A.D. 1021. Before the feast of St. Martin [11th Nov], Canute, king of England and
Denmark, banished from England Thurkill, the earl often mentioned, and his wife Edgitha.
Algar, bishop of the East-Angles (of Ehnham) died, and was succeeded by Alwin.
A.D. 1022. Ethelnoth, archbishop of Canterbury, went to Rome, and was received
with great honour by pope Benedict, who gave him the pallium.
A.D. 1023. The body of St. Alphege, the martyr, was translated from London to
Canterbury. Wulfstan, archbishop of York, died at York on the fifth of the calends of
June [28th May], but his body was carried to Ely and buried there. He was succeeded
by Ælfric Puttuc, provost of Winchester.
A.D. 1025. Edmund, a monk, was made bishop of Lindisfarne.
A.D. 1026. Ælfric, archbishop of York, went to Rome, and received the pallium
from pope John. Richard II, duke of Normandy, died, and was succeeded by Richard III,
who, dying the same year, was succeeded by his brother Robert.
A.D. 1027. Canute, king of England and Denmark, received intelligence that
the Norwegians held their king Olaf in contempt on account of his meekness and
simplicity, his justice and piety. In consequence, he sent large sums of gold and
silver to certain of them, earnestly entreating them to reject and depose Olaf, and
submitting to him, accept him for their king. They greedily accepted his bribes,
and caused a message to be returned to Canute that they were prepared to receive
him whenever he chose to come.
A.D. 1028. Canute, king of England and Denmark, went over to Norway with
fifty stout ships, and expelled king Olaf from the kingdom, which he subjugated to himself.
The same year was born Marianus, of Ireland, the celebrated Scot, by whose study
and pains this excellent Chronicle was compiled from various books.
A.D. 1029. Canute, king of England, Denmark, and Norway, returned to England,
and after the feast of St. Martin [11 Nov] banished Hakon, a Danish earl, who
had married the noble lady Gunilda, his sister’s daughter by Wyrtgeorn, king of
the Winidi, sending him away under pretence of an embassy; for he feared that the
earl would take either his life or his kingdoms.
A.D. 1030. The before-mentioned earl Haco perished at sea: some, however,
say that he was killed in the islands of Orkney. Olaf, king and martyr, son of
Harold, king of Norway, was wickedly slain by the Norwegians.
A.D. 1031. Canute, king of England, Denmark, and Norway, went in
great state from Denmark to Rome,58 and,
having made rich offerings in gold, silver, and other precious objects, to St. Peter,
prince of the apostles, he obtained from pope John that the English School should be
free from all tribute and taxes. On his journey to Rome and back, he distributed large
alms among the poor, and procured at great cost the abolition of the tolls levied at
many barriers on the roads, where they were extorted from pilgrims. He also vowed to
God, before the tomb of the apostles, that he would amend his life and conduct; and
he sent thence a memorable letter by the hands of Living, the companion of his journey,
(a man of great prudence, at that time abbot of Tavistock, and afterwards, in the
course of the same year, Ednoth’s successor in the see of Crediton), and others his
envoys to England, while he himself came back from Rome by the same road he went there,
visiting Denmark before his return to England. I think it right to subjoin the text of this letter.
“Canute, king of all England, and of Denmark, Norway, and part of Sweden, to Ethelnoth,
metropolitan, and Alfric, archbishop of York, and to all the bishops and prelates, and
to the whole nation of the English, both the nobles and the commons, greeting:—
“I notify to you that I have lately taken a journey to Rome, to pray for the forgiveness
of my sins, and for the welfare of my dominions, and the people under my rule. I had
long since vowed this journey to God, but I have been hitherto prevented from accomplishing
it by the affairs of my kingdom and other causes of impediment. I now return most humble
thanks to my God Almighty for suffering me in my lifetime to visit the sanctuary of his
apostles, SS. Peter and Paul, and all others which I could find either within or without
the city of Rome, and there in person reverentially worship according to my desire.
I have performed this chiefly, because I have learnt from wise men that St. Peter the
apostle has received from God great power in binding and in loosing, and carries the
keys of the kingdom of heaven; and therefore I esteemed it very profitable to seek his
special patronage with the Lord.
“Be it known to you that, at the celebration of Easter, a great assembly of nobles was
present with our lord, the pope John, and Conrad the emperor; that is to say, all the
princes of the nations from Mount Garganus to the neighbouring sea. All these received
me with honour and presented me with magnificent gifts; but more especially was I honoured
by the emperor with various gifts and valuable presents, both in gold and silver vessels,
and in palls and very costly robes. 1 spoke with the emperor himself, and the lord pope,
and the princes who were there, in regard to the wants of my people, English as well as
Danes; that there should be granted to them more equal justice and greater security in
their journeys to Rome, and that they should not be hindered by so many barriers on the
road, nor harassed by unjust tolls.
The emperor assented to my demands, as well as king Rodolph,
59 in whose
dominions these barriers chiefly stand; and all the princes made edicts that my people,
the merchants as well as those who go to pay their devotions, shall pass to and fro in
their journeys to Rome in peace, and under the security of just laws, free from all
molestation by the guards of barriers or the receivers of tolls. I made further complaint
to my lord the pope, and expressed my high displeasure, that my archbishops are sorely
aggrieved by the demand of immense sums of money, when, according to custom, they resort
to the apostolical see to obtain the pallium; and it is decreed that it should no longer
be done. All things, therefore, which I requested for the good of my people from my lord
the pope, and the emperor, and king Rodolph, and the other princes through whose
territories our road to Rome lies, they have most freely granted, and even ratified
their concessions by oath; to which four archbishops, twenty bishops, and an innumerable
multitude of dukes and nobles who were there present, are witnesses. Wherefore I return
most hearty thanks to Almighty God for my having successfully accomplished all that I
had desired, as I had resolved in my mind, and having satisfied my wishes to the fullest extent.
“Be it known therefore to all of you, that I have humbly vowed to the Almighty God himself
henceforward to amend my life in all respects, and to rule the kingdoms and the people
subject to me with justice and clemency, giving equitable judgements in all matters; and if,
through the intemperance of youth or negligence, I have hitherto exceeded the bounds of
justice in any of my acts, I intend by God’s aid to make an entire change for the better.
I therefore adjure and command my counsellors to whom I have entrusted the affairs of my
kingdom, that henceforth they neither commit themselves, nor suffer to prevail, any sort
of injustice throughout my dominions, either from fear of me, or from favour to any powerful
person. I also command all sheriffs and magistrates throughout my whole kingdom, as they
tender my regard and their own safety, that they use no unjust violence to any man, rich
or poor, but that all, high and low, rich or poor, shall enjoy alike impartial law; from
which they are never to deviate, either on account of royal favour, respect of person in
the great, or for the sake of amassing money wrongfully, for I have no need to accumulate
wealth by iniquitous exactions.
“I wish you further to know, that, returning by the way I went, I am now going to Denmark
to conclude a treaty for a solid peace, all the Danes concurring, with those nations and
peoples who would have taken my life and crown if it had been possible; but this they were
not able to accomplish, God bringing their strength to nought.—May He, of his merciful
kindness, uphold me in my sovereignty and honour, and henceforth scatter and bring to
nought the power and might of all my adversaries ! When, therefore, I shall have made
peace within the surrounding nations, and settled and reduced to order all my dominions
in the East, so that we shall have nothing to fear from war or hostilities in any quarter,
I propose to return to England as early in the summer as I shall be able to fit out my fleet.
I have sent this epistle before me in order, that my people may be gladdened at my success;
because, as you yourselves know, I have never spared, nor will I spare, myself or my
exertions, for the needful service of my whole people. I now therefore command and adjure
all my bishops and the governors of my kingdom, by the duty they owe to God and myself,
to take care that before I come to England all dues belonging to God, according to the
old laws, be fully discharged; namely, plough-alms, the tithe of, animals born in the
current year, and the pence payable to St. Peter at Rome, whether from towns or vills;
and in the middle of August the tithes of corn; and at the feast of St. Martin the
first-fruits of grain (payable) to every one’s parish church, called in English ciric-sceat.
If these and such-like dues be not paid before I come, those who make default will incur
fines to the king, according to the law, which will be strictly enforced without mercy. Farewell.”
A.D. 1032. The church of St. Edmund, king and martyr, was dedicated this year.
A.D. 1033. Leofsy, bishop of the Hwiccas, a devout and humble man, died at the
episcopal vill of Rempsey, on Tuesday, the fourteenth of the calends of September [19th August],
and, as we may be allowed to hope, ascended to the heavenly realms: his body was buried
with honour in the church of St. Mary, at Worcester. Brihteag, abbot of Pershore, sister’s
son of Wulfstan, archbishop of York, was raised to the vacant see.
A.D. 1034. Eatheric, bishop of Lincoln [Dorchester], died, and was buried in the
abbey of Ramsey; Ednoth succeeded him. Malcolm, king of the Scots, died.
A.D. 1035. Canute, king of England, before his death, gave the kingdom of Norway
to Sweyn, who was reported to be his son by Elfgiva of Northampton, the daughter of Alfhelm
the ealdorman, and the noble lady Wulfruna. Some, however, asserted that this Elfgiva
desired to have a son by the king, but as she could not, she caused the new-born child
of a certain priest to be brought to her, and made the king fully believe that she had
just borne him a son. He also gave the kingdom of Denmark to Hardicanute, his son by the
queen Elfgiva. Afterwards, the same year, he departed this life at Shaftesbury on Wednesday,
the second of the ides [the 12th] of November; but he was buried at Winchester in the
Old Minster, with due honours. After his burial the queen Elfgiva took up her abode there.
Harold also said that he was the son of king Canute and Elfgiva of Northampton, although
that is far from certain; for some say that he was the son of a cobbler, and that Elfgiva
had acted with regard to him as she had done in the case of Sweyn : for our part, as there
are doubts on the subject, we cannot settle with any certainty the parentage of either.
Harold, however, assuming the royal dignity, sent his guards in the utmost haste to Winchester,
and tyrannically seized the largest and best part of the treasure and wealth which king
Canute had bequeathed to queen Elfgiva, and having thus robbed her, permitted her to continue
her residence at Winchester. He then, with the consent of many of the higher orders of England,
began to reign as though he was the lawful heir; but he had not the same power as Canute,
because the arrival of Hardicanute, the more rightful heir, was looked for. Hence, shortly
afterwards, the kingdom was divided by lot, Harold getting the northern, and Hardicanute
the southern portion.
Robert, duke of Normandy, died, and was succeeded by his son William the Bastard, then a minor.
A.D. 1036. The innocent ethelings Alfred and Edward, sons of Ethelred, formerly
king of England, sailed from Normandy, where they had been for many years at the court
of their uncle Richard, and, attended by many Norman knights, crossed over to England
with a small fleet to confer with their mother, who still abode at Winchester. Some of
the men in power were very indignant at this, being much more devoted to Harold, however
unjustly, than to the ethelings: especially, it is said, earl Godwin. The earl, therefore,
arrested Alfred on his road to London to confer with king Harold as he had commanded,
and threw him into prison.
At the same tune he dispersed some of his attendants, others he put in fetters and
afterwards deprived of their sight, some he scalped and tortured, amputated their
hands and feet and heavily mulcted: many he ordered to be sold, and put to death
six hundred of them at Guildford with various torments: but we trust that the souls
of those, who, guilty of no crime, had their bodies so cruelly slaughtered in the fields,
are now rejoicing with the saints in paradise. On hearing of this, queen Elgiva sent
back her son Edward, who had remained with her, in all haste to Normandy. Then, by
order of Godwin and others, Alfred was conducted, heavily chained, to the Isle of Ely;
but as soon as the ship touched the land, his eyes were most barbarously plucked out
while he was on board, and in this state he was taken to the monastery and handed over
to the custody of the monks. There he shortly afterwards died, and his body was buried,
with due honours, in the south porch at the west end of the church; but his spirit is
in the enjoyment of the delights of paradise.
A.D. 1037. Harold, king of Mercia and Northumbria, was elected by the nobles,
and the whole people, king of all England; Hardicanute being entirely deposed,
because he wasted his time in Denmark, and deferred coming over, as he was requested.
His mother Elfgiva, formerly queen of England, was banished from the kingdom,
without mercy, at the beginning of winter. As soon as a ship could be got ready
she sailed for Flanders, where she received an honourable welcome from the noble
count Baldwin, who, with a liberality becoming his rank, took care that she should
be freely supplied with all things needful, as long as she required it. A little
before this, the same year, Ælfic, dean of Evesham, a man of deep piety, died.
A.D. 1038. Æthelnoth, archbishop of Canterbury, departed this life on the
fourth of the calends of November [29th September]. Seven days after, Ethelric,
bishop of Sussex, died; for he had prayed to God that he might not long survive his beloved father Ethelnoth.
Grimkytel succeeded him in the bishopric, and Eadsige, one of the king’s chaplains, succeeded
Ethelnoth in the archbishopric. In the same year died Ælfric, bishop of East-Anglia, and Brihteag,
bishop of the Hwiccas, ended his days on Wednesday the third of the calends of January [20th December],
whose see king Harold gave to Living, bishop of Crediton. Stigand, the king’s chaplain, was
appointed in Ælfric’s place, but was afterwards ejected, and Grimkytel chosen in his stead;
so that he held for the tune the two dioceses of Sussex and Essex; but Stigand was restored, and
Grimkytel ejected, and Stigand kept the bishopric of Sussex for himself, and procured that of East-Anglia
for his brother Ethelmar; but not satisfied with this, he was raised to the thrones of Winchester and
Canterbury: he also strove hard to hold with them the bishopric of Sussex, and nearly carried his point.
Ethelmar was succeeded by Ærfast, bishop of Elmham, who, lest he should have seemed to have done
nothing—for the Normans are very ambitious of future renown—transferred the see from Elmham
A.D. 1039. Brihtmar, bishop of Lichfield, died, and was succeeded by Wulfsy.
The Welsh slew Edwin, earl Leofric’s brother, with Turkill and Ælfgeat, son of
Eatsy, two noble king’s thanes, and many others at the same time. Hardicanute,
king of Denmark, sailed to Flanders, on a visit to his mother, Elfgiva.
A.D. 1040. Harold, king of England, died at London, and was buried at
Westminster. After his funeral, the nobles of almost the whole of England sent
envoys to Hardicanute at Bruges, where he was staying with his mother, and,
thinking it was for the best, invited him to come to England and ascend the throne.
Thereupon, he fitted out fifty ships, and embarking Danish troops, before midsummer
sailed over to England, where he was received with universal joy, and shortly
afterwards crowned; but during his government he did nothing worthy his royal power.
For as soon as he began to reign, calling to mind the injuries which both he and
his mother had suffered at the hands of his predecessor, and reputed brother,
king Harold, he despatched to London, Ælfric, archbishop of York, and earl Godwin,
with Stor, the master of his household, Edric, his steward, Thrond, captain of his
guards, and other men of high rank, with or ders to dig up the body of Harold and
throw it into a sewer; and when it was thrown there, he caused it to be dragged out
and cast into the river Thames. Shortly afterwards, it was picked up by a fisherman,
and being immediately brought to the Danes, was honourably buried by them in a
cemetery they possessed at London.
60 After this,
he ordered that eight marks should be paid to every rower in his fleet, and twelve
to each steersman, to be levied from the whole of England; a tax so burthensome,
that scarcely any one would pay it, and he became thoroughly detested by those
who at first were most anxious for his coming. Besides, he was greatly incensed
against earl Godwin, and Living, bishop of Worcester, for the death of his brother
Alfred, of which they were accused by Ælfric, archbishop of York, and some others.
In consequence, he took the bishopric of Worcester from Living and gave it to Ælfric;
but the following year, he ejected Ælfric and graciously restored Living, who had
made his peace with him.
Godwin, to obtain the king’s favour, presented him with a galley of admirable
workmanship, with a gilded figure-head, rigged with the best materials, and manned
with eighty chosen soldiers splendidly armed. Every one of them had on each arm a
golden bracelet weighing six ounces, and wore a triple coat of mail and a helmet
partly gilt, and a sword with gilded hilt girt to his side, and a Danish battle-axe
inlaid with gold and silver hanging from his left shoulder; in his left hand he
bore a shield, the boss and studs of which were also gilt, and in his right hand
a lance, called in the English tongue
Moreover, he made oath to the king, with almost all the chief men and greater thanes in England,
that it was not by his counsel, or at his instance, that his brother’s eyes were
put out, but that ho had only obeyed the commands of his lord, king Harold.
A.D. 1041. This year Hardicanute, king of England, sent his
all the provinces of his kingdom to collect the tribute which he had imposed.
Two of them, Feader and Thurstan, were slain on the 4th of the ides [the 4th] of May,
by the citizens of Worcester and the people of that neighbourhood, in an upper
chamber of the abbey-tower, where they had concealed themselves during a tumult.
This so incensed the king, that to avenge their deaths he sent Thorold, earl of
Middlesex, Leofric, earl of Mercia, Godwin, earl of Wessex, Siward, earl of
Northumbria, Boni, earl of Hereford, and all the other English earls, with almost
all his house-carls, and a large body of troops, to Worcester, where Ælfric was
still bishop, with orders to put to death all the inhabitants they could find,
to plunder and burn the city, and lay waste the whole province.
They arrived there on the second of the ides [the 12th] of November, and beginning
their work of destruction through the city and province continued it for four
days; but very few of the citizens or provincials were taken or slain, because,
having notice of their coming, the people fled in all directions. A great
number of the citizens took refuge in a small island, called Beverege, situated
in the middle of the river Severn, and having fortified it, defended themselves
so stoutly against their enemies that they obtained terms of peace, and were
allowed free liberty to return home. On the fifth day, the city having been burnt,
every one marched off loaded with plunder, and the king’s wrath was satisfied.
Soon afterwards, Edward, son of Ethelred the late king of England, came over
from Normandy, where he had been an exile many years, and being honourably
received by his brother, king Hardicanute, remained at his court.
A.D. 1042. Hardicanute, king of England, while he was present at a
joyous feast given at a place called Lambeth, by Osgod Clapa, a man of great
wealth, on occasion of his giving the hand of his daughter Githa in marriage
to Tovi, surnamed Prudan, a noble and powerful Dane,—and carousing, full of
health and merriment, with the bride and some others, fell down, by a sad
mischance, while in the act of drinking, and continued speechless until Tuesday
the sixth of the ides [the 8th] of June, when he expired. He was carried to
Winchester and buried near his father Canute. His brother Edward was proclaimed
king at London, chiefly by the exertions of earl Godwin, and Living, bishop of
Worcester. Edward was the son of Ethelred, who was the son of Edgar, who was
the son of Edmund, who was the son of Edward the Elder, who was the son of Alfred.
Abbot Elias, a Scot, died on the second of the ides [the 12th] of April. Being
a prudent and religious man, he was entrusted with the government of the
monastery of St. Pantaleon, as well as of his own abbey of St. Martin. He
committed to the flames, in the monastery of St. Pantaleon, a beautiful missal
which a French monk had copied, without leave, in the communal tongue for the
use of the community, that no one in future might dare to do it without permission.
He was succeeded by Maiolus the Scot, a holy man.
A.D. 1043. Edward was anointed king at Winchester on the first day of
Easter, being the third of the nones [the 3rd] of April, by Eadsige,
archbishop of Canterbury, Jilric, archbishop of York, and nearly all the
bishops of England. In the same year, fourteen days before the feast-day of
St. Andrew the apostle [16th November], the king went suddenly and unexpectedly
from the city of Gloucester to Winchester, accompanied by the earls Godwin,
Leofric, and Siward; and by their advice took from his mother all the gold,
silver, jewels, precious stones, and other valuables she possessed, because
she had been less liberal to him than he expected, and had treated him harshly
both before and after he was king. Notwithstanding, he gave orders for her being
supplied with all necessaries, and ordered her to remain there quiet.
Animchadus, a Scottish monk, who led a life of seclusion in the monastery
at Fulda, died on the third of the calends of February [30th January].
Over his tomb lights were seen, and there was the voice of psalmody.
Marianus, the author of this chronicle, took up his station as a recluse
for ten years at his feet, and sang masses over his tomb. He has related,
what follows respecting this Animchadus : “ When I was in Ireland,” says
Marianus, “ in an island called Keltra, he entertained, with the permission
of his superior, named Cortram, certain brethren who came there. Some of them
departed after their meal, but those who remained sat warming themselves at
the fire, and asked him for something to drink, and on his refusing to give
it without leave, they urged him to comply. At last he consented, but first
sent some of the beverage to his superior, as for his blessing. On the morrow,
being asked for what reason he sent it, he related all the circumstances.
But his superior, for this slight fault, immediately ordered him to quit Ireland,
and he humbly obeyed. He then came to Fulda, and lived a life of holy seclusion,
as I have already said, until his death.
“This was told us by the superior, Tigernah, on my committing some slight fault
in his presence. Moreover, I myself heard, while I was in seclusion at Fulda,
a very devout monk of that monastery, whose name was William, implore the
aforesaid Animchadus, who was then in his tomb, to give him his benediction;
and, as he afterwards told me, he saw him in a vision standing in his tomb,
shining with great brightness, and giving him his benediction with outstretched arms;
and I too passed the whole of that night in the midst of a mellifluous odour.”
These are the words of Marianus.
A.D. 1044. Ælfward, bishop of London, who was abbot of
Evesham, both before and while he was bishop, being unable to perform duly his episcopal
functions, by reason of his infirmities, wished to retire to [his abbey of]
Evesham, but the monks of that house would by no means
he removed the greatest part of the books and ornaments which he had collected
in that place, and some, it is said, which others had contributed, and
withdrawing to the abbey of Ramsey, took up his abode there, and offered
all he had brought with him to St. Benedict. He died on Wednesday, the eighth
of the calends of August (the 25th July), in this same year, and is buried there.
At a general synod, held about that time in London, Wulfmar, a devout monk of
Evesham, also called Manni, was elected abbot of that monastery. The same year,
the noble lady, Gunhilda, daughter of king Wyrtgeorn, by king Canute’s sister,
and successively the wife of earls Hakon and Harold, was banished from England
with her two sons, Hemming and Thurkill. She went over to Flanders, and resided
for some time at a place called Bruges, and then went to Denmark. Stigand, the
king’s chaplain, was appointed bishop of East- Anglia.
A.D. 1045. Brihtwold, bishop of Wilton, died; and was succeeded by the
king’s chaplain, Heriman, a native of Lorraine. The same year, Edward, king of
England, assembled a very powerful fleet at the port of Sandwich, to oppose Magnus,
king of Norway, who threatened to invade England; but the expedition was abandoned
in consequence of Sweyn, king of Denmark, having commenced hostilities against him.
A.D. 1046. Living, bishop of the Hwiccas, Devonshire, and Cornwall,
died on Sunday, the tenth of the calends of April [the 23rd March]. Soon
after his death, the bishoprics of Crediton and Cornwall were given to
Leofric the Briton, who was the king’s chancellor; and Aldred, who had
been a monk of Winchester and was then abbot of Tavistock, was made bishop
of the Hwiccas. Osgod Clapa was banished from England. Magnus, king of Norway,
son of St. Olaf the king, defeated Sweyn, king of the Danes, and reduced
Denmark under his own dominion.
A.D. 1047. So much snow fell in the West, that it crushed the woods,
and this year the winter was very severe. Grimkytel, bishop of Sussex, died,
and was succeeded by Heca, the king’s chaplain. Ælfwine, bishop of Winchester,
also died, and Stigand, bishop of East-Anglia, was translated to his see.
Sweyn, king of Denmark, sent ambassadors to Edward, king of England, requesting
that he would send a fleet to join him against Magnus, king of Norway. Then
earl Godwin counselled the king to send at least fifty ships, full of soldiers;
but as the proposal was objected to by earl Leofric and all the people, he
declined to furnish any. After this Magnus, king of Norway, having collected
a numerous and powerful fleet, fought a battle with Sweyn, in which a vast
number of troops were killed on both sides, and having driven him out of Denmark,
reigned there himself, and made the Danes pay him a heavy tribute: shortly
afterwards he died.
A.D. 1048. Sweyn recovered Denmark, and Harold
a son of Siward, king of Norway, and brother of St. Olaf by the mother’s side,
and by the father’s uncle to king Magnus, returned to Norway, and shortly
afterwards sent ambassadors to king Edward, making offers of peace and amity,
which were accepted.
There was a great earthquake on Sunday the first of May, at Worcester, Wick,
Derby, and many other places. Many districts of England were visited with a
mortality among men and cattle; and a fire in the air, commonly called wild-fire,
burnt many vills and cornfields in Derbyshire and some other districts. Edmund,
bishop of Lindisfarne, died at Gloucester, but was carried by his people to
Durham, and buried there. Edred succeeded him, but being struck by the divine
vengeance, Ethelric, a monk of Peterborough, was appointed in his stead.
A.D. 1049. The emperor Henry assembled a vast army against Baldwin, count
of Flanders, chiefly because he had burnt and ruined his stately palace at Nimeguen.
In this expedition were pope Leo, and many great and noble men from various countries.
Sweyn, king of Denmark, was also there with his fleet at the emperor’s command,
and swore fealty to the emperor for that occasion. He sent also to Edward, king
of England, and requested him not to let Baldwin escape, if he should retreat to
the sea. In consequence, the king went with a large fleet to the port of Sandwich,
and remained there until the emperor had obtained of Baldwin all he desired.
Meanwhile, earl Sweyn, son of earl Godwin and Githa, who had left England and
gone to Denmark, because he was not permitted to marry Edgiva, abbess of the
monastery of Leominster, whom he had debauched, returned with eight ships,
alleging falsely that he would now remain loyally with the king.
Earl Beorn, son of his uncle Ulf, a Danish earl, who was son of Spracing, who
was son of Urso, and brother of Sweyn, king of Denmark, promised him to obtain
from the king the restoration of his earldom. Earl Baldwin having made peace
with the emperor, the earls Godwin and Beorn, by the king’s permission, came to
Pevensey with forty-two ships; but he ordered the rest of the fleet to return
home, with the exception of a few ships which he retained there. When, however,
he was informed that Osgod Clapa lay at Wulpe65
with twenty-nine ships, he recalled as many as possible of the ships he had sent
away. But Osgod, taking with him his wife whom he had left for safety at Bruges,
returned to Denmark with six ships; the rest sailed over to Essex, and returned
with no small plunder, which they carried off from the neighbourhood of Eadulfs
Ness; however, a violent tempest overtook and sunk all except two, which were
captured at sea, and all on board perished.
During these occurrences earl Sweyn went to Pevensey, and perfidiously requested
earl Beorn, his cousin, to go with him to the port of Sandwich, and make his peace
with the king, according to promise. Beorn, relying on his relationship, accompanied
him with only three attendants; but Sweyn conducted him to Bosham, where his ships
lay, and, taking him on board one of them, ordered him to be bound with thongs, and
kept him on board until they reached the mouth of the river Dart. There they slew him,
and threw him into a deep trench, and covered him with earth. They then sent away
six of the ships, two of which were soon afterwards taken by the men of Hastings,
who, having killed all on board, carried them to Sandwich and presented them to the
king. Sweyn, however, escaped to Flanders with two ships, and remained there until
he was brought back by Aldred, bishop of Worcester, who reconciled him with the king.
In the month of August of the same year, some Irish pirates, entering the mouth of
the river Severn with thirty-six ships, landed at a place called Wylesc-Eaxan, and,
with the aid of Griffyth, king of South-Wales, plundered in that neighbourhood, and
did considerable damage. Then, joining their forces, the king and the pirates crossed
the river Wye and burnt Dymedham, massacring all they found there. Aldred, bishop of
Worcester, with a few of the people of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, flew to arms
against them; but the Welshmen who were in their ranks, and had promised to be
faithful to them, sent a messenger privately to king Griffyth, begging him to lose
no time in attacking the English; in consequence of which he hastened to the spot
with his own followers and the Irish pirates, and falling on the English before
day-break, slew many of them and put the rest to flight.
Eadnoth, bishop of Dorchester, died, and was succeeded by Ulf, the king’s chaplain,
a native of Normandy. Oswy, abbot of Thorney, and Wulfnoth, abbot of Westminster,
died; also Siward, coadjutor-bishop of Eadsige, archbishop of Canterbury, and he was
buried at Abingdon. Moreover, in this year pope St. Leo came to France, at the request
of the most excellent abbot Herimar, having in his company the prefect and some of
the principal persons of Rome, and dedicated with great ceremony the monastery of St.
Remigius, the apostle of the Franks, built at Rheims, in which city he afterwards
held a numerous synod of archbishops, bishops, and abbots, which lasted six days.
There were present at this synod Alfwine, abbot of Ramsey, and the abbot of St.
Augustine’s monastery [at Canterbury], who were sent there by Edward, king of England.
A.D. 1050. Macbeth, king of Scotland, distributed freely large sums of money at
Rome. Eadsige, archbishop of Canterbury, died, and was succeeded by Robert, bishop of
London, a Norman by birth. Spearheafoc, abbot of Abingdon, was elected bishop of London,
but was ejected by king Edward before consecration. Heriman, bishop of Wilton, and
Aldred, bishop of Worcester, went to Rome.
A.D. 1051. Ælfric, archbishop of York, died at Southwell, and was buried
at Peterborough; Kinsige, the king’s chaplain, succeeded him. King Edward released
the English from the heavy tax payable to the Danish troops, in the thirty-eighth year
after his father Ethelred had first imposed it. After this, in the month of September,
Eustace the elder, count of Boulogne, who had married a sister of king Edward, named Goda,
sailed to Dover with a small fleet.66
His soldiers, while they were bluntly and indiscreetly inquiring for lodgings, killed
one of the townsmen. A neighbour of his witnessing this, slew one of the soldiers in revenge.
At this the count and his followers were much enraged, and put many men and women to the sword,
trampling their babes and children under their horses’ hoofs.
But seeing the townsmen flocking together to resist them, they made their escape, like
cowards, with some difficulty, and leaving seven of their number slain, they fled to king
Edward, who was then at Gloucester. Earl Godwin, being indignant that such things should
be done within his jurisdiction, in great wrath raised an immense army from the whole of
his earldom, that is, from Kent, Sussex, and Wessex; his eldest son, Sweyn, also assembled
the men of his earldom, that is, of the counties of Oxford, Gloucester, Hereford, Somerset,
and Berks; and his other son, Harold, assembled the men of his earldom, namely, Essex,
East-Anglia, Huntingdon, and Cambridge. This did not escape the notice of king Edward,
and he therefore sent messages to Leofric, earl of Mercia, and Siward, earl of Northumbria,
begging them to hasten to him with all the men they could muster, as he was in great peril.
They came at first with only a few followers 4 but when they learnt the real state of affairs,
they sent swift messengers throughout their earldoms and gathered a large army. Likewise
earl Ralph, son of Goda, king Edward’s sister, assembled as many as he could from his county.
Meanwhile, Godwin and his sons, with their respective armies, entered Gloucestershire after the
feast of the nativity of St. Mary [8th September], and encamping at a place called Langtreo, sent
envoys to the king at Gloucester, demanding the surrender of count Eustace and his followers, as
well as of the Normans and men of Boulogne, who were in possession of the castle on the cliff at
Dover, on pain of hostilities. The king, alarmed for a time at this message, was in great distress,
and in the utmost perplexity what to do. But when he found that the troops of the earls Leofric,
Siward, and Ralph were on their march, he replied with firmness that he would by no means consent
to give up Eustace and the rest who were demanded. On hearing this, the envoys returned from their
bootless errand. As they were departing, the army entered Gloucester, so exasperated, and unanimously
ready to fight, that, if the king had given permission, they would have instantly engaged earl
Godwin’s army. But earl Leofric considering that all the men of greatest note in England
were assembled either on his side or the other, it appeared to him and some others a great folly
to fight with their own countrymen, and he proposed that, hostages having been given by both parties,
the king and Godwin should meet at London on a day appointed, and settle their controversy in a
legal way. This advice being approved, and after the exchange of messages, hostages having been given
and received, the earl returned into Wessex; and the king assembled a more powerful army from the
whole of Mercia and Northumbria, and led it to London. Meanwhile, Godwin and his sons came to
Southwark with a vast multitude of the people of Wessex; but his army gradually dwindling away and
deserting him, he did not venture to abide the judgment of the king’s court, but fled, under
cover of night. When, therefore, the morning came, the king, in his witan, with the unanimous
consent of the whole army, made a decree that Godwin and his five sons should be banished. Thereupon
he and his wife Githa, and Tosti and his wife Judith, the daughter of Baldwin, count of Flanders,
and two of his. other sons, namely, Sweyn and Gurth, went, without loss of time, to Thorney,
where a ship had been got ready for them.
They quickly laded her with as much gold, silver, and other valuable articles as she could hold, and,
embarking in great haste, directed her course towards Flanders and Baldwin the count. His sons Harold
and Leofwine, making their way to Brycgstowe [Bristol], went on board a ship which their brother Sweyn
had prepared for them, and crossed over to Ireland. The king repudiated the queen Edgitha, on account
of his wrath against her father Godwin, and sent her in disgrace, with only a single handmaid, to
Wherwell, where she was committed to the custody of the abbess.67
After these occurrences, William, earl [duke] of Normandy, came over to England with a vast retinue
of Normans. King Edward honourably entertained him and his companions, and on their return made them
many valuable presents. The same year, William, the king’s chaplain, was appointed to the
bishopric of London, which was before given to Spearheafoc.
