The History of England From the Norman Conquest
George Burton Adams

Part 2 out of 9

the institution won a new influence in the life of the nation. The number
of monks grew rapidly; new monasteries were everywhere established, of
which the best remembered, the Conqueror's abbey of Battle, with the high
altar of its church standing where Harold's standard had stood in the
memorable fight, is only an example. Many of these new foundations were
daughter-houses of great French monasteries, and it is a significant fact
that by the end of the reign of William's son Henry, Cluny, the source of
this monastic reformation for the world, had sent seventeen colonies into
England. Wealth poured into these establishments from the gifts of king
and barons and common men alike. Their buildings grew in number and in
magnificence, and the poor and suffering of the realm received their
share in the new order of things, through a wider and better organized

With this new monastic life began a new era of learning. Schools were
everywhere founded or renewed. The universal language of Christendom took
once more its proper place as the literary language of the cloister,
although the use of English lingered for a time here and there. England
caught at last the theological eagerness of the continent in the age when
the stimulus of the new dialectic method was beginning to be felt, and soon
demanded to be heard in the settlement of the problems of the thinking
world. Lanfranc continued to write as Archbishop of Canterbury.[5] Even
something that may be called a literary spirit in an age of general
barrenness was awakened. Poems were produced not unworthy of mention, and
the generation of William's sons was not finished when such histories had
been written as those of Eadmer and William of Malmesbury, superior in
conception and execution to anything produced in England since the days of
Bede. In another way the stimulus of these new influences showed itself in
an age of building, and by degrees the land was covered with those vast
monastic and cathedral churches which still excite our admiration and
reveal to us the fact that the narrow minds of what we were once pleased to
call the dark ages were capable, in one direction at least, of great and
lofty conceptions. Norman ideals of massive strength speak to us as clearly
from the arches of Winchester or the piers of Gloucester as from the firm
hand and stern rule of William or Henry.

In general the Conquest incorporated England closely, as has already been
said, with that organic whole of life and achievement which we call
Christendom. This was not more true of the ecclesiastical side of things
than of the political or constitutional. But the Church of the eleventh
century included within itself relatively many more than the Church of
to-day of those activities which quickly respond to a new stimulus and
reveal a new life by increased production. The constitutional changes
involved in the Conquest, and directly traceable to it through a long
line of descent, though more slowly realized and for long in less
striking forms, were in truth destined to produce results of greater
permanence and a wider influence. The final result of the Norman Conquest
was a constitutional creation, new in the history of the world. Nothing
like this followed in the sphere of the Church. But for a generation or
two the abundant vigour which flowed through the renewed religious life
of Europe, and the radical changes which were necessary to bring England
into full harmony with it, made the ecclesiastical revolution seem the
most impressive and the most violent of the changes which took place in
this age in English public organization and life. If we may trust a later
chronicler, whose record is well supported by independent and earlier
evidence, in the same year in which these legatine councils met, and in
which the reformation of the Church was begun, there was introduced an
innovation, so far as the Saxon Church is concerned, which would have
seemed to the leaders of the reform party hostile to their cause had they
not been so familiar with it elsewhere, or had they been conscious of the
full meaning of their own demands. Matthew Paris, in the thirteenth
century, records that, in 1070, the king decreed that all bishoprics and
abbacies which were holding baronies, and which heretofore had been free
from all secular obligations, should be liable to military service; and
caused to be enrolled, according to his own will, the number of knights
which should be due from each in time of war. Even if this statement were
without support, it would be intrinsically probable at this or some near
date. The endowment lands of bishopric and abbey, or rather a part of
these lands in each case, would inevitably be regarded as a fief held of
the crown, and as such liable to the regular feudal services. This was
the case in every feudal land, and no one would suppose that there should
be any exception in England. The amount of the service was arbitrarily
fixed by the king in these ecclesiastical baronies, just as it was in the
lay fiefs. The fact was important enough to attract the notice of the
chroniclers because the military service, regulated in this way, would
seem to be more of an innovation than the other services by which the
fief was held, like the court service, for example, though it was not so
in reality.

This transformation in life and culture was wrought in the English Church
with the full sanction and support of the king. In Normandy, as well as in
England, was this the case. The plans of the reform party had been carried
out more fully in some particulars in these lands than the Church alone
would have attempted at the time, because they had convinced the judgment
of the sovereign and won his favour. At every step of the process where
there was need, the power of the State had been at the command of the
Church, to remove abuses or to secure the introduction of reforms. But
with the theocratic ideas which went with these reforms in the teaching of
the Church William had no sympathy. The leaders of the reformation might
hold to the ideal supremacy of pope over king, and to the superior mission
and higher power of the Church as compared with the State, but there could
be no practical realization of these theories in any Norman land so long
as the Conqueror lived. In no part of Europe had the sovereign exercised
a greater or more direct power over the Church than in Normandy. All
departments of its life were subject to his control, if there was reason
to exert it. This had been true for so long a time that the Church was
accustomed to the situation and accepted it without complaint. This power
William had no intention of yielding. He proposed to exercise it in
England as he had in Normandy,[6] and, even in this age of fierce conflict
with its great temporal rival, the emperor, the papacy made no sharply
drawn issue with him on these points. There could be no question of the
headship of the world in his case, and on the vital moral point he was too
nearly in harmony with the Church to make an issue easy. On the importance
of obeying the monastic rule, the celibacy of the clergy, and the purchase
of ecclesiastical office, he agreed in theory with the disciples of
Cluny.[7] But, if he would not sell a bishopric, he was determined that
the bishop should be his man; he stood ready to increase the power and
independence of the Church, but always as an organ of the State, as a part
of the machine through which the government was carried on.

It is quite within the limits of possibility that, in his negotiations
with Rome before his invasion of England, William may have given the pope
to understand, in some indefinite and informal way, that if he won the
kingdom, he would hold it of St. Peter. In accepting the consecrated
banner which the pope sent him, he could hardly fail to know that he
might be understood to be acknowledging a feudal dependence. When the
kingdom was won, however, he found himself unwilling to carry out such an
arrangement, whether tacitly or openly promised. To Gregory VII's demand
for his fealty he returned a respectful but firm refusal. The sovereignty
of England was not to be diminished; he would hold the kingdom as freely
as his predecessors had done. Peter's pence, which it belonged of right
to England to pay, should be regularly collected and sent to Rome, but no
right of rule, even theoretical, over king or kingdom, could be allowed
the pope.

An ecclesiastical historian whose childhood and early youth fell in
William's reign, and who was deeply impressed with the strong control
under which he held the Church, has recorded three rules to govern the
relation between Church and State, which he says were established by
William.[8] These are: 1, that no one should be recognized as pope in
England except at his command, nor any papal letters received without his
permission; 2, that no acts of the national councils should be binding
without his sanction; 3, that none of his barons or servants should be
excommunicated, even for crimes committed, without his consent. Whether
these were consciously formulated rules or merely generalizations from his
conduct, they state correctly the principles of his action, and exhibit
clearly in one most important sphere the unlimited power established by
the Norman Conquest.

To this year, 1070, in which was begun the reformation of the Church,
was assigned at a later time another work of constitutional interest.
The unofficial compiler of a code of laws, the Leges Edwardi, written
in the reign of Henry I, and drawn largely from the legislation of the
Saxon kings, ascribed his work, after a fashion not unusual with
writers of his kind, to the official act of an earlier king. He relates
that a great national inquest was ordered by King William in this year,
to ascertain and establish the laws of the English. Each county elected
a jury of twelve men, who knew the laws, and these juries coming
together in the presence of the king declared on oath what were the
legal customs of the land. So runs the preface of the code which was
given out as compiled from this testimony. Such a plan and procedure
would not be out of harmony with what we know of William's methods
and policy. The machinery of the jury, which was said to be employed,
was certainly introduced into England by the first Norman king, and
was used by him for the establishment of facts, both in national
undertakings like the Domesday Book and very probably in local cases
arising in the courts. We know also that he desired to leave the old
laws undisturbed so far as possible, and the year 1070 is one in which
an effort to define and settle the future legal code of the state would
naturally fall. But the story must be rejected as unhistorical. An
event of such importance as this inquisition must have been, if it
took place, could hardly have occurred without leaving its traces in
contemporary records of some sort, and an official code of this kind
would have produced results in the history of English law of which we
find no evidence. The Saxon law and the machinery of the local courts
did survive the Conquest with little change, but no effort was made to
reduce the customs of the land to systematic and written form until a
later time, until a time indeed when the old law was beginning to give
place to the new.

[4] See H. Bohmer, Die Falschungen Erzbischof Lanfranks van Canterbury
(Leipzig, 1902).

[5] Boehmer, Kirche und Staat in England und in der Normandie,
pp. 103-106.

[6] Eadmer, Historia Novorum, p. 9.

[7] Boehmer, Kirche und Staat, pp. 126 ff.

[8] Eadmer, Hist. Nov., p. 10.



Political events had not waited for the reformation of the Church, and
long before these reforms were completed, England had become a thoroughly
settled state under the new king. The beginning of the year 1070 is a
turning-point in the reign of William. The necessity for fighting was not
over, but from this date onwards there was no more fighting for the
actual possession of the land. The irreconcilables had still to be dealt
with; in one small locality they retained even yet some resisting power;
the danger of foreign invasion had again to be met: but not for one
moment after William's return from the devastation of the north and west
was there even the remotest possibility of undoing the Conquest.

The Danes had withdrawn from the region of the Humber, but they had not
left the country. In the Isle of Ely, then more nearly an actual island
than in modern times, was a bit of unsubdued England, and there they
landed for a time. In this position, surrounded by fens and interlacing
rivers, accessible at only a few points, occurred the last resistance
which gave the Normans any trouble. The rich mythology which found its
starting-point in this resistance, and especially in its leader,
Hereward, we no longer mistake for history; but we should not forget that
it embodies the popular attitude towards those who stubbornly resisted
the Norman, as it was handed on by tradition, and that it reveals almost
pathetically the dearth of heroic material in an age which should have
produced it in abundance. Hereward was a tenant in a small way of the
abbey of Peterborough. What led him into such a determined revolt we do
not know, unless he was among those who were induced to join the Danes
after their arrival, in the belief that their invasion would be
successful. Nor do we know what collected in the Isle of Ely a band of
men whom the Peterborough chronicler was probably not wrong, from any
point of view, in calling outlaws. A force of desperate men could hope to
maintain themselves for some time in the Isle of Ely; they could not hope
for anything more than this. The coming of the Danes added little real
strength, though the country about believed for the moment, as it had
done north of the Humber, that the tide had turned. The first act of the
allies was the plunder and destruction of the abbey and town of
Peterborough shortly after the meeting of the council of Windsor. The
English abbot Brand had died the previous autumn, and William had
appointed in his place a Norman, Turold, distinguished as a good fighter
and a hard ruler. These qualities had led the king to select him for this
special post, and the plundering of the abbey, so far as it was not mere
marauding, looks like an answering act of spite. The Danes seem to have
been disposed at first to hold Peterborough, but Turold must have brought
them proposals of peace from William, which induced them to withdraw at
last from England with the secure possession of their plunder.

Hereward and his men accomplished nothing more that year, but others
gradually gathered in to them, including some men of note. Edwin and
Morcar had once more changed sides, or had fled from William's court to
escape some danger there. Edwin had been killed in trying to make his way
through to Scotland, but Morcar had joined the refugees in Ely. Bishop
Ethelwin of Durham was also there, and a northern thane, Siward Barn. In
1074 William advanced in person against the "camp of refuge." A fleet was
sent to blockade one side while the army attacked from the other. It was
found necessary to build a long causeway for the approach of the army and
around this work the fiercest fighting occurred; but its building could
not be stopped, and just as it was finished the defenders of the Isle
surrendered. The leaders were imprisoned, Morcar in Normandy for the rest
of William's reign. The common men were mutilated and released. Hereward
escaped to sea, but probably afterwards submitted to William and received
his favour. Edric the Wild, who had long remained unsubdued on the Welsh
borders, had also yielded before the surrender of the Isle of Ely, and
the last resistance that can be called in any sense organized was at an

The comparatively easy pacification of the land, the early submission to
their fate of so strong a nation, was in no small degree aided by the
completeness with which the country was already occupied by Norman
colonies, if we may call them so. Probably before the surrender of Ely
every important town was under the immediate supervision of some Norman
baron, with a force of his own. In all the strategically important places
fortified posts had been built and regular garrisons stationed. Even the
country districts had to a large extent been occupied in a similar way.
It is hardly probable that as late as 1072 any considerable area in
England had escaped extensive confiscations. Everywhere the Norman had
appeared to take possession of his fief, to establish new tenants, or to
bring the old ones into new relations with himself, to arrange for the
administration of his manors, and to leave behind him the agents who were
responsible to himself for the good conduct of affairs. If he made but
little change in the economic organization of his property, and disturbed
the labouring class but slightly or not at all, he would give to a wide
district a vivid impression of the strength of the new order and of the
hopelessness of any resistance.

