Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Death of Richard, 996.

his daughter Emma to Ethelred the Unready. The Saxon king and his wife did not agree over well ;) and, in consequence of his daughter's representations, Richard seized every Saxon, whether clergy or lay, in his dominions; he killed some of them, and others he imprisoned; Pope John XV. made peace between them. Emma's steward of Exeter, the “French churl," was the first Norman to betray the land of his adoption.

Richard of Normandy died in 996, and was succeeded by his son Richard, a minor : the peasants now rose in rebellion, but they were quelled in a merciless manner.

In the eleventh century the Counts of Rouen became Dukes of Normandy, and their soldiers were among the most renowned in Europe; whilst architecture,

literature and agriculture made steady progress amongst Richard II. them. Richard II. of Normandy afforded protection 996 to 1026. to his sister Emma, to his brother-in-law Ethelred, and

to their sons Edward and Alfred; his influence in Enyland, prior to the time of Canute, may aptly be termed its moral conquest, as, in the hour of distress, his was the hand stretched out to comfort and succour the royal and other fugitives.

Richard II. of Normandy was succeeded by his son

Richard III., who was poisoned by his brother Robert: III., 1026

a woman, skilled in poisons, is reported to have been engaged by him to do this dreadful deed.

Henry I., King of France, in the day of disaster, Robert II. took refuge in Normandy, and called upon Robert to defend his cause.

Richard

to 1028.

Robert defeated the rebel nobles Henry I. of

and the queen mother in three battles; and, having overcome all the king's foes, he obtained, as a reward

Hedefends

France.

1 William of Malmesbury. · Matthew of Westminster.
3 Saxon Chronicle : Hugh betrayed Exeter to the Danes.

for his loyal exertions, an extent of land that brought his dukedom within twenty miles of Paris.

This Norman Duke boasted that he would set the crown of England upon the heads of his cousins, the Athelings Alfred and Edward. With this meritorious object in view, he assembled a fleet and filled it with soldiers. But he was doomed to be disappointed, for the elements, which have not unfrequently protected the shores of England, persistently fought against his ships, so that he was obliged to disband his forces; and his vessels were allowed to decay in the harbour of Rouen.

Robert never married, but he had a son whom he named William ; he was born in the year 1027. In William, 1035, when his boy was seven years age,

Robert recommended him to his barons as his heira at a public meeting : he then departed for Jerusalem, as he was wishful to atone for the death of his brother; while returning, he was poisoned by his servant. long as he lived his barons honoured his son, but, upon his death, they began to look after their own affairs, and revolted from their boy duke. But after a time William became too powerful for his revolted subjects, whom he defeated time after time, and finally routed them at Valesdune, 1047.

William was able to afford protection to his father's cousin, Edward the Atheling; and when, in 1052, his throne was threatened by the power of Godwin, he landed in England to give him both succour and advice:

of

son of Robert II.

1 William of Malmesbury attributes the adversity of the wind to the hidden counsels of God; he states that the remains of the fleet were to be seen in his days.

? Guy of Amiens; Matt. of Westminster. &c. 3 Will. of Malmesbury.

he was accompanied by“ a great body of Frenchmen.” When he returned to Normandy he left his chaplain, William, at Edward's court; he became bishop of London. Other Normans, military and clerical, also remained in England; and, while ostensibly engaged in the service of its King, they were quietly and patiently paving the way for the triumphant return of their Duke in 1066.

LEADING EVENTS.

Paris Besieged by Regner Lodbrog ...
Paris Besieged by Rollo....
Rollo's Marriage with Gilla
The Death of Rollo
The Murder of William I....
The Death of Richard I.
The Death of Richard II.
The Birth of the Conqueror
The Murder of Richard III.
The Murder of Robert II...
William II. visits England

845 A.D.
885
912
931
942
996
1026
1027
1028
1035
1052

Saxon Chronicle : Florence of Worcester terms them" a vast retinue of Normans.”

CHAPTER XX.

EDWARD THE CONFESSOR: OR, ENGLAND UNDER THE RULE

OF HAROLD THE EARL, FROM 1053 TO 1066.

appearance and

UPON the death of Godwin his son Harold succeeded to Edward his position at the king's court and in the hearts of the the Conpeople.

personal It may not be uninteresting to read that Edward the Confessor was of a moderate height. His personal habits. appearance was of a pleasing description : his hair and beard were milk white; his face was full and ruddy; his hands were thin and white; his figure was perfect and kinglike. He was of a cheerful, though quiet, disposition. To every one he was affable and condescending; and when he refused a request he did so in such a courteous manner that he seemed to confer a favour. In public he conducted himself as king and ruler: in private he was as a companion to his friends. He counselled the bishops and other religious men to act up to their professions; and he caused the judicial chiefs and lawyers to administer justice with equity, and to condemn crime. He did away with evil laws, and made just ones to take their place. He delighted in hawks and other birds of prey; and also in dogs. He passed most of his time in hunting, in religious devotions, in conversation with abbots and monks, and in acts of hospitality."

With such a character it was altogether impossible that Edward should rule the land without the help of

i Vita Aduardi.

Earls.

The great men able to conduct campaigns, and to influence the

Witan. He was simply the head of a confederation of nobles, who succeeded to their fathers' positions and estates as a matter of course; consequently, upon the death of Godwin his son Harold succeeded him as ear) of Wessex, and Algar took his place as earl of East Anglia. The influence of the Godwin family was thus much lessened; for whilst Godwin lived England was divided into five parts—Northumbria under Siward, Mercia under Leofric and Sweyn, East Anglia under Harold, and Wessex under Godwin. But upon the death of Siward in 1055, as his son Waltheof? was too young to rule the turbulent Northumbrians, Tosti, through the influence of his brother Harold and his sister,succeeded him. He was the king's and queen's favourite ;- but notwithstanding his frequent attendance at court, he ruled his subjects wellfor ten years.

The family biographer* draws a comparison between

Harold and Tosti. They were distinguished by fine and Tosti,

forms, and were possessed of equal strength and bold

But Harold the elder was the taller, better able to bear watching and want, of a more gentle turn of mind, and more ready wit: he never took vengeance upon any one, and whom he considered faithful he consulted: he surpassed all people in strength of body and mind, and, like a second Judas Maccabæus, he was the friend of his own people and country: he was distinguished for his patience, and for his sympathetic and friendly manner. Tosti was of a more serious turn

Harold

sons of Godwin.

ness.

i Saxon Chronicle. 2 Waltheof was put to death by William I. It is stated that his head was cut off whilst he was repeating the Lord's prayer, and that he continued to repeat it after his head was severed from his body.—Ordericus Vitalis.

3 Henry of Huntingdon. + Vita Æduardi.

« ForrigeFortsett »