The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Part 14: A.D. 1124 - 1154
A.D. 1124. All this year was the King Henry in Normandy. That was for the great hostility that he had with the King Louis of
France, and with the Earl of Anjou, and most of all with his own men. Then it happened, on the day of the Annunciation of St.
Mary, that the Earl Waleram of Mellent went from one of his castles called Belmont to another called Watteville. With him
went the steward of the King of France, Amalric, and Hugh the
son of Gervase, and Hugh of Montfort, and many other good knights. Then came against them the king's knights from all the castles
that were thereabout, and fought with them, and put them to flight, and took the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of
Gervase, and Hugh of Montfort, and five and twenty other knights, and brought them to the king. And the king committed the Earl
Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase, to close custody in the castle at Rouen; but Hugh of Montfort he sent to England, and
ordered him to be secured with strong bonds in the castle at Glocester. And of the others as many as he chose he sent north
and south to his castles in captivity. After this went the king, and won all the castles of the Earl Waleram that were in
Normandy, and all the others that his enemies held against him. All this hostility was on account of the son of the Earl Robert
of Normandy, named William. This same William had taken to wife the younger daughter of Fulke, Earl of Anjou: and for this reason
the King of France and all the earls held with him, and all the rich men; and said that the king held his brother Robert
wrongfully in captivity, and drove his son William unjustly out of Normandy. This same year were the seasons very unfavourable
in England for corn and all fruits; so that between Christmas
and Candlemas men sold the acre-seed of wheat, that is two seedlips, for six shillings; and the barley, that is three
seedlips, for six shillings also; and the acre-seed of oats, that is four
seedlips, for four shillings. That was because that corn was scarce; and the penny was so adulterated, (151) that a man who
had a pound at a market could not exchange twelve pence thereof for anything. In this same year died the blessed Bishop Ernulf
of Rochester, who before was Abbot of Peterborough. That was
on the ides of March. And after this died the King Alexander of Scotland, on the ninth day before the calends of May. And David
his brother, who was Earl of Northamptonshire, succeeded to the kingdom; and had both together, the kingdom of Scotland and the
earldom in England. And on the nineteenth day before the calends of January died the Pope of Rome, whose name was
Calixtus, and Honorius succeeded to the popedom. This same year, after St. Andrew's mass, and before Christmas, held Ralph Basset and the
king's thanes a wittenmoot in Leicestershire, at Huncothoe, and there hanged more thieves than ever were known before; that is,
in a little while, four and forty men altogether; and despoiled six men of their eyes and of their testicles. Many true men said
that there were several who suffered very unjustly; but our Lord God Almighty, who seeth and knoweth every secret, seeth also that
the wretched people are oppressed with all unrighteousness. First they are bereaved of their property, and then they are
slain. Full heavy year was this. The man that had any property, was bereaved of it by violent guilds and violent moots. The man
that had not, was starved with hunger.
A.D. 1125. In this year sent the King Henry, before Christmas, from Normandy to England, and bade that all the mint-men that
were in England should be mutilated in their limbs; that was, that they should lose each of them the right hand, and their
testicles beneath. This was because the man that had a pound could not lay out a penny at a market. And the Bishop Roger of
Salisbury sent over all England, and bade them all that they should come to Winchester at Christmas. When they came thither,
then were they taken one by one, and deprived each of the right hand and the testicles beneath. All this was done within the
twelfth-night. And that was all in perfect justice, because that they had undone all the land with the great quantity of base coin
that they all bought. In this same year sent the Pope of Rome
to this land a cardinal, named John of Crema. He came first to the king in Normandy, and the king received him with much worship.
He betook himself then to the Archbishop William of Canterbury; and he led him to Canterbury; and he was there received with
great veneration, and in solemn procession. And he sang the high mass on Easter day at the altar of Christ. Afterwards he went
over all England, to all the bishoprics and abbacies that were
in this land; and in all he was received with respect. And all gave him many and rich gifts. And afterwards he held his council in
London full three days, on the Nativity of St. Mary in September, with archbishops, and diocesan bishops, and abbots, the learned
and the lewd; (152) and enjoined there the same laws that Archbishop Anselm had formerly enjoined, and many more, though
it availed little. Thence he went over sea soon after Michaelmas, and so to Rome; and (with him) the Archbishop William of
Canterbury, and the Archbishop Thurstan of York, and the Bishop Alexander of Lincoln, and the Bishop J. of Lothian, and the Abbot
G. of St. Alban's; and were there received by the Pope Honorius with great respect; and continued there all the winter. In this
same year was so great a flood on St. Laurence's day, that many towns and men were overwhelmed, and bridges broken down, and corn
and meadows spoiled withal; and hunger and qualm (153) in men
and in cattle; and in all fruits such unseasonableness as was not known for many years before. And this same year died the Abbot
John of Peterborough, on the second day before the ides of October.
