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From The Annals of Roger de Hoveden, Comprising the History of England and of Other Countries of Europe from A.D. 732 to A.D. 1201, Translated from the Latin with Notes and Illustrations by Henry T. Riley, Esq., Volume I, London: H.G. Bohn, 1853; pp. 211-226.

Volume I.

[Part 20: 1119-1136 A.D.]


To these requests he made answer, that he would give up none of these particulars that belonged to him of right, and which the ancient customs of his ancestors had conferred upon him. At length, however, being prevailed upon by the authority of the general council, he conceded the first three points; but the last, namely, the right of investiture in ecclesiastical matters, he would not concede; in consequence of which, on the pope returning to the council, sentence of excommunication was pronounced against him. Some who were present at the council being indignant at this, the successor of the Apostles gave his commands that those who were offended thereat, should go forth and separate themselves from the society of their brethren, quoting the example of those seventy who, being offended as to eating the flesh of our Lord and
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212 drinking his blood,1 returned home, and no longer walked with him; and ”inasmuch as,” he said, ”he who gathereth not with the Lord, scattereth; and he who is not with him, is against him, and that tunic which is not sewn together but woven, namely, the Holy Church, those who think with us are unwilling to have rent asunder, while those who differ from us are striving to rend it asunder.” The successor of the Apostles having spoken to this effect, forthwith all were brought round to the same opinion, and sentence of excommunication was fulminated against the emperor Henry.

At length, some days after the council had broken up, Henry, king of the English, being offended at archbishop Turstin, because he had caused himself to be consecrated without his consent, and not in the way that ancient usage required, forbade him to return to any place in his dominions. After this, pope Calixtus came to Gisors, where the king of the English came to meet him, for the purpose of holding a conference. Many things were treated of between them, on account of which it was right that such great personages should meet; and, among the rest, the king obtained the pope’s consent that he would grant him all the liberties his father had possessed in England and Normandy, and especially that he would allow no one to fill the office of legate at any time in England, unless he himself (on any important difference arising which could not be put an end to by the bishops of his kingdom) requested this to be done by the pope. All these points being settled for the present, the pope requested the king to become reconciled to Turstin, and in consideration of his love towards himself, his restoration to the archbishopric to which he himself had consecrated him. But the king confessed that he had vowed upon his faith that he would not do so, as long as he lived; to which the pope made reply: ”I am the successor of the Apostles, and, if you do what I ask, will release you from the stringency of this oath.” ”I will discuss the matter,” said the king, ”and notify to you the result of my determination.” Upon this, the pope withdrew, and the king, by messengers, gave him this answer upon the subject: ”I will admit Turstin to the archbishopric upon condition, that he pay that obedience to the church of Canterbury which his predecessors did, otherwise, so long as I reign,
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213 he shall not preside over the see of York.” Matters being then concluded, the successor of the Apostles took his departure, and Turstin remained in France.

William, the son of king Henry and queen Matilda, a youth of seventeen years of age, this year took to wife the daughter of the earl of Anjou. Baldwin, earl of Flanders, died of the effects of a wound which he had received at Eu.

In the year 1120, Henry, king of the English, and Louis, king of the Franks, after many losses on both sides, on a day appointed, held a conference; at which, peace having been made by mutual consent, by the command of king Henry, his son, William, did homage to the king of the Franks, and received under him the principality of Normandy; and thus, the kings departing in peace, the whole of the seditions which had raged throughout Normandy were suppressed, and those who had raised their arms against their lord, king Henry, having bowed their necks to his dominion, returned to obedience. And, inasmuch as archbishop Turstin had shown himself both vigilant and active in effecting a reconciliation between the kings, in consequence of his usefulness, he rendered the king’s feelings more inclined to sanction his return. In addition to this, as the king was preparing to return to England, a letter came directed to him from the successor of the Apostles, enjoining him to receive archbishop Turstin, and, all other pretexts and excuses set aside, to restore him to his see. But in reply to this precept, the king deferred until his return to England what answer to give, in order that, having assembled his council there, he might consider with more mature deliberation what was to be done.

