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William of Newburgh: Book Two

Book One | Book Two | Book Three | Book Four | Book Five | Introduction


  • Chapter 1: The commencement of the reign of King Henry II
  • Chapter 2: Henry II restores the royal domains to their ancient state
  • Chapter 3: Of the site of Scarborough Castle
  • Chapter 4: Of the siege and successful surrender of Bridgenorth, and the restoration of the northern parts of of England by the king of Scotland to the king of England
  • Chapter 5: Of the war with the Welsh, and their reconciliation with the king
  • Chapter 6: How Nicholas, an Englishman, became pope
  • Chapter 7: The reason of the revolt of the king's brother Geoffrey, and his reconciliation
  • Chapter 8: Of the destruction of Milan; and of the relics of the magi
  • Chapter 9: Of the schism in the church of Rome, the Council of Pavia, and the Gallican Convention
  • Chapter 10: Of the expedition to Toulouse of the illustrious earl of Barcelona
  • Chapter 11: Of the horrid murder of William Trencheveil, and how it was avenged
  • Chapter 12: The reconciliation of the kings of France and England
  • Chapter 13: Of the entrance of heretics into England, and their extermination
  • Chapter 14: Of the Council of Tours, celebrated by pope Alexander
  • Chapter 15: Of the canons of the Council of Tours
  • Chapter 16: Of the king's displeasure against the venerable Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury
  • Chapter 17: Of the death of Octavian, and the return of pope Alexander into Italy
  • Chapter 18: Of the second expedition into Wales, and the conquest of Brittany
  • Chapter 19: Of the decease of Malcolm, the most pious king of the Scots
  • Chapter 20: Of the life and death of the venerable hermit Godric
  • Chapter 21: Of Ketell, and of the grace divinely imparted to him
  • Chapter 22: Of the long-continued vacancy in the church of Lincoln
  • Chapter 23: Of the two expeditions into Egypt of Amalric, king of Jerusalem
  • Chapter 24: Of the dissension and reconciliation of the king of France and England
  • Chapter 25: Of the coronation of Henry III, and the murder of St Thomas
  • Chapter 26: Of the subjugation of the Irish by the English
  • Chapter 27: How king Henry III revolted from his father, and stirred up the king of France and others against him
  • Chapter 28: Of the transactions at Aumale, Chateauneuf and Verneuil
  • Chapter 29: Of those who were taken at Dol
  • Chapter 30: Of the siege of Leicester, the war of the king of the Scots, and the capture of the earl of Leicester
  • Chapter 31: Of the defection of David the Scot and others from the king
  • Chapter 32: Of the king's arrival in England, and what the Scots did there
  • Chapter 33: Of the capture of the king of Scots
  • Chapter 34: What happened to the army and territory of Scotland after the king's capture
  • Chapter 35: Of the memorable penance of the king of England, and of its consequences
  • Chapter 36: Of the siege of Rouen, and the insidious attack of the assailants
  • Chapter 37: How the king restored peace to England, and relieved Rouen
  • Chapter 38:Of the reconciliation of the kings, and the tranquility of their realms

Chapter 1: The commencement of the reign of King Henry II <to index>

[1] In the eleven hundred and fifty-fourth year from the delivery of the Virgin, Henry, grandson of Henry the elder, by his daughter the late empress, having arrived in England from Normandy, after the demise of king Stephen, received his hereditary kingdom; and, being greeted by all, and consecrated king with the holy unction, was hailed throughout England by crowds exclaiming, "Long live the king!" The people, having experienced the misery of the late reign whence so many evils had originated, now anticipated better things of their new sovereign, more especially as prudence and resolution, and a strict regard to justice were apparent in him; and at his very outset he bore the appearance of a great prince. Moreover, he issued an edict, that such foreigners as had flocked to England under king Stephen for the sake of booty, as well as military service -- and especially the Flemings, of whom a vast number at that time burdened the kingdom -- should return to their own country by an appointed day, to exceed which would be attended with certain danger. Terrified at this edict, they glided away in a moment, as quickly as a phantom vanishes; while numbers wondered at their instantaneous disappearance. He next commanded the newly-erected castles, which were not in being in the days of his grandfather, to be demolished, with the exception of a few advantageously situated, which he wished to retain for himself, or his partisans, for the defense of the kingdom.

[2] He then paid serious attention to public regulations, and was anxiously vigilant that the vigor of the law, which in king Stephen's time had appeared lifeless and forgotten, should be revived. He appointed officers of law and justice throughout his realm, for the purpose of restraining the audacity of offenders, and administering redress to complainants, according to the merits of the case; while he himself either enjoyed his pleasure or bestowed his royal care on more important avocations. As often, however, as any of the judges acted remissly or improperly, and he was assailed by the complaints of the people, the king applied the remedy of his royal revision, and properly corrected their negligence or excess. Such being the outset of the new sovereign, the peaceably disposed congratulated and commended, while the lawless muttered and were terrified. The ravening wolves fled, or were changed to sheep; or, if not totally changed, yet they dwelt harmlessly amid the flock, through fear of the law. Swords were beaten into ploughshares, and spears into pruning-hooks; none learned war any more, but all either enjoyed the leisure of that long-wished-for tranquillity now kindly accorded them by God, or were intent on their several employments.

Chapter 2: Henry II restores the royal domains to their ancient state <to index>

The king, reflecting that the royal revenues, which, in the time of his grandfather, had been very ample, were greatly reduced, because, through the indolence of king Stephen, they had for the most part passed away to numerous other masters, commanded them to be restored entire by the usurper, of whatsoever degree, and brought back to their former jurisdiction and condition. Such as had hitherto become proprietors in royal towns and villages produced for their defense the charters which they had either extorted from king Stephen, or earned by their services: but these could avail them nothing, as the grants of an usurper could not be permitted to operate against the claims of a lawful prince. Highly indignant at first thereat, but afterwards terrified and dispirited, the resigned -- though reluctantly, yet entirely -- everything they had usurped, and held for a considerable time as if by legal title, whilst all. throughout each county of the kingdom, submitted to the royal pleasure (with the exception of one, of whom brief mention will be made hereafter), the king proceeded beyond the Humber, and summoned William, earl of Albemarle who, in the times of Stephen, had been more truly a king there than his master, to surrender in this respect, as well as the others, to the weight of his authority. Hesitating a long while, and boiling with indignation, he at last, though sorely hurt, submitted to his power, and very reluctantly resigned whatever of the royal domains he had possessed for many years, more especially that celebrated and noble castle of Scarborough, the situation of which we know to be as follows.

Chapter 3: Of the site of Scarborough Castle <to index>

A rock of stupendous height and size, nearly inaccessible on all sides from precipices, repels the ocean by which it is surrounded, except on a narrow ascent which stretches to the west; on its summit is a beautiful grassy plain, more than sixty acres in extent, possessing a fountain of fresh water, which issues from the rock. At its entrance, which is difficult of access, is situated a royal castle; and beneath the ascent the town commences, extending its sides to the south and north, but fronting the west. It is defended on this side by its own wall, but on the east by the castle rock; while both sides are washed by the sea. This place William, earl of Albemarle, above-mentioned, deemed extremely proper for the erection of a fortress; and possessing vast influence in the county of York, he improved the nature of the situation by a costly work, and surrounded the whole superficies of the rock by a wall; he also constructed a tower on the entrance of the ascent, which falling to decay in process of time, the king commanded a large and magnificent castle to be erected on its site.

Chapter 4: Of the siege and successful surrender of Bridgenorth, and the restoration of the northern parts of of England by the king of Scotland to the king of England <to index>

[1] The king, succeeding in his affairs in this county according to his wishes, returned to the southern parts of England, and found in rebellion Hugh de Mortimer, a valiant nobleman, who had usurped the royal castle of Bridgenorth for many years. When he was commanded to rest satisfied with his own property, and to restore what he had acquired belonging to the king, he most obstinately refused, and prepared for resistance in every possible way. The result, however, proved that his pride and indignation were greater than his courage: for the king, quickly assembling his army, besieged Bridgenorth, which surrendered after a bold resistance for several days; and he, whose heart was just before like that of a lion, became humble and suppliant, and received pardon.

[2] The king caused it to be intimated to the king of Scotland, who held, as his own proper right, the northern counties of England (that is to say, Northumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland, which were formerly obtained by David, king of Scots, in the name of the empress Matilda, and her heirs), that the king of England ought not to be defrauded of so large a portion of his dominions, nor could he tamely suffer it to be mutilated; and that it was just, that what had been acquired in his name should be restored. The Scottish king prudently called to mind that the king of England had the superiority, both in regard to power and the justice of his cause, in the matter at issue; and although he might allege the oath which was sworn to his grandfather David, when he received knighthood from him, yet he restored the territories in question undiminished; and in return he received from the king the county of Huntingdon, which belonged to him of ancient right.

[3] These matters being thus settled, England, for a time, enjoyed quiet and security throughout all her borders. Moreover, the king possessed the dignity of more extensive empire than any other who had hitherto reigned in England; for it extended from the farthest boundary of Scotland to the Pyrenean mountains.

Chapter 5: Of the war with the Welsh, and their reconciliation with the king <to index>

[1] Not long afterwards a contention arose between the king and the Welsh -- a restless and barbarous people -- originating either through his making some unusual exactions, in consequence of his power, or on their insolently denying so great a prince his customary tribute, from too great a confidence in the protection afforded by their woody mountains and valleys; or else from their restlessness, and clandestine incursions into the neighboring confines of the English. Having collected an immense army from every part of England, the king determined to enter Wales, wherever it afforded the easiest access. The Welsh, assembling together, kept watch on the borders, and cautiously avoided to descend into the plain, fearing to engage with men in mail, being themselves only lightly armed. They also lay concealed in their forests, and guarded their defiles.

[2] These Welsh are the remnant of the Britons, the first inhabitants of this island, now called England, but originally Britain; and it is notorious that they are of the same race and language as are the Britons on the continent; but when the Britons were being exterminated by the invading nations of the Angles, such as were able to escape fled into Wales, where, through the bounty of nature, they were secure against hostile attacks; and there this nation continues to the present day. This region lies opposite Ireland, on the western ocean, and is, on the other side, united to the English territory. It is, also, almost entirely surrounded by the sea, or inaccessible woods and fastnesses; consequently, the approach or entrance to it is extremely difficult; but within, it is known to possess impenetrable recesses, so that it is as dangerous for any prince to enter it with an army, as it is impossible afterwards to overrun it when entered. After its own nature, it produces men of savage manners, bold and faithless, greedy of the blood of others, and prodigal of their own; ever on the watch for rapine, and hostile to the English, as if by a natural instinct. In consequence of its forests it has abundant pasture for cattle; but having little level ground, and being barren of corn, is incapable of supplying its inhabitants with food, without importation from the adjacent counties of England; and since it cannot command this, except by the liberality or permission of the king of England, it is necessarily subject to his power; and if at any time he is irritated at the marauding incursions of the Welsh, from which, through their unbridled ferocity, they can with difficulty refrain, they are unable long to endure his anger, but are compelled to make submission to him.

[3] The king, entering their confines, after much opposition -- through the nature and difficulties of the country -- met with a very inauspicious commencement to his designs; for a portion of his army, proceeding incautiously through a wooded and marshy district, was much endangered by falling into an ambush, which the enemy had laid for him on his route, and where Eustace Fitz-John, a great and aged person, and highly renowned for wealth and wisdom, among the noblest chiefs of England, together with Robert de Curci, a man of equal rank, and many others, unfortunately perished. Those who had escaped the danger, supposing the king had fallen among the rest (though, by the favor of God, he had forced his way through, and was now in safety), related his death to the troops, as they approached, and hastening to the defile, induced a large portion of the army, disheartened at the melancholy report, ingloriously to fly; insomuch that Henry of Essex, a man of the highest distinction, and hereditary standard-bearer to the king, throwing down the royal banner by which the army was to be animated, took to flight, and proclaimed to all he met that the king was dead. For this misconduct he was afterwards publicly branded with treachery by a certain nobleman, and, by the king's command, compelled to single combat with his accuser, and was vanquished by him. The king, however, mercifully rescued him from sentence of death, ordered him to become a monk at Reading, and enriched his exchequer with his ample fortune -- but of this hereafter.

[4] When the king, therefore, rapidly hastening to the spot, had gladdened the astonished army by his presence, the disordered troops, recovering their strength and spirits, joined their ranks, and for the future proceeded more cautiously against the wiles of the enemy; but when the king deemed it proper to attack the Welsh by sea also, and had ordered a large fleet to be prepared, the ambassadors of the enemy approached with overtures for peace, and shortly afterwards their princes suppliantly attended him. On their resigning to him some of the fortresses on their frontiers, to conciliate the favor of so great a prince, and doing him homage with an oath, the calm of peace gratefully smiled, after the clouds of war had subsided; and so the army returned home with joy, and the king betook himself to other concerns or amusements.

Chapter 6: How Nicholas, an Englishman, became pope <to index>

[1] In the first year of the reign of king Henry II died Anastasius, the successor of Eugenius, after having been pope one year. He was succeeded by Nicholas, bishop of Albano, who, changing his name with his fortune, was called Adrian. Of this man it may be useful to relate how he was lifted as it were, from the dust, to sit in the midst of princes, and to occupy the throne of apostolical glory.

[2] He was born in England, and his father was a clerk of slender means, who, abandoning the world and his stripling boy, became a monk at St. Albans. When grown, the son, being too poor to pay for his education, frequented this monastery for his daily subsistence. His father, ashamed and chiding his indolence with taunting expressions, drove him from the spot, with great indignation, and destitute of every comfort. Left to himself, and urged by hard necessity to attempt something, he went to France, ingenuously ashamed either to dig or to beg in England. Succeeding but indifferently in France, he went further, wandering beyond the Rhone into the district called Provence. There is, in that country, a noble monastery of regular canons, dedicated to St. Rufus; arriving at that place, and finding occasion for continuing there, he endeavored to recommend himself to the fraternity by discharging every possible service. As he was elegant in person, pleasant in countenance, prudent in speech, of ready obedience, he gained the favor of all; and, being invited to assume the habit of a canon, he settled there for many years, the most exact observer of regular discipline. Being of excellent abilities, and fluent in speech, he attained, by frequent and unremitted study, to great science and eloquence; hence it came to pass that, on the death of the abbot, the brethren unanimously and formally elected him their superior.

[3] After he had presided over them for some time, repentant, and indignant at having elected a foreigner to rule over them, they became faithless and hostile to him. Their hatred by degrees became so excessive, that they now looked angrily at him, in whom they had before been well pleased, and and at length they instituted charges against him and summoned him before the apostolical see. Eugenius, of pious memory, who at that time sat on the pontifical throne, when he had heard the complaints of these rebellious children against their father, and perceived the prudence and modesty of his defense, interposed his effectual labors for the restoration of peace; and strongly recommending, and often exhorting each party to be no longer at variance with the other, but to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, he dismissed them in amity. Malice, however, which knows no repose, could not be long at rest, and the tempest revived with redoubled fury. The same venerable pontiff was again disturbed, his ears yet ringing with the complaints and accusations of the brethren; piously and prudently regarding each party, he said, "I know, my brethren, where the seat of Satan is; I know what excites this storm among you. Depart; choose a superior with whom you may, or rather, with whom you will be at peace, for this one shall burden you no longer." Wherefore, dismissing the fraternity, and retaining the abbot in the service of St. Peter, he ordained him bishop of Albano; and soon after, having proof of his activity, sent him as legate, with full power, among those savage nations the Danes and Norwegians. Having wisely and actively executed his office amid these barbarous nations during several years, he returned to Rome in health and gladness, and was received by the pope and cardinals with honor and applause. A few days afterwards, Anastasius, the successor of Eugenius, died; and with the concurrent wishes of all, Nicholas, taking the name of Adrian, assumed the pontificate. Not unmindful of his early instruction, and chiefly in memory of his father, he honored the church of the blessed martyr, Alban, with donations, and distinguished it with lasting privileges.

