BOOK VIII

424

BOOK VIII.

CH. I. William the Conqueror's tomb and epitaph - William Rufus crowned - Robert succeeds as duke of Normandy - His feeble character - The Norman barons become turbulent - Odo, bishop of Bayeux, his character and acts - Robert sells the Cotentin to his brother prince Henry.

In the year of our Lord's incarnation 1087, [1] the tenth indiction, William the Bastard, king of England, died at Rouen on the fifth of the ides [9th] September, and his remains were interred at Caen, in the church of St. Stephen, the proto-martyr. His son Robert then became, in name at least, duke of Normandy and lord of Maine, but abandoning himself to sloth and indulgence, his government was never remarkable for virtue and justice. William Rufus delivered his father's letter [2] to Archbishop Lanfranc, on perusing which that prelate hastened with the young prince to London, and crowned him in the old church of St. Peter the apostle, called Westminster, on the feast of St. Michael. His reign lasted twelve years and ten months; [3] and, as to the affairs of this world, he endeavoured to follow his father's example in some things, being distinguished for his valour and secular magnificence, while he was but too prone to pride, lust, and other vices. But he had but scanty zeal for the worship of God and frequenting the services of the church.

He delivered to Otho the goldsmith [4] a large quantity of gold, silver, and precious stones, ordering him to erect a monument of extraordinary magnificence over his father's tomb. Accordingly, in obedience to the royal commands,


[1] The Paris edition (1845) of Ordericus gives the date in the text as 1082; but it is probably a misprint, as the learned editor, in a note in the same page, fixes the accession of William Rufus in 1087, which is the true date of the death of William the conqueror. The text of Duchesne, and the French edition published in 1826, give it correctly.

[2] See before. p. 414.

[3] September 24, 1087-August 2, 1100.

[4] This person is mentioned in Domesday-book, among the king's gold-smiths, as Otto Aurifaber. His son William was living in 1130.

1087-1088.] THE CONQUEROR'S TOMB AND EPITAPH. 425

he executed the work in an admirable manner, and the tomb may be now seen resplendent with gold, silver, and gems. Skilful versifiers have composed a number of noble and elegant poems on this great man, whose life furnished so copious a theme for their poetical genius, but I shall only insert the epitaph written by Thomas, archbishop of York, [1] out of respect for his metropolitan dignity.

Here WILLIAM, greatest of his princely race,
A home, a tomb, finds in this narrow space.
Him the fierce Normans faithful homage paid,
And lordly Maine his stern commands obeyed;
But mightier still, he England's sceptre swayed,
The glorious prize, when Senlac's bloody field [2]
Saw her brave sons before the Conqueror yield.
When seventeen days his course the August sun [3]
'Mid the bright Virgin's stars his course had run,
To Him who rules on high he bowed his head,
And the proud king was numbered with the dead. [4]

Many of the Norman nobility died the same year as their sovereign. During his last illness his cousin Gilbert d'Aufay, [5] son of Robert de Hougleville, a worthy and simple-minded man, paid the debt of nature on the nineteenth of the calends of September [August 14], and was interred in the church of St. Mary, which he had endowed for the maintenance of six monks of the abbey of St. Evroult. Four years afterwards the pious lady, his wife Beatrix, [6] was also buried there on the second of the nones [9th] of


[1] Thomas, Archbishop of York (August, 1070-November 18, 1100), was a native of Bayeux, and brother of Samson, bishop of Worcester.

[2] The reader will have observed that this is the name invariably given by our author to the battle of Hastings.

[3] The verse in the original gives the date ter septem atque duobus, but William died on the 9th of September, which corresponds with the seventeenth, not the twenty-third degree, of the constellation of the Virgin.

[4] The magnificent tomb erected, as our author relates, by William Rufus over the Conqueror's grave, was destroyed, the grave broken open and the bones scattered, by the Huguenots in 1562. It was again opened by the prefect Cafarelli in 1793, after having escaped the ravages of the revolutionists. The stone coffin then contained some fragments of bones, which fell to dust, and one thigh-bone, which was re-interred. A grey marble slob in the pavement before the high altar, with a simple inscription, now marks the spot.

[5] See before, p. 262.

[6] See ibid.

426 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.I.

January. At the death of their duke many of the Normans were plunged into grief, if not for him, at least for their friends and relations who died about the same period, among whom were Simon de Montfort, [1] son-in-law of Richard, Count d'Evreux, Hugh Paganel, [2] Hugh, son of Hugh de Grantmesnil, [3] a young man of distinguished bravery, and his cousin Robert de Rhuddlan, [4] William d'Avranches, [5] son of Witmond, [6] with many other men of


[1] Simon de Montfort, father of Amauri de Montfort, who inherited the county of Evroux after his uncle William's death. Our author has already related that this marriage was effected by carrying off in the night Agnes d'Evreux, with the aid of Ralph, lord of Conches, her half-brother, and Simon's brother-in-law.

[2] William Paganel, lord of Montiers-Hubert, which is supposed to have been the original seat of this ancient family, and not their estates in the Cotentin. William was probably the eldest brother of Ralph Paganel, sheriff of Yorkshire, who possessed forty-five lordships at the time Domesday-book was made and founded the priory of the Holy Trinity at York in the reign of William Rufus. Fulk, the founder of the family of the Paganels of Dudley, who was living in 1130, was grandson of this William.

Ralph Paganel had a son also named William, whose daughter was married first to Richard de Courci, and secondly to Robert de Gant. His eldest son, Alexander, was the founder of the family of the Paganels of Hooton in Yorkshire.

William Paganel (II.) also held the lordships of Drax, West-Rasen, etc., by grant from the king. He died about 1150, leaving four children, the eldest of whom received from Henry II., then count of Anjou and duke of Normandy, all his father's barony in Normandy and England, except Brehal. From this Hugh descended the branch who were lords of West-Rasen in Lincolnshire, who lost their family estate of Montiers in the time of Philip Augustus; and from Fulk, his eldest brother, those of the Paganels of Hamby, lords of Drax. Having settled in Normandy, and entirely attached himself to the kings of France, Drax was taken from him and given to Hugh Paganel, to indemnify him for the loss of Montiers.

[3] Hugh, third son of Hugh de Grantmesnil. It will appear hereafter that this young nobleman was buried at St. Evroult.

[4] Robert de Rhuddlan will be spoken of in the third chapter of the present book.

[5] William d'Avranches was son of Guitmond, lord of Haie-Painel. He married Matilda, daughter of Baldwin de Meules, and granddaughter of Gilbert, lord of Sap and Meules, and sheriff of Devonshire. She brought him the estate of Dolton in that county. William d'Avranches was lord of Folkstone in Kent, which remained in the possession of his male heirs until the beginning of the thirteenth century. At this time it passed by marriage to the family of Crevecoeur. William's son, Robert d'Avranches, was living in 1130. Besides his daughter, married to William Paganel, he had a natural daughter, afterwards legitimated, who was called Matilda d'Avranches, who brought to Robert, the bastard son of Henry I. (and earl of Gloucester), one half of the lordships of Sap and Meules. This family of Avranches must not be confounded with that of the viscounts d'Avranches, earls of Chester.

A.D. 1087-1088.] STATE OF NORMANDY. 427

eminence. Happy those who, departing thus opportunely, were spared the pain of seeing their country desolated and having no protector!

At that time affairs in Normandy suffered a great revolution; the unarmed population shuddered with alarm, while the powerful gave full vent to their towering ambition without any check. Robert de Belesme [1] had been on his way to court to confer with the king on urgent affairs, but on arriving at the gate of Brionne he learnt the king's death. Thereupon he immediately turned his horse round, and hastening to Alencon [2] took the royal garrison by surprise and drove them out of the castle. He did the same at Belesme and all his other strongholds, and not only in his own, but in those of such of his neighbours as he condescended to consider as his equals. All these he either got into his power by introducing his own adherents, or razed to the ground to prevent their offering him any resistance thereafter. William, Count d'Evreux, also expelled the royal warders from the keep of his castle, and William de Breteuil, Ralph de Conches, and all the rest, got their fortresses into their own hands, so that every one might be able to prosecute with impunity his infernal feuds against his neighbours, and those whose territories bordered on his own. In this manner the Norman lords drove out the royal garrisons from their castles, and alternately ravaged the country, which was rich and flourishing, with bands of their own retainers. The wealth which had been plundered from the English and other nations was thus deservedly lost by rapine and violence.

All the world knew that the Duke Robert was sunk in


[1] Robert became count de Belesme (the second of his name) on the death of his mother, the countess Mabel, so often mentioned by our author, although his father, Roger de Montgomery, was still living, and did not die till 1094.

[2] In the middle ages there were two roads from Alencon to Rouen, one by Bernai and Brionne, the other by Orbec and Pontaudemer. Robert de Belesme probably chose the former, as the shortest, and passing by Bernai, his father's domain.

428 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.I.

sloth and carelessness, so that he uas despised by men of enterprise who fomented traitorous insurrections at their pleasure. The duke was personally brave and daring, and had many merits; was a good speaker, but inconsiderate in conducting his affairs, profuse in spending, and liberal in his promises, while no dependence could be placed upon them; he was compassionate to those who implored his mercy, but too gentle and easy in executing justice on offenders; changeable in his resolutions, and too affable and condescending in his general behaviour, he was held in contempt by the evil-minded and those who wanted discretion; his figure was short and corpulent, from which his father gave him the surname of Curt-hose. Endeavouring to please all, he gave, promised, or yielded, what every one asked. His prodigality led him daily to lessen the domains of his ancestors, absurdly granting whatever was demanded of him, so that he impoverished himself while he augmented the power of others to injure him. He gave to William de Breteuil, Ivri, where there is a well-fortified castle, erected by his grandmother Alberede; [1] and he granted to Roger de Beaumont, who had the custody of Ivri, under King William, Brionne, a strong fortress in the heart of his territories.

Odo, bishop of Bayeux, being released from prison, regained all his former possessions in Normandy, and became the counsellor of the young duke, his nephew. This prelate was a person of distinguished eloquence and high spirit; he was liberal, and his bravery would have become a secular man: but he treated men of religion with great respect, protecting his clergy resolutely both by word and arms, and enriching the churches with valuable ornaments wherever they were needed. The buildings he erected are proof this, with the splendid vessels and vestments in gold and silver which his liberality furnished fbr the use of the churches and clergy. His near relationship to Duke William procured for him the bishopric of Bayeux while he was very young, and he was actively employed during the fifty years he held it. [2] The spirit had a praiseworthy pre-eminence in


[1] Alberede, wife of Ralph, count of Ivri and Bayeux, and half-brother of Richard I.

[2] Odo was not preferred to the see of Bayeux until the death of his predecessor, which occurred while he was attending the Council of Rheims in October, 1049. Odo himself died at Palermo in February, 1097.

A.D. 1087-1088.] ODO, BISHOP OF BAYEUX. 429

some parts of his conduct, in others the flesh was sadly predominant over the spirit. Led away by carnal passions, he had a son named John, who is now about the court of King Henry, [1] where he is eminent for his eloquence and virtues. But while, in some things, Bishop Odo lent himself to worldly vanities, externally he did much for the advantage of the church. He laid the foundations of the church of St. Mary, mother of God, and completed it in a beautiful style of architecture, amply providing it with wealth and ornaments. [2] He established monks in the church of St. Vigor, [3] bishop of Bayeux, which stands outside the city walls, and appointed, as their superior, Robert de Tombelaine, a pious and learned man, who, among other monuments of his ability, has left the church a short and clear, but profound, commentary on the Canticles. After Bishop Odo was thrown into prison, Abbot Robert, abandoning all, went into foreign countries, and arriving at Rome, was detained by Pope Gregory VII. who paid him great respect, and he served the Roman church faithfully until his death. [4] The bishop who founded it being in confinement, and the abbot detained in Italy, the newly formed


[1] It appears, therefore, that this chapter was written before the death of Henry I., which occurred in 1135.

[2] All the upper part of this church was destroyed by fire by Henry I. in 1106. The crypt under the choir is, perhaps, the only part of the original church built by Bishop Odo, which now remains. It is supported on twelve pillars with rude capitals. The west end of the nave of the present edifice consists of florid Norman arches and pillars, attributed to Henry II., but which M. Le Prevost considers to be part of Bishop Odo's building. The end nearest the transept, and the choir, were built in the pointed style by Bishop Henry de Beaumont in 1205.

[3] This foundation was made in 1066. Odo took Robert de Tombelaine, as well as five other monks, from the abbey of Mont St. Michael, making him abbot of the new foundation. Tombelaine is a rock near the former abbey, standing in the middle of the sands, and surrounded by the sea at high tides. There are still some ruins of the houses and castle which were in existence as late as the fifteenth century.

[4] For the life and works of Robert de Tombelaine, see L'Histoire Litteraire de France, t. viii. p. 334, etc. It is not certain that he resided at Rome till his death, as our author states. It is believed, on the contrary (Gall. Christ. t. xi. p. 404), that having lost his patron, Gregory VII., he returned to Mont St. Michael, and there spent the rest of his days.

430 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.I.

convent of monks dispersed, and each one settling himself where he could, they never returned to that monastery.

In the end, Bishop Odo gave it to Jarenton, abbot of Dijon, and it continues to this day to be a cell of the monks of that abbey. [1] It is thus plain that the prelate of whom I am speaking had a strong regard for the monastic order. He also sent intelligent young clerks to Liege and other places where he knew that the study of philosophy flourished most, making them liberal allowances for their maintenance, that they might, uninterruptedly and for a long period, employ themselves in the pursuit of learning. [2] Among the scholars he thus supplied with the means of education were Thomas, archbishop of York, [3] and his brother Samson, [4] bishop of Worcester, William de Roos, [5] abbot of Fecamp, and Thurstan, abbot of Glastonbury, with many others who flourished during my time in the church of God, and largely profited the flocks committed to their charge with the excellence of their teaching, and the example of their eminent virtues. In this manner, although Bishop Odo was deeply entangled in secular affairs, much that was laudable mixed itself with his evil deeds, and what he iniquitously amassed was freely bestowed on the churches and the poor. At length, by the will of God, he left all in the year of our Lord 1096, the fourth indiction, and accompanied his nephew, Duke Robert, in his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, as, with God's permission, we shall more particularly relate hereafter. He died at Palermo in the presence of Gilbert, bishop of Evreux; his body was interred in the church of St. Mary, where Roger,


[1] The two charters, one of Bishop Odo and the other of Duke Robert, creating and confirming this foundation, are both dated in 1096, in the eighteenth and nineteenth years of Robert's reign. The date is curious, because it shows that Robert assumed that he was invested with the dukedom as far back as 1077, and consequently before the siege of Gerberoi.

[2] Here again the parallel features in the characters of Odo and Wolsey, to which we have before drawn attention, become apparent; witness the latter's foundation of Christ Church, Oxford, etc.

[3] See note before, p. 425.

[4] Samson was bishop of Worcester, June 15, 1097-May 5, 1112.

[5] William de Roos, abbot of Fecamp, 1079-March 24, 1108.

[6] Thurstan, abbot of Glastonbury in 1081, was compelled to return to Normandy in consequence of his violence to the monks in 1083. See before, p. 52, and Malmsbury, p. 308, Bohn's Antiq. Lib.

1087-1088.] PRINCE HENRY PURCHASES THE COTENTIN. 431

count of Sicily, [1] caused a splendid tomb to be erected for him.

Robert, duke of Normandy, distributed his wealth among his knights with a liberal hand, attaching to his person a number of young aspirants to arms who coveted his favour and rewards. His treasury beginning to fail, he sent to his brother Henry, requesting a supply from his abundant wealth - a demand Henry was by no means disposed to grant. The duke then sent word that he was ready to sell him a part of his territories; and when Henry understood this, he was most ready to comply with his brother's proposal. Terms were therefore concluded between them, by which Henry paid the duke three thousand pounds of silver, and received in exchange the whole of the district of the Cotentin, which is a third of all Normandy. [2] In this way Henry first obtained Avranches and Coutances, Mont St. Michael-in-peril-of-the-Sea, and the entire of the lordship which Hugh, earl of Chester, held in Normandy. Prince Henry governed the Cotentin discreetly, and employed his early years in worthy pursuits. From his very childhood, his parents had devoted him to the study of letters, and he became admirably imbued with the knowledge both of moral and natural philosophy. Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, as soon as the young prince was of a fitting age, armed him for the defence of the kingdom, clothing him with a breastplate, putting a helmet on his head, and giving him the belt of knighthood, in the name of the Lord, as the king's son, and born on the steps of the throne. [3] During the twelve years of the reign of William Rufus in England, Henry had an active life with various changes of fortune, and acquired experience, both from prosperity and adversity. At length, on his brother's death, he ascended the throne, which he has


[1] Roger I., count of Sicily, 1072-July, 1101.

[2] Avranches, being a part of the ceded territory, must be added, as well as the lordship of Vire, which belonged of right to the earl of Chester. But even with these additions, the statement that the Cotentin formed a third of Normandy is an exaggeration.

[3] This passage can only mean that Archbishop Lanfranc, as Prince Henry's tutor, presented him for knighthood. It was conferred upon him by the king his father, while he held his court at Westminster, in 1086 (not Winchester, 1087, as the French editor states). See Saxon Chronicle.

432 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.II.

now filled nearly thirty-three years. [1] It is my purpose, with God's permission, if my life is spared, to give an account of his life and actions in their proper place. I now return to the course of my narrative, and shall instruct posterity in the history of my own times.

CH. II. The Norman lords in England league and revolt against William Rufus - Invite Robert Curthose - The insurrection breaks out in several counties - Siege of Rochester - Bishop Odo taken and banished.

IN the first year of the government of the two brothers, there was a meeting of the great men of both states, to consult among themselves on the circumstances in which they were placed by the division of the sovereignty formerly lodged in the same hands. "We are suddenly involved", they said, "in a serious difficulty, and threatened with a great diminution of our power and wealth. Hitherto we have maintained ourselves with honour, under illustrious dukes, in the possession of Normandy, which our ancestors who came with Rollo from Denmark, two hundred and twelve years ago, [2] gained with their daring valour. Afterwards we crossed the sea with Duke William, and subduing the Anglo-Saxons by the might of our arms, seized their lands and wealth, for which we freely shed our blood. Alas! we are now witnesses of a great revolution, and the sudden over-throw of our power. What are we to do? On the death of our old sovereign, he is succeeded by two young princes, and the dominion of England and Normandy is suddenly divided. How can we conveniently serve two lords so different and so remote from each other? If we do our duty to Robert, the duke of Normandy, we shall offend his brother William. It will follow that we shall forfeit our great revenues and high honours in England. On the other hand, if we keep our fealty to King William, Duke Robert will take from us our patrimonial estates in Normandy. It behoves us to avoid such a separation under


[1] This passage fixes the date at which this part of Ordericus's History was written as at the close of the year 1132, or the commencement of 1133.

[2] Our author adopts the opinion generally current in the middle ages of the settlement, or at least the first invasion, of Normandy by Rollo in 876.

THE BARONS LEAGUE AGAINST WILLIAM RUFUS. 433

these princes as occurred among the Israelites in the time of Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Then one people was divided among itself between two rulers, and the law, the temple and the worship of God being neglected, fell into apostacy. At length one part of them were carried captives into Media by the Assyrians and never returned, and the rest underwent the Babylonish captivity under the Chaldeans. What happened to the Thebans under the two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices? Did not many thousands perish on both sides? At last both brothers fell in mutual encounter, and left the succession of their inheritance to strangers. It behoves us carefully to consider these and such-like instances, and to take prudent precautions that we may not be ruined by the policy of these youthful princes. Let us therefore enter into a firm and inviolable league, and having deposed King William or put him to death, as he is the youngest and most arrogant, and we owe him nothing, let us make Duke Robert, who is the elder brother, and of a more pliable temper, and to whom we have already sworn fealty during his father's life, [1] sovereign both of England and Normandy, that the union of the two states may be maintained.

This resolution was taken, with common consent, by Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Eustace, count of Boulogne, [2] Robert de Belesme, and many others, and their intentions were announced to Duke Robert. That thoughtless and inconsiderate prince was highly delighted with their empty promises, and pledged himself to second their undertaking in all points and shortly afford them effectual succour for the successful prosecution of so great an enterprise. Accordingly, after our Lord's Nativity, [3] the before mentioned lords crossed


[1] This fealty was probably sworn at the time from which Robert assumed his association with his father in the government of Normandy - 1077. The truth is, that although William nominated him his successor in the duchy before his invasion of England, he always resolutely withheld from him any share in the government. See his reply to the duke's demand to be invested in the duchy, pp. 171, 172 of the present volume.

[2] This nobleman, who was an entire stranger to Normandy, joined his fortunes to those of the duke rather thsn William Rufus in consequence of his connexion with Bishop Odo, under whom he held vast possessions in the county of Kent.

[3] According to Florence of Worcester, this league was not entered into till Lent in 1088, and began to take its measures after Easter. The two authors may be reconciled by supposing that the first idea of the conspiracy was formed in Normandy in the course of the autumn, but that it was not fully organized in England till the following Lent. He reckons among the malcontent nobles, in addition to those named by Ordericus, Robert, earl of Morton, Geoffrey de Mowbray, with his nephew Robert, earl of Northumberland, and even William, bishop of Durham, who till that time had been the principal adviser of Lie young king.

434 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.II.

over to England, and, putting their castles into a state of defence, very soon raised insurrections against the king through great part of the country.

Odo, as I have said before, was earl palatine of Kent, and several earls and powerful lords owed him fealty. Roger, earl of Shrewsbury, Hugh de Grantmesnil, who had the government of Leicestershire, with Robert de Rhuddlan his nephew, and other knights of distinguished bravery, favoured the conspirators, and fortified their castles with trenches, increasing the garrisons, and drawing in abundant supplies of food both for men and horses. Already rapacious free-booters began to pillage the peasants eagerly anticipating the arrival of Duke Robert, who had determined to follow his precursors with the returning spring, at the head of a large body of troops. At the same time Osbern, son of Richard, surnamed Scroop, [1] with Bernard du Neuf Marche [2] his son-in-law, and others in league with them, who held the frontiers of Mercia, made a savage inroad into the territory of Worcester, pillaging and slaughtering the inhabitants, in spite of the prohibition and excommunication directed against them by the man of God, Wulstan, bishop of Worcester. [3] Meanwhile King William finding that his


[1] He appears by Domesday-book to have held in capite estates in Worcestershire.

[2] For Bernard du Neuf-Marche, see before. p. 297. Florence of Worcester adds to the list Roger de Lacy from Herefordshire, and Ralph de Mortemer, who led the men of Shrewsbury; and says that these border-lords were followed by bands of robbers, Norman, English, and even Welsh.

[3] St. Wulstan, bishop of Worcester, 1062-Jan. 19, 1095. The flames burst forth at several other points. Robert de Mowbray, who was with his uncle, the bishop of Coutances, at Bristol, pillaged and burnt Bath, ravaged Wiltshire, and attacked Gloucester, where he was repulsed by the inhabitants. William d'Eu overran Gloucestershire and seized Berkeley Castle. Robert Bigot at Norwich, and Hugh de Grantmesnil at Leicester, also took part in the revolt.

A.D. 1088.] THE ENGLISH RALLY ROUND THE KING. 435

nobles had formed desperate designs against him in his own kingdom, and that, the mischief spreading, affairs were getting worse and worse, he was far from skulking like a flighted fox in the depths of caverns, but roused himself boldly with a lion's courage, to strike a terrible blow on the rebels. He therefore summoned a great council of the archbishop with his suffragans and the earls and native English, and laid before them the attempts of his adversaries, and his own wish to give them battle. Those who were present exhorted the king to put down the disturbers of the peace, and promised to support him with the utmost zeal. Thirty thousand Englishmen [1] voluntarily enrolled themselves in the royal service, demanding that the base traitors should be punished without respect of persons. "Act", they said, "with firmness as the son of a king, and, yourself placed lawfully on the throne, command with confidence all your subjects. See you not our numbers who have already flocked to your standard, and give you willing obedience? Send your orders through all England, and crush the rebels with the weight of your lawful power. We will fight for you to death, and never shall another prince usurp your place in our affections. It would be indeed a folly and a crime to prefer a foreign enemy to a well-known king. The nation which breaks its allegiance to its prince, must be held accursed. Death to the band which exults in the ruin of its lord! Search well the histories of the English, and you will find them to have been always faithful to their kings".

William Rufus [2] was so much encouraged by the temper of his native subjects, that he immediately took the field with the great army he had thus assembled, and marched at


[1] There appears to be some exaggeration in this number, which does not agree with the expression mediocris, which Florence of Worcester applies to the army of the young king. That author informs us that it was not till some time after the insurrection broke out, and after the first movements in the campaign, as we shall presently see, that finding himself unable to cope with his powerful Norman barons, who had almost all declared against him, he summoned the English to his aid by a levy en masse, branding as niderings all who should not follow their sovereign's standard.

[2] Ordericus, in this and other passages, calls William simply rex rufus, the red king.