By the king’s command, the chief men of Normandy did homage to his son William, a youth then just eighteen years of age; they also swore fealty to him, confirming it by oath. After this, all who had rebelled against him being either conquered or reconciled, and every thing prosperously concluded according to his wish, the fifth year after he had gone thither being not yet completed, the king returned to England by ship in better spirits than usual. To his son and all his retinue he had given a ship, a better one than which there did not seem to be in all the fleet, but as the event proved, there was not one more unfortunate; for while his father preceded him, the son followed somewhat more tardily, but with a still more unhappy
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214 result. For the ship, when not far from land, while in full sail, was driven upon the rocks which are called Chaterase, and being wrecked, the king’s son, with all who were with him, perished on the sixth day before the calends of December, being the fifth day of the week, at nightfall, near Barbeflet.2 In the morning, the king’s treasures which were on board the ship, were found on the sands, but none of the bodies of those lost.

There perished with the king’s son, his illegitimate brother, earl Richard, together with the king’s daughter,3 the wife of Rotrou; Richard, earl of Chester, with his wife, the king’s niece, and sister of earl Tedbald, the king’s nephew. There also perished Othoel, the governor of the king’s son, Geoffrey Riddell, Robert Maldint,4 William Bigot, and many other men of rank; also several noble women with no small number of the king’s children; besides one hundred and forty soldiers, with fifty sailors and three pilots. A certain butcher was the only person who made his escape, by clinging to a plank of the wrecked vessel. The king having had a fair voyage, on reaching England, thought that his son had entered some other port; but on the third day he was afflicted with the sad tidings of his death, and at first, from the suddenness of the calamity, fainted away, as though a person of weak mind; but afterwards, concealing his grief, in contempt of fortune he resumed his kingly spirits. For this son being the only one left him by lawful wedlock, he had named him heir to the kingdom in succession to himself.

In the year 1121, at the Purification of Saint Mary, having assembled the council of the whole of England at Windsor, Henry, king of the English, took in marriage Adeline, the daughter of Godfrey, duke of Lorraine. Richard, the king’s chaplain, was elected bishop of Hereford, and Robert Peche,5 another royal chaplain, bishop of Coventry. Herbert, almoner of Saint Peter’s at Westminster, was chosen abbat of that place. Edwin, a monk of the church of Canterbury, having been elected in the preceding year bishop of Saint Andrew’s in Scotland, gave up his intention of ruling that see and
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215 returned to his former place. William Deschapelles, bishop of Chalons, departed this life on the fifteenth day before the calends of February, having assumed the monastic habit eight days before his death.

There came a letter from pope Calixtus, relative to Turstin, directed to king Henry and Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, in which he interdicted the latter from all sacerdotal and episcopal duties; and both in the mother church of Canterbury, and in the principal church at York, together with its provinces, forbade the celebration of all divine offices together with the burial of the dead, except the baptism of infants and the absolution of the dying,6 unless within one month after the receipt of that letter, Turstin should be, without exacting the profession of obedience, restored to his archbishopric.

In the same year, after Easter, pope Calixtus departed from the city with a large body of men, and besieged the city of Sutri, until he took both Bourdin the anti-pope and the place itself, as the subjoined letter will more plainly show.

”Calixtus the bishop, servant of the servants of God, to his dearly beloved brethren and sons, the archbishops, bishops, abbats, priors, and others, both clergy and laity, the faithful servants of Saint Peter throughout the Gauls, health, and the apostolic benediction. Because the people have forsaken the law of the Lord, and walk not in his judgments, the Lord visits their iniquities with a rod, and their sins with stripes. But retaining the bowels of paternal affection, those who put trust in his mercy he does not repel; though for a long time, their sins so requiring, the faithful of the church have been disturbed by Bourdin, that idol of the king of Germany; some indeed have been taken captives, and others through starvation in prison have been afflicted unto death. Lately, however, after celebrating the feast of Easter, when we could no longer passively endure the complaints of the pilgrims and of the poor, we left the city with the faithful servants of the church, and laid siege to Sutri, until the Divine power delivered the before-named Bourdin, the enemy of the church, who had there made a nest for the devil, as well as the place itself, entirely into our hands. We beg your brotherly love therefore, with us to return thanks to the King of kings for benefits so great, and
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216 that you will remain most firmly in your obedience to the Catholic church, and in your duty to God, as you will receive from Almighty God, through His grace, the recompense for so doing, both here and hereafter. We beg also, that this our letter be sent from one to the other, all negligence laid aside. Done at Sutri, on the fifth day before the calends of May.”