A.D. 1052. Marianus, the chronicler, departed this life.
Elfgiva Emma, wife of the kings Ethelred and Canute, died at Winchester on the second of the nones
[the 6th] of March, and was buried there. In the same year, Griffyth, king of Wales, ravaged a great
part of Herefordshire: the inhabitants of that province, with some Normans from a castle, flew to arms
and attacked him; but, having slain a great number of them, he obtained the victory and carried off
much plunder. This battle was fought on the same day on which, fourteen years before, the Welsh slew
Edwin, earl Leofric’s brother, in an ambuscade. A short time afterwards, earl Harold and his brother
Leofwine, returning from Ireland, and sailing into the mouth of the river Severn with a large fleet,
landed on the borders of Somersetshire and Dorsetshire, and plundered many villages and farms in those parts.
A great number of the people of Devonshire and Somersetshire gathered together in arms against them;
but Harold defeated them with the loss of more than thirty noble thanes, and many others. He then
returned to his fleet with the booty, and sailed round Penwithsteort.68
Thereupon, king Edward quickly despatched forty ships, well provisioned, and having on board a chosen body
of soldiers, to the port of Sandwich, with orders to wait and look out for the arrival of earl Godwin.
Notwithstanding this, he escaped observation, and, returning with a few ships, landed in Kent; and, by his
secret emissaries, gained over to espouse his cause, first, the Kentishmen, and then the people of Sussex,
Essex, and Surrey, with all the seamen69
of Hastings and other places on the sea-coast, besides some others. All these, with one voice, declared
that they were ready to live or die with him.
As soon as his arrival was known in the king’s fleet, which lay at Sandwich, it went in chase of him;
but he escaped and concealed himself wherever he could, and the fleet returned to Sandwich, and thence
sailed to London. On hearing this, Godwin shaped his course again for the Isle of Wight, and kept
hovering about along the shore until his sons Harold and Leofwine joined him with their fleet. After
this junction, they desisted from plundering and wasting the country, taking only such provisions as
necessity required for the subsistence of their troops. Having increased their force by enlisting as
many men as they could on the sea-coast and in other places, and by collecting all the mariners they
met with in every direction, they directed their course towards the port of Sandwich. Their arrival
there was notified to king Edward, who was then at London, and he lost no time sending messengers requiring
all persons, who had not revolted from him, to hasten to his succour; but they were too slow in their
movements, and did not arrive in time. Meanwhile, earl Godwin, having sailed up the Thames against the
current, reached Southwark on the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross [14th September], being Monday,
and waited there until the flood-tide came up. In the interval, he so dealt with the citizens of London,
some in person, others through his emissaries, having before seduced them by a variety of promises, that
he persuaded nearly all of them to enter heartily into his designs. At last, everything being duly planned
and set in order, on the tide’s flowing up they quickly weighed anchor, and, no one offering them any
resistance at the bridge, sailed upwards along the south bank of the river. The land army also arrived,
and, being drawn up on the river-bank, formed a close and formidable column. Then the fleet drew towards
the northern bank, with the intention, apparently, of enclosing the king’s fleet, for the king had also
a fleet, as well as a numerous land army. But as there were very few men of any courage, either on the
king’s or Godwin’s side, who were not Englishmen, nearly all shrunk from fighting against their kinsfolk
and countrymen; so that the wiser sort on both sides interfered to restore peace between the king and the
earl, and both armies received orders to lay down their arms. The next morning the king held a council,
and fully restored to their former honours Godwin, and his wife, and all his sons, except Sweyn, who,
touched with repentance for the murder of his cousin Beorn, mentioned before, had undertaken a journey
barefoot from Flanders to Jerusalem, and who, on his return, died in Lycia70
from illness brought on by the severity of the cold. The king, also, took back with due honour queen Edgitha,
the earl’s daughter, and restored her to her former dignity.
The alliance being renewed, and peace established, they promised right law to all the people, and banished
all the Normans, who had introduced unjust laws and given unrighteous judgements, and in many things had
influenced the king to the disadvantage of his English subjects. A few of them only were allowed to stay
in England, namely, Robert the deacon, and his son-in-law Richard Fitz-Scrope, Alfred, the king’s
horse-thane, Anfrid, surnamed Cock’s-foot, with some others who had been the king’s greatest
favourites, and had remained faithful to him and the commonwealth. But Robert, archbishop of Canterbury,
William, bishop of London, and Ulf, bishop of Lincoln, with their Normans, had some difficulty in making
their escape and getting beyond sea. William, however, was, for his worth, soon afterwards recalled and
reinstated in his bishopric. Osbern, surnamed Pentecost, and his companion Hugh, surrendered their castles;
and, being allowed by earl Leofric to pass through his territories in their way to Scotland, received a
welcome from Macbeth, king of the Scots. The same year there was such a violent wind in the night of the
feast of St. Thomas the apostle [the 21st December], that it threw down many churches and houses, and
shattered or tore up by the roots trees without number.
A.D. 1053. Rhys, the brother of Griffyth, king of South Wales, was put to death by order of king
Edward at a place called Bullington, on account of the plundering inroads he had frequently made, and his
head was brought to the king at Gloucester on the eve of our Lord’s Epiphany [5th January]. In the same
year, on the second day of the festival of Easter [12th April], which was celebrated at Winchester, earl
Godwin came to his end while he was sitting at table with the king, according to his usual custom; for,
being suddenly seized with a violent illness, he fell speechless from his seat. His sons, earl Harold,
Tosti, and Gurth, perceiving it, carried him into the king’s chamber, hoping that he would presently
recover; but his strength failing, he died in great suffering on the fifth day afterwards [15th April],
and was buried in the Old Minster. His son Harold succeeded to his earldom, and Harold’s earldom was given
to Algar, son of earl Leofric.
In the month of October died Wulfsige, bishop of Litchfield, Godwin, abbot of Winchcombe, and Ethelward,
abbot of Glastonbury. Leofwine, abbot of Coventry, succeeded Wulfsige; and Ethelnoth, a monk of the same
monastery, succeeded Ethelward. But Aldred, bishop of Worcester, kept the abbey of Winchcombe in his own
hands until such tune as he appointed Godric, the son of Goodman, the king’s chaplain, to be abbot. Ælfric,
brother of earl Odda, died at Deerhurst on the eleventh of the calends of January [22nd December], but he
was buried in the monastery at Pershore.
Aed, a long-bearded clerk in Ireland, a man of great eminence and earnest piety, had a large school of
clerks, maidens, and laymen; but he subjected the maidens to the tonsure in the same manner as clerks,
on which account he was compelled to leave Ireland.
A.D. 1054. Siward, the stout earl of Northumbria, by order of the king entered Scotland, with a
large body of cavalry and a powerful fleet, and fought a battle with Macbeth, king of the Scots, in which
the king was defeated with the loss of many thousands both of the Scots and of the Normans before mentioned;
he then, as the king had commanded, raised to the throne Malcolm, son of the king of the Cumbrians. However,
his own son and many English and Danes fell in that battle.
The same year, on the feast of St. Kenelm, the martyr, [17th July], Aldred, bishop of Worcester, instituted
Godric as abbot of Winchcombe. The bishop was then sent by the king as ambassador to the emperor, with
rich presents; and being received with great honour by him, and also by Heriman, archbishop of Cologne,
he remained at his court for a whole year, and in the king’s name proposed to the emperor to send envoys
to Hungary to bring back Edward, the king’s cousin, son of king Edmund Ironside, and have him conducted
A.D. 1055. Siward, earl of Northumberland, died at York, and was buried in the monastery at
Galmanho,72 which he had himself
founded: his earldom was given to Tosti, earl Harold’s brother. Shortly afterwards, king Edward, in a
council held at London, banished earl Algar, earl Leofric’s son, without any just cause of offence. Algar
presently went to Ireland, and having collected eighteen pirate ships, returned with them to Wales, where
he implored Griffyth the king to lend him his aid against king Edward. Griffyth immediately assembled a
numerous army from all parts of his dominions, and directed Algar to join him and his army at a place
appointed with his own troops; and having united their forces they entered Herefordshire, intending to lay
waste the English marshes.
Earl Ralph, the cowardly son of king Edward’s sister, having assembled an army, fell in with the enemy two
miles from the city of Hereford, on the ninth of the calends of November [24th October]. He ordered the
English, contrary to their custom, to fight on horseback; but just as the engagement was about to commence,
the earl, with his French and Normans, were the first to flee. The English seeing this, followed their
leader’s example, and nearly the whole of the enemy’s army going in pursuit, four or five hundred of the
fugitives were killed, and many were wounded. Having gained the victory, king Griffyth and earl Algar
entered Hereford, and having slain seven of the canons who defended the doors of the principal church, and
burnt the monastery built by bishop Athelstan, that true servant of Christ, with all its ornaments, and
the relics of St. Ethelbert, king and martyr, and other saints, and having slain some of the citizens,
and made many other captives, they returned laden with spoil.
On receiving intelligence of this calamity, the king immediately commanded an army to be levied from
every part of England, and on its being assembled at Gloucester, gave the command of it to the brave earl
Harold, who, zealously obeying the king’s orders, was unwearied in his pursuit of Griffyth and Algar, and
boldly crossing the Welsh border, encamped beyond Straddell [Snowdon]; but they knowing him to be an
intrepid and daring warrior, did not venture to wait his attack, but retreated into South Wales. On learning
this, he left there the greatest part of his army, with orders to make a stout resistance to the enemy if
circumstances should require it; and returning with the remainder of his host to Hereford, he surrounded
it with a wide and deep trench, and fortified it with gates and bars. Meanwhile, after an interchange of
messages, Griffyth, Algar, and Harold, with their attendants, met at a place called Biligesteagea, and
peace being proposed and accepted, they contracted a firm alliance with each other. After these events,
earl Algar’s fleet [of pirates] sailed to Chester, and waited there for the hire he had engaged to pay
them; but he himself went to court and restored by the king to his earldom. At that time died Tremerin,
a Welsh bishop,[Bishop of St Davids] who had been a monk. He was, for a long time, coadjutor to Athelstan,
bishop of Hereford, after Athelstan became incapable of performing his episcopal functions, having been
blind for thirteen years. Heriman, bishop of Wiltshire, being offended at the king’s refusing to allow him
to remove the seat of his bishopric from the vill called Ramsbury to the abbey of Malmesbury, resigned his
bishopric and, going beyond sea, took the monastic habit at St. Bertin, [an abbey near St Omer] in which
monastery he abode for three years.
A.D. 1056. Athelstan, bishop of Hereford, a man of great sanctity, died on the fourth of the ides
[the l0th] of February, at the episcopal vill called Bosanbyrig [Bosbury]; his body was carried to Hereford,
and buried in the church which he himself had built from the foundations. He was succeeded by Leovegar,
earl Harold’s chaplain, who, on the sixteenth of the calends [the 16th] of June in the same year, together
with his clerks and Ethelnoth the vice-reeve and many others, was massacred by Griffyth, king of Wales, at
a place called Claftbyrig [Cleobury?]. He held the see only eleven weeks and four days. On his being thus
cut off, the bishopric of Hereford was administered by Aldred, bishop of Worcester, until a successor could
be appointed. This same bishop Aldred and the earls Leofric and Harold afterwards reconciled Griffyth, king
of Wales, with king Edward.
Marianus, becoming a pilgrim for the sake of his heavenly country, went to Cologne and took the habit of
a monk in the monastery of St. Martin, belonging to the Scots, on Thursday, which was the calends [the
1st] of August.
Earl Ethelwin, that is Odda,[Earl of Devon] a the friend of the churches, the solace of the poor, the
protector of widows and orphans, the enemy of oppression, the shield of virginity, died at Deerhurst on
the second of the calends of September [31st August], having been made a monk by Aldred, bishop of
Worcester, before his death; but he lies in the abbey of Pershore, where he was buried with great pomp.
Æthelric, bishop of Durham, voluntarily resigned his see and retired to his monastery of Peterborough,
where he had been brought up and made a monk; and there he lived twelve years, having been succeeded in
his bishopric by his brother, Ægelwin, a monk of the same abbey.
A.D. 1057. Edward the etheling, son of king Edmund Ironside, accepting the invitation of his uncle,
king Edward, returned to England from Hungary, where he had been exiled many years before. For the king
had determined to appoint him his successor and heir to the crown; but he died at London soon after his
arrival. The renowned Leofric, son of the ealdorman Leofwine, of blessed memory, died in a good old age,
at his own vill of Bromley, on the second of the calends of September [31st August], and was buried with
great pomp at Coventry; which monastery, among the other good deeds of his life, he and his wife, the
noble countess Godiva, a worshipper of God, and devoted friend of St. Mary, Ever-a-Virgin, had founded,
and amply endowing it with lands on their own patrimony, had so enriched with all kinds of ornament, that
no monastery could be found in England possessed of such abundance of gold, silver, jewels, and precious
stones as it contained at that time. They also enriched, with valuable ornaments, the monasteries of
Leominster and Wenlock, and those at Chester dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. Werburgh, the
virgin, and the church which Eadnoth, bishop of Lincoln, had built on a remarkable spot, called in English
St. Mary’s Stow,73 which means
in Latin St. Mary’s place. They also gave lands to the monastery at Worcester, and added to the buildings,
ornaments, and endowments of Evesham abbey. During his whole life, this earl’s sagacity was of the utmost
advantage to the kings and the whole commonwealth of England. His son Algar was appointed to his earldom.
Hakon, bishop of Essex, died, and Æthelric, a monk of Christ-church at Canterbury, was appointed in his
stead. The afore-mentioned earl Ralph died on the twelfth of the calends of January [21st December], and
was buried in the abbey of Peterborough.
A.D. 1058. Six days before Palm-Sunday [10th April], the city of Paderborn, and two monasteries,
that of the cathedral and that of the monks, were destroyed by fire. In the monks’ monastery there was a
Scottish monk named Paternus, who had been in the cloister for a great number of years, and had foretold
this fire; yet such was his desire of martyrdom that nothing could induce him to leave the place, and he was burnt to death in his cell, passing through the flames to the cool refreshment of paradise. Some blessed things are related concerning his tomb. “Within a few days after this occurrence, on the Tuesday after the octave of Easter [26th of April], as I was departing from Cologne on the road to Fulda in company with the abbot of Fulda, for the sake of seclusion, prayed on the very mat on which he was burnt.” Thus saith Marianus, the Scottish recluse.
Algar, earl of Mercia, was outlawed by king Edward for the second time, but, supported by Griffyth, king of Wales, and aided by a Norwegian fleet, which unexpectedly came to his relief, he speedily recovered his earldom by force of arms. Pope Stephen died on the third of the calends of April [30th March]. He was succeeded by Benedict, who sent the pallium to Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury. Æthelric was ordained bishop of Sussex; and abbot Siward was consecrated bishop of Rochester. Aldred, bishop of Worcester, dedicated with great ceremony to Peter, prince of the apostles, the church which he had built from the foundations in the city of Worcester, and afterwards, with the king’s license, appointed Wulfstan, a monk of Worcester, ordained by him, abbot of the new foundation. Then, having resigned the bishopric of Wilton, which he held in commendam, and restored it to Heriman, before mentioned, he crossed the sea, and went through Hungary to Jerusalem; a pilgrimage which no English archbishop or bishop is known to have performed before.
A.D. 1059. Nicholas, bishop of Florence, was elected pope, and Benedict was deposed. Marianus having shut himself up in the cloister with Sigefrid, abbot of Fulda, was ordained priest at the tomb of St. Kilian, at Wurtzburg, on Saturday in Mid-Lent, the third of the ides [the 13th] of March, and on Friday after Our Lord’s Ascension, being the day before the ides [the 14th] of May, he entered on his ten years’ inclosure in the abbey of Fulda.
A.D. 1060. Henry, king of the Franks, died, and was succeeded by his eldest son Philip. Duduc, bishop of Wells, died, and was succeeded by Giso, the king’s chaplain; they were both natives of Lorraine. Kinsi, archbishop of York, died at York on the eleventh of the calends of January [22nd December]. His body was carried to the abbey of Peterborough, and buried there with great pomp. Aldred, bishop of Worcester, was elected his successor as archbishop of York at Christmas; and the see of Hereford, which had been entrusted to his administration on account of his great diligence, was given to Walter, a Lorrainer, and chaplain to queen Edgitha.
A.D. 1061. Aldred, archbishop of York, went to Rome in company with earl Tosti, and received the pallium from pope Nicholas. There, also, Giso of Wells, and Walter of Hereford, were consecrated bishops by the same pope. Until John, the successor of Giso, all the bishops of Wells had their episcopal see at Wells, in the church of St. Andrew the Apostle. Maiolus, abbot of the Scots, died at Cologne; Foilan succeeded him.
A.D. 1062. Wulfstan, a venerable man, was made bishop of Worcester. This prelate, beloved of God, was born in Warwickshire, in the province of Mercia, of pious parents; his father’s name being Ealstan, and his mother’s Wulfgeova, but he was well instructed in letters and ecclesiastical functions at the monastery of Peterborough. Both his parents were so devoted to a religious life, that long before their end, they took the vows of chastity, and separated from each other, delighting to spend the rest of their days in habits of holy devotion. Inspired by such examples, and chiefly induced by his mother’s persuasions, he quitted the world while he was yet in his youth, and took the monastic habit and profession in the same monastery at Worcester where his father had before devoted himself to the service of God, being admitted by the venerable Brihteag, bishop of the same church, who also conferred upon him the orders both of deacon and priest. Entering at once on a strict and deeply religious course of life, he quickly became remarkable for his vigils, his fastings, his prayers, and all kinds of virtues. In consequence of this regular discipline, he was appointed, first, for some time, master and tutor of the novices, and afterwards, from his intimate acquaintance with the ecclesiastical services, his superiors nominated him precentor and treasurer of the church.
Being now entrusted with the custody of the church, he embraced the opportunities afforded him of serving God with greater freedom; and, devoting himself wholly to a life of contemplation, he resorted to it by day and night, either for prayer or holy reading, and assiduously mortified his body by fasting for two or three days together. He was so addicted to devout vigils, that he not only spent the nights sleepless, but often the day and night together, and sometimes went for four days and nights without sleep,—a thing we could hardly have believed, if we had not heard it from his own mouth,— so that he ran great risk from his brains being parched, unless he hastened to satisfy the demands of nature by the refreshment of sleep. Even, at last, when the urgent claims of nature compelled him to yield to sleep, he did not indulge himself by stretching his limbs to rest on a bed or couch, but would lie down for awhile on one of the benches in the church, resting his head on the book which he had used for praying or reading. After some time, on the death of Æthelwine, prior of the monastery, bishop Aldred appointed this reverend man to be prior and father of the convent, an office which he worthily filled; by no means abating the strictness of his previous habits, but rather increasing it in many respects, in order to afford a good example to the rest.
After the lapse of some years, on the elevation of Aldred, bishop of Worcester, to the archbishopric of York, there was unanimous consent both of the clergy and the whole body of the laity [of Worcester] in the election of Wulfstan as their bishop; the king having granted them permission to choose whom they pleased. It so chanced that the legates from the apostolical see were present at the election, namely, Ermenfred, bishop of Sion,74 and another, who were sent by our lord the pope Alexander to king Edward on some ecclesiastical questions, and by the king’s orders spent nearly the whole of Lent at Worcester, waiting for the reply to their mission at the king’s court in the ensuing Easter. The legates, during their stay, observing Wulfstan’s worthy conversation, not .only concurred in his election, but used their especial influence with both the clergy and people to advance it, and confirmed it by their own authority. But he most obstinately declined the office, exclaiming that he was unworthy of it, and even declaring with an oath that he would rather submit to lose his head than be advanced to so high a dignity.
When he could by no means be persuaded to consent by the arguments frequently addressed to him by many pious and venerable men, at last being sharply reproved for his obstinate wilfulness by Wulfsi the hermit, a man of God, who was known to have lived a life of solitude for more than forty years, and being also awed by a divine revelation, he was compelled, with the greatest reluctance, to give his consent; and his election having been canonically confirmed on the feast of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist [29th August], and having accepted the office of bishop, he was consecrated on the day on which St. Mary’s Nativity is celebrated by the church, which happened on a Sunday, and shone forth in the splendour of his life and virtues as bishop of Worcester. The consecration was performed by the venerable Aldred, archbishop of York, Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, being then interdicted by the pope from performing his episcopal functions, because he had presumed to take the archbishopric while Robert, the archbishop, was still living; but Wulfstan made his canonical profession to Stigand, the aforesaid archbishop of Canterbury, and not to Aldred, who ordained him.
Moreover, Stigand having made a protest against its being a precedent in future, the archbishop of York, who ordained Wulfstan, was ordered to declare before the king and the great men of the realm, that he would not thereafter claim any submission, either in ecclesiastical or temporal affairs, in right of his having consecrated him, or of his having been his monk before he was consecrated. Wulfstan’s ordination took place when he was more than fifty years old, in the twentieth year of the reign of king Edward, and in the fifteenth indiction.
A.D. 1063. When Christmas was over, Harold, the brave earl of Wessex, by king Edward’s order, put himself at the head of a small troop of horse, and proceeded by rapid marches from Gloucester, where the king then was, to Rhuddlan, [Flintshire] with the determination to punish Griffyth, king of Wales, for his continual ravages on the English marshes, and his many insults to his lord, king Edward, by taking his life. But Griffyth, being forewarned of the earl’s approach, fled with his attendants, and escaped by getting aboard a ship, but not without extreme difficulty. Harold, finding he was gone, ordered his palace to be burnt, and setting fire to his ships and all their rigging, began his march homeward the same day. But about Rogation days [20 May] he sailed from Bristol with a naval force, and circumnav1gated a great part of Wales. His brother met him, by the king’s command, with a body of cavalry, and uniting their forces, they began to lay waste that part of the country. In consequence, the Welsh were reduced to submission, and, giving hostages, engaged to pay him tribute, and they deposed and banished their king, Griffyth.
A.D. 1064. The great paschal cycle now begins, in the second indiction. A multitude of people, both rich and poor, to the number of seven thousand, accompanied the archbishop of Mentz, and the bishops of Utrecht, Bamberg, and Ratisbon, in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, after the feast of St. Martin [11th November]. Wherever the bishops made any stay, they wore their palls on their shoulders, and their meat and drink was served in gold and silver vessels. The Arabites [Arabs ?], allured by the fame of their wealth, slew many of them on Good-Friday [9th April]. Those who were able to escape took refuge in a deserted castle called Caruasalim,75 and barricading it, defended themselves with stones and staves against the darts of the Arabites, who sought their money, or their lives and their money. Then one very brave soldier, who was resolved that no peril should withhold him from seeing the tomb of our Lord, went forth;
but the Arabs immediately laid hold of him, and stretching him flat on the ground, in the form of a cross, nailed his hands and feet to the earth, and cutting him open from the bottom of his belly to his throat, examined his entrails.76 At last, having torn him limb from limb, their chief first threw a stone upon him, and afterwards all the rest did the like. Then they called to his comrades, who beheld all this from the castle :—“Your fate shall be the same, unless you deliver to us all your wealth.” The Christians promising to comply, the chief of the Arabites came into the castle to them, with sixteen others armed with swords. The chief found the bishops still seated in great state, and observing that the bishop of Bamberg, whose name was Gunther, excelled the rest in stature and shape, concluded that he was the lord of the Christians. Putting a thong round the bishop’s neck, in the way the Gentiles confine their criminals, he said, “You and all yours shall he mine.” The bishop replied, through an interpreter, “What will you do to me?” He answered, “I will suck that bright blood from your throat, and I will hang you up like a dog before the castle.” Then the bishop, seizing the chief by the head, felled him to the ground with one blow of his fist, and all the others were bound. Those who remained without being informed of this assaulted the castle;
but the prisoners were suspended from the walls in front of the assailants, and to save them, the attack was given up. Then the thieves began to quarrel concerning the money which they had already taken from the Christians, and most of them fell by each others’ hands. Meanwhile, the prince of Ramula, at the entreaty of those of the Christians who had contrived to escape, came with a strong band, on the second day of Easter [12th April], and drove away the Arabites. Then, after accepting fifty gold pieces from the Christians, he and an Arabite chief who was at variance with his lord, the king of the Saracens, conducted the pilgrims to Jerusalem, and thence to their ships. The vast multitude of Christians so wasted away, that out of seven thousand or more, barely two thousand returned.
A.D. 1064. Griffyth, king of Wales, was slain by his own people, on the nones [the 5th] of August, and his head and the beak of his ship, with its ornaments, were sent to earl Harold, who, shortly afterwards, presented them to king Edward. The king then gave the territories of the Welsh king to his brothers Blethgent and Rithwalon,77 and they swore to be faithful to him and Harold, and promised to be ready to obey their orders by sea and land, and that they would faithfully pay whatever was paid before from that country to former kings.
A.D. 1065. Æthelwin, the reverend bishop of Durham, raised the bones of St. Oswin, formerly king of Bernicia, from the tomb in which they had lain for four hundred and fifteen years, in the monastery which stands at the mouth of the river Tyne, and placed them in a shrine with great ceremony. In the month of August, Harold, the brave earl of Wessex, ordered a large mansion to be built at a place called Portascith,78 on the territory of the Welsh, and gave directions that it should be well stored with meat and drink, that his lord, king Edward, might sometimes reside there for the sake of hunting. But Caradoc, son of Griffyth, king of South Wales, who a few years before had slain Griffyth, king of North Wales, and usurped his kingdom, came there with the whole force he could gather, on the feast-day of St. Bartholomew, the apostle [24th August], and slew all the workmen and their overseers, and carried off all the materials which had been collected there.
Soon after the feast of St. Michael, the archangel, on Monday, the fifth of the nones [the 3rd] of October, the Northumbrian thanes, Gamelbearn, Dunstan, son of Athelneth, and Glonicorn, son of Heardulf, entered York with two hundred soldiers, to revenge the execrable murder of the noble Northumbrian thane, Cospatric, who was treacherously killed by order of queen Edgitha at the king’s court on the fourth night of Christmas, for the sake of her brother Tosti; as also the murder of the thanes Game], the son of Orm, and Ulf, the son of Dolfin, whom earl Tosti had perfidiously caused to be assassinated in his own chamber at York, the year before, although there was peace between them. The insurgent thanes were also aggrieved by the enormous taxes which Tosti unjustly levied through the whole of Northumbria. They therefore, on the day of their arrival, first seized his Danish house-carles, Amund and Ravenswart, as they were making their escape, and put them to death outside the walls, and the next day slew more than two hundred of his liege-men, on the north side of the river Humber.
They also broke open his treasury, and retired carrying off all that belonged to him. After that. nearly all the men of his earldom assembled in a body, and met, at Northampton, Harold, earl of Wessex, and others whom the king, at Tosti’s request, had sent to restore peace between them. There first, and afterwards at Oxford, on the feast of the apostles St. Simon and St. Jude [28th October], when earl Harold and the rest endeavoured to restore peace between them and earl Tosti, they all unanimously rejected the proposal, and outlawed him and all who had prompted him to enact the oppressive law; and after the feast of All-Saints [1st November], with the assistance of earl Ed win, they banished Tosti from England. Thereupon he went, accompanied by his wife, to Baldwin, earl of Flanders, and passed the winter at St. Omer. After this, king Edward fell into a lingering sickness, but he held his court at London during Christmas as well as he was able, and on Holy Innocents’ day caused the church, which he had built from the foundations [at Westminster], to be dedicated with great splendour to St. Peter, the prince of the apostles.
A.D. 1066. King Edward the Pacific, the pride of the English, son of king. Ethelred, died at London on Thursday, the eve of the Epiphany, in the fourth indiction; after having filled the royal throne of the Anglo-Saxons twenty-three years, six months, and twenty-seven days. He was buried the next day with royal pomp, amidst the tears and lamentations of the crowds who flocked to his funeral. After his interment, Harold, the vice-king, son of earl Godwin, N whom the king before his death had chosen for his successor,1 was elected king by the leading men of all England; and, the same day, was crowned with great ceremony by Aldred, archbishop of York. As soon as he had taken the reins of government, he made it his business to revoke unjust laws, and establish good ones; to become the protector of the churches and monasteries; to cherish and reverence the bishops, abbots, monks, and clerks; and to show himself kind, humble, and courteous to all good men, while to malefactors he used the utmost rigour. For he gave orders to his earls, ealdormen, vice-reeves, and all his officers, to arrest all thieves, robbers, and disturbers of the peace; and he laboured himself for the defence of the country by land and by sea.
The same year a comet was seen on the eighth of the calends of May [24th April], not only in England, but, as it is reported, all over the world : it shone with excessive brilliance for seven days. Soon afterwards earl Tosti returned from Flanders, and landed in the Isle of Wight; and, having compelled the islanders to give him pay and tribute, he departed, and plundered along the sea-coast, until he arrived at Sandwich. King Harold, who was then at London, having been informed of this, ordered a considerable fleet t1nd a body of horse to be got ready, and prepared to go in person to the port of Sandwich. On receiving this intelligence, Tosti took some of the boatmen of the place, willing or unwilling, into his service, and, departing thence, shaped his course for Lindsey, where he burnt several vills and slew a number of men. Thereupon Edwin, earl of Mercia, and Morcar, earl of Northumbria, flew to the spot with some troops, and drove him out of that neighbourhood; and, on his departure, he repaired to Malcolm, king of the Scots, and remained with him during the whole summer. Meanwhile king Harold arrived at the port of Sandwich, and waited there for his fleet. When it was assembled, he sailed to the Isle of Wight; and as William, earl of Normandy, king Edward’s cousin, was preparing an army for the invasion of England, he kept watch all the summer and autumn, to prevent his landing; besides which, he stationed a land army at suitable points along the sea-coast; but provisions failing towards the time of the feast of the Nativity of St. Mary [8th September], both the fleet and army were disbanded.
After these transactions, Harold Harfaager, king of Norway, brother of St. Olave the king, suddenly arrived at the mouth of the river Tyne, with a powerful fleet of more than five hundred great ships. Earl Tosti joined him with his fleet, as they had before agreed, and they made all sail into the Humber; and then ascending the river Tyne against the current, landed their troops at a place called Richale. As soon as king Harold received this news, he marched with all expedition towards Northumbria; but, before the king’s arrival, the two brothers, earls Edwin and Morcar, at the head of a large army, fought a battle with the Norwegians on the northern bank of the river Ouse, near York, on the eve of the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle [20th September], being Wednesday; and their first onset was so furious that numbers of the enemy fell before it.
But, after a long struggle, the English, unable to withstand the attack of the Norwegians, fled with great loss, and many more of them were drowned in the river than slain in the fight. The Norwegians remained in possession of the field of death; and, having taken one hundred and fifty hostages from York, and leaving there one hundred and fifty hostages of their own, returned to their ships. However, on the fifth day afterwards, viz. on Monday, the seventh of the calends of October [25th September], Harold, king of England, having reached York, with many thousand well-armed troops, encountered the Norwegians at a place called Stanford-bridge, and put to the sword king Harold and earl Tosti, with the greatest part of their army; and, although the battle was severely contested, gained a complete victory. Notwithstanding, he allowed Harold’s son Olaf, and Paul, earl of Orkney, who had been left with part of the army to guard the ships, to return to their own country, with twenty ships and the relics of the [defeated] army; having first received from them hostages and their oaths.
While these events were passing, and when the king might have supposed that all his enemies were quelled, he received intelligence of the arrival of William, earl of Normandy, with an innumerable host of horsemen, slingers, archers, and foot soldiers, having taken into his pay auxiliary forces of great bravery from all parts of France; and that he had moored his fleet at a place called Pevensey. Thereupon the king led his army towards London by forced marches; and, although he was very sensible that some of the bravest men in England had fallen in the two [recent] battles, and’ that one half of his troops was not yet assembled, he did not hesitate to meet the enemy in Sussex, without loss of time; and on Saturday, the eleventh of the calends of November [22nd October], before a third of his army was in fighting order, he gave them battle at a place nine miles from Hastings, where they had built a fort. The English being crowded in a confused position, many of them left their ranks, and few stood by him with resolute hearts: nevertheless he made a stout resistance from the third hour of the day until nightfall, and defended himself with such courage and obstinacy, that the enemy almost despaired of taking his life. When, however, numbers had fallen on both sides, he, alas! fell at twilight. There fell, also, his brothers, the earls Gurth and Leofric, and almost all the English nobles. Earl William led his army back to Hastings.
Harold reigned nine months and as many days. The earls Edwin and Morcar, who had withdrawn with their troops from the battle on hearing that he was dead, went to London, and sent off their sister, queen Elgitha, to Chester; but Aldred, archbishop of York, and the earls just mentioned, with the citizens of London and the seamen, were desirous to proclaim Edgar the etheling king, he being nephew of king Edmund Ironside; and promised that they would renew the war under his banner. But while many were preparing to go forth to battle, the earls withdrew their support, and returned home with their army.
