Manuscript E's entry for the year 1066 consists of a somewhat brisk run-through of the tumultuous events of national importance, followed by a lengthy account of a story with local interest. The abbot of Peterborough, Leofric ("in his day was all bliss and all good in Peterborough"), had accompanied Harold to the battle of Hastings:
"... and there he sickened, and came home, and was dead soon thereafter, on All-hallows-mass-night [31st October]; God be merciful to his soul!"
As Leofric's replacement, the monks chose Brand, the provost, "because he was a very good man, and very wise". At this time, it seemed to the "landfolc" (i.e. local people) that Edgar the Ætheling was going to become king, so Brand was duly sent to get Edgar's approval of his appointment:
"... and the ætheling granted it him then gladly. When King William heard say that, then was he very wroth, and said that the abbot had despised him. Then went good men between them, and reconciled them, by reason that the abbot was a good man. Then gave he the
king forty marks of gold for a reconciliation; and then thereafter, lived he a little while, but three years. After that came every tribulation and every evil to the minster. God have mercy on it!"
"... being burdened with other weighty matters, handed over the earldom beyond the Tyne
to the young Osulf [Oswulf] ..."
Oswulf - son of Earl Eadwulf and grandson of Earl Uhtred - was of the native Bernician (northern Northumbrian) ruling dynasty (see: The Battle of Carham
). King William now gave Oswulf's earldom to one Copsig. William of Poitiers places Copsig amongst those who submitted to the king at Barking. He had been Tostig's lieutenant during the latter's tenure as earl of Northumbria, and, presumably, he accompanied the earl into exile in the autumn of 1065. He took part in Tostig's initial raid on England in May 1066 - joining him in Kent with a fleet from Orkney. Copsig is lost sight of until his submission in the winter of 1066/7. He appears to have been highly regarded - he is called "a man of discretion and skill" by Symeon of Durham, and "a man of great courage and integrity" by Orderic Vitalis. Symeon takes up the story:
"Osulf driven by Copsi [Copsig] from the earldom, concealed himself in the woods and mountains in hunger and want, till at last having gathered some associates whom the same need had brought together, he surrounded Copsi while feasting at Newburn [on Tyne]. He [Copsig] escaped through the midst of confused crowds; but being discovered while he lay hid in the church, he was compelled by the burning of the church to go out to the door, where at the very door he was beheaded by the hands of Osulf, in the fifth week of his charge of the earldom, on the fourth of the ides of March [12th March 1067]. By and by, in the following autumn, Osulf himself, rushing headlong against the lance of a robber who met him, was thrust through, and there perished."
Following Oswulf's death, King William sold the earldom "for a great sum" to Gospatric - who was not only Oswulf's cousin (Gospatric's mother was Ealdgyth, daughter of Earl Uhtred), but also a cousin of the Scots' king, Malcolm III (Gospatric's father was Maldred, brother of King Duncan I, see: Toil and Trouble
Perhaps it was his own childhood recollections that prompted Orderic Vitalis
to disagree with William of Poitiers', rose-tinted, assessment of the government of Bishop Odo and William fitz Osbern. Orderic writes:
"... the English were groaning under the Norman yoke, and suffering oppressions from the proud lords who ignored the king's injunctions. The petty lords who were guarding the castles oppressed all the native inhabitants of high and low degree, and heaped shameful burdens on them. For Bishop Odo and William fitz Osbern, the king's viceregents, were so swollen with pride that they would not deign to hear the reasonable plea of the English or give them impartial judgement. When their men-at-arms were guilty of plunder and rape they protected them by force, and wreaked their wrath all the more violently upon those who complained of the cruel wrongs they suffered."
Orderic Vitalis, in what appears to be a direct contradiction to Florence of Worcester, includes Eadric amongst those Englishmen who submitted to King William at Barking. Florence and Orderic agree that Eadric 'the Wild' was the nephew of Eadric 'Streona'
- Florence being more specific, saying that Eadric the Wild's father was Ælfric, Eadric Streona's brother.
Florence says that Eadric's cognomen was 'silvaticus' - literally 'of the woods' (which may be found, certainly in older works, rendered as 'the Forester'). Orderic says that Eadric was known as 'the Wild' (guilda), adding by way of explanation "id est silvaticus". Walter Map
, himself a man of the Marches, writes:
"... Eadric Wild, that is the man of the woods ....
Edricus wilde quod est silvestris
.... so called from the agility of his body and the charm of his words and works, a man of great worth and lord of the manor of Lydbury North."