Already Norman families, who were to make so much of the history of the
coming centuries, were rooted in the land. Montfort and Mortimer; Percy,
Beauchamp, and Mowbray; Ferrets and Lacy; Beaumont, Mandeville, and
Grantmesnil; Clare, Bigod, and Bohun; and many others of equal or nearly
equal name. All these were as yet of no higher than baronial rank, but if
we could trust the chroniclers, we should be able to make out in addition
a considerable list of earldoms which William had established by this
date or soon afterwards, in many parts of England, and in these were
other great names. According to this evidence, his two half brothers, the
children of his mother by her marriage with Herlwin de Conteville, had
been most richly provided for: Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, as Earl of Kent,
and Robert, Count of Mortain, with a princely domain in the south-west as
Earl of Cornwall. One of the earliest to be made an earl was his old
friend and the son of his guardian, William Fitz Osbern, who had been
created Earl of Hereford; he was now dead and was succeeded by his son
Roger, soon very justly to lose title and land. Shrewsbury was held by
Roger of Montgomery; Chester by Hugh of Avranches, the second earl;
Surrey by William of Warenne; Berkshire by Walter Giffard. Alan Rufus of
Britanny was Earl of Richmondshire; Odo of Champagne, Earl of Holderness;
and Ralph of Guader, who was to share in the downfall of Roger Fitz
Osbern, Earl of Norfolk. One Englishman, who with much less justice was
to be involved in the fate which rightly befell these two Norman earls,
was also earl at this time, Watheof, who had lately succeeded Gospatric
in the troubled earldom of Northumberland, and who also held the earldoms
of Northampton and Huntingdon. These men certainly held important
lordships in the districts named, but whether so many earldoms, in form
and law, had really been established by the Conqueror at this date, or
were established by him at any later time, is exceedingly doubtful. The
evidence of the chroniclers is easily shown to be untrustworthy in the
matter of titles, and the more satisfactory evidence which we obtain from
charters and the Domesday Book does not justify this extensive list.
But the historian does not find it possible to decide with confidence in
every individual case. Of the earldoms of this list it is nearly certain
that we must drop out those of Cornwall, Holderness, Surrey, Berkshire,
and Richmond, and almost or quite certain that we may allow to stand
those of Waltheof and William Fitz Osbern, of Kent, Chester, and

Independently of the question of evidence, it is difficult to see what
there was in the general situation in England which could have led the
Conqueror to so wide a departure from the established practice of the
Norman dukes as the creation of so many earls would be. In Normandy the
title of count was practically unknown outside the ducal family. The
feudal count as found in other French provinces, the sovereign of a
little principality as independent of the feudal holder of the province
as he himself was of the king, did not exist there. The four lordships
which bore the title of count, Talou or Arques, Eu, Evreux, and Mortain,
were reserved for younger branches of the ducal house, and carried with
them no sovereign rights. The tradition of the Saxon earldom undoubtedly
exercised by degrees a great influence on the royal practice in England,
and by the middle of the twelfth century earls existed in considerable
numbers; but the lack of conclusive evidence for the existence of many
under William probably reflects the fact of his few creations. But in the
cases which we can certainly trace to William, it was not the old Saxon
earldom which was revived. The new earldom, with the possible exception
of one or two earls who, like the old Prankish margrave, or the later
palatine count, were given unusual powers to support unusual military
responsibilities, was a title, not an office. It was not a government of
provinces, but a mark of rank; and the danger involved in the older
office, of the growth of independent powers within the state under local
dynasties which would be, though existing under other forms, as difficult
to control as the local dynasties of feudal France, was removed once for
all by the introduction of the Norman centralization. That no serious
trouble ever came from the so-called palatine earldoms is itself evidence
of the powerful monarchy ruling in England.

This centralization was one of the great facts of the Conquest. In it
resided the strength of the Norman monarchy, and it was of the utmost
importance as well in its bearing on the future history of England.
Delolme, one of the earliest of foreign writers on the English
constitution, remarks that the explanation of English liberty is to be
found in the absolute power of her early kings, and the most careful
modern student can do no more than amplify this statement. That this
centralization was the result of any deliberate policy on the part of
William can hardly be maintained. A conscious modification of the feudal
system as he introduced it into England, with a view to the preservation
of his own power, has often been attributed to the Conqueror. But the
political insight which would have enabled him to recognize the evil
tendencies inherent in the only institutional system he had ever known,
and to plan and apply remedies proper to counteract these tendencies but
not inconsistent with the system itself, would indicate a higher quality
of statesmanship than anything else in his career shows him to possess.
More to the purpose is the fact that there is no evidence of any such
modification, while the drift of evidence is against it. William was
determined to be strong, not because of any theory which he had formed of
the value of strength, or of the way to secure it, but because he was
strong and had always been so since he recovered the full powers of a
sovereign in the struggles which followed his minority. The concentration
of all the functions of sovereignty in his own hands, and the reservation
of the allegiance of all landholders to himself, which strengthened his
position in England, had strengthened it first in Normandy.

Intentional weakening of the feudal barons has been seen in the fact that
the manors which they held were scattered about in different parts of
England, so that the formation of an independent principality, or a quick
concentration of strength, would not be possible. That this was a fact
characteristic of England is probably true. But it is sufficiently
accounted for in part by the gradual spread of the Norman occupation, and
of the consequent confiscations and re-grants, and in part by the fact
that it had always been characteristic of England, so that when the
holding of a given Saxon thane was transferred bodily to the Norman
baron, he found his manors lying in no continuous whole. In any case,
however, the divided character of the Norman baronies in England must not
be pressed too far. The grants to his two half brothers, and the earldoms
of Chester and Shrewsbury on the borders of Wales, are enough to show
that William was not afraid of principalities within the state, and other
instances on a somewhat smaller scale could be cited. Nor ought
comparison to be made between English baronies, or earldoms even, and
those feudal dominions on the continent which had been based on the
counties of the earlier period. In these, sovereign rights over a large
contiguous territory, originally delegated to an administrative officer,
had been transformed into a practically independent power. The proper
comparison is rather between the English baronies of whatever rank and
those continental feudal dominions which were formed by natural process
half economic and half political, without definite delegation of
sovereign powers, within or alongside the provincial countships, and this
comparison would show less difference.

If the Saxon earl did not survive the Conquest in the same position as
before, the Saxon sheriff did. The office as the Normans found it in
England was in so many ways similar to that of the viscount, vicecomes,
which still survived in Normandy as an administrative office, that it was
very easy to identify the two and to bring the Norman name into common
use as an equivalent of the Saxon. The result of the new conditions was
largely to increase the sheriff's importance and power. As the special
representative of the king in the county, he shared in the increased
power of his master, practically the whole administrative system of the
state, as it affected its local divisions, was worked through him.
Administrator of the royal domains, responsible for the most important
revenues, vehicle of royal commands of all kinds, and retaining the
judicial functions which had been associated with the office in Saxon
times, he held a position, not merely of power but of opportunity.
Evidence is abundant of great abuse of power by the sheriff at the
expense of the conquered. Nor did the king always escape these abuses,
for the office, like that of the Carolingian count, to which it was in
many ways similar, contained a possibility of use for private and
personal advantage which could be corrected, even by so strong a
sovereign as the Anglo-Norman, only by violent intervention at intervals.

Some time after the Conquest, but at a date unknown, William set aside a
considerable portion of Hampshire to form a hunting ground, the New
Forest, near his residence at Winchester. The chroniclers of the next
generation describe the formation of the Forest as the devastation of a
large tract of country in which churches were destroyed, the inhabitants
driven out, and the cultivated land thrown back into wilderness, and they
record a contemporary belief that the violent deaths of so many members
of William's house within the bounds of the Forest, including two of his
sons, were acts of divine vengeance and proofs of the wickedness of the
deed. While this tradition of the method of making the Forest is still
generally accepted, it has been called in question for reasons that make
it necessary, in my opinion, to pronounce it doubtful. It is hardly
consistent with the general character of William. Such statements of
chroniclers are too easily explained to warrant us in accepting them
without qualification. The evidence of geology and of the history of
agriculture indicates that probably the larger part of this tract was
only thinly populated, and Domesday Book shows some portions of the
Forest still occupied by cultivators.[9] The forest laws of the Norman
kings were severe in the extreme, and weighed cruelly on beasts and men
alike, and on men of rank as well as simple freemen. They excited a
general and bitter hostility which lasted for generations, and prepared a
natural soil for the rapid growth of a partially mythical explanation to
account in a satisfactory way for the dramatic accidents which followed
the family of the Conqueror in the Forest, by the direct and tangible
wickedness which had attended the making of the hunting ground. It is
probable also that individual acts of violence did accompany the making,
and that some villages and churches were destroyed. But the likelihood is
so strong against a general devastation that history should probably
acquit William of the greater crime laid to his charge, and refuse to
place any longer the devastation of Hampshire in the same class with that
of Northumberland.

After the surrender of Ely, William's attention was next given to
Scotland. In 1070 King Malcolm had invaded northern England, but without
results beyond laying waste other portions of that afflicted country. It
was easier to show the Scots than the Danes that William was capable of
striking back, and in 1072, after a brief visit to Normandy, an army
under the king's command advanced along the east coast with an
accompanying fleet. No attempt was made to check this invasion in the
field, and only when William had reached Abernethy did Malcolm come to
meet him. What arrangement was made between them it is impossible to say,
but it was one that was satisfactory to William at the time. Probably
Malcolm became his vassal and gave him hostages for his good conduct, but
if so, his allegiance did not bind him very securely. Norman feudalism
was no more successful than the ordinary type, in dealing with a reigning
sovereign who was in vassal relations.

The critical years of William's conquest of England had been undisturbed
by any dangers threatening his continental possessions. Matilda, who
spent most of the time in Normandy, with her councillors, had maintained
peace and order with little difficulty; but in the year after his
Scottish expedition he was called to Normandy by a revolt in his early
conquest, the county of Maine, which it required a formidable campaign to
subdue. William's plan to attach this important province to Normandy by a
marriage between his son Robert and the youngest sister of the last count
had failed through the death of the proposed heiress, and the county had
risen in favour of her elder sister, the wife of the Italian Marquis Azo
or of her son. Then a successful communal revolution had occurred in the
city of Le Mans, anticipating an age of rebellion against the feudal
powers, and the effort of the commune to bring the whole county into
alliance with itself, though nearly successful for the moment at least,
had really prepared the way for the restoration of the Norman power by
dividing the party opposed to it. William crossed to Normandy in 1073,
leading a considerable army composed in part of English. The campaign was
a short one. Revolt was punished, as William sometimes punished it, by
barbarously devastating the country. Le Mans did not venture to stand a
siege, but surrendered on William's sworn promise to respect its ancient
liberty. By a later treaty with Fulk of Anjou, Robert was recognized as
Count of Maine, but as a vassal of Anjou and not of Normandy.

William probably returned to England after the settlement of these
affairs, but of his doings there nothing is recorded, and for some time
troubles in his continental dominions occupied more of his attention than
the interests of the island. He was in Normandy, indeed, during the whole
of that "most severe tempest," as a writer of the next generation called
it, which broke upon a part of England in the year 1075; and the first
feudal insurrection in English history was put down, as more serious ones
were destined to be before the fall of feudalism, by the king's officers
and the men of the land in the king's absence. To determine the causes of
this insurrection, we need to read between the lines of the story as it
is told us by the writers of that and the next age. Elaborate reasons for
their hostility to William's government were put into the mouths of the
conspirators by one of these writers, but these would mean nothing more
than a general statement that the king was a very severe and stern ruler,
if it were not for the more specific accusation that he had rewarded
those who had fought for him very inadequately, and through avarice had
afterward reduced the value even of these gifts.[10] A passage in a letter
of Lanfranc's to one of the leaders of the rebellion, Roger, Earl of
Hereford, written evidently after Roger's dissatisfaction had become known
but before any open rebellion, gives us perhaps a key to the last part of
this complaint.[11] He tells him that the king, revoking, we infer, former
orders, has directed his sheriffs not to hold any more pleas in the earl's
land until he can return and hear the case between him and the sheriffs.
In a time when the profits of a law court were important to the lord who
had the right to hold it, the entry of the king's officers into a
"liberty" to hear cases there as the representative of the king, and to
his profit, would naturally seem to the baron whose income was affected a
diminution of the value of his fief, due to the king's avarice. Nothing
could show us better the attitude natural to a strong king towards feudal
immunities than the facts which these words of Lanfranc's imply, and
though we know of no serious trouble arising from this reason for a
century or more, it is clear that the royal view of the matter never
changed, and finally like infringements on the baronial courts became one
of the causes of the first great advance towards constitutional liberty,
the Magna Carta.