In this year, the daughter of Fulk, earl of Anjou, formerly the wife of William, the son of king Henry, who had been drowned, was, at the request of her father, sent back by the king to her own country. The sons of the king of the Welch, on hearing of the death of Richard, earl of Chester, burning two castles and slaying many men, laid waste, with great ravages, some places in that earldom. King Henry, being indignant at this, having levied an innumerable army throughout all England, marched for the purpose of ravaging Wales; but, on his arrival at Snawedun,7 the king of the Welch was reconciled to the king, appeasing him by presents and hostages, and, shortly after, the army returned home. At this period, king Henry having, by digging, made a long trench from Torkesey as far as Lincoln, by turning into it the river Trent made a passage for shipping. Ranulph, bishop of Durham, also began a castle at Norham, on the banks of the river Tweed. On the vigil of the Nativity of our Lord, an unusual wind blew down not only houses, but even towers built of stone.

In the year 1122, king Henry was at Windsor during the festival of the Nativity, at Easter, at Northampton, and during Pentecost, at Windsor; whence he proceeded to London and Kent, and afterwards to Durham, in Northumbria. In the same year, died Ralph, archbishop of Canterbury, and John, bishop of Bath.

In the year 1123, during the festival of the Nativity, king Henry was at Dunstable, and thence proceeded to Berkhampstead. Here, a certain chancellor of the king, Ranulph by name, who had been afflicted with a malady for twenty years, but who had always gloried at court in his wickedness, being ready for all crimes, oppressing the innocent, and plundering the lands of many, while escorting the king to entertain him at his house, on coming to the top of a hill whence his castle could be seen, was so elated in spirits that he fell off
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217 his horse, and a monk galloped over him;8 in consequence of which he was so crushed that he ended his life in a few days. The king went thence attended by Robert, bishop of Lincoln, on his road to Woodstock; where the bishop being attacked by a sudden malady, lost his speech, and, being carried to an inn, soon afterwards breathed forth his spirit.9 This happened on the tenth day of the month of January.

In the year 1124, at the feast of the Purification, the king gave the archbishopric of Canterbury to William de Curbuil, prior of the canons of Chiche.10 After this, at Easter, king Henry, when at Winchester, gave the bishopric of Lincoln to Alexander, the nephew of Roger, bishop of Salisbury, justiciary of all England; he also gave the bishopric of Bath to Godfrey, the queen’s chancellor, and about Pentecost, crossed the sea; on which a dispute arising, the earl of Mellent revolted from him; whereupon the king laid siege to his castle, the name of which is Pontaudemer, and took it.

In the year 1125, great success smiled on the king; for William de Tankerville, the king’s chamberlain, fighting a pitched battle with him, took the above-named earl of Mellent prisoner, together with Hugh de Montfort, his brother-in-law, and Hugh FitzGervaise, and delivered them to the king; on which he placed them in confinement. In the same year died Teulph, bishop of Worcester, and Ernulph, bishop of Rochester.

In the year 1126, king Henry remained during the whole of the year in Normandy, and there gave the bishopric of Worcester to Simon, the queen’s clerk, and that of Chichester to Sefrid, abbat of Glastonbury. William, archbishop of
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218 Canterbury, also gave the bishopric of Rochester to John, his archdeacon. At Easter, John of Crema, a Roman cardinal, came over to England, and, after visiting the bishoprics and abbeys, not without great presents, at the nativity of Saint Mary held a solemn synod at London, where a great mishap befell him.

For, having at the synod spoken in the severest terms relative to the wives of the clergy, saying that it was the greatest wickedness to arise from the side of a harlot to make the body of Christ, while he himself had that same day made the body of Christ, he was, after nightfall, surprised in the company of a harlot. The thing being thus notorious throughout London, could not be denied; and thus the great honor which he was held everywhere previously, was turned into the greatest disgrace. He returned home, therefore, by the judgment of God, in confusion and disgrace.

In the same year died Henry, emperor of the Romans, son-in-law of Henry, king of the English. But by some it is alleged that the same emperor, being led by a feeling of penitence for having killed his own father, after having gone on a certain night, according to his usual custom, to the bed of the empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry, king of the English, the lights being put out and the servants having withdrawn, retired barefoot and dressed in woollen garments, leaving behind the imperial vestments, his wife, and his kingdom, and was never after seen, nor was it discovered what became of him. On this, the empress, taking with her the uncorrupted hand of Saint James the Apostle, and the imperial crown, returned to king Henry, her father. After the decease or departure of the emperor Henry, Lothaire succeeded to the throne. Henry, king of the English, being greatly rejoiced at gaining the hand of Saint James the Apostle, founded the noble abbey of Reddinges,11 and enriched it with many valuables, and placed in it the hand of Saint James the Apostle; the imperial crown he placed in his own treasury.