Walter clearly believed Eadric's surname was on account of his personal attributes ....
Walter was probably Welsh by extraction, and his own cognomen, 'Map', was quite possibly one attached to Welshmen living on the English side of the border, by their English acquaintances - 'map' being a form of 'ap', meaning 'son of'.
.... however, Orderic Vitalis, in reference to English rebels, writes:
"Many men lived in tents disdaining to sleep in houses lest they should become soft; so that the Normans called them 'wild men' [silvatici]."
In Walter Map's fantastical yarn, Eadric marries a fairy. News of this amazing marriage reaches William, the new king of England, and he summons the pair to London, to discover if it could possibly be true. It clearly is, and they return home. The marriage has a tragic, magical, ending, but they have had a son, Ælfnoth, who inherits his father's land. In his old age, Ælfnoth is miraculously cured of a palsy, and gifts the manor at Lydbury to the church of Hereford. Unfortunately, although the 'Domesday Book
' records "Edric salvage" as previous tenant of six manors in Shropshire and one in Herefordshire, it states that Lydbury North (Shropshire) had actually been held by the bishop of Hereford since King Edward's reign.
Incidentally, in Manuscript D of the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle', Eadric is called "Eadric cild
". It is widely thought that this is a scribal error - 'se wilda' ('the Wild') being intended.
"... easily reduced the city of Exeter
, when in a state of rebellion; for part of the wall fell down accidentally, and made an opening for him. Indeed he had attacked it with the more ferocity, asserting that those irreverent men would be deserted by God's favour, because one of them, standing upon the wall, had bared his posteriors, and had broken wind, in contempt of the Normans."
From Florence of Worcester, it appears that King Harold's mother, Gytha, was a resident of Exeter, but she managed to escape to Flanders. In Manuscript D of the 'Chronicle', where an attempt to merge material from more than one source has confused the entry, Gytha's flight has become detached from the siege of Exeter. However, Manuscript D does have the detail that Gytha ("and the wives of many good men with her") first went to the island of Flatholme, in the Bristol Channel, where she lived for "some time", before sailing to St.Omer, in Flanders. Orderic Viltalis doesn't specifically associate Gytha's departure with Exeter, but comments that she:
"... secretly gathered together a great store of treasure and, through fear of King William, fled to France, never to return."
On the death of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn
, on 5th August 1063, rule of northern Wales (Gwynedd, which incorporated Powys) passed to Bleddyn and Rhiwallon. Gruffudd had been married to Ealdgyth, the sister of Edwin and Morcar (the marriage probably took place c.1057). Orderic Vitalis clearly thought that Bleddyn was a son of Gruffudd. In fact, Bleddyn and Rhiwallon, sons of Cynfyn, were maternal half-brothers of Gruffudd. Nevertheless, they seem to have preserved Gruffudd's alliance with Mercia - Welsh troops supported those of Edwin and Morcar in the showdown which resulted in Morcar replacing Tostig in Northumbria (see: Harold: A Second Judas Maccabeus
), and now Bleddyn was assisting them in their rebellion against the Normans. Rhiwallon may well have been dead by this time. It seems that two of Gruffudd's sons, Maredudd and Ithel, presumably too young to succeed their father on his death, were intent on overthrowing their uncles. Welsh annals
record a battle at Mechain:
"Ithel was killed in the battle, and Maredudd died of cold, in his flight; and there Rhiwallon, son of Cynfyn was slain."
'Brut y Tywysogion'
Precise dating from the Welsh annals is tricky, but a date of 1068 is possible, though, perhaps, 1069 is more likely.
After the report of their trip to Normandy, in spring 1067 (by Manuscript D), the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' has no references to Edwin and Morcar until 1071.
Thomas and Lanfranc were immediately at loggerheads over the issue of whether the two archbishops were of equal standing, or whether Canterbury had primacy over York. The main source for the details of their dispute is a memorandum
from Lanfranc's collected letters:
"... Thomas, archbishop-elect of the church of York, by ancient custom came to Canterbury to be consecrated by Lanfranc....
In a letter
, written between Easter (24th April) and October 1071, to Pope Alexander II, Lanfranc says: "Now I am a novice Englishman, virtually ignorant as yet of English affairs, except for what I learn at second hand ..."