This letter of Lanfranc's to Roger of Hereford is a most interesting
illustration of his character and of his diplomatic skill, and it shows
us clearly how great must have been his usefulness to William. Though it
is perfectly evident to us that he suspects the loyalty of Roger to be
seriously tempted, there is not a word of suspicion expressed in the
letter, but the considerations most likely to keep him loyal are strongly
urged. With the exception of the sentence about the sheriffs, and formal
phrases at the beginning and end, the letter runs thus: "Our lord, the
king of the English, salutes you and us all as faithful subjects of his
in whom he has great confidence, and commands us that as much as we are
able we should have care of his castles, lest, which God avert, they
should be betrayed to his enemies; wherefore I ask you, as I ought to
ask, most dear son, whom, as God is witness, I love with my whole heart
and desire to serve, and whose father I loved as my soul, that you take
such care of this matter and of all fidelity to our lord the king that
you may have the praise of God, and of him, and of all good men. Hold
always in your memory how your glorious father lived, and how faithfully
he served his lord, and with how great energy he acquired many things and
held them with great honour.... I should like to talk freely with you; if
this is your will, let me know where we can meet and talk together of
your affairs and of our lord the king's. I am ready to go to meet you
wherever you direct."

The letter had no effect. Roger seems to have been a man of violent
temper, and there was a woman in this case also, though we do not know
that she herself influenced the course of events. The insurrection is
said to have been determined upon, and the details of action planned,
at the marriage of Roger's sister to Ralph Guader, Earl of Norfolk, a
marriage which William had forbidden.

There was that bride-ale
That was many men's bale,

said the Saxon chronicler, and it was so indeed. The two chief
conspirators persuaded Earl Waltheof to join them, at least for the
moment, and their plan was to drive the king out of England and to
divide the kingdom between them into three great principalities, "for
we wish," the Norman historian Orderic makes them say, "to restore in
all respects the kingdom of England as it was formerly in the time of
King Edward," a most significant indication of the general opinion
about the effect of the Conquest, even if the words are not theirs.

After the marriage the Earls of Norfolk and Hereford separated to raise
their forces and bring them together, when they believed they would be
too strong for any force which could be raised to act against them. They
counted on the unpopularity of the Normans and on the king's difficulties
abroad which would prevent his return to England. The king did not
return, but their other hope proved fallacious. Bishop Wulfstan of
Worcester and Abbot Ethelwy of Evesham, both English prelates, with some
Norman help, cut off the line of communication in the west, and Earl
Roger could not force his way through. The two justiciars, William of
Warenne and Richard of Bienfaite, after summoning the earls to answer in
the king's court, with the aid of Bishop Odo and the Bishop of Coutances,
who was also a great English baron, raised an army of English as well as
Normans, and went to meet Earl Ralph, who was marching westwards.
Something like a battle took place, but the rebels were easily defeated.
Ralph fled back to Norwich, but it did not seem to him wise to stop
there. Leaving his wife to stand a siege in the castle, he sailed off to
hasten the assistance which had already been asked for from the Danes. A
Danish fleet indeed appeared off the coast, but it did nothing beyond
making a plundering raid in Yorkshire. Emma, the new-made wife of Earl
Ralph, seems to have been a good captain and to have had a good garrison.
The utmost efforts of the king's forces could not take the castle, and
she at last surrendered only on favourable terms. She was allowed to
retire to the continent with her forces. The terms which were granted
her, as they are made known in a letter from Lanfranc to William, are
especially interesting as giving us one of the earliest glimpses we have
of that extensive dividing out of land to under-vassals, the process of
subinfeudation, which must already have taken place on the estates
granted to the king's tenants in chief. A clear distinction was made
between the men who were serving Ralph because they held land of him, and
those who were merely mercenaries. Ralph's vassals, although they were in
arms against Ralph's lord, the king, were thought to be entitled to
better terms, and they secured them more easily than those who served him
for money. Ralph and Emma eventually lived out the life of a generation
of those days, on Ralph's Breton estates, and perished together in the
first crusade.

Their fellow-rebels were less fortunate. Roger surrendered himself to be
tried by the king's court, and was condemned "according to the Norman
law," we are told, to the forfeiture of his estates and to imprisonment
at the king's pleasure. From this he was never released. The family of
William's devoted guardian, Osbern, and of his no less devoted friend,
William Fitz Osbern, disappears from English history with the fall of
this imprudent representative, but not from the country. It has been
reserved for modern scholarship co prove the interesting fact of the
continuance for generations of the male line of this house, though in
minor rank and position, through the marriage of the son of Earl Roger,
with the heiress of Abergavenny in Wales.[12] The fate of Waltheof was
even more pathetic because less deserved. He had no part in the actual
rebellion. Whatever he may have sworn to do, under the influence of the
earls of stronger character, he speedily repented and made confession to
Lanfranc as to his spiritual adviser. Lanfranc urged him to cross at once
to Normandy and make his confession to the king himself. William received
him kindly, showed no disposition to regard the fault as a serious one,
and apparently promised him his forgiveness. Why, on his return to
England, he should have arrested him, and after two trials before his
court should have allowed him to be executed, "according to English law,"
we do not surely know. The hatred of his wife Judith, the king's niece,
is plainly implied, but is hardly enough to account for so radical a
departure from William's usual practice in this the only instance of a
political execution in his reign. English sympathy plainly took the side
of the earl. The monks of the abbey at Crowland, which he had favoured in
his lifetime, were allowed the possession of his body. Soon miracles were
wrought there, and he became, in the minds of monks and people, an
unquestioned martyr and saint.

This was the end of William's troubles in England which have any real
connexion with the Conquest. Malcolm of Scotland invaded Northumberland
once more, and harried that long-suffering region, but without result;
and an army of English barons, led by the king's son Robert, which
returned the invasion soon after, was easily able to force the king of
the Scots to renew his acknowledgment of subjection to England. The
failure of Walcher, Bishop of Durham, to keep his own subordinates in
order, led to a local riot, in which the bishop and many of his officers
and clergy were murdered, and which was avenged in his usual pitiless
style by the king's brother Odo. William himself invaded Wales with a
large force; received submissions, and opened the way for the extension
of the English settlements in that country. The great ambition of Bishop
Odo, and the increase of wealth and power which had come to him through
the generosity of his brother, led him to hope for still higher things,
and he dreamed of becoming pope. This was not agreeable to William, and
may even have seemed dangerous to him when the bishop began to collect
his friends and vassals for an expedition to Italy. Archbishop Lanfranc,
who had not found his brother prelate a comfortable neighbour in Kent,
suggested to the king, we are told, the exercise of his feudal rights
against him as his baron. The scene must have been a dramatic one, when
in a session of the curia regis William ordered his brother's arrest, and
when no one ventured to execute the order laid hands upon him himself,
exclaiming that he arrested, not the Bishop of Bayeux, but the Earl of
Kent. William must have had some strong reason for this action, for he
refused to consent to the release of his brother as long as he lived. At
one time what seemed like a great danger threatened from Denmark, in the
plans of King Canute to invade England with a vast host and deliver the
country from the foreigner. William brought over from Normandy a great
army of mercenaries to meet this danger, and laid waste the country
along the eastern coast that the enemy might find no supplies on landing;
but this Danish threat amounted to even less than the earlier ones, for
the fleet never so much as appeared off the coast. All these events are
but the minor incidents which might occur in any reign; the Conquest had
long been finished, and England had accepted in good faith her new

Much more of the last ten years of William's life was spent in Normandy
than in England. Revolts of unruly barons, attacks on border towns or
castles, disputes with the king of France, were constantly occupying him
with vexatious details, though with nothing of serious import. Most
vexatious of all was the conduct of his son Robert. With the eldest son
of William opens in English history a long line of the sons and brothers
of kings, in a few cases of kings themselves, who are gifted with popular
qualities, who make friends easily, but who are weak in character, who
cannot control men or refuse favours, passionate and selfish, hardly
strong enough to be violently wicked as others of the line are, but
causes of constant evil to themselves and their friends, and sometimes to
the state. And with him opens also the long series of quarrels in the
royal family, of which the French kings were quick to take advantage, and
from which they were in the end to gain so much. The ground of Robert's
rebellion was the common one of dissatisfaction with his position and his
father's refusal to part with any of his power in his favour. Robert was
not able to excite any real insurrection in Normandy, but with the aid of
his friends and of the French king he maintained a border war for some
time, and defended castles with success against the king. He is said
even, in one encounter, to have wounded and been on the point of slaying
his father. For some time he wandered in exile in the Rhine valley,
supported by gifts sent him by his mother, in spite of the prohibition of
her husband. Once he was reconciled with his father, only to begin his
rebellion again. When the end came, William left him Normandy, but people
thought at least that he did it unwillingly, foreseeing the evil which
his character was likely to bring on any land over which he ruled.

The year 1086 is remarkable for the formation of one of the most unique
monuments of William's genius as a ruler, and one of the most instructive
sources of information which we have of the condition of England during
his reign. At the Christmas meeting of the court, in 1085, it was
decided, apparently after much debate and probably with special reference
to the general land-tax, called the Danegeld, to form by means of
inquiries, officially made in each locality, a complete register of the
occupied lands of the kingdom, of their holders, and of their values. The
book in which the results of this survey of England were recorded was
carefully preserved in the royal treasury, and soon came to be regarded
as conclusive evidence in disputed questions which its entries would
concern. Not very long after the record was made it came to be popularly
known as the Domesday Book, and a hundred years later the writer on the
English financial system of the twelfth century, the author of the
"Dialogue concerning the Exchequer,"[13] explained the name as meaning
that the sentences derived from it were final, and without appeal, like
those of the last great day.

An especially interesting feature of this survey is the method which was
employed to make it. Two institutions which were brought into England by
the Conquest, the king's missi and the inquest, the forerunners of the
circuit judge and of the jury, were set in motion for this work; and the
organization of the survey is a very interesting foreshadowing of the
organization which a century later William's great-grandson was to give
to our judicial system in features which still characterize it, not
merely in England but throughout great continents of which William never
dreamed. Royal commissioners, or missi, were sent into each county. No
doubt the same body of commissioners went throughout a circuit of
counties. In each the county court was summoned to meet the
commissioners, just as later it was summoned to meet the king's justice
on his circuit. The whole "county" was present to be appealed to on
questions of particular importance or difficulty if it seemed necessary,
but the business of the survey as a rule was not done by the county
court. Each hundred was present by its sworn jury, exactly as in the
later itinerant justice court, and it was this jury which answered on
oath the questions submitted to it by the commissioners, exactly again as
in the later practice. Their knowledge might be reinforced, or their
report modified, by evidence of the men of the vill, or other smaller
sub-division of the county, who probably attended as in the older county
courts, and occasionally by the testimony of the whole shire; but in
general the information on which the survey was made up was derived from
the reports of the hundred juries. The questions which were submitted to
these juries show both the object of the survey and its thorough
character. They were required to tell the name of each manor and the name
of its holder in the time of King Edward and at the time of the inquiry;
the number of hides it contained; the number of ploughs employed in the
cultivation of the lord's domain land, and the number so used on the
lands held by the lord's men,--a rough way of determining the amount of
land under cultivation. Then the population of the manor was to be given
in classes: freemen and sokemen; villeins, cotters, and serfs; the amount
of forest and meadow; the number of pastures, mills, and fish-ponds; and
what the value of the manor was in the time of King Edward, at the date
of its grant by King William, and at the time of the inquiry. In some
cases evidently the jurors entered into such details of the live stock
maintained by the manor as to justify the indignant words of the Saxon
chronicler, that not "an ox nor a cow nor a swine was left that was not
set down in his writing."

The object of all this is plain enough. It was an assessment of the
property of the kingdom for purposes of taxation. The king wished to find
out, as indeed we are told in what may be considered a copy or an
abstract of the original writ directing the commissioners as to their
inquiries, whether he could get more from the kingdom in taxes than he
was then getting. But the record of this inquest has served far different
purposes in later times. It is a storehouse of information on many sides
of history, personal, family, geographical, and especially economic. It
tells us much also of institutions, but less than we could wish, and less
than it would have told us if its purpose had been less narrowly
practical. Indeed, this limiting of the record to a single definite
purpose, which was the controlling interest in making it, renders the
information which it gives us upon all the subjects in which we are now
most interested fragmentary and extremely tantalizing, and forces us to
use it with great caution. It remains, however, even with this
qualification, a most interesting collection of facts, unique in all the
Middle Ages, and a monument to the practical genius of the monarch who
devised it.

