The Northern Way

Part 7: A.D. 1102 - 1154

Page 3

A.D. 1124. All this year was the King Henry in Normandy. That was for the great hostility that he had with the King Louis of France, and with the Earl of Anjou, and most of all with his own men. Then it happened, on the day of the Annunciation of St. Mary, that the Earl Waleram of Mellent went from one of his castles called Belmont to another called Watteville. With him went the steward of the King of France, Amalric, and Hugh the son of Gervase, and Hugh of Montfort, and many other good knights. Then came against them the king's knights from all the castles that were thereabout, and fought with them, and put them to flight, and took the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase, and Hugh of Montfort, and five and twenty other knights, and brought them to the king. And the king committed the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase, to close custody in the castle at Rouen; but Hugh of Montfort he sent to England, and ordered him to be secured with strong bonds in the castle at Glocester. And of the others as many as he chose he sent north and south to his castles in captivity. After this went the king, and won all the castles of the Earl Waleram that were in Normandy, and all the others that his enemies held against him. All this hostility was on account of the son of the Earl Robert of Normandy, named William. This same William had taken to wife the younger daughter of Fulke, Earl of Anjou: and for this reason the King of France and all the earls held with him, and all the rich men; and said that the king held his brother Robert wrongfully in captivity, and drove his son William unjustly out of Normandy. This same year were the seasons very unfavourable in England for corn and all fruits; so that between Christmas and Candlemas men sold the acre-seed of wheat, that is two seedlips, for six shillings; and the barley, that is three seedlips, for six shillings also; and the acre-seed of oats, that is four seedlips, for four shillings. That was because that corn was scarce; and the penny was so adulterated, (151) that a man who had a pound at a market could not exchange twelve pence thereof for anything. In this same year died the blessed Bishop Ernulf of Rochester, who before was Abbot of Peterborough. That was on the ides of March. And after this died the King Alexander of Scotland, on the ninth day before the calends of May. And David his brother, who was Earl of Northamptonshire, succeeded to the kingdom; and had both together, the kingdom of Scotland and the earldom in England. And on the nineteenth day before the calends of January died the Pope of Rome, whose name was Calixtus, and Honorius succeeded to the popedom. This same year, after St. Andrew's mass, and before Christmas, held Ralph Basset and the king's thanes a wittenmoot in Leicestershire, at Huncothoe, and there hanged more thieves than ever were known before; that is, in a little while, four and forty men altogether; and despoiled six men of their eyes and of their testicles. Many true men said that there were several who suffered very unjustly; but our Lord God Almighty, who seeth and knoweth every secret, seeth also that the wretched people are oppressed with all unrighteousness. First they are bereaved of their property, and then they are slain. Full heavy year was this. The man that had any property, was bereaved of it by violent guilds and violent moots. The man that had not, was starved with hunger.

A.D. 1125. In this year sent the King Henry, before Christmas, from Normandy to England, and bade that all the mint-men that were in England should be mutilated in their limbs; that was, that they should lose each of them the right hand, and their testicles beneath. This was because the man that had a pound could not lay out a penny at a market. And the Bishop Roger of Salisbury sent over all England, and bade them all that they should come to Winchester at Christmas. When they came thither, then were they taken one by one, and deprived each of the right hand and the testicles beneath. All this was done within the twelfth-night. And that was all in perfect justice, because that they had undone all the land with the great quantity of base coin that they all bought. In this same year sent the Pope of Rome to this land a cardinal, named John of Crema. He came first to the king in Normandy, and the king received him with much worship. He betook himself then to the Archbishop William of Canterbury; and he led him to Canterbury; and he was there received with great veneration, and in solemn procession. And he sang the high mass on Easter day at the altar of Christ. Afterwards he went over all England, to all the bishoprics and abbacies that were in this land; and in all he was received with respect. And all gave him many and rich gifts. And afterwards he held his council in London full three days, on the Nativity of St. Mary in September, with archbishops, and diocesan bishops, and abbots, the learned and the lewd; (152) and enjoined there the same laws that Archbishop Anselm had formerly enjoined, and many more, though it availed little. Thence he went over sea soon after Michaelmas, and so to Rome; and (with him) the Archbishop William of Canterbury, and the Archbishop Thurstan of York, and the Bishop Alexander of Lincoln, and the Bishop J. of Lothian, and the Abbot G. of St. Alban's; and were there received by the Pope Honorius with great respect; and continued there all the winter. In this same year was so great a flood on St. Laurence's day, that many towns and men were overwhelmed, and bridges broken down, and corn and meadows spoiled withal; and hunger and qualm (153) in men and in cattle; and in all fruits such unseasonableness as was not known for many years before. And this same year died the Abbot John of Peterborough, on the second day before the ides of October.