.... But when Lanfranc, following the practice of his predecessors, asked him for a written profession of obedience, fortified by an oath of loyalty, Thomas replied that he would never do that until he could read evidence of the claim and could see witnesses testifying to its antiquity; in short, until he should hear good reason why he should do it justly and reasonably, without prejudice to his own church. He acted in this way from ignorance rather than from a proud and obstinate spirit. For he was a newcomer, with no experience whatever of English usage, and he placed more confidence in the advice of flatterers than was right and proper."
Memorandum on the primacy of Canterbury
"Whereupon Archbishop Landfranc [Lanfranc] was wroth, and bade the bishops, who were come thither by Archbishop Landfranc's command to do the service, and all the monks to unrobe themselves. And they by his order so did. Thomas, therefore, for the time, departed without consecration."
"He [Thomas] went to the king and made his protest, but Lanfranc followed him almost immediately, and showed that he and the Church had good reason for making their demand."
"So it was decided by the king's edict and the general decision of all those present that for the moment Thomas should return to the mother church of the whole kingdom, write a profession, read out what he had written and present to Lanfranc what he had read, while he was being examined in the presence of the bishops as is the custom of the Church. In this document he should promise to obey Lanfranc's instructions absolutely and unconditionally in all matters relating to the practice of the Christian religion; but he should not render the same obedience to his successors until satisfactory evidence was given him, either in the king's court or in an episcopal council, which would show beyond any doubt that his predecessors had made, and ought to have made, this profession to the primates of the church of Canterbury."
Memorandum on the primacy of Canterbury
"... Thomas, albeit with much reluctance, returned to Canterbury and there humbly performed what Lanfranc asked of him."
In October 1071, the two archbishops were in Rome, to receive their pallia
from Pope Alexander. In the pope's presence, Thomas voiced his objections to Lanfranc's claim of Canterbury's primacy, and alleged that the dioceses of Dorchester, Worcester and Lichfield fell under York's jurisdiction:
"... he [Thomas] said that the churches of Canterbury and York were equal to each other in status, and that according to the constitution of St.Gregory [Pope Gregory 'the Great', 590-604] neither should be subject to the other in any way, except that the earlier of the two to have been ordained shall take precedence over the archbishop who is known to have been ordained later. As for the three bishops, they had been subject to his own see and to his predecessors since ancient times. Although Lanfranc was angry when he heard this, he replied temperately enough that the man's statement was completely false, maintaining that the Gregorian constitution had been promulgated in respect not of the churches of York and Canterbury but of the churches of York and London. After long argument over this and over the three bishops Pope Alexander ruled that this case should be heard in the land of England and settled there by the testimony and judgement of the bishops and abbots of the whole kingdom."
Memorandum on the primacy of Canterbury
In the 'Historia Novorum in Anglia' (History of Recent Events in England), Eadmer
says that, whilst "various matters of business" were being discussed in Rome: "... objection was taken before the Pope against Thomas, the Archbishop of York ... Against Thomas the charge was on the ground that the canons of the Church prohibited the preferment in holy orders of sons of priests not themselves adorned by any religious Order ..." Through Lanfranc's intervention, however, Thomas was allowed to retain his office.
"To the lord Pope Alexander, most lofty guardian of the whole Christian religion: Lanfranc, archbishop of the holy church of Canterbury, offers unstinted service and due obedience... you issued a written directive that an assembly of the bishops, abbots and other persons of religious profession in the land of England should hear the case for both sides, consider it and reach a decision. This has been done: the bishops, abbots and others of the clergy and laity whom it was right to summon for their orthodoxy, their edifying life and their blameless character assembled at the royal court in the city of Winchester at the festival of Easter [8th April 1072].
Letter from Lanfranc to Pope Alexander II (Letter 4
"... in the presence of the king himself and the bishops and abbots, there was a formal examination of the case for primacy, which Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury was advancing as a right of his own church over the church of York, and of the case for ordaining certain bishops, where it was not at all clear to whose jurisdiction they belonged. Finally it was established and demonstrated by written proofs of various kinds that the church of York should be subject to Canterbury and should obey the directions of its archbishop, as primate of the whole of Britain, in all matters relating to the Christian religion."
Memorandum on the primacy of Canterbury
In presenting the case for his primacy, there is a possibility that Lanfranc (whether he knew it or not), made use of faked documents
. Christ Church, Canterbury, had been destroyed by a fire on 6th December
1067. In his 'Vita Bregwini', Eadmer writes: "... a mighty and interminable grief oppressed this church because the privileges granted by the popes of Rome, and by the kings and princes of this kingdom, all carefully sealed and collected together, by which they and theirs were bound to defend and uphold the Church for ever, were now reduced to ashes. Copies of these documents were sought for, and collected from every place where such things were preserved: but their bulls and seals were irrecoverably destroyed with the church in which they had been deposited."