On August 1 of the same year in which the survey was completed, in a
great assembly on Salisbury Plain, an oath of allegiance to the king was
taken by all the land-holding men of England, no matter of whom they
held. This has been represented as an act of new legislation of great
institutional importance, but the view cannot be maintained. It is
impossible to suppose that all land-owners were present or that such an
oath had not been generally taken before; and the Salisbury instance was
either a renewal of it such as was occasionally demanded by kings of this
age, or possibly an emphatic enforcement of the principle in cases where
it had been neglected or overlooked, now perhaps brought to light by the

Already in 1083 Queen Matilda had died, to the lasting and sincere grief
of her husband; and now William's life was about to end in events which
were a fitting close to his stormy career. Border warfare along the
French boundary was no unusual thing, but something about a raid of the
garrison of Mantes, into Normandy, early in 1087, roused William's
especial anger. He determined that plundering in that quarter should
stop, and reviving old claims which had long been dormant he demanded the
restoration to Normandy of the whole French Vexin, of which Mantes was
the capital city. Philip treated his claims with contempt, and added a
coarse jest on William's corpulence which roused his anger, as personal
insults always did, to a white heat. The land around Mantes was cruelly
laid waste by his orders, and by a sudden advance the city was carried
and burnt down, churches and houses together. The heat and exertion of
the attack, together with an injury which he received while riding
through the streets of the city, by being thrown violently against the
pummel of his saddle by the stumbling of his horse, proved too much for
William in his physical condition, and he was carried back to Rouen to
die after a few weeks.

A monastic chronicler of a little later date, Orderic Vitalis, gives us a
detailed account of his death-bed repentance, but it was manifestly
written rather for the edification of the believer than to record
historical fact. It is interesting to note, however, that while William
is made to express the deepest sorrow for the numerous acts of wrong
which were committed in the process of the Conquest of England, there is
no word which indicates any repentance for the Conquest itself or belief
on William's part that he held England unjustly. He admits that it did
not come to him from his fathers, but the same sentence which contains
this admission affirms that he had gained it by the favour of God. It has
been strongly argued from these words, and from others like them, which
are put into the mouth of William later in this dying confession, when he
comes to dispose of his realms and treasures, that William was conscious
to himself that he did not possess any right to the kingdom of England
which he could pass on hereditarily to his heirs. These words might
without violence be made to yield this meaning, and yet it is impossible
to interpret them in this way on any sound principle of criticism,
certainly not as the foundation of any constitutional doctrine. There is
not a particle of support for this interpretation from any other source;
everything else shows that his son William succeeded him in England by
the same right and in the same way that Robert did in Normandy. William
speaks of himself in early charters, as holding England by hereditary
right. He might be ready to acknowledge that it had not come to him by
such right, but never that once having gained it he held it for himself
and his family by any less right than this. The words assigned to William
on his death-bed should certainly be interpreted by the words of the same
chronicler, after he has finished the confession; and these indicate some
doubt on William's part as to the effect of his death on the stability of
his conquest in England, and his great desire to hasten his son William
off to England with directions to Lanfranc as to his coronation before
the news of his own death should be spread abroad. They imply that he is
not sure who may actually become king in the tumults which may arise when
it becomes known that his own strong rule is ended; that rests with God:
but they express no doubt of the right of his heirs, nor of his own right
to determine which one among them shall succeed him.

With reluctance, knowing his disposition, William conceded Normandy to
Robert. The first-born son was coming to have special rights. More
important in this case was the fact that Robert's right to Normandy had
been formally recognized years before, and that recognition had never
been withdrawn. The barons of the duchy had sworn fealty to him as his
father's successor, and there was no time to put another heir in his
place, or to deal with the opposition that would surely result from the
attempt. William was his father's choice for England, and he was
despatched in all haste to secure the crown with the aid of Lanfranc. To
Henry was given only a sum of money, joined with a prophecy that he
should eventually have all that the king had had, a prophecy which was
certainly easy after the event, when it was written down, and which may
not have been difficult to a father who had studied carefully the
character of his sons. William was buried in the church of St. Stephen,
which he had founded in Caen, and the manner in which such foundations
were frequently made in those days was illustrated by the claim, loudly
advanced in the midst of the funeral service, that the land on which the
participants stood had been unjustly taken from its owners for the
Conqueror's church. It was now legally purchased for William's burial
place. The son, who was at the moment busy securing his kingdom in
England, afterwards erected in it a magnificent tomb to the memory of his

[9] Round, Victoria History of Hampshire, i. 412-413. But See
F. Baring in Engl. Hist. Rev. xvi. 427-438 (1901).

[10] Orderic Vitalis, ii. 260.

[11] Lanfranc, Opera (ed. Giles), i. 64.

[12] Round, Peerage Studies, pp. 181 ff.

[13] Dialogus de Scaccario, i. 16 (ed. Hughes, p. 108).



William, the second son of the Conqueror, followed with no filial
compunction his father's command that he should leave his death-bed and
cross the channel at once to secure the kingdom of England. At the port
of embarkation he learned that his father had died, but he did not turn
back. Probably the news only hastened his journey, if this were possible.
In England he went first to Winchester to get possession of his father's
great treasure, and then to Canterbury with his letter to Lanfranc.
Nowhere is there any sign of opposition to his succession, or of any
movement in favour of Robert, or on Robert's part, at this moment. If the
archbishop had any doubts, as a man of his good judgment might well have
had, knowing the new king from his boyhood, they were soon quieted or he
resolved to put them aside. He had, indeed, no alternative. There is
nothing to indicate that the letter of his dying master allowed him any
choice, nor was there any possible candidate who gave promise of a better
reign, for Lanfranc must have known Robert as well as he knew William.
Together they went up to London, and on September 26, 1087, hardly more
than two weeks after he left his father's bedside, William was crowned
king by Lanfranc. The archbishop took of him the customary oath to rule
justly and to defend the peace and liberty of the Church, exacting a
special promise always to be guided by his advice; but there is no
evidence of any unusual assembly in London of magnates or people, of any
negotiations to gain the support of persons of influence, or of any
consent asked or given. The proceedings throughout were what we should
expect in a kingdom held by hereditary right, as the chancery of the
Conqueror often termed it, and by such a right descending to the heir.
This appearance may possibly have been given to these events by haste and
by the necessity of forestalling any opposition. Men may have found
themselves with a new king crowned and consecrated as soon as they
learned of the death of the old one; but no objection was ever made.
Within a few months a serious insurrection broke out among those who
hoped to make Robert king, but no one alleged that William's title was
imperfect because he had not been elected. If the English crown was held
by the people of the time to be elective in any sense, it was not in the
sense which we at present understand by the word "constitutional."

Immediately after the coronation, the new king went back to Winchester to
fulfil a duty which he owed to his father. The great hoard which the
Conqueror had collected in the ancient capital was distributed with a
free hand to the churches of England. William II was as greedy of money
as his father. His exactions pressed even more heavily on the kingdom,
and the Church believed that it was peculiarly the victim of his
financial tyranny, but he showed no disposition to begrudge these
benefactions for the safety of his father's soul. Money was sent to each
monastery and church in the kingdom, and to many rich gifts of other
things, and to each county a hundred pounds for distribution to the poor.

Until the following spring the disposition of the kingdom which Lanfranc
had made was unquestioned and undisturbed. William II wore his crown at
the meeting of the court in London at Christmas time, and nothing during
the winter called for any special exertion of royal authority on his
part. But beneath the surface a great conspiracy was forming, for the
purpose of overthrowing the new king and of putting his brother Robert in
his place. During Lent the movers of this conspiracy were especially
active, and immediately after Easter the insurrection broke out. It was
an insurrection in which almost all the Norman barons of England took
part, and their real object was the interest neither of king nor of
kingdom, but only their own personal and selfish advantage. A purely
feudal insurrection, inspired solely by those local and separatist
tendencies which the feudal system cherished, it reveals, even more
clearly than the insurrection of the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk under
William I, the solid reserve of strength in the support of the nation
which was the only thing that sustained the Norman kingship in England
during the feudal age.

The writers upon whom we depend for our knowledge of these events
represent the rebellious barons as moved by two chief motives. Of these
that which is put forward as the leading motive is their opposition to
the division of the Norman land into two separate realms, by the
succession of the elder brother in Normandy and of the younger in
England. The fact that these barons held fiefs in both countries, and
under two different lords, certainly put them in an awkward position, but
in one by no means uncommon throughout the feudal world. A suzerain of
the Norman type, however, in the event of a quarrel between the king and
the duke, could make things exceedingly uncomfortable for the vassals who
held of both, and these men seem to have believed that their divided
allegiance would endanger their possessions in one land or the other.
They were in a fair way, they thought, to lose under the sons the
increase of wealth and honours for which they had fought under the
father. A second motive was found in the contrasted characters of the two
brothers. Our authorities represent this as less influential than the
first, but the circumstances of the case would lead us to believe that it
had equal weight with the barons. William they considered a man of
violence, who was likely to respect no right; Robert was "more
tractable." That Robert was the elder son, that they had already sworn
allegiance to him, while they owed nothing to William, which are
suggested as among their motives, probably had no real influence in
deciding their action. But the other two motives are so completely in
accord with the facts of the situation that we must accept them as giving
the reasons for the insurrection. The barons were opposed to the
separation of the two countries, and they wished a manageable suzerain.

The insurrection was in appearance an exceedingly dangerous one. Almost
every Norman baron in England revolted and carried his vassals with him.
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, the king's uncle, was the prime mover in the
affair. He had been released from his prison by the Conqueror on his
death-bed, and had been restored by William II to his earldom of Kent;
but his hope of becoming the chief counsellor of the king, as he had
become of Robert in Normandy, was disappointed. With him was his brother,
Robert of Cornwall, Count of Mortain. The other great baron-bishop of the
Conquest, Geoffrey of Coutances, was also in insurrection, and with him
his nephew, Robert of Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland. Another leading
rebel was Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury, with his three sons, the chief of
whom, Robert of Belleme, was sent over from Normandy by Duke Robert, with
Eustace of Boulogne, to aid the insurrection in England until he should
himself be able to cross the channel. The treason of one man, William of
St. Calais, Bishop of Durham, was regarded by the English writers as
particularly heinous, if indeed we are right in referring their words to
him and not to Bishop Odo; it is at least evident from the sequel that
the king regarded his conduct in that light. The reason is not altogether
clear, unless it be that the position of greatest influence in England,
which Bishop Odo had desired in vain, had been given him by the king.
Other familiar names must be added to these: William of Eu, Roger of
Lacy, Ralph of Mortimer, Roger Bigod, Hugh of Grantmesnil. On the king's
side there were few Norman names to equal these: Hugh of Avranches, Earl
of Chester, William of Warenne, and of course the vassals of the great
Archbishop Lanfranc. But the real strength of the king was not derived
from the baronial elements. The castles in most of the great towns
remained faithful, and so did nearly all the bishops and the Church as a
whole. But the weight which turned the scale and gave the decision to the
king, was the support of the great mass of the nation, of the English as
opposed to the Norman.

For so great a show of strength, the insurrection was very short-lived,
and it was put down with almost no fighting. The refusal of the barons to
come to the Easter court, April 14, was their first overt act of
rebellion, though it had been evident in March that the rebellion was
coming, and before the close of the summer confiscation or amnesty had
been measured out to the defeated rebels. We are told that the crown was
offered to Robert and accepted by him, and great hopes were entertained
of decisive aid which he was to send; but nothing came of it. Two sieges,
of Pevensey castle and of Rochester castle, were the most important
military events. There was considerable ravaging of the country by the
rebels in the west, and some little fighting there. The Bishop of
Coutances and his nephew seized Bristol and laid waste the country about,
but were unsuccessful in their siege of Ilchester. Roger of Lacy and
others collected a force at Hereford, and advanced to attack Worcester,
but were beaten off by the Norman garrison and the men of Bishop
Wulfstan. Minor incidents of the same kind occurred in Gloucestershire,
Leicestershire, Norfolk, and the north. But the decisive events were in
the south-east, in the operations of the king against his uncle Odo. At
London William called round him his supporters, appealing especially to
the English, and promising to grant good laws, to levy no unjust taxes,
and to allow men the freedom of their woods and of hunting. With an army
which did not seem large, he advanced against Rochester, where the Bishop
of Bayeux was, to strike the heart of the insurrection.

