The Northern Way

Part 4: A.D. 1015 - 1051

Page 5

A.D. 1051. This year came Archbishop Robert hither over sea with his pall from Rome, one day before St. Peter's eve: and he took his archiepiscopal seat at Christ-church on St. Peter's day, and soon after this went to the king. Then came Abbot Sparhawk to him with the king's writ and seal, to the intent that he should consecrate him Bishop oœ London; but the archbishop refused, saying that the pope had forbidden him. Then went the abbot to the archbishop again for the same purpose, and there demanded episcopal consecration; but the archbishop obstinately refused, repeating that the pope had forbidden him. Then went the abbot to London, and sat at the bishopric which the king had before given him, with his full leave, all the summer and the autumn. Then during the same year came Eustace, who had the sister of King Edward to wife, from beyond sea, soon after the bishop, and went to the king; and having spoken with him whatever he chose, he then went homeward. When he came to Canterbury eastward, there took he a repast, and his men; whence he proceeded to Dover. When he was about a mile or more on this side Dover, he put on his breast-plate; and so did all his companions: and they proceeded to Dover. When they came thither, they resolved to quarter themselves wherever they lived. Then came one of his men, and would lodge at the house of a master of a family against his will; but having wounded the master of the house, he was slain by the other. Then was Eustace quickly upon his horse, and his companions upon theirs; and having gone to the master of the family, they slew him on his own hearth; then going up to the boroughward, they slew both within and without more than twenty men. The townsmen slew nineteen men on the other side, and wounded more, but they knew not how many. Eustace escaped with a few men, and went again to the king, telling him partially how they had fared. The king was very wroth with the townsmen, and sent off Earl Godwin, bidding him go into Kent with hostility to Dover. For Eustace had told the king that the guilt of the townsmen was greater than his. But it was not so: and the earl would not consent to the expedition, because he was loth to destroy his own people. Then sent the king after all his council, and bade them come to Gloucester nigh the after-mass of St. Mary. Meanwhile Godwin took it much to heart, that in his earldom such a thing should happen. Whereupon be began to gather forces over all his earldom, and Earl Sweyne, his son, over his; and Harold, his other son, over his earldom: and they assembled all in Gloucestershire, at Langtree, a large and innumerable army, all ready for battle against the king; unless Eustace and his men were delivered to them handcuffed, and also the Frenchmen that were in the castle. This was done seven nights before the latter mass of St. Mary, when King Edward was sitting at Gloucester. Whereupon he sent after Earl Leofric, and north after Earl Siward, and summoned their retinues. At first they came to him with moderate aid; but when they found how it was in the south, then sent they north over all their earldom, and ordered a large force to the help of their lord. So did Ralph also over his earldom. Then came they all to Gloucester to the aid of the king, though it was late. So unanimous were they all in defence of the king, that they would seek Godwin's army if the king desired it. But some prevented that; because it was very unwise that they should come together; for in the two armies was there almost all that was noblest in England. They therefore prevented this, that they might not leave the land at the mercy of our foes, whilst engaged in a destructive conflict betwixt ourselves. Then it was advised that they should exchange hostages between them. And they issued proclamations throughout to London, whither all the people were summoned over all this north end in Siward's earldom, and in Leofric's, and also elsewhere; and Earl Godwin was to come thither with his sons to a conference; They came as far as Southwark, and very many with them from Wessex; but his army continually diminished more and more; for they bound over to the king all the thanes that belonged to Earl Harold his son, and outlawed Earl Sweyne his other son. When therefore it could not serve his purpose to come to a conference against the king and against the army that was with him, he went in the night away. In the morning the king held a council, and proclaimed him an outlaw, with his whole army; himself and his wife, and all his three sons -- Sweyne and Tosty and Grith. And he went south to Thorney, (67) with his wife, and Sweyne his son, and Tosty and his wife, a cousin of Baldwin of Bruges, and his son Grith. Earl Harold with Leofwine went to Bristol in the ship that