"... Archbishop Thomas countered these overwhelming and authoritative proofs with the most trivial objections ... When the king rebuked him with paternal mildness for having presumed to come so poorly supplied with arguments against such a battery of proofs, he replied that he had not previously understood that the church of Canterbury was fortified with so many mighty proofs and such convincing arguments."
Letter from Lanfranc to Pope Alexander II (Letter 4)
"Jurisdiction over the bishop of Durham, that is Lindisfarne, and over all the territory from the borders of the see of Lichfield and the great river Humber to the furthest limits of Scotland [i.e. not Dorchester, Worcester or Lichfield] ... the metropolitan of Canterbury has confirmed in perpetuity to the archbishop of York and his successors."
Memorandum on the primacy of Canterbury
"So he [Thomas] became suppliant; he pleaded with the king to persuade me [Lanfranc] to put aside all the hostility towards him that this lawsuit had engendered, to choose peace and make a settlement with him, and to concede him out of charity some points which were mine by right. This request I granted freely and thankfully, for by God's mercy it was not I but he who in breaking with ancient usage had initiated the dispute."
Letter from Lanfranc to Pope Alexander II (Letter 4)
"Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury demonstrated that according to the ancient right of his predecessors an archbishop of York should profess obedience to the archbishop of Canterbury with a public oath as well; but out of love for the king he waived the oath for Archbishop Thomas of York and accepted a written profession only, without prejudice to his own successors who might wish to exact from Thomas's successors an oath as well as a profession."
Memorandum on the primacy of Canterbury
"So by common consent a written record was made of this agreement and copies sent to the major churches of England, which in future ages will always testify to how that lawsuit has been concluded."
Letter from Lanfranc to Pope Alexander II (Letter 4)
"This case was examined first in the city of Winchester at the festival of Easter, in the royal chapel which is in the castle, and then on the royal estate called Windsor, where it was settled in the presence of the king, the bishops, abbots, and the men of various ranks who had assembled there at court at the feast of Whitsun [27th May 1072]."
Memorandum on the primacy of Canterbury
The memorandum only refers to the second, Windsor, meeting in the above summary. Similarly, in his letter to the pope, Lanfranc makes no reference to the council having reconvened at Windsor.
Florence of Worcester's chronicle makes no mention of the, wider, primacy dispute, but shows an interest in matters of concern to Worcester. Florence says that, at the council of Easter-week 1070 (when Stigand was deposed):
"... while the rest were trembling in anticipation of the loss of their own honours ... the venerable Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, courageously demanded the restitution of many of the appurtenances of his see which had been retained by archbishop Aeldred [Ealdred] in his own power, when he was translated to York, and which, by his death, had passed into the hands of the king ..."
In William of Malmesbury
's 'Vita Wulfstani' (Life of St.Wulfstan), the "appurtenances" in question are revealed to be twelve manors (vills). When Ealdred was first appointed archbishop of York he had also retained the bishopric of Worcester (See: Note 13 to King Edward of Holy Memory
At the time, there was no archbishop to argue the case for York, so the matter was put on-hold. Following Thomas' consecration, however:
"... there now being a bishop who could plead for the church of York, the cause of the reverend Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, was again mooted. and finally, by the aid of God's grace, concluded in a council holden in a place called Pedreda
, in presence of the king, Landfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishops, abbots, earls, and chiefs of all England. For all the stratagems by which Thomas and his supporters were busily attempting to lower the church of Worcester, and to render her the subject and slave of York, being crushed by the just judgement of God, and the clearest documentary evidence, and totally annihilated, not only did Wulfstan regain the possession which he had publicly demanded, but he resumed his church in the enjoyment of those liberties which its first founders ... had conferred upon it."