Tunbridge castle, which was held for Odo, was first stormed, and on the
news of this Odo thought it prudent to betake himself to Pevensey, where
his brother, Robert of Mortain, was, and where reinforcements from Robert
of Normandy would be likely to land. William at once turned from his
march to Rochester and began the siege of Pevensey. The Norman
reinforcements which Robert finally sent were driven back with great
loss, and after some weeks Pevensey was compelled to surrender. Bishop
Odo agreed to secure the surrender of Rochester, and then to retire from
England, only to return if the king should send for him. But William
unwisely sent him on to Rochester with a small advance detachment, to
occupy the castle, while he himself followed more slowly with the main
body. The castle refused to surrender. Odo's expression of face made
known his real wishes, and was more convincing than his words. A sudden
sally of the garrison overpowered his guards, and the bishop was carried
into the castle to try the fortune of a siege once more. For this siege
the king again appealed to the country and called for the help of all
under the old Saxon penalty of the disgraceful name of "nithing." The
defenders of the castle suffered greatly from the blockade, and were soon
compelled to yield upon such terms as the king pleased, who was with
difficulty persuaded to give up his first idea of sending them all to the

The monk Orderic Vitalis, who wrote an account of these events a
generation after they occurred, was struck with one characteristic of
this insurrection, which the careful observer of any time would hardly
fail to notice. He says: "The rebels, although they were so many and
abundantly furnished with arms and supplies, did not dare to join battle
with the king in his kingdom." It was an age, to be sure, when wars were
decided less by fighting in the open field than by the siege and defence
of castles; and yet the collapse of so formidable an insurrection as
this, after no resistance at all in proportion to its apparent fighting
strength, is surely a significant fact. To notice here but one inference
from it, it means that no one questioned the title of William Rufus to
the throne while he was in possession. Though he might be a younger son,
not elected, but appointed by his father, and put into the kingship by
the act of the primate alone, he was, to the rebellious barons as to his
own supporters, the rightful king of England till he could be overthrown.

The insurrection being put down, a general amnesty seems to have been
extended to the rebels. The Bishop of Bayeux was exiled from England;
some confiscations were made, and some rewards distributed; but almost
without exception the leaders escaped punishment. The most notable
exception, besides Odo, was William of St. Calais, the Bishop of Durham.
For some reason, which does not clearly appear, the king found it
difficult to pardon him. He was summoned before the king's court to
answer for his conduct, and the account of the trial which followed in
November of this year, preserved to us by a writer friendly to the bishop
and present at the proceedings, is one of the most interesting and
instructive documents which we have from this time. William of St.
Calais, as the king's vassal for the temporalities of his bishopric, was
summoned before the king's feudal court to answer for breach of his
feudal obligations. William had shown, in one of the letters which he had
sent to the king shortly before the trial, that he was fully aware of
these obligations; and the impossibility of meeting the accusation was
perfectly clear to his mind. With the greatest subtlety and skill, he
sought to take advantage of his double position, as vassal and as bishop,
and to transfer the whole process to different ground. With equal skill,
and with an equally clear understanding of the principles involved,
Lanfranc met every move which he made.[14]

From the beginning the accused insisted upon the privileges of his order.
He would submit to a canonical trial only. He asked that the bishops
should appear in their pontificals, which was a request that they judge
him as bishops, and not as barons. Lanfranc answered him that they could
judge him well enough clad as they were. William demanded that his
bishopric should be restored to him before he was compelled to answer,
referring to the seizing of his temporalities by the king. Lanfranc
replied that he had not been deprived of his bishopric. He refused to
plead, however, until the point had been formally decided, and on the
decision of the court against him, he demanded the canonical grounds on
which they had acted. Lanfranc replied that the decision was just, and
that he ought to know that it was. He requested to be allowed to take
counsel with the other bishops on his answer, and Lanfranc explained that
the bishops were his judges and could not be his counsel, his answer
resting on a principle of the law necessary in the courts of public
assembly, one which gave rise to elaborate regulations in some feudal
countries. Bishop William finally refused to accept the judgment of the
court on several grounds, but especially because it was against the
canons; and Lanfranc explained at greater length than before, that he had
not been put on trial concerning his bishopric, but concerning his fief,
as the Bishop of Bayeux had been tried under William I. But all argument
was in vain. The bishop could not safely yield, and he insisted on his
appeal to Rome. On his side the king insisted on the surrender of the
bishop's castle, the last part of his fief which he still held, and was
sustained by the court in this demand. The bishop demurred, but at last
yielded the point to avoid arrest, and after considerable delay, he was
allowed to cross over to the continent. There he was welcomed by Robert
and employed in Normandy, but he never went any farther nor pushed his
appeal to Rome, which in all probability he had never seriously intended,
though there is evidence that the pope was disposed to take up his cause.
Throughout the case the king was acting wholly within his right,
regarding the bishop as his vassal; and Lanfranc's position in the trial
was in strict accordance with the feudal law.

This was the end of serious rebellion against King William Rufus. Seven
years later, in 1095, a conspiracy was formed by some of the barons who
had been pardoned for their earlier rebellion, which might have resulted
in a widespread insurrection but for the prompt action of William. Robert
of Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, who had inherited the 280 manors of
his uncle, the Bishop of Coutances, and was now one of the most powerful
barons of the kingdom, had been summoned to the king's court, probably
because the conspiracy was suspected, since it was for a fault which
would ordinarily have been passed over without remark, and he refused to
appear. The king's hands were for the moment free, and he marched at once
against the earl. By degrees the details of the conspiracy came out. From
Nottingham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was accompanying the march,
was sent back to Kent to hold himself in readiness at a moment's notice
to defend that part of England against an expected landing from Normandy.
This time it had been planned to make Stephen of Aumale, a nephew of the
Conqueror, king in William's place; but no Norman invasion occurred. The
war was begun and ended by the siege and surrender of Mowbray's two
castles of Tynemouth and Bamborough. In the siege of the latter, Mowbray
himself was captured by a trick, and his newly married wife was forced to
surrender the castle by the threat of putting out his eyes. The earl was
thrown into prison, where, according to one account, he was held for
thirty years. Treachery among the traitors revealed the names of the
leaders of the plot, and punishments were inflicted more generally than
in 1088, but with no pretence of impartiality. A man of so high rank and
birth as William of Eu was barbarously mutilated; one man of minor rank
was hanged; banishment and fines were the penalties in other cases.
William of St. Calais, who had been restored to his see, fell again under
the suspicion of the king, and was summoned to stand another trial, but
he was already ill when he went up to the court, and died before he could
answer the charges against him. There were reasons enough in the heavy
oppressions of the reign why men should wish to rebel against William,
but he was so fixed in power, so resolute in action, and so pitiless
towards the victims of his policy, that the forming of a dangerous
combination against him was practically impossible.

The contemporary historians of his reign tell us much of William's
personality, both in set descriptions and in occasional reference and
anecdote. It is evident that he impressed in an unusual degree the men of
his own time, but it is evident also that this impression was not so much
made by his genius as a ruler or a soldier, by the possession of the
gifts which a great king would desire, as by something in his spirit and
attitude towards life which was new and strange, something out of the
common in words and action, which startled or shocked men of the common
level and seemed at times to verge upon the awful. In body he was shorter
than his father, thick-set and heavy, and his red face gave him the name
Rufus by which he was then and still is commonly known. Much of his
father's political and military ability and strength of will had
descended to him, but not his father's character and high purpose. Every
king of those times thought chiefly of himself, and looked upon the state
as his private property; but the second William more than most. The money
which he wrung from churchman and layman he used in attempts to carry out
his personal ambitions in Normandy, or scattered with a free hand among
his favourites, particularly among the mercenary soldiers from the
continent, with whom he especially loved to surround himself, and whose
licensed plunderings added greatly to the burden and tyranny of his
reign. But the ordinary doings of a tyrant were not the worst things
about William Rufus. Effeminate fashions, vices horrible and unheard-of
in England, flourished at his court and threatened to corrupt the nation.
The fearful profanity of the king, his open and blasphemous defiance of
God, made men tremble, and those who were nearest to him testified "that
he every morning got up a worse man than he lay down, and every evening
lay down a worse man than he got up."

In the year after the suppression of the first attempt of the barons
against the king, but before other events of political importance had
occurred, on May 28, 1089, died Lanfranc, the great Archbishop of
Canterbury, after nearly nineteen years of service in that office. Best
of all the advisers of the first William, he was equally with him
conqueror of England, in that conquest of laws and civilization which
followed the mere conquest of arms. Not great, though famous as a
theologian and writer, his powers were rather of a practical nature. He
was skilful in the management of men; he had a keen appreciation of legal
distinctions, and that comprehensive sight at the same time of ends and
means which we call the organizing power. He was devoted to that great
reformation in the religious and ecclesiastical world which occurred
during his long life, but he was devoted to it in his own way, as his
nature directed. He saw clearly, for one thing, that the success of that
reformation in England depended on the maintenance of the strong
government of the Norman kings; and from his loyalty to them he never
swerved, serving them with wise counsel and with all the resources at his
command. Less of a theologian and idealist than his successor Anselm,
more of a lawyer and statesman, he could never have found himself, for
another thing, in that attitude of opposition to the king which fills so
much of his successor's pontificate.

As his life had been of constant service to England, his death was an
immediate misfortune. We cannot doubt the opinion expressed by more than
one of the writers of the next reign, that a great change for the worse
took place in the actions of the king after the death of Lanfranc. The
aged archbishop, who had been in authority since his childhood, who might
seem to prolong in some degree the reign or the influence of his father,
acted as a restraining force, and the true character of William expressed
itself freely only when this was removed. In another way also the death
of Lanfranc was a misfortune to England. It dates the rise to influence
with the king of Ranulf Hambard, whose name is closely associated with
the tyranny of Rufus; or if this may already have begun, it marks his
very speedy attainment of what seems to have been the complete control of
the administrative and judicial system of the kingdom. Of the early
history of Ranulf Flambard we know but little with certainty. He was of
low birth, probably the son of a priest, and he rose to his position of
authority by the exercise of his own gifts, which were not small. A
pleasing person, ingratiating manners, much quickness and ingenuity of
mind, prodigality of flattery, and great economy of scruples,--these were
traits which would attract the attention and win the favour of a man like
William II. In Ranulf Flambard we have an instance of the constantly
recurring historical fact, that the holders of absolute power are always
able to find in the lower grades of society the ministers of their
designs who serve them with a completeness of devotion and fidelity which
the master rarely shows in his own interest, and often with a genius
which he does not himself possess.

Our knowledge of the constitutional details of the reign either of
William I or William II is very incomplete, and it is therefore difficult
for us to understand the exact nature of the innovations made by Ranulf
Flambard. The chroniclers leave us no doubt of the general opinion of
contemporaries, that important changes had been made, especially in the
treatment of the lands of the Church, and that these changes were all in
the direction of oppressive exactions for the benefit of the king. The
charter issued by Henry I at the beginning of his reign, promising the
reform of various abuses of his brother's reign, confirms this opinion.
But neither the charter nor the chroniclers enable us to say with
confidence exactly in what the innovations consisted. The feudal system
as a system of military tenures and of judicial organization had
certainly been introduced by William the Conqueror, and applied to the
great ecclesiastical estates of the kingdom very early in his reign. That
all the logical deductions for the benefit of the crown which were
possible from this system, especially those of a financial nature, had
been made so early, is not so certain. In the end, and indeed before very
long, the feudal system as it existed in England became more logical in
details, more nearly an ideal feudalism, with reference to the rights of
the crown, than anywhere else in Christendom. It is quite within the
bounds of possibility that Ranulf Flambard, keen of mind, working under
an absolute king, whose reign was followed by the longer reign of another
absolute king, not easily forced to keep the promises of his coronation
charter, may have had some share in the logical carrying out of feudal
principles, or in their more complete application to the Church, which
would be likely to escape feudal burdens under a king of the character of
the first William. Indeed, such a complete application of the feudal
rights of the crown to the Church, the development of the so-called
regalian rights, was at this date incomplete in Europe as a whole, and
according to the evidence which we now have, the Norman in England was a
pioneer in that direction.