Meanwhile, earl William was laying waste Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Middlesex, and Herefordshire, and ceased not from burning vills and slaughtering the inhabitants, until he came to a vill called Beorcham [Berkhamsted], where Aldred, the archbishop, Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, Walter, bishop of Hereford, Edgar the etheling, the earls Edwin and Morcar, and some Londoners of the better sort, with many others, met him, and, giving hostages, made their submission, and swore fealty to him; but, although he concluded a treaty with them, he still allowed his troops to burn and pillage the vills. The feast of our Lord’s Nativity approaching, he marched the whole army to London that he might be proclaimed king there; and as Stigand, the primate of all England, lay under the censure of the apostolical pope for not having obtained the pall canonically, he was anointed by Aldred, archbishop of York, with great ceremony, at Westminster, on Christmas-day, which that year fell on a Monday; having first, as the archbishop required, sworn before the altar of St. Peter the apostle, in the presence of the clergy and people, to protect the holy churches of God and their governors, and to rule the whole nation subject to him with justice and kingly providence, to make and maintain just laws, and straitly to forbid every sort of rapine and all unrighteous judgements.
A.D. 1067. Lent drawing near [21st February], king William returned to Normandy,
taking with him Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, Athelnoth, abbot of Glastonbury,
Edgar the etheling, the earls Edwin and Morcar, Waltheof, son of earl Siward, the noble
Ethelnoth, reeve of Kent, and many others of the chief men of England; leaving his brother
Odo, bishop of Bayeux, and William Fitz-Osborne, whom he had created earl of Hereford,
governors of England, with orders to build strong castles in suitable places.
Wulfwi, bishop of Dorchester, died at Winchester, but was buried at Dorchester.
There lived at that time a very powerful thane, Edric, surnamed the Forester, the son
of Ælfric, brother of Edric Streon, whose lands were frequently ravaged by the garrison
of Hereford and Richard Fitz-Scrope, because he disdained submission to the king; but
as often as they made inroads on his territories, they lost many of their knights and
squires. This Edric, therefore, having summoned to his aid Blethgent and Rithwallon,
kings of the Welsh, about the feast of the Assumption of St. Mary [15th August], laid
waste the county of Hereford as far as the bridge on the river Lugg, and carried off a great booty.
After this, winter being near at hand, king William returned from Normandy to England,
and imposed on the English an insupportable tax. He then marched troops into Devonshire,
and besieged and speedily reduced the city of Exeter, which the citizens and some English
thanes held against him. But the countess Githa, mother of Harold, king of England, and
sister of Sweyn, king of Denmark, escaped from the city, with many others, and retired
to Flanders; and the citizens submitted to the king, and paid him fealty. Siward,
nineteenth bishop of Rochester, died.
A.D. 1068. After Easter [23rd March], the countess Matilda came to England from
Normandy, and was crowned queen by Aldred, archbishop of York, on Whitsunday [1lth May].
After this, Mariesweyn and Cospatric, and some of the most noble of the Northumbrian
nation, in order to escape the king’s tyranny, and fearing that, like others, they
might be thrown into prison, took with them Edgar the etheling, with his mother Agatha
and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina, and, embarking for Scotland, wintered
there under favour of Malcolm, king of Scots. Meanwhile, king William marched his
army to Nottingham, and, having fortified the castle there, proceeded to York, where
he erected two strong forts, and having stationed in them five hundred men, he gave
orders that strong castles should be built at Lincoln and other places.
While these events were in process, the sons of king Harold, Godwin, Edmund, and Magnus,
returned from Ireland, and landed in Somersetshire, where Eadnoth, who had been the
horse-thane of king Harold, opposed them with his forces, and giving them battle,
was slain, with many of his troops. Flushed with victory, and having carried off much
plunder from Devon and Cornwall, they returned to Ireland.
A.D. 1069. Marianus, after his ten years seclusion at Fulda,
came to Mentz, by order of the bishop of Mentz and the abbot of Fulda, on the third of
the nones [the 3rd] of April, being the Friday before Palm-Sunday.
Two of Harold’s sons came again from Ireland, with sixty- four ships, and landing
about the Nativity of St. John the Baptist [24th June] at the mouth of the river Tivy,
fought a severe battle with Brian, count of Brittany; after which they returned to the
place whence they came.
On the sixth of the ides [the 10th] of July, being the Friday in the Nativity of the
Seven Holy Brothers, Marianus secluded himself near the principal monastery in the same
Before the Nativity of St. Mary [8th September] Harold and Canute, sons of Sweyn, king
of Denmark, and their uncle, earl Asbiorn, with earl Thurkill, arriving from Denmark
with two hundred and forty ships, landed at the mouth of the river Humber, where they
were met by Edgar the etheling, earl Waltheof, Marlesweyn, and many others, with a fleet
they had assembled. Aldred, archbishop of York, was so distressed at their arrival,
that he fell dangerously sick, and departed this life, as he besought of God, on Friday
the third of the ides [the llth] of September, in the tenth year after he became
archbishop, and was buried in the church of St. Peter on the eighth day afterwards,
namely, on Saturday the thirteenth of the calends of October [19th September]. The
Normans, who garrisoned the forts, set fire to the adjacent houses, fearing that they
might be of service to the Danes in filling up the trenches; and the flames spreading,
destroyed the whole city, together with the monastery of St. Peter. But they were
speedily punished for this by an infliction of the divine vengeance; for on Monday the
Danish fleet arrived before the city was entirely consumed, and the forts being stormed
the same day, and more than three thousand of the Normans killed (the lives of William
Malet and his wife and two children, with very few others, being spared), the ships drew
off laden with plunder.
King William, receiving intelligence of this, immediately assembled an army, and hastened
into Northumbria, giving way to his resentment; and spent the whole winter in laying
waste the country, slaughtering the inhabitants, and inflicting every sort of evil,
without cessation. Meanwhile, he despatched messengers to the Danish carl, Asbiorn, and
promised to pay him secretly a large sum of money, and grant permission for his army
to forage freely along the sea-coast, on condition that he would depart without fighting
when the winter was over; and he, in his extreme greediness for lucre, and to his utter
disgrace, consented to the proposal. In consequence of the ravages of the Normans, first,
in Northumbria the preceding year, and again in the present and following year, throughout
nearly the whole of England, so severe a famine prevailed in most parts of the kingdom,
but chiefly in Northumbria and the adjacent provinces, that men were driven to feed on
the flesh of horses, dogs, cats, and even of human beings.
A.D. 1070. By the advice of William, earl of Hereford, and
some others, king William, during Lent [17th February], caused all the monasteries of
England to be searched, and the money deposited in them by the richer sort of the English,
for security against his violence and rapacity, to be seized and carried to his own
In the octaves of Easter [4th April] a great synod was held at Winchester, by command of
king William, who was present himself, and with the concurrence of the lord Alexander
the pope; his legates, Ermenfrid, bishop of Sion, and John and Peter, cardinal-priests
of the apostolic see, representing his authority. In this synod, Stigand, archbishop of
Canterbury, was degraded on three charges: first, for having unlawfully held the bishopric
of Winchester with the archbishopric; next, for having taken the archbishopric while
archbishop Robert was living, and even sometimes, in saying mass, wearing the pallium
which Robert left behind him at Canterbury when he was unjustly driven from England; and
lastly, for having accepted the pallium from Benedict, who was excommunicated by the Holy
Roman Church for having systematically usurped the apostolic see.
His brother, Ethelmar, bishop of the East-Angles, was also degraded; as were also a few
abbots, the king doing his utmost to deprive the English of their dignities, that he might
appoint persons of his own nation to their preferments, and thus confirm his power in his
new kingdom. He also deprived several bishops and abbots, convicted of no open crimes
either by the councils or the laws of the realm, and detained them in prison, to the end
of their lives on mere suspicion, as we have said, of their being dangerous to his
newly-acquired power. In this synod also, while the rest, aware of the king’s bias,
were trembling at the risk they ran of losing their appointments, Wulfstan, bishop of
Worcester, boldly demanded the restoration of many of the possessions of his see which
had been retained in his own power by archbishop Aldred, when he was translated from
Worcester to York, and on his death had fallen into the king’s hands; and demanded,
not only from those who presided at the synod, but from the king himself, that justice
should be done him. But as the church of York was silent, not having a pastor to plead
her cause, it was decided that the suit should stand over until such time as, by the
appointment of an archbishop, there should be some one who could reply to Wulfstan’s
claims, and after hearing the pleadings on both sides, a clearer and more equitable
judgement might be given. Thus the case was adjourned for the present.
On Whitsunday [33rd May] the king, at Windsor, gave the archbishopric of York to the
venerable Thomas, canon of Bayeux, and the bishopric of Winchester to his chaplain,
Walkeline. On the following day, by the king’s command, Ermenfrid, bishop of Sion,
held a synod, [the other legates] the cardinals John and Peter having returned to Rome.
At this synod, Ethelric, bishop of Sussex, was uncanonically deposed; and although he
was guilty of no crime, the king soon afterwards placed him in confinement at Marlborough;
several abbots were also deprived. After these depositions, the king gave the bishopric
of East-Anglia to Arfast, and the bishopric of Sussex to
were both his chaplains; which Stigand transferred his see to Chichester, the chief city
in his diocese: the king also gave abbeys to some Norman monks. The archbishop of Canterbury
being degraded, and the archbishop of York dead, Walkeline was, by the king’s command,
consecrated by the same Ermenfrid, bishop of Sion, on the octave of Whitsunday [30th May].
The feast of St. John the Baptist being near, earl Asbiorn sailed to Denmark with the fleet
which had wintered in the Humber; but his brother Sweyn outlawed him, because he had accepted
money from king William, to the great regret of the Danes. Edric, surnamed the Forester, a
man of the most resolute courage, of whom we have spoken before, was reconciled with king
William. After this, the king summoned from Normandy Lanfranc, abbot of Caen, a Lombard by
birth, a man of unbounded learning, master of the liberal arts, and of both sacred and secular
literature, and of the greatest prudence in counsel and the administration of worldly affairs;
and on the day of the Assumption of St. Mary, appointed him archbishop of Canterbury, causing
him to be consecrated at Canterbury on the feast of St. John the Baptist, being Sunday. He was
consecrated by Giso, bishop of Wells, and Walter, bishop of Hereford, who were both ordained
at Rome by pope Nicholas, when Aldred, archbishop of York, received the pallium,—for he
evaded being ordained by Stigand, who then held the archbishopric of Canterbury, knowing him
not to have received the pallium canonically.
Bishop Heriman, who had already transferred the seat of his bishopric from Sherbourne to
Salisbury, also assisted at his consecration, with some others. Afterwards, Lanfranc consecrated
Thomas, archbishop of York. The suit of the reverend Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, was again
prosecuted, there being now a bishop who could advocate the cause of the church of York; and
the affair was, by the aid of God’s grace, decided at a council held at a place called
Pedred, before the king, archbishop Lanfranc, and the bishops, abbots, earls, and lords of all
England. All the groundless assertions by which Thomas and his abettors strove to humble the
church of Worcester, and reduce her to subjection and servitude to the church of York, were,
by God’s just judgement, entirely refuted and negatived by written documents, so that
Wulfstan not only recovered the possessions he claimed, but, by God’s goodness, and the
king’s assent, regained for his see all the immunities and privileges freely granted to
it by its first founders, the holy king Ethered, Oshere, sub-king of the Hwiccas, and the other
kings of Mercia, Cenred, Ethelbald, Offa, Kenulf, Edward the Elder, Athelstan, Edmund, Edred,
Ethelwine, bishop of Durham, was taken by king William’s retainers, and thrown into
prison, where, refusing all food in the depth of his distress, he died of grief and
On the death of Siward, bishop of Rochester, Arnostus, a monk of Bee, succeeded him, and
was himself succeeded by Gundulf, a monk of the same church.
A.D. 1071. Lanfranc and Thomas went to Rome, and received the
pope Alexander. Earls Edwin and Morcar escaped secretly from king William’s court,
finding that he intended to arrest them, and they were for some time in arms against him;
but seeing that their enterprise was not successful, Edwin resolved to go to Malcolm,
king of the Scots, but, during the journey, he fell into an ambuscade laid by his own
people, and was killed. Morcar and Ethelwine, bishop of Durham, Siward, surnamed Barn,
and Hereward, a man of great bravery, with many others, took ship and went to the Isle
of Ely, intending to winter there. The king, hearing of this, blocked up every outlet
on the eastern side of the island by means of his boatmen, and caused a bridge,
two miles long, to be constructed on the western side. When they saw that they were
thus shut in, they resisted no longer, and all surrendered themselves to the king,
except the brave Hereward, who escaped through the fens with a few others. The king
immediately sent bishop Ethelwine to Abingdon, where he was imprisoned, and died the
same winter. The earl and the rest were dispersed in various parts of England, some
being placed in confinement, and others set at liberty with the loss of their hands or eyes.
A.D. 1072. After the Assumption of St. Mary [15th August], William,
king of England,
attended by Edric the Forester, made an expedition into Scotland with a naval force and
an army of cavalry, and reduced it under his own dominion; and Malcolm, king of Scots,
met him at a place called Abernethy, and did him homage. Ethelric, formerly bishop of
Durham, died at Westminster, where king William had sent him into confinement, on
Monday, the ides [the 15th] of October. Walchere, a native of Lorraine, succeeded
Ethelwine in the see of Durham.
A.D. 1073. William, king of England, reduced to subjection the city of Mans,
and the province belonging to it, chiefly by the aid of the English whom he had taken
over with him. Edgar the etheling came from Scotland to Normandy, passing through
England; and was reconciled to the king.
A.D. 1074. Roger, earl of Hereford, son of William, earl of the same county,
gave his sister to wife to Ralph, earl of East Anglia,81 contrary
to the command of king William,82 and while
he was celebrating the nuptials with great magnificence, and a great number of nobles
were assembled on the occasion at a place called Yxninga, in the province of Cambridge,
a great conspiracy was formed against the king, in which many of them were concerned,
and they inveigled and over-persuaded earl Waltheof to join their league. However,
as soon as he was able, he went to Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, and receiving
absolution at his hands from his involuntary oath, by his advice hastened to king
William in Normandy, and laying the whole affair before him threw himself upon his mercy.
The other chiefs of the conspiracy, being resolved to carry out their enterprise,
retired to their castles, and used all their efforts with their adherents to foment
the rebellion. But Wulstan, bishop of Worcester, with a strong body of troops, and
Ethelwy, abbot of Evesham, with his vassals, supported by Urso, sheriff of
Worcestershire, and Walter de Lacy, with their own followers, and a general muster
of the people, marched against the earl of Hereford, to prevent his fording the
Severn and joining his forces to those of earl Ralph at the place appointed. Odo,
bishop of Bayeux, the king’s brother, and Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, having
assembled a large army, both of the English and Normans, fell in with earl Ralph
as he was pitching his camp near Cambridge. The earl, finding that his plans were
frustrated, and terrified at the number of his opponents, retired privately to Norwich,
and having committed his castle to the keeping of his wife and his knights, embarked
from England for Little Britain, his enemies pursuing him, and putting to death or
mutilating in various ways such of his followers as they were able to capture.
The commanders of the king’s army then besieged his castle, until peace being
granted by the king’s permission, the countess had leave to quit England with her
attendants. After these occurrences, in the course of the autumn, the king returned
from Normandy, and put earl Roger in confinement; he also gave earl Waltheof into custody,
although he had implored his mercy.
Edgitha, sister of King Harold, and formerly queen of England, died at Winchester on
the fourteenth of the calends of January, that is in the month of December [the 19th].
Her corpse was, by the king’s command, carried to London, and buried with great pomp
near the body of her husband, king Edward, at Westminster, where the king held his
court at the ensuing Christmas; and of those who had lifted up themselves against him,
some he banished from England, and others he ignominiously punished by the loss of
their eyes or hands, and the earls Waltheof and Roger having been found guilty by a
judgement of the court, were thrown into closer confinement.
A.D. 1075. Earl Waltheof having been brought outside the city of Winchester,
by king William’s order, was cruelly and undeservedly beheaded, and thrown into a
hole on the the spot; but in the course of time, by the providence of God, his body
was exhumed, and conveyed with great honour to Croyland, where it was entombed in the
church with due ceremony. The earl, during the close of his life, when in close
confinement, ceaselessly and most bitterly lamented whatever he had done amiss, and
strove to propitiate God by vigils, prayers, fastings, and alms. Men, indeed, sought
to blot out the remembrance of him on earth, but we firmly believe that he is rejoicing
with the saints in heaven. For this we have the faithful testimony of archbishop Lanfranc,
of pious memory, who having received his confession, and administered absolution and
penance, declared that he was guiltless of the crime laid to his charge, the conspiracy
already mentioned; and as to his other offences, he had lamented them with tears of
penitence, so that he himself should have reason to be thankful if, after his own departure,
he should be partaker of the same blessed rest.1 After this, the king crossed the sea,
and invading the lesser Britain, sat down before the castle of Dol, until Philip, king
of France, forced him to retreat.
A.D. 1077. Robert, king William’s eldest son, feeling aggrieved at not being put
into possession of Normandy, which his father had granted him in the presence of Philip,
king of France, before his expedition to England, went to France, and, supported by Philip,
made frequent inroads into Normandy, plundering and burning the vills and destroying the
people, so that he occasioned his father no little loss and anxiety.
A.D. 1079. Malcolm, king of the. Scots, after the feast of the Assumption of St. Mary
[15th August], ravaged Northumbria as far as the great river Tyne, and having slain numbers
of the people, and made still more captives, he returned with an immense booty. King William,
while engaged in a combat with his son Robert before the castle of Gerberoi, which king Philip
had granted to him, was wounded by him in the arm and unhorsed; but Robert, recognising his
father’s voice, instantly dismounted, and, bidding him mount his own charger, suffered him
to depart. The king soon afterwards retreated, having had many of his men slain and some taken
prisoners, and his son William and several others wounded.
The venerable Robert, who had received the order of priesthood by the hands of Wulfstan, the
most reverend bishop of Worcester, was consecrated bishop of Hereford by Lanfranc, the
archbishop, on the fourth of the calends of January [29th December], at Canterbury.
A.D. 1080. Walchere, bishop of Durham, a native of Lorraine, was slain by the
Northumbrians on Thursday the second of the ides [14th] of May, at a place called “Caput
CaprÆ” [Goat’s or Gates-head], in revenge for the death of Liulf, a noble thane. This man
had many hereditary domains in various parts of England; but as the Normans at that time
gave free vent to their ferocity in every quarter, he retired to Durham with all belonging
to him, having a devoted regard for St. Cuthbert: for, as he was wont to relate to Aldred,
archbishop of York, and other men of religion, that saint often appeared to him, both sleeping
and waking, and revealed to him, as his faithful votary, all that he wished to have done.
Under his protection, then, Liulf lived for a long time, sometimes in the town, sometimes
on the estates he held in that part of the country.
Bishop Walchere had welcomed his arrival at Durham, being himself entirely devoted to the
same saint, and he therefore entertained so great a regard for him that he was loath to
transact any business of importance in his secular concerns without his advice. In consequence
of this, his chaplain Leobwine, whom he had raised to such a pitch of power that scarcely
anything was moved either in the bishopric or in the county without his consent, at once
stung to the quick by jealousy, and puffed up with excessive pride by his own pre-eminence,
treated Liulf with great arrogance; making light of his opinions and counsels, and using
every effort to render them null. Frequently also, when arguing with him in the bishop’s
presence, he provoked him to anger by opprobrious language, and even used threats. On one
occasion, when this same Liulf, having been called to his counsels by the bishop, had given
his decisions according to law and justice, Leobwine violently opposed him, and exasperated
him by contemptuous expressions. As the other, however, replied to him with more vehemence
than he was wont, he immediately left the court, and calling aside Gilbert, to whom the
bishop, as being his kinsman, had deputed the government of the county of Northumbria,
earnestly besought him to avenge him by compassing Liulf’s death on the first opportunity.
Gilbert, readily consenting to this iniquitous request, having collected in a body his own
retainers and those of the bishop and Leobwine, went one night to the vill where Liulf then
was, and wickedly slew him in his own house with nearly all his household.
On hearing this, the bishop uttered a deep groan, and tearing off his hood from his head
and casting it on the ground, said mournfully, “This has been effected through your crafty
devices and most ill-advised suggestions, and I would have you know that, for a surety,
you have destroyed both yourself and me and all my establishment by the sword of your tongue.”
Saying this, he hastily shut himself up in the castle, and took care, by despatching messengers
with all speed throughout Northumbria, to make it generally known that, so far from having
been privy to Liulf’s death, he had banished from Northumbria his murderer Gilbert and all
his accomplices, and was ready to clear himself by submitting to the judgement of the pope.
Then, by the exchange of messengers, he and the kindred of those who were slain, having made
a truce between themselves, fixed time and place in which they would meet and conclude a firm
peace with each other.
At the time appointed they assembled at the place agreed on; but the bishop was unwilling
to have the cause pleaded in the open air, and entered a church which was on the spot, with
his clerks and the more honourable of his knights; and, having consulted with them, sent out
to them again and again chosen friends to treat of terms of peace: but they would by no means
assent to his proposals, considering it certain that Liulf had been put to death by the
bishop’s orders; for not only had Leobwine, on the very night after the murder of his neighbour,
entertained Gilbert and his associates with friendly familiarity, but the bishop himself had
admitted him among his household with the same favour as before: wherefore, they first
massacred all those of the bishop’s party who were outside the church, a few only saving
themselves by flight. Seeing this, to satisfy the rage of his adversaries, the bishop ordered
the before-mentioned Gilbert, his kinsman, whose life was sought, to go out of the church;
who, as he went, was closely followed by men-at-arms ready to defend him; but the enemy fell
upon them instantly with swords and spears, and killed them all, except two English thanes,
who were spared out of regard to their kindred.
They also slew Leofwine, dean of Durham, as soon as he came out, because he had often given
the bishop adverse counsels, and the rest of the clergy with him. But the bishop, finding that
their rage could not be appeased by any means short of the sacrifice of the chief author of
all the calamity, Leobwine, requested him to go forth. Being, however, entirely unable to
prevail upon him to venture, he proceeded himself to the door of the church and entreated that
his own life might be saved. His prayers being rejected, he covered his head with the skirt of
his robe, and, passing through the open door, was instantly despatched by the swords of the
enemy. They next commanded Leobwine to come forth, and, on his refusing, set fire to the walls
and roof of the church; but he preferring to end his life by fire rather than by the sword,
bore the flames for some time. At length, half-burnt, he leaped down, and, being dashed in pieces,
paid the penalty of his iniquity by his miserable end. To avenge the atrocious murder of these
men, king William ravaged Northumbria the same year.
A.D. 1081. William, abbot of the monastery of St. Vincent, the martyr,
having been chosen by king William, was appointed to the bishopric of Durham, and consecrated by
archbishop Thomas on the nones [the 5th] of January.
A.D. 1082. King William caused his brother Odo, bishop of Bayeux, to be
placed in confinement in Normandy.
A.D. 1083. There was a dreadful quarrel between the monks of Glastonbury
and their abbot, Thurstan, a man unworthy of the dignity, who had been raised to it by king William
from being a
monk of Caen, indiscreet as he was. Among his other acts of folly, he attempted to force the monks
to relinquish the Gregorian chaunt, which he despised, and to learn to sing that of one William,
a monk of Fecamp. They were much aggrieved at this, having grown old in the use of this, as well
as in other ecclesiastical offices, according to the usage of the Roman church; whereupon he
suddenly broke into the chapter-house at the head of an armed band of men in arms, one day when
they least expected it, and pursued the terrif1ed monks, who took refuge in the church, to the
foot of the altar. The armed band pierced the crosses and the images and shrines of the saints
with darts and arrows, and even speared to death one of the monks as he was clinging to the altar;
another was shot by arrows on the altar-steps; the rest, driven by necessity, defended themselves
bravely with the benches and candlesticks of the church, and, although severely wounded, drove
the soldiers out of the choir. Two of the monks were killed and fourteen wounded, and some of the
soldiers also received wounds.
On the trial for this outrage, it appeared that the abbot was most to blame, and the king removed
him and sent him back to his monastery in Normandy. A great number of the monks were, by the king’s
command, dispersed among the cathedrals and abbeys, where they were confined. After his death,
the abbot repurchased the abbey from his son, king William, for five hundred pounds; and, after
wandering about for some years among the possessions of the church, ended his life in misery far
from the monastery, as he deserved. Queen Matilda died in Normandy on Thursday the fourth of the
nones [the 2nd] of November, and was buried at Caen.
A.D. 1084. William, king of England, levied six shillings from every hide of hand
A.D. 1085. Edmund, abbot of Pershore, a man of eminent worth and piety, died in a
good old age on Sunday the seventeenth of the calends of July [15th June], and was honourably
buried by Serlo, the venerable abbot of Gloucester : he was succeeded by Thurstan, a monk of
Gloucester. The same year, Canute, king of Denmark, assembled a powerful fleet for an expedition
to England, in which he had the support of his father-in-law, Robert, earl of Flanders.
In consequence, king William took into his pay a great many thousand troops, consisting of
archers and foot-soldiers, from every part of France, and some from Normandy, and, returning
to England in the time of autumn, distributed them throughout the kingdom, giving orders to
the bishops, abbots, earls, barons, sheriffs, and royal officers to supply them with provisions.
Finding, however, that the threatened hostilities were frustrated, he disbanded part of his army,
detaining the rest in England through the whole winter. During Christmas he held his court at
Gloucester, where he gave bishoprics to three of his chaplains. Maurice had London; William,
Thetford; and Robert, Chester.
A.D. 1086. King William caused a record [Domesday Book] to be made through all England
of how much land each of his barons held, the number of knight-fees, of ploughs, of villains,
and beasts; and also of all the ready money every man possessed throughout his kingdom, from
the greatest to the least, and how much rent each estate was able to pay; and the land was
sorely harassed by the distress which ensued from it.
In Whitsun-week [24th May] the king conferred the honour of knighthood on his son Henry, at
Westminster where he held his court. Soon afterwards he summoned all archbishops, bishops,
abbots, earls, barons, and sheriffs, with their knights, to meet him at Salisbury on the calends
[the 1st] of August, and on their appearance enforced on the knights an oath of fealty to himself
against all others.
About this time, the etheling Edgar, having obtained the king’s licence, crossed the sea with
two hundred knights and went to Apulia: his sister, the virgin Christina, entered the monastery
of Ramsey and became a nun. The same year there was a great murrain among the cattle, and the
atmosphere was very sickly.
A.D. 1087. This year there was great mortality, first from fevers, and afterwards
from famine. Meanwhile, the devouring flames laid nearly all the cities of England in ruins,
including the church of St. Paul the apostle, and the largest and best part of London.
King Canute fell a martyr at the hands of his subjects in a church, on Saturday the sixth
of the ides [the 10th] of July. Stigand, bishop of Chichester, Scolland, abbot of St.
Augustine’s (Canterbury), Alsy, abbot of Bath, and Thurstan, abbot of Pershore, died.
Before the feast of the Assumption of St. Mary [15th August], king William entered
France with an army, and having burnt the town of Mantes, with all the churches in it,
and two recluses, then returned to Normandy; but on his return he was seized by dreadful
pains in the bowels, which grew worse from day to day. His disorder increasing so that
he perceived that death was approaching, he liberated his brother Odo, bishop of Bayeux,
the earls Morcar, Roger, and Siward, surnamed Barn, with Wulnoth, king Harold’s brother,
whom he had kept in prison from his childhood, and all whom he had imprisoned either in
England or Normandy. He then made over the kingdom of England to his son William, and
granted the duchy of Normandy to his eldest son, Robert, who was at that time an exile
in France; and so, strengthened by the heavenly viaticum, he yielded up his life and his
kingdom on the fifth of the ides [the 9th] of September, having reigned in England twenty
years, ten months, and twenty-eight days. He lies buried at Caen, in the church of St.
Stephen, the Proto-martyr, which he founded and endowed himself.
His son William crossed over to England in great haste, taking with him Wulnoth and Morcar;
but as soon as he reached Winchester he placed them in confinement as before; and on
Sunday the sixth of the calends of October [26th September] he was crowned at Westminster
by Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury. Then returning to Winchester he divided his father’s
treasure among the churches in England, according to his directions; namely, that some of
the principal churches should have ten marks of gold, some six, and others less; and to
each of the churches in his cities and vills he gave sixty pence: he also commanded that
crosses, altars, reliquaries, texts, candlesticks, holy-water pots, and chalices, and
various ornaments, studded with gems, gold, silver, and precious stones, should be
distributed among the greater churches and abbeys. His brother Robert also, on his return
to Normandy, liberally distributed the treasures he found; giving them to the monasteries
and churches and the poor, for the good of his father’s soul; and, releasing from prison
Ulf, the son of Harold, formerly king of England, and Duncan, son of Malcolm, king of the
Scots, conferred on them the honour of knighthood, and permitted them to depart.
A.D. 1088. This year there was great dissension among the English nobility; for part
of the Norman nobles, although they were few in number, favoured king William, while the other
part, which was the most numerous, adhered to Robert, earl of Normandy, and wished to invite
him over, and either betray alive the brother who was king to his brother the earl, or deprive
the king of his crown and life. The chief movers in this execrable design were Odo, bishop of
Bayeux, who was also earl of Kent, and Robert, earl of Morton, his brother, both of whom were
brothers of king William the Elder, but only by the mother’s side.
There were also concerned in the plot Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, with his nephew Robert,
earl of Northumbria, Roger, earl of Shrewsbury, and what was worse still, William, bishop of
Durham; for at this very time the king relied on his discretion as a faithful counsellor, he
being a man of great sagacity, and the whole commonwealth of England was under his
administration. They were men whose vast landed possessions gave them great preponderance
in England. The number of their comrades in arms, and associates in the conspiracy, daily
increased. This execrable design was secretly discussed during Lent [March 1st—April 9th],
so that it might burst forth after Easter [10th April]; for withdrawing from the king’s
court they fortified their castles, and prepared to spread fire and sword, rapine and slaughter
through the country. What an accursed deed was this, a conflict worse than civil war! Fathers
fought against sons, brothers against brothers, friends against kinsmen, foreigners against
Meanwhile, Odo, bishop of Bayeux, having fortified Rochester, sent to Normandy, exhorting earl
Robert to lose no time in coming to England, informing him of what had taken place, and assuring
him that the kingdom was ready for him, and that if he were not wanting to himself, the crown
was his own. Struck with the unexpected news, the earl announces it to his friends with
exultation, already anticipates a triumph, secure of success, and invites numbers to share
the spoil. He sends an auxiliary force to the support of bishop Odo, his uncle, in England,
and promises to follow it as soon as he can assemble a larger army. The troops despatched by
earl Robert on their arrival in England had the custody of Rochester entrusted to them by
bishop Odo; Eustace the younger, count of Boulogne, and Robert de Belesme, as the men of
highest rank, assuming the command.
When the king received intelligence of this movement, he was strangely troubled; but relying
on his undaunted valour, and having sent messengers who, by virtue of his royal authority,
summoned to his side those he considered loyal, he went to London for the purpose of ordering
all matters and providing means for the prosecution of the war. Assembling troops, both horse
and foot, to form an army, which, though small, contained as many Normans as he could at
present muster, but consisted chiefly of English, and making [just] laws and promising all
sorts of good things to his adherents, he put his trust in God’s mercy, and prepared to
march to Rochester, where he heard the enemy’s main body was stationed. For he was given to
understand that the bishop Odo was there with all his force, and the troops from beyond sea.
Having put his army in motion, he found that Tunbridge, a place belonging to Gilbert
Fitz-Richard, was held against him; he therefore laid siege to it, stormed it in two days,
and forced Gilbert, who was wounded, to surrender himself and his castle. The report of this
reaching Odo’s ears, after consulting with his friends, he left Rochester and proceeded with
a few followers to the castle of his brother Robert, earl of Morton, called Pevensey. Finding
his brother there, he exhorted him to hold out, assuring them that they should be safe there;
and while the king was engaged in the siege of Rochester, the earl of Normandy would arrive
with a large army, and, relieving them and their garrison, make himself master of the kingdom,
and amply reward his adherents.
The king, having reduced Tunbridge and received the fealty of the inhabitants, left Gilbert
there in consequence of his wound, and, placing a garrison in the castle, was on the point of
continuing his march to Rochester according to his first intention, when he heard that his
uncle had left it and gone to Pevensey. Acting, therefore, on sound advice, he led his army
in pursuit of him to that place, hoping that he should sooner terminate the war, if he could
first triumph over the authors of all the mischief we have described. He made forced marches,
he prepared his engines, he besieged his two uncles. The place was strongly fortified, but he
made incessant efforts to reduce it.
Meanwhile the storm of war raged in every part of England. The garrison of Rochester fell on
the people of Canterbury and London with fire and sword; for Lanfranc, the archbishop, and
nearly all the nobles of that province, were with the king.
Roger,84 an ally of
Robert, was at his castle of Arundel, expecting the arrival of the earl of Normandy. Geoffrey,
bishop of Coutances, held Bristol castle in conjunction with his nephew and accomplice in
conspiracy and treason, Robert de Mowbray, a man of military experience; who, collecting
troops, attacked Bath, a city of the king?s, and having burnt and plundered it, passed on
towards Wiltshire, where he ravaged the vills and slaughtered many of the inhabitants, and
at length reached Ilchester, and sat down before it, determined to take it. The besiegers
were animated in their attacks by the hope of plunder and the desire of victory. The men in
the garrison made a stout resistance in defence of themselves and those who were dear to them.