The council at Pedreda is also mentioned in the 'Vita Wulfstani' ("concilio apud Pedridan", i.e. "council on the Parrett"), though, whereas Florence seems to imply that it occurred before the trip to Rome of the two archbishops in October 1071, the 'Vita' definitely places it after. There certainly appears to be confusion, in the 'Vita', between the Pedreda council and the Winchester/Windsor council of 1072. Indeed, an anecdote presented by William of Malmesbury, in the 'Vita', as occurring at the council "on the Parrett", appears, in the 'Gesta Regum', at the Winchester/Windsor council. Even in Florence's account the distinction seems to be blurred. In an essay entitled 'The Cunning of the Dove' (appearing in 'St Wulfstan and his World'), Ann Williams suggests that the Pedreda meeting took place between Easter (24th April) and October, 1071, and suggests that Florence was "looking forward" to the eventual resolution of the dispute in 1072. She writes:
"The Petherton [Pedreda] meeting may have been a preliminary hearing, intended to settle the points at issue between Wulfstan and Thomas, before the more important matter of the primacy was resolved."
With his escape from Ely, Hereward departs from history and enters the territory of legend.
Geffrei Gaimar (writing c.1140) picks up Hereward's story where the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' (which provides the framework for Geffrei's historical poem 'L'Estoire des Engleis') leaves off. After making his escape, Hereward gathers a gang around him, and "for several years" fights the Normans. He marries a wealthy English lady and is reconciled with the king. He is killed, having fought heroically, by a band of Normans who, it would seem, begrudge him his new found respectability.
A biography of Hereward, the 'Gesta Herewardi' (Deeds of Hereward), appears to predate Gaimar.
The 'Gesta Herewardi' survives in a single, mid-13th century, manuscript (known as the 'Register of Robert of Swaffham'). The author, who writes in Latin, says he, "with difficulty", deciphered "a few details" concerning Hereward's early career from a damaged and rotting manuscript written, in English, by Hereward's priest, Leofric: "For it was the endeavour of this well remembered priest to assemble all the doings of giants and warriors he could find in ancient fables as well as true reports, for the edification of his audience ..." To this the author added material which he says he had heard directly from some of Hereward's companions. The compiler of the, later-12th century, 'Liber Eliensis' (Book of Ely) made use of a book about Hereward which he notes had been written not long before, by a monk, who was now dead, called Richard. It seems reasonable, therefore, to suppose that Richard was the author of the 'Gesta Herewardi', and it seems likely that the, unnamed, dedicatee of the work was Hervey, bishop of Ely (1109-31). There is a fly in the ointment, however. There are differences between the material in the 'Liber Eliensis' and the material in the 'Gesta Herewardi', which has led to the suggestion that the 'Liber Eliensis' might possibly represent an earlier incarnation of the 'Gesta Herewardi' than the extant version.
The 'Gesta Herewardi', particularly the early part, clearly belongs to the world of romance rather than history. Hereward, outlawed at the age of eighteen, establishes his heroic credentials in a series of fabulous adventures - slaying a monstrous bear, rescuing a princess, etc. On the other hand, in the later part, relating to actual events (though overlaid with romantic embellishment), occasionally there is a feeling of authenticity - Richard (assuming it is he) states that King William:
"... moved his whole army to Aldreth where the surrounding water and swamp was narrower, the breadth there extending only four furlongs. Having brought there tools and fitments of timber and stone, and heaps of all kinds of things, they built a causeway through the swamp, although it was narrow and quite useless to them....
Presumably, this is the two-mile-long bridge that Florence of Worcester says was built to the west of Ely. Around 1125-1130, Henry of Huntingdon wrote that King William: "... besieged the island, building a bridge and very skilfully constructing a castle, which still survives today ..." About a century after Henry, Roger of Wendover
: "... by cutting roads of great length and building very large bridges, he [King William] rendered the bogs passable to both men and beasts, and erected a new fort at a place called Wisbech ..." Roger also remarks that Hereward et al. had "... constructed a fort of wood in the marshes, which is to this day called by the inhabitants of the province, 'Hereward's Fort'." According to the 'Liber Eliensis': "... they raised a siege-work of peat-blocks in resistance to the stratagems of the king's army..."
.... Moreover, close to the big river near this place, that is to say Aldreth, they assembled in the water large tree-trunks joined together with beams, and underneath tied whole sheep-skins, flayed and reversed and fully inflated so that the weight of those going over it might be better borne. When this was finished such a multitude rushed onto it all at once, greedy for the gold and silver and other things, not a little of which was thought to be hidden in the Isle, that those who went hurrying in front were drowned together with the road itself they had made. Those who were in the middle of the company were swallowed up in the watery and deep swamp as well. A few of those who were following at the rear got away with difficulty, flinging down their weapons, wallowing in the water and making their way through the mud. Thus in this way, with hardly anybody pursuing them, great numbers perished in the swamp and waters. And to this day many of them are dragged out of the depths of those waters in rotting armour. I've sometimes seen this myself."