436 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.II.

once against the rebels to give them battle, Upon this, Odo, bishop of Bayeux, shut himself up in the city of Rochester with five hundred men-at-arms, determining to wait the arrival of Duke Robert, with the auxiliary forces he had promised to bring; for the league, although they were very numerous, and had great resources in money and arms, and vast supplies, did not dare to meet the king in open fight within his own realm. They therefore, with great prudence, selected Rochester, because, if the king did not blockade them in the city, the position was central for making sudden eruptions and plundering London and Canterbury, and they could also take advantage of the sea, which lies very near, and the neighbouring islands, to despatch messengers to obtain assistance. The resolute king, however, anticipated their projects, and, in the month of May, invested the place with a powerful army; and, erecting two forts, shut up the enemy within the walls, so that every avenue of egress was closed. As I have said before, Bishop Odo, Count Eustace, and Robert de Belesme, [1] with many nobles, as well as persons of moderate station, held the place, expecting, in vain, succours from Duke Robert, who was detained by sloth and indulgence. However Roger, earl of Mercia, [2] and many other Normans who were in the besieging army gave secret aid to the besieged, as far as it was in their power, although they did not venture to appear openly in arms against the king. All the bishops of England joined the English people in loyally supporting the king, and laboured to restore in the country that tranquillity which good men love. Also Hugh, earl of Chester, Robert de Mowbray, earl of Northumberland, [3] William de


[1] If we could be surprised at anything in so strange a character, which will be further developed hereafter, we might wonder to find Robert de Belesme among the partisans of Henry Curt-hose after the activity he had shown in expelling the duke's garrisons from his own castles of Belesme and Alencon, and in even inducing the lords of Evreux, Conches, and Breteuil to do the same. However, he had before the death of William the Conqueror been one of the partisans of the young duke, so far as to accompany him in some of his emigrations,

[2] Roger de Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury, was Robert de Belesme'a father. See before, p. 194.

[3] We have just seen that Florence of Worcester reckons this nobleman, with his uncle Geoffrey, among the insurgents.

A.D. 1088.] SIEGE OF ROCHESTER. 437

Warenne, and Robert Fitz-Hamon, with other loyal and experienced barons, maintained their fealty to their sovereign and gave him useful aid, both with their arms and their counsels, against the common enemy.

A plague, like the plague of the Egyptians, made its appearance in the town of Rochester, the Almighty, who, in all ages, superintends human affairs and orders them aright, having chosen to renew an ancient miracle in modern times. For as the flies tormented the Egyptians, and did not cease a moment from whizzing round them, in the same manner these flies grievously annoyed the besieged with their incessant attacks; for all egress from the castle was prevented, and many of those who were thus blockaded fell sick from their various sufferings, and, their disorders increasing, at length died. Innumerable flies were engendered in the dung of men and horses, and being nourished by the heat both of the summer, and of the atmosphere caused by the breath of so many inhabitants closely pent up, their swarms horribly infested their eyes and noses, food and drink. So severely was the insolent band of rebels afflicted with the annoyance of the swarms that they could not eat their meals, either by day or night, unless a great number of them were employed, in turn, in flapping them away from their comrades' faces. In consequence, Odo and his allies could no longer suffer the miseries of the siege; [1] they


[1] Florence of Worcester gives a somewhat different account of these transactions. He says that Robert Curt-hose despatched the earls of Boulogne and Belesme, with a body of auxiliaries, to support Bishop Odo, promising to follow himself with a larger force. This was the first notice the king had of the danger which threatened him, and he immediately summoned such of the barons as he could rely on, and assembling a small body of troops at London, more English than Normans, marched for Rochester, taking Tunbridge in the way. He reduced that castle after two days' siege, having wounded Richard de Bienfacte, one of the conspirators, who held it, and forced him to capitulate. On the king's approach to Rochester, after this success, Odo made his escape, and took refuge in Pevensey Castle with his brother, the earl of Morton. The king, however, deferred the siege of Rochester, the garrison of which, in the meantime, ravaged the whole neighbourhood, and followed the bishop to Pevensey. It was at this period that the insurrection burst forth in several quarters, as mentioned in preceding notes. Pevensey surrendered to the king's troops after holding out six weeks, and Bishop Odo was taken, and, as Henry of Huntingdon says (p. 225, Bohn's Antiq. Library), solemnly swore to depart the realm, and to deliver up the city of Rochester. Being conducted there for that purpose, he broke or eluded his oath, and having got into the city remained there until, on its surrender, he became again a captive. It was at this period, Florence of Worcester informs us, that the king summoned the great body of his English subjects to his side, with such success that the Normans in Rochester, brave and numerous as the garrison was, could no longer resist the numbers which flocked to the king's standard; and the garrison was compelled to surrender at discretion.

438 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.II.

therefore sent envoys to the king, asking for peace and offering to surrender the place. The terms proposed were these: that they should be re-instated in the lands, the fiefs, and all the possessions they before had, and should, for the future, serve him loyally as their natural lord. The king was greatly incensed at these proposals, and, so far from making any concession, and accepting the terms offered by the envoys, he swore that he would seize, by force of arms, the perfidious traitors shut up in the town, and forthwith hang them on gibbets, or sweep them from the earth by other kinds of death. When, however, those who were engaged in the siege in the royal cause perceived that the king was so inflamed with passion against their relations and friends within the fortress as to threaten their execution, they came about him with deep supplications, and endeavoured to propitiate him by earnest prayers and flattering words. Thus they said: "Praise be to God who is ever the helper of those who trust in him, and grants that good parents shall succeeded by worthy children". Lo! these aspiring youths, and old men blinded by their ambition, have sufficiently learnt, that the royal authority in this land is not yet extinct; for those who flocked here out of Normandy, to prey upon us like ravenous kites, have discovered, through the interposition of God, that William the younger is not less powerful than William the elder. Already half conquered they submit to your arms; and, confessing your might, approach you as suppliants. We too, who have stood by you in the hour of your greatest peril, as we did by your father, now humbly approach you with earnest intreaties on behalf of our fellow countrymen. It befits you, who have subdued by your valour these senseless and trembling men, to extend your clemency to them now that they are humbled and penitent. Let mercy temper the king's severity, and a glorious victory satisfy the claims of your

A.D. 1088.] TERMS OF CAPITULATION. 439

distinguished valour. The great King David pardoned Shimei who cursed him, [1] and entreated Joab and Abishai and his other generals, not to slay Absalom his adversary. [2] Examples of this sort abound in the sacred volume, and the lines of the sagacious poet, in his work on the Wonders of the World, are to the same purport.

"'Tis lion-like to spare a fallen foe,
And lion-hearted kings should thus their greatness show". [3]

King William replied to these observations; "I confess that it is through your prowess I have subdued the enemy, and, by God's help, with your valour, the victory is almost gained. But you ought to be the more cautious not to induce me by your supplications to deviate from the course of strict justice. When we spare perjurers and robbers, plunderers, and execrable traitors, we destroy the peace and security of the well-disposed, and sow the seeds of endless slaughter and pillage among the innocent and defenceless. In what have I offended these criminal men? What injury have I done them? Why have they sought to destroy me by every means in their power, and raised insurrections among the people wherever they could, to so much public loss? I confirmed them in all their rights, and have given them no cause to revolt against me; and yet they are become my determined enemies. I consider it just to follow rigidly the judgment of the great king David, whose example you set before me; thus, as Baanah and Rechab, the sons of Rimmon, the Beerothite, who beheaded Ishbosheth in his own house, were by David's sentence condemned to be hung, [4] so these seditious men shall be fearfully punished, that men of this and future ages may be deterred and restrained by the report of this terrible vengeance".


[1] 2 Samuel xvi. 5-11.

[2] 2 Samuel xviii. 5.

[3] In the original quotation,

Parcere prostratis sit nobilis ira leonis!
Tu quoque fac simile, quisquis dominaris in orbe!

The author, whoever he was, had probably in his mind the well-known line-

"Parcere dejectis et debellare superbos".

[4] 2 Sam. iv. 2-12.

440 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.II.

To this the nobles replied, "We admit all that you say, our lord the king, to be right and just, nor can we contradict any of your reasons. But we are compelled by our feelings of humanity humbly to implore your mightiness to consider who these persons are, on whose behalf we so earnestly implore your clemency. Odo, of Bayeux, is your uncle, and has been consecrated a bishop. He assisted your father in his conquest of England, and to his great peril stood by him in many straits. What can you do with a man of his eminence? Far be it from you to lay hands on a priest of the Lord, and shed his blood for such a cause. Recollect what Saul did at Nob, [1] and what he suffered in Mount Gilboah? [2] Who will be so wicked as to venture to advise you to condemn the Lord's bishop, and your own uncle? No one. It is therefore our unanimous request that you will extend your clemency to him, and permit him to depart without injury to his own diocese in Normandy. The count of Boulogne was also faithful to your father, and his valiant supporter and comrade in many a desperate battle. Robert de Belesme likewise, who was much esteemed by your father, and promoted by him to great honours, has now obtained mastery of great part of Normandy, and being possessed of the strongest castles, holds the first rank among his neighbours, and the Norman lords. If you temper your animosity against these great men, and treat them graciously here, or permit them to depart in safety, you may advantageously use their amity and service, on many future occasions. 'He who is your enemy now, may be your useful friend another time'. [2]

"Under their ensigns there are many young aspirants to the honours of chivalry who are ready to serve under your standard, and whose services you, O king, ought not to despise. Those, therefore, whom you have now subjugated by means of your power, your wealth, and your eminent bravery, attach to your person by generosity and clemency".

In consequence, the noble-minded king, vanquished by the prayers of his faithful followers, granted their request,


[1] 1 Sam. xxii. 19.

[2] 1 Sam. xxxi. 1,'2.

[3] Idem qui laedit, fors post ut amicus obedit.

A.D. 1088.] THE GARRISON MARCH OUT. 441

and relieving the besieged from the sentence of death or mutilation, granted them leave to depart from the place with their horses and arms. But he utterly refused them all expectation of having any inheritance or lands within the realm of England, as long as he was on the throne. Then bishop Odo attempted to procure the king's command that the trumpeters should not sound a flourish while the garrison marched out, as is the custom when an enemy is conquered, and a fortresss is taken by storm. But the king fell into a great passion, and would not listen to what was asked, asserting that he would not grant it for a thousand marks of gold. The garrison therefore marched out with sorrow and dejection, while the royal trumpets sounded in notes of triumph, and the crowds of English who were on the king's side shouted aloud, "Halters, bring halters, [1] and hang this traitor-bishop with his accomplices on a gallows. Great king of England, why do you permit this author of all our woes to escape safe and sound? This perjured homicide, who has caused the death of thousands by his plots and his cruelties, ought not to be suffered to live". The crest-fallen bishop and his associates were compelled to listen to the foul reproaches which were heaped upon them, but although they were threatened with a bitter fate, permission was not granted for the populace to wreak their vengeance on them. Thus the unholy bishop was banished from England, and his vast domains were forfeited, so that the prodigious wealth which he had iniquitously amassed, was, by the just judgment of God, lost with signal disgrace. He retired in confusion to Bayeux, and never again set foot in England. [2]

It was thus, that in the first year of king William's reign, at the commencement of summer, the city of Rochester was surrendered to him, and the criminal enterprise of those who had taken arms to disturb the peace of the realm was defeated. For the malignants and evil-doers, when they understood the king's bold and resolute character, became alarmed on account of the pillage and slaughter, and other wickedness,


[1] Torques, torques afferte.

[2] The bishop of Durham also was forced to take refuge in Flanders but, according to Henry of Huntingdon, not until the king had besieged him in Durham itself. p. 223, Bohn's Antiq. Lib.

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

of which they had been guilty in so much haste, and during the twelve years of the king's reign they did not dare to mutter a word against him. Meanwhile, William acted with great caution, watching his opportunity for taking revenge. The factious attempts of some of his enemies he punished with the utmost severity of the law, but designedly winked at the offences of others. The old barons who had shown some signs of disaffection to him, were prudently spared, both out of regard to his father's memory, to whom they had been loyally attached, and from respect to their age; for he shrewdly thought that disease and death would soon prevent their giving him any trouble. Some, however, served him the more faithfully in after times, on account of their having been deeper involved in the crime of treason, and tried to render themselves acceptable to him by their gifts, their services, and their flatteries.

CH. III.- History of Robert de Rhuddlan - His successes in curbing the Welsh - Is slain by Gryffith-ap-Conan, king of North Wales - Buried at St. Evroult - Elegy to his memory.

IN consequence of the shock which England received from the violence of the storm we have just described, and of the wounds which were daily inflicted by its inhabitants on each other, divided as they were into two parties, one of which tried to depose the king, while the other stoutly maintained his cause, Gryffith, king of Wales, [1] at the head of an army, made an inroad on the English borders, and devastated the country about Rhuddlan with fire and sword, taking much booty and many captives. On the return of Robert, lord of Rhuddlan, from the siege of Rochester, [2] he received intelligence of these barbarities and his severe losses which filled him with grief, and drew from him in his


[1] Gryffith-ap-Conan, who after his victory over Howel-ap-Owen in 1076, reigned, it is said, at least at intervals, until 1136. Gryffith was allied to the Anglo-Saxon kings, being son-in-law of King Owen, the grandson of Grono, who married Ethefleda, widow of Edmund Ironsides.

[2] Robert de Rhuddlan had joined the league against William Rufus, but after the siege of Rochester, as it here appears, returned to his duties in Wales. He belonged to the great family of Grantmesnil by the father's side, and to that of Giroie, of which our author gives so much detail in the first volume, by his mother's.

ROBERT DE RHUDDLAN. 443

wrath the most terrible threats. He was a brave and active knight, free of speech, a formidable enemy, but generous, and celebrated for his many deeds of valour. He had been one of king Edward's squires, and received from him the belt of knighthood. His father, Umfrid, was son of Amfrid of Danish race: his mother, Adeliza, was sister of Hugh de Grantmesnil, of the noble family of Giroie. This distinguished warrior, in the midst of his military employments, did not neglect the church, constantly treating the clergy and monks with great respect, and giving liberal alms to the poor, according to his means.

The abbey of St. Evroult, where his brothers Arnold and Roger were monks, and his father and mother and other relations lay buried, was much beloved by him, and he endowed it to the best of his power. In consequence, he gave to it the church of Tilleul, [1] and his portion of the church of Damblainville, [2] with the presbytery, and all that belonged to him in the church of Corneres. [3] He added the tithe of his mills, and of all his rents, with an additional tenth from his butlery and cellar. [4] The same Robert gave to the monks of St. Evroult, of his possessions in England, Little-Cwm, [5] comprising two plough-lands, and twenty villeins; also, the tithes, and the whole vill called Kirkby, [6] with the church and presbytery, and the church of the Island, [7] and the church of St. Peter-in-the-Market, and three cottages in the city of Chester: and that St. Evroult might possess all these in perpetuity and without molestation, he came in person to a chapter at Ouche, and confirmed his grant of all that has been mentioned, before abbot Mainier, and the convent of


[1] Either Tilleul-en-Auge, in the canton of Dive, or Notre-Dame-du-Tilleul, canton of Merlerault.

[2] Damblainville, canton of Falaise.

[3] Supposed to be Cormier, near Evreux.

[4] Redecimationem promptuariorum suorum. The French translator renders it "La dime de la dime de sa table".

[5] The parish of Cwm, which in Welsh signifies a valley, adjoins Rhuddlan. It comprises a smaller valley, which is lateral to the vale of Clwyd, and there seems no doubt but that it is the same which Ordericus designates by the diminitive Cumbi-nellam.

[6] Kirkby, Chircabia. It afterwards belonged to the church of St. Peter-in-the-Market, at Chester.

[7] This is probably "the manor surrounded by the sea", described among Robert de Rhuddlan's grants to the abbey of St. Evroult, in the charter of King William I. See before, p. 257.

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

monks. There were with him at the chapter, Raszo the dean, Hugh de Mellai, William the Butler, son of Grimold, Roger, son of Giroie, Durant, Burnell, Osbern d'Orgeres, [1] and Walter the provost. These were present when Robert proceeded to the church, and laid on the altar the charter containing the grant of these premises.

I have inserted this short notice of the donations which the aforesaid lord made to the church of St. Evroult, and I think the judicious reader will not, on consideration, be disposed to ridicule me when I conform my narrative, as occasion offers, to the title of my work.

Robert, son of Umfrid, came over to England with his father while he was quite young, and was in the service of King Edward, both in his household and army, until he was knighted by that king. Then, newly invested with splendid armour, and enriched with honourable tokens of the royal favour, he formed the design of visiting his relations, and having obtained the king's licence, returned to his own country radiant with delight. After the battle of Senlac, while King William was engaged in making head against repeated insurrections, the young knight, with his cousin Hugh, [2] son of Richard d'Avranches, surnamed Goz, again came over to England, and distinguished himself in all the actions where military glory was to be obtained. After many exploits, he was attached to the service of Hugh before mentioned, who was made earl of Chester and appointed Robert commander of his troops, and governor of his whole province. At that time the Britons on the borders, who are commonly called Gael, or Welch, took arms with great fury against King William and all his adherents. A fortress was therefore built at Rhuddlan [3] by the king's command, to


[1] Orgeres, near Gace.

[2] Hugh, viscount d'Avranches in Normandy, and afterwards created earl of Chester in England, where he is better known as Hugh Lupus. His young nephew held by grant under him large possessions, including two cantrefs in Flintshire or Denbighshire, of which Tegengle was one, and, in the end, the whole kingdom of Gwyned, or North Wales. He also held in farm, at forty pounds rent, the capital and royal palace of Aberfraw in the island of Anglesey.

[3] Rhuddlan, from which he derived his surname, was Robert's principal seat. It was one of the most important fortresses in Wales, and was often taken and re-taken in the long succession of wars from early times. It was not "built" by Robert, as our author states; he probably added to it, and strengthened the fortifications. A battle was fought here between the Saxons and Welsh as early as 795, on occasion of which a plaintive air was composed by the bards called Morfa Rhuddlan, or the Red Marsh, which is still played with enthusiasm by the national harpers. Camden says that the castle was built by Llewellyn-ap-Sylt in 1015, or 1020, and became the palace of the Welsh princes. It was burnt down by Harold during his irruption into Wales in 1063, being then, as the Saxon Chronicle says, King Gryffyth's. It having been again occupied by the Welsh, Robert re-took it, and by command of the Conqueror restored and fortified it, as we have already seen.

ROBERT DE RHUDDLAN CURBS THE WELSH. 445

over-awe the Welch, and the custody of it committed to Robert that he might defend the English frontier against the inroads of those barbarians. The warlike lord-marcher had frequent encounters with that turbulent people, in which much blood was shed. The British inhabitants were, however, repulsed after some desperate engagements, and Robert enlarging his territories, erected a strong castle on mount Diganwy, close to the sea. [1] For fifteen years he severely chastised the Welsh, and seized their territory; notwithstanding that, proud of their ancient independence, they had refused all tokens of submission to the Normans. Making inroads into their country, through woods and marshes, and over mountain heights, he inflicted losses on the enemy in every shape, Some he butchered without mercy, like herds of cattle, as soon as he came up with them. Others he threw into dungeons, where they suffered a long imprisonment, or cruelly subjected them to a shameful slavery. It is not fit that Christians should so oppress their brethren who have been regenerated by holy baptism in the faith of Christ.

Ambition and avarice, those mainsprings of human action in every part of the world, were the powerful stimulants which urged Robert, the lord-marcher, to the indiscriminate pillage and slaughter which afterwards plunged him into the pit of destruction. It happened that, on the third of July, Gryffyth, king of Wales, came to land with


[1] Diganwy, which stood on the heights commanding the entrance of the river Conway, was also a very ancient fortress. It is supposed to have been the Roman station Dictum, and is mentioned in the Welsh Chronicles as early as 810. It was, therefore, only restored and strengthened by Robert de Rhuddlan. Conway Castle, which stands on the opposite or western bank of the river, was not built till 1284.

[2] Gryffyth-ap-Conan, king of North Wales, was engaged in a continual contest for the defence of his kingdom and independence. This is not the only instance of his daring enterprises against Robert of Rhuddlan. The Norman lord, on one occasion, received a visit from the Welsh prince to ask his aid, which was granted; but on some quarrel, Gryffyth attacked him in his own castle, took and burnt the bailey or yard, and killed such a number of his men that very few escaped into the tower.

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

three ships under a mountain called Horma-heva, [1] and the band of pirates presently spread itself over the country for pillage, like ravening wolves. Meanwhile, the tide ebbed, and the ships were left dry on the beach; Gryffyth and his followers scouring the coast and carrying off men and cattle, with which they made a hasty retreat to their vessels thus lying on the strand.

Under these circumstances, Robert was roused from his noon-day sleep by the people's cries, which made him aware of this hostile inroad on his territories. He sprung up quickly, unarmed as he was, and without delay despatched messengers to summon his vassals to arms through all the district. Meanwhile, he pursued the Welsh, without further preparation, at the head of a few soldiers, and reaching the top of mount Horma-heva, which is very lofty, saw, beneath, the pirates binding the captives and driving them to their ships with the cattle. Upon this, the noble lord-marcher, bold as a lion, shouted aloud to his small band of followers, few and unarmed as they were, calling on them to rush on the Welsh on the dry sands before the return of the tide. They however excused themselves on account of their scanty numbers and the difficulty of descending the precipitous face of the mountain. Upon this, Robert, who saw that the enemy was only waiting the return of the sea to make their escape, was overwhelmed with grief, and impatient of delay, scrambled down the mountain side to throw himself on the enemy without armour and with only one follower, a man-at-arms whose name was Osbern d'Orgeres. Seeing him coming to attack them, protected by his shield only and supported by a single soldier, the Welsh in a body hurled their spears at him, and, piercing the shield with the insupportable weight, mortally wounded the brave Osbern. But as long as Robert was able to stand and clasp his shield, no one ventured to come to close quarters and attack him sword in hand. At length the intrepid warrior fell on his knees, pierced with darts, and his strength failing, the shield, heavy


[1] The lofty promontory, conspicuous from the Menai Straits and the Irish Channel, which forms the extreme north-west of Carnarvonshire, and is now called Great Orm's head.

ROBERT DE RHUDDLAN SLAIN. 447

with the weight which clung to it, dropped from his hand; and he commended his soul to the Almighty and St. Mary, mother of God. Then the whole band rushed on him, and cutting off his head in the sight of his people, fixed it at the mast-head as a trophy of their victory. Many witnessed this spectacle from the summit of the mountain with grief and rage, but they were unable to render their lord any succour. At last the country people flocked in from the whole district; but it was too late; they were unable to save their lord-marcher, who was already slain. However, they manned some ships and pursued the pirates, as they were making their course over the sea, in a tumult of grief at seeing their lord's head carried off on the mast of the enemy's ship. Gryffyth and his crew, finding that they were chased, and observing that their pursuers' rage was inflamed by the insult to their lord, took down his head from the mast and threw it into the sea. On seeing this, Robert's followers ceased the fruitless chace. His body was lifted from the sea-shore with loud lamentations both of the English and Normans, and being carried to Chester was buried in the abbey of St. Werburgh the virgin. That monastery had been lately built by Hugh, earl of Chester, who, appointing Richard, a monk of Bec, abbot there, established a body of men devoted to the service of God in the midst of the brutish bands of that border fortress. [1]

Some years afterwards, Arnold the monk, son of Umfrid, crossed over to England, and, with the licence of Robert de Limesi, bishop of Lichfield, [2] took up his brother's remains and transferred them to the abbey of St. Evroult in Normandy. They were received with due honours by Abbot Roger and the convent of monks, and interred in the monks' cloister on the south side of the church. This Arnold, with four noble companions, Guy, Roger, Dreux, and Odo, quitted the military service in his youth, and becoming a monk, laboured more abundantly than his associates in the duties of his


[1] The abbey of St. Werburgh, founded by Edgar, king of Mercia, in 858. It was restored by Hugh Lupus, earl of Chester, and his wife, Ermentrude, in 1093.

[2] Robert de Limesi was consecrated as bishop of Lichfield by Archbishop Lanfranc in 1085 (December 25). He transferred the seat of his bishopric to Coventry the 18th of April, 1102, and died the 30th of August, 1117.

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

order, which he performed zealously for almost fifty years. He devoted himself to promote the interests of his abbey, for which he several times crossed the British sea, as well as penetrated into Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily, that he might procure supplies for the monastery from the gifts of his relations. In these journeys he visited his brother William, who was abbot of St. Euphemia, and William de Grantmesnil his cousin, [1] as well as other wealthy relations in Italy, and by a gentle violence carried off all he could to enrich his own abbey. In this way he procured from his kinsmens' stores ornaments and other things required for his own church, making his kindred subservient to the demands of the abbey. He had to bear many slights and rebuffs on several occasions, but he was not to be deterred from his undertaking by the obstacles which he sometimes, indeed frequently, met with. Nothing induced him to relax his zeal in the cause he espoused; and it was at his charge that the arch of stone, which is still standing, was built over his brother's tomb. Reynold the painter, who had the surname of Bartolomeo, decorated the arch and tomb with painting in a variety of colours, and Vitalis the Englishman, at the earnest entreaty of Arnold, composed an epitaph in elegiac verses, to the following purport:-

I.

Here in the soil that gave him birth,
As mortals all return to earth,
ROBERT OF RUUDDLAN'S tomb you see;
The flower of Norman chivalry,
Old Umfrid's son, of Danish race,
While beaming yet with youthful grace,
And foremost 'mong the bold and brave,
Fated to find an early grave.
What though a stormy life he led,
The fierce lord-marcher bowed his head
To holy church, the spouse of Christ;
And gave her wealth, for well he wist
'Twas shame to turn from open door,
The priest, the pilgrim, or the poor.

II.

Where Gwned [2] meets the western wave,
And Clwyd's floods the meadows lave,


[1] William, second son of Hugh de Grantmesnil, and son-in-law of Robert Guiscard.

[2] Gwyned, North Wales.

