventory of them delivered them to Ansquetil. Not long afterwards, his sickness prevailing to extremity, the noble knight departed in the faith of Christ, on the nones [5th] of February, and received honourable interment in the church of St. Erasmus, bishop and martyr, [1] which is an episcopal see. Ansquetil and Theodolin then pursued their journey into France, and arrived safely at home. Some days afterwards Ansquetil went to St. Evroult and announced to the brethren the death of the lord William and his companions, but observed total silence as to the money with which he had been entrusted and had already dishonestly converted to his own use. On hearing the death of the founder of their abbey the monks were in great tribulation, and zealously offered prayers, and masses, and other sacred offices on behalf of his soul to God, in whom all things live; which are diligently continued by their successors to the present day. When


[1] St. Elmo, or Erasmus, bishop of Formiae, and martyr, who perished in Diocletian's persecution, His remains were deposited in the neighbouring cathedral of Gaieta.

A.D. 1050-1056.] DEATH OF FOUNDER OF ST. EVROULT. 415

Ansquetil had returned home, his comrade Theodelin came to St. Evroult and inquired of the monks what had been brought to them from Apulia, and was astonished to find that they had received nothing but the sorrowful tidings of the death of their friends. He therefore related to them the whole truth, describing all that had occurred, both in prosperous and adverse circumstances during their peregrinations. Upon this, Abbot Theodoric sent for Ansquetil, and demanded from him the money committed to his charge. At first he denied having received it, but, being confronted with Theodelin, he admitted the truth: "I did receive", he said, "the money you demand from my lord William; part of it I have applied to my own use, and the rest I deposited at Rheims, by the advice of my lord Rodolph Mala-Corona, who met me there". On hearing this the monks despatched him twice to Rheims to Gervase the archbishop, [1] to recover the money deposited, once in company with Reginald of Sap, one of the monks, and again with Fulk. The monk was received with great kindness by the metropolitan, who assisted him, as far as it was in his power, in the object of his journey. For while he was bishop of Mans, often repairing to the court of William, duke of Normandy, with whom he was intimate, the monks of St. Evroult used to give him honourable entertainment with all his attendants. On seeing therefore the monk Fulk, he was anxious to return kindness for kindness. But as a long time had elapsed, and Ansquetil had carelessly deposited the things for which Fulk made inquiries, he was only able to recover a few of the least valuable of all the articles which were sent from Apulia; with difficulty obtaining the silver chalice, two chasubles, an elephant's tooth, a griffin's claw, and some others. The monks, taking into consideration the fraudulent conduct of Ansquetil, summoned him to trial in their court at St. Evroult, where Richard d'Avranches, son of Turstin, and many other barons appeared to support him. But, on the just complaints of the monks, judgment was fairly pronounced against him of forfeiture of the whole of the fief he held of the abbey. In the end, by the mediation of friends on both sides, this agreement was made: Ansquetil


[1] Gervais of Chateau-du-Loir, bishop of Mans, 1036-1055, archbishop of Rheims, 1055-1067.

416 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.III.

openly confessing his guilt, gave pledges to abbot Theodoric for his future good conduct, and humbly supplicated pardon from the monks; and, as a compensation for the loss which he had caused them by his default, he surrendered to the abbey of St. Evroult, in the presence of many witnesses, the third part of the burgh of Ouche, which he possessed as heir to his father. In token of this, he offered on the altar of St. Evroult one mantle of silk, of which a cope was made for the chanter. The monks, thereupon, satisfied by his penitence, pardoned his offences, and kindly restored to him all the rest of his fief, except the part which he had surrendered by the advice of his friends. Not long afterwards Ansquetil went into Apulia, where he was slain.

The old enemy never fails to disturb the peace of the church by the incentives of manifold temptations, bringing those with whom he is able to prevail into subjection to worldly vanities, and grievously afflicting those who by prudent watchfulness in the simplicity of the Catholic faith stand manfully upright in the perfection of their Christian virtues. When therefore he saw a regular monastery rising by God's help, in the forest of Ouche, and that abbot Theodoric was by word and deed profiting the souls both of young and old in the neighbouring town, he burnt with the same malice which wrought the expulsion of the protoplast Adam from Paradise through the desire of the forbidden fruit, and stirred up the prior Robert, after the death of William de Giroie, to a presumptuous opposition against his abbot; and by the dissensions thence arising for a long time disquieted the minds of the subject members of the fraternity. This Robert, as I have fully noticed before, was of high rank, being the brother of Hugh de Grant-mesnil; and all the levity of his youth, indomitable resolution, and worldly ambition, still clung to him. His continence and other monastic virtues were praiseworthy; while, on the other hand, as Horace says:-

"Man's happiness is ne'er complete", [1]

he was reprehensible for many failings. For whether what he coveted was right or wrong, he was hasty and headstrong in gaining his ends, and was quickly irritated when anything


[1] Odes, B. II. xvi. v. 27.

A.D. 1050-1056.] THEODORIC, ABBOT OF ST. EVROULT. 417

he heard or saw offended him; more prone to lead than to follow, to command than to obey. His hand was always open both to receive and to disburse, and his mouth to give ready vent to his wrath in violent ebullitions. Illustrious by the high lineage already mentioned, and being one of the founders of the abbey in which he had collected from all parts brothers whose duty was to perform divine worship, and having amply endowed them with all things necessary for their subsistence, he found himself unable to submit to the strict rules of a monastic life in the new establishment. He therefore frequently complained in private to his spiritual father, that the holy man was more occupied with his religious duties than with secular concerns. He even sometimes opposed him openly, and found fault with some of his acts simply relating to exterior objects. So that the man of God often took refuge in his quiet retreat at Seez, abiding there six or eight weeks, doing God's work in peace and zealously promoting the salvation of men by all the means in his power. He thus waited for the improvement of his refractory brother, fulfilling the apostle's admonition: "Give place unto wrath". [1] Finding, however, that the rancour and the scandals did not cease, but rather increased, to the great injury of the brethren, he tendered his pastoral staff to William the duke of Normandy, offering to resign his rank and office of abbot. The duke thereupon, taking judicious counsel, committed the whole matter to the decision of Maurilius, archbishop of Rouen, enjoining him to inquire diligently into the causes of the dissension, and to make such order thereon as, by the advice of prudent counsellors, he should think right.

In the year of our Lord 1056, the eighth indiction, when Pope Victor filled the apostolic see, Henry, surnamed the Good, emperor of the Romans, and son of Conon [Conrad] departed this life, and was succeeded by his son Henry, who reigned fifty years. [2] The same year, Maurilius the archbishop, and Fulbert the sophist, his chancellor, with Hugh,


[1] Rom. xii. 19.

[2] The emperor Henry III., son of Conrad (not Conon), died on the 5th of October, 1056. He was succeeded by his son, Henry IV., who died August 7, 1106. Pope Victor II., installed April 13, 1055, died the 28th of July, 1058.

418 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.IV.

bishop of Lisieux, Ansfrid, abbot of Preaux and Lanfranc, prior of Bec, with several other dignitaries of sound judgment, assembled at the abbey of St. Evroult; and celebrated the feast of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul on the third of the calends of July [29th June]. Having inquired into and carefully considered the grounds of the dissension, it was ordered that the abbot Theodoric should continue the government of the abbey, as he had done before, and Robert the prior was admonished, in the fullest terms, to conform to his vows of poverty in Christ, and to obey his spiritual father, for the love of God, in all humility. The commissioners having returned home, a short period of repose was enjoyed by the flock at St. Evroult; but a year afterwards, when the news arrived of the death of William de Giroie, the smothered strife again broke out, and disputes adverse both to the spiritual and temporal welfare of the monks distracted the community. And now Theodoric, to whom peace was dear, was in difficulties on every side. For at Seez it was out of his power to promote the salvation of souls, and to finish the building of the cell which Roger and his wife had begun to erect, because they were then much occupied by worldly affairs, and exposed to serious attacks from their enemies in various quarters; while at St. Evroult he could neither further his own good nor that of others, by reason of the vexations which he had to endure from some of the more influential monks. At last, after long reflection upon the course he ought to pursue, according to the will of God, he determined to abandon all and undertake a pilgrimage to the tomb of our Lord at Jerusalem.

CH. IV. Account of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, undertaken by Theodoric, first abbot of St. Evroult, after resigning his charge - His death at the island of Cyprus.

ON the fourth of the calends of September [August 24th], abbot Theodoric left Seez, where he had rested long, and, proceeding to St. Evroult, convoked a chapter of the monks to whom he made known his intentions, and admonishing, absolving, and blessing them all, he commended them to God. Thence he went to Lisieux, and surrendered his cure of souls to the bishop, by whom he was much beloved; then he commenced his holy pilgrimage for Christ amidst the

A.D. 1057-1058.] THEODORIC'S PILGRIMAGE TO JERUSALEM. 419

tears of many of his friends. Herbert de Montreuil, the first monk he admitted to the monastery of St. Evroult, accompanied him, as well as the clerk William, surnamed Bonne-Ame, son of Radbod bishop of Seez, who some time afterwards held the metropolitan see of Rouen for nearly twenty-six years.

In those days there existed a noble hospital on the confines of the territories of the Bavarians and Huns, [1] which the truly Christian and powerful barons of the neighbouring provinces had founded for the reception of the poor and pilgrims. At that time Ansgot, a Norman, governed this hospital, having been elected by the natives. He was a cousin of Robert de Toni, called the Spaniard, who had borne arms with distinction under Richard and Robert, dukes of Normandy; but inspired with the fear of God, he had relinquished all worldly advantages, and had chosen to undergo voluntary poverty during the remainder of his life for Christ's sake. Recognizing Theodoric and his companions as countrymen, he gave them a cordial reception and entertained them for some days with great hospitality, paying them the kindest attentions.

Meanwhile, a certain religious, the chief bishop of the Bavarians, going on a pilgrimage arrived at the hospital, where he was honourably received, with all his retinue, as the custom was by the liberal Ansgot, and prevailed on to sojourn for a while. He also earnestly recommended the venerable Theodoric and his attendants to the care of this bishop, pointing out his sanctity as a father in God, and his worldly rank in his own country. The bishop, hearing the abbot's character, gave thanks to God, and, cordially paying the respect due to a man of his station, took him in his company as far as Antioch. There a difference of opinion arose among the pilgrims. Some of them wished to continue their journey by land, as they had hitherto prosecuted it, the whole way to Jerusalem. Others, alarmed for their safety among the fierce infidels, determined to take ship and pass into the Holy Land by sea. In this proposal the bishop and abbot, with some others, concurred. While, however, the bishop was engaging a ship and an able crew,


[1] M. Pertz conjectures that this hospital was situated at Molk in Lower Austria, where a celebrated abbey was founded twenty-six years afterwards,

420 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.IV.

and a certain religious, who was archimandrite of the convent of St. Simeon in the port of Syria, [1] was hospitably entertaining Theodoric and his companions, Herbert the monk of St. Evroult was seized with the desire of hastening his journey, and preferred to continue his pilgrimage to the holy places by land rather than by sea. His abbot accordingly gave him permission to go as he pleased. Taking, therefore, the road through the country, with a crowd of pilgrims on foot, and having reached Laodicea, he there fell sick, and was compelled to abide for some time, his companions proceeding on their way. As soon as he was able to rise from his bed, he did not take one step further in advance, but bidding farewell to the east, turned westward, and hastened back to Normandy.

The bishop, with Theodoric and William Bonne-Ame with their companions, embarked at the port of St. Simeon, and sailed to the island of Cyprus. They found there on the sea-shore a convent founded by St. Nicholas the confessor, archbishop of Myria. [2] Entering the church, they performed their devotions as each was inspired by divine grace; and Theodoric, on rising from his prayers, during which he had wept much, sat down exhausted in the church, for his frame was shattered by the weight of years, his sufferings at sea, and other fatigues. The bishop, his faithful companion, inquiring of him what had happened, he replied: "I had proposed, my father, to visit the earthly Jerusalem, but I believe that the Lord has otherwise disposed of his servant. I am suffering great bodily anguish, and I am led to think that I must turn my face to the heavenly, instead of the earthly, Jerusalem". The bishop made answer, "Rest here, dearest brother, while I go to procure a lodging for your reception". The bishop leaving him for this purpose, Theodoric approached the altar, and was for some time engaged in prayer to God, whom he had faithfully served from his youth upward. He then prostrated himself


[1] This port appears to correspond with a place called by the Arabs Soueyda, on the northern shore of the gulf, at the mouth of the Orontes. It took its ancient name from St. Simeon Stylites, who died in a monastery near it about the year 592.

[2] There is a place, marked St. Nicholas on the maps, near Cape St. Andrew, on the northern point of the island of Cyprus, but we find no account of the monastery mentioned by our author.

A.D. 1058.] DEATH OF ABBOT THEODORIC. 421

before the altar, with his face to the east: and decently gathering his robe round him, lay on his right side, as if he was composing himself for sleep, when laying his head on the marble step, and crossing his hands on his breast, he thus gave up his devout soul to God who created it, on the calends [the 1st] of August.

Meanwhile, the bishop having prepared a lodging, called the servant of the man of God, and sent him to the church to conduct his master to it. But when he found the holy man lying dead in the church, he returned to the bishop in great alarm, and trembling, told him of the unexpected calamity. The bishop, however, not believing that the man of God had so suddenly departed, said to him: "The good old man is much exhausted by his sufferings at sea, and the intense heat; and therefore he is enjoying refreshing sleep in the coolness of the church on the cold marble. Let us go and see him". He then proceeded to the church, attended by his clergy. But when he had carefully felt the body of his comrade, and found that it was really chilled in death, he was overpowered with grief. Immediately collecting all the pilgrims who, dispersed in their several lodgings, were procuring refreshments, he commanded them to assemble in the church, while he fully made known to the inhabitants of the place the character of the companion of their pilgrimage who there lay dead. The inhabitants were filled with joy for his holy life, and freely offered their services to the other pilgrims. The bishop, then, with his clergy, paid the last offices to the remains of the defunct, ordering the rest of the pilgrims to prepare a place for his interment before the church-door. Having, therefore, dug a grave with their staves where the bishop directed, they returned to the pavement where the corpse lay, with the bishop standing by, to carry it forth for burial. But it was so ordered by God that the body was so heavy, that they were utterly unable to raise it from the spot where the holy man fell asleep. The bishop and all the spectators were much astonished at this, and consulted together for some moments what was to be done. At length the bishop, divinely inspired, said: "This was a most holy man, and his life, as it is now clearly manifest, was well pleasing to God. I am, therefore, of opinion that he ought to be interred in a spot more worthy of him, and

422 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

that his remains ought to be treated, with all the reverential ceremony which it is in our power to bestow. I propose, therefore, with the assistance of my clergy, to offer the holy sacrifice of the mass for the good of his soul, and you shall prepare a more fitting grave for him near the altar". The pilgrims giving a willing consent, and the mass being performed with all reverence, and the grave carefully made, they raised the corpse without difficulty and decently interred it before the altar; and there afterwards many persons suffering from fevers and other disorders were miraculously cured.

The monks of St. Evroult were filled with grief when they received intelligence of the death of their reverend father on the return of his fellow pilgrims to Normandy. They did not fail of performing faithfully the due offices of religion for the repose of his soul, and his memory is yearly kept to the present day with a solemn service on the calends [1st] of August. They also studiously adhered to the religious rules which he had learned from the venerable abbots Richard of Verdun, William of Dijon, and Theodoric of Jumieges, [1] and had faithfully transferred to the new establishment committed to his charge, which rules are still diligently taught to the novices preparing themselves for the monastic life.

CH. V. Robert de Grant-mesnil, second abbot of St. Evroult - Offends Duke William, and being expelled, becomes abbot of St. Euphemia in Calabria - Affairs of Normandy, and of the Normans in Apulia, etc.

IN the year of our Lord 1059, the twelfth indiction, the monks of St. Evroult elected for their abbot, Robert de Grant-mesnil, considering with reason the many advantages of such a choice, arising both from his illustrious descent, his zeal for the interests of the community, and his aptitude and perseverance in business. His election being ratified by the unanimous assent of the entire chapter, he was conducted to Evreux by a delegate of the brethren who presented him to Duke William, and, announcing the election, petitioned the duke to confirm it. The duke


[1] Richard de Verdun died July 14, 1046; William de Dion, January 1, 1031; Theoderic, abbot of Jumieges, in 1027 or 1028.

A.D. 1059.] ROBERT DE GRANT-MESNIL SECOND ABBOT. 423

consenting, invested the abbot elect with the exterior jurisdiction of the convent by the crosier of Ives, bishop of Seez, and William, bishop of Evreux, committed to him the interior cure of souls in matters spiritual, by episcopal consecration on the eleventh of the calends of July [June 21st]. Robert, thus made abbot, entered diligently on the administration of the conventual concerns, making abundant provision from the wealth of his family of all things necessary for the service of God. Far from diminishing the proper observances which his pious predecessor had instituted, he augmented them, having regard to what was timely and reasonable, and taking for his guide the authority of the ancients and the practices of neighbouring communities. While yet a novice he had, by the permission of the venerable Theodoric, visited the abbey of Cluni, at the time that Abbot Hugh, the glory of the monastic order in our days, presided over that community. Returning some time afterwards from Cluni he brought with him, by the indulgence of the generous Hugh, an illustrious monk named Bernefrid, who was afterwards made a bishop, and obtained his assistance while he assimilated the practices of the monks of St. Evroult to the Clunian model. During the abbacy of Robert, Mainer, son of Gunscelin d'Echoufour, came to St. Evroult for his probation: he afterwards rose to the government of the convent, which he ruled well twenty-one years and ten months.

At that time Ralph, surnamed Mala-Corona, came to St. Evroult, where he abode a long time with Abbot Robert, who was his nephew. As I have before remarked, he was studious from his childhood, and learnt the secrets of science with signal success, in the schools of France and Italy, being deeply skilled in astronomy as well as in grammar and dialectics, and also in music. He was so complete a master of the art of medicine, that at Palermo, where the most ancient school of medicine had long flourished, he was unrivalled except by one most skilful matron. But although his learning was so extensive and profound, he did not abandon himself to a peaceful life, but served in the wars, and often distinguished himself among his comrades, both in council and in the field. The natives of Montreuil still relate many things which appear to us wonderful

424 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

concerning his experiments in cases of disease and other accidents, such as they were witnesses of themselves, or heard from their fathers, to whom he was well known by his long residence among them. At last, apprehending the destruction of a tottering world, and taking the precaution of a prudent retirement, he despised its luxury, and betook himself to Marmoutier, a cell dependent on the abbey of St. Martin at Tours, where for seven years he lived in submission to the monastic rule under Albert its venerable abbot. After he had been confirmed in that order, he came to St. Evroult, by permission of his abbot, to assist his nephew, who had lately undertaken the government of the new monastery. This noble soldier having obtained from the Lord by earnest prayers the disease of leprosy to expiate the multitude of sins which burdened his conscience, his nephew gave him a chapel which he had built in honour of St. Evroult, where he lived for a considerable time, having the monk Goscelin for his own comfort and the service of God, and did much good by his counsels to numbers who flocked to him on account of his deep wisdom and high rank.

At his earnest request, Abbot Robert invited Hugh, bishop of Lisieux, a true father and director of the monks, who came and consecrated the chapel [1] in honour of the holy confessors St. Evroult, St. Benedict, and Leudfrid, on the second of the nones [6th] of May. Report says that this church was founded as early as the time of St. Evroult, and that it was his custom to retire to it, to the exclusion of all worldly cares, in order that he might devote himself more earnestly to heavenly contemplations. The site is pleasant and well suited to a hermit's life. The little river Carenton flows through a wild valley, dividing the bishopric of Lisieux from that of Evreux. The summit of the mountain is clothed with a forest, the thick foliage of which forms a screen from the blasts of the wind; the chapel stands on the declivity, between the wood and the rivulet, surrounded by an orchard. A fountain bursts out before the door, which forms the source of the Ouche, from which the whole district round derives its name.