At any rate, in this story, Ely falls to the king due to the treachery of the abbot and monks - which doesn't seem unlikely. Hereward and his men escape. After some time spent waging war on the Normans, Hereward, for the sake of a beautiful and wealthy widow, makes peace with King William. He survives an attempt, by "certain of his enemies, jealous of his success", to discredit him with the king:
"And so Hereward, the famous knight, tried and known in many places, was received into favour by the king. And with his father's land and possessions he lived on for many years faithfully serving King William and devotedly reconciled to his compatriots and friends. And thus in the end rested in peace, upon whose soul may God have mercy."
A common feature of Geffrei Gaimar's story and the 'Gesta Herewardi' story is that Hereward was reconciled with King William - and that seems to be generally accepted. The 'Domesday Book
', however, shows that Hereward never recovered the Lincolnshire lands he had previously held. (There is also a Hereward who is recorded as having held land in Warwickshire, both during the reign of Edward and at the time the 'Domesday' commissioners were making their survey).
In the 'Gesta Herewardi' (Deeds of Hereward), the monks of Ely are portrayed as active members of the English Resistance. The abbot, Thurstan, and his monks actually invite Hereward to help them defend the Isle of Ely:
"... in particular because William intended to set a certain foreign monk over them - one of those monks for whom he had already sent from the French nation, to set as deans and priors in all the churches of the English."
The monks are participants in the fighting - a Norman soldier says:
"Only yesterday I saw several men coming out of the Isle - not many - only seven, but dressed for battle and girt with proper war-equipment - all but two of whom were manifestly monks, and like the others well-versed in warfare."
In the 'Liber Eliensis' (which of course makes use of the 'Gesta Herewardi', though possibly in an earlier version than the one which now exists), on the other hand, the monks take a passive rôle - its rendition of the above speech is:
"For yesterday, I saw some men who had come out of the Isle in military garb, just seven of them, tall in stature, unrivalled in courage ..."
The decency of Thurstan is stressed - a Norman knight informs King William:
"... [Thurstan] is a man worthy of the highest veneration... he is not only teaching them [the monks] by sound precepts to attain to the beatitude of the life of heaven, but is inviting them to do so by his example of holy living. Moreover, he is descended from an excellent family of the English ... However there is a single respect with regard to which he departs inharmoniously from what is good: the fact that he has indignantly refused to accept it as right that anyone from our race should be put in charge of him. Being, as a consequence of this, very discountenanced and fearful with regard to the king and the kingdom, he is governing and controlling on his own initiative the men whom he has with him."
In both the 'Gesta Herewardi' and the 'Liber Eliensis', the abbot and monks eventually betray Hereward, in exchange for the restoration of the monastery's lands, which had been taken into Norman ownership. At any rate, whatever their complicity in the activities of Hereward et al. was, the monks were obliged to seek peace with the king:
"And, after being admitted to the king's presence at Witchford where he was staying at that time, they were with difficulty received back into favour ... on their promising him a sum of money, namely seven hundred silver marks. The monks then, in fact, took whatever precious articles there were in the church: crosses, altars, reliquaries, gospel-books, chalices, patens, lavers, stoups, straws, bowls, and gold and silver dishes, in order to pay in full the specified sum of money.
And they had been required to pay out the money in question to the king's servants at Cambridge on a stated day, but a drachm [one-eighth of an ounce] had been fraudulently abstracted by a trick on the part of the moneyers, so it was found, on being put in the balance, to be of an incorrect weight. When the king learnt of this, he became extremely angry, and denied them all hope of respite and peace in the future. For, in spite of the fact that he had gained entrance [to the Isle of Ely] and been relieved of distress, an extraordinarily bitter fury enflamed him: he was going to exact retribution for what belonged to him, as if it had been criminally supplied in short measure. There arose great misery all around. Upheavals, depredations and robberies raged, threatening devastation. There remained no place for peace or security.
Subsequently, the monks, utterly immobilized by the pain inflicted and now renewed, finally entered into a new agreement with him: they promised to add three hundred marks to the previous seven hundred, that is, to supply a thousand, in order to gain possession of his favour, along with the liberty of the place and the restoration of its estates. To this end, everything remaining in the church that was made of gold and silver, to cap it all, the image of St.Mary with her child, seated on a throne of marvellous workmanship, which Abbot Ælfsige had made of gold and silver, was broken up. Similarly, the images of the holy virgins were despoiled of much ornament of gold and silver, so that the sum of money could be paid. But, in spite of this, they had no confidence about the hoped-for settlement."