ROBERT DE RHUDDLAN'S EPITAPH. 449

He Rhuddlan's Castle built, a name
Which gives him never-dying fame;
And fenced it well, 'mid wars' alarms,
To curb a savage race in arms.
O'er Snowdon's heights and Cefyn's stream [1]
Full oft they saw his armour gleam;
For in the fierce and wild foray
Nor stream nor mountain stopped his way.
And chief, when princely Blethyn fled [2]
Before the scanty band he led,
Successful by a bold surprise,
A glorious booty was the prize.
Prince Howell [3] groaned in Chester's towers,
And royal Gryffyth [4] counted hours
Of dark and sad captivity;
And prostrate Trahaern bowed the knee
To Robert, flushed with victory.

III.

Alas! how short his bold career!
See reckless, without pause or fear,
Alone he rushes on the foe,
Where on the sandy beach below
Orm's beetling cliffs frown fearfully;
'Twas on the third of bright July.
Too rashly left Diganwy's walls,
Pierced by a hundred darts he falls,
And Gryffyth takes his gory head,
Sad trophy of the ruthless deed.
Fierce Owen raised triumphant song, [5]
Prince Howell's bards the notes prolong


[1] Cefyn, the Welsh name of the Conway.

[2] BLETHYN-AP-CONWYN, prince of North Wales and Powis; at first, jointly with Rywallon (1060-1066), and afterwards solely until 1073. The expedition of which our author speaks must have taken place in 1072.

[3] HOWEL-AP-OWEN and his brother, Rhys-Ap-Owen, princes of South Wales, were defeated at the battle of Pwll-Getty in 1076, and having been made prisoners, were both put to death.

[4] GRYFFYTH-AP-CONAN, having endeavoured to dethrone Trahaern-Ap-Caradoc, seized the isle of Anglesey, and then landed on the coast of Carnarvonshire, where he fought a battle at Bron-yr-Erw in 1073, in which he was defeated, and probably sent at once prisoner to Chester. Having recovered his liberty, he attacked Trahaern again, and gained a victory on the moutains of Carno in 1079.

[5] Owen, son of Edwyn-Ap-Grono, afterwards made king of North Wales by the Normans.

[6] Howel-Ap-Grono, though originally only lord of Tegengle, from his right of suzerainty may have well been called prince or king by the Welsh.

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

The brave lord-marcher's country weeps,
While here his mangled body sleeps,
Resting in Evroult's cloistered shade;
The good saints' merits be his aid!

IV.

Now, reader kind, some moments spare;
To breathe for Robert's soul a prayer;
ALMIGHTY FATHER, grant him rest,
In the bright mansions of the blest!
CHRIST, who life's breath and second birth
Dost give to sinful sons of earth,
Author of immortality,
Propitious to thy servant he;
Snatch him from dreary shades below,
From fires of purgatorial woe,
And, by thy cross, his ransom's price,
Waft him to light and paradise!
And, MARY mild, the sinner's friend,
Thy powerful intercession lend;
For when his foes around him pressed,
And Gwyned's spearmen pierced his breast,
Robert to thee his prayers addressed,
Invoked thee in the hour of death,
And sighed to thee his latest breath.

CH.IV.- Robert Curthose, by his feeble government, suffers Normandy to be the prey of violence and rapine - In a moment of alarm he arrests and imprisons his brother Henry, and Robert de Belesme.

WHILE William Rufus, having established his authority through all parts of England, was employed in keeping down the insurgents by the strong hand of his princely power, the ambitious Odo, banished from England, betook himself to his diocese of Bayeux, and finding duke Robert sunk in slothful ease, set himself to acquire the mastery over the whole of Normandy. The entire province was in a state of dissolution; bands of freebooters overran the villages and country-side, and the unarmed peasantry were every where at the mercy of thieves and robbers. Duke Robert imposed no restraint upon the evil-doers, who, for eight years under that feeble-minded prince, vented their fury on the defenceless people. They harassed without remorse, even holy church, and wrung from her by force of arms, or devastated, the possessions with which she had been

A.D. 1088.] WRETCHED STATE OF NORMANDY. 451

endowed by their worthy ancestors. The monasteries were full of grief at their desolation, and the monks and nuns were reduced to penury. [1] In the midst of these pestilent disorders, no honour was shown to persons and things dedicated to God; no respect. Fire, robbery and homicide were matters of daily occurrence, and the people were overwhelmed with calamities and trouble. Normandy gave birth to wicked sons, who abandoned themselves to every sort of crime, and cruelly devoured their mother's bowels. The Venus of Sodom stalked boldly in the midst of such scenes with her wanton enticements, defiling the effeminate, who were only fit to be burnt. The marriage bed was polluted by open adultery, and every part of the divine law was entirely neglected. The bishops excommunicated the outlaws by their divine authority, and theologians gave the warnings of God to the guilty in their discourses; but vain were all these against the irresistible influence of pride and avarice, and the vices which follow in their train. Strong places were every where constructed without lawful authority, where the sons of robbers were nourished like wolves' whelps to mangle sheep. The malignants sought causes of offence, that in their mutual quarrels they might have opportunities of resorting to places in the neighbourhood, and that burnings and plunderings might result from their enterprises. The depopulated country and crowds of widows and infirm persons, lamenting the calamities brought upon them, are witnesses to this day of the truth of my statements. Thus quickly vanished and fell into decay, confusion, and disgrace, through the sloth of the careless duke, all that had peen created by the vigour and ability of a wise prince and nis assistants, and had long flourished in Normandy. In the course of the summer, as soon as certain intelligence of the surrender of Rochester was received beyond sea, Henry, the heir-apparent, now count of the Cotentin, crossed over to England, and demanded of his brother the


[1] Some idea of these devastations may be formed from the fearful account given in the Chartulary of the Holy Trinity at Caen (Bibliotheque Royale, 5650) of those which were suffered by that abbey from the neighbours of its domains. The greatest men in the country, William, count d'Evreux, Richard de Courci, Robert Bertran, Robert de Mowbray, and even Prince Henry himself did not blush to take part in these ravages.

452 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.V.

investiture of his mother's domains. King William received him graciously as became a brother, and granted him fraternally all that it was in his power to bestow. Having accomplished his business, in autumn he took leave of the king, and embarked on his return to Normandy, with Robert de Belesme, who, through the mediation of powerful friends, had made his peace with the king. Meanwhile, their arrival had been anticipated by certain malevolent sowers of discord who mix falsehood with truth, and who sent tidings to duke Robert that his brother Henry, and Robert de Belesme had not only made peace with the Red King, but had also bound themselves by an oath to the duke's disadvantage. In consequence, the duke knowing them to be powerful and valiant knights, and being in great fear of their enterprises, took counsel with the bishop of Bayeux, and caused them to be arrested. Before they could undertake anything, and while landing in security from their ships on the sea shore, they were seized and fettered, and committed to the custody of the tyrannical bishop, one at Bayeux, the other at Neuilly. When Roger, earl of Shrewsbury, heard that his son Robert was a prisoner, he hastened over to Normandy, having obtained the king's licence, and put all his castles in a state of defence against the duke. But Odo of Bayeux, like a dragon struck to the earth and vomiting flames, and full of rage at the haughty treatment he had received from the king, raised all sorts of commotions in Normandy, that by some means or other he might foment evil to his nephew, by whom he had been disgracefully expelled. The duke was much afraid of him, and followed his advice in some things, while he made light of it in others.

CH. V.- Odo, bishop of Bayeux, counsels Robert Curthose - He takes up arms against Robert de Belesme - Belesme's extraordinary career and character.

THE malcontents in Normandy being every where in arms, and threatening more mischief, the turbulent bishop Odo came to the duke at Rouen, and reviewing the state of the country at large thus addressed him:- "Whoever would worthily govern the state, and rule the people of God, among whom there is so much diversity of conduct, should be both gentle and severe, according to circumstances. He

A.D. 1088.] BISHOP ODO'S ADVICE. 453

should be gentle as a lamb to the good, the submissive, and the humble; fierce as a lion to the wicked, the rebellious and the proud. Consider this well, my lord the duke, that you may well govern this noble duchy of Normandy, which, by the grace of God, you have inherited from your ancestors. Take courage, and act with firmness. You see that miscreants and outlaws are revelling throughout the land, more like Pagans than Christians in their evil courses, and, if I may be permitted to say so, equalling the former in the enormity of their crimes. The monks and the widows cry to you, and you sleep. Unutterable delinquencies are frequently reported to you, and you make light of them. It was not thus that holy David, and the great Alexander acted: not thus, Julius Caesar and Severus, [1] the African; not thus Hannibal the Carthaginian, Scipio Africanus, Cyrus the Persian, and Marius the Roman. But I waste time in mentioning barbarians, whose very names are unknown to you. Let us turn to those which are more familiar, and belong to our own race. Think of your fathers and forefathers, whose firmness of mind and courage made them formidable to the warlike race of the French. I speak of Rollo, William Long-sword, the three Richards, your grandfather Robert, and lastly, your father, William, who was more illustrious than all his predecessors, I beseech you to emulate their firmness and ability, as they inherited the vigour and industry of their ancestors, who by their prodigious exertions, became arbiters of the fate of kingdoms, put tyrants under their yoke, and subdued barbarous nations. Rouse yourself, and, assembling the invincible army of Normandy, lead it to the city of Nantes. There is a garrison of your own soldiers in the citadel which your father built, and the whole city, with the venerable noel, the bishop, render you willing homage. Summon all the leading men of Maine to attend you there, and receive graciously, and address courteously; those who obey your summons; but take arms against such as treat it with contempt, and lose no time in besieging their castles if they do not surrender them. Having secured the submission of the people of Maine, march against Earl Roger, [2] and rid yourself altogether


[1] Septimius Severus.

[2] Roger de Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury, who, as Ordericus has just informed us, hastened over to Normandy as soon as he heard of his son Robert de Belesme's arrest.

451 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.V.

of him and his sons, by utterly expelling them from Normandy. Fear not; trusting in the power of the Lord. Carry yourself manfully, and be guided by the counsels of the wise. Already you have in prison Robert, earl Roger's eldest son, and if you make a bold effort, such as becomes a brave prince, it is in your power utterly to expel that disloyal family of Talvas from your duchy. It is a cursed race; it breeds mischief, and contrives it as their inheritance. This is proved by their horrible ends; death coming upon none of them in the ordinary course of nature. This family of Talvas, [1] if it be not now extirpated, will, in my opinion, yet prove very troublesome to you, and even irresistible. They hold a number of the strongest fortresses, Belesme, Lurson, Essai, Alencon, Domfront, St. Ceneri, La Roche d'Ige, for which the bold Hugh assassinated Mabel, [2] and Vignas, with many more stately castles, built by William de Belesme, Robert, Ivo and Warin, and their successors, or which they wrested from their lawful owners or their neighbours, either by force or stratagem. Their whole conduct has been steeped in fraud and crime, nor have they ever kept faith with any one with whom they were connected by the ties of friendship, or alliance. They have prospered by getting rid of their unsuspecting neighbours by death or captivity, and their stately houses and strong fortifications have been built at the expense of the blood of the peasants. Now is your opportunity, most noble duke, for stripping them of these strongholds with perfect justice, if you will only resolutely follow the example of your magnanimous father and his great actions. As for him, he was master of all these fortresses as long as he lived, and committed the custody of them to those he thought fit. But this Robert, as soon as he received intelligence of the king's death, arrogantly expelled your own garrisons from your own castles, and disinherited you by getting them into his own power. Reflect wisely on what I have said, and like a good prince, exert yourself worthily for the peace of holy mother church, and the defence of the poor and defenceless, while you crush the rebellious by the force of your arms. If you break the horns of the leaders who raise their heads against


[1] See vol. i. pp. 385-389.

[2] See p. 194 of the present volume.

A.D. 1088.] AFFAIRS OF MAINE. 455

you, the rest will be terrified by the ruin of their associates, and submit to your commands without opposition. Thus the people of God will rejoice in peace and security under the shield of your protection, and offer devout prayers to the Almighty for your safety. All orders in your dominions will constantly celebrate divine worship, and the law of God be duly observed in general security".

The bishop's exhortations were cordially approved by all who were present, and they cheerfully placed themselves at the duke's disposal for the defence of the country. Duke Robert therefore, having assembled troops, led them to Mantes, where he was received with joy, both by the clergy and citizens. On hearing his messages, Geoffery de Mayenne, [1] Robert the Burgundian, [2] Elias son of John, [3] and many others came and offered their services to the Duke. The Norman troops were under the command of the bishop of Bayeux, William count of Evreux, Ralph de Conches, and his nephew, William de Breteuil, [4] and many other knights of distinguished merit. Paganus de Montdoubleau with other malcontents held possession of the castle of Ballon, and made an obstinate resistance, when the duke and his army proceeded to invest it. In that engagement, Osmund de Gaspree, a handsome and honourable knight was slain on the calends [1st] of September. His body was brought to St. Evroult by the Monk Arnold, and buried in the porch before the church door.

After many losses on both sides, the garrison of Ballon made peace with the duke, and afterwards the united forces of the Normans and Manceaux, under the duke's command, laid siege to the castle of St. Ceneri. The family of Robert


[1] Geoffrey, lord of Mayenne (1059-1099). See vol. i. p. 449. He was the most formidable of the opponents of Norman domination in Mayenne in 1063. Having been reconciled with Duke William, he accompanied him in his expedition to England. He married Hildeburge, daughter of Judicael, count of Nantes, but formed an attachment to Hersende, eldest daughter of Hugh III., and wife of Azzo.

[2] Robert de Nevers, surnamed the Burgundian, lord of Sable, in right of Avicia de Sable, his first wife.

[3] Elias de Beaugenci, lord of La Fleche son of John de Beaugenci, and grandson of Paule, daughter of Herbert Eveille-chien, count of Maine. See vol. i. p. 448.

[4] Son of Adeline, sister of Ralph de Conches.

456 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.V.

de Belesme had taken refuge there, and it was committed to the keeping of Robert Quarrel, a knight of great spirit and resolution, who was encouraged by Earl Roger to offer a determined resistance to the besiegers; but their provisions failing the castle was taken, and by order of the enraged duke, Robert Quarrel, the governor, was deprived of sight. Many others also, who had joined in the obstinate resistance to the Norman prince, suffered mutilation of their limbs by a judgment of his court.

Then Geoffrey of Mayenne, with the lords of that province, sought an audience with the duke, and presented to him Robert Giroie, son of Robert Giroie. [1] "This man, my lord duke", said Geoffrey, "is your cousin, and has long dwelt in Apulia with your kinsmen, who are very powerful in that country. He now comes, in full confidence, to you, his lord and cousin, offering you his fealty and service, and demanding this castle as his right, his father having held it all his life by inheritance, and died there". Duke Robert readily granted this claim, and restored the castle of St. Ceneri to Robert Giroie. He held it for nearly thirty-six years afterwards, and fortified it with walls, and ditches, and watch-towers. At his death he left it to his sons, William and Robert.

The inhabitants of this place seldom enjoyed any peace or respite from the attacks of the Normans and Manceaux. The rocky hill on which it stands is surrounded on three sides by the windings of the Sarthe. St. Ceneric, the venerable confessor, [2] dwelt there in the time of Milehard, bishop of Seez. He founded there a convent of monks, becoming the Lord's soldier among the noble company, and after a well-spent life, departed in Christ happily on the nones [7th] of May. At length, in the reign of Charles the Simple, at the time Hasting the Dane, with his heathen band, was ravaging Neustria, the holy remains were translated by the faithful to Chateau-Thierri, the monks were dispersed, and the monastery ruined. In the times that followed it changed its inhabitants. Some cruel freebooters


[1] See vol. i. pp. 390, etc.

[2] St. Ceneric, who is called in Normandy St. Ceneri, and even St. Cenerin, established himself about the year 670 in the place which bears his name, and died there on the 7th of May, as our author states.

A.D. l088.] CHARACTER OF ROBERT DE BELESME. 457

established a den of thieves where the despisers of worldly things had lived orderly under the rule of St. Ceneric, bearing the Lord's yoke according to the monastic discipline to the end. It is reported that one hundred and forty monks laboured there in the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth. Their grave-stones in the church, and all around, bear open testimony to travellers of the worth and reverence of the men who there lie buried. The miscreants who succeeded them in their habitation suffered, as they deserved, many calamities; fires, massacres, and numberless other miseries, being their frequent lot.

The garrisons of Alencon, Belesme, and other fortresses, hearing of the sad fate of Robert Quarrel and his comrades, were much terrified, and consulted together on the propriety of surrendering the castles on the duke's approach. But Robert's exhibition of spirit quickly failed, and his love of ease and quiet soon led him to terminate the campaign, disbanding his army, and suffering each man to depart to his own home.

Earl Roger was much delighted at the dissolution of the united forces of Normandy and Maine, and sent fair-speaking envoys to the duke demanding peace and his son's release, with many empty promises. The duke, who was imprudent and fickle, easy to be persuaded, and lax in the execution of justice, accepted unexpectedly the frivolous offers of his disloyal vassals, making peace with Earl Roger, and granting his demands, and releasing Robert de Belesme from confinement. But as soon as he had obtained his liberty he became more insolent than ever, paid little attention to the orders or threats of the duke, and, mindful of the affront he had received, took a long and multiplied vengeance for his wrongs. In fact, during the fifteen years he and the duke remained afterwards in Normandy together, [1] his rage was unbounded, and he was seldom at a loss for opportunities to raise commotions in the province. By his crafty devices he drew over to his side many of the duke's servants and adherents, and lessened the domains which his predecessors had possessed and largely augmented. Robert


[1] This calculation is not exact, the two Roberts were only fourteen years together in Normandy, and they were reconciled before the battle of Tinchebrai.

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

Belesme [1] was of a subtle genius, deceitful and wily: in person he was stout and of great strength; intrepid and formidable in war; he was a fluent speaker, but desperately cruel; his avarice and lust were insatiable; he was an able manager of important affairs, and toiled with the utmost patience through the greatest worldly trials; he displayed great skill in constructing buildings and machines and other difficult works, and inexorable cruelty in tormenting his enemies. He did not honour, cherish, and clothe holy church as a son should a mother, but dishonoured, oppressed, and stripped it as a step-son would treat his mother-in-law. After numberless offences and traitorous conspiracies, King Henry, by God's judgment, has most righteously committed him to close confinement, having thus made himself the stern avenger of the wretched under the special influence of divine revelation. But we shall speak of this in another place.

This lord, with the assistance of King William, by whom he was much beloved for his father's and mother's (Roger and Mabel) sake, obtained for wife a daughter of Guy, count of Ponthieu, Agnes by name; he had by her a son called William, who inherited their large domains scattered through Normandy and Ponthieu. By means not only of his wealth but his domineering spirit, Robert established his pre-eminence over all his brothers, and, disinheriting them, usurped the entire patrimony of their ancestors both in Normandy and the county of Maine, of which for a long period he had sole possession. He used his utmost efforts to reduce to subjection the lords of his neighbourhood, his equals in birth, and with some, actuated by his insatiable ambition, he succeeded, either by treachery and insupportable hostilities, or by insidious attacks. This was the case


[1] The character of this extraordinary man, whose great talents distinguished him from most of the turbulent nobles of this age, seems to have inspired all the contemporary historians with horror. Henry of Huntingdon says, "He was a very Pluto, Megaera, Cerberus, or anything you can conceive still more horrible", and gives details of his cruelties which are omitted by Ordericus. William of Malmesbury particularly enlarges on the powers of dissimulation, by means of which his victims became his prey. Huntingdon's Letter to Warin on the Illustrious Men of his Time, p. 311. Malmesbury's History, p. 432. Bohn's Antiq. Library.

A.D. 1088.] GEOFFREY, COUNT DE MORTAGNE. 459

with Hugh de Nonant, [1] Paganus, [2] and Robert de St. Ceneri, [3] Bernard de la Ferte, [4] and several others whom he frequently troubled, terrified, and perplexed in various ways. Many he humbled by seizing their domains and burning their castles, or reduced them to the utmost poverty by ravaging their lands, or, what was worse, he made them worthless by maiming their limbs, so that they became halt and lame, or by depriving them of sight. By such tyranny of the cruel lord-marcher while he was aiming to crush all his neighbours, the wretched country was reduced to desolation; they, on the other hand, proud of their nobility, which was equal to his, defending to death their former independence. Thus immense injuries were constantly inflicted, loss beng added to loss, either through revenge or covetousness, until the people of the country were threatened with want.

Geoffrey, son of Rotro, count de Mortagne, took up arms against Robert, and set fire to Echaufour [5] and several other villages around, from which he swept off much booty, and made many prisoners. This count was magnanimous, handsome, and strong; he feared God, was a devout friend of the church, a staunch protector of the clergy and poor; in peace, he was gentle and courteous, and of most obliging manners; in war he was powerful and successful, and became formidable to the neighbouring princes, who were all his enemies. The nobility of his own birth, and that of his own wife Beatrice, rendered him illustrious above all his compeers; and he had among his subjects warlike barons and brave governors of castles. He gave his daughters in marriage to men of the rank of counts: Margaret, to Henry earl of Warwick, [6] and Juliana to Gilbert de Laigle, [7] from whom sprung a noble race of handsome children. The glory of Count Geoffrey was exalted by such a progeny, and be maintained it by his


[1] Nonant, a bourg to the north of Seez.

[2] The family of Paganel were lords of Hauterive, near Alencon.

[3] This person must be Robert Giroie, oftened mentioned by Ordericus, who was in constant hostility with Robert de Belesme.

[4] Paganel, as well as Robert de St. Ceneri, were probably vassals of Robert de La Ferte-Bernard, who was also of the family of Giroie.

[5] Echaufour, near St. Evroult. See p. 288.

[6] Henry was eldest son of Roger de Beaumont, earl of Warwick.

[7] Gilbert, lord of Laigle, on the death of his father, Richer, mentioned in book vii.

460 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.VI.

valour and courage, his wealth and alliances. Above all, having the fear of God, he feared no man, but marched boldly, with a lion's port. Laying claim to the strong castle of Domfront and other domains, as his right, he endeavoured to dispossess his cousin Robert of them. He was grieved to harass the unarmed and innocent, but he could not bring the public enemy with whom he had a just quarrel to a fair field for deciding it. Robert de Belesme, who was the terror of so many others, was not the less in constant apprehension of them, and did not dare to join issue with his adversary in open fight. He therefore prudently skulked within the shelter of his fortifications, and even permitted, with regret, freebooters to ravage his territories, rather than venture to march against them, brave as he was. For, in his extreme caution, he was apprehensive that if he took the field, his own vassals might leave him in the enemy's hands. In consequence, the quarrel between the two lords-marchers was long protracted, and was the cause of severe losses and much bloodshed among their dependants. There were similar germs of evil among the nobles in other parts of Normandy, which growing to a head, produced a fruitful crop of tragic occurrences.

CH. VI. Durand, abbot of Troarn - His death, and epitaph - The sister abbies of Troarn, and St. Martin, at Seez, both founded by Roger de Montgomery - Prince Henry released.

WHILE Normandy under an inert prince was a prey in every quarter to the turbulent enterprises of her factious lords, and the peaceful sons of the church, exposed to the loss of their property by fire and frequent depredations, vented their sorrow in groans and sighs, the merciful Ruler of mankind took pity on his servants, and snatched some of his veteran followers from the lake of misery and valley of tears, the abode of mortals, and, as we believe, enrolled them in the company of those who had been their fellow soldiers in the same service, among the delights of the blessed paradise.

Thus Durand, the aged abbot of Troarn, who had been a monk from his childhood, and was celebrated for his piety and wisdom - a doctor of great skill in church music, and of deep erudition in sacred learning, severe to himself, gentle

A.D. 1088.] DURAND, ABBOT OF TROARN. 461

to others - took to his bed after long labours in the worship of God, and haying well prepared himself, like a prudent and faithful servant, for going worthily to his court, he departed out of this life on the the third of the ides [the 11th] of February. At his death, an extraordinary circumstance occurred. The corpse appeared to be of two colours; the left side of the face, and the whole body down to the feet, were of a snowy whiteness: the right side was of a leaden hue, which entirely tinged that half of the corpse from the crown of the head to the feet, while the other became white. This unusual appearance of different shades of colour struck the beholders with terror, and supplied those who studiously inquired into the cause of such a phenomenon an opportunity of exhibiting their subtlety in speculation. Some said one thing, some another. It is not my business to insert in this short account all the clever observations which were made in abundance. Some, indeed interpreted the difference between the left and the right, as that of the active and contemplative, or the present and future, life. Others thought that the prodigy was a sign of future events.

Durand's devout disciples reverently buried the corpse of their pious master in the chapter, and inscribed the following epitaph ou a white stone which covered the grave:-

Here venerable DURAND finds a tomb;
February th'eleventh bears record of his doom
When, from the burden of the flesh released,
His life of bliss began, his earthly labours ceased.
This sacred fane to God's high praise he reared,
Whose laws he honoured and whose frown he feared;
And here, as abbot, held his gentle sway,
Nursed us for heaven, and showed, himself, the way.
Sure, he, we mourning lay in holy ground,
Has for his pious deeds God's heavenly mercy found.

Having interred their pastor, the monks of Troarn elected Arnulf, prior of Seez, and requested their ecclesiastical and temporal rulers to appoint him their superior. Arnold undertook the government of the abbey of Troarn with their full consent and approbation, and conducted it wisely for nearly twenty-two years, [1] edifying his flock, both by his writings


[1] 1088-1112.

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

and his excellent example. The two monasteries just named were founded by one nobleman, and drew from one source their usages in divine service, and their monastic discipline. For Roger de Montgomery established the convents of monks in both, and the abbey of Fechamp supplied the the rules for their regular life. The two societies were united by a mutual regard, and they were both under the protection of the miracle-working Martin, archbishop of Tours. The monks of Seez received their first abbot from the brethren of Troarn, [1] and now in his life-time sought a return of the favour in the person of one of his disciples. They returned thanks to God for the superior that was sent them, and profited much by the talents of the good shepherd.