Chapter 7: The reason of the revolt of the king's brother Geoffrey, and his reconciliation <to index>

[1] While England was enjoying peace and security from having quelled and subjugated the Welsh, king Henry was informed that his brother Geoffrey was exciting disturbances abroad. The cause of the dissension between the brothers was this. The illustrious earl of Anjou had begotten, of the late empress Matilda, three sons -- Henry, Geoffrey, and William. So when both the paternal and maternal rights being united in Henry, as the firstborn, belonged to him exclusively, the earl was unwilling that a provision for the others should be totally dependent on their brother's good-will, not knowing how he might be disposed towards them. In his last hours, therefore, he bequeathed by will the county of Anjou to his second son; but, as England was at that time in suspense, he said, "When Henry shall have obtained the fullness of his mother's right, that is, Normandy together with England, let him yield to his brother Geoffrey the whole of the property which he shall have derived from his paternal ancestors. In the meantime let Geoffrey be satisfied with the three distinguished castles of Chinon, Loudun, and Mirabeau;" and, as Henry was at that time accidentally absent, though quickly to return, he bound the prelates and nobles who were present under oath, that his body should not be buried until his son had sworn that he would not nullify the will of his father.

[2] Shortly after his decease, his son, when he arrived to celebrate his exequies, heard of the adjuration of his father, and for a long time hesitated; at length all beseeching him not to suffer the corpse of his father to putrefy unburied, to his own eternal and inexpiable disgrace, he yielded to their solicitations, and, not without tears, took the required oath. When the funeral of his father was over, the will was opened -- for the present he dissembled his grief; but on succeeding to the kingdom, he caused to be intimated to the Roman pontiff (as it is said) the compulsion under which he had sworn to what he was not aware of; and as extorted oaths, or promises, are not binding unless ratified by subsequent assent, he (as they affirm) easily obtained absolution from his engagement for compulsory swearing, or promising, creates no necessity for ratification, which is only effected by the liberty of the will. Secured by this plea, neither out of respect to his father's will, nor his own oath, would he make satisfaction to his brother.

[3] Irritated at this, Geoffrey having fortified the three castles aforesaid which his father had left him, against all mischances, as he supposed, harassed the neighboring provinces; but the king, hastily assembling his army, laid siege to Chinon -- a castle so called, whose strength was such that nature seemed to vie with human art in fortifying and defending it; but he reduced it in a short time, and pardoned his humiliated and suppliant brother; and depriving him of his castles, to prevent his ambitious views in future, he granted him a portion of level country for his support; and when Geoffrey was pining with dejection, now accusing the severity of his brother, now sighing at the malevolence of fortune, an unexpected event transported him with joy, for the inhabitants of the noble city of Nantes having no certain ruler, or none with whom they might be well-pleased, admiring his activity and perseverance, chose him for their true and acknowledged lord, and on his arrival they delivered up to him their city with the adjacent province. Not long enjoying this good fortune, he was carried off by a premature death; and the earl of Richmond, who at that time had very considerable authority in Brittany, immediately entered the city as its legitimate owner. The king, on hearing this, issued an order for the earldom of Richmond to be applied to the service of his exchequer, and forthwith embarking for Normandy, he claimed the city of Nantes, by right of succession to his brother; and so completely did he intimidate the earl by his extensive armament, that attempting hardly a feeble resistance, he soothed his opponent by relinquishing the city.

Chapter 8: Of the destruction of Milan; and of the relics of the magi <to index>

[1] Nearly about this time Frederick, emperor of Germany and Italy, laid siege to, took, and destroyed the city of Milan; which for a long time had continued in a state of rebellion, from confidence in its strength and resources. The Lombards, a restless and warlike people, thirsting after unbounded liberty, and proud in consequence of the number of their cities, and the greatness of their strength, had many years before revolted in a great measure from the emperor of the Romans. But, while the most opulent cities contended with each other for the superiority, and desired to govern the rest, they only augmented thereby the force of the emperor against themselves. At last, the Milanese surpassing in wealth and power, affected the supremacy of all Lombardy, and had already subdued some cities and destroyed others which resisted, when the people of Pavia, unequal in strength, but disdaining their control, went over to the party of the emperor. Other cities, following their example, entered into a treaty with him.

[2] Purposing to attack the Milanese who now were weakened by the desertion of all their allies, the emperor collected the forces of his empire. Converting the desire of dominion into an obstinate defense of liberty, they, too, fortified themselves by every mode against the imperial assault. After having destroyed and demolished the suburbs, lest they should be as prejudicial to the besieged as serviceable to the besiegers, they took the same measures with a noble and ancient monastery without the walls, noted for the relics of saints, transferring within the walls whatever was there discovered sacred and venerable, but more especially the bodies of the three Magi, who by reverencing the birth of the Savior with holy offerings became the first-fruits of the Gentiles to God and to the Lamb. This treasure which had been formerly deposited in a secret part of this church was unknown even to the officiating monks and clerks; but when the church itself was pulled down to the foundations, it was discovered, and made evident by manifest proofs, which declared that those men, whose memory is blessed, after having honored and adored their infant Savior, returned into their own country, and were alive even after the triumph of His passion; and having received the sacrament of baptism from the apostles in their ministry, migrated to Him whom they had formerly adored in His cradle, now to be honored by Him when sitting on the right hand of His Father. Nor is it known by what persons their sacred relics were brought and deposited in this place. Their remains, however, were entire, their bones and nerves covered by a skin dry and incorruptible, as it is supposed from the virtue of the balm with which, after the heathen mode, their bodies are presumed to have been anointed after death. In addition to this, a gold circle, as they say, encompassed their bodies when discovered, in order to keep them together.

[3] Milan was besieged by the emperor Frederick, the number of whose forces may be estimated from the circumstance of his being enabled to attempt the reduction of so very powerful a city, inordinately boasting of the multitude and boldness of her inhabitants. After various events, however, and multiplied encounters, it surrendered, and fell into the enemy's hands. The victorious emperor razed the city, but did not destroy the inhabitants, because they had surrendered themselves. He, however, dispersed them, and transferred those celebrated relics of the Magi, there deposited, into Germany, to the inexpressible grief of the Lombards, and honored the city of Cologne with the custody of this treasure.

Chapter 9: Of the schism in the church of Rome, the Council of Pavia, and the Gallican Convention <to index>

[1] In the fifth year of his reign, Henry, the illustrious king of England, was solemnly crowned at Lincoln on Christmas-day, not within the walls, indeed, on account, I suppose, of that ancient superstition which king Stephen (as before related) laudably condemned and ridiculed; but in a village adjoining the suburbs.

[2] In the following year, pope Adrian paid the debt of nature; on whose decease, the cardinals, disagreeing in the choice of a sovereign pontiff, made a schism. in the church; and while parties were raging against each other, they broke also the bond of ecclesiastical peace throughout the world ; the greater and wiser part, indeed, fixing on Roland, chancellor of the church of Rome, a religious and learned man, canonically consecrated him; but a very inconsiderable portion fixing upon Octavian, a man of rank, fearless of the divine judgment, debased him with their unhallowed choice. Each party hurled the sentence of excommunication and condemnation against its opponents, and anxiously sought the support of the churches and nobles to their cause. The former assumed the name of Alexander [III], the destined victor from the justice of his cause; the other vainly assumed the title of Victor [IV], an empty name, a deceitful omen indicative only of future disgrace. This rent might soon have been made whole, and the few might have yielded and been united to the many, had not the emperor Frederick, hating Alexander from his ancient dislike to Roland, determined on embracing and seconding, by every possible means, the cause of Octavian. At length he commanded all the prelates of his dominions, that is to say, the Italian and German bishops, to assemble at Pavia, as if for discussing and investigating the claims of which party preponderated, but in fact, that, by depressing Alexander, and approving his opponent, they might celebrate the premature victory of the aforesaid Victor. He ordered the antagonists themselves also to be present, to abide by the decree of this council. Victor, indeed, attended, as if to abide the decision, but Alexander, not only guardedly, but even openly refused the prejudgment, which, under the name of judgment, was preparing for him.

[3] The bishops, both from the German and Italian empire, assembled by the imperial order at Pavia, with a multitude of prelates of inferior order, all on the side of Frederick, who, with his princes, made a formidable appearance. Whatever favored the cause of Alexander, as there was no person to plead for him, was either suppressed in silence, or craftily perverted, or turned against him; and what was wanting in truth to the merits of the adversary was supplied by art. In consequence of this, accepting Victor with all due solemnity, as the genuine successor of St. Peter, they passed sentence on Alexander by a general decree, as a schismatic and rebel against God. The emperor, with the whole assembly of princes and nobles, approved the acts of the council, and denounced punishment against all recusants. Moreover, he anxiously solicited, by every method, the illustrious kings of England and France to perpetual amity, by embracing his side of the question in this dispute. Inflexible, however, and carefully suspending their judgment, until they could perfectly know the truth of so delicate a matter, they also assembled, out of each kingdom, at a suitable time and place, a most respectable council of prelates and nobles. On the part of Octavian appeared his two principal partisans, who had been his electors, and the authors of the schism, Guido, cardinal of Crema, and John, cardinal of St. Martin; for Imarus, bishop of Tusculum, who had laid on him the hands of execration, had now departed this life. On behalf of the lord Alexander were present three cardinals, Henry of Pisa, John of Naples, and William of Pavia. The cardinal of Crema, then rising in the presence of the kings and prelates, before the whole multitude of the clergy and people there assembled, spoke on his own side, and against his adversary, with all his powers of genius and oratory. After he had concluded, William of Pavia, a most eloquent man, rising up, rebutted every allegation in the most convincing manner, and completely retorted nearly every word which the cardinal of Crema had uttered in behalf of his friend; and this he did so effectually, that he appeared fairly entangled and caught in his own words. At last, in this combat, as it were of mutual altercation, the truth of the whole business became so apparent, that both kings no longer hesitated to abjure the cause of Octavian and with their subject kingdoms to obey Alexander for the future, as a father in the things pertaining to God. On the departure of the before-mentioned schismatics with confusion and disgrace, our princes and prelates dissolved the assembly, having first solemnly hurled the sentence of excommunication against the rebels.

[4] In the meantime pope Alexander, residing securely in the territories of the king of Sicily, whose firm friendship he possessed, waited an opportunity of passing into France. The whole western empire, with the exception of the German provinces, obeyed him in pastoral concerns. The emperor, indeed, from private animosity, when once given up to a reprobate mind, and deeming it beneath his imperial majesty to be convinced even by reason, deferred for a long time to yield to the evident truth.

Chapter 10: Of the expedition to Toulouse of the illustrious earl of Barcelona <to index>

[1] The renowned king of England, Henry the second, in the seventh year of his reign, led his army into Gascony; the cause of which famous expedition was as follows. The earl of Poitou, who was also duke of Aquitaine, grandfather of Eleanor, queen first of France and then of England, being a man of such profuse expense that the surpassing affluence of his revenues was incapable of supporting his extravagance, was therefore obliged to borrow a large sum of money from the earl of St. Giles, a wealthy nobleman, to whom he pawned the noble city of Toulouse with its appurtenances; and, upon his death, he transmitted to his son the task of redeeming the pledge. He, too, resembling his father in prodigality, bequeathed to his heirs also the task of redeeming the city. Leaving an only daughter as his heir, who had married Louis, king of France, that prince claimed Toulouse, in right of his wife. Though the earl of St. Giles alleged no right whatever, yet he wholly usurped the city; and, watching his opportunity, appeased the king by marrying his sister Constance, widow of Eustace, son of king Stephen, who, on his demise, had returned to her brother; but when the divorce between the king and queen of France afterwards took place, the question concerning the resignation of Toulouse to the rightful heirs was again agitated, for Eleanor had now become the wife of the king of England. Upon the earl of St. Giles refusing to give it up, and vouching the king of France as having bestowed it upon him, the king of England collected an army throughout the whole of his dominions, and entered the territory of Gascony; and having also invited his friends either to follow or to meet him there, his army became augmented by immense numbers, and more especially by the earl of Barcelona, a great and powerful chief, not inferior to kings themselves.

[2] And here, as the opportunity presents itself, it may be worth while briefly to describe his more than kingly mind in royal magnificence. A little before our times, the illustrious king of Aragon, having several sons, through a pious impulse, dedicated one to Christ, in a monastery, designing that the rest should succeed him in turn. His destined successors, however, dying before him, last of all the father also departed this life. The nobles and people, fearing lest through the contentions of his nephews for the succession, the kingdom should be torn asunder, hastily assembled, and, providing for the approaching danger, immediately exalted the king's son from the cloister to the throne; and having settled the government, they compelled him to marry, for the sake of having children to succeed him, pleading the urgency of the case in mitigation of its impropriety, and alleging that necessity had no law. At length he begat an only daughter; and having managed the kingdom with commendable care until his daughter was of marriageable years, he summoned a meeting of the nobles.

[3] When they appeared before him, with nearly the whole military force of his realm, he addressed them to the following effect: "God Almighty pardon both you and me, my beloved friends; I have done foolishly, but you have compelled me. But may not he who has fallen yet rise up again? Will not that dreadful necessity, which you say is without law, restore whatever it has usurped against law, when there is no longer a reason for it? Behold, you have an heir for the kingdom begotten by me. Let an honorable marriage be sought out for this young princess, and thus the emergencies of the state will be provided for. Let the monk, therefore, return to his cloister, and for the future endeavor to heal his wounded conscience." All attempted to dissuade him, but when his pious and laudable purpose could not be obviated, he betrothed his daughter, at the instance of the nobility, to a most noble youth, the son of the earl of Barcelona; and, surrendering the kingdom with his daughter to him, this memorable personage, this singular despiser of the world, not longer enduring the remorse of his conscience, for purple resumed a cowl, and a cloister for a kingdom. After these transactions, they persuaded the youth that, as he was in possession of a kingdom, he should assume the crown and purple, the ensigns of royalty. This he refused, saying, "As none of my ancestors were of higher rank than a count, I am a count by nature: content with this, as I am not better, neither am I desirous to be greater than my forefathers; therefore, that in me fortune may not surpass nature, I waive the name and ensigns of a king. Moreover, that in me fortune may ever yield to nature, retaining the title of count, I do not refuse the greatness and power of a kingdom. In addition to this, were I to assume the regal dignity, I should be surpassed by some kings in riches and honor; but now, as I have the wealth of a kingdom with royal power, no count in the world can be equaled to the count of Barcelona. Wherefore I prefer being the first count to being, perhaps, not even the seventh king." Thus did this admirable man either argue or jest, from a noble contempt of royal dignity when exhorted by his friends to assume a kingly title. Nor would he ever be called king or duke, but only count of Barcelona, although he possessed, with the kingdom of Aragon, the duchy of Provence -- that is, all that region so called, which extends from the Rhone to the confines of Italy. Moreover, after his death, his son, according to the prerogative of maternal lineage, was solemnly crowned king by the Roman pontiff.

[4] The count of Barcelona, as well on account of his friendship for the king of England, as of his hostility to the earl of St. Giles, came, as we have related, with all the power of his subject people, to the expedition. of Toulouse. William surnamed Trencheveil, a noble and powerful man, lord of a few cities and many castles, also assisted the king of England with all the strength in his power, out of hatred to the count of St. Giles, in whose custody, as it is said, he had once been, and from whom he had escaped with difficulty and not without being deprived of many of his lands. The count of St. Giles, indeed, greatly fearing the attack of so large an army, implored the assistance of the king of France, who was his wife's brother, and uncle of his children. Burning with zeal for his nephews, the king came in haste to Toulouse with as large an army as he could collect. When this became known to the king of England, he forbore to lay siege to the city, out of deference to the royal person who was therein, and employed his army in overrunning the province and sacking its fortresses. He retook the city of Cahors, which had revolted, together with numerous castles in its neighborhood; at the same time he captured and sacked many others. After this, when William Trencheveil had recovered possession of the fortresses which bad fallen by the fortune of war into the hands of the count of St. Giles, the king returned into Normandy.

Chapter 11: Of the horrid murder of William Trencheveil, and how it was avenged <to index>

[1] But since mention of this William has been incidentally made, I must not omit a circumstance which was afterwards brought against him by his people, from the exuberance of malignity, showing what a trivial cause produced an offence which called loudly for expiation, and what a terrible instance of unheard-of vengeance followed. The circumstance is still fresh in memory, and I have ascertained it by frequent and undoubted relation. This man, great and noble among the great of that country, while peaceably governing his strongly defended territories on all sides after the expedition to Toulouse, at which he had been present, was under the necessity of assisting his nephew, then suffering from a hostile incursion. Proceeding first himself with a considerable force, he commanded the residue of the army to follow. A large body of youth, expert in arms and elate in spirits, rushing from the subject cities of Bezieres and Carcassonne, joined the expedition. It happened that a certain man of Bezieres, relying on the multitude of his associates, rudely affronted a knight of some consequence by taking away his warhorse (which they call a destrier) and loading him with baggage on the march. The knight, supported by the whole body of the cavalry made bitter complaint in presence of the commander, representing the outrage he had suffered, which, though not very costly, was yet highly disgraceful. The commander, anxious to appease the knights, who decidedly declared that they would immediately quit the army if the people of Bezieres were to be gratified by the impunity of their townsmen, delivered up the aggressor to the will of the complainants, who, inflicting a trivial but rather disgraceful punishment, dismissed him, as dishonored for the remainder of his days.

