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THIS work is the outcome of a desire to furnish both general 
readers and young students of British history with a record based 
upon the best authorities, and written in an interesting narrative 

British history should be, above all, an account of the social 
and political development by which a people comprising various 
nationalities, characters, and creeds has acquired, in the fullest 
measure ever known, the true freedom which combines liberty with 
order, and makes Law, represented by the Throne, the highest 
authority in the realm. Such headings in the Index as " House 
of Commons," " Freedom," " House of Lords," " Charters," " Sta- 
tutes," will prove the importance herein assigned to constitutional 

The writer has aimed at accurate, impartial, and comprehensive 
treatment of his subject, and it is believed that, for the use of 
learners in colleges and schools, no department has been left 
unnoticed. Literature, science, art, commerce and geographical 
discovery have all come under review, and the student is enabled 
to trace national progress in every stage, from Eoman times to the 
democratic era of the latter half of the nineteenth century. 

The relations of this country with Foreign Powers at every period 
have been traced, and the valour which, on scenes of both foreign 
and civil warfare, has been a main element in making the British 
Empire, has been fully recognised. 

The reign of Queen Victoria is treated on an extended scale 
and India and the Colonies are separately dealt with. 



The attention of students who may be preparing themselves 
for examinations in British History is specially directed to the 
technical terms marked by italics in the Index, and to such 
articles as " Clergy," " Catholics, Eoman," " Declarations," 
" Dissenters," " Impeachment," " Papacy," and " Presbyterians." 

A series of original maps serves to show the great territorial 
changes that have occurred since earlier times, and the gradual 
progress of the formation of the British Empire in later days. 

It is hoped that the work will commend itself to the judgment 
of instructors, and be found of essential and indispensable use in 
Schools and Colleges. 


* Statutes, documents, and technical terms are in italics : square brackets enclose events 
placed out of chronological order, and matters outside of, but bearing on, English history. 

Britons and Romans (B.C. 55- A. D. 450). 

CHAP, I. Pre-historic People : 
Ccesar in Britain , . p. i 

55 Julius Cfesar's first invasion. 
54 Julius Ctesar's second invasion. 

CHAP. II. Roman Conquest and 
Rule . . . . p. 8 

A. IX 

._J Conquest begun by Aulus 

M ( Plautius and Vespasian. 

47 Ostorius Scapula in command. 

- fl / Suetonius Paulinus in com- 

08 \ mand. 

Druids and Boadicea de- 



78\Agricola's government of 
84 / Britain. 

gj{ j-Agricola in Caledonia. 

19n / Hadrian's Wall erected (Sol- 
** ( way and Tyne). 
i an /Wall of Antoninus (Clyde 
im \ and Forth). 
3rd \Saxon pirates begin at- 
cent, j" tacks. 
304 St. Alban martyred. 
Q/UI / Constantine the Great at 
6W} { Eboracum (York), 
, fin /Picts and Scots pass Had- 
360 \ rian'sWall, 

i Picts and Scots reach London . 
/ Picts and Scots driven out 
\ by Theodosius. 
Roman troops withdrawn 

from Britain. 
Roman troops return for a 

few months. 
Britons vainly ask help of 


Final severance of Britain 
from Roman empire. 

CHAP. III. Roman Period of 
Rule (details of) , . p. 14 

410 { 
418 { 

443 i 
cir. 1 
450 ) 

Britain becomes England (450-828). 

CHAP. 1. The Coming of the A.D. 
English . . . p. 20 

St. Aidan in Northumbria. 


4501 Jutes found kingdom of | 

470 / Kent. 

477 1 Saxons found kingdom of 

491 / Sussex. 

495 \Saxons found kingdom of 

519 / Wessex. 

5261 Saxons found kingdoms of 

527 / Essex and Middlesex. 

{Angles found kingdoms of 
East Anglia, Mercia, and 
Northumbria (i.e., Ber- , 
nicia + Deira). 

CHAP. II. England a Christian 

Country . . . p. 27 

cent } tst David converts Wales.] 
560 '.Ethelbert, king of Kent. 
c Q7 / Augustine and his monks 

*' \ land in Thanet. 
r Qfi I Church of England founded 

l at Canterbury. 
627 ) Conversion of the north by 
634 f Paulinus. 

565 \ [St. Columha preaches in 
597 / Scotland.] 

669 ) St. Chad (Ceadda), Bishop of 

672 / Mercia. 

664\ St. Cuthbert works in Nor- 

687 / thumbria 

664 Council of Whitby. 

f Theodore becomes Arch- 


\ bishop of Canterbury. 

CHAP. UI.-The Chief Early Eng- 
lish Kingdoms . . p. 30 
C , c /Ivent declines after death of 
616 \ JSthelbert. 
593 V Northumbria powerful under 
617 1 ^Ethelfrith. 

