The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Part 5 out of 6

afterwards won the castle at Bures, and took the earl's men
therein; some of whom he sent hither to this land. On the other
hand the earl, with the assistance of the King of France, won the
castle at Argence, and took therein Roger of Poitou, (118) and
seven hundred of the king's knights with him; and afterwards that
at Hulme; and oft readily did either of them burn the towns of
the other, and also took men. Then sent the king hither to this
land, and ordered twenty thousand Englishmen to be sent out to
Normandy to his assistance; but when they came to sea, they then
had orders to return, and to pay to the king's behoof the fee
that they had taken; which was half a pound each man; and they
did so. And the earl after this, with the King of France, and
with all that he could gather together, went through the midst of
Normandy, towards Ou, where the King William was, and thought to
besiege him within; and so they advanced until they came to
Luneville. There was the King of France through cunning turned
aside; and so afterwards all the army dispersed. In the midst of
these things the King William sent after his brother Henry, who
was in the castle at Damfront; but because he could not go
through Normandy with security, he sent ships after him, and
Hugh, Earl of Chester. When, however, they should have gone
towards Ou where the king was, they went to England, and came up
at Hamton, (119) on the eve of the feast of All Saints, and here
afterwards abode; and at Christmas they were in London. In this
same year also the Welshmen gathered themselves together, and
with the French that were in Wales, or in the neighbourhood, and
had formerly seized their land, stirred up war, and broke into
many fastnesses and castles, and slew many men. And when their
followers had increased, they divided themselves into larger
parties. With some part of them fought Hugh, Earl of Shropshire,
(120) and put them to flight. Nevertheless the other part of
them all this year omitted no evil that they could do. This year
also the Scots ensnared their king, Duncan, and slew him; and
afterwards, the second time, took his uncle Dufenal to king,
through whose instruction and advice he was betrayed to death.

A.D. 1095. In this year was the King William the first four days
of Christmas at Whitsand, and after the fourth day came hither,
and landed at Dover. And Henry, the king's brother, abode in
this land until Lent, and then went over sea to Normandy, with
much treasure, on the king's behalf, against their brother, Earl
Robert, and frequently fought against the earl, and did him much
harm, both in land and in men. And then at Easter held the king
his court in Winchester; and the Earl Robert of Northumberland
would not come to court. And the king was much stirred to anger
with him for this, and sent to him, and bade him harshly, if he
would be worthy of protection, that he would come to court at
Pentecost. In this year was Easter on the eighth day before the
calends of April; and upon Easter, on the night of the feast of
St Ambrose, that is, the second before the nones of April, (121)
nearly over all this land, and almost all the night, numerous and
manifold stars were seen to fall from heaven; not by one or two,
but so thick in succession, that no man could tell it. Hereafter
at Pentecost was the king at Windsor, and all his council with
him, except the Earl of Northumberland; for the king would
neither give him hostages, nor own upon truth, that he might come
and go with security. And the king therefore ordered his army,
and went against the earl to Northumberland; and soon after he
came thither, he won many and nearly all the best of the earl's
clan in a fortress, and put them into custody; and the castle at
Tinemouth he beset until he won it, and the earl's brother
therein, and all that were with him; and afterwards went to
Bamborough, and beset the earl therein. But when the king saw
that he could not win it, then ordered he his men to make a
castle before Bamborough, and called it in his speech
"Malveisin"; that is in English, "Evil Neighbour". And he
fortified it strongly with his men, and afterwards went
southward. Then, soon after that the king was gone south, went
the earl one night out of Bamborough towards Tinemouth; but they
that were in the new castle were aware of him, and went after
him, and fought him, and wounded him, and afterwards took him.
And of those that were with him some they slew, and some they
took alive. Among these things it was made known to the king,
that the Welshmen in Wales had broken into a castle called
Montgomery, and slain the men of Earl Hugo, that should have held
it. He therefore gave orders to levy another force immediately,
and after Michaelmas went into Wales, and shifted his forces, and
went through all that land, so that the army came all together by
All Saints to Snowdon. But the Welsh always went before into the
mountains and the moors, that no man could come to them. The
king then went homeward; for he saw that he could do no more
there this winter. When the king came home again, he gave orders
to take the Earl Robert of Northumberland, and lead him to
Bamborough, and put out both his eyes, unless they that were
therein would give up the castle. His wife held it, and Morel
who was steward, and also his relative. Through this was the
castle then given up; and Morel was then in the king's court; and
through him were many both of the clergy and laity surrendered,
who with their counsels had conspired against the king. The king
had before this time commanded some to be brought into prison,
and afterwards had it very strictly proclaimed over all this
country, "That all who held land of the king, as they wished to
be considered worthy of protection, should come to court at the
time appointed." And the king commanded that the Earl Robert
should be led to Windsor, and there held in the castle. Also in
this same year, against Easter, came the pope's nuncio hither to
this land. This was Bishop Walter, a man of very good life, of
the town of Albano; and upon the day of Pentecost on the behalf
of Pope Urban he gave Archbishop Anselm his pall, and he received
him at his archiepiscopal stall in Canterbury. And Bishop Walter
remained afterwards in this land a great part of the year; and
men then sent by him the Rome-scot, (122) which they had not done
for many years before. This same year also the weather was very
unseasonable; in consequence of which throughout all this land
were all the fruits of the earth reduced to a moderate crop.

A.D. 1096. In this year held the King William his court at
Christmas in Windsor; and William Bishop of Durham died there on
new-year's day; and on the octave of the Epiphany was the king
and all his councillors at Salisbury. There Geoffry Bainard
challenged William of Ou, the king's relative, maintaining that
he had been in the conspiracy against the king. And he fought
with him, and overcame him in single combat; and after he was
overcome, the king gave orders to put out his eyes, and
afterwards to emasculate him; and his steward, William by name,
who was the son of his stepmother, the king commanded to be
hanged on a gibbet. Then was also Eoda, Earl of Champagne, the
king's son-in-law, and many others, deprived of their lands;
whilst some were led to London, and there killed. This year
also, at Easter, there was a very great stir through all this
nation and many others, on account of Urban, who was declared
Pope, though he had nothing of a see at Rome. And an immense
multitude went forth with their wives and children, that they
might make war upon the heathens. Through this expedition were
the king and his brother, Earl Robert, reconciled; so that the
king went over sea, and purchased all Normandy of him, on
condition that they should be united. And the earl afterwards
departed; and with him the Earl of Flanders, and the Earl of
Boulogne, and also many other men of rank (123). And the Earl
Robert, and they that went with him, passed the winter in Apulia;
but of the people that went by Hungary many thousands miserably
perished there and by the way. And many dragged themselves home
rueful and hunger-bitten on the approach of winter. This was a
very heavy-timed year through all England, both through the
manifold tributes, and also through the very heavy-timed hunger
that severely oppressed this earth in the course of the year. In
this year also the principal men who held this land, frequently
sent forces into Wales, and many men thereby grievously
afflicted, producing no results but destruction of men and waste
of money.

A.D. 1097. In this year was the King William at Christmas in
Normandy; and afterwards against Easter he embarked for this
land; for that he thought to hold his court at Winchester; but he
was weather-bound until Easter-eve, when he first landed at
Arundel; and for this reason held his court at Windsor. And
thereafter with a great army he went into Wales, and quickly
penetrated that land with his forces, through some of the Welsh
who were come to him, and were his guides; and he remained in
that country from midsummer nearly until August, and suffered
much loss there in men and in horses, and also in many other
things. The Welshmen, after they had revolted from the king,
chose them many elders from themselves; one of whom was called
Cadwgan, (124) who was the worthiest of them, being brother's son
to King Griffin. And when the king saw that he could do nothing
in furtherance of his will, he returned again into this land; and
soon after that he let his men build castles on the borders.
Then upon the feast of St. Michael, the fourth day before the
nones of October, (125) appeared an uncommon star, shining in the
evening, and soon hastening to set. It (126) was seen south-west,
and the ray that stood off from it was thought very long, shining
south-east. And it appeared on this wise nearly all the week.
Many men supposed that it was a comet. Soon after this
Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury obtained leave (127) of the king
(though it was contrary to the wishes of the king, as men
supposed), and went over sea; because he thought that men in this
country did little according to right and after his instruction.
And the king thereafter upon St. Martin's mass went over sea into
Normandy; but whilst he was waiting for fair weather, his court
in the county where they lay, did the most harm that ever court
or army could do in a friendly and peaceable land. This was in
all things a very heavy-timed year, and beyond measure laborious
from badness of weather, both when men attempted to till the
land, and afterwards to gather the fruits of their tilth; and
from unjust contributions they never rested. Many counties also
that were confined to London by work, were grievously oppressed
on account of the wall that they were building about the tower,
and the bridge that was nearly all afloat, and the work of the
king's hall that they were building at Westminster; and many men
perished thereby. Also in this same year soon after Michaelmas
went Edgar Etheling with an army through the king's assistance
into Scotland, and with hard fighting won that land, and drove
out the King Dufnal; and his nephew Edgar, who was son of King
Malcolm and of Margaret the queen, he there appointed king in
fealty to the King William; and afterwards again returned to