At length, of the two, those who were driven to extremity triumphed, and Robert, being repulsed,
retired, mourning over his ill success. William d’Eu made an irruption into Gloucestershire,
and having plundered the royal vill of Berkeley, committed great ravages through the country
with fire and sword.
Worcester defended by Bishop Wulfstan
While so much destruction was wrought in every quarter, Bernard du Neuf-Marché, Roger de Lacy,
who had lately wrested Hereford from the king, and Ralph de Mortimer, accomplices in the conspiracy,
with the vassals of Roger, earl of Shrewsbury, having assembled a numerous army of English,
Normans, and Welsh, burst into the province of Worcester, declaring that they would burn the
city of Worcester, plunder the church of God and St. Mary, and take summary vengeance on the
inhabitants for their loyalty to the king. On hearing this, the reverend father Wulfstan, bishop
of Worcester, — a man of deep piety and dove-like simplicity, beloved alike by God and the people
he entirely governed, faithful to the king as his earthly lord, under all circumstances, — was
in great tribulation; but soon rallying, by God’s mercy, prepared himself like another Moses to
stand manfully by his people and city. While they armed themselves to repel the enemy, he poured
forth supplications in the impending danger, exhorting his people not to despair of the help of
God, who fighteth not with sword and spear. Meanwhile, the Normans, taking counsel, entreated
the bishop to remove from the church into the castle, saying that his presence would give them
more security if they should be in greater peril: for they loved him much. Such was his
extraordinary kindness of heart, that, from duty to the king and regard for them, he assented
to their request.
Thereupon the bishop’s retainers bravely made ready to fight; the garrison and the whole body
of the citizens assembled, declaring that they would encounter the enemy on the other side of
the Severn, if the bishop would give them leave. Taking their arms, therefore, and being arrayed
for battle, they met the bishop as he was going to the castle, and besought him to grant their
desire, to which he freely assented. “Go,” said he, “my sons, go in peace, go in confidence,
with the blessing of God, and mine. Trusting in God, I promise you that no sword shall hurt you
this day, no disaster, no enemy. Be firm in your loyalty to the king, and do valiantly for the
safety of the people and the city.” On hearing these words they cheerfully crossed the bridge
which had been repaired, and beheld from a distance the enemy rapidly approaching. The fury of
war was already raging with violence through their ranks, for, despite of the bishop’s injunctions,
they had set fire to his own domains. On hearing this, the bishop was stricken with deep sorrow,
seeing the impoverishment of the possessions of the church; and holding council upon it, was
wrought upon by the unanimous voice of all present to pronounce a curse upon the enemy.
A miracle ensued, which showed at once the power of God, and the worthiness of the man; for the
enemy, who were dispersed in parties through the fields, were instantly struck with such feebleness
in their limbs, and loss of eyesight, that they were scarcely able to carry their arms, or
recognise their comrades or discern those who were advancing to attack them.
While they in their blindness were at a loss what to do, confidence in God and the bishop’s
blessing encouraged our party. They had so lost their wits that they neither had the sense to
effect a retreat, nor sought any means of defence; but being by God’s judgement given up to the
fate of the reprobate, they easily fell into the hands of their enemies. The foot soldiers were
put to the sword, the knights and their mounted followers, English, Norman, and Welsh, were taken
prisoners, the rest barely managing in their feeble state to make their escape. The king’s
liege-men and the bishop’s retainers returned home in triumph without the loss of a single man;
thanking God for the preservation of the property of the church, and the bishop for his
A.D. 1089. Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, died on Thursday the 9th of the calends
of June [24th May]. The same year, on Saturday the third of the ides [the llth of August], about
the third hour, there was a great earthquake throughout all England.
A.D. 1090. William the younger, king of England, coveted to wrest Normandy from his brother
Robert, and subject it to his own dominion. His first step was to make terms with Walter de St.
Valery and Odo d’Aumale, for putting their castles into his hands, and he afterwards got possession
of other castles in the same way; and in all these he stationed troops, with orders to ravage
Normandy. Earl Robert, finding this, and discovering the disloyalty of his nobles, sent envoys to
Philip, king of France, his liege-lord, to invite him into Normandy; whereupon he and the king laid
siege to one of the castles in which his brother had placed a garrison. This being reported to king
William, he sent privately a large sum of money to king Philip, and earnestly entreated him to
raise the siege and return home; to which Philip consented.
A.D. 1001. In the month of February, king William the younger went over to Normandy with
the determination to wrest it from his brother Robert; but while he remained there peace was made
between them on the terms that the earl should freely cede to the king the county of Eu, the abbey
of Fecamp, the abbey of Mount St. Michael, Cherbourg, and the castles which had revolted from him;
while the king undertook, on his part, to reduce the province of Maine, and the castles in Normandy
which were then held against the earl to subjection to him; should restore their English domains to
all the Normans who had forfeited them by their adherence to the earl; and should grant him such
lands in England as they had already agreed on. It was stipulated, in addition, that if the earl
should die without leaving a son born in lawful wedlock, the king should be his heir; and if the
king should happen to die under similar circumstances, the earl should be his heir. This treaty was
ratified by the oaths of twelve barons on the king’s side and twelve on the earl’s.
Meanwhile, their brother Henry, at the head of all the troops he could muster, got possession of
Mount St. Michael, some of the monks abetting him; and began to ravage the lands of the king,
taking some of his vassals prisoners and plundering others. Thereupon the king and the earl
assembled an army and besieged the mount during the whole of Lent [26th February], having frequent
skirmishes with prince Henry, in which they lost some of their men and horses. The king, however,
becoming weary of the length of the siege, drew off without coming to terms; and shortly afterwards
took from Edgar the etheling the possessions which the earl had granted him, and forced him to quit
Irruptions of the Scots
In the month of May, Malcolm, king of the Scots, made an irruption into Northumbria with a
great army, intending, if he was successful, to proceed further and make the people of England
feel his power. However, God would not allow it, and his enterprise failed; but before he
returned his army pillaged Northumbria and they carried away much booty. On receiving this
intelligence the king returned to England with his brother Robert in the month of August,
and not long afterwards set on foot an expedition, consisting of a considerable fleet and a
large body of horse, to bring Malcolm the king of the Scots to submission; but before he
reached Scotland, a few days before the feast of St. Michael, nearly all the ships were sunk,
and many of his horsemen perished from cold and hunger. He was met by king Malcolm, with his
army, in the provinces of Lothian. Earl Robert perceiving this, invited over Edgar the etheling,
who having been expelled from Normandy by king William was then living with the king of the
Scots. By his assistance he concluded a peace between the two kings, on the terms that Malcolm
should do fealty to William in the same manner his father had done, and that William should
restore to Malcolm twelve vills which he had held under his father, and should pay him, yearly,
twelve marks of gold. But the peace concluded between them was of short duration. Edgar himself
was also reconciled with the king through the earl’s mediations.
Winchcombe Church struck by Lightning
On Wednesday the first of the ides [the 15th] of October, a thunderbolt struck with great force
the tower of Winchcombe church, making a large aperture in the wall near the summit, and, after
having riven one of the beams, struck the head from a crucifix and threw it on the ground,
breaking also the right leg. An image of St. Mary, which stood near the crucifix, was also struck
down. A thick smoke, with a suffocating stench, then burst forth and filled the whole church,
lasting until the monks went the circuit of the chambers of the monastery, with holy water and
incense, and the relics of the saints, chanting psalms. Moreover, on Friday the sixteenth of the
calends of November [16th October] a violent whirlwind from the south-west shook and demolished
more than six hundred houses and a great number of churches in London. Rushing through the church
of St. Mary, called “le Bow,” it killed two men, and tearing up the roof and timbers, and whirling
them for a long time to and fro in the air, at last drove six of the rafters, in the same order in
which they were before fixed in the roofs, so deep into the earth that only the seventh or eighth
part of them was visible, although they were twenty-seven or twenty-eight feet long.
After this the king returned from Northumbria into Wessex through Mercia, and kept the earl with
him until nearly Christmas, but refused to fulfil the conditions of the treaty which had been made
between them; at which the earl was so much dissatisfied that he hastened back to Normandy on the
tenth of the calends of January [23rd December], taking Edgar the etheling with him.
The Pope and Antipope Urban II and Clemens
There were at this time, as was reported in England, two popes of Rome, so called, who opposed
each other, and made a schism in the church of God, namely, Urban, whose original name was Odo,
bishop of Ostia, and Clement, who was called Guibert, archbishop of Ravenna. This affair so
perplexed the church of England for many years, to say nothing of other parts of the world, that
from the time of the death of Gregory, who was also called Hildebrand, up to this period, it
yielded submission and obedience to no one claiming to be pope. Italy and Gaul had already
acknowledged Urban as the vicar of St. Peter.
A.D. 1092. The city of London was almost entirely destroyed by fire. On
Monday the nones [the 5th] of April, Osmund, bishop of Salisbury, assisted by Walkelin, bishop of Winchester,
and John, bishop of Bath, consecrated the church which he had built in the castle of Sarum. Remi,
who by license from William the Elder had transferred the seat of his bishopric from Dorchester
to Lincoln, was desirous of consecrating the church which he had built at Lincoln, worthy indeed
to be the cathedral of a bishop’s see, because he felt that the day of his death was at hand; but
Thomas, archbishop of York, opposed him, asserting that the church was built within his diocese.
However, king William the younger, for a sum of money paid to him by Remi, summoned nearly all
the bishops of England to assemble together on the twentieth of the ides [the 9th] of May, and
dedicate the church; but two days before the time fixed, by the mysterious providence of God,
bishop Remi himself departed from the world, and in consequence the consecration of the church
was deferred. After this the king went into Northumbria, and restored the city which is called
in the British tongue Cairleu, and in Latin Lugubalia [Carlisle], and built a castle there; for
this city, like some others in that quarter, had been laid in ruins by the heathen Danes two
hundred years before, and had been uninhabited up to this time.
A.D. 1093. King William the younger being seized with severe illness, at the royal vill
called Alveston, hastily removed to Gloucester, and lay there in a languishing condition during
the whole of Lent. Thinking that death was near, he vowed to God, at the suggestions of his barons,
to amend his life, to relinquish the practice of selling, and imposing taxes on, churches, but,
on the contrary, to protect them by his royal authority; and, annulling unjust laws, enact those
such as were good. Moreover, he gave to Anselm, abbot of Bee, who was then in England, the
archbishopric of Canterbury, and to Robert, surnamed Bloet, his chancellor, the bishopric of
Lincoln. But Anselm was not permitted to receive anything from the archbishopric beyond what the
king allowed, until the annual rent which he had received from it since Lanfranc’s death was
Rhys, king of Wales, was slain in battle during Easter-week, near Brecknock castle. From that
day kings ceased to reign in Wales.85
Malcolm, king of the Scots, met king William the younger at Gloucester, on the day of the feast
of St. Bartholomew the apostle, as they had previously concerted through their-ambassadors, in
order that peace being restored, there might be a firm alliance between them, agreeably to the
wishes of some of the principal English nobles. But they separated without coming to any
agreement; for William’s pride and insolence was such, that he refused to have any interview
and conference with Malcolm. Moreover, he sought to compel him to do him homage in his own
court, and abide the judgement of his own barons only; but Malcolm was by no means disposed to
do this, except on the borders of his own kingdom, where the kings of Scotland were wont to do
homage to the kings of England, and according to the judgement of the barons of both kingdoms.
After this a very wonderful sign appeared in the sun; and Roger, earl of Shrewsbury, Guy, abbot
of St. Augustine’s monastery, and Paul, abbot of St. Alban’s, died. In the same year also died
Robert, earl of Flanders, a man of great valour; and his eldest son Robert succeeded him.
Malcolm, king of the Scots, and his eldest son, Edward, with many others, were slain by the
troops of Robert, earl of Northumbria, on the feast-day of St. Brice [13th November]. Margaret,
queen of the Scots, was so deeply affected by the news of their death, that she fell dangerously
ill. Culling the priests to attend her without delay, she went into the church, and confessing
her sins to them, caused herself to be anointed with oil and strengthened with the heavenly
viaticum; beseeching God with earnest and diligent prayers that he would not suffer her to live
longer in this troublesome world. Nor was it very long before her prayers were heard, for three
days after the king’s death she was released from the bonds of the flesh, and translated, as we
doubt not, to the joys of eternal salvation.
For while she lived, she devoted herself to the exercise of piety, justice, peace, and charity;
she was frequent in prayer, and chastened her body by watchings and fastings; she endowed churches
and monasteries; loved and reverenced the servants and handmaids of God; broke bread to the hungry,
clothed the naked, gave shelter, food, and raiment to all the pilgrims who came to her door; and
loved God with all her heart. After her death the Scots elected for their king, Donald, brother of
king Malcolm, and expelled from Scotland all the English who belonged to the king’s court. Duncan,
king Malcolm’s son, hearing of these events, besought king- William, in whose army he then served,
to grant him his father’s kingdom, and obtaining his request swore fealty to him. He then hastened
to Scotland, with a host of English and Normans, and expelling his uncle Donald reigned in his
stead. Thereupon some of the Scots banded together and slew nearly all his men, a few only escaping
with him. But afterwards they restored him to the throne, on condition that he should no longer
harbour either Englishmen or Normans in Scotland, and permit them to serve in his army.
Nearly all the bishops of England being assembled, with Thomas, archbishop of York, the primate,
they consecrated Anselm, abbot of Bee, as archbishop [of Canterbury], on the day before the nones
[the 4th] of December. In the same year, William, count d’Eu, won over by his greediness of lucre,
and attracted by the promise of vast domains, deserted his natural lord, Robert, earl of Normandy,
to whom he had sworn fealty, and coming to king William in England, transferred his allegiance to
that powerful seducer.
A.D. 1094. On the death of Herfast, who had been a chaplain to earl William and afterwards
to king William, and in process of time bishop of Thetford, and the death also of William, his
successor, Herbert, surnamed Losing, for his address in flattery, from being prior of Fecamp and
abbot of Ramsey, became by purchase bishop of Thetford; and his father Robert, of the same surname,
became intrusive abbot of Winchester. But he was absolved by penitence from the errors of hi& faults;
for going to Rome in more mature years he there laid down his simoniacal staff and ring, which were
restored to him by the indulgence of that most merciful see. Returning home, he transferred the
seat of his bishopric to a town celebrated as a place of trade and general resort, called Norwich,
and founded there a convent of monks.
King William went to Hastings, and while there caused the church of Battle to be dedicated; and
then crossing over to Normandy had a conference with his brother, under a safe conduct, but came
away without being reconciled to him, and the earl went to Rouen. The king returned to Eu, and
establishing himself there, took soldiers into his pay from all quarters, and induced several of
the Norman nobles to forfeit their allegiance to his brother, and place their castles in his power,
some by promises, others by gifts of gold, silver, and lands; and having secured their consent, he
distributed his own troops among the castles which he already held, or those which were now made
over to him. Meanwhile, he took the castle of Bures, and sent some of the earl’s soldiers who were
taken there prisoners to England, and confined the rest in Normandy. Thus he harassed his brother
in various ways, and used his utmost efforts to deprive him of his inheritance.
The earl, driven to extremity, brought his suzerain, king Philip, with a French army into Normandy,
who laid siege to the castle of Argentan, and on the very day he sat down before it, took seven
hundred of the king’s knights prisoners, with as many squires, and the whole garrison of the place,
without loss of blood. He then returned to France, having given orders that the prisoners should
be detained in custody until they paid their respective ransoms. Earl Robert also besieged the
castle called Holme, until William Peverel and eight hundred men who defended it surrendered to
him. When the king was informed of this, he sent messengers to England with orders that twenty
thousand foot soldiers should be levied and despatched to his aid in Normandy. They were mustered
at Hastings, in readiness for crossing the sea, but Ralph Passe-Mambard, by the king’s command,
withheld the pay which had been allotted for their maintenance, at the rate of ten-pence for each
man, and gave them orders to return to their homes : the money he remitted to the king. Meanwhile,
all England was distressed by heavy and constant taxation, and by a mortality which was very
general in this and the following year.
In addition to this, first the people of North Wales, and then those of West and South Wales,
threw off the yoke of subjection under which they had long suffered, and rallying their courage
struggled to obtain their independence. Assembling in great numbers, they razed the castles
which had been erected in West Wales, and making frequent irruptions into the counties of Chester,
Shrewsbury, and Hereford, set fire to and plundered the vills, and killed many of the English
and Normans. They also demolished the castle in the Isle of Man, and reduced the island under
their power. Meanwhile, the Scots perfidiously murdered their king, Duncan, and some others, at
the instigation of Donald, who was again raised to the throne. After this, king William returned
to England, on the fourth of the calends of January [29th December], and, leading an army into
Wales to subdue the Welsh, lost there many men and horses.
A.D. 1095. Wulfstan, the venerable bishop of the holy church of Worcester, a man
eminent for the excellence of his life, and devoted from his youth to divine offices, after
many severe and holy struggles, by which he zealously served God with great mental devotion
and humility, that he might attain to the glory of the kingdom of heaven, departed this life
in the night of Saturday, the eighteenth of January, about the middle of the seventh hour,
and in the year 5299 from the beginning of the world, according to the undoubted reckoning
of Holy Scripture, in the 529th year of the ninth great-cycle, and the 476th of the ninth
cycle from the beginning of the world; in the 1084th from the passion of our Lord, but the
1066th according to Bede’s computation, and the 1061st according to Dionysius;
in the 741st86 from
the arrival of the Angles in Britain; in the 498th from the arrival of St. Augustine;
87 in the 103rd
from the death of St. Oswald, the archbishop;
88 in the 302nd of
the eleventh great paschal cycle, and in the 502nd of the tenth from the beginning of the
world; in the 4th of the second solar cycle, in the 3rd of the bis-sextile cycle, in the
13th of the second cycle of nineteen years, in the 10th of the second lunar cycle, in the
fifth endecad, in the third cycle of the indiction, in the eighteenth lustre of his own age,
and in the 3rd year of the seventh lustrum of his episcopate.
In the very hour of his departure he wonderfully appeared in a vision to a friend whom
he had especially loved, Robert, bishop of Hereford, in the town of Cricklade, and
enjoined him to hasten to Worcester to perform his obsequies. Also, God suffered no man
to remove from his finger the ring with which he had received episcopal consecration,
that the holy man might not appear to forfeit his engagement to his people, to whom he
had often foretold that he would never part with it during his life, nor even on the day of his burial.
On the day before the nones [the 4th] of April, stars were seen to fall, as it were,
in the heavens. Walter, bishop of Albano, a legate of the holy Roman church, sent by
pope Urban, came to England before Easter, bringing the pallium for which king William
had sent the preceding year; and according to agreement it was laid by him on the altar
of St. Saviour’s at Canterbury, from whence it was taken by Anselm and humbly kissed by
all present, in reverence to St. Peter. Robert, bishop of Hereford, a man of eminent piety,
died on Tuesday the sixth of the calends of July [26th June]. Wulfstan, the before-mentioned
bishop of Worcester, appeared to him for the second time in a vision on the thirtieth day
after his departure from the world, and sharply reproved him for sloth and negligence,
admonishing him to apply himself with the utmost vigilance to the reformation of his own
life and of those he governed; and he said, that if he did this he might speedily obtain
pardon from God for all his sins; adding that he would not long fill the see in which he
then sat, but if he would be more zealous, he should feast with him in the presence of God.
For these two were mutually united in the bonds of exceeding love to God and to each other;
and it is, therefore, natural to think that he who had first departed out of this life to
God, should exhibit his concern for his best beloved friend whom he had left behind in
this world, and should labour that they might both as soon as possible rejoice together
in the presence of God.
Revolt of the Barons in the North
Robert de Mowbray, earl of Northumberland, and William d’Eu, with many others, attempted
to deprive king William of his kingdom and life, and to make Stephen d’Aumale, the son
of his aunt, king in his place, but without success; for as soon as the plot was known,
the king assembled his army from every part of England and besieged the castle of the
said earl Robert, which stood at the mouth of the river Tyne, for two months. During
this siege he reduced a small fort, in which he took nearly all the earl’s best soldiers
and put them into confinement; he then stormed the besieged castle itself, and committed
to close custody the earl’s brother, and the knights he found in it. After this he built
a fort before Beban-byrig, that is, the Burg of queen Bebba,
90 where the
earl had sought refuge, and calling it Malvoisin, he placed a garrison in it, and
returned to the country south of the Humber. After his departure the wardens of
Newcastle promised earl Robert to give him admission into the fortress, if he could
come by stealth. Joyfully accepting this proposal, he set forth one night with thirty
troopers to accomplish his design. On discovering this, the knights who kept guard
against the castle [of Bamborough] went in pursuit and despatched messengers to inform
the garrison of Newcastle of his departure. In ignorance of these movements, Robert
made his attempt on Sunday, but the enterprise failed because it was anticipated.
He therefore took refuge in the monastery of St. Oswin, king and martyr, where, on
the sixth day of the siege, he received a severe wound in the leg while he was
resisting the enemy, of whom many were killed and many wounded. Of his own men some
were wounded, and all made prisoners; he himself fled to the church, from which he
was dragged forth and delivered into custody. Meanwhile, the Welsh demolished the
castle of Montgomery, and killed in it some of the retainers of Hugh earl of
Shrewsbury; at which the king was so incensed that he issued orders for an
expedition, and after the feast of St. Michael led his army into Wales, where
he lost many men and horses. Returning thence, he ordered earl Robert to be
committed to Bamborough castle, and his eyes put out unless his wife and his
kinsman, Morcal, surrendered the castle; and, compelled by extreme necessity,
they yielded to the summons. The earl was taken to Windsor and placed in close
confinement, and Morcal disclosed the cause of his treason to the king.
A.D. 1096. William, bishop of Durham, died at Windsor in the king’s court,
on Wednesday, being the calends [the 1st] of January, but he was buried at Durham.
On the octave of the Epiphany [13th January] a council was held at Salisbury, at
which the king condemned William d’Eu, who had been vanquished in a duel, to lose
his eyes and to be emasculated, and the earl’s steward, William d’Alderi, the son
of his aunt, and privy to his treason, to be hanged. He also placed in custody
Eudes, count of Champagne, the father of the aforesaid Stephen, Philip, son of Roger,
earl of Shrewsbury; and some others who were accomplices in the rebellion.
Council of Clermont, and the Crusade
Pope Urban came into France, and held in Lent a council at Clermont,91 at which he exhorted the Christians to go to Jerusalem and subdue the Turks, Saracens, Turvopoles, and other pagans. At this exhortation, and during the council, Raymond [of Toulouse], count of St. Giles, took the cross, and many others with him, and vowed that they would undertake the pilgrimage, for God’s sake, and accomplish what the pope had recommended. This being noised abroad, the rest of the people of Christendom, in Italy, Germany, France, and England, vied with each other in preparing to join the expedition. Their leaders were Adhemar bishop of Puy, the bishop of Ostia, with many other bishops, Peter the monk, Hugh the Great, brother of Philip king of France, Godfrey [de Bouilllon], a duke of Lorraine, Stephen, count of Chartres, Robert, earl of Normandy, Robert, earl of Flanders, the two brothers of duke Godfrey, Eustace, count of Boulogne, and Baldwin, the before-named count Raymond, and Bohemond, son of Robert Guiscard.
Samson was consecrated bishop of Worcester by Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, on Sunday the seventeenth of July [15th June], at London, in St. Paul’s church.
Robert Curthose mortgages Normandy to his brother
After this, Robert, earl of Normandy, proposing to join the crusade to Jerusalem, sent envoys to England, and requested his brother, king William, that, peace being restored between them, he would lend him ten thousand silver marks, receiving Normandy in pledge. The king, wishing to grant his request, called on the great English lords to assist him with money, each according to his means, as speedily as possible. There- lore, the bishops, abbots, and abbesses broke up the gold and silver ornaments of their churches; and the earls, barons, and viscounts robbed their knights and villeins, and brought to the king a large sum of money. With this he crossed the sea in the month of September, made peace with his brother, advanced him six thousand six hundred and sixty-six pounds, and received from him Normandy as a security for its repayment.
A.D. 1097. William, king of England, returned to England during Lent, and after Easter [5th April] he undertook a second expedition into Wales, with an army of horse and foot, vowing that he would exterminate the whole male population; but he was scarcely able to take or kill one of them, while he lost some of his own troops and many horses. After this he sent Edgar the etheling with an army to Scotland, to expel his uncle Donald, who had usurped the throne, and establish his cousin Edgar, son of king Malcolm, king in his stead.
The Christians took the city of Nice on Saturday the thirteenth of the calends of July [19th June]. A star called a comet was visible for fifteen days from the third of the calends of October [29th September]. Some affirmed that they saw at that time in the heavens a strange and, as it were, flaming sign, in the shape of a cross. Soon afterwards a quarrel took place between the king and Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, because from the time of his being made archbishop he had not been suffered to hold a synod, nor to correct the evil practices which had grown up in all parts of England. He, therefore, crossed the sea, and after sojourning for a time in France, went to pope Urban at Rome. The king himself left England for Normandy about the feast of St. Andrew [30th November]. Baldwin, abbot of the monastery of St. Edmund, who was born in France, a man of eminent piety and a skilful physician, died in a good old age, on Tuesday the fourth of the calends of January [29th December], and lies buried in the middle of the choir of the principal church.
A.D. 1098. Walkelin, bishop of Winchester, died on Sunday the third of the nones [the 3rd] of January. Also, Thorold, abbot of Peterborough, and Robert, abbot of Westminster, died. In the summer, king William the younger brought the city of Mans and a great part of that province under his dominion by force of arms. Meanwhile, Hugh, earl of Chester, and Hugh, earl of Shrewsbury, led troops into the Isle of Anglesey, and massacred many of the Welsh whom they took in the island, and put out the eyes of others, having first cut off their hands and feet, and emasculated them. They also dragged from his church a priest named Kenred, from whom the Welsh received counsel on their undertakings, and having emasculated him and put out one of his eyes, they cut off his tongue; but on the third day, by the mercy of God, his speech was restored to him. At that time Magnus, king of Norway, son of king Olaf, who was son of king Harold Harfaager,92 having added the Orkney and Meuavian islands to his dominions, sailed there with a small fleet. But when he attempted to bring his ships to land, Hugh, earl of Shrewsbury, met him with a large body of men-at-arms on the strand of the seashore, and, as it is reported, fell by an arrow discharged by the king’s own hand on the seventh day after he had treated the priest just mentioned with such barbarity.
The city of Antioch was taken by the Christians on Wednesday the third of the nones [the 3rd] of June; where, after a few days, the spear with which the Saviour of the world was pierced when hanging on the cross, was discovered in the church of St. Peter the apostle, by a revelation from St. Andrew the apostle, the most merciful of saints. Encouraged by this discovery, the Christians marched out of the city, carrying it with them, on Monday the fourth of the calends of July [28th June], and giving battle to the pagans, put to flight at the point of the sword Curbaran, commander of the forces of the soldan of Persia, and the Turks, Arabs, Saracens, Publicans, Azimates, Persians, Agulans, and many other nations; gaining, by God’s aid, a signal victory, and having slain many thousands of the enemy.
There was an unusual light in the heavens, which shone during nearly the whole of the night of the fifth of the calends of October [27th September]. The same year the bones of the king and martyr Canute were disinterred and placed in a shrine with great reverence. Roger, duke of Apulia, having assembled a large army, besieged the city of Capua, which had revolted from his government. Pope Urban, accompanied, in obedience to his command, by Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, went to the council which he had convened at Bari on the calends [the 1st] of October; in which council many articles of the Catholic faith were treated of by the apostolical pope with eloquent reasoning. A question being also raised by the Greeks, who endeavoured to prove, on evangelical authority, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, Anselm so handled, discussed, and exhausted the subject, that there was no one in the assembly who did not admit that he was fully satisfied.
A.D. 1099. Pope Urban held a great council at Rome in the third week of Easter [10th April], in which some decrees were justly repealed, and new ones made against the adversaries of holy church, and the pope, with the unanimous agreement of the council, launched a sentence of excommunication against all laymen giving ecclesiastical investitures, and all who received them at their hands, as well as against those who should consecrate any one for preferment so given. He also excommunicated all those who did homage to laymen for any ecclesiastical dignity; for he said that it was horrible that hands which had been so highly honoured, above the ministrations of angels, as to create, by their touch, God, the Creator of all things, and offer him for the redemption and salvation of the whole world before God the Father, should be debased so low as to be humbly linked in hands which night and day are polluted by immodest contacts, or defiled by rapine and the unrighteous shedding of blood. “Fiat, fiat” [Be it so], was the general exclamation; and so the council ended. After this, the archbishop proceeded to Lyons.
William the younger returned from Normandy to England, and held his court at Whitsuntide in London. He there gave the bishopric of Durham to Ranulph, a man whom he had made the instrument of his extortions throughout England. Thomas, archbishop of York, shortly afterwards consecrated him there.
Jerusalem was taken by the Turks on Thursday the ides [the 15th] of July. The Christians fought a battle with Amiravis, the commander of the army and second in power over the whole kingdom of Babylon, the day before the ides [the 12th] of August, on the same day of the week, and, through Christ’s mercy, obtained the victory. Paschal, a venerable man, who had been ordained priest by pope Hildebrand, was elected pope by the people of Rome on the ides [the 13th] of August, and was consecrated on the following day, Sunday the nineteenth of the calends of September [14th August]. On the third of the nones [the 3rd] of November, the sea overflowed the shore, destroying towns, and drowning many persons, and innumerable oxen and sheep. Osmund, bishop of Salisbury, died on Friday the third of the nones [the 3rd] of December.
A.D. 1100. Pope Clement, who was also called Guibert, died. On Sunday the ides [the 15th] of July, the church which abbot Serlo, of pious memory, had built from the foundations at Gloucester, was consecrated with great ceremony by bishops Samson, of Worcester, Gundulph, of Rochester, Gerard, of Hereford, and Hervey, of Bangor.
William Rufus slain
On Thursday, the fourth of the nones [the 2nd] of August, in the eighth indiction, William the younger, king of England, while hunting in the New Forest, which is called in English Ytene, was killed by an arrow, carelessly aimed by a Frenchman, Walter, surnamed Tirel; and being carried to Winchester he was buried in the old minster, in the church of St. Peter. Nor can it be wondered that, as common report states, almighty power and vengeance should have been thus displayed. For in former times, that is, during the reigns of king Edward and other kings of England, his predecessors, this tract of land was thickly planted with churches and with inhabitants who were worshippers of God; but by command of king William the elder the people were expelled, the houses half ruined, the churches pulled down, and the land, made an habitation for wild beasts only; and hence, as it is believed, arose this mischance. For Richard, the brother of William the younger, had perished long before in the same forest, and a short time previously his cousin Richard, the son of Robert, earl of Normandy, was also killed by an arrow by one of his knights, while he was hunting. A church, built in the old times, had stood on the spot where the king fell, but, as we have already said, it was destroyed in the time of his father.
During the reign of this king, as we have partly mentioned above, many signs appeared in the sun, moon, and stars; the sea often overflowed its banks, drowning men and cattle, and destroying many vills and houses; in the district of Berkshire, blood flowed from a fountain for three weeks; and the devil frequently appeared in the woods under a horrible form to many Normans, and discoursed largely to them respecting the king, and Ranulph, and some others. Nor is it to be wondered at; for in their time law was almost silent, and money only weighed with the judges in all causes brought before them. At that time some men obeyed the king’s will rather than justice, and Ranulph, contrary to ecclesiastical law and the rules of his order, for he was a priest, received from the king, first abbeys, and then bishoprics, whose holders had recently died, to let to farm; and thereout he paid the king every year a large sum of money. His cunning and shrewdness were such, and in a short time he so grew in the king’s favour,
that he appointed him his pleader and collector of taxes throughout the kingdom. Possessed of this immense power, he mulct some of the wealthier sort in various parts of England of their goods and lands, while he incessantly harassed those who were in poorer circumstances with unjust taxes. Thus did he on both high and low in various ways,—both before he was made a bishop and afterwards,—and this up to the time of the king’s death, for on the very day he died he held in his own hands the archbishopric of Canterbury and the bishoprics of Winchester and Salisbury. William the younger reigned thirteen years, wanting thirty-eight days; his youngest brother Henry succeeded him, and was forthwith crowned at Westminster by Maurice, bishop of London, on the nones [the 5th] of August. On the day of his consecration he gave freedom to the church of God, which in his brother’s time was put up to sale and let to farm; he discontinued the exaction of the unjust dues and oppressive taxes with which the kingdom of England was burthened, and firmly established peace in his dominions, and ordered it to be preserved; he restored the laws of king Edward to all in common, with such amendments as his father had made, but he retained in his own hands the forests which he made and possessed. Not long afterwards he committed to custody in the Tower of London, Ranulph, bishop of Durham, and recalled Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, from France.
Meanwhile, Robert, earl of Flanders, and Eustace, count of Boulogne, came back from Jerusalem. Then Robert, earl of Normandy, returned to his own country with the wife [Sibylla, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversana] he had married in Sicily. In the interim, Henry, king of England, convoked the great English lords at London, and married Matilda, daughter of Malcolm, king of Scots, and queen Margaret; and she was crowned and consecrated queen by Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, on the feast of St. Martin, being Sunday. Thomas, archbishop of York, a man of eminent piety, whose memory was held in great veneration, and who was affable and beloved by all, departed this life at York, on Sunday, the fourteenth of the calends of December [18th November], and was succeeded by Gerard, bishop of Hereford.