It need be no matter of wonder that the bishop of Lisieux should consecrate a chapel in the diocese of Evreux. At


[1] This chapel stood betwern the abbey and the village of Echaufaur.

A.D. 1061.] WAR BETWEEN FRENCH AND NORMANS. 425

that time, three prelates of distinguished liberality and great courtesy presided over adjoining dioceses. Hugh, son of William count d'Eu, was bishop of Lisieux; William, son of Gerard Fleitel, was spiritual ruler of the people of Evreux; and Ives, son of William de Belesme, had the cure of souls at Seez. These three bishops were then distinguished in Normandy for their zeal and unanimity, so that each of them, as time and circumstances required, administered all divine offices on the confines of a neighbouring diocese the same as if it were his own, without any contention or jealousy.

At the instigation of the devil, who never ceases from mischief to mankind, violent hostilities broke out between the French and the Normans. Henry, king of France, and Geoffrey Martel, the valiant count of Anjou, crossed the frontiers of Normandy with numerous forces and committed great ravages. On the other hand, William, the brave duke of Normandy, was not slow in taking ample revenge for the injury done, taking many of the French and Angevins prisoners, putting some to death, and throwing numbers into prison, where they long suffered. The reader who desires to make himself acquainted with the particulars of the attacks and devastations, which ensued on one side or the other, will find them described in the works of William, a monk of Jumieges, surnamed Calculus, and William of Poitiers, archdeacon of Lisieux, who have written the history of Normandy with great care, and dedicated their works to William, then king of England, whose favour they wished to secure. [1]

At that time Robert, son of Giroie, revolted against Duke William, and, uniting with the Angevins, strongly garrisoned his castles of St. Ceneri and La Roche d'Ige, holding them for some time against the attacks of the duke with Norman troops. But all mortal strength is transitory and fades like the flower of grass, for this great soldier, after his gallant actions, while he was making merry as he sat by the hearth in winter, seeing his wife Adelaide (who was the duke's cousin) with four apples in her hand, snatched


[1] For an account of this war, which took place in 1054, see William de Poitiers, in Duchesne, Hist. Norman. p. 181, and William de Jumieges, ib. p. 276.

426 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

two of them in sport, unconscious of their being poisoned, and ate them in spite of all her efforts to prevent him. The poison made rapid progress, and to the great grief of his friends, he expired five days afterwards, on the 8th of the ides [6th] of February. On his death Arnold, son of William de Giroie, succeeded to the command, in his uncle's place, encouraging the townsmen by his entreaties and admonitions to defend to the last the inheritance of his father. But the prudent duke disarmed his hostility with smooth words, and engaged him by his promises to consent to peace. Arnold, by the advice of his friends, agreed to the duke's proposals, and paying his homage, was invested with the fiefs of Montreuil, Echoufour, St. Ceneri, and all the domains he inherited from his ancestors. On the peace being settled, abbot Robert requested permission from the duke to transfer the body of his uncle, which had lain buried at St. Ceneri for three weeks, to the abbey of St. Evroult. The duke at first refused, actuated by his recent animosity; but being ashamed to keep alive his resentment against the dead, he presently gave his consent. The abbot lost no time in translating the corpse of Robert de Giroie to St. Evroult in a coffin of wood, and honourably buried it in the monks' cloister. All who were present wondered that, though the body had lain dead three weeks, no offensive smell was observed. Some persons pretend that the virulence of the poison which killed him had dried up all the humours in the body of the deceased, so that there was nothing to offend the nostrils of the by-standers.

The monks of St. Evroult were well pleased that Arnold was restored to his lawful jurisdiction, and with his support resisted the oppressions of some troublesome persons who had taken advantage of their defenceless state. In the time of Abbot Theodoric and Robert his successor, Baldric and Viger de Bauquencey and their people, had not only carried themselves insolently towards the monks, and were insubordinate to them as their lords, but often harassed them and their servants. Robert, on his becoming abbot, thought it disgraceful to submit any longer to such conduct. He therefore, having consulted the brethren, gave up the rebels to his cousin, that he might chastise with a soldier's strong hand the stubbornness of men who were too

A.D. 1059-1061.] AFFAIRS OF ST. EVROULT. 427

proud to submit to the gentle rule of the monks. Arnold laid upon them the burden of many hard services, compelling them and their people to guard his fortified castles of Echaufour and St. Ceneri. Upon this they earnestly entreated abbot Robert and the monks that they would be pleased to take them again under their own rule, promising in future entire submission and better conduct. The abbot and monks, listening to their prayers, besought Arnold to restore them to their service under the church, which to those who are humble and well disposed is truly liberal.

At this time Roger, the eldest son of Engenulf de Aquila, was slain. Engenulf and his wife Richveride came to St. Evroult in deep grief, entreating the prayers and good offices of the monks for the good of the souls of themselves and their son Roger, which were granted; and they thereupon offered his best horse to God and the monks. The horse being very valuable, Arnold begged to have it, yielding up Baldric and his people with the fief of Bauquencey to be subject to the monks as before. This was done: Arnold receiving the horse from his cousin Robert and restoring Baldric with the land of Bauquencey to his former tenure under the abbey. Baldric, overjoyed at having thus escaped from the burdensome service of Arnold, granted to the monks a domain which he possessed in the vill of St. Evroult, as also his land upon the rivulet of Douet Villars, and that of the Norman Mica and Benignus. Then Baldric swore fealty to abbot Robert with joined hands, promising suit and service, and demanding that his fief should not again be severed from the estates of the monks. They granted and ratified this, and both Baldric and Robert his son, from that time to the present day, have done service to none but the monks for the lands of Bauquencey. [1]

The abbey of St. Evroult stands in the fief of Bauquencey, and this Baldric was a man of high birth. For Gislebert, Count de Brionne, nephew of Richard duke of Normandy, gave his niece in marriage to Baldric the German, who came into Normandy, with Viger his brother, to take service


[1] Such surrenders of lay fiefs to the monasteries, for the purpose of holding under them, were very common in England, the object being to escape from the rapacities of the feudal lords, and exchange the military service for a milder tenure under the church.

428 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

under the duke. From this marriage sprung six sons, besides several daughters, viz.: Nicholas de Basqueville; Fulk d'Aunoun; Robert de Courcy; Richard de Neuville, Baldric de Bauquencey; and Viger of Apulia. They all distinguished themselves by great valour under Duke William, from whom they received great riches and honours, and left to their heirs vast possessions in Normandy.

Baldric who, with his brother Viger, held the fief of Bauquencey, gave his sister Elizabeth in marriage to Fulk de Bonneval, a brave knight, and for her dowry the church of St. Nicholas, built by his father, with the lands adjoining. Fulk, not forgetful of the life to come, presented to God, for the good of his soul and those of his kindred, his son Theodoric, to whom abbot Theodoric was baptismal sponsor, offering to St. Evroult the youth and the abbey of St. Nicholas of which we have just spoken. Baldric, Viger, and William de Bonneval, readily confirmed these offerings; they, and many others who were present, assisting as legal witnesses of the gift, for the greater security of the church. Among them was Roger, son of Tancred de Hauteville, who afterwards went into Italy, and, by God's help, became master of a great part of Sicily, having attacked, defeated, and subdued the Africans, Sicilians, and other nations, unbelievers in Christ, who ravaged that island. The boy Theodoric, thus separated from the world and devoted to God, lived fifty-seven years under the monastic rule, and, rising to the priesthood by regular degrees, waged his spiritual warfare with great fidelity.

At that time Guy, surnamed Bollein, great nephew of the elder Giroie, lived in high honour with his wife Hodierna in the Corbonnois, and, having gained much wealth by his military service, managed his affairs with entire credit. He had several sons, of whom Norman and Walter served in the wars, while Godfrey and William, surnamed Gregory, being devoted to learning, obtained the office of priests.

The aforesaid Guy, by the inspiration of God, and his natural feeling for abbot Robert, who was his cousin, showed great regard for the monks of St. Evroult, and shut out from the world and from himself his son William, a boy about nine years old, whom he placed in the convent of St. Evroult, to serve God under the monastic rule, on the feast

A.D. 1059-1061.] THE GOOD MONK WILLIAM. 429

of All Saints. Then William le Prevost, a noble knight, the lad's uncle, gave to St. Evroult the church with the whole vill of Augeron, vowing himself and the whole of his substance to the same patron at the end of his life. By the grace of God the boy William grew up in a virtuous course and was diligent in his studies, so that his superiors gave him the surname of Gregory. Carefully nurtured in the bosom of our holy mother the church, and entirely shut out from the tumults of the world and carnal indulgences, he made great advances in those pursuits which are so especially fitting the sons of the church, being an excellent reader and chanter, and exceedingly skilled in copying and illuminating books. The works executed by his own hands are still very useful to us in reading and chanting, and serve for examples to deter us from idleness by the exercise of similar diligence. Assiduous from his very childhood at the offices of devotion and vigils, and submitting with moderation even in his old age to fastings and other macerations of the flesh, he was a strict observer of monastic discipline himself, and a zealous monitor of those who infringed the holy rule. He had committed to his tenacious memory the Epistles of St. Paul, the Proverbs of Solomon, and other portions of sacred scripture, which he quoted in his daily conversations for the benefit of those with whom he conferred. Devoted to these pursuits, he has already spent fifty-four years in the order of monks, and still continues the practice of good works, in his usual manner, under abbot Roger, that by ending well he may attain to the assurance of eternal rest.

While the community at the abbey of St. Evroult was nobly augmented by the accession of forty monks, and the monastic rule was there regularly observed according to the order of the divine Lord, its fame spread far and wide, disposing numbers of persons to become attached to it. Meanwhile, some being infected with a rancorous hatred were punished by the sharp edge of their own malice. Abbot Robert, endowed with genuine liberality, received willingly all who came from every quarter to enter on their probation, and steadily supplied the brethren with all things necessary for their subsistance and clothing. The revenues indeed of the abbey, which was situated in a barren district,

430 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

were inadequate to supply the abbot's liberality; but, as it has been already remarked, he often went among his noble relations and obtained from them the means which he applied for the benefit of the monks with the willing consent of the donors.

The old chapel, built by St. Evroult, being a small and rude edifice, he laid the foundations, in the first year of his rule, of a new church in a noble style of architecture which he resolved to dedicate to St. Mary, mother of God, and to enrich with many altars of the saints. On account also of the holy relics which were deposited in the old church in the time of St. Evroult (but on account of the lapse of time men now living are ignorant of their names, acts, and places of deposit), he determined to make the new building of such dimensions that it should include within its walls the whole of the ancient chapel, and thus for ever honourably contain the bones and tombs of the saints which lay hidden within. But he was compelled to desist from his undertaking by the stormy times which began to threaten, and no one among his successors ventured to carry out the work in the proportions and on the plan and site which he had intended.

In the year of our Lord 1059, the thirteenth indiction, Henry, king of France, after a glorious and prosperous reign, demanded of John, a physician of Chartres, who from some accident was called the Deaf, a potion which should restore his health and prolong his life; but, being very thirsty, under the influence of his inclination more than of his physician's advice, he made his chamberlain bring him water privately, while the medicine, passing through his intestines, gave him great pain, and before they were cleared by it. Thus, drinking without the knowledge of his leech, he died, alas! on the morrow, to the great grief of his people. [1] He left the sceptre of France to his son Philip, who was still of tender years, appointing Baldwin, duke of Flanders, his guardian and regent of the kingdom. The duke was a fitting person to undertake his trust, having married Adela, daughter of Robert, king of France, by whom he had Robert, the Frisian, the queen of England,


[1] Henry IV., king of France, died, not in 1059, but on the 29th of August, 1060.

A.D. 1058-1063.] DISCUSSIONS IN NORMANDY. 431

and Eudes, archbishop of Treves, with other children of high rank. [1]

The same year died Frederick, son of Duke Gothelon, who was also called Pope Stephen, he was succeeded by Gerard, called also Nicholas. [2] This was the third year of Henry IV., son of Henry Conrad the emperor, and Agnes, empress, who reigned fifty years, being the eighty-seventh emperor from Augustus.

Pope Nicholas died A.D. 1063, and was suceeded by Alexander, bishop of Lucca, at which time Sigefred, bishop of Mayence, and Gunter, of Bamberg, and many other bishops and nobles, made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem with numerous attendants. [3]

At that period, grave dissensions arose between William, duke of Normandy, and his barons. For one ambitious man eagerly endeavoured to supplant another, so that bitter quarrels sprung up from various causes to the great injury of the wretched people. At this men of a cruel turn of mind found reason to rejoice, while all who loved piety and tranquillity were deeply grieved. Among those who regarded these disputes with satisfaction were Roger de Montgomery and Mabel his wife, who took the opportunity of gaining the duke's favour by fair professions, while they exasperated him against their neighbours by their crafty manoeuvres. The duke, naturally passionate, gave the reins to his wrath, more than justice required, disinheriting the distinguished knights, Rodolph de Toni, Hugh de Grant-mesnil, and Arnold d'Echaufour, with their barons, and compelling them to undergo a long exile without any real cause of offence. At the same time, Robert, abbot of St. Evroult, was cited before the duke's court, and a day appointed him to answer the


[1] Baldwin V., earl of Flanders (1034-1067), married Adelaide of France, king Henry's sister, by whom he had six children: Baldwin VI. and Robert, his successors; Eudes, archbishop of Treves; Henry, Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror; and Judith, who was married successively to Tosti, brother of Harold, and Welph, duke of Bavaria.

[2] Stephen IX., elected pope August 2, 1057, and died March 29, 1058. Nicholas II. was elected December 28, 1058.

[3] Nicholas II. died the 21st or 22nd of July, 1061; and was succeeded by Alexander II., who was before bishop of Lucca.

The two preceding paragraphs appear to have been interpolated in the margin of the MS. of St. Evroult some time after it was written.

432 ORDERICU3 VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

charges which were falsely alleged against him. For Rainer, a monk of Chatillon, whom he had raised to be prior of St. Evroult, and had admitted without reserve to his most privy councils, as a confidential friend, had accused him of certain words, spoken in jest and thoughtlessly, of the duke's personal character. Abbot Robert, finding his sovereign to be violently enraged against himself and his whole kindred, and bent on their ruin, and having friendly intimation which satisfied him that the marquis's' anger menaced him with bodily injury, he determined, by the advice of Hugh, bishop of Lisieux, to escape from the wrath which threatened him, before it inflicted any irreparable calamity. Accordingly, on the sixth of the calends of February [January 27], in the third year of his rule as abbot [A.D. 1001], after chanting at vespers the antiphon, Peccata mea, Domine, he took his departure, and, mounting on horseback with two monks, Fulk and Urse, travelled through France, and thence proceeded to present himself to Pope Nicholas, and lay his case before him.

Meanwhile, the duke of Normandy, by the advice of the venerable Ansfrid, abbot of Preaux, Lanfranc, prior of Bec, and other ecclesiastics, required Rainer, abbot of the convent of the Holy Trinity at Rouen, to send to him Osbern, prior of Cormeille, who, little suspecting the duke's intentions, was by him invested with the dignity of abbot of St. Evroult in a synod at Rouen, the duke using the crozier of St. Maurilius, the archbishop, for the investiture. Thereupon, Bishop Hugh, by the duke's order, conducted Osbern to Preaux, and there consecrated him abbot; and then taking him to St. Evroult, at the command of the imperious duke, set him over the sorrowing monks. This proceeding caused them the greatest trouble and perplexity; for, while their abbot was still alive, a prelate who had laid the foundations of the new church, had admitted many of them into the order, and whose expulsion had been effected, not by the judgment of a synod on just accusations, but by the tyrannical will of the imperious marquis, they were reluctant to receive another ruler; but, on the other hand, they did not dare openly to refuse, fearing the duke's anger. At


[1] Our author is speaking of William I., duke of Normandy. See the note at p. 397 as to the various titles given to the dukes.

A.D. 1061-1063.] OSBERN INTRUSIVE ABBOT. 433

length, by the bishop's advice, they preferred to submit to the violent intrusion, and to tender their obedience to the master provided for them, rather than continue without any government, being in opposition to the power of God, and running the risk of ruining the new abbey, by drawing on themselves the still more violent displeasure of the duke by resisting his will.

Meanwhile, Arnold d'Echaufour took signal vengeance for the act which disinherited him, by desolating the district of Lisieux, plundering and burning, and either putting to the sword or making prisoners the inhabitants for three years together. [1] Coming one night to Echaufour, with only four men-at-arms, he secretly gained admission into the castle with his followers, and, raising great shouts, they so terrified the garrison which the duke had placed there, consisting of sixty men, that they deserted the fortifications which it was their duty to defend, and fled. Arnold forthwith set it on fire, causing great loss to the enemy. At another time, he committed the town of St. Evroult to the flames; and his retainers, with drawn swords in their hands, made a diligent search in every corner of the monastery for Osbern, the new abbot, threatening him with instant death. But Providence had so ordered it, that he was then absent. Some days afterwards, Herman the cellarer went privately to Arnold, and gently rebuked him for having threatened the ruin of an abbey which his father had founded for the repose of his soul. Arnold listened with reverence to the remonstrances of the servant of God, and, touched with the remembrance of his father's piety, bewailed his own ill-conduct towards the abbey of St. Evroult, promising in his penitence a becoming amends. Accordingly, he soon afterwards came to St. Evroult, and, offering on the altar a token of his repentance for his evil deeds, sought absolution, putting Abbot Osbern in security for the future; for the cellerer had adroitly insinuated the truth that it was no ambition of the new abbot which had led to his elevation, but that he was compelled by the power of the duke, and instigated by his own superiors, to undertake the


[1] Our author has omitted to tell us in this place, from whence he made these hostile irruptions, but it appears afterwards that he made his head quarters at Courville, near Chartres.

434 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

government of the widowed abbey, much against his own wishes.

Meanwhile Abbot Robert had made his way to Rome, where he laid before Pope Nicholas precise details of the circumstances which had induced him to undertake the journey. The pope, who was a native of France, received his countryman with great kindness, heard his complaints with interest, and promised to support him in his difficult position. Robert also paid a visit to his relations in Apulia, where they had obtained possession of many cities and towns by force of arms. After having a conference with them, he returned to Normandy, furnished with apostolical letters, and accompanied by two cardinal's clerks, and boldly presented himself at the court of Duke William, which he then held at Lillebonne. [1] Hearing that Abbot Robert with the papal legates were arrived for the purpose of claiming the abbey of St. Evroult, and to take proceedings against Osbern, who was made abbot in his place by the duke's command, as an intruder on the rights of another, he was violently enraged, saying that "he would willingly receive the envoys which the pope, as the common father of Christians, sent to him, touching the faith and the Christian religion, but that if any monk in his territories brought charges against him, he would hang him with contempt on the highest tree in the neighbouring forest". Bishop Hugh, hearing this, communicated it to Robert, recommending him to avoid the presence of the angry prince. He, therefore, departed in haste, retiring to the abbey of St. Denys, the apostle of the Gauls, in the neighbourhood of Paris, where he was received by his cousin Hugh, the venerable abbot, and was for some time honourably entertained by him, and others, his friends and relations, who were among the most powerful of the French nobility. From thence he sent a message, to Abbot Osbern that both should appear at Chartres, before the Roman cardinals, when, the controversy being carefully inquired into, they should both submit themselves unhesitatingly to the final judgment of ecclesiastical authorities, according to the decrees of the sacred canons.


[1] The dukes of Normandy had here one of their favourite and most frequented seats; Julia-Bona, cedes regia a dominis Normannorun multum amata et frequentata, says Robert du Mont's Chronicle.