A.D. 1098. In this year at Christmas was the King William in
Normandy; and Walkelin, Bishop of Winchester, and Baldwin, Abbot
of St. Edmund's, within this tide (128) both departed. And in
this year also died Turold, Abbot of Peterborough. In the summer
of this year also, at Finchamstead in Berkshire, a pool welled
with blood, as many true men said that should see it. And Earl
Hugh was slain in Anglesey by foreign pirates, (129) and his
brother Robert was his heir, as he had settled it before with the
king. Before Michaelmas the heaven was of such an hue, as if it
were burning, nearly all the night. This was a very troublesome
year through manifold impositions; and from the abundant rains,
that ceased not all the year, nearly all the tilth in the marsh-
lands perished.

A.D. 1099. This year was the King William at midwinter in
Normandy, and at Easter came hither to land, and at Pentecost
held his court the first time in his new building at Westminster;
and there he gave the bishopric of Durham to Ranulf his chaplain,
who had long directed and governed his councils over all England.
And soon after this he went over sea, and drove the Earl Elias
out of Maine, which he reduced under his power, and so by
Michaelmas returned to this land. This year also, on the
festival of St. Martin, the sea-flood sprung up to such a height,
and did so much harm, as no man remembered that it ever did
before. And this was the first day of the new moon. And Osmond,
Bishop of Salisbury, died in Advent.

A.D. 1100. In this year the King William held his court at
Christmas in Glocester, and at Easter in Winchester, and at
Pentecost in Westminster. And at Pentecost was seen in Berkshire
at a certain town blood to well from the earth; as many said that
should see it. And thereafter on the morning after Lammas day
was the King William shot in hunting, by an arrow from his own
men, and afterwards brought to Winchester, and buried in the
cathedral. (130) This was in the thirteenth year after that he
assumed the government. He was very harsh and severe over his
land and his men, and with all his neighbours; and very
formidable; and through the counsels of evil men, that to him
were always agreeable, and through his own avarice, he was ever
tiring this nation with an army, and with unjust contributions.
For in his days all right fell to the ground, and every wrong
rose up before God and before the world. God's church he
humbled; and all the bishoprics and abbacies, whose elders fell
in his days, he either sold in fee, or held in his own hands, and
let for a certain sum; because he would be the heir of every man,
both of the clergy and laity; so that on the day that he fell he
had in his own hand the archbishopric of Canterbury, with the
bishopric of Winchester, and that of Salisbury, and eleven
abbacies, all let for a sum; and (though I may be tedious) all
that was loathsome to God and righteous men, all that was
customary in this land in his time. And for this he was loathed
by nearly all his people, and odious to God, as his end
testified: -- for he departed in the midst of his
unrighteousness, without any power of repentance or recompense
for his deeds. On the Thursday he was slain; and in the morning
afterwards buried; and after he was buried, the statesmen that
were then nigh at hand, chose his brother Henry to king. And he
immediately (131) gave the bishopric of Winchester to William
Giffard; and afterwards went to London; and on the Sunday
following, before the altar at Westminster, he promised God and
all the people, to annul all the unrighteous acts that took place
in his brother's time, and to maintain the best laws that were
valid in any king's day before him. And after this the Bishop of
London, Maurice, consecrated him king; and all in this land
submitted to him, and swore oaths, and became his men. And the
king, soon after this, by the advice of those that were about
him, allowed men to take the Bishop Ranulf of Durham, and bring
him into the Tower of London, and hold him there. Then, before
Michaelmas, came the Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury hither to
this land; as the King Henry, by the advice of his ministers had
sent after him, because he had gone out of this land for the
great wrongs that the King William did unto him. And soon
hereafter the king took him to wife Maud, daughter of Malcolm,
King of Scotland, and of Margaret the good queen, the relative of
King Edward, and of the right royal (132) race of England. And
on Martinmas day she was publicly given to him with much pomp at
Westminster, and the Archbishop Anselm wedded her to him, and
afterwards consecrated her queen. And the Archbishop Thomas of
York soon hereafter died. During the harvest of this same year
also came the Earl Robert home into Normandy, and the Earl Robert
of Flanders, Eustace, Earl of Boulogne, from Jerusalem. And as
soon as the Earl Robert came into Normandy, he was joyfully
received by all his people; except those of the castles that were
garrisoned with the King Henry's men. Against them he had many
contests and struggles.

A.D. 1101. In this year at Christmas held the King Henry his
court in Westminster, and at Easter in Winchester. And soon
thereafter were the chief men in this land in a conspiracy
against the king; partly from their own great infidelity, and
also through the Earl Robert of Normandy, who with hostility
aspired to the invasion of this land. And the king afterwards
sent ships out to sea, to thwart and impede his brother; but some
of them in the time of need fell back, and turned from the king,
and surrendered themselves to the Earl Robert. Then at midsummer
went the king out to Pevensey with all his force against his
brother, and there awaited him. But in the meantime came the
Earl Robert up at Portsmouth twelve nights before Lammas; and the
king with all his force came against him. But the chief men
interceded between them, and settled the brothers on the
condition, "that the king should forego all that he held by main
strength in Normandy against the earl; and that all then in
England should have their lands again, who had lost it before
through the earl, and Earl Eustace also all his patrimony in this
land; and that the Earl Robert every year should receive from
England three thousand marks of silver; and particularly, that
whichever of the brothers should survive the other, he should be
heir of all England and also of Normandy, except the deceased
left an heir by lawful wedlock." And this twelve men of the
highest rank on either side then confirmed with an oath. And the
earl afterwards remained in this land till after Michaelmas; and
his men did much harm wherever they went, the while that the earl
continued in this land. This year also the Bishop Ranulf at
Candlemas burst out of the Tower of London by night, where he was
in confinement, and went into Normandy; through whose contrivance
and instigation mostly the Earl Robert this year sought this land
with hostility.

A.D. 1102. In this year at the Nativity was the King Henry at
Westminster, and at Easter in Winchester. And soon thereafter
arose a dissention between the king and the Earl Robert of
Belesme, who held in this land the earldom of Shrewsbury, that
his father, Earl Roger, had before, and much territory therewith
both on this side and beyond the sea. And the king went and
beset the castle at Arundel; but when he could not easily win it,
he allowed men to make castles before it, and filled them with
his men; and afterwards with all his army he went to Bridgenorth,
and there continued until he had the castle, and deprived the
Earl Robert of his land, and stripped him of all that he had in
England. And the earl accordingly went over sea, and the army
afterwards returned home. Then was the king thereafter by
Michaelmas at Westminster; and all the principal men in this
land, clerk, and laity. And the Archbishop Anselm held a synod
of clergy; and there they established many canons that belong to
Christianity. And many, both French and English, were there
deprived of their staves and dignity, which they either obtained
with injustice, or enjoyed with dishonour. And in this same
year, in the week of the feast of Pentecost, there came thieves,
some from Auvergne, (133) some from France, and some from
Flanders, and broke into the minster of Peterborough, and therein
seized much property in gold and in silver; namely, roods, and
chalices, and candlesticks.