The loudest complaints of these oppressions have come down to us in
regard to Canterbury and the other ecclesiastical baronies which fell
vacant after the death of Lanfranc. This is what we should expect: the
writers are monks. It seems from the evidence, also, that in most cases
no exact division had as yet been made between those lands belonging to a
monastic bishop or an abbot, which should be considered particularly to
form the barony, and those which should be assigned to the support of the
monastic body. Such a division was made in time, but where it had not
been made before the occurrence of a vacancy, it was more than likely
that the monks were placed on very short commons, and the right of the
king to the revenues interpreted in the most ample sense. The charter of
Henry I shows that in the case of lay fiefs the rights of the king,
logically involved in the feudal system, had been stretched to their
utmost limit, and even beyond. It would be very strange if this were not
still more true in the case of ecclesiastical fiefs. The monks, we may be
sure, had abundant grounds for their complaints. But we should notice
that what they have in justice to complain of is the oppressive abuse of
real rights. The system of Ranulf Flambard, so far as we can determine
what it was, does not differ in its main features from that which was in
operation without objection in the time of Henry II. The vacant
ecclesiastical, like the vacant lay, fief fell back into the king's
domain. It is difficult to determine just what its legal status was then
considered to be, but it was perhaps regarded as a fief reverting on
failure of heirs. Certainly it was sometimes treated as only an escheated
or forfeited lay fief would be treated. Its revenues might be collected
by the ordinary machinery, as they had been under the bishop, and turned
into the king's treasury; or it might be farmed out as a whole to the
highest bidder. There could be no valid objection to this. If the legal
position which Lanfranc had so vigorously defended was correct, that a
bishop might be tried as a baron by a lay court and a lay process, with
no infringement of his ecclesiastical rights, then there could be no
defence against this further extension of feudal principles. Relief,
wardship, and escheat were perfectly legitimate feudal rights, and there
was no reason which the state would consider valid why they should not be
enforced in all fiefs alike. The case of the Bishop of Durham, in 1088,
had already established a precedent for the forfeiture of an
ecclesiastical barony for the treason of its holder, and in that case the
king had granted fiefs within that barony to his own vassals. Still more
clearly would such a fief return to the king's hands, if it were vacant.
But if the right was clear, it might still be true that the enforcement
of it was new and accompanied with great practical abuses. Of this much
probably we must hold Ranulf Flambard guilty.

The extension and abuse of feudal law, however, do not fill up the
measure of his guilt. Another important source of royal revenue, the
judicial system, was put under his control, and was forced to contribute
the utmost possible to the king's income. That the justiciarship was at
this time as well defined an office, or as regularly recognized a part of
the state machinery, as it came to be later, is hardly likely. But that
some officer should be clothed with the royal authority for a special
purpose, or in the absence of the king for general purposes, was not an
uncommon practice. In some such way as this Ranulf Flambard had been
given charge of the king's interests in the judicial system, and had much
to do by his activities in that position with the development of the
office of justiciar. Exactly what he did in this field is as uncertain as
in that of feudal law, though the one specific instance which we have on
record shows him acting in a capacity much like that of the later
itinerant justice. However this may be, the recorded complaints of his
oppressions as judge, though possibly less numerous and detailed than of
his mistreatment of the Church, are equally bitter. He was the despoiler
of the rich, the destroyer of the poor. Exactions already heavy and
unjust he doubled. Money alone decided cases in the courts. Justice and
the laws disappeared. The rope was loosened from the very neck of the
robber if he had anything of value to promise the king; while the popular
courts of shires and hundreds were forced to become engines of extortion,
probably by the employment of the sheriffs, who were allowed to summon
them, not according to the old practice, but when and where it suited
their convenience. The machinery of the state and the interpretation of
its laws were, in days like these, completely at the mercy of a tyrannous
king and an unscrupulous minister. No system of checks on absolute power
had as yet been devised; there were no means of expressing public
discontent, nor any form of appeal but insurrection, and that was
hopeless against a king so strong as Rufus. The land could only suffer
and wait, and at last rejoice that the reign was no longer. In the
meantime, from the beginning of Robert's rule in the duchy across the
channel, the condition of things there had been a standing invitation to
his brother to interfere. Robert is a fair example of the worst type of
men of the Norman-Angevin blood. Not bad in intention, and not without
abilities, he was weak with that weakness most fatal of all in times when
the will of the ruler gave its only force to law, the inability to say
no, the lack of firm resisting power. The whole eleventh century had been
nourishing the growth, in the favouring soil of feudalism, of the manners
and morals of chivalry. The generation to which William and Robert
belonged was more strongly influenced in its standards of conduct by the
ideals of chivalry than by any other ethical code, and both these princes
are examples of the superior power of these ideals. In the age of
chivalry no princely virtue was held of higher worth than that of
"largesse," the royal generosity which scattered gifts on all classes
with unstinted hand; but Robert's prodigality of gifts was greater than
the judgment of his own time approved, and, combined with the inability
to make himself respected or obeyed, which often goes with such
generosity, it was the source of most of his difficulties. His ideal
seemed to be that every man should have what he wanted, and soon it was
apparent that he had retained very little for himself.

The castles of Normandy were always open to the duke, and William the
Conqueror had maintained garrisons of his own in the most important of
them, to insure the obedience of their holders. The first move that was
made by the barons of Normandy, on the news of William's death, was to
expel these garrisons and to substitute others of their own. The example
was set by Robert of Belleme, the holder of a powerful composite lordship
on the south-west border and partly outside the duchy. On his way to
William's court, he heard of the duke's death, and he instantly turned
about, not merely to expel the ducal garrisons from the castles of his
own fiefs, but to seize the castles of his neighbours which he had reason
to desire, and some of these he destroyed and some he held for himself.
This action is typical of the influence of Robert's character on
government in Normandy. Contempt for the authority of the duke meant not
merely that things which belonged to him would be seized upon and his
rights denied, but also that the property and rights of the weak, and
even of those who were only a little weaker than their neighbours, were
at the mercy of the stronger.

Duke Robert's squandering of his resources soon brought him to a want of
ready money intolerable to a prince of his nature, and his mind turned at
once with desire to the large sum in cash which his father had left to
Henry. But Henry was not at all of the stamp of Robert. He was perfectly
clear headed, and he had no foolish notions about the virtue of
generosity. He preferred to buy rather than to give away. A bargain was
struck between them, hardly six months after their father's death, and
the transaction is characteristic of the two brothers. For three thousand
pounds of silver, Henry purchased what people of the time regarded as a
third of Robert's inheritance, the lordship of the Cotentin, with its
important castles, towns, and vassals. The chroniclers call him now Count
of the Cotentin, and he there practised the art of government for a time,
and, in sharp contrast to Robert, maintained order with a strong hand.
During the same summer of 1088, Henry crossed over to England to get
possession of the lands of his mother Matilda, which she had bequeathed
to him on her death. This inheritance he does not seem to have obtained,
at least not permanently; but there was no quarrel between him and
William at that time. In the autumn he returned to Normandy, taking with
him Robert of Belleme. Robert had been forgiven his rebellion by the
king, and so clear was the evidence that Henry and Robert of Belleme had
entered into some kind of an arrangement with King William to assist his
designs on Normandy, or so clear was it made to seem to Duke Robert, that
on their landing he caused them both to be arrested and thrown into
prison. On the news of this the Earl of Shrewsbury, the father of Robert
of Belleme, crossed over from England to the aid of his son, and a short
civil war followed, in the early part of the next year, in which the
military operations were favourable to the duke, but his inconstancy and
weakness of character were shown in his releasing Robert of Belleme at
the close of the war as if he had himself been beaten. Henry also was
soon released, and took up again his government of the Cotentin.

William may have felt that Robert's willingness to accept the crown of
England from the rebel barons gave him the right to take what he could
get in Normandy, though probably he was not particularly troubled by the
question of any moral justification of his conduct. Opportunity would be
for him the main consideration, and the growing anarchy in the duchy
furnished this. Private war was carried on without restraint in more than
one place, and though the reign of a weak suzerain was to the advantage
of the rapacious feudal baron, many of the class preferred a stronger
rule. The arguments also in favour of a union of the kingdom and the
duchy, which had led to the rebellion against William, would now, since
that attempt had failed, be equally strong against Robert. For William no
motive need be sought but that of ambition, nor have we much right to say
that in such an age the ambition was improper. The temptation which the
Norman duchy presented to a Norman king of England was natural and
irresistible, and we need only note that with William II begins that
determination of the English kings to rule also in continental dominions
which influences so profoundly their own history, and hardly less
profoundly the history of their island kingdom, for centuries to come. To
William the Conqueror no such question could ever present itself, but the
moment that the kingdom and the duchy were separated in different hands
it must have arisen in the mind of the king.

But if William did not himself care for any moral justification of his
plans, he must make sure of the support of his English vassals in such an
undertaking; and the policy of war against Robert was resolved upon in a
meeting of the court, probably the Easter meeting of 1090. But open war
did not begin at once. William contented himself for some months with
sending over troops to occupy castles in the north-eastern portion of
Normandy, which were opened to him by barons who were favourable to his
cause or whose support was purchased. The alarm of Robert was soon
excited by these defections, and he appealed to his suzerain, King Philip
I of France, for aid. If the policy of ruling in Normandy was natural for
the English king, that of keeping kingdom and duchy in different hands
was an equally natural policy for the French king. It is hardly so early
as this, however, that we can date the beginning of this which comes in
the end to be a ruling motive of the Capetian house. Philip responded to
his vassal's call with a considerable army, but the money of the king of
England quickly brought him to a different mind, and he retired from the
field, where he had accomplished nothing.

In the following winter, early in February of 1091, William crossed over
into Normandy to look after his interests in person. The money which he
was wringing from England by the ingenuity of Ranulf Flambard he
scattered in Normandy with a free hand, to win himself adherents, and
with success. Robert could not command forces enough to meet him in the
field, and was compelled to enter into a treaty with him, in which, in
return for some promises from William, he not merely accepted his
occupation of the eastern side of the duchy, which was already
accomplished, but agreed to a similar occupation by William of the
north-western corner.

Cherbourg and Mont-Saint-Michel, two of the newly ceded places, belonged
to the dominions which "Count" Henry had purchased of his brother, and
must be taken from him by force. William and Robert marched together
against him, besieged him in his castle of Mont-Saint-Michel, and
stripped him of his lordship. Robert received the lion's share of the
conquest, but William obtained what he wished. Henry was once more
reduced to the condition of a landless prince, but when William returned
to England in August of this year both his brothers returned with him,
and remained there for some time.

William had been recalled to England by the news that King Malcolm of
Scotland had invaded England during his absence and harried
Northumberland almost to Durham. Malcolm had already refused to fulfil
his feudal obligations to the new king of England, and William marched
against him immediately on his return, taking his two brothers with him.
At Durham Bishop William of St. Calais, who had found means to reconcile
himself with the king, was restored to his rights after an exile of three
years. The expedition to Scotland led to no fighting. William advanced
with his army to the Firth of Forth. Malcolm met him there with an army
of his own, but negotiations were begun and conducted for William by his
brother Robert, and for Malcolm by the atheling Edgar, whose expulsion
from Normandy had been one of the conditions of the peace between William
and Robert. Malcolm at last agreed to acknowledge himself the man of
William II, with the same obligations by which he had been bound to his
father, and the king returned to England, as he had gone, by way of
Durham. Very likely something in this expedition suggested to William
that the north-western frontier of England needed rectification and
defence. At any rate, early in the spring of the next year, 1092, he
marched against Carlisle, expelled Dolphin, son of the Gospatric of
William the Conqueror's time, who was holding it under Malcolm of
Scotland, built and garrisoned a castle there, and after his return to
the south sent a colony of English families to occupy the adjacent
country. This enlargement of the area of England was practically a
conquest from the king of Scotland, and it may have been, in violation of
the pledge which William had just given, to restore to Malcolm all his
former possessions. Something, at least, led to immediate complaints from
Malcolm, which were without avail, and a journey that he made by
invitation the next year, to confer with William at Gloucester, resulted
only in what he regarded as further humiliating treatment. On his return
to Scotland he immediately took arms, and again invaded Northumberland.
This, however, was destined to be the last of his incursions, for he was
killed, together with his eldest son, Edward, near Alnwick, on the
eastern coast. The news of the death of her husband and son at once
proved fatal to Queen Margaret. A reaction followed against English
influence in the state, which she had supported, and a conflict of
parties and a disputed succession gave to William an opportunity to
interfere in favour of candidates of his own, though with little real
success. At least the north of England was relieved of the danger of
invasion. This year was also marked by important advances in the conquest
of South Wales by the Norman barons of the country.

[14] Dugdale, Monasticon, ed. 1846, 1.244 ff--and Symeon of Durham,
Deinjusta Vexations (Rolls series), i. 170 ff.