Then Robert, duke of Normandy, in compliance with the entreaties of his barons, pardoned his brother Henry, and released him from the confinement into which he had been thrown with Robert de Belesme.

CH. VII. Gregory VII. dies - Victor III. succeeds him - Then Urban II. - Guibert, the anti pope - Affairs of the Normans in Apulia.

ABOUT this time, Pope Gregory died in the city of Beneventum, [2] and Desiderius, abbot of Monte-Cassino, was elected pope, and enthroned by the name of Victor. [3] The body of the deceased pope was interred in the chureh which contains the relics of St. Bartholomew the apostle, [4] where abundant miracles were performed by his merits, on behalf of those who asked them in faith. Lepers begged the water in which his body was washed, and after washing themselves in it with faith, were immediately cleansed.

Pope Victor having been elevated to the papacy, began to chant his first mass on the holy day of Whitsuntide. But by God's will he fell suddenly ill, and was compelled by


[1] His name was Robert. He was brother of Dreus, abbot of Treport, and flourished 1050-January 15, 1089.

[2] Gregory VII. did not die at Beneventum, but at Salerno, the 25th of May, 1085.

[3] Victor III., elected May 24, 1086, consecrated May. 9, 1087.

[4] Gregory VII. was not buried in the church of St. Bartholomew at Beneventum, but in that of St. Matthew at Salerno.

A.D. 1086-1088.] POPES VICTOR III. AND URBAN II. 463

diarrhoea to retire thrice during the service; so that he scarcely performed a single mass while he was pope. He was a man of high birth, of great wisdom, and ardent piety, and governed the monastery at Monte-Cassino a long time. Removed from thence to the popedom, he suddenly fell sick, as I have said before, languishing from Whitsuntide until August, when he died. [1] On his death, the Roman clergy assembled, and elected Odo, who from a monk had become bishop of Ostia, pope, by the name of Urban. The God of Israel made him powerful against the Mahometans, [2] and gave him the tower of David with its bulwarks against the side of Damascus. [3] This pope was a native of France, of distinguished birth and manners; he was born at Rheims, [4] and had been a monk of Cluni; of the middle age, stout in person, of great modesty, earnest piety, and remarkable wisdom and eloquence. Guibert, the intruder into the apostle's see, still troubled the church of God, and either by fair words or persecution drew all he could from the unity of peace to join in his schism. [5] Odo, count of Sutri, [6] was his nephew, and caused many vexations to the supporters of ecclesiastical unity.

Pope Urban, trusting in the Lord of heaven, who does not Iong suffer the rod of sinners in the lot of the righteous, [7] sent legates and letters, with the authority of Rome, to the French, the Greeks, and other nations of the world, exhorting them to persist steadfastly in the Catholic faith, and carefully avoid all schism from the law of God, and the body of Christ, which is the church. Only Henry, and the emperor of Germany, and his allies, adhered to Guibert; but the


[1] The 16th or September in the same year. He was, as our author intimates, of the family of the counts of Capua, and governed the abbey of Monte-Cassino, when, alter a long struggle, he consented to accept the papacy.

[2] Allophiloi; the adorers of Allah.

[3] Canticles iv. 4.

[4] Urban II. was a native, if not of the city, of the territory of Rheims. He is supposed to have been born at Bainson, near Chătillon-sur-Marne, of which his father was lord, as well as of Lageri.

[5] The anti-pope Guibert, archbishop of Ravenna, who was elected at Brixen the 27th of June, 1080, lived till September, 1100.

[6] Sutri, an episcopal city in the patrimony of St. Peter.

[7] Psalm cxxv. 3.

464 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.VIII.

French and English and almost all other nations piously supported Urban.

In Apulia, the Normans favoured with one accord the catholic pope; but they had bitter divisions among themselves, and brothers waged with each other worse than civil wars. Roger, surnamed Crumena, which signifies a purse, had sole possession with his mother of the duchy of Calabria, to the great grief of his brother Bohemond, who lived in exile at the court of Jourdan, prince of Capua. In consequence, with the aid of Jourdan, his brother-in-law, and his other relations and friends, he took up arms against his brother, and began to recover part of his father's territories, which he had assisted him in conquering. His brother and step-mother could not withstand this attack, and were compelled to listen to prudent advice from their friends. By the persuasions of Roger, count of Sicily, and their other neighbours, they made peace, and ceded to Bohemood, Bari and Tarentum, with two other cities, and a number of towns. [1] The two brothers having made this treaty, gave their sister Mabel [2] in marriage to William de Grantmesnil, [3] and, as he was very brave, placed several castles under his command. The Normans prudently connecting themselves by alliances of this sort, are masters to this day of great part of Italy, which Dreux, Umfrid, and Richard, [4] and above all Robert Guiscard conquered.

CH. VIII. Ralph, abbot of Seez, becomes afterwards archbishop of Canterbury - William Rufus severely taxes the English - Has their estates re-valued - Appropriates episcopal revenues - Ralph, his chaneellor, a sharp lawyer, the instrument of his exactions - His character.

IN the year of our Lord 1089, the twelfth indiction, Robert, the first abbot of the monastery of Seez, a worthy and simple-minded man, took to his bed in the month of January, and having received the Lord's sacraments, departed this life on the eighteenth of the calends of February [15th of January]. He was succeeded by Ralph, son of Silfred


[1] These events recurred in the year 1088.

[2] Surnamed Courte-Louve, fifth daughter of Robert Guiscard.

[3] William, second son of Hugh de Grantmesnil.

[4] Richard, prince of Capua, son of Ansquetil de Quarrel.

A.D. 1089.] ENGLISH PRELATES. 465

d'Escures, a monk of the same abbey. [1] Being deeply learned, as well as fluent of speech and good humoured, he was generally liked. In his youth he quitted a distinguished family to enter on a monastic life, and humbly served ten years, through the various degrees in the offices which fell to the monks. At last, in his eleventh year, he succeeded to the government of the abbey by the command of Girard, bishop of Seez, who consecrated him; and he administered it piously for sixteen years, while the storms of war were raging around. With God's help, he diligently increased the possessions of the church, as far as the times permitted. But he was compelled to take refuge in England from the increasing severities of Robert de Belesme, and was retained there by King Henry, who treated him with great respect, and through bishop Gundulph, raised him to the see of Rochester. Some years afterwards he was promoted to succeed the venerable archbishop Anselm, and presided over the metropolitan see of Canterbury nine years.

In the third year of William Rufus, king of England, Lanfranc, archbishop of the metropolis of Canterbury, departed this life, [2] and was buried before the crucifix in the church of the Holy Trinity, which he had built with great magnificence. Anselm, abbot of Bec, composed an elegy in heroic verse to the memory of his countryman, and by God's providence was, after three years, promoted by canonical election to the see of Canterbury. [3] Afterwards, within the ten years of the reign of William Rufus, Thomas, metropolitan of York, followed his brother archbishop to the tomb, [4] as well as many other bishops and abbots.


[1] His father was lord of Escures, a hamlet in the suburbs of Seez, not Escures near Falaise. Ralph became a monk at St. Martin de Seez in 1079, succeeded Robert I. in 1089, and was made bishop of Rochester the 9th of August, 1108, succeeding bishop Gundulph. He was raised to the see of Canterbury the 26th of April, 1114, and died the 20th of October, 1122.

[2] The 20th of May, 1089.

[3] Anselm was named to the metropolitan see when William Rufus lay on his sick bed, by the universal agreement of those who were present, on the 6th of March, 1093, and consecrated the 4th of December following.

[4] Thomas, archbishop of York, the first of that name, elected May 24, 1070-November 18, 1100. It is not quite exact to say that this bishop died during the reign of William Rufus, who expired on the 2nd of August of the same year.

466 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.VIII.

Wulstan, bishop of Worcester, [1] Robert, bishop of Hereford, [2] Osmund, bishop of Salisbury, [3] and Walkelin, bishop of Winchester, [4] also Baldwin, the archdeacon, who was abbot of St Edmund's, [5] bishop and martyr, Thurstan, abbot of Glastonbury, [6] and Reynold, abbot of Abingdon, [7] and several other bishops and abbots, died; whom I refrain from naming individually, lest I should weary the reader.

At this time a certain clerk named Ralph [8] gained the confidence of William Rufus, and acquired pre-eminence over all the king's officers by his subtlety in prosecutions and his skill in flattery. This man was of an acute intellect and handsome person, a fluent speaker, fond of the pleasures of the table, and addicted to wine and lust; he was, at the same time, cruel and ambitious, prodigal to his own adherents, but most rapacious in his exactions from strangers. Sprung from poor and low parents, and rising to a level far beyond that to which his birth entitled him, his arrogance was by swelled the losses he inflicted on others. He was the son of one Thurstan, an obscure priest of the diocese of Bayeux, and, having been brought up from his earliest years among the vile parasites of the court, was better skilled in crafty intrigues and verbal subtleties than in sound


[1] St. Wulstan, bishop of Worcester, September 8, 1062- January 19, 1095.

[2] Robert Losing, bishop of Hereford, December 29, 1079-June 26, 1095.

[3] Osmund, bishop of Salisbury, 1078-December 3, 1099.

[4] Walkelin, bishop of Winchester, Maw 23, 1070-January 3, 1098.

[5] Baldwin, a monk of St. Denis, afterwards abbot of St. Edmund's, 1085-December 29, 1097.

[6] Thurston, abbot of Glastonbury, 1083-1102.

[7] Reynold, abbot of Abingdon, 1084-1097.

[8] This was another of the remarkable characters of the age. Henry of Huntingdon paints it in a few short sentences, in much the same colours as Ordericus. See his Notices of the Distinguished Men of his own Times, p. 310 (Antiq. Lib.). The Saxon Chronicle calls him the king's chaplain, who held his courts (gemot) all over England. Ralph appears to have been a sort of judge in eyre, or of circuit, and a very corrupt one. Ingram quotes a curious notice of him from the Chronicle of Peterborough, published by Sparke, typis Bowyer, 1723, from which we learn that he wrote a book, now lost, ON THE LAWS OF ENGLAND. Ingram says, "He may, therefore, be safely called the father of English lawyers, or at least law-writers. It was probably the foundation of the later works of Bracton, Fleta, Fortescue, and others".

A.D. 1089.] THE LANDS RE-VALUED. 467

learning. Inflated with ambition to raise himself above the eminent men who adorned the court of the great king William, he undertook many things without orders, and of which that prince was ignorant, making impertinent and vexatious accusations in the king's court, and arrogantly over-awing his superiors as if he was supported by the royal authority. In consequence Robert, the king's steward, [1] gave him the surname of Flambard, which, indeed, prophetically suited his genius and conduct; for, like a devouring flame, he tormented the people and turned the daily chants of the church into lamentations, by the new practices he introduced into the country. He disquieted the young king by his perfidious suggestions, recommending him to revise the record which had been taken of all property throughout England, and, making a new division of the lands, to deprive his subjects, both native and alien of all that exceeded a certain amount. Having obtained the king's consent, he had all the plough-lands, which are called in English hides, [2] accurately measured and registered, and setting aside the larger admeasurement which the liberal-minded English had made use of by order of king Edward, and lessening the estates of the farmers, augmented the royal revenues. By this diminution of the former extent of their estates, and the heavy burdens of new and increased taxation, he shamefully oppressed the king's faithful and humble subjects, impoverishing them by the loss of their property, and reducing them from affluence to great indigence.

By Ralph's advice, the young king, on the death of the prelates, took their churches with the domains attached to them from ancient times, into his own hands, and set his courtiers over the convents of monks, and the deans and canons of the episcopal sees, allowing these a small


[1] Dispensator; from whence Despenser became the family name. This Robert is so described in the Domesday-book. He was brother of Urso d'Abitol. The castle of Tamworth, the honour of Scrivelsby, and his other manors in England, were held in the reign of Henry I. by Roger Marmion, son of Robert Marmion, and son-in-law or grandson in the female line of the family of Despenser.

[2] According to Gervase, a hide contained one hundred acres. Ordericus describes the admeasurement to have been made funiculo, by a small rope or cord, as we now use the chain in surveying.

468 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.VIII.

pittance out of the revenues for their maintenance, and applying the rest to his own purposes. The king's covetousness thus impoverished the churches of God, and the iniquitous practice which commenced at that time has continued to the present day to the loss of many souls. For the avaricious king, with this object, deferred appointing pastors to the churches, so that the people, having no guides and the flocks no shepherds, became a prey to the attacks of wolves, and perished from wounds inflicted by the winged arrows of their own manifold sins. This inordinate covetousness gathered into the royal treasury the wealth which the ancient English kings had freely and piously devoted to God; such as were Ethelbert, Edwin, Offa, Ethelwulf, Alfred, Edgar, and other princes, as well as their great nobles. They indeed, having been converted to the faith, devoutly worshipped God, and out of their abundance made large endowments on the monks and clergy, that those special servants of the Divine law might enjoy ample means of subsistence, and be able day and night, without hindrance, to perform cheerfully the offices of divine worship, and keep perpetually the appointed vigils in places consecrated to the service of God. Thither pilgrims and wayfarers resorted in security, and there found a short repose after their fatigues, and, according to the fundamental institutions of such places, a plentiful repast, after their privations. Returning thanks to God for such unexpected refreshment, they offered devout prayers to the Creator of all things for the benefactors, long since departed, who had secured them the enjoyment of such privileges. [1]

Before the Norman conquest, it was the practice in England, on the death of the superiors of monasteries, [2] for the bishop in whose diocese they were to take an accurate account of the possessions of the convents, and become their


[1] Our author has drawn in this passage a pleasing picture of monastic hospitality in the middle ages.

[2] Rectores ecclesiarum; the rectors of churches. M. Dubois gives the literal translation, observing that the clergy with cure of souls are still styled "rectors" in England, while in France they are called cures. Our own opinion, however, is, from the sequel of the passage, that Ordericus intended thus to designate the abbots and priors, who administered the government of the monasteries; the revenues of which must have been more tempting objects, and called for a more especial guardianship in those days, than the tithes or other endowments of the parochial clergy.

A.D. 1089.] ECCLESIASTICAL REVENUES SEIZED. 469

guardians until the new abbots were canonically ordained. In like manner, on the death of a bishop, the archbishop took charge of the property of the see, and, with the advice of the officers of the church, appropriated it either to the relief of the poor, the repair of churches, or other pious uses. William Rufus, in the beginning of his reign, was induced by Flambard to abolish this custom, so that he suffered the metropolitan see of Canterbury to remain vacant three years, [1] and seized its revenues for his own use. It is evidently unjust and contrary to all reason that what has been devoted to God by the liberality of pious kings, or laudably acquired by the stewards of the property of the church should fall again into lay hands, and be iniquitously devoted to secular uses. Nor can we doubt that as, on the one hand, those who have consecrated to God part of their wealth have received from Him the just reward of their good deeds; so, on the other, sacrilegious intruders into sacred things will be brought to punishment by the avenging hand of God, and stripped of the possessions they have usurped to their eternal disgrace. Such is the Almighty's sure and immutable law. Recompense is graciously promised to righteous doers, while transgressors are threatened with fearful vengeance for their crimes. Every page of the sacred writings sets forth this mercy and severity, so that they are as clear as light to every well informed mind. It is, therefore, surprising that the human heart is so prone to evil, and covets present and fleeting advantages more than future and everlasting rewards, when it is known that all things are open to the view of the Almighty, and that nothing can escape the penetration of the divine scrutiny.

The metropolis of Canterbury having languished in fear and grief and a state of widowhood, deprived of its bishop, for three years, the righteous Judge, who beholds from heaven the children of men and perceives all the world running after the vanity of vanities, visited with a severe disease the king of England who was polluted by the guilt of so many crimes. Thus punished by sickness, he had recourse to the priests of the Lord, and laying open to those physicians of the soul


[1] May 28, 1089-March 6, 1093: and even then the king was only induced by an alarming illness and the importunities of his ministers to fill up the vacancy, as we shall presently find.

470 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.VIII.

the wounds of his conscience by humble confession, promised amendment of life and commanded the rulers of the church to choose an archbishop according to the will of God. It happened that at that time Anselm, abbot of Bec, had crossed over to England on the affairs of his monastery. On hearing that the king had given orders for the election of a metropolitan, holy church was filled with joy and an assembly of her leading rulers was held to treat of the business on which they were summoned. At length, taking into consideration the sanctity and wisdom of the venerable Anselm, he was unanimously elected in the name of the Lord, and, very unwillingly on his part, elevated to the metropolitan see of Canterbury. Having been solemnly enthroned, this able pastor was often in great tribulation when he carefully weighed the serious and difficult burthens imposed upon him. So far from being lifted up by his high promotion, he was filled with alarm lest many of those placed under his government, who were erring from the right way, should come to perdition. He found a variety of things in his diocese which required correction. It was often his duty to censure a sinful monarch and a stubborn nobility. This exposed him to their repeated attacks, and he was twice driven into exile for his zeal in the cause of justice. Both by word and good example, he strove to improve the perverse habits of his flock; but some of them were so hardened in iniquity that he could not succeed as he wished. For, as Solomon says, the perverse are difficult to correct, and the number of the foolish is infinite.

In those days the light of true holiness was dim among all orders in the state, and the princes of the world with their subjects abandoned themselves to deeds of darkness. William Rufus, king of England, was a young man of loose and debauched morals, and his people but too readily followed his example. He was imperious, daring, and warlike, and gloried in the pomp of his numerous troops. His great delight consisted in conferring the honours of knighthood on account of the worldly splendour with which it surrounded him. He took no care to defend the country folk against his men-at-arms, so that their property was at the entire mercy of his young knights and squires. The king's memory was very tenacious, and his zeal either for good or evil

A.D. 1089.] THE KING'S DESIGNS ON NORMANDY. 471.

was ardent. Robbers and thieves felt the terrible weight of his power, and his efforts to keep the peace throughout his dominion were unceasing. He so managed his subjects, either by making them partake of his bounty, or curbing them by the terror of his arms, that no one dared whisper a word in opposition to his will.

CH. IX. The king resolves on invading Normandy - Death and epitaph of William de Warrenne, founder of the priory of Lewes - His countess Gundrede - The king comes to an understanding with some Norman lords.

WILLIAM RUFUS being now firmly established on the throne, he assembled his barons at Winchester and opened his mind to them in the following discourse:- "You are well aware", he said, "illustrious lords, in what manner my brother Robert has kept faith with me, and how much trouble he has occasioned me. It does not require many words to tell you what numbers of my liegemen he has caused to rebel against me, and how he conspired to deprive me of my crown and my life. It is well known that in the very first year of my reign he would have involved me in insupportable difficulties, had not divine goodness in its great mercy averted the evil. And now our holy church addresses to me her lamentable complaints from parts beyond the sea, bathed daily in tears of the deepest grief, because being without a just patron and protector she finds herself among her malignant enemies like a sheep in the midst of wolves. He who takes no care to defend his own dominions from rapacious attacks, makes it his object to usurp mine by fraud or force. It is for this reason that I warn you who were my father's liegemen, and who held fiefs of him both in Normandy and England, to support me loyally, manfully, and with unanimity, in my just enterprises. We ought not to suffer dens of robbers to exist in Normandy, and harass the faithful and ruin the abbeys which our fathers founded with so much zeal. The whole country is a prey to robbery and murder, and is often forcibly reminded of the great duke William who delivered it from war both foreign and internal. It becomes me who inherit both his name and his crown, to pursue zealously the same course that he did for the defence of his country. Meet therefore, I pray you, in

472 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.IX

council, and consult with prudence, and then give me your advice what ought to be done in this state of affairs. If you approve of it, I will send over an army to Normandy and make reprisals, for the mischief which my brother without any provocation has contrived against me. I will succour the church of God, protect widows and orphans, and punish robbers and assassins with the sword of justice".

All the assembly concurred in these proposals, and lauded the king's intrepid spirit. At that time King William made William de Warrenne earl of Surrey; [1] but not long afterwards he was snatched away by death which spares no one. [2] The Cluniac monks whom he had established at Lewes, [3] interred his body in their chapter, and recorded his character and merits in verses inscribed on his tomb on a white marble slab

Who seeks EARL WAEEENNE's tomb, may look around,
And mark the buildings on this holy ground;
For here, with pious zeal, his wealth he spent
In rearing this his noblest monument.


[1] Our author states here, correctly, that William de Warrenne was made earl of Surrey by William Rufus; but in his fourth book (see before, p. 49) he has committed the error of attributing that appointment to William the Conqueror.

[2] William de Warrenne died June 24, 1089. He was son of Ralph (or Walter) de Warrenne, who has been already mentioned (see note, p. 408). He had, also, it has been supposed, a brother also named Ralph, mentioned in the Chartulary of the Trinite-du-Mont, who came over to England, according to Domesday-book, and was engaged in the rebellion of Ralph de Gauder, if the passage referred to does not apply to the latter from a confusion of the names. This illustrious family was originally of Bellencombre near St. Saens.

[3] The priory of Lewes was founded by William de Warrenne and Gundrede, his wife, about the year 1078, in the meadows below the castle, which was the earl's principal seat. The church, on the site of which a small chapel stood before the conquest, was dedicated to St. Pancras. Both the earl and countess were interred there. Gundrede's grave-stone, a slab of black marble, the greater part of the inscription on which is legible, was carried off from the ruins after the Reformation, but recovered some years since, and deposited in the church at Southover adjoining the town of Lewes. Recently, in cutting a line of railway through the ruins of the priory, the coffins containing the remains both of William de Warrenne and Gundrede were discovered. They have been removed to Southover church, and placed, with other relics, in a small chapel or oratory erected on the south side of the chancel for their reception. See a paper addressed by M. A. Lower to the British Archaeological Association, Nov. 19, 1845.

A.D. 1089.] WILLIAM DE WARRENNE'S EPITAPH. 473

Here the poor brethren whom his bounty fed
With dirge and requiem laid his honoured head;
ST. PANCRAS [1] here his mouldering ashes guards,
May the good Saint secure him rich rewards,
And grant him with the blest above to reign,
Who to St. Pancras raised this stately fane.

The earl was succeeded by has two sons, William and Reynold, with their mother Gundrede, [2] and they flourished for a long period under William and Henry, kings of England, being distinguished for their valour, worth, and power.

King William likewise conferred great honours and possessions on Robert Fitz-Hamon, [3] so that he ranked among the greatest of the English nobles. He married Sibylle, daughter of Earl Roger, who bore him a daughter, called Matilda, afterwards married to Robert, son of King Henry.

Stephen d'Aumale, [4] who was the first in rank of the


[1] St. Pancras was born in the third century of noble parents in Phrygia, and coming to Rome, at the age of fifteen embraced Christianity, and was baptized by St. Cornelius. The emperor Diocletian endeavoured to win him back to his ancient faith, but, preferring martyrdom, he was beheaded on the Aurelian Way. His feast was kept on the 4th of the ides (12th) of May.

[2] Gundrede did not survive her husband William de Warrenne. She died in child-birth, at Castle Acre in Norfolk, the 27th of May, 1085. The Conqueror's charter of foundation of the priory of Lewes discloses the curious fact, which no historian of the time has mentioned, that Gundrede was a daughter of Queen Matilda. Her epitaph at Lewes calls her stirps ducum, and in the charter of donation of the priory of Walton in Norfolk to St. Pancras at Lewes by William the Conqueror, the copy of which is not however very exact, that prince calls her his daughter. But it has been well conjectured that she was, in fact, as well as her brother Gerbode, the issue of Matilda by a former marriage. She must, therefore, have been divorced when she married William, and that might have been the reason for Pope Leo's offering so strenuous an opposition to that marriage.

Gerbode, who had the earldom of Chester conferred upon him by the Conqueror (see before, p. 47), appears to have been in 1086 high-steward of the abbey of St. Bertin, as well as another person of the same name mentioned in charters of the years 1028 and 1056. This may have been Queen Matilda's first husband.

[3] For Robert Fitzhamon and his family, see before, p. 250.

[4] Stephen, count d'Aumale, son of Adeliza, sister of William the Conqueror, by Eudes, count of Champagne, her third husband. The continuator of William de Jumieges is for making this lady only half-sister of the king. But that is clearly an error, for her son would never have been king of England if he had been only the descendant of Herluin de Conteville.

474 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.IX.

Normans, and son of Eudes, count of Champagne, sent his adhesion to the king, at whose expense he strongly fortified his castle on the river of Eu, [1] and received into it a royal garrison for its defence against the duke. His example was speedily followed by Gerard de Gournai, [2] who put into the king's hands Gournai, La Ferte, [3] Gaillefontaine, and all his other fortresses, and strove to bring his neighbours over to the royal side. Afterwards, Robert, count d'Eu, Walter Giffard, [4] and Ralph de Mortemer, [5] with almost all who lived in the country beyond the Seine, as far as the sea leagued themselves with the English, and were supplied by the king with large sums of money to enable them to fortify their residences and arm their vassals. [6]

Meanwhile, duke Robert, to prepare a barrier of defence against so many enemies, gave his daughter, by a concubine, in marriage to Elias, son of Lambert of St. Saens, with Arques, Bures, and all the neighbouring country for her marriage portion, to enable him to resist the enemy and defend the province of Caux. Elias addressed himself manfully to his duties, for he never failed in his fealty towards Duke Robert and his son William, which drew upon him much persecution during the reigns of William and Henry, kings of England, when he was disinherited, and suffered many losses, exile, and perils.


[1] The Bresle; the castle of Aumale stands above it.

[2] Gerard de Gournay, son of Hugh de Gournay and Basile, daughter of Richard Flaitel, was son-in-law of William Warrenne, earl of Surrey, whose death has been just related.