[2] At this, the citizens of Bezieres were vehemently enraged, as though the slight disgrace of an individual had brought shame on their whole body: consequently, all of them mournfully entreated their lord, on his return from the expedition, to wipe out the disgrace of his subject and devoted city, by some honorable and efficient means, He, from his obliging disposition, kindly and condescendingly replied that he would readily rectify what had been done for the necessity of appeasing the knights, and solemnly promised that he would, on a given day, satisfy his deserving citizens according to their inclinations. Accepting this promise they remained quiet for a time. On the appointed day, their lord, thus pledged, attended with his friends and noble vassals, and, in the cathedral church, awaited the arrival of the citizens, to whom he was about to make satisfaction in the presence of the bishop. Craftily dissembling their anger, and concealing their armor and daggers under their cloaks, they came into the cathedral. The man, who had given the offence and received the punishment, hereupon stepping forward exclaimed, "Behold me, a wretched unhappy being, and one weary of life, from the circumstance of being obliged to live in ignominy therefore deign, my lord, if it please you, to say whether you are willing to reverse my sentence, that I may be both desirous and able to survive." His lord then mildly and condescendingly replied, "I am ready, as I promised, to abide by the decision and award of the nobles and citizens here assembled." To this the offender rejoined, "You would speak to the purpose, if you would compensate me for the ignominy I have sustained by the grant of any honor from yourself; but since you cannot deal back honor, by the same mode as you dealt out disgrace to me, I can only expiate my ignominy by your blood." Saying which, these most abandoned citizens unsheathed the daggers they had secreted, attacked, and massacred their liege lord, with his friends and nobles, before the sacred altar; the bishop having in vain, nearly to his own destruction, endeavored to frustrate this cruel assassination.

[3] When this astounding and detestable affair became known to the surrounding people, abhorring the deed, they all vowed condign vengeance upon the authors of this infernal conspiracy; and the neighboring princes, supposing they would do service to God by annihilating this perverse people, prepared jointly to execute vengeance on the delinquents. These offenders confiding in the strength of their city, likewise fortified themselves by every means in their power. The Roman pontiff, also, having heard of this atrocious outrage, immediately hurled the weapons of ecclesiastical malediction against the criminals; while the king of Aragon, with other princes, forthwith laid siege to the accursed city. When the siege had been protracted for a time, and the difficulty of taking the town appeared to the assailants almost insurmountable, as well from the strength of the place, as from the resolute conduct of the besieged; the besiegers, weary of delay, in order that they might effect something, concluded a peace with the citizens whom they were unable to subdue, and reconciled them to their liege lord, the son of him whom they had murdered, covenanting that they should make satisfaction for his father's death. The treaty being concluded, the siege was raised and all seemed settled. But this, as afterwards appeared, was effected by divine appointment, that they who were unconquerable by force, and who had by artful perfidy cruelly murdered their mild and amiable master, should receive a similar retribution to their own destruction, and that the same measure should be dealt to them by the son, which they had in the first instance measured to the father. For after some time, when a reflection was cast upon this son, by a nobleman. either in sport or in earnest, that he had sold the blood of his deceased father to his perfidious citizens, he was so hurt at this expression, that deeming it disgraceful to keep faith with the faithless, and being urged alike by shame and grief, he meditated on taking early vengeance, by whatsoever means, for his father's murder. Having immediately disclosed the secret of his preconceived design to the illustrious king of Aragon, he received from him a large body of his most ferocious people, under pretence of affording him assistance against the count of St. Giles.

[4] Upon this, he proceeded hastily to the city of Bezieres (having first artfully spread a report that the count of St. Giles meditated an attack), and entreated the citizens to entertain the Aragonese, (since he was favored with the friendship and assistance of the king of Aragon), who were on their march and would shortly arrive, and to supply them with provisions upon fair terms of exchange. Whereupon the Aragonese, during several days arriving, not in bodies, indeed, lest they should appear formidable able, and their approach hostile, but in small parties at a time, at length completely filled the city with their numbers. And when they were quartered in every part of the town, on a signal being given from the citadel, they flew to arms; and, each man attacking the nearest citizens, they almost in a moment annihilated the entire population with insatiable fury.

[5] Thus, by God's just appointment, did this accursed people receive the due reward of their perfidy and cruelty. Moreover, these ministers of vengeance received (as it is said) as a reward for their labors, a residence in this city, now purified by the slaughter of its perfidious inhabitants. These matters having been related, because they appeared memorable at the time, let us return to the course of our narrative.

Chapter 12: The reconciliation of the kings of France and England <to index>

Henry II, king of England, after returning from the expedition to Toulouse, remained in quiet but a short time; for, in the following year, which was the eighth of his reign, the quarrel between him and the king of France, which had originated during the expedition in question, from some aggravated causes, now ripened into maturity, and burst forth; so that, by violent commotions, the peace of their subject provinces was disturbed. At length, vast armies were collected by each party, and camps formed on their frontiers. Each prince remained stationary with his forces, as it appeared dangerous to advance and disgraceful to retreat, thinking it preferable, from the dubious chances of war, to act on the defensive, rather than become the assailant. Men of peaceable dispositions, therefore, embracing this pause as an opportunity for laying the basis of peace, piously and carefully busied themselves, lest the pride and ambition of two individuals should effect the destruction of innocent nations. And since, as it is said, peace is generally best concerted under the buckler, these princes were easily persuaded to do that which at first they would not even deign to hear; they were, consequently, reconciled, and their subjects returned home. In the same year, Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury died; to whom Thomas, the king's chancellor succeeded in the following year.

Chapter 13: Of the entrance of heretics into England, and their extermination <to index>

[1] At this time certain heretics came into England, of that sect, as it is believed, commonly called Publicans. These, spread the poison of their heresy, which had originated from an unknown author in Gascony, in many regions; for such numbers are said to be infected with this pestilence throughout the extensive provinces of France, Spain, Italy, and Germany that we may exclaim, in the words of the prophet, "Lord, how are they increased that trouble met " [Psalm 3:1] Finally, when the bishops and princes act towards them too leniently, these subtle foxes issue from their hiding-places and, under the mask of piety, by leading astray the simple, lay waste the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts both grievously and widely; but when the zeal of the faithful is kindled against them by the inspiration of God, they lie concealed in their dens, and become less noxious; but still they cease not to annoy, by disseminating their secret poison. Their victims are rustics, and the half-witted, who are, consequently, slow to understand their fallacies; but, when once tinctured with this heresy, they remain inflexible to all discipline, whence it rarely happens that they are reconverted to the truth, when they are dragged from their lurking-places.

[2] From such, and similar heretical pests, England had always been free, though so many sprang up in other parts of the world. This island, however, when it was denominated Britain from its inhabitants the Britons, gave birth to Pelagius, the future heresiarch in the East, and in process of time admitted his error to her own shores; to annihilate which the pious foresight of the Gallican church again and again sent forth the blessed Germanus; but when this island, after the expulsion of the Britons, became possessed by the Angles, and was no longer denominated Britain, but England, no poisonous heresy ever issued from it, nor, till the time of king Henry II did heresy infuse itself from other countries for the purpose of propagation and extension. Then, also, by the assistance of God, such means were adopted to counteract the poison, that it must tremble at the idea of again entering the island.

[3] There were about thirty men and women who concealed their error and came hither, for the purpose of disseminating their heresy, under the conduct of one Gerard, to whom all looked up as teacher and chief, for he alone had any tincture of learning; the others, Germans by birth and language, were both illiterate and silly, as well as uncouth and rude. After a short residence in England they added to their party only one weak woman, who was overcome by their poisonous insinuations, and bewitched (as it is said) by certain sorceries. Indeed. they could not remain long concealed, for certain persons having carefully examined them, they being of a foreign sect, they were discovered, seized, and confined in public prisons. The king. however, being unwilling, to punish them without examination, commanded a council of the bishops to be assembled at Oxford. Here, when they were solemnly interrogated concerning their faith, the man who appeared the best informed undertaking the cause, and speaking for all, replied that they were Christians, and highly venerated apostolical doctrine. Being questioned singly concerning the articles of the holy faith, they answered rightly concerning the substance of the doctrines of the heavenly Physician, but perversely concerning those remedies -- that is, the holy sacraments, whereby He deigns to heal human infirmity; they rejected holy baptism, the Eucharist, and matrimony; and, with impious daring, derogated from the catholic unity, which admits of these divine assistances.

[4] When the were pressed by texts taken from the holy Scriptures, they said they believed as they had been taught, but were unwilling to dispute about their faith. When admonished to repent and become united to the body of the Church, they despised all wholesome counsel. They laughed at the threats kindly held out to induce them to become wise through fear, misapplying the divine expression, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." [Matt. 5:10] The bishops, therefore, guarding against the further dissemination of heresy, delivered them, as convicted heretics, to the catholic prince to be subjected to corporeal discipline. He commanded the mark of heretical ignominy to be branded on their foreheads, and that they should be whipped in the presence of the people and expelled from the city, and strictly inhibited any one to presume to entertain or supply them with any comfort whatever. Their sentence being proclaimed, they were conducted to their just punishment rejoicing, their leader preceding with hasty step, and singing, "Blessed shall ye be when men shall hate you." To such a degree did the seducing spirit pervert the minds of those he had deceived. The woman whom they had led astray in England, having departed from them for fear of punishment, confessed her error, and was recovered to the Church. Moreover this vile assemblage, with branded foreheads, was subjected to just severity, and he who had the supremacy over them underwent the stigma of a double brand, on his forehead and his chin, to designate his authority. Their garments being torn down to their waists, they were publicly scourged; and while the lash yet resounded, they were expelled from the city, and miserably perished from the inclemency of the weather, for it was winter, while no person showed them the smallest pity. The pious severity of this discipline not only cleansed the kingdom of England from that pest which had crept into it, but also prevented its future intrusion, by the terror which it struck into heretics.

Chapter 14: Of the Council of Tours, celebrated by pope Alexander <to index>

At this time Alexander, the Roman pontiff, came, by sea from Apulia into France; for, although as it has been already said, the whole western world, as well as the states of Germany, is subject to his power in matters pertaining to God, yet from the adherents of Octavian besetting the passes, and not only spoiling of their effects, but even imprisoning the persons of all, those whom they accidentally met either going to or returning from him, any access to the pope became extremely difficult. Being thus unable to discharge his high functions as he wished, and as was becoming and to extend the arm of apostolical power to its proper length, he entrusted himself to the sea, and proceeding, at imminent peril, to the western provinces, he was met by the bishops and princes of the districts of the Gallican church, and gratified the anxious desires of numbers by his arrival. The noble kings of France and England also honored him with a solemn meeting, as became their royal magnificence, and cheerfully paid obeisance to the illustrious exile. Assisted, therefore, by the favor of these princes, he summoned the pastors of the churches, and celebrated, with much pomp, a general general council at Tours; on the octaves of Pentecost [19th May], in the year of our Lord's Incarnation, one thousand one hundred and sixty-three, the decrees of which council I have deemed it proper to insert in my narrative.

Chapter 15: Of the canons of the Council of Tours <to index>

Whereas a certain heinous custom has obtained a footing in certain places, contrary to the institutions of the holy fathers, that priests should be appointed to the rule of churches by a yearly stipend: this we inhibit by every possible mode, because so long as the priesthood is exercised under this venal recompense, no consideration is had to the reward of eternal retribution.

Covetousness is not adequately branded with ignominy, among the people at large, if it be not avoided in every respect by those who are in holy orders, and more especially such as, despising the world, profess the monastic name and rule. Therefore, we prohibit any money being required from such as are willing to enter the monastic life: neither shall any priories nor any chaplaincies of monks or canons be sold for an annual rent; neither shall any payment be demanded from the person to whom such authority is permitted for the exercise of it. The authority of the holy fathers plainly declares such matters to be simony. Whosoever, therefore, shall presume to attempt this in future, let him be certain of having his portion with Simon. For burial also, and the recovery of the chrism or holy unction, let no pecuniary demand be made, nor any one defend his guilt under pretext of custom, because length of time does not diminish sins, but increases them.

Whereas, in certain bishoprics, deans or archpriests are appointed, at an annual stipend, to represent bishops or archdeacons, and to dispatch ecclesiastical causes, which certainly redounds to the detriment of priests and the subversion of justice; we strictly inhibit this practice in future. If any one commit this offence, let him be expelled from the clergy. The bishop, also, who suffers this within his diocese and permits ecclesiastical judgment to be perverted by his own connivance, shall be punished by canonical censure.

It appears highly disgraceful that the smaller prebends of the clerks should be divided, while the larger benefices of the church remain entire. Therefore, that the church may possess unbroken unity, as well in its great as its smallest members, we prohibit the division of prebends or the exchange of dignities.

Many of the clergy, and (with grief speak it) of those also who have relinquished the world by profession, by vows, and by habit, while abhorring common usury as more manifestly damnable, yet, by loan of money to the necessitous, take their possessions into pledge, and take the current profits beyond their share agreed on; therefore it is decreed, by the authority of this general council, that none of the clergy from this time shall presume to practice this or any other kind of usury. And if any one hitherto has received from the loan of money any person's possessions in pledge, under the pretext, if he has already received his share, let him restore possession absolutely to the debtor, after deducting expenses from the profits. If he be deficient, on receipt of such deficiency, let the possession revert freely to its owner. But if, after these constitutions, any of the clergy shall persist in the accursed lucre of usury, he shall bring his ecclesiastical office into jeopardy, unless, indeed, the benefice belong to the church, and this seemed to him a mode of rescuing it out of the hands of the laity.

In the district of Toulouse a damnable heresy has lately arisen, which, after the nature of a canker, gradually diffusing itself over the neighboring places, hath already infected vast numbers throughout Gascony and other provinces; and while, serpent-like, it is concealed beneath its folds, in proportion to its unseen advances, so it injures more grievously the Lord's vineyard in the persons of the simple-hearted. Wherefore, we command the bishops, and all God's priests resident in those parts, to be vigilant, and to inhibit, under pain of anathema, all persons from sheltering in their territories or presuming to protect the known followers of such heresy. Neither shall they have intercourse with such either in selling or buying, in order that the consolations of society being denied them, they may be compelled to renounce the errors of their ways. And whosoever shall attempt to contravene this injunction, shall be included under their curse as a partaker of their crime. But if they shall be discovered by catholic princes, let them be taken into custody and incur the forfeiture of all their goods. And since they frequently assemble from diverse parts at one hiding-place, and having no cause for dwelling together, but an agreement in error induces them to dwell in the same house, let all such receptacles be diligently sought out, and, when discovered, forbidden under canonical censure.

Although it appears excessively heinous, and worthy of divine vengeance, that certain of the laity should usurp in ecclesiastical matters that which belongs to the clergy, yet it creates greater alarm and grief that the origin of this error is said oftentimes to be found in the clergy themselves. For some of our brethren, our fellow bishops and prelates, grant to the laity the tithes and disposal of churches, and drive into the bye-paths of death such as ought to be recalled by their preaching to the path of life; of whom the Lord says by the prophet, " They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity." [Hosea 4:8] Wherefore, we command that whosoever shall hereafter grant either church or tithe to any layman shall be severed from his place like a tree which cumbers the ground unprofitably; and, till he shall amend, shall lie prostrate in the ruin of his downfall.

The envy of our ancient enemy does not so greatly strive to undermine the weak members of our church, but that he reaches out his hand against its desirable ones, and endeavors to supplant all its elect; for as the Scripture says, his food is choice. He supposes that he is working the downfall of many, whenever he succeeds in withdrawing from the church any valuable member by his craftiness. Hence it arises that, after his usual custom, transforming himself into an angel of light, under the mask of prescribing for the bodies of the sick brethren, and of more carefully performing ecclesiastical business, he leads certain professed monks from their cloister to study laws and make up medical prescriptions.