A.D. 1126. All this year was the King Henry in Normandy -- all till after harvest. Then came he to this land, betwixt the Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas. With him came the queen, and his daughter, whom he had formerly given to the Emperor Henry of Lorrain to wife. And he brought with him the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase. And the earl he sent to Bridgenorth in captivity: and thence he sent him afterwards to Wallingford; and Hugh to Windsor, whom he ordered to be kept in strong bonds. Then after Michaelmas came David, the king of the Scots, from Scotland to this land; and the King Henry received him with great worship; and he continued all that year in this land. In this year the king had his brother Robert taken from the Bishop Roger of Salisbury, and committed him to his son Robert, Earl of Glocester, and had him led to Bristol, and there put into the castle. That was all done through his daughter's counsel, and through David, the king of the Scots, her uncle.

A.D. 1127. This year held the King Henry his court at Christmas in Windsor. There was David the king of the Scots, and all the head men that were in England, learned and lewd. And there he engaged the archbishops, and bishops, and abbots, and earls, and all the thanes that were there, to swear England and Normandy after his day into the hands of his daughter Athelicia, who was formerly the wife of the Emperor of Saxony. Afterwards he sent her to Normandy; and with her went her brother Robert, Earl of Glocester, and Brian, son of the Earl Alan Fergan; (154) and he let her wed the son of the Earl of Anjou, whose name was Geoffry Martel. All the French and English, however, disapproved of this; but the king did it for to have the alliance of the Earl of Anjou, and for to have help against his nephew William. In the Lent-tide of this same year was the Earl Charles of Flanders slain in a church, as he lay there and prayed to God, before the altar, in the midst of the mass, by his own men. And the King of France brought William, the son of the Earl of Normandy, and gave him the earldom; and the people of that land accepted him. This same William had before taken to wife the daughter of the Earl of Anjou; but they were afterwards divorced on the plea of consanguinity. This was all through the King Henry of England. Afterwards took he to wife the sister of the king's wife of France; and for this reason the king gave him the earldom of Flanders. This same year he (155) gave the abbacy of Peterborough to an abbot named Henry of Poitou, who retained in hand his abbacy of St. John of Angeli; but all the archbishops and bishops said that it was against right, and that he could not have two abbacies on hand. But the same Henry gave the king to understand, that he had relinquished his abbacy on account of the great hostility that was in the land; and that he did through the counsel and leave of the Pope of Rome, and through that of the Abbot of Clugny, and because he was legate of the Rome-scot. But, nevertheless, it was not so; for he would retain both in hand; and did so as long as God's will was. He was in his clerical state Bishop of Soissons; afterwards monk of Clugny; and then prior in the same monastery. Afterwards he became prior of Sevigny; and then, because he was a relation of the King of England, and of the Earl of Poitou, the earl gave him the abbacy of St. John's minster of Angeli. Afterwards, through his great craft, he obtained the archbishopric of Besancon; and had it in hand three days; after which he justly lost it, because he had before unjustly obtained it. Afterwards he procured the bishopric of Saintes; which was five miles from his abbey. That he had full-nigh a week (156) in hand; but the Abbot of Clugny brought him thence, as he before did from Besancon. Then he bethought him, that, if he could be fast-rooted in England, he might have all his will. Wherefore he besought the king, and said unto him, that he was an old man -- a man completely broken -- that he could not brook the great injustice and the great hostility that were in their land: and then, by his own endearours, and by those of all his friends, he earnestly and expressly entreated for the abbacy of Peterborough. And the king procured it for him, because he was his relation, and because he was the principal person to make oath and bear witness when the son of the Earl of Normandy and the daughter of the Earl of Anjou were divorced on the plea of consanguinity. Thus wretchedly was the abbacy given away, betwixt Christmas and Candlemas, at London; and so he went with the King to Winchester, and thence he came to Peterborough, and there he dwelt (157) right so as a drone doth in a hive. For as the drone fretteth and draggeth fromward all that the bees drag toward [the hive], so did he. -- All that he might take, within and without, of learned and lewd, so sent he over sea; and no good did there -- no good left there. Think no man unworthily that we say not the truth; for it was fully known over all the land: that, as soon as he came thither, which was on the Sunday when men sing "Exurge quare o D-- etc." immediately after, several persons saw and heard many huntsmen hunting. The hunters were swarthy, and huge, and ugly; and their hounds were all swarthy, and broad-eyed, and ugly. And they rode on swarthy horses, and swarthy bucks. This was seen in the very deer-fold in the town of Peterborough, and in all the woods from that same town to Stamford. And the monks heard the horn blow that they blew in the night. Credible men, who watched them in the night, said that they thought there might well be about twenty or thirty horn-blowers. This was seen and heard from the time that he (158) came thither, all the Lent-tide onward to Easter. This was his entry; of his exit we can as yet say nought. God provide.