J j- Edwin, king of Northumbria. 

ell \ Peilc ^ a ' P a an kin S of Mercia. 
-.,, / Edwin defeated and slain by 
633 \ Penda 

CAO / Oswald of Northumbria slain 
tu { by Penda. 
(.,. / Penda succumbs to Oswiu 
000 I (Oswy) of Northumbria. 
CQK ( Northumbi-ia declines on 
180 \ death of Ecgfrith. 
659 ) Mercia powerful under 
sqq. )" Wulfhere. 

^Ethelbald strong in Mercia. 

Mercia great under Offa. 

7821 Offa's Dyke formed (Dee to 

1^1 1 Wessex powerful. 
j* | Ine, king of Wessex. 
|J I Egbert, king of Wessex. 
goo/ Egbert supreme over all 

^j | Danes first appear in force. 

CHAP. IV. Early English Civi- 
lisation . . . p. 36 

[Literature of Period.] 
cir. -\ 

670 > Caedmon flourished. 
690 J 
jjfjj 1 Bede (Baeda) flourished. 

loO I 

jjjjjj I Alcnin flourished. 

845 1 Joaimes Scotus (Erigena) 

875 / flourished. 



The Danes in England (830-1042). 

CHAR I. The Exploits of the 


p. 4 o 


\ Britc 

defeats Danes and 
tons in Cornwall. 
837/Ethelwulf, king of Wessex 
858 1 and overlord 
oec ( Danes first winter in England 
55 ) (Sheppey). 

anes in East Anglia and 

Fen country ravaged by 
'\ Danes. 
870 Mercia conquered by Danes. 




c _/St. Edmund, king of East 

8 ' 1 \ Anglia, slain. 

|Ij | Alfred, king of Wessex. 

871 Danes invade Wessex. 

[Danes settle on Irish coast, 
Shetlands, Orkneys, and 
Hebrides, by middle of gth 

Q -c ( Alfred's victory over Danes 

8/0 1 in Swanage Bay. 

_,. / Danes under Guthorm (Guth- 

87b (. rum) in Wessex. 

878 Alfred retires to Athelney. 

878 Alfred defeats Guthorm. 

Treaty of Wedmore admits 

878 { 

Danes to England. 
CHAP. II. England under Alfred 

the Great 

P- 45 


Alfred's work of restoration. 

. 1 Invading Danes defeated in 
'f Kent. 


8 f* [Hasting the Dane repelled. 
[Literature of Period.] 
cir. / Asser, Bishop of Sherborne, 

961 \Dunstan, Archbishop of Can- 
988 / terbury. 
97 ,jj j Edward the Martyr, king. 
979 ) Ethelred II. (the Unready), 

910 t died, 
f Alfred's translations of Gre- 

1016 / king. 
980 Danes attack southern coasts. 

878 t/ory's Pastorals, Bede's 
9011 'Ecclesiastical History, Boe- 

982 London burnt by Danes. 
OQ , \ Norwegians land in East 

V. tius, &c. 
cir. f Anglo-Saxon Chronicle be- 
900 I gins English prose. 

991 / Anglia. 
_-.) Danetjeld raised to buy off 
994 / Danes. 

CHAP. III. Political and Social 

1 nn9 / Ethelred marries Emma of 

Arrangements. , . p. s 1 

llHw-^ Normandy. 

CHAP. IV. England in the Tenth 

Nov ) Massacre of Danes (St. 
.i^k ( Brices Day). 

Century . * P> 58 

1002 ) *"v/* 

jj5g | Edward the Elder, king. 

1003 \_ Sweyn of Denmark's attacks 
1009 )" on England. 

_,_ ( JBthelflseda, the Lady of 
*iiJ Mercia, partly subdues 
920 1 Danelagh. 
921 \ Edward annexes Mercia.East 
924 / Anglia, and Northumbria. 

1013 Sweyn drives out Ethelred. 
1014 Death of Sweyn. 
iniKJ Edmund Ironside, son of 
1015 1 Ethelred, fights Danes. 

^P 1 '") Edmund and Cnut divide 

5 I Athelstan's strong rule. 

1016' J kin S dom - 

Q ,_/Athelstan's victory at Bru- 

'* '\ nanburh. 

CHAP. V. England under Danish 

JU } Edmund the Elder, king. 

Kings , . . . p. 66 

|H JEdred, king. 

1035 } Onut ' king of Engtend- 

Qn 1 Dunstan "s rule as minister. 

Im7 /The foir earldoms esta- 
1017 1 Wished. 

n 5 . 5 , j-Edwy, king. 
yoy ) 

JJ35 j, Harold 1. (Barefoot), king. 

9 !j 9 j Edgar, king. 

1 (MO r -H-tircliCci iiitGj kinu. 


Coming of the Normans (1042-1100). 

CHAP. I. The Beginning of CHAP, II. The Fight for the 

Norman Power 


p. 69 


Jj^ J- Edward the Confessor, king. 

1ftAO j Norman influence in Eng- 

1042 1 land begins. 

mo J [Duchy of Normandy 

"* 1 founded by Hollo.] 

loth \ [Normans acquire new cul- 

cent. / ture and power.] 

1042) Earl Godwin powerful in 

1053 f England. 

1051 Godwin banished. 

William, Duke of Nor- 
matidy, visits England. 

Godwin returns from 

Godwin dies: Harold be- 
comes Earl of Wessex. 




\Harold chief minister in 

1066 f England. 

inco/ Harold's victories in 

00 ( Wales. 

Jan. \ Harold chosen king bv 
1068 / Witan. 

English Crown 

P- 79 

Sep. \ Harold's victory at Stam- 
1066 / ford Bridge. 

Battle of Hastings. 

CHAP. III. After the Battle of 
Hastings . . . p. 87 
Dec. 25 ) William I. crowned at 
1066 / Westminster. 

1071 } Com P letion of conquest. 
eJ ' | Exeter taken. 

o ^ s i n north subdued. 


( Yorkshire laid waste. 
1070^ Lanfranc becomes Arch- 

( bishop of Canterbury. 
inn /Here ward subdued in Isle 
1071 \ of Ely. 

CHAP. IV. Establishment of Nor- 
man Mule , . , p. 97 
I/VM/ William I. refuses homage 
""*! to Pope for England. 

1084 ~> 

infi {[Domesday Book made.] 

CHAP. V. William I. and his 
Successor , . .p. 109 


1075 /Earl of Hereford's revolt 

IW t suppressed. 
1076 Waltheof executed. 
1078 / Robert (Williams eldest 

(. son) revolts. 
1087 -f William's war with France, 

V and death. 

1100 / William II. (Rufus), king. 

1088/ Revolt of barons sup- 
\ pressed. 

1089l Lanfranc dies = see of Can- 
\ terbury left vacant. 

1092 ( Cumberland annexed (from 
\ Scotland). 

1093 ( Anselm becomes Arch- 
. bishop of Canterbury. 

( The First Crusade: Robert 
1096 . pledges Normandy to Wil- 

1097^ A selm leaves Ens- 

l land. 
1099^ Wffllam reduces Maine to 

I. submission. 
nno/ William slain in \ew 

( Forest, 



The Great Charter (1100-121o). 

CHAP. I. The Strong Rule of 
Henry the First . . p. 117 

Henry L, king. 

uni / Henry gives Charter of 
1101 \ Liberties. 
_ nnc / Robert defeated by Henry 
1108 ( at Tenchebray. 

( Henry's compromise with 
1107 < Pope and Anselm on in- 

( restitutes. 
1120 Prince William drowned. 

C Matilda (Empress Maud) 
1127 ( marries Geoffrey Planta- 

( genet of Anjou. 
., 09 / Prince Henry (Henry II.) 
1133 (_ born. 

gg} Henry I. dies. 

CHAP. II. The Reign of Anarchy 
and Civil War . . p. 123 

1135 \Stephen, Count of Blois, 
1154 / king. 

TIQO/ Scottish invasion repelled 
1148 \ at Battle of the Standard. 

{Stephen quarrels with 
Matilda (Maud) and Robert, 
Earl of Gloucester, in- 
vade England. 
/"Stephen defeated and taken 

at battle of Lincoln. 
1141-! Matilda in power. 

I The war renewed ; Matilda 
V. driven from London. 
( Stephen released by ex- 
1142 \ change for Earl Robert. 

( Matilda besieged at Oxford. 
1145 Earl of Gloucester dies. 
114ft/ Matilda retires to Nor- 
11 *\ mandy. 

( Prince Henry rules Nor- 

1151 < mandy, Anjou, Touraine, 
( and Maine. 

/Prince Henry marries Elea- 
I nor of Guienne. 

1152 / P rmce Henry invades Eng- 

) Theobald, Archbishop of 
\ Canterbury, intervenes. 
iiK<> f Treaty of Wallingford se- 
T**\ cures throne for Henry. 

^ | Death of Stephen. 

[Literature of the Period : 

the Chroniclers. 

1082 ) Florence of Worcester 
111?/ wrote. 

(Ordericus Vitalis wrote. 
William of Malmesbury's 
historical work De Gestis 
Rec/um Anglorum ends. 
1154 Geoffrey of Monmouth died. 
1 2th ) Wace of Jersey's Brut and 
cent. / Roman de Rou. 
11 CA/ Henry of Huntingdon's 
04 chronicle ends. 



CHAP. III. The Plantagenets be- 

gin to reign . . p. 131 

JJg} Henry II, king