In following the history of Malcolm of Scotland we have passed by events
of greater importance which make the year 1093 a turning-point in the
reign of William Rufus. The appointment of Anselm to the archbishopric of
Canterbury divides the reign into two natural divisions. In the first
period William secures his hold on power, develops his tyrannous
administrative system and his financial extortions, begins his policy of
conquest in Normandy, forces Scotland to recognize his supremacy, and
rounds off his kingdom towards the north-west. The second period is more
simple in character, but its events are of greater importance. Apart from
the abortive rebellion of Robert of Mowbray, which has already been
narrated, William's authority is unquestioned. Flambard's machine appears
to run smoothly. Monks record their groans and give voice to their
horror, but the peace of the state is not disturbed, nor are precautions
necessary against any foreign enemy. Two series of events fill up the
history of the period, both of great and lasting interest. One is the
long quarrel between the king and the archbishop, which involve the
whole question of the relation between Church and State in the feudal
age; and the other is the king's effort to gain possession of Normandy,
the introductory chapter of a long history.

Early in Lent, 1093, or a little earlier, King William fell sick at a
royal manor near to Gloucester, and was carried in haste into that city.
There he lay during the rest of Lent, so ill that his death was expected
at any moment, and it was even reported that he had died. Brought face to
face with death, the terrors of the world to come seized hold of him. The
medieval sinner who outraged the moral sentiment of his time, as William
did, was sustained by no philosophical doubt of the existence of God or
belief in the evolutionary origin of ethics. His life was a reckless
defiance or a careless disregard of an almighty power, whose
determination and ability to punish him, if not bought off, he did not
question. The torments of a physical hell were vividly portrayed on all
occasions, and accepted by the highest as well as the lowest as an
essential part of the divine revelation. William was no exception to this
rule. He became even more shockingly defiant of God after his recovery
than he had been before. God, he declared to the Bishop of Rochester,
should never have in him a good man because of the evil which He had done
him. And God let him have what he wished, adds the pious historian,
according to the idea of good which he had formed. And yet, if he had
been allowed time for a death-bed repentance at the end of his life, he
would have yielded undoubtedly to the same vague terrors, and have made a
hasty bid for safety with gifts and promises. At any rate now, when the
nobles and bishops who came to visit him suggested that it was time for
him to make atonement for his evil deeds, he eagerly seized upon the
chance. He promised to reform his life, to protect the churches, and not
put them up any more for sale, to annul bad laws, and to decree good
ones; and bishops were sent to lay these promises on the altar. Some of
his good resolutions could only be carried out by virtue of a royal writ,
and an order was drawn up and sealed, commanding the release of
prisoners, the remission of debts due the crown, and the forgiving of
offences. Great was the rejoicing at these signs of reformation, and
prayers were, everywhere offered for so good a king, but when he had once
recovered, his promises were as quickly forgotten as the very similar
ones which he had made in the crisis of the rebellion of loss. William
probably still believed, when he found himself restored to health, that
nobody can keep all his promises, as he had answered when Lanfranc
remonstrated with him on the violation of his coronation pledges. Before
his recovery, however, he took one step in the way of reformation from
which he did not draw back. He appointed a new Archbishop of Canterbury.
It was the fear of death alone which wrung this concession from the king,
and it shows a clear consciousness on his part of the guilt of retaining
the archbishopric in his hands. Only a few weeks earlier, at the meeting
of the Christmas court, when the members had petitioned that he would be
graciously pleased to allow prayers to be offered that he might be led to
see the wrong which he was doing, he had answered with contempt, "Pray as
much as you like; I shall do what I please. Nobody's praying is going to
change my mind." Now, however, he was praying himself, and anxious to get
rid of this guilt. The man whom all England with one voice declared to be
the ideal archbishop was at hand, and the king besought him most
earnestly to accept the appointment, and so to aid him in his endeavour
to save his soul.

This man was Anselm, now abbot of the famous monastery of Bec, where
Lanfranc had been at one time prior. Born sixty years before, at Aosta,
in the kingdom of Burgundy, in the later Piedmont, he had crossed into
France, like Lanfranc, led by the desire of learning and the religious
life. Finally he had become a monk at Bec, and had devoted himself to
study and to theological writing. Only with great reluctance, and always
imperfectly, did he attend to the administrative duties which fell to him
as he was made first prior and then abbot of the monastery. His cast of
mind was wholly metaphysical, his spirit entirely of the cloister and the
school. The monastic life, free from the responsibilities of office,
exactly suited him, and he was made for it. When all England was
importuning him to accept the primacy, he shrank back from it with a
reluctance which was wholly genuine, and an obstinacy which belonged also
to his nature. He felt himself unfitted for the place, and he foresaw the
result. He likened his future relation with the king to that of a weak
old sheep yoked with an untamed bull. In all this he was perfectly right.
That harmony which had existed between Lanfranc and the Conqueror,
because each understood the other's position and rights and was
interested in his work, was never for a moment possible between Anselm
and William Rufus; and this was only partly due to the character of the
king. So wholly did the archbishop belong to another world than the
king's that he never appreciated the double position in which his office
placed him. One side of it only, the ecclesiastical, with its duties and
rights and all their logical consequences, he clearly saw. At the
beginning of his primacy, he seemed to understand, and he certainly
accepted, the feudal relationship in which he was placed to the king, but
the natural results of this position he never admitted. His mind was too
completely taken up with the other side of things; and with his fixedness
of purpose, almost obstinacy of character, and the king's wilfulness,
conflict was inevitable.

It was only with great difficulty that Anselm was brought to accept the
appointment. Being in England on a visit to Hugh, Earl of Chester, he had
been brought to the king's bedside when he fell sick, as the man best
able to give him the most certain spiritual comfort; and when William had
been persuaded of his guilt in keeping the primacy so long vacant, Anselm
was dragged protesting to the presence of the sick man, and his fingers
were partially forced open to receive the pastoral staff which William
extended to him. Then he was carried off, still protesting, to a church
near by, where the religious ceremonies usual on the appointment of a
bishop were performed. Still Anselm refused to yield to this friendly
violence. He returned immediately to the king, predicted his recovery,
and declared that he had not accepted the primacy, and did not accept it,
in spite of all that had been done. For some reason, however, William
adhered to this much of his reformation. He gave order for the immediate
transfer to his appointee of all that pertained to the archbishopric, and
sent to Normandy for the consent of the secular and ecclesiastical
superiors of Anselm, the duke and the Archbishop of Rouen, and of the
monks of his abbey. At length Anselm yielded, not because his judgment
had been changed as to the wisdom of the appointment, but sacrificing
himself rather, in the monastic spirit, to the call of Heaven.

It was near the end of September, however, before the new archbishop was
enthroned. Several matters had first to be arranged to the satisfaction
of Anselm, and among these were three conditions which he presented to be
agreed to by the king. William was probably ready to agree without
hesitation that he would take the archbishop as his guide and director in
religious matters, and equally ready to pay no attention to the promise
afterward. A more difficult condition was, that all the lands which had
belonged to the church of Canterbury at Lanfranc's death should be
restored, including, evidently, certain lands which William had granted
to his own men. This condition would show that the king had treated the
archbishopric as a forfeited fief, and that its lands had been alienated
on terms unfavourable to the Church. William hesitated long on this
condition, and tried to persuade Anselm to waive it; but the letters of
the future archbishop show that his conscience was deeply engaged and
would not permit him to agree to anything that would impoverish his see,
and the king must have yielded in the end. The third condition was, that
Anselm should be allowed to continue in the obedience of Pope Urban II,
whom he had already acknowledged in Normandy. This must also have been a
disagreeable condition to the king. The divided state of Christendom,
into which it had been thrown by the conflict between the pope and the
emperor on the question of investitures, was favourable to that
autocratic control of the Church which William Rufus desired to maintain.
He had no wish to decide between the rival popes, nor was he willing to
modify his father's rule that no pope should be recognized by the English
Church without the king's consent. We are not told that in this
particular he made anything more than a vague promise to do what he ought
to do, but very likely Anselm may have regarded this point more as a
warning to the king of his own future action than as a necessary
condition of his acceptance of the archbishopric.

All these preliminaries being settled in some form satisfactory to
Anselm, he yielded to the universal desire, and was enthroned on
September 25. The rejoicing of this day at Canterbury was not allowed to
go on, however, without interruption by the king. Ranulf Flambard
appeared in person and served a writ on the new archbishop, summoning him
to answer in some suit in the king's court. The assurance of Anselm's
friend and biographer, Eadmer, that this action concerned a matter wholly
within the province of the Church, we can hardly accept as conclusive
evidence of the fact; but Anselm was certainly right in regarding such an
act on this day as foreboding greater troubles to come. On December 4,
Anselm was consecrated at an assembly of almost all the bishops of
England, including Thomas, Archbishop of York. The occasion is noteworthy
because the Archbishop of York interrupted the proceedings to object to
the term "metropolitan of all Britain," applied to the church of
Canterbury, calling attention to the fact that the church of York was
known to be metropolitan also. The term primate was at once substituted
for that of metropolitan, since the archbishops of Canterbury did not
claim the right to exercise an administrative authority within the see of

It is interesting to notice, in view of the conflict on investitures
which was before long to begin in England, and which had already been for
years so bitterly fought upon the continent, that all these events
happened without the slightest questioning on the part of any one of the
king's sole right to dispose of the highest see of the realm as he
pleased. There was no suggestion of the right of election, no objection
to lay investiture, no protest from any one. Anselm accepted investiture
with the staff from the hand of the king without remark. He acknowledged
his feudal relation to him, swore fealty to him as a vassal,[15] and was
ready to perform his obligations of feudal service, at least upon his own
interpretation of their extent. A little later, in 1095, after the first
serious conflict between himself and the king, when the papal legate in
England took of him his oath of fealty to the pope, the oath contained the
usual Norman clause reserving his fealty to the king. A clause in the
bishop's oath to the pope so unusual as this could not have passed in
that age without notice. It occasioned instant criticism from strict
ecclesiastics on the continent, and it must have been consciously inserted
by Anselm and consciously accepted by the legate. Such facts as these,
combined with the uncompromising character of Anselm, are more striking
evidence of the absolutism of the Norman monarchy than anything which
occurred in the political world during this period.

Within a few days after his consecration, Anselm set out from Canterbury
to attend the Christmas meeting of the king's court at Gloucester. There
he was well received by the king, but the most important business before
the court was destined to lead to the first breach between them. Robert
of Normandy had grown tired of his brother's long delay in keeping the
promises which he had made in the treaty of Caen. Now there appeared at
Gloucester a formal embassy from him, authorized to declare William
forsworn and faithless, and to renounce all peace and agreement with him
unless he held to the treaty or exculpated himself in due form. There
could be no hesitation about an answer to this demand. It is more than
likely that William himself, within a short time, would have sought for
some excuse to begin again his conquest of Normandy, if Robert had not
furnished him this one. War was at once resolved upon, and preparations
made for an immediate campaign. The most important preliminary question,
both for William and for England, was that of money, and on this question
the scruples of Anselm and the will of the king first came into
collision. Voluntary aids, donations of money for the special
undertakings or necessities of the king, were a feature of William's
financial management, though their voluntary character seems often to
have been more a matter of theory than of reality. If the sum offered was
not so large as the king expected, he refused to accept it and withdrew
his favour from the delinquent until he received the amount he thought
proper. Anselm was persuaded by his friends to conform to this custom,
and hoping that he might in this way secure the favour and support of the
king in his ecclesiastical plans, he offered him five hundred pounds of
silver. At first William was pleased with the gift and accepted it, but
his counsellors advised him that it was too small, and Anselm was
informed that it would not be received. The archbishop's attempt to
persuade William to take the money only called out an angry answer. "Keep
your own to yourself," the king said, "I have enough of mine;" and Anselm
went away rejoicing that now evil-minded men would have no occasion to
say that he had bought his office, and he promised the money to the poor.
The archbishop was acting here entirely within his legal rights, but it
was not an auspicious beginning of his pontificate. Within a few weeks
the prelates and nobles of England were summoned to meet again--at
Hastings, from which port the king intended to cross to Normandy. The
weather was for some weeks unfavourable, and during the delay the church
of the new abbey of Battle was dedicated; Robert Bloet, who had been
appointed Bishop of Lincoln while the king was in fear of death, was
consecrated, though Anselm himself had not as yet received his pallium
from the pope; and Herbert Losinga, Bishop of Thetford, who had bought
his bishopric from the king and afterwards, apparently in repentance, had
personally sought the confirmation of the pope, was suspended from his
office because he had left the realm without the permission of the king
and had sought from the unacknowledged Pope Urban the bishopric which the
king asserted his full right to confer. He afterwards recovered William's
favour and removed his see to Norwich. At Hastings, in a personal
interview with the king, Anselm sought permission to hold a synod of the
kingdom, which had not up to this time been allowed during the reign, and
remonstrated with him in the plainest language for keeping so many
monasteries without abbots while he used their revenues for wars and
other secular purposes. In both respects William bluntly refused to
change his conduct, and when Anselm sought through the bishops the
restoration of his favour, refused that also "because," he said, "I do
not know why I should grant it." When it was explained to Anselm that
this was a formula of the king's which meant that his favour was to be
bought, he refused on grounds of policy as well as of principle to
increase, or even to renew, his former offer. This seemed like a final
breach with the king. William's anger was great when he heard of Anselm's
decision. He declared that he would hate him constantly more and more,
and never would hold him for his spiritual father or a bishop. "Let him
go home as soon as he likes," he cried, "he need not wait any longer to
give his blessings to my crossing over" and Anselm departed at once from