A.D. 1101. Ranulph, bishop of Durham, made his escape from prison after Christmas with great address, and crossing the sea, went to Robert, earl of Normandy, and persuaded him to appear in arms in England. Many also of the nobles of this country sent messengers to him and entreated him speedily to come over, promising him the crown and kingdom of England. The city of Gloucester was destroyed by fire, with the principal monastery and others, on Thursday the eighth of the ides [the 6th] of June.
Expedition of Robert Gurthose to England
Robert, earl of Normandy, having raised a large body of horsemen, archers, and foot soldiers, assembled his ships, called in the Norman tongue Ultres-port. The king, receiving intelligence of this, ordered his boatmen to guard the sea, and to watch that no one approached the coast of England from Normandy; while he himself, having collected an immense army from every part of England, encamped near Hastings in Sussex, concluding for certain that his brother would land in that quarter. The earl, however, by the advice of bishop Ralph, so tampered with the fidelity of some of the king’s boats-carles, by promises of various kinds, that throwing off their allegiance, they deserted to the earl, and became his pilots to England.
All being ready, he embarked with his army, and about the Feast of St. Peter ad Vincula [1st August] landed at Portsmouth, and, immediately marching his army towards Winchester, pitched his camp on a suitable spot. Immediately that his arrival was known, some of the English nobles went over to him as they had before promised, others remained with the king, although in heart they were faithless to him. The bishops, however, with the common soldiers and English people, stood by him resolutely, and were ready to a man to be led to battle for his cause. But the wiser men on both sides, agreeing in sound counsels, mediated a peace between the brothers, on the terms that the king should pay to the earl yearly three thousand marks, that is two thousand pounds in silver, and should freely restore their former domains in England to all who had forfeited them by their adherence to the earl; and that the earl should reinstate in their possessions in Normandy, without cost, all who had been deprived of them on the king’s account. Peace being restored, the king disbanded his army, and part of the earl’s troops returned to Normandy, and part remained with him in England.
Godfrey, king of Jerusalem, who was before the powerful duke of Lorraine, son of Eustace the Elder,
count of Boulogne, departed this life and lies buried in the church of
After his death the Christians unanimously elected his brother, Baldwin, king. Robert de Belesme, earl
of Shrewsbury, son of earl Roger, began to repair and surround with a broad and lofty wall (as the
issue proved, to oppose king Henry) the castle which Ethelfleda, lady of the Mercians, had formerly
built in the reign of her brother Edward the Elder, at a place called in the Saxon tongue Bryege
[Bridgnorth], on the west bank of the river Severn. He also commenced building another castle in Wales
at a place called Caroclove. [Carreghofa Castle, Powys, between Welshpool and Oswestry]
Robert de Belesme’s Rebellion
A.D. 1102. The before-mentioned Robert, earl of Belesme, who was then
master of the county of Ponthieu also, and possessed a great number of castles in Normandy, strongly
fortified against king Henry the town of Shrewsbury and the castle which stands in it; and also the
castles of Arundel and Tickhill, supplying them with provisions, engines, and arms, and stationing in
them knights and foot-soldiers. He also hastened, by all the means in his power, the completion of
the walls and towers of the castles of Brycge and Caroclove, having the works carried on night and
day. Moreover, in order to rouse his Welsh vassals to a ready, faithful, and , willing submission to
his orders, he bestowed on them liberally lordships and lands, horses and arms, and all kinds of largesses.
But his plans and operations were speedily cut short, for his plots and designs being made manifest
by sure evidence, the king proclaimed him a traitor. Thereupon, having quickly assembled all the
Welshmen and Normans he could collect, he and his brother Arnulph ravaged part of Staffordshire,
and carried off into Wales many horses and cattle, and some few men. The king, without delay, besieged
first his castle of Arundel, and having built forts against it, retired. He then ordered Robert,
bishop of Lincoln, with part of his troops to lay siege to Tickhill, while he himself, with nearly
the whole military force of England, sat down before Bridgnorth, and began to construct machines
and erect a strong fort before it. Meanwhile, by moderate bribes he easily induced the Welsh, in
whom Robert placed great confidence, to break the oaths they had sworn to him, and utterly desert
him and turn their arms against him. The town [of Shrewsbury]
and all the castles having been surrendered within thirty days, he reduced his enemy Robert to
submit, and drove him from England in disgrace: his brother Arnulph was shortly afterwards condemned
to a similar fate for his treason.
A Synod held at London
After this the king was in London on the Feast of St. Michael, at his palace of Westminster,
with all the great men of his realm of both orders, spiritual and temporal, where he invested
two of the clergy with bishoprics, namely, Roger, the chancellor, with the see of Salisbury,
and Roger, his larderer, with that of Hereford. There, also, Anselm, the archbishop, held a
great synod on ecclesiastical affairs, at which were present Gerard, archbishop of York, Maurice,
bishop of London, William, bishop-elect of Winchester, Robert, bishop of Lincoln, Samson of
Worcester, Robert of Chester, John of Bath, Herbert of Norwich, Ralph of Chichester, Gundulph
of Rochester, Hervey of Bangor, and the two newly-invested bishops, Roger of Salisbury, and
Roger of Hereford. Osbern, bishop of Exeter, could not attend, being detained by sickness.
In this synod, several abbots, both Frenchmen and English, were deposed, and deprived of the
preferments which they had obtained unfairly, or in which they l1ved disreputably; namely, Guy,
abbot of Pershore, Aldwin, abbot of Ramsey, and the abbot of Tavistock, Haimon, abbot of Cerne,
and the abbot of Michelney, Ethelric, abbot of Middleton, Goodric of Peterborough, Richard of
Ely, and Robert of St. Edmund’s. Roger, the before-mentioned bishop-elect of Hereford, was
taken ill at London and died; and Reignelm, the queen’s chancellor, was substituted for him
by a like investiture. Henry, king of England, gave Mary, the queen’s sister, in marriage to
Eustace, count of Boulogne.
The King and Archbishop’s quarrel about Investitures
A.D. 1103. There was a violent dispute between king Henry and archbishop Anselm; the archbishop being opposed to the king’s conferring investitures of ecclesiastical preferments, and refusing either to consecrate or communicate with those to whom the king had already given churches; because the apostolical pope had forbidden this to him and all others. In consequence, the king commanded Gerard, the archbishop of York, to consecrate the bishops to whom he had given investitures, namely, William Giffard, and Roger, who had been his chaplain, and was now preferred to the bishopric of Salisbury. Gerard was willing to comply with the king’s command, but William, in deference to the canons, made light of both that and archbishop Gerard’s consecration. Wherefore the king sentenced him to forfeit all he had, and he was banished the realm : the others remained unconsecrated. Shortly before this, Reignelm had surrendered the bishopric of Hereford to the king, believing that he had offended God because he had accepted the investiture of a church from the hands of a layman.
The king held his court during Easter at Winchester. Anselm, the archbishop, after the many injuries and slights he had endured, at the king’s request set out for Rome on the fifth of the calends of May [27th April], as it had been settled between him and the king; being accompanied by William, bishop-elect of Winchester, and the deposed abbots, Richard of Ely and Aldwin of Ramsey.
Robert, earl of Normandy, came into England to confer with his brother, and before he returned released him from the annual pension of three thousand silver marks, which the king was bound to pay him yearly according to their agreement.1 Blood was seen by many persons to flow from the ground at a place called Heamstede in Berkshire. In the same year, on the third of the ides [the 3rd] of August, there was a violent storm of wind, which did more damage to the fruits of the earth in England than men then living had ever witnessed in former times.
A.D. 1104. Two venerable abbots died, — Walter of Evesham, on the thirteenth of the calends of
February [20th January], and Serlo of Gloucester, on the fourth of the nones [the 4th] of March. Henry, king of England, held
his court at Westminster during Whitsuntide. On Tuesday the seventh of the ides [the 7th] of June, about the sixth hour, four
circles of a white colour were seen round the sun, one under the other, as in a painting. All who observed it marvelled, such
appearances having been never before seen by any of them. William, earl of Morton, was disinherited of all his English domains.
It would be difficult to describe the miseries which the land of England suffered at that time from the king’s exactions.
The body of St. Cuthbert, the bishop, was exposed to view while Banulph was bishop, and was clearly found to be uncorrupted, as
well as the head of St. Oswald, king and martyr, and the relics of St. Bede and other saints, by Ralph, abbot of
Suez,94 afterwards bishop of Rochester, and the monks
of Durham, in the presence of earl Alexander, the brother of Edgar, king of Scots, and afterwards king himself. Having been
permitted to assist on so sacred an occasion, he caused a shrine to be made at the cost of many gold and silver marks, in which
the sacred body was deposited, wrapped in new vestments.
The King invades Normandy
A.D. 1105. Henry, king of England, crossed the sea, and on his arrival nearly all the Norman barons deserted
the earl, their lord, whom they despised, and flocked to the king for the gold and silver which he brought over with him, putting
their castles and fortified cities and towns into his hands. After having burnt Bayeux, with the church of St. Mary there, and taken
Caen from his brother, he returned to England, finding it was not in his power at that time to make himself master of the whole of
Normandy, and intending to return the ensuing year and subdue the remainder, to the disinheritance of his brother. William, earl of
Morton, in revenge for the loss of his English domains, did all the mischief he could to the king’s vassals and possessions.
A.D. 1106. Robert, earl of Normandy, came over to England to have a conference with his brother Henry, and met
him at Northampton. Then the earl begged him to restore what he had taken from him in Normandy; but the king gave a flat refusal to
all his demands, and the earl left him in great wrath and recrossed the sea.
On Friday, in the first week of Lent, the fourteenth of the calends of March [16th February], in the evening, a strange star was visible
between the south and west, and shone for twenty-five days in the same form and at the same hour. It appeared small and dim, but the
light which issued from it was exceedingly clear; and flashes of light, like bright beams, darted into the star itself from the east
and north. Many affirmed that they saw several strange stars at that time. On the night of Holy Thursday, shortly before daybreak, two
moons were visible, one in the east, the other in the west; and both were full, the moon being then fourteen days old. In this year a
most execrable quarrel took place between the emperor of Germany and his son.
The Battle of Tinchebral
Henry, king of England, crossed the sea before the month of August, proceeding to Normandy; and nearly all the principal Normans submitted to him, except Robert de Belesme, William de Morton, and a few others, who maintained their allegiance to earl Robert. On the assumption of St. Mary [15th August], king Henry came to Bee, where he had a meeting with Anselm, the archbishop, and they came to terms of peace and concord on all the matters on which they had differed. Soon afterwards, the archbishop, by the command and at the request of the king, returned to England. The king, having assembled an army, marched to a castle belonging to the earl of Morton, called Tinchebrai, and laid siege to it. While the king was detained before the place his brother Robert fell upon him at the head of his army, on the eve of St. Michael, having with him Robert de Belesme and William, earl of Morton; but right and victory were on the king’s side. Robert, earl of Normandy, William, earl of Morton, and Robert d’Estoteville were taken prisoners in the battle; but Robert de Belesme escaped by flight. William Crispin was also captured, and many others, at the same time. Affairs having taken this turn, the king brought all Normandy to submission and governed it according to his will; intelligence of which he communicated by letters to archbishop Anselm.
A.D. 1107. Edgar, king of the Scots, died on the eighth of the ides [the 6th] of January, and was succeeded by his brother Alexander. Peace having been established in Normandy under the king’s government, and Robert, duke of Normandy, and William, earl of Morton, having been sent forward to England in custody, the king himself returned to his kingdom before Easter [14th April],
A Council at London respecting Investitures.
On the calends [the 1st] of August, a great council of all the bishops, abbots, and barons of the realm was held in the royal palace at London; and for
three days, in the absence of archbishop Anselm, the subject of ecclesiastical investitures was fully discussed between the king and the bishops. Some
of them strove to persuade him to follow the practice of his father and brother, and disregard the decree of the apostolic see; for pope Paschal,
adhering strictly to the decision pronounced, had coincided with pope Urban on all points, and, like him, had interdicted [lay] investitures, and
thus the king was brought to agree with him on the matter. Afterwards, when Anselm was present, the king publicly allowed and ordained that from
thenceforth no person should ever be invested in any bishopric or abbey in England by receiving the pastoral staff or ring at the hands of the king
or any layman; Anselm, on his part, conceding that no one elected to the prelacy should be refused consecration to his office on account of his
having done homage to the king for it. Gerard, archbishop of York, placing his hand in that of Anselm, according to his desire, solemnly promised
that he would manifest to him and his successors in the archbishopric the same submission and obedience which the bishop-elect of Hereford had
promised to himself before his consecration.
The following bishops-elect, namely, William of Winchester, Roger of Salisbury, Reignelm of Hereford, William of Exeter, and Urban of Glamorgan,
95 in Wales, came to Canterbury at the same time, and were consecrated together
by archbishop Anselm, on Sunday, the third of the ides [the 2nd] of August; the suffragan bishops of his see, namely, Gerard, archbishop of York,
Robert, bishop of Lincoln, John of Bath, Herbert of Norwich, Robert of Chester, Ralph of Chichester, and Ranulph of Durham, all assisting in the
office of consecration. There was certainly no person then living who had any remembrance of the election and consecration at one time of so many
bishops in England, at any former period since the reign of Edward the Elder, when archbishop Plegmund ordained seven bishops to seven churches
in one day.a In this present year died Maurice, bishop of London, Richard, abbot of Ely, Robert, abbot of St. Edmundsbury, Miles Crispin, Robert
Fitz-Hamon, Robert Bigod, and Richard de Redvers, who were all of the king’s council.
A.D. 1108. Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, died on the nones [the 7th] of March. Henry, king of England, in order to preserve the peace
strictly, made a law that any man taken in the act of thieving or robbing should be hanged. He also put down base and counterfeit coin under the
severest penalties, enacting that no person detected in making false money should be allowed to compound for their offence without losing their
eyes and mutilation of their lower limbs. And since it frequently happened that the current pennies were so bent and broken that they were refused,
he enacted that no penny or halfpenny,—which he also directed should be round,—nor even a farthing [should be taken] unless it were
perfect. Great benefit resulted to the whole kingdom from this enactment; and thus the king dealt with secular affairs, to the relief of the
sufferings of the country. Gerard, archbishop of York died, and Thomas, the cousin of his predecessor Thomas, succeeded him.
DECREES OF A SYNOD HELD AT LONDON.
In the year of our Lord, 1108, the following decrees were made concerning priests, deacons, subdeacons, and canons of every order, by Anselm,
archbishop of Canterbury, together with Thomas, archbishop-elect of York, and all the bishops of England, in the presence of the glorious king
Henry, and with the assent of his barons :—
“It is Decreed that priests, deacons, and subdeacons, shall live chastely, and shall not have any women in their houses, except such as
are of the nearest kindred, according to the rule of the holy council of Nice. Those priests, deacons, or subdeacons who, after the prohibition
of the synod of London, have retained their wives, or taken others, if they choose to continue to celebrate mass, are to so put them away that
neither the women are to come to their houses, nor they to the houses of the women; they are, also, never to meet by appointment in any other house, nor are such women to reside on the lands of the church; and if it be necessary for any lawful purpose to hold converse with them, let them meet out of doors, in the presence of two credible witnesses.
“If any clerk be charged with the violation of this statute, on the testimony of two or three lawful witnesses, or the common report of his parishioners, he shall purge himself by the oaths of credible witnesses of his own order, in addition to his own; namely, by six, if he be a priest; by four, if he be a deacon, and by two, if he be a subdeacon. He who makes default in so clearing himself, shall be adjudged a transgressor of the sacred canons.
“Those priests who, without reverence for God’s altar and their own holy orders, shall choose to live with women, are to be excluded from the performance of divine offices, to be deprived of all ecclesiastical benefices, have their stations outside the choir, and be declared infamous.
“Whosoever shall wilfully and contumaciously retain his wife, and yet presume to perform mass, shall be summoned to answer, and on his neglect to appear for eight days, shall be excommunicated.
“This decree applies to all archdeacons and canons, both as far as regards parting with their wives, avoiding any connection with them, and the penalties imposed if the rules be transgressed.
All archdeacons shall swear that they will not receive money for allowing the infraction of this decree, nor suffer priests who, to their knowledge keep their wives, to sing mass or appoint vicars in their stead. Deans shall do the same.
“Every archdeacon or dean who shall refuse to take this oath, shall be deprived of his archdeaconry or deanery.
“Priests who shall make their election to put away their wives, and serve God and his holy altars, shall suspend their functions for ten days, during which they shall appoint vicars to perform them, and shall do such penance as their bishops shall see fit to enjoin.”
Philip, king of France, died, and was succeeded by his son Lewis.96
Henry, king of England, crossed the sea. Anselm, the archbishop, at the king’s request, consecrated Richard bishop-elect of London, in his
chapel at Peckham; William, bishop of Winchester, Roger, bishop of Salisbury, Ralph, bishop of Chichester, and William, bishop of Exeter,
assisting at the ceremony, and the bishop-elect having first made the usual professions of obedience and submission. After this he went to
Canterbury, and consecrated Ralph, abbot of Séez, a devout man, to the church at Rochester, on the third of the ides [the llth] of August,
in place of Gundulph; William, bishop of Winchester, Ralph, bishop of Chichester, and Richard, bishop of London, assisting him. This Richard,
following the customs of his predecessors, made a noble offering the same day to the mother-church of Canterbury.
A.D. 1109. Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, died there on Wednesday, the eleventh of the calends of May [21st April], and was buried
with great honours on the following day, being Holy Thursday. Henry, king of England, returned to England about the Rogation days, and held his
court during Whitsuntide [13th June] at Westminster. Thomas, archbishop-elect of York, was consecrated at London on the 5th of the calends of
July [27th June] by Richard, bishop of London, and afterwards received at York, on Sunday, the calends [the 1st] of August, the pallium sent him by cardinal Ulric. The same day he consecrated Turgot, prior of Durham, to the bishopric of St. Andrew’s, in Scotland, which is called Cenrimunt. In the same year the king converted the abbey of Ely into an episcopal see, and appointed Hervey, bishop of Ely, to govern that church. A comet was seen about the milky way in the month of December, its tail extending towards the northern quarter of the heavens.
A.D. 1110. Henry, king of England, gave his daughter Matilda in marriage to Henry, king [emperor] of Germany. The same year many extraordinary things were witnessed; throughout England. At Shrewsbury there was a great earthquake. At Nottingham the river Trent was dried up for the length of a mile, from daybreak to the third hour, so that men walked dry-shod in its channel. A comet made its appearance on the sixth of the ides [the 8th] of June and continued visible for three weeks.
A.D. 1111. Henry, king of Germany, came to Rome, and laying hands on pope Paschal, put him in confinement; but afterwards made peace with him at the bridge on the Via Salaria, and they celebrated the feast of Easter on the Field [of Mars].
These Are The Terms Of The Peace Made Between The King And Our Lord The Pope; And This Is The Form Of The King’s Oath.
“I, Henry, will set free, on Thursday or Friday next, the lord pope and the bishops and cardinals; and to all the prisoners and hostages who have been taken for him or with him I will give a safe conduct within the walls of the Transteverine city. I will never again take, or permit to be taken, those who remain in allegiance to the lord the pope Paschal; and for myself and mine, I will keep peace and quiet with the Roman people, both of the Transteverine city and of that within the island, as concerns their persons and goods, provided they observe peace towards me. I will faithfully succour our lord pope Paschal in maintaining his right to the papacy in peace and security. I will restore the patrimony and possessions of the Roman church, which I have taken away, and I will faithfully aid her in recovering all that she ought to possess, as my predecessors have done. I will obey our lord pope Paschal, saving the rights of my crown and empire, in the same manner that catholic emperors have obeyed catholic popes of Rome. All these things I will observe faithfully, without fraud or covin.
“These are the jurors on the part of the king:—Frederick, archbishop of Cologne, Gebhard, bishop of Trent, Burchard, bishop of Munster, Bruno, bishop of Spires, Albert, chancellor, count Herman, Frederick, count palatine, count Berenger, count Frederick, marquis Boniface, Albert, count de Blandrai, count Frederick, count Godfrey, marquis Warnerio.”
THE SECOND CONVENTION MADE BETWEEN THE POPE AND THE KING.
“Our Lord pope Paschal, the one hundred and fifty-sixth pope, agrees to grant to king Henry and his kingdom, and will ratify and confirm it, under pain of excommunication, by his apostolical privilege, that when a bishop or abbot is freely elected, without simony, and with the royal licence, it shall be lawful for my lord the king to invest him with the ring and staff. And the bishop or abbot so invested by the king shall freely receive consecration from the bishop to whom the right pertains. But if any person be elected by the clergy and people, unless he also receives investiture from the king, he shall not be consecrated; and archbishops and bishops shall be allowed to consecrate those (only) who have received investiture from the king. In respect of these things, the lord the pope Paschal shall not disquiet king Henry, his kingdom and empire.”
THIS IS THE OATH ON THE PART OF THE POPE.
“Our Lord pope Paschal shall not molest my lord king Henry, nor his empire and kingdom, concerning the investiture of bishoprics and abbeys, nor for any injuries done to himself and his people, nor shall he do any evil to him or any other person on that account. Especially, he shall never pronounce any sentence of excommunication against the person of king Henry, nor shall the lord pope retain the power of refusing to crown him, according to the form in the ordinal. And he shall aid him to the best of his power, by the authority of his office, to maintain himself in his kingdom and empire. All this the lord pope will perform without fraud or covin.”
These are the names of the bishops and cardinals, who, by the command of our lord pope Paschal, have ratified by their oaths the bull of privileges and the alliance made with the lord emperor Henry : Peter, bishop of Porto, Censius, bishop of Sabinum, Robert, cardinal of St. Eusebius, Boniface, cardinal of St. Mark, Anastasius, cardinal of St. Clement, Gregory, cardinal of SS. Peter and Paul, the apostles; also, Gregory, cardinal of St. Chrysogonus, John, cardinal of St. Potentiana, Risus, cardinal of St. Lawrence, Rainier, cardinal of SS. Marcellinus and Peter, Vitalis, cardinal of St. Balbina, Duuzo, cardinal of St. Martin, Theobald, cardinal of SS. John and Paul, John, deacon of St. Mary-in-Schold GrÆca.
THIS IS THE BULL OF PRIVILEGES GRANTED BY THE LORD POPE TO THE EMPEROR, CONCERNING THE INVESTITURES OF BISHOPRICS.
“Paschal, bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his most beloved son in Christ, Henry, king of the Germans, and, by the grace of God, emperor of the Romans, health and the apostolical benediction.
“Divine Providence has so ordered that there is a singular union between your kingdom and the holy Roman church. Your predecessors, by virtue of their superior worth and prudence, obtained the Roman crown and imperial dignity; to which, dearest son Henry, the Divine Majesty has advanced you by the ministry of our priestly office. The prerogatives, therefore, of that dignity, which my predecessors have granted to the catholic emperors, your predecessors, and have confirmed by bulls of privileges, we also grant to you, beloved, and confirm by this present instrument; to wit, that it shall be lawful for you to confer investitures, by staff’ and ring, on the bishops and abbots of your realm, freely elected without compulsion or simony; and that after their investitures they may receive canonical consecration from the bishop to whom it appertains.
If any one, however, be elected by the people and clergy, but without your assent, unless he receives investiture from you, let him not be consecrated. Let archbishops and bishops have licence from you to give canonical consecration to bishops and abbots who have received your investiture. For your predecessors have so amply endowed the churches of your realm from their royal domains, that it is very expedient that the possessions of the bishops and abbots should contribute to the defence of the kingdom, and that the popular tumults which often occur in elections should be put down by the royal power. Wherefore, it is your duty, in the exercise of your prudence and authority, that, by the help of God, the pre-eminence of the Roman church, and the welfare of all, be guarded by your beneficial acts and services. If any person, ecclesiastical or secular, shall rashly attempt to pervert the sense of this our grant, let him be excommunicated, unless he repent; and, moreover, incur the peril of losing his office and dignity; and may the Divine mercy protect those who observe it, and grant you a happy reign, both in your person and in your power, to his honour and glory.”
With these conventions and oaths, peace was concluded between the lord pope and the king, during the feast of Easter. Then the king made his entrance into Rome on the ides [the 13th] of April, and the pope, having celebrated mass in the church of St. Peter, consecrated him emperor,1 gave him and his followers absolution, and pardoned them for all the injuries he had received at their hands.
A Colony of Flemings settled in South Wales
Henry, king of England, removed into Wales all the Flemings who were living in Northumbria, with their chattels,
and made them settle in the district called
Rhos.97 The king also commanded that
the new monastery, which stood within the walls of Winchester, should, under the direction of William, bishop
of Winchester, be built without the walls; and soon afterwards crossed the sea. In this year there was a very
severe winter, a grievous famine, a great mortality, a murrain among animals, both wild and domestic, and vast
numbers of birds also perished.
ACTS OF THE LATERAN COUNCIL AGAINST THE HERESY RESPECTING INVESTITURES.
A.D. 1112. In the thirteenth year of the pontificate of pope Paschal II, the fifth indiction, in the
month of March, the fifteenth of the calends of April [18th March], the Lateran Council was held at Rome, in the
basilica of Constantine. In this council the pope, having taken his seat, with the archbishops, bishops, and
cardinals, and a mixed multitude of the clergy and laity, on the last day of the assembly, he made a profession
of the catholic faith in the presence of all, in order that none might doubt of his belief, saying:— “I embrace
all Holy Scripture, namely, the Old and New Testament, the law written by Moses and the holy prophets. I
embrace the four gospels, the seven canonical epistles, the epistles of the glorious doctor, St. Paul the
apostle, the holy apostolic canons, the four general councils, like the four gospels, namely the councils of
Nice, Ephesus, Constantinople, and Chalcedon; the council of Antioch, and the decrees of the holy fathers,
popes of Rome, especially the decrees of the lord pope Gregory VII., and of pope Urban of blessed memory. What
they approved, I approve; what they held, I hold; what they confirmed, I confirm; what they condemned, I condemn;
what they rejected, I reject; what they interdicted, I interdict; what they prohibited, I prohibit, in all and
through all: and in this faith I will always persevere.”
When he had finished, Gerard, bishop of Angouleme, legate in Aquitaine, rose in the name of all, and by the
common consent of the lord pope Paschal and the whole council, read this instrument:—
“All we assembled in this holy council, with the lord pope, do condemn, with canonical censures by our
ecclesiastical authority and the sentence of the Holy Ghost, that act of privilege which is no privilege, but
ought rather to be called a breach of privilege,1 that act, namely, which was extorted by the violence of king
Henry from our lord pope Paschal for the liberation of the prisoners and of the church; and we adjudge it to
be null and void, and altogether quash it, and utterly repudiate it as possessing no authority or force; and
it is condemned for this that it contains a provision that one canonically elected by the clergy and people
may not be consecrated unless he shall have first received investiture from the king; which is in opposition
to the Holy Spirit and the canonical institutions.”
When the reading of this instrument was finished, it was approved by the whole council with the acclamation,
“Amen, Amen! Fiat, fiat!” [Be it so]. The archbishops who were present with their suffragans were these:— John,
patriarch of Venice, Semies of Capua, Landulph of Benevento; and those of Amain, Reggio, Otranto, Brindisi,
Capua, and Gyrontium; of the Greeks, there were Risano and the archbishop of San Severino; the bishops present
were, Censius of Savona, Peter of Porto, Leo of Ostia, Cono of Prseneste, Gerard of Angouleme, Walo of Lyons,
legate for the archbishops of Bourges and Vienne, Roger of Volterra, Geoffrey of Sienna, Roland of Populonia
[Pisa], Gregory of Terracina, William of Troga [in Naples], Gibin of Syracuse, legate for the whole of Sicily;
and nearly one hundred other bishops. Bishops Siguin and John of Tusculum [Frascati], although they were at Rome
at the time, were not present at the council; but Samson, the twenty-fifth bishop of Worcester, died on Sunday,
the third of the nones [the 9th] of May. Henry, king of England, placed Robert de Belesme in confinement, at
Carisbrook, in the month of October.
A.D. 1113. The city of Worcester, with the cathedral church, and all the other churches, and the castle,
was destroyed by fire on Thursday, the thirteenth of the calends of July [19th June]. One of the monks, who
had rendered great services to the monastery, with two of his servants, and fifteen citizens, perished in the
flames. Henry, king of England, returned to England in the month of July, and committed Robert de Belesme, who
had been brought over from Normandy, to the closest confinement at Wareham. Two high-born monks of the
monastery of St. Mary, in Worcester, men of exalted worth, Thomas, the lord prior, and Coleman, both departed
this life on Saturday, the fourth of the nones [the 4th] of October.
Together summoned from this mortal state
To realms above, they met a common fate :
There, with the saints, in never ending joy,
God give them rest, and peace without alloy!
Theowulf, the king’s chaplain, was appointed bishop of Worcester on Sunday, the fifth of the calends of
January [28th December], at Windsor.
A.D. 1114. Matilda, daughter of Henry, king of England, was married to Henry, emperor of the Romans,
and crowned as empress at Mentz, on the eighth of the ides [the 6th] of January. Thomas, archbishop of York,
died on Tuesday, the sixth of the calends of March [24th February]. Ralph, bishop of Rochester, was chosen
archbishop of Canterbury at Windsor, on Sunday, the sixth of the calends of May [26th April]. The city of
Chichester, with the principal monastery, was burnt, through negligence, on the 3rd of the nones [the 5th]
of May. Thurstan, a chaplain of the king’s, was preferred at Winchester to the archbishopric of York, on
the feast of the Assumption of St. Mary [15th August]. Arnulph, abbot of Peterborough, was elected bishop
of Rochester. Henry, king of England, after undertaking an expedition into Wales, crossed the sea before the
feast of St. Michael. The river Medway became so shallow, for many miles, on the sixth of the ides [the 10th]
of October, that the smallest vessels got aground in it for want of water. The Thames was subject to the same
failure on that day, for between the bridge and the Royal Tower, even under the bridge, the water in the
river was so low, that not only horses, but even crowds of men and boys forded it, the water scarcely reaching
to their knees. The water was thus shallow from the middle of the preceding night until it was quite dark on
the night following. We have heard from trustworthy reports that the waters receded in like manner on the same
day at Yarmouth, and other places in England.
A.D. 1115. This year, the weather was so severe that nearly all the bridges in England were carried
away by the ice. Henry, the emperor, having besieged Cologne for a long time, and lost many of his troops in
a pitched battle, made a sworn peace in the city of Nuys.98
Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, received the pallium at the hands of Anselm,a legate of the church of Rome,
on Sunday, the fifth of the calends of July [27th June] at Canterbury, where nearly all the bishops of England
were assembled. On the same day Theowulf, bishop of Worcester, was consecrated with great ceremony. Wilfrid,
bishop of St. David’s, in Wales, died; up to his time, the bishops had all been Welshmen.
On the octave of the apostles SS. Peter and Paul, [6th July], a great council was held at Châlons
[Châlons-en-Champagne, France] by Conon, cardinal of the Roman church, at which he excommunicated
the bishops who were not present at the council; he degraded some abbots, and deprived many of their staffs,
and deposed them from their dignities, interdicting them from ecclesiastical functions.
Henry, king of England, returned to England in the middle of the month of July. Bernard, the queen’s chancellor,
was chosen bishop of St. David’s, in Wales, on Saturday, the fourteenth of the calends of October [18th
September], and the same day was advanced to the priesthood, at Southwark, by William, bishop of Winchester;
and on the day following,. at Westminster, was consecrated bishop by Ralph the archbishop. Reignelm, bishop of
Hereford, died on the sixth of the calends of November [27th October], and Geoffrey, the king’s chaplain, was
chosen in his stead. Arnulph was ordained to the see of Rochester, and Geoffrey to the see of Hereford, on the
feast of St. Stephen [26th December], at Canterbury, by Ralph, the archbishop.
A.D. 1116. Griffyth, son of Rhys,99
made a plundering expedition, and burnt some castles in Wales, because king Henry would not
give him a portion of his father’s territories. The witan of all the nobles and barons
of England was held at Salisbury, on the fourteenth of the calends of April [19th March],
and they did homage and swore fealty in the presence of king Henry to his son William.
Quarrel between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
The controversy which had been carried on for a whole year between Ralph, archbishop
of Canterbury, and Thurstan, archbishop-elect of York, was brought before the court.
The archbishop-elect, when required by the primate to make due submission to the
church of Canterbury, and receive his benediction according to the canons, replied
that he was ready to receive consecration, but nothing should induce him to make the
profession which was demanded. King Henry, finding that Thurstan persisted in his
resolution, openly declared that he should either follow the usages of his predecessors,
both in making the profession and in other things pertaining by ancient right to the
church of Canterbury, or lose the archbishopric of York and consecration altogether.
On hearing this, he was so moved by the hasty impulses of his temper, that he gave up
the archbishopric, promising the king and the archbishop that he would never claim it
as long as he lived, and that he would assert no pretensions to it, whoever might be
appointed in his stead.