A.D. 1126. All this year was the King Henry in Normandy -- all till after harvest. Then came he to this land, betwixt the
Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas. With him came the queen, and his daughter, whom he had formerly given to the Emperor Henry
of Lorrain to wife. And he brought with him the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase. And the earl he sent to
Bridgenorth in captivity: and thence he sent him afterwards to Wallingford; and Hugh to Windsor, whom he ordered to be kept in
strong bonds. Then after Michaelmas came David, the king of the Scots, from Scotland to this land; and the King Henry received
him with great worship; and he continued all that year in this land. In this year the king had his brother Robert taken from
the Bishop Roger of Salisbury, and committed him to his son Robert, Earl of Glocester, and had him led to Bristol, and there
put into the castle. That was all done through his daughter's counsel, and through David, the king of the Scots, her uncle.
A.D. 1127. This year held the King Henry his court at Christmas in Windsor. There was David the king of the Scots, and all the
head men that were in England, learned and lewd. And there he engaged the archbishops, and bishops, and abbots, and earls, and
all the thanes that were there, to swear England and Normandy after his day into the hands of his daughter Athelicia, who was
formerly the wife of the Emperor of Saxony. Afterwards he sent her to Normandy; and with her went her brother Robert, Earl of
Glocester, and Brian, son of the Earl Alan Fergan; (154) and he let her wed the son of the Earl of Anjou, whose name was Geoffry
Martel. All the French and English, however, disapproved of this; but the king did it for to have the alliance of the Earl
of Anjou, and for to have help against his nephew William. In the Lent-tide of this same year was the Earl Charles of Flanders
slain in a church, as he lay there and prayed to God, before the altar, in the midst of the mass, by his own men. And the King
of France brought William, the son of the Earl of Normandy, and gave him the earldom; and the people of that land accepted him. This
same William had before taken to wife the daughter of the Earl
of Anjou; but they were afterwards divorced on the plea of consanguinity. This was all through the King Henry of England.
Afterwards took he to wife the sister of the king's wife of France; and for this reason the king gave him the earldom of
Flanders. This same year he (155) gave the abbacy of Peterborough to an abbot named Henry of Poitou, who retained in
hand his abbacy of St. John of Angeli; but all the archbishops and bishops said that it was against right, and that he could
not have two abbacies on hand. But the same Henry gave the king to understand, that he had relinquished his abbacy on account of
the great hostility that was in the land; and that he did through
the counsel and leave of the Pope of Rome, and through that of the Abbot of Clugny, and because he was legate of the
Rome-scot. But, nevertheless, it was not so; for he would retain both in hand; and did so as long as God's will was. He was in his
clerical state Bishop of Soissons; afterwards monk of Clugny;
and then prior in the same monastery. Afterwards he became prior
of Sevigny; and then, because he was a relation of the King of England, and of the Earl of Poitou, the earl gave him the abbacy
of St. John's minster of Angeli. Afterwards, through his great craft, he obtained the archbishopric of Besancon; and had it in
hand three days; after which he justly lost it, because he had before unjustly obtained it. Afterwards he procured the
bishopric of Saintes; which was five miles from his abbey. That he had full-nigh a week (156) in hand; but the Abbot of Clugny
brought him thence, as he before did from Besancon. Then he bethought him, that, if he could be fast-rooted in England, he
might have all his will. Wherefore he besought the king, and said unto him, that he was an old man -- a man completely broken
-- that he could not brook the great injustice and the great hostility that were in their land: and then, by his own
endearours, and by those of all his friends, he earnestly and expressly entreated for the abbacy of Peterborough. And the king
procured it for him, because he was his relation, and because
he was the principal person to make oath and bear witness when the son of the Earl of Normandy and the daughter of the Earl of Anjou
were divorced on the plea of consanguinity. Thus wretchedly was the abbacy given away, betwixt Christmas and
Candlemas, at London; and so he went with the King to Winchester, and thence
he came to Peterborough, and there he dwelt (157) right so as a drone doth in a hive. For as the drone fretteth and draggeth
fromward all that the bees drag toward [the hive], so did he.