A.D. 1128. All this year was the King Henry in Normandy, on account of the hostility that was between him and his nephew, the Earl of Flanders. But the earl was wounded in a fight by a swain; and so wounded he went to the monastery of St. Bertin; where he soon became a monk, lived five days afterwards, then died, and was there buried. God honour his soul. That was on the sixth day before the calends of August. This same year died the Bishop Randulph Passeflambard of Durham; and was there buried on the nones of September. And this same year went the aforesaid Abbot Henry home to his own minster at Poitou by the king's leave. He gave the king to understand, that he would withal forgo that minster, and that land, and dwell with him in England, and in the monastery of Peterborough. But it was not so nevertheless. He did this because he would be there, through his crafty wiles, were it a twelvemonth or more, and come again afterwards. May God Almighty extend his mercy over that wretched place. This same year came from Jerusalem Hugh of the Temple to the king in Normandy; and the king received him with much honour, and gave him rich presents in gold and in silver. And afterwards he sent him into England; and there he was received by all good men, who all gave him presents, and in Scotland also: and by him they sent to Jerusalem much wealth withal in gold and in silver. And he invited folk out to Jerusalem; and there went with him and after him more people than ever did before, since that the first expedition was in the day of Pope Urban. Though it availed little; for he said, that a mighty war was begun between the Christians and the heathens; but when they came thither, then was it nought but leasing. (159) Thus pitifully was all that people swinked. (160)