Owen, king of Wales, was slain,
100 and Henry,
king of England, crossed the sea, Thurstan, archbishop-elect of York, accompanying him,
in the hope of recovering the investiture of his archbishopric, and obtaining consecration
from the primate by the king’s command, without being compelled to make the required
profession. About the month of August, Anselm, returning from Rome with the pallium for
the archbishop of Canterbury, joined king Henry in Normandy. He was also the bearer of
letters from the pope, appointing him his legate for ecclesiastical affairs in England;
which he announced in a brief to the English nation. In consequence, at the suggestion of
the queen and her council of nobles in England, Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, crossed
the sea after the feast of the Nativity of St. Mary, to meet the king, whom he found
residing at Rouen; and having minutely consulted with him on the business on which he was
come, by his advice he pursued his journey to Rome.
A.D. 1117. By king Henry’s command a new building was
commenced [at the abbey of] Cirencester. There was a great earthquake in Lombardy, which
(according to the accounts of well-informed persons) lasted forty days, and laid in
ruins a vast number of houses; and, what is remarkable, a large villa was suddenly
removed from its original site, and may now be seen by all the world standing on a very
distant spot. At Milan, while some .men of patrician rank were holding a sitting in a
tower on state affairs, a voice from without was heard suddenly by all assembled, calling
one of them by name to come forth instantly. Upon his lingering, a phantom appeared
before them, and by earnest entreaties induced the person named to quit the building.
As soon as he was gone out, the tower suddenly fell, and buried all who were in it under
its ruins. Robert, bishop of Stafford,
101 and Gilbert,
abbot of Westminster, died on the eighth of the ides [the 6th] of December.
A.D. 1118. Pope Paschal, of blessed memory, died on the
fourteenth of the calends of February [19th January], and one John, a native of Gaieta,
succeeded him, and changed his name to Gelasius. He was bred a monk from his youth in
the monastery of Monto Cassino, and in his riper years had filled the office of chancellor,
in the service of the venerable and apostolic men, popes Desiderius, Urban, and Paschal,
with great assiduity. Meanwhile, the king of Germany, who was also emperor of the Romans,
hearing of the pope’s decease, hurried to Rome, and made the bishop of Braga
[in Portugal] pope, although he had been excommunicated the preceding year at Benevento,
by Pope Paschal; his name was changed from Maurice to Gregory.
Matilda, queen of England, died at Westminster on the calends [the 1st] of May, and was
interred with due ceremony in that monastery. Many of the Normans broke the fealty they
had sworn to king Henry, and regardless of the rights of their natural lord, transferred
their homage to Lewis, king of France, and his great lords, although they were enemies.
The before-mentioned pope, Gelasius, came by sea to Burgundy, and his arrival was
immediately notified to all parts of France.
Dom Florence of Worcester, a monk of that monastery, died on the nones [the 7th] of July.
His acute observation, and laborious and diligent studies, have rendered this Chronicle
of Chronicles pre-eminent above all others.
His spirit to the skies, to earth his body given,
For ever may he reign with God’s blest saints in heaven!
Death by a Thunderstorm in Herefordshire
After the dedication of the church of Momerfield, by Geoffrey, bishop of Hereford,
all who had attended the consecration turned their steps homeward; but although the
atmosphere had been remarkably calm up to that time, a violent storm of thunder and
lightning suddenly arose, and some of them, overtaken by it on the road, and not being
able to retreat from the spot they had reached, halted there. They were five in number,
three men and two women; one of the latter was killed by a stroke of lightning, and
the other, being scorched by the flash from the navel to the soles of the feet,
perished miserably, the men only narrowly escaping with their lives. Their five horses
were also struck with the lightning, and killed.
A.D. 1119. Pope Gelasius died, and was buried at Cluny; he was succeeded by Guy,
bishop of Yienne, who changed his name to Calixtus. Geoffrey, bishop of Hereford, died
on the third of the nones [the 3rd] of February, and Herbert on the eleventh of the
calends of August [22nd July].
Wars between Henry and Lewis
War having broke out between Henry, king of England, and Lewis, king of France, with the count of Anjou and the count of Flanders, king Henry seized an opportunity of making a separate peace with the count of Anjou, receiving his daughter in marriage with his son William, whom he had already declared heir of all his kingdom. The count of Anjou went to Jerusalem. After this, king Henry, with the concurrence of his nobles, made peace with the king of France, on which occasion his son William was invested with Normandy, to be held of the king of France. The king also made peace with his nobles who had unjustly and treasonably revolted against him, and also with the count of Flanders. An earthquake was felt in several parts of England on Sunday, the fourth of the calends of October [28th September], about the third hour of the day.
A Council held at Rheims
Pope Calixtus held a general council at Rheims, on Sunday, the thirteenth of the calends of November [20th October], at which there was a great concourse of archbishops, bishops, abbots, and lords of various provinces, and immense multitudes of the clergy and people. The English bishops who were at that time at the court of Henry in Normandy, namely, William of Exeter, Ralph of Durham, Bernard of St. David’s, and Urban of Glamorgan [Llandaff], and also the bishops and abbots of Normandy, were sent by the king himself to the council. Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, was prevented from being present by sickness. Thurstan, archbishop-elect of York, having requested the king’s license for attending it, obtained it with some difficulty, upon pledging his word that he would on no account accept consecration from the pope. Bound by this pledge, he pursued his journey, and presented himself to the pope; but forthwith, regardless of his engagement, he gained over the Romans by bribes to espouse his cause, and through them prevailed on the pope to consecrate him bishop with his own hands. He was thus ordained to the see of York, and by the pope’s command many of the bishops from France assisted at the ceremony. The English bishops had not yet come to the council; but when they learnt what had been done, they informed the king, who being very indignant, forbade Thurstan and his followers from returning to England or Normandy, or any place in his dominions.
A.D. 1120. Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, returned to England on Sunday the second of the nones [the 4th] of January; and on Sunday the second of the nones [the 4th] of April, at Westminster, he consecrated to the bishopric of Bangor a venerable clerk named David, who was chosen by king Griffyth and the clergy and people of Wales. At this consecration he was assisted by Richard, bishop of London, Robert, bishop of Lincoln, Roger of Salisbury, and Urban of Glamorgan.
Shipwreck of king Henry’s children
Henry, king of England, having successfully accomplished all his designs, returned from Normandy to England. His son William, hastening to follow him, embarked in company with a great number of nobles, knights, women, and boys. Having left the harbour and put out to sea, encouraged by the extraordinary calmness of the weather, shortly afterwards the ship in which they were sailing struck on a rock and was wrecked, and all on board were swallowed up by the waves, except one churl, who, as it is reported, was not worthy of being named, but by the wonderful mercy of God, escaped alive. Of those who perished, those of highest rank were, William, the king’s son, Richard, earl of Chester, Othiel, his brother, William Bigod, Geoffrey Riddel, Walter d’Evereux, Geoffrey, archdeacon of Hereford, the king’s daughter, the countess of Perche, the king’s niece, the countess of Chester, and many more who are omitted for brevity’s sake. This disaster horrified and distressed the mind of the king, who reached England after a safe voyage, and of all who heard of it, and struck them with awe at the mysterious decrees of a just God.
Henry I marries Alice of Louvaine
A.D. 1121. Henry, king of England, having been a widower for some time, that he
might not in future lead a dissolute life, by the advice of Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury,
and the barons of his realm, who assembled at London by his command on the feast of our
Lord’s Epiphany, resolved to marry Alice, daughter of Godfrey, duke of Louvaine, a young
maiden of great beauty and modesty. Envoys being sent over, they brought the future queen
with signal honours from parts beyond the sea to Henry’s court.
Meanwhile, two clerks were chosen to fill sees which had been vacant for some time; namely,
Richard, who was keeper of the king’s seal under the chancellor, and Robert, who had filled
the office of steward of the meat and drink in the king’s household with great industry.
The first of these was preferred to the see of Hereford, the latter to the see of Chester.
Herbert, also, a monk of Westminster, was made abbot of that monastery. Richard, chosen
bishop of Hereford on Friday the seventh of the ides [the 7th] of January, was consecrated
at Lambeth on Sunday the seventeenth of the calends of February [17th January] by Ralph,
archbishop of Canterbury, with the assistance of Richard, bishop of London, and the bishops,
Robert of Lincoln, Arnulph of Rochester, Urban of Glamorgan, and Bernard of St. David’s.
On the fourth of the calends of February [30th January] the maiden already mentioned as
selected for queen was married to the king by William, bishop of Winchester, at the command
of Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury; and on the following day, the third of the calends
of February [30th January], she was consecrated and crowned as queen by the archbishop in
person. After this, the archbishop, having accompanied the king to Abingdon, consecrated
on Sunday the third of the ides [the 13th] of March, Robert, before named, as bishop of
Chester, there being present and assisting at this sacrament William, bishop of Winchester,
William, bishop of Exeter, and the Welsh bishops, Urban and Bernard. After a few days,
one named Everard, attached to the king’s chapel, was elected bishop of Norwich, and
consecrated at Canterbury by archbishop Ralph on the second of the ides [the 12th] of June;
Arnulph, bishop of Rochester, Richard, bishop of Hereford, and Robert, bishop of Coventry,
having met for the purpose.
Pope Calixtus, assembling forces from all quarters, captured Maurice, surnamed Bourdin,
already mentioned, who had been intruded by the emperor and his adherents into the papal
see by the name of Gregory, and thrust him in disgrace, stripped of all he possessed,
into a monastery; he having been a monk before. King Henry led an army against the Welsh,
and, taking hostages from them, reduced the whole of Wales under his dominion. A certain
clerk, whose name was Gregory, an Irishman by birth, having been chosen by the king of
Ireland, with the clergy and people, to fill the see of the city of Dublin, came over to
England that he might be ordained, according to former custom, by the archbishop of
Canterbury, the primate of England; whereupon, by the archbishop’s command, Roger, bishop
of Salisbury, conferred on him the orders of priest and deacon at his castle of Devizes
on Saturday the eleventh of the calends of October [21st September]. He was ordained bishop
on Sunday the sixth of the nones [the 2nd] of October at Lambeth by Ralph, archbishop of
Canterbury; the following bishops, Richard of London, Roger of Salisbury, Robert of
Lincoln, Everard of Norwich, and David of Bangor assisting at the consecration. The mother
church at Tewkesbury was consecrated with great ceremony by Theowulf, bishop of Worcester,
Richard, bishop of Hereford, Urban, bishop of Glamorgan, and the before-named Gregory,
bishop of Durham, on Monday the ninth of the calends of November [24th October].
A.D. 1122. The city of Gloucester, with the principal monastery, was again destroyed
by fire on Wednesday the fourth of the ides [the 4th] of March, in the twenty-second year
of king Henry’s reign. It was burnt before in the first year of his reign, on Thursday the
eleventh of the calends of June [22nd May]. Ralph, the twenty-fifth archbishop of Canterbury,
departed this life at Canterbury on Thursday the fourteenth of the calends of November
[19th October]. John, bishop of Bath, died on the fourth of the calends of January
[29th December] : during his lifetime he had bought the whole city of Bath from king Henry
for five hundred pounds.
A.D. 1123. Robert, the eighteenth bishop of Lincoln, while riding on horseback and
conversing with king Henry at Woodstock in the month of January, fell to the ground, and,
losing the use of his speech, was carried to his lodgings, and shortly afterwards expired.
Ralph, also, the king’s chancellor, came to a wretched end. William, a canon of St. Osythe,
at Chiche,102 was
named to the archbishopric of Canterbury at Gloucester, where the king held his court at
the feast of the Purification of St. Mary; and he was consecrated at Canterbury by William,
bishop of Winchester, assisted by many other bishops, on the fourteenth of the calends of
March [16th February]. With his approval, the bishopric of Lincoln was given to Alexander,
archdeacon of Salisbury.
Afterwards, archbishop William, in company with Thurstan, archbishop of York, Bernard, bishop
of St. David’s, Sigefred, abbot of Glastonbury, and Anselm, abbot of St. Edmund’s, went to
Rome to receive the pallium. Alexander, king of Scots, died on the seventh of the calends of
May [25th April]. Henry, king of England, went over sea after the feast of Whitsuntide
[3rd June]. William, archbishop of Canterbury, having received the pallium from pope Calixtus,
and Thurstan, archbishop of York, with their companions, on their return from Rome, paid a
visit to the king, who was still in Normandy: after a short stay, archbishop William came
back to England, and, on the eleventh of the calends of August [22nd July], at Canterbury,
consecrated Alexander as bishop of Lincoln; and, on the seventh of the calends of September
[26th August], in the church of St. Paul the Apostle, at London, consecrated Godfrey, the
queen’s chancellor, to the bishopric of Bath. Theowulf, the twenty-sixth bishop of Worcester,
died on Saturday the thirteenth of the calends of November [20th October] at his vill of
abbot of Tewkesbury, departed this life on the sixth of the ides [the 8th] of December.
Alexander, king of Scots, was succeeded by David his brother.
A.D. 1124. Arnulph, the twenty-third bishop of Rochester, died in the month of March.
Waleran, earl de Mellent, was taken prisoner in Passion-week, with many others, by king
Henry’s troops in Normandy, and committed to close custody in the Tower of Rouen. Geoffrey,
abbot of the New Minster at Winchester, died. The reverend prior of the church of Worcester,
Nicholas by name, died on Wednesday the eighth of the calends of July [24th June], God,
of his mercy, grant him bliss in heaven!
William, archbishop of Canterbury, crossed the sea by the king’s command. Pope Calixtus
died, and was succeeded by Honorius, bishop of Ostia.
A.D. 1125. Coiners in England, taken with counterfeit money, suffered the penalty
of the king’s cruel law by having their right hands struck off and their lower limbs
mutilated. Afterwards, by a change in the coinage, all articles became very dear, and,
in consequence, a great scarcity ensued, and numbers died of famine.
Simon, the queen’s chancellor, and Sigefred, abbot of Glastonbury, both men of
distinguished worth and piety, were chosen bishops while they were in Normandy;
Simon being appointed to the see of Worcester, and Sigefred to the see of Chichester.
Hugh, a man of great prudence, archdeacon successively to Samson and Theowulf, bishops
of Worcester, died on the twelfth of the calends of April [21st March]. After Easter
[29th March], the bishops-elect, Simon and Sigefred, with the archbishops William and
Thurstan, and a cardinal of Rome named John, came to England, and Sigefred was
consecrated as bishop of Chichester at Lambeth by archbishop William on the second
of the ides [the 12th] of April; there being present at this consecration the Roman
cardinal, Thurstan, archbishop of York, Everard, bishop of Norwich, Richard of Hereford,
Bernard of St. David’s, David of Bangor, Urban of Glamorgan, and John, bishop-elect
of Rochester. Simon, the bishop-elect of Worcester, was conducted into Worcester by
the clergy and people in joyful procession on the eighth of the ides [the 8th] of May,
the day of our Lord’s Ascension; and, on the tenth of the calends of June [23rd May],
he was ordained priest at Canterbury by William the archbishop. The emperor Henry
died, and was buried at Spires, where his grandfather was also interred. Lothaire,
the ninety-eighth emperor of the Romans, reigned thirteen years.
Simon, the bishop-elect of Worcester, went to Canterbury in company with Godfrey,
bishop of Bath, and, having been ordained priest by the archbishop on Saturday in
Whitsun-week [23rd May], was on the following day consecrated with great pomp
bishop of the holy mother church of Worcester; John, archdeacon of Canterbury,
receiving consecration as bishop of Rochester at the same time. Richard, bishop
of Hereford, David of Bangor, Godfrey of Bath, and Sigefred of Chichester assisted
at the consecration. When Simon arrived at Worcester, his episcopal see, he was
again met by great crowds of people, conducted by whom in procession with great
pomp he was enthroned, and a “Te Deum” chanted. On the same day, that is to say
on the ninth of the calends of June [24th May], Benedict, a loving and faithful
servant of God in all his household, was, by Simon, the new bishop, consecrated
as the new abbot of the convent of Worcester : he was, the year before, from
having been prior, elected abbot of Tewkesbury, where he had been brought up
under the monastic rule from boyhood, and in course of time was admitted in peace
and love to be one of the monks of Worcester by licence from Wulfstan, the lord
bishop, at whose hands he had received all the ecclesiastical orders. There were
present at the consecration of this abbot the bishops who had received bishop
Simon in procession, namely, Richard of Hereford, Godfrey of Bath, and David of
Bangor, together with Benedict’s fellow abbots of the diocese of Worcester, Guy
of Pershore, William of Gloucester, and Godfrey of Winchcombe; the lord Walchere,
the prior of Malvern, represented his abbot, who lay sick, and Dominic, prior of
Evesham, was also present: these were men to whom the words of the Psalmist may
be applied, “He sendeth the springs into the rivers which run among the hills,”
and such was the company which met the bishop in procession.
A synod held at London
A synod was held at London, in the church of the blessed prince of the apostles
at Westminster, on the ninth of September, that is, on the fifth of the ides of
that month, in which, after the discussion of various matters, the following canons,
seventeen in number, were published with unanimous consent. John, of Crema, a
cardinal priest of the holy and. apostolic church, with the title of St. Chrysogonus,
and legate in England of the lord pope Honorius, presided at this synod; and it
was attended by William, archbishop of Canterbury, and Thurstan, archbishop of York,
and the bishops of different dioceses, to the number of twenty; with about forty
abbots, and a great concourse of the clergy and people. These are the canons:—
The First Canon. Following in the steps of the holy fathers, we forbid, by
apostolic authority, any ecclesiastical ordination being conferred for money.
II. We also prohibit the exaction of any fee for chrism, for oil, for baptism,
for penance, for the visitation or unction of the sick, for the communion of the
body of Christ, or for burial.
III. Moreover, we ordain and decree, by apostolic authority, that at the consecration
of bishops, or the benediction of abbots, or the dedication of churches, no cope,
or tippet, or maniple, or ewer, or any other thing shall be exacted by violence,
but they are to be voluntary offerings.
IV. No abbot or prior, monk or clerk, shall accept any church, tithe, or ecclesiastical
benefice, by the gift of a layman, without the authority and consent of his own bishop.
If he shall so presume, the gift shall be void, and he shall be subject to canonical censure.
V. Moreover, we decree that no person shall claim the patronage of a church or prebend by
right of inheritance, or bequeath to a successor any ecclesiastical benefice; which, if he
shall presume to do, we declare that it shall have no effect, saying, with the Psalmist,
“O my God, make them like unto a wheel;” while they said, “Let us take to ourselves the
houses of God in possession.”
VI. Furthermore, we decree that clerks holding churches or ecclesiastical benefices, who
avoid being ordained in order to live with greater freedom, and continue to treat holy
orders with contempt, after being invited thereto by the bishop, shall be deprived of
their churches and benefices.
VII. No one but a priest shall be promoted to the office of dean or prior; no one but a
deacon to an archdeaconry.
VIII. No person shall be ordained priest without a regular title. Whoever is ordained
independently shall forfeit the degree he has obtained.
IX. No abbot, or clerk, or layman shall presume to eject any person ecclesiastically
ordained to a church, without the sentence of his own bishop. Whoever presumes to do
otherwise shall be subject to excommunication.
X. No bishop shall presume to ordain or judge a person belonging to another diocese, for
every one stands or falls to his own master; nor shall any one be bound by a sentence
which is not pronounced by his own judge.
XI. No one shall presume to receive into communion one who has been excommunicated by another.
If he shall have done this knowingly he himself shall be deprived of Christian communion.
XII. We also ordain that two archdeaconries or dignities of another class shall not be held
by one person.
XIII. We prohibit, by apostolic authority, priests, deacons, sub-deacons, and canons from living
with wives, concubines, and women generally, except a mother, a sister, an aunt, or other females
free from all suspicion. Whoever violates this canon shall, on confession or conviction, suffer
the loss of his order.
XIV. We utterly prohibit usury and filthy lucre to clerks of every degree. Whoever shall have
pleaded guilty to such a charge, or been convicted of it, is to be degraded from the rank he holds.
XV. We decree that sorcerers, fortune-tellers, and those who deal in divination of any kind,
shall be excommunicated, and we brand them with perpetual infamy.
XVI. We prohibit marriages being contracted between persons connected by blood or affinity, as far
as the generation. If any persons thus connected have married, let them be separated.
XVII. We forbid men’s being allowed to allege consanguinity against their own wives, and the
witnesses they bring forward are not to be admitted; but let the authority of the fathers be maintained.
“Are you content?” “Be it so.” — “Are you content?” “Be it so.” — “Are you content?” “Be it so.”
The same cardinal, after quitting England, went to Normandy, and at length returned to Rome.
William, the archbishop, also considering that the church of England had received grievous
offence in the humiliation of the see of Canterbury, crossed the channel himself on his way to
Rome, to procure the best support he could in the disordered state of affairs, and prevent
their growing worse. He therefore proceeded to Rome, and was received with honour by pope Honorius,
who had succeeded Calixtus, and who made the archbishop his vicar-general in England and Scotland,
and appointed him legate of the apostolic see.
A.D. 1126. King Henry returned to England at Christmas, and held his court at Windsor
Castle with great magnificence, having summoned all the nobles of the realm to attend him there.
On this occasion, when the bishop of York, claiming equality with the archbishop of Canterbury,
offered to place the crown on the king’s head,
105 as his predecessors
had done, his claim was rejected by the decision of all who were present, and it was unanimously
agreed that nothing pertaining to the royal crown belonged to him. Moreover, the bearer of the
cross which he caused to be borne before him into the king’s chapel, was thrust out of the chapel,
with the cross he carried; for, by the judgement of the bishops and some learned men skilled in
ecclesiastical law, it was established and settled that it was not lawful for a metropolitan to
have his cross carried before him out of his own province.
Fealty sworn to the empress Matilda
As soon as the feast days [of Christmas] were over, the king went to London, attended by all the
men of rank in the realm who had flocked to his court, and there, by the king’s command, William,
the archbishop and legate of the see of Rome, and all the other bishops of England, and the nobles
of the land, swore fealty to the king’s daughter; engaging to defend her right to the crown of
England, if she should survive her father, against all opposers, unless he should yet before his
death beget a son in lawful wedlock, to become his successor. On the death of the emperor Henry,
who had lived in marriage with her many years, without leaving children, she had returned to her
father’s court, where she was surrounded with all the honours becoming her station. The king,
therefore, having lost his son William in the manner already described, and there being as yet
no other direct heir to the kingdom, for that reason made over the right to the crown to his
daughter, under the proviso just mentioned.
The custody of Rochester castle granted to the archbishops of Canterbury
The king, also, by the advice of his barons, granted to the church of Canterbury, and to William
the archbishop, and to all his successors, the custody and constableship of the castle of Rochester,
to hold for ever; with liberty to make in the same castle a fort or tower, as they pleased, and
have and guard it for ever; and that the garrison stationed in the castle should have free ingress
and egress on their own occasions, and should be security to the archbishop for it. Robert,
surnamed Pecceth, bishop of Coventry, departed this life, and lies buried at Coventry. Hugh, abbot
of St. Augustine’s [at Canterbury], died.
A synod held at Westminster
A.D. 1127. William, archbishop of Canterbury, convened a general synod of all the bishops
and abbots, and some men of religion from all parts of England, at the monastery of St. Peter,
situated in the western part of London. At this synod he himself presided as archbishop of Canterbury
and legate of the apostolic see; assisted by William, bishop of Winchester, Roger of Salisbury,
William of Exeter, Hervey of Ely, Alexander of Lincoln, Everard of Norwich, Sigefrid of Chichester,
Richard of Hereford, Geoffrey of Bath, John of Rochester, Bernard of St. David’s in Wales, Urban
of Glamorgan or Llandaff, and David of Bangor. Richard, bishop of London, and Robert, bishop of Chester,
106 were then dead, and
no successors had yet been appointed to their sees. But Thurstan, archbishop of York, sent messengers
with letters assigning reasonable cause for his non-appearance at the convocation.
Ralph, bishop of Durham, fell sick on the road, and was not able to complete the journey, as the
prior of his church and the clerks whom he sent forward solemnly attested. Simon, bishop of Worcester,
had gone to visit his relations beyond seas, and was not yet returned. Great multitudes, also, of the
clergy and laity, both rich and poor, flocked together, and there was a numerous and important meeting.
The council sat for three days, namely, the third of the ides [the 13th] of May, the following day,
and the third day afterwards, being the seventeenth of the calends of June [16th May]. There were some
proceedings with respect to secular affairs; some were determined, some adjourned, and some withdrawn
from the hearing of the judges, on account of the disorderly conduct of the immense crowd. But the
decrees and statutes made in this synod by common consent of the bishops we have thought it desirable
to record in this work, as they were there publicly declared and accepted. They are these :—
I. We wholly prohibit, by the authority of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, and our own, the buying
and selling of any ecclesiastical benefices, or any ecclesiastical dignities whatever. Whoever shall
be convicted of having violated this decree, if he be a clerk, or even a regular canon, or a monk,
let him be degraded from his order; if a layman, let him be held outlawed and excommunicated, and be
deprived of his patronage of the church or benefice.
II. We totally interdict, by the authority of the apostolic see, the ordination or promotion of any
person in the church of God, for the sake of lucre.
III. We condemn certain payments of money exacted for the admission of canons, monks, and nuns.
IV. No one shall be appointed a dean but a priest, and no one but a deacon, archdeacon. If any
one in minor orders be named to these dignities he shall be enjoined by the bishop to take the
orders required. But if he disobey the bishop’s monition to take such orders, he shall lose his
appointment to the dignity.
V. We utterly interdict all illicit intercourse with women, as well by priests, deacons, and
sub-deacons, as by all canons. If, however, they will retain their concubines (which God forbid),
or their wives, they are to be deprived of their ecclesiastical orders, their dignity, and benefice.
If there be any such among parish priests, we expel them from the chancel, and declare them infamous.
Moreover, we command, by the authority of God and our own, all archdeacons and officials, whose
duty it is, to use the utmost care and diligence in eradicating this deadly evil from the church of
God. If they be found negligent in this, or (which God forbid) consenting thereto, they are for
the first and second offence to be duly corrected by the bishops, and for the third to be punished
more severely, according to the canons.
VI. The concubines of priests and canons shall be expelled from the parish, unless they shall
have contracted a lawful marriage there. If they are found afterwards offending, they shall be
arrested by the officers of the church, in whatever lordship they may be; and we command, under
pain of excommunication, that they be not sheltered by any jurisdiction, either inferior or
superior, but truly delivered up to the officer of the church, to be subjected to ecclesiastical
discipline, or reduced to bondage, according to the sentence of the bishop.
VII. We prohibit, under pain of excommunication, any archdeacon from holding several archdeaconries
in different dioceses; let him retain that only to which he was first appointed.
VIII. Bishops are to prohibit all priests, abbots, monks, and priors, subject to their jurisdiction,
from holding farms.
IX. We command that tithes be honestly paid, for they are the sovereign right of the most high God.
X. We forbid, by canonical authority, any person from giving or receiving churches or tithes, or
other ecclesiastical benefices, without the consent and authority of the bishop.
XI. No abbess or nun is to use garments of richer material than lamb’s-wool or cat-skin.
King Henry, who remained at London during these proceedings, being informed of the
acts of the council, assented to them, and ratified and confirmed by his royal
authority the decrees of the synod held at Westminster by William, archbishop of
Canterbury and legate of the holy Roman church. One Hugh, of the diocese of Rochester,
being appointed abbot, was advanced, with deserved honour, to the dignity for which
he was designated, that of abbot of St. Augustine’s, by William, archbishop of Canterbury,
on Sunday, the second of the ides [the 12th] of June, at Chichester. Richard, bishop
of Hereford, died at his vill, called
Dydelebyrig,107 on Monday
the eighteenth of the calends of September [15th August]; his body was carried to Hereford,
and buried in the church there, with the bishops his predecessors. Henry, king of
England, went over sea.
A.D. 1128. Thurstan, the archbishop, consecrated at York, Robert, who had been
intruded by Alexander, king of Scots, on the petition of David, his brother and successor,
into the see of St. Andrew’s. The archbishop had called in Ralph, bishop of Durham,
and one Ralph, formerly ordained bishop of the Orkney islands, to be his coadjutors
in the ceremony. This Ralph having been ordained without the election or consent of
the lord of the land, or of the clergy and people, was rejected by all of them, and
acknowledged as bishop by no one. Being bishop of no city, he attached himself sometimes
to the archbishop of York, sometimes to the bishop of Durham; he was supported by
them, and employed by both as coadjutor in the performance of their episcopal functions.
Robert, being consecrated by these bishops, was not permitted by the Scots, as it is
reported, to make any profession of submission or obedience to the church of York or
its bishop, although he was a canon of that church.
A man of worth and advanced years, who was a canon of the church of Lyons, was elected
bishop of London; for Richard, bishop of that city, was dead, and this person, named
Gilbert, and surnamed The Universal, [so called from his extensive learning] was
appointed in his stead by king Henry and archbishop William, with the assent of the
clergy and people. He was consecrated by the archbishop himself, in the mother church
of Canterbury, on Sunday, the eleventh of the calends of February [22nd January].
Sigefrid, bishop of Chichester, and John, bishop of Rochester, assisted and took part
in the ceremony, in the presence of the abbots, and other great and noble persons,
assembled at Canterbury on the occasion; his profession having been first made in
the same way his predecessors had done, by which he promised canonical submission
and obedience in all things to the archbishop and his successors.
Concerning the oath now altered through perjury to the peril of many. In the
twenty-eighth year of his reign, in the octave of Easter, that is, 29 April,
in the seventh indiction, concurrents seven, a bissextile year, epacts twenty-five,
King Henry of the English held a council at Westminster in London, which the two
metropolitans, William of Canterbury and Thurstan of York, chaired, and which was
attended by bishops, abbots, earls, barons, with the magnates of all England. Among
multifarious matters, there was discussed between them all who would succeed as ruler
when the king died and an heir was lacking. Finally all agreed to the king’s wish
that his daughter, the widow of Henry, emperor of the Romans should receive the
English kingdom under Christ’s protection with her lawful husband, if she had one,
and that all were to swear an oath so that this plan should be firmly irnplemented.
First of all the archbishops took the oath, then the bishops in order, Bishop Roger
of Salisbury proposing the oaths to them all. In accordance with ecclesiastical
practice, the abbots were to take the oath after the bishops, although all oath-taking
is forbidden by the Lord. But because a monk is often held cheaply by those deceived
into straying from the road, the order of precedence was reversed wilfully, not out
of necessity. David, king of the Scots, then took the oath. Queen Adelaide of the
English, also swore for the king’s daughter, who was present, and agreed to the sworn
formula in such a manner that, if the king did not have an heir of either sex,but if
he did not lack a survivor of either sex, then the survivor should inherit. the kingdom.
The regulator of the proceedings spoke to Robert, earl of Gloucester, the king’s son,
who was sitting to the left of the king, saying, ‘Get up, get up, and swear the oath
as the king wants? Robert replied, ‘No, rather Stephen, count of Boulogne, was born
before me and should do this first, he who is sitting to the right of the king.’ This
was done. Then all the earls, barons, sheriffs, and more noble knights swore. Then
the regulator said, ‘Let the abbots come forward and swear the oath.’ Then the revered
abbot of Bury St Edmund’s, Anselm, replied for all, seriously complaining of the
reversed order of precedence which had been followed against him and his associates.
‘Behold,’ he said, ‘O king, the curses of those who criticize our order have fallen
upon us. Look how abbots have been held cheap in contravention of the law of the church,
in that you have placed ahead of us in your oath-taking even laymen who are subject to us.’
To this the king replied, “What you see done has been done and let it stand. Stop
talking and delaying, but come forward and take the oath as we all have done.
The abbots should swear, let them appease the king in attending to him.’ Then the
council was over, each one left, and returned home, But alas, behold we see an oath
turned into perjury. As Terence says, ‘Fawning makes friends, truthfulness hatred.’
But although this is true, God and His Christ and the Spirit descending from both,
know this: if I were not afraid that the royal majesty would harm John’s head, I would
assert that all oath-takers are guilty of perjury. But may the God of all things to
whose eyes everything is open and clear, so that He sees well and wishes all lords
to be better, dispose all this in His mercy and compassion, as He knows so well how to do.
Shortly afterwards the King of the English crossed over the
In the third year of Lothar, emperor of the Romans, in the 28th year of King Henry
of the English in the year of the 470th Olympiad, in the second year of the seventh
indiction, twenty-fifth moon on Saturday the sixth of the ides of December [8th December]
there appeared from the morning right up until the evening, two black spheres against
the sun. The first was in the upper part and large, the second in the lower part and
small and each was directly opposite the other as shown in this figure.
Urban, bishop of Glamorgan or Llandaff, considering that he had not been justly dealt
with in regard to certain questions with Bernard, bishop of St. David’s, which he had
litigated in the council of the preceding year, crossed the sea, after the feast of
the Purification of St. Mary [2nd February], and proceeding to Rome, laid the cause
of his journey, supported by clear attestations from his own diocese, before the
apostolical pope. The pope lent a favourable ear to his pretensions and statements,
and addressed letters to king Henry and archbishop William, and the other bishops of
England, enjoining them by his apostolical authority to suffer no opposition from
anyone to Urban’s just demands.
The venerable Godfrey, abbot of Shrewsbury, died on Wednesday, the fourth of the calends
of April [24th March]. Geoffrey, prior of Canterbury, was, at the request of David,
king of Scots, and with the permission of William the archbishop,elected abbot of a
place in Scotland called Dunfermline, and ordained by Robert, bishop of St. Andrew’s.