On March 19, 1094, William at last crossed to Normandy. The campaign
which followed was without decisive results. He was no nearer the
conquest of the duchy at the end than at the beginning. Indeed, we can
hardly say that the campaign had an end. It died away by degrees, but no
formal peace was made, and the duchy came finally into the hands of
William, not by conquest, but by other means. On William's landing an
attempt was made to renew the peace at an interview between him and
Robert, but without avail. Then those who had signed the treaty of Caen
as guarantors, twelve barons for Robert and twelve for William, were
called upon to say who was acting in violation of the treaty. They
decided, apparently without disagreement, against William, but he refused
to be bound by their verdict. The war which followed was a typical feudal
war, the siege of castles, the capture of men and towns. Robert called in
once more his suzerain, Philip of France, to his aid, and captured two
important castles, that of Argentan towards the south, and that of La
Houlme in the north-west. William then took a step which illustrates
again the extent of his power and his arbitrary use of it. He ordered a
levy of ten thousand men from England to be sent him in Normandy, and
when they had assembled at Hastings, Ranulf Flambard, by the king's
orders we are told, took from them the ten shillings which each man had
been furnished for his expenses, and sent them home. Robert and Philip
were now marching against William at Eu, and it was probably by the
liberal use of this money that "the king of France was turned back by
craft and all the expedition dispersed." About the same time William sent
for his brother Henry to join him. Henry had reappeared in western
Normandy not long before, and had begun the reconstruction of his power
there. Invited by the inhabitants of Domfront to protect them against
Robert of Belleme, he had made that place a starting-point from which he
had recovered a considerable part of his earlier possessions. Now William
sent ships to bring him by sea to Eu, probably wishing to use his
military skill against their common enemy. For some reason, however, the
ships departed from their course, and on the last day of October he
landed at Southampton, where he stayed some weeks. On December 28,
William also returned to England, and in the spring, Henry was sent back
to Normandy with supplies of money to keep up the war against Robert.

The year 1094 had been a hard one for both England and Normandy. The
duchy had suffered more from the private wars which prevailed everywhere,
and which the duke made no effort to check, than from the invasion of
William. England in general had had peace, under the strong hand of the
king, but so heavy had been the burden of the taxation which the war in
Normandy had entailed that agriculture declined, we are told, and famine
and pestilence followed. In the west the Welsh had risen against the
Norman lords, and had invaded and laid waste parts of the English border
counties. In Scotland William's ally, Duncan, had been murdered, and his
uncle, Donald, who represented the Scottish national party, had been made
king in his place. William found difficulties enough in England to occupy
him for some time, particularly when, as was told above, the refusal of
Robert of Mowbray to appear at court in March revealed the plans of the
barons for another insurrection.

Before he could attempt to deal with any of these difficulties, however,
another question, more troublesome still, was forced upon the king. A few
weeks after his landing Anselm came to him and asked leave to go to Rome
to get his pallium from the pope. "From which pope?" asked the king.
Anselm had already given warning of the answer which he must make, and at
once replied, "From Urban." Here was joined an inevitable issue between
the king and the archbishop; inevitable, not because of the character of
the question but because of the character of the two men. No conflict
need have arisen upon this question. When Anselm had remonstrated with
the king on the eve of his Norman expedition, about the vacant abbeys
that were in his hands, William in anger had replied that Lanfranc would
never have dared to use such language to his father. We may be sure for
one thing, that Lanfranc would have dared to oppose the first William
with all his might, if he had thought the reason sufficient, but also
that his more practical mind would never have allowed him to regard this
question as important enough to warrant the evils that would follow in
the train of an open quarrel between king and primate. During the last
years of Lanfranc's life, at least from 1084, no pope had been formally
recognized in England. To Anselm's mind, however, the question was one of
vital importance, where delay would be the sacrifice of principle to
expediency. On the other hand, it seems clear to us, looking back on
these events, that William, from the strength of his position in England,
could have safely overlooked Anselm's personal recognition of Urban, and
could have tacitly allowed him even to get his pallium from the pope
without surrendering anything of his own practical control of the Church.
William, however, refused to take this course. Perhaps he had come to see
that a conflict with Anselm could not be avoided, and chose not to allow
him any, even merely formal, advantages. The student of this crisis is
tempted to believe, from the facts of this case, from the king's taking
away "the staff" from the Bishop of Thetford, if the words used refer to
anything more than a confiscation of his fief, and especially from his
steady refusal to allow the meeting of a national council, that William
had conceived the idea of an independent Church under his supreme control
in all that pertained to its government, and that he was determined to be
rid of an Archbishop of Canterbury, who would never consent to such a

Of the dispute which followed we have a single interesting and detailed
account, written by Eadmer who was in personal attendance on Anselm
through it all, but it is the account of a devoted partisan of the
archbishop which, it is clear, we cannot trust for legal distinctions,
and which is not entirely consistent with itself. According to this
narrative, William asserted that Anselm's request, as amounting to an
official recognition of one of the two popes, was an attack upon his
sovereignty as king. This Anselm denied,--he could not well appreciate
the point,--and he affirmed that he could at the same time be true to the
pope whom he had recognized and to the king whose man he was. This was
perfectly true from Anselm's point of view, but the other was equally
true from William's. The fundamental assumptions of the two men were
irreconcilable. The position of the bishop in a powerful feudal monarchy
was an impossible one without some such practical compromise of tacit
concessions from both sides, as existed between Lanfranc and William I.
Anselm desired that this question, whether he could not at the same time
preserve his fidelity to both pope and king, be submitted to the decision
of the king's court, and that body was summoned to meet at Rockingham
castle at an early date. The details of the case we cannot follow. The
king appears to have been desirous of getting a condemnation of Anselm
which would have at least the practical effect of vacating the
archbishopric, but he met with failure in his purpose, whatever it was,
and this it seems less from the resistance of the bishops to his will
than from the explicit refusal of the lay barons to regard Anselm as no
longer archbishop. The outcome of the case makes it clear that there was
in Anselm's position no technical violation of his feudal obligations to
the king. At last the actual decision of the question was postponed to a
meeting to be held on the octave of Whitsuntide, but in the meantime the
king had put into operation another plan which had been devised for
accomplishing his wish. He secretly despatched two clerks of his chapel
to Italy, hoping, so at least Anselm's biographer believed, to obtain, as
the price of his recognition of Urban, the deposition of Anselm by the
authority of the pope for whom he was contending. The opportunity was
eagerly embraced at Rome. A skilful and not over-scrupulous diplomatist,
Walter, Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, was immediately sent back to England
with the messengers of Rufus, doubtless with instructions to get as much
as possible from the king without yielding the real principle involved in
Anselm's case. In the main point Walter was entirely successful. The man
of violent temper is not often fitted for the personal conflicts of
diplomacy; at least in the strife with the papal legate the king came off
second best. It is more to be wondered at that a man of so acute a mind
as William of St. Calais, who was now one of the king's most intimate
advisers, did not demand better guarantees.

Cardinal Walter carefully abstained at first from any communication with
Anselm. He passed through Canterbury without the archbishop's knowledge;
he seemed to acquiesce in the king's view of the case. William believed
that everything was going as he wished, and public proclamation was made
that Urban was to be obeyed throughout his dominions. But when he pressed
for a deposition of Anselm, he found that this had not been included in
the bargain; nor could he gain, either from the legate or from Anselm,
the privilege of bestowing the pallium himself. He was obliged to yield
in everything which he had most desired; to reconcile himself publicly
with the archbishop, and to content himself with certain not unimportant
concessions, which the cardinal wisely yielded, but which brought upon
him the censure of the extreme Church party. Anselm promised to observe
faithfully the laws and customs of the kingdom; at this time also was
sworn his oath of fidelity to the pope, with the clause reserving his
fealty to the king; and Cardinal Walter formally agreed that legates
should be sent to England only with the consent of the king. But in the
most important points which concerned the conflict with the archbishop
the king had been defeated. Urban was officially recognized as pope, and
the legate entered Canterbury in solemn procession, bearing the pallium,
and placed it on the altar of the cathedral, from which Anselm took it as
if he had received it from the hands of the pope.

Inferences of a constitutional sort are hardly warranted by the character
of our evidence regarding this quarrel, but the facts which we know seem
to imply that even so powerful and arbitrary a king as William Rufus
could not carry out a matter on which his heart was so set as this
without some pretence of legal right to support him, at least in the case
of so high a subject as the Archbishop of Canterbury; and that the barons
of the kingdom, with the law on their side, were able to hold the king's
will in check. Certainly the different attitude of the barons in the
quarrel of 1097, where Anselm was clearly in the wrong, is very

Already before the close of this business the disobedience of Robert of
Mowbray had revealed to the king the plot against him, and a considerable
part of the summer of 1095 was occupied in the reduction of the
strongholds of the Earl of Northumberland. In October the king invaded
Wales in person, but found it impossible to reach the enemy, and retired
before the coming on of winter. In this year died the aged Wulfstan,
Bishop of Worcester, the last of the English bishops who survived the
Conquest. His bishopric fell into the hands of Flambard, and furnishes us
one of the best examples we have of his treatment of these fiefs. On the
first day of the next year died also William of St. Calais, Bishop of
Durham, who had once more fallen under the king's displeasure for some
reason, and who had been compelled to come up to the Christmas court,
though too ill to travel. He left incomplete his new cathedral of Durham,
which he had begun on a splendid scale soon after his return from exile
early in the reign, beginning also a new period in Norman architecture of
lighter and better-proportioned forms, with no sacrifice of the
impression of solid strength.

This year of 1096, which thus began for England with the death of one of
the ablest of her prelates, is the date of the beginning for Europe as a
whole of one of the most profound movements of medieval times. The
crusades had long been in preparation, but it was the resolution and
eloquence of Pope Urban which turned into a definite channel the strong
ascetic feeling and rapidly growing chivalric passion of the west, and
opened this great era. The Council of Clermont, at which had occurred
Urban's famous appeal and the enthusiastic vow of the crusaders, had been
held in November, 1095, and the impulse had spread rapidly to all parts
of France. The English nation had no share in this first crusade, and but
little in the movement as a whole; but its history was from the beginning
greatly influenced by it. Robert of Normandy was a man of exactly the
type to be swept away by such a wave of enthusiasm, and not to feel the
strength of the motives which should have kept him at home. His duty as
sovereign of Normandy, to recover the castles held by his brother, and to
protect his subjects from internal war, were to him as nothing when
compared with his duty to protect pious pilgrims to the tomb of Christ,
and to deliver the Holy Land from the rule of the infidel. William Rufus,
on the other hand, was a man to whom the motives of the crusader would
never appeal, but who stood ready to turn to his own advantage every
opportunity which the folly of his brother might offer. Robert's most
pressing need in such an undertaking was for money, and so much more
important did this enterprise seem to him than his own proper business
that he stood ready to deliver the duchy into the hands of his brother,
with whom he was even then in form at war for its possession, if he could
in that way obtain the necessary resources for his crusade. William was
as eager to get the duchy as Robert was to get the money, and a bargain
was soon struck between them. William carried over to Normandy 10,000
marks--the mark was two-thirds of a pound--and received from Robert, as a
pledge for the payment of the loan, the possession of the duchy for a
period of at least three years, and for how much longer we cannot now
determine with certainty, but for a period which was probably intended to
cover Robert's absence. The duke then set off at once on his crusade,
satisfied with the consciousness that he was following the plain path of
duty. With him went his uncle, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, to die in Sicily in
the next winter.

William had bought the possession of Normandy at a bargain, but he did
not propose to pay for it at his own cost. The money which he had spent,
and probably more than that, he recovered by an extraordinary tax in
England, which excited the bitter complaints of the ecclesiastical
writers. If we may trust our interpretation of the scanty accounts which
have reached us, this money was raised in two ways, by a general land-tax
and by additional personal payments from the king's own vassals. By grant


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