-- All that he might take, within and without, of learned and lewd, so sent he over sea; and no good did there -- no good left there.
Think no man unworthily that we say not the truth; for it was fully known over all the land: that, as soon as he came thither,
which was on the Sunday when men sing "Exurge quare o D--
etc." immediately after, several persons saw and heard many huntsmen hunting. The hunters were swarthy, and huge, and ugly; and their
hounds were all swarthy, and broad-eyed, and ugly. And they rode on swarthy horses, and swarthy bucks. This was seen in the very
deer-fold in the town of Peterborough, and in all the woods from that same town to Stamford. And the monks heard the horn blow
that they blew in the night. Credible men, who watched them in the night, said that they thought there might well be about
twenty or thirty horn-blowers. This was seen and heard from the time that he (158) came thither, all the Lent-tide onward to
Easter. This was his entry; of his exit we can as yet say nought. God provide.
A.D. 1128. All this year was the King Henry in Normandy, on account of the hostility that was between him and his nephew,
the Earl of Flanders. But the earl was wounded in a fight by a swain; and so wounded he went to the monastery of St. Bertin;
where he soon became a monk, lived five days afterwards, then died, and was there buried. God honour his soul. That was on
the sixth day before the calends of August. This same year died the Bishop Randulph Passeflambard of Durham; and was there buried
on the nones of September. And this same year went the aforesaid Abbot Henry home to his own minster at Poitou by the king's
leave. He gave the king to understand, that he would withal forgo that minster, and that land, and dwell with him in England,
and in the monastery of Peterborough. But it was not so nevertheless. He did this because he would be there, through
his crafty wiles, were it a twelvemonth or more, and come again afterwards. May God Almighty extend his mercy over that wretched
place. This same year came from Jerusalem Hugh of the Temple
to the king in Normandy; and the king received him with much honour, and gave him rich presents in gold and in silver. And afterwards
he sent him into England; and there he was received by all good men, who all gave him presents, and in Scotland also: and by him
they sent to Jerusalem much wealth withal in gold and in silver. And he invited folk out to Jerusalem; and there went with him
and after him more people than ever did before, since that the first expedition was in the day of Pope Urban. Though it availed
little; for he said, that a mighty war was begun between the Christians and the heathens; but when they came thither, then
was it nought but leasing. (159) Thus pitifully was all that people swinked. (160)
A.D. 1129. In this year sent the King to England after the Earl Waleram, and after Hugh, the son of Gervase. And they gave
hostages for them. And Hugh went home to his own land in France; but Waleram was left with the king: and the king gave him all
his land except his castle alone. Afterwards came the king to England within the harvest: and the earl came with him: and they
became as good friends as they were foes before. Soon after,
by the king's counsel, and by his leave, sent the Archbishop William of Canterbury over all England, and bade bishops, and abbots,
and archdeacons, and all the priors, monks, and canons, that were
in all the cells in England, and all who had the care and superintendence of christianity, that they should all come to
London at Michaelmas, and there should speak of all God's rights. When they came thither, then began the moot on Monday, and
continued without intermission to the Friday. When it all came forth, then was it all found to be about archdeacons' wives, and
about priests' wives; that they should forgo them by St. Andrew's mass; and he who would not do that, should forgo his church, and
his house, and his home, and never more have any calling thereto. This bade the Archbishop William of Canterbury, and all the
diocesan bishops that were then in England, but the king gave them all leave to go home. And so they went home; and all the
ordinances amounted to nothing. All held their wives by the king's leave as they did before. This same year died the Bishop
William Giffard of Winchester; and was there buried, on the eighth day before the calends of February. And the King Henry
gave the bishopric after Michaelmas to the Abbot Henry of Glastonbury, his nephew, and he was consecrated bishop by the
Archbishop William of Canterbury on the fifteenth day before the calends of December. This same year died Pope Honorius. Ere
he was well dead, there were chosen two popes. The one was named Peter, who was monk of Clugny, and was born of the richest men
of Rome; and with him held those of Rome, and the Duke of Sicily. The other was Gregory: he was a clerk, and was driven out of Rome
by the other pope, and by his kinsmen. With him held the Emperor of Saxony, and the King of France, and the King Henry of England,
and all those on this side of the Alps. Now was there such division in Christendom as never was before. May Christ consult
for his wretched folk. This same year, on the night of the mass of St. Nicholas, a little before day, there was a great
A.D. 1130. This year was the monastery of Canterbury consecrated by the Archbishop William, on the fourth day before the nones
of May. There were the Bishops John of Rochester, Gilbert Universal of London, Henry of Winchester, Alexander of Lincoln, Roger of
Salisbury, Simon of Worcester, Roger of Coventry, Geoffry of Bath, Evrard of Norwich, Sigefrith of Chichester, Bernard of St.