A.D. 1061-1063.] ABBOT ROBERT DEPOSED. 435

On receiving the summons, Osbern declared that he would willingly go to the court of Rome; but, by the advice of others, he did not appear at the appointed time and place. Whereupon Robert, by means of a servant of the abbey taken by Arnold, sent letters, by the pope's authority, excommunicating Osbern as an intruder, and positively requiring all the monks of the abbey of St. Evroult to submit to him.

It is impossible to describe the troubles with which the church of St. Evroult was now harassed, both within and without. Here was Robert, one of their founders, and their chief ruler, unjustly expelled from his seat, and compelled to become a fugitive from house to house in foreign lands; while a stranger was thrust into this place by the secular arm, who, though a man of ability, and both religious and zealous for the interests of their order, was naturally enough suspicious and apprehensive and little disposed to put confidence in the native brethren. When, therefore, they heard of the excommunication launched against the intruding abbot, and received the monition of father Robert commanding his sons to join him, with the pope's concurrence, some of them, turning their backs on Normandy, accompanied their abbot to the apostolic see. Almost all, indeed, were desirous to depart, but the young and the infirm, being more closely confined, were obliged to remain against their will. Those who were strong enough, and who assumed greater liberty, went into voluntary exile with their venerable father; whose names are as follows: Herbert and Hubert de Montreuil, and Berenger, son of Arnold, a skilful penman. These three monks, carefully educated from their childhood in the Lord's house, and their minds stored with sound learning, were all their lives valuable members of a community devoted to God's service. There were also Reginald the Great, a skilful grammarian; Thomas of Angers, of noble birth; Robert Gamaliel, an excellent chanter; Turstin, Reynold Chevreuil, and Walter the Little. All these abandoning Neustria, their native soil, after suffering various accidents reached Sicily, from whence some of them afterwards returned, while others, devoting their services to their shepherd, even to the end, closed their days in Calabria.

436 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

The lord Mainer, who had been appointed prior by abbot Robert before he quitted the abbey, first betook himself to Bec a few days after his departure, and was the first to consult with Lanfranc prior of Bec, about substituting another abbot. He therefore implacably offended the father who had received his first profession. Alarmed at his denunciations, and exposed with shame to the taunts of his partisans, Mainer obtained leave from abbot Osmond to migrate to Cluni, where he submitted for a year to undergo with zeal the rigour of that rule under the venerable abbot Hugh.

Amongst all these changes, the abbey of St. Evroult suffered great devastations, being robbed of many of the domains it before possessed. The neighbouring lords, who were kinsmen or tenants of the Giroies, seeing the right heirs expelled, inflicted grievous troubles and losses on the monks of St. Evroult. For each seized a farm, or a church, or tithes; and the new abbot, being a stranger, was unacquainted with all the grants of possessions to the monks, and he hesitated to inquire of those in whom he placed no confidence respecting the domains which Robert son of Heugon, and Giroie son of Fulk de Montreuil, Roger Gulafre, [1] and other evil-disposed neighbours, had usurped. So that at this period the abbey of St. Evroult lost many estates which to this hour it has never recovered.

On the death of Pope Nicholas, he was succeeded by Alexander, to whom abbot Robert presented himself with eleven monks of St. Evroult, and laid before him at length the wrongs of himself and his companions in exile. The pope comforted them with paternal kindness, and assigned them the church of St. Paul at Rome, where they might dwell and observe their rule, until they were able to


[1] A person of the family of Goulafre, Gulielmus Gulafra, figures in the Domesday Book among the inferior landholders in Suffolk. The Roger here mentioned by our author, appears to be the same person who at the instance of William Giroie II., gave the church of Mesnil-Bernard, afterwards called La Gonlafriere, to the abbey of St. Evroult. It need not be wondered that the feudal lords of this period, alternately prodigal and rapacious, exhibited so much caprice in their dealings with the church. In this same paragraph we find Robert, the son of Heugon, after giving the patronage of his parish to the abbey of St. Evroult, become one of its greediest plunderers.

A.D. 1061-1063.] ABBOT ROBERT IN APULIA. 437

find a fitting abode for themselves. Robert then called William de Montrenil to his assistance, a call which he found him ready to attend to. This knight was standard- bearer to the pope, and had reduced Campania by force of arms and brought back the natives who were cut off by various schisms from catholic unity to submission to St. Peter the apostle. He gave to his exiled cousin and his monks the half of an ancient city called Aquina. [1] Robert afterwards went to Richard prince of Capua, son of Ansquetel de Quarel, [2] from whom he received much civility, but he did not carry into effect the promises he made with so much courtesy. Robert, finding himself deluded by empty hopes, reproached him in much anger for his degeneracy from his father, whom he knew well, and taking leave of him, betook himself to Robert Guiscard, duke of Calabria. [3] The duke paid him great honours as his natural lord, and begged him to take up his abode permanently with his monks in his territory. Robert Guiscard's father, Tancred de Hauteville, who was born in the Cotentin, had twelve sons and several daughters by his two lawful wives. He gave up his patrimonial estate to one of the sons whose name was Geoffrey, apprising the rest that they must gain their livelihood by their courage and by their talents beyond the bounds of their native land. All these young men migrated to Apulia, not together but at different times, in the guise of pilgrims with scrip and staff, that they might not fall into the hands of the Romans. In the course of events they all became dukes and counts in Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily: Geoffrey the monk, surnamed Malaterra, at the instance of Robert count of Sicily, has lately published an excellent work on their noble acts, and bold enterprizes. [4] Of these brothers,


[1] Aquinium, a city of the Terra del Lavoro, the ancient Samnium, famous as the birth-place of Juvenal, Pescennius Niger, and St. Thomas D'Aquinas.

[2] See before, p. 427.

[3] Robert Guiscard had his title of count of Apulia, which he received from his companions in arms the preceding year, confirmed by Pope Nicholas II. in 1060.

[4] He was a native of Normandy and a monk of the convent of St. Euphemia, and wrote a history of the conquest of Calabria, Apulia, and Sicily by the Normans, concluding with the beginning of July, 1098. The best edition is to be found in Muratori's Collection of the Historians of Italy, tom. v.

433 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.V.

Hobert Guiscard obtained the highest rank, and was the most powerful, having, after the death of his brothers Drogo and Humfrey [1] long possessed the principality of Apulia, and conquered the dukedom of Calabria from the Lombards and Greeks, who struggled hard to defend their ancient rights and independence, trusting in their great cities and towns, but were at last reduced to submission by the event of arms. Crossing the Ionian sea with a small but brave band of Normans joined by Cisalpine troops, Robert Guiscard invaded Macedonia, twice gave battle to Alexius, emperor of Constantinople, and put to flight his immense army, defeating him both by sea and land. [2]

This lord, as I have mentioned before, received with honour abbot Robert and his monks, assigning to him the church of St. Euphemia, which stands on the shore of the Adriatic Sea, where the ruins of an ancient city called Brescia, [3] and commanding him to build a monastery there in honour of St. Mary, mother of God. The duke, as well as other Normans, made large grants to this abbey, commending themselves to the prayers of the faithful who were already collected or should be thereafter gathered there for the service of Christ. In this abbey was buried Fredesend, wife of Tancred de Hauteville; on whose behalf her son Guiscard endowed the church of St. Euphemia with a large farm. The same prince committed to father Robert the


[1] Our author omits to mention William Bras-de-fer, the eldest brother, who was the first count of Apulia (1043-1046).

[2] The expedition of Robert Guiscard into Macedonia was undertaken in the years 1081-1082.

[3] St. Euphemia does not stand on the coast of the Adriatic, but on the Mediterranean, to the west of Nicastro, near the confines of the two Calabrias. The town which gives name to the neighbouring gulf was not built on the site of a place called Brixia, but on that of Lampetia. Our author must have confounded it with a village of the same name situate in the environs of Brescia, and consequently at the other extremity of Italy. The abbey of St. Euphemia, which was founded long before the arrival of the Normans, had been plundered and reduced to ruins, with all the neighbouring country, by the Arabs of Sicily, who so often carried fire and sword through this part of the coast of Calabria in the latter part of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth centuries. Restored by the Norman princes, it flourished for a long period. Richard, one of the abbots, was witness to a charter of Bonhomme, archbishop of Cosenza, in 1199; and a monk named Peter was transferred from it to the bishopric of Strongoli in 1254.

A.D. 1061-1063.] NORMAN MONKS IN ITALY. 439

abbey of the Holy Trinity in the city of Venosa. [1] Robert selected Berenger, a monk of St. Evroult, son of Arnold, who was son of Heugon, whom he presented to Pope Alexander to be admitted to the government of the abbey of Venosa. Receiving the papal benediction, he administered it with distinction during the period that Alexander, Gregory, and Desiderius, filled the apostolical see, but in the time of Pope Urban he was advanced to the bishopric of that city, having been elected by the people. Born of a noble family, Berenger obeyed the monastic rule from his childhood under abbot Theodoric at St. Evroult, and displayed superior talent in reading and chanting, as well as in the art of copying books. Having in the end, as already related, followed his abbot into banishment, and been chosen by him to undertake the pastoral charge of the abbey at Venosa, he found there only a small company of twenty monks, very much occupied with worldly vanities, and very slothful in God's service; but by God's grace he raised the number of the community to one hundred, and inspired them with so much zeal for religion, that several of them were made bishops and abbots, and filled these high dignities of our holy mother church to the honour of the true King and the salvation of souls. Moreover, this great duke committed also a third monastery, built in the city of Melito [2] in honour of St. Michael the archangel, to abbot Robert, which he presented to William of Ingran, who was born and became a clerk at St. Evroult, but whose profession of a monk was made at St. Euphemia. These three Italian monasteries therefore follow the usage of the chant at St. Evroult, and observe the same monastic rule, so far as the habits of that country and the inclinations of the inmates allow.

Two uterine sisters of Abbot Robert, Judith and Anna, remained at Ouche in the chapel of St. Evroult, and having taken the veil apparently renounced the world, and were devoted to God only, in purity of body and soul. These nuns, hearing that their brother Robert flourished under the protection of the temporal power in Italy, and finding themselves of small account and without support in


[1] Venosa is an episcopal city of the Basilicata.

[2] An episcopal city in the Lower Calabria.

410 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.VI.

Normandy, they went into Italy and relinquishing the veil gave themselves up with ardour to a worldly life, and both of them married husbands who were unconscious of their having taken the vows. Roger, count of Sicily, married Judith, and another count, whose name I cannot recollect, married Emma. Thus, from love of the world, both quitted the veil the emblem of a religious life, and thus rendering void their first faith, neither were blessed with children, and for a short interval of temporal felicity they incurred the displeasure of their heavenly Spouse.

After the departure of Abbot Robert, his uncle Robert Mala-Corona, perceiving the bitter persecution which was raging against his relations, and that strangers were advanced to power in the abbey of St. Evroult which he and his brothers had founded for the service of God, withdrew from the chapel of St. Evroult, where, as already mentioned, he had taken up his abode, and retired to Marmoutier in which convent he had first made his monastic profession, and where he soon afterwards made a glorious end on the fourteenth of the calends of February [19th January], having lived seven years under the conventual rule.

CH. VI. William I., duke of Normandy, augments his power - His marriage with Matilda - Their children - He recalls the exiled barons.

AT this time, Geoffrey Martel, count of Anjou, after a succession of brilliant exploits and much worldly prosperity, departed this life, [1] leaving his honours to his nephew Geoffrey, son of Aubrey count of Gaston, as he had no children of his own. Geoffrey however was after some time treacherously made prisoner by his brother Fulk, surnamed Richin, who usurped his earldom and kept him captive in the castle of Chinon for thirty years. [2]

In these times William, duke of Normandy, vastly


[1] He died at the abbey of St. Nicholas, in Angers, the 14th of November, 1060.

[2] Geoffrey and Fulk were not the sons of Aubrey, count of Gaston, but of Geoffrey, count of Chatoulandon. Geoffrey Martel divided his territories between them, instead of leaving the whole to the elder, as our author states. It was on the 4th of April, 1067, that Geoffrey was made prisoner by his brother, and confined at Chinon for the rest of his life.

A.D. 1060-1063.] THE NORMAN EXILES RECALLED. 441

augmented his influence and power, surpassing all the neighbouring sovereigns in liberality and magnificence. He married the illustrious princess Matilda, daughter of Baldwin [V.] earl of Flanders, and niece of Henry, king of France, by his sister. [1] From this marriage, by God's favour, he had the following sons and daughters; Robert and Richard, William and Henry, Adeliza and Constance, Cicely and Adele. [2] There is no lack of materials from which well-informed historians might compose copious narratives if they would apply themselves diligently to hand down to posterity the eventful lives of these illustrious personages. For ourselves, living in monastic seclusion, intent on the rules of our order, and not being versed in the affairs of courts, we will return to the thread of our history, shortly noticing what falls within our own province.

When war broke out between the Normans and their neighbours in Brittany and Maine, Duke William, by the advice of his counsellors, determined on restoring concord among his own barons, and recalling the exiles. [3] Moved therefore by the entreaties of Simon de Montfort, and Waleran do Breteuil in the Beauvais, and other powerful friends and neighbours, he recalled Rodolph de Toni and Hugh de Grant-mesnil, great nobles who had been disinherited and forced into exile with their followers as before related, and who were now restored to their hereditary estates. Arnold also, after levying war for three years, accepted a truce from the duke, and paid a visit to his friends and relations who had great possessions in Apulia, from whence he soon afterwards returned with a large sum of money and a rich mantle for the duke.

CII. VII. Osbern, the intrusive abbot of St. Evroult, appeals to Pope Alexander II. - His letter - He is confirmed - Management of his convent - Musical services.

THE storm of troubles with which the abbey of St. Evroult was beset being somewhat abated, Osbern, the intrusive


[1] Adelaide of France, the daughter of King Robert.

[2] Our author omits to mention Agatha, the eldest daughter, whose history is so affecting, and who was successively affianced to Harold and to Alphonso, king of Leon.

[3] The exiles were recalled in 1063.

442 ORDERICUS VITALIS. CH.VII.

abbot who was tortured by great perplexities, and consience-smitten by the apostolic excommunication launched against him, took the course, with the advice and consent of the brethren, of recalling from Cluni the lord Mainer who was appointed prior of St. Evroult by Abbot Robert, and restoring him to that office, from which Fulcher was now deposed. This Osbern, son of Herfast, a native of the district of Caux, was well instructed in literature from his very youth; he was eloquent in speech, and had a lively genius for the arts, such as sculpture, architecture, copying manuscripts, and many things of that sort. He was of middle stature, in the prime of years, his head covered with a profusion of black and grey hair. Severe towards the silly and the supercilious, he was benevolent to the infirm and the indigent, and tolerably liberal to humble individuals and foreigners, being at the same time zealous for his order, and a diligent purveyor of all the brethren needed, both in their spiritual and temporal capacity. To the novices he was a strict disciplinarian, urging them, both with chidings and stripes, to progress in reading, singing, and writing. He made with his own hands writing implements for the youths and the uninstructed, preparing for them tablets overspread with wax, and required daily from each the portion of work assigned to them. An enemy to idleness, he had the art of impressing on the youthful mind profitable pursuits, and thus prepared for implanting the riches of science in future years. Osbern was at first a canon of Lisieux, at the time the lord Herbert was bishop; but being afterwards desirous of submitting himself to a stricter rule, he threw off the secular habit; and, to amend his life according to God's will, secluded himself in the new monastery which Goscelin d'Arques had founded on the mount of the Holy Trinity at Rouen, where Abbot Isembert, a man of singular piety in our age, then flourished. Abbot Rainier, Isembert's successor, sent Osbern, after passing his probation in the order, to establish the monastic rule at Cormeilles, where William Fitz-Osbern, steward of Normandy, was founding an abbey in honour of St. Mary, mother of God. When, however, Abbot Robert was deprived of his office, in the manner already described, Osbern was unwittingly and unwillingly


[1] Herbert, bishop of Lisieux, 1022-1049.

A.D. 1063.] MUSICAL SERVICES AT THE ABBEY. 443

preferred to the government of the abbey of St. Evreux, which he administered with diligence and success, so far as the troubles of those unhappy times permitted, for five years and three months.

By leave of his abbot Rainier, he had brought with him to St. Evroult a very learned and religious monk whose name was Witmund, and made use of his counsels and suggestions as long as be lived. This monk was an accomplished musician as well as grammarian, of which he has left us evidence in the antiphons and responses which he composed, consisting of some charming melodies in the antiphonary and collection of versicles. He completed the history of the life of St. Evroult by adding nine antiphons and three responses. He composed four antiphons to the psalms at vespers, and added the three last for the second noeturn, with the fourth, eighth, and twelfth response, and an antiphon at the canticles, and produced a most beautiful antiphon for the canticle at the gospel in the second vespers. The history of the life of St. Evroult had been already written by Arnulph, precentor of Chartres, [1] a pupil of Fulbert, bishop of that see, at the request of Abbot Robert, for the use of his monks; and it was first recited by two young monks, Hubert and Rodolph, sent for that purpose by the abbot of Chartres. Afterwards, Reginald the Bald composed the response, "To the glory of God", sung at vespers, with seven antiphons which still appear in the service books of the monks of St. Evroult. Roger de Sap, also, and other studious brethren produced, with pious devotion, several hymns having the same holy father for their subject, and which they placed in the library of the abbey for the use of their successors.

Abbot Osbern, still tortured with anxiety in consequence of the apostolical anathema under which he was compelled to live, determined, on prudent advice, to send an envoy to Rome, by whom he would humbly implore the papal benediction.


[1] This life of St. Evroult, the founder of the abbey of Ouche which afterwards bore his name, was written about the end of the seventh century, although Vossius thought it to be of the sixth, and Baillet of the eighth. Ordericus Vitalis has inserted it in the sixth book of his history, and Mabillon has published it entire, with notes and additions, in his Recueil, tom. i. pp. 354-361.

444 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.VII.

He therefore instructed Witmund, a monk of great sagacity, to indite a suppliant epistle, which a young monk whose name was Bernard, with the addition of Mather, an excellent penman, was carefully to commit to writing. The following is the text of this epistle:

"To our apostolical lord, Alexander, [1] vicar of St. Peter, the common and most excellent father of mankind - his humble servant at a far distance, Osbern, abbot of St. Evroult in Normandy, sends health, devoted submission, and his most earnest supplication.

"Since, holy father, it belongs to your office, in preference to and above all other bishops of the church, to extend your care over the whole of Christendom, to seek zealously to gain souls, and by your authority to restore concord where dissensions have arisen, an obscure abbot as I am, but still clinging to the shelter of your bosom, I lift my voice to you with intense earnestness of mind, imploring your indulgence, and beseeching you to deign to interpose your righteous authority to deliver me from what I suffer from certain distractions in the order to which I belong. The case is this. The abbey of St. Evroult, which I now possess, was formerly held by a cousin of your faithful servant, William of Normandy, the lord abbot Robert, who for some cause of offence, vacated his office and departed. Upon this the sovereign prince of that country and the bishops of the church made me abbot in his place, and, as they then alleged and still allege, to remove my own doubts and fears, they duly and according to God's will consecrated me to the vacant dignity. I know not whether they are right; but this I assuredly know, from my own conscience, that I obtained the style and office of abbot neither by importunity, nor by bribery, nor by favour, nor by obsequiousness, or any other crafty device, but that as far as I am concerned I took it upon me solely in obedience to the commands of my superiors, and that in so doing no charge was brought against me. Abbot Robert has become the superior of a convent in Calabria, at a great distance from our country, and there his wrath and hatred are still inflamed against me; and he continues to slander and threaten me, asserting that I have usurped his office


[1] Pope Alexander II., November 30, 1061-April 21, 1070.