Wherefore, lest under this pretence godly men be again entangled in worldly affairs, and themselves become internally losers, whilst they suppose they are assisting others in outward matters, by the consent of the present council, we ordain, that no one whatever, after making his religious vow or profession in any sacred place, shall be permitted to go out to study physic or civil laws; but if he shall depart, and not return to his cloister within the space of two months, let him be shunned by all as an excommunicated person, and in no case heard, if he wish to plead any cause. But if he return, let him always be the lowest of the brotherhood in the choir, in the chapter, at table, and elsewhere; and, unless perchance the mercy of the apostolical see shall intervene, let him lose hope of all promotion.

Let such bishops, abbots, and priors as connive at such enormity, without correcting it, be despoiled of their honors, and driven from the threshold of the church. An imperial sanction restrains the vexation and audacity of such as go to law wantonly, by condemning them in expenses and other sufficient remedy. Since, therefore, this is admitted to be consistent with holy canons, we command that, for the future, the party worsted in pecuniary causes shall be condemned in lawful expenses, to be paid to the victorious party, unless sentence be given against a person absent.

Chapter 16: Of the king's displeasure against the venerable Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury <to index>

[1] Before the year had expired in which the council was held, the displeasure of the king of England waxed hot against the venerable Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, the unhappy source of the numerous and excessive evils which ensued. This Thomas was born in London; he was a man of acute understanding and competent eloquence as well as elegant in person and manner; he was second to none in dispatch of business; he had been conspicuous in the service of Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, and had received from him the archdeaconry of Canterbury, on the promotion of Roger to the see of York. But when Henry the second, on the demise of Stephen, (as it has been before observed,) succeeded to his hereditary kingdom, he was unwilling to be without the services of a man fit to stand before kings, so he made Becket his royal chancellor. Being elevated to this office, he executed it with such reputation, and gained at the same time such high regard and distinctions from his prince, that he seemed to share the government with him.

[2] Some years had elapsed in his secular services, when, behold, he was enlisted in ecclesiastical warfare and obtained, through the royal pleasure, the see of Canterbury. After a time, considering piously and sagaciously the responsibility of so high an honor, he on a sudden exhibited such a change in his habit and manners, that some observed, "This is the finger of God," [Exodus 8:19] and others, " This is a change effected by the hand of the Most High." [Psalm 76:11 Vulg] In the second year after his advancement, he was present at the council of Tours, where, as it is reported, being pricked by remorse of conscience, he privately resigned into the pope’s hands the primacy, having, as it were, received it not regularly and canonically, but by the agency and hand of the king. The pope, approving of the transaction, restored to him his pastoral office by virtue of his ecclesiastical power, and healed the wounded conscience of the scrupulous prelate.

[3] The bishops having returned from the council to their several sees, the royal and the priestly powers began to be at variance in England, and no small commotion arose concerning the prerogatives of the clergy. For it was intimated by the judges to the king, who was diligently occupied in the concerns of the state, and who had ordered all malefactors to be indiscriminately banished, that many crimes against public order, such as thefts, rapines, and murders, were repeatedly committed by the clergy, to whom the correction of lay jurisdiction could not be extended. Finally, it was declared, in his presence, that during his reign more than a hundred murders had been committed by the clergy in England alone. Hereupon the king, waxing extremely indignant, enacted laws, in the heat of his passion, against ecclesiastical delinquents, wherein he gave evidence of his zeal for public justice, though his severity rather exceeded the bounds of moderation. Still however the blame and the origin of the king’s excess in this point attaches only to the prelates of our times, inasmuch as it proceeded entirely from them. For since the sacred canons enjoin that not only flagitious clerks, that is, such as are guilty of heinous crimes, but even such as are only slightly criminal, shall be degraded, and the church of England contains many thousands such, like the chaff innumerable amid the few grains of corn -- what number of the clergy have there been deprived of this office during many years in England? The bishops however, while anxious rather to maintain the liberties or rights of the clergy than to correct ant root out their vices, suppose that they do God service, and the church also, by defending against established law those abandoned clergy, whom they either refuse or neglect to restrain, as their office enjoins, by the vigor of canonical censure. Hence the clergy, who, called into the inheritance of the Lord, ought to shine on earth, in their lives and conversation, like stars placed in the firmament of heaven, yet take license and liberty to do what they please with impunity; and regard neither God, whose vengeance seems to deep, nor men who are placed in authority; more especially as episcopal vigilance is relaxed with respect to them, while the prerogative of holy orders exempts them from all secular jurisdiction.

[4] Thus, when the king had enacted certain statutes against the chaff of the holy order, that is to say, for the examination or punishment of the guilty clergy, in which perhaps (as it has been said) he exceeded the bounds of moderation, he conceived that they would be fully ratified could they be confirmed by the consent of the bishops. Therefore, having assembled the prelates, to procure their sanction by any means whatsoever, he so allured the whole of them with the exception of one, by blandishments, or terrified them with alarms, that they deemed it necessary to yield to and obey the royal pleasure, and set their seals to the enactment of these new constitutions -- I say, with the exception of one, for the archbishop of Canterbury was alone inflexible, and remained unshaken by every assault. Upon this, the king’s fury became more vehemently incensed against him, in proportion as he appeared more indebted to the royal munificence for what had been given and received. Hence the king became hostile to him, and, seeking every occasion to attack him, demanded an account of everything he had formerly done in the kingdom, in his office as chancellor. The archbishop, with intrepid freedom, replied, that having discharged his secular duties, he had been completely transferred to the church by the prince in whose service he had been engaged, and that matters of bygone date ought not to be urged against him, but this more for a pretext than for truth. While the causes of the king’s anger became daily more aggravated, on the day when the archbishop was to answer at large to the allegations against him, he ordered the solemn office of St. Stephen -- "The princes sat and spake against me, and sinners persecuted me" -- to be duly chanted before him at the celebration of mass. Afterwards he entered the court, carrying in his hand the silver cross, which was usually borne before him; and when some of the bishops present wished to undertake the office of carrying the cross before their metropolitan, he refused, and, although entreated, he would not allow any other to bear the cross in that public assembly. The king, being already enraged beyond measure at these circumstances, had an additional incentive to his fury; for in the following night the archbishop secretly escaped, and passed beyond the sea, where, being honorably received by the king, the nobility, and the bishops of France, he took up his residence for a time.

[5] The king of England, consequently, was furiously enraged at his absence; and, giving way to unbridled passion more than became a king, took an unbecoming and pitiful kind of revenge, by banishing all the archbishop’s relations out of England. Now, though many persons indeed generally, led by fond affection, but little prudence, do approve everything done by those whom they love and commend, yet I by no means deem that these actions of this venerable man are worthy of commendation, however they might proceed from laudable zeal, - because no benefit would result therefrom, and they only the more inflamed the royal anger, and melancholy results are known to have ensued from them, - any more than I commend the actions of the blessed prince of the apostles, now at the summit of apostolical eminence, in compelling the Gentiles to Judaise after his own example, in which the teacher of the Gentiles declares him to have been reprehensible, though it is manifest that he did it from motives of laudable piety.

Chapter 17: Of the death of Octavian, and the return of pope Alexander into Italy <to index>

[1] While pope Alexander continued to reside in France after the council of Tours, Octavian (otherwise called the Victor), subdued by fate, lost the victory of the contest he had entered into, and failed to realize the fallacious presage of the name which his adherents had bestowed upon him as a propitious omen. But now John de St. Martin, aided by imperial favor, made Guido of Cremona his colleague, in place of the vanquished Victor, lest they should appear to have lost the victory. Alexander, however, after some years continuance in France, proceeding on his return home, waited at Montpellier for a convenient passage into Apulia. But the emperor, still restless, endeavored to tamper, as it is said, by private letters and the most extensive promises, with William, lord of that city, to betray his guest; but this illustrious man, honoring his illustrious visitor with becoming respect, proved himself to be of unshaken integrity; and, when the cardinals (in company with a number of valiant men, journeying to Jerusalem), had embarked on board a vessel belonging to the Hospitallers at Jerusalem, and having cast anchor out at sea, awaiting the arrival of the sovereign pontiff, it happened that the galley was attacked by a fleet of pirates on their passage, and, as the pontiff was approaching from his vessel to embark on board the galley, he observed the pirates round the ship, and therefore rowed back to the port of Maguelonne. Although the courageous crew of the galley bravely resisted the pirates, and beat them off with disgrace and with loss, yet they deemed it improper to wait, at their own peril, any longer for the pope; and setting sail, after a prosperous voyage they reached the coast of Sicily.

[2] Some days afterwards, the pope himself also embarked in another vessel, and passed over into Apulia, with a favoring gale, and without obstruction. He was respectfully received by the king of Sicily and his subjects; and, after a time, he also found the Roman citizens, with the nobility, devoted and submissive to his command. Still, access to him from the transalpine countries was difficult, as the adherents of the emperor, or of the pretended pope, narrowly watched all passengers. Moreover, the emperor, that disturber of ecclesiastical tranquillity, did not long rejoice in the peace and unbroken possession of his dominions: for, treating haughtily the Lombards, who could not endure the German yoke, they recovered their ancient liberty; and Milan being restored, by its own citizens flocking thither from their dispersion, with the assistance of its confederate states, they built also the city of Alexandria (so called from the name of the sovereign pope, in their devotion to whom they gloried), in a place well calculated to receive the first attacks of the Germans on their entrance into Italy. Immediately after its erection, the emperor, having laid siege to the place, was unable to subdue it; and, retreating with his army, harassed to no purpose, he augmented the confidence of the enemy against him.

Chapter 18: Of the second expedition into Wales, and the conquest of Brittany <to index>

[1] During the year in which pope Alexander (as it has been said) returned into Apulia from France, a fresh quarrel arose between the king of England and and the Welsh, which deeply engaged both parties; for when this untamed and ferocious people, petulantly breaking their treaty, and exposing to danger the hostages they had given in pledge of their covenant, disturbed the neighboring provinces of England, the king, collecting an immense army, both from his kingdom and foreign provinces, entered their territories with a mighty host. He was unable, indeed, to penetrate far, on account of the inextricable difficulties of their country, but, however, curbing their incursions, he reduced them to such straits that they were compelled to treat of peace. The king, having led back his army from Wales, was called off to other concerns; and fondly looking to the future advancement and prosperity of his sons, went over the sea; for, having begotten four sons of Eleanor, formerly queen of France, he purposed leaving to Henry, his eldest-born, the kingdom of England, duchy of Normandy, and the county of Anjou, while Richard was to preside over Aquitaine, and Geoffrey over Brittany; John, his fourth and youngest son, he denominated "Lackland." Having three daughters, also, by the same queen, he betrothed one to the king of Spain, another to the duke of Saxony, and he purposed to affiance the third, not yet marriageable, to the then king of Sicily.

[2] As he meditated the appointment of his son to the sovereignty of Brittany, he was now gradually preparing the means for the accomplishment of this design, as he bad not yet obtained its subjugation. He had, however, already prepared two modes of access to this province, that is to say, the city of Nantes and the castle of Dol. It happened also that Conan, earl of Richmond, who was the sovereign of the greater part of Brittany, died, leaving as his heir an only daughter, by the sister of the king of Scotland. Uniting this unmarriageable girl to his stripling son, he reduced her whole right under his own control. But there were in Brittany certain noblemen, of such wealth and power, that they would never deign to submit to the dominion of any person. From the hostile contention of these people during many years past, through lust of dominion, and impatience of subjection, the district formerly celebrated became so wasted and impoverished, that vast deserts were beheld where fruitful fields had formerly flourished; and, when the weaker were oppressed by the powerful, entreating the succour of the king of England, they spontaneously submitted to his control. By readily and generously granting aid to these weaker persons, he was enabled to subdue the stronger; who, up to that time, from the greatness of their resources, and the inaccessible places in which they lived, were deemed impregnable. Thus, in a short time he succeeded in obtaining possession of the whole of Brittany; and, having expelled or subdued its disturbers, he so regulated and tranquilized it throughout all its borders that its inhabitants dwelling in peace, the desert by degrees resumed its fruitfulness.

Chapter 19: Of the decease of Malcolm, the most pious king of the Scots <to index>

[1] About this period, Malcolm, the most Christian king of the Scots, of whom we have made becoming mention in the preceding book, putting off mortality at the call of Christ, did not lose his kingdom when associated with angels, but merely changed it. Celestial angels snatched away this man of angelical purity from among men, for in truth he was an earthly angel, of whom the world was not worthy. He was a personage of singular gravity even in his early years; and, being of transcendent and unexampled purity, amid the pride and luxury of empire, was hurried away from his virgin body to the Lamb, the son of the Virgin, about to follow Him whithersoever He went. He was snatched away by a premature death, indeed, lest the malice of the times should prevent his surpassing innocence and purity, when so many opportunities and incentives were ready to impel the youthful monarch to a different course of life; but, as his noble soul, amid its better qualities, had contracted some trifling blemishes from regal luxury, which, nevertheless, he endured rather than delighted in, the visitation of heaven, gentle, not violent, corrected him parentally, and purified him from vice. For some years previous to his death he so languished and, in addition to other complaints, suffered such excruciating pains in his extremities (that is, the head and feet) that it might seem any penitent sinner would be perfectly purified by such correction. Hence, it is manifest that this child of God experienced the severity of parental castigation, not merely for purgation, but also for the probation and increase to his virtues, or for an augmentation to his merits. Thus, then, he slept with his fathers, and was buried at a place called Dunfermline, in Scotland, and celebrated for the burial of its kings.

[2] His brother William succeeded him; he was a man better calculated, as it seemed, for the service of the world, but not more fortunate in the end than his brother in the management of his kingdom. He desired not merely to use, but to enjoy that world which his brother wished to use sparingly, and consequently piously, and in a praiseworthy manner. Though he endeavored far to transcend his brother's limits in temporal dignity, yet he was unable to equal his glory even in earthly felicity. For a long time he deferred resorting to the benefit of marriage -- to which his brother preferred that highest excellence, pious and holy virginity -- either for issue, or as a remedy for incontinence. At length, however, by the admonition of more wholesome counsel, he married the daughter of a foreign prince, and afterwards not only lived more correctly but also reigned more happily.

Chapter 20: Of the life and death of the venerable hermit Godric <to index>

[1] Nearly about this time, Godric, the venerable hermit of Finchal (a solitary place so called, not far from the city of Durham on the river Wear), ripe in years and virtues, rested in the Lord. In him might be clearly seen the holy and high pleasure of God, by His choosing the mean and contemptible things of this world to the confusion of the noble and the great. For, when this man was a rustic, and unlearned, and knew nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, in such sort as He is manifested to the ignorant and unlettered ones in the first rudiments of the faith; on the approach of youth he began to be inflamed with the Spirit, and to imbibe throughout his whole frame the holy fire which God sent upon earth. Most devoutly embracing celibacy (which he had accidentally heard was grateful to God, and of transcendent merit), this most unsophisticated man endeavored to preserve a decent mean according with gravity in meat and drink, in word and in gesture. He was quick to hear, but slow to speak and extremely sparing of his discourse. He had learned to weep with those who weep, but knew not how to laugh with those that laughed, or to joke with those that joked.

[2] In his youth he visited the sepulchre of our Lord, walking there barefoot, and in extreme poverty; and on his return home, he anxiously sought out a fitting place where he might serve God. He was admonished in a dream (as they say) to search for a place called Finchal, and (God willing) to reside there. Finding the place after a diligent search, there he dwelt, at first with a poor sister and on her decease alone for a considerable time. The austerity of his life is represented as almost beyond human endurance. The place in question is woody, but it has a small level spot; in bringing this into cultivation by digging, he derived, some way or other, from it annual produce, which became his support, and was also able to give assistance to strangers. Being recommended to the church of Durham, by the virtue of his most unspotted life, he so merited the concern of the holy brotherhood around him, that the senior monk was deputed to visit him frequently, as well for the instruction of his rustic simplicity, as to comfort him on certain days, by the participation of the holy sacrament.

[3] For a considerable time the ancient enemy of mankind tried his artifices to circumvent him; but when he saw his stratagems prevail but little, he endeavored to deceive his simplicity by illusions. This man of God, however, both cautiously avoided his hostile snares and constantly despised and derided his sorceries. St. John the Baptist, whom he more especially loved, frequently visited, informed, and strengthened him.