David's, Owen of Evreux in Normandy, John of Sieyes. On the fourth day after this was the King Henry in Rochester, when the
town was almost consumed by fire; and the Archbishop William consecrated the monastery of St. Andrew, and the aforesaid
bishops with him. And the King Henry went over sea into Normandy in harvest. This same year came the Abbot Henry of Angeli after
Easter to Peterborough, and said that he had relinquished that monastery (161) withal. After him came the Abbot of Clugny,
Peter by name, to England by the king's leave; and was received by all, whithersoever he came, with much respect. To
Peterborough he came; and there the Abbot Henry promised him that he would procure him the minster of Peterborough, that it might
be subject to Clugny. But it is said in the proverb,
"The hedge abideth, that acres divideth." May God Almighty frustrate evil designs. Soon after this, went
the Abbot of Clugny home to his country. This year was Angus slain by the army of the Scots, and there was a great multitude
slain with him. There was God's fight sought upon him, for that
he was all forsworn.
A.D. 1131. This year, after Christmas, on a Monday night, at
the first sleep, was the heaven on the northern hemisphere (162) all as if it were burning fire; so that all who saw it were so
dismayed as they never were before. That was on the third day before the ides of January. This same year was so great a
murrain of cattle as never was before in the memory of man over all England. That was in neat cattle and in swine; so that in
a town where there were ten ploughs going, or twelve, there was
not left one: and the man that had two hundred or three hundred swine, had not one left. Afterwards perished the hen fowls; then
shortened the fleshmeat, and the cheese, and the butter. May
God better it when it shall be his will. And the King Henry came home to England before harvest, after the mass of St. Peter "ad
vincula". This same year went the Abbot Henry, before Easter, from Peterborough over sea to Normandy, and there spoke with the
king, and told him that the Abbot of Clugny had desired him to come to him, and resign to him the abbacy of Angeli, after which
he would go home by his leave. And so he went home to his own minster, and there remained even to midsummer day. And the next
day after the festival of St. John chose the monks an abbot of themselves, brought him into the church in procession, sang "Te
Deum laudamus", rang the bells, set him on the abbot's throne, did him all homage, as they should do their abbot: and the earl,
and all the head men, and the monks of the minster, drove the other Abbot Henry out of the monastery. And they had need; for
in five-and-twenty winters had they never hailed one good day. Here failed him all his mighty crafts. Now it behoved him, that
he crope in his skin into every corner, if peradventure there were any unresty wrench, (163) whereby he might yet once more
betray Christ and all Christian people. Then retired he into Clugny, where he was held so fast, that he could not move east
or west. The Abbot of Clugny said that they had lost St. John's minster through him, and through his great sottishness. Then
could he not better recompense them; but he promised them, and swore oaths on the holy cross, that if he might go to England
he should get them the minster of Peterborough; so that he should set there the prior of Clugny, with a churchwarden, a treasurer,
and a sacristan: and all the things that were within the minster and without, he should procure for them. Thus he departed into
France; and there remained all that year. Christ provide for
the wretched monks of Peterborough, and for that wretched place.
Now do they need the help of Christ and of all Christian folk.
A.D. 1132. This year came King Henry to this land. Then came Abbot Henry, and betrayed the monks of Peterborough to the king,
because he would subject that minster to Clugny; so that the king was well nigh entrapped, and sent after the monks. But through
the grace of God, and through the Bishop of Salisbury, and the Bishop of Lincoln, and the other rich men that were there, the
king knew that he proceeded with treachery. When he no more could do, then would he that his nephew should be Abbot of
Peterborough. But Christ forbade. Not very long after this was it that the king sent after him, and made him give up the Abbey
of Peterborough, and go out of the land. And the king gave the abbacy to a prior of St. Neot's, called Martin, who came on St.