A.D. 1003.] OSBERN'S LETTER TO ALEXANDER II. 445

contrary, to the laws of God. This schism is both full of danger to the souls of those who are placed under my charge, and places me in great perplexity between the two parties. For, on the one hand, I do not presume to disobey the bishops of my own province, who assert that I am regularly appointed, and enjoin me to hold my place; while, on the other hand, I dread the wrath and hatred of my accusing brother, especially as we are both priests and monks. As indeed the voice of an apostle thunders in our ears: 'He that hateth his brother is a murderer'; [1] who can sufficiently express the greatness of the crime of a priest and a monk who hates his brother? And who does not know that if in this state of mind he presumes to offer the sacrifice of the altar, he perils his soul?

"Therefore, most apostolical lord, the venerable father of all Christendom, prostrate on the earth at the feet of your merciful benignity, I earnestly supplicate with tears and groans that you who occupy the place of St. Peter in vigilantly feeding the Lord's flock, and guarding them from the crafty devices of wolves, would be pleased in your zeal for God to abate by a righteous judgment this fierce controversy between me and the brother of whom I speak, and altogether remove the present perplexity from my mind. Accordingly, my prayer is, that by virtue of your authority you cause to appear both myself and those who took part in my consecration, together with Abbot Robert, my accuser, before fit and lawful judges, who shall impartially try the cause; so that, if it be found that I was rightly instituted to the office of abbot, I may continue to hold it; if improperly, I may surrender it. Graciously yielding to this my prayer, you will fulfil your office in a praiseworthy manner, and will conduct brothers into the way of peace. For whether it happens that I have to remain or to depart, my brother's anger will be set at rest by the decision of the judge, and I shall be freed from perplexity, and shall serve God in peace and security. O bishop of the bishops of the church, and father of fathers, the appointed refuge for all who are is tribulation, I beseech you by the holy power of binding and loosing which is vested in you over all mankind, listen to these my words of sincerity, and as far as I ask what is


[1] 1 John iii. 15.

446 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.VII.

right, grant what I ask. And that you may believe I speak the truth, I call the omniscient God as witness, who knows that in my conscience, the language of my mouth is that of my heart. In conclusion, most pious lord, I especially request in all humility that you will be pleased, of your paternal kindness, to reply by letter under your seal by the envoy I send, so that I may learn the success of my petition, and what course you will take in the matter, and when and where; and having obtained some certainty, my perplexities may be at an end, and I may rejoice that I have raised my voice to a most merciful comforter. Farewell! Glorious father, most excellent ruler, and supreme head of the church on earth; farewell! watch over the Lord's fold; which may you so do that you may meet the last judgment in security. Amen".

This letter was carried to Rome by William, priest of St. Andrew, at Echaufour, and presented to Pope Alexander. The venerable pontiff read it in the presence of the Roman conclave, [1] and having carefully examined the matter absolved Osbern at the request of abbot Robert who was there present, sending back the bearer of the letter rejoicing to his own country with the papal benediction. As for Robert, he now despaired of ever returning to Normandy on account of the wrath of duke William, and being honourably detained in Calabria, as already mentioned by Guiscard and the other Normans who had usurped foreign domains, his former indignation against Osbern was allayed, and he now kindly interceded with the pope for the man he had before cruelly attacked by his subtle accusations. William the priest, having accomplished his mission, returned in safety to those who had sent him, and rejoiced the hearts of the monks of St. Evroult by relating what he had seen and beard at Rome.

Osbern, now secure in his office, laudably occupied himself both in the interior and exterior duties which devolved upon him. He only admitted four novices to profession, on account of the persecution to which he had been subject, but he diligently and profitably instructed in the sacred arts those whom he found admitted by his predecessors. He instituted a yearly anniversary on the sixth of the


[1] Ordericus calls the assembly of the cardinals, Romanus senatus.

A.D. 1063.] ABBOT OSBERN'S ADMINISTRATION. 447

calends of July [26th] June, for the fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters, of all the monks of St. Evroult. The names of all the brethren are registered on a long roll when, called by God, they first make their profession. To these were added, underneath, those of their fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters. This roll was kept near the altar throughout the year, and an especial commemoration is made before God of the persons inscribed, when the priest says in celebrating the mass: Animas famulorum, famularum tuarum, etc., "Vouchsafe to join to the society of thine elect the souls of thy servants, both men and women, whose names are written in the roll presented before thy holy altar". The anniversary on the sixth of the calends of July, of which we are now speaking, is thus conducted. All the bells are rung for some time, both night and morning, for the office of the dead. The roll of the deceased is spread open on the altar, and prayers are faithfully offered to God, first for the dead, and afterwards for living relations and benefactors, and all the faithful in Christ. The morning mass is solemnly sung by the abbot himself, assisted by all the clergy in their sacred vestments. The almoner assembles in the convent on that day as many indigent persons as there are monks, and the cellarer provides each with a sufficiency of meat and drink in the strangers' apartment, and after the chapter the whole community devotes itself to the service of the poor as in the Lord's supper. This institution of Abbot Osbern is still carefully maintained in the abbey of St. Evroult, and it is likewise zealously observed by the monks of Noyon [1] and Bocherville, [2] and others which follow its rules.

The man of God so often named had a particular regard, as I have said before, for the sick and the poor, supplying their wants liberally with all things necessary. He therefore ordered that seven lepers should, for the love of God, have a yearly maintenance from the abbey, and that the portions of seven monks should be daily distributed among them by the cellarer in meat and drink. This custom was


[1] Noyon-sur-Audelle, now Charleval, which was a priory under the rule of St. Evroult.

[2] St. George de Bocherville, an abbey two leagues from Rouen, which was affiliated to St. Evroult.

445 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.VIII.

observed by abbot Osbern and his successor Mainer, as long as they lived; but when Serlo succeeded, as men's minds change, the institution was altered, and in the time of abbot Roger the number of the sick, in the name of the Lord, was reduced to three.

CH. VIII. Duke William's invasion of Maine, under cover of protecting the interests of the young Count Herbert - Death of his aunt Bertha and her husband by poison, and of his sister Margaret, the young heiress.

IN the year of our Lord 1064, on the death of Herbert the younger, count of Maine, duke William crossed the Sarthe with a strong army, and received with clemency many of the people of Maine, who submitted to him, remaining under his dominion for the rest of his life, that is, for twenty-four years. The young count, after the death of his father Herbert the elder [1] (who was commonly called Herbert Watch-dog, on account of the destructive inroads which his neighbours of Anjou continually made on his territories), by his mother Bertha's advice, placed himself and his estates under the protection of the powerful duke of Normandy, [2] affiancing his sister Margaret to the duke's son Robert, with the reversion of his earldom of Maine, if he himself should die without children. But Walter, count of Pontoise, son of Count Drogo, who had undertaken the journey to Jerusalem in company with Robert the elder, duke of Normandy, and died during his pilgrimage, had married Biota, daughter [sister] of Hugh, Count de Maine, who was the aunt of the young Count Herbert. In right of her he laid claim to the whole earldom, and had possession of part of it; for Geoffrey de-Mayenne and Hubert de Sainte-Susanne, and other powerful adherents of Walter, held the city, which is the capital of the province, fearing to submit to the yoke of the Normans, which is always grievous to those who are subjected to it. While therefore the brave duke attacked the rebels with vigour, inflicting and suffering losses, according to the lot of war, Count Walter and Biota his wife perished together, as the report is, by poison,


[1] Herbert I. was count du Maine from 1051 to 1062.

[2] Herbert II. was son of Hugh and grandson of Herbert I., counts of Maine. Duke William's invasion took place, not in 1064, but in 1063.

A.D. 1063.] INVASION OF MAINE. 449

treacherously administered by the contrivance of their enemies. [1] On their death, the duke, now assured of success, attacked the rebels in great force, and recovered the city of Mans in triumph by the voluntary surrender of the inhabitants, the lord Arnold, the bishop, going out to meet him in great pomp, with a procession of clergy and monks carrying banners and crosses.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey de Mayenne, envying the duke's success, sought all the means in his power to injure him, by encouraging his enemies, and contriving various ways of inflicting evil. The duke bore his insolence for a while, that he might have an opportunity of punishing him without injury to others. But, as he persisted in his obstinacy, the duke put in motion a large force, and took his town of Ambrieres, burning also Mayenne after a long siege. By reducing these two fortresses, he humbled the pride of Geoffrey, and thus compelled the most formidable of the nobles of Maine to do him homage, although he had persuaded other malcontents to join him in his resistance. On his submission, almost all his accomplices and the supporters of his rebellion were struck with consternation, and compelled to fear and obey William, a prince who was evidently protected by divine Providence. The duke entrusted the beautiful Margaret to the care of Stigand, the powerful baron of Mesidon, to be brought up in his family, but before she became marriageable, she was snatched away from the vanities of the world, and, dying happily, rests in peace, being buried at Fecamp, in the noble and flourishing monastery founded in honour of the holy and undivided Trinity.

At that time Robert de Gace, son of Rodolph, son of Robert the archbishop, died childless, whereupon Duke William, his cousin, united his whole inheritance to his own domains. He also gave the lands of Robert de Vitot, who was banished for assassinating Count Gislebert [de Brionne], to Geoffrey Mancel, brother of the viscount Hubert; from


[1] This tragedy was performed at Falaise, where Duke William had carried Walter and his wife prisoners, a circumstance which, notwithstanding the reserve of Ordericus, sufficiently indicates by whose command the poison was administered. The duke's contemporaries, especially those who were opposed to him, spoke more plainly, and often told him the horror so foul a crime inspired, as we shall find in the sequel of this history.

450 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.IX.

whom the lord Osbern, abbot of St. Evreut, bought the vill called Douet-Artus, with Tronquet and Mesnil-Joscelin. Duke William granted and confirmed it by a charter in presence of the barons of Normandy, William Fitz-Osbern, Richard d'Avranches, son of Turstin, Roger de Montgomery, and many others mentioned in the charter.

However, Robert de Vitot, after some time reconciled himself with the duke, and, being restored to his lordship, laid claim to the land just mentioned against the abbey of St. Evroult, but not long afterwards the war with England, in which he was wounded in the cheek, being ended, he fell sick of a mortal disease. Finding his end approaching, he freely gave all the land which he claimed to the faithful servants of God for the repose of his soul. This gift to St. Evroult was made at Dover, before Odo, bishop of Baieux, Hugh de Grant-mesnil, Hugh de Montfort, and Hugh, son of Fulcold, and many other persons of high and low condition.

This knight had forty nephews, all proud of their rank of knighthood, and engaged in such fierce contests with each other, that his inheritance has scarcely ever been suffered to rest undisturbed to the present day: for Matthiel and Richard, his brother, Nigel, and Rualod the Breton, Nigel's son-in-law, succeeded at different times, and by their evil devices wrought much mischief. Every one of these claimed the lands before named from the abbey of St. Evroult, but the judgment of God who is everywhere the mighty protector of his church, compelled them to desist from their unjust attacks. It was Matthiel who, with great menaces, made the attempt to rob the church of her possessions during the reign of the great duke William; and Richard and other claimants during those of his brothers William Rufus and Henry; but the King of kings, helping his servants, they were unable to accomplish their wicked designs.

CH. IX. Arnold d'Echoufour poisoned - Fortunes of the great family of Giroie in Normandy and Apulia after his death.

ARNOLD D'ECHOUFOUR, son of William Giroie, returning successful from Apulia, presented himself at the court of

ABOUT 1063.] ARNOLD D'ECHOUFOUR POISONED. 451

Duke William, and, offering him a magnificent mantle, humbly entreated that his inheritance might be restored. The duke, taking into consideration the high birth and distinguished valour of this nobleman, and his own great want of brave soldiers for his wars with the people of Maine, the Bretons, and his other enemies, took a more lenient view of his offences, and, making a truce with him, promised to restore his patrimony; meanwhile giving him free liberty of passing and repassing through his territories for a limited time. The duke's empty promises caused Arnold great satisfaction, but without just reason, as we shall presently see. For Mabel, the daughter of Talvac, poisoned the refreshments which she ordered to be set before him as he was returning from the court of the duke to France; but a friend of Arnold's gave him notice of the treachery intended. While, therefore, he was conferring with some of his friends at Echoufour, and was earnestly invited by Mabel's attendants to partake of the entertainment, he would on no account consent, remembering the friendly warning, and utterly refusing all meat and drink which he suspected to be poisoned. But Gislebert, the brother of Roger de Montgomery, who had conducted him there, and was quite unconscious of the treacherous design, took a cup, without dismounting from his horse, and, drinking the poisoned wine, died in consequence on the third day afterwards at Remalord: so that this perfidious woman, attempting to destroy her husband's rival, caused the death of his only brother, who was in the flower of his youth, and much distinguished for his chivalrous gallantry. Not long afterwards, lamenting the failure of her first attempt, she made another not less deadly effort to accomplish the object of her desires. By means of prayers and promises she worked on Gulafre, [1] Arnold's chamberlain, till she had bent the false retainer to her nefarious wishes. She then prepared the poisoned drink, which the chamberlain presented to his master, and to Giroie de Courville, [2] and William, surnamed Gouet de Montmirail. Thus the three nobles imbibed the venom of the poison at Courville, at one and the same time; but Giroie and William, who were carried to their own homes, where


[1] This worthy has been mentioned before, p. 436.

[2] Courville, near Chartres.

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

they could command all necessary care, by the mercy of God aiding the skill of the physician, recovered, while Arnold, who, as a banished man, had no means of securing proper attentions in the house of a stranger, languished for some days, and at length, the disorder increasing, breathed his last on the calends [1st] of January. The day before he died, being alone in his chamber in bed, he saw clearly, and not in a dream, an old man of a noble presence, whom he took for St. Nicholas, who addressed him to this effect: "Brother, trouble yourself not about your bodily health, for it is certain that you will die to-morrow, but direct your utmost efforts towards saving your soul, at the scrutiny of the just and eternal Judge". With these words the old man suddenly vanished, whereupon the sufferer sent immediately to St. Evroult to request that some of the brethren of the abbey would visit him. Without delay they sent Fulk de Guernauville to Courville. It was there that the knight of whom we are speaking spent three years during his exile, with Giroie, the lord of that town, who was his kinsman and friend, and from thence, with the aid of the people of Corbon, Dreux, and Mortagne, and all others he could summon to his assistance, he carried on a desperate warfare to revenge his banishment. The sick man rejoiced greatly at Fulk's speedy arrival, and, making known to him the vision which he had seen the day before, he renounced the world, and professed himself a monk with a tender devotion of soul. Then, lamenting his sins, he died the same day, and his body was carried to St. Evroult, and there honourably interred by the lord abbot Osbern and the whole community in the monks' cloister.

On the death of Arnold, the noble family of Giroie fell entirely to decay, and, to this day, no one of their posterity has been able to recover the rank of his ancestors. Arnold had married Emma, daughter of Turstin, surnamed Halduc, by whom he had William and Reginald, Petronilla and Geva, and other sons and daughters. Thus, losing their father in their tender years, when he was in the flower of his youth, and being settled in the houses of strangers, as we have already noticed, they were exposed from infancy to poverty, and all sorts of mortifications. Their mother found a refuge with her brother Odo, steward of the duke of Normandy,

AFTER 1063.] FAMILY OF GIROIE. 453

who dwelt in the Cotentin, and was distinguished for his wealth and power among the Norman nobles. She lived with him and her other friends almost thirty years in honoured widowhood, being greatly respected for her chastity, gentleness, and other good qualities; and towards the close of her life, renounced the world, and took the veil with much devotion at the hands of the lord Robert, abbot of the Holy Trinity, at Lessai. [1]

William d'Echaufour, the eldest of Arnold's sons, had scarcely arrived at the age of puberty when he repaired to the court of Philip, king of France, who appointed him his squire, and afterwards knighted him for his good service. He afterwards went into Apulia, where he had kinsmen of high rank, and, being kindly entertained, advanced himself greatly by his gallant actions. He took to wife a noble lady of a Lombard family, and obtained possession of thirty castles under Robert, count of Loritello, Guiscard's nephew. [2] The marriage was fruitful, and he had many children of both sexes, and, forgetting Normandy, lived almost forty years among the Lombards in great honour.

Reginald, the youngest son of Arnold, had been entrusted by his father, three months before his death, to Abbot Osbern, and was carefully educated at St. Evroult under the regular discipline of the abbey, receiving from the abbot the surname of Benedict, on account of his sweetness of disposition. His father, on offering him to God as a monk, had granted a plough-land at St. Germain's, in the parish of Echaufour, to the abbey of St. Evroult, which it long since lost, in the troubles to which Arnold and his heirs were exposed, as already related. The youth was only five years old when he submitted to the monastic yoke, which he has steadfastly borne for fifty-two years, [3] under four successive abbots, both in prosperity and adversity. He fully learned the arts of reading and singing, which he taught to others without any mistakes, when he arrived himself at mature years. His vigorous memory enabled him to relate with


[1] Roger, from whose hands Emma received the veil, was a monk of Bec, and first abbot of Lissai in the diocese of Coutances, 1056-1094.

[2] Robert de Loritello, son of Geoffrey, Robert Guiscard's brother, and count of the Capitanata. Loritello, now called Rotello, is a royal domain, near Lucera.

[3] This was written in 1115 or 1116.

454 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.IX.

great fulness whatever he had seen or heard, and his companions were frequently charmed with his recitals from the sacred scriptures, and the statements of the learned. It was his study to gain the affections of the gentle, and modest, and teachable among the neophytes, by his affability and condescension; but he stoutly contradicted the conceited, and pretenders, and inventors of novelties. Twice he undertook journeys, by permission of Abbot Roger, and for the behests of the abbey of St. Evroult, as far as Apulia, and in that foreign land found his brother William, and many other relations possessed of great wealth. He remained nearly three years in Calabria, with William, abbot of St. Euphemia, [1] son of Humfrey de Tilleul, and on his return brought back a cope of purple and white, the gift of Abbot Humfrey, who was his cousin, to the church of St. Evroult. From his infancy, Reginald observed the monastic rules with praiseworthy regularity, and zealously assisted at the offices of divine worship, both in the day and the night. I have often remarked him performing the chant with such indefatigable zeal that scarcely a single versicle was sung in the choir by others, in which he did not take a part. But as it is written: "Many are the sorrows of the righteous", [2] he suffered much tribulation, both from within and without. For, being firm and severe to the forward, and disdaining to flatter the hypocritical, he was frequently subject to their attacks of various kinds. The eye of God seeth all things, and condemns with discriminating judgment even those which to men appear laudable, and he has afflicted our brother Reginald with infirmity of body from his infancy, and that the just may be further justified, continues to this time, to increase the weakness of his limbs. While he was yet a boy, as he never spared himself, and seemed stronger for every kind of labour than the rest of the brotherhood, he ruptured himself while carrying earth, and, not allowing himself any rest, the hernia became incurable. In short, he has now for seven years suffered such extreme torture, that he is neither able to raise his hand to his mouth, nor to do any office for himself without assistance. Almighty God, who healest those who are broken in heart, have mercy upon him! Purge him from all stain of sin,


[1] See before, b. iii. c. 5.

[2] Psalm vii. 20.

A.D. 1061-1066.] HUGH GRANT-MESNIL. 455

deliver him from the irksome prison of the flesh, and admit him into the company of thy servants in rest eternal!

The two daughters of Arnold, on the death of their father, and their consequent destitution, chose rather to render themselves acceptable to God by their modest conversation, than to attain worldly prosperity by the perishing charms of their personal beauty. Both, therefore, dedicated their virginity to the Lord, and gave up the world to become nuns. Petronilla took the veil in the convent of St. Mary, at Angers, for a long time diligently observing the rules submitted to by consecrated virgins; and afterwards for ten years within the enclosure, she became remarkable far and wide by her character for her sanctity and her exemplary virtues. Her sister Geva, taking the veil under the abbess Beatrice, in the convent of the Holy Trinity at Caen, founded by Queen Matilda, long practised and taught the holy rule, to her own profit and that of others. [1]

CH X. The castle of Neuf-Marche in the Beauvais committed to the custody of Hugh de Grant-mesnil - Events there - Death of Osbern, abbot of St. Evroult.