[3] La Ferte-en-Brai, Gaillefontaine. The castle was burnt by Henry II., who made himself master of it in 1151.

[4] Walter Giffard, lord of Longueville and earl of Buckingham.

[5] Ralph Mortemer, son of Roger, and, as well as his father, a benefactor to St. Victor-en-Caux. See before, p. 408.

[6] Our author, in enumerating the nobles who opened their gates to the troops of Wiliam Rufus, should not have omitted Walter de St. Valleri, eldest brother of Gilbert d'Aufay (see chapters 7 and 8 of book vi. pp. 261 aad 266), as their harbour of St. Valleri-sur-Somme was so valuable to him for keeping up his communication with the strong places he secured in this part of Normandy. The commission given to the commanders of his troops was to devastate all the neighbourhood, and there is little doubt, from what we know of the practice of these times, that it was effectually accomplished. This understanding with the Norman lords appears to have been entered into in the autumn of 1089.

1089-1090.] FULK, COUNT OF ANJOU AND BERTRADE. 475

CH. X. Fulk, count of Anjou, succeeds in deferring the insurrection in Maine - The terms of the compact made by Robert Curthose - Long-peaked shoes, and other new fashions of the Normans.

WHEN the people of Maine learned that the Normans were I at variance, they thought it a convenient opportunity for throwing Off their insolent yoke, an attempt they had often made in the time of William the Great, king of England. Duke Robert discovering this, sent ambassadors with presents to Fulk, count of Anjou, [1] earnestly entreating him to deter the Manceaux from their bold enterprise, and to join him in Normandy, where he was suffering from severe illness. Fulk readily accepted the invitation, and found the duke already convalescent. They had many friendly conferences, in the course of which the count said to the duke: "There is one thing which I have much at heart, and if you will bring it to pass I will undertake to reduce the Manceaux to submission, and will become from henceforth your faithful ally. I have formed an attachment for Bertrade, daughter of Simon de Montfort, and niece to William, count of Evreux, who is brought up by her guardian, the countess Heloise. [2] I pray you to accomplish my marriage with her, and I will perform all I have promised you". The duke immediately sent for the count of Evreux to speak with him on the subject. The count then consulted with his most intimate friends and anxiously inquired what course he ought to take. At last, having fully weighed the proposal, he returned to the duke's court, and, among other conversation, addressed him thus: "My lord duke, you ask what is very contrary to my wishes when you demand that I should give my niece, who is now a mere girl, and whose guardianship was entrusted to me by my brother-in-law, in marriage to a man who has been already twice married. [3] You look well to your own interests


[1] Fulk-le-Rechin.

[2] Eloise de Nevers, countess of Anjou.

[3] The count of Anjou had been already married, not twice, but thrice. 1. To Hildegarde de Beaugenci; 2. To Hermengarde de Bourbon; and, 3, to Arengarde de Chatillon. lie had divorced the two last, who were living at the time of his fourth marriage, which we shall find in ch. xx. did not turn out better than the others.

470 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.X.

and disregard mine. You wish through my niece to get the county of Maine into your power, but you deprive me of my own inheritance. Is what you propose reasonable? I shall not comply with your wishes, unless you restore me Bavent, Noyon, [1] Gace, Gravencon and Ecouche, [2] with the other fiefs of my uncle Ralph, who, on account of the extraordinary size of his head and his shaggy hair was humorously surnamed Tete d'Ane (Ass's-head). [3] I also require that my nephew, William de Breteuil, shall be reinstated in Pont-St.-Pierre, and other estates which we can prove to be legally and reasonably ours by right of inheritance. I have lawful and credible witnesses that Robert de Gace, the son of my uncle Ralph, whom I named before, left me heir of all his domains. But King William, who was our cousin, being more powerful than we were, appropriated to himself all the portions of our inheritance, as a lion would in sharing a stag. When, my lord duke, you have well considered all this, do what is right towards us, and we will obey your commands".

The duke, having heard this reply, determined, on consultation with his council, to concede the lesser objects, that he might not lose what was more important. At that time, Edgar Atheling, [4] Robert de Belesme, and William d'Arques, a monk of Moleme, [5] were his principal councillors. The duke therefore granted the demands of William d'Evreux, and his nephew William de Breteuil, and ceded to them the places before named, with the lands, appertaining to them, except Ecouche, which was held by Gerard de Gournai, who was of the same family, being the son of Basile, daughter of


[1] Bavent, near Troarn and Noyon-sur-Audelle, now Charleval.

[2] Gravencon, near Lillebonne, and Ecouche, near Argenton.

[3] Ralph Tete-d'An, second son of Archbishop Robert, count d'Evreux. See vol. i. p. 449.

[4] This unfortunate prince, the heir of the Saxon line of kings, who appears to have been of no great capacity, had always the misfortune to be on the losing side. This was not the only time he attached himself to the fortunes of Robert Curthose. He was afterwards with him and Robert de Belesme at the battle of Tinchebraie, "having gone over from the king a short time before". Being taken prisoner, King Henry exhibited his compassion, or his contempt, by "letting him depart unhurt".

[5] This monk of Moleme (in Burgundy) was now one of the duke's confidential advisers; in a subsequent chapter (xviii.) of this book we shall find the duke resorting to him in very critical circumstances.

ABOUT 1090.] NEW FASHIONS IN DRESS. 477

Gerard Flaitel, and so powerful, that no one dared to offer him violence. Upon this, the count of Anjou, to his great joy, secured the prize he so much desired - marrying a third wife while he had two already living. Bertrade bore him a son who was named Fulk. Faithful to his engagements, Fulk then went among the people of Maine, and endeavouring to keep them quiet, more by entreaties and promises, than by force of arms, succeeded at last in deferring the threatened revolt for a year. This count was very blameable, and even infamous in many parts of his conduct, and abandoned himself to all sorts of vices. His feet being deformed, he had shoes made of an unusual length, and very sharp at the toes, so that they might conceal the excrescences, commonly called bunnions, which caused his feet to he so ill-shaped. This new fashion became common throughout the west, and wonderfully pleased light-minded persons, and the lovers of novelty. In consequence, the shoemakers, in making shoes, shape them like scorpions' tails, vulgarly called pigaces, [1] a fashion which almost all the world, both rich and poor, are wonderfully taken with, while in former times, shoes with round toes, fitted to the form, were in common use both by rich and poor, clergy and laity. But now men of the sought in their pride fashions of dress which accorded with their perverse habits; and what formerly honourable persons thought a mark of disgrace, and rejected as infamous, the men of this age find to be sweet as honey to their taste, and parade on their persons as a special distinction.

A debauched fellow named Robert, was the first about the court of William Rufus who introduced the practice of filling the long points of the shoes with tow, and of turning them up like a ram's horn. Hence he got the surname of Cornard; and this absurd fashion was speedily adopted by great numbers of the nobility as a proud distinction, and sign


[1] Pigaceas; Ordericus appears to have Latinized a Norman-French term of the day, not now to be found in any vocabulary. The curious account of the fashions of the age supplied by our author shows that nothing escaped his observation, recluse as he was. That of the long-peaked shoes, with the toes trussed and fastened upwards, souliers a la poulaine, pulley shoes, as the French called them, flourished for three centuries, and was not given up till it was severely denounced by kings and popes.

478 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.X.

of merit. At this time effeminacy was the prevailing vice throughout the world. Men revelled in vice without remorse, and odious wretches, who ought to have been food for the flames, shamefully abandoned themselves to the foulest Sodomitical practices. The habits of illustrious men were disregarded; the admonitions of priests derided; and the customs of barbarians adopted in dress and in the mode of life. They parted their hair from the crown of the head on each side of the forehead, and let their locks grow long like women, and wore long shirts, and tunics, closely tied with points. They wasted their time, spending it according to their own fancy, and without regard to the law of God, or the customs of their fathers. The night was devoted to banqueting and drunkenness, to silly talk, dice, tables, and other games. Thus, after the death of Pope Gregory, and William the Bastard, and other religious princes, the simple habits, of our fathers were abandoned in almost all the west of Europe. They used a modest dress, well fitted to the proportions of their bodies, which was convenient for riding and walking, and for all active employments as common sense dictated. But in our days, ancient customs are almost all changed for new fashions. Our wanton youths are sunk in effeminacy, and the courtiers study to make themselves agreeable to the women by every sort of lasciviousness. They insert their toes, the extremities of their bodies, in things like serpents' tails, which present to view the shape of scorpions. Sweeping the dusty ground with the prodigious trains of their robes and mantles; they cover their hands with gloves too long and wide for doing anything useful, and, encumbered with these superfluities, lose the free use of their limbs for active employment. The fore-part of their heads is bare after the manner of thieves, while on the back, they nourish long hair like harlots. In former times, penitents, captives, and pilgrims usually went unshaved, and wore long beards, as an outward mark of their penance, or captivity, or pilgrimage. Now, almost all the world wear crisped hair and beards, carrying on their faces the tokens of their filthy lust, like stinking goats. Their locks are curled with hot irons, and, instead of wearing caps, they bind their heads with fillets. A knight seldom appears in public with his head uncovered, and properly shaved according to the apostolic

A.D. 1090.] VICES OF THE AGE. 479

precept. [1] Their exterior appearance and dress thus exhibit what are their inward thoughts, and how little reverence they have for God.

In consequence, the Almighty Judge who sits on his throne in the heavens, perceiving the heart of man a prey to iniquity, visits the people lost in ignorance, and the unbridled populace, with a variety of inflictions. He permits men to be worn down with sickness and disquieted by wars; and gives up to hypocritical rulers those whom he finds to be opposed to his will, and the ready transgressors of his law. Meanwhile, the elect, inflamed with the zeal of Phineas, are often incensed at these evil ways, and cry to the Lord with the prophet, "I beheld the transgressors and was grieved, because they kept not thy word".' In consequence, holy doctors rebuke, entreat, and threaten them, with patience and wisdom. But their efforts are set at nought by the hardness of their depraved hearts, which foster and harbour all the pollutions of sin. If Persius and Plautus, and other bitter satirists were now living, and keenly observed the manner in which people in our times give the run to their passions, in public and private, they would easily find abundant opportunities for exercising their talents in sarcasm and ridicule.

Remarking the countless scandals, which disgraced the world, Giroie Grossive, in a letter which he addressed to Gilbert Maminot, bishop of Lisieux, says among other things

Once Virtue's flame had bathed the earth in light,
But now to brighter worlds has sped its flight;
While manly worth is buried with the dead,
Nor from the shades shall lift again its head.
Who to be honest, good, and virtuous dares?
Who for the prize of honour, virtue cares?

The zealous scholar has spoken hyperbolically of the enormous wickedness which he saw generally prevalent. So


[1] The apostolical admonitions alluded to by our author are in 1 Car. xii. vers. 7 and 14.

Ver. 7. For a man, indeed, ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God.

Ver. 14. Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

[2] Psalm cxix. 158.

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

also Blitero the Fleming, [1] has finely painted in his elegies, the revolutions of the world, and human miseries. Many other learned philosophers have also uttered loud complaints of the flagitiousness and calamities of the present age. Following in their steps, I have briefly noticed in this chapter the era of the introduction among the Cisalpine nations of the absurd fashions of long-toed shoes, and of a superfluity of hair, as well as of trains sweeping the dust to no purpose.

It would be far pleasanter to write about the holiness and miracles of the saints, than on the follies and frivolous extravagancies of silly men, if our princes and prelates were deeply imbued with divine graces, and prodigies abounded, which are the heralds of sanctity. But it is out of my power to compel them to walk in the ways of righteousness. This being the case, I can only give a faithful account of things as they are, and I now return to the regular course of my history.

CH. XI. Revolt of the Manceaux - Hugh, son of Azo, marquis of Tuscany, made Count - Resigns in favour of his cousin Elias.

IN the year of our Lord 1090, the thirteenth indiction, the people of Maine revolted against the Normans, and expelling their garrisons from the fortresses, set up a new prince of their own choice. During King William's life, they had made frequent attempts to rise in arms against him, and the instant he was dead, they took measures for throwing off their yoke. They sent envoys to the sons of Azo, marquis of Liguria, [2] and intimated their wishes to them. "Why are you so cowardly and inert, as not to claim your inheritance which we voluntarily defend for you? All the direct heirs


[1] This poet is very little known. The authors of the Histoire Litteraire de la France, who had not discovered any other notice of it than that given by Ordericus, attribute to him an elegy on the death of Charles the Good, count of Flanders. M. Le Gay, la his Notes on Balderic, has quoted him in reference to another poem on the same subject. It is very probable that Blitero was the canon of the church of Utrecht named by Albert Le Mire (Diplom. Delp. 1, 174) among the members of the chapter who in 1134 subscribed the charter of foundation of the abbey of Berna, near Bois-le-Duc.

2] Azo, marquis of Liguria (Tuscany), was the second husband of Gersende, eldest daughter of Herbert Eveille-chien, count of Maine.

A.D. 1090.] REVOLT IN MAINE. 481

to the county of Maine have failed, and there is none now left who is nearer than yourself. William, himself, the unjust usurper of so many states, is now dead, having too long enslaved us by means of Margaret, Herbert's daughter, whom he wished to marry to his son Robert. [1] His sons, one of whom is king of England, and the other duke of Normandy, are mutually waging a murderous war, burning and pillaging their respective territories, and, in their fury, are ready to cut each other's throats. Meanwhile we the people of Maine hold our city and towns in peace, and we invite you in all sincerity to come among us and take the government which is yours by right of inheritance". The people of Maine sent this message to the Ligurian chiefs, not for the love they bore them but to find some reasonable excuse for shaking off the Norman yoke, which for nearly thirty years [2] had sharply galled their stubborn necks.

The two sons of Azo, who received this proposal in Liguria, were greatly delighted with it, and took counsel with their intimate friends what was to be done. It was at length determined that Fulk, the eldest, should retain their father's fiefs in Italy, while his brother, Hugh, should assert his pretensions to the state of Maine, in right of his mother. In short, Geoffrey of Mayenne, Elias, [3] and other citizens and lords of castles, received Hugh on his arrival, and for some time lent him aid in recovering his mother's inheritance.

Notwithstanding, the venerable Hoel, who had been made bishop by the choice of King William, [4] always remained faithful to him and his sons. As far as was in his power, he now opposed a revolt which must be attended with bloodshed, launching an interdict against those who were most obstinate, and excommunicating them by his episcopal authority, he cut them off from the communion of holy mother church. This roused against him the anger of the promoters of the rebellion, who threatened to wreak their vengeance upon


[1] See vol. i. p. 448.

[2] Twenty-eight years, their submission having been yielded in the year 1063.

[3] Elias was both nephew, according to the custom of Brittany, of Hugh, by his aunt Paula, daughter of Herbert Eveille-chien, and his grandson by the same lady, according to all the genealogies.

[4] See the singular details of King William's nomination of the good Bishop Hoel, book iv. c. 12, p. 70, of the present volume.

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

him. While, therefore, he was riding through his diocese, attended by his clerks, and duly performing his episcopal functions, Elias de la Fleche seized him, and throwing him into prison, detained him there till such time as Hugh should have obtained possession of the city of Mans. Meanwhile, the church shared her bishop's sorrows; the holy images of the Lord, with the crucifixes, and the shrines containing the relics of saints were laid prostrate on the floor, the church doors were hedged with thorns, the bells ceased to ring, the chants Were hushed, all the usual solemn offices were suspended, and thus the widowed church abandoned herself to grief.

The people of Maine, finding their new count destitute of sense as well as of wealth and courage, began to repent of their imprudent act, and despised and detested him, as the Shechemites did Abimelech. [1] He was, indeed, an imbecile, a coward, and an idler, and totally unfit to hold the reins of government in so high a station. He had married the daughter of Robert Guiscard, 2] but such a poltroon could not brook the spirit of a high-minded woman, and he therefore repudiated her; for which he was excommunicated by Pope Urban. The Allobroges [3] detested him and were glad of an opportunity of turning him over to the fierce Cisalpines. Ignorant among the well informed, a coward among gallant knights, he was considered a craven count; for such were his alarms, that he frequently fainted, and only thought of flight as his best remedy. The people of Maine discovering this, were filled. with joy and endeavoured, through the elders [4] of the land, to increase his terrors.

At last Elias, his cousin, came to him, and conversing on the pressure of eireumstances, said: "My lord, I hear it whispered among the people that you are thinking of returning to your own country and abandoning this land of an


[1] Judges ix., in which the fine apologue of the nobler species of trees refusing the pre-eminence offered them, and the highest rank at last devolving on the bramble, is applied to the choice of unworthy rulers.

[2] This marriage took place in 1077.

[3] The present Dauphiny and Savoy, not Tuscany, were the proper country of the Allobroges.

[4] Sempectas. The word is borrowed from the rule of the order of St. Benedict, in which it signifies the veteran monks, who alter fifty years' profession, were no longer subjected to any severe duties.

A.D. 1090.] ELIAS BUYS THE COUNTY OF MAINE. 483

independent race and fierce habits. In truth, your friends should not dissuade you from this purpose. For while your disposition is gentle, and you are a lover of peace and tranquillity, the people of this country are always ready for war and impatient of repose. Moreover, the implacable Normans lay claim to Maine and most ferociously threaten to inflict the greatest severities on its inhabitants. The sons of King William, who were at variance, have been reconciled, and are now assembling a vast army in Normandy, with which they intend to make a sudden irruption into our territories, and to attack and pursue without mercy us who have revolted against them. You may fully believe that it is for this purpose King William has crossed over to Normandy with so much pomp, and I have no doubt his arrival will cause us great alarm and find us much to do". On hearing this, Hugh plainly told Elias that it was his wish to sell his rights in the county of Maine and return to his own country. Elias replied: "My lord, I am your cousin, and it was by my support you were made count, an honour which you can give or sell to no one but myself. For the daughter of count Herbert married Lancelin de Beaugenci, and bore him Lancelin, father of Ralph, [1] and John, who was my father. I have thus plainly shown that I, as well as you, am descended from count Herbert. Now, then, receive from me what shall be agreed on between us, and resign in my favour the dignity of count, as in truth it ought to be mine from nearness of kin. The object of my ambition is attended with serious difficulties, and I shall scarcely ever possess it in peace so long as either of the three sons of King William are alive. It appears to be disgraceful to such powerful princes, who can surround us with a hundred thousand troops, that they should patiently suffer an affront from a kindred race who live on their frontier, or lose in any manner without a fearful struggle any rights which their father gained by some sort of treaty. Nevertheless, I am inspired by this love of independence, and rightfully contending for my grandmother's heritage, I shall be animated by trust in God".


[1] Ralph, lord of Beaugenci, was son-in-law of Hugh, count de Vermandois, becoming by that alliance, which took place in the summer of this same year (1090), nephew of King Philip.

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

The cowardly Allobrogan consented to the proposal, and sold the county of Maine for ten thousand shillings of Mans currency. On the retirement of Hugh, Elias became count of Maine, which he held bravely twenty years. [1] He succeeded also to the domains of his father-in-law, Gervase de Chateau-du-Loire, whose daughter he married. [2] He had by her a daughter, named Eremburge, who was married to the son of Fulk, count of Anjou, his suzerain. On attaining power, be greatly mended his conduct and became eminent for his virtues, worthily honouring the clergy and church of God, and attending daily at mass and divine service. He governed his people with equity, and, as far as was in his power, protected the poor in peace.

CH. XII. Feuds and hostilities between the Norman lords - Surprise of the castle of Exmes, and surrender of Ivri - Gilbert, lord of Laigle, assassinated - William de Breteuil taken prisoner.

AT this period the most outrageous iniquity prevailed in Normandy; it abounded in all quarters and grievously harassed the wretched inhabitants. The clang of arms gave token of frequent conflicts, and the soil was watered with the blood of the slain.

The second year after king William's death, [3] Ascelin, surnamed Goel, [4] took by surprise the castle of Ivri from William de Breteuil, his lord, and traitorously delivered it to Duke Robert. William, however, unwilling to lose it, redeemed it from the duke for fifteen hundred livres. Having recovered his castle, to punish Goel, he deprived him of its custody, and stripped him of everything he held in his


[1] It will be found in the sequel that Elias did not retain his rights as count of Maine without encountering serious difficulties from the opposition of the dukes of Normandy.

[2] Elias married Matilda, the only daughter of Gervase, who died before Easter, 1099. Their daughter, Eremburge, conveyed the county of Maine to Fulk, count of Anjou, whom she married in 1100.

[3] A.D. 1089.

[4] This person and his family, with the surprise of the castle of Ivri, are mentioned before. See p. 237. Robert, father of Ascelin de Goel, was lord of Breval, but not of Ivri, though he may have had the custody of it for the duke of Normandy or William de Breteuil. Breval is situated between Paci and Septeuil.

A.D. 1089-1091.] BARONS' WARs IN NORMANDY 485

lordship. Hence arose hostilities between them which lasted a long time, so that the neighbourhood was exposed to rapine and fire, with loss of life. Amauri de Montfort, who had his surname of Le Fort, on account of his valour, became formidable by his daring and cruel acts to all his neighbours within his reach. But making an inroad on the lands of William de Breteuil, like a raging lion, and engaging, singly, in combat with two men-at-arms, he was pierced in the side by the lance of one of them, so that he died the same day. On his decease, his brother Richard succeeded to the domains of his father, and zealously devoted himself to take vengeance on William de Breteuil for his brother's death.

Duke Robert frequently employed in his wars Gilbert, son of Ingenulf de Laigle, [1] on account of his great bravery, and gave him the castle of Exmes as his recompense, and for the defence of the country. This gave great offence to Robert de Belesme, whose rage and jealousy were so roused, that he assembled troops, and in the first week of January beset the castle for four days, assaulting it with great vigour, notwithstanding the winter's frost and snow. Gilbert had but a small number of followers within the fortress, but they were brave, and made a stout resistance. Hurling spears and stones on the assailants, they precipitated them into the ditch, wounding some and killing others; meanwhile, the young Gilbert, lord of Laigle, came to his aid with eighty soldiers, and, getting into the castle by night, this addition to the garrison with provisions and arms enabled his uncle to maintain the defence. Upon this, the tyrant Belesme, finding how strongly the place was fortified, and the stout resistance made by its defenders, did not venture to prolong the siege, and drew off his troops with rage and mortification, having gained nothing but his followers' wounds. The year following, as Gilbert, the knight just named, was returning from the Ste. Scholasse, he halted at


[1] De L'Aigle, or De Aquela. Gilbert was fourth son of Engenulf, lord of Laigle. The eldest brother's (Roger) death is mentioned in book iv. c. 5, vol. i. p. 427; and the assassination of the second brother, Richer, lord of Laigle, p. 379 of the present volume. Gilbert, his eldest son, succeeded him.

[2] Sainte-Scholasse sur-Sarthe.

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

Moulins, to converse with Duda, the lady of that castle. After their conference, he chanced to leave his armour there with one Anthony, surnamed Haren, and towards evening, thus unarmed, departed in haste, attended by his squires. He was instantly pursued by Gerard Chevreuil, and Roger de Ferrers, [1] with some men-at-arms of the Corbonnais [2] to the number of near thirteen, who endeavoured to take him alive. He spurred his horse to a gallop, but while endeavouring by his speed to get away from his enemies, he was struck in the side by one of their spears, and the noble knight died the same day, to the great grief of those by whose hands he fell. On the morrow, which was the bissextile day, [3] his corpse was carried to St. Sulpice, [4] and there amid universal sorrow buried by the side of his parents; Gilbert, bishop of Evreux, and Serlo, abbot of St. Evroult, officiating.

Geoffrey, count de Mortagne, reflecting that his vassals who had perpetrated this foul deed had sown the seeds of infinite mischief to his territories by the murder of the brave baron, accommodated matters with his nephew Gilbert de Laigle, giving him his daughter Juliana in marriage; by whom he had three sons, Richer, Geoffrey, and Gilbert. The prudent count did well for his people and his heirs, in smothering the growth of evil from this flagrant offence by the endearments of conjugal affection, lest multiplied disasters should spring from the root, and gaining fresh vigour in after times, should grow from worse to worse. The peace between the kindred heirs of the two families has been indissolubly preserved to the present day, and the connection has established a cheerful and agreeable concord between them. [5]

The same week, in which, as we have just seen, Gilbert


[1] See before, p. 192.

[2] La Ferriere-aut-Doyers, near Moulins. Our author is mistaken in placing it in the Corbonnois, to which, however, it is very near. Gerard Caper (Capreolus) is mentioned in the chartulary of Chartres under the year 1077.

[3] Wednesday, the 29th of February, 1092.

[4] St. Sulpice-sur-Risle, a priory at Tiron, near Laigle. See before, p. 380.

[5] Recollecting that this paragraph was written about 1133, a period of forty years had then elapsed, during which there had been continued peace between the counts of Perch and the lords of Laigle. An alliance of such long duration was rare at that time between the Norman lords, who were always ready for mutual hostilities.

1091, 1092.] THE CASTLE OF IVRI SURRENDERED. 487

perished on the road from Moulins to Laigle, Goel attacked his Lord William de Breteuil in the open field, and being supported by Richard de Montfort, and a large body of Frenchmen, defeated his enemy's troops. William himself was taken prisoner, with many others, and, thrown into a noisome dungeon, suffered much during the ensuing [1] Lent, so that for his sins he was compelled to endure the rigours of that penitential season. At last, the matter brought together Richard de Montfort, Hugh de Montgomery, [2] Gervase de Neufchatel, [3] and many others, both French and Normans, who made peace between William and Goel, at Breval, [4] after which, William, according to the terms of the treaty, gave his daughter Isabel in marriage to Goel, and ransomed himself at the expense of a thousand livres of Dreux, besides the delivery of horses, arms, and many other things. With great sorrow and regret he added also the castle of Ivri. The infamous freebooter enriched with these fruits of enterprise grew intolerably insolent, and enclosed his castle, which was in very deed a den of thieves, with deep ditches and stout pallisades, spending his existence there in continual rapine and bloodshed, to the ruin of many. He had seven sons [5] by his wife Isabel, who, as they grew in years, increased in wickedness, so that the cries of the widow and poor followed their evil deeds.