Peter's mass-day with great pomp into the minster.
A.D. 1135. In this year went the King Henry over sea at the Lammas; and the next day, as he lay asleep on ship, the day
darkened over all lands, and the sun was all as it were a three night old moon, and the stars about him at midday. Men were very
much astonished and terrified, and said that a great event should come hereafter. So it did; for that same year was the king dead,
the next day after St. Andrew's mass-day, in Normandy. Then was there soon tribulation in the land; for every man that might,
soon robbed another. Then his sons and his friends took his body, and brought it to England, and buried it at Reading. A
good man he was; and there was great dread of him. No man durst do wrong with another in his time. Peace he made for man and
beast. Whoso bare his burthen of gold and silver, durst no man say ought to him but good. Meanwhile was his nephew come to
England, Stephen de Blois. He came to London, and the people
of London received him, and sent after the Archbishop William Curboil, and hallowed him to king on midwinter day. In this
king's time was all dissention, and evil, and rapine; for against him rose soon the rich men who were traitors; and first of all
Baldwin de Redvers, who held Exeter against him. But the king beset it; and afterwards Baldwin accorded. Then took the others,
and held their castles against him; and David, King of Scotland, took to Wessington against him. Nevertheless their messengers
passed between them; and they came together, and were settled, but it availed little.
A.D. 1137. This year went the King Stephen over sea to Normandy, and there was received; for that they concluded that he should
be all such as the uncle was; and because he had got his treasure: but he dealed it out, and scattered it foolishly. Much had King
Henry gathered, gold and silver, but no good did men for his soul thereof. When the King Stephen came to England, he held his
council at Oxford; where he seized the Bishop Roger of Sarum,
and Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln, and the chancellor Roger, his nephew; and threw all into prison till they gave up their
castles. When the traitors understood that he was a mild man, and soft, and good, and no justice executed, then did they all
wonder. They had done him homage, and sworn oaths, but they no truth maintained. They were all forsworn, and forgetful of their
troth; for every rich man built his castles, which they held against him: and they filled the land full of castles. They
cruelly oppressed the wretched men of the land with castle-works; and when the castles were made, they filled them with devils and
evil men. Then took they those whom they supposed to have any goods, both by night and by day, labouring men and women, and
threw them into prison for their gold and silver, and inflicted on them unutterable tortures; for never were any martyrs so
tortured as they were. Some they hanged up by the feet, and smoked them with foul smoke; and some by the thumbs, or by the
head, and hung coats of mail on their feet. They tied knotted strings about their heads, and twisted them till the pain went
to the brains. They put them into dungeons, wherein were adders, and snakes, and toads; and so destroyed them. Some they placed
in a crucet-house; that is, in a chest that was short and narrow, and not deep; wherein they put sharp stones, and so thrust the
man therein, that they broke all the limbs. In many of the castles were things loathsome and grim, called "Sachenteges",
of which two or three men had enough to bear one. It was thus made: that is, fastened to a beam; and they placed a sharp iron
[collar] about the man's throat and neck, so that he could in
no direction either sit, or lie, or sleep, but bear all that iron. Many thousands they wore out with hunger. I neither can, nor
may I tell all the wounds and all the pains which they inflicted on wretched men in this land. This lasted the nineteen winters
while Stephen was king; and it grew continually worse and worse. They constantly laid guilds on the towns, and called it
"tenserie"; and when the wretched men had no more to
give, then they plundered and burned all the towns; that well thou mightest go a whole day's journey and never shouldest thou find a man
sitting in a town, nor the land tilled. Then was corn dear, and flesh, and cheese, and butter; for none was there in the land.