Urban, bishop of Llandaff, returned to England, after a successful journey; and, by the
king’s command, the apostolical mandates respecting him were carried into effect.
One of the monks of the church of Shrewsbury, named Herbert, having been elected abbot,
and consecrated by archbishop William at Lewes, assumed the government of the monastery
at Shrewsbury as such abbot. Hugh, abbot of Chertsey, died. William, count of Flanders,
surnamed “The Sad”, falling into an ambush, was wounded by his enemies, and, his sufferings
increasing, died, amidst universal lamentations, on the sixth of the calends of August
[27th July], and was buried at St. Berlin. Ralph, bishop of Durham, died on the nones
[the 5th] of September; and Geoffrey, archbishop of Rouen, departed this life on the
fourth of the calends of December [28th November].
A.D. 1129. William, bishop of Winchester, died on the eighth of the calends of
February [25th January], and was buried at Winchester.
In the month of July, Henry, king of England, returned from Normandy to England. His
nephew, Henry, abbot of Glastonbury, elected to the see of Winton in the month of October,
was consecrated bishop by William, archbishop of Canterbury, on Sunday, the fifteenth
of the calends of December [17th November]. Roger, archdeacon of Buckingham, and nephew
of Geoffrey de Clinton, having been elected to the see of Chester, was ordained priest
on the twelfth of the calends of January [21st December], and the next day was
consecrated bishop at Canterbury by the archbishop. He was afterwards enthroned, by
the archbishop’s mandate, in the episcopal chair at Coventry,1 by Simon, bishop of
Worcester, on Monday, the sixth of the calends of February [27th January].
A.D. 1130. On this day certain events worthy of record occurred in our church
by the intervention of God and through the merits of the Mother of God, the ever virgin
Mary and of our patrons Oswald and Wulstan. Judicial sentences were imposed for different
offences. The two were lay people and one a woman. On the preceding sabbath day when
the Conversion of St Paul [25th January] was celebrated, as ecclesiastical punishment
they had to carry the hot iron. Those who witnessed it, saw the woman’s hand dramatically
burnt inside and outside by the fire. Trusting at the same time in the mercy of God the
Father and especially in the merits of the pious bishop blessed Wulfstan they went to his
tomb, knelt, sought intercession, and almost as though they hoped to wake him for their
own comfort, they often pressed their palms on his tomb. When mass had been said and the
judgement was shown to all the people the hands of first one and then the other were
found to be completely healed. This was done in sequence, and the hands were shown three
times and all the miracles declared with the singing of ‘Te Deum Laudamus’.
Hugh, abbot of Reading, was elected archbishop of Rouen. Christchurch, at Canterbury,
was dedicated with great pomp, by William, archbishop of that city, on the fourth of the
nones [the 4th] of May. The following bishops were present at the consecration:—John,
bishop of Rochester, Gilbert of London, Henry of Winchester, Simon of Worcester, Alexander
of Lincoln, Roger of Salisbury, Godfrey of Bath, Everard of Norwich, Sigefrid of Chichester,
Bernard of St. David’s; with Owen, bishop of Evreux, and John, bishop of Séez, from beyond sea.
On the fourth day afterwards — that is, on the nones [the 7th] of May — the city of Rochester
was destroyed by fire, while the king was there; and on the day following, being the feast
of our Lord’s Ascension, the new church of St. Andrew was consecrated by William the
archbishop, some of the before-mentioned bishops assisting him in the service. [Ansger],
the excellent prior of Lewes, was elected at Winchester abbot of Reading, and afterwards
ordained; also Ingulph, prior of Winchester, having been elected at Woodstock abbot of
Abingdon, was ordained by Roger, bishop of Salisbury. William, abbot of Gloucester, having
voluntarily resigned his pastoral charge by reason of age, chose, with the consent of the
brethren, a pious monk, of the same house, named Walter, who was ordained abbot by Simon,
bishop of Worcester, on Sunday, the nones [the 3rd] of August. Serlo, also, a canon of
Salisbury, was ordained abbot by the same bishop, at Blockley, an episcopal vill, and
appointed to govern the abbey of Cirencester. Robert, prior of the church of Llanthony,
being elected to the see of Hereford, was consecrated at Oxford, by William, archbishop
of Canterbury. Henry, king of England, went over the sea.
Shortly after the middle of the night, on the thirteenth calends of March, [17th February]
as they were coming out of Lauds, two priests and two clerks at Hereford saw an unusual
bright light, about one perch in length, in that part of the heavens where the sun is to
be found towards the end of the tenth hour, when it is setting at the summer solstice.
The object from which the bright light came was covered with a white cloud. For short
periods it would often emerge from the cloud as though it was moving upwards, and then
after a short interval it would re-enter the cloud to the fear and amazement of the observers.
Its colour was a blend of those of a full moon and of bright flames. In shape and size
it was like a small pyramid, broad at the bottom, and narrow at the top. The observers
called out so that there could be more witnesses to this matter; they declared that a
fairly small plank, stretching upwards a long way was seen to stand on the cloud in which
that brilliant object had been—-which object had at first shed light on the cloud and had
in the end covered with a dim light for the most part from below the northerly parts next
to it, a light less bright than the spot in which it stood.
Whilst these things were happening, some persons who had been called arrived, and as soon
as they had come all that light was completely blotted out except for the faintest trace
which could barely be seen on its north side. The person who had seen the earlier light
also saw at the beginning of the spectacle two lines seemingly filled with the light of
dawn and stretching from the equinoctial sun’s rising to its equinoctial setting. However,
he was able to establish neither how long the two aforesaid lines lasted nor exactly when
they vanished because he felt such fear of the sight and because he was concentrating
wholly on the other vision which has been described. This was seen by the clerks of St
Guthlac in Hereford castle. It was also seen by the watchmen in Brecon castle as well as
in Herefordshire by the shepherds watching their flocks that same night. I have written
down what I have heard. May Christ’s mercy save us!
In the thirtieth year of his reign and in his sixty-fourth year, a marvellous dream
appeared in Normandy to Henry, king of England. Asleep King Henry saw these remarkable
visions which Grimbald the doctor fully observed whilst he was awake. He leapt out of
bed whilst the vision frightened the king. Rising and seizing arms, the king wounded no
one. There were three visions, each different from the other. This was the first vision.
Overcome by drowsiness, the king fell asleep, and behold, he saw a big band of peasants
standing by him with agricultural implements. In different ways they began to rage, to
gnash their teeth, and to demand from him dues which I am unable to describe.
Waking in terror from his sleep, he sprang from the bed it may be with bare feet and
seized his arms, wanting to punish those whom he had seen in his sleep. But he found no
one. He saw this and saw that those who should watch by the side of kings had all fled.
Such is the dignity of kings! The king dressed in the purple who inspires fear like a
raging lion (as Solomon puts it) is terrified in his sleep by peasants. King, stop, stop
chasing shadows, go back to bed, so that when asleep you will again see a greater vision.
This was the second vision. Having gone back to sleep, Henry saw a large band of knights
wearing armour, bearing helmets on their heads, and each of them holding lances, a sword,
spears and arrows. If you were present you could see knights revealed in a dream, all
apparently wanting to kill the king and to cut him into pieces if they could. Struck by
a great fear in his sleep, the king fills the whole royal chamber with a horrendous cry.
’Help me,’ he cries, ’help me’. With this clamour, he shook sleep
from his eyes, took up his sword, and wanting to strike, he found no one to wound.
Bishops, abbots, and priors stand by searching, as it were, for their despoiled churches.
A third time the king sank back into sleep, and saw the figures of archbishops, bishops,
abbots, deans and priors holding their pastoral staffs. In your mind’s eye you might see
the churchmen changing their attitude, and, as it were, their enduring respect for the
king’s mercy on account of the plundering of church possessions. They look at his
terrifying countenance and at his eyes almost averted from them, and with many threats
they are seen to want to attack him with the tips of their staffs. One man secreted in
a hidden corner of the royal chamber, under the cover of the total silence of the night,
saw all these marvellous things. It was that skilled physician, Grimbald, who related all
these matters at Winchcombe to the lord abbot Godfrey of the church there in my presence
and hearing. The same man approached the king at dawn when he was still in bed, and
discussed with him what he had seen. The king told him all he had experienced in his sleep,
and the distinguished man of great wisdom, who is now deceased, explained their true
interpretation, and, as Nebuchadnezzar did 0n Daniel’s advice, advised him to redeem
his sins by alms-giving.
After this the same king Henry one day boarded a ship with the royal household to return
to England. And lo, there was a great disturbance at sea so that the ship was covered by
waves in the face of a contrary wind. Alas, Jesus was asleep for them all. Fearing an
imminent disaster, the king decided that the Danish tax should not be collected in the
English kingdom for seven years so that the King of kings would in His mercy be watchful
and succour both him and his followers. He also vowed that he would turn aside to the
eastern parts of England and ask for the protection of St Edmund, king and martyr, and
that he would always preserve justice throughout England. When he had so promised there
was a great calm. On his return, to everyone’s rejoicing he fulfilled his promise. King
Stephen, who now reigns, also promised in a royal decree that he would never collect
the Danish tax. We hear that it is now again demanded throughout England by a perjury
odious to God. This cursed offence overturned the prophetic pledge just as it had been made.
Love of gain often makes kings pervert laws.
If you are guilty and are condemned to death by the sentence of a judge,
Go forward and give five or ten talents.
If you give such sums you will be quickly set free.
A.D. 1131. In the thirteenth year of the fourth nineteen-year cycle, in the
fourteenth year of the third solar cycle, the first year of the sixth bis-sextile, in
the times of Lothar, emperor of the Romans, and of Henry, the English king, there was
a certain rich and powerful count called Norman in Alemania, who dwelt in the town of
Honburc [Hohenburg]. He had a daughter called Odilia who was blind from birth. When
she was small, he sent her off to a distant small estate of his since he thought it
shameful to have her brought up in the township where he was living. When she reached
the age of puberty, she avoided all wantonness, and most diligently served the Lord in
an upright manner to the best of her abilities. She had a brother who loved her dearly
and who often asked his father to recall her, but he was completely unsuccessful in his
request. At length he took counsel with his close followers, and without his father
knowing where he was, he set out and brought his sister back with him and put her up in
a certain house quite close to her father’s household.
When he had done this, he went to his father and, as he had done before, begged for his
sister’s return, but the father did not change his mind, and did not agree. The son was
roused to anger, and said to the father, ‘Whether you are willing or not, she has been
brought back by me and lives in a neighbouring house.’ On learning this, the father
became exceedingly angry, struck his son on the head with the staff he was holding in
his hand, and killed him. Returning straightway to his house, he was frightened at the
ill he had done, and after a few days, he did penance according to ecclesiastical commands.
When he had done penance for some time, he became ill and died. His daughter implored
God’s mercy on his behalf since he had died with only half his penance performed and she
assiduously spent her days and nights in fasting, vigils, and prayers for the redemption
of his soul.
Whilst she was doing these things an angel of the Lord stood by her one night in a dream
and said, “If you will pray to the Lord even more earnestly than you are doing for your
father’s soul, he will be returned to his body so that he might carry out the penance
enjoined on him, and then, when that has been carried out, he will again depart his body
after a good way of life.” When these things had been said, the angelic vision vanished.
Waking up immediately, Odilia pondered what she had learnt in the dream, and began to try
in every possible way to implore God’s mercy through fasting, vigils, and prayers that,
as the angel had promised her, she might be worthy to welcome her father. When she had
continued for some time in this distress, behold, one day he who had died entered the hall
in full view of everyone, clad only in a shirt, and, greeting all present, he urged them not
to be frightened, saying, ‘Behold Almighty God has restored me to life so that I might
carry out my penance’. The next day, he set out on a journey, and after he had done his due
penance, he returned home, and built a church in honour of the Holy Mother of God, where,
having assembled nuns for the service of God, he made his daughter Odilia, who had been
enlightened by God, abbess. Afterwards having disposed of all things in his house in an
orderly fashion, he ended his day in peace, as the angel had predicted. The shirt which
he was wearing when he appeared alive to his household, was kept in the same church next
to the principal altar as a sign of this miracle, emitting a foul stench, and coloured
like ash. If you touched it with your hand, you could not tell what sort of material it
was nor feel its texture. In the end those who lived there could not bear its overwhelming
smell, and those coming from elsewhere at the very entrance of the church drew breath
straightway with great revulsion. Meanwhile the noble virgin Odilia continued in her holy
way of life after her father’s death, inspiring those who were with her with the example
of good works, completing the cycle of her days, and departed happily to the Lord on Monday,
13 December, Two days before the day kept holy in her memory, one of the church’s household
put on the aforesaid shirt and went up and down, arousing the sympathy of the onlookers in
the middle of the crowd, continually holding sweet smelling herbs to his nostrils lest he
be affected by the stench of the shirt and to the compunction of the onlookers in the middle
of the crowd who had assembled for the feast. Seven days before the feast this man garnished
all his food with raw garlic to counteract the said shirt’s stench.
A.D. 1132. A most devout and revered Worcester monk named Uhtred died on the
fourth of the nones of April, Saturday before Palm Sunday, that is, on [2 April] - he
had earlier been made cantor of the Worcester church by the blessed and ever-honoured
Bishop Wulfstan - and because through God’s mercy he ended his life in a manner worthy
of record, I have thought it appropriate to set down for everyone how he departed this
world. I do this both because the brethren have asked me to and because of the affection
he showed me almost as a foster-father. For many years he acted as precentor, and acted
as everyone’s guardian in God’s service. In the end he was deprived of his bodily strength,
and was often afflicted by paralysis. In the year of his death his body, in a Spirit of
humility and for the remission of his sins, used to be struck frequently and sharply
almost for whole days by two or three brothers. The aforesaid Saturday came when he would
leave this world. Trusting in, and comforted by, the Lord, he stood as usual in the choir
at mass. He began the office ‘Liberator meus, Kyrie eleison’ and the Gradual that followed.
I was standing by his side. When the Gospel had been read, he began the Offertory
‘Benedictus es, Deus,’ and summoned by God, he began to sink little by little. With an
anguished heart straight away I took him. up in my arms. The astonished brothers rushed
forward. He asked that he be allowed, if possible, to die near the altar. In the end he
was carried to the infirmary. When Vespers was over, he took the Lord’s Body and Blood
in communion on that same day as he had on previous days, and commended. his soul into
his Creator’s hands. He was buried the following day by Simon, the revered bishop of
Worcester, in the view of the clergy and of all the townspeople.
Reginald, the reverend abbot of Ramsey, died on the thirteenth of the calends of June
[20th May]. William, the venerable abbot of Gloucester, and Hervey, who had been bishop
of Bangor, and was afterwards the first bishop of Ely, died on the third of the calends
of September [30th August], the ninth indiction.
A comet was seen on the eighth of the ides of October [8th October], and remained visible
for nearly five days.
A.D. 1133. The greater part of the city of London, with the principal church of
St. Paul the apostle, was destroyed by fire, in Whitsun week—that is, on the second of
the ides [the 14th] of May.
In the thirty-third year of the reign of Henry, king of England, on Wednesday, the same
day in the course of the year on which his brother and predecessor, king William Rufus,
was slain, and on which king Henry himself assumed the government at the commencement of
his reign, it is stated that the following appearance occurred. While the king, having
gone to the coast for the purpose of crossing the sea, delayed his departure, although
the wind was often fair for the voyage, at last, on the day mentioned, he went down to
the shore about noon to take his passage, surrounded by his guards, as is the custom of
kings. Then suddenly a cloud was seen in the air, which was visible throughout England,
though not of the same size; for in some places the day only appeared gloomy, while in
others the darkness was such that men required the light of candles for whatever they
had to do. The king and his attendants, and many others, walked about in great wonder;
and, raising their eyes to the heavens, observed that the sun had the appearance of shining
like a new moon. But it did not long preserve the same shape; for sometimes it was broader,
sometimes narrower, sometimes more curved, sometimes more upright, now steady as usual,
and then moving, and quivering and liquid like quicksilver. Some say that the sun was
eclipsed. If this be true, the sun was then in the head of the dragon, and the moon in
its tail, or the sun in the tail, and the moon in the head, in the fifth sign, and the
seventeenth degree of that sign. The moon was then in her twenty-seventh day. On the same
day, and at the same hour, many stars appeared.
Moreover, on the same day, when the ships were anchored on the shore, ready for the king’s
voyage, the sea being very calm and little wind stirring, the great anchors of one of the
ships were suddenly wrenched from their hold in the ground, as though by some violent shock,
and the ship getting under weigh, to the surprise of numbers who strove in vain to stop her,
set in motion the ship next to her, and thus eight ships fell foul of each other by some
unknown force, so that they all received damage. It was also generally reported that on
the same day and about the same hour, many churches in the province of York were seen sweating,
as it were, great drops.
All these occurrences took place, as it is said, on Wednesday, the fourth of the nones
[the 2nd] of August. And on Friday, in the same week, the second of the nones of the same
month [4th August], at daybreak, there was a great earthquake in many parts of England.
There were some also who said that in the week following, on Monday, the sixth of the ides
of the same month [8th August], when the moon was three days old, they saw her first as she
generally appeared at that age, and after a short space of time, in the evening of the same
day, they observed her full, like a round and very bright shield. Many also reported that
on the same night they saw two moons, distant about a spear’s length from each other.
Notwithstanding, king Henry crossed the sea, leaving England for Normandy, never to return
alive and see England again. In the month of November the city of Worcester was exposed to
the ravages of fire, a frequent occurrence.
A.D. 1134. Robert, brother of king Henry, and formerly earl of Normandy, who was
taken prisoner of war by the king when in Normandy, at the castle of Tinchebrai, and had
been long confined in England, died at Cardiff, and, being carried to Gloucester, was buried
with great honours in the pavement of the church before the altar. Godfrey, bishop of Bath,
died on the seventeenth of the calends of September [16th August]; after some interval he
was succeeded by a monk named Robert, a Fleming by descent, but born in England. Thus Robert,
from a monk became a bishop, such being the pleasure of Henry, bishop of Winchester, who is
now, but was not at that time, legate of the Roman church.
A.D. 1135. Henry, king of England, died on the fourth of the nones [the 20th] of
December, in the sixty-ninth year of his age, after a reign of thirty-five years and four
months; and Stephen, his sister’s son, being elected to the kingdom of England, was consecrated
king, by William, archbishop of Canterbury, on the thirteenth of the calends of January
[20th December], at London, where he held his court, at Christmas, surrounded by the nobles
of England, with great courtesy and royal pomp. The holy festival being ended, the corpse of
king Henry, lately deceased, was brought from Normandy to England,
108 and the king
went to meet it, attended by a large body of nobles, and for the love he bore his uncle, he
supported the bier on his royal shoulders, assisted by his barons, and thus brought the
corpse to Reading. Masses were sung, many rich offerings made, alms distributed to multitudes
of the poor, and the obsequies having been duly solemnised, and his effigy exposed to view on
a hearse, the royal corpse was deposited, with the highest honours, in a tomb constructed,
according to custom, before the altar in the principal church, dedicated to the most blessed
and glorious Virgin Mary, which king Henry himself, for the good of his soul, had endowed with
lands, woods, meadows, and pastures, and enriched with many ornaments.
May Henry, England’s king, to whom such wealth was given,
From purgatorial pains released, partake the bliss of heaven !
After his interment, Stephen being on the throne, and, indeed, Long before, the bonds of peace
were broken asunder, and the greatest discord prevailed in all parts of Normandy and England.
Man rose up against man—discord was rife in the land, wasting the substance of both high and
low, and penetrating on all sides within strong and lofty walls. Every one spoiled his neighbour’s
goods. The powerful oppress the weak by violence, and obtain exemption from inquiry by the
terror of their threats. Death is the lot of him who resists. The wealthy nobles of the land,
rolling in affluence, care little to what iniquities the wretched sufferers are exposed; all
their concern is for themselves and their own adherents; they store their castles and fortified
towns with all things necessary, and garrison them with armed bands, fearing a revolution which
should alter the succession to the crown, and not reflecting on the dispensations of the
providence of God, “whose ways are past finding out.” While all should be hushed in peace in
the presence of royalty, as before a roaring lion, there is no end of devastations and ravages
in numberless places, and especially in Wales. From this any one may perceive with how little
prudence and firmness, with what injustice rather than justice, England, which ought to be ruled
far otherwise, s now governed. In the prevailing lust of money, and an inordinate ambition for
preferment of every kind, moderation, the mother of virtues, is scarcely to be found.
Stephen, king of England, marched into Devonshire with a large force of horse and foot, and
besieged, for a long time the castle of Exeter, which Baldwin, surnamed de Redvers, had fortified
in defiance of the royal authority. But at length, the garrison being short of provisions, terms
were made, and Baldwin, with his wife and children, were expelled from England, his lands being
forfeited. Ansger, the venerable abbot of Reading, died on the sixth of the calends’ of February
[27th January], and Godfrey, bishop of Bath, on the seventeenth of the calends of September
A.D. 1136. Speedily after the death of king Henry on the fourth of-the nones (the 2nd)
of December a severe battle was fought in Gower,
109 between the
Normans and the Welsh, on the calends [the 1st] of January, in which five hundred and sixteen
of the two armies perished. Their bodies were horribly dragged about the fields and devoured
by the wolves. Afterwards the Welsh made a desperate inroad, attended with the destruction,
far and wide, of churches, vills, corn, and cattle, the burning of castles and other fortified
places, and the slaughter, dispersion, and sale into captivity in foreign lands of countless
numbers, both of the rich and poor. Among these, the noble and amiable Richard, son of Gilbert,
110 falling into an
ambush, was slain by the Welsh, on the seventeenth of the calends of May [15th April]; and
his body being carried to Gloucester, was honourably buried in the chapter-house of the brethren.
Another bloody battle was afterwards fought at Cardigan, in the second week of the month of
October, in this same year, in which the slaughter was so great that, without reckoning the
men who were carried off into captivity, there remained ten thousand women, whose husbands,
with numberless children, were either drowned, or burnt, or put to the sword. When the bridge
over the river Tivy was broken down it was a wretched spectacle to see crowds passing to and
fro across a bridge formed by the horrible mass of human corpses and horses drowned in the river.
William, archbishop of Canterbury, died at one of his vills, on the twelfth of the calends of
December [20th November], in the fifteenth year of his patriarchate, and was buried at Canterbury.
Guy, abbot of Pershore, a man of great prudence, died on the nones [the 5th] of August. Benedict,
abbot of Tewksbury, a man of devoted piety and strict continence, died on the ides [the 15th] of March.
Removed from this world’s strife,
God give them endless life!
A.D. 1137. In the month of March, before Easter, which fell on the fourth of the ides
[the 10th] of April, Stephen, king of England, went over sea, and spent some time in foreign parts.
Griffyth-ap-Rhys, king of Wales, perished through the artifices of his wife.
111 The Welsh, having
suffered much in the defence of their native land, not only from the powerful Normans, but also
from the Flemings, after numbers had fallen on both sides, at last subdued the Flemings, and did
not cease to commit devastations on all sides; plundering and burning the vills and castles, and
putting to death all who made any resistance, and the helpless as well as the armed. Among the rest,
a knight, they say, of great bravery, whose name was Paganus, fell, pierced through the head by a
lance while engaged in capturing and slaying some plundering Welshmen: his body was carried to
Gloucester, and buried in the monk’s chapter house. The city of York was destroyed by fire,
with the principal monastery, on Friday in Whitsun- week, which fell on the 6th of the ides [the 8th]
of June. Shortly afterwards the city of Rochester was also destroyed by fire. On Thursday the
fourth of the calends of August [29th July] the church of Bath, and, in the same month of August,
the city of Leicester, were burnt.
Miracles at Windsor
One day, while the people were attending the celebration of mass at Windsor, as we have been
informed by trustworthy persons, there was a sudden radiance in the interior of the church;
and some persons, wondering what it was, went forth and beheld a strange star shining in the
heavens, and on their return observed that the light within descended from the star. Miracle
succeeded miracle. Many observed the crucifix which stood on the altar in motion and wringing
its hands, the right with the left, or the left with the right, after the manner of persons
in trouble. After this was done three times the whole crucifix trembled, and was bathed in
sweat for nearly half an hour, returning afterwards to its former state.
Relics found at Southwell
At Southwell, a vill of the archbishop’s, while a grave was being made for a funeral, there were
found some relics of saints, and a glass phial with raised sides to prevent its being broken,
and full of very clear water; which being given to the sick, they were on tasting it restored
to their former health. I give the first of these miracles as I heard it; the last was related
to me by Henry, bishop of Winchester.
Thurstan, archbishop of York, with Roger, bishop of Salisbury, and some other bishops and great
men of the realm, held a council at Northampton, in the hearing of many persons.
Schism in the Church of Rome—Pope and Anti~pope
The see of Rome had now been in an unsettled state for seven years, in consequence of there being
two popes, namely, Gregory, who was also called Innocent, and Peter, called Leo, in whose cause
a war broke out between Lothaire, emperor of the Romans, and Roger, duke of Apulia. Both these
princes abounded in wealth, but the first was the most religious as well as superior in dignity;
the latter, to his own confusion, was more liberal with his gold. But the imperial majesty, as
it is fitting and just, surpasses in all things the royal dignity. Each appointed a bishop of
bishops at Rome. Lothaire supported Gregory, who was canonically elected; Roger granted the
papacy of Rome to Peter Leo. But this mutual strife offending the cardinals and the prefect of
the city, they admitted for lucre, first Gregory, expelling Leo, and then Leo, expelling Gregory,
to the apostolic see. At last Gregory, appointed by Lothaire, ruled the see of the apostles.
Peter Leo, the whelp of the ancient Peter the Lion, sits at the Lateran, like another pope.
If both were inspired by the ambition of power, neither was pleasing to God. While they performed
their part in the world, they were reserved for the judgement of God, whose judgements are
profound. In consequence of this great schism having lasted for so many years in the chief of
all the churches throughout the world, a day was fixed by common agreement among the princes
on which a battle, by way of duel, should be fought between the two nations, the Romans and
Apulians, that God, the Omnipotent Judge of all, might give the victory to whom he pleased.
The emperor Lothaire, therefore, although he was suffering from illness, assembled an immense
army, and pitched his camp in Apulia. Roger met him at the head of many thousand troops, both
horse and foot. In the encounter which ensued, by God’s Providence the emperor and his army
obtained the victory, and Roger and his forces were conquered, and fled. The royal crown which
he had caused to be made that he might be crowned king, inlaid with gold and precious stones,
and the royal spear, resplendent with gold, were discovered by treachery, and presented to the
emperor as an acceptable gift. Returning to his own country, he soon afterwards lost his
kingdom and his life. Lewis, king of France, died; and was succeeded by his son Lewis. Stephen,
king of England, returned to England in the month of December, and held his court during
Christmas at Dunstable, a town in Bedfordshire.
A Thuringian Tradition
A.D. 1138. Conrad III, duke of Bavaria, the ninety-ninth emperor of the Romans, and
nephew of Henry the Elder, who had for empress the daughter of Henry, king of England, died
after a reign of twelve years. In former times, a tribe, migrating from the north, reached
the country of Thuringia, intending to settle there; and the inhabitants of that country
granted them a large portion of their territory, as the foreigners requested. The people
increased and multiplied exceedingly. After the lapse of a long period, they refused to pay
the acknowledgement due to the Thuringians. In consequence, both sides met under arms, as is
the custom of that nation, that the debt might be demanded and paid. This was done not once
only, but a second time, without a wound being received on either side; the third time it was
agreed that both parties should meet unarmed, under a guarantee of peace. The great body of
foreigners assembled under an impression of the weakness of the Thuringians, and that their
country was deficient both in counsel and courage for its good government. On the appointed
day they came to the conference, having, by way of caution and self-protection, their long
knives sheathed under their garments. The proceedings were not conducted peaceably, but with
violent disputes. In short, the Thuringians were overcome, the fierce and alien race triumphed;
for, drawing their long knives, they slaughtered many of the Thuringians. These inhabitants
of the land were driven with ignominy from their country and kindred, and nearly all their
territory fell into the hands of those on whom inconstant fortune now smiled. The country
which, up to that time, had been called Thuringia, then changed its name, and, from the
long knives of the conquerors, was afterwards called, not Saxony, but, in the English idiom, SÆxony.
Siege of Bedford—Irruption of the Scots
The festival days of Christmas being ended, Stephen, king of England, to maintain his regal
crown in conformity to his
name,113 put himself at
the head of his army and besieged and took the castle of Bedford, which stood out against him,
as he had before taken that of Exeter. Receiving intelligence by a messenger that his
enemies114 had made an
irruption, and were devastating the lands, burning the vills, and besieging castles and towns,
he marched with a strong force into Northumbria. He did not long remain there, having, with
some difficulty, accomplished the object he had in view. Those who are well acquainted with
the facts, relate that, for nearly six months, a terrible irruption was made by numerous
enemies of different races into Northumbria and the adjacent country, both far and near.
Multitudes were taken, plundered, imprisoned, and tortured; ecclesiastics were put to death
for the sake of the property of their churches; and scarcely any one can compute the number
of the slain on the enemy’s side or our own. On the death of the apostolical Leo Peter,
Innocent succeeded him, all who had taken the part of Peter against him making satisfaction,
and being entirely reconciled to him. This pope consecrated Alberic, abbot of Vercelli,
as bishop of Ostia, on Easter-day, at Rome.
How the Devil, in the shape of a black dwarf, was made a monk
About this time reports of the following miracle were circulated in all quarters. There is
a noble monastery in the arch-diocese of Treves called Prum, dedicated to the apostles St.
Peter and St. Paul, and founded in ancient times by Pepin, king of the Franks, the father
of Charles the Great. A strange occurrence is reported by all who were then inmates of this
monastery. One morning, the cellarer, in company with his servant, having gone into the
wine-vault, for the purpose of procuring wine, as usual, for the sacrifice of the altar,
found one of the casks which he had left full the preceding day emptied down to the
orifice commonly called the bung-hole, and the wine spilled over all the pavement. In great
dismay at the loss which had happened, he chid sharply the servitor who was with him, saying
that he had fixed the spigot very negligently the evening before, and that the loss had
thus occurred. After saying this, he enjoined him, under severe threats, to tell no one
what had happened; fearing that if it came to the abbot’s ears, he would put him out of
his office in disgrace.
When evening came, before the brethren retired to rest, he went into the cellar, and having
carefully secured the bung-holes of the vessels in which wine was contained, shut the door,
and went to bed.
In the morning, on entering the cellar as usual, he perceived that another cask was emptied
as low as the bung-hole, and the wine spilt, as on the preceding day. At this sight, not
knowing to whose negligence he could lay the blame of the waste, he was filled with wonder
and grief, and repeating his commands to the servitor to tell no one what had happened, in
the evening before he went to bed he fastened all the bungs of the casks with the utmost care,
and went to his pallet, sorrowful and anxious. Rising at day-break, and opening the cellar,
he saw, for the third time, that the bung had been extracted from a cask, and that the wine
was spilt as far as the hole. Being terrified, and not without cause, at these occurrences,
and fearing to conceal any longer the loss to the community, he hastened to the abbot, and
throwing himself at his feet, told him, in order, all that he had seen. The abbot, taking
counsel with his brethren, ordered that towards evening the bung-holes of all the casks which
held wine should be anointed round with chrism; which was done. At dawn of day, the
before-mentioned brother going into the cellar according to his custom, found a wonderfully dwarfish black boy clinging by the hands to one of the bungs.
Hastily seizing him, and bringing him to the abbot, he said: “Behold, my lord, this urchin whom you see has done us all the damage which we have discovered in the cellar;” after which he related to him how he had found the boy hanging from the bung. The abbot, astonished at the singular appearance of the boy, took counsel, and ordered that a monk’s dress should be prepared for him, and that he should associate with the youths who were scholars in the monastery. This was done, and as the abbot commanded, the boy lived with the young scholars day and night, but never took meat or drink, and - never spoke either in public or private; while the others were taking repose at night or in the noontide hours, he sat upon his bed, constantly moaning and heaving incessant sighs. Meanwhile, the abbot of another monastery coming to offer his devotions in that church, was detained there for some days, and the scholar-lads frequently passing before him while he sat with the abbot and seniors of the monastery, the little boy, stretching forth his hands towards him, cast a tearful glance on him, as if he wished to ask him some favour.
This being frequently repeated, the abbot, wondering at his diminutive appearance, inquired of those who sat with him why they kept such a little boy in the convent?
They replied, smiling, “My lord, the lad is not what you suppose;” and they told him the loss he had caused them, and how he was found clinging by the hands to the bung of a cask, and how he had conducted himself when living among them. On hearing this, the abbot was alarmed, and, groaning deeply, exclaimed, “Quickly expel him from your monastery, lest you incur greater loss, or serious peril; for he is clearly a devil lurking in human form, but by the mercy of God protecting you, through the merits of the saints, whose relics you have here, he has been unable to do you further injury.” At the command of the abbot of the same monastery, the boy was immediately brought before him, and while they were in the act of stripping off his monastic dress, he vanished from their hands like smoke.