The moneyers throughout almost the whole of England, were, by king’s order, seized for having secretly debased the coin, and, their right hands being first cut off, were then deprived of their virility. In this year there was a great famine, and so great was the dearness of provisions, that no one in our time
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219 has seen the like, for a horse-load of corn was sold at the price of six shillings. In this year, also, William, archbishop of Canterbury, Turstin, archbishop of York, and Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, went to Rome.

In the year 1127, during the Nativity, and Easter, and Pentecost, king Henry remained in Normandy, and, having made an honorable peace with the king of France, before the feast of Saint Michael this most victorious king returned to England, and brought with him his daughter the empress, the widow of so great a man, as previously mentioned. In this year, also, Robert, bishop of Chester, died.

In the year 1128, at the Nativity, king Henry held his court at Windsor, and proceeded thence to London. During Lent and Easter he was at Woodstock, where word was brought to him that Charles, earl of Flanders, his most beloved friend, had been, by the basest treachery, slain by his nobles in a church at Brige,12 and that the king of France had given Flanders to William, the son of Robert Curthose, his nephew and enemy, who, being now firmly established, had punished all the traitors to Charles with many torments. Accordingly, the king, being disturbed at these matters, held a council at London at the time of the Rogation Days; and, in similar manner, did archbishop William do the same at Westminster, in the same city.

About Pentecost, the king sent his daughter to Normandy, to be married to Geoffrey, son of the earl of Anjou, and afterwards, in August, the king himself followed. Richard, bishop of London, departed this life, and the king gave the bishopric to Gilbert, a man most learned in all subjects. At this time, also, died Richard, bishop of Hereford.

In the year 1129, king Henry, having remained a whole year in Normandy, marched in a hostile manner into France, because the king of the Franks was supporting his nephew and enemy; and encamping for eight days at Epernon, as securely as though he had been in his own kingdom, he compelled king Louis not to give aid to the earl of Flanders. While here, on enquiring into the origin and career of the kingdom of the Franks, king Henry was answered by a certain learned man to the following effect: — 

”Most powerful among kings, like most of the nations of
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220 Europe, the Franks derive their origin from the Trojans. For Antenor, flying with his people on the fall of Troy, built a city in the territories of Pannonia, called Sycambria. After the death of Antenor, they appointed as their leaders Turgot and Francion, from whom the Franks derive their name. On their death, these were succeeded by Marcomer, who was the father of Pharamond, the first king of the Franks; Pharamond begat Clodius Crinitus,13 from whom the kings of France have the name of ‘Criniti;’ and Clodius was succeeded by Meroveus, his kinsman, from whom the kings of France received the name of Merovingians. Meroveus begat Childeric, and he begat Clodovius,14 who was baptized by Saint Remigius. Clodovius begat Clotaire, who begat Chilperic, and he Clotaire the Second. Clotaire begat Dagobert, that most famous king, who begat Clodovius; by Saint Batilda, his queen, Clodovius begat three sons, namely, Clotaire, Childeric, and Theoderic. King Theoderic begat Childebert, and he Dagobert, who begat Theoderic, the father of Clotaire, the last of this line. In succession to him reigned Hilderic, who afterwards received the tonsure, and retired to a monastery, Pepin being made king. In another genealogical line, by the daughter of king Clotaire Ansbert begat Arnold, and Saint Arnold Arnulph, afterwards bishop of Metz. Saint Arnulph begat Anchises, and he Pepin, the mayor of the palace; Pepin begat Charles Martel, and he king Pepin. King Pepin was father of the emperor, Charles the Great,15 who shone like a constellation among his predecessors and successors. Charles begat the emperor Louis, and he the emperor Charles the Bald, and he king Louis, the father of Charles the Simple. Charles the Simple begat Louis, and he Lothaire, who begat Louis, the last king of that line. After his death, the Franks set over themselves duke Hugh,16 the son of the great duke Hugh. King Hugh was the father of Robert, a most pious king, which king Robert begat three sons, Hugh, a most beloved duke, and Henry, a most amiable king, and Robert, duke of Burgundy. King Henry was the father of king Philip, who, at the close of his life, became a
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221 monk, and of Hugh the Great, who, with the great army of Christians and many of the chieftains of Europe, laid siege to Jerusalem, and rescued it from the hands of the pagans. In the year from the incarnation of our Lord 1129,17 king Philip begat Louis, who reigns at the present time; and if he only followed in the footsteps of his ancestors, you would not be remaining so securely in his kingdom.” After these things were said and done, king Henry returned to Normandy.