Thurstan died soon after
. According to the 'Liber Eliensis', King William then plundered whatever objects of value were still held at Ely. He appointed "Theodwine Gemesciens, someone sufficiently well known to the courts of Normandy" as the new abbot. Theodwine, however, refused to take up his position until the king returned the purloined valuables:
"And so, with the stolen goods of the church restored, Theodwine took up the abbacy of Ely: he was to bring it great profit, but to live for all too short a time."
Later in his reign, in order to boost the number of knights he could call upon in his campaigns, King William imposed 'knight-service' on bishoprics and abbeys. This occurred during the tenure, at Ely, of Abbot Simeon
"Now, King William had given orders to both abbots and the bishops of all England that their obligations regarding military provision should be fulfilled, [and] he laid down that, from then on, garrisons for the kings of England were to be paid for, as a perpetual legal requirement, out of their resources, with a view to military campaigning, and that no one, even if supported by the utmost amount of authority, should presume to raise an objection to this decree... And when notification of requirements of this sort was brought to the Abbot of Ely, he was most deeply aggrieved on account of the extremely long process whereby the energy of his house had been sapped. Sorrowfully, he entered into consultation with the brothers as to what should be done."
It was decided that the abbot should approach the king, "without delay" and present the case that it was:
"... neither proper nor expedient to oppress it [the abbey] with intolerable and unprecedented exactions ... But the king spurned his [the abbot's] prayers and donations ... instead, meaning to add further weight to the yoke, he instructed the abbot to keep under the king's orders a garrison of forty knights for the Isle. Saddened as the result of this, the abbot, on his return, hired knights - retainers of his own, however, and men of good birth, who were loyal to him - and equipped some with armour. Moreover, in accordance with the king's command, he maintained, as a matter of custom, the previously stipulated military contingent within the congregation's hall, receiving its victuals and wages daily from the hand of the cellarer ..."
"The king appointed Walcher bishop of the church of Durham, from a clerk of the church of Liège, (for he had come over on the invitation of the king himself), illustrious in birth, upright in character, endowed with the grace of sacred and secular learning. Eilaf, the housecarl, held in especial honour by the king, with many other leading men conducted him to York, where, by the king's direction, earl Cospatric met and received the prelate, to accompany him as far as Durham; and he came to the church of his see at Mid-Lent [27th March 1071]."
Symeon of Durham 'Historia Regum'
"Some time after this [i.e. in 1072], the king of whom we have been speaking [William] came into Durham, along with his army, upon their return from Scotland, and made strict inquiry whether the body of the blessed Cuthbert rested there; and although all exclaimed aloud, and with oaths, that such was the case, yet he would not believe the statement. He determined therefore to bring the matter to an ocular demonstration, for he had in his retinue certain bishops and abbots who, at his command, would settle the question. He had already come to the resolution, that if the body were not discovered there, he would order all the chief of the nobility and of the elder people to be beheaded. So while all were in great consternation, and were imploring God's mercy through the merits of St.Cuthbert, the aforesaid bishop [Walcher] having celebrated mass upon the festival of All Saints [1st November], the king, just as he was on the eve of carrying into execution the intention which he had formed in his mind, was suddenly seized with an excessive heat, the intensity of which so oppressed him that he could scarcely endure it. He hastened therefore to leave the church, and paying no attention to a magnificent entertainment which had been provided for him, he hurriedly mounted his horse, and did not bridle until he had reached the river Tees. Hence it is evident that St.Cuthbert, one of God's great confessors, rests there, and that the king was not permitted by God to injure the people."
Symeon of Durham 'Historia Ecclesiae Dunelmensis'
This was not the only miraculous occurrence reported during King William's journey from Scotland. An anonymous, 12th century, 'Vita Oswini' (Life of St.Oswine
) says that the army was detained, at Monkchester (soon to be Newcastle), by the swollen River Tyne. A foraging party took provisions from the church at Tynemouth. The offended saint got revenge by causing the horses which had been fed with the stolen fodder to fall ill.