A.D. 1103. In this year, at midwinter, was the King Henry at
Westminster. And soon afterwards departed the Bishop William
Giffard out of this land; because he would not against right
accept his hood at the hands of the Archbishop Gerard of York.
And then at Easter held the king his court at Winchester, and
afterwards went the Archbishop Anselm from Canterbury to Rome, as
was agreed between him and the king. This year also came the
Earl Robert of Normandy to speak with the king in this land; and
ere he departed hence he forgave the King Henry the three
thousand marks that he was bound by treaty to give him each year.
In this year also at Hamstead in Berkshire was seen blood [to
rise] from the earth. This was a very calamitous year in this
land, through manifold impositions, and through murrain of
cattle, and deficiency of produce, not only in corn, but in every
kind of fruit. Also in the morning, upon the mass day of St.
Laurence, the wind did so much harm here on land to all fruits,
as no man remembered that ever any did before. In this same year
died Matthias, Abbot of Peterborough, who lived no longer than
one year after he was abbot. After Michaelmas, on the twelfth
day before the calends of November, he was in full procession
received as abbot; and on the same day of the next year he was
dead at Glocester, and there buried.

A.D. 1104. In this year at Christmas held the King Henry his
court at Westminster, and at Easter in Winchester, and at
Pentecost again at Westminster. This year was the first day of
Pentecost on the nones of June; and on the Tuesday following were
seen four circles at mid-day about the sun, of a white hue, each
described under the other as if they were measured. All that saw
it wondered; for they never remembered such before. Afterwards
were reconciled the Earl Robert of Normandy and Robert de
Belesme, whom the King Henry had before deprived of his lands,
and driven from England; and through their reconciliation the
King of England and the Earl of Normandy became adversaries. And
the king sent his folk over sea into Normandy; and the head-men
in that land received them, and with treachery to their lord, the
earl, lodged them in their castles, whence they committed many
outrages on the earl in plundering and burning. This year also
William, Earl of Moreton (134) went from this land into Normandy;
but after he was gone he acted against the king; because the king
stripped and deprived him of all that he had here in this land.
It is not easy to describe the misery of this land, which it was
suffering through various and manifold wrongs and impositions,
that never failed nor ceased; and wheresoever the king went,
there was full licence given to his company to harrow and oppress
his wretched people; and in the midst thereof happened oftentimes
burnings and manslaughter. All this was done to the displeasure
of God, and to the vexation of this unhappy people.

A.D. 1105. In this year, on the Nativity, held the King Henry
his court at Windsor; and afterwards in Lent he went over sea
into Normandy against his brother Earl Robert. And whilst he
remained there he won of his brother Caen and Baieux; and almost
all the castles and the chief men in that land were subdued. And
afterwards by harvest he returned hither again; and that which he
had won in Normandy remained afterwards in peace and subjection
to him; except that which was anywhere near the Earl William of
Moretaine. This he often demanded as strongly as he could for
the loss of his land in this country. And then before Christmas
came Robert de Belesme hither to the king. This was a very
calamitous year in this land, through loss of fruits, and through
the manifold contributions, that never ceased before the king
went over [to Normandy], or while he was there, or after he came
back again.

A.D. 1106. In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity at
Westminster, and there held his court; and at that season Robert
de Belesme went unreconciled from the king out of his land into
Normandy. Hereafter before Lent was the king at Northampton; and
the Earl Robert his brother came thither from Normandy to him;
and because the king would not give him back that which he had
taken from him in Normandy, they parted in hostility; and the
earl soon went over sea back again. In the first week of Lent,
on the Friday, which was the fourteenth before the calends of
March, in the evening appeared an unusual star; and a long time
afterwards was seen every evening shining awhile. The star
appeared in the south-west; it was thought little and dark; but
the train of light which stood from it was very bright, and
appeared like an immense beam shining north-east; and some
evening this beam was seen as if it were moving itself forwards
against the star. Some said that they saw more of such unusual
stars at this time; but we do not write more fully about it,
because we saw it not ourselves. On the night preceding the
Lord's Supper, (135) that is, the Thursday before Easter, were
seen two moons in the heavens before day, the one in the east,
and the other in the west, both full; and it was the fourteenth
day of the moon. At Easter was the king at Bath, and at
Pentecost at Salisbury; because he would not hold his court when
he was beyond the sea. After this, and before August, went the
king over sea into Normandy; and almost all that were in that
land submitted to his will, except Robert de Belesme and the Earl
of Moretaine, and a few others of the principal persons who yet
held with the Earl of Normandy. For this reason the king
afterwards advanced with an army, and beset a castle of the Earl
of Moretaine, called Tenerchebrai. (136) Whilst the king beset
the castle, came the Earl Robert of Normandy on Michaelmas eve
against the king with his army, and with him Robert of Belesme,
and William, Earl of Moretaine, and all that would be with them;
but the strength and the victory were the king's. There was the
Earl of Normandy taken, and the Earl of Moretaine, and Robert of
Stutteville, and afterwards sent to England, and put into
custody. Robert of Belesme was there put to flight, and William
Crispin was taken, and many others forthwith. Edgar Etheling,
who a little before had gone over from the king to the earl, was
also there taken, whom the king afterwards let go unpunished.
Then went the king over all that was in Normandy, and settled it
according to his will and discretion. This year also were heavy
and sinful conflicts between the Emperor of Saxony and his son,
and in the midst of these conflicts the father fell, and the son
succeeded to the empire.

A.D. 1107. In this year at Christmas was the King Henry in
Normandy; and, having disposed and settled that land to his will,
he afterwards came hither in Lent, and at Easter held his court
at Windsor, and at Pentecost in Westminster. And afterwards in
the beginning of August he was again at Westminster, and there
gave away and settled the bishoprics and abbacies that either in
England or in Normandy were without elders and pastors. Of these
there were so many, that there was no man who remembered that
ever so many together were given away before. And on this same
occasion, among the others who accepted abbacies, Ernulf, who
before was prior at Canterbury, succeeded to the abbacy in
Peterborough. This was nearly about seven years after the King
Henry undertook the kingdom, and the one and fortieth year since
the Franks governed this land. Many said that they saw sundry
tokens in the moon this year, and its orb increasing and
decreasing contrary to nature. This year died Maurice, Bishop of
London, and Robert, Abbot of St. Edmund's bury, and Richard,
Abbot of Ely. This year also died the King Edgar in Scotland, on
the ides of January, and Alexander his brother succeeded to the
kingdom, as the King Henry granted him.

A.D. 1108. In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity at
Westminster, and at Easter at Winchester, and by Pentecost at
Westminster again. After this, before August, he went into
Normandy. And Philip, the King of France, died on the nones of
August, and his son Louis succeeded to the kingdom. And there
were afterwards many struggles between the King of France and the
King of England, while the latter remained in Normandy. In this
year also died the Archbishop Girard of York, before Pentecost,
and Thomas was afterwards appointed thereto.

A.D. 1109. In this year was the King Henry at Christmas and at
Easter in Normandy; and before Pentecost he came to this land,
and held his court at Westminster. There were the conditions
fully settled, and the oaths sworn, for giving his daughter (137)
to the emperor. (138) This year were very frequent storms of
thunder, and very tremendous; and the Archbishop Anselm of
Canterbury died on the eleventh day before the calends of April;
and the first day of Easter was on "Litania major".

A.D. 1110. In this year held the King Henry his court at
Christmas in Westminster, and at Easter he was at Marlborough,
and at Pentecost he held his court for the first time in New
Windsor. This year before Lent the king sent his daughter with
manifold treasures over sea, and gave her to the emperor. On the
fifth night in the month of May appeared the moon shining bright
in the evening, and afterwards by little and little its light
diminished, so that, as soon as night came, (139) it was so
completely extinguished withal, that neither light, nor orb, nor
anything at all of it was seen. And so it continued nearly until
day, and then appeared shining full and bright. It was this same
day a fortnight old. All the night was the firmament very clear,
and the stars over all the heavens shining very bright. And the
fruits of the trees were this night sorely nipt by frost.
Afterwards, in the month of June, appeared a star north-east, and
its train stood before it towards the south-west. Thus was it
seen many nights; and as the night advanced, when it rose higher,
it was seen going backward toward the north-west. This year were
deprived of their lands Philip of Braiose, and William Mallet,
and William Bainard. This year also died Earl Elias, who held
Maine in fee-tail (140) of King Henry; and after his death the
Earl of Anjou succeeded to it, and held it against the king.
This was a very calamitous year in this land, through the
contributions which the king received for his daughter's portion,
and through the badness of the weather, by which the fruits of
the earth were very much marred, and the produce of the trees
over all this land almost entirely perished. This year men began
first to work at the new minster at Chertsey.