About this time, a certain duke, Theoderic by name, came from the parts of Germany to make certain claims upon Flanders, and having with him certain noblemen of that country; and this he did at the persuasion of king Henry. William, earl of Flanders, having collected an army and set his forces in battle array, marched against him, and a fierce battle ensued. By his invincible prowess, earl William made up for the deficiency of his forces, which were few in number. All his arms being stained with the blood of the enemy, he cleared the ranks of the foe with his sword like lightning, and, in consequence, his enemies being unable to bear the terrible might of his youthful arm, in utter dismay, took to flight. Thus did the earl gain a complete victory; but, while he was besieging a castle18 of the enemy, and was on the morrow to receive its surrender, the foe being now almost annihilated, by the will of God, receiving a slight wound in the hand, he died in consequence thereof. This most noble youth, during his short life, earned endless glory, and, in his praise, a poet has said: ”Mars has died on earth, the deities bewail a deity their equal.”

This year, also, Hugh de Pains, master of the knights of the Temple at Jerusalem, came to England, and brought many with him from Jerusalem; among whom was Fulk, the brother of Geoffrey, earl of Anjou, who was destined to be king. Ranulph Flambard, bishop of Durham, and William Giffard, bishop of Winchester, departed this life.

In the year 1130, Louis, king of the Franks, caused his son Philip to be made king; and king Henry, having made peace in all parts with France, Flanders, Normandy, Brittany, Maine, and Anjou, returned in high spirits to England. On the calends of August, he held a great council at London, on the
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222 subject of prohibiting the priesthood from taking wives. There were present at this council William, archbishop of Canterbury, Turstin, archbishop of York, Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, Gilbert, bishop of London, Roger, bishop of Salisbury, John, bishop of Rochester, Siffrid, bishop of Sussex,19 Godfrey, bishop of Bath, Simon, bishop of Worcester, Everard, bishop of Norwich, Bernard, bishop of Saint David’s, and Hervey, the first bishop of Ely. The bishops of Winchester, Durham, Chester, and Hereford were absent. These constituted at this period the pillars of the kingdom, and the rays of its sanctity. But, through the simplicity of archbishop William, the king deceived them; for they conceded to the king the right of administering justice on the question of the wives of priests; and were deemed imprudent for so doing, as afterwards proved to be the fact, when the matter turned out to their extreme disgrace; for the king received an endless amount of money from the priests, and then relieved them from the penalties attendant on so doing. Then, but to no purpose, did the bishops repent of having made this concession, when, before the eyes of all nations, were made manifest the deception practised on the prelates, and the oppression of the king’s subjects.

In the same year, misfortunes befell those whom Hugh de Pains, already mentioned, had taken with him to Jerusalem; for, by their sensuality, rapine, and various excesses, the inhabitants of the holy land had offended the Lord. But, as it has been written in the books of Moses and of Kings, their wickedness in those places did not long remain unpunished. For, on the vigil of Saint Nicholas, a multitude of the Christians were overcome by a small number of the pagans, whereas, previously to that, just the reverse used to happen. For, at the siege of Damascus, when a great part of the Christians had gone forth for the purpose of seeking for provisions, the pagans were astonished at the spectacle of a multitude of Christians, most valiant men, taking to flight like women, and, on pursuing them, slew almost countless numbers. But those who took refuge in the mountains, God himself pursued that same night with a tempest, accompanied with drifts of snow and cold to such a degree, that hardly any one escaped.

It also happened that, while the son of the king of the
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223 Franks, who, as previously mentioned, had been graced with the crown of the kingdom, was sportively spurring on his horse, he was met by a pig, which, running against the legs of the horse, while in full career, the new-made king fell off, and, breaking his neck, expired. Consider what a dreadful mishap, and how deserving of our astonishment! Behold the loftiness of his position, and by what trivial means it was annihilated!