The first letter would appear to have been written when Lanfranc had got his first inkling of Roger's disaffection:
"Our lord the king of the English greets you and all of us as his faithful subjects in whom he places great trust, commanding us to do all in our power to prevent his castles from being handed over to his enemies: may God avert such a disaster. I urge you then, as I must urge the dearest of my sons - whom God knows I love wholeheartedly and long to serve, whose father too I loved like my own soul - to be so scrupulous in this matter and in all your duty as a vassal of our lord the king that you may have praise of God and the king and all good men. Never forget your father's distinguished career: the faithful service he gave his lord, his zeal in winning great possessions and how honourably he held what he had won."
Lanfranc urges Roger to arrange a meeting between them to "discuss both your affairs and the interests of the king". In his next letter, Lanfranc greets Roger (as he had in the first) as his "dearest son and friend". He continues:
"I grieve more than I can say at the unwelcome news I hear of you. It would not be right that a son of earl William - a man whose sagacity and loyalty to his lord and all his friends is renowned in many lands - should be called faithless and be exposed to the slur of perjury or any kind of deceit. On the contrary, the son of such a great man should follow his father's example, and be for others a pattern of integrity and loyalty in all respects."
Lanfranc begs of Roger:
"... if you are guilty of such conduct to return to your senses; and if you are not, to demonstrate this by the clearest possible evidence ..."
Once again, Lanfranc urges Roger to meet with him - guaranteeing his safe passage. Once again, Roger declined the invitation:
"Lanfranc, by the grace of God archbishop, to his one-time dearest son and friend earl Roger: may he have sound judgement and some concern for his soul's welfare.
I grieve for you inexpressibly, for God knows I loved you and desired with all my heart to love and serve you. But because the Devil's prompting and the advice of evil men have led you into an enterprise which under no circumstances should you have attempted, necessity has forced me to change my attitude and turn my affection not so much into hate as bitterness and the severity of justice. I have sent messengers, I have sent letters not once but a second time inviting you to come to me: to receive counsel for your soul from me your father in God and true friend, and on better advice to abandon the foolish undertaking which you had planned. You would not do so. Therefore I have cursed and excommunicated you and all your adherents by my authority as archbishop; I have cut you off from the holy precincts of the Church and the assembly of the faithful, and by my pastoral authority I have commanded this to take effect throughout the whole land of England."
The above extracts are from letters 31, 32 and 33A in 'The Letters of Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury', edited and translated by Helen Clover and Margaret Gibson.
The Anglo-Saxon Christ Church, Canterbury, had been devastated by fire in December 1067. In August 1070, Lanfranc was appointed archbishop of Canterbury:
"This Lanfranc then, when he first came to Canterbury, was appalled to find the Church of the Saviour, which he had undertaken to rule, reduced by fire and destruction almost to nothing. But, though the extent of the calamity drove him to despair, he soon recovered himself and with firm determination, postponing all thought of providing for his own convenience, he set urgently to work and completed the building of dwellings needed for the use of the monks. These they used for some years; but then, the community having increased in numbers, they seemed all too small. Whereupon he had them pulled down and built others larger and finer. Then he built also a residence for himself. Furthermore the Church, almost the whole of which he in seven years built up from the foundations, he richly adorned with copes, with chasubles, with gold-embroidered dalmatics and tunicles, with stoles and with many other precious ornaments."
According to the Canterbury Cathedral website
: "A staircase and parts of the North Wall - in the area of the North West transept also called the Martyrdom - remain from that [Lanfranc's] building."
William of Malmesbury says of King William:
"... so addicted was he to the pleasures of the chase, that ... ejecting the inhabitants, he let a space of many miles grow desolate, that, when at liberty from other avocations, he might there pursue his pleasures."
The area which the king allowed to "grow desolate" was the New Forest:
"This is the place which William ... desolating the towns and destroying the churches for more than thirty miles, had turned into a forest and haunt for wild beasts."
King William actually had four sons. Richard was the second:
"Richard afforded his noble father hopes of his future greatness; he was a noble youth and of an aspiring disposition, considering his age; but an untimely death quickly withered the bud of this promising flower. They relate, that while hunting deer in the New Forest, he contracted a disorder from a stream of foul air."
Orderic Vitalis, however, reports:
"As for his son Richard, born after Robert, who had not yet received the honour of knighthood, while he was hunting in the new forest not far from Winchester, and running down a stag at full speed, he sustained a violent blow on the pommel of the saddle from a stout hazel bough, and was mortally injured. Receiving the same week the supports of confession and absolution, and the last sacraments, he shortly afterwards died to the great sorrow of many of the English."
Whatever its cause, the date of Richard's death is not recorded - but in the vicinity of 1075 seems reasonable.