Wretched men starved of hunger. Some had recourse to alms, who were for a while rich men, and some fled out of the land. Never
yet was there more wretchedness in the land; nor ever did heathen men worse than they did: for, after a time, they spared neither
church nor churchyard, but took all the goods that were therein, and then burned the church and all together. Neither did they
spare a bishop's land, or an abbot's, or a priest's, but plundered both monks and clerks; and every man robbed another
who could. If two men, or three, came riding to a town, all the township fled for them, concluding them to be robbers. The
bishops and learned men cursed them continually, but the effect thereof was nothing to them; for they were all accursed, and
forsworn, and abandoned. To till the ground was to plough the sea: the earth bare no corn, for the land was all laid waste by
such deeds; and they said openly, that Christ slept, and his saints. Such things, and more than we can say, suffered we
nineteen winters for our sins. In all this evil time held Abbot Martin his abbacy twenty years and a half, and eight days, with
much tribulation; and found the monks and the guests everything that behoved them; and held much charity in the house; and,
notwithstanding all this, wrought on the church, and set thereto lands and rents, and enriched it very much, and bestowed
vestments upon it. And he brought them into the new minster on St. Peter's mass-day with much pomp; which was in the year, from
the incarnation of our Lord, 1140, and in the twenty-third from the destruction of the place by fire. And he went to Rome, and
there was well received by the Pope Eugenius; from whom he obtained their privileges: -- one for all the lands of the abbey,
and another for the lands that adjoin to the churchyard; and,
if he might have lived longer, so he meant to do concerning the treasury. And he got in the lands that rich men retained by main
strength. Of William Malduit, who held the castle of Rockingham, he won Cotingham and Easton; and of Hugh de Walteville, he won
Hirtlingbury and Stanwick, and sixty shillings from Oldwinkle each year. And he made many monks, and planted a vine-yard, and
constructed many works, and made the town better than it was before. He was a good monk, and a good man; and for this reason
God and good men loved him. Now we will relate in part what happened in King Stephen's time. In his reign the Jews of
Norwich bought a Christian child before Easter, and tortured him after the same manner as our Lord was tortured; and on Long-Friday (164) hanged him on a rood, in mockery of our Lord, and
afterwards buried him. They supposed that it would be concealed, but our Lord showed that he was a holy martyr. And the monks
took him, and buried him with high honour in the minster. And through our Lord he worketh wonderful and manifold miracles, and
is called St. William.
A.D. 1138. In this year came David, King of Scotland, with an immense army to this land. He was ambitious to win this land;
but against him came William, Earl of Albemarle, to whom the king had committed York, and other borderers, with few men, and fought
against them, and routed the king at the Standard, and slew very many of his gang.
A.D. 1140. In this year wished the King Stephen to take Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the son of King Henry; but he could not, for
he was aware of it. After this, in the Lent, the sun and the
day darkened about the noon-tide of the day, when men were eating; and they lighted candles to eat by. That was the thirteenth day
before the kalends of April. Men were very much struck with wonder. Thereafter died William, Archbishop of Canterbury; and
the king made Theobald archbishop, who was Abbot of Bec. After this waxed a very great war betwixt the king and Randolph, Earl
of Chester; not because he did not give him all that he could
ask him, as he did to all others; but ever the more he gave them,
the worse they were to him. The Earl held Lincoln against the king, and took away from him all that he ought to have. And the king
went thither, and beset him and his brother William de Romare
in the castle. And the earl stole out, and went after Robert, Earl of Glocester, and brought him thither with a large army. And
they fought strenuously on Candlemas day against their lord, and took him; for his men forsook him and fled. And they led him
to Bristol, and there put him into prison in close quarters. Then was all England stirred more than ere was, and all evil was in
the land. Afterwards came the daughter of King Henry, who had been Empress of Germany, and now was Countess of Anjou. She came
to London; but the people of London attempted to take her, and she fled, losing many of her followers. After this the Bishop
of Winchester, Henry, the brother of King Stephen, spake with Earl Robert, and with the empress, and swore them oaths, "that
he never more would hold with the king, his brother," and cursed
all the men that held with him, and told them, that he would give them up Winchester; and he caused them to come thither. When
they were therein, then came the king's queen with all her strength, and beset them, so that there was great hunger therein.
When they could no longer hold out, then stole they out, and fled; but those without were aware, and followed them, and took
Robert, Earl of Glocester, and led him to Rochester, and put him there into prison; but the empress fled into a monastery. Then
went the wise men between the king's friends and the earl's friends; and settled so that they should let the king out of
prison for the earl, and the earl for the king; and so they did. After this settled the king and Earl Randolph at Stamford, and
swore oaths, and plighted their troth, that neither should betray the other. But it availed nothing. For the king afterwards took
him at Northampton, through wicked counsel, and put him into prison; and soon after he let him out again, through worse
counsel, on the condition that he swore by the crucifix, and found hostages, that he would give up all his castles. Some he
gave up, and some gave he not up; and did then worse than he otherwise would. Then was England very much divided. Some held
with the king, and some with the empress; for when the king was in prison, the earls and the rich men supposed that he never more
would come out: and they settled with the empress, and brought her into Oxford, and gave her the borough. When the king was
out, he heard of this, and took his force, and beset her in the tower. (165) And they let her down in the night from the tower
by ropes. And she stole out, and fled, and went on foot to Wallingford. Afterwards she went over sea; and those of Normandy
turned all from the king to the Earl of Anjou; some willingly, and some against their will; for he beset them till they gave
up their castles, and they had no help of the king. Then went Eustace, the king's son, to France, and took to wife the sister
of the King of France. He thought to obtain Normandy thereby; but he sped little, and by good right; for he was an evil man.