CII. XIII. Claims of the family of Beaumont to the castle of Ivri - Roger de Beaumont takes Brionne.

AT the same time, another disturbance broke out in Normandy. Robert, earl of Mellent came over from England, and, swelling with arrogance in consequence of gifts and


[1] Sequenti. But Lent had already commenced, on Wednesday the 11th of February.

[2] Hugh de Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury.

[3] He was son-in-law of Hugh, lord of Chateau-Neuf, in Thimerai, mentioned before, p. 109. Hugh married Mabel, third daughter of Roger de Montgomery, by Mabel de Belesme.

[4] Breval, a strong castle on the confines of Normandy and Maine. See before, p. 237.

[5] Of these, we only know Robert, lord of Ivri, William Louvel, and Roger-le-Begue.

488 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XIII.

promises made him by King William, went to the duke at Rouen, and insolently demanded the restoration of the castle of Ivri. The duke replied, "I gave Brionne, a noble castle, to your father in exchange for that of Ivri". But the earl of Mellent said, "I do not agree to that exchange, and I choose to have what your father gave to mine, [1] otherwise, by St. Nicaise [2] I shall do what will be very disagreeable to you". The duke was greatly incensed, and caused Robert to be arrested, and thrown into prison in the castle of Brionne, under the custody of Robert, son of Baldwin. [3] The crafty old Roger de Beaumont, hearing that his son was a prisoner, applied himself for some days to other affairs, just as if he had received no intelligence of his son's misfortune, hiding his grief under a smiling face. At last, when he thought the duke's wrath was somewhat abated, he sent him presents, and then went to his court. Having offered his respects to the duke, and being saluted in return, he thus addressed him: "My lord duke, I return your highness thanks for having chastised the arrogance of my son with princely severity. Had I sufficient spirit at my advanced age, I should have long ago done it myself, for his insolence and disregard of my admonitions have often pained me. It is therefore high time that he should be rebuked, and taught to know how to conduct himself when addressing his superiors and seniors".

With language of this sort, Roger contrived to conciliate the duke, who, not knowing what was to follow, eagerly swallowed the flattery. Roger was now familiarly admitted to the duke's councils, and it afterwards appeared that these steps were all leading to his son's liberation. He was one of the old and honoured nobles of Duke Robert, and King


[1] See before, p. 428. It was not the ownership, but only the custody of the castle of Ivri, of which the duke deprived Roger de Beaumont; and he received an ample indemnification in Brionne, which stood in the heart of the country and of his own domain of Beaumont and Pont-Audemer.

[2] Robert de Meulan or Mellent appears to have had a particular veneration for St. Nicaise, patron of the city of Meulan, by whom he swears. He founded a priory to the saint's honour in 1101.

[3] Robert, son of Baldwin de Meules, and grandson of Gilbert, count de Brionne. In some MSS., instead of Robert, we read Roger de Bienfaite, which we shall presently see is incorrect.

A.D. 1090.] ROBERT, EARL OF MELLENT, RELEASED. 489

William; son-in-law of Waleran, count de Mellent, and brother-in-law of Hugh; [1] of approved faithfulness and loyalty, supported by powerful connections, both friends and relations; and in possession of ample wealth, lordships, and domains, with strong castles and brave vassals. He had besides valiant and noble sons, one being count of Mellent, in France, and the other earl of Warwick in England. Thus strong in good sense, wealth, and supporters, he one day came to the duke, and said, "You ought to deal graciously with me, my lord duke, recollecting that I have always been loyal to the princes of Normandy. I never broke my fealty to my liege lord, but on the contrary, have done and suffered much in his cause. You have been yourself witness of this in the battle when I fought against the rebels under your father's eyes, [2] where Roger of Spain, with his sons Albert and Elinance fell, besides many others. I learnt from childhood the duty of firm perseverance in loyalty. I received it as the heritage of my father, Thorold, and my grandfather Umfrid, and I have zealously performed it all my life, both in prosperity and adversity. Far be it from me in my old age to commit a breach of faith, which I have always detested, and from my youth upwards used every effort to avoid. Your father, therefore finding me ever at his side, and firmly maintaining my allegiance, as well as manfully sustaining the evils to which my fealty to him exposed me, always admitted me to his most secret councils in preference to his other nobles". The duke replied as follows, "I know well, Sir Roger, from many witnesses, your great fidelity to my predecessors, and therefore, as they highly esteemed you, and adopted your judicious advice, I also, taking advantage of your wisdom, embrace your suggestions. If I have imprisoned your son, I did it from no ill-will to you, but in consequence of his own folly and insolence, in importuning and threatening me". Roger then said, "I thank your highness from the bottom of my heart, for the chastisement you inflicted on the rash youth. But now if it please your highness, I pray you to pardon him. Release


[1] Waleran II., de Meulan, 1015?-October 8, 1069 or 1070. Hugh II., his son and successor, became a monk at Bec in 1077.

[2] For an account of this battle, see vol. i. pp. 150 and 401. See also William de Jumieges, book vii. c. 3.

490 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XIII.

him now that he has been punished, and he will be your faithful servant". The duke, won by this sort of language, set at liberty the count of Mellent, and permitted him to depart with his father.

Not long afterwards Roger and his son begged the duke to restore Brionne to them, accompanying the request with an offer of a large sum; whereupon the duke, who was in want of money, lent a ready ear to their proposals, and ordered Robert, who had the custody of the castle, to give it up to Roger. His answer to the duke was this: "If it be your desire to have Brionne in your own hands, as your father held it, I will make no difficulty in delivering it to you; but otherwise I will keep what is my own inheritance, and yield it to no man while I live. It is well known to all the inhabitants of this province that Richard the elder, duke of Normandy, granted Brionne with the county belonging to it, in full right to his son Godfrey, and that on his death he left it to his son Gilbert. When Count Gilbert was cruelly murdered by infamous assassins, his sons, under the care of their guardians, fled for safety from his enemies to the court of Baldwin, count of Flanders, whereupon your father attached part of the domains to the fief of my grandfather, distributing the rest among strangers. A long time afterwards, having married the daughter of this Baldwin of Flanders, the duke, at his request, restored to my father Baldwin, Meules and Le Sap, [1] and gave him his aunt's daughter in marriage. At the same time, he restored Bienfaite and Orbec to his brother Richard. At length, by your favour, my lord, whom it is my desire to obey in all things, I am now in possession of Brionne, the principal seat of my grandfather, and, God supporting my right, I will keep it to the end".

When Roger heard this, he earnestly encouraged the duke not to give way, but instantly collecting a body of troops to crush his refractory vassal, and laying siege to the strong fortress, which lay in the very heart of his dominions, compel its surrender. Accordingly in Whitsun-week Duke Robert sat down before Brionne, where Robert, son of


[1] Baldwin, like his father, bore a variety of names; we find him successively called Baldwin Fitz-Gilbert, Baldwin de Meules, Baldwin du Sap, Baldwin the Viscount, and Baldwin of Exeter.

A.D. 1090.] CASTLE OF BRIONNE SET ON FIRE. 491

Baldwin, had only six knights [1] to defend it against an army. The lord of Beaumont and the count of Mellent had collected large bodies of soldiers and closely invested the fortress on all sides to prevent any succour or supplies of victuals being thrown in; and, pressing their advantage, after the ninth day made a vigorous assault. It being the commencement of summer, the weather was very warm, and there was a great drought, of which the besiegers took advantage; for they adroitly heated the iron points of their missile weapons in a furnace which was built for the occasion, and all of a sudden hurled them on the roof of the great hall of the castle, where the red-hot steel of the arrows and javelins, driven with, great force into the shingles, [2] set fire to the dry moss which in course of time had overspread the roof, so that the whole was quickly in a blaze. Meanwhile the garrison were fighting stoutly on the fortifications, and not expecting any such manoeuvre, were in great spirits until they found the flames rising over their heads. When however they discovered that the whole building above them was falling to ruins, the flames within spreading through every part, they surrendered at discretion. Thus Duke Robert, by an assault which only lasted from nine o'clock till sunset, gained possession of Brionne, which it took his father, William, with the aid of Henry, king of France, three years to reduce, when Guy, son of Reynold of Burgundy, shut himself up in it after the battle of Val-des-Dunes.


[1] Militibus. The chroniclers using this word for knights as well as common soldiers, there is often difficulty in giving the right version, unless the context is clear. In the present case, six soldiers would, indeed, be a small garrison for such a fortress as Brionne, but that number of knights, with their retainers, might possibly have made a stout resistance against a considerable force. M. Le Prevost suggests, however, that the reading may have been, not sex, but sexaginta, sixty.

[2] It appears that the roof of the castle was covered with shingles of wood, instead of slates or tiles. This is still the case with respect to many of the towers of the country churches in the Lieuvin and the Roumois, and if the shingles were not painted, they might be overgrown with mosses and lichens.

[3] This castle is not the same of which some ruins, the keep, still exist, built, it is supposed, by the lords of Harcourt. It did not stand on the same site, but on an island in the river Risle, as William de Poitiers clearly points out. The island was probably that which lies between the two bridges, near an oil-mill.

492 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XIII.

Gilbert de Pin [1] commanded the troops employed in the present attack of the castle of Brionne, making a skilful disposition of the force from Pont-Audemer and Beaumont, [2] and leading them with great daring in their irresistible assault. But while so doing he was mortally wounded in the head by a dart hurled from above, and immediately carried, in a fainting state, by his sorrowful comrades from the throng of battle. Recovering shortly from his faintness, the wounded man began shouting to the by-standers with piercing cries: "Wretched, wretched men! what are you doing? For what are you spending your lives? Why do you covet worldly vanities, forgetting the things which are really for your good and are eternal? If you only knew the misery and torments which await you as evil-doers, and could only see for one hour the horrors which I have just witnessed, you would thenceforth hold cheap all the pleasures of this fleeting world". He tried to add more, but his speech failed, and thus the renowned soldier gave up the ghost.

The siege being ended, the duke granted Brionne to Roger, and taking compassion on Robert, who had the custody of it, promised to restore him his paternal fief: [3] for


[1] There are three communes of this name in Normandy: this was probably Pin-au-Haras, near Exmes, of which Robert de Meulan was lord. Or Gilbert might have been a native of Pin in the Lieuvin, between Lisieux and Cormeilles, which is at no great distance from the vast domains of Roger de Beaumont about Pont-Audemer.

[2] The two chief seats of Roger de Beaumont's possessions.

[3] We have seen before, p. 428, that Robert Curthose had deprived Roger de Beaumont of the custody of the castle of Ivri to confer it on William de Breteuil, who received Brionne as an indemnity. It was against this exchange that the count de Meulan, Roger's son, protested. The office of keeper of the castle of Ivri must not be confounded with the subaltern appointment of provost of Ivri, which Ascelin Goel held hereditarily before the castle was given up to him by William de Breteuil, as we find in the sequel.

According to the continuator of William de Jumieges, it was Roger de Bienfaite, and not Robert de Meules, who claimed Brionne; but Roger de Bienfaite was already indemnified by the lands of Hommet in Normandy, and Tunbridge in England, while Baldwin de Meules and his descendants had hitherto received no equivalent for their share of the succession. The duke Robert could not have entrusted the custody of Brionne to any one more interested in defending it against the lords of Beaumont than Robert de Meules, grandson of the first proprietor, Count Gilbert. Emma, mother of Robert de Meules, was daughter of an aunt of King William, perhaps Adelaide, wife of Reynold of Burgundy. In that case Robert would have an additional title to Brionne, as nephew of Guy of Burgundy.

With respect to the castle of Tunbridge, which was given to Richard de Bienfaite in exchange for Brionne, the continuator of William de Jumieges gives the following story: "A league was measured with a rope round Brionne, and the same rope was carried over to England, and employed in measuring a league round Tunbridge, so that in the measurement as many miles were allotted to Tunbridge as Brionne was proved to contain".

A.D. 1090.] GILBERT COUNT OF BRIONNE. 493

he was strongly supported by his friends and kinsmen, and had many partisans in the duke's court. It has been already stated that King William had an especial regard for Richard and Baldwin, the sons of Count Gilbert, and advanced them in the world, both on account of their nearness of blood and their own valour; enriching them with many fiefs, manors, and lordships, both in England and Normandy. Both the brothers also made excellent marriages with wives of noble families. Richard married Rohais, daughter of Walter Giffard, [1] who bore him several sons as well as daughters. The sons were Roger, Gilbert, Walter, Robert, and Richard a monk of Bec, who has been made abbot of Ely by King Henry. Baldwin's sons were, Robert, William, Richard, and Viger, a bastard. All these distinguished themselves in the stirring times of King William and his sons, floating on the waves of this troublesome world as they were driven by the changeable gales of unstable fortune. Viger the youngest voluntarily retired from secular conflicts, and receiving the tonsure in the abbey of Bec, lived there as a monk nearly forty years, under the venerable abbots, William and Boso. [2]

CH. XIV. Hostilities between the count of Evreux and the lord of Conches, fomented by their wives' quarrels - The castle of Conches besieged - Peace restored - Dreams of young Roger de Conches, and Baldwin, afterwards king of Jerusalem.

WHILE the storm of battle was raging in all parts of Normandy, the province of Evreux could enjoy no


[1] Walter Gifford, son of Osbern de Belbec.

[2] William de Montfort, October, 1093-April 16, 1124. Boso, 1124-June 24, 1136.

494 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XIV.

tranquillity; for there a worse than civil war was waged between two powerful brothers, and the mischief was fomented by the spiteful jealousy of their haughty wives. The Countess Havise [1] took offence at some taunts uttered by Isabel de Conches, [2] and used all her influence with Count William [3] and his barons to induce them to have recourse to arms. Thus, through women's slights and quarrels the hearts of brave men were stirred to rage, and their hands speedily imbrued in the blood of their fellow mortals, while burning farms and villages completed the horrors. Both the ladies who stirred up these fierce hostilities were great talkers, and spirited as well as handsome; they ruled their husbands, oppressed their vassals, and inspired terror in various ways. But still their characters were very different; Havise had wit and eloquence, but she was cruel and avaricious. On the contrary, Isabel was generous, enterprising and gay, so that she was beloved and esteemed by those about her. She rode in knightly armour when the vassals took the field, and exhibited as much daring among belted knights and men-at-arms as Camilla, the renowned virgin of Italy among the squadrons of Turnus. Nor was she inferior to Lampedona and Marseppa, Hyppolyta, and Penthesilia, and the other warrior-queens of the Amazons, spoken of by Pompeius Trogus [4] and Virgil, and other writers of history, with whom the kings of Asia formed connexions, and who, for fifteen years, ruled the Asiatic nations. The people of Evreux had many allies, so that they harassed those of Conches by continually burning their property, and carried off much booty. But there was no great disparity, and the others, in turn, took their revenge. Meanwhile Ralph [5] went to the court of Duke Robert, and laying


[1] Havise, daughter of William, count de Nevers, and wife of William, count d'Evreux, died in 1114.

[2] Isabel, or Elizabeth, de Montfort L'Amauri, was daughter of Simon, lord of Montfort, and wife of Ralph, lord of Conches and Toeni. Conches stands about four leagues to the south-west of Evreux.

[3] Her husband, the count of Evreux.

[4] This is no place for commenting on the fabulous history of the Amazons, but we may be permitted to take the opportunity of expressing our regrets for the loss of the great historical work of Trogus Pompeius, which is the more singular as the cotemporaries of Ordericus possessed it.

[5] Ralph II., lord of Conches, Elizabeth's husband.

A.D. 1090.] FAMILY FEUDS. 495

before him an account of the losses to which he was exposed by the aggressions of his neighbours, demanded the aid which he had a right to expect from his liege lord; but his complaints were fruitless and he obtained no redress. Upon this he turned his attention to another quarter, being compelled to seek a protector where he could. He therefore made application by his envoys to the king of England, and laying his distressed circumstances before him, promised him the fealty of all his estates if he would afford him succour. The king was highly pleased at the proposal, and promised efficacious aid to the suppliant who so much needed it. In consequence he gave orders to Count Stephen [1] and Gerard de Gournai, with the other officers who were in command of his retainers in Normandy, that they should render every assistance to Ralph, and throw supplies of all kinds into his castles. Accordingly they obeyed with alacrity the royal commands and gave their support to Ralph, striving earnestly to do the king's pleasure. In the month of November Count William assembled a large body of troops and laid siege to Conches. His two nephews, William de Breteuil and Richard de Montfort, with their vassals, joined him in the attack upon the people of Conches. Then Richard de Montfort, while taking possession of the abbey of St. Peter de Chatillon, [2] regardless of the respect due to the monks, who cried to the Lord with bitter lamentations, died the same day to the great grief of both parties; for he was Isabel's twin-brother as well as nephew of Count William by his sister. Both parties therefore deplored the death of the brave marcher, who perished while persisting in an evil deed, urged on by his pride and rashness. His followers bore their lord's body to his native place, and he was buried in the churchyard of St. Thomas the Apostle, at Epernon. [3] There the monks of Marmoutier regularly serve God, [4] and there also the old Simon, son of Amauri, and his sons, are buried. Not long afterwards the people of Evreux assembled again, and made an irruption into the territory of


[1] Stephen, count d'Aumale.

[2] At Conches, by which name it was afterwards generally known.

[3] Epernon is four leagues from Montfort-Amauri.

[4] This priory stands in the suburb called the bourg St. Thomas.

496 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XIV.

Conches to avenge their discomfiture. At this time Ralph had in the castle a very strong body of his own and the king's adherents; but when the young knights were eager to sally forth, he said to them: "Arm yourselves and stand ready, but do not leave the fortress until I give the order. Permit the enemy to encumber himself with booty, and we will fall upon him as be is retiring". The youthful soldiers were ready to obey the commands of so brave and experienced a commander, and pursuing the people of Evreux when they were loaded with booty, charged them with great fury, and putting them to flight, recovered the spoil. William de Breteuil and many others were taken prisoners; and, in consequence, peace was proposed. The count of Evreux and his party were ashamed that, having commenced hostilities through their arrogance, they had suffered the greatest losses, and therefore after the war had been carried on three years, they consented to an accommodation, and a meeting being held, the following terms were agreed on: William [1] paid his uncle three thousand livres for his ransom, and made his cousin Roger, Ralph's son, heir to the whole of his fief. The count of Evreux appointed the same Roger, [2] who was his own nephew, his successor in the county. But Divine Providence, which is not ruled by the will of man, provided otherwise. The young Roger was of an excellent disposition and much beloved by his companions and the vassals and neighbours. He had a great regard for the clergy and monks, paying them due reverence. Rejecting the pomp of dress, in which the nobility too much gloried, his whole demeanour was simple and modest. Upon ono occasion, when the knights were amusing themselves in the hall at Conches [3] with various games, and talking on different subjects, as the custom is, the Lady Elizabeth [4] being present, one of them said: "1 had a dream lately, which much alarmed me: I saw the Lord on the cross, his whole body livid and writhing with torture, while I fixed my eyes upon him in great terror". At this account his companions remarked: "This dream of yours was solemn and fearful,


[1] William de Breteuil.

[2] Roger de Toeni, second son of Ralph de Conches.

[3] Some ruins of the castle, of which this hall was part, are still standing.

[4] Elizabeth. his mother, lady of Conches, before called Isabel.

A.D. 1090.] A VISION AT CONCHES. 497

and seems to forebode some terrible judgment of God upon you". Baldwin, son of Eustace, count of Boulogne, then said: "I too, lately saw in a dream the Lord Jesus hanging on the cross; but in my vision he was bright and glorious, and smiled benignantly upon me, graciously making the sign Of the cross on my head". Upon this the by-standers observed; "This vision seems to promise you some singular grace and favour".

The young Roger having heard what passed said to his mother, "I know a person, not far off, who lately had a vision of the same kInd". His mother's curiosity was excited, and she pressed him to tell who it was, and what was seen; but the youth blushed, and was unwilling to make it public. At length, however, he yielded to her repeated entreaties, in which his friends present joined, and thus replied: "A certain person lately saw in a vision the Lord Jesus laying his hand on his head, who graciously blessed him, calling him in these words: 'Come quickly to me, beloved, and I will give thee the joys of life'. I therefore affirm most assuredly that one who I know has been called by the Lord, will not live long".

Soon afterwards, the three young men experienced different fates, corresponding with what each had related. The first was severely wounded while engaged in a hostile inroad, and died without having confessed and received the viaticum. Baldwin, Ralph de Conches' son-in- law, took the sign of the cross on his left shoulder, [1] and, on the summons of Pope Urban, joined the pilgrimage against the infidels. In that expedition he distinguished himself beyond all his compeers, being gloriously sustained by the Divine cross-bearer he had seen in his dream. First, he was made duke of Rages, that is of Edessa, a most flourishing city, and some years afterwards, on the death of his brother, he was elected king of Jerusalem, where he long reigned. He was constantly engaged in wars with the infidels, in which, by God's help, he nobly triumphed. As to Roger, he took to his bed the same year the visions were seen, and having


[1] Every one knows that this was the badge of the Crusaders. Baldwin, who was afterwards count of Edessa and king of Jerusalem, married Godchilde, daughter of Ralph de Conches, and widow of Robert de Neubourg. In the next book there is an account of her death during the first crusade.

498 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XV.

devoutly performed all that becomes a Christian, departed on the ides [15th] of May, and was buried, amidst general grief, with his ancestors at Chatillon, where he rests.

CH. XV. Insurrection at Rouen - Fomented by William Rufus - Quelled by Prince Henry - Tragic end of Conan, its leader.

AT the same time, Prince Henry ably governed the Cotentin, and stood on his guard with great firmness against his brothers. He was exasperated with the duke for the captivity he had recently undergone at his hands. He was no less at variance with King William in regard to his mother's lands in England, of which his brother had disseised him, and then granted them to Robert Fitz Hamon. [1] In this state of affairs, he kept his fortresses always prepared for war, and wisely conciliated the favour of several of his father's barons, who became his adherents. Among his principal castles were Avranches, Cherbourg, Coutances, and Gavrai: while Count Hugh, [2] Richard de Reviers, [3] and the other lords of the Cotentin, except Robert de Mowbray, [4] joined him, and gathering aid on all sides, either by fair words or rewards, his strength was daily on the increase. Normandy was therefore a prey to unceasing calamities, and the infernal furies made human beings, villages, and houses, the victims of fire and slaughter.

The influence of the English king extended through


[1] See before, p. 250.

[2] Hugh, viscount d'Avranches, earl of Chester.

[3] Richard de Reviers, near Creuilli, son of Baldwin, whose name appears as subscribing the charter of the Abbaye-aux Dames in 1082, was descended, it is said, from Osmond de Centevilles, viscount de Vernon, and a niece of the duchess Gonnor; but this descent is very doubtful, as far as the male line is concerned. The castellans of Vernon were not called Osmund, but Hugh and William, and the latter survived to the conquest. As to the female line, there is more probability, and our author's account of the descent is confirmed by a document in the chartulary of Carisbrook, which calls Richard de Reviers nephew of William Fitz-Osberne, who was himself nephew of the duchess Gonnor. Perhaps it was Adeliza, wife of Richard de Reviers, who was daughter and heiress of the lords of Vernon. It was in right of the castle of Vernon that Ordericus reckons Richard among the inhabitants of the Cotentin.

[4] Robert de Mowbray, oftened mentioned before, nephew of Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances.

A.D. 1090.] INSURRECTION AT ROUEN. 499

almost every part of Normandy, and having gained over the barons by means of his wealth, the province, in which its own prince had lost all power, lay at his feet. Even the citizens of Rouen, allured by the royal promises and bribes, began to talk of deposing Robert, and consulted the means of giving up the capital of Normandy, with their drowsy duke, to the king. Conan, son of Gilbert Pilet, was at the head of the conspirators; a person of great influence, as he was the richest man in Rouen. Having made a league with the king for putting him in possession of the place, his immense wealth made him very powerful, and enabled him proudly to maintain in his household a crowd of soldiers and retainers in opposition to the duke. The greatest part of the townsmen were of his faction; some however were for maintaining their allegiance to the duke, and resisted and hindered by all the obstacles in their power his traitorous design. But Conan, relying on the concurrence of his fellow citizens, fixed a time, and on the appointed day summoned the king's troops from Gournai, and the other fortified places which were in their possession, directing them to march on Rouen without loss of time. Meanwhile, the duke, discovering the serious conspiracy on foot against him, called to his councils his most trusted friends. In this juncture he made alliances with his brother Henry and some others with whom he had been at variance, and despatched hasty messengers to William, count of Evreux, Robert de Belesme, William de Breteuil, Gilbert de Laigle, and his other adherents, to inform them of his danger. Henry was the first to come to his succour, bringing a reinforcement which enabled him to inflict condign punishment on the traitor Conan.

On the 3rd of November Gilbert de Laigle arrived with a troop of horse for the duke's service, and crossing the bridge over the Seine reached Rouen on the southern side [1] at the same time that Reynold de Warrenne, [2] at the head of


[1] Gilbert's cavalry approached Rouen on the south side, by the bridge over the Seine, which then stood on the same spot as that afterwards erected by the Empress Matilda in 1167, where the suspension bridge now stands. Not only the bridge, but great part of what is now the rue Grand-Pont, was then outside the city.