A.D. 1129. In this year sent the King to England after the Earl Waleram, and after Hugh, the son of Gervase. And they gave hostages for them. And Hugh went home to his own land in France; but Waleram was left with the king: and the king gave him all his land except his castle alone. Afterwards came the king to England within the harvest: and the earl came with him: and they became as good friends as they were foes before. Soon after, by the king's counsel, and by his leave, sent the Archbishop William of Canterbury over all England, and bade bishops, and abbots, and archdeacons, and all the priors, monks, and canons, that were in all the cells in England, and all who had the care and superintendence of christianity, that they should all come to London at Michaelmas, and there should speak of all God's rights. When they came thither, then began the moot on Monday, and continued without intermission to the Friday. When it all came forth, then was it all found to be about archdeacons' wives, and about priests' wives; that they should forgo them by St. Andrew's mass; and he who would not do that, should forgo his church, and his house, and his home, and never more have any calling thereto. This bade the Archbishop William of Canterbury, and all the diocesan bishops that were then in England, but the king gave them all leave to go home. And so they went home; and all the ordinances amounted to nothing. All held their wives by the king's leave as they did before. This same year died the Bishop William Giffard of Winchester; and was there buried, on the eighth day before the calends of February. And the King Henry gave the bishopric after Michaelmas to the Abbot Henry of Glastonbury, his nephew, and he was consecrated bishop by the Archbishop William of Canterbury on the fifteenth day before the calends of December. This same year died Pope Honorius. Ere he was well dead, there were chosen two popes. The one was named Peter, who was monk of Clugny, and was born of the richest men of Rome; and with him held those of Rome, and the Duke of Sicily. The other was Gregory: he was a clerk, and was driven out of Rome by the other pope, and by his kinsmen. With him held the Emperor of Saxony, and the King of France, and the King Henry of England, and all those on this side of the Alps. Now was there such division in Christendom as never was before. May Christ consult for his wretched folk. This same year, on the night of the mass of St. Nicholas, a little before day, there was a great earthquake.

A.D. 1130. This year was the monastery of Canterbury consecrated by the Archbishop William, on the fourth day before the nones of May. There were the Bishops John of Rochester, Gilbert Universal of London, Henry of Winchester, Alexander of Lincoln, Roger of Salisbury, Simon of Worcester, Roger of Coventry, Geoffry of Bath, Evrard of Norwich, Sigefrith of Chichester, Bernard of St. David's, Owen of Evreux in Normandy, John of Sieyes. On the fourth day after this was the King Henry in Rochester, when the town was almost consumed by fire; and the Archbishop William consecrated the monastery of St. Andrew, and the aforesaid bishops with him. And the King Henry went over sea into Normandy in harvest. This same year came the Abbot Henry of Angeli after Easter to Peterborough, and said that he had relinquished that monastery (161) withal. After him came the Abbot of Clugny, Peter by name, to England by the king's leave; and was received by all, whithersoever he came, with much respect. To Peterborough he came; and there the Abbot Henry promised him that he would procure him the minster of Peterborough, that it might be subject to Clugny. But it is said in the proverb,

          "The hedge abideth,
          that acres divideth."
May God Almighty frustrate evil designs. Soon after this, went the Abbot of Clugny home to his country. This year was Angus slain by the army of the Scots, and there was a great multitude slain with him. There was God's fight sought upon him, for that he was all forsworn.

ENDNOTES:

(151) The pennies, or pence, it must be remembered, were of silver at this time. Back

(152) i.e. Clergy and laity. Back

(153) This word is still in use, but in a sense somewhat different; as qualms of conscience, etc. Back

(154) See an account of him in "Ord. Vit." 544. Conan, another son of this Alan, Earl of Brittany, married a daughter of Henry I. Back

(155) i.e. Henry, King of England. Back

(156) "A se'nnight", the space of seven nights; as we still say, "a fortnight", i.e. the space of fourteen nights. The French express the space of one week by "huit jours", the origin of the "octave" in English law; of two by "quinte jours". So "septimana" signifies "seven mornings"; whence the French word "semaine". Back

(157) Literally, "woned". Vid Chaucer, "Canterbury Tales", v. 7745. In Scotland, a lazy indolent manner of doing anything is called "droning". Back

(158) The Abbot Henry of Angeli. Back

(159) "Thou shalt destroy them that speak `leasing,'" etc. "Psalms". Back

(160) i.e. Vexed, harassed, fatigued, etc. Milton has used the word in the last sense. Back

(161) The monastery of Angeli. Back

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