[4] In this manner he lived, even to decrepit old age, and was bedridden some few years before his death, by the failure of his aged limbs; and for many days supported the scanty remains of life in his decaying body by a moderate draught of milk. At this time, I had the good fortune to see and speak to him, as he was constantly lying down in his own oratory near the holy altar, and then he appeared, in a measure, almost dead in all parts of his body, yet he spoke with ease, perpetually repeating those words, so familiar to his lips, "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." In his countenance, also, there was seen a surprising dignity, and an unusual grace. Thus, then, he died, old and full of days, and his body now occupies that same space where, when alive, he was accustomed to kneel when praying, or to lie when sick.

Chapter 21: Of Ketell, and of the grace divinely imparted to him <to index>

[1] There was also in our province of York, at a village called Farneham, another venerable man, named Ketell. He was a rustic indeed; but, by virtue of his innocence and purity, he obtained a singular favor from the Lord. Of this man many very remarkable things were reported to me by men of veracity, a few of which I shall relate.

[2] When he was quite a youth, as he was one day returning home on horseback from the fields, his horse, as if stumbling, fell to the ground, and dismounted him. On getting up he saw, as it were, two little Ethiopians sitting in the road, and laughing together. He understood that they were devils, who were not permitted to injure him any further; and he rejoiced that they had hurt him so little. From that day he received this gift from God: ever after he could see demons, and however anxious they might be to remain undiscovered, they could not elude his knowledge. He observed that they would rove about to afflict men, even in a slight manner, and that they rejoiced at having produced the most trifling injury. At length, sensible of the grace imparted to him, he became devoted to God, and frequently retired into solitude for the sake of prayer. He abstained from eating of flesh, and from the use of linen; he frequented the church at every vacant interval, being the first to enter and the last to depart; he regarded not matrimony, but embraced celibacy; and he continued until the end of his life in the service of one Adam, a clerk at Farneham. He concealed the secret of the gift imparted to him, nor would he divulge his visions, unless, perchance, to the priest as a secret of confession, or to his master, or to any other discreet person making strict inquiry.

[3] Once, about sunset, as he stood before his master's door, he saw ten devils enter the village; one of whom was larger and appeared to be the master over the others. While they were standing on the same spot and conferring together, as if secretly deliberating on their plans, the leader of them dispatched them in pairs among the houses, whilst he himself, with another, was desirous of entering the door where Ketell was standing; but he said, "In the name of Christ, I forbid your entrance into this house, and also your abode in this village -- call back your companions, and begone immediately." Unable to endure the adjuration of that holy name, they reluctantly obeyed, and lamented that their machinations were perceived by this man.

[4] Once also he saw some devils passing by with a vehicle closely covered up, and he heard the lamentations of persons shut up within it, while the devils were laughing. As he was accustomed to address spirits of that sort without alarm, he immediately said to them, "What means this?" To this they replied: "We are conducting to the place of punishment the sinful souls deceived and ensnared by us, and they are bewailing, while we are laughing at them. We are also anxious that you should be delivered to us, that we may rejoice with greater exultation over you too; because you are our enemy." He replied, "Begone, ye most malignant, and let your laughter be turned into sorrow."

[5] Once, however, it happened that he was nearly experiencing the malice of these enemies. He had returned home from his rustic labor, and being heavy with sleep, had neglected to fortify himself with the holy symbol. While sleeping alone in his customary place, two devils, fierce and terrible beyond measure, stood before him, and laying hold of him when roused up, said, "So ho, Ketell, you have fallen into our hands; you shall experience the resentment of those whom you feared not to attack, and whose deceptions you have so often betrayed." Stupefied at this sudden mischance, he was anxious to invoke the name of Christ, and to cross himself, but all his endeavors were vain. His hands and tongue were tied, lest he should protect himself with the powerful defense of that holy sign and name. "Labor not in vain, Ketell," said they; "we have bound your hand and tongue, nor can anything avail you against us." While they thus appeared to triumph over him, and anticipated the mischief they meditated perpetrating against him with threatening and abusive language, behold, a dazzling youth suddenly entered, with a battle-axe in his hand, and took his station between them. The weapon, on being gently touched with his finger, emitted a mighty sound. The devils, startled at the noise, left the man over whom they had begun to triumph, and fled. The youth, whom I suppose to have been the angel of this man, then approaching, said: "Your negligence, Ketell, has nearly brought you into danger; be careful that hereafter your insidious enemies do not find you off your guard."

[6] This same Ketell used to say, that some demons were large, robust, and crafty, and, when permitted by a superior power, extremely hurtful; others were small and contemptible, impotent in strength and dull in understanding; but all, according to their measure, mischievous to men and highly pleased at injuring him, if even only slightly. Again, he said that he had seen some of this sort sitting by the wayside, throwing stumbling-blocks in the way of passengers, and malignantly laughing, if they could make either man or beast trip; but more especially if the man, attributing it to his horse, vented big rage against him, either with curses or with spurs. Moreover, if the man, only trivially discomposed, uttered the name of his Savior, as is the laudable custom of some persons, the devils immediately retreated sorrowfully and confounded. Again, he mentioned that he once entered a public house, and saw devils of this description in the likeness of apes, sitting on the shoulders of all who were drinking, voiding their spittle into the cups, and deriding the stupidity of these men with exulting gesture and ludicrous motions. And when, amid their compotations, prayers were said, as is customary, and the name of the Savior resounded, they leaped off affrighted, being unable to endure the virtue of that sacred name; but when the rustics resumed their seats to drink again, the devils re-entered and took their former situation with their accustomed gesticulations. At length this man, endowed from on high with such a singular gift, in perceiving the acts and fallacies of wicked spirits, having passed his life with great innocence and purity, fell asleep in the Lord, and was buried at Farneham.

Chapter 22: Of the long-continued vacancy in the church of Lincoln <to index>

In the fourteenth year of the reign of king Henry II, which was the eleven hundred and sixty-seventh from the delivery of the Virgin, Robert, bishop of Lincoln, the successor of Alexander, died; and the revenues of the bishopric being brought into the exchequer, the church was bereft of pastoral care for nearly seventeen years, that is, from the fourteenth year of this king's reign until his thirtieth; so that it began to be believed that no one would hereafter act as bishop there; and more especially on the authority of a certain lay-brother at Thame, who firmly asserted that, on the demise of the prelate aforesaid, there would be no future bishop of Lincoln. For this man (as it is said) appeared gifted with the spirit of prophecy, as well on account of the reputation of his holy life, as from the fulfillment of several similar predictions; in consequence of which, many people believed that he would not be deceived in this transaction. After a short time, this prophecy seemed doubtful, Geoffrey, the king's natural son, out of compliment to him, being elected to the bishopric aforesaid; but when, to give greater indulgence to luxury, he prostrated the period of canonical consecration (being satisfied with the ample revenues of the see, and ignorant of feeding the Lord's flock though skilled in shearing them), and occupied the church of Lincoln a long time, under the title of bishop-elect -- the words of the man above mentioned began to revive in credit in the minds of numbers. After some interval, this more forcibly struck many people, when the king, repenting at having, through personal affection, so highly promoted a delicate young man, and one by no means calculated for so honorable an eminence (who was wisely induced to give up the right and title of bishop elect), once more annexed the bishopric to the exchequer. However, the fallacy both of the prediction and persuasion was manifested in process of time, as will be mentioned in its proper place.

Chapter 23: Of the two expeditions into Egypt of Amalric, king of Jerusalem <to index>

[1] About the same time, Amalric, king of Jerusalem, invited by the king of Babylon, led a Christian expedition into Egypt, now generally called the land of Babylon; not, indeed, that very ancient Babylon of which the holy Scriptures speak (which was first founded, after the deluge, in the land of the Chaldeans, by Ninus and Semiramis, and held the sovereignty of the East for more than one thousand years, and was long since destroyed, and now is said to be desolate), but a certain Egyptian city, which (as we read) Cambyses, king of the Persians, on the subjugation of Egypt, founded and called Babylon.

[2] The cause of this expedition was as follows. The Turks, a crafty and warlike people, affecting the empire of Egypt under king Noradin -- because the Egyptians appeared conspicuous for their opulence, but less distinguished in arms -- under the conduct of Saraco, the chief commander of this prince (a man very experienced in military affairs), undertaking a secret march through the furthest boundary of the Christians, invaded the Egyptian provinces, and on the speedy capture or surrender of some cities, became terrible and insupportable to the king of Babylon. When the Saracens perceived that they were not to be restrained or repelled by Egyptian valor, he implored the assistance of a Christian king, promising great attachment for the future, together with a fixed and annual tribute. Immediately after the high-spirited Amalric had set his kingdom and deputed a portion of his army to receive the attack of Noradin -- if perchance in the meantime he should hazard an irruption -- he entered Egypt with the remaining part of the Christian army, and, forming a junction with the forces of the king of Babylon, besieged Saraco, with the Turks, in a certain city, and at length expelled them, straitened and vanquished, from the borders of Egypt, allowing them a free passage home through the Christian territory. While these matters were transacting in Egypt, Noradin could not rest; yet, pretending quiet, became still more injurious by artifice and stratagem. Finally, he seduced to his cause by bribery a certain person of our party, of renowned faith and fortitude, to whom were committed the care and custody of a city opposite to the territories of the enemy, now called Belinae, but originally Caesarea Philippi; the Turks, clandestinely admitted by this man, entering the city, put no one to death, but, expelling the Christians together with the bishop, strengthened the town with a fresh garrison. This unlucky accident, wounding the feelings of the king on his return from Egypt, obscured the glory of his triumph. Some years after, however, the troops of the Turks becoming more brave and spirited, and incited not so much by lust of dominion, as stimulated by the desire of avenging their repulse, once more, under the conduct of Saraco, penetrated into the heart of Egypt. On their approach, all the confidence of the Babylonian monarch deserted him; in consequence of which, he immediately sent ambassadors to implore with the language of entreaty the customary aid of the Christian king; who, presently arranging his affairs with more caution, and entering Egypt with considerable force of horse and foot, and joining the Egyptian army, resolved on attacking the Turks. They, craftily avoiding the decision of a battle, retreated into the deserts.

[3] While the Christians were pursuing them, the festival of Easter occurred. Pitching their camp on the celebrated river Nile, they performed the solemnities of that most sacred day with delight; and when the supply of flesh for that day's joyous festival was but scanty, a singular circumstance took place, by favor of supernal Providence; for, as we have heard from those who were present, when the Christian army, watching in the camp, had partaken of celestial food by the ministry of the priests, in reverence of that holy day, on a sudden an immense herd of wild boars and swine, rushing from the adjoining marshes, made for the camp. These valorous men then making use of their swords and spears, instead of hunting implements, slaughtered at their pleasure, not merely for, food but for amusement, giving thanks, therefore, to the Donor of so unexpected a present. Thus they had. such an abundant supply from this most grateful capture, that they loaded their beasts with food for a second and third repast from the spoils of that day.

[4] In the morning they proceeded in pursuit of their enemies; but when the infantry were fatigued, the king ordered them to halt, and he hastened onward with the cavalry. When this was discovered by the subtle commander of the adverse army, he determined on opposing and trying the event of a battle, making sure of victory, from the absence of the infantry, as he was much superior in cavalry. A very severe and bloody engagement then followed, which was continued from the seventh hour of the day till evening. Each army, equally diminished in spirit and in number, retired to their camps, separated only by a river, the fords over which the Christians had carefully secured for passing. But at night the king, summoning the commanders, bewailed his losses, attributing the disaster to the absence of the greater part of his forces, and acquainted them that, as they were harassed and wounded, the battle could not be renewed in the morning, but that they must return in silence to their associates. This meeting the approbation of all, at midnight they quietly retreated by the route they had come. The like also was done by the enemy, with equal alarm and caution. The Turks, indeed, betook themselves to Alexandria; but the Christian cavalry was rejoined by their infantry. The king, moreover, recruiting his army, laid siege to Alexandria with increased forces; and obtaining possession of it by surrender, after experiencing many difficulties, he once more expelled the Turks from the kingdom of Babylon, and returned home with great glory.

Chapter 24: Of the dissension and reconciliation of the king of France and England <to index>

[1] In the sixteenth year of the reign of Henry the second, this prince and the king of France, having been a short time at variance, became again reconciled through the intervention of persons peaceably disposed. The cause of their differences was this:

[2] While king Stephen was formerly occupied with the commotions in England, the earl of Anjou had invaded and obtained possession of Normandy, with the exception of Gisors and two other castles, as it were dependent on it, which had yielded to the power of the king of France. In process of time, Henry II, king of England, son of the said earl, not brooking this diminution of his Norman dominion, saw the necessity of making use of art, rather than violence, in this affair. At length, by means of a skilful man, that is, Thomas, his chancellor, he so managed with the king of France, that his daughter -- by the daughter of the king, of Spain, who had been married to him after Eleanor -- should be betrothed to Henry his firstborn son; those fortresses being given up as her dowry, which, nevertheless, were to be kept by the Templars in sequestration, as it were, until the children, who on account of their age could not as yet contract marriage, should be able to cohabit in due time, the king of England, in the meantime, having the guardianship of them both. King Henry, however, after the expiration of some years, impatient of longer delay, celebrated a premature marriage between the children, and received the castles from the Templars. Whereupon the French king, being highly enraged and accusing him of duplicity and the Templars of treachery, they proceeded to enmity and to battle. Being taught, however, by frequent experiments, that violence could effect nothing against the king's power, and their indignation gradually subsiding, they admitted, that on certain conditions, peace should be concluded, and accordingly peace was concluded -- not a firm one, indeed, but only temporary, as afterwards appeared. Moreover, the two kings in question were never long at peace with each other; their people, on both sides, being accustomed to pay the penalty which the kings had merited by their haughtiness.

Chapter 25: Of the coronation of Henry III, and the murder of St Thomas <to index>

[1] In the year one thousand one hundred and seventy from the delivery of the Virgin, which was the seventeenth of the reign of Henry the second, the king caused his son Henry, yet a youth, to be solemnly anointed and crowned king at London, by the hands of Roger, archbishop of York. For the king not being yet appeased, the venerable Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury, was still an exile in France, though the Roman pontiff and the king of France had interested themselves extremely to bring about a reconciliation. The moment Thomas heard of this transaction, jealous for his church, he quickly informed the pope of it (by whose favor and countenance he was supported), alleging that this had taken place to the prejudice of himself and his see; and he obtained letters of severe rebuke, for the purpose of correcting equally the archbishop of York, who had performed the office in another’s province, and the bishops, who, by their presence, had sanctioned it. The king, however, continued but a short time in England after the coronation of his son, and went beyond sea; and when urged by the frequent admonitions of the pope, and the earnest entreaties of the illustrious king of France, that he would, at least, condescend to be reconciled to the dignified exile, after a seven years’ banishment, he at length yielded; and a solemn reconciliation took place between them, which was the more desired and the more grateful in proportion to the time of its protraction.

[2] While the king, therefore continued abroad, the archbishop, by royal grant and permission returned to his diocese, having in his possession, unknown to the king, letters obtained from the pope against the archbishop of York, and the other prelates who had assisted at that most unfortunate coronation; which was the means of breaking the recently concluded peace, and had become the incentive to greater rage. These letters, for the suspension of the prelates, preceded him into England; and he followed them himself, burning with zeal for justice, but God knows whether altogether according to knowledge; but it is not allowed to my insignificance, by any means, to judge hastily of the actions of so great a man. I think, nevertheless, that the blessed pope Gregory, during the slight and yet fresh reconciliation of the king would have acted with more mildness, and would have deemed it proper, (considering the time and terms of their reunion,) to have winked at things, which might have been endured without injury to the Christian faith, according to the language of the prophet, "The prudent shall keep silence at that time, for it is an evil time." [Amos 5:13] Therefore, what was done by the venerable pontiff at this juncture, I neither think worthy of commendation, nor do I presume to censure; but this I say, that, if this holy man, through rather too great a fervency of zeal, was guilty of some little excess, yet was it all purged out in the fire of that holy suffering which is known to have ensued. Therefore, although holy men are to be loved and commended by us, who are so sensible of our great inferiority, still we are not bound to love or praise them for actions, in which they either do, or have shown the weakness of their human nature; but merely, for such as we are bound implicitly to imitate. For who can say that they should be imitated in all things -- when the apostle James asserts, "that in many things we offend all?" [James 3:2.] Wherefore, they are to be applauded, not in all their actions, but with prudence and caution, that God’s prerogative may be kept inviolate, in whose praises, indeed, none can exceed, how much soever he may attempt it.