In the year of the Word become flesh 1131, being the thirteenth year of his reign, king Henry passed the festival of the Nativity at Worcester, and Easter at Woodstock, where Geoffrey de Clinton was accused of treason against the king, and disgraced. During the Rogation Days, the king was at Canterbury, at the dedication of the new church there. At the feast of Saint Michael, the king went over to Normandy. In the same year, pope Honorius departed this life, on whose death a division arose; for two persons were elected to the papacy of Rome, Innocent and Anacletus.

In the year 1132, at Chartres, the king acknowledged Innocent as pope, and rejected Anacletus; for the Romans, dividing into two factions, had made choice of both of them. Innocent being violently expelled from the city by Anacletus, whose previous name was Peter de Leves, was, by the influence of king Henry, received throughout the whole of the Gauls. After this, king Henry returned to England, taking with him his daughter, whom, with the universal consent of the chief men of the whole of England, he afterwards restored to her husband, the earl of Anjou, who then demanded her. In this year died Hervey, bishop of Ely.

In the year 1133, the king passed the festival of the Nativity at Dunstable, and Easter at Woodstock. In the same year died Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, and was succeeded by Fulk, the brother of Geoffrey, earl of Anjou. This Fulk, king of Jerusalem, had by his wife, the daughter of the above-named king Baldwin, two sons, namely, Baldwin and Amauri. Baldwin succeeded his father, Fulk, in the kingdom of Jerusalem, and died without issue. After his death, his brother Amauri succeeded him as king, and reigned eleven years; he was the father of Baldwin the Leper, who was afterwards king, and two daughters, namely, Sibyl and Milicent, of whom further mention will be made in the sequel.

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In the year 1134, after Pentecost, Henry, king of England, gave the bishopric of Ely to Nigel, his treasurer, and that of Durham to Geoffrey, his chancellor; the king also created a new bishopric at Carlisle, and gave it to Adelulph, the prior of Saint Oswald. In the same year an eclipse of the sun took place on the fourth day before the nones of August, at about the sixth hour of the day, to such a degree, that the whole of the sun’s disk appeared as though covered by a black shield. That same day, the king, although some opposed it, fearing danger, and tried to dissuade him from it, crossed the sea without accident.

In the year 1135, Gilbert, bishop of Lincoln, departed this life. King Henry remained in Normandy in consequence of the joy he felt on account of his grandsons, whom Geoffrey, earl of Anjou, had become father of by his daughter, and commanded the earls and barons of all his dominions to swear fealty to the empress Matilda, his daughter, and Henry, her youngest son, naming him king after himself. After this, king Henry frequently purposed to return to England, but his daughter, the empress, detained him in consequence of the various quarrels which, on many occasions, arose between the king and the earl of Anjou, being, in fact, caused by the artfulness of his daughter. By the excitement arising therefrom, the king was excited to anger and rancorous feelings, which by some was said to be the cause of a chill of his constitution, and afterwards of his death. For when the king had returned from hunting, at Saint Dennis, in the wood of Lions, he ate the flesh of some murenæ, or lampreys, a fish which he was always very fond of, and which always disagreed with him. But although the physician had forbidden him to eat of this fish, the king did not obey his wholesome advice, in conformity with the saying, ”We always strive for what is prohibited, and desire what is denied.”20

This food, therefore, was a source of most noxious humours, and a strong exciter of others of a kindred nature, and suddenly caused a deadly chill in his aged body, creating a great disorder thereby. Nature struggling against this, caused an acute fever, in its attempts to resist the attack resulting from this most noxious substance; but the disease gaining the ascendancy, this mighty king departed this life, after having reigned
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225 five years and three months, on the first day of December; relative to whom one of our writers says: — 

”King Henry is dead! the glory once, now the grief of the world. The Deities lament the death of their fellow divinity: Mercury, his inferior in eloquence, Apollo, in strength of mind, Jupiter, in command, and Mars, in might; all bewail him. Janus, his inferior in caution, Alcides, in prowess, Pallas, in arms, Minerva, in arts; all bewail him. England, who, springing from her cradle, had shone exalted on high beneath the sceptre of this divinity, now sinks in shade. She, with her king, Normandy, with her duke, waxes faint; the one nurtured him as a child, the other lost him as a man.”

This happened in the year from the arrival of the Britons in England, two thousand two hundred and sixty-five; from the arrival of the Normans, sixty-nine; from the beginning of the world, five thousand three hundred and seventeen;21 in the year of grace, eleven hundred and thirty-five.