[2] Reynold de Warrenne, second son of William de Warrenne, earl of Surrey, was on the king's side.

500 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XV.

three hundred men-at-arms, galloped up to the gate of Chaux. [1] Upon this Gilbert shouted to his followers: "Be on the alert, and get your arms in order, there is no time for delay; see, the enemy is approaching from the south to attack us, and our gallant comrades are rapidly advancing from the west to our support; be ready then to receive both our allies and our enemies as we ought; open your ranks to admit our friends, and close them firmly against our foes". One body of the townsmen fled to arms to resist Gilbert and his troop, while others flocked to the western gate, and set to work to force it open and give admission to Reynold and his followers. Besides this, some of the king's adherents had already contrived to find their way into the place, and having watched secretly for the moment of action, were quite ready to support the rebellion, waiting with impatience the delay of the outbreak.

At last the tumult began to rage both among the troops and the citizens, whose shouts were heard on all sides, the whole place being thrown into confusion, and venting its fury in mutual attacks; for many of the townsmen fought at both the gates against their relations and neighbours, one part rallying for the duke, the other for the king. The duke perceiving the struggle that was taking place in the city issued forth from the castle, [2] with his brother Henry and his troops, and hastened to the succour of his party in the town. But while all was in the confusion of this wild tumult, and the citizens hardly knew which side to take, the duke was persuaded by his friends to make his escape with a few followers, from apprehension that he was foolishly exposing himself to perils which could bring him no


[1] "We suppose that the gate of Chaux stood at that time on the site or the present great clock-tower (Grosse Horloge). A few lines further, our author calls this the west gate. It is probable that the circuit of the walls of Rouen had then only four gates at the four cardinal points". M. Le Prevost. We do not understand, however, how Gilbert could point his men to support coming from the west, if Reynold de Warrenne and the troops of William Rufus were just making their appearance at that gate. Nor does it appear who were the enemy on their own track from the south, but they were probably the auxiliary forces of William de Breteuil, the count de Belesme, and the lord of Laigle, as we presently find them in the city.

[2] The castle of Rouen stood at the south-east angle of the square mentioned in a preceding note. It is now called the Old Tower.

A.D. 1090.] THE INSURRECTION QUELLED. 501.

honour, and to the eternal ridicule of all the Normans. He therefore went out at the east gate, [1] and was dutifully received as their lawful sovereign by the inhabitants of the suburban village, called Mal-Palu. [2] A boat was then got ready, and embarking on the Seine he left the storm of battle behind, and proceeded by water, in great alarm, to the village of Emendreville. [3] He was received on his landing by William d'Arques, a monk of Moleme, [4] and waited there, in the church of Notre-Dame-du-Pre, [5]° the issue of the insurrection.

Gilbert de Laigle, having forced an entrance through the southern gate by the intrepidity of his followers, aided by the exertions of the citizens who had not taken the side of the traitors, he joined Prince Henry and the duke's other auxiliaries, and charged the rebels who had possession of the city. These presumptuous and guilty traitors, failing in their wicked enterprise, the party of the duke now took courage, and Gilbert furiously assaulted and crushed the enemy. There was great slaughter of the townsmen, and Conan, the leader of the insurgents, was taken prisoner with many others. The city resounded with cries of grief and terror, the women making loud lamentations, while the men were fighting, falling, and fleeing. The innocent and guilty alike were everywhere butchered, or captured or driven to flight. When it appeared that the citizens were divided among themselves, and that severe misfortunes were impending, the royal troops withdrew in confusion, and hastily gaining the shelter of the neighbouring woods, concealed themselves there until under cover of night, they, with some difficulty, escaped the risk of death or captivity.

Meanwhile, Conan was conveyed by the victors into the castle, and Prince Henry having taken him to the summit of the tower said to him ironically: "See, Conan, what a beautiful country you have tried to become master of. There, to the


[1] This gate stood at the end of the rue St. Romain.

[2] Being now included in the city, it has left its name to a street so called.

[3] Now the faubourg of St. Sever.

[4] This monk is mentioned before as one of the counsellors of Robert Curthose.

[5] The priory of Notre-Dame-du-Pre, now Bonne-Nouvelle, a dependency on the abbey of Bec, which was founded by William and Matilda.

502 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XV.

south, a delightful park [1] is spread before your eyes: see its wooded glades, well stocked with beasts of chace. There flows the Seine, abounding in fish, washing the city walls, and bearing daily on its bosom ships loaded with rich cargoes of merchandise to the port of Rouen. See, on the other side, that populous city, with its strong walls, and churches, and stately houses, the capital of Normandy from the earliest times". Conan, trembling at the prince's ironical insult, groaned aloud, and imploring his clemency, said: "I confess my guilt, which has justly subjected me to condemnation, but I beg for mercy, in the name of God, the Creator of all things. I will give, my lord, for my ransom, all the gold and silver which can be found in my own coffers and in those of my friends, and I will efface the crime of my disloyalty by dutiful allegiance to the end of my days". Henry, however, replied: "By the soul of my mother, [2] I will take no ransom for a traitor; the death he has deserved shall be instant". Then Conan cried aloud with a lamentable voice: "For the love of God, allow me first to have a confessor". But Henry, impatient to avenge his brother's wrongs, in the fury of his passion paid no regard to the prayers of the wretched man, and seizing him with both hands, dashed him backward from the tower window. The wretch's limbs were broken by the fearful fall, but he had ceased to live before he reached the ground. The corpse was fastened to the tail of a horse, and dragged with disgrace through all the streets of Rouen, to strike terror into the rebels. The place where the deed of vengeance was wrought is called to this day "Conan's leap".

Duke Robert returning from the church of Notre-Dame-du-Pre to the castle, and learning what had happened, was touched with compassion and deeply lamented the miseries of the citizens; but the sterner counsels of the nobles prevailed, and he was not allowed to pardon the guilty. Robert de Belesme and William de


[1] The park of the dukes of Normandy, on the south bank of the Seine, included the lands of Sotteville, Grammont, St. Etienne-du-Rouvrai, the forest of Rouvrai, Le Petit Couronne, and the priory of St. Julien.

[2] Henry's respect for his mother, Queen Matilda's, memory, did not, however, prevent his pillaging the domains which she gave to the Abbaye-auz-Dames, as we shall shortly see.

A.D. 1090.] CALAMITIES OF NORMANDY. 503

Breteuil had arrived, and they treated the inhabitants of Rouen as if they had been aliens and robbers, carrying them off and throwing them into loathsome dungeons. William, son of Ansger, one of the richest of the citizens, was led away captive by William de Breteuil, and after long undergoing the horrors of a prison, was permitted to ransom himself for three thousand livres. [1] Thus the people of Belesme and Laigle, and the duke's other auxiliaries, exercised the greatest cruelties against their own fellow countrymen, and evil-entreated the citizens of the capital of Normandy, dragging them away captives, and stripped of everything as if they had been barbarian enemies.

To what calamities was now reduced that proud Normandy which so lately triumphed in the conquest of England, and destroying or expelling her native sons, usurped their lands and their government! The prodigious wealth which was wrung from others, and enriched by which she exalted herself to her own destruction, has now, so far from turning to her advantage, become the source of the severest torments. Now, like Babylon, she drinks herself of the cup of tribulation, which she gave to others. At the sight of so many evils the impoverished clergy weeps, the convents of monks lament, and the helpless people are everywhere desolate and sorrowful. They only rejoice, and their triumph will be of short duration, who can rob and thieve without restraint. Alas! the respect for the priesthood, to which once all did reverence, is nearly extinct in the flood of calamities which so violently rages. Why have the furies such unbounded licence to revel in Normandy, crushing its inhabitants and overwhelming them in its ruins? In the days when there was no king or ruler in Jerusalem, the rebellious people sacrificed to the golden calves of Jeroboam in Dan and Bethel. [2] Therefore it was that Joel wept for and exhorted the transgressors of the law, harassed by the palmer-worm, the canker-worm, the locust, and caterpillar. By the four plagues mentioned by the prophet [3] are signified, fear, desire, grief, and joy. Fear and desire


[1] Exactly the same ransom which we have seen William de Bretueil pay to his uncle, Ralph de Conches.

[2] 1 Kings xii. 28.

[3] 1 Joel i. 4.

504 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVI.

stimulate and corrode the hearts of men, and overwhelm and destroy them with fatal joy or grief. Joys minister to lust, sorrows lead to cruelty. Virgil speaks of them thus in his poem: [1]

Desire and fear by turns possess their hearts,
And grief and joy: nor can the grovelling mind
In the dark dungeon of the limbs confined,
Assert its native skies, or own its heavenly kind.

Those who are plunged in the gloom of the world's troubles can neither enjoy the light of true wisdom nor extricate themselves from the snares of vice. I see many passages in the sacred writings which are so adapted to the circumstances of the present times, that they seem parallel. But I leave to studious persons the task of inquiry into these allegorical quotations and the interpretations applicable to the state of mankind, and will endeavour to continue the history of Norman affairs a little further in all simplicity.

CH. XVI. Robert de Belesme erects castles, and commences hostilities with Hugh de Grantmesnil and his kindred - Lays siege to Courci - Events of the siege - The pacification - William Rufus crosses over to Normandy, and is reconciled with the duke, Robert Curthose.

HAVING now described the reverses of the people of Evreux, and the revolt and sufferings of the citizens of Rouen, I purpose to relate the contests and calamities of the people of Oxmes. [2] Robert de Belesme built a castle on an elevated spot which is commonly called Fourches, and, transferring there the inhabitants of Vignats, sought to reduce all the neighbours under his tyranny. He erected another fortress called Chateau Goutier, [3] at La Courbe, [4] on the river Orne, by which he would be enabled to impose his yoke, however unjustly, on all the district of the Houlme. [5] Thus aggrandized far beyond his parentage and ancestors, be attacked his


[1] Hine metuunt, cupiuntque; dolent, gaudentque; neque auras
Respiciunt, clausae tenebris et carcere caeco.- AEn. vi. 734, 735.

[2] The inhabitants of the Hiemois.

[3] Chateau Goutier, on the neck of a peninsula formed by the Orne.

[4] La Courbe, in the canton of Ecouche.

[5] The Houlme formed the western part of the diocese of Seez.

A.D. 1090.] FAMILY OF GRANTMESNIL. 505

equals almost every where in Normandy, where a protector of just rights was not to be found, and began to harass his immediate neighbours. Finding this, the Norman nobles were much disturbed, and their disquietudes grew to such a pitch that they had long and frequent consultations on the subject of resisting these inroads. The first to take arms, because they were the nearest to the tyrant's borders and most exposed to his nefarious attempts, were Hugh de Grantmesnil [1] and Richard de Courci, [2] who drew supplies of arms and provisions to their castles and strengthened the garrisons. These knights were now grey-headed, but their spirit was high and noble, and their intimate connection increased their power; for Robert, Hugh's son, had married Hugh's daughter, [3] and she had borne her husband five sons.

The noble Hugh de Grantmesnil was in his youth distinguished for his valour, and married a very beautiful lady, Adeliza, [4] daughter of Ivo, count de Beaumont, by whom he had Robert, William, Hugh, Ivo, and Aubrey; Adeline, Havise, Rohais, Matilda, and Agnes. This large and promising family was a prey to various misfortunes, so that none of them except Robert lived to old age. He was the eldest, and, surviving all his brothers and sisters, was thrice married before he was advanced in years. His first wife was Agnes, daughter of Ranulf of Bayeux, [5] the second, Emma, daughter of Robert D'Estoteville, [6] and he married lastly Lucy, daughter of Savaric Fitz-Cane. [7] William and


[1] Hugh de Grantmesnil, viscount or sheriff of Leicestershire, and governor of Winchester.

[2] Richard, lord of Courci-sur-Dive.

[3] Rohais, or Rohesia, third daughter of Hugh de Grantmesnil.

[4] Adeliza, daughter of Ivo II., count de Beaumont-sur-Oise, founder of the priory of Conflans, by Judith, his first wife.

[5] Ranulf de Briquesart, viscount de Bayeux, nephew and heir of Hugh, earl of Chester.

[6] Robert D'Estoteville, surnamed Grand-Bois, lord of Estoteville-sur-mer, canton of Yerville, is the first person on record of this illustrious family.

[7] She was married to Ralph, viscount of Maine. Their son, Saveric, was half-brother of Hubert de Sainte Suzanne, of whom we have heard before (p. 378). He was still a minor in 1060, when he was a consenting party to a donation in favour of the monks of Vivoin. His sons were Ralph, Savaric Fitz-Savaric, and Godwin. A charter of King Richard, dated at Gorron, March 31, 1190, confirms to Francis de Bohun several fiefs in Normandy, and, among others, Bohun, as fully as Savaric Fitz-Savaric held the same at the time of his death; and moreover, Midhurst and other lordships in England, as Savaric, son of Cane, held the same under Henry I. and Henry II. Ralph and Savaric, the second of that name, having died without issue, their possessions, together with one moiety of the fief of Bohun, which they inherited from Engelger de Bohun, passed to this Francis, who was son of their brother Godwin, and became the ancestor of the barons of Bohun and Midhurst.

506 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVI.

No were also married. The first took to wife, in Apulia, Mabel, daughter of Robert Guiscard and the other, in England, a daughter of Gilbert de Gand. [2] Adeline married Roger d'Ivri, [3] and Rohais, Robert de Courci; Matilda, Hugh de Mont-Pincon; [4] Agnes, William de Say; [5] and Havise died just as she became marriageable.

Hugh de Grantmesnil therefore, thus surrounded by sons


[1] Mabel, who had the surname of Courte-Louve, fifth daughter of Robert Guiscard and Sichelgade.

[2] Our English genealogists consider this person to have been the son of Baldwin de Mons, brother of Queen Matilda, of whom we know no other descendants but Arnulf and Baldwin. The truth is, that Gilbert was brother of Baldwin de Gand, lord of Alost, and son of Ralph. His name appears as witness to a document at Alost, on his return from England, the 25th of May, 1075. By his wife, Alicia de Montfort, he had a son named Hugh, founder of the family of the lords of Montfort, barons of Cocquanilliers. He survived his eldest son, named also Gilbert. His third son, Walter, inherited all his estates in England. He had, besides, two daughters, married, the one to William, constable of Chester, the other, Emma, to Alan de Percy. He received a vast number of manors in capite by grant from William the Conqueror. He was the restorer of Bardney Abbey in Lincolnshire; and he was one of the small number of Normans who escaped the massacre by the Danes at York in 1069. He is supposed to have died about 1094.

[3] See before, pp. 109 and 212. Roger d'Ivri held of Bishop Odo two manors in England (Domesday-book). A singular act of fraternity was made between this Roger and Robert D'Oyley: Memorandum that Robert D'Oyley and Roger d'Ivri came to the conquest of England with William the Bastard, as sworn brothers and confederates, pledged to each other by their mutual solemn oaths. The following passage in the Scriptum de servitiis militaribus quae debentur duci Normaniae, concerns one of his descendants, and not his father, as Kennett supposes ... Waleran d'Ivri one man-at-arms for his butlership, and three and a half for himself; the same has from Ivri eight men-at-arms and a half, and to render to the king at the king's pleasure. His wife, Adeline, appears in Domesday-book as tenant in capite on her own account.

[4] Hugh de Mont Pincon. See before, p. 212.

[5] William de Say; this person subscribed the charter of Henry I. in favour of St. Evroult, in 1128. Concerning the family of Say, near Argentan, and in England, see before, p. 201.

A.D. 1091.] RENCOUNTERS OF KNIGHTS. 507

and sons-intlaw, as well as many friends, took the lead actively in hostilities against Robert de Belesme, and by the aid of his distinguished allies, made a bold resistance to his tyranny. Robert, however, relying on the support of his brothers Roger and Arnulph, [1] and his numerous vassals, put his neighbours to defiance, and set himself to injure them by frequent inroads and devastations on their territories. Matthew, count de Beaumont, [2] William de Warrenne, [3] and many other knights, flocked to these encounters to exhibit their prowess in such lists. There, however, Theobald, son of Walter de Breteuil, [4] and Guy the Red, were slain. Theobald, whose steed and all his appointments were white, was called the white knight, and Guy was called the red, because his were of that colour. [5] Robert de Belesme, finding that he was unable alone to cope with his illustrious neighbours, who were so eminent for their noble bearing, and the intrepidity and prowess they exhibited, both in sustaining and daring the shock of arms, won to his side the duke of Normandy by his humble supplications and specious promises, so that he prevailed with him by his earnest entreaties to march to his aid.

In the year, therefore, of our Lord 1091, the thirteenth indiction, in the month of January, the duke laid siege to Courci, [6] but unwilling to come to extremities with his great nobles, he took no measures for closely investing the besieged. Robert, however, used every resource of open attack and stratagem against the enemy for three weeks, employing various engines of war in his assaults on the fortress; but the garrison being numerous and making a resolute defence, he was repulsed with shame. He caused a vast machine,


[1] Roger and Arnulph de Montgomery, improperly called earls by the French editor of Ordericus and some English genealogists. See the note, p. 203.

[2] Matthew, count of Beaumont-sur-Oise, brother-in-law of Hugh de Grantmesnil, and chamberlain of France in 1139, died in 1151 or 1152.

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

[4] This Waleran did not belong to the family of the lords of Breteuil, but was one of their vassals.

[5] The reader who is conversant with the chronicles and romances of the middle ages, or even with some modern works of fictions will here recognize a well known practice.

[6] Courci-sur-Dive.

508 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVI.

called a belfry, [1] to be erected over against the castle walls, and filled it with all kinds of warlike instruments, but even this failed of compelling the garrison to submit; for as often as he began an assault on Courci, the powerful force from Grantmesnil hastened to the rescue, and charging the assailants with fury drew them off from their intended attack. Meanwhile the garrison took prisoners William de Ferrers [2] and William de Rupiere, [3] whose ransoms were a great assistance to the besieged. But the lot of war is uncertain, and the victors often have to yield to those they have defeated. Thus Ivo, Hugh's son, [4] and Richard, Gilbert's son, [5] and several others, were made prisoners by the besiegers, and had some experience of the horrors of Robert de Belesme's dungeons. Hugh de Grantmesnil did not bear arms himself, on account of his advanced age, but in council his shrewdness and wisdom enabled him to take the lead. The long continuance of the siege caused him extreme pain, and in consequence he sent the following message to the duke who was engaged in it: "I long served your father and grandfather, and suffered much in their service. I have also been always loyal to you. What have I done? in what have I given you offence? how have I merited at your hands this hostile attack? I openly acknowledge the fealty I owe you as my liege-lord, and on that account I will not appear in arms against you; but I offer you two hundred livres to withdraw where it may suit your pleasure for one single day, that I may take that opportunity of fighting Robert de Belesme: it is clear enough, that his principal reliance is upon your protection, and that the besieged are more restrained by their loyalty to you than by any fear they have of their enemies".


[1] Berfredum; a wooden tower on four wheels, with a great number of stages or floors, employed in sieges to assault and command the fortifications.

[2] William, lord of Ferrieres St. Hilaire, near Bernai, and son of Henry, who was present at the battle of Hastings.

[3] This lord gave the church of Frenouville to the abbey of Troarn, and in 1099 added the tithe to his former grant.

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

[5] Richard de Clare, or de Bienfaite, son of Gilbert, count of Brionne. It will appear afterwards that he did not long survive the sufferings he endured during his captivity.

A.D. 1090.] SIEGE OF THE CASTLE OF COURCI. 509

An oven had been built outside the fortifications between the castle gate and the assailants' belfry, and there the baker baked the bread required for the use of the garrison, because the siege was begun in such haste that they had no time to construct an oven within their new defences. It followed therefore that the thickest of the fight often raged around this oven, much blood was shed there, and many spirits departed by violence from the prison of the flesh. For the people of Courci stood in arms to defend their bread, while Belesme's followers tried to carry it off, so that many desperate conflicts occurred. It happened that one day while the loaves were being baked in the oven, and the two hostile parties were engaged in a violent quarrel, the troops on both sides came up, and a desperate conflict ensued, in which twenty men were killed and more wounded, who never tasted the bread their blood had purchased. Meanwhile, the friends of the besieged daily entered the castle in sight of the besiegers, and the duke taking no care to prevent it, conveyed to their comrades fresh supplies of arms and provisions to give them courage and support.

On one occasion, Robert and his troops having been repulsed from an assault, those who pursued them made a squire mount into the belfry and set fire to it on the north side. The machine was therefore burnt by the righteous judgment of God, it having been irreligiously constructed by a tyrannical order during the days when the feast of our Lord's Nativity is observed. [1]

Gerard, [2] the politic bishop of Seez, came during the progross of the siege to use his efforts to restore peace between the contending parties in his diocese, and took up his abode at the convent of Dive. [3] He proposed terms of accommodation,


[1] The French editor of Ordericus remarks that the machine must have been constructed in anticipation of the siege, if it did not begin till the month of January, as our author states, and therefore conjectures that Ordericus counted the calends of January as belonging to that month. That would carry back the date of the commencement of the siege to the fourteenth of December; but perhaps the true solution is that, as every one knows, the feast of Christmas does not terminate till Twelfthday, the sixth of January, or even its octave the 13th. The machine, if brought to the spot ready framed, might be put together in a few days.

[2] Gerard, bishop of Seez, 1082-1091.

[3] The abbey of Notre-Dame-de-St.-Pierre-sur-Dive, at a short distance from Courci.

510 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVI.

but was grieved to find that the spirit of discord was too powerful and caused them to be rejected. He was also much distressed at a gross insult offered him by Robert de Belesme. A certain youth who was in the bishop's service was one day riding through the camp amusing himself in a boyish way, when Robert caused him to be pulled off the horse and thrown into prison, retaining also the horse for his own service. The boy was called Richard de Gapree, he was son of Sevald, and his relations had long struggled with all their might to defend themselves from Robert's encroachments. When the bishop heard that his clerk was arrested by Robert without any cause of offence, he commanded him to release him instantly, or otherwise he would lay the whole army under an interdict. After some days the young clerk was set at liberty, and the bishop was carried back in a languishing disorder to his own see at Seez. He then received the holy sacraments and died surrounded by his disciples on the tenth of the calends of February [23rd January]. [1] His body was interred in the church of St. Gervase the martyr.

The same week, [2] William Rufus, king of England, crossed over to Normandy with a great fleet. The duke was alarmed at his arrival, and with Robert de Belesme and the other besiegers retired from Conches, and every one went to his own home. Almost all the Norman lords presently paid their court to William with great zeal, offering him presents in the expectation of receiving still greater in return. The French also, and the Bretons and Flemings, as well as many from the neighbouring provinces, when they heard that William was residing at Eu in Normandy, resorted to him. They admired his great magnificence, and, on their return home, exalted him above all their own princes for his wealth and generosity. At last, the two brothers met amicably at Rouen and were reconciled, their former quarrels being buried in oblivion. At this interview the duke received presents of great value from the king, and ceded to him the counties of Eu and Aumale and the entire fiefs of Gerard de Gournai and Ralph de Conches with all


[1] A.D. 1091.

[2] This week extended from Sunday, the 19th, to Saturday, the 2°,th of January.

A.D. 1091.] A VISION OF PURGATORY. 511

the castles in their hands or held of them by their depend- ants. The king and his court resided at Rouen from January to the calends [the 1st] of August in all the splendour of regal magnificence. [1]

CH. XVII. Narrative of a vision of departed and reprobate spirits seen, at the time of the siege of Courci, by a priest who related it to the author.

I CONSIDER that I ought not to suppress and pass over in silence what happened to a certain priest of the diocese of Liseux in the begining of January. [2] In a village called Bonneval there was a priest named Walkelin who served the church of St. Aubin of Anjou, who from a monk became bishop and confessor. [3] At the commencement of the month of January, 1091, this priest was summoned in the night time, as the occasion required, to visit a sick man who lived at the furthest extremity of his parish. As he was pursuing his solitary road homewards, far from any habitation of man, he heard a great noise like the tramp of a numerous body of troops, and thought within himself that the sounds proceeded from the army of Robert de Belesme on their march to lay seige to the castle of Courci. [4] The moon,


[1] From the last day of January, 1091, to the 1st of August in the same year.

Florence of Worcester gives with more precision than our author the terms of the arrangement made between the two brothers. It was agreed,

1. That the duke should cede to William the county of Eu, the abbeys of Fecamp and Mount St. Michael, Cherbourg, and all the castles which had been given up to him.

2. That the king should reconquer for his brother Maine, and the castles which had refused to submit to his authority.

3. That the king should restore to the Normans in England the estates they may have forfeited for having taken the side of Robert; and should also grant to Robert the domains which he had promised him before their differences.

4. That the survivor should inherit the dominions of the other. This convention was confirmed by the oaths of twelve barons on each side.

[2] The 1st of January.

[3] St. Aubin de Bonneval, between Orbec and Sap, and not far from St. Evroult. St. Aubin, bishop of Angers, March 1, 550.

[4] The siege, then, described in the preceding chapter had commenced, or was on the point of commencing, on the 1st of January, which confirms our conjecture that the great machine used in it was put together in the course of the week before Twelfthday. This was not Robert de Belesme's road to Courci, but terror seems to have already turned the head of the worthy curate.