A.D. 1111. This year the King Henry bare not his crown at
Christmas, nor at Easter, nor at Pentecost. And in August he
went over sea into Normandy, on account of the broils that some
had with him by the confines of France, and chiefly on account of
the Earl of Anjou, who held Maine against him. And after he came
over thither, many conspiracies, and burnings, and harrowings,
did they between them. In this year died the Earl Robert of
Flanders, and his son Baldwin succeeded thereto. (141) This year
was the winter very long, and the season heavy and severe; and
through that were the fruits of the earth sorely marred, and
there was the greatest murrain of cattle that any man could

A.D. 1112. All this year remained the King Henry in Normandy on
account of the broils that he had with France, and with the Earl
of Anjou, who held Maine against him. And whilst he was there,
he deprived of their lands the Earl of Evreux, and William
Crispin, and drove them out of Normandy. To Philip of Braiose he
restored his land, who had been before deprived of it; and Robert
of Belesme he suffered to be seized, and put into prison. This
was a very good year, and very fruitful, in wood and in field;
but it was a very heavy time and sorrowful, through a severe
mortality amongst men.

A.D. 1113. In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity and
at Easter and at Pentecost in Normandy. And after that, in the
summer, he sent hither Robert of Belesme into the castle at
Wareham, and himself soon (142) afterwards came hither to this

A.D. 1114. In this year held the King Henry his court on the
Nativity at Windsor, and held no other court afterwards during
the year. And at midsummer he went with an army into Wales; and
the Welsh came and made peace with the king. And he let men
build castles therein. And thereafter, in September, he went
over sea into Normandy. This year, in the latter end of May, was
seen an uncommon star with a long train, shining many nights. In
this year also was so great an ebb of the tide everywhere in one
day, as no man remembered before; so that men went riding and
walking over the Thames eastward of London bridge. This year
were very violent winds in the month of October; but it was
immoderately rough in the night of the octave of St. Martin; and
that was everywhere manifest both in town and country. In this
year also the king gave the archbishopric of Canterbury to Ralph,
who was before Bishop of Rochester; and Thomas, Archbishop of
York, died; and Turstein succeeded thereto, who was before the
king's chaplain. About this same time went the king toward the
sea, and was desirous of going over, but the weather prevented
him; then meanwhile sent he his writ after the Abbot Ernulf of
Peterborough, and bade that he should come to him quickly, for
that he wished to speak with him on an interesting subject. When
he came to him, he appointed him to the bishopric of Rochester;
and the archbishops and bishops and all the nobility that were in
England coincided with the king. And he long withstood, but it
availed nothing. And the king bade the archbishop that he should
lead him to Canterbury, and consecrate him bishop whether he
would or not. (143) This was done in the town called Bourne
(144) on the seventeenth day before the calends of October. When
the monks of Peterborough heard of this, they felt greater sorrow
than they had ever experienced before; because he was a very good
and amiable man, and did much good within and without whilst he
abode there. God Almighty abide ever with him. Soon after this
gave the king the abbacy to a monk of Sieyes, whose name was
John, through the intreaty of the Archbishop of Canterbury. And
soon after this the king and the Archbishop of Canterbury sent
him to Rome after the archbishop's pall; and a monk also with
him, whose name was Warner, and the Archdeacon John, the nephew
of the archbishop. And they sped well there. This was done on
the seventh day before the calends Of October, in the town that
is yclept Rowner. And this same day went the king on board ship
at Portsmouth.

A.D. 1115. This year was the King Henry on the Nativity in
Normandy. And whilst he was there, he contrived that all the
head men in Normandy did homage and fealty to his son William,
whom he had by his queen. And after this, in the month of July,
he returned to this land. This year was the winter so severe,
with snow and with frost, that no man who was then living ever
remembered one more severe; in consequence of which there was
great destruction of cattle. During this year the Pope Paschalis
sent the pall into this land to Ralph, Archbishop of Canterbury;
and he received it with great worship at his archiepiscopal stall
in Canterbury. It was brought hither from Rome by Abbot Anselm,
who was the nephew of Archbishop Anselm, and the Abbot John of

A.D. 1116. In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity at
St. Alban's, where he permitted the consecration of that
monastery; and at Easter he was at Odiham. And there was also
this year a very heavy-timed winter, strong and long, for cattle
and for all things. And the king soon after Easter went over sea
into Normandy. And there were many conspiracies and robberies,
and castles taken betwixt France and Normandy. Most of this
disturbance was because the King Henry assisted his nephew,
Theobald de Blois, who was engaged in a war against his lord,
Louis, the King of France. This was a very vexatious and
destructive year with respect to the fruits of the earth, through
the immoderate rains that fell soon after the beginning of
August, harassing and perplexing men till Candlemas-day. This
year also was so deficient in mast, that there was never heard
such in all this land or in Wales. This land and nation were
also this year oft and sorely swincked by the guilds which the
king took both within the boroughs and without. In this same
year was consumed by fire the whole monastery of Peterborough,
and all the buildings, except the chapter-house and the
dormitory, and therewith also all the greater part of the town.
All this happened on a Friday, which was the second day before
the nones of August.

A.D. 1117. All this year remained the King Henry, in Normandy,
on account of the hostility of the King of France and his other
neighbours. And in the summer came the King of France and the
Earl of Flanders with him with an army into Normandy. And having
stayed therein one night, they returned again in the morning
without fighting. But Normandy was very much afflicted both by
the exactions and by the armies which the King Henry collected
against them. This nation also was severely oppressed through
the same means, namely, through manifold exactions. This year
also, in the night of the calends of December, were immoderate
storms with thunder, and lightning, and rain, and hail. And in
the night of the third day before the ides of December was the
moon, during a long time of the night, as if covered with blood,
and afterwards eclipsed. Also in the night of the seventeenth
day before the calends of January, was the heaven seen very red,
as if it were burning. And on the octave of St. John the
Evangelist was the great earthquake in Lombardy; from the shock
of which many minsters, and towers, and houses fell, and did much
harm to men. This was a very blighted year in corn, through the
rains that scarcely ceased for nearly all the year. And the
Abbot Gilbert of Westminster died on the eighth day before the
ides of December; and Faritz, Abbot of Abingdon, on the seventh
day before the calends of March. And in this same year....

A.D. 1118. All this year abode the King Henry in Normandy on
account of the war of the King of France and the Earl of Anjou,
and the Earl of Flanders. And the Earl of Flanders was wounded
in Normandy, and went so wounded into Flanders. By this war was
the king much exhausted, and he was a great loser both in land
and money. And his own men grieved him most, who often from him
turned, and betrayed him; and going over to his foes surrendered
to them their castles, to the injury and disappointment of the
king. All this England dearly bought through the manifold guilds
that all this year abated not. This year, in the week of the
Epiphany, there was one evening a great deal of lightning, and
thereafter unusual thunder. And the Queen Matilda died at
Westminster on the calends of May; and there was buried. And the
Earl Robert of Mellent died also this year. In this year also,
on the feast of St. Thomas, was so very immoderately violent a
wind, that no man who was then living ever remembered any
greater; and that was everywhere seen both in houses and also in
trees. This year also died Pope Paschalis; and John of Gaeta
succeeded to the popedom, whose other name was Gelasius.

A.D. 1119. All this year continued the King Henry in Normandy;
and he was greatly perplexed by the hostility of the King of
France, and also of his own men, who with treachery deserted from
him, and oft readily betrayed him; until the two kings came
together in Normandy with their forces. There was the King of
France put to flight, and all his best men taken. And afterwards
many of King Henry's men returned to him, and accorded with him,
who were before, with their castellans, against him. And some of
the castles he took by main strength. This year went William,
the son of King Henry and Queen Matilda, into Normandy to his
father, and there was given to him, and wedded to wife, the
daughter of the Earl of Anjou. On the eve of the mass of St.
Michael was much earth-heaving in some places in this land;
though most of all in Glocestershire and in Worcestershire. In
this same year died the Pope Gelasius, on this side of the Alps,
and was buried at Clugny. And after him the Archbishop of Vienna
was chosen pope, whose name was Calixtus. He afterwards, on the
festival of St. Luke the Evangelist, came into France to Rheims,
and there held a council. And the Archbishop Turstin of York
went thither; and, because that he against right, and against the
archiepiscopal stall in Canterbury, and against the king's will,
received his hood at the hands of the pope, the king interdicted
him from all return to England. And thus he lost his
archbishopric, and with the pope went towards Rome. In this year
also died the Earl Baldwin of Flanders of the wounds that he
received in Normandy. And after him succeeded to the earldom
Charles, the son of his uncle by the father's side, who was son
of Cnute, the holy King of Denmark.