On the decease of the great king Henry, as is generally the case after death, the judgment of the people was freely pronounced upon him. Some asserted that he shone resplendent in three particulars; supreme wisdom, victory, and riches. In wisdom, because he was considered most profound in counsel, remarkable for foresight, and distinguished for eloquence. In victory, because, besides other exploits which he had successfully performed, according to the laws of warfare, he had overcome the king of the Franks. In riches, because in that respect he far outstripped his predecessors. Others again, animated by opposite feelings, charged him with three vices; excessive avarice, inasmuch as, while he was wealthy, in order that he might render all his relatives poor, greedily gaping for their riches, he laid hold of everything, with the hooks of informers, by means of taxes and exactions; cruelty, inasmuch as he put out the eyes of his kinsman, the earl of Moretuil, whom he had thrown into prison, (a horrid crime, which was not known until death had revealed the king’s secrets); other instances were cited besides, which we will omit; and sensuality, because after the manner of king Solomon, he was continually a slave to his passion for the female sex.

A. D.

Such matters as these did the common people freely discuss. In the course of time, however, in consequence of the shocking events which were kindled through the frantic perfidies of the Normans, whatever Henry had done, either in a tyrannical manner, or as befitted a king, seemed most excellent, in comparison with doings still worse. For after this, without delay, Stephen, the younger brother of Theobald, earl of Blois, repaired thither, a man of great activity and boldness; and although he had taken the oath of fealty, in the English kingdom, to the empress and her son Henry, still, like a tempest, he rushed upon the crown of the kingdom of England. William, archbishop of Canterbury, who had been the first to take the oath, oh shame! consecrated him king; in consequence whereof, God pronounced the judgment against him which he had pronounced against the high priest, the smiter of Jeremiah,22 namely, that he should not live beyond that year. In like manner, Roger, bishop of Salisbury, who had been the second to take the before-mentioned oath, and had dictated it to the rest, gave him the crown and the support of his assistance; in consequence of which, by the just judgment of God, at a subsequent period, being taken prisoner by him whom he had created king, and consigned to torture, he met with a miserable end.

But why make any further remark? All who had taken the oath, both bishops as well as earls and chief men, gave in their adherence to Stephen and did homage to him. This was, indeed, a bad sign, that thus suddenly all England, without any delay or resistance, as though in the twinkling of an eye, became subject to him.


 1  In allusion to St. John, vi. 66.

 2  Harfleur.

 3  Mary, the wife of Rotrou, earl of Perche.

 4  A misprint for Mauduit.

 5  V. r. Peccator — in English, ”sinner;” a curious name for a king’s chaplain.

 6  The original is ”pœnitentias morientium;” in allusion to the administration of the ”viaticum.”

 7  The mountain of Snowdon.

 8  The corresponding passage in Roger of Wendover’s account is: — ”A monk of St. Alban’s, whose lands he had unjustly seized on, involuntarily galloped over him.

 9  This circumstance is mentioned more fully in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. ”It fell out on a Wednesday, being the fourth day before the ides of January, that the king rode in his deer-park, and Roger, bishop of Salisbury, was on one side of him, and Robert Bloet, bishop of Lincoln, on the other: and they rode there talking. Then the bishop of Lincoln sank down, and said to the king, ‘My lord king, I am dying;’ and the king alighted from his horse and took him between his arms, and bade them bear him to his inn, and he soon lay there dead.”

10  St. Osythe, in Essex. Ingram says that this priory was re-built A.D. 1118, for canons of the Augustine order, and that there are considerable remains of it.

11  Reading.

12  Bruges.

13  It need hardly be remarked that this genealogy is for the most part fabulous. Supposing that the Trojan war took place about B.C. 1000, the learned informant of king Henry omits about fourteen hundred years.

14  More generally called Clovis.

15  Charlemagne.

16  Hugh Capet.

17  Of course, this date is an error.

18  That of Eu, against king Henry.

19  Bishop of Selsey.

20  ”Nitimur in vetitum semper, cupimusque negata.”

21  This is clearly wrong, both according to our present reckoning, and his own previous mode of calculation, which places the first year of the Christian era in the year from the beginning of the world 4204.

22  Alluding to the fate of Pashur, son of Immer, the priest, who smote Jeremiah. Jer. xx. 2-6.


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