[3] The bishops, on account of the offence before mentioned (which I could wish to have remained unnoticed at the time), being suspended, at the instance of the venerable Thomas, from all episcopal functions, by the authority of the apostolic see, the king was exasperated by the complaints of some of them, and grew angry and indignant beyond measure, and losing the mastery of himself, in the heat of his exuberant passion, from the abundance of his perturbed spirit, poured forth the language of indiscretion. On which, four of the bystanders, men of noble race and renowned in arms, wrought themselves up to the commission of iniquity through zeal for their earthly master; and leaving the royal presence, and crossing the sea, with as much haste as if posting to a solemn banquet, and urged on by the fury they lad imbibed, they arrived at Canterbury on the fifth day after Christmas, where they found the venerable archbishop occupied in the celebration of that holy festival with religious joy. Proceeding to him just as he had dined, and was sitting with certain honorable personages, omitting even to salute him, and holding forth the terror of the king’s name, they commanded (rather than asked, or admonished him) forthwith to remit the suspension of the prelates who had obeyed the king’s pleasure, to whose contempt and disgrace this act redounded. On his replying that the sentence of a higher power was not to be abrogated by an inferior one, and that it was not his concern to pardon persons suspended not by himself, but by the Roman pontiff, they had recourse to violent threats. Undismayed at these words, though uttered by men raging and extremely exasperated, he spoke with singular freedom and confidence. In consequence, becoming more enraged than before, they hastily retired, and bringing their arms (for they had entered without them), they prepared themselves, with loud clamor and indignation, for the commission of a most atrocious crime.

[4] The venerable prelate was persuaded by his friends to avoid the madness of these furious savages, by retiring into the holy church. When, from his determination to brave every danger, he did not acquiesce, on the forcible and tumultuous approach of his enemies, he was at length dragged by the friendly violence of his associates to the protection of the holy church. The monks were solemnly chanting vespers to Almighty God, as he entered the sacred temple of Christ, shortly to become an evening sacrifice. The servants of Satan pursued having neither respect as Christians to his holy order, nor to the sacred place, or season; but attacking the dignified prelate as he stood in prayer before the holy altar, even during the festival of Christmas, these truly nefarious Christians most inhumanly murdered him. Having done the deed, and retiring as if triumphant, they departed with unhallowed joy. Recollecting, however, that perhaps the transaction might displease the person in whose behalf they had been so zealous, they retired to the northern parts of England, waiting until they could fully discover the disposition of their monarch towards them.

[5] The frequent miracles which ensued manifested how precious, in the sight of God, was the death of the blessed prelate, and how great the atrocity of the crime committed against him, in the circumstances of time, place, and person. Indeed, the report of such a dreadful outrage, quickly pervading every district of the western world, sullied the illustrious king of England, and so obscured his fair fame among Christian potentates, that, as it could scarcely be credited to have been perpetrated without his consent and mandate, he was assailed by the execrations of almost all, and deemed fit to be the object of general detestation. Upon hearing of this transaction of his adherents, and learning the stain cast by them upon his glory, and the almost indelible brand on his character, he was so grieved, that, it is related, for several days he tasted nothing. For, whether he should pardon those murderers or not, he was sensible that people would be inclined to think evil of him. Moreover, should he spare these nefarious wretches, he would seem to have lent either daring or authority to such a crime; but, should he punish them for what they were supposed to have done not without his command, he would, on every hand, be most flagitious. In consequence, he thought it best to pardon them; and regarding equally his own credit and their salvation, he ordered them to be presented to the holy see, to undergo a solemn penance. This was done accordingly, and they, wounded in conscience, proceeded to Rome, and by the sovereign pope were ordered, by way of penance, to go to Jerusalem, where, as it is said, they all closed their lives, signally executing the appointed measure of their atonement, but of this hereafter.

[6] Whilst almost all persons then attributed the death of this holy man to the king, and more especially the French nobles, who had been jealous of his good fortune, were instigating the apostolical see against him, as the true and undoubted author of this great enormity, the king sent representatives to Rome, to mitigate, by submissive entreaty, the displeasure which was raging against him. When they arrived at Rome, (as all men joined in execrating the king of England,) it was with difficulty that they were admitted. Constantly affirming, however, that this dreadful outrage was not committed either by the command or concurrence of their master, they, at length, obtained, that legates a latere from the pope, vested with full power, should be sent into France, who, on carefully investigating, and ascertaining the truth of the matter, should admit the king either to the purgation of his fame, or punish him, if found guilty, by ecclesiastical censure, which was done accordingly. For two cardinals being dispatched from the holy see - that is to say, the venerable Albert, who afterward presided over it, and Theodinus - they arrived in France; and a solemn meeting being summoned in the territory of the king of England, consisting of prelates and nobles, they formally undertook the purgation of this same prince; there, humbly making his appearance, and firmly protesting that what had sullied his fame had taken place without his wish or command, and that he had never been so much afflicted with any transaction before. Indeed, he did not deny that those murderers had, perhaps, taken occasion and daring to their excessive fury from some words of his too incautiously uttered; when, hearing of the suspension of the prelates, he became infuriated, and spake unadvisedly. "And, on this account," said he, "I do not refuse the discipline of the Church: I will submit devotedly to whatever you decree, and I will fulfil your injunction." Saying this, and casting off his clothes, after the custom of public penitents, he submitted himself naked to ecclesiastical discipline. The cardinals, overjoyed at the humility of so great a prince, and weeping with joy, while numbers joined their tears, and gave praise to God, dissolved the assembly, - the king’s conscience being quieted, and his character in some measure restored. Richard, prior of Dover, then succeeded the blessed Thomas in the see of Canterbury.

Chapter 26: Of the subjugation of the Irish by the English <to index>

[1] About the same period, the English, under pretext of military service, secretly stole into the island of Ireland, intending to invade and possess a considerable portion of it hereafter, on gaining accession to their strength. Ireland (as we have heard) ranks next in magnitude to Britain among the islands; but (as the venerable Bede observes) far excels it in serenity and salubrity of atmosphere -- it abounds wonderfully in pasturage and fish, and possesses a soil sufficiently fruitful, when aided by the industry of a skilful cultivator; but its natives are uncivilized, and barbarous in their manners, almost totally ignorant of laws and order; slothful in agriculture, and consequently subsisting more on milk than corn. Again, it obtains by nature this singular prerogative and gift, in preference to all other nations, that it produces no venomous animal, no noxious reptile; and should such be carried thither from other countries, sure and speedy death ensues with the first breath which they draw of Irish air. Whatever is brought thence has been ascertained to be a remedy against poison; and, again, this is a singular fact, with regard to this island, namely, that while Great Britain -- equally an island in the ocean, and not far remote -- has experienced so many chances in war, so frequently fallen a prey to distant nations, so often been subjected to foreign sway -- being subdued and possessed first, by the Romans, next, by the Germans, then, by the Danes, and, lastly, by the Normans -- Ireland (though the Romans had dominion even over the Orkney Isles), being difficult of access, and seldom and only slightly assailed by any nation in war, was never attacked and subdued, never subject to foreign control, until the year one thousand one hundred and seventy-one from the delivery of the Virgin, which was the eighteenth of the reign of Henry II, king of England. For what the Britons assert as to this island having been under the subjugation of their Arthur, is merely fabulous, as well as other anecdotes of him, fabricated from a pure lust of lying; but by what means the Irish, by falling under the dominion of the king of England, put a period to their long, and, as it were, never-disturbed and inbred liberty, is easy to explain, as the occurrence is so recent.

[2] The reason for this change is as follows. Ireland, after the ancient custom of Britain, dividing itself into several kingdoms, and accustomed to have numerous kings, was perpetually rent asunder by their quarrels; and, in proportion to her freedom from foreign warfare, had, at times, her vitals pitiably torn by her children rushing to mutual slaughter. It happened that a certain king in that country was assailed by the bordering princes and, from being hard pressed and deficient in power, was nearly experiencing the rage of his enemies; whereupon, taking counsel, he hastily dispatched his son into England, who summoned to his assistance military men, and a hardy band of youths, who were allured by the hope of great reward. Supported by their aid, he began first to take breath, then to gain strength, and ultimately to triumph over his enemies. Nor did he suffer his assistants to quit the country, but so nobly remunerated them that, forgetful of their nation and their father's house, they took up their residence there. But when the fiercest of the people throughout Ireland began to rage and storm against this prince, for having introduced the English nation into the island, they, fearful on account of the scantiness of their numbers, sent to England for such persons as were struggling with poverty or greedy of gain, and by these means gradually augmented their power. Being as yet without a commander, they were like sheep without a shepherd; and therefore they invited earl Richard, a powerful nobleman from England, to become their leader. Being of high spirit, and extravagant beyond his fortune, for he had wasted his ample revenues and nearly exhausted his patrimony, and being harassed by the claims of his creditors, and consequently ripe for ambitious projects, he readily assented. Collecting a numerous and hardy band of young adventurers, he prepared within his territories a fleet to convey him to Ireland; but when he was just ready to depart, he was prohibited from sailing by persons acting on behalf of the king. He, however, would not delay out of regard for any property he seemed to possess in England, but sailed over, and gladdened his impatient associates with his wished-for presence.

[3] Having united their forces, he deemed it expedient to risk and attempt some enterprise, to impress the barbarians with terror for the future; with daring impetuosity, then, he rushed against Dublin, a maritime city, the metropolis of Ireland, and, from its far-famed harbor, the rival of our London in commerce and importation. Having with bravery and dispatch assailed and carried the city, he compelled persons at a distance, through apprehension, to enter into affiance with him. By building fortresses in convenient places and extending his dominion by degrees, he pressed with perseverance on the bordering districts, which endeavored to maintain their ancient liberty. Moreover, affecting some little regard for this barbarous nation by a connection with it, he took the daughter of the confederate king to wife, and received considerable portion of the kingdom under the title of dowry.

[4] When these prosperous successes became known to the king of England, he was indignant at the earl for having achieved so great an enterprise, not only without consulting him, but even in defiance of him, and because he attributed to himself the glory of so noble an acquisition, which ought to have been ascribed to the king, as his superior. Hereupon he confiscated all the earl's property within his dominions; and, lest any assistance should be derived to Ireland from England, he forbade all intercourse by sea. Threatening still severer measures, he obliged him, now nearly a king, quickly to recover his good graces. In consequence, he extorted from him that most famous city, Dublin, and all the best of his acquisitions; and leaving him the residue, and restoring to him the whole of his English property, bade him be satisfied. After these things, this same earl, who shortly before, from the prodigal waste of his substance, had scarcely anything but his bare title of nobility, now was celebrated for his wealth in Ireland and England, and lived in great prosperity. Some years afterwards, a premature death, however, closed his career. By this event was evidently manifested the uncertainty of fortune, which in this man's case so quickly disappeared, as well as its fallacy, which, when possessed, so suddenly eluded his enjoyment. From his Irish spoils, for which he had so diligently labored, and been so anxiously employed at the peril of his safety, he carried nothing with him on his departure; but bequeathing his hard-earned, perilous acquisitions to his ungrateful heirs, left at the same time, by his fall, a wholesome lesson to numbers. The king of England, shortly afterwards, went over into Ireland with a numerous army, and subjugated, by the terror of his name, without bloodshed, those kings of the island who, until that time, had been in a state of resistance; and, disposing matters according to his wishes, returned into England, with safety and with gladness.

Chapter 27: How king Henry III revolted from his father, and stirred up the king of France and others against him <to index>

[1] In the eleven hundred and seventy-third year from the delivery of the Virgin, which was the twentieth of the reign of king Henry II, when the king had returned from Ireland into England, and shortly afterwards passed over from England into Normandy, an execrable and foul dissension arose between him and his son, Henry the third, whom, two years before, as it is said above, he had caused to be solemnly consecrated as king. When the prince grew up to the age of manhood, he was impatient to obtain, with the oath and name, the reality of the oath and name, and at least to reign jointly with his father; though he ought of right to rule alone, for, having been crowned, the reign of his father had, as it were, expired -- at least it was so whispered to him by certain persons. He was, moreover, highly indignant, because his father had sparingly supplied him with money to meet the expenses of a royal establishment.

[2] Thus irritated and enraged against him, he secretly fled to his father-in-law, the king of France, in order thereby to create annoyance to his own father. Being graciously received by the French king -- not so much because he was his son-in-law, as because he had withdrawn from his own father -- he confided in his advice in all things; and being thus encouraged and instigated against his father by the virulent exhortations of the French, he was not terrified from violating the great law of nature by the example of the undutiful Absalom.

[3] As soon as his father had discovered the hatred of his son, and ascertained whither he had fled, he sent men of distinction to the king of France, with pacific words, demanding his son by paternal right, and promising that if any thing should appear to require amendment with regard to him, by his advice he would immediately amend it. The king of France, upon hem, these words, asked, "Who is it that sends this message to me?" They replied, "The king of England." "It is false," he answered, "behold the king of England is here; and he sends no message to me by you -- but if, even now, you style his father king, who was formerly king of England, know ye that he, as king, is dead; and though he may still act as king, yet that shall soon be remedied, for he resigned his kingdom to his son, as the world is witness." The messengers being thus foiled returned to their lord.

[4] Soon after, the younger Henry, by the advice of the French, devising evil from every source against his father, went secretly into Aquitaine, where his two youthful brothers, Richard and Geoffrey, were residing with their mother; and with her connivance, as it is said, brought them with him into France; for their father had granted, for his lifetime, Aquitaine, to the one and Brittany to the other. Hence the younger Henry believed, from the suggestions of the French, that the people of Aquitaine, might very easily be gained-over to his party by means of Richard; and the Bretons by the influence of Geoffrey. He also allied himself to the count of Flanders, his father's cousin-german, a man of great power and immoderate presumption, which arose from his confidence in the numerous and warlike people whom he governed; and him also he gained over by great promises with the consent of the king of France. Then many powerful and noble persons, as well in England as in foreign parts, either impelled by mere hatred, which until then they had dissembled, or solicited by promises of the vainest kind, began by degrees to desert the father for the son, and to make every preparation for the commencement of war. The earl of Leicester, for instance, the earl of Chester, Hugh Bigot, Ralph de Fougeres, and many others, formidable from the amount of their wealth and the strength of their fortresses. Many, who placed less confidence in their wealth and power, also declared the hostility of their minds by retiring into France, in order to remain inactive. To these was added a fiercer enemy, the king of Scots, who was ready to send into the English borders his cruel people, who would spare neither sex nor age. Thus, while so many and such powerful nobles departed from the elder king, and led all men against him, as if their lives depended on it, there were still a few who adhered faithfully and firmly to him, while the rest wavered around him in uncertainty, and timidly feared to be swept away by the victory of the younger sovereign. Then the elder king at length saw (for so it was commonly reported) how unadvisedly, in fact how foolishly, he had acted by prematurely creating a successor to himself; but he little expected that in so doing those persons who were watching for a new government would eagerly follow his son. Uneasy, therefore, at the troubled state of affairs, while internal and external foes were pressing upon him; and trusting also very little to those who seemed to adhere to him, yet acted remissly, for the favor of his son, he sent for the mercenary forces of Brabancons, called Rutae; for the royal treasures (which were not spared in such an emergency) afforded him an abundant supply of ready money.

Chapter 28: Of the transactions at Aumale, Chateauneuf and Verneuil <to index>

[1] In the month of June, when kings are accustomed to go to war, the neighboring princes, having collected their forces from every quarter, advanced in a hostile manner against the king of England, pretending indeed that they were only jealous for the son against the father; than which nothing could be more absurd; for in reality they engaged in this affair either through private hatred, like the king of France, or for the sake of gain, like the count of Flanders. The king of England was hardly prepared to receive the attacks of so many enemies, on account of the intestine commotions which had arisen among his own subjects, and by which he was extremely perplexed. Therefore, when, on account of his inferior force, he was unable openly to meet his assailants, he yet attentively studied how to fortify and garrison the strongholds which were on his frontiers. The king of France, having encircled the town of Verneuil, a place well calculated to sustain a long siege, resolved not to proceed further until it was taken or surrendered; but the count of Flanders, with his forces from Flanders, rushing in, laid siege to Aumale, which had been strongly garrisoned to little purpose, since the count of Aumale, lord of that town, like many others, wavered in his adherence to the elder king. It was certainly believed that he was in collusion with the count of Flanders, because the town, after a slight siege, was quickly taken; and when he was made captive by the count of Flanders, he not only surrendered all the garrison whom the king had sent thither, but he also gave up all his own castles. The Flemish army, animated by this fortunate commencement, proceeded to greater attempts, and boldly laid siege to the royal fortress called Chateauneuf, and with their engines assailed it for many days. It at length surrendered; yet the count of Flanders rejoiced not; for his brother Matthew, count of Boulogne, whom he was pleased to regard as his future successor, since he never had, nor expected to have, any descendants by his own wife, was wounded near the knee by an arrow during the siege of that town. The wound becoming worse, he was confined to his bed; and after a few days, while under medical treatment, he died. His death grieved his brother so much that he put an end to his expedition, and soon after returned in sorrow to his own country, upbraiding himself and imputing this unhappy event as a punishment for having attacked as an enemy for the sake of a wicked son, a king who was his cousin-german, and by whom he had never been injured, but by whom he had frequently been loaded with favors.