A.D. 1120. This year were reconciled the King of England and the
King of France; and after their reconciliation all the King
Henry's own men accorded with him in Normandy, as well as the
Earl of Flanders and the Earl of Ponthieu. From this time
forward the King Henry settled his castles and his land in
Normandy after his will; and so before Advent came to this land.
And in this expedition were drowned the king's two sons, William
and Richard, and Richard, Earl of Chester, and Ottuel his
brother, and very many of the king's household, stewards, and
chamberlains, and butlers. and men of various abodes; and with
them a countless multidude of very incomparable folk besides.
Sore was their death to their friends in a twofold respect: one,
that they so suddenly lost this life; the other, that few of
their bodies were found anywhere afterwards. This year came that
light to the sepulchre of the Lord in Jerusalem twice; once at
Easter, and the other on the assumption of St. Mary, as credible
persons said who came thence. And the Archbishop Turstin of York
was through the pope reconciled with the king, and came to this
land, and recovered his bishopric, though it was very undesirable
to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

A.D. 1121. This year was the King Henry at Christmas at Bramton,
and afterwards, before Candlemas, at Windsor was given him to
wife Athelis; soon afterwards consecrated queen, who was daughter
of the Duke of Louvain. And the moon was eclipsed in the night
of the nones of April, being a fortnight old. And the king was
at Easter at Berkley; and after that at Pentecost he held a full
court at Westminster; and afterwards in the summer went with an
army into Wales. And the Welsh came against him; and after the
king's will they accorded with him. This year came the Earl of
Anjou from Jerusalem into his land; and soon after sent hither to
fetch his daughter, who had been given to wife to William, the
king's son. And in the night of the eve of "Natalis Domini" was
a very violent wind over all this land, and that was in many
things evidently seen.

A.D. 1122. In this year was the King Henry at Christmas in
Norwich, and at Easter in Northampton. And in the Lent-tide
before that, the town of Glocester was on fire: the while that
the monks were singing their mass, and the deacon had begun the
gospel, "Praeteriens Jesus", at that very moment came the fire
from the upper part of the steeple, and burned all the minster,
and all the treasures that were there within; except a few books,
and three mass-hackles. That was on the eighth day before the
ides of Marcia. And thereafter, the Tuesday after Palm-Sunday,
was a very violent wind on the eleventh day before the calends of
April; after which came many tokens far and wide in England, and
many spectres were both seen and heard. And the eighth night
before the calends of August was a very violent earthquake over
all Somersetshire, and in Glocestershire. Soon after, on the
sixth day before the ides of September, which was on the festival
of St. Mary, (145) there was a very violent wind from the fore
part of the day to the depth of the night. This same year died
Ralph, the Archbishop of Canterbury; that was on the thirteenth
day before the calends of November. After this there were many
shipmen on the sea, and on fresh water, who said, that they saw
on the north-east, level with the earth, a fire huge and broad,
which anon waxed in length up to the welkin; and the welkin undid
itself in four parts, and fought against it, as if it would
quench it; and the fire waxed nevertheless up to the heaven. The
fire they saw in the day-dawn; and it lasted until it was light
over all. That was on the seventh day before the ides of

A.D. 1123. In this year was the King Henry, at Christmastide at
Dunstable, and there came to him the ambassadors of the Earl of
Anjou. And thence he went to Woodstock; and his bishops and his
whole court with him. Then did it betide on a Wednesday, which
was on the fourth day before the ides of January, that the king
rode in his deer-fold; (146) the Bishop Roger of Salisbury (147)
on one side of him, and the Bishop Robert Bloet of Lincoln on the
other side of him. And they rode there talking together. Then
sank down the Bishop of Lincoln, and said to the king, "Lord
king, I die." And the king alighted down from his horse, and
lifted him betwixt his arms, and let men bear him home to his
inn. There he was soon dead; and they carried him to Lincoln
with great worship, and buried him before the altar of St. Mary.
And the Bishop of Chester, whose name was Robert Pecceth, buried
him. Soon after this sent the king his writ over all England,
and bade all his bishops and his abbots and his thanes, that they
should come to his wittenmoot on Candlemas day at Glocester to
meet him: and they did so. When they were there gathered
together, then the king bade them, that they should choose for
themselves an Archbishop of Canterbury, whomsoever they would,
and he would confirm it. Then spoke the bishops among
themselves, and said that they never more would have a man of the
monastic order as archbishop over them. And they went all in a
body to the king, and earnestly requested that they might choose
from the clerical order whomsoever they would for archbishop.
And the king granted it to them. This was all concerted before,
through the Bishop of Salisbury, and through the Bishop of
Lincoln ere he was dead; for that they never loved the rule of
monks, but were ever against monks and their rule. And the prior
and the monks of Canterbury, and all the other persons of the
monastic order that were there, withstood it full two days; but
it availed nought: for the Bishop of Salisbury was strong, and
wielded all England, and opposed them with all his power and
might. Then chose they a clerk, named William of Curboil. He
was canon of a monastery called Chiche. (148) And they brought
him before the king; and the king gave him the archbishopric.
And all the bishops received him: but almost all the monks, and
the earls, and the thanes that were there, protested against him.
About the same time departed the earl's messengers (149) in
hostility from the king, reckless of his favour. During the same
time came a legate from Rome, whose name was Henry. He was abbot
of the monastery of St. John of Angeli; and he came after the
Rome-scot. And he said to the king, that it was against right
that men should set a clerk over monks; and therefore they had
chosen an archbishop before in their chapter after right. But
the king would not undo it, for the love of the Bishop of
Salisbury. Then went the archbishop, soon after this, to
Canterbury; and was there received, though it was against their
will; and he was there soon blessed to bishop by the Bishop of
London, and the Bishop Ernulf of Rochester, and the Bishop
William Girard of Winchester, and the Bishop Bernard of Wales,
and the Bishop Roger of Salisbury. Then, early in Lent, went
the archbishop to Rome, after his pall; and with him went the
Bishop Bernard of Wales; and Sefred, Abbot of Glastonbury; and
Anselm, Abbot of St. Edmund's bury; and John, Archdeacon of
Canterbury; and Gifard, who was the king's court-chaplain. At
the same time went the Archbishop Thurstan of York to Rome,
through the behest of the pope, and came thither three days ere
the Archbishop of Canterbury came, and was there received with
much worship. Then came the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was
there full seven nights ere they could come to a conference with
the pope. That was, because the pope was made to understand that
he had obtained the archbishopric against the monks of the
minster, and against right. But that overcame Rome, which
overcometh all the world; that is, gold and silver. And the pope
softened, and gave him his pall. And the archbishop (of York)
swore him subjection, in all those things, which the pope
enjoined him, by the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul; and the
pope then sent him home with his blessing. The while that the
archbishop was out of the land, the king gave the bishopric of
Bath to the Queen's chancellor, whose name was Godfrey. He was
born in Louvain. That was on the Annunciation of St. Mary, at
Woodstock. Soon after this went the king to Winchester, and was
all Easter-tide there. And the while that he was there, gave he
the bishopric of Lincoln to a clerk hight Alexander. He was
nephew of the Bishop of Salisbury. This he did all for the love
of the bishop. Then went the king thence to Portsmouth, and lay
there all over Pentecost week. Then, as soon as he had a fair
wind, he went over into Normandy; and meanwhile committed all
England to the guidance and government of the Bishop Roger of
Salisbury. Then was the king all this year (150) in Normandy.
And much hostility arose betwixt him and his thanes; so that the
Earl Waleram of Mellent, and Hamalric, and Hugh of Montfort, and
William of Romare, and many others, went from him, and held their
castles against him. And the king strongly opposed them: and
this same year he won of Waleram his castle of Pont-Audemer, and
of Hugh that of Montfort; and ever after, the longer he stayed,
the better he sped. This same year, ere the Bishop of Lincoln
came to his bishopric, almost all the borough of Lincoln was
burned, and numberless folks, men and women, were consumed: and
so much harm was there done as no man could describe to another.
That was on the fourteenth day before the calends of June.