512 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVII.

being in her eighth day in the constellation of the Ram, shed a clear light, so that it was easy to find the way. Now the priest was young, undaunted, and bold, and of a powerful and active frame of body. However, he hesitated when the sounds, which seemed to proceed from troops on the march first reached his ears, and began to consider whether he should take to flight to avoid being laid hold of and discourteously stripped by the worthless camp followers, or manfully stand on his defence if any one molested him. Just then he espied four medlar-trees [1] in a field at a good distance from the path, and determined to seek shelter behind them, as fast as he could, until the cavalry had passed. But as he was running he was stopped by a man of enormous stature, armed with a massive club, who, raising his weapon above his head, shouted to him, "Stand! Take not a step further"! The priest, frozen with terror, stood motionless, leaning on his staff. The gigantic club-bearer also stood close to him, and, without offering to do him any injury, quietly waited for the passage of the troop. [2] And now, behold, a great crowd of people came by on foot, carrying on their heads and shoulders, sheep, clothes, furniture, and moveables of all descriptions, such as robbers are in the habit of pillaging. All were making great lamentations and urging one another to hasten their steps. Among them the priest recognized a number of his neighbours who had lately died, and heard them bewailing the excruciating sufferings with which they were tormented for their evil deeds, They were followed by a


[1] Normandy was famed for its orchards from very early times.

[2] The memory of this vision, and of the spot where it occurred, still lingers in the neighbourhood. The story is thus told:

"At a very remote period, the cure of Bonneval returning in the night-time from administering the sacrament to a rich parishioner in the village of Bose, had reached the foot of a field called Olivet, at the cross-roads called Fosses-Malades (on account of the adjoining graves in which the dead were buried during a pestilence which ravaged the parish), when he fell in with some thirty men, dressed in red, some of whom were on foot and the rest on horseback. These men led the cure to the top of the field, and solicited him to abjure his religion and deny God. Their instances proving fruitless, they departed, leaving the good priest to return safe to his dwelling".

A.D. 1091.] A VISION OF PURGATORY. 513

troop of corpse-bearers, who were joined by the giant already mentioned. These carried as many as fifty biers, each of which was borne by two bearers. On these were seated a number of men of the size of dwarfs, but whose heads were as large as barrels. Two Ethiopians also carried an immense trunk of a tree, to which a poor wretch was rudely bound, who, in his tortures filled the air with fearful cries of anguish; for a horrible demon sat on the same trunk and goaded his loins and back with red-hot spurs until the blood streamed from them. Walkelin distinctly recognized in this wretch the assassin of Stephen the priest, and was witness to the intolerable tortures he suffered for the innocent blood he shed two years before, since which he had died without penance for so foul a crime.

Then followed a crowd of women who seemed to the priest to be innumerable. They were mounted on horseback, riding in female fashion, with women's saddles which were stuck with red-hot nails. The wind often lifted them a cubit from their saddles, and then let them drop again on the sharp points. Their haunches thus punctured with the burning nails, and suffering horrible torments from the wounds and the scorching heat, the women pitiably ejaculated, woe! woe! and made open confession of the sins for which they were punished, undergoing in this manner fire and stench and unutterable tortures for the obscene allurements and filthy delights to which they had abandoned themselves when living among men. In this company the priest recognized several noble ladies, and beheld the palfreys and mules with the women's litters of others who were still alive.

The priest stood fixed to the spot at this spectacle, his thoughts deeply engaged in the reflections it suggested. Presently, however, he saw pass before him a numerous company of clergy and monks, with their rulers and judges, the bishops and abbots carrying croziers in their hands. The clergy and bishops wore black copes, and the abbots and monks cowls of the same hue. They all groaned and wailed, and some of them called to Walkelin, and implored him, in the name of their former friendship, to pray for them. The priest reported that he saw among them many who were highly esteemed, and who, in human estimation, were now associated with the saints in heaven. He recognised in the

514 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVII.

number Hugh, bishop of Lisieux, [1] and those eminent abbots Manier of Evroult and Gerbert of Fontenelles, with many others whose names I either forget, or have no desire to publish. Human judgment is often fallible, but the eye of God seeeth the inmost thoughts; for man looks only to outward appearances, God searcheth the heart. In the realms of eternal bliss the clear light of an endless day is shed on all around, and the children of the kingdom triumph in the joys which attend perfect holiness. Nothing that is unrighteous is done there; nothing that is polluted can enter there; no uncleanness, no impurity, is there found. All the dross of carnal desires is therefore consumed in the fires of purgatory, and purified by sufferings of various degrees as the Judge eternal ordains. So that as a vessel cleansed from rust and thoroughly polished is laid up in a treasury, so the soul, purified from all taint of sin, is admitted into Paradise, where it enjoys perfect happiness unalloyed by fear or care.

The priest, trembling at these appalling scenes, still rested on his staff, expecting apparitions still more terrible. And now there followed an immense army in which no colour was visible, but only blackness and fiery flames. All were mounted on great war-horses, and fully armed as if they were prepared for immediate battle, and they carried black banners. There were seen Richard and Baldwin, the


[1] Dante did not scruple to assign a special place of torment not only in purgatory, but in hell itself, to popes even who had been guilty of simony and other scandalous crimes.

Chi e colui, maestro, che si cruccia,
Guizzando piu che gli altri suoi consorti,
Diss' io, e cui piu rossa fiamma succia?
... Bonifazio.
L'Inferno, Cant. xix. 31, 53.

But it could scarcely have been expected that, in our author's age, either the worthy priest of Bonneval, or the monk who has supplied us with so vivid a description of his vision, would have included a goodly number of "bishops, abbots, clergy, and monks" among the tormented. At any rate, we may he surprised to find Hugh, bishop of Lisieux, and Mainier, abbot of St. Evroult, among the motley company of rapacious freebooters, grasping lawyers, and debauched women, as our author has given high characters to both those prelates, and a particularly interesting account of the bishop's happy end. See before, pp. 119-123, and 184.

A.D. 1091.] A VISION OF PURGATORY. 515

sons of Count Gilbert, [1] who were lately dead, with so many others that I cannot enumerate them. Among the rest, was Landri of Orbec, who was killed the same year, and who accosted the priest, and uttering horrible cries, charged him with his commissions, urgently begging him to carry a message to his wife. Upon this the troops who marched before and after him interrupted his cries, and said to the priest: "Believe not Landri, for he is a deceiver". This man had been a viscount and a lawyer, and had raised himself from a very low origin by his talents and merit. He decided causes and affairs according to his own pleasure, and perverted judgment for bribes, actuated more by avarice and duplicity than by a sense of what was right. He was therefore justly devoted to flagrant punishment, and publicly denounced by his associates as a liar. In this company no one flattered him, and no one had recourse to his cunning loquacity. He, who while it was in his power had shut his ears to the cries of the poor, was now in his torments, treated as an execrable wretch who was unfit to be heard.

Walkelin having seen these countless troops of soldiers pass, on reflection, said within himself: "Doubtless these are Harlequin's people; [2] I have often heard of their being seen, but I laughed at the stories, having never had any certain proofs of such things. Now, indeed, I assuredly behold the ghosts of the departed, but no one will believe me when I tell the tale unless I can exhibit to mortal eyes some tangible proof of what I have seen. I will therefore mount one of the horses which are following the troop without any riders, and will take it home and show it my neighbours to convince them that I speak the truth". Accordingly he forthwith snatched the reins of a black steed, but the


[1] Richard de Bienfaite and Baldwin de Meules, son of Gilbert, count de Brionne.

[2] Herlechini. I. Le Prevost says in a note on this passage, "It is what is still called in our country- places Hennequin's hunt. This Hennekin, as the tradition runs, was a great hunter who, having sold himself to the devil, is compelled to return every year during the storms in the night which occur in Advent, attended by his huntsmen and dogs, whose howlings many persons have declared to me they have distinctly heard. It is curious to remark the identity of the primitive name of this visionary hunter (Herlechinus) with that of the comic character in a parti-coloured dress, which originated at Bergamo".

516 ORDERICUS VITALIS [B.VIII. CH.XVII.

animal burst violently from his hold and galloped away among the troops of Ethiopians. The priest was disappointed at the failure of his enterprise; but he was young, bold, and light-hearted, as well as agile and strong. He therefore stationed himself in the middle of the path, prepared for action, and the moment a horse came up, laid his hand upon it. The horse stopped, ready for him to mount without difficulty, at the same time snorting from his nostrils a cloud of vapour as large as a full-grown oak. The priest then placed his left foot in the stirrup, and, seizing the reins, laid his hand on the saddle, but he instantly felt that his foot rested on red-hot iron, and the hand with which he held the bridle was frozen with insupportable cold which penetrated to his vitals.

While this was passing, four terrific knights came up and uttering horrible cries, shouted to him: "What do you want with our horses? You shall come with us. No one of our company had injured you, when you began laying your hands on what belongs to us". The priest, in great alarm, let go the horse, and three of the knights attempting to seize him, the fourth said to them: "Let him go, and allow me to speak with him, for I wish to make him the bearer of a message to my wife and children". He then said to the priest, who stood trembling with fright: "Listen to me, I beseech you, and tell my wife what I say". The priest replied: "I know not who you are, or who is your wife". The knight then said: "I am William de Glos, [1] son of Barno, and was once the renowned steward of William de Breteuil and his father William, earl of Hereford. [2] While in the world I abandoned myself to evil deeds and plunder, and was guilty of more crimes than can be recounted. But, above all, I am tormented for my usuries. I once lent money to a poor man, and received as security a mill which belonged to him, and as he was not able to discharge the debt I kept the mortgage property and left it to my heirs, disinheriting my debtor's family. You see that I have in my mouth a bar of hot iron from the mill, the weight of which I feel to be more oppressive than the tower of Rouen. Tell, therefore,


[1] Glos-la-Ferriere, now Glos-sous-Laigle, in the neighbourhood of St. Evroult.

[2] William Fitz-Osbern.

A.D. 1091.] A VISION OF PURGATORY. 517

my wife Beatrice, and my son Roger, to afford me relief, by speedily restoring to the right heir the pledge from which they have received more than I advanced". The priest replied: "William de Glos died long ago, and this is a commission which no Christian man can undertake. I know neither who you are, or who are your heirs. If I should venture to tell such a tale to Roger de Glos, or his brothers, or to their mother, they would laugh me to scorn as one out of his wits". However, William continued still to persist in his earnest entreaties, and furnished him with many sure and well-known tokens of his identity. The priest understood very well all he heard, but pretended not to comprehend it. At length, overcome by importunities, he consented to what the knight requested, and engaged to do what was required. Upon this, William repeated again all he had said, and impressed it on his companion during a long conversation. The priest, however, began to consider that he durst not convey to any one the execrable message of a dammed spirit. [1] "It is not right", he said; "to publish such things; I will, on no account, tell to any one what you require of me". Upon this, the knight was filled with rage, and seizing him by the throat dragged him along on the ground, uttering terrible imprecations. The prisoner felt the hand which grasped him burning like fire, and in this deep extremity cried aloud: "Help me, O holy Mary, the glorious mother of Christ". No sooner had he invoked the compassionate mother than the aid of the Son of God was afforded him, according to the Almighty's disposing will. For a horseman immediately rode up, with a sword in his right hand, and brandishing it over Roger's head, exclaimed: "Will ye kill my brother, ye accursed ones? Loose him and begone"! The knights instantly fled and followed the black troops.

When they had all passed by, the horseman, remaining alone in the road with Walkelin, said to him, "Do you not know me"? the priest answered "No". The other said: "I am Robert, son of Ralph le Blond, [2] and your


[1] Biothanati; this word, which in its original signification was applied to those who put an end to their own lives, means here the damned, the reprobate, the suicide of his soul.

[2] Several persons of the name of Le Blond are mentioned in Domesday-book, among others Gilbert Le Blond, who about the year 1100 founded the priory of Ixworth in Suffolk. There is also a Robert Le Blond, but we are told that he was in possession of his manors in the time of Edward the Confessor, and therefore he could not be the brother of the young and vigorous priest of Bonneval, without a great difference in their ages.

518 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVII.

brother". The priest was much astonished at this unexpected occurrence, and much troubled at what he had seen and heard, as we have just related, when the knight began to remind him of a number of things which happened in their youth, and to give him many well-known tokens. The priest had a clear recollection of all that was told him, but not daring to confess it, he stoutly denied all knowledge of the circumstances. At length the knight said to him: "I am astonished at your hardness of heart and stupidity; it was I who brought you up on our parents' death, and loved you more than any one living. I sent you to school in France, [1] supplied you plentifully with clothes and money, and did all in my power to benefit you in every way. You seem now to have forgotten all this, and will not even condescend to recognise me. At length the priest, after being abundantly furnished with exact particulars, became convinced by such certain proofs, and bursting into tears, openly admitted the truth of what he had heard. His brother then said: "You deserve to die, and to be dragged with us to partake of the torments we suffer, because you have rashly laid hands on things which belong to our reprobate crew; no other living man ever dared to make such an attempt. But the mass you sang to-day has saved you from perishing. It is also permitted me thus to appear to you, and unfold to you my wretched condition. After I had conferred with you in Normandy, I took leave of you and crossed over to England, where, by the Creator's order, my life ended, and I have undergone intense suffering for the grievous sins with which I was burdened. It is flaming armour which you see us bear, it poisons us with an infernal stench, weighs us down with its intolerable weight, and scorches us with heat which is inextinguishable! Hitherto I have been tormented with unutterable sufferings,


[1] This curious passage proves that, notwithstanding the high reputation in which the school of Bec was held at this time, some, at least, of the Normans destined to ecclesiastical functions resorted to France (and probably to Paris) to complete their studies. It was the same at the period when Wace was engaged in his.

A.D. 1091.] A VISION OF PURGATORY. 519

but when you were ordained in England, and sang your first mass for the faithful departed, your father Ralph was released from purgatory, and my shield, which was a great torment to me, fell from my arm. I still, as you see, carry a sword, but I confidently expect to be relieved of that burden in the course of a year".

While the knight was thus talking, the priest attentively listening to him espied a mass of clotted gore, in the shape of a man's head, at the other's heels, round his spurs, and in great amazement said to him: "Whose is this clotted blood which clings to your spurs"? The knight replied: "It is not blood but fire; and it weighs me down more than if I had Mount St. Michael to carry. Once I used sharp and bright spurs when I was hurrying to shed blood, and now I justly carry this enormous weight at my heels, which is so intolerably burdensome, that I am unable to express the severity of my sufferings. Men ought to reflect on these things without ceasing, and to dread and beware lest they, for their sins, should undergo such chastisements. I am not permitted, my brother, to converse longer with you, for I must hasten to follow this unhappy troop. Remember me, I pray you, and give me the succour of your prayers and alms. In one year after Palm Sunday I trust to be saved; and by the mercy of the Creator released from all my torments. And you, consider well your own state, and prudently mend your life which is blemished by many vices, for know, it will not be very long. Now be silent, bury in your own bosom the things you have so unexpectedly seen and heard, and do not venture to tell them to any one for three days".

With these words the knight hastened away. The priest was seriously ill for a whole week; as soon as he began to recover his strength, he went to Lisieux and related all that had happened to Bishop Gilbert, [1] in regular order, and obtained, on his petition, the salutary remedies he needed. He afterwards lived in good health almost fifteen years, and I heard what I have written, and more which has escaped my memory, from his own mouth, and saw the mark on his face left by the hand of the terrible knight. I have committed the account to writing for the edification of my readers, that


[1] Gilbert Maminot, bishop of Lisieux.

520 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVIII.

the righteous may be confirmed in their good resolutions, and the wicked repent of their evil deeds. I now return to the history I have commenced.

CH. XVIII. Prince Henry prepares for war in Normandy - he is besieged at Mount St. Michael by his brothers William Rufus and Robert Curthose - retires into exile in France - Serlo, abbot of Evroult, made bishop of Seez.

IN the year of our Lord 1091, the thirteenth indiction, in the month of January, William Rufus, king of England, crossed over to Normandy with a large fleet, and upon hearing of his arrival Duke Robert abandoned the siege of Courci, and Robert de Belesme and his associates retreated. The king remained in Normandy till August, and used his royal authority in tranquillizing such of the insurgents as were willing to listen to his advice. Meanwhile, Prince Henry, who had serious causes of complaint against both his brothers, and claimed some part of the ample territories of his glorious father, but could obtain nothing from their obstinate tenacity, collected troops in Brittany and Normandy, and putting Coutances, Avranches, and his other fortresses into a state of defence, prepared for war with all his might. But Hugh, earl of Chester, and his other adherents reflecting on his small means, and dreading the vast wealth and mighty power of William Rufus, deserted the illustrious prince while he was embarked in the war, and surrendered their castles into the king's hands. In consequence, about the middle of Lent, [1] King William and Duke Robert laid siege to Mount St. Michael, where they blockaded their brother, and reduced him and his troops for nearly fifteen days to great straits for want of water. The prudent young prince, seeing himself thus pressed by his brothers and deserted on all sides by his relations and friends, as well as by the neighbours with whom he was leagued, and also finding himself in want of almost all the necessaries of life, weighed well in his own mind the state of affairs, and reflecting on the variety of human mischances, determined on abandoning his rash enterprise and reserving himself for better times. At length, therefore, he demanded from the


[1] Lent commenced in the year 1091, the 26th of February, and ended the 13th of April.

A.D. 1091.] PRINCE HENRY RETIRES TO PRANCE. 521

besiegers free egress for himself and his allies from the Mount, which they willingly granted, permitting him to march out honourably with all his equipments. [1] Henry, having surrendered his fortresses, passed through Brittany, returning thanks to the Bretons, who alone had rendered him aid, and then crossed the borders of France. The illustrious exile spent not quite two full years in the Vexin, seeking an asylum in different places. Living in obscurity, he was contented with a suite consisting of only one knight, a clerk, and three squires. Thus a king's son learnt in exile how to endure poverty, that when he became king himself he might know how to compassionate the wretched and the poor, succouring them in their distress or penury, by his royal power or munIficence, and, having himself experienced the lot of the humble, might kindly sympathize with them.

At this time Duke Robert ceded great part of Normandy to King William, and for nearly two years the country was free from hostilities. After the feast of Pentecost, [2] William the archbishop assembled at Rouen a synod of the bishops and abbots, and consulted with his suffragans respecting the bishopric of Seez. By the result of their deliberations, Serlo, abbot of St. Evroult, was chosen bishop and the see of Seez committed to him; much against his wishes. At length, on the tenth of the calends of July [22nd June] the archbishop summoned the monk just named to Rouen and gave him canonical consecration in the church of St. Mary, mother of God. The venerable Serlo bore worthily the burden of the episcopacy thirty-two years and four months, [3] and laboured with zeal and ability for the benefit of the church of God both in prosperity and adversity. But he had some


[1] Our author's account of the siege of Mount St. Michael by the king and the duke is very imperfect. To complete it, reference must be made to Wace, and more especially to Florence of Worcester and William of Malmesbury. The first furnishes us with the positions taken by the two divisions of the army; the second mentions William's departure, wearied by the length of the siege; the third supplies us with some traits of intrepidity and magnanimity in the king after he had been thrown from his horse in the melee, and his severity towards his young brother whom he was besieging, contrasted with the goodness and affectionate language of Robert.

[2] Whitsuntide fell that year on the 1st of June.

[3] June 22, 1091-October 27, 1118.

522 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVIII.

hardened and insolent men in his diocese, such as Robert de Belesme, Rotro de Mortagne and their fellows, who had cruel feuds with each other, frequently violated the peace of the church, dispersed by their hostile inroads the Lord's flock who were redeemed by the blood of Christ, and oppressed and made havoc of them by their various enterprises. Serlo boldly bared the sword of the word of God against these evil men, several times excommunicating them when they persisted in their iniquities, but he seldom or ever was able to teach wisdom or preserve in peace his rebellious subjects, so that during the whole period he held the see he was perpetually involved in tumults and disturbances, and on several occasions, when Robert's fury was highest, was compelled to become an exile in England or Italy, such was the state of alarm and distress in which he lived.

The abbey of St. Evroult, when their late ruler was raised to the bishopric of Seez being anxious about a successor, invited their former pastor to Ouche on the twelfth of the calends of August [the 21st July], and having observed a fast for three days, began to treat of the election of an abbot. There were present also three abbots, Fulk of Dive, Arnulf of Troarn, and Ralph of Seez. [1] Having read the lesson concerning the apointment of an abbot in the rule of St. Benedict, the lord Roger de Sap, was chosen abbot of St. Evroult. He was a monk of the same house, simple minded, eminent for his learning, his great worth, and gentle manners. Then Herman the prior, with Arnold de Tilleul, and several others conducted him to the duke's court, but were disappointed in their hope of finding him in Normandy. Secret conspiracies had been formed by the islanders against the peace and security of the realm, on receiving sudden information of which, both the brothers very unexpectedly passed over to England, [2] to the surprise of all the world. In consequence Herman returned to conduct affairs at St.


[1] Fulk, abbot of Notre-Dame de St. Pierre-sur-Dive.
Arnulph, abbot of Troarn, 1088-1112.
Ralph d'Escures, abbot of Seez, 1089-1110.

[2] The two brothers went to England in the early part of August, in consequence of the invasion of Northumberland by Malcolm, king of Scots. The irruption took place in the month of May; and before the arrival of William Rufus, Malcolm, finding a more determined resistance than he expected, had already retired to his own country with very little booty.

A.D. 1091.] ROGER DE SAP ABBOT OF ST. EVROULT. 523

Evroult, while Arnold with the abbot elect followed the princes across the sea. On their arrival at the royal vill, called Windsor, they exhibited to duke Robert the act containing the election by the monks, confirmed by the authority of the bishop of Seez and the three abbots. The duke gave his willing consent to the appointment and committed to Roger before named, by delivery of the pastoral staff, as the custom then was, the monastic cure in exterior affairs. He also issued his mandate to the bishop of Lisieux, requiring him to perform all that was canonically necessary in the business. King William also at the same time received the monk and abbot elect with great courtesy and confirmed the grants of all that his father and his barons had formerly given to the abbey of St. Evroult, ratifying them of his royal authority by a fresh charter. [1]

Having accomplished the object of their journey, Roger returned to Ouche on the fifteenth of the Calends of January [18th December], and being received by the brethren with due solemnity, governed the abbey thirty-four years. [2] He admitted a hundred and fifteen postulants to be monks of that house. The changes of fortune were exhibited in their various lives; for some of them, being eminent for their virtues, with God's help, obtained the reward of their heavenly vocation, while others through the snares of Satan relapsed into the foul depths of sin to receive their deserts from the righteous Judge.

Six of the monks admitted by the venerable Roger wo have seen become abbots, namely, Warin des Essarts, Geoffrey of Orleans, Gilbert de Glos, Robert de Pruniers, [2] William de Bas, and Lewis. Of these, Warin succeeded his master, and governed the abbey of St. Evroult many years; Robert de Pruniers ruled well Thorney abbey in England, [4]


[1] This charter has not been preserved.

[2] This is not quite correct. It is very true that Abbot Roger survived till the year 1126 or 1127; but at his own request his successor was nominated on Ascension day, May 24, 1123.

[3] "De Pruniers, or de Prunieres, is a very common name of places in Burgundy, Languedoc, Dauphiny, La Touraine, Orleans, and Berri".- Dubois. "We think that this person was a native of Moutiers-en-Auge, one of the two churches of which belonged at this period to St. Evroult, and was called Stns. Gervasius de Pruneleio".- Le Prevost.

[4] Robert was appointed abbot of Thorney (in Cambridgeshire), August 13, 1113.

524 ORDERICUS VITALIS. [B.VIII. CH.XVIII.

Geoffrey of Orleans was abbot of Croyland [1] for nearly fifteen years; William Basset long governed the monastery of St. Benedict at Hulm; [2] and Lewis, [3] when by a decree of their superiors, the canons were expelled from Bocherville, first established the monastic rule with five monks in the church of St. George the martyr. As for Gilbert de Glos, a man of noble birth and great eloquence, he was abbot of Lire for nearly ten years, much to its benefit. The monks of St. Evroult were thus drawn forth from the recesses of their monastery and raised to the ranks of the prelacy for the general good, that they might shine as lights set in a candlestick, and show the way of salvation to those who strove to enter the house of the Lord by the way of righteousness. But unfortunately, the disturbances in worldly affairs which take place from the negligence or misconduct of earthly princes often interfere with ecclesiastical order and monastic discipline, as was found by all who wished to devote themselves to a religious life in Normandy and on its confines in the time of Duke Robert and Philip king of France.


[1] Eulandensi, an error in the text for Crulandens, there being no abbey of the former name in England. On the subject of Croyland Abbey, see before, pp. 95-98. Geoffrey of Orleans, after assuming the monastic habit at St. Evroult, under Abbot Mainier, was made abbot of Croyland in 1109. We have learnt before (p. 86) that Ordericus, on a kind invitation received from Abbot Geoffrey spent five weeks at Croyland, where he wrote, at the request of the monks, his abridgment of the life of St. Guthlac, together with an epitaph on Earl Waltheof (pp. 86, 103). This visit was quite recent when our author composed the fourth book of his History. He speaks of Wulfin, the prior, and Ansgot, the sub-prior, and it has been remarked by Mr. Stapleton, that the anonymous continuator of Ingulph, who conceals himself under the name of Peter de Blois, and wrote in the thirteenth century, treats them as his cotemporaries by a gross anachronism, in a letter written to Henry de Longchamps, abbot of Croyland, 1190-1196.

[2] Hulm, or Holm, an abbey at Horning, in the hundred of Tunstead, Norfolk, founded by Canute. William Basset (Bassus), or le-Bas, succeeded Conrad in 1127, and died in 1137. He gave to Richard Basset his relation (son of Ralph Basset, who succeeded his father as justiciary of England), the manor of Higham during his life.

[3] Lewis, abbot of St. Georges de Bocherville, 1114- October 12, 1137.

END OF VOL. II.

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

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