Wherever he was, he did more evil than good; he robbed the lands, and levied heavy guilds upon them. He brought his wife to
England, and put her into the castle at... (166) Good woman
she was; but she had little bliss with him; and Christ would not that he should long reign. He therefore soon died, and his mother
also. And the Earl of Anjou died; and his son Henry took to the earldom. And the Queen of France parted from the king; and she
came to the young Earl Henry; and he took her to wife, and all Poitou with her. Then went he with a large force into England,
and won some castles; and the king went against him with a much larger force. Nevertheless, fought they not; but the archbishop
and the wise men went between them, and made this settlement: That the king should be lord and king while he lived, and after
his day Henry should be king: that Henry should take him for a father; and he him for a son: that peace and union should be
betwixt them, and in all England. This and the other provisions that they made, swore the king and the earl to observe; and all
the bishops, and the earls, and the rich men. Then was the earl received at Winchester, and at London, with great worship; and
all did him homage, and swore to keep the peace. And there was soon so good a peace as never was there before. Then was the
king stronger than he ever was before. And the earl went over sea; and all people loved him; for he did good justice, and made
A.D. 1154. In this year died the King Stephen; and he was buried where his wife and his son were buried, at Faversham; which
monastery they founded. When the king died, then was the earl beyond sea; but no man durst do other than good for the great
fear of him. When he came to England, then was he received with great worship, and blessed to king in London on the Sunday before
midwinter day. And there held he a full court. The same day that Martin, Abbot of Peterborough, should have gone thither,
then sickened he, and died on the fourth day before the nones
of January; and the monks, within the day, chose another of themselves, whose name was William de Walteville, (167) a good
clerk, and good man, and well beloved of the king, and of all good men. And all the monks buried the abbot with high honours.
And soon the newly chosen abbot, and the monks with him, went
to Oxford to the king. And the king gave him the abbacy; and he proceeded soon afterwards to Peterborough; where he remained with
the abbot, ere he came home. And the king was received with great worship at Peterborough, in full procession. And so he
was also at Ramsey, and at Thorney, and at.... and at Spalding, and at....
(151) The pennies, or pence, it must be remembered, were of silver at this time.
(152) i.e. Clergy and laity.
(153) This word is still in use, but in a sense somewhat different; as qualms of conscience, etc.
(154) See an account of him in "Ord. Vit." 544. Conan, another son of this Alan,
Earl of Brittany, married a daughter of Henry I.
(155) i.e. Henry, King of England.
(156) "A se'nnight", the space of seven nights; as we still say, "a
fortnight", i.e. the space of fourteen nights. The French express the space of one
week by "huit jours", the origin of the "octave" in English law; of two
by "quinte jours". So "septimana" signifies "seven mornings";
whence the French word "semaine".
(157) Literally, "woned". Vid Chaucer, "Canterbury Tales", v. 7745.
In Scotland, a lazy indolent manner of doing anything is called "droning".
(158) The Abbot Henry of Angeli.
(159) "Thou shalt destroy them that speak `leasing,'" etc. "Psalms".
(160) i.e. Vexed, harassed, fatigued, etc. Milton has used the word in the last sense.
(161) The monastery of Angeli.
(162) Aurora Borealis, or the northern lights.
(163) "Any restless manoeuvre or stratagem." Both words occur in Chaucer. See
"Troilus and Criseyde", v. 1355, and "Canterbury Tales", v. 16549.
The idea seems to be taken from the habits of destructive and undermining vermin.
(164) Now called "Good-Friday".
(165) The tower of the castle at Oxford, built by D'Oyley, which still remains.
(166) The MS. is here deficient.
(167) Or Vaudeville.