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

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


(1) This introductory part of the "Chronicle" to An. I. first
printed by Gibson from the Laud MS. only, has been corrected
by a collation of two additional MSS. in the British Museum,
"Cotton Tiberius B" lv. and "Domitianus A" viii. Some
defects are also here supplied. The materials of this part
are to be found in Pliny, Solinus, Orosius, Gildas, and
Bede. The admeasurement of the island, however inaccurate,
is from the best authorities of those times, and followed by
much later historians.
(2) Gibson, following the Laud MS. has made six nations of five,
by introducing the British and Welsh as two distinct tribes.
(3) "De tractu Armoricano." -- Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i.
I. The word Armenia occurring a few lines above in Bede, it
was perhaps inadvertently written by the Saxon compiler of
the "Chronicle" instead of Armorica.
(4) In case of a disputed succession, "Ubi res veniret in
dabium," etc. -- Bede, "Ecclesiastical History" i. I.
(5) Reada, Aelfr.; Reuda, Bede, Hunt. etc. Perhaps it was
originally Reutha or Reotha.
(6) This is an error, arising from the inaccurately written MSS.
of Orosius and Bede; where "in Hybernia" and "in Hiberniam"
occur for "in hiberna". The error is retained in Wheloc's
(7) Labienus = Laberius. Venerable Bede also, and Orosius, whom
he follows verbatim, have "Labienus". It is probably a
mistake of some very ancient scribe, who improperly supplied
the abbreviation "Labius" (for "Laberius") by "Labienus".
(8) Of these early transactions in Britain King Alfred supplies
us with a brief but circumstantial account in his Saxon
paraphrase of "Orosius".
(9) "8 die Aprilis", Flor. M. West.
(10) Gibbon regrets this chronology, i.e. from the creation of
the world, which he thinks preferable to the vulgar mode
from the Christian aera. But how vague and uncertain the
scale which depends on a point so remote and undetermined as
the precise time when the world was created. If we examine
the chronometers of different writers we shall find a
difference, between the maximum and the minimum, of 3368
years. The Saxon chronology seems to be founded on that of
Eusebius, which approaches the medium between the two
(11) An. 42, Flor. This act is attributed by Orosius, and Bede
who follows him, to the threatening conduct of Caligula,
with a remark, that it was he (Pilate) who condemned our
Lord to death.
(12) An. 48, Flor. See the account of this famine in King
Alfred's "Orosius".
(13) Those writers who mention this discovery of the holy cross,
by Helena the mother of Constantine, disagree so much in
their chronology, that it is a vain attempt to reconcile
them to truth or to each other. This and the other notices
of ecclesiastical matters, whether Latin or Saxon, from the
year 190 to the year 380 of the Laud MS. and 381 of the
printed Chronicle, may be safely considered as
interpolations, probably posterior to the Norman Conquest.
(14) This is not to be understood strictly; gold being used as a
general term for money or coin of every description; great
quantities of which, it is well known, have been found at
different times, and in many different places, in this
island: not only of gold, but of silver, brass, copper, etc.
(15) An interpolated legend, from the "Gesta Pontificum",
repeated by Bede, Florence, Matth. West., Fordun, and
others. The head was said to be carried to Edessa.
(16) Merely of those called from him "Benedictines". But the
compiler of the Cotton MS., who was probably a monk of that
order, seems not to acknowledge any other. Matthew of
Westminster places his death in 536.
(17) For an interesting and minute account of the arrival of
Augustine and his companions in the Isle of Thanet, their
entrance into Canterbury, and their general reception in
England, vid. Bede, "Hist. Eccles." i. 25, and the following
chapters, with the Saxon translation by King Alfred. The
succeeding historians have in general repeated the very
words of Bede.
(18) It was originally, perhaps, in the MSS. ICC. the
abbreviation for 1,200; which is the number of the slain in
Bede. The total number of the monks of Bangor is said to
have been 2,100; most of whom appear to have been employed
in prayer on this occasion, and only fifty escape by flight.
Vide Bede, "Hist. Eccles." ii. 2, and the tribe of Latin
historians who copy him.
(19) Literally, "swinged, or scourged him." Both Bede and Alfred
begin by recording the matter as a vision, or a dream;
whence the transition is easy to a matter of fact, as here
stated by the Norman interpolators of the "Saxon Annals".
(20) This epithet appears to have been inserted in some copies of
the "Saxon Chronicle" so early as the tenth century; to
distinguish the "old" church or minster at Winchester from
the "new", consecrated A.D. 903.
(21) Beverley-minster, in Yorkshire.
(22) He was a native of Tarsus in Cilicia, the birth-place of St.
(23) This brief notice of Dryhtelm, for so I find the name
written in "Cotton Tiberius B iv." is totally unintelligible
without a reference to Bede's "Ecclesiastical History", v.
12; where a curious account of him may be found, which is
copied by Matthew of Westminster, anno. 699.
(25) Wothnesbeorhge, Ethelw.; Wonsdike, Malmsb.; Wonebirih, H.
Hunt; Wodnesbeorh, Flor.; Wodnesbirch, M. West. There is no
reason, therefore, to transfer the scene of action to
Woodbridge, as some have supposed from an erroneous reading.
(26) The establishment of the "English school" at Rome is
attributed to Ina; a full account of which, and of the
origin of "Romescot" or "Peter-pence" for the support of it,
may be seen in Matthew of Westminster.
(27) Beorgforda, Ethelw.; Beorhtforda, Flor.; Hereford and
Bereford, H. Hunt; Beorford, M. West. This battle of
Burford has been considerably amplified by Henry of
Huntingdon, and after him by Matthew of Westminster. The
former, among other absurdities, talks of "Amazonian"
battle-axes. They both mention the banner of the "golden
dragon" etc.
(28) The minuteness of this narrative, combined with the
simplicity of it, proves that it was written at no great
distance of time from the event. It is the first that
occurs of any length in the older MSS. of the "Saxon
(29) Penga in the original, i.e. "of pence", or "in pence";
because the silver penny, derived from the Roman "denarius",
was the standard coin in this country for more than a
thousand years. It was also used as a weight, being the
twentieth part of an ounce.
(30) Since called "sheriff"; i.e. the reve, or steward, of the
shire. "Exactor regis". -- Ethelw.
(31) This is the Grecian method of computation; between the hours
of three and six in the morning. It must be recollected,
that before the distribution of time into hours, minutes,
and seconds, the day and night were divided into eight equal
portions, containing three hours each; and this method was
continued long afterwards by historians.
(32) This wanton act of barbarity seems to have existed only in
the depraved imagination of the Norman interpolator of the
"Saxon Annals", who eagerly and impatiently dispatches the
story thus, in order to introduce the subsequent account of
the synod at Bapchild, so important in his eyes. Hoveden
and Wallingford and others have repeated the idle tale; but
I have not hitherto found it in any historian of authority.
(33) St. Kenelm is said to have succeeded Cenwulf:
"In the foure and twentithe yere of his kyngdom
Kenulf wente out of this worlde, and to the joye of
hevene com;
It was after that oure Lord in his moder alygte
Eigte hondred yet and neygentene, by a countes rigte,
Seint Kenelm his yonge sone in his sevende yere
Kyng was ymad after him, theg he yong were."
-- "Vita S. Kenelmi, MS. Coll. Trin Oxon."
No. 57.Arch.
(34) i.e. the Danes; or, as they are sometimes called, Northmen,
which is a general term including all those numerous tribes
that issued at different times from the north of Europe,
whether Danes, Norwegians, Sweons, Jutes, or Goths, etc.;
who were all in a state of paganism at this time.
(35) Aetheredus, -- Asser, Ethelwerd, etc. We have therefore
adopted this orthography.
(36) It is now generally written, as pronounced, "Swanage".
(37) For a more circumstantial account of the Danish or Norman
operations against Paris at this time, the reader may
consult Felibien, "Histoire de la Ville de Paris", liv. iii.
and the authorities cited by him in the margin. This is
that celebrated siege of Paris minutely described by Abbo,
Abbot of Fleury, in two books of Latin hexameters; which,
however barbarous, contain some curious and authentic matter
relating to the history of that period.
(38) This bridge was built, or rebuilt on a larger plan than
before, by Charles the Bald, in the year 861, "to prevent
the Danes or Normans (says Felibien) from making themselves
masters of Paris so easily as they had already done so many
times," etc. -- "pour empescher que les Normans ne se