[2] On this coming to the knowledge of king Henry, he considered that he was now delivered for a time from one-half of his solicitude in the war, and he soon felt greater confidence in himself against the part which remained. Having assembled the forces that were in his pay, and as many others as thought he ought not to be deserted in his extremity, he sent a message to the king of France, who had already consumed the greater part of the summer in the siege of Verneuil, in the hope of soon gaining possession of it, to this effect that he must either raise the siege or prepare for a pitched battle on a certain day. At first, the French (who by nature are fierce and arrogant, especially when they seem to be superior in numbers and better prepared for war) scoffed at his message, thinking that he would not venture to act upon it. But when it became known to them that he was fearlessly approaching with his army in array, then they, for the first time, began to suspect that he would attempt something decisive. Their king forthwith hastily summoned his nobles, and consulted with them about the war, and then sent a bishop and an abbot to meet the king of England, and learn from his own mouth whether he was approaching to fight; in the meanwhile he prepared his forces for the occasion. And lo, those who were sent met the king perfectly armed, proceeding with a few attendants some furlongs ahead of his army; he seemed in full confidence with himself, and was giving orders for something -- I know not what. When they told him that the king of France wished to be certified about the battle, he said, with a fierce countenance and terrible voice, "Go, tell your king that I am at hand, as you see." And when they returned in haste, and described the ferocity and resolution of the prince who was fast approaching, the king of France and his nobles held a council, in which it was resolved that they should retire for the present, and decline the contest, that they might fight afterwards for the inheritance of their fathers. Thus they quitted their camp, and with their formidable forces retreated into France, armed, however, and with their ranks in array, that they might not seem to flee; and so those who shortly before seemed like lions, from the fierceness of their minds, and their blustering and boastful words, were suddenly found to be like bares in retreating and running away.

[3] The king of England, however, was content with the disgraceful flight of his haughty enemies, and was unwilling to drive and pursue them in their retreat; but turning his army aside to plunder the hostile camp, he entered the city with solemn joy, and congratulated his people who had acted valiantly there. An abundance of corn, wine and provisions were found in the camp, with a variety of goods, which their enemies in their hasty flight were not able to carry away with them.

Chapter 29: Of those who were taken at Dol <to index>

Though Henry's external foes, such as the king of France and the count of Flanders, whose power was very great, were thus, by the will of God, driven away, his enemies at home were by no means tranquil. Many of those assembled by agreement, and after uniting together obtained possession of the city of Dol, which indeed of right belongs to Brittany, though it is included within the limits of Normandy. On hearing this, the Brabancons, in the king's service, soon arrived at the town, and attacked them, upon which a multitude of the insurgents fled into the town; which soon after being also taken, they were compelled to retire within the narrow limits of one castle. When they were thus shut up, the report was carried with the utmost celerity to the king, who was at Rouen. He, forgetting both food and sleep, and constantly changing his relays, passed over a large tract of country, and arrived so quickly that he seemed to have flown; and while conducting the siege of the castle, the multitude which was enclosed therein, not enduring the confinement, implored his mercy. The king agreed to give them their liberty and to spare their limbs; but upon the surrender of the castle, he ordered into custody all the noble captives found therein, and the earl of Chester, and Ralph de Fougeres, with about one hundred other nobles, fell, by the judgment of God, into the bands of the king, whom they had pursued with the bitterest hatred. However, they were treated by him with very much more clemency than they deserved, though for a time they were confined in chains; but the two nobles above mentioned, who seemed more distinguished among the captives, after having satisfied the king that they would observe their fealty, obtained their release. In this business the clemency of so great a prince towards most treacherous betrayers and most atrocious enemies is beyond a doubt to be justly admired and applauded.

Chapter 30: Of the siege of Leicester, the war of the king of the Scots, and the capture of the earl of Leicester <to index>

[1] While such things as these were being performed by the king in person, or around him, in parts beyond the sea, similar events also happened in England. When the earl of Leicester, who first deserted the king, had corrupted many by his dishonest example, Richard de Lucy, who at that time governed England under the king, upon the receipt of the royal mandate, hastily collected an army, and besieged Leicester. The town was surrendered and burnt, but he omitted to attack the castle because he was called away to more urgent affairs. Moreover, the king of the Scots, knowing how much the king of England was engaged in Normandy, entered the English frontiers with an immense force of his barbarous and blood-thirsty people, and besieged Carlisle, as well as wasted the whole of the adjacent province with rapine and slaughter; but when he found that a large army from the north of England was approaching, he relinquished the siege, and after the most horrid ravages in the county of Northumberland, he retired into his own dominions before our chiefs could come up with him. They advanced, however, with their forces across the Tweed, which divides the kingdoms of England and Scotland, and, unresisted, retaliated upon that hostile land, but they were soon recalled to England by hasty messengers, though not before they bad subtly restrained the ferocity of the hostile king, by a needful truce.

[2] Thus, by a wily dissimulation, our chiefs concealed from him those events which had come to their knowledge; for the earl of Leicester with a hostile fleet from Flanders had landed upon the coast of East Anglia, and being well received by his accomplice, Hugh Bigot, a powerful and crafty man, he remained there for some time with his army. Soon after, with the co-operation and guidance of the same Hugh, his army advanced upon the city of Norwich, and took it with very little trouble, it being without a garrison, and paralyzed with sudden terror. After plundering it of all its wealth, the army returned to the camp loaded with spoil. With the same person as his counsellor and guide, he in like manner approached towards Dunwich, a celebrated maritime town, abounding in various kinds of treasures, intending to take it also by assault; but he was dismayed at the firmness of the inhabitants, who unanimously prepared themselves to receive the attack of the enemy; and when he discovered that his attempts against them would be abortive, he returned without any success. Hugh having made as much use of this army as he desired, then signified to the earl of Leicester that he ought to conduct the foreign forces, which he had brought over, into those districts and castles which were under his own jurisdiction. The earl of Leicester, however, hesitated much and long, because he could not cross the country to Leicester without great danger, through the midst of the enemies' territory, who were said to be watching his march; feeling, at length, confident in the numbers and valor of his allies (for he had about eighty chosen horse, and four or five thousand valiant foot), and thinking that no one would be able to oppose him on the way, because he had many friends among those who appeared to favor the king, he boldly commenced the journey, with all his forces, taking with him his wife, and Hugh de Castello, a French nobleman.

[3] But the nobles of the royal party, with an ample military force, were at St. Edmundsbury, watching him; and when the earl's army was near that place, they brought out their forces in array against his troops. The forces of the earl were not in a position to turn either to the right hand or to the left ; and so converting their constraint into courage, they boldly marched onward in order, and a desperate battle commenced; the one party fighting for glory, and the other for safety. The victory, however, belonged to the royal party; the earl was taken captive, with his wife, a woman of masculine mind, and also Hugh of Castello, together with almost all the cavalry; but nearly the whole of the foot soldiers were killed. The prisoners of distinction were sent to the king in Normandy, and the rest were disposed of according to his discretion.

Chapter 31: Of the defection of David the Scot and others from the king <to index>

This unfilial madness of the son against the father raged for nearly two years, and the more important events of the first year have already been set forth in the foregoing narration. For a short time, indeed, during the winter, in parts beyond the sea, there was a cessation from the tumults of war; but it was not so in England; for the troops, who were in the fortresses belonging to the earl of Leicester, after they had remained quiet for some time, cowed by the fate which had befallen their lord, again grew bold and inflamed, as it were, to avenge this disaster; and being joined by a multitude of the wicked ones, began to infest the neighboring counties by their incursions; and feeling that they would act with more confidence in having a prince possessing a great name, they chose for their leader and chief David, earl of Huntingdon, brother of the king of Scots, who was roving about successfully, and was proceeding prosperously in his further acts of iniquity. The earl of Ferrars also, and a nobleman named Roger de Mowbray, having now openly declared their intention, which they had long concealed, followed the rest of the revolters, scarcely restraining, even during the sacred time of Lent, the impulse of the fury they had conceived; but after the solemnity of Easter they broke out in daring adventures. Nor did the younger king at that time desist from alluring the English nobles who outwardly appeared to adhere to his father by promises and clandestine letters, and even by threats, that he might bring them over by any means to his own party; from which cause it is said that there were only a few noblemen at that time in England who were not wavering in their adherence to the king, and ready to desert him at any time, unless some check should speedily be placed upon their intentions.

Chapter 32: Of the king's arrival in England, and what the Scots did there <to index>

[1] In the second year, therefore, of the contention that had commenced, the war was once more renewed against the elder king of England by those powerful enemies, the king of France, the count of Flanders, and the king of Scots, with all their forces. The count of Flanders (already forgetful of his brother's death, and ambitious of possessing the English county called Kent, for which, in fact, he had already done homage to the younger Henry) was preparing a fleet to cross over into England with the young king and his forces. The king of France, intending to invade Normandy, was also preparing an army which he had collected from all quarters. When those preparations became known, the elder king, preferring that his possessions beyond the sea should be in peril rather than his own realm of England (and yet he carefully took measures that they should be fortified, for he foresaw that while he was absent, and as it were not in existence, no one in England would offer any opposition to the individual who was expected to be his successor), and anticipating the movements of his enemies, he quickly embarked for England with some cavalry and one troop of Brabancons.

[2] In the meantime, the king of the Scots, with an infinite number of barbarians of his own nation, and his accessories of mercenary cavalry and infantry from Flanders, entered the English frontiers, and obtained possession of Burgh and Appleby, two royal fortresses in Westmoreland, which he found ungarrisoned. Departing thence, he determined to lay siege again to the city of Carlisle; but an agreement being made by the affrighted citizens, that they would surrender the city to him on a certain day unless in the meantime a garrison sufficient for them should be sent by the king of England, he marched with his army to lay siege to a certain fortress by the river Tyne, called Prudhoe. Then Roger de Mowbray, whom we have before mentioned, came to him, and demanded assistance; for after two of his fortresses had been valiantly stormed and taken by Geoffrey, the natural son of the king of England, who was then bishop-elect of Lincoln, he had difficulty in holding possession of a third called Thirsk. This Roger a long time before, had given his first-born son as a hostage to the king of the Scots, who was then meditating an irruption into the province of York, and had engaged to assist and obey him in all things; and in his turn had received surety from him that he should never be left without assistance in any necessity whatsoever; but after the Scottish king had toiled at Prudhoe for many days with useless labor, which was highly injurious to his own people, on hearing that the military force of the county of York was raised against him, he crossed the Tyne and invaded the county of Northumberland. Everything was consumed by the Scots; to whom no kind of food is too filthy to be devoured, even that which is fit only for dogs; and while they were grasping their prey, it was a delight to that inhuman nation, more savage than wild beasts, to cut the throats of old men, to slaughter little children, to rip open the bowels of women, and to do everything of this kind that is horrible to mention. So while this army of most infamous robbers was poured into the miserable province, and the barbarians were reveling in their inhumanity, the Scottish king himself, attended by a more honorable and civilized body of military, who kept watch around him, appeared to be unemployed, and remained in observation around a very strong castle called Alnwick, in order to prevent the possibility of a band of soldiers sallying from it, and so disturbing the plunderers, who were robbing and killing around them in every direction.

Chapter 33: Of the capture of the king of Scots <to index>

[1] While matters were thus progressing in the northern parts of England, the nobles on the king's side in the county of York, justly indignant that the Scots should infest the confines of England, assembled at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with a strong body of cavalry. The occasion was so urgent that they had not time to collect their infantry together, and they came thither on Friday, the sixth day of the week, wearied by a long and laborious march. While they were there consulting together what was to be done, the more prudent declared that much had already been done, since the king of Scots, upon hearing of their arrival, had retreated so far; that this ought to suffice for the time, considering the smallness of their force, and that it was neither safe for themselves, nor useful to the king of England, to advance any further, lest they should appear to expose their scanty numbers to the infinite multitude of barbarians, to be devoured like a piece of bread; that they had not more than four hundred horse, while the enemy's army was estimated at more than eighty thousand armed men. To this the more eager replied, that these most malignant foes ought to be attacked by all means, and that they ought not to despair of victory, which, beyond a doubt, would follow on the side of justice.

[2] Ultimately, the opinion of the latter prevailed (for God so willed it, that the event might be ascribed rather to the Divine decree than to human prudence or power), and the men of valor, among whom the principal were Robert de Stuteville, Ralph de Glanville, Bernard de Baliol, and William de Vesey, being refreshed a little by a night's rest, set out early in the morning, and hastening forward with such swiftness as, if propelled by some invisible power. For they marched twenty-four miles before five o'clock -- a thing which seemed scarcely possible to be done by men loaded with the weight of armor; and while they were advancing, it is said that so dense a fog covered them that they hardly knew whither they went. Then the more prudent among them, pleading the peril of the way, declared that certain danger awaited them, unless they turned and went back. To this Bernard de Baliol, a noble and magnanimous man, said, "Let him who chooses go back, but I will go on though no one shall follow me, for I will not brand myself with perpetual infamy."

[3] While they were thus marching onward, the fog suddenly cleared away, and they saw the castle of Alnwick before them, and joyfully they thought that it would afford them a safe place of retreat if they should be pressed by the enemy; when lo! the king of Scots, with a troop of about sixty knights or rather more, was stationed for observation in the open fields not far off, as secure as if he dreaded nothing less than an irruption from our people, the multitude of his barbarians, with part of the cavalry, being widely dispersed for plunder. When he first saw our men, he doubtless thought that they were some of his own, returning from plundering; but, upon carefully observing our leaders' banners, he soon understood that we had now dared what he could not have suspected we would attempt. However, he was not terrified ; for being surrounded by that vast, though less concentrated army, he thought -- nay he did not deign to doubt -- that our few and scanty troops would easily be crushed by the multitude scattered around him. Fiercely, therefore, clashing his arms and exciting his men by his words and example, he said, "Now it will appear who knows how to be a soldier;" and rushing first upon the enemy, the others following him, he was immediately met by our men, stricken down (his horse being slain under him), and taken prisoner with almost all his troop -- for those who could have escaped, despising flight after he was taken prisoner, gave themselves up of their own free will into the hands of their enemies, in order that they might be taken prisoners along with him. Certain nobles also, who happened then to be absent, but not far off, on hearing what had occurred, soon came up at full gallop, and throwing themselves, rather than falling, into the hands of the enemy, thought it honorable to share the fate of their lord. Roger de Mowbray, however, who was there at that time, on the king being captured, escaped and took refuge in Scotland.

[4] Our nobles returned joyfully in the evening with their royal prisoner to Newcastle, whence they had departed in the morning, and caused him to be safely kept in custody at Richmond, intending to send him at a convenient time to their illustrious lord the king of England. This battle was happily won, by the favor of God, on Saturday, the third of the ides of July [13th July], in the one thousand one hundred and seventy-fourth year from the fullness of time when the Word was made flesh; and the intelligence was soon circulated far and wide, and received with gladness in all me counties of England, while the bells rang for solemn joy.