WILLIAM, the illustrious marquis of Normandy, finding that the people of Beauvais were making efforts to ravage the borders of his territory, expelled Geoffrey, the lawful heir, from the castle of Neuf-Marche, [2] for some trivial offence, and entrusted the defence of it to several of his barons; but, by reason of the continual inroads of the people of Milli, and Gerberoi, [3] and other neighbours, hardly any one of them was able to hold it for a single year. At length the great duke committed the castle to Hugh de Grant-mesnil, who was eminent for skill and courage, joining with him Gerold, his high steward, and granting to Hugh one moiety of the fief. He did this by the advice of Roger de Montgomery, who was jealous of a bravery too nearly resembling his own, and sought to bring him into disgrace by some device or


[1] Beatrix de Hugueville, the fifth abbess of the Holy Trinity at Caen, governed the convent at the time our author wrote.

[2] Marquis of Normandy, see note, p. 397. Le Neuf-Marche-en-Lions. The ruins of this castle are remarkable for the vast size of the stones of which the foundations were built.

[3] Milli, a town two leagues N.W. of Beauvais. The celebrated castle of Gerberoi stands a league and a half N.E. of Gournai.

456 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.X.

occurrence. Hugh, however, thankfully accepted the custody of the fortress, and, by God's help, in the course of a year, took two of the chief leaders of the men of Beauvais prisoners, and, striking terror into the rest of the enemy, restored tranquillity through all the country in that quarter.

Four canons were in possession of the church of St. Peter the apostle at Neuf-Marche, but they were negligent in the performance of divine worship, and led a very worldly life. The noble Hugh, therefore, gave the moiety of the church which belonged to him to the abbey of St. Evroult, upon the terms that, upon the death of the canons, or their avoidance from any other cause, they should be succeeded by monks: which was carried into effect. For two of the canons who had been instituted to the portion held by Hugh, taking their departure, monks were appointed in their place, and have continued in possession of a moiety of the preferment to the present day; Robert the Bald, Ralph de la Roussiere, and John de Beaunai, and other excellent men, resided there.

On a certain occasion there was a violent quarrel between Count Hugh, so often named, and Ralph, count of Mantes, father-in-law of Philip, king of France, [1] and Hugh, boldly encountering the count of Mantes with inferior forces, was compelled to retreat. In the flight Richard de Heudicourt, of the Vexin, was wounded; for, urging his horse to full speed at the ford of the river Epte, he received in his back a sharp thrust, by the lance of a knight who pursued him. Being carried by his comrades to Neuf-Marche, and fearing he should die, by the advice of Count Hugh, to whose family he was attached by military services, he vowed that in future he would serve under the monastic rule in the exercises of virtue. He therefore sent for the monks of St. Evroult, and put himself under the government of Abbot Osbern. Afterwards, by the mercy of God, who, in different ways snatches sinners from the pit of destruction, he somewhat recovered his health, though it was never entirely restored, living for seven years a zealous member of the order, and benefiting the church in various


[1] Ralph, count de Cressi and Valois, married, in 1062, Agnes, wife of Henry I., king of France, and died in 1074.

A.D. 1066.] DEATH OF ABBOT OSBERN. 457

ways. Having neither wife nor child, he, after his being, wounded, voluntarily ceded his patrimony in the Vexin to the church of St. Evroult, and procured from his uncle Fulk, and Herbert the butler (who was lord of the fief), as well as from his other relations, the entire surrender of their interest in the property. His wound was never entirely closed, and there issued from it daily, so those who were witnesses report, as much matter as would fill the egg of a goose; he zealously observed the conventual rules, and cheerfully performed the duties of his order. He went either on foot or on horseback wherever he was ordered, on the business of the convent, which he forwarded both by word and deed to the utmost of his ability. In consequence, Abbot Osbern esteemed him more than the other monks, and placed entire confidence in him, so that when he planned the new church, which he commenced building, he made him the overseer of the works, with the charge of the expenditure, and the superintendence of the stone-cutters.

At the instance of this Richard, and by his advice, Abbot Osbern undertook a journey to France, and made the acquaintance, through his agreeable conversation, of the eloquent Robert, and of Herbert de Serranz, and Fulk de Chaudri, with other knights and persons of inferior rank in the Vexin, and took possession of the domain of Heudicourt for the abbey of St. Evroult, with the consent and approbation of the aforesaid nobles and their neighbours. On his return he took to his bed, and, his sickness increasing, he caused himself to be carried into the chapter, and ordered the letter, which, as before mentioned he addressed to Pope Alexander, to be distinctly read. This he did that all might clearly understand that he had not usurped the rights of Abbot Robert, but had undertaken the government of the abbey against his own wishes, but in compulsory obedience to the will of others. He then strengthened the brethren by his exhortations, entreating them to regard his errors with indulgence, and to cherish his memory. And so, having made his confession and partaken of the holy communion of the body of our Lord, he expired, surrounded by the monks devoutly chanting litanies for him, on the sixth of the calends of June [27th May], [1] having


[1] May 27, 1066.

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

governed the abbey of St. Evroult five years and three months. On the morrow, Vitalis, abbot of Bernai, came to bury his friend, and interred him in the cloister of the monastery, near the church of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, from whence, seventeen years afterwards, his successor Mainer transferred his remains, with the bones of Witmund, his companion, into the new chapter-house.

CD. XI. Death of Edward the confessor - Duke William's preparations for the invasion of England.

IN the year of our Lord 1066 [the fourth indiction], in the month of April, there appeared in the zodiac, for fifteen days together, a star called a comet, [1] which, as clever astrologers, who have keenly investigated the secrets of nature, assert, portended a revolution. For Edward, king of England, the son of King Ethelred by Emma, daughter of Richard the elder, king of Normandy, had died just before, [2] and Harold, Earl Godwin's son, had usurped the English throne. Guilty as he was of perjury, cruelty, and other iniquities, he had now held it three months, to the great injury of many persons, inasmuch as his unjust usurpation had occasioned violent animosities between different families, from which mothers had to bewail the loss of their sons, and wives of their husbands. There is no doubt that Edward had bequeathed the realm of England to his kinsman William, duke of Normandy, announcing it, first by Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, [3] and afterwards by Harold himself, and, with the consent of the English, making the duke heir to all his rights. [4] Moreover Harold had taken the oath of allegiance


[1] This celebrated comet was visible not only throughout the whole of Europe, but even in China, where it was observed for sixty-seven days. It appears that it was first seen in the west of Europe, on the evening of the 24th of April. It is rudely figured on the Bayeux tapestry.

[2] On the 5th of January, 1066.

[3] Robert Champart, abbot of Jumieges in 1037, was successively bishop of London in 1044, and archbishop of Canterbury in 1050. Being expelled from his see by Earl Godwin in 1052, he undertook a journey to Rome to appeal to the pope, who decided in his favour; but he died at Jumieges on his return, and was buried there on the gospel, or north, side of the choir.

[4] "Harold's visit to Normandy, which we are inclined to fix in the year 1063, had no such object as coming to an understanding with William for securing him the crown of England after King Edward's death, as our author represents, its design being to obtain the release of his brother and nephew, who had been detained as hostages at the duke's court from the time of his father, Earl Godwin's, revolt. The assertion that Edward's intentions were made known to his subjects, and received their concurrence, is equally unfounded; but, notwithstanding, we have no sort of doubt of the reality of Edward's intentions, fomented, probably, by Archbishop Robert, who became his confidant. It appears quite natural that Edward, brought up in Normandy, a Norman in heart and manners, and continually surrounded by Norman ecclesiastics, should prefer bequeathing his crown to his cousin, with whom he had so many common sympathies, than to an offset of a family with which he was ever at variance, and his aversion to which he had never disguised. Our author has seriously erred in blindly following the Norman traditions regarding the circumstances which paved the way for the conquest of England. But those are not much nearer the truth who adopt without discrimination all the counter statements of the Anglo-Saxon writers, as is now the fashion".

The note of the French editors so well represents the state of the case, that there is little to add from what they seem to suppose an opposite point of view. There is little doubt of Edward's prepossessions in favour of the Norman succession, but the assertion of his having given them effect by any overt act, might have been more distinctly disclaimed. Edward's constitutional prudence and timidity would prevent its being wrung from him by the Norman archbishop even in his last moments, nor whatever may have been the value of either, does the supposed declaration in favour of Harold rest on a better foundation.

On the whole, the English writers nearest the times, offer little in opposition to the account given by the Norman historians. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Henry of Huntingdon, and Roger of Wendover, observe a prudent silence, but Florence of Worcester and Roger of Hovenden say that Edward before his death chose Harold for his successor. Of the three competitors for the crown, probably Edgar Atheling was the popular favourite, and Malmsbury states that Edward had actually "recommended him to the nobility as the nearest to the sovereignty in point of birth".

A.D. 1066.] HAROLD, KING OF ENGLAND. 459

to duke William at Rouen, in the presence of the nobles of Normandy, and doing him homage had sworn on the holy relics to all that was required of him. [1] After that, the duke took Harold with him in an expedition against Conan, count of Brittany, [2] presenting him and his retinue with noble war


[1] The fact of William having wrung an oath of fealty from Harold on the holy relics, is so well attested that it is impossible to dispute it. Harold himself admitted it in a message to William, reported by Malmesbury, but took the ground that an obligation contracted under duress was not binding. Writers agree far less on the place where the ceremony was performed. Wace makes it Baieux; our author Rouen; but William de Poitiers, a contemporary historian, is probably right; he fixes it at Bonneville-sur-Tonque, a palace where the duke often resided, and near the cathedral of which William de Poitiers was archdeacon.

[2] Conan II., duke of Brittany, 1040-100. The Baieux tapestry represents several curious details of this expedition.

460 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XI. horses, splendid armour, and other gifts of value, in the presence of the army. This Englishman was distinguished by his great size and strength of body, his polished manners, his firmness of mind and command of words, by a ready wit and a variety of excellent qualities. But what availed so many valuable gifts, when good faith, the foundation of all virtues, was wanting? Returning to his country, his ambition tempted him to aspire to the crown, and to forfeit the fealty he had sworn to his lord. He imposed upon King Edward, who was in the last stage of decay, approaching his end, by the account he gave of his crossing the sea, his journey to Normandy, and the result of his mission, falsely adding that Duke William would give him his daughter in marriage, [1] and concede to him, as his son-in-law, all his right to the throne of England. The feeble prince was much surprised at this statement; however, he believed it, and granted all the crafty tyrant asked.

Some time afterwards, King Edward, of pious memory, died at London on the nones [fifth] of January, in the twenty-fourth year of his reign, and was interred in the new monastery which he had just built on the western side of the city, and at the consecration of which he had been present the week before. His body was laid near the altar which St. Peter the apostle had blessed with the working of miracles in the time of Mellitus, bishop of London. On the very day of the funeral, when the people were bathed in tears for the loss of their beloved king, Harold caused himself to be crowned by Archbishop Stigand alone, [2] though the pope had suspended him from his functions for certain crimes, without the concurrence of any other bishops and the earls and barons of the realm. When the English were apprized of the bold usurpation effected by Harold, they were very indignant and some of the most powerful lords, resolved on an obstinate resistance, refused to offer


[1] This part of Harold's statement which alleges his being affianced to Agatha, William's eldest daughter, was correct, as our author, contradicting himself, admits in the fifth book of his history.

[2] This is a common error of the Norman historians; Harold was crowned by Aldred, archbishop of York. Stigand was appointed to the archbishopric of Canterbury in 1053, but did not obtain the pall from Rome till 1058.

A.D. 1066.] TOSTIG'S REVOLT AND EXILE. 401

him any token of submission. Others, not knowing how to free themselves from the yoke imposed upon them, which soon became firmly fixed, and, on the other hand, considering that they could neither depose him, nor while he held the reigns of government set up another king to the advantage of the realm, submitted to the usurpation, consolidating the power which he had already established. In a short time the throne which had been iniquitously seized was stained by horrible crimes.

The earls Edwin and Morcar, sons of Algar the first of the English earls, were attached by the strictest ties to Harold, and employed all their efforts to support his cause, he having married their sister Edith, who had been the queen of Griffith a powerful king of Wales, to whom she bore Blethyn, his successor, and a daughter named Nesta. [1] Tostig, however, Earl Godwin's son, finding that his brother's enterprise proved successful, and that the kingdom of England was subject to great oppression, was much distressed, and determined to oppose him and even to levy war against him. Wherefore Harold violently deprived him of his father's earldom, which as eldest son he had held for sometime during the reign of Edward, [2] and drove him into exile. Tostig, thus banished, took refuge in Flanders, where he committed his wife Judith to the care of his father-in-law Baldwin, earl of Flanders, and then hastening to Normandy strongly remonstrated with Duke William for


[1] Edith was not married to Griffith-ap-Llewellyn, king of North Wales, but he had a daughter named Nesta, who after running off with Fleance, son of Banquo, one of the characters in Macbeth, by whom she had Walter Stewart, married Trahern-ap-Caradoc, who succeeded Griffith after the death of that king's brothers, Blethyn and Rhywallon. Our author appears to have mistaken Blethyn for a son of Griffith, because he was his immediate successor. Edith seems to have been remarkable for her great beauty. She is called in the Domesday Book Edeva pulchra, Edeva faira, while the name of Edded regina is reserved for the widow of Edward the Confessor. Nesta had a daughter of her own name, who married Bernard du Neuf-Marche.

[2] Tostig never obtained his father's earldom, consisting of Wessex, Sussex, and Kent, which was granted to Harold immediately after Godwin's death. Tostig succeeded Siward in the earldom of Northumbria, from which he was expelled in 1065 by the indignation of the inhabitants at his murders and exactions. It was at Bruges that he placed his wife under her father's protection.

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

suffering his perjured vassal to usurp the crown of England, which he pledged himself the duke would secure if he crossed the channel with a Norman army. These princes had been long attached to each other, having married two sisters, through whom their regard was frequently revived. William therefore received his companion with open arms, and thanking him for his friendly suggestions, and roused by his exhortations, assembled the barons of Normandy to consult with them publicly on what was to be done with regard to an enterprise of such vast importance.

At that time Normandy was favoured by possessing many accomplished prelates and illustrious nobles. Maurilius, who from a monk became a metropolitan, was archbishop of Rouen; Odo, the duke's uterine brother, was bishop of Baieux; Hugh, brother of Robert Count d'Eu, was bishop of Lisieux; William of Evreux; Geoffrey of Coutances; John, son of Ralph, count of Bayeux, was bishop of Avranches; and Ivo, son of William de Belesme, of Seez. [1] All these prelates were distinguished by the splendour of their noble extraction, their zeal for religion, and their many excellencies.

Foremost in the ranks of the laity stood Richard, count of Evreux, son of Archbishop Robert; Count Robert, son of William viscount d'Eu; Robert, earl of Morton, uterine brother of Duke William; Rodolph de Conches, son of Roger Toni, standard-bearer of Normandy; William Fitz-Osbern, the duke's cousin and high steward; William de Warrene, and Hugh Boteler; Hugh de Grant-mesnil and Roger de Moubray; Roger de Beaumont, and Roger de Montgomery; Baldwin and Richard, sons of Count Gislebert. [2]


[1] Maurilius, archbishop of Rouen, Sept. 1053-August 9, 1067; Odo, bishop of Baieux, 1049-February, 1099; Hugh, bishop of Lisieux, 1049-July 17, 1077; William Fleitel, bishop of Evreux, 1046-February 11, 1066; Geoffrey de Moubray, bishop of Coutances, April, 1048-February, 1093; John, son of Ralph, count of Ivri, bishop of Avranches, September, 1060-1067; Ivo de Belesme, bishop of Seez, 1035-1070.

[2] Almost all the persons enumerated were relations of the duke of Normandy, besides those expressly so described by Ordericus. Thus the counts of Evreux and Eu were his uncles by the custom of Brittany; the standard bearer was son-in-law of the count of Evreux; William Warrenne was also the duke's uncle, according to the custom of Brittany; Roger de Beaumont and Roger de Montgomery's father were cousins-german of Duke Robert, and Baldwin de Meelus and Richard de Bienfaits cousins-german of Duke William.

A.D. 1066.] PRELATES AND NOBLES OF NORMANDY. 463

with many others whose valour had gained them military distinction, and whose native sagacity and decision in council were not inferior to the matured virtues of the Roman senate, but aspired to imitate them both in their indefatigable constancy, and the talent and courage they employed in conquering their enemies.

All these were summoned by the duke's command to a general consultation; and upon an affair of so much importance being submitted to their consideration, opinions were divided according to the differences in men's minds. The more daring spirits, willing to flatter the duke's ambition, encouraged their comrades to plunge into the contest, and were for engaging in so great an enterprise without hesitation. Others were opposed to an undertaking of so much difficulty, pointing out to those who were too venturesome, and were running headlong to destruction, its great inconveniences and perils; they magnified the obstacles, presented by the want of a fleet and the dangers of the voyage, and alleged that a handful of Normans were unequal to the conquest of the numerous hosts of the English. [1] At length the duke sent Gislebert, [2] archdeacon of Lisieux, to Rome, to ask for advice from Pope Alexander on the state of affairs. On hearing all the circumstances, the pope favoured the legitimate rights of the duke, enjoined him to take up arms against the perjurer, and sent him the standard of St. Peter the apostle, by whose merits he would be defended against all dangers.

Meanwhile, Tostig received the duke's permission to return to England, having firmly engaged to assist him, both in his own person and with all his friends. But as it is written: "Man proposes, but God disposes", [3] things


[1] Henry of Huntingdon relates a curious story, the gossip perhaps of the day, of the manner in which the malcontents were entrapped by Fitz-Osbern, the duke's favourite, into giving their consent to join in the expedition.- History, b. vi. p. 208.

[2] Probably Gislebert Maminot, son of Robert de Courbepine, and who was bishop of Lisieux, in 1077; as he was much trusted by the duke, serving him in the joint offices of chaplain and physician. It was perhaps from him that the bishops of Lisieux inherited the dignity of almoner of the dukes of Normandy, with the important exemption attached to it.

[3] This proverb is not to be found in the bible, as our author seems to intimate.

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

turned out very differently from what he expected. For embarking from the Cotentin, [1] he was unable to reach England. Harold held possession of the channel with a large fleet and the coasts with strong bodies of troops, in order to prevent the enemy from landing in the kingdom he had treacherously usurped without a severe conflict. Tostig was therefore in great perplexity, it being out of his power to make a hostile descent on England with his small force in the face of innumerable enemies, nor could he direct his course back to Normandy, the winds being contrary. Driven to and fro alternately by winds from the west, the south, and other quarters, he was exposed to great distress and encountered many perils while wandering over the sea, until at last, after severe sufferings, he landed in the dominions of Harold, king of Norway, surnamed Harfager. [2] Being well received by this prince, and perceiving that he could not fulfil the promises he had made to Duke William, he altered his plans, and thus addressed him: "Great king, I come a suppliant to your highness, offering myself and my faithful services to your majesty, in the hopes that, by your aid, I may be restored to any hereditary rights. My brother Harold, who in truth ought to submit to me as his elder brother, has treacherously magnified himself against me, and even presumed, at the price of perjury, to usurp the English crown. Knowing therefore, your preeminence in power, and in forces, and every excellence, I earnestly entreat you, as one prepared to do you homage, to render me your powerful assistance. Humble the pride of my perfidious brother by a hostile invasion of England; and reserving one half of it for yourself, confer the other on me, who will thenceforth preserve my fealty to you unbroken as long as I live". The ambitious king was highly pleased at this proposal. He immediately ordered an army to be assembled, warlike engines to be prepared, and the royal fleet was, during the six months following, completely equipped. The exiled wanderer encouraged the Norwegian king to this great enterprise, and by this skilful change in


[1] Probably from Barfleur, about the time of the spring equinox.

[2] Harold Harfager, or Hare-foot, was contemporary with Rollo, and lived a century before these times. It was Harold Hardraade, or The Hardy, the third of the name, who was king of Norway from 1045-1066.

A.D. 1066.] PREPARATIONS FOR INVADING ENGLAND. 465

his plans, while it flattered the king and saved himself from being treated as a spy, afforded him the opportunity of obtaining revenge for his banishment by his faithless brother.

Meanwhile, the marquis of Normandy was making preparations for his own enterprise, uninformed of the disasters which had befallen his precursor, and had driven him northward so far out of his intended course. A fleet of ships was carefully fitted out in Normandy, supplied with all necessaries, in building which both the clergy and laity rivalled each other in contributing both funds and labour. [1] Large bodies of troops were raised by a general levy throughout Normandy. Reports of the expedition drew many valiant men from the neighbouring countries, who prepared their arms for battle. Thus the French and Bretons, the Poitevins and Burgundians, and other people on this side the Alps, flocked together for the war over the sea, and scenting the booty which the conquest of Britain offered, were prepared to undergo the various perils and chances, both by sea and land, attending the enterprise.


[1] William de Poitiers tells us that the duke's fleet, assembling at Dive, sailed from thence to St. Valeri-sur-Somme; and it is therefore probable that his ships were built and fitted out at Dive and the neighbouring ports. Taylor has published a curious MS. containing an account of the number furnished by the duke's principal vassals, lay and ecclesiastic. In this muster-roll, William Fitz-Osbern, and Hugh d'Avranches, and Roger de Montgomery, each figure for sixty ships; Hugh de Montfort for fifty ships and sixty knights; and the other barons for lesser numbers, varying probably according to their means and zeal. Among the quota supplied by ecclesiastics, we find Remi, afterwards made bishop of Lincoln, on the list, with the modest contribution of one ship and twenty knights, while Nicholas, abbot of St. Ouen, a cousin-german of the duke's, contributed twenty ships and one hundred knights, and Odo, bishop of Baieux, the duke's uterine brother, no less than one hundred ships, the largest number furnished by any individual except Robert, earl of Mortagne, also the duke's brother, whose quota was one hundred and twenty. The whole number enumerated mounts up to 782. William of Jumieges says that William's fleet consisted of 5000 vessels, which must be a great exaggeration, small as most of them probably were. Guy of Amiens reckons 400 ships with large sails, and 1000 transports. The duchess Matilda furnished the vessel in which the duke himself embarked. It was called the Mora, and had for its figure-head the image of a child, gilt, pointing with its right hand towards England, and having in its mouth a trumpet of ivory.

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

CH. XII. Mainier appointed abbot of St. Evroult, and Lanfranc of St. Ouen - A new church and other buildings erected at St. Evroult - The monks farm and reclaim a barren estate in the Vexin.

WHILE these transactions were taking place, Osbern, abbot of St. Evroult, departed this life, as already related, and the chapter of the monks consulted the duke, before he crossed the sea, about appointing a successor. He was then holding a council of his nobles at Bonneville. [1] In consequence, by the advice of Bishop Hugh and other prudent counsellors, he chose the prior Mainier, and invested him with the temporalities of the abbey by the delivery of the pastoral staff, commanding him to have the forms which should commit to him the cure of souls duly complied with; all which he willingly performed.

On the same day, [2] the duke commanded the lord Lanfranc, prior of Bec, to appear before him, and gave him the abbey which he himself had just nobly founded at Caen in honour of St. Stephen the proto-martyr. Lanfranc was therefore the first abbot of Caen, but shortly afterwards he was promoted to the archbishopric of Canterbury. He was a native of Lombardy, deeply versed in the knowledge of the liberal arts, gifted with benevolence, generosity, and all the sacred virtues, and ceaselessly intent on almsgiving and other good works. Indeed, from the day already mentioned, when at Bonneville he was first raised to rule in the church, for twenty-two years and nine months he was nobly distinguished for the good to multitudes of the faithful in the house of God.

By the duke's command, the venerable Bishop Hugh conducted Mainier, the Lord's servant, to St. Evroult, and there consecrated him according to the statutes of the canons before the altar of St. Peter the apostle, on the seventeenth of the calends of August [July 16th]. Mainier, having thus taken on him the name and office of abbot,


[1] This place is mentioned in a note to ch. xi. as a favourite residence of the duke. It was the most centrically situated of all his palaces, and was very convenient at this time for superintending and hastening the equipment of his fleet.

[2] Probably at the end of June, or the beginning of July, 1066.

A.D. 1066.] MAINIER ABBOT OF ST. EVROULT. 467

lived worthily, administering the government twenty-two years and seven months with great usefulness, for, by God's help, he made great improvements in the monastery committed to him, both within and without. He skilfully succeeded, by his kindness of manner and reasonable arguments, in satisfying the brethren who were somewhat disturbed at his election. They had selected for their governors two monks, eminent for their piety and their erudition of both sorts, Reginald de la Roche and Fulk de Guernauville, and were, therefore, at no little variance with the abbot who was set over them, without their concurrence, by the bishop and their neighbours. Often, on occasions of this sort, disturbances are made by the worst of persons; for while the perverse strive earnestly to give the preference to their own opinions, regular order and sounder counsels are hindered. But Almighty God extends his powerful protection to his church in all difficulties, correcting those who are in error, and mercifully lending the aid which is needed, in the manner and by the persons he seeth fit. His good providence it was, as will hereafter plainly appear, which raised Mainier to the government of the abbey of St. Evroult, standing as it did in a barren territory and surrounded by most worthless neighbours. Mainier was born in the adjoining town of Echaufour, he was an accomplished scholar in grammar, dialectics, and rhetoric; skilful and severe in eradicating vices, he was zealous in inculcating virtue among the brethren. A diligent observer of the monastic rule, he pointed out the way of life both by word and deed to those who were committed to his charge, and encouraged many to work in the Lord's vineyard, both by being their leader and their anxious companion.

Mainier began building the new church dedicated to St. Mary, mother of God, St. Peter the apostle, and St. Evroult the confessor, in which are seven altars consecrated to the divine majesty in honour of his saints. For the old church which St. Evroult had founded in honour of the prince of the apostles, when Chilperic and his nephew Hildebert were kings of the Franks, [1] was much dilapidated by the great


[1] It has been remarked before, that St. Evroult retired to the vast solitudes of the forest of Ouche about the year 560; he died there the 29th of December, 596. If he built his church during the reigns of Childeric and his nephew Childebert, it must have been some time between the year 575, when Childeric succeeded his father, and the autumn of 581, in which Childebert was assassinated.

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

age, and was too small for the number of the monks, which was continually increasing. A building of stone at Ouche is a very laborious undertaking, because the quarry of Merlerault from whence the hewn stones are brought, is six miles distant. [1] The overseer of the work had therefore the greatest difficulty to procure horses, oxen, and carts, for the transport of the masses of stone and other materials required for so large a work. This abbot had not a moment's repose during the whole time of his rule; but by his great anxiety for numerous objects, rendered important services, both to the community then governed by him and their successors. By God's help and the contributions and munificence of the brethren and his friends he completed the building of a spacious and beautiful church, conveniently adapted for celebrating divine service, a dormitory and refectory, kitchen, and cellar, with other necessary offices for the use of the monks. Among others, Laufranc, archbishop of Canterbury, when he assisted at the consecration of the church of Caen, in the twelfth year after the war with England, [2] remitted to abbot Mainier twenty-four pounds of English money and two marks of gold, and he afterwards sent over from Canterbury forty pounds sterling by the hands of the lord Roger de Sap, who was known and esteemed by him for his learning. With these donations the abbey tower was carried up, and the dormitory for the monks built. Queen Matilda gave a rich mitre and cope for divine service, and one hundred pounds of Rouen currency to build the refectory. William de Ros, clerk of Baieux, who held three dignities in that church, being precentor, dean, and archdeacon, [3] gave forty pounds sterling to the monks of St. Evroult. Not long afterwards he voluntarily


[1] The quarries of Merlerault here mentioned are about 9000 toises from St. Evroult. The miles, therefore, must be about 1500 toises (of two English yards each) long, or three quarters of a post league. The roads must have indeed been almost impracticable at that time in a country so intersected with forests and swamps.

[2] This consecration was performed on the 13th of September, 1077.

[3] Afterwards the third abbot of Fecamp, from 1079 to 1108.

A.D. 1066-1089.] ACTS OF ABBOT MAINIER. 469

relinquished the grandeur of the world, and became a monk at Caen, from whence he was preferred to the government of the abbey of Fecamp before he had completed the first year of his monastic profession. His name is inscribed in the register of the monks of St. Evroult, for the many benefits he conferred on the abbey, and masses, prayers, and alms were appointed for him as if he had been a brother there professed. It was by the help of these and other contributors that the fabric of the new church was raised, and the work begun both in that and the abbey buildings was nobly finished.

During the government of abbot Mainier, ninety monks of various ranks and conditions, whose names are inscribed in the general register, put off the secular habit in the school of St. Evroult, and inspired by the counsels and example of excellent men, undertook to walk in the difficult path which leads to salvation. Some of these obtained the prize of their holy conversation during the lifetime of their venerable father; others remained longer in their religious course steadfastly maintaining a protracted contest, and striving to render themselves acceptable to God by their prayers, and useful to men by their good works. Some who were of noble families contributed largely to the support of the monastery, and procured from their relations, acquaintance, and friends, donations of tithes and churches and ecclesiastical ornaments for the use of the brethren. It is quite out of my power to describe particularly the gifts made by each individual to their cherished abbey, but I wish with God's help, to record some of them faithfully, as far as my opportunities of reference permit, for the general good and the information of posterity.

Roger de Hautrive, the senior monk, by order of abbot Rainier, went into the Vexin to take possession of Heudicourt, the domain which the wounded knight gave to St. Evroult, as I have before related, but he found the land uncultivated, and almost a desert. In the first place he erected an oratory with boughs of trees in honour of St. Nicholas, bishop of Myrrha, from whence the village which now stands on the spot is called by the inhabitants to this day the chapel of St. Nicholas. It often happened in the night that while Roger de Hautrive, as he himself used to

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

relate, was singing matins in his chapel of boughs a wolf took his station without, and as it were, responded to the chant by his howlings. This venerable man, divinely supported, attached to himself by ties of regard Herbert the Butler, who after the death of his cousin Herbert, who was brother of Richard the wounded knight, gave one moiety of his fief to St. Evroult. There Roger de Hautrive laboured, with the assistance of his generous friend, until he had brought under cultivation the land which for a long season had been deserted on account of the war and other calamities; and there Roger de Sap, after some years succeeding the former senior monk, began the building of a church of stone. The before mentioned knight (Herbert the Butler) had great power in the Vexin, and being possessed of great wealth and surrounded by sons and valiant relations and kinsman was exalted above almost all his neighbours. His wife's name was Rolande, daughter of Odo de Chaumont, who bore him Godfrey and Peter, John and Walo, with several daughters, by whom he had a numerous posterity. The father and brothers of whom we are speaking were all knights of distinguished courage, and, as far as outward appearances, of approved conduct both towards God and man. The mother has been all her life of exemplary virtue, being still living, though her husband and children are numbered with the dead. By the kindness and assistance of this family, the chapel of St. Nicholas, the bishop, was erected, with a convenient house for the monks, who live regularly and cultivate peace; and so it remains to the present day.

At the same time Fulk, son of Ralph de Chaudrei, had the greatest regard for the venerable Roger [de Hautrive] on account of his many virtues, so that he begged him kindly to be sponsor for his son at the holy font of baptism, which he willingly undertook. Their acquaintance and regard gradually increasing, he granted to his gossip the church of St. Martin de Parnes, the parish church, at which a congregation was assembled from seven neighbouring villages on appointed days to offer prayers to God, and to hear his praises and precepts in a becoming manner. The worthy father coming to Parnes, Fulk, with the consent of Wascelin his brother, gave to St. Evroult the church with

A.D. 1066-1089.] PARNES GRANTED TO ST. EVROULT. 471

all the dues belonging to it, and one plough-land in the same vill, and the tithes of his plough, with two houses and one mill called Barre-chemin. He also gave to the monks the archdeaconry which he held in fee of the archbishop of Rouen by inheritance from his ancestors, and he also granted to the monks the lordship of all the householders in Parnes, on condition that if they made any defeasance to the lords, they should not forfeit their houses, but be mulet in some other way. The inhabitants of Parnes [1] were delighted at having the monks for their lords, hoping that under their protection they should be safe from the inroads of the Normans in the neighbourhood, from which they frequently suffered. In the course of time, when Goisbert the physician was prior, Fulk gave the ground for the cemetery to promote the building of a new church. The foundations were then laid, but the work proceeded slowly through many hindrances for twenty-four years, and is not yet completed. [2] Fulk, the knight I am now speaking of, was brave and high-spirited, ardent in all his enterprises, irascible and fierce when roused to arms. He was very ready to lay violent hands on the property of others, and imprudently scatter his own in order to gain the empty honour of being accounted liberal. He took to wife Ita, daughter of Heremar de Poutoise, by whom he had Walter and Mainier, Hugh and Gervase, Hermar and Fulk, with a daughter named Luxovie. Mainier and Fulk were devoted from their infancy to a monastic life, but the other four sons followed the career of arms.

Fulk's character being, as I have observed, so unstable, he sometimes honoured the monks, and stoutly defended them against all adversaries, while at other times he grievously oppressed them. There lived at Parnes, serving God under the monastic rule, the old Roger and Goisbert the physician, Robert the Bald, John and Isemberd, with several others, of whom Bernard, surnamed Michael, and Reginald,


[1] Parnes, near St. Clair-sur-Epte. See note on the vassals of the church, b. iii. c. 5.

[2] The date to be assigned to the erection of this remarkable church is a question of some importance in the history of art, as the apse, like that of St. Clair-sur-Epte, is polygonal, and not semicircular, a rare occurrence in the churches of Normandy.

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

Theodoric, and Walter the Bald, with William of Caen, surnamed Alexander, after spending their lives devoted to pious offices, ended them there, and were there interred with great veneration. The grant of all that Fulk gave to the monks was confirmed by Robert the Eloquent, of Chaumont, who had the lordship in chief. Not long afterwards, while this Robert was carrying off the booty which he had collected with violence on the lands of St. Ouen, he fell from his horse in full armour, and, his helmet fixing in the ground, broke his neck and he perished miserably. His body was interred by abbot Mainier near L'Aillerie in the chapter-house of the monks of Flavigni, residing there. His sons Osmond do Chaumont, Guazon de Poix, and Robert de Beauvais, confirmed to St. Evroult all that their ancestors had given and granted to the abbey, as before related.

In this manner the monks of St. Evroult obtained the church of Parnes, which was a very ancient structure dedicated to St. Martin, metropolitan [archbishop] of Tours, and in which the remains of St. Judoc, confessor of Christ, are reverently preserved to the present day. Who he was, and whence he came, I shall briefly write in a short passage of this history, faithfully making extracts from a book containing an account of his holy life.

CH. XIII. Legend of St. Judoc, or Josse, a Breton saint, son of King Howel.

[ABOUT A.D. 650.] The blessed Judoc, [1] son of Juthail [Howel], king of the Bretons and brother of King Judicail, [2] being sought for to be elevated to the throne, relinquished the pursuit of learning to which he had devoted himself at Llanmelmon, and went in pilgrimage to Rome with four others. However Haymon, duke of Ponthieu, recognising his noble origin, detained him on the road, and having had him ordained priest, made him his chaplain. After seven


[1] St. Judoc, or Josse, priest and confessor. His death is fixed on the 13th of December, about the year 668. There is an older and more complete account of his life in the Acta SS. Ord. S. Benidicti, saec. ii., which seems to have furnished our author with the materials for his abridged history of the saint.

[2] Juthail, or Hoel III., who died in 602. Judicail, his son, abdicated in 638, and died in the odour of sanctity the 7th of December, 658.

BEFORE 668.] LEGEND OP ST. JUDOC. 473

years Judoc became a hermit at La Broie on the river Autie, where he served God eight years, and fed with the hand several sorts of birds and small fishes, like domestic animals. At one time when he had only one loaf, and divided it among four poor persons, in spite of the remonstrances of his servant Vulmar, God sent him four small boats laden with provisions on the river Autie. He afterwards built an oratory in honour of St. Martin at Runiac on the river Canche, [1] where he lived fourteen years. One day an eagle carried off eleven hens, and the cock last; the man of God made the sign of the cross accompanied by a prayer, when the eagle, shortly returning, brought back the cock and presently expired. Once when Judoc, in company with Duke Haimon, was searching for a suitable habitation in a thick wood, the duke was very thirsty, and weary with hunting he fell asleep, during which the man of God planted his walking staff in the ground and offering a prayer, a spring burst forth on the spot. Sick folk resort there and venerating the saint, drink the water, and are quickly cured. The servant of God constructed in the wood with his own hands two oratories of timber; one he dedicated to St. Peter the bearer of the keys of heaven, the other to the eloquent St. Paul. He afterwards went to Rome, from whence he brought back many relics of saints. Juliula, a young girl who was blind from her infancy, was admonished by a vision to bathe her eyes in the water wherewith Judoc had washed his hands, and upon her so doing recovered her sight. This happened while the man of God was returning from Rome, and a cross of wood being raised on the spot the place was called La Croix.

Meanwhile, in the absence of Judoc at Rome, Duke Haimon caused a church of stone to be erected in the wilderness where the hermit had dwelt, and on his return caused it to be dedicated to the honour of St. Martin, and gave for its endowment a certain vill in his domains, with all its appurtenances. Judoc, the faithful champion for God, there maintained a long warfare, and after happily ending the course of his holy life departed to Christ on the ides [13th] of December.


[1] Near Montreuil, at a place now called St. Josse, from an abbey dedicated to that saint which was built there in course of time.

474 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XIII.

His two nephews, Winoch and Arnoch, succeeded him, and were accustomed frequently to wash the body and clip the hair of the holy man whose remains long continued to show no tokens of decay. Drochtric, Duke Haimon's successor, had often heard this, but he did not believe it. Rashly determined, therefore, to investigate the matter, he caused the sacred tomb to be burst open, and looking in, started back in terror, exclaiming, "Ah! holy Judoc"! He became instantly deaf and dumb, and his whole body was paralyzed to the day of his death. His wife, struck with alarm at her husband's calamity, poured forth lamentations to God, and for the salvation of his soul gave the two villages of Crespiniac and Netreville to St. Judoc. These events took place in the time of Dagobert, son of Lothaire the Great, king of the Franks.

Isembard of Fleuri, [1] at the command of Abbot Herbald, wrote to Adelelm the monk, that the body of St. Judoc was discovered in the year of our Lord 977, during the reign of Lothaire, son of Lewis, king of France, in the following manner. A certain peasant, named Stephen, who gained his livelihood by being a miller, being admonished in a dream by one clothed in bright robes left his wife and children, and went to the place where St. Judoc was interred, and there became a clerk. No man living then knew the spot where the body of the saint lay, but Stephen, inspired by the vision, began to search within the church, and at the suggestion of Pridian Sigeman, he found the coffin on the right side of the altar of St. Martin. Thereupon, amidst general rejoicings, and while hymns of thanksgiving were sung to God, the coffin containing the body of the saint was disinterred, and lifted from the grave. The news of the discovery was quickly spread, and multitudes of people hastened to witness the disinterment of the holy remains, and to make their prayers and offerings to the saint. Many miracles were wrought ou the spot, and diseases of various descriptions were there cured. At last, on the eighth of the calends of August [July 25th,] the


[1] Isembard, a monk of Fleuri, flourished in the latter part of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century. On the discovery and translation of the body of St. Josse in 977, the monks of his abbey requested this writer to compose a life of their patron saint.

A.D. 977.] RELICS OF ST. JUDOC TRANSLATED. 475

body of St. Judoc, was deposited with great reverence over the altar of St. Martin.

The very same year, the foundations of a monastery were laid on that spot, means were taken for settling the order of monks, and the venerable Sigebrand was appointed abbot. One night, while the body of St. Judoc was deposited in the church of St. Peter, there were seven tapers before the remains, one of which only was lighted by the sacristan, but while the guardians of the holy relics were asleep, the other six candles were lighted by fire from heaven. So, on another occasion, when the body of St. Judoc was in his own church, a lamp which had been extinguished by the violence of the wind and showers of rain, had its light miraculously restored in the presence of Sigeman.

One Sunday, while Pridian was celebrating a solemn mass, a certain vassal of Count Hilduin, whose name was Garembert, was full of evil designs, wanting to plunder the church at his will, and to substitute for Sigeman an abbot more conformable to his purposes. When, however, it was read in the gospel for the day: "Why think ye evil in your hearts"? [1] the wretched man was smote by an invisible hand, and began to vociferate loudly, and being struck the third time by the power of God, he fell to the earth, vomiting clotted blood from his mouth. After mass he was carried out by order of Sigeman the sacristan, [2] and on the morrow, by the merits of St. Judoc, recovered his reason. This happened in the time of Hugh the Great.

The same day, a woman named Ostrehilde was intending to leave the church after mass, but her feet were so firmly fixed at the threshold, that no one could release them; she, however, felt no inconvenience except extreme cold from her knees to the soles of her feet. The next day she vowed to become the handmaid of God and St. Judoc; and being immediately relieved, she piously kept her vow.

It is related by the monks Adelelm and Richer, faithful reporters, that while Stephen translated the relics of St. Judoc to the monastery of St. Riquier during the erection of the church, the illustrious Bertsende, the marriageable daughter of Alsinde, suffered great pains from her hips to


[1] Matt. ix. 4.

[2] It seems that Sigebrand and Sigeman were two different persons.

476 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CII.XIII.

her feet for two years, so that she could not walk nor even move without the aid of a staff. Having prayed with faith, as well as her mother, before the relics of the holy confessor, she was cured of her infirmity, and her mother was so rejoiced at her daughter's recovery that she made an offering of a rich mantle to the physician who so quickly answered her prayers.

While a man named Robert was travelling alone at mid-day, he saw the spirit of error in the shape of a man, and was immediately struck blind. A long time afterwards, he sought the tomb of St. Judoc, and professed himself his servant before Abbot Guy. The same day blood flowed freely from his eyes, and he recovered his sight, and at vespers publicly declared that he could see the monks sitting on their benches.

Gunzo, a priest of Lorraine, suffered for seven years extreme weakness in his hands and feet. Some one who saw him recommended him to go and find the physician Judoc in Ponthieu. He hastened to follow this advice. On a Sunday, about the third hour, he entered the church, and prayed prostrate on the pavement, which he bedewed with his tears. Having finished his prayers, be rose up sound. Then he joined in the mass with great joy, and gave a faithful account of his recovery to the people, with thanksgiving to God.

Waldemar of Lorraine, having lost his right eye through sickness, determined, by the advice of his friends, on a pilgrimage to St. Judoc. But, missing his way, he happened to light in company with his friend on the fountain which Judoc in his lifetime had caused by his merits to burst forth. Waldemar, seeing a fountain of very clear water, called to his companion to stop, and sat down to rest; presently, he washed his hands and his face in the fountain, and suddenly recovered sight in the eye which was blind. Thus cured, he came joyfully to the monastery, and gave thanks to God, surrounded by rejoicing friends.

Two demoniacs, named Maginard, were set free at the tomb of St. Judoc, and lived long afterwards in the world with sound minds.

Sieburg, wife of Bertrand, a man of distinction, having been subject for ten months to a flow of blood from her

A.D. 977-1031.] MIRACLES OF ST. JUDOC. 477

nostrils, was conducted by her friends to the shrine of St. Judoc to obtain a cure. She offered her prayers, but no relief immediately followed, and she left the church sorrowful and full of complaints. But when in bitterness of spirit she had set forth to return home, as she passed a cross set up by the way-side, the blood ceased to flow from her nostrils. Immediately turning back, she retraced her steps to the monastery of the holy man; and her thanksgivings having been offered, she was entirely healed.

Robert de Terouenne, going alone at mid-day to oversee his work in the field, was suddenly seized by the devil, and tormented to such a degree that he was tempted by the adversary almost without intermission to destroy everything, and even to devour men. His three brothers therefore, having kept the fast of the four seasons in June, brought him bound to the tomb of St. Judoc, where they remained from the fourth day of the week to Saturday. From that time the afflicted man began to be more tranquil, and being restored to a sound mind, devoted himself from thenceforth to the service of St. Judoc. At his request abbot Guy ascended the pulpit on the feast of St. John the Baptist, and related the circumstances to the people, pointing out to them Robert, who was present, and publicly testified his own deliverance.

A certain man of ripe years, was for seven years so deaf that he could hear nothing. His wife brought him to the tomb of the blessed saint, where he prayed for a while. Then his wife, by Pridian's order, led him to the fountain of St. Judoc, and three times sprinkled his head with the waters of the fountain. Presently, returning to the church he heard mass, which, for seven years previously he had been unable to hear.

Isembard de Fleuri at the request of Adelehn, wrote these accounts of what happened in the time of Hugh the Great, or King Robert; but since that time the blessed Judoc has not ceased to work miracles in favour of those who offered him their prayers, though from negligence they are not recorded. The rulers of the kingdom being changed, and the nobles engaged in mutual quarrels, the body of St. Judoc was again covered with earth from fear of the enemy, and lay so long in concealment that all those who were

478 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XIII.

concerned in it forgot where it was deposited. In the time of Henry, king of France, when the monks often complained of their not knowing where their patron saint, the blessed Judoc, rested, the holy remains were divinely revealed to a simple layman, who, pointing out the spot, they were solemnly raised under the superintendence of the abbot and brethren. The monks then admitted the discoverer of the sacred relics into their order, and made him guardian of the holy body, committing to his charge the offerings of the faithful. On the death of the abbot, his successor did not esteem the sacristan as he ought, nor treat him as courteously as his predecessor had done. Whereupon the sacristan, being much aggrieved, got possession of the holy relics by night and carried them with him into France. Geoffrey, lord of Gomerfontaine, honourably received him with the treasure he bore, and appointed him master of the castle church, in which there were four canons, for the term of his life. Some time afterwards, wars breaking out, Henry, king of France, besieged Gomerfontaine with the strength of the French army, driving out Geoffrey, and setting the place on fire. But while the devouring flames were consuming the church and buildings of the castle, and horrible cries were raised by the assailants and the besieged, as happens at such times, one of the canons took the bones of St. Judoc from the tomb, and fled in all haste from the burning edifices. One of the king's soldiers met him on the bridge, and demanded of him what was the burden he carried. Upon his answering that it contained sacred vestments, and his own books, the soldier violently stripped him of all he carried, and took his prize with him to the territory of Parnes. The man's name was Robert, surnamed Meslebren, that is, Mix-bran; he was one of the retainers of Ralph de Chaudri, who was at that time one of the best knights in the French army. The soldier, greatly delighted with the prize he had made, caused it to be carefully deposited in the church of St. Martin, by the priest and parishioners, where, for more than seventy years, it was reverently preserved. Innumerable miracles were there wrought on the sick, and to this day are frequently repeated, when the faith of the supplicants merit relief, as the whole neighbourhood bears witness.

William de Merlerault, a venerable monk and priest, has

A.D. 1031-1108.] RELICS OF ST. JUDOC AT PARNES. 479

composed an excellent work on the translation of the holy body, of which we have only here given a brief account, and of the many cures of the sick performed at Parnes. In this book he truly and clearly relates all the wonderful occurrences connected with the sacred relics. Philip, king of France, was afflicted with fever two years, nor could all the skill of his physicians afford him any relief. At the end of the two years he came to Parnes, and, drinking water made holy by touching the relics of St. Judoc, he spent two nights in prayer before the holy body, and his pains ceased, and he recovered his health on the spot. In consequence, the king made an offering to St. Judoc of fifty sous of Pontoise, and granted a fair, to be held annually at Parnes in honour of St. Judoc, on the third day of the feast of Whitsuntide, confirming the grant by a royal charter. [1]

Besides these, many other miracles have been wrought, and continue to be daily performed at Parnes through the merits of St. Judoc, of which some are recorded, but the greater part are buried in oblivion, from the negligence of those who were privy to them, or from the ignorance of those who saw or experienced them. For my part, though I must hasten to other matters which claim our attention, I have most willingly collected some few details relating to you, O holy Judoc, inserting in this imperfect work notices of the heavenly gifts conferred on you, and devoutly extolling them so far as my limited powers permit. I beseech you therefore, O glorious son of the king of the Bretons, and fellow of the angels, that you commend me to God by the efficacy of your merits, and obtain for me admission into the society of the saints, with whom, contemplating in his glory the Creator of all things, I may offer triumphant praises through all ages. Amen.


[1] There are no traces in the French historians of this pilgrimage of Philip I. to Parnes, nor of the grant which resulted from it. We shall, indeed, find him in the sequel suffering from painful and disgusting disorders, which were considered as the punishment of his adulterous connexion with Bertrade de Montfort, but which cannot be identified with the intermittent fever, which is said to have been the cause of his visit to Parnes.

480 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XIV.

CH. XIV. Invasion of England by William, duke of Normandy - Battle of Stamford bridge - Battle of Hastings - William marches to Dover - Thence to London, where he is crowned.

IN the month of August, [1] Harold, king of Norway, and Tostig, with a powerful fleet set sail over the wide sea, and, steering for England with a favourable aparctic, or north wind, landed in Yorkshire, which was the first object of their invasion. Meanwhile, Harold of England, having intelligence of the descent of the Norwegians, withdrew his ships and troops from Hastings and Pevensey, and the other sea-ports on the coast lying opposite to Neustria, which he had carefully guarded with a powerful armament during the whole of the year, and threw himself unexpectedly, with a strong force by hasty marches on his enemies from the north. A hard-fought battle ensued, in which there was great effusion of blood on both sides, vast numbers being slain with brutal rage. At last the furious attacks of the English secured them the victory, and the king of Norway as well as Tostig, with their whole army, were slain. [2] The field of battle may be easily discovered by travellers, as great heaps of the bones of the slain lie there to this day, memorials of the prodigious numbers which fell on both sides.

While however the attention of the English was diverted by the invasion of Yorkshire, and by God's permission they neglected, as I have already mentioned, to guard the coast, the Norman fleet, which for a whole month had been waiting for a south wind in the mouth of the river Dive and the neighbouring harbours, took advantage of a favourable breeze from the west to gain the roads of St. Valeri. [3]


[1] This expedition did not sail till the month of September. Tostig arrived first at the rendezvous in the mouth of the Humber with fifty ships, but was driven off by Earl Edwin, and being afterwards joined by the king of Norway on the coast of Scotland, the united fleets sailed up the Humber to the neighbourhood of York. Huntingdon's History, p. 209.

[2] The battle of Stamford Bridge, in which Harold of Norway and Tostig fell, was fought on the eve of St. Matthew, 20th of September. The earls Edwin and Morcar had engaged the enemy five days before at Fulford Gate, and were defeated, the invaders retaining possession of the city of York and the neighbouring country.

[3] St. Valeri-sur-Somme. According to Guy of Amiens, the fleet was detained five days by contrary winds, and as it sailed on Michaelmas Day, 29th of September, it probably assembled at St. Valeri on the 23rd of that month.

A.D. 1066.] THE NORMAN INVASION OF ENGLAND. 481

While it lay there innumerable vows and prayers were offered for the safety of themselves and their friends, and floods of tears were shed. For the intimate friends and relations of those who were to remain at home, witnessing the embarkation of fifty thousand knights and men-at-arms, with a large body of infantry, who had to brave the dangers of the sea, and to attack an unknown people on their own soil, were moved to tears and sighs, and full of anxiety both for themselves and their countrymen, their minds fluctuating between fear and hope. Duke William and the whole army committed themselves to God's protection, with prayers, and offerings, and vows, and accompanied a procession from the church, carrying the relics of St. Valeri, confessor of Christ, to obtain a favourable wind. At last when by God's grace it suddenly came round to the quarter which was the object of so many prayers, the duke, full of ardour, lost no time in embarking the troops, and giving the signal for hastening the departure of the fleet. The Norman expedition, therefore, crossed the sea on the night of the third of the calends of October [29th September], which the Catholic church observes as the feast of St. Michael the archangel, and, meeting with no resistance, and landing safely on the coast of England, took possession of Pevensey and Hastings, the defence of which was entrusted to a chosen body of soldiers, to cover a retreat and guard the fleet.

Meanwhile the English usurper, after having put to the sword his brother Tostig, and his royal enemy, and slaughtered their immense army, returned in triumph to London. As however worldly prosperity soon vanishes like smoke before the wind, Harold's rejoicings for his bloody victory were soon darkened by the threatening clouds of a still heavier storm. Nor was he suffered long to enjoy the security procured by his brother's death; for a hasty messenger brought him the intelligence that the Normans had embarked. [1] Learning soon afterwards that they had


[1] Henry of Huntingdon informs us that Harold received the news of the disembarcation of the Norman expedition at Hastings on the same day on which the battle of Stamford Bridge was fought, while he was at dinner at York, which was impossible, as the landing was not effected until nine days afterwards. Guy of Amiens says the news was brought by an eye-witness. William of Jumieges agrees with Ordericus Vitalis in stating that Harold received it in London.

482 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XIV.

actually landed, he made preparations for a fresh conflict. For his intrepidity was dauntless, and his conduct of affairs admirable, while his personal strength was great, his presence commanding, and he had the arts of a persuasive eloquence, and of a courtesy which endeared him to his supporters. Still his mother Githa, who was much afflicted by the death of her son Tostig, and his other faithful friends, dissuaded him from engaging in battle with the Normans; his brother, Earl Garth, thus addressing him: "It is best, dearest brother and lord, that your courage should be tempered by discretion. You are worn by the conflict with the Norwegians from which you are only just come, and you are in eager haste to give battle to the Normans. Allow yourself, I pray you, some time for rest. Reflect also, in your wisdom, on the oath you have taken to the duke of Normandy. Beware of incurring the guilt of perjury, lest by so great a crime you draw ruin on yourself and the forces of this nation, and stain for ever the honour of our own race. For myself, I am bound by no oaths, I am under no obligations to Count William. I am therefore in a position to fight with him undauntedly in defence of our native soil. But do you, my brother, rest awhile in peace, and wait the issue of the contest, that so the liberty which is the glory of England, may not be ruined by your fall".

Harold was very indignant at this speech. Holding in contempt the wholesome advice of his friends, he loaded his brother with reproaches for his faithful counsel, and even forgot himself so far as to kick his mother when she hung about him in her too great anxiety to detain him with her. [1] For six days Harold sent forth the summons to call the people to arms from all quarters, and, having assembled vast numbers of the English, he led them by forced marches against the enemy. It was his design to take them unawares, and crush them at once by a night attack, or, at least, by a


[1] This anecdote is copied almost literally from William de Jumieges, b. vii. ch. 35.

A.D. 1066.] BATTLE OF HASTINGS. 483

sudden onset, and, that they might not escape by sea, he caused a fleet of seventy ships, full of soldiers, to guard the coast. Duke William, having intelligence of Harold's approach, ordered his troops to take to their arms on the morning of Saturday. [1] He then heard mass, strengthening both body and soul by partaking of the consecrated host; he also reverently suspended from his neck the holy relics on which Harold had sworn. Many of the clergy had followed the Norman army, among whom were two bishops, Odo, of Bayeux, and Geoffrey, of Coutances, with attendant clerks and monks, whose duty it was to aid the war with their prayers and counsels. The battle commenced at the third hour of the ides [14th] of October, and was fought desperately the whole day, with the loss of many thousand men on both sides. The Norman duke drew up his light troops, consisting of archers and men armed with cross-bows, in the first line; the infantry in armour formed the second rank; and in the third were placed the cavalry, in the centre of which the duke stationed himself with the flower of his troops, so as to be able to issue his commands, and give support to every part of the army.

On the other side, the English troops, assembled from all parts of the neighbourhood, took post at a place which was anciently called Senlac, [2] many of them personally devoted to the cause of Harold, and all to that of their country, which they were resolved to defend against the foreigners. Dismounting from their horses, on which it was determined not to rely, they formed a solid column of infantry, and thus stood firm in the position they had taken.

Turstin, son of Rollo, bore the standard of Normandy. [3] The sound of the trumpets in both armies was the terrible signal for beginning the battle. The Normans made the first attack with ardour and gallantry, their infantry rushing forward to provoke the English, and spreading wounds and death through their ranks by showers of arrows and bolts. The English, on. their side, made a stout resistance, each


[1] Saturday, 14th of October, the day of the feast of St. Calistus.

[2] About nine miles from Hastings.

[3] See in the Roman de Rou, t. ii. p. 195, etc., the circumstances which led to this person having the honour of bearing William's standard. According to Wace, it was the consecrated standard sent by the pope.

484 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XIV.

man straining his powers to the utmost. The battle raged for some time with the utmost violence between both parties. At length the indomitable bravery of the English threw the Bretons, both horse and foot, and the other auxiliary troops composing the left wing, into confusion, and, in their rout, they drew with them almost all the rest of the duke's army, who, in their panic, believed that he was slain. The duke, perceiving that large bodies from the enemy had broken their ranks in pursuit of his flying troops, rode up to the fugitives and checked their retreat, loudly threatening them, and striking with his lance. Taking off his helmet, and exposing his naked head, he shouted: "See, I am here; I am still living, and, by God's help, shall yet have the victory". Suddenly the courage of the fugitives was restored by these bold words of the duke; and, intercepting some thousands of their pursuers, they cut them down in a moment. In this manner, the Normans, twice again pretending to retreat, and when they were followed by the English, suddenly wheeling their horses, cut their pursuers off from the main body, surrounded and slew them. The ranks of the English were much thinned by these dangerous feints, through which they fell separated from each other; so that, when thousands were thus slaughtered, the Normans attacked the survivors with still greater vigour. They were charged home by the troops of Maine, France, Brittany, and Aquitaine, and great numbers of them miserably perished.

Among others present at this battle, were Eustace, Count de Boulogne, William, son of Richard, Count d'Evreux, Geoffrey, son of Robert, Count de Mortagne, William Fitz-Osbern, Robert, son of Robert de Beaumont, a novice in arms, Aimer, Viscount de Thouars, Earl Hugh, the constable, Walter Giffard, and Ralph Toni, [1] Hugh de Grant-mesnil, and William de Warenne, with many other knights illustrious for their military achievements, and whose names merit a record in the annals of history amongst the most famous warriors. Duke William surpassed them all in courage and conduct; for he nobly performed the duties of a general,


[1] Hugh de Montfort, the constable; Walter Gifford, count de Longueville; Rollo, or Ralph, lord of Toni and Conches, standard bearer of Normandy.

A.D. 1066.] KING HAROLD SLAIN. 485

staying the flight of his troops, re-animating their courage, their comrade in the greatest dangers, and more frequently calling on them to follow where he led, than commanding them to advance before him. He had three horses killed under him in the battle; thrice he re-mounted, and did not suffer his steeds to be long unavenged. Shields, helmets, and coats of mail were shivered by the furious and impatient thrusts of his sword; some he dashed to the earth with his shield, and was at all times as ready to cover and protect his friends, as to deal death among his foes.

Although the battle was fought with the greatest fury from nine o'clock in the morning, King Harold was slain in the first onset, [1] and his brother Earl Leofwin fell some time afterwards, with many thousands of the royal army. Towards evening, the English finding that their king and the chief nobles of the realm, with a great part of their army, had fallen, while the Normans still showed a bold front, and made desperate attacks on all who made any resistance, they had recourse to flight as expeditiously as they could. Various were the fortunes which attended their retreat; some recovering their horses, some on foot, attempted to escape by the highways; more sought to save themselves by striking across the country. The Normans, finding the English completely routed, pursued them vigorously all Sunday night, but not without suffering a great loss; for, galloping onward in hot pursuit, they fell unawares, horses and armour, into an ancient trench, overgrown and concealed by rank grass, [2] and men in their armour and horses rolling over each other, were crushed and smothered. This accident restored confidence to the routed English, for, perceiving the advantage given them by the mouldering rampart and a


[1] William de Jumieges says that Harold made a night attack on the enemy, having hastened by forced marches to take them by surprise. Our author's statement, that Harold was slain at the first onset, is a gross mistake, it being universally agreed that he fell pierced by an arrow in the eye after sunset. On the whole, this account of the battle is very unsatisfactory, and far inferior to the picture of it drawn by William of Poitiers, as well as deficient in the circumstantial details given by other historians.

[2] According to the History of Battle Abbey, it was a ravine or natural hollow, which long preserved the name of Malfossed in memory of this event.

486 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XIV.

succession of ditches, they rallied in a body, and, making a sudden stand, caused the Normans severe loss. At this place Eugenulf, lord of Laigle, and many others fell, the number of the Normans who perished being, as reported by some who were present, nearly fifteen thousand. Thus did Almighty God, on the eve of the ides [14th] of October, punish in various ways the innumerable sinners in both armies. For, on this Saturday, the Normans butchered with remorseless cruelty thousands of the English, who long before had murdered the innocent prince Alfred and his attendants; [1] and, on the Saturday before the present battle, [2] had massacred without pity King Harold and Earl Tostig, with multitudes of Norwegians. The righteous Judge avenged the English on Sunday night, when the furious Normans were precipitated into the concealed trench; for they had broken the divine law by their boundless covetousness; and, as the Psalmist says: "Their feet were swift to shed blood", whereupon, "sorrow and unhappiness was in their ways". [3]

Duke William, perceiving the English troops suddenly rally, did not halt; and when he found Count Eustace with fifty men-at-arms retreating, and the count wished him to have the signal sounded for recalling the pursuers, he commanded him with a loud voice to stand firm. The count, however, familiarly approaching the duke, whispered in his ear that it would be safer to retreat, predicting his sudden death if he persisted in the pursuit. While he was saying this, Eustace received a blow between the shoulders, so violent that the noise of the stroke was plainly heard, and it caused blood to flow from his mouth and nostrils, and he was borne off by his comrades in a dying state.

The victory being secured, the duke returned to the field of battle, where he viewed the dreadful carnage, which could not be seen without commiseration. There the flower of the youth and nobility of England covered the ground far


[1] This frightful massacre was made in 1036, during the reign of Harold Harefoot.

[2] Our author continues his error about the date of the battle of Stamford Bridge, which, as before remarked, occurred on the 20th of September, nearly a month before.

[3] Psalm xiii. 3.

A.D. 1066.] HAROLD'S BODY INTERRED. 487

and near stained with blood. Harold could not be discovered by his features, but was recognized by other tokens, and his corpse, being borne to the duke's camp, was, by order of the conqueror, delivered to William Mallet for interment near the sea-shore, which had long been guarded by his arms. [1]

Inconstant fortune frequently causes adverse and unexpected changes in human affairs; some persons being lifted from the dust to the height of great power, while others, suddenly falling from their high estate, groan in extreme distress. Thus Edith, Earl Godwin's relict, who once enjoyed wealth and influence, was now overwhelmed with grief and a prey to the deepest misfortunes. She had borne seven sons to her husband: Sweyn, Tostig, Harold, Gurth, Alfgar, and Wulnoth. They were all earls, and distinguished for their handsome persons, as well as what the world calls excellence; but each of them underwent a different and disastrous fate. Alfgar and Wulnoth, indeed, feared God and lived according to his laws, and both died in the odour of sanctity confessing the true faith, the one a pilgrim and monk at Rheims, the other at Salisbury. [2] For the other five, following the career of arms, they met their death in a variety of ways, and on different occasions.


[1] There are various accounts of the circumstances attending the finding of the body of Harold, and the treatment of his remains. Guy of Amiens says that it was mutilated, but the fragments were collected after the battle by the duke's order, and conveyed to his camp, wrapped in a purple winding-sheet. Some of these details are evidently inventions of a later period, but the rest of his story agrees with that of Ordericus and William de Poitiers, and the coincidence of two writers so near the time leaves little reason to doubt that our author was right in adopting their account. It appears from Guy's narrative, that William Mallet was "half Norman, half English", probably one of the Normans already settled in England, and thus better qualified for his melancholy office. A legend entitled The Life of Harold, represents that king as having been found on the field of battle among the dead and dying by a Saracen woman, who concealed him at Winchester for two years. It then sends him on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and brings him back to England to spend a long life in retirement and austere penitence.

[2] Our author has omitted to tell us that Wulnoth passed his whole life in confinement, from the time he was sent to Normandy as a hostage by Edward the Confessor, in 1502, except the short interval between his release by the Conqueror, when on his death-bed, and his being again condemned to imprisonment by one of the first acts of William Rufus.

488 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XIV.

The sorrowing mother now offered to Duke William, for the body of Harold, its weight in gold; but the great conqueror refused such a barter, thinking it was not right that a mother should pay the last honours to one by whose insatiable ambition, vast numbers lay unburied. He issued orders that the bodies of his own soldiers should be buried with the greatest care; and also gave all the English who applied for leave free liberty to bury those of their friends. After providing for the decent interment of the dead the duke marched to Romney, and taking it by assault, revenged the slaughter of a party of his troops, who, having landed there by mistake, were fiercely attacked by the inhabitants and cruelly butchered, after great loss on both sides.

The duke then continued his march to Dover, where there was a large body of people collected, because they thought the position impregnable, the castle standing on the summit of a steep rock, overhanging the sea. The garrison, however, struck with panic at the duke's approach, were preparing to surrender, when some Norman squires, greedy for spoil, set the place on fire, and the devouring flames spreading around, many parts were ruined and burnt. The duke, compassionating those who were willing to render him their submission, ordered them to be paid the cost of rebuilding their houses, and their other losses. The castle being taken, eight days were spent in strengthening the fortifications. While he lay there a great number of soldiers, who devoured flesh-meat half raw and drank too much water, died of dysentery, and many more felt the effects to the end of their days. The duke, leaving a garrison in the castle, with those who were suffering from dysentery, marched onward to complete the subjugation of those he had vanquished. The Kentish men, of their own accord, met him not far from Dover and swore fealty to him, delivering hostages for their allegiance. [1]

After that Harold was slain, Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, and the great earls Edwin and Morcar, with the other English nobles, who were not engaged in the battle of


[1] According to Guy of Amiens, William remained no less than five days after the battle in his camp at Hastings, and half way to Dover met a deputation of the inhabitants, who offered him the keys of the place.

A.D. 1066.] EDGAR ETHELING ELECTED KING. 489

Senlac, declared Edgar Etheling, son of Edward king of Hungary, [1] son of Edmund Ironside, king, and gave out that they were resolved to fight bravely under that prince, for their country and their nation against foreign enemies. [2] Meanwhile duke William, having intelligence that they were assembling in increasing numbers, marched with a strong force, and encamping near London, detached fifty knights and men-at-arms in advance, who compelled the troops which issued from the city to oppose them to retreat within the walls, after losing many of their number, to the great sorrow of the citizens, who lamented their sons and friends. Fire also was added to the calamities inflicted on them, all the buildings on that side of the river being burnt. Whereupon the duke crossed the Thames and marched to Wallingford.

Stigand the archbishop, and other English nobles, met him there, [3] and, abandoning the cause of Edgar, came to terms with William, to whom they did homage, and being received with favour were secured in all their honours and estates. The Londoners, also, being better advised, now transferred their allegiance to the duke, and delivered to him such, and so many hostages as he required. Edgar Etheling, therefore, who had been declared king by the English, having no means of resistance, humbly surrendered


[1] The pretensions advanced by our author to Edward having been king of Hungary, have been already refuted, book i, p. 148.

[2] Ordericus Vitalis omits to mention among the English nobles one of them who, according to Guy of Amiens, played a distinguished part on this occasion. His name was Ansgard, or Asgar, stallarius, constable or master of the horse, who had the command of London, although he was afflicted with an infirmity in the loins which obliged him to use a litter. He it was who conducted the negotiations, the duke having sent him a secret message, endeavouring to deceive him by empty promises, and Ansgard receiving his overtures with intentions quite as insincere. However, the treaty was concluded, and the chiefs of the English party went in procession to William, who embraced the young Edgar. Domesday book, and a MS. of Waltham Abbey, show that Ansgard was a person of great importance, and that the great number of manors which he held in right of his office were conferred on Geoffrey de Mandeville, although William Fitz-Osborn succeeded him as constable. These domains were in Berkshire, Middlesex, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, and Essex.

[3] It was not at Wallingford, but at Berkhampstead, that William received the submission of the Londoners and English lords.

490 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XIV.

his person and his kingdom to William. This young prince was of a mild and ingenuous disposition, and being a kinsman of king Edward the Great, as his nephew's son, [1] the duke affectionately embraced him, and treated him all his life with the regard due to a son. [2]

In the course of three months, by God's providence, tranquillity was restored throughout England, and the bishops and barons of the realm having made their peace with William, entreated him to be crowned, according to the custom of the English kings. This was the great aim of the Normans, who had encountered great perils by land and sea, to procure for their prince the ensigns of royalty; and this, by divine influence, was the desire also of the native inhabitants, who, up to that time, had only given their allegiance to crowned kings.

At that time Aldred was metropolitan and archbishop of York. [3] He was a great lover of justice, of mature age, wise, eloquent, and good, and distinguished by many virtues, and following in the footsteps of the fathers, strove earnestly to be received with favour by the King of kings. But Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, was too much engaged in secular affairs, and had been suspended by Pope Alexander for certain crimes.

At length, in the year of our Lord 1067, [4] the fifth indiction, on Christmas day, the English assembled at London for William's coronation, and a guard of Norman troops was posted round the abbey, mounted and fully armed, to prevent any treasonable and seditious attempt. Then, in the presence of the bishops, abbots, and nobles, of the whole realm of Albion, Aldred the archbishop consecrated


[1] Edgar Atheling was great nephew to Edward the Confessor, as grandson of his brother Edmond Ironsides. It would appear that he was very young at this time; Guy of Amiens speaks of him as "the boy raised to the rank of king".

[2] This was hardly the case, as we find Edgar frequently in arms against William, and that he had often reason to complain of his parsimonious conduct towards him.

[3] Aldred was appointed archbishop of York in 1060. This prelate had not always been so irreproachable as our author represents, and it was with some difficulty the pope was prevailed on to send him the pallium.

[4] This date should be 1066; Ordericus has made it 1067, reckoning the year as commencing at Christmas.

DEC. 25, 1066.] CORONATION OF WILLIAM I. 491

William, duke of Normandy, king of England, and placed the royal crown [1] on his head in the church of St. Peter the apostle, called Westminster Abbey, where the venerable king Edward lies interred.

Meanwhile, at the instigation of the devil, the enemy of all good, an unforeseen occurrence, pregnant with mischief to both nations, and an omen of future calamities, suddenly happened. For when Aldred the archbishop was demanding of the English, and Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, of the Normans, whether they consented to have William for their king, and the whole assembly loudly gave their willing assent, with one voice though not in one language, the men-at-arms, who formed the guard outside the abbey, upon hearing the shouts of joyful acclamation raised by the people in the church in a language tbey did not understand, suspected some treachery and imprudently set fire to the neighbouring houses. The flames quickly spreading, the people in the church were seized with panic in the midst of their rejoicings, and crowds of men and women, of all ranks and conditions, eagerly struggled to make their escape from the church, as if they were threatened with immediate danger. The bishops only, with some few of the clergy and monks, maintained their post before the altar, and trembling with fear completed the coronation office with some difficulty, the king himself being much alarmed. Almost all the rest hastened to the scene of conflagration, some to make vigorous efforts to extinguish the flames, and more in the prospect of committing robberies in the confusion that prevailed. The English were greatly enraged when they understood the origin of this unfortunate affair, which leading them to suspect the Normans and consider them faithless, they waited for some future opportunity of revenge.


[1] Guy of Amiens, who gives a minute description of William's crown, says that it was the work of a Byzantine goldsmith.

492 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XV.

CH. XV. Notices of authors who have given accounts of the life and times of king William I. - William of Poitiers - Guy, bishop of Amiens - Florence of Worcester, the continuer of Marianus Scotus - Sigebert of Gemblours.

KING WILLIAM governed firmly and prudently, both in prosperity and adversity, the kingdom he gained, reigning over it with great honour twenty years, eight months, and sixteen days. [1] William of Poitiers, archdeacon of Lisieux, has given a full account of his merits, his excellent institutions, his great successes and brave and wonderful achievements, in a valuable work distinguished for the elegance of its style and its depth of thought. Having for a long period been chaplain to this king, he made it his business to retrace at length, with unquestionable truth and ample details all that he had himself witnessed or been party to; but unfortunately be was prevented by adverse events from continuing his narrative to the king's death. [2]

Guy, bishop of Amiens, [3] also wrote an epic poem, which, in imitation of Virgil and Papinius, describes the battle of


[1] This calculation is right, reckoning as our author does, William's reign from the day of his coronation, Christmas, 1066, to the day of his death, September 9, 1087.

[2] William of Poitiers' work is entitled: Gesta Gulielmi ducis Normannorum et regis Anglorum. It is published in Duchesne's Receuil des Historiens Normands, but unfortunately from a very imperfect manuscript.

[3] Guy, bishop of Amiens, appears to have been the son or grandson of Walter II., count of Amiens and the Vexin, and consequently brother or nephew of Fulk I., his predecessor, to whom he succeeded hefore May 29th, 1059. He attended Queen Matilda to England as her almoner in 1068, and died about the year 1076. William de Jumieges refers to this poem, which he says was written in hexameters, and he calls it a respectable work, "opus non contemnendum". Dr. Pertz, the learned editor of the Monumenta Germanica, discovered in the Royal Library at Brussels, formerly that of the dukes of Burgundy, a manuscript (of the twelfth century) of an anonymous poem, which from the initials W... L... in the second line (Wuido or Guido to Lanfranc?) and its general character, is supposed to be the work of Guy, bishop of Amiens, referred to by Ordericus. The narrative embraces a period of about four months, and if written by Guy was composed before his journey to England in 1068. The author's official position and proximity to the events described, and the highest personages engaged in them stamp the details with the character of great authenticity; but unfortunately they are very scanty as far as regards the duke's invasion of England. The poem in the Brussels' MS. was published by M. Petrie in the Monumentae Historica Britannica, pp. 856, etc.

A.D. 1066-1087.] COTEMPORARY HISTORIANS. 493

Senlac, blaming and accusing Harold, and highly praising and exalting William.

John of Worcester, [1] a native of England and a monk from his childhood, of venerable character and great learning, in his continuation of the chronicles of Marianus Scotus, gives a faithful account of King William and of the events which took place during his reign, and those of his sons William Rufus and King Henry to the present day. Marianus was a monk of the abbey of St. Alban the martyr, near Mayence, where, following to the best of his means, Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Jerome, and other historians, he kindly employed himself in the charitable office of presenting to such sons of the church as were unable themselves to develop such important results, the happy fruits of his long studies and of the vast labours he underwent in his foreign travels. After carefully consulting both ancient and modern writers, he published his Chronography, in which, beginning with the creation, when God formed Adam out of the dust of the earth, and pursuing his inquiries through the books of the Old and New Testament, and the Greek and Roman histories, he collected all that was important; and fixing the chronology through the series of kings and consuls, which he continued to the day of his death, his historical annals are deservedly esteemed. John of Worcester who followed,


[1] Florence of Worcester, not John, continued the chronicle of Marianus Scotus, not for almost a century, but from 1083 to 1117, as the French editor of Ordericus justly observes. But our learned fellow labourer has omitted to explain how Ordericus Vitalis, who tells us at the conclusion of the present paragraph that he inspected the original MS. when he was at Worcester, fell into, this error. It appears, however, that the continuation of Marianus was carried on contemporaneously by one or more monks of Worcester, and that one of these continuators was named John; so that, probably, Ordericus, finding this John employed on the work, or that his portion of it followed on the labours of Marianus and Florence without interruption in the MS. he examined, hence supposed that the whole of the additions were made by him. In corroboration of this supposition it may be observed that a person named John appears in the MS. of C.C. Coll. Library at Oxford, at least as a contemporary interpolator, if not a continuator, and this copy seems to have belonged to the church of Worcester. The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester was first published in London in 1592 from manuscripts then in the possession of Lord William Howard, and afterwards reprinted at Frankfort very faultily in the year 1601. See M. Petrie's Preface to the Monumenta Historica Britannica. Marianus Scotus flourished between 1028-1086.

494 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.III. CH.XV.

recorded the events of nearly a century, and by the order of the venerable Wulstan, bishop and monk, appended his continuation [1] to the Chronicle of Marianus; succinctly relating many things worthy of observation in the histories of the Romans, Franks, Germans, and other nations. Accordingly these chronicles include the whole series of the Hebrew judges, kings, and high priests, from Moses to the destruction of Jerusalem in the reigns of Titus and Vespasian, when the kingdom of the Jews was justly overthrown on account of the death and passion of our Lord. The Chronicles also give the names of all the Roman consuls and dictators, emperors and pontiffs, as well as of all the kings of England, who reigned from the time that Hengist and Horsa made war on Vortigern, king of Britain, to the great injury of the Britons. To these the Chronicle adds the bishops who governed the English church from the time when Pope Gregory commissioned Augustine and Mellitus and other monks to preach the word of God in England, by whom Ethelbert, king of Kent, Edwin, king of the Northumbrians, and other princes of the English nation, were converted to the true faith. Sigebert, a monk of Gemblours, [2] has extracted many important passages from these Chronicles, omitting however several relating to the insular nations, and adding much valuable information respecting the Goths, the Huns, the Persians, and other barbarous races. I have been anxious to direct attention to these works, in order that inquiring readers may consult them for themselves, offering as they do a rich harvest of instruction, though they are difficult to meet with. For being written by modern authors, they are not as yet got into general circulation. One of these Chronicles I met with at Worcester in England, the other at Cambray in Lorraine. It was kindly shown me by Fulbert, the learned abbot of the monastery of St. Sepulchre, built on the north side of Cambray by the exertions and at


[1] John of Worcester. See the preceding note. St. Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, from September 8, 1062-January 18, 1095.

[2] Sigebert de Gemblours, born about 1030, died October 5, 1112. He composed, among other works, Chronicon ab anno 381, quo Eusebius finit, usque, ad annum Christi 1112, with the additions and continuation to the year 1206 of Robert de Torigni.

A.D. 1066-1087.] COTEMPORARY HISTORIANS. 495

the expense of Liutbert, bishop of that city, where his remains were honourably interred. [1]

And now, exhausted by my long labours, I sigh for repose and am ready to close this First Book [2] of the Ecclesiastical History which my faithful pen has compiled relative to contemporary and neighbouring princes and doctors of the church. In the books which follow I shall speak more fully of King William, and describe the untoward changes in the state of affairs, both in England and Normandy, looking for honour or reward neither from the conquerors nor the conquered.


[1] Liutbert, bishop of Cambray, who founded the abbey of St. Sepulchre in 1064.

[2] This was originally the first book of our author's history, books i. and ii. in the present arrangement having been afterwards composed.

END OF VOL. I.

Return to top of page

URL of this page: http://www.melocki.org.uk/ordericus/Book3.html

Copyright notice:
All pages at http://www.melocki.org.uk
are Copyright Mel Lockie 2016.
All rights reserved.
For a detailed copyright policy see: Conditions of Use.