rendissent maistres de Paris aussi facilement qu'ils
l'avoient deja fait tant de lois," etc. -- Vol. i. p. 91,
folio. It is supposed to be the famous bridge afterwards
called "grand pont" or "pont au change", -- the most ancient
bridge at Paris, and the only one which existed at this
(39) Or, in Holmsdale, Surry: hence the proverb --
"This is Holmsdale,
Never conquer'd, never shall."
(40) The pirates of Armorica, now Bretagne; so called, because
they abode day and night in their ships; from lid, a ship,
and wiccian, to watch or abide day and night.
(41) So I understand the word. Gibson, from Wheloc, says -- "in
aetatis vigore;" a fact contradicted by the statement of
almost every historian. Names of places seldom occur in old
MSS. with capital initials.
(42) i.e. the feast of the Holy Innocents; a festival of great
(43) i.e. the secular clergy, who observed no rule; opposed to
the regulars, or monks.
(44) This poetical effusion on the coronation, or rather
consecration, of King Edgar, as well as the following on his
death, appears to be imitated in Latin verse by Ethelwerd at
the end of his curious chronicle. This seems at least to
prove that they were both written very near the time, as
also the eulogy on his reign, inserted 959.
(45) The following passage from Cotton Tiberius B iv., relating
to the accession of Edward the Martyr, should be added here
-- In his days,
On account of his youth,
The opponents of God
Broke through God's laws;
Alfhere alderman,
And others many;
And marr'd monastic rules;
Minsters they razed,
And monks drove away,
And put God's laws to flight --
Laws that King Edgar
Commanded the holy
Saint Ethelwold bishop
Firmly to settle --
Widows they stript
Oft and at random.
Many breaches of right
And many bad laws
Have arisen since;
And after-times
Prove only worse.
Then too was Oslac
The mighty earl
Hunted from England's shores.
(46) Florence of Worcester mentions three synods this year;
Kyrtlinege, Calne, and Ambresbyrig.
(47) Vid. "Hist. Eliens." ii. 6. He was a great benefactor to
the church of Ely.
(48) This was probably the veteran historian of that name, who
was killed in the severe encounter with the Danes at Alton
(Aethelingadene) in the year 1001.
(49) i.e. at Canterbury. He was chosen or nominated before, by
King Ethelred and his council, at Amesbury: vid. an. 994.
This notice of his consecration, which is confirmed by
Florence of Worcester, is now first admitted into the text
on the authority of three MSS.
(50) Not the present district so-called, but all that north of
the Sea of Severn, as opposed to West-Wales, another name
for Cornwall.
(51) See a more full and circumstantial account of these events,
with some variation of names, in Florence of Worcester.
(52) The successor of Elfeah, or Alphege, in the see of
Winchester, on the translation of the latter to the
archiepiscopal see of Canterbury.
(53) This passage, though very important, is rather confused,
from the Variations in the MSS.; so that it is difficult to
ascertain the exact proportion of ships and armour which
each person was to furnish. "Vid. Flor." an. 1008.
(54) These expressions in the present tense afford a strong proof
that the original records of these transactions are nearly
coeval with the transactions themselves. Later MSS. use the
past tense.
(55) i.e. the Chiltern Hills; from which the south-eastern part
of Oxfordshire is called the Chiltern district.
(56) "Leofruna abbatissa". -- Flor. The insertion of this
quotation from Florence of Worcester is important, as it
confirms the reading adopted in the text. The abbreviation
"abbt", instead of "abb", seems to mark the abbess. She was
the last abbess of St. Mildred's in the Isle of Thanet; not
Canterbury, as Harpsfield and Lambard say.
(57) This was a title bestowed on the queen.
(58) The "seven" towns mentioned above are reduced here to
"five"; probably because two had already submitted to the
king on the death of the two thanes, Sigferth and Morcar.
These five were, as originally, Leicester, Lincoln,
Stamford, Nottingham, and Derby. Vid. an. 942, 1013.
(59) There is a marked difference respecting the name of this
alderman in MSS. Some have Ethelsy, as above; others,
Elfwine, and Ethelwine. The two last may be reconciled, as
the name in either case would now be Elwin; but Ethelsy, and
Elsy are widely different. Florence of Worcester not only
supports the authority of Ethelwine, but explains it "Dei
(60) Matthew of Westminster says the king took up the body with
his own hands.
(61) Leofric removed the see to Exeter.
(62) So Florence of Worcester, whose authority we here follow for
the sake of perspicuity, though some of these events are
placed in the MSS. to very different years; as the story of
(63) i.e. The ships of Sweyne, who had retired thither, as before
(64) "Vid. Flor." A.D. 1049, and verbatim from him in the same
year, Sim. Dunelm. "inter X. Script. p. 184, I, 10. See
also Ordericus Vitalis, A.D. 1050. This dedication of the
church of St. Remi, a structure well worth the attention of
the architectural antiquary, is still commemorated by an
annual loire, or fair, on the first of October, at which the
editor was present in the year 1815, and purchased at a
stall a valuable and scarce history of Rheims, from which he
extracts the following account of the synod mentioned above:
-- "Il fut assemble a l'occasion de la dedicace de la
nouvelle eglise qu' Herimar, abbe de ce monastere, avoit
fait batir, seconde par les liberalites des citoyens, etc."
("Hist. de Reims", p. 226.) But, according to our
Chronicle, the pope took occasion from this synod to make
some general regulations which concerned all Christendom.
(65) Hereman and Aldred, who went on a mission to the pope from
King Edward, as stated in the preceding year.
(66) Nine ships were put out of commission the year before; but
five being left on the pay-list for a twelvemonth, they were
also now laid up.
(67) The ancient name of Westminster; which came into disuse
because there was another Thorney in Cambridgeshire.
(68) i.e. at Gloucester, according to the printed Chronicle;
which omits all that took place in the meantime at London
and Southwark.
(69) Now Westminster.
(70) i.e. Earl Godwin and his crew.
(71) i.e. from the Isle of Portland; where Godwin had landed
after the plunder of the Isle of Wight.
(72) i.e. Dungeness; where they collected all the ships stationed
in the great bay formed by the ports of Romney, Hithe, and
(73) i.e. Godwin and his son Harold.
(74) i.e. the tide of the river.
(75) Godwin's earldom consisted of Wessex, Sussex, and Kent:
Sweyn's of Oxford, Gloucester, Hereford, Somerset, and
Berkshire: and Harold's of Essex, East-Anglia, Huntingdon,
and Cambridgeshire.
(76) The church, dedicated to St. Olave, was given by Alan Earl
of Richmond, about thirty-three years afterwards, to the
first abbot of St. Mary's in York, to assist him in the
construction of the new abbey. It appears from a MS. quoted
by Leland, that Bootham-bar was formerly called "Galman-
hithe", not Galmanlith, as printed by Tanner and others.
(77) Called St. Ethelbert's minster; because the relics of the
holy King Ethelbert were there deposited and preserved.
(78) The place where this army was assembled, though said to be
very nigh to Hereford, was only so with reference to the
great distance from which some part of the forces came; as
they were gathered from all England. They met, I
conjecture, on the memorable spot called "Harold's Cross",
near Cheltenham, and thence proceeded, as here stated, to
(79) This was no uncommon thing among the Saxon clergy, bishops
and all. The tone of elevated diction in which the writer
describes the military enterprise of Leofgar and his
companions, testifies his admiration.
(80) See more concerning him in Florence of Worcester. His lady,
Godiva, is better known at Coventry. See her story at large
in Bromton and Matthew of Westminster.
(81) He died at his villa at Bromleage (Bromley in
Staffordshire). -- Flor.
(82) He built a new church from the foundation, on a larger plan.
The monastery existed from the earliest times.
(83) Florence of Worcester says, that he went through Hungary to
(84) This must not be confounded with a spire-steeple. The
expression was used to denote a tower, long before spires
were invented.
(85) Lye interprets it erroneously the "festival" of St. Martin.
-- "ad S. Martini festum:" whereas the expression relates to
the place, not to the time of his death, which is mentioned
immediately afterwards.
(86) This threnodia on the death of Edward the Confessor will be
found to correspond, both in metre and expression, with the
poetical paraphrase of Genesis ascribed to Caedmon.
(87) These facts, though stated in one MS. only, prove the early
cooperation of Tosty with the King of Norway. It is
remarkable that this statement is confirmed by Snorre, who
says that Tosty was with Harald, the King of Norway, in all
these expeditions. Vid "Antiq. Celto-Scand." p. 204.
(88) i.e. Harold, King of England; "our" king, as we find him