Chapter 34: What happened to the army and territory of Scotland after the king's capture <to index>

The king of Scots being thus delivered into the hands of his enemies, the manifest vengeance of God did not permit his most hateful army to go unpunished. When the capture of their king was known, the barbarians were at first thunderstruck, and desisted from plunder; but soon after, as if impelled by the furies, they turned against each other the sword -- now drunk with innocent blood -- which they had taken up against their foes; for there was in that army a great number of English, since the towns and boroughs of the kingdom of Scotland are inhabited by English. On this occasion the Scots, evincing their innate hatred against them, though concealed through fear of the king, cut off as many as they met, while those able to escape took refuge in the royal fortresses. There were also in that army two brothers, Gilbert and Uctred, lords of the province of Galloway, with a numerous company of their own people; they were the sons of Fergus, formerly prince of that province, and when their father died they succeeded him, for the king of Scots, who is lord paramount of that land, had divided the inheritance between them; but Gilbert, the elder, discontented at being deprived of the whole of his paternal possessions, had always in his heart hated his brother. For a while, however, the fear of the royal displeasure had restrained the impulse of the fury he had conceived; but when the king was taken prisoner, finding himself delivered from this apprehension, he soon laid hands upon his brother, who was fearing nothing; and to gratify his execrable hatred, he killed him, though not by simple death, but with excruciating tortures. He then invaded Uctred's dominions; and barbarians, exercising their cruelty upon barbarians, committed no small slaughter. There was, however, a son of that brother who had been so nefariously killed, by name Roland, an acute and energetic youth, who, by the co-operation of his father's friends, resisted to the utmost his uncle's rage. Thus the whole kingdom of Scotland was in a state of anarchy, by the most equitable disposal of God, who meted out to the wicked with that measure which they themselves hid dealt to others; that is to say, those who shortly before had disturbed the peace of a harmless people, and had thirsted for the blood of the English, by a most beautiful ordinance, received retribution from each other.

Chapter 35: Of the memorable penance of the king of England, and of its consequences <to index>

[1] King Henry the second had now come into England from Normandy, to throw the strength of his presence against his son, who was expected to arrive with the Flemish forces; but remembering how much he had sinned against the church of Canterbury, he proceeded thither immediately he had landed, and prayed, freely shedding tears, at the tomb of Thomas, the blessed bishop. On entering the chapter of the monks, he prostrated himself on the ground, and with the utmost humility entreated pardon; and, at his urgent petition, he, though so great a man, was corporally beaten with rods by all the brethren in succession. On the following night, in a dream, it was said to a certain venerable old monk of that church, "Hast thou not seen today a marvelous miracle of royal humility? Know that the result of those events which are passing around him will shortly declare how much his royal humility has pleased the King of kings." I learned this from that most reverend and simple-minded man, Roger, abbot of Byland, who, while relating it, said that he had heard it from a trustworthy person, who was accidentally staying at that very time in Kent. He who touches the mountains and they smoke, [Psalm 144:5] soon after clearly made known, by a notable proof, how much He valued hat devotion of that smoking mountain; for on that day, and, as it is said, at that very hour in which that mountain gave forth smoke at Canterbury, the divine power overthrew his most mighty enemy the king of Scots, in the extreme confines of England: so that the reward of that pious work might not seem to have followed the work itself, but rather to have attended it, so that no man might be suffered to be in suspense on this point.

[2] This prince, departing from Canterbury, hastened to London, and having sent his military forces forward against Hugh Bigot, he made a short stay there, having been let blood. When lo! in the middle of the night, a very swift messenger, sent by Ralph de Glanville, knocked at the gate of the palace. Being rebuked by the porter and the guards, and ordered to be quiet, he knocked the louder, saying that he brought good news on his lips, which it was positively necessary that the king should hear that very night. His pertinacity at length overcame them, especially as they hoped that he came to announce good tidings. On being admitted within the door, in the same manner he over-persuaded the royal chamberlains. When he was introduced into the royal chamber, he boldly went to the king’s couch, and aroused him from sleep. The king, on awaking, said, "Who art thou?" To which he replied, "I am the attendant upon Ralph de Glanville, your faithful liegeman, by whom I have been sent to your highness; and I come to bring good tidings." "Ralph, our friend! Is he well?" asked the king. "He is well, my lord," he answered; "and, behold, he holds your enemy the king of Scots, captive in chains at Richmond." The king astonished at his news, said, "Say on ;" but he only reiterated his words. "Have you no letters?" he asked; on which he produced sealed letters, containing a detail of what had been done. The king, instantly inspecting them, leaped from his bed, and, with the deepest emotion, rendered thanks, moistened with pious tears, to Him who alone does wondrous things. He then summoned the people of his household, and made them partakers of his joy. In the morning came also other messengers, reporting the same; but only one, that is, he who had come first received the gratuity. The good tidings were immediately made public, amidst the earnest acclamations of the people, and the ringing of bells in all parts of London.

Chapter 36: Of the siege of Rouen, and the insidious attack of the assailants <to index>

[1] In the meantime, the king of France, with an overpowering army, entered Normandy from the east -- that is to say, where it seemed to lie open, by reason of the castles which had been taken by the count of Flanders; and he advanced upon and besieged Rouen, the metropolis of that province. Rouen is one of the most famous cities in Europe, and is seated upon the great river Seine, by which the commerce of many regions is carried thither; and it is so well protected by that river, and by the hills about it, that scarcely a third part of it could be besieged by a single army. The younger king and the count of Flanders, surrounded by vast forces, were watching for an opportunity of crossing the sea, with the fleet which they had prepared in the port of the Morini, where there is the shortest passage into England. However, upon hearing that the elder king was already in England, arid doubtless powerfully prepared to receive their attacks, they thought it would be by no means safe for them to cross over thither. So they changed their intention; thus rendering ineffectual the whole equipment of the fleet which they had prepared. Considering that the siege of Rouen would be a great undertaking, and that it would be a very profitable act to take that city, they concentrated those vast and terrible forces at that point, and increased the besieging army to an immense extent. Though so great an army had not been seen in Europe for many years previous, yet, on account of the difficult approaches to the city, they could scarcely lay siege to the third part of it. By the bridge across the river, there was both a free ingress into the town from the country, and also egress from the town into the country; so that it was supplied with all manner of necessaries in abundance: while the hostile army, nigh at hand, looked on and envied them; so that, perhaps, we might quote the remark, that "Sicilian tyrants have not found a greater torment than envy." When strong and spirited men beheld this, almost all day going on quite near them, without the power to prevent it, they endured the sight with considerable vexation.

[2] The engines being ready to attack the city, the siege was commenced in earnest, and the army was divided into three divisions; the natural day was also divided into eight hours, so that the men might succeed each other in turns that is to say, those who were fresh might succeed the weary; and thus, by perpetually fighting, they should not leave the defenders of the walls the least time to breathe, either by day or night. But their object was defeated; for the citizens opposed this arrangement by similar skill and precaution, and also divided themselves into three bodies, and by a careful distribution met the enemy, who continued the attack in succession. Thus they provided for themselves a competent remedy against the intolerable labor and fatigue by which it was thought they would be wearied out.

[3] After they had struggled for many days with their utmost strength, and neither party had gained or lost in any respect, on the natal day of St. Lawrence [10 Aug.], the king of France, out of reverence to that excellent martyr, whom he was accustomed especially and devoutly to venerate, commanded it to be solemnly proclaimed that repose should be allowed to the city on that day. The citizens gratefully embraced that favor, arid enjoyed the short interval in the most jocund manner. Young men and maidens, old men and children, as much out of joy of the day, as to irritate the enemy, shouted with loud voices in the city; while a troop of military amused themselves with tilting, in the sight of the enemy, upon the banks of the river outside the town. The count of Flanders, as it is reported, went to the king, and said "See, the city for which we have already toiled so much is offered to us spontaneously, while those inside are leading dances, and those outside are sporting in security. Let the troops, therefore, silently take arms, and let the scaling-ladders be quickly placed against the wall, and we shall be masters of the town, before those men, now sporting outside it in derision of us, will be able to regain the city." "Far be it from me to blemish my kingly honor by such a stain," said the king; "for thou knowest that I have granted the city repose for this day, out of reverence to the most blessed Lawrence." Upon this, all the chiefs then present, with familiar boldness, reproved his mildness, and said, "Who asks whether it be deceit or valor in an enemy?" consequently he acquiesced. So, not by the voice of the trumpet, nor that of a herald, but by the whispers of the commanders alone in the tents, was the army made ready to rush upon the city.

[4] However, by the will of God it happened, that certain clerks were at that hour amusing themselves, in some way or other, in a lofty tower of a church within the town, from which it was the custom to give a signal to the citizens when the enemy came rushing toward the walls, by ringing a very ancient but wonderfully sonorous bell. One of these clerks happened to look out of the window, and, casting his eyes over the army spread out in their tents, was at first surprised at the unusual silence in the camp, which seemed to betoken some mystery. Soon after, looking more closely from that lofty place, he observed their clandestine preparations ; and when he had communicated the matter to his companions, they immediately gave the well-known signal to the city, by ringing Ruvell, for so the bell was called. When this was heard, both sides hastened forward with all their forces. The army that was already prepared rushed from the camp, and advanced to the wall with scaling-ladders; and the citizens, stimulated by the unexpected peril, seized their arms, and with ardent spirit and movements endeavored to repel the assailants. Those also who were amusing themselves outside the town came up with wonderful celerity. The enemy, having succeeded in placing their ladders against the wall, scaled the rampart, and their their shouts of triumph were heard. When, lo! they were bravely attacked and repulsed by the citizens, and a most furious conflict with spears was waged upon the ramparts; arms and bodies met together, and much blood was shed on either side; and, at length, those who proudly had ascended were thrust headlong down again. Night put an end to the battle, and the treacherous army, after suffering much greater loss than they had inflicted, retired in confusion to the camp. The king threw the blame upon the count of Flanders, but the stain of such infamous treachery adhered most to the person of the king. From that day forward, it is certain that the besieged acted with more confidence, and the besiegers more slackly and hopelessly.

Chapter 37: How the king restored peace to England, and relieved Rouen <to index>

[1] In the meantime, king Henry the elder, remaining in England, sent for the governors of the castles belonging to the earl of Leicester, whom he had brought with him from Normandy in bonds, and admonished them that, for the safety of their lord, they should resign those castles, issuing from which they infested the provinces. They demanded permission to confer with their lord, but it was denied them; upon which they said they would not obey the king's wishes, unless upon the certain release of their lord. The king replied, "I will make no agreement with you upon the subject; but if you will do what I wish, you will do well." And it is reported, that when the holy relics were brought, he swore, saying, "So may God help me, and these holy things, but the earl of Leicester shall taste nothing until you do that which I desire with respect to his castles; you may, however, depart as quickly as you can." Then, seeing that certain and swift destruction was impending over their lord if they resisted any longer, they forthwith resigned the fortresses. Earl David, however, who had been the chief among them, having left the castle of Huntingdon, it soon afterwards surrendered to the king, and the earl hastily retired into Scotland. At these successes by the king, Hugh Bigot arid the earl of Ferrars were terrified; and they also came to an agreement of their own accord, and gave security for peace and fidelity.

[2] Matters, by the will of God, being thus arranged in England, according to his vows, the king with a mighty army quickly crossed the sea, taking with him the king of Scots (who had been brought to him shortly before), the earl of Leicester, and the other noble captives. Amidst the exultations of the people throughout Normandy, at his rapid and happy return, he entered Rouen in great pomp, in the sight of the enemy. A few days before, a messenger had arrived with the news of the capture of the king of Scots, at which the enemy were greatly grieved; but at the sudden and triumphal return of the king from England, they were stricken with astonishment. Confiding, however, in the strength of their innumerable multitudes, they persisted in the siege. The king, at night, secretly sent out a troop of Welshmen, whom he had brought from England with him, and who, taking advantage of the darkness of the woods, concealed themselves in favorable places (for men of this kind are agile and expert in woods), in order that they might observe where the supplies were conveyed to the great army. The Welshmen, availing themselves of the opportunity, rushed out from the woods, attacked the convoys, and put the horsemen by whom they were guarded to flight; and having destroyed the whole equipage, with great slaughter of men and beasts of burden, they retired back again to the woods. A report was soon spread that the forests were full of Welshmen; and the army suffered hunger for the space of three days on account of their supplies being intercepted. In this necessity, the siege was abandoned, and the princes departed with their vast army, carrying away no other reward for the great labor than ignominy. They kept their ranks, however, in order to repel danger, if perchance the enemy should press upon their rear. Thus, whatever was prepared or attempted against the king of England by the malignity of his enemies, turned to his glory, God being propitious to him.

Chapter 38:Of the reconciliation of the kings, and the tranquility of their realms <to index>

[1] While God thus smiled propitiously on this prince in all things which were done by him or around him, his enemies were so terrified and humiliated by his numerous illustrious and successful actions that they began to treat of peace; and those persons were now made mediators for restoring unity who had been the chief inciters to discord. Accordingly, a grand conference was held between the parties, in which the fatal rancor of the princes and the disquietude of provinces were alike appeased. The count of Flanders restored to the king of England whatever of right belonged to him, but of which the chance of war had deprived him; and he claimed, for the future, security for faithful friendship on doing homage. As for that most ungrateful son, he also returned into favor with his father; and not only did he promise obedience and filial reverence for the future, by the surety of many persons who swore to answer for his fidelity, but the king, adopting a new precaution against these ungrateful and suspected sons, prudently exacted homage from them, which was solemnly rendered. For it was the will of his father, that he who had irreverently broken the strongest tie of nature like a spider's web, should at least be bound to that which is honorable and useful by the civil law or the law of nations; and since it is written, "A threefold cord is not quickly broken" [Eccl. 4:12], the violator of nature in the natural law which ought to be observed to a father, might at least be true in consideration of homage and of the double tie of an oath and fealty; and he must for the future beware lest his father -- who was now not only his father, but his liege lord -- should justly pronounce sentence against him as it had been declared of old by the Lord of lords, through his prophet, against a disobedient people, "If then I be a father, where is mine honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear?" [Mal. 1:6.] His youthful brothers also, whom he had influenced by the advice of the French and led away from their father, he brought back to him; and very little question was raised about them, since their youth was their excuse.

[2] Moreover, at the instance of the king of France and of the other princes who were there, the illustrious king of England absolutely released the earl of Leicester, and the rest of the captives, excepting the king of Scots; and after giving them their liberty, he restored their goods and honors. He intended also, at his own time, to act towards the king of Scots at once with prudence and clemency. In process of time, however, when he seemed to have forgotten those acts which had been done against him by the ungrateful and faithless, he suddenly ordered the walls, of Leicester to be thrown down, and the fortifications of all those who had deserted him to be leveled; thus taking care for the future, by breaking the horns of the proud, that they should be able to attempt nothing of the same kind on any succeeding occasion. He subsequently also released the king of Scots, upon his giving security for the performance of certain stipulated covenants. Having come into England, he appointed the city of York for the performance of those stipulations. On his arrival there, in the midst of a great number of his nobles, he met the king of Scots, with the whole nobility of his realm, all of whom, in the church of the blessed prince of the Apostles, did homage and liegance to the king of England as their chief lord - that is, they bound themselves by a solemn obligation to act with him and for him against all men, even before their own sovereign. The king of Scots also before the whole multitude of the nobles of each kingdom, in the accustomed manner acknowledged the king of England as his lord and he himself to be his liege man. He also delivered to to him the three principal fortresses of the kingdom, namely, Roxburgh, Berwick, and Edinburgh, as a security. These acts being performed, the people enjoyed the long-desired peace; and the king of England became, by his success in so many enterprises, renowned throughout the world. Thus this worse than civil war, which was carried on between father and son, with such peril to so many persons, was ended.

These things having been narrated, we now bring the second Book of our history to a conclusion.


Return to Index | Book One | Book Two | Book Three | Book Four | Book Five | Introduction


The Church Historians of England, volume IV, part II; translated by Joseph Stevenson (London: Seeley's, 1861). For ease of readability and reference, I have altered the original paragraph divisions and added the paragraph numbers; spellings have been modernized. I have not retained Stevenson's footnotes. I believe this translation is now in the public domain. The electronic form of this presentation is ©1999 by Scott McLetchie and may not be reproduced for any commercial purposes whatsoever. It may be reproduced for non-profit educational purposes.

Select Bibliography

The latest complete edition of William's history is still that found in Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I. Edited by Richard Howlett. Rolls Series no. 82. London, 1884-9. Books 1-4 of William's history appear in volume 1, book 5 in volume 2.

A new edition began to appear in 1988: William of Newburgh. The History of English Affairs. Edited and with a new translation by P. G. Walsh & M. J. Kennedy. Warminster, Wiltshire: Aris, 1988-. To the best of my knowledge, only volume one, containing book one of the history, has so far appeared.

A good starting point for information on William of Newburgh (as well as other medieval English historians) is Gransden, Antonia. Historical Writing in England, volume 1. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974.

Nancy Partner examines William of Newburgh's work, along with that of Henry of Huntingdon and Richard of Devizes in: Partner, Nancy F. Serious Entertainments: The Writing of History in Twelfth-Century England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.

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© Paul Halsall, October 24, 2000
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