Earl Sweyne had before prepared and provisioned for himself; and the king sent Bishop Aldred from London with his retinue, with orders to overtake him ere he came to ship. But they either could not or would not: and he then went out from the mouth of the Avon; but he encountered such adverse weather, that he got off with difficulty, and suffered great loss. He then went forth to Ireland, as soon as the weather permitted. In the meantime the Welshmen had wrought a castle in Herefordshire, in the territory of Earl Sweyne, and brought as much injury and disgrace on the king's men thereabout as they could. Then came Earl Godwin, and Earl Sweyne, and Earl Harold, together at Beverstone, and many men with them; to the intent that they might go to their natural lord, and to all the peers that were assembled with him; to have the king's counsel and assistance, and that of all the peers, how they might avenge the insult offered to the king, and to all the nation. But the Welshmen were before with the king, and bewrayed the earls, so that they were not permitted to come within the sight of his eyes; for they declared that they intended to come thither to betray the king. There was now assembled before the king (68) Earl Siward, and Earl Leofric, and much people with them from the north: and it was told Earl Godwin and his sons, that the king and the men who were with him would take counsel against them; but they prepared themselves firmly to resist, though they were loth to proceed against their natural lord. Then advised the peers on either side, that they should abstain from all hostility: and the king gave God's peace and his full friendship to each party. Then advised the king and his council, that there should be a second time a general assembly of all the nobles in London, at the autumnal equinox: and the king ordered out an army both south and north of the Thames, the best that ever was. Then was Earl Sweyne proclaimed an outlaw; and Earl Godwin and Earl Harold were summoned to the council as early as they could come. When they came thither and were cited to the council, then required they security and hostages, that they might come into the council and go out without treachery. The king then demanded all the thanes that the earls had; and they put them all into his hands. Then sent the king again to them, and commanded them to come with twelve men to the king's council. Then desired the earl again security and hostages, that he might answer singly to each of the things that were laid to his charge. But the hostages were refused; and a truce of five nights was allowed him to depart from the land. Then went Earl Godwin and Earl Sweyne to Bosham, and drew out their ships, and went beyond sea, seeking the protection of Baldwin; and there they abode all the winter. Earl Harold went westward to Ireland, and was there all the winter on the king's security. It was from Thorney (69) that Godwin and those that were with him went to Bruges, to Baldwin's land, in one ship, with as much treasure as they could lodge therein for each man. Wonderful would it have been thought by every man that was then in England, if any person had said before this that it would end thus! For he was before raised to such a height, that he ruled the king and all England; his sons were earls, and the king's darlings; and his daughter wedded and united to the king. Soon after this took place, the king dismissed the lady who had been consecrated his queen, and ordered to be taken from her all that she had in land, and in gold, and in silver, and in all things; and committed her to the care of his sister at Wherwell. Soon after came Earl William from beyond sea with a large retinue of Frenchmen; and the king entertained him and as many of his companions as were convenient to him, and let him depart again. Then was Abbot Sparhawk driven from his bishopric at London; and William the king's priest was invested therewith. Then was Oddy appointed earl over Devonshire, and over Somerset, and over Dorset, and over Wales; and Algar, the son of Earl Leofric, was promoted to the earldom which Harold before possessed.

((A.D. 1051. In this year died Eadsine, Archbishop of Canterbury; and the king gave to Robert the Frenchman, who before had been Bishop of London, the archbishopric. And Sparhafoc, Abbot of Abingdon, succeeded to the bishopric of London; and it was afterwards taken from him before he was consecrated. And Bishop Heroman and Bishop Aldred went to Rome.))


(67) The ancient name of Westminster; which came into disuse because there was another Thorney in Cambridgeshire. Back

(68) i.e. at Gloucester, according to the printed Chronicle; which omits all that took place in the meantime at London and Southwark. Back

(69) Now Westminster Back

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