Afterwards called in B iv., to distinguish him from Harald,
King of Norway.
(89) Not only the twelve smacks with which he went into Scotland
during the summer, as before stated, but an accession of
force from all quarters.
(90) On the north bank of the Ouse, according to Florence of
Worcester; the enemy having landed at Richale (now
"Riccal"). Simeon of Durham names the spot "Apud Fulford,"
i.e. Fulford-water, south of the city of York.
(91) It is scarcely necessary to observe that the term "English"
begins about this time to be substituted for "Angles"; and
that the Normans are not merely the Norwegians, but the
Danes and other adventurers from the north, joined with the
forces of France and Flanders; who, we shall presently see,
overwhelmed by their numbers the expiring, liberties of
England. The Franks begin also to assume the name of
Frencyscan or "Frenchmen".
(92) i.e. in the expedition against the usurper William.
(93) i.e. -- threw off their allegiance to the Norman usurper,
and became voluntary outlaws. The habits of these outlaws,
or, at least, of their imitators and descendants in the next
century, are well described in the romance of "Ivanhoe".
(94) The author of the Gallo-Norman poem printed by Sparke
elevates his diction to a higher tone, when describing the
feasts of this same Hereward, whom he calls "le uthlage
(95) Or much "coin"; many "scaettae"; such being the denomination
of the silver money of the Saxons.
(96) Florence of Worcester and those who follow him say that
William proceeded as far as Abernethy; where Malcolm met
him, and surrendered to him.
(97) Whence he sailed to Bretagne, according to Flor. S. Dunelm,
etc.; but according to Henry of Huntingdon he fled directly
to Denmark, returning afterwards with Cnute and Hacco, who
invaded England With a fleet of 200 sail.
(98) i.e. Earl Waltheof.
(99) This notice of St. Petronilla, whose name and existence seem
scarcely to have been known to the Latin historians, we owe
exclusively to the valuable MS. "Cotton Tiberius" B lv. Yet
if ever female saint deserved to be commemorated as a
conspicuous example of early piety and christian zeal, it
must be Petronilla.
(100) The brevity of our Chronicle here, and in the two following
years, in consequence of the termination of "Cotton
Tiberius" B iv., is remarkable. From the year 1083 it
assumes a character more decidedly Anglo-Norman.
(101) i.e. In the service; by teaching them a new-fangled chant,
brought from Feschamp in Normandy, instead of that to which
they had been accustomed, and which is called the Gregorian
(102) Literally, "afeared of them" -- i.e. terrified by them.
(103) Probably along the open galleries in the upper story of the
(104) "Slaegan", in its first sense, signifies "to strike
violently"; whence the term "sledge-hammer". This
consideration will remove the supposed pleonasm in the Saxon
phrase, which is here literally translated.
(105) "Gild," Sax.; which in this instance was a land-tax of one
shilling to a yardland.
(106) -- and of Clave Kyrre, King of Norway. Vid. "Antiq.
(107) Because there was a mutiny in the Danish fleet; which was
carried to such a height, that the king, after his return to
Denmark, was slain by his own subjects. Vid. "Antiq. Celto-
Scand", also our "Chronicle" A.D. 1087.
(108) i.e. a fourth part of an acre.
(109) At Winchester; where the king held his court at Easter in
the following year; and the survey was accordingly deposited
there; whence it was called "Rotulus Wintoniae", and "Liber
(110) An evident allusion to the compilation of Doomsday book,
already described in A.D. 1085.
(111) Uppe-land, Sax. -- i.e. village-church.
(112) i.e. jurisdiction. We have adopted the modern title of the
district; but the Saxon term occurs in many of the ancient
evidences of Berkeley Castle.
(113) i.e. of the conspirators.
(114) Literally "became his man" -- "Ic becom eowr man" was the
formula of doing homage.
(115) Literally a "gossip"; but such are the changes which words
undergo in their meaning as well as in their form, that a
title of honour formerly implying a spiritual relationship
in God, is now applied only to those whose conversation
resembles the contemptible tittle-tattle of a Christening.
(116) From this expression it is evident, that though preference
was naturally and properly given to hereditary claims, the
monarchy of Scotland, as well as of England, was in
principle "elective". The doctrine of hereditary, of
divine, of indefeasible "right", is of modern growth.
(117) See the following year towards the end, where Duncan is
said to be slain.
(118) Peitevin, which is the connecting link between
"Pictaviensem" and "Poitou".
(119) Now called Southampton, to distinguish it from Northampton,
but the common people in both neighbourhoods generally say
"Hamton" to this day (1823).
(120) The title is now Earl of Shrewsbury.
(121) The fourth of April. Vid. "Ord. Vit."
(122) Commonly called "Peter-pence".
(123) Literally "head-men, or chiefs". The term is still
retained with a slight variation in the north of Europe, as
the "hetman" Platoff of celebrated memory.
(124) This name is now written, improperly, Cadogan; though the
ancient pronunciation continues. "Cadung", "Ann. Wav."
erroneously, perhaps, for "Cadugn".
(125) It was evidently, therefore, not on Michaelmas day, but
during the continuance of the mass or festival which was
celebrated till the octave following.
(126) In the original "he"; so that the Saxons agreed with the
Greeks and Romans with respect to the gender of a comet.
(127) Literally "took leave": hence the modern phrase to signify
the departure of one person from another, which in feudal
times could not be done without leave or permission formally
(128) That is, within the twelve days after Christmas, or the
interval between Christmas day, properly called the
Nativity, and the Epiphany, the whole of which was called
Christmas-tide or Yule-tide, and was dedicated to feasting
and mirth.
(129) The King of Norway and his men. "Vid. Flor."
(130) His monument is still to be seen there, a plain gravestone
of black marble, of the common shape called "dos d'ane";
such as are now frequently seen, though of inferior
materials, in the churchyards of villages; and are only one
remove from the grassy sod.
(131) i.e. before he left Winchester for London; literally
"there-right" -- an expression still used in many parts of
England. Neither does the word "directly", which in its
turn has almost become too vulgar to be used, nor its
substitute, "immediately", which has nearly superseded it,
appear to answer the purpose so well as the Saxon, which is
equally expressive with the French "sur le champ".
(132) This expression shows the adherence of the writer to the
Saxon line of kings, and his consequent satisfaction in
recording this alliance of Henry with the daughter of
Margaret of Scotland.
(133) "Auvergne" at that time was an independent province, and
formed no part of France. About the middle of the
fourteenth century we find Jane, Countess of Auvergne and
Boulogne, and Queen of France, assisting in the dedication
of the church of the Carmelites at Paris, together with
Queen Jeanne d'Evreux, third wife and widow of Charles IV.,
Blanche of Navarre, widow of Philip VI., and Jeanne de
France, Queen of Navarre. -- Felib. "Histoire de Paris",
vol. I, p. 356.
(134) A title taken from a town in Normandy, now generally
written Moretaine, or Moretagne; de Moreteon, de Moritonio,
(135) "cena Domini" -- commonly called Maundy Thursday.
(136) Now Tinchebrai.
(137) Matilda, Mathilde, or Maud.
(138) Henry V. of Germany, the son of Henry IV.
(139) Or, "in the early part of the night," etc.
(140) That is, the territory was not a "fee simple", but subject
to "taillage" or taxation; and that particular species is
probably here intended which is called in old French "en
queuage", an expression not very different from that in the
text above.
(141) i.e. to the earldom of Flanders.
(142) "Mense Julio". -- Flor.
(143) We have still the form of saying "Nolo episcopari", when a
see is offered to a bishop.
(144) i.e. East Bourne in Sussex; where the king was waiting for
a fair wind to carry him over sea.
(145) The Nativity of the Virgin Mary.
(146) i.e. an inclosure or park for deer. This is now called
Blenheim Park, and is one of the few old parks which still
remain in this country.
(147) This may appear rather an anticipation of the modern see of
Salisbury, which was not then in existence; the borough of
Old Saturn, or "Saresberie", being then the episcopal seat.
(148) St. Osythe, in Essex; a priory rebuilt A. 1118, for canons
of the Augustine order, of which there are considerable remains.
(149) i.e. Of the Earl of Anjou.
(150) The writer means, "the remainder of this year"; for the
feast of Pentecost was already past, before the king left
(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.
(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.


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