A council at Northampton
Stephen, king of England, held a council at Northampton, in the octave of Easter, which fell on the fourth of the ides [the 10th] of April. Thurstan, archbishop of York, and all the bishops, abbots, earls, barons, and nobles of England took their seats at it. In this council an archdeacon named Robert, the choice of some few, was appointed bishop of the church of Exeter, then vacant by the death of its bishop, William de Warewast. Two abbeys were also given away; that of Winchcombe to a monk of Cluni, as it is said a relation of the king, named Robert; the other, that of York, to a monk of the same abbey. One of these, the abbot-elect of Winchcombe, was ordained abbot of that monastery by the venerable Simon, bishop of Worcester, on the eleventh of the calends of June [22nd May].
Royal visit to Gloucester
The king, breaking up his camp at Northampton, marched towards Gloucester, and when his approach was known, the citizens met him more than five miles on the road with great joy, and conducted him into their city, receiving very graciously the honours they paid him. On his arrival there, on the third Rogation day [10th May,] the monks received him with processional pomp, and he offered on the altar his royal ring, which the king’s chaplains redeemed for fifty shillings and brought back to him the same day. From thence Milo, who was then his constable, conducted him with great honour to the royal palace, where the next day the citizens swore allegiance to him. On the third day, being Thursday, the king returned with his attendants to the abbey, and joyfully assisted at masses and processions in honour of our Lord’s Ascension.
Stephen marches to Hereford
The festival being concluded, the king, having heard that the castle of Hereford was fortified against him, put himself at the head of a powerful expedition, and pitched his camp against it, finding on his arrival that the report he had heard was true. Wherefore he remained there for the space of nearly four or five weeks, and issued orders throughout England that bodies of troops should march to support him in putting down all who opposed his royal title.
Meanwhile, the city of Hereford, below the bridge over the river Wye, was burnt before his eyes. Not long afterwards, the lamentable conflagration of the city of Oxford reached the ears of the king and his court. The garrison of Hereford, perceiving of a surety by the numbers and strength of the royal army, that the king would triumph over them, made terms and surrendered to him. And since Stephen was, nay is,1 a loving and peaceable king, he injured no one, but suffered his enemies to depart free. The king also took the fortified place called Wibbeleage,115 which Geoffrey de Talbot had held against him, but afterwards evacuated. It was by his devices and ability that the king’s adversaries were supported in breaking the peace. The aforesaid castles and that of Hereford were garrisoned by the king’s troops.
Meanwhile, Alberic, the before mentioned bishop of Ostia, came to England commissioned as apostolical legate to root out and destroy, build up and plant, all things that required it. The letters from the apostolical see having been read in the presence of the king and the nobles of England, out of reverence for the apostolical see, he was at length received, though not at first. Making a progress throughout England, he noted everything, and kept in mind whatever needed correction by the provision and appointment of a council.
The king having spent some time at Hereford departed with his troops. The city, thus deprived of the royal presence, was burnt, beyond the river Wye, by the before-named Geoffrey, on the eighteenth of the calends of July [the 15th June], none of our own people, but seven or eight of the Welsh, having been killed. I omit saying anything of the blood-shed of many others, for I am ignorant respecting it; but this I pray:
May Christian souls in everlasting rest
Be with the saints, their warfare ended, blest;
And John corrected, if there ought occur,
In which the reader finds his pages err!
The Bishops arrested
Then the king, when the Nativity of St. John [24th June] was near, proceeded to Oxford, and
hearing that the castle of Devizes was fortified against him, sent messengers to Roger, bishop
of Salisbury, the founder of the castle, who was then at Malmesbury, commanding him to come
and confer with him. It is said that the bishop undertook this journey with great reluctance,
believing that he should never return; taking with him his two nephews, the bishops of
Lincoln and Ely, and a large retinue of mounted and well-armed soldiers. Seeing this, the
king, suspecting treason, ordered his followers to arm themselves and be ready to defend him,
if need should arise. While the king was engaged with the bishops in treating of various
affairs, a furious quarrel arose between the two parties of soldiers respecting their quarters;
and the king’s troops flying to arms, the bishops’ men took to flight, leaving all their
baggage behind. Roger, bishop of Salisbury, with the bishop of Lincoln and his son Roger,
surnamed The Poor, were taken; the bishop of Ely made his escape, and having reached the
castle of Devizes, fortified it and held it against the king. The king, much incensed, went
in pursuit of him, placing the bishops he had arrested in custody; Roger in the crib of an
ox-house, and the other in a mean hut, while he threatened to hang the third, unless the
castle was speedily surrendered to him. Roger finding this, and alarmed for his son, bound
himself by an oath that he would neither eat nor drink until the king had possession of
the castle; which oath he kept, and neither ate nor drank for three days.
Transactions at Bristol and Bath, &c
The king proceeded thence with his royal attendants to London. But Geoffrey de Talbot,
deserting with his followers, went over to the son of the earl of Gloucester, who held
Bristol castle against the king, and devoted himself to its defence. One day, under colour
of giving assistance to a certain straggler, but more, as it subsequently appeared, with a
view to reconnoitre Bath and afterwards assault it, he took his way there in company with
two valiant knights, William Hoset and another. This being discovered, Robert, the bishop
of Bath, thinking to triumph over the king’s enemies, drew out a body of soldiers, and
marched cautiously against him.
Two of them fled, but Geoffrey was taken and placed in custody. The garrison of Bristol,
being much enraged at this, marched to Bath with a threatening aspect under the son of
the earl, their lord, and sent a message to the bishop, threatening that unless their comrade,
Geoffrey, was released, they would hang the bishop and his followers on a gallows. Upon
this, the bishop, apprehensive, like a mercenary soldier, for the lives of himself and his
people, brought forth Geoffrey from custody, and delivered him to them, in compliance with
their demands. When this reached the king’s ears, he was inflamed with anger against the
bishop, regarding him as the abettor of his enemies; and he would probably have taken from
him his pastoral staff, though in so doing he would rather have been actuated by his animosity
than by his love of peace. But as the bishop had acted under restraint and against his will,
the king “gave not place to his wrath,” upon which, according to the apostolical precept,
it is sinful to “let the sun go down.”
Soon afterwards the king moved his army towards Bristol, where, in those times, infernal
cruelties, befitting the reigns of Nero or Decius, were exercised by a kinsman of the earl,
whose name was Philip Gay. By his agency, a variety of bitter torments were invented there,
which, afterwards introduced far and wide in every part of England, nearly reduced the
island to ruin. The king, therefore, having wasted and burnt the lands and vills of the
earl of Gloucester in that neighbourhood, besieged the castle for some time. At last, weary
of the length of the siege, he drew oft to besiege the earl’s other castles, Cariff in Dorsetshire,
116 and Harptree in
Somersetshire, and having constructed forts over against them, and garrisoned them with soldiers,
he departed, and marched with his whole army to attack Dudley Castle, which Ralph Paganel had
fortified against him.
Having given the surrounding country to the flames, and seized and carried off large herds of
cattle, he went by sea, with a large body of troops, to besiege Shrewsbury Castle, which
William Fitz-Allan held against him. Hearing, however, of the king’s approach, he secretly
escaped, with his wife and children, and some others, leaving those in the castle who had
sworn to be true to him, and never surrender it. After the castle had been besieged for some
days, according to the accounts of those who were well-informed, a machine of this sort was
prepared: — A large structure of timber was put together and brought forward; the castle ditch
was filled by the king’s command; fire was kindled; and the smoke, rising in the air,
smothered all. The royal gate having been forced open, the whole garrison attempted to make
their escape miserably, by leaping from or creeping out of the castle; but the king gave orders
that they should be pursued and put to death. Five of the men of highest rank among them were
hung. The enemy being vanquished, the king departed thence and proceeded to attack Wareham;
but a treaty having been entered into, Ralph Paganel and the king made a truce for a time.
Meanwhile, the before-mentioned earl of Bristol, and Milo the constable, having made a league
against the king, and abjured the fealty which they had sworn to him, despatched envoys to
invite the ex-empress, king Henry’s daughter; promising her that within the space of five
months she should be in possession of her father’s kingdom, according to the allegiance which
had been sworn to her in his lifetime. This was the beginning of troubles. This defection,
the most serious of all, nay, almost the concluding one, brought ruin on the whole country.
Irruption of the Scots, and Battle of the Standard
During these events, David, king of Scotland, made a third irruption from the borders of his
kingdom, with large bands both of horse and foot, and began to set on fire farms, towns, and
castles, on the confines of Northumbria, and lay waste nearly all the country. But as he
threatened at last to pursue his inroad as far as York and the Humber, Thurstan, archbishop
of York, had a conference with the Yorkshiremen, and prevailed on them all, with one consent,
to take the oath of fealty to king Stephen, and resist the king of Scots. David, however,
was still more incensed at this, and rejecting all advice to the contrary, and reaching the
river Tees on the octave of the Assumption of St. Mary [22nd August], which happened on a
Monday, he determined to surprise our troops, there being a thick fog in the morning of
that day. Hoping, in consequence, to come upon us unawares, he left many vills untouched,
and would not suffer his men to set fire to any place, as they usually did. Meanwhile, our
troops being warned by a squire, though somewhat late so that they were nearly taken by
surprise, armed themselves, and drew up in order of battle with the utmost despatch,
sending out archers in front, by whom the Scots were severely galled.
Then the king’s barons marched with the knights, having all dismounted and stationed
themselves in the first rank, and thus fought hand-in-hand with the enemy. The conflict
was ended, and victory secured at the very first onset, for the Scots gave way, and either
fell or fled in the greatest alarm. Our men, however, being on foot, and having caused all
their horses to be led to some distance, were unable to continue the pursuit long, otherwise
they would have taken or put to the sword the king himself, with his son, and all his
immediate attendants. Of his army, nearly ten thousand men fell in different places, and
as many as fifty persons of rank were made prisoners. The vanquished king himself escaped
by flight, overwhelmed with terror and shame. His chancellor, William Comyn, was taken by
the bishop of Durham; but being set at liberty, he gave thanks to God, heartily hoping he
should never again fall into such a scrape. The king’s son reached Carlisle on foot,
attended by a single knight; and his father escaped with some difficulty through the woods
and thickets to Roxburgh.
He had led an innumerable army consisting of French, as well as English, Scots, Galwegians,
and the people of all the isles which owed him allegiance, but nineteen only out of two
hundred of his mailed knights carried back their armour; for every one left nearly all
that he had to become the spoil of the enemy, so that an immense booty, both of horses,
arms, and clothing, and many other things, was taken from his army. Eustace Fitz-John, who
had joined his expedition, met with a similar fate, having been wounded, and barely escaping
with life 1to his castle. Among the valiant men who, in Christ’s name, .fought on behalf
of king Stephen, were the earl of Albemarle, Bernard de Baliol, and many others, but the
earl was distinguished for his bravery in the battle.
On his return, the king of Scots, in order to encourage his adherents and console himself,
laid siege with all his force, and various engines and machines, to the castle of Wark, or
Carron, belonging to Walter d’ Epec, from which he had been driven by the earl of Mellent;
but the garrison making a stout and desperate resistance, he had no success, for they made
frequent sallies, and either cut in pieces or burnt his engines, besides killing many of
his soldiers; wherefore, at last, he despaired of being able to take it.
Atmospheric phenomena—Great wealth left by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury
On the seventh day of the month of October, when the moon was twenty-nine days old, in the
dusk of the evening before Saturday, the whole firmament towards the north appeared of a
red colour, and rays of various hues were seen blended and flitting. Perhaps these signs
portended the vast effusion of blood in Northumberland, and many other places throughout
England, of which we have spoken. A most pious monk, named William, belonging to the
cell of Eye, having been elected, was ordained abbot of Pershore by Simon, bishop of
Worcester, on Sunday, the twelfth of the calends of December [20th November]. Roger,
bishop of Salisbury, a great builder of castles and fortified mansions, being worn to
death with grief and vexation, died at his episcopal seat on the second of the nones
[the 4th] of December, and was buried in that church, leaving in his castles immense
sums of money, which fell not into the hands of God, but of king Stephen. There are
those who say that more than forty thousand silver marks were found there, and that
he had likewise hoarded a vast amount of gold, and a variety of ornaments, and knew
not for whom he had gathered them. He enriched the church dedicated to St. Mary,
mother of God, with magnificent ornaments.
A Synod held at London
In the year of our Lord 1138, and in the ninth of the pontificate of pope Innocent,
and the third of the reign of king Stephen, a synod was held at London, in the church
of St. Peter the apostle, at Westminster, on the thirteenth of the month of December.
In this synod, after much canvassing, sixteen canons were published with universal consent.
It was presided over by Alberic, bishop of Ostia, the legate of the said lord pope in
England and Scotland; and attended by the bishops of different dioceses, to the number
of seventeen, by about thirty abbots, and an immense multitude of the clergy and people.
A new Abbot at Gloucester
A.D. 1139. The feast of our Lord’s Nativity being passed, and that of the
Purification of St. Mary, his mother, drawing nigh, the venerable father Walter, abbot
of Gloucester, gave up the ghost about the third hour of the day, after holding his
preferment nine years and a half; he was buried by the venerable abbots, Reynold of
Evesham, and Roger of Tewksbury, on the sixth of the ides [the 8th] of February. After
his interment, two of the brethren were sent to Cluni to fetch our1 lord-elect, Gilbert;
king Stephen having, on the report of his eminent worth, and at the request of Milo,
his constable, conferred upon him at London the preferment of the abbey of Gloucester.
Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, Simon, bishop of Worcester, Roger, bishop of Coventry,
Robert, bishop of Exeter, and Reynold, abbot of Evesham, having been unanimously chosen,
proceeded by the pope’s command to the threshold of St. Peter. On their arrival, they
were received with great honour by the apostolic see, and allowed seats in the Roman
council, a circumstance without parallel for many ages before. Having there freely
opened their business, they returned home with joy, bringing with them the synodal decrees,
now recorded far and wide throughout England. The two monks who had been sent to bring
over the lord-abbot Gilbert, also returned in safety, and presented him to king Stephen,
who received him graciously, and conferred on him, to hold freely, the fief of the church
of Gloucester. He came to Worcester on the feast of Whitsuntide, which fell on the third
of the ides [the llth] of June, and was there ordained, with great rejoicings and divine
lauds, by the venerable Robert, bishop of Hereford; and going from thence on the following
day, was installed at Gloucester with great joy and exultation, and the acclamations of
the commonalty of both orders, in a manner befitting such a man in the Lord.
King Stephen at Worcester, Hereford, and Oxford
Within the octave of Easter, which happened on the second of the calends of May [30th April],
Stephen, the magnificent king of England, coming to Worcester, with a royal retinue, was
received with great festivity by the clergy and the people of the city and neighbourhood,
in solemn procession. The prayers being ended, and the blessing given as usual, the king
took his royal ring from his finger, and offered it on the altar; and on the morrow it was
returned to him, by common consent of the monks. Therefore the king, remarking with surprise
the humility and devotion of the flock of the church of Worcester, yea, rather of the Lord,
took back his ring, as he had been adjured to do for the love of St. Mary, mother of God.
After his departure from Worcester, the king encamped at Ludlow, where he caused forts to
be erected in two positions, and stationed strong bodies of troops in them to assault the
castle, which held out against him; and then returning, by way of Worcester, marched towards London.
Some of the soldiers, unsparing in their execrable warfare, and driven by their headstrong
courage, determined to try their strength on Ludlow. To accomplish this undertaking, large
bodies of troops began to flock together. It was truly a pitiable sight to behold one poising
his spear against another, and running him through; thus putting him to death, without
thinking what would be the judgement the spirit would receive. But king Stephen checked such
designs, by the terror of his threats; and going a second time to Ludlow, by way of Worcester,
settled all things peaceably, and then made a quiet and joyful journey to Oxford — that is,
the ox-ford. While he stayed there, a charge of rebellion urgently requiring it, he arrested
Roger, bishop of Salisbury, and his nephew, the bishop of Lincoln, and also Roger, his
chancellor, for engaging in a treasonable conspiracy against his crown, and committed them
to custody. On hearing this, Nigel, bishop of Ely, fearing for himself and his adherents,
fled with a body of soldiers to Devizes, that he might find protection there. The case of
these bishops has been already more fully stated in this work; but it appears to have been
brought to a point in the present year.
In a council afterwards held it was enacted that all fortified towns, castles, and strong
places whatever, throughout England, devoted mainly to secular purposes, should submit to
the jurisdiction of the king and his barons; but that churchmen, namely, the bishops, whom
I will call God’s watch-dogs, should not cease to bark in defence of their flock, and take
every care lest the invisible wolf, their malignant foe, should tear and scatter the sheep.
The Empress and the Earl, her Brother, land in England
In the month of October, the earl of Gloucester, son of king Henry, late king of England,
but a bastard, with his sister by the father’s side, formerly empress of the Romans, and
now countess of Anjou, returned to England with a large army, and landed at Portsmouth,
before the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula, on the calends [the 1st] of August, while the king
was besieging Marlborough; and their arrival filled all England with alarm. On receiving
this intelligence, Stephen, king of England, was much disturbed in his mind, and in great wrath with those whose duty it was vigilantly to guard the sea-ports. He is the king of peace, and would that he were also the king of vigour and justice, treading under foot his enemies, determining all things by the balance of equal justice, and in the power of his might protecting and strengthening the friends of peace.
When, however, he learned that the ex-queen
117 had received
the ex-empress, with her large band of retainers, at Arundel, he was much displeased, and
marched his army thither. But she, being awed by the king’s majesty, and fearing that she
might lose the rank she held in England, swore solemnly that no enemy of his had come to
England on her invitation; but that, saving her dignity, she had granted hospitality to
persons of station, who were formerly attached to her. The king, on hearing this, dismissed
her, and ordered the bishop of Winchester to conduct the ex- empress with honour, as she was
his cousin, to her brother, at Bristol castle, while he himself went in pursuit of the earl.
But hearing nothing certain about him, for he had taken to certain by-roads for a time, he
led his troops to another quarter, as he had planned. Milo, the constable, having abjured his
oath of allegiance to the king, went over to the earl of Gloucester, his liege-lord, with a
large body of troops, promising him on his fealty to lend him help against the king. The
calamities which flowed from this quarter, namely, the city of Bristol, and spread over all
England, are beyond the knowledge or eloquence of man to describe; for of those who opposed
him, or obeyed the royal authority, as many as could be taken were made prisoners, and all
the captives were thrown into chains, and subjected to horrible tortures. New varieties of
cruel punishment were invented; mercenary troops were enlisted in every direction for carrying
on the work of destruction, to whom was given, or sold for their pay, the inhabitants of the
villages and farms, with all their goods and substance.
The Empress at Bristol Castle—Cruelties at Gloucester
This lady stayed at Bristol more than two months, receiving homage from all, and exercising
the prerogatives of the crown of England at her pleasure. She went there in the month
of October, and came on the eighteenth of the calends of November [10th October] to
Gloucester, where she received the submission and homage of the citizens and the people
of the neighbourhood. But tortures worthy of Decius and Nero, and death in various shapes,
were inflicted on those who refused to do her homage, and chose to maintain their fealty
to the king; and the city, glorious in past ages, was filled with shrieks and fearful
torments, and became horrible to those who inhabited it. In the midst of these miseries
the king laid siege to the castle of Wallingford, which stood out against him. Weary of
the long siege, and having erected forts in opposition to it, he marched away, and encamped
near Malmesbury, where he also threw up works against his adversaries, the authors of rebellion.
The City and Cathedral of Worcester Sacked
Meanwhile sad tidings came to the ears of the citizens of Worcester. It was generally reported
that the city would, ere long, be sacked by the enemy, and, having been pillaged, be set on fire.
Terrified by these reports, the citizens of Worcester consulted as to what was best to be done.
After this council they had recourse for refuge in their misery to the sanctuary of the most high
God the Father, and his most blessed Mother, and committed themselves and all theirs to his
divine protection, under their patron saints, SS. Oswald and Wulfstan, bishops of that city.
Then might be seen crowds of the citizens carrying their goods into the church. Oh, wretched
sight! Behold the house of God, which should have been entered with oblations, where the sacrifice
of praise should have been offered, and the most solemn vows paid, seems now but a warehouse for
furniture! Behold the principal conventual church of the whole diocese is converted into quarters
for the townsmen, and a sort of council-chamber; for little room is left for the servants of God
in a hostelry crowded with chests and sacks. Within is heard the chaunt of the clergy, without the
wailing of children; and the notes of the choir are mingled with the sobs of infants at the breast,
and the cries of sorrowing mothers. Oh, misery of miseries to behold! There stands the high altar,
stripped of its ornaments, the crucifix removed, and the image of Mary, the most holy Mother of God,
taken away. Curtains and palls, albs and copes, stoles and chasubles, are secreted in recesses of
the walls. All that gave grace and pomp to the celebration of divine service, on the festivals of
the saints, all the wonted magnificence, had vanished. These things were all put out of the way,
from fear of the enemy, lest he should come upon them by surprise, and sweeping off all he could
lay hands on, succeed in his insane enterprise.
In the beginning of the winter, one morning at day-break, namely, on Tuesday, the seventh of the
ides [the 7th] of November, when we were engaged in the church at lauds,
119 and had already chaunted
primes, behold the reports we had heard for many days were realised. A numerous and powerful army
arrived from the south, the centre of mischief. The city of Gloucester had risen in arms, and,
supported by a countless host of horse and foot, marched to attack, pillage, and burn the city of
Worcester. We now, in alarm for the treasures of the sanctuary, put on our albs, and, while the
bells tolled, bore the relics of Oswald, our most gentle patron, out of the church, in suppliant
procession; and, as the enemy were rushing in from one gate to the other, carried them through the
cemetery. The enemy, collected in a body, hasten first to assault a strong fort, which stands in the
southern quarter of the city, near the castle. Our people make a brave and obstinate resistance.
The enemy being repulsed at this point, as beacons were lighted on the north side of the city, they
endeavour to make an entrance in that quarter. There being no fortifications on that side, the entire
host rushes tumultuously in, mad with fury, and sets fire to the houses in many parts. Alas! a
considerable portion of the city is destroyed, but most of it remains standing and unburnt. Immense
plunder is carried off, consisting of chattels of all kinds, from the city, and of oxen, sheep, cattle,
and horses from the country. Many people are taken in the streets and suburbs, and dragged into
miserable captivity, coupled like hounds. Whether they have the means, or have them not, whatever
their cruel foes fix for their ransom they are forced to promise on oath to pay, and to discharge
the amount. These things are done on the first day of a winter, which will, doubtless, be very severe
to the wretched sufferers.
And now, the plunder being carried off, and numbers of buildings burnt, the host of fierce revellers
draw off, never to return on such a foul enterprise. The earl [probably Waleran earl of Mellent] came
to Worcester on the thirteenth of November, and, beholding the ravages of the flames, mourned over
the city, and felt that the evil was done to himself. Wherefore, burning for revenge, he hastened to
Sudely, with a body of troops, having heard that John Fitz-Harold had revolted against the king, and
joined the earl of Gloucester. If it be inquired what the earl did there, the reply is such as it is
scarcely fit to record : returning evil for evil, he seized the people, their goods, and cattle; and,
carrying them off, returned the next day to Worcester.
King Stephen at Worcester and Hereford
After these events, the king, with a large army, marched from Oxford to Worcester; and, having
before his eyes what he had before heard of its disaster, he mourned over it. Halting there for
three or four days, he conferred the dignity of constable, of which he had deprived Milo of
Gloucester, on William, the son of Walter de Beauchamp, sheriff of Worcestershire. Here a report
reached the king that his enemies, having violated their sworn promises of peace, had assaulted
Hereford, and forced an entrance into the monastery of St. Ethelbert, king and martyr, as if
it had been a fortified castle.
The king, therefore, put himself in march, and encamped at Little Hereford, or Leominster,
where some of the inhabitants, taking counsel, swore fealty to him; while others refusing,
sent him this message: “Although we will not swear, the king may, if he pleases, trust to the
truth of our words.” The holy days of Advent being close at hand [3rd December], a truce was
agreed on between them, and the king returned to Worcester, where a certain clerk of eminent
piety, Maurice by name, who had been elected by the clergy and people to the church of Bangor,
was presented to the king at the castle, by Robert, bishop of Hereford, and Sigefrid, bishop
of Chichester, who, bearing him company, attested his canonical election and fitness for the
office of bishop; and the king confirmed the appointment. But being urged by the bishops to
do homage to the king, he replied that he could in no wise do so. “There is,” he said, “among
us a man of great piety, whom I consider as my spiritual father, and who was archdeacon to my
predecessor David, and he forbade me to take this oath.” To which they made answer, “Reason
requires that you should do as we have done.” Whereupon he said, “If you, who are men of high
authority, have done this, I will not further hesitate to do the same.” He therefore swore
fealty to the king.
King Stephen goes to Oxford, and thence to Salisbury.
From Worcester the king proceeded to Oxford, and from thence, with his court, to Salisbury,
where he intended to celebrate the feast of Christmas, and, as was the royal custom, to wear
his crown. The canons presented him with two thousand pounds, and he granted them entire
exemption from all taxes on their lands; moreover, he gave them twenty marks for their own use,
and forty for roofing the church; and promised that when peace was restored, he would refund
to them what they had bestowed upon him.
The King at Reading—Marches against Ely
A.D. 1140. A few days after Christmas, the king and his court
proceeded to Reading, where a lesson is taught by the lot of mortals concerning the little
value of kingly pomp. While there, by the advice of his council, he gave pastors of their
own to two abbeys, Malmesbury and Abbotsbury, which bishop Roger, as long as he lived, had
shorn of their honours and kept in his own hands. Malmesbury abbey he bestowed on John, a
monk of great worth, and that of Abbotsbury on another named Geoffrey. Then, in order to
secure peace, and put an end to warfare, which I call a vain thing, he prepared an expedition
against Ely; a measure much to be deplored, because it tended to increase the arrogance of
the soldiery, by satisfying their love of vain glory. They enlist themselves, they accept the
terms, they array themselves in arms, and the conqueror seizes all that belongs to the
vanquished, according to stipulations founded on the detestable love of gain; and, if I may
compare great things with small, they whisper to one another, like Judah and his brother
Jonathan, dwelling in the land of Gilead, to Joseph and Azarias: “Let us also get us a
name, and go fight against the heathen that are round about us.” They deal wounds with
sword and spear, little heeding what will be the fate of the miserable souls of the slain.
During the rebellion of those who revolted against the king, many on both sides were wounded,
taken prisoners, and thrown into confinement. The bishop of Ely, finding the valour of the
king and the impetuosity of his troops, gave way, nay, fled like a hireling, and retiring
to the neighbourhood of Gloucestershire, went over to earl Robert. Nor was it to be wondered
at, for he had lost, as it were, his right hand, when his uncle, Roger, bishop of Salisbury,
died. The king took possession of Ely castle, and placed his own soldiers in it.
Thurstan, Archbishop of York, retires to Pontefract
Thurstan, the twenty-sixth archbishop of York in succession, a man advanced in years and full
of days, put off the old man and put on the new, retiring from worldly affairs, and becoming
a monk at Pontefract, on the twelfth of the ides of February [21st January], and departing
this life in a good old age, on the nones [the 5th] of February, he lies buried there.
Winchcombe and other places attacked
Milo, the ex-constable, having assembled a numerous body of troops, assaulted Winchcombe
on Thursday, the second of the calends of February [31st January], and burnt the greatest
part of the place, which he plundered; and carried off those whom he had stripped of
their goods, to exact from them, most unjustly, the Mammon of unrighteousness [in the
shape of ransom]. Thence he diverged to Sudely, but whilst he was meditating an attack,
the royal garrison of the place fell on him, and forced him to retreat, leaving, as it
is reported, two of his men dead on the spot, and fifteen taken prisoners. The king and
the earl of Worcester came with a large army to Worcester, and after a few days, the earl
first, and then the king, advanced to Little Hereford in great force, for the purpose of
driving out their enemies. During the king’s abode in those parts, the earl, mindful of
the injuries received from his townsmen, attacked Tewkesbury with a strong body of men-at-arms,
and burnt the magnificent house of the earl of Gloucester, which was within a mile of
Gloucester, and everything in its vicinity, as well as some property belonging to others;
but, yielding to the supplications of the lord abbot and monks of Tewkesbury, he spared
their possessions. Having taken much spoil, both of men and of their goods and cattle, he was
moved by clemency to order the release of the captives, and permit them to return to their homes;
and on the morrow he returned to Worcester, declaring to all that he had scarcely ever made
such a conflagration either in Normandy or England. The king, also, on his return to Worcester,
set forward on the road to Oxford.
The before-mentioned Maurice and Uhtred were consecrated bishops of Bangor and Llandaff by
Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by the bishops of Hereford and Exeter. The king,
on his arrival at Winchester, by the advice of his barons, gave the bishopric of Salisbury
to Philip, his chancellor, and the abbey of Fécamp to Henry, a monk who was his kinsman.
The sun was eclipsed while the moon was in the tail of the Dragon, but it illumined the head.
A compact was made between Philip, king of France, and Stephen, king of England, after consulting
their barons, that Stephen’s son should marry the sister of the king of France. The
betrothal took place abroad in the month of February, in the presence of the queen-mother of
England and a great number of English nobles there assembled.
Robert Fitz-Hubert, a Freebooter
There was a certain knight, whose name was Robert, the son of a nobleman named Hubert.
This man, fearing neither God nor man, but trusting solely to his own might, took the
castle of Malmesbury by a well-devised stratagem. Some of the king’s knights, who were
quartered there, took refuge in the church of St. Aldhelm, the bishop, for sanctuary.
Pressing these to surrender, he one day burst into the chapter-house of the monks, at
the head of armed men, and with terrible threats required them, on pain of confiscation
of their property, to give up the illustrious royalists, with their horses. They, however,
in horror at permitting the peace of God, and their patron, St. Aldhelm, being broken,
refused to consent to his demand; but at last, although reluctantly, to appease his fury,
they gave up the horses. After Robert Fitz-Hubert had held the castle for some time,
and had exhausted the whole neighbourhood by his ravages, the king came to its succour,
and besieged the place for nearly eight days. William d’Ypres, a kinsman, they say, of
this Robert, was the go-between for the surrender of the castle, and settled, at last,
with the king, terms of peace— the castle being given up, with entire submission to his
royal rights; which was done.
Meanwhile, Robert joined the earl of Gloucester, proposing to stay with him for a time,
but all the while meditating treachery. Not long afterwards, as he had neither sense nor
inclination to follow a right course, but still thirsted for blood, he betook himself,
with his own retainers, to Devizes, without the earl’s knowledge; and having first made
a compact with his followers, that the castle, once taken, should never be surrendered,
he scaled the wall by force or
stratagem,120 and sounded
the note of triumph to the king’s soldiers in the garrison, stormed by surprise the
exterior forts, and made many the victims of his cruelty. Four days afterwards, by force
or fraud, he got possession of the citadel within, and, in the pride of his heart, ravaged
every part of the neighbourhood by day and by night, doing incessantly all the damage he
could. At last, he repaired to John, a knight of renown, who then held the castle of
Marlborough under fealty to the king, and required him, with threats, to follow his advice,
or rather his injunction, and agree with him and hold with him in wreaking his satanic malice,
not only on the king, but on the earl and every one else; menacing him, on his refusal,
that he should forfeit his life when he least expected it. John replied: “In the name of God,
I would rather make another man my prisoner than be taken myself;” and immediately seized
him, and throwing him into confinement, in just retaliation caused all the tortures which
he had inflicted on others to be exhausted on himself.
The earl of Gloucester, and Milo, the ex-constable, hearing of these occurrences, came to
the said John, with many followers, and the earl promised to give him five hundred marks,
on condition that he should deliver Robert to him on a set day, upon receiving good hostages
from himself. John, won over by the promise of the money and the hostages, delivered Robert
to the earl, on the terms of his being restored to him within fifteen days. This compact
being made, the earl returned to Gloucester, taking Robert with him. They then treated
respecting the castle of Devizes, of which the earl required at his hands a voluntary surrender.
Robert, however, refused, being loth to break the oath he had made to his comrades, that the
castle should never be given up. But being terrified by threats of being hung on a gallows,
in order to save his life, he engaged to yield to the demand. Within the time fixed by the
agreement, this ruffian was led back to the presence of John; to whom the earl told all that
had happened, and how John, terrified by his threats, had promised to deliver up the castle.
He also requested him again to permit Robert to accompany him to Devizes, pledging himself
that if he should chance to obtain possession of the castle, it should be given up to John,
to be held under fealty to him. The earl’s proposal being acceded to, he immediately returned
to Devizes with Robert. In the meantime, the said John sent letters to all, both within and
without the castle, assuring them, on his solemn oath, that neither he nor the earl would do
any injury to Robert; any how, they were to see to it that their oath not to give up the castle
to any one was faithfully adhered to. The earl returned to Gloucester, leaving the ex-constable
and a man of great power, named Humphrey, with some others, behind him; with general orders that,
if Robert refused to make a voluntary surrender of the castle, he should be hung.
... Relictis ex-constabulario et quodam potenti viro Hunfrido et quibusdam aliis, comes Glaorniam
revertitur, mandans omnibus ut si Rotbertus renueret sponte reddere castellum, suspenderetur.
End of Oxford manuscript, page 396
Robert did refuse, and his friends refused also, lest they should appear perjured. Soon after his
two nephews had been hanged, he was taken and hanged also. All praise be to God who delivered up