BOOK IV

THE
ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY
OF
ENGLAND AND NORMANDY.

BY
ORDERICUS VITALIS.
TRANSLATED, WITH NOTES,
AND THE INTRODUCTION OF GUIZOT,
BY THOMAS FORESTER, M.A.

VOL. II.

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

MDCCCLIV.

THE
ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY
OF
ORDERICUS VITALIS.

BOOK IV.

CH. I. The Conqueror founds two abbeys at Caen, and Battle abbey - Restores order in England - The great English nobles submit - Aggrandizes his Norman followers.

IN the time of Pope Alexander II., [1] many states throughout the world were a prey to severe calamities; the nations plunging into furious contests to their mutual ruin. This was particularly the case with the western states, which suffered great disasters. On the death of those excellent kings, Henry of France, and Edward of England, the French and English had long reason to lament their loss, as the princes who succeeded were little like them for virtue and gentleness of disposition. When these fathers of their country were removed, they were followed by tyrants who abused the royal authority. England, stained by the cruelties and perjury of Harold, fell to decay, and deprived of its race of native kings, became a prey to foreign adventurers, the adherents of William the Conqueror, presenting a melancholy subject for the pen of the feeling historian.

Writers of learning and eloquence found ample materials for several works, having lived for many years at the court of King William, and had opportunities of observing all he did, and the varied and illustrious events of his reign; they were privy to his most secret counsels, and by his


[1] September 30, 1061-April 20, 1073.

2 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.I.

munificence rose to wealth and eminence, to which their origin gave them no pretensions. The churches he erected, or which were built in his time to the glory of God, both in Normandy and England, are noble monuments of his devotion and his liberality in providing for the service of God, and have left to posterity an example worthy of their imitation. His piety led him also to found a number of monasteries, and to enlarge those which he and others had already built, liberally endowing them with ample possessions, and taking them under his protection against all adversaries. The two convents he founded at Caen, the one for monks the other for nuns, are special witnesses of his munificence. They were both erected in honour of the King Eternal, while he himself was yet a duke only, selecting one for his own tomb, the other for that of his consort. [1]

The war in England being terminated, his enemies having submitted to his victorious arms, and the royal crown being placed on his head at London, William founded at Senlac, where the decisive battle was fought, the abbey of the Holy Trinity, [2] endowing it with revenues and domains fitting a royal foundation. Goisbert, a pious monk of Marmoutier, was appointed the first abbot, [3] under whose rule monastic order and regular discipline were duly established. The monastery at Marmoutier, begun by the most holy Martin, bishop of Tours, became by God's grace an increasing seminary of excellent men. In our times Albert and Bartholomew, Bernard, and Hilgot, and afterwards William of


[1] The abbey of the Holy Trinity was founded in 1066, and the church dedicated on the 18th of June of the same year. The foundations of the abbey of St. Stephen were also laid before the conquest, through the exertions of Lanfranc, who became the first abbot, but the works were carried on much more slowly, and it was not consecrated until the 13th of December, 1077.

[2] This abbey has always been better known as Sanctus Martinus de Bello, or Battle Abbey. William determined, notwithstanding the opposition of the monks, to build it on the field of battle, so much, that the high altar was placed on the spot where the body of Harold was found after the battle, as some say, but as others, where the royal standard was taken. Part of the church was built of Caen stone, until a quarry was discovered in the neighbourhood.

[3] The first abbot of Battle was not Goisbert, but Robert Blancard, who was drowned in returning from Marmoutier. Goisbert succeeded him in 1076, nine years after the foundation of the abbey.

A.D. 1067-1068.] WILLIAM'S ADMINISTRATION. 3

Nantz, were abbots of that monastery; [1] men by whose sanctity and virtues numbers were benefited, and whose fame was diffused not only throughout the neighbourhood, but in foreign countries. After Goisbert's death, Henry, the prior of Canterbury, was promoted to the government of Battle Abbey, an office which he worthily filled. On his decease, he was succeeded by Rodolph, prior of Rochester, [2] who was before a monk of Caen. He directed all his efforts by a zeal for holiness and sound doctrine to secure his welfare and that of his contemporaries, and persisted with ardour in his spiritual exercises to a good old age. At length the aged monk departed happily out of this world to God his maker, in the 25th year of the reign of Henry, king of England.

After his coronation at London, King William ordered many affairs with prudence, justice, and clemency. Some of these concerned the profit and honour of that city, others were for the advantage of the whole nation, and the rest were intended for the benefit of the church. He enacted some laws founded on admirable principles. No suitor ever demanded justice of this king without obtaining it: he condemned none but those whom it would have been unjust to acquit. He enjoined his nobles to comport themselves with grave dignity, joining activity to right judgment, having constantly before their eyes the Eternal King who had given them the victory. He forbade their oppressing the conquered, reminding them that they were their own equals by their Christian profession, and that they must be cautious not to excite revolt by their unjust treatment of those whom they had fairly subdued. He prohibited all riotous assemblages, murder, and robbery, and as he restrained the people by force of arms, be set bounds to arms by the laws. The taxes and all things concerning the royal revenues were so regulated as not to be burdensome to the people. Robbers, plunderers, and malefactors had no asylum in his dominions. Merchants found the ports and highways open, and were protected against injury.


[1] Albert, 1037-1063 or 1064; Bartholomew, 1063 or 1064-1084; Bernard, 1084-1100; Helgot, 1100-1105; William de Nantz (of which he had been archdeacon), 1105-1124.

[2] Prior of the cathedral church of St. Andrew at Rochester.

4 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.I.

Thus the first acts of his reign were all excellent, and eminent for the great benefits flowing from good government conferred on his subjects, which were confirmed by perseverance in a right course, with plain indications of a successful result.

The king, quitting London, spent some days at Barking, [1] a place not far off, while some fortifications were completed in the city for defence against any outbreak by the fierce and numerous population. Edward and Morcar, the sons of Earl Algar, and the most powerful of the English nobles from their birth and possessions, now came to the king, asking his pardon, if in aught they had offended him, and submitting themselves and all they had to his mercy. Then Earl Coxo, [3] a nobleman of singular courage and prudence, Turkil of Lime, [4] Siward and Aldred, sons of Ethelgar, [5] the late king's grandson, with Edric surnamed Guilda, that is, "The Wild", [6] nephew of the infamous prince surnamed Streone, that is, "The Rapacious", and many others of high rank and great wealth made their peace with William, and taking the oath of fealty, were honourably restored to their respective domains. The king then made a progress through several parts of the kingdom, making regulations to the


[1] Or Berkhampstead? The Tower of London was built after the plan of the old Tower at Rouen, says Pommeraye in an inedited note to the text of Ordericus Vitalis.

[2] Edwin, earl of Mercia, and Morcar, earl of Northumbria. All the other historians agree in describing the submission of these powerful earls to have been made at Berkhampstead.

[3] Coxo. His real name was Copsi. Though he governed all the country north of the Tyne, under Morcar, it does not appear that he ever received the title of earl himself.

[4] Not Lyme Regis in Dorsetshire. Most probably this Turkil was son of Alwine, vicount of Warwickshire, who, according to Dugdale, styled himself in the reign of William Rufus, Turkil de Earden, from the forest of Arden. He held twenty-one manors. The name given him by our author may be derived from Leming-tun, now Leamington Priors, on the river Leam.

[5] This Siward is the same person as Siward Barn, who shut himself up in the isle of Ely in 1071, with Earl Morcar and Bishop Egelwin. He possessed a great number of manors before the conquest. We do not find any such person as Ethelcar, a nephew of King Edward, but there was an Ethelward banished by Canute in 1020, who may have been the same, having one of Edward's three sisters for his mother.

[6] The domains of Edric were in the county of Hereford; as to the infamous assassin, his father, see what is said in vol. i. p. 148.

A.D. 1067.] WILLIAM RETURNS TO NORMANDY. 5

mutual advantage of himself and the inhabitants of the country. He gave the custody of castles to some of his bravest Normans, distributing among them vast possessions as inducements to undergo cheerfully the toils and perils of defending them.

He built a strong castle within the walls of Winchester, a fortified and wealthy city contiguous to the sea, and placing in it William Fitz-Osbern, the best officer in his army, made him his lieutenant in the south of the kingdom. Dover and all Kent he committed to his brother Odo, bishop of Bayeux, a prelate distinguished by great liberality and worldly activity. These two were entrusted with the chief government of the realm of England; and he joined with them Hugh de Grantmesnil, Hugh Montfort, William de Warrene, and other brave warriors. Some of them governed their vassals well; but others, wanting prudence, shamefully oppressed them.

CH. II. Rejoicings on William's arrival in Normandy - Abbey churches consecrated - Death of Maurilius, archbishop of Rouen - His epitaph, and successor.

THE king, having thus provided for the security of the kingdom, rode to Pevensey, where many English knights assembled to meet him. Here the stipendiary soldiers mho were returning to their own countries received handsome pay. King William then set sail in the month of March, and crossed the sea in safety to his native dominions. He took with him, in honourable attendance, Stigand the archbishop, Edgar Etheling, cousin of King Edward, and the three powerful earls, Edwin, Morcar, and Waltheof, [1] with Ethelnoth, governor of Canterbury, and several others of high rank and most graceful person. The king adopted a courteous policy in thus preventing these great lords from plotting a change during his absence, and the people would be less able to rebel when deprived of their chiefs. Besides, it gave him an opportunity of displaying his wealth and honours in Normandy to the English nobles, while he detained as a sort of hostages those whose influence and safety had great weight with their countrymen.

The arrival of King William with all this worldly pomp


[1] Waltheof held the earldoms of Northampton and Huntingdon.

6 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.II.

filled the whole of Normandy with rejoicings. The season was still wintry, and it was Lent; but the bishops and abbots began the festivals belonging to Easter, wherever the new king came in his progress; nothing was omitted which is customary in doing honour to such occasions, and everything new they could invent was added. This zeal was recompensed, on the king's part, by magnificent offerings of rich palls, large sums in gold, and other valuables to the altars and servants of Christ. Those churches also which he could not visit in person were made partakers of the general joy by the gifts he sent to them.

The feast of Easter [1] was kept at the abbey of the Holy Trinity at Fecamp, where a great number of bishops, abbots, and nobles assembled. Earl Radulph, father-in-law of Philip king of France [2] with many of the French nobility, were also there beholding with curiosity the long-haired natives of English-Britain, and admiring the garments of gold tissue, enriched with bullion, worn by the king and his courtiers. They also were greatly struck with the beauty of the gold and silver plate, and the horns tipped with gold at both extremities. The French remarked many things of this sort of a royal magnificence, the novelty of which made them the subject of observation when they returned home.

After Easter, the king caused the church of St. Mary on the Dive to be consecrated, [3] at which he himself reverently assisted, with a great attendance both of the nobles and commmoners on the calends [1st] of May. He there proclaimed by a herald, ordinances which were very beneficial to his whole people. On the calends [1st] of July, he ordered the consecration of the church of St. Mary at Jumieges, and was present himself at the holy ceremony. [4] He made large endowments on both of these churches out of his own domains, and devoutly assisted at the celebration of the holy mysteries. Maurilius, archbishop of Rouen, with his suffragan bishops, humbly and reverently performed


[1] Easter fell this year on the 8th of April.

[2] Ralph the Great, count of Valois.

[3] The abbey of Notre-Dame, at St. Pierre-sur-Dive, was founded in 1046.

[4] The nave of this church, begun by Robert Champert in 1040, is still standing.

A.D. 1067.] DEATH OF ARCHBISHOP MAURILIUS. 7

the consecration, and shortly afterwards took to his bed in the twelfth year of his episcopate. Having fulfilled all the duties of a devout servant of God, he departed to him whom he had long served on the l5th of the ides [9th] of August. His body was conveyed to the cathedral church, which five years before [the first indiction] he had dedicated to St. Mary, mother of God, and it was there interred mith high honours before the crucifix. [1] His epitaph, composed by Richard, son of Herluin, a canon of that church, and inscribed in letters of gold on a plate of brass, runs thus:-

Men of Rouen! drop a tear
On your honour'd Maurille's bier:
Monk and bishop, such the claim
Of that venerable name.
Lordly Rheims beheld his birth,
Academic Liege his worth,
While he wisdom's treasures gain'd,
From her triple fountain drain'd.
Citizens! to him endear'd,
'Twas for you this fane he rear'd;
Rais'd its pillar'd arches high,
Fill'd it with sweet minstrelsy,
And, amid your joyous throng,
Led the holy prayer and song.
Scarcely past the sacred mirth,
In the consecrated earth
Maurille's honour'd relics rest;
While his soul is with the blest,
And, released from mortal clay
On the eve of Laurent's day,
Borne to mansions in the sky,
Keeps the laurelled feast on high.

After the death of Maurilius, the church of Rouen eleeted Lanfranc, abbot of Caen, archbishop, a choice which King William with his nobles and the whole people gladly confirmed. But full of devotion to God and unfeigned humility, Lanfranc refused to take upon himself the burden of this


[1] This expression always means the crucifix placed between the choir and the nave. That Maurillius was interred between the choir and the principal nave of the cathedral at Rouen, appears still from an inscription near his tomb. This prelate was a native of Rheims, and had governed an abbey at Florence. The consecration here spoken of by our author was celebrated in the month of October, 1063.

8 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.II.

high dignity, and used all his influence for the promotion to it of John, bishop of Avranches. [1] That this might be canonically accomplished, he went to Rome and obtained from Pope Alexander a licence for bishop John's consecration, and brought back with the licence the pallium, which conferred so much honour on himself and the whole of Normandy.

In consequence John was translated from the see of Avranches, which he had filled seven years and three months, to the metropolitan chair of Rouen. He was animated by a lively zeal for virtue both in his words and actions, and like Phineas, his hatred of vice was fervent. As for worldly honour, his birth was most illustrious, being a son of Ralph, count of Baieux, the uterine brother of Richard the elder, duke of Normandy. [2] He governed the metropolitan see with firmness and activity ten years, taking severe measures to separate incontinent priests from their concubines; and when in a synod he prohibited their intercourse under pain of excommunication, he was assailed with stones, and forced to make his escape, on which occasion when flying from the church he intoned with a loud voice the verse: "O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance". [3]

John was succeeded at Avranches by an Italian named Michael, a prelate of great learning, and venerable for his religious zeal, who was raised by canonical election to the see of Avranches. He worthily filled the pastoral office more than twenty years, and after a happy old age, died in the time of Duke Robert. At his death Turgis was


[1] John, surnamed d'Avranches, became bishop of Avranches in Sept. 1060; and archbishop of Rouen in 1067. He was celebrated for his quarrels with the monks of St. Ouen, and for his great arrogance.

[2] Ralph, count d'Ivri and de Bayeux, was uterine brother of Richard I., as being son of his mother, Sprote, and Asperleng, a rich miller of Vaudreuil (says the continuator of William de Jumieges), to whom she was married after the death of William Longsword. This union may appear less disproportioned when it is recollected that she was only the duke's concubine, he having a lawful wife, the duchess Leutgarde, who after his death married Theobald, count de Chartres. However this may be, this count Ralph played a distinguished part in the court of his brother and his nephew.

[3] Psalm lxxix. 1. The acts of this synod, which caused this disturb- ance, will be found in a further part of this work, under the year l072.

A.D. 1067.] THE ENGLISH REVOLT. 9

appointed, and has now held that bishopric almost thirty years. [1]

CH. III. Norman oppression - The English secretly form conspiracies - Large bodies emigrate to Constantinople and join the emperor's bodyguard - Attempt of Eustace, count of Boulogne, to surprise Dover Castle.

MEANWHILE the English were oppressed by the insolence of the Normans, and subjected to grievous outrages by the haughty governors who disregarded the king's injunctions. The chiefs of inferior rank, who had the custody of the castles, treated the natives, both gentle and simple, with the utmost scorn, and levied on them most unjust exactions. Bishop Odo himself, and William Fitz-Osbern, the king's lieutenants, puffed up with pride, gave no heed to the reasonable complaints of his English subjects and disdained to weigh them in the balance of equity. They screened their men-at-anns who most outrageously robbed the people and ravished the women, and those only incurred their wrath who were driven by these grievous affronts to be loud in their remonstrances. The English deeply lamented the loss of their freedom, and took secret counsel how they might best shake off a yoke so insupportable, and to which they were so little accustomed. They accordingly sent a message to Sweyn, [2] king of Denmark, entreating him to take measures for recovering the crown of England, which his ancestors Sweyn and Canute had formerly won by their victorious arms. Some went into voluntary exile, either to free themselves from the domination of their Norman masters, or for the purpose of obtaining foreign aid to renew the contest with their conquerors. Some, the very flower of the English youth, made their way to distant regions, and served valiantly in the armies of Alexius, emperor of Constantinople, [3] a prince of great sagacity and


[1] Michael was bishop of Avranches A.D. 1067-1094; Turgis, his successor, 1094-1138. It appears, therefore, that this passage was written in 1124.

[2] Sweyn II. (Erickson), April 28, 1044-1074 or 1076. He was not a descendant of Canute the Great in the direct line, but his nephew. His mother, Estrith, married first Richard II., duke of Normandy, who divorced her.

[3] There is no more certain fact than the existence of a corps of Danes, Norwegians, and English in the service of the Greek emperors, who formed their body-guard. They were armed with battle-axes, were exceedingly brave and faithful, and possessed great privileges. They are called by the Greek historians Varanges or Baranges, a word of northern derivation, signifying warrior (waring), and found in Normandy as a family name, and in names of places, as Wărrene, Varingeville. This body of Varangi were employed at Constantinople so long back as the reign of the emperor Michael the Paphlagonian, 1034-1041, and consequently at a time far preceding that in which our author places the English exiles among them, or the battle of Hastings. No doubt, the original band were Danes or Norwegians, and the English were incorporated with them, as they successively withdrew from the Norman yoke. Besides, the great body of the English who adhered to Harold were of Dano-Norwegian extraction, as indeed two thirds of the inhabitants of the north of England then were, and it was quite natural for them to join their countrymen at Constantinople with the allurements of high pay and distinction. In the end, their numbers became so great, that several Greek writers speak of the Varangi as exclusively English.

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

astonishing munificence. Being attacked by Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia, with all his force in support of Michael, whom the Greeks had expelled from the imperial throne for the despotism of his government, the English exiles met a favourable reception, and were arrayed in arms against the Norman bands with which the Greeks were unable to cope. The emperor Alexius laid the foundations of a town called Chevetot, [1] beyond Byzantium, for his English troops, but as the Normans gave them great annoyance in that post, he recalled them to the imperial city, and committed to their guard his principal palace and the royal treasure. In this way the Anglo-Saxons settled in Ionia, they and their posterity becoming faithfully attached to the holy empire, and having gained great honour in Thrace, continue to the present day, beloved by the emperor, senate, and people.

Provoked to rebellion by every sort of oppression on the part of the Normans, the English sent messengers to Eustace, count of Boulogne, inviting him to despatch a powerful fleet to take Dover by surprise. They were formerly much at variance with Eustace, but as differences had now risen between him and the king, and they knew by fatal experience that he was a skilful and fortunate commander, they


[1] The Chevetot of our author is called by Villehardoun, Chivetoi, and he informs us that it was situated on the Gulf of Nicomedia, in the neighbourhood of Nice. The true name is Kipwroc. Ducange thinks that Alexis Comnenius only rebuilt the city, which was of older date.

A.D. 1067-1068.] DOVER ASSAULTED. 11

were reconciled to him, and used their utmost efforts to wrest Dover castle from the royal garrison and deliver it to Eustace. He no sooner received the message of the Kentish-men, than, his fleet being in readiness, he embarked his troops and made a quick passage in the dead of the night, hoping to find the garrison off their guard. He had with him many knights, but all their horses were left behind, except a very few. The whole neighbourhood was in arms, and especially a strong body of Kentish-men who seconded Eustace's attack with all their might. The bishop of Bayeux and Hugh de Mountfort, who were principally charged with the defence of the coast, were on the other side of the Thames, and had drawn off with them the main part of the troops. If the siege had been prolonged for two days, a large body of the enemy would have assembled from a distance. But while the assailants made desperate attacks up on the place, the garrison were prepared for an obstinate defence, and offered a determined resistance at the points most open to attack. The conflict was maintained with fury on both sides for some hours of the day. But Eustace beginning to be doubtful of success, and being apprehensive of a sally by the besieged, which might force him to a more shameful retreat, gave the signal for retiring to the ships. Upon this the garrison immediately opened the gates, and falling on the rear-guard with spirit, but in good order, killed a great many of them. The fugitives, panic-struck by a report that the bishop of Bayeux had unexpectedly arrived with a strong force, threw themselves in their alarm among the crevices of the perpendicular cliffs, and so perished with more disgrace than if they had fallen by the sword. Many were the forms of death to which their defeat exposed them, many, throwing away their arms, were killed by falling on the sharp rocks; others, slipping down, destroyed themselves and their comrades by their own weapons; and many, mortally wounded, or bruised by their fall, rolled yet breathing into the sea; many more, escaping breathless with haste to the ships, were so eager to reach a place of safety that they crowded the vessels till they upset them and were drowned on the spot. The Norman cavalry took prisoners or slew as many as they could overtake. Eustace escaped by having the advantage of a fleet horse, his knowledge of the road, and

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

finding a ship ready to put to sea. His nephew, a noble youth who bore arms for the first time, was taken prisoner. The English escaped through by-roads, the garrison of the castle being too few in number to pursue a multitude who thus dispersed themselves.

Not long afterwards Count Eustace effected a reconciliation with King William, and enjoyed his friendship for many years afterwards. This count's origin was most illustrious, as he was a descendant of Charlemagne, the mightiest king of the Franks. His power also was very great, he being sovereign prince of the three counties of Boulogne, Guines, and Terouanne. [1] He married Ida, [2] a noble and religious woman, who was sister of Godfrey, duke of Lorraine. She bore him three sous, Godfrey, Baldwin, and Eustace, and a daughter who married Henry. IV., emperor of Germany.

While most of the English, sighing for their ancient liberties, were plotting rebellion for the purpose of recovering them, there were numbers of that nation who kept the faith they had pledged to God, and were obedient to the king whom he had set up, according to the apostle's precept: "Fear God, honour the king". [3] Earl Copsi, one of the most distinguished of the English nobles both by birth and power, and still more by his singular prudence and entire honesty of purpose, faithfully adhered to King William, and espoused his cause with much zeal. His own vassals were, however, very far from following his example, being determined supporter's and friends of the malcontents. They therefore assailed bim in every way, using prayers, threats, and protestations, to induce him to desert the party of the foreigners and second the wishes of good men of his own race and nation. But finding that his mind was too firmly fixed in the right


[1] Eustace, second of the name, count de Boulogne, about 1049-1093, wns indeed descended from Charlemagne by his mother, Maud of Louvain. As to his being count of Terouanne, no such title appears, and Guines belonged to Baldwin I., count d'Ardres. Eustace's first wife was Goda, sister of Edward the Confessor, whom he married in 1050.

[2] Ida of Ardenne, daughter of Godfrey le Barbu, duke of Lower Lorraine, was married to Eustace II. in December, 1057, and died in the odour of sanctity the 13th of August, 1113. Her only children were Godfrey de Bouillon, Eustace III., and Baldwin I., king of Jerusalem after his eldest brother.

[3] 1 Peter ii. 17.

A.D. 1068.] WILLIAM RETURNS TO ENGLAND. 13

course to be diverted from its purpose, his country neighbours rose against him, and he was treacherously slain on account of his devoted fidelity. [1] This excellent man thus sealed with his blood the truth that their lord's dignity ought always to be respected by loyal subjects.

Then Aldred, primate of York, and some other bishops, rendered themselves serviceable to the king, in obedience to justice, remembering the admonition of the wise man: "My son, fear God and the king". [2] At the same time some of the most discreet citizens of the towns, and noble knights of distinguished names and wealth, with many of the commonalty, espoused the cause of the Normans against their own countrymen with great zeal.

Meanwhile, King William was employing his residence in Normandy to provide carefully for its tranquillity during a long period. With the advice of wise counsellors, he enacted just laws, and rendered equal justice to the poor as well as the rich. He selected the best men for judges and governors in all the provinces of Normandy. He freed the holy monasteries and the domains granted to them from all unjust exactions, by royal privileges and charters of protection. He proclaimed by the voice of heralds security to all, both natives and foreigners, throughout his dominions, and at the same time the severest penalties against thieves, rioters, and those who broke the peace of the country.

CH. IV. William returns to England - Overawes the malcontents - Besieges Exeter - Queen Matilda comes over and is crowned - The English nobles break into open rebellion.

WHILE the king was thus occupied, reports reached him from beyond sea, and, mingling evil with his best hopes, caused him great disquietude; for, the disaffection of the English, joined by the efforts of the Danes and other barbarous nations, threatened the Normans with great losses. Leaving the government of Normandy to his Queen


[1] He was assassinated at Newburn, about the middle of March, 1068, by Osulf, his predecessor in his government. Copsi, attacked by surprise, took refuge in a church, which was set on fire, and when he attempted to escape from the flame, Osulf stabbed him.

[2] Proverbs xxiv. 21.

14 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.IV.

Matilda, and his young son Robert, [1] with a council of religious prelates and valiant nobles to be guardians of the state. He then rode on the night of the 6th of December to the mouth of the river of Dieppe, below the town of Arques, [2] and, setting sail with a south wind in the first watch of the cold night, reached in the morning, after a most prosperous voyage, the harbour on the opposite coast called Winchelsea. Hitherto the wintry winds had made the sea very tempestuous, but the church was then celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, and prayers were offered in Normandy on behalf of their pious prince. The providence of God, therefore, which conducts all those it favours when and where it wills, brought the good king to a port of safety, amid the storms of winter. In his present voyage he was attended by Roger de Montgomery, [3] who, at the time of his former expedition to invade England, was left, with his wife, governor of Normandy. The king first conferred on him the earldoms of Chichester and Arundel, and, after a time, made him earl of Shrewsbury.

On the king's landing he was well received by the English, and entertained with fitting honours, both by the monks and secular officers. He kept the feast of Christmas at London, treating the English bishops and nobles with great courtesy. He received each with open arms, gave them the kiss of welcome, and was affable to all. When they made any request it was graciously granted, and he listened favourably to what they reported or advised. By these arts the numbers of the treasonably disposed were reduced. While he sometimes gave instructions to the Normans with equal care and


[1] This prince could not have been older than thirteen years at this time (A.D. 1067), as he died in 1134, at the age of eighty, at Cardiff Castle, where he was detained prisoner by his brother after the battle of Tinchebrai, and if he was then, as it is supposed, twenty-four, he must have been born in 1054. It appears by a charter of Stigand Mesidon, that he was declared by William his successor in the duchy of Normandy as early as 1063; and this charter bore his signature, though he was not then more than nine years old.

[2] The river Dieppe, which gave its name to the town built at its mouth after this voyage, is now called the Bethune to its junction with the river at Arques.

[3] Ordericus's father probably accompanied his patron on this occasion, and remained in England with him, where our author, who seems proud to style himself an Englishman, was born about five years afterwards.

A.D. 1068.] SIEGE OF EXETER. 15

address, at others he privately warned the English to be continually on their guard, in all quarters, against the crafty designs of their enemies. All the cities and provinces which he had himself visited or had oecupied with garrisons, obeyed his will; but, on the frontiers of the kingdom, in the northern and western districts, the same wild independence prevailed which formerly made the people insubordinate except when they pleased, to the kings of England in the times of Edward and his predecessors.

Exeter was the first to contend for freedom, but being attacked With vigour by powerful troops it was compelled to submit. It is a rich and ancient city, built in a plain, and fortified with much care, being distant about two miles from the sea coast, where it is reached by the shortest passage from Ireland or Brittany. The townsmen held it in great force, raging furiously, both young and old, against all Frenchmen. In their zeal they had invited allies from the neighbouring districts, had detained foreign merchants who were fit for war, and built or repaired walls and towers, and added whatever was reckoned wanting to their defences. They had also engaged other towns, by envoys they sent, to join in league with them, and prepared to oppose with all their strength the foreign king, with whom before they had no connection. When the king heard of these proceedings, he commanded the chief citizens to take the oath of fealty to him. But they returned this reply: "We will neither swear allegiance to the king, nor admit him within our walls; but will pay him tribute, according to ancient custom". To this, the king gave this answer: "It does not suit me to have subjects on such conditions". He then marched an army into their territories, and in that expedition called out the English for the first time. The elders of the city, when they learned that the king's army was approaching near, went out to meet him, entreating for peace, promising to obey all his commands, and offering him such hostages as he required. When, however, they returned to their fellow citizens, who were in great alarm at the guilt they had incurred, they found them still determined to persist in their hostilities, and for various reasons roused themselves to stand on their defence. The king, who had halted four

16 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.IV.

miles from the city, was filled with anger and surprise on receiving this intelligence.

In the first place, therefore, he advanced with five hundred horse to reconnoitre the place and the fortifications, and to ascertain what the enemy was doing. He found the gates shut, and crowds of people posted on the outworks, and round the whole circuit of the walls. In consequence, by the king's order, the whole army moved to the city, and one of the hostages had his eyes put out before the gate. But the mad obstinacy of the people neither yielded to fear nor to commiseration for the fate of the other hostages; but strengthened itself in the determination to defend themselves and their homes to the last. The king therefore strongly invested the city on all sides, assaulted it with the utmost force of his arms, and for many days continued his attacks on the townsmen stationed on the walls, and his efforts to undermine them from beneath. [1] At length the chief citizens were compelled, by the resolute assaults of the enemy, to have recourse to wiser counsels, and humbling themselves, to implore mercy, a procession of the most lovely of the young, women, the elders of the city, and the clergy, carrying the sacred books and holy ornaments, went out to the king. Having humbly prostrated themselves at his feet, the, king, with great moderation, extended his clemency to the repentant people, and pardoned their offences as if he had forgotten their obstinate resistance to his authority, and that they had before treated with insult and cruelty some knights he had sent from Normandy, and who were driven by a storm into their port. The citizens of Exeter were full of joy, and gave thanks to God at finding that, after so much anger and such terrible threats, they had made their peace with the foreign king better than they expected. William refrained from confiscating their goods, and posted strong and trusty bands of soldiers at the city gates, that the army might not force an entrance, in a body, and pillage the citizens. He then selected a spot within the walls for erecting a castle, and left there Baldwin de Meules, son of Count Gislebert, and other knights of eminence to complete the works and garrison the place. Continuing his march afterwards into Cornwall, the furthest extremity of Britain, [2]


[1] The siege lasted eighteen days.

[2] "Cornu-Britanniae".

A.D. 1068.] QUEEN MATILDA CROWNED. 17

and having everywhere restored order by his sudden movements, he disbanded his army, and returned to Guent [1] in time for the vacation at the feast of Easter.

In the year of our Lord, 1068, [2] King William sent persons of high rank to Normandy to bring over his queen Matilda, who quickly obeyed her husband's commands with a willing mind, and crossed the sea with a great attendance of knights and noble women. Among the clergy who were attached to her court for the performance of sacred offices, the most distinguished was Guy, bishop of Amiens, who had composed a poem on the battle between Harold and William. [3] Aldred, archbishop of York, who had crowned and anointed her husband, consecrated Matilda to partake in the honours of royalty, at the feast of Whitsuntide, in the second year of William's reign. Being now a crowned queen, Matilda, before a year was ended, gave birth to a son named Henry, [4] who was declared heir to all the king's dominions in England. This young prince had his attention turned to a learned education as soon as he was of age to receive instruction, and after the death of both his parents, had a bold career in arms. At last, having distinguished himself by his various claims to merit, he filled his father's throne for many years.

The same year, Edwin and Morcar, sons of Earl Algar, and young men of great promise, broke into open rebellion, and induced many others to fly to arms, which violently disturbed the realm of Albion. King William, however, came to terms with Edwin, who assured him of the submission of his brother and of nearly a third of the kingdom, upon which the king promised to give him his daughter in marriage. Afterwards, however, by a fraudulent decision of the Normans, and through their envy and covetousness, the king refused to give him the princess who was the object of his desire, and for whom he had long waited. Being, therefore, much incensed, he and his brother again broke into rebellion, and the greatest part of


[1] "Guentam", Winchester.

[2] We have found our author sometimes reckon the commencement of the year from Christmas; he begins this from Easter.

[3] See vol. i. p. 492.

[4] Afterwards King Henry I., surnamed Beau-clerc.

18 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.IV.

the English and Welsh followed their standard. The two brothers were zealous in the worship of God, and respected good men. They were remarkably handsome, their relations were of high birth and very numerous, their estates were vast and gave them immense power, and their popularity great. The clergy and monks offered continual prayers on their behalf, and crowds of poor daily supplications.

Earl Algar had founded a monastery at Coventry, [1] and amply endowed it with large revenues for the subsistence of the monks belonging to it. The countess Godiva also, a devout lady, had contributed all her wealth to the monastery, aud employed goldsmiths to convert all the gold and silver she possessed into sacred tapestries, and crosses, and images of saints, and other ecclesiastical ornaments of wonderful beauty, which she devoutly distributed. These excellent parents, thus devoted to God and praiseworthy for their piety, had a fine family which merited the greatest distinction, viz., Edwin, Morcar, and a daughter named Edith, who was first married to Griffith, king of Wales, and after his death to Harold, king of England. [2]

At the time when the Normans had crushed the English, and were overwhelming them with intolerable oppressions Blethyn, king of Wales, [3] came to the aid of his uncles, at the head of a large body of Britons. A general assembly was now held of the chief men of the English and Welsh, at which universal complaints were made of the outrages and tyranny to which the English were subjected by the Normans and their adherents, and messengers were despatched into all parts of Albion to rouse the natives against their enemies, either secretly or openly. All joined in a determined league and bold conspiracy against the Normans for the recovery of their ancient liberties. The rebellion broke out with great violence in the provinces beyond the Humber. The


[1] The abbey of Coventry was founded about the year 1043, by Leofric, earl of Mercia, Algar's father, or rather by Godiva, his mother. She was sister of Torold, sheriff of Lincolnshire, and her name appears several times in the Domesday-book as Godeva Comitissa. A passage in it proves that she lived till after the Conquest.

[2] Our author is mistaken in making Edith, sister of Edwin and Morcar, have for her first husband Griffith, king of Wales. See vol. i. p. 461.

[3] Blethyn-ap-Cynvyn, therefore, was not nephew of Edwin and Morcar. He was brother of Griffith.

A.D. 1068.] INSURRECTIONS - CASTLES BUILT. 19

insurgents fortified themselves in the woods and marshes, on the estuaries, and in some cities. York was in a state of the highest excitement, which the holiness of its bishop was unable to calm. Numbers lived in tents, disdaining to dwell in houses lest they should become enervated; from which some of them were called savages by the Normans.

In consequence of these commotions, the king carefully surveyed the most inaccessible points in the country, and, selecting suitable spots, fortified them against the enemy's excursions. In the English districts there were very few fortresses, which the Normans call castles; so that, though the English were warlike and brave, they were little able to make a determined resistance. One castle the king built at Warwick, and gave it into the custody of Henry, son of Roger de Beaumont. [1] Edwin and Morcar, now considering the doubtful issue of the contest, and not unwisely preferring peace to war, sought the king's favour, which they obtained, at least, in appearance. The king then built a castle at Nottingham, which he committed to the custody of William Peverell.

When the inhabitants of York heard the state of affairs, they became so alarmed that they made hasty submission, in order to avoid being compelled by force; delivering the keys of the city to the king, and offering him hostages. But, suspecting their faith, he strengthened the fortress within the city walls, and placed in it a garrison of picked men. At this time, Archill, the most powerful chief of the Northumbrians, made a treaty of peace with the king, and gave him his son as a hostage. The bishop of Durham, [2] also, being reconciled to King William, became the mediator for peace with the king of the Scots, and was the bearer into Scotland of the terms offered by William. Though the aid of Malcolm had been solicited by the English, and he had prepared to come to their succour with a strong force, yet when he heard what the envoy had to propose with respect to a peace, he remained quiet, and joyfully sent back ambassadors in company with the bishop of Durham, who in his name swore fealty to King William. In thus preferring peace to war, he best consulted his own welfare, and the inclinations of his subjects; for the people of Scotland, though fierce in war,


[1] He was created earl of Warwick.

[2] Egelwin, bishop of Durham.

20 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.IV.

love ease and quiet, and are not disposed to disturb themselves about their neighbours' affairs, loving rather religious exercises than those of arms. On his return from this expedition, the king erected castles at Lincoln, Huntingdon, and Cambridge, placing in each of them garrisons composed of his bravest soldiers.

Meanwhile, some of the Norman women were so inflamed by passion that they sent frequent messages to their husbands, requiring their speedy return, adding that, if it were not immediate, they should choose others. They would not venture as yet to join their lords, on account of the sea voyage, which was entirely new to them. Nor did they like to pass into England where their husbands were always in arms, and fresh expeditions were daily undertaken, attended with much effusion of blood on both sides. But the king naturally wished to retain his soldiers while the country was in so disturbed a state, and made them great offers of lands with ample revenues and great powers, promising still more when the whole kingdom should be freed from their opponents. The lawfully created barons and leading soldiers were in great perplexity, for they were sensible that, if they took their departure while their sovereign, with their brothers, friends and comrades, were surrounded by the perils of war, they would be publicly branded as base traitors and cowardly deserters. On the other hand, what were these honourable soldiers to do, when their licentious wives threatened to stain the marriage bed with adultery, and stamp the mark of infamy on their offspring? In consequence, Hugh de Grantmesnil, who was governor of the Gewissae, that is, of the district round Winchester, [2] and his brother-in-law Humphrey de Tilleul, [3] who had received the custody of Hastings from the first day it was built, and many others, departed, deserting, with regret and reluctance, their king struggling


[1] Thierry remarks on this passage: "Bitter, and not very decent jests were directed against the Norman women who were in such haste to recall their protectors and the fathers of their children; and imputations of cowardice diffused with reference to those who might abandon their leader in a foreign land".- History of the Norman Conquest, Hazlitt's translation, p. 215.

[2] The present Hampshire; but the Gewissae, properly speaking, were the inhabitants of a far more extensive district.

[3] Tilleul-en-Auge, two leagues north of Grant-mesnil.

A.D. 1069.] THE REVOLT BECOMES GENERAL. 21

amongst foreigners. They returned obsequiously to their lascivious wives in Normandy, but neither they nor their heirs were ever able to recover the honour and domains which they had already gained, and relinquished on this occasion. [1]

England was now a scene of general desolation, a prey to the ravages both of natives and foreigners. Fire, robbery, and daily slaughter, did their worst on the wretched people, who were for ever attacked, trampled down, and crushed. Calamity involved both the victors and their victims in the same toils, prostrating them alternately by the sword, pestilence, and famine, according to the dispensations of the Almighty Disposer of events. The king, therefore, taking into consideration the impoverished state of the country, assembled the stipendiary soldiers he had in his pay, and, rewarding their services with royal munificence, kindly permitted them to return to their homes.

CH. V. Descent of the sons of Harold from Ireland in the west of England - invasion of the east and north by the troops of Sweyn, king of Denmark - They are joined by the Anglo-Danish nobles and population - King William's campaign in Yorkshire and Durham - Lays waste the country between the Humber and the Tees - Marches against the insurgents in Cheshire and the borders of Wales.

IN the third year of his reign, King William gave the county of Durham to Robert de Comines, who soon afterwards entered the city, with great confidence, at the head of five hundred men. But the citizens assembled early in the night, and massacred Robert and all his troops, except two, who escaped by flight. [2] The bravest of men were unable to defend themselves, taken at disadvantage, at such an hour, and overwhelmed by numbers.

Not long afterwards, Robert Fitz-Richard, the governor of York, was slain with many of his retainers. Confidence


[1] William's resentment against Hugh de Grantmesnil does not appear to have been so lasting as our author represents it, for Hugh not only returned to England, where at the time of making the Domesday survey he possessed a vast number of manors, and where he filled important offices, but his wife, Adeliza, held directly of the crown several manors in her own name, a distinction granted to very few of the Norman ladies.

[2] This massacre took place on the 28th of January, 1069.

22 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.V.

noW became restored among the English in resisting the Normans, by whom their friends and allies were grievously oppressed. Oaths, fealty, and the safety of their hostages, were of little weight to men who became infuriated by the loss of their patrimony and the murder of their kinsfolk and countrymen.

Marlesweyn Cospatric, Edgar Atheling, Archill, and the four sons of Karol, with other powerful and factious nobles, collected their forces, and joining a band of the townsmen and their neighbours, made a desperate attack on the royal fortress of York. William Malet, the governor of the castle, was, therefore, compelled to inform the king that he must surrender, unless his harassed troops received immediate reinforcements. The king flew to the spot, and fell on the besiegers, none of whom he spared. Many of them were taken prisoners, numbers slain, the rest put to flight. The king spent eight days in the city, making an additional fortification, and committed the place to the custody of the earl William Fitz-Osbern. He then returned in triumph to Winchester, where he celebrated the feast of Easter. After the king's departure, the English re-assembled and renewed their attack, menacing both the fortresses; but Earl William and his troops, falling on the insurgents in a certain valley, defeated them, many being slain or taken prisoners, and the rest, for the present, escaped bv flight.

Being thus unceasingly occupied by revolts which broke out in every quarter, King William sent back Matilda, his dearly beloved wife to Normandy, where, sheltered from the tumults with which England was distracted, she might have leisure to devote herself to religious duties, and watch over the safety of the province and of Robert her son. This princess was cousin to Philip, king of France, and being descended from the royal line of the French kings and the emperors of Germany, [1] she was no less distinguished by her illustrious birth, than by the effulgence of her virtues. Her august husband had by her an enviable family, consisting both of sons and daughters: Robert and Richard, William Rufus and Henry, Agatha and Constance, Adeliza, Adela, and Cicely, who met with different fates in this uncertain


[1] Queen Matilda was daughter of Adela of France, sister of Henry I., nnd consequently cousin-german of Philip I.

A.D. 1068.] EXPEDITION FROM IRELAND. 23

life, and have afforded ample materials from which eloquent writers have composed voluminous works. [1] Beauty of person, high birth, a cultivated mind, and exalted virtue, combined to grace this illustrious queen, and, what is still more worthy of immortal praise, she was firm in the faith, and devoted to the service of Christ. Her charities, which she daily distributed with fervent zeal, contributed more than I am able to express to the prosperity of her husband, continually struggling in his warlike career.

The two sons of Harold, [2] king of England, took refuge with Dermot, king of Ireland, disconsolate at their father's death and their own expulsion. Obtaining succour from him and his chief nobles, they appeared off Exeter, with sixty-six vessels, full of troops. Landing on the coast they began boldly to ravage the interior of the country, subjecting it to severe losses by fire and sword. But they were quickly encountered by Brian, son of Eudes, count of Brittany, and William Gualdi, at the head of an armed force, which, after two battles on the same day, reduced their fearful numbers so much that those who were left escaped in two vessels, and on their return filled Ireland with grief. Indeed, if night had not put an end to the conflict, not even one would have returned home with tidings of the disaster. So just a fate befell the tyrant's sons, attempting to revenge him and those who aided them in such an enterprize. [3]

During these occurrences Githa, the wife of Godwin and mother of Harold, secretly collected vast wealth, and from


[1] The histories of the sons of William and Matilda are well known; of the daughters, Agatha, the eldest, was betrothed successively to Harold and to Alphonso, king of Gallicia, but died while she was on her way to Spain, as will appear hereafter. Constance married Alan Fergan, duke of Brittany, and Adela, Stephen, count de Blois. Adeliza became a nun in the convent of St. Leger-de-Preaux, and Cecilia in that of the Holy Trinity at Cadiz, of which she was afterwards abbess.

[2] There were three, not two, sons of Harold, who claimed the protection of Dermot, king of Leinster; Godwin, Edmund, and Magnus.

[3] According to our English historians, this expedition, which was undertaken in 1068, was neither so short nor disastrous as our author represents. It was not Brian of Brittany, but Eadnoth, formerly Harold's master-of-the-horse, who put himself at the head of the forces which resisted the sons of his late master. He was killed in the battle, but the fleet though repulsed at this point ravaged the coasts of Devonshire and Cornwall, returning to Ireland loaded with the plunder of the two counties.

24 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.V.

her fear of King William crossed over to France, never to return. [1]

At that time Sweyn, king of Denmark, equipped with great care a powerful fleet, in which he embarked both Danes and English under the command of his two sons [2] and his brother Osbern, with two pontiffs and three distinguished earls, directing the firmament against England. For he had often been invited by the earnest prayers of the English, accompanied by large sums of money, and he was also moved by the loss of his countrymen recently slain in the battle with Harold; aud being the nephew of King Edward, who was son of Hardicanute, his ambition was excited by his near relationship to the throne. This king was possessed of great power, aud he assembled the whole strength of his kingdom, which was augmented by auxiliary forces from neighbouring countries with which he was allied. He was thus supported by Poland, Frisia, and Saxony. Leutecia [3] also furnished a body of stipendiary soldiers hired with English wealth. That populous country was inhabited by a nation which, still lost in the errors of paganism, was ignorant of the true God, but, entangled in the toils of ignorance, worshipped Woden, Thor, and Frea, and other false gods, or rather demons. This nation was experienced in war both by sea and land, but Sweyn had often gained victories over it under its king, and had reduced it to submission. Grown arrogant by repeated successes, and seeking to raise his power and glory to a still higher pitch, Sweyn, as we have already mentioned, fitted out an expedition against King William. The Danes attempted a landing at Dover, but were repulsed by the royal troops. Making


[1] This princess, who is also called Edith, escaping from Exeter in 1067, spent some time in concealment on the little island called the Flat-Holmes near the mouth of the Severn. She afterwards reached the coast of Flanders, and took refuge at St. Omer. Her name frequently appears in the Domesday-book, where it is spelt Ghida, Gida, or Gueda. The entries there prove that she held of the crown, before the conquest, 39,600 acres of land.

[2] The fleet was under the command of Sweyn's second son, Canute, afterwards Canute IV., 1080-July, 1086, who was canonized in 1100.

[3] "A country in the north of Germany, on the left bank of the Oder, and near its mouth, and consequently to the north of Saxony".- Le Prevost. "Probably the country of the Lettons, now called Lithuania".- Dubois.

A.D. 1069.] THE DANES LAND ON THE HUMBER.

another attempt at Sandwich, they were again repulsed by the Normans. However they found an opportunity of disembarking at Ipswich, and dispersed themselves to pillage the neighbourhood; but the country people assembled, and slaying thirty of them, compelled the rest to save themselves by flight. Having landed at Norwich for a similar incursion, they were encountered by Ralph de Guader, who put numbers of them to the sword, caused many to be drowned, and forced the rest to retire with disgrace to their ships and put to sea. King William was at this time in the forest of Dean following the chace, as it was his custom to do. Receiving intelligence there of these descents of the Danes, he instantly despatched a messenger to York, with directions to his officers to be on their guard against the enemy, and to summon him to their support if necessity required. Those to whom the custody of the fortresses was entrusted sent word in reply that they should need no succour from him for a year to come. By this time the Atheling, [1] Waltheof, Siward, and other powerful English lords, had joined the Danes, who landed at the mouth of the broad river Humber. The Atheling had gone there on a predatory excursion with his own followers, and was separated from the allied troops. But they were unexpectedly attacked by the king's garrisons, sallying forth from Lincoln, who took them all prisoners, except two who escaped with the Atheling, and destroyed their ship which those who were left to guard it abandoned in alarm.

The Danes now invested York, their force being much increased by the number of the natives who assembled to support them. Waltheof, Cospatric, Marisweyn, Elnoc, Archill, and the four sons of Karol, marched in the van, taking their stations in front of the Danes and Norwegians. The garrison of the castle made a rash sally, and, engaging within the city walls, fought at a disadvantage. Being unable to resist the numbers of the assailants, they were all killed or made prisoners. The castles having lost their defenders were open to the enemy. The king was still enjoying a false security when the news of this disaster reached him. Report magnified the force of the invaders, and said that they were prepared to join battle with the king himself.


[1] "Adelinus", Edgar Atheling.

26 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.V.

William, roused by grief and anger, hastened his preparations for advancing against them; but they, fearing to measure themselves with so renowned a commander, fled to the Humber, and sailed over to the shore which borders on Lindsey. The king pursued them with his cavalry, and finding some marauders in the almost inaccessible fens, put them to the sword and destroyed some of their fastnesses. The Danes escaped to the opposite shore, waiting an opportunity of revenging themselves and their comrades.

At that time the West Saxons of Dorset and Somerset, and their neighbours, made an attack on Montacute, but by God's providence they were foiled in their attempt; for the men of Winchester, London, and Salisbury, under the command of Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, came upon them by surprise, slew some of them, and mutilating a number of the prisoners, put the rest to flight. Meanwhile the Welsh, with the men of Cheshire, laid siege to the king's castle at Shrewsbury, aided by the townsmen under Edric Guilda, [1] a powerful and warlike man, and other fierce English. The same thing was done at Exeter by the people of Devonshire, and a host of men assembled from Cornwall. It is the extreme point of the west of England towards Ireland, from whence it derives its name of Cornu Britanniae, the horn of Britain, or Cornwall. The citizens of Exeter took the king's side, for they had not forgotten the sufferings they had formerly endured. The king receiving this intelligence lost no time in giving orders to two earls, William and Brian, [2] to march to the relief of the two places whieh were attacked. But before they reached Shrewsbury, the enemy had burnt the town and retired. The garrison of Exeter made a sudden sally, and charging the besiegers with impetuosity, put them to the rout. William and Brian, meeting the fugitives, punished their rash enterprise with a great slaughter.

Meanwhile the king found no difficulty in crushing


[1] Edric the Wild, see before, vol. p. 147. The Normans called him Le Sauvage, the Forester.

[2] Probably William Fitz-Osborn, governor of Winchester, and Brian of Brittany, mentioned before, p. 23, who was the second son of Eudes, count de Penthievre, and brother of Alan the Black and Alan the Red, earls of Richmond in Yorkshire.

A.D. 1069.] WILLIAM'S CAMPAIGN IN THE NORTH. 27

considerable numbers of the insurgents at Stafford. In so many conflicts blood flowed freely on both sides, and the defenceless population, as well as those who were in arms, suffered from time to time severe disasters. The divine law was everywhere violated, and ecclesiastical discipline became almost universally relaxed. Murders were wretchedly frequent, men's hearts were stimulated to evil by the incentives of covetousness and passion, and they were hurried in crowds to hell, condemned by God whose judgments always prove just. Upon King William's return from Lindsey he left there his half brother Robert Count de Mortaine, [1] and Robert Count d'Eu, to restrain the incursions of the Danes. The invaders lurked for a while in concealment, but when they supposed it was safe, they issued from their dens to join in the festivals of the country people on what are called their farms. Upon this the two earls fell upon them unexpectedly, and mingling their blood with the feasts, followed them up while they were in disorder, and pursued them to their very ships, slaughtering them as they fled. It was again reported that the brigands had gone to York, to celebrate the feast of the nativity, and prepare themselves for battle. The king was hastening thither from Nottingham, but was stopped at Pontefract, where the river was not fordable, and could not be crossed by boats. He would not listen to those who advised him to return; and to those who proposed to construct a bridge he replied that it was not expedient, as the enemy might come upon them unawares, and take the opportunity of their being so engaged to inflict a loss upon them. They were detained there three weeks. At length, a brave knight named Lisois des Moutiers, carefully sounded the river, searching for a ford both above and below the town. At last, with great difficulty, he discovered a place where it was fordable, and crossed over at the head of sixty bold men-at-arms. They were charged by a multitude of the enemy, but stoutly held their ground against the assault. The next day, Lisois returned and announced his discovery, and the army crossed the ford without further delay. The road now lay through forests and marshes, over hills and along valleys, by paths so narrow that two soldiers could not march abreast. In


[1] The king's half-brother by his mother Arlotta.

28 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.V.

this way they at last reached the neighbourhood of York, when they learned that the Danes had already retreated. The king, therefore, detached a body of men-at-arms, with commanders and officers, to repair the fortresses inside the city walls, and posted others on the banks of the Humber to oppose the advance of the Danes; while he himself continued his march through an almost inaccessible country, overgrown with wood, in the full intention of pursuing the enemy, without relaxation, into the fastness in which they lurked. His camps were scattered over a surface of one hundred miles; numbers of the insurgents fell beneath his vengeful sword, he levelled their places of shelter to the ground, wasted their lands, and burnt their dwellings with all they contained. Never did William commit so much cruelty; to his lasting disgrace, he yielded to his worst impulse, and set no bounds to his fury, condemning the innocent and the guilty to a common fate. In the fulness of his wrath he orderered the corn and cattle, with the implements of husbandry and every sort of provisions, to be collected in heaps and set on fire till the whole was consumed, and thus destroyed at once all that could serve for the support of life in the whole country lying beyond the Humber. There followed, consequently, so great a scarcity in England in the ensuing years, and severe famine involved the innocent and unarmed population in so much misery, that, in a Christian nation, more than a hundred thousand souls, of both sexes and all ages, perished of want. [1] On many occasions, in the course of the present history, I have been free to extol William aecording to his merits, but I dare not commend him for an act which levelled both the bad and the good together in one common ruin, by the infliction of a consuming famine. For when I see that innocent children, youths in the prime of their age, and grey headed old men, perished from hunger, I am more disposed to pity the sorrows and sufferings of the wretched people, than to undertake the hopeless task of screening one who was guilty of such wholesale massacre by lying flatteries. I assert, moreover, that such barbarous homicide could not pass unpunished. The Mighty Judge beholds alike the


[1] This famine lasted nine years, but its ravages were most severe in the years 1068, 1069, and 1070.

A.D. 1069-1070.] SUBMISSION OF THE ENGLISH. 29

high and low, scrutinizing and punishing the acts of both with equal justice, that his eternal laws may be plain to all.

While the war was in progres, William ordered the crown and the other ensigns of royalty, and plate of value, to be brought from Winchester, and stationing his army in camps, went himself to York where he spent the feast of Christmas. He learnt that a fresh band of the marauders was lurking in a corner of the country defended on all sides either by the sea or by marshes. There was only one access to this retreat, by a sound strip of land not more than twenty feet wide. They had collected abundance of booty, and lived in perfect security, believing that no force could hurt them. However, when they heard that the royal troops were at hand they quickly decamped by night. The indefatigable king pursued his desperate foes to the river Tees, through such difficult roads that he was obliged sometimes to dismount and march on foot. He remained seven days on the Tees. There he received the submission of Waltheof in person, and of Cospatric by his envoys who swore fealty on his part. Their former allies, the Danes, were now exposed to great perils, having become wandering pirates, tossed by the winds and waves. But they suffered no less from famine than from storms. Part of them perished by shipwreck; the rest sustained life by feeding on a miserable pottage; and these not only common soldiers, but the princes, earls, and pontiffs. Meat entirely failed, even musty and putrid as they had long eaten it. They did not venture to land in search of plunder, nor even touch the shore, so great was their terror of the inhabitants. At last the small remains of that powerful fleet sailed back to Denmark, and carried to Sweyn, their king, a miserable account of all the misfortunes they had undergone, the savage courage of the enemy, and the loss of their comrades.

In the month of January, King William returned from the Tees to Hexham, by a road hitherto unattempted by an army, where the peaked summits of the hills and the deep glens were often covered with snow at a season when the neighbouring plains were clothed with the verdure of spring. The king passed it in the depth of winter during a severe frost, but the troops were encouraged by the cheerfulness with which he surmounted all obstacles. Still the march

30 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.V.

was not accomplished without great difficulty and the loss of a great number of horses. Every one had enough to do in providing for his own safety without having much, concern for that of his chiefs or his friends. In these straits, the king lost his way, having no escort but six men-at-arms, and spent a whole night without knowing where they were. Having returned to York he repaired the several castles in that place, and ordered affairs advantageously for the city and neighbourhood. He then engaged in another expedition against the people of Chester and the Welsh, who, in addition to their other delinquencies, had lately besieged Shrewsbury. The troops who had just gone through so much suffering were apprehensive that they would be exposed to still greater in the present enterprise. They dreaded the ruggedness of the country, the severity of the winter, the dearth of provisions, and the terrible fierceness of the enemy. The soldiers of Anjou, Brittany, and Maine complained that they were ground down with a service more intolerable than that of guarding the castles, and made vehement claims on the king for their discharge. They said, for their justification, that they could not serve under a lord who was venturing on enterprises which were unexampled and out of all reason, nor carry into effect impracticable orders. The king, in this emergency, imitated the example of Julius Caesar, and did not condescend to reconcile them to his service by earnest entreaties or fresh promises. He proceeded boldly on his march, commanding the faithful among his troops to follow him, and giving out that he cared little for these who would desert him, considering them as cowards, poltroons, and faint-hearted. He promised repose to such as contended successfully with the difficulties they had to surmount, declaring that there was no road to honour but through toilsome exertions. With unwearied vigour he made his way through roads never before travelled by horses, across lofty mountains and deep valleys, rivers and rapid streams, and dangerous quagmires in the hollows of the hills. Pursuing their track they were often distressed by torrents of rain, sometimes mingled with hail. At times they were reduced to feed on the flesh of horses which perished in the bogs. The king often led the way on foot with great agility, and lent a ready hand to assist others in

A.D. 1070.] SYNOD AT WINCHESTER. 31

their difficulties. At length he conducted his whole force safely to Chester, and put down all hostile movements throughout the province of Mercia by the power of a royal army. He then built a castle at Chester, and another on his return at Shrewsbury, leaving strong garrisons and abundant stores of provisions in both. From thence marching to Salisbury, he recompensed his soldiers for all their sufferings by an ample distribution of rewards, giving due praise to all who deserved it, and dismissing them with many thanks. To mark his displeasure with those who had threatened desertion, he detained them forty days longer than their comrades, a slight penalty for men who deserved a much severer punishment.

CH. VI. King William's care of the church in England - Digression on its origin, eminent men, and monastic establishments - Lanfranc's early life; he is appointed archbishop of Canterbury.

AFTER these events, King William kept the feast of Easter at Winchester, where certain cardinals of the Roman church solemnly crowned him. For, at his request, Pope Alexander had sent over to him, as his most beloved son, three special legates, Ermenfrid, bishop of Sion, [1] and two cardinal canons. He detained them at his court for a year, listening to and honouring them as if they were the angels of God. They so ordered affairs with respect to various places and on several occasions, as to distinguish the districts which needed canonical examination and orders.

But what was most important, a numerous synod was held at Windsor [2] in the year of our Lord 1070, at which the king and the cardinals presided. In this synod, Stigand, who had been already excommunicated, was deposed. His hands were stained by perjury and homicide, and he had not entered on his archiepiscopal functions by the lawful door, having been raised to his dignity by the two bishops of Norfolk and Winchester, by the steps of an infamous ambition, and by supplanting others. Some suffragans were also deposed for having disgraced the episcopal office by


[1] In the Valais. The cardinals' names were Peter and John.

[2] The synod was not held at Windsor but at Winchester, immediately after Easter.

32 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B. IV. CH. VI.

their criminal life and ignorance of pastoral duties. Two Norman prelates, chaplains of the king, were nominated bishops, Walkelin of Winchester, and Thomas of York; [1] the first in the place of one who was deposed, the second of one who was dead. Both of these prelates were prudent, full of gentleness and humanity, venerated and beloved by men, and venerating and loving God. Others were replaced bv bishops translated from France, men of letters, of excellent character, and zealous promoters of religion.

King William exhibited in various ways his desire to further what was good, and especially he always esteemed true piety in the servants of God, on which the peace and prosperity of the world depend. This is abundantly proved by general report, and it is most clearly established by his actions. When one of the chief shepherds was at any time removed by death from the scene of his labours, and the church of God deprived of her ruler was sorrowing in her widowhood, the careful prince sent prudent commissioners to the bereaved house, and caused an inventory to be made of the goods of the church, that they might not be wasted by sacrilegious guardians. He then assembled bishops and abbots and other wise counsellors, and with their assistance made inquiry who was most fit and proper to have the government of the house of God, both as regarded its spiritual and temporal wants. Accordingly, the person recommended by them for his virtuous life and proficiency in learning, was appointed by the king's tender care to the vacant bishopric or abbey. He acted on this principle during the fifty-six years [2] he governed the dukedom of Normandy and the kingdom of England, leaving thus an excellent example and pious custom to his successors. He held simony in the utmost detestation, being influenced in his choice of abbots and bishops by their sanctity and wisdom, and not by their wealth or power. He advanced persons of worth to the government of the English


[1] Thomas, archbishop of York, was a native of Bayeux, of which he was canon, but not a chaplain to the king. The nomination was made at Whitsuntide.

[2] There is some exaggeration in this computation. William's government, reckoning from his accession to the dukedom of Normandy, only lasted fifty-two years, and as he was then only eight years old, he could not have exercised much discretion in the choice of bishops and abbots.

A.D. 596-870.] MONASTERIES IN ENGLAND. 33

monasteries, by whose zeal and discipline the monastic rule, which had somewhat relaxed, became more strict, and, where it seemed to have failed, was restored to its former vigour.

It must be recollected that Augustine and Lawrence, [1] and the other first missionaries in England were monks, and, instead of canons, piously established monks in their episcopal sees, a system rarely found in other countries. They founded a number of famous abbeys, and recommended to their converts monastic institutions both by word and example. This order, therefore, flourished in England with great lustre for more than two hundred years, and Christian perfection happily numbered among its votaries the English kings Ethelbert and Edwin, Oswald and Offa, with many others, whom it raised for their souls' health to the highest pitch of virtue, until the time that Edmund, king of the East-Angles, and two other English kings received martyrdom at the hands of the pagans. [2] After that, the Danish kings, Oskytel and Guthrum, Anwind and Halfdene, Inguar and Hubba, invaded England with their heathen bands, giving to the flames the monasteries and churches of the monks and clergy, and butchering the flock of Christ like sheep.

After some years, Alfred king of the Gewissae, [3] and son of King Ethelwulph, made a bold stand against the pagans; and having, by God's help, slain, expelled, or subjugated his enemies, was the first of the English kings who united in his person the monarchy of the whole of England. In my


[1] These missionaries, sent by Pope Gregory the Great, arrived in England in the year 596. Augustine and Lawrence were successively archbishops of Canterbury.

[2] St. Edmund the Martyr was murdered on the 20th of November, 870. The two other kings alluded to in this passage are Osbert and Ella, competitors for the kingdom of Northumbria, who were killed by the Danes in the year 866.

[3] Gewissae is the Anglo-Saxon term for the people of the west of England, signifying the "west". They were not, therefore, confined to the small county of Hants, as M. Le Prevost observes. The Visigoths are a name of similar signification. Wessex was Alfred's proper hereditary kingdom, to which he succeeded in 872. Sussex had been long absorbed in it; Kent and Mercia were annexed, and he gradually extended his sovereignty over all the kingdoms of the Heptarchy, the portions still possessed by the Danes after his conquests being governed by tributary princes of that nation. Alfred died on the 26th of October, 901.

34 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VI.

opinion be surpassed all the kings of England, before or after him, in courage, munificence, and above all in prudence, and after a glorious reign of twenty-nine years left his sceptre to his son Edward the elder. When peace and order were re-established throughout the realm, pious princes and bishops began to employ themselves in restoring the monasteries; and as all the monks in England had either perished or been driven out by the fury of the heathens in the troublesome times already mentioned, they commissioned a young man of high character whose name was Oswald, to proceed to the abbey of Fleury in France, built by Leodebod of Orleans on the banks of the Loire in the time of Clovis, son of Dagobert, king of the Franks. [1] The place is held in great reverence on account of the bones of St. Benedict, the founder and master of the monastic order, which the monk Aigulf sent by the abbot Mummolus, translated from Beneventum to the country of Orleans. [2] This happened after the devastation of the abbey of Monte Cassino, which the holy father Benedict foretold with tears to the monk Theoprobus, a worthy servant of God, as we read in the second book of the dialogues which Pope Gregory, the illustrious doctor of the church, so eloquently addressed to Peter the sub-deacon. [3]

After the death of King Clepo, before his son Autarith was of age to govern, when the whole Lombard nation, having no king, was subject to thirty-four dukes; some Lombard brigands made an attack in the night with a view to plunder and pillage the abbey of Monte Cassino; but all the monks, by God's protection, escaped in safety with their Abbot Bonitus. For a hundred and ten years afterwards the abbey remained desolate, until Petronax, bishop of Brescia, went there, and by the help of Pope Zachary rebuilt it in a style of great magnificence, and from that day to this the abbey of Monte Cassino has continually increased in splendour. [4] During, however, the continuance of the


[1] This abbey was founded in the year 641, the fourth of the reign of Clovis, by Leodebaud, abbot of St. Aignau, at Orleans.

[2] The translation of the relics of St. Benedict was made about the year 653. See an account of it in the Acta SS. Ordinis S. Benedicti, t. ii.

[3] Vita S. Benedict; abbat. cap. xvii.

[4] Ordericus states the destruction of Monte Cassino to have taken place some time between the death of Clepo, second king of the Lombards, 5th of January, 575, and his son Autarith coming of age, 584. It appears to have actually occurred about the year 582, when Bonitus was the sixth abbot. St. Petronax, who was never a bishop, but abbot of Monte Cassino, began to restore it from its ruins about the year 720, and died there the 6th of May, 750, or thereabout.

950-980.] INTRODUCTION OF THE BENEDICTINE RULE. 35

desolation, and while the abbey was destitute of worshippers, the house of Fleury was, according to God's will, enriched by the possession of the precious remains of the illustrious father Benedict, whose translation the Cisalpine monks commemorate yearly, with solemn and pious offices, on the fifth of the ides [11th] of July. To Fleury, therefore, was the reverend youth Oswald sent, to be professed a monk, and, being instructed in the monastic rule, order his own life well according to the will of God, as well as conduct others who should attach themselves to that discipline, in the footsteps of the apostles, to the summit of their heavenly vocation. And so it happened.

For, after some years, Oswald was sent baek to England [1] by the abbot of Fleury, at the courteous request of his countrymen, and being distinguished by great sagacity, as well as excellence, he was placed at the head of all the monastic institutions in England. Those venerable men, Dunstan and Athelwold, seconded him with all their influence, and their first effort was to introduce the regular discipline at Glastonbury and Abingdon. These doctors were faithfully obeyed by Athelstan, Edred, Edmund, and (especially) Edgar, son of Edmund, kings of England. In their reigns Dunstan was raised to be metropolitan of Canterbury, and Athelwold to be bishop of Winchester, and Oswald became, first, bishop of Worcester and afterwards archbishop of York. At their entreaty Abbo, a wise and pious monk of Fleury, was sent over the sea and instituted the monastic rule at Ramsey, [2] and other English monasteries, after the same manner in which it was practised in France at that period. He inspired the bishops just named with


[1] St. Oswald's residence at Fleury-sur-Loire appears to have been about the middle of the tenth century; his return to England in 961; his promotion to the bishopric of Worcester the year following; and to the archbishopric of York in 970.

[2] The abbey of Ramsey, in Huntingdonshire, was founded by Oswald in 971. Abbo appears to have undertaken his journey to England about the year 980, remaining there nearly two years.

36 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VI.

the love of holiness and all goodness, shedding lustre on them by their doctrines, and the miracles they performed, thus rendering great services to men of learning as well as to the vulgar.

Bishop Athelwold then restored in the time of King Edgar, in the town now called Burg, the abbey of Medeshamsted, which bishop Sexulf founded in the reign of Wulfere, king of the Mercians. [1] He also endowed with great wealth the church dedicated to St. Peter, prince of the apostles. Afterwards, Thorney abbey, Ely abbey, [2] and many other monasteries, were built in different places; and societies of monks, clerks, or nuns, were suitably established in them. Abundant revenues were assigned to each of these houses, sufficient to supply the servants of the altar with meat and clothing, in order that they might not fail in the divine service for want of necessaries.

Monastic discipline being thus restored in England, a glorious army of monks was furnished with the arms of the Spirit to contend against Satan, and taught to persevere in fighting the Lord's battle until victory was gained. But after the lapse of some years, in the time of King Ethelred, son of Edgar, a violent storm rose in the north, to winnow the wheat in which tares had abundantly multiplied. Sweyn, king of Denmark, a bigoted idolater, sailed to the coast of England with a powerful fleet, manned by pagans, and, making a descent with formidable numbers when it was least expected, drove the terrified king, Ethelred, with his sons Edward and Alfred, and his queen Emma, to take refuge in Normandy. [3] It was not however long before, by God's providence, Sweyn, the cruel persecutor of the Christians, was killed by St. Edmund, and Ethelred, on learning his death, returned to his own kingdom. Then Canute, king of Denmark, when he heard his father's fortunes, made an alliance with Lacman, king of Sweden, and Olave, king of Norway, and their allied forces landed in England. In the


[1] This abbey, afterwards called Peterborough, or Peter's "Burg", was founded about the middle of the seventh century, and restored by Bishop Athelwold in 972.

[2] Thorney abbey was founded in 472; Ely restored in 970.

[3] The events here recapitulated occurred in the year 1013, but Ethelred did not at first accompany his wife and children to Normandy. but retired for some time to the Isle of Wight.

A.D. 596-735.] LEARNED ECCLESIASTICS. 37

end, after many defeats, on the death of King Ethelred and his son Edmund Ironside, he ascended the throne of England, which he and his sons, Harold and Hardicanute, possessed for more than forty years. [1]

During these events Canterbury, the metropolitan city, was besieged and burnt, and St. Elphege, the archbishop, was tortured by the heathen Danes and suffered martyrdom. [2] At that time other cities were also burnt, and episcopal and abbey churches destroyed, with their sacred books and ornaments. The flock of the faithful was dispersed by these storms through various quarters, and dreadfully torn by the ravages of the wolves, to which it became a prey.

I have made a long digression, I trust to some advantage, and collected facts from former annals, for the purpose of showing to the attentive reader how it was that the Normans found the people of England so clownish and almost illiterate, notwithstanding the Roman pontiffs had long since supplied them with institutions best calculated for their instruction. Gregory and Boniface had sent excellent teachers, with sacred books and all the necessaries for performing the offices of the church for the service of the English people, and had taught them, as their dear children, all that was good. After that, Pope Vitalian, in the reigns of Oswy and Egbert, sent into England those learned men, Theodore, archbishop, and Adrian, abbot, by whose labours and intelligence the English clergy were well instructed, both in Latin and Greek literature, and became much distinguished. In the next age flourished Abbot Albinus and Bishop Aldelm, whose learning and piety enlightened numbers, and whose writings have handed down to posterity memorable proofs of their virtues. [3] All these and many


[1] See before, b. i. vol. p. 146. The reign of Canute in England lasted from 1017-1035; Harold-Harefoot, 1035-1040; Hardicanute, 1040-1042; which together are far from making up the forty years assigned to these reigns by our author. For Lacman and Olave, see the preceding reference.

[2] The destruction of Canterbury Cathedral, and the murder of Archbishop Elphege, occurred in the spring of the year 1011; the latter on Easter Eve, the 19th of April, the former some weeks preceding.

[3] The mission of Theodore and Abbot Hadrian took place in 668. See Bede's Eccles. Hist. p. 171, Bohn's Edition. Albinus succeeded Hadrian as abbot of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, in 709, ib. p. 276. Bede acknowledges the assistance he received from this learned monk in the compilation of his history. Aldelm, abbot of Malmesbury, became the first bishop of the new see of Sherborne about the same time, and died in 709. His works were published in London in 1842, in vols. i. and ii. of Patres Ecclesiae Anglicanae.

38 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VII.

more have been rendered illustrious by the labours of the eloquent Bede, who has equalled them to the most accomplished masters of the liberal arts, and inquirers into the secrets of nature. This venerable man divided the life-giving bread of the Old and New Testament among the children of Christ, by his lucid commentaries, explaining in his works more than sixty mysterious subjects, and thus gained lasting honour, both in his own and foreign countries. [1]

When the precious stones were happily set in the walls of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the grains of wheat safely housed in the garner of the true Joseph, the stones were scattered in the streets, and the chaff was cast on the dung-hill, and carelessly trodden under foot by those who passed by. Thus, by the just judgment of Almighty God, when his chosen servants had passed out of this transitory world to that which is eternal, the Danes, as we have already seen, restrained by no fear of God or man, long revelled in the ruin of England, practising, without remorse, innumerable breaches of the divine law. Human actions, always prone to evil, become by an infamous course truly abominable, when rulers, who ought to govern with the rod of discipline, are taken away. This freedom from control had relaxed the bonds both of the clergy and laity, and inclined both sexes to every species of license. The abundance of meat and drink led to excess, and levity and wantonness paved the way to crime. With the ruin of the monasteries, religious discipline was enfeebled, and canonical rules were not restored till the times of the Normans.

For a long period the monastic life had fallen into decay among the islanders, and the lives of monks little differed from those of men of the world; their dress and their name


[1] The venemble Bede flourished 673-May 26, 735. His well known Ecclesiastical History has been several times translated, and is published in the first volume of Bohn's Antiquarian Library. The Commentaries on the Holy Scriptures, and other works alluded to by Ordericus Vitalis, are enumerated in the preface to that volume.

A.D. 1070.] LANFRANC. 39

was a mere deception; they were abandoned to gluttony, to endless peculation, and foul prevarication. By the care of King William the order was reformed according to the canonical rules, and its blessed usages being restored, became highly honoured. Some new abbots were appointed by the king, and several monks received instruction in the monasteries of France, who, placed by the king's command in the English abbeys, perfected the discipline and gave examples of a religious life. Scolland, an abbot, distinguished for his learning and great worth, was instituted to the abbey of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, founded by Augustine, the first doctor of the English nation. Born in Normandy, of a noble family, and strictly educated at the monastery of Mount St. Michael the archangel-in-peril-of-the-sea, he was preferred by the Normans to be abbot for the reformation of the monks of Canterbury. [1] In like manner there was a change of rulers in other monasteries, which in some was profitable, in others dangerous, both to those who governed and to those who were placed under them.

The see of Canterbury, in which St. Augustine sat, and which, by a decree of Pope Gregory, obtained the primacy over all the bishops of Britain, was, on the deposition of Stigand, committed to Lanfranc, abbot of Caen, by the choice of the king and all his council. Born of a noble family, in the city of Pavia, in Italy, he learnt from childhood in the schools the liberal arts, and applied himself with zeal to the study of the civil law, according to the custom of his country, with the intention of continuing a layman. The youthful orator, when pleading a cause, frequently triumphed over his veteran opponents, and by a torrent of eloquence won the prize from men long in the habit of eloquent speaking. At a ripe age his opinions were given with so much wisdom, that learned doctors, judges, and praetors of the city, readily adopted them. But when in exile, the former academician, like Plato, learnt to philosophize, the light eternal flashed into his mind, and the


[1] He was abbot of St. Peter's of Canterbury before the year 1092, when he attended the synod at Winchester; and died in September, 1087. M. Le Prevost conjectures that he belonged to a Norman family which gave its name to the village of Pontecoulant, Pons-Scollandi.

40 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VII.

love of true wisdom enlightened his soul. He saw with Ecclesiastes, though he had not as yet learnt the use of ecclesiastical writings, that the things of the world are but vanity. Casting off the world therefore with sovereign contempt, he took on himself the profession of religion, and submitted to the yoke of the monastic rule. He selected for his retreat the abbey of Bec in Normandy, for its secluded site and poor endowment, enriching it by his prudent and ever watchful care, and bringing it into a state of the most perfect order, ruling the brotherhood with a discipline at once mild and strict, and aiding the holy abbot, Herluins, with profitable counsel. [1] A novice and an exile, while he mortified himself from sin and the world, and laboured most for what was spiritual and heavenly, God, the searcher of hearts, decreed, that his light should be set in a candlestick, that it might lighten the spacious house of the Lord. Forced from the quiet of the cloister by his sense of obedience, he became a master, in whose teaching a whole library of philosophy and divinity was displayed. He was a powerful expositor of difficult questions in both sciences. It was under this master that the Normans received the first rudiments of literature, and from the school of Bec that so many philosophers proceeded of distinguished attainments, both in divine and secular learning. For before, in the time of six dukes of Normandy, scarce any Norman devoted himself to liberal studies, nor did any doctor arise among them until, by the Providence of God, Lanfranc landed on the shores of Normandy. His reputation for learning spread throughout all Europe, and many hastened to receive lessons from him out of France, Gascony, Brittany, and Flanders.

To understand the admirable genius and erudition of Lanfranc, one ought to be an Herodian in grammar, an Aristotle in dialectics, a Tully in rhetoric, an Augustine and Jerome, and other expositors of the law and grace, in the sacred scriptures. Athens itself, in its most flourishing state, renowned for the excellency of its teaching, would have honoured Lanfranc in every branch of eloquence and


[1] After spending some time at Avranches, Lanfranc came to Bec in 1092. He was named prior there in 1045, and immediately afterwards opened his school.

A.D. 1045-1070.] LANFRANC. 41

discipline, and would have desired to receive instruction from his wise maxims. Our monk was full of zeal to cleave asunder, with the sword of the word, whatever sects attacked the Catholic faith. In the counsels of Rome and Vercelli [1] he crushed, with the weapons of spiritual eloquence, Berenger of Tours, esteemed by some an heresiarch, condemning his doctrine, which made the consecrated host the ruin instead of the salvation of souls. Lanfranc there explained, with deep reverence, and most conclusively proved, that the bread and wine which are placed on the Lord's table are, after consecration, the true flesh and the true blood of the Lord our Saviour. He publicly defeated Berenger, after a most elaborate controversy, both at Rome and at Tours, and compelled him to abjure his heresy, and to profess in writing the orthodox belief. Afterwards the blasphemous heretic, blushing for shame at having cast into the fire at Rome, with his own hands, the books containing his perverted doctrines, to save himself from being burned, corrupted his disciples by his money and his deceitful arguments, to conceal at home his latest writings, and afterwards convey them to foreign countries, that his old errors might receive fresh support, and their duration be extended to future years. To refute which Lanfranc published a work, written in a clear and agreeable style, and founded on sacred authorities, which treats on the subject of the eucharist [2] with the strongest force of reasoning, and while it is lucid with eloquent discourse, is not prolix and tedious. Many churches earnestly desired to have Lanfranc for their bishop or abbot, and even Rome, the capital of Christendom, solicited him by letters to come there, and used prayers and even force to detain him. So illustrious in the sight of all


[1] The two councils here mentioned, in which Lanfranc confuted the errors of Berenger, archdeacon of Angers, were held in the year 1050, the first after Easter, and that of Vercelli in the month of September. It is very doubtful whether Lanfranc assisted at the council of Tours, but he was present at that of Rome in April, 1059, when Berenger was compelled to abjure his errors.

[2] Lanfranc's principal work against this heretic, to which he gave the strange title of Liber Scintillarum, but which is commonly known by that of De Corpore et Sanguine Domini, was written in the year 1079.

42 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VI. CH.VI.

men was one whom virtue and wisdom especially ornamented.

When the bishop of Sion had deposed Stigand, as before related, he invited Lanfranc to undertake the primacy, and announced to him the petition of the church of God in a synod of the bishops and abbots of Normandy. Lanfranc, in much distress of mind, and fearing to take on himself so great a charge, begged for time to consider, holding it for certain that the retirement of a monk and the active duties of an archbishop could not be reconciled. Abbot Herluin laid his commands upon him, and he was accustomed to obey him as he would Christ. The queen and her son the prince entreated him; the elders of the council also who were assembled earnestly exhorted him. He would not give a hasty reply, because every word and act of his was guided by the rule of discretion. He was unwilling to forfeit his obedience, and to offend those who entreated, persuaded, admonished him. He, therefore, mournfully crossed the sea to make his excuses, hoping for a happy return. The king cordially received his coadjutor in Christian culture, and, combating with dignity and grace the excuses his humility offered, succeeded in overcoming his reluctance.

In the year of our Lord, 1070, Lanfranc, the first abbot of Caen, [1] was sent by divine providence, to become the teacher of the English, and after a canonical election, and lawful consecration enthroned in the archiepiscopal see of the church of Canterbury on the fourth of the calends of September [August 29th.] A number of bishops and abbots, with a great concourse of the clergy and people, were present at the ceremony. The inhabitants of the whole of England, whether present or absent, were raised to the highest pitch of joy, and would indeed have offered boundless thanks to God if they had known how much good Heaven was then bestowing upon them.

In the church of Caen, Lanfranc was succeeded by William, son of Radbod, bishop of Seez, who, I think, nine years afterwards was translated by King William to the


[1] The French editors of Ordericus place the nomination of Lanfranc to his abbey of St. Stephen at Caen in the middle of the year 1066, contrary to the general opinion. See book iii. c. xii. (vol. i. p. 466).

A.D. 1070.] BONNE-AME, ABBOT OF CAEN. 43

metropolitan soe of Rouen. He was cousin of William bishop of Evreux, son of Girard Fleitel, the influence of which family was extremely powerful in Normandy in the time of the Richards. [1] As canon and archdeacon of Rouen he was under Maurilius, archbishop of that see, and becoming more ardent in his love of God, he went abroad with Theodoric, abbot of St. Evroult, devoutly making a pilgrimage to the glorious sepulchre of our Lord at Jerusalem. After his return, being apprehensive of losing the fruit of his former labours, he withdrew altogether from the temptations of the world, and devoted himself with delight to his holy warfare in the abbey of Bee. He was afterwards sent with Lanfranc to instruct the novices who assembled from all parts for the service of Christ in the city of Caen, and in the course of time became their worthy father and superior.

At the death of William, bishop of Evreux, he was succeeded by Baldwin, the duke's chaplain, who regularly governed the bishopric nearly seven years. At his decease Gislebert Fitz-Osbern, canon and archdeacon of Lisieux, became his successor. He held the see to its great benefit more than thirty years, augmenting its revenues in various ways, and skilfully regulating its affairs. On the death of Ives, bishop of Seez, Robert, son of Hubert de Rie, succeeded him, governing the see nearly twelve years, and being himself zealous for the service of God, was a kind friend to the monks. [2]

CH. VII. The earls Edwin and Morcar slain or imprisoned - Their vast estates distributed among the Norman lords - Names and titles of the new possessors.

IN these times, by God's gracious providence, tranquillity prevailed in England, and the brigands being driven to a


[1] William Bonne-Ame, son of Radbod, bishop of Seez (1025-1032), was made archbishop of Rouen after John d'Avranches in 1079. Our author is right in stating him to be cousin of Gerard Fleitel, father of William I., bishop of Evreux from 1046-1066. From a charter of his, signed by William the Conqueror, giving the commune of St. Denis-du-Bose-Guerard, which derived its name from him, to St. Wrandrille's abbey, it appears that he long survived the dukes Richard I. and Richard II.

[2] It is supposed that a bishop named Michael intervened between William Fleitel and Baldwin. The latter was bishop of Evreux before June, 1066. He died in 1070, and our author is mistaken as to the number of years he held that see. Gislebert, his successor, filled it thirty-four years, as we shall find hereafter. Ives de Belesme also died in 1070, and Robert de Rie about 1082.

44 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VII.

distance, the cultivators of the soil renewed their labours in some sort of security. The English and Normans lived amicably together in the villages, towns, and cities, and intermarriages between them formed bonds of mutual alliance. Then might be seen in some of the towns and country fairs French traders with the merchandize they imported, and the English, who before in their homely dress cut a sorry figure in the eyes of the Normans, appeared in their foreign garb a different people. No one dared any longer to live by robbery, but all cultivated their lands in safety, and, though this did not last long, lived happily with their neighbours. Churches were built and repaired, and the ministers of religion zealously performed in them the service of God. The king's great activity watched over the public good, and roused the people by all possible means to profitable pursuits. He took some pains to make himself master of the English language, to enable himself to hear the complaints of his subjects without an interpreter, and to render equal justice to all according to the rules of equity; but his time of life rendered this study a work of difficulty, and his attention was necessarily diverted to other objects by the multiplicity of his occupations. [1]

But as the enemy of man goeth about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, fresh disturbances of a serious character arose between the English and Normans, so that the relentless furies were again let loose, and for a long period wrought endless mischief. This originated in the evil counsels which led King William, much to the injury of his reputation, to a breach of faith in shutting up the illustrious earl Morcar, in the Isle of Ely, where he was besieged, though at the time he was in alliance with the king, and neither plotted nor suspected any evil. Their


[1] Hume charges the Conqueror with the preposterous design of eradicating the English, and substituting the Norman language. The use of the latter in the courts, generally alleged in evidence of this design, was only the natural consequence of almost all the ecclesiastics, who were also the lawyers, being Normans. The Conqueror's own charters are either in Anglo-Saxon or Latin.

A.D. 1071.] EDWIN AND MORCAR. 45

differences were fomented by wily newsmongers, who went to and fro propounding the treacherous terms that the earl should surrender himself to the king, and the king restore him to his favour as a trusty adherent. The earl might have defended himself for a considerable time in his inaccessible retreat, or when things came to the worst, have taken advantage of the river which surrounded it to escape by sea. But weakly listening to false representations, he left the island, and came to court with his attendants in peaceable guise. The king, however, was apprehensive that Morcar would avenge the evils unjustly inflicted on himself and his countrymen, and be the means of raising endless disturbances in his English dominions; he, therefore, threw him into prison without any distinct charge, and committing him to the custody of Roger de Beaumont, confined him in his castle all the rest of his life. [1] When Earl Edwin, that handsome youth, heard of his brother's imprisonment, he declared that he would prefer death to life unless he could deliver Morcar from captivity, or have his revenge by a plentiful effusion of Norman blood. [2] For six months he solicited aid from the Scotch, the Welsh, and the English. Meanwhile three brothers who were admitted to his familiarity, and were his principal attendants, betrayed him to the Normans, assassinating him, though he made a desperate defence at the head of twenty men-at-arms. The high tide, which rendered it necessary for Edwin to halt on the bank of a stream, aided the Normans in perpetrating this outrage, by cutting off his retreat. The report of Edwin's death, spread throughout the kingdom, was the cause of deep sorrow, not only to the English, but even to the Normans and French, who lamented his loss like that of a friend


[1] Ordericus has not related these circumstances quite correctly. King William did not shut up Morcar in the Isle of Ely, but the earl retired there, and took refuge with Hereward to escape the king's persecutions. We find that he was committed to the custody of Roger de Beaumont, who probably guarded him in one of his castles of Beaumont, Brionne, or Pontaudemer. Morcar was restored to liberty by the Conqueror on his death bed, but almost immediately afterwards sent back to prison by William Rufus.

[2] It does not appear that Edwin was induced to become insurgent in consequence of his brother's arrest, but that, on the conunry, he was the first to break with the Conqueror.

46 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VII.

or kinsman. This young nobleman was, as I have before said, born of pious parents, and lent himself to all good works as far as his multifarious engagements in difficult worldly affairs allowed. The graces of his person were so striking that he might be distinguished among thousands, and he was full of kindness for the clergy, the monks, and the poor. King William was moved to tears when he heard of the treason which had cut off the young earl of Mercia, and with a just severity sentenced to banishment the traitors who, to gain his favour, brought him the head of their master.

Thus far William of Poitiers carries his history, [1] which, imitating the style of Sallust, eloquently and acutely recounts the acts of King William. This author was by birth a Norman, being a native of the town of Preaux, [2] where his sister was abbess of a convent of nuns dedicated to St. Leger. He is called William of Poitiers, because in that city he drank deeply at the fountain of learning. Returning into his own country, he became eminent as the most learned of all his neighbours and fellow students, and made himself useful to Hugh and Gislebert, bishops of Lisieux, in ecclesiastical affairs, as archdeacon of that diocese. He had served with courage in a military career before he took orders, fighting bravely for his earthly sovereign, so that he was the better able to describe with precision the scenes of war, from having himself been present and encountered their perils. As age came on he devoted himself to science and prayer, and was more capable of composing in prose or verse than of preaching. He frequently wrote clever and aoreeable poems, adapted for recitation, submitting them without jealousy to the correction of his juniors. I have briefly followed, in many parts, his narrative of King William and his adherents without copying all he has written, or attempting to imitate his elegant style. I come now, with God's help, to recount events which took place among


[1] If the history of William de Poitiers extended as far as this period, as it is impossible to doubt after what our author here says, an important part of it has been lost, for in the state we now possess it, the narrative goes no further than the murder of Copsi.

[2] Near Pont Audemer. There were two abbeys here; a convent of monks dedicated to St. Peter, and one of nuns to St. Leger. A sister of William de Poitiers, named Emma, was the first abbess of St. Leger.

A.D. 1071.] THE NORMAN LORDS. 47

our neighbours in the times which succeeded, not allowing myself to doubt that, as I have freely made use of what my predecessors have published, so those who come after me and are yet unborn, will diligently investigate the history of the present age.

The two great earls of the Mercians having been got rid of, Edwin by death, and Morcar by strict confinement, King William distributed their vast domains in the richest districts of England among his adherents, raising the lowest of his Norman followers to wealth and power. He granted the Isle of Wight and the county of Hereford to William Fitz-Osbern, high-steward of Normandy, giving him the charge, in conjunction with Walter de Lacy and other tried soldiers, of defending the frontier against the Welsh, who were breathing defiance. Their first expedition was a bold attack on the people of Brecknock, in which the Welsh princes, Rhys, Cadogan, and Meredith, [1] with many others, were defeated. The king had already granted the city and county of Chester to Gherbod of Flanders, who had been greatly harassed by the hostilities both of the English and Welsh. Afterwards, being summoned by a message from his dependants in Flanders, to whom he had entrusted his hereditary domains, he obtained leave from the king to make a short visit to that country, but while there his evil fortune led him into a snare, and, falling into the hands of his enemies, and thrown into a dungeon, he had to endure the sufferings of a long captivity, cut off from all the blessings of life. In consequence, the king gave the earldom of Chester to Hugh d'Avranches, son of Richard surnamed Goz, who, in concert with Robert of Rhuddlan, and Robert of Malpas, and other fierce knights, made great slaughter among the Welsh. This Hugh was not merely liberal but prodigal; not satisfied with being surrounded by his own retainers, he kept an army on foot. He set no bounds either to his generosity or his rapacity. He continually


[1] Rhys-ap-Owen, Cadogan-ap-Blethyn, and Meredith-ap-Owen. Ordericus probably in his youth heard frequent mention of these Welsh chiefs and others he has named before. Shrewsbury, the seat of his father's patron, Roger, earl of Montgomery, was a frontier garrison, intended, like those of Chester and Malpas also mentioned, to curb the inroads of the tribes of North Wales.

48 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VII.

wasted even his own domains, and gave more encouragement to those who attended him in hawking and hunting, than to the cultivators of the soil, and the votaries of heaven. He indulged in gluttony to such a degree as to become so fat that he could scarcely walk. He abandoned himself immoderately to carnal pleasures, and had a numerous offspring of both sexes by his concubines, but they have almost all been carried off by one misfortune or another. He married Ermentrude, daughter of Hugh de Clermont, in the Beauvais, by whom he had Richard, who succeeded him as his heir in the earldom of Chester, and when yet young and childless perished by shipwreck in company with William, son and heir apparent of Henry, king of England, and many of the nobility, on the seventh of the calends of November [26th October]. [1]

King William gave first to Roger de Montgomery the castle of Arundel and the city of Chichester, and afterwards the earldom of Shrewsbury, [2] which town is situated on a hill by the river Severn. This earl was wise, moderate, and a lover of justice; and cherished the gentle society of intelligent and unassuming men. For a long time he had about him three well-informed clerks, Godebald, Odelirius, [3] and Herbert, whose advice he followed with great advantage. He gave his niece Emerie and the command of Shrewsbury to Warin the Bald, [4] a man of small stature but great courage, who bravely encountered the earl's enemies, and maintained tranquillity throughout the district entrusted to his government. Roger de Montgomery also gave commands in his earldom to William, surnamed Pantoul, Picot de Say, and Corbet, [5] with his sons Roger and Robert, as well as other


[1] Our author gives a full account, in the twelfth book of this history, of the shipwreck of the Blanche-Nef, in which the young Earl of Chester, and many others of the nobility, were lost on the 25th of November, 1119, off Barfleur, with two sons and a daughter and niece of King Henry I. See also Henry of Huntingdon's History, b. vii. p. 249, Bohn's edition.

[2] Roger de Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury in England, was count of Belesme and Alencon in Normandy, through his wife, Mabel de Belesme.

[3] Odelirius was the father of Ordericus Vitalis.

[4] Warin is probably the person mentioned in the fifth book as Guarinus Vicecomes.

[5] William Pantoul was lord of Noron, near Falaise. See b. v. c. 16. Pigot de Say, a place in the neighbourhood of Argentan. He had twenty-nine manors in Shropshire, and a castle on the coast of Pembrokeshire, in South Wales. It appears by Domesday Book, that Roger Corbet held lands in Shropshire, where the family still flourishes.

A.D. 1071-1080.] NORMANS MADE ENGLISH EARLS. 49

brave and faithful knights, supported by whose wisdom and courage he ranked high among the greatest nobles.

King William conferred the earldom of Northampton on Waltbeof, son of Earl Siward, [1] the most powerful of the English nobility, and, in order to cement a firm alliance with him, gave him in marriage his niece Judith, [2] who bore him two beautiful daughters. The earldom of Buckingham was given to Walter Giffard, [3] and Surrey to William de Warrenne, who married Gundred, Gherbod's sister. King William granted the earldom of Holdernesse to Eudes, of Champagne, nephew of Count Theobald, who married the king's sister, that is, Duke Robert's daughter; [4] and the earldom of Norwich to Ralph de Guader, son-in-law of William Fitz-Osbern. To Hugh Grantmesnil he granted the town of Leicester, and distributed cities and counties among other lords, with great honours and domains. The castle of Tutbury, which Hugh d'Avranches before held, he granted to Henry, son of Walkelin de Ferrers, [5] conferring on other foreigners who had attached themselves to his fortunes, such vast possessions that they had in England many vassals more rich and powerful than their own fathers ever were in Normandy.

What shall I say of Odo, bishop of Baieux, who was earl palatine, and generally dreaded by the English people, issuing his orders everywhere like a second king. He had the command over all the earls and barons of the realm,


[1] King William did not confer on Waltheof the earldoms of Northampton and Huntingdon, as he possessed them before the conquest, but only confirmed his right to them. His father, Siward, was earl of Northumbria, but counties or earldoms were not yet strictly hereditary, and Henry of Huntingdon informs us that on account of Waltheof's being of tender years at his father's death, the earldom of that powerful and turbulent province was conferred on Tosti, Earl Godwin's son. Siward himself, the stout earl immortalized by Shakespeare in Macbeth, was of Danish or Norwegian extraction.

[2] Judith was the daughter of William's half-sister Adelaide, countess d'Aumale.

[3] Walter Giffard, lord of Longueville, near Dieppe.

[4] Our author is mistaken here; Adelaide was daughter of Herluin Couteville, and not of Duke Robert.

[5] In the county of Stafford, with seven lordships, and created him earl of Derby.

50 ORDERICUS VITILIS. [B.IV. CH.VII.

nnd with the treasures collected from ancient times, was in possession of Kent, the former kingdom of Ethelbert, son of Ermenric, Eadbald, Egbert, and his brother Lothaire, and where the first English kings were converted to the faith of Christ by the disciples of Pope Gregory, and obtained the crown of eternal life by their obedience to the divine law. The character of this prelate, if I am not deceived, was a compound of vices and virtues; but he was more occupied with worldly affairs than in the exercise of spiritual graces. The monasteries of the saints make great complaints of the injuries they received at the hands of Odo, who, with violence and injustice, robbed them of the funds with which the English had piously endowed them in ancient times. [1]

Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, of an ancient Norman family, who rendered essential services and support at the battle of Senlac, and was a commander of troops in other conflicts, in which natives and foreigners crushed each other, received for his share, by grant from King William, two hundred and eighty vills, which are commonly called manors, which, at his death, he left to his nephew De Mowbray, who speedily lost them by his rashness and misconduct. [2]

Likewise, Eustace de Boulogne, and Robert Morton, William d'Evreux, Robert d'Eu, Geoffrey, son of Rotrou Mortagne, and other counts and lords, more than I can enumerate, received from King William great revenues and honours in England. Thus strangers were enriched with English wealth, while her sons were iniquitously slain, or driven into hopeless exile in foreign lands. It is stated that the king himself received daily one thousand and sixty pounds, thirty pence, and three farthings, stirling money, from his regular revenues in England alone, independently of presents, fines for offences, and many other matters which constantly enrich a royal treasury. King William also caused


[1] Lanfranc, with great firmness, claimed before the inquest of the county presided over by Geoffry, bishop of Coutances, certain estates of which Odo had deprived the see of Canterbury, and obtained their restoration.

[2] Geoffry de Mowbray a commune in the canton of Perci was made bishop of Coutances in April, 1048, and died tbe 2nd of February, 1093. It will hereafter appear how his nephew lost the immense heritage bequeathed to him.

A.D. 1080-1086.] ECCLESIASTICAL ABUSES. 51

a careful survey to be taken of the whole kingdom, and an accurate record to be made of all the revenues as they stood in the time of King Edward. [1] The land was distributed into knights' fees with such order that the realm of England should always possess a force of sixty thousand men, ready at any moment to obey the king's commands, as his occasions required.

CH. VIII. Tyranny of the conquerors - Abuses of ecclesiasical patronage - The English ejected to make way for Normans - Story of Guitmond, afterwards bishop of Aversa.

POSSESSED of enormous wealth, gathered by others, the Normans gave the reigns to their pride and fury, and put to death without compunction the native inhabitants, who for their sins were subjected by divine Providence to the scourge. In them we find fulfilled the couplet of the Mantuan Maro

O mortals! blind of fate, who never know
To bear high fortune, or endure the low. [2]

Young women of high rank were subject to the insults of grooms, and mourned their dishonour by filthy ruffians. Matrons, distinguished by their birth and elegance, lamented in solitude; and, bereaved of their husbands and deprived of the consolation of friends, preferred death to life. Ignorant upstarts, driven almost mad by their sudden elevation, wondered how they arrived at such a pitch of power, and thought that they might do whatever they liked. Fools and perverse, not to reflect, with contrite hearts, that, not by their on strength, but by the providence of God, who ordereth all things, they had conquered their enemies, and subjugated a nation greater, and richer, and more ancient than their own; illustrious for its saints, and wise men, and powerful kings, who had earned a noble reputation by their deeds, both in war and peace! They ought to have recollected with fear, and


[1] This famous record is called The Domesday Book, and sometimes Rotulus, or Liber Wintoniae, it having been kept in the treasury at Winchester. The survey was begun in 1080, and completed in 1086.

[2] Nescia mens hominum fati, sortisque futurae,
Et servare modum, rebus sublata secundis!
Virg. AEn. X. 501.

52 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VIII.

deeply inscribed in their hearts, the word which says: "With the same measure that ye mete, it shall be measured to you again". [1]

Some churchmen, who, to all appearance, were wise and religious, constantly followed the court, and became abject flatterers, to the no small disgrace of their Christian profession, that they might obtain the dignities they coveted. As the hire for their services is demanded of princes by newly enlisted soldiers, so some of the laity repaid the clergy for paying them court by gifts of bishoprics and abbeys, wardenships, archdeaconries, deaneries, and other offices of power and dignity, which ought to be conferred for the merits of holiness and learning. The clergy and monks now attached themselves to an earthly prince to obtain such rewards, and, for their worldly advantage, lent themselves without decency to a service which was incompatible with their spiritual duties. The old abbots were terrified by the threats of secular power, and, unjustly driven from their seats without the sentence of a synod, to make way for hirelings, who, more tyrants than monks, were intruded in their places. Then such traffic and agreements took place between prelates of this class and the flocks committed to their charge, as may be supposed between wolves and sheep having no protector. This may be easily proved by what happened in the case of Turstin, of Caen, and the convent of Glastonbury. [2] This shameless abbot, attempting to compel the monks of Glastonbury to disuse the chant which had been introduced into England by the disciples or the blessed Pope Gregory, and to adopt the chant of the Flemings or Normans, which they had never learned or heard before, a violent tumult arose, which ended in disgrace to the holy order. For when the monks refused new fashions, and their haughty superior persisted in his obstinacy, all of a sudden, laymen, armed with spears, came to their master's aid, and surrounding the monks severely beat some of them, and, as report says, mortally wounded them. I could relate many such instances, if they would edify the reader's mind; but such subjects are by no means


[1] Luke vi. 38.

[2] Turstin was intruded on the monks of Glastonbury in 1081. The tumults here described broke out in 1083.

A.D. 1070.] THE MONK GUITMOND. 53

agreeable, and, therefore, without dwelling on them, I gladly employ my pen on other matters.

Guitmond was a venerable monk of the monastery called La Croix d'Helton, where we read that Leudfred, the glorious confessor of Christ, happily served the Lord forty-eight years in the reigns of Childebert and Chilperic. [1] Guitmond crossed the sea on a royal summons, and was offered by the king and great men of the realm a high ecclesiastical office, but he positively refused to undertake the charge. He was in the prime of years, devout and deeply learned; having left to the world a remarkable proof of his genius in the book he wrote against Berenger, On the Body and Blood of our Lord, [2] as well as in his other works. When the king entreated him to remain in England until he should have an opportunity of suitably promoting him, Guitmond took time to consider the matter carefully, and pointed out how much his own views differed from the proposal which had been made in a long, letter replying to the king to the following effect:-

"I am averse to undertaking any ecclesiastical function for many reasons, which I am not willing, nor would it become me, fully to detail. In the first place, when I consider well the infirmities both bodily and mental, which I continually suffer, I painfully feel my inability to undergo the scrutiny of the divine Judge, for even now I lament that in my daily struggles to keep the path of life I am in continual danger of erring from the truth. But if I cannot safely rule myself, how shall I be able to direct the course of others in the way to salvation? Besides, after carefully considering all circumstances, I do not see by what means I can fitly undertake the government of a community whose foreign manners and barbarous language are strange to me; a wretched people, whose fathers and near relations and friends have either fallen by your sword, or have been disinherited by you, driven into exile, imprisoned, or subjected to an unjust and intolerable slavery. Search the scriptures


[1] La Croix St. Leufroi, between Evreux and Gaillon, in the diocese of Evreux. St. Leufroi died about the year 738, in this monastery which he founded, after governing it forty-eight years.

[2] Guitmundi episcopi Aversani, de corporis et sanguinis veritate in Eucharistia. This work was written in the year 1075.

54 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VIII.

and see if there be any law by which a pastor chosen by enemies can be intruded by violence on the Lord's flock. Every ecclesiastical election ought to be purely made in the first instance by the society of the faithful who are to be governed, and then confirmed by assent of the fathers of the church and their friends, if it be canonical; if not, it should be rectified in a Spirit of charity. How can that which you have wrung from the people by war and bloodshed be innocently conferred on myself and others who despise the world and have voluntarily stripped ourselves of our own substance for Christ sake? It is the general rule of all who take religious vows to have no part in robbery, and, for the maintenance of justice, to reject offerings which are the fruits of pillage. For the scripture saith: 'The sacrifice of injustice is a polluted offering'; and a little afterwards: 'Whoso offereth a sacrifice of the substance of the poor is like one that slayeth a son in his father's sight'. [1] Reflecting on these and other precepts of the divine law, I cannot but tremble. I look upon England as altogether one vast heap of booty, and I am afraid to touch it and its treasures as if it were a burning fire. As God commands every man to love his neighbour as himself, I will tell you sincerely what I learn from divine inspiration: what I think profitable for myself is also for your good. Let not that which is spoken in friendship be considered offensive; but do you, brave prince, and your fellow soldiers, who have encountered with you the greatest perils, receive with kindness the expression of my advice. Reflect every day of your lives on the operations of the Lord, and in all your undertakings have his judgments, which are incomprehensible, before your eyes, so weighing your course of life in the scales of justice according to the will of God, that the righteous Judge, who orders all things rightly, may be merciful to you in the day of doom. Let not flatterers betray you into a deceitful security, and from the success which has attended you in the present life lull you into the death-sleep of worldly prosperity. Vaunt not yourself that the English have been conquered by your arms, but gird yourself carefully for that more difficult and dangerous combat with your spiritual enemies which still remains and is to be fought daily. The


[1] Ecclus. xxxiv. 21 and 24.

A.D. 1070.] GUITMOND'S LETTER TO WILLIAM I. 55

revolutions of earthly kingdoms are exhibited in the pages of scripture in which the knowledge of past events is divinely furnished. The Babylonians, under their king Nebuchodnosor, subdued Judea, Egypt, and many other countries, but seventy years afterwards they were themselves conquered and subjugated by the Medes and Persians under Darius and his grandson Cyrus. Two hundred and thirty years afterwards, the Macedemonians, under the command of Alexander the Great, defeated Darius the king of Persia and his innumerable hosts; and many years afterwards, when the Romans sent forth their legions into every quarter of the globe, the Parthians were utterly subdued under their king Perseus. The Greeks, led by Agamemnon and the son of Palamede, laid siege to Troy, and having slain the king Priamus, son of Laomedon, and his sons Hector and Troilus, Paris, Deiphobus and Amphimacus, after a ten years' siege, destroyed with fire and sword the famous kingdom of Phrygia. A remnant of the Trojans, with Eneas for their chief, established themselves in Italy; another band, under the command of Antenor, after a long and difficult journey, reached Denmark, and made a settlement there which their posterity inhabit to the present time. The kingdom of Jerusalem, enriched by David and his powerful successors with the spoils of other nations and aggrandized by their conquest of the surrounding barbarous tribes, was overturned by the Romans in the reigns of Vespasian and Titus, and the stately temple of the Jews destroyed one thousand and eighty-nine years after its foundation, eleven hundred thousand Jews perishing by the sword or famine. The Franks formed an alliance with the Gauls in the time of their duke Sunno, and having resolutely shaken off the Roman yoke began to lord over them. It is now almost six hundred years since the Anglo-Saxons, under their chiefs Hengist and Horsa, wrested by force or fraud the government of Britain from the natives now called Welsh. The Guinili, driven by chance from the Scandinavian island invaded that part of Italy now called Lombardy in the reign of Alboin, son of Audo, and, long resisting the Romans, have held possession of it to the present day. All these great men whom I have described, as elated by victory, not long afterwards miserably perished, and together with their victims are subject to endless

56 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VIII.

tortures, under which they grean in the noisome caverns of hell. The Normans, under their chief Rollo, wrested Neustria from Charles the Simple, and have now held it for one hundred and ninety years, [1] against all the efforts of the French, notwithstanding their frequent attacks. Need I speak of the Gepidi and the Vandals, the Goths and the Turks, the Huns and the Heruli, and other barbarous nations? Their whole business is to ravage and rob, and to tread under foot every vestige of peace. They lay waste the soil, burn houses, disturb the world, scatter the means of subsistence, butcher the population, spread every where barbarism and confusion. Such signs as these are omens of the end of the world, as we are plainly told in the word of truth: 'Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be great earthquakes in divers places, and famines and pestilences: and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven'. [2]

So sinks the reeling world with woes oppressed.

"Reflecting thoughtfully on these and such like revolutions in human affairs, let not the conqueror glory in the ruin of his rivals; for he himself shall hold his footing no longer than his Maker wills. I will now, O king, apply what I have said to your own case, beseeching you to listen to me with patience for your soul's sake. Before you, no one of your race obtained the kingly dignity; that high honour did not accrue to you by inheritance, but by the free gift of Almighty God, and the kind preference of your kinsman King Edward. Edgar Atheling and many other scions of the royal stock, are, according to the laws of the Hebrews and other nations, nearer in degree than yourself as heirs to the crown of England. They have been set aside by the lot which has led to your advancement: but the more mysterious is God's providence, the more terrible is the account you will have to give of the stewardship committed to you. I submit these considerations to your highness


[1] Without its being necessary to follow the venerable monk through all his historical disquisitions, it may be proper to remark that this calculation would carry back the grant of territory made by Charles the Simple to Rollo and his followers to the year 880.

[2] Luke xxi. 11, 12.

A.D. 1077.] GUITMOND GOES TO ROME. 57

with the fullest good wishes, humbly beseeching you to be ever mindful of what must come at last, and not to be wholly engrossed with present prosperity, which is too often followed by intolerable suffering, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. And now I commit you, your friends and followers, to the grace of God, intending, with your permission, to return to Normandy, and leave the rich spoils of England to the lovers of this world, as dross and dung. I truly prefer, for my part, that poverty for the love of Christ which was the choice of Anthony and Benedict, above all the riches of the world which were the coveted portion of Croesus and Sardanapalus, and when they afterwards miserably perished, became the spoils of their enemies. Christ, the good shepherd, has uttered the warning: 'Woe to the rich of this world', who enjoy here vain and superfluous luxuries, while he promised the blessings of the world to come to the poor in spirit; which may lie vouchsafe to grant us, who liveth and reigneth through all ages. Amen".

The king, who with his great lords admired the firmness of the venerable monk, treated him with deference, and taking leave of him with marked respect, commanded him, with fitting honours, to return to Normandy, and there wait his own presence where he pleased. When Guitmond returned to the enclosure of his own monastery, it was noised abroad that he had preferred monastic poverty to episcopal wealth, and further, that he had in the presence of the king and his nobles stigmatized the conquest of England with the character of robbery, and accused of rapacity all the bishops and abbots who had obtained preferment in England against the feeling of the natives. These allegations of his becoming known throughout the kingdom, and causing much discussion, were very distasteful to numerous persons who being little disposed to follow his example, were extremely exasperated by what he had said. Not long afterwards, on the death of John, archbishop of Rouen, the king and others selected Guitmond for his successor; but his enemies, the men he had so severely rebuked, did all in their power to hinder his preferment. They found nothing, however, to object to, in a man of his worth, but that he was the son of a priest. Upon this, Guitmond, wishing to be clear of all suspicion of covetousness, and preferring to suffer poverty in

58 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VIII.

a foreign country, rather than foment disturbances in his own, applied respectfully to Odilo, the abbot of his monastery, and humbly petitioned for permission to travel abroad, which was granted. [1] This illiterate abbot little knew what treasures of wisdom were concealed under the humble exterior of the learned monk, and so he made no difficulty in parting with a philosopher of inestimable worth, who was received with joy by Pope Gregory VII. on his arrival at Rome, and made a Cardinal of the holy Roman church, and by Pope Urban, after experience of his abilities, solemnly consecrated metropolitan of Aversa. [2] That city, built in the time of Leo IX., by the Normans when they first settled in Apulia was called Adversa by the Romans, because it was founded by their adversaries. Abounding in wealth, powerful from the warlike character of its Cisalpine inhabitants, [3] formidable to its enemies, and respected by its faithful subjects and allies, that city, by the determination of the Normans, was immediately dependent in ecclesiastical affairs on the pope himself, from whom it received the philosopher Guitmond, honoured with the mystical decoration of the pallium, as its bishop. This prelate long governed the church entrusted to his care, enjoying the apostolical privileges of his see free from all the exactions of men. Having diligently taught his flock, and given them the protection of his merits and prayers, after many struggles in the exercise of his virtues he departed in the Lord. [4]


[1] It could not be the result of this affair which induced Guitmond to leave Normandy, for he went to Italy in 1077, and John d'Avranches did not die till 1079. It may even be doubted whether William proposed to prefer him to the archbishopric of Rouen two years after he had entirely renounced his country to attach himself altogether to the court of Rome. Ho went so far as even to change his name, and adopt that of Christian or Cristin.

[2] Guitmond was not made a cardinal. The see of Aversa was not an archbishopric, but immediately dependent on the holy see. The city was rebuilt by the Normans, on the site of the ancient Atella, not in the popedom of Leo IX., 1048-1054, but about the year 1030. Ranulph, one of their leaders, was invested with the title of Count d'Aversa by the emperor Conrad in 1038.

[3] Our author means the Normans, as coming from this side of the Alps.

[4] The precise date of Guitmond's death is unknown. Like his patron, Pope Urban II., he probably died about the end of the eleventh century. For his life and writings, see L'Histoire Litteraire de la France, t. viii.

A.D. 1067-1093.] DEATH OF WILLIAM FITZ-OSBERN. 59

CH. IX. Affairs of Flanders - Fitz-Osbern killed in battle there - King William crosses over to Normandy.

IN the fifth year of his reign King William sent William Fitz-Osbern to Normandy to assist Queen Matilda, in the defence of the duchy. At that time there was great contention in Flanders between the heirs to that province. Baldwin, son-in-law of Robert king of France, and count of Flanders, of distinguished bravery had by his wife Adela, several sons and daughters of great merit. Robert, the Frisian, Arnold, Baldwin, Odo, archbishop of Treves, Henry the clerk, Queen Matilda, and Judith, wife of Earl Tostig, were all children of Baldwin and Adela. [1] Their characters and the various occurrences of their lives, would furnish historians with matter for extended works. Robert the eldest, having offended his father, and being banished by him, sought the court of Florence, duke of Frisia, his father's enemy, and, in reward for his services, received his daughter's hand in marriage; at this the duke of Flanders was much incensed and in his anger gave his son Robert the name of the Frisian, and, proclaiming him an outlaw, appointed his second son Arnold his heir. A short time afterwards, Duke Baldwin died, and Arnold held Flanders for a short time. But Robert the Frisian invaded it vigorously with a large body of Frisian and other troops. Philip king of France, who was their kinsman, came to the aid of Arnold, with a French army, summoning Earl William [Fitz-Osbern] to attend him as governor of Normandy. But Earl William joined the king with only ten men-at-arms, and rode with him gaily to Flanders, as if he was only going to a tournament. Meanwhile, Robert the Frisian, had united his forces with those of the emperor, and on Septuagesima Sunday, the tenth of the calends of March [20th of February], attacked the enemy by surprise early in the morning, and Philip, king of France, and his army flying, Arnold, and his nephew Baldwin, and Earl William were slain. [2] Robert afterwards held the dukedom of Flanders


[1] Baldwin V. had only four children; Arnold was his grandson, son of Baldwin VI,, who succeeded his father, Baldwin V., September 1, 1067.

[2] This battle was fought at Bavinchove, near Cassel, the 20th of Feb. 1071. The person described by our author as nephew of Robert the Frisian, was Baldwin, count d'Hainault, Arnold's eldest brother, but he did not fall in the battle, living till the first crusade, which he joined.

60 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.VIII.

for many years, and at his death left it to his sons Robert of Jerusalem and Philip. [1] The body of Earl William was carried to Normandy by his men-at-arms, and interred amid much sorrow in the abbey of Cormeilles. He had founded two abbeys on his patrimonial estates in honour of St. Mary, Mother of God; one at Lire, on the river Rille, where Adeliza his wife was buried, and the other at Cormeilles where, as I have just mentioned, he was himself interred. [2] This baron, the bravest of all the Normans, was deeply lamented by all who knew his generosity, his good humour, and general virtues. King William thus distributed his inheritance among his sons. William the eldest son had Breteuil, Pacy, and the rest of his patrimonial estates in Normandy which he possessed during all his life, nearly thirty years. Roger, the younger brother, had the earldom of Hereford and his father's other possessions in England; but he shortly afterwards lost all by his perfidy and folly, as will appear in the sequel.

Though Matilda's government was powerful and her resources vast, she was plunged into the deepest affliction by the death of her father, her mother's bereavement, the cruelty of one brother, which caused the loss of another, as well as of her beloved nephew, and a number of her friends. It is thus that the Almighty God punishes the inhabitants of the earth when they forget him, casts down the proud, and makes it plain that he is the Ruler of the universe. Robert the Frisian now subjugated the whole of Flanders, and held possession of it for almost thirty years, [3] securing with ease the alliance of Philip king of France. Those two princes were cousins by descent, and both married daughters of Florence, marquis of Frisia; [4] and their sons are to the


[1] Robert the Frisian died suddenly in October, 1093, leaving, as our author states, two sons, and also three daughters; but the sons did not possess his states jointly or successively, the share of Philip being only the burgravate of Ypres.

[2] Concerning these two abbeys, see before, vol. i. p. 384. Adeliza, wife of William Fitz-Osbern, was daughter of Roger de Toni.

[3] Only twenty-one years.

[4] These two princes were not brothers-in-law; Philip married Bertha, daughter of Florence, count of Holland, and Robert the Frisian, Gertrude of Saxony, the count's widow, who was Philip's mother-in-law.

A.D. 1072.] KING WILLIAM VISITS NORMANDY. 61

present day united in the same bonds of amity. But a new cause of dissension between the Normans and Flemings sprung out of the death of the queen's brother and other relations, and especially that of Earl William [Fitz-Osbern]. Affairs in Normandy becoming thus disturbed, the king put his English dominions into a good condition, and then hastened over to Normandy that he might order things there to the best advantage. The king's arrival being known, the hearts of the peaceable were gladdened, but the promoters of discord, and those stained with crimes, whose consciences reproached them, trembled at the approach of an avenging power. The king assembled the leading men of Normandy and Maine, and in a royal speech recommended them all to maintain peace and do justice. The bishops and churchmen he exhorted to lead good lives, continually to study God's law, to consult together for the welfare of the church, to correct the morals of their flocks according to the canonical decrees, and in all things to govern with prudence.

CH. X. A synod held at Rouen under John the archbishop - Acts of the synod.

IN the year of our Lord 1072 a synod assembled in the city of Rouen, the metropolitan see, in the church of the blessed St. Mary, ever virgin, mother of God. John, archbishop of that see, presided, and following in the steps of the fathers, consulted on various points regarding the necessities of the church with his suffragans, Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Hugh of Lisieux, Robert of Seez, Michael of Avranches, and Gislebert of Evreux. [1] The doctrine of the church on the holy and undivided Trinity was first taken into consideration, which they affirmed, ratified, and made profession of their belief with their whole hearts according to the decrees of the sacred councils of Nice, Constantinople, the first of Ephesus, and Chalcedon. After this profession of the


[1] The account of this synod given by Ordericus Vitalis is the only record we have of it.

62 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.X.

Catholic faith, the following articles were added as they are hereunder written.

First. It is ordered by us, that according to the decrees of the fathers, the chrism, and the oil for baptism and the holy unction, be consecrated at a convenient hour, that is, after the second nones, as the aforesaid fathers decreed. The bishop should take care that twelve priests, or as many as he has with him, assist at the consecration in their sacerdotal vestments.

Item. In some dioceses an odious practice has grown up for the archdeacons, in the absence of the bishop, to obtain from some other bishop small portions of oil and chrism, and to mix them with oil of their own; which custom is condemned, and every archdeacon is to present the whole of his chrism and oil to the consecrating bishop, the same as if it was his own diocesan.

Item. The distribution of the chrism and oil shall be made by the deans with the greatest care and reverence, so that they wear albs while the distribution takes place, and it be so made in such vessels, that no portion be lost by carelessness.

Item. It is ordered, that no priest shall celebrate mass without also communicating.

Item. No priest shall baptize a child unless he wear his alb and stole, but upon urgent necessity.

Item. There are some priests who reserve the viaticum and holy water beyond the eighth day, which is condemned. Others, when they have no consecrated host, make a fresh consecration, which is severely forbidden.

Item. It is ordered, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit shall not be conferred without both givers and receivers having fasted, nor the confirmation be made without fire [candles?]. This is enjoined, that in conferring holy orders we may not violate apostolical authority. For we read in the decrees of Pope Leo, that holy orders shall not be given indiscriminately every day, but after Saturday in the beginning of the succeeding night, the holy benediction be given, both those who give and those who receive it being then fasting. The same rule will be observed when the office is performed on the morning of the Lord's day, the fast having been

A.D. 1072.] ACTS OF THE SYNOD OF ROUEN. 63

prolonged. This portion of time is a prolongation of the commencement of the night preceding, and it is not to be doubted that it belongs to the day of the resurrection as is also declared in our Lord's passion.

Item. The observance of the four seasons, according to the divine institution, is to be kept among us with general accord at the proper periods; viz., the first week in March, the second in June, the third in September, and the same in December, in honour of the nativity of our Lord. It would be unseemly that an institution of the saints should be nullified by worldly cares and occupations.

Item. Clerks, who, without election, vocation, or the intervention of a bishop, intrude themselves into sacred orders; those who have been ordained [priests] by the bishop, supposing them to be already deacons; and those who are ordained priests and deacons, without having had the minor orders; all these ought to be deposed.

Item. Those who have received the tonsure, and afterwards relinquished it, shall be excommunicated until such time as they make due amends. Clerks offering themselves for ordination are to present themselves at the bishop's residence on the fifth day [Thursday].

Item. Monks and nuns, who, quitting their convents, wander about from place to place, and those who have been expelled for their offences, ought to be compelled by pastoral authority to return to their convents. If the abbots shall refuse to re-admit those who have been expelled, let them be supplied with food as alms, or which they may earn by the labour of their hands, until it be ascertained that they have amended their lives.

Item. Forasmuch as the cure of souls is trafficked in by buying and selling, both by the clergy and laity, and even by monks, such practices are strictly forbidden. Marriages are not to be solemnized in private, nor after dinner; but the bride and bridegroom shall receive the nuptial benediction fasting, from a priest who is also fasting, at the manse. [1] And, before they are united, their family shall be inquired into; and if there be found to be any


[1] "In monasteries". The French editor of Ordericus remarks that the term, in writers of the middle ages, often means the parish church. See the observations, vol. i. p. 396.

64 ODERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.X.

consanguinity within the seventh generation, or if either of the parties has been divorced, they must not be married. Any priest who breaks this rule shall be deposed.

Concerning priests, deacons, and subdeacons, who have taken women to live with them, the decree of the synod of Lisieux shall be observed; that they are not to have the care of churches, neither of themselves, or by their vicars, and shall receive no part of the revenues. Archdeacons, who ought to enforce discipline, may not be allowed to have concubines, or handmaids, or any women smuggled in; but should set an example of continence and holiness to their subordinates. Those should be chosen deans who know how to reprove and correct the inferior clergy, whose life is irreproachable, and who merit the preferment more than others. [1]

Item. It is forbidden any one who, in the lifetime of his wife, has been charged with adultery, after her death to marry the woman with respect to whom he was accused. For great mischief has ensued from this practice; and men have even murdered their wives.

Item. No one whose wife has taken the veil, shall marry again while she is living.

Item. If the wife of any man who has gone in pilgrimage or elsewhere, shall marry another before she has received certain intelligence of his death, she shall be excommunicated until she has made due satisfaction.

Item. It is decreed that those who fall publicly into mortal sins shall not be very soon reinstated in holy orders. For, as St. Gregory says, if the lapsed obtain license to return to their order, the influence of canonical discipline is undoubtedly weakened, as the hope of being restored diminishes the tear of encouraging the inclination to evil conduct. It should,


[1] This canon caused a tumult, in which the archbishop barely escaped with his life. The controversy about married priests caused great disturbances throughout Europe. A similar decree was made by a synod held at London in 1102. See Huntingdon's History, p. 241, 252. No distinction was drawn between wives and concubines; indeed the words of this canon seem studiously to ignore the legal existence of the former - "qui feminas usurpaverint". The term uxores is used by the synod of London, but that is understood to apply both to wives and concubines. The synod of Lisieux here mentioned was held in 1055. It deposed Archbishop Mauger. Its acts are lost.

A.D. 1072.] ACTS OF THE SYNOD OF ROUEN. 65

therefore, be an established rule, that those who fall into open sin, should on no account be restored to their former rank, but under special circumstances, and after making amends by a long penance.

Item. If any clerk who has lapsed, is liable to be deposed, and a sufficient number of bishops, according to the canons, cannot be assembled for that purpose, viz. six, in the case of priests, and three, in that of deacons, any bishop who cannot attend may substitute his vicar-general with equal authority.

Item. It is decreed, that during Lent, no one shall dine till the hour of nones is passed, and vespers begin. No one who eats before shall be considered as fasting.

Item. It is decreed, that, on the Saturday of Easter, the office shall not commence before pones. For it has regard to the night of our Lord's resurrection, in honour of which the Gloria in Excelsis and Alleluia is sung. It is also marked by the benediction of the candle at the beginning of the office. The book of Offices [1] says that, on these two days, the eucharist is not celebrated. By the two days are meant the sixth day [Friday] and Saturday, on which the grief and mourning of the apostles are commemorated.

Item. If the feast of any saint occurs on a day on which it cannot be kept, it shall be celebrated not before but within the octave.

Item. According to the decrees of the holy fathers, Popes Innocent and Leo, we order that general baptism shall only be administered on the Saturday of Easter and Whitsuntide; with this provision, that the washing of regeneration shall not be denied to infants, at whatever time, or on whatever day it is required. However, we entirely forbid the administration of baptism on the eve or the feast of the Epiphany, unless in case of sickness.

The decrees of this synod were subscribed by John, archbishop of Rouen, Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Michael, bishop of Avranches, Gislebert, bishop of Evreux, and some venerable abbots, who were at that time the honour of the monasteries of Normandy, and maintained the monastic discipline.


[1] This work, composed by Archbishop John while he was bishop of Avranches, was published at Rouen in 1679.

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

CH. XI. Notices of eminent men in the abbeys of Normandy in the author's age - particularly in the abbey of Bec.

I THINK it well to transmit to posterity an account of the holy fathers who wisely governed the abbeys of Normandy, in the time of King William, and whose study it was worthily to serve the eternal King, who reigns unchangeably. Their disciples, I think, have already committed to writing many of their memoirs for the information of future times, but there are some whom it is pleasant to me, as well as to my superiors, at least to name in these pages, for the particular regard I bear them, and not for any worldly advantage, but simply from my love of learning, and the piety with which they were divinely inspired.

The abbey of Fecamp, which stands in sight of the sea, and is dedicated to the holy and undivided Trinity, Creator of all things, was nobly founded by Richard I., duke of Normandy, and afterwards richly endowed with lands and possessions by Richard II. After William of Dijon, a man of great wisdom and zealous for religion, the venerable abbot John governed this monastery fifty-one years. Next, it was held for almost twenty-seven years by William de Ros, a clerk of Bayeux and monk of Caen. [1] Like the mystical spikenard, he was an odour of sweet smelling in the house of the Lord by his charity, munificence, and many virtues. The works he diligently performed either before the world, or in secret before few witnesses, bore witness to the spirit which dwelt within him, and entirely possessing him, conducted him to his crown before the throne of the Lord of Sabaoth.

The monk Gontard was removed from the abbey of Fontenelles [2] by the election of prudent men, and appointed ruler of the abbey of Jumieges, after the death of Abbot Robert. He diligently spread the food of spiritual wisdom before the flock committed to his charge, and sustained with vigour the strictness of monastic discipline. He cherished


[1] William de Dijon, 1001-1028; John, a native of the neighbourhood of Ravenna, 1028-February 22, 1079; William de Ros, 1079-March 96, 1108.

[2] This abbey, afterwards known by the name of St. Wandrille, its patron saint.

A.D. 1079-1093.] ANSELM ABBOT OF BEC. 67

and honoured the gentle and submissive, as a father treats his children, but applied the rod of correction to the reprobate and contumacious and despisers of discipline, like a severe master. At length, having accompanied his colleagues, the bishops of Normandy, to the council of Clermont held by Pope Urban, A.D. 1095, the third indiction, Father Gontard, by God's will, died there on the sixth of the calends of December [November 26]. He was succeeded by Tancard, [1] prior of Fecamp, who proved to be fierce as a lion.

On the death of Herluin, who was the founder and first abbot of the monastery of Bec, [2] and being endowed with spiritual graces in his lifetime, contributed much to the profit of the children of the church, he was succeeded by the venerable Anselm, a man of deep erudition, who, by God's grace, filled the abbey much to its renown, with devout and learned brethren. As the number of the servants of God increased, their means of subsistence did not fail, but there was abundant provision for the honourable entertainment of the noble friends and attached brothers who flocked to the abbey from all quarters. Learned men of eminence, both clergy and laity, resorted to hear the sweet words of truth which flowed from his mouth, pleasing to the seekers of righteousness as angels' discourses. Anselm, who was a native of Italy, had followed Lanfranc to Bec, and as the Israelites carried off the gold and wealth of the Egyptians, so he entered with joy the land of promise with a full lading of the worldly erudition of the philosophers. Becoming a monk, he gave himself up to the study of theology, and poured forth abundantly the honeyed streams of wisdom from the rich fountain of wisdom. He skilfully cleared up the difficulties of the obscure passages of scripture, threw light upon them by his discourses and writings, and expounded with soundness the mysterious predictions of the prophets. All his words were valuable, and edified his attached hearers. His attentive pupils committed to writing his letters and typical discourses; so that, being deeply imbued with them, they


[1] Gontard, abbot of Junieges, about 1078-November 26, 1095, the day on which the council closed; Tancard, 1096-about 1101.

[2] 1034-August 26, 1078.

68 ORDERICUS VITILIS. [B.IV. CH.XI.

profited others as well as themselves, to no small degree. His successors, William and Boso, were deeply penetrated with this spirit, and having drawn deeply at the source of so much wisdom, were able to distribute large draughts of the pure stream to their thirsting disciples. Anselm was courteous and affable, replying with kindness to all who questioned him in simplicity. At the instance of his friends he published books, keenly and profoundly written, on the Trinity, on Truth, Freewill, the Fall of Satan, and the question, Why God was made Man? His disciples spread the report of his talents through all the Latin world, and the western church was filled to inebriation with the nectar of his exalted character. The vast deposit of learning and theology at the abbey of Bec, begun by Lanfranc, was nobly added to by Anselm, [1] and thence proceeded a succession of enlightened teachers, careful pilots and spiritual charioteers, [2] to whom were confided the helm and the reins by which the church is divinely guided in the concerns of the present world. The monks of Bec are thus become so devoted to literary pursuits, and so exercised in raising and solving difficult questions of divinity, and in profitable discussions, that they seem to be almost all philosophers; and those among them who appear to be illiterate, and might be called clowns, derive from their intercourse with the rest the advantages of becoming fluent grammarians. Delighting in God's worship with mutual good-will and sweet affection, and taught by true wisdom, they are unwearied in the offices of devotion. The hospitality of the monks of Bec I cannot sufficiently praise. Ask the Burgundians and Spaniards, and their other visitors from far and near, and their replies will tell truly with what kindness they are entertained; and they will doubtless strive to imitate it under similar circumstances. The gate of the abbey of Bec stands for ever open to every traveller, and their bread is never refused to any one who asks it for charity's sake.


[1] St. Anselm, abbot of Bec, 1079-March 1093, was a native of Aosta in Piedmont For his works. consult the Histoire Litteraire de la France, t. ix, William de Montfort; his successor, August 2, 1094- April 16, 1124; Boson, 1124-June 24, 1136.

[2] Providi nautae et spirituales aurigae; the latter phrase sounds stangely in the French translation, "des cochers spirituels".

A.D. 1063-1032.] ABBOTS OF FONTENELLES, ETC. 69

What more can I say of the merits of the monks of Bec? [1] May He who graciously began and carries on the good works which so eminently distinguishes them, keep them stedfast in the right way, and conduct them safe to the haven of salvation!

Gerbert de Fontenelles, Ainard of Dives, and Durand of Troarn, [2] three illustrious abbots, shone brilliantly in the temple of the Lord like bright stars in the firmament of heaven. They were no less distinguished by their piety and charity, than by numerous accomplishments, among which they were remarkably eminent for the zeal with which they studied sacred psalmody in the house of God. Standing in the first rank among the masters of music who have applied their art to sweet modulation, they composed some charming chants for antiphons and responses. The King supreme, who is lauded by angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven; Mary, the immaculate virgin who bore the Saviour of the world; angels, apostles, and martyrs; confessors and virgins; these were the themes which drew from them mellifluous streams of heart-felt praise; and with these they carefully instructed the youthful choristers of the church to sing praises to the Lord with Asaph and Eman, Elthan and Idithun, and the sons of Corah.

Nicholas, son of Richard III., duke of Normandy, after being from his boyhood a monk of Fecamp, governed for nearly sixty years the abbey of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, in the suburbs of Rouen. He began building a church, remarkable for its size and elegance, in which reposes the body of St. Ouen, archbishop of that city,


[1] The abbey of Bec long continued to be a distinguished school of learning, and the resort of men of letters and eminence. It gave another archbishop to Canterbury in 1139, in the person of Theobald, who was abbot of Bec. Henry of Huntingdon, the English historian, accompanying that prelate to Rome, soon after his appointment, they rested at Bec on their journey, and there Huntingdon tells us, in his "Letter to Warin", he met the celebrated monk Robert de Torigny, otherwise called Del Monte, a great antiquarian, who showed him the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth recently published, from which Huntingdon extracted his abridged account of the ancient British kings.


[1] Gerbert, abbot of St. Wandrille, 1055-September 4, 1089; Ainard, abbot of Notre-Dame de St. Pierre-sur-Dive, 1046-January 14, 1078; Durand, abbot of Troarn, May 13, 1059-February 11, 1088.

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

with many other relics of saints. [1] There were also in Normandy at that time many other superiors of monks, whose numerous virtues I am compelled to omit, least I should weary the reader by too great prolixity.

CH. XII. Pages Alexander II. and Gregory VII. (Hildebrand) - Singular nomination of Hoel to the see of Mans.

IN the year of our Lord 1073 (the eleventh indiction), Pope Alexander II. departed this life, after filling the Roman and apostolical see eleven years; and Gregory VII., whose baptismal name was Hildebrand, succeeding him, sat in the chair of St. Peter seventeen years. [2] A monk from his childhood, Gregory was deeply read in the law of God, and his fervent zeal in the path of justice brought on him much persecution. He launched his apostolical decrees through all the world, and, sparing no one, thundered forth the holy oracles with terrible effect, summoned all men to the marriage feast of the Lord of Sabaoth with both prayers and threats. At the request of this pope, the venerable Hugh, abbot of Cluni, sent to Rome Odo, prior of that monastery, who had been a canon of Rheims, accompanied by other chosen monks, who were joyfully received by the pope as fellow labourers sent him by God. [3] He selected Odo for his principal counsellor, and made him bishop of Ostia, which see has the prerogative of having its bishop elected by the clergy of Rome, and consecrated by the pope himself. Benedict also promoted the other monks, as circumstances permitted, preferring them to the government of different churches.

On the death of Arnold, bishop of Mans, King William said to Samson, bishop of Bayeux, his chaplain: "The


[1] Nicholas, son of Richard, abbot of St. Ouen, 1056-February, 1092. The end of the north transept of the church here mentioned is still standing. This striking ruin, which stands between the present church and the hotel of the municipality, examined from the interior, fully justifies, by its fine proportions, the admiration with which our author viewed it.

[2] Pope Alexander II., September 30, 1061-April 21, 1073; Gregory VII., April 22, 1073-May 25, 1085.

[2] It was not Gregory VII., but his successor, Urban II., who on giving up the bishopric of Ostia, when raised to the popedom, invited his old contemporary at Cluni, the learned Odo, to succeed him in the see of Ostia, which he held till the year 1101.

A.D. 1080.] HOEL NAMED BISHOP OF MANS. 71

bishopric of Mans being now void, I wish, by God's will, to promote you to that see in his place. Mans, an ancient city which derives its name from canine madness, [1] has a population which is always aggressive and blood-thirsty as regards its neighbours, and insolent and rebellious to its lords. I have, therefore, resolved to place the reins of its ecclesiastical government in your hands, having cherished and dearly loved you from your childhood, and desiring now to place you high among the great men of my dominions". Samson replied: "According to the apostolical precept, a bishop ought to be irreproachable; but I have been far from answering to that character, during the whole course of my life, for I feel that before God I am polluted with sins, both of body and mind; and, wretched and unworthy as I am, my manifold offences forbid me to aspire to so high a dignity". The king said: "With your natural shrewdness you see clearly that you act rightly in confessing yourself a sinner; but I have set my mind on you, and shall not depart from my purpose, unless you either accept the bishopric, or recommend me another to take it in your place". Simon heard this with joy, and replied: "My lord and king, you have now spoken well; and you will find me ready, with God's help, to do what you wish. You have in your chapel a poor clerk, who is well born and of good conversation. Give him the bishopric, in the fear of the Lord, for I think he is worthy of that honour. On the king's inquiring who he meant, Simon replied: "His name is Hoel, and he is a native of Brittany, and a humble and truly good man". Hoel was presently summoned at the king's command, without being informed for what purpose. But when the king saw before him a mere youth, in mean apparel, and of emaciated aspect, he conceived a contempt for him, and, turning to Simon, said: "Is this the person you praised so highly?" To which Samson replied: "Even so, my lord; I honestly recommend him without the slightest hesitation, and it is not without reason that I prefer him to myself and such as me. His gentleness and benevolence make him fit to be a bishop. Do not despise him for his emaciated appearance. His humble dress only makes him


[1] A play upon the Latin term for Mans; caeno-manis a canina rabie dicta.

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

more estimable in the eyes of wise men; God himself does not regard a man's exterior, but has respect unto the worth concealed beneath it". The king, in his wisdom, reflected on observations so full of sagacity, and, coming to a better mind, and bringing his scattered thoughts under the control of reason, hastened again to call the clerk we are speaking of to his presence, and committed to him the charge and temporalities of the bishopric of Mans. The royal will being made known among the clergy, testimonies of Hoel's good conversation were universally fOrthcoming. The faithful offered their devout praises to God for so just and excellent a selection, and the pastor-elect was introduced with fitting honour to the sheepfold of his flock by the bishops and other servants of God who received the king's commands. The new bishop was not more astonished at his sudden promotion than David, when he was scorned by his brethren, at Samuel's raising him to the throne of Judah. Hoel, bishop of Mans, thus elevated to the government of that see, presided over it in great sanctity for fifteen years. He laid the foundations of the cathedral church in which the remains of St Julian the confessor, and first bishop of Mans, were deposited; and began other works, which the church required, labouring to complete them as opportunity offered. [1] At his death, he was succeeded by Hildebert, a distinguished versifier, who worthily filled the see for thirty years. He completed the cathedral church begun by his predecessor, which he solemnly consecrated amid the great rejoicings of the people. Not long afterwards, in the year of our Lord 1125, the fourth indiction, when Gislebert, archbishop of Tours, died at Rome, at the same time as Pope Callistus II., he was called to the metroplitan see of Tours in the time of Pope Honorius, by the demands and orders of the holy church, and still continues to hold it with laudable care and exemplary conduct.


[1] The appointment of Hoel to the see of Mans was not made in 1073, but after the death of Arnold, his immediate predecessor, the 24th of July, 1097. The historians of Mans repudiate the extraordinary circumstances related by our author on the subject of his election. According to them, Hoel completed the cathedral begun by Vulgrin and Arnold, and Hildebert only erected the chapter-house and sacristy. But as the consecration of the cathedral was not made till 1120, it is hardly probable that it would have been deferred so long, if it had been finished by Hoel.

A.D. 1051-1062.] HERBERT, COUNT OF MAINE. 73

CH. XIII. Affairs of Maine - Expedition of King William, which established his power in that province.

As the ocean never remains in a state of complete rest, but its troubled waves are always in motion; and, though its surface at times appears calm to the unobservant spectator, those who navigate it are not the less in dread of changes and fluctuations: so this world is in a constant state of turmoil from the tide of events, and is always presenting new forms of sorrow or joy. Thus, endless altercations are constantly arising and proceeding to extremities among those unsatsfied worldlings, whose wishes the world itself is insufficient to satisfy. While each strives to be first and endeavours to tread under foot his rivals, the law of God is broken in the disregard for justice, and human blood is shed without mercy in the struggle to obtain what every one covets. This is abundantly shown by the records of ancient history, and modern reports tell the same tale in our very streets and villages. It follows that some rejoice for the moment, while others are filled with sorrow and trouble. I have already treated shortly of some instances of this kind in my present work, and shall add more, faithfully detailing what I have heard from my seniors.

Herbert, count of Maine, who was, it is said, of the race of Charlemagne, merited by his great bravery the name by which he was commonly known, in bad Latin signifying watch-dog. For after the death of Hugh his father, who was subdued by the powerful Fulk the elder, he rose in arms against the conqueror, and by his nightly expeditions, frequently alarmed the men and dogs of the city and fortified towns, so that their fears made them be on the watch against his formidable attacks. [1]


[1] It has been remarked that Ordericus is very apt to multiply the number of the descendants of Charlemagne, but it is well known that on the dismemberment of the Carlovingian empire, not only the sovereign princes of the highest rank, but a vast number of the powerful nobles, who under various titles carved out for themselves independent sovereignties in fragments of the empire, strengthened their pretensions by connecting themselves with the common stock of honour and power among the Franks of the ninth and succeeding centuries. Herbert Eveille-chien succeeded his father, Hugh, in 1015, or earlier, aad died the 15th of April, 1056. Our author has before given, vol. i. p. 448, a different and far less natural account of his strange surname.

74 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XIII.

Hugh, the son of Herbert, after Alan count of Brittany, died in Normandy from poison given him by the Normans, married his widow Bertha, daughter of Theobald count de Blois, by whom he had a son named Herbert and three daughters; [1] one of them was given in marriage to Azzo, marquis of Liguria; another, named Margaret, was betrothed to Robert, son of William duke of Normandy, but died while she was his ward, before marriage. The third married John, lord of the castle called Fleche, by whom she had three sons, Goisbert, Elias, and Enoch. [2]

Geoffrey Martel, the brave count of Anjou, dying, was succeeded by his two nephews, sons of his sister by Alberie, count du Gatinois, one of whom, Geoffrey, a prince of simple and gentle manners, obtained the county in right of his being the eldest. After the death of the younger brother Herbert, William duke of Normandy acquired his share of the inheritance, and Count Geoffrey conferred the fief on Robert, with his daughter's hand in marriage, receiving from him homage and fealty in the presence of his father at Alencon. Not long afterwards Fulk, surnamed Rechin, revolted from Geoffrey his brother and liege lord, and treacherously siezing him kept him prisoner in the castle of Chinon more than thirty years. Such were the revolutions which disturbed the province of Anjou and its neighbours, and in which the nobles of the country took different sides, according to their inclinations.

While Fulk himself was deeply grieved at seeing Maine under the supremacy of the Normans, the turbulent citizens and neighbouring garrisons, with some hired soldiers, joined unanimously in a conspiracy against their foreign masters, and, vigorously, assaulting the citadel and other


[1] Hugh, Herbert's son, succeeded him in 1036, and married Bertha, daughter of Eudes, count de Bois and Champagne, and widow of Alan III., duke of Brittany, who was poisoned in Normandy the 1st of October, 1040. Hugh died the 7th of April, 1051, leaving, notwithstanding what our author says, only one son and one daughter.

[2] Gersende, second wife of Azzo, marquis of Liguria, was sister, not daughter, of Hugh II. The same may be said of Paule or Haberge, the mother, and not the wife of John, lord of Fleche, of the family of the lords of Beauquency. For the dates of the deaths of Herbert II. and Margaret, his sister, betrothed to Robert Court-hose, see before, vol. i. pp. 448 and 449.

A.D. 1073.] KING WILLIAM REDUCES MAINE. 75

fortifications of the city, defeated and expelled Turgis de Traci [1] and William de la Ferte, and the rest of the king's officers. Some were slain, making a brave resistance, others were cruelly thrown into prison, and, ample revenge was taken on the Normans thus deprived of their liberty. All the country was now in a state of disturbance, the Norman power was eclipsed, and assailed by almost all, as by an universal blight. In like manner Geoffrey de Mayenne and other barons of Maine, formed a conspiracy and rose against the Normans; a few only, for their own reasons and under various circumstances, maintained their allegiance to King William.

When this great king heard the dreadful reports of the massacre of his officers, his anger was roused, and he took measures for checking the progress of his enemies, and revenging, by arms, the rebellion of the traitors as it deserved. The Normans and English were quickly summoned to the field, and the several bodies of troops being formed into one army, with horse and foot skilfully arrayed under their several commanders, he marched at the head of this formidable force into the country of Maine. He first besieged the castle of Fresnai, where he knighted Robert de Belesme. Hubert, the governor, however, came to terms, and, surrendering his castles of Fresnai and Beaumont [2] to the king, continued his submission for some time. Having next laid siege to the castle of Sille, the governor gave himself up to the king and obtained peace. No one indeed was able to make any resistance to the overwhelming force of the royal army, but all the garrisons of the castles and the country people, with the clerks and monks, decided on receiving the king as the restorer of peace, with fitting honours. At length he came before Maine, and investing the place with several divisions of his army, made his royal commands duly known, imperiously requiring the citizens to consult their own safety by quietly surrendering the place, and so avoiding an assault and the consequent horrors of fire and sword. Listening to this wise counsel, the citizens came the next day, bringing with them the keys of the


[1] Turgis de Traci, near Vire, where there are still the ruins of a magnificent castle of the middle age.

[2] Fresnai and Beaumont, le Vicomte, both on the Sarthe.

76 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XIII.

city, and offering their submission, which the king received with favour. The rest of the people of Maine were terrified at seeing so vast and fierce an army marching through their territories, and they found that their fellow conspirators and supporters were unable to make any stand against so experienced a general. They therefore sent delegates to the conqueror to ask for peace, and terms being made, they gladly joined their standards with the royal ensigns, and were permitted thenceforth to live in peace in their own homes and under their vines, and enjoy themselves as they pleased.

Order being thus restored in Maine without much fighting, and the province continuing tranquil under the dominion of King William, Count Fulk became mischievously jealous, and his anger broke forth against some of the adherents of the Normans. John de la Fleche, tbe most powerful lord in Anjou, who was particularly obnoxious to him on this account, having ascertained that the count was ready to fall upon him with an armed force, summoned his confederates in the neighbourhood to his assistance, and demanded the support of King William, which was granted him. For, without delay, the king sent to him William de Moulins, Robert de Vieux-Pont, and other brave and experienced knights, who were at once united by John with his own followers in the defence of his towns. Fulk, learning these dispositions, was much vexed, and immediately collecting a body of troops laid siege to John's Castle. Count Hoel [2] also came to the succour of Fulk with a large force of Bretons, with which he did all in his power to second the enterprise of Fulk. King William, knowing that such large bodies of troops must completely surround his own adherents, again issued a royal proclamation for mustering the Normans and English and other people under his rule, and like a resolute general led an army of 60,000 men, as report says, against the enemy. Meanwhile the Angevins and the Bretons, on hearing of the approach of the royal army, did not retire, but boldly crossed the Loire, and after effecting the passage destroyed their boats, that the hope of retreat might not make them less


[1] Fulk le Rechin, count d'Anjou, April 4, 1067-April 14, 1109.

[2] Hoel V., duke of Brittany, 1066-April 15, 1084.

A.D. 1078.] SETTLEMENT OF MAINE. 77

desperate in fighting. While, however, the two armies were in face of each other, drawn out for battle, and many hearts quailed at the fearful death, and the still more fearful fate after death, which awaits the reprobate, a cardinal priest of the Roman church, and some pious monks, interfered by divine inspiration, and remonstrated with the chiefs of both armies. They firmly forbade the battle in God's name, and used exhortations and prayers to effect a peace. Their endeavours were powerfully seconded by William of Evreux and Roger [de Montgomery], [1] and other counts and brave soldiers, who, bold and forward as they were in legitimate contests, were slack to engage in odious quarrels, brought about by pride and injustice. The messengers of Christ thus sowing the seeds of concord, the arrogance of the ambitious gave way, and the fears of the timid were gradually allayed. Many conferences were held, a variety of proposals were discussed, there was a contest of words; but by the power of God the ambassadors of peace were successful with both parties. The count of Anjou ceded his rights in Maine to the young prince Robert, the king's son, with all the fiefs which the prince acquired by Margaret his wife from Count Herbert. Finally, Robert performed due homage to Fulk, as a vassal to his superior lord. John and the other Angevins, who had borne arms for the king against the count, were reconciled to their sovereign, while, on the other hand, those of Maine, who had revolted with the count against the king, were included in the treaty. The grace of God thus reconciling the hearts of the princes, offences were repented and forgotten on one side and the other, and the good people made great rejoicings at the peace which delivered them from the lowering storms that disturbed their tranquillity. The peace between the king and the count, which was concluded at a place commonly called Blanch-Land or Blanche-Bruyerre, [2] lasted all the king's life to the advantage of the two states.


[1] William, count d'Evreux, December 13, 1067-April 10, 1118; Roger de Montgomery, earl of Belesme, Alencon, and Shrewsbury, 1070-July 27, 1094.

[2] There is still a farm called Blancheland, near St. Mards de Cre, at one extremity of the vast sandy desert called the Landes, which at that time extended south of the Loire from the suburbs of La Fleche to this place.

78 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XIV.

CH. XIV. Conspiracy of the great English nobles against King William - Arguments used to induce Earl Waltheof to join it - The rest break into open rebellion, and are defeated.

AT the same period [A.D. 1074] there arose another violent storm fraught with trouble and disaster to vast numbers in England. Two powerful English noblemen, Roger, earl of Hereford, and his brother-in-law, Ralph, earl of Norwich, [1] concerted together an open revolt, being resolved to wrest the dominion of England from King William, and to set up themselves as its sovereigns, or rather its tyrants. They therefore, rivalled each other in fortifying their castles, preparing arms, and mustering soldiers, sending frequent messengers far and near to their trusty adherents, and inviting, by entreaties and promises, all over whom they had any influence to aid their enterprise. Having reflected on the revolutions of affairs and the chances of the times, they said to their confederates and allies: [2] "All prudent men know that a favourable moment must not be neglected, and that when the right time is come, then it is that brave men ought boldly to engage in a work of glory. But there never was a more fitting opportunity than that which is now afforded us by the mysterious dispensations of Providence for aspiring to the throne. He who now bears the title of king is unworthy of it as being a bastard, and it must be evident that it is displeasing to God such a master should govern the kingdom. He is involved in endless quarrels in his dominions over the sea, being at variance not only with strangers but with his own children, and in the midst of his difficulties his own creatures desert him. He has deserved


[1] Roger de Breteuil, earl of Hereford; Ralph de Guader or de Gael. The Saxon Chronicle says that he was a Welshman on his mother's side, and his father an Englishman named Ralph, and born in Norfolk. It appears, however, that the family was of the Armorican branch of the Welsh, having come from Brittany and been settled in England before the conquest. King William conferred on Ralph II. the earldoms of Norfolk and Suffolk, with the daughter of William Fitz-Osbern in marriage.

[2] The conspiracy was formed at the bridal feast, where the two great earls, with Waltheof and other nobles, and bishops, and abbots of the party were assembled, and as the Saxon Chronicle quaintly says-

"They quaffed bride-ale, Source of man's bale".

A.D. 1074.] THE ENGLISH NOBLES REVOLT. 79

this by the crimes which are openly talked of all over the world. He disinherited and drove out of isTormandy William Werlenc,' Count de Mortain, for a single word. Walter, Count de Pontoise, nephew of King Edward, and Biota his wife, being his guests at Falaise, were both his victims by poison in one and the same night' Conan, also, was taken off by poison at William's instigation; that valiant count • whose death was mourHed through the whole of Brittany with unutterable grief on account of his great virtues' These, and other such crimes have been perpetrated by William in the case of his own kinsfolk and relations, and he is ever ready to act the same part towards us and our peers. He has impudently usurped the glorious crown of England, iniquitously murdering the rightful heirs, or driving them into cruel banishment. He has not even rewarded according to their merits his own adherents, those by whose valour he has been raised to a pitch of eminence exceeding that of all his race. Many of these who shed their blood in his service have been treated with ingratitude, and on slight pretexts have been sentenced to death, as if they were his enemies. To his victorious soldiers, covered.


[1] William Werlenc, earl of Mortaine, is only known by two passages in our author's history, and by the nineteenth chapter of the seventh book of William de Jumieges. As the circumstances connected with his being deprived of his earldom appear to have been little honourable to his sovereign, the Norman historians carefully abstain from enlarging upon them.

[2] See an account of these persons, and the crime of which they were victims, book iii. p. 448 of the first volume. Walter, couat du Vexin, de Chaumon, and Mantis, was son of Drogo, count of the Vexin and Amiens, who died on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Robert, duke of Nor- mandy, in 1035. He was nephew of Edward the Confessor, by his wife Edith, a daughter of Ethelred and Emma.

[3] This is ono of the foulest acts imputed to William. Conan, duke of Brittany (1040-1066), finding that the duke was on the point of with- drawing all his troops from Normandy for the invasion of England, prepared to take advantage of it by making an incursion into Lower Normandy. It appears that William could think of no other means of parrying this attack than by procuring Conan's gloves and helmet to be poisoned by one of his chamberlains who held lands in Normandy. This atrocious scheme was entirely successful. According to Conan's epitaph, he did not die till the 1Ith of December, which suggests the conjecture that the effects of the poison were not instant. See the Continuator of William de Jumieges, book vii. c. 33.

80 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XIV.

with wounds, were allotted barren farms and domains depopulated by the ravages of war; and even these his avarice subsequently compelled them to surrender in part or in whole. These things cause him to be generally hated, and his death would be the signal for universal joy. Now, the greatest part of his army is detained beyond sea, busily employed in continual wars. The English think of nothing but cultivating their lands, they are more intent on feasting and drinking bouts than on the thoughts of battle; but, notwithstanding, they thirst for revenge for the blood and ruin of their relations". In such language as this the conspirators vented their treason, and encouraging themselves by all sorts of motives to the execution of their wicked project, they called to their councils Waltheof, earl of Northampton, and tempted him to join them by a variety of suggestions, to this effect: "Brave sir, you may plainly see that now is your time for recovering your forfeited honours, and for securing vengeance for the unmerited injuries you have lately suffered. Join our party, and support it without faltering in your resolution, and the third part of England shall be yours, by an equal division among ourselves. It is our object that the realm of England should be restored to the same state in which it lately was in the time of Edward our most pious sovereign. Let one of us be king, the other two dukes, and thus all the honours of England will be divided among us. William is now engaged beyond the sea in endless wars which absorb his whole strength, and we know for certain that he will never land again on the shores of England. Come, then, noble sir, listen to counsels so advantageous to you and your family, and act in the manner which will prove the salvation of our enslaved fellow countrymen".

Waltheof replied as follows: "In such enterprises the utmost caution is required; and in all nations the fealty sworn by every subject to his liege lord should be faithfully kept. King William has received mine, lawfully given as to his superIor lord by one holding under him, and to secure my fidelity he gave me his niece in marriage. He also gave me a rich earldom, and admitted me into the niunber of his familiar companions. How can I be faithless to such a prince without entirely breaking my fealty to him? I am

A.D. 1074.] THE CONSPIRATORS DEFEATED. 81

well known in many countries, and far from me be the disgrace which would attend my being proclaimed a sacrilegious traitor. Never was there a song so sweet as to charm away the disgrace of treason. All nations curse traitors and turncoats, as they do wolves, thinking them only fit to be hanged, and if they can catch them, condemn them to the gibbet, with all the insults and tortures they can devise. Ahitophel and Judas, both traitors and apostates, and each of them doomed to the gallows, to be suspended between heaven and earth as fit for neither, perished by their own hands. The law of England sentences a traitor to lose his head, and on his attainder the inheritance of his children is escheated. God forbid that such a crime should taint my honour, and my name be held up to scorn with such infamy throughout the world! The Lord God, who showed his power in saving David from the hands of Goliah and Saul, Adarezer and Absalom, hath delivered me also from many dangers both by sea and land. I commit myself entirely to his keeping, trusting in him that my life will never be stained with treason, and that I shall not be branded with apostasy like Satan and the fallen angels".

When Ralph the Breton and Roger heard the determination of Waltheof, they were sorely troubled, and bound him by a terrible oath not to divulge their conspiracy. Not long afterwards it suddenly burst forth into open rebellion in all parts of England, and the opposition to the king's officers became general. Upon this, William de Warrene, and Richard de Bienfaite, son of Earl Gislebert, who had been appointed chief justiciaries of England, summoned the rebels to appear in the king's high court. They, however, disdained to pay any attention to the precept, and, following up this contempt of court, set the royal authority at defiance. William and Richard, therefore, without further delay, assembled the English army, and fought a severe battle with the rebels on the plain called Fagadun. [1] By God's help they defeated the enemy, and taking them prisoners, marked every one, without regard to his rank, by amputating his right foot. Ralph the Breton was pursued to his own castle without being taken. They then concentrated


[1] Beecham or Beechamwell, near Swaffham, Norfolk (?).

82 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XIV.

their forces and invested Norwich, and adding to their strength by their display of valour and military skill, they harassed the besieged with constant assaults and their engines of war, pressing the siege for three months with unwearied vigour. The besieging army was continually augmenting, and was abundantly supplied with abundance of food and other necessaries to prevent desertion. Ralph de Guader, finding himself thus shut up and expecting no relief from his accomplices, entrusted the fortress, with many cautions, to the trusty garrison, and embarked at the nearest sea-port to seek for help in Denmark. Meanwhile, the king's lieutenants, William and Robert, pressed the townsmen to surrender, while they despatched hasty messengers over the sea to the king, giving an account of these transactions and begging him to return with all speed for the defence of the kingdom.

No sooner had the indefatigable king received these tidings than he set in order the affairs of Normandy and Maine, and all being arranged, crossed over to England without loss of time. He then summoned all the great men of the realm to attend his court, and having addressed in flattering terms the lords who had been faithful to their allegiance and proved their fidelity, he demanded of the authors and supporters of the rebellion the reason why they preferred wrong to right. The garrison of Norwich having made terms, the place was given up to the king, and Ralph de Guader, earl of Norwich, was disinherited of his English honours and domains. Being banished the kingdom, he returned to Brittany with his wife and settled on his patrimonial estates which his attainder by the sovereign of England could not affect. In that province he had on his domains two noble castles, Guader and Montfort, which his sons possess by hereditary right to the present day. He himself, some years afterwards, took the cross, and accompanying Robert II., duke of Normandy, in his crusade against the Turks, and reaching Jerusalem, died, as well as his wife, a penitent and a pilgrim.

Roger de Breteuil, earl of Hereford, having obeyed the summons to attend the king's court, and an inquiry being made, his treason was so plain that he could not deny it. He was therefore judged by the Norman laws and sentenced

A.D. 1074.] ROGER DE BRETEUIL IMPRISONED. 83

to the forfeiture of his lands and perpetual imprisonment. Even there he often caused the king great annoyance, and rendered him implacable by his obstinate contumacy. For instance, on one occasion when the faithful were celebrating the feast of Easter in due form, and the king had sent to Earl Roger in prison, by the hands of his guards, a box containing a suit of very valuable robes, the earl caused a large fire to be made and committed to the flames the royal presents, the surcoat, and silken tunic, and mantle of the furs of precious ermines brought from abroad. The king, hearing of this, exclaimed in great wrath: "He is very insolent to put such an affront upon me; but, by God's light, [1] he shall never get out of prison while I live". And the royal will was so determined, and so firmly carried out, that even after the king's death the earl was detained in captivity until his own death released him from it. His two sons, Reynold and Roger, young men of great promise, are now in the service of King Henry, [2] and in great distress, are waiting for the exercise of his clemency, which appears to them sufficiently tardy.

Truly the world's glory droops and withers like the flower of grass, and is spent and scattered like smoke. Where now is William Fitz-Osbern, earl of Hereford, the king's lieutenant, high-steward of Normandy, and the valiant commander of the royal troops? He was, without exception, the first and greatest of the oppressors of the people of England, and amassed an enormous fortune by his exactions, causing the ruin and death of thousands by his severities. But the righteous Judge, who seeth all things, rewards every man according to his deserts. Miserable fate! Earl William falls, and the bold warrior receives the punishment he deserves. Many had fallen by his sword, and by the sword he himself was suddenly cut off. After his death, before five years elapsed, the spirit of discord stirred up his son and son-in-law to hostilities against their lord and kinsman, the same spirit which wrought in the Schechemites against Abimelech whom they had set over them after slaying the seventy sons of Jerobaal. I have thus correctly described


[1] An oath frequently used by William the Conqueror.

[2] This paragraph, therefore, was written in the reign of Henry I. of England, who died December 1, 1135.

84 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XV.

the crime for which the race of William Fitz-Osbern has so entirely disappeared in England, that, if I mistake not, the slightest trace of it cannot there be found.

CH. XV. Trial and execution of Earl Waltheof for alleged complicity in the rebellion.

EARL WALTHEOF was summoned before the king, and accused, on the testimony of his wife Judith, of having been privy to and encouraged the conspiracy already spoken of, and thus become guilty of treason against his sovereign. The earl fearlessly acknowledged that the conspirators had communicated to him their nefarious designs, but declared that he had refused all concurrence in such wickedness. This confession caused much discussion on the judgment to be pronounced, and there being great difference in opinion among the members of the court, it was deferred, by successive adjournments, for a whole year. Meanwhile, the earl was kept in close custody in the king's prison at Winchester, where he often deplored his offences, confessing them with tears in his eyes to the good bishops and abbots who visited him in his confinement. For the space of a year, under the direction of the priests, he continued his penance, chanting in his daily devotions the one hundred and fifty psalms of David which he had learnt in his childhood. Waltheof was in person tall and stout, very handsome, and superior to thousands in generosity and courage; devoted to God, he listened with humility to the instructions of the clergy of every class, and was a kind friend to the church and the poor. For these and many other Christian virtues which distinguished him above all the rest of the laity, he was much beloved both by his own people and by strangers who had regard to the will of God, so that his deliverance from prison was anxiously looked for during the year's delay. At last his enemies assembled in such numbers in the king's court as to form the majority, and after much discussion prevailed in getting him sentenced to death for having made himself a party to the treasonable conspiracy of his fellow lords by not openly resisting their designs against the king's life, or at once denouncing their criminal projects. No time for respite was granted, as the Normans were apprehensive of his escape, and greedy to get

A.D. 1075.] EXECUTION OF EARL WALTHEOF. 85

posession of his ample domains and high honours. He was therefore hurried, at dawn of day, while the people were yet asleep, to the hill on which the church of St. Giles, abbot and confessor, was afterwards built; [1] and having distributed among the clergy and poor who happened to be present the robes of honour which his rank of earl entitled him to wear, he threw himself ton the ground and continued some time in prayer to God, mixed with sobbings and tears. The executioners, dreading that the townsmen when they awoke would rise in arms to resist the king's warrant, and, taking the part of so noble a countryman, massacre the royal guards, called to the kneeling earl: "Rise, sir, that we may execute our lord's commands". To which he replied, "Wait awhile, for the love of God Almighty, at least while I say the Lord's prayer on your behalf and my own". As they gave their consent, the earl rose from the ground, and on bended knees, with eyes raised to heaven and hands uplifted, began to say aloud "Our Father which art in heaven". But when he came to the last petition, having said, "Lead us not into temptation", his tears fell so fast, and his sobbings were so violent, that he was unable to conclude the prayer he had begun. The executioner would wait no longer, but drawing his sword severed the earl's head from his body with a single stroke. But the head, after it was severed, [2] uttered with a loud and distinct voice, in the hearing of all present, the words: "But deliver us from evil. Amen"! Thus Earl Waltheof was beheaded at Winchester, on the morning of the second of the calends of May [30th April]. [3] His body was, without ceremony, thrown into a hole dug on the spot, which is now covered with the green turf. The townsmen, roused from their sleep by reports of what was going on, abandoned themselves to grief, men and women


[1] The ruins of the hospital dedicated to St. Giles are still seen on the hill here mentioned, which is separated from Winchester by the river Itchin.

[2] We should have been glad to have avoided leaving any blemish on a very affecting and interesting narrative, by using the phrase, "in the act of being severed", but the text is too stubborn to be so dealt with: caput, postquam praesectum fuit.

[3] Earl Waltheof was executed on the 31st of May, and not on the 30th of April, 1075. Consult for further particulars Ingulphus, and the Vita et passio Waldevi Comitis; Chroniques Anglo-Normandes, t. ii. Rouen, 1836.

86 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVI.

joining in loud lamentations for the fate of Earl Waltheof. Fifteen days afterwards, at Judith's request and with the king's permission, Ufkytel, abbot of Croyland, came to the place, and raising the bloody corpse which exhibited no signs of decay, the blood being as fresh as if the earl was just dead, conveyed it to the abbey of Croyland, followed by the lamentations of vast crowds of people, and there gave it honourable interment in the chapter-house of the monks.

CH. XVI. Life of St. Guthlac, the hermit of Croyland, abridged from the Acts of that saint, written by the monk Felix.

I TAKE the liberty of inserting in this part of my poor work an abridgment which I have lately made from the Life of St. Guthlac, the hermit, at the desire of the venerable prior Wulfine. A bishop of the East-Angles named Felix, a native of Burgundy, and a prelate of great sanctity, wrote an account of the acts of the holy hermit, which is very long, and the style rather obscure. [1] I have cleared up its difficulties, to the best of my ability, in the short compilation which I made in compliance with the flattering request of the brethren of Croyland Abbey, where I resided five weeks, [2] the venerable abbot Geoffrey having kindly laid his commands upon me to that effect. My account of Earl Waltheof has given occasion to this notice of the holy hermit, for the earl was a kind brother and ally of the monks of Croyland, as I shall carefully relate in the close of this history from the reports of the older brethren. I have no sort of doubt that the acts of the Saxon and English saints, across the channel, would be no less profitable to the faithful Cisalpines, than those compiled on Greek and Egyptian saints by the zeal of the learned, delightful and useful as those collections are. I think, moreover, that, little as


[1] The history of St. Guthlac could not have been written by Bishop Felix, who was raised to the see of Dunwich by Sigebert, king of East Anglia, and filled it A.D. 629-632. It is the work of another Felix, a disciple of Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, and monk of Jarrow, who wrote it about the middle of the eighth century. Mabillon has inserted it in the Acta SS. ord. S. Benedicti, saec. p. 1.

[2] Probably about the time of his visit to Worcester, the only occasion, as it appears, on which Ordericus came over to England, after leaving it at a very early age.

A.D. 673-699.] ST. GUTHLAC'S EARLY LIFE. 87

the former are known among our countrymen, they cannot fail of giving satisfaction, so ardent was the charity with which these saints were inflamed, and with such sorrow they deplored their sins from the bottom of their hearts.

Guthlac was born in the time of Ethelred king of the English, [1] Guthlac having Penvald, sprung from Icles lord of the Mercians, for his father, and Tetta for his mother. At his birth a sign in the heavens was manifest to the people; for a hand was seen stretched out from the clouds towards a cross which stood before the door of the house where Tetta was in labour. After eight days the child was baptized, and named Guthlac, that is, the gift of war, from the tribe which is called Guthlacingas. After a gentle childhood, when he felt the impulses of youth and studied the valiant deeds of heroes, he collected his dependants and gave himself up to the career of arms, ravaging and destroying the villages and castles of his adversaries with fire and sword. Gathering immense booty, he made voluntary restitution of a third part of the plunder, for the love of God, to those from whom it was taken. After pursuing this course of life for nine years, causing great losses to his enemies in person and goods, he began to reflect on the uncertainty of this mortal life and the instability of all human things, and coming to himself in a state of alarm, and examining his conduct as if death was before his eyes, he resolved to enter on a better course of life. He therefore left his comrades and relations, quitting his own country, and holding cheap even the companions of his childhood for the sake of Christ, and in the twenty-fourth year of his age renounced all worldly vanities and entered the monastery of Ripandun, when he assumed the tonsure and clerical dress under the abbess whose name was Elfrida. [2] From that time he abstained from excessive drinking and every kind of debauchery with the utmost care, devoting himself to a good and religious life with all the zeal which human nature


[1] Ethelred, king of Mercia, 675-704, when he resigned his crown, and became a monk at Bardney Abbey.

[2] According to Mabillon, this is the monastery called Rapendum by William of Malmesbury, and which was in Cheshire. It must not be confounded with that of Ripon in Yorkshire, where there never was a convent of nuns. Another conjecture places it at Repton in Derbyshire where there was a very ancient monastery.

88 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVI.

is capable of. For two years he was trained in sacred studies and monastic discipline, but he was not content to rest there, for it was his object to engage in the single combat of a hermit's life and meet the enemy face to face.

Having at length obtained leave from his superiors, he was ferried over in a fishing-boat to a place called Croyland by a man named Tatwine. There lies in the middle district of England a vast and inhospitable marsh, which begins from the bank of the river Granta, [1] and extends over a very extensive tract from south to north, parallel with the sea. The surface is broken into ponds and lakes, and sometimes by dark watercourses, and islands covered with thick underwood, among which the rivulets wind in irregular channels. Many had made the attempt to settle themselves in these fens, but had been so terrified by the strange monsters which made it their habitation, and other alarming objects, that they soon abandoned so gloomy a residence. Guthlac, having surveyed Croyland in the summer season, returned to his brothers and superiors, from whom he had parted without taking leave; but three months afterwards, on the eighth of the calends of September [24th August], he returned, in company with two boys, to the spot he had chosen for his hermitage, being then of the age of twenty-four years. It was the day on which the feast of St. Bartholomew is observed, to whom he prayed to be his friend and defender in all adversities.

For fifteen years the saint used neither woollen nor linen garments, but was covered with skins, and lived on barley-bread and muddy water, using these sparingly after the sun was set. Satan tried a thousand ways to entangle him in his nets, or at least to drive him from his hermitage.

Once he was beginning to despair of completing a work on which he had laboured for three days, when suddenly Bartholomew, his faithful patron, appeared to him visibly during his morning watch, and allaying his fears with spiritual comfort, promised him his continual help; and he faithfully fulfilled his promise on various accasions in which he was tempted.

Another day two demons came to him in human shape,


[1] Every one knows that this is the ancient name of the Cam, on which Cambridge stands.

A.D. 699-714.] THE HERMIT OF CROYLAND. 89

and tempted him to endeavour to fast like Moses and Elias and the Egyptian fathers; but the saint began to sing, and to show his contempt of them, proceeded to eat a piece of barley-bread.

At one time when the man of God was employed in watching and prayer through the dreary hours of the night, he saw troops of demons enter his cell from all sides. Having bound him hand and foot, they carried him forth and plunged him into a muddy pond. They then dragged him through the roughest parts of the marsh, where the thorns grew thickest, and having thus torn his flesh, commanded him to quit his hermitage. The saint refusing, they scourged him with iron rods, and after subjecting him to severe tortures, transported him into the cold regions above the clouds. They then, accompanied by legions of devils who assembled from the north, brought him with threatening aspect to the gulf of Tartarus. On seeing the gates of hell Guthlac began to be frightened, but despising the demons' threats, he prayed inwardly to God. Instantly St. Bartholomew stood by him arrayed in robes of celestial light and commanded his foes to carry him back in perfect safety to his own cell. The demons, groaning, obeyed the apostle's commands, and angels rejoicing met him singing: "The just shall go from strength to strength". [1]

Oftentimes and in various ways the demons tried to terrify Guthlac, but, the Lord being his helper, he foiled all their attempts. He stood fearless in the strength of his virtues, endured severe struggles in the conflict, and defeated all the attacks of the devil. In the time of Cenred, king of Mercia, [2] Becelin, a clerk who was tempted by the devil to kill the man of God while he was renewing his tonsure, was rebuked by him for conceiving such a crime in his heart. But the clerk, when he saw that his wickedness was known, threw himself at the saint's feet, confessed his crime, and, obtaining pardon, promised thenceforth to become his companion.

A crow, having stolen a piece of parchment, let it fall on some bulrushes hanging over the water in the middle of a pool, but through the merits of the man of God, restored it safe to the writer, who had been sorely afflicted at the loss.


[1] Ps. lxxxiii. 8.

[2] Cenred, king of Mercia, 704-708.

90 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVI.

Two crows which frequented the island were very troublesome to St. Guthlac, destroying, throwing into the water, tearing to pieces, and fouling everything they could; doing all this mischief indoors and out, without any respect to the man of God; but he bore it all with patience, according to his vows. The birds which wandered over that waste wilderness, and the fishes which darted across its muddy waters, came flying and swimming to his call, as sheep come to their shepherd's voice, and took their food from his hand, as the instinct of each required. In the presence of the venerable Wilfrid, when two sparrows were flitting gaily about him, according to their nature, and settled on his arms, and knees, and bosom, singing, he put straw in his chimney, and so showed them where to make their nest; for they would not have ventured to build it in Guthlac's hermitage without his leave.

Wilfrid had one day brought the exiled Ethelbald [1] to vist the man of God, and having left his gloves in the boat which brought them over, the mischievous crows carried them off. The saint presently learned this, while sitting in his porch, by divine inspiration, and mentioned it to Wilfrid during their conference. Shortly afterwards his regrets were ended by the gloves being restored by virtue of the saint's faith and prayers.

Whitred, a noble youth of East Anglia, was possesed by the devil, by whom he was miserably vexed for four years, wounding and tearing himself and all he could get at with wood and iron, his teeth, and his nails. At one time, when a number of men tried to manacle him, he seized an axe, and killed three of them. After the four years were ended, he was brought to Croyland; and the man of God, taking him by the hand, led him into his oratory, and continuing in prayer and fasting three days delivered him from all vexations of the evil spirit.

Egga, Ethelbald's companion in his exile, was so possessed by an unclean spirit that he neither knew what he was, nor where he was, nor what he did. In this state he was brought to the threshold of Guthlac, and, having put the saint's girdle round his loins, he recovered his senses, and for the


[1] Ethelbald became afterwards king of Mercia, and reined prosperously forty years, from 715-756.

A.D. 699-714.] ST. GUTHLAC'S MIRACLES. 91

rest of his life kept the girdle, and continued to be of a sound mind.

Moreover, Guthlac, the man of God, was gifted with the spirit of prophecy, and was in the habit of predicting future events, and telling to those who were with him what took place in their absence. In this way he told to a certain abbot, who came to him for a pious conference, all the circumstances attending a visit by two of his clergy to a widow's cottage, before the third hour, to get drunk. He rebuked two other monks for concealing two bottles of beer under the sands in the marsh, and kindly pardoned them as they knelt before him, astonished at the extent of the saint's knowledge.

St. Guthlac's fame being noised abroad far and wide, numbers of all ranks resorted to him; abbots, monks, earls, the rich, the poor, and the oppressed, from the neighbouring districts of Mercia, and from remote quarters of Britain, all seeking relief either for their souls or bodies; and each one who came in faith obtained what he sought: the sick, a cure; the sorrowful, joy; the penitent, consolation; and every anxious soul received comfort from the conversation and efficacious prayers of the man of God.

Obba, one of the companions of the exile Ethelbald, when walking through a rough field, was wounded in the foot by thorns, which were covered by the coarse grass, so that his whole body swelled from his feet to his loins, and the extreme pain would not allow him either to sit, stand, or lie in quiet, and he could scarcely make his way to Croyland. Presently he was brought to the man of God, and the cause of his pain related, upon which Guthlac wrapped round him the sheepskin rug in which he was used to pray, and the thorn darted from his foot, as quick as thought, like an arrow from a bow. The same hour all the inflammation ceased, and the sick man, restored to health, gave thanks to God with those who were witnesses of his cure.

It happened that Chad the bishop, [1] with certain monks and laymen, came to visit Guthlac, and during their journey had various conversations about the holy man. The bishop, finding the holy man enlightened by divine grace and full of wisdom in expounding the holy scriptures,


[1] St. Chad, bishop of Dorchester, 676-July 6, 705.

92 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVI.

compelled him by his duty of inviolable obedience to receive the office of the priesthood, after he had consecrated the church of Croyland, on the twelfth of the calends of September [August 21st]. On this occasion the holy man was forced to dine with the bishop, contrary to his habits. While there he observed Wigfrid, the librarian, sitting apart, and began to question him relative to the promise he had made the day before to his companions on the road, that he would find out whether the hermit's piety was true or pretended. Wigfrid, blushing, threw himself on the ground and asked for pardon, which he obtained; while all were astonished that their conversation on the road was thus revealed by the Spirit of God to the holy saint.

The very reverend abbess Egburg, daughter of King Aldulf, [1] having humbly requested Guthlac by her messenger, he accepted from her a leaden coffin, with a shroud to wrap his corpse after his death; and when he was asked who would be his successor in that place, he answered, that he was still a heathen. This happened; for Cessa, who afterwards occupied his cell, was baptized some time afterwards in Brittany. Child-Ethelbald, [2] who was driven from place to place by the persecutions of King Ceolred, [3] when his strength was exhausted by the sufferings he underwent, came, as he was wont, to the man of God, that when human counsels failed he might obtain those that were divine. Guthlac administered to him the kindest consolations, promising him, by inspiration of the Spirit of God, the throne of his kingdom and the government of the people, and the subjection of his enemies; and all this, not by force of arms, and shedding of blood, but by the hand of the Lord. These things came to pass in the manner the man of God predicted, for Ceolred died and Ethelbald ascended the throne.

After having spent fifteen years in his hermitage, the venerable Guthlac fell sick four days before Easter; but making an effort beyond his strength he got up and celebrated mass on Easter day. On the seventh day of his sickness he gave orders to Beccel his servant, that when he


[1] Aldulf, king of East Anglia in Bede's time, 664-680 or 683.

[2] Clito; "Child and Etheling" were the Anglo-Saxon titles for the heir apparent.

[3] Ceolred, king of Mercia, 709-716.

A.D. 714.] DEATH OF ST. GUTHLAC. 93

was dead he should fetch his sister Pega to wind his corpse in the shroud placed in the coffin which Egburg had sent him. Then Beccel began to pray and conjure the man of God to tell him before his death, who it was with whom he heard him converse every morning and evening. The kind-hearted champion of God, taking breath, after a short interval replied: "My son, give yourself no concern on that account. What I would not reveal to any one during my life I shall now open to you. From the second year of my dwelling in this hermitage, the Lord sent an angel morning and evening to comfort me by his discourse; and he made known to me mysteries which it is not lawful for man to relate; he alleviated the sufferings of my painful labours by heavenly consolations; and he showed to me things absent as if they were present. O my son, preserve my words, and tell them to no one but to Pega or the hermit Egbert". When he had finished speaking, so sweet an odour proceeded from his mouth that the perfume filled the whole house. The following night, while the brother Beccel was watching, he perceived the whole house to be irradiated with a brilliant light from midnight to the dawn of day. As the sun was rising, the man of God, raising himself up a little, and stretching out his hands towards the altar, strengthened himself with the communion of the body and blood of Christ. He then lifted his eyes to heaven and raised his hands on high, and so his soul departed to everlasting bliss in the year of our Lord 715. [1]

Meanwhile, Beccel beheld the house filled with celestial light, and what seemed to be a tower of flame raised from earth to heaven, compared with which splendour the sun paled its fires like a candle at noonday. The vault of heaven rung with angelic chants, while the whole island was perfumed with the essence of all fragrant and spicy odours. The aforesaid brother, terrified at these wonderful signs, and the flashings of intense light being insupportable, took a boat, and passing over to Pega, the virgin of Christ, he informed her of what had taken place, and communicated to her the last commands of her brother. She mourned his loss with deep sorrow: the next day she accompanied the reverend brother to Croyland, and the third she interred


[1] A.D. 714. Saxon Chronicle.

94 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVI.

Guthlac's blessed remains in the oratory, according to his wishes. The Lord afterwards wrought there numerous miracles by healing the sick, on account of the merits of his faithful servant. On the anniversary of St. Guthlac, his sister Pega assembled priests and others of the ecclesiastical order, and opened the grave in order to transfer the corpse into another tomb. The body of the saint was then found to be perfect as it was in his life-time, and the clothes in which it was wrapped were as white as ever, and shone with all their former purity. The whole company being astonished and trembling at the miracle they saw, Pega, moved by the Spirit, reverently inclosed the holy body in the shroud which Egburg the abbess had sent for that purpose during Guthlac's life, and caused the coffin to be placed above-ground, as a monument; and as such it is preserved with reverence to the present day.

The exile Ethelbald, already named, on hearing of the holy man's death, came to the spot in much affliction. He was sleeping in a neighbouring hut after pouring out his soul with tears and prayers at the tomb, when the saint appeared to him, and, offering him consolation, promised him that he should ascend the throne before a year was past. [1] On his asking a sign, the saint foretold, that before the third hour of the morrow an unexpected supply of food should be furnished for the maintenance of the dwellers in Croyland; which happened accordingly. Ethelbald, having succeeded to the throne, caused the tomb of the venerable Guthlac to be enclosed with buildings of admirable architecture and richly ornamented.

A certain master of a family, in the province of Wisa, [2] lost his eyesight a whole year, and failed to recover it by the application of any sort of ointment. At length he was brought to Croyland, full of faith, and seeking a conference with the holy virgin Pega, received permission to enter the oratory and stretch himself by the side of the sacred remains. Meanwhile Pega dissolved in water a particle of


[1] As observed in a former note, Ethelbald succeeded to the throne of Mercia in 716.

[2] In the narrative of Felix, it is called Wissa; the country of the Huiccii or Wiccii, a British tribe, who inhabited Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and the north of Gloucestershire.

A.D. 716.] FOUNDATION OF CROYLAND ABBEY. 95

salt, which had been consecrated by the holy man, and inserted some drops within the eyelids of the blind man. As soon as the first drop touched his eyes the sight was restored; and having recovered it by the merits of St. Guthlac, the master of a family offered his thanks. Many others, labouring under various infirmities, having beard reports of the miracles of the blessed Guthlac, resorted to the marshes of Croyland, where the holy remains repose, and, recovering their health through his merits, gave thanks to God.

CH. XVII. Foundation of Croyland Abbey, by Ethelbald, king of Mercia - Ravages of the Danes - Its restoration by Turkytel - Series of abbots to Ingulphus and Godfrey - Miracles wrought at the tomb of Earl Waltheof - his epitaph.

THUS far I have followed the account of bishop Felix [1] in my short abridgment of the acts of St. Guthlac, inserted in this work for the glory of God and the edification of the faithful. What now remains to be told of the building of Croyland Abbey and its possession by the monks, I derive from the exact recital made to me by Ansgot the sub-prior, and others of the oldest monks. King Ethelbald, as his blessed comforter was displaying his glory in the working of miracles, visited his tomb with joy, and granted for ever to the servants of the saint the possessions which he had conferred on him on mounting the throne. [2] For on one occasion, the king coming to Croyland to visit his patron before his departure, the man of God asked for the grant of a quiet abode in the island, and Ethelbald gave him a tract of land five miles long on the east, where it was bounded by a ditch, called Asen-dyk, [3] three on the west, two on the south, and two on the north, free from all rent, and secular


[1] See note before, p. 86.

[2] Ordericus seems to have forgotten that in the preceding chapter he has made St. Guthlac's death precede Ethelbald's accession. We may suppose that this gift may have been promised, or perhaps even made, in anticipation; but our author's language in the succeeding sentence is precise as to an actual grant to the saint. Ingulphus gives the charter, the date of which is 716.

[3] This ditch, which was in the neighbourhood of Spalding, lay to the north, and not the east of Croyland.

96 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVII.

customs and demands of every sort. The charter granting it was sealed by Ethelbald in the presence of his bishops and great men.

The soil of Croyland being marshy, as the name indicates, (for Croyland signifies a crude or spongy land), it would not allow of a foundation of masonry, and therefore king Ethelbald caused an immense number of oak piles to be driven into the ground, and hard earth to be conveyed in boats from the uplands at a distance of nine miles, and mixed with the loose soil of the marsh. Thus he laid the foundations of a stone church, which he afterwards completed, but St. Guthlac had been content with an oratory of wattled boughs. The king assembled there men devoted to a religious life, founded a monastery, enriched it with ornaments, revenues, and other possessions, in honour of God and the holy hermit to whom he had been firmly attached by reason of the soothing consolation he had often received from him during his banishment. He showed his regard for the place all his life, and since its first foundation by this king the house of Croyland has not ceased to be a settlement of monks to the present day. Kenulf, [2] who governed the monastery of St. Guthlac for some time, had a great reputation in those days, and from him the boundary stone which he set up between the abbey lands and those of the people of Deeping, [3] is still called Kenulf-stan.

England was soon afterwards shaken by the tempests of successive wars, and the native kings being defeated by Inguar, Halfdene, and Guthrum, [4] and other Danish and Norwegian chiefs, the abbey of Croyland was ravaged, like many others; it was stripped of its ornaments, the farms laid waste, and subjected to laymen contrary to canonical law. But the divine goodness, which sometimes allows the wicked to prevail for a season to punish the people's sins, saw fit, after their chastisement, to restore quiet times under the government of their lawful rulers. The cruel tyrants


[1] "Uppalonda": our author has coined a Latin word to render literally an old English phrase.

[2] Kenulf was a monk of Evesham when Ethelbald selected him to take the charge of the new establishment at Croyland.

[3] Deepingenses. The village is situated to the west of Croyland.

[4] Inguar, 870; Halfdene, 876; Guthrum, 877-890. The Danish invasions began in the early part of the reign of Ethelwulf 837-857.

A.D. 948-957.] ABBOT TURKYTEL. 97

who had murdered St. Edmund, king of the East Angles, and numbers of the faithful, and had given the churches of the saints and the habitations of Christian men to the flames, were, by God's help, destroyed, subjugated, or expelled; Alfred, son of King Ethelwulf, obtaining the ascendancy, and being the first of the English kings who was monarch of all England. After him, his son Edward, surnamed the Elder, had a long and prosperous reign, and at his death left his dominions to his three sons, Athelstan, Edmund, and Edred. All these successively ascended the throne of England, and each in his time exerted himself to govern well and benefit his subjects. [1]

In the time of king Edred, a clerk at London named Turkytel asked the king to give him the abbey of Croyland, with which request the king willingly complied. This clerk was of the royal race, and a relation of Oskytel [2] metropolitan of York; he was very wealthy, having vast domains, all which he thought of no value compared with the heavenly inheritance. He had asked Croyland of the king, as we have already seen, not to increase his possessions, but because he knew the religious men who dwelt in its solitudes surrounded by swamps and marshes, and determined to devote himself there to God's worship, spurning all the delights of the present world. Having therefore ordered his affairs with prudence, he became a monk of Croyland; and the number of monks having been increased by his zeal, he became their superior and abbot, by the will of God and lawful election of the brethren. Turkytel was an intimate friend of some of the holy bishops who then presided over the English church.


[1] It is singular that, among so many circumstantial details connected with the history of Croyland abbey, our author, after describing its flourishing state at its first foundation, should proceed to give an account of its restoration after the devastations of the Danes, without any particular account of that memorable passage in its annals. This is the more extraordinary as the preceding paragraph has the character of a peroration preparatory to some precise information on the subject of this disaster, and it would almost appear that a paragraph containing it is wanting.

[2] Turkytel and Oskytel are clearly Danish names, as were those of some of the first abbots and monks of Croyland after its restoration, and many of their domains betray the same origin. In fact, Croyland became the favourite religious house and seat of education of the Anglo-Danes, who formed so large a part of the population of the middle and eastern districts of England.

98 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVII.

Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester, and Oswald, bishop of Worcester, afterwards archbishop of York, by whose counsels he earnestly strove to be guided. He was, as I have before remarked, of high birth, and, inheriting sixty manors from his ancestors, he gave for the good of their souls six vills to the abbey of Croyland, viz., Wendlinburg, Beby, Wridthorpe, Elminton, Cottenhain, and Oakington. [1] The charter was confirmed by the seal of the powerful king Edgar, son of King Edmund. Archbishop Dunstan also and his suffragans ratified the grant of the aforesaid lands by making the sign of the cross on the charter, and the archbishop denounced the penalty of excommunication, [2] and eternal malediction on those who should plunder the church of any of the possessions before named, unless they made sufficient amends.

A long time afterwards, Turkytel having died on the 4th of the ides [12th] of July, [3] was succeeded by his nephew Egelric, who on his death left the abbey of Croyland to another Egelric, his kinsman. At his decease Oskytel, a monk who was of the royal race, was made abbot. His sister Leniova was abbess of Eynesbury, [4] where the body of St. Neot, abbot and confessor, [5] then lay, but the service was not such as befitted the memory of so great a saint. In consequence, this lady removed to Whittlesea, and invited there abbot Oskytel her brother, and some monks of Croyland, and delivered to them the body of St. Neot, which she had brought there with all honour, thinking them more worthy than herself. The monks received with joy the gift God had sent them, and deposited it with great ceremony near the altar of St. Mary, mother of God, on the north


[1] See the charter in Ingulphus. Its date is 966. Beby is in Leicestershire, Wridthorpe and Elminton in Northamptonshire, and Cottenham and Oakington in Cambridgeshire.

[2] Dunstan's name appears subscribed to the charter of Edgar, but the instrument denouncing the excommunication is a distinct document.

[3] In the year 957.

[4] In Huntingdonshire. The ancient name of this place was Arnulphsbury.

[5] St. Neot was the founder of an abbey, which bore his name, near Liskeard in Cornwall. He afterwards founded another at Eynesbury, where he ended his days. He died about the year 877. St. Neot's in Huntingdonshire became ultimately a priory of Bec.

A.D. 957-1052.] ABBOT OF CROYLAND. 99

side of their church. To this day it is the object of the faithful's veneration, and St. Neot's feast is kept on the second of the calends of August [31st July]. On the death of Oskytel, on the twelfth of the calends of November [21st October], [1] he was succeeded by Goodrich, who going the way of all flesh on the fourteenth of the calends of February [14th January], [2] Brihtmer was appointed abbot.

At that time there was a convent at Pegeland, [3] presided over by an abbot named Wulfgate, a man of noble birth. There Pega, St. Guthlac's sister, was for a long time a servant of the Lord. After her brother's death, she used all her endeavours to wear out her life for the love of Christ, by still severer austerities. She therefore undertook a pilgrimage to Rome, to pray at the threshold of the holy apostles for herself and her kinsfolk, and she there triumphantly departed on the sixth of the ides [8th] of January. [4] Her remains repose in the church built at Rome to her honour by the faithful, and are in high veneration for the many benefits conferred by her on those who faithfully invoke her.

Brihtmer, abbot of Croyland, having died on the seventh of the ides [7th] of April, [5] Wulfgate, the superior of the monastery of Pegeland, asked permission of King Edward, son of Ethelred, to unite the flocks of the two monasteries, and to make of them, for God's glory, a single convent, under one abbot and one rule, which the king soon afterwards graciously acceded to. After having the charge of Croyland for a number of years, Wulfgate died on the nones [7th] of July, [6] and Ulfkytel, a monk of Peterborough, by permission of his abbot Leofric, received the government of the abbey of Croyland from King Edward. He held it twenty-four years, and began the building of a new church, the old one threatening to fall to ruins. His great patron in this undertaking was Waltheof, earl of Northampton,


[1] In the year 1005.

[2] In 1018.

[3] "Now Peakirk in Northamptonsire".- Le Prevost.

[4] Pega's journey to Rome is supposed to have been made in the year 717, but we have no account of the honour paid to her memory, or of the church dedicated to her in that city.

[5] In the year 1048.

[6] In 1052; Wulfgate, therefore, was abbot only four years.

100 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVII.

son of Siward, earl of Northumbria, who gave the vill of Barnack [1] to the servants of God and St. Guthlac. Not long afterwards the malice of the Normans, who were jealous of him, and feared his distinguished qualities, brought him to the block, at Winchester, contrary to all justice, and to the great grief of the people at large, on the day before the calends of June [30th May], his body being carried to Croyland by Abbot Ulfkytel, at the entreaty of his wife Judith, and by permission of King William.

Not long afterwards, this abbot, who was English born, and therefore disliked by the Normans, being accused by his competitors, was deposed by archbishop Lanfranc, and sent into confinement at Glastonbury. [2] Upon this, the abbey of Croyland was conferred by King William on Ingulfus, a monk of Fontenelles; and he governed it twenty-four years in difficult circumstances. He was an Englishman by birth, had been secretary to the king, [3] and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. On his return, he went to Fontenelles and assumed the monastic habit under Abbot Gerbert, from whom, having made proficiency in the conventual rules, he received the office of prior. The king, who had long known him, requested his abbot to give him up, and sent him to preside over the monks of Croyland. After he became abbot, he kindly used his influence with King William on behalf of his predecessor, and obtained permission for him to return to Peterborough abbey, of which he had been a monk, and where he died some years afterwards on the 7th of the ides [7th] of June. [4]

Meanwhile, abbot Ingulfus did all he could to benefit the monastery of which he had undertaken the charge; but he had, by God's will, to struggle with many difficulties. In the first place, part of the abbey church, with the sacristy,


[1] Barnack in Northamptonshire, celebrated for its quarries.

[2] In 1075. The installation of Ingulphus took place the 25th of January, 1076. See in his history details of the ceremony, and the circumstances which preceded it.

[3] He was employed by William in that capacity during his visit to England in 1051. When the invading expedition was fitting out in 1066, Ingulphus, as prior of Fontenelles, or St. Wandrille, presented the duke, on the part of his abbot Gerbert, twelve knights and one hundred silver marks as the contingent of that abbey.

[4] Ulfkytel died the 30th of September, 1085.

A.D. 1070-1109.] INGULPH, ABBOT OF CROYLAND. 101

vestments, books, and many other necessary articles, were consumed by a fire which broke out suddenly. [1] Then, he himself, being grievously afflicted with the gout, was in a bad state of health long before his death, but his active mind would not allow the society to suffer by his infirmities. Ingulphus caused the remains of Earl Waltheof to be transferred from the chapter-house into the church, and ordered warm water to be got ready to wash the bones. But when the lid of the coffin was removed, the corpse was discovered to be as sound after its repose of sixteen years as on the day it was buried, and the head was reunited to the body; only there was a red streak round the neck where the head had been severed; and this was seen by the monks and several laymen who had gathered round. The body having been thus translated into the church, and interred with great ceremony near the altar, [2] miracles were often performed there. The truth of this is experienced by the sick, who, seeking their cure in faith, frequently obtain the benefit they implore.

At length, Abbot Ingulph, dying on the sixteenth of the calends of December [16th November], [3] he was succeeded by Geoffrey, who conferred many benefits on the abbey of Croyland and its inhabitants, through his love of goodness and virtue. He was a Frenchman by birth, of the city of Orleans, and having pursued liberal studies from an early age, and become deeply versed in literature, took a distaste to worldly objects, and, inflamed with divine love, devoted himself to a monastic life in the abbey of St. Evroult, which that saint had founded at Ouche in the time of Childebert, king of the Franks. [4] In that monastery where piety is more abundant than wealth, Geoffrey becoming a novice under Abbot Mainier, whose zeal procured him a great reputation, after a time took the vows and became a monk, and having worthily filled various offices was promoted to


[1] This fire happened in 1091.

[2] This translation was also made in the year 1091.

[3] The real date of Ingulphus's death was the 17th of December, 1109. He was interred on St. Thomas's day, the 21st.

[4] Childebert I. died in 558. St. Evroult retired to the forest of Ouche about the year 560. Our author probably means Childebert II., king of Austrasia, who paid a visit to the holy monk about the year 593, as we find in b. vi. c. 9.

102 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVII.

that of prior fifteen years after his profession. At last, in the year of our Lord 1109, [1] by command of Henry king of England, he undertook the government of the abbey of Croyland. He began the new church in a splendid style ef architecture, and many other useful works; and during the fifteen years he held the dignity of abbot, earnestly laboured for their completion, for the benefit of his own soul and of those committed to his charge.

In the third year of abbot Ingulph, miracles began to be wrought at the tomb of Earl Waltheof, the news of which caused great delight among his countrymen. The English common people crowded in great numbers to his tomb, hearing that God had honoured him with many significant tokens of his merits, and both exhibiting their joy at this new thing, and interceding for succour in their various necessities. On seeing this, a Norman monk whose name was Audin, was much enraged, laughing at the crowd of votaries and mocking and disparaging the earl himself, and giving out that he was a base traitor and deserved to lose his head for his crime, as he had done. Abbot Geoffrey, hearing of this, mildly expostulated with Audin, as he was a foreigner, reminding him that it was sinful to disparage the divine operations, because God had promised to display his presence to the faithful to the end of the world, and had declared that the sincerely penitent should drink of the fountain of his inexhaustible mercy. However, while the abbot was thus endeavouring to restrain his folly, and he vented his spleen in words which became continually more unbeseeming, he was suddenly seized with fainting at the heart in the abbot's presence, and died a few days afterwards in the church of St. Alban the first English martyr; where he had made his monastic profession. The following night, when Abbot Geoffrey was lying on his bed reflecting anxiously on the events just related, he presently saw himself in a vision at the tomb of Earl Waltheof, and the holy saints, Bartholomew the apostle and Guthlac the hermit, standing near in robes of shining white. The apostle, as appeared in the vision, laid his hand on the head of the earl reunited to the body, saying: "He is not headless". Guthlac, who stood at the foot of the corpse, now took up the


[1] Abbot Geoffrey was installed on Palm Sunday, 1110.

A.D. 112.] EARL WALTHEOF'S TOMB AND EPITAPH. 103

word, and said: "He was an earl". The apostle interrupted the speaker and thus finished the sentence: "And is now a king". [1] The abbot having heard these things and reported them to the brethren, they were filled with joy and gave glory to the Lord God, who in all ages never ceases to show his mercy to those who believe in him. Having spent fifteen years in his government, the venerable abbot and priest Geoffrey died on the nones [5th] of June; and was succeeded by Waltheof, an Englishman and monk of Croyland, who was brother of Earl Cospatrick, [2] and of high English lineage. Miracles becoming more frequent at Croyland the monks were filled with joy, and wishing to pay all the honour in their power to the remains of the great earl, engaged Vitalis, the Englishman, to write his epitaph in heroic verse. Paying a ready obedience to their request, after some reflection, he repeated the following verses:-

Beneath this stone a noble warrior lies,
Earl Waltheof, great in arms, in council wise;
Stout Siward's son, 'twas his an ancient race
Through Danish Jarls, Northumbrian earls to trace.
But honours, power, and riches counting dross,
With contrite heart he knelt before the cross:
For Christ he loved, his righteous judgments feared,
His servants honour'd, and his saints revered.
But chief, where Croyland spreads her wide domain,
And holy Guthlac holds his mystic reign,
He joyed to tread the cloister's hallowed ground,
Her monks he cherish'd, and her altars crown'd.
On Winton's hill the patriot bow'd his head,
By Norman malice numbered with the dead.
Ah, fatal last of May! [3] Unrighteous doom!
Now marshy Croyland boasts her patron's tomb,
Where, living, oft he came an honour'd guest:
God rest his soul in mansions of the blest!

The death of Earl Waltheof was the cause of much censure


[1] This vision of the Abbot Geoffrey is related in much the same language, but with some difference of circumstances, by Peter de Blois, the continuer of Ingulphus. It falls under the year 1112, as well as the chastisement divinely inflicted on the monk Audin.

[2] Cospatric was made earl of Northumbria after Copsi's death.

[3] This date is exact, and it is difficult to understand how Ordericus, who must have had it clearly in his memory, as the composer of these verses, should have made the mistake respecting it which occurs just before. See p. 85.

104 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XVIII.

on King William from many quarters, and numerous were the troubles, which by the righteous judgment of God he afterwards suffered from various attacks which never afterwards permitted him to enjoy any continuance of tranquillity. He indeed, such was his resolution, still maintained a manful struggle against all his enemies, but success did not attend his enterprises as it had done before, nor were his conflicts often crowned with victory. In the thirteen years which he afterwards lived, he never won a pitched battle, nor succeeded in taking a town he besieged. The Almighty Judge disposes all events aright, suffering no crime to go unpunished, in this world or the next.

CH. XVIII. King William invades Brittany and lays siege to Dol - Precipitate retreat - The Duke Alan Fergan marries the king's daughter Constance - Her character and death.

KING WILLIAM being desirous to extend the frontiers of his dominions, and to reduce the Bretons under the same subjection which they had formerly been forced to pay to Rollo and William [Long-sword] and other dukes of Normandy, he laid siege to the town of Dol, endeavouring to terrify the townsmen with tremendous threats, and swearing a great oath that he would not raise the siege till he had taken the place. But by the overruling will of God, things turned out very differently; for while the king, having pitched his tents, was swelling with pride, and glorying in his riches and power, news was brought him that Alan Fergan, earl of Brittany, was at hand with large bodies of troops, hastening to the relief of the besieged town. Alarmed at the intelligence, King William patched up a peace with the defenders of the place, who had as yet received no account of the approaching succour, and decamped at once. But his retreat was attended with severe loss, for in their haste the royal army was forced to abandon their tents, baggage, arms, and all kinds of utensils and equipments, the value of which was estimated, to their deep grief, at 15,000 pounds sterling. [1] The politic king, finding


[1] This disastrous expedition of King William into Brittany belongs to the year 1075, according to the opinion of Simeon of Durham and Roger de Hoveden. His disgraceful retreat was caused not merely by the approach of Alan Fergan, but by intelligence that the king of France in person was marching to threaten his rear.

A.D. 1075.] WILLIAM I. INVADES BRITTANY. 105

that he could not conquer the Bretons by force of arms, prudently adopted measures more advantageous to himself and his successors, concluding a treaty of peace with Alan Fergan, and giving him his daughter Constance in marriage, the ceremonies of which were conducted with great state at Caen. [1] Constance lived virtuously nearly fifteen years with her husband, studying her subjects' good, and that of all connected with her. Diffusing around her the balm of peace, she was kind to the poor, and treated with great respect all the servants of God, who were greatly afflicted at her death, and the more so as she left no offspring. All right-minded persons in Brittany would have been exceedingly delighted if there had been any issue from this happy marriage to govern them worthily, holding fairly, from their innate goodness, the balance of justice among the indomitable Bretons, and curbing them by the restraints of the divine law and civilization. Earl Alan Fergan, after the death of Constance, married the count of Anjou's daughter, by whom he had a son named Conan, to whom Henry, king of England, lately gave his daughter in marriage to cement the peace between them. [2]

CH. XIX. Short notice of Ainard, abbot of St. Pierre-sur-Dive - His epitaph.

ABOUT this time, the revered Ainard, first abbot of Dive, was obliged to take to his bed, and, having caused all that is befitting a servant of God to be done on his behalf, departed this life on the nineteenth of the calends of February [14th January]. [3] He was a native of Germany, and well taught in both sciences, as well as accomplished in versifying, chanting, and composing charming music. This is


[1] "We can hardly suppose that this marriage was contracted immediately after the disastrous expedition against Dol, nor can we, with Lobmeau, fix it in the year 1086, during which William did not quit England. We therefore think that it took place about the year 1077".- Le Prevost.

[2] Constance died on the 13th of August, 1090, without leaving any children. Alan Fergan married again, in 1093, Ermengarde, daughter of Fulk le Rechin. Conan III., their son, married Matilda, the illegitimate daughter of Henry I. This union produced bitter fruits, for he was under the necessity of publicly disclaiming the only son who was the issue of it.

[3] In the year 1078.

106 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XIX.

proved by his histories of Kilian, bishop of Wurtzbourg, [1] Catherine the Virgin, and many elegant canticles which he composed in praise of the Creator. Burning with zeal for religion in his youth, he sought out Abbot Isembert, and voluntarily submitted himself to his discipline for the love of God, and made his profession as a monk in the convent of the Holy Trinity founded by Goscelin d'Arques [2] on the hill at Rouen to the west of the city. Thence he was removed by the rulers of the church in the year of our Lord 1046, and set upon a candlestick, that he might give light to all that are in the house. Having been consecrated abbot of Dive, [3] built by the countess Lesceline, wife of William count d'Eu, he profitably filled the charge he had received, both by his life and teaching, for thirty-one years, when at last, old and full of days, he finished his course. The venerable Durandus, abbot of Troarn, interred his body in the church of St. Mary, and composed some memorable verses to be engraved on the face of his tomb, in which the moral virtues of Abbot Ainard, and the Christian graces with which he was divinely inspired, are thus described:-

Odours breathe from AINARD's tomb,
Like the spikenard's rich perfume;
While his virtues blooming round
Flower in consecrated ground.
He with boundless cost and care
Reared this holy house of prayer;
Here he spent his peaceful life,
Lamb-like, innocent of strife;
Gave to learning all his days,
Speeding on in wisdom's ways:
Sober, honest, chaste, and mild,
Humble, simple as a child,
Save when, in his high degree,
Bearing modest dignity.
When the new year's wintry sun
Fourteen times its course had run, [4]


[1] St. Kilian, an Irish bishop, preached the gospel in Franconia about the year 685, and suffered martyrdom, with his two companions, the 8th of July, 689.

[2] Isembert, a fellow countryman of Aynard's, became in 1033, abbot of the monastery founded near Rouen by the viscount Goscelin d'Arques, under the name of La Trinite du Mont, which it afterwards changed to that of St. Catherine.

[3] For particulars respecting this abbey, see vol. i. p. 382.

[4] Abbot Ainard died on the 14th of January, 1078.

A.D. 1078.] EPITAPH OF ABBOT AINARD. 107

With shrunk form and hoary head
He was number'd with the dead.
Passing stranger! breathe a prayer
That he may Christ's mercy share.

The widowed church of Dive, on the loss of her former lord, was given to Fulk, prior of St. Evroult, who was consecrated abbot by Robert bishop of Seez. He governed that house for many years in the time of King William and several under duke Robert II., and advanced it nobly as opportunity occurred. [1] This lord carried with him from St. Evroult the monks Bernard, surnamed Matthew, his cousin, Richard, William de Montreuil, and Turketel, quick and skilful copyists, and well skilled in the services of the church. These were his peaceful coadjutors, and took the lead in zealously putting their shoulders to God's work both by day and night, saying cheerfully to others their associates by word and unwearied example, "Come with us to Bethel". [2]

CH. XX. Quarrels between the sons of King William - Robert attempts to seize Rouen by surprise - His followers dispersed - The king marches against the malcontents.

ROBERT, the king's son, it is reported, was the cause and fomenter of the disturbances which broke out as we have seen, between the people of Maine and the Normans; for Duke William, both before the battle of Senlac, [3] and afterwards at a time when he fell sick, had declared his eldest son Robert his heir, causing all his barons to do him fealty and homage, which they had readily consented to. But the young prince, after the death of his wife Margaret, urged on by youthful ambition and the imprudent suggestions of those about him, demanded of his father the honours which he claimed as his right, viz., the sovereignty of Maine and Normandy. [4] His politic father, after much


[1] Fulk, who was consecrated by Robert, bishop of Seez, disgusted the monks by his great severity, and was obliged to retire beyond sea in 1092; he was restored to his functions towards the close of the century, and died at Winchester in the year 1106.

[3] Ordericus evidently means in this place to quote from the bible, but his memory failed, for there is no passage in the Vulgate which can be exactly referred to for this expression.

[4] It has been already remarked that William's intentions with regard to his son Robert were publicly declared as early as 1063.

[5] These pretensions of Robert Court-hose could not have been advanced till some years after the conquest of England, for at that period Robert was not more than twelve years old.

108 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XX.

reflection, refused to gratify his pretensions, and recommended his son to wait for a more fitting opportunity of obtaining what he desired. The prince was talkative and prodigal, very bold and valiant, and a strong and sure archer; his voice was loud and elear; his tongue fluent; his features dull and heavy; his body stout, and his stature short; whence he commonly received the surname of Gambaron [1] or Courte-heuse.

One day, when the king was preparing an expedition against the inhabitants of the Corbonnais, [2] and was entertained at the house of Gunher, in the village of Richer (which is called L'Aigle, on account of an eagle's nest being found in an oak tree while Fulbert was building his castle), a diabolical quarrel arose between the king's sons, from which sprung afterwards endless contentions and crimes. [3] For two of the brothers, William Rufus and Henry, took thoir father's part, and thinking their strength equal to their brother Robert's, were indignant that he alone should make pretensions to their father's inheritance, and affect equality with the king among the crowd of parasites who paid their court to himself. In consequence they came to the castle of L'Aigle to visit Robert, who was sojourning in the house of Robert Calcege, and there began to play at dice in the gallery, [4] as the custom of military men is. They then made a great noise, and threw water on the heads of Robert and his hangers-on who were underneath. [5] Upon which Ivo and Aubrey de Grantmesnil [6] said to


[1] "Gambaron": gambes (jambes), rondes? - Ducange, Glossar.

[2] The Corbonnais was the ancient name of a district in Maine, bounded on the east by the Commanche and L'Huisne, and on the north-west by the Sarthe, and which obtained the name of Perche from the forest which overspread the greatest part of it.

[3] It is difficult to fix the period when these family quarrels burst forth. There are several reasons for thinking that it was after the peace of Blancheland, but they cannot be stated as entirely satisfactory.

[4] Solario; a terrace or gallery in a house, where they walk to sun themselves.

[5] In caenaculum. If our author has not used the two words indiscriminately, we must suppose that the two young princes had retired into the banqueting-room after their sport in the gallery.

[6] They were the fourth and fifth sons of Hugh de Grant-mesnil and Adeliza of Beaumont-sur-Dive.

A.D. 1078.] QUARRELS OF KING WILLIAM'S SONS. 109

Robert: "Why do you put up with this insult? see your brothers have mounted above you, and shower their filth upon you and us, in contempt. Do not you perceive what they mean? if you do not instantly resent this insult, you are a lost man, and can never lift up your head again". This speech roused his fury, and he hurried to the banqueting room where his brothers were, determined to chastise them. The clamour which ensued brought the king from his lodgings, and by interposing his royal authority he put an end, for the time, to his sons' quarrels. But the night afterwards, Robert and his attendants withdrew from the king's troop of horse, and making for Rouen attempted to seize the castle by surprise. However, Roger D'Ivry, the king's butler, who had the custody of the tower, having anticipated the plot, put the fortifications in order to resist the treasonable enterprise, and in all haste sent messengers to his lord the king, to apprize him of the state of affairs. The king in his wrath ordered all the malcontents to be arrested; hearing which they were in the greatest consternation. Some were taken, others fled and secured their safety by taking refuge in foreign countries.

Then Hugh de Chateau-Neuf, nephew and heir of Albert Ribald, was the first to receive the exiles, and opened the gates of Chateau-Neuf, Raimalard, Sorel, [1] and other places belonging to him, in order that they might make predatory incursions on Normandy. He was son-in-law of Earl Roger, having married Mabel, [2] sister of Robert de Belesme, who had attached himself to the king's son, with Ralph de Conches and many others. These deserters, embarking in a wicked and detestable enterprise, had left their towns and rich farms for vain hopes and worthless promises. The king took their domains into his own hand and with the rents paid the stipendiary troops who fought against them.

These troubles caused great commotions among the inhabitants of the country and their neighbours, who flew to arms in every quarter either for or against the king. Tho French, the Bretons, the Manceaux, the Angevins, and other people fluctuated in their opinions, and knew not which side


[1] Remalard, in the department de l'Orme; Sorel in Eure et Loire.

[2] Mabel de Montgomery, third daughter of Count Roger and Mabel de Belesme.

110 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.IV. CH.XX.

they ought to take. War threatening them on all sides, the kind, full of determination, assembled an army, and marching against the enemy, made terms with Rotrou count de Mortagne. This count had often pillaged the lands of the church of Chartres, which is dedicated to St. Mary-ever-a-Virgin, and having been frequently remonstrated with by the bishop and clergy, and continuing incorrigible, had been excommunicated. By an infliction of divine justice, he became deaf, and remained so to the end of his days. King William took him into his pay, employing him with his own troops in the siege of Raimalard, because it was a fief held of him.

He fortified four castles in the country round, and placed garrisons in them. Meanwhile, on a certain day, Aimer de Villerai [1] was conducting the steward of the king of France [2] on his return to his master, and came with three men-at-arms to his own castle, where King William's enemies were protected, when it chanced that four knights of the royal army sallied forth and stopped his way, just as he had nearly reached the castle gate, and falling upon him killed him on the spot. They then laid the body of the unfortunate freebooter across a horse, like the carcass of a pig, and threw it down before the huts of count Roger with whom he had long been in hostilities. Goulfier, Aimer's son, struck with terror at his father's fearful end, made peace with the king, and he and his heirs remained faithful more than fifty years.

The calamities which threaten the sons of earth are endless, and if they were all carefully committed to writing would fill large volumes. It is now winter, and I am suffering from the severity of the cold, and propose to allow myself some respite for other occupations, and fatigued with my work, shall here bring the present book to a close. When the returning spring brings with it serener skies, I will resume in the sequel, my narrative of matters which I have hitherto treated cursorily, or which still remain to be told, and, by God's help, employ my faithful pen in elucidating the causes of peace and war among my countrymen.


[1] Villerai, a castle in the neighbourhood of L'Huisne, near Alencon, on the Sarthe.

[2] Probably Frederic, who was high steward of France in 1075, or Robert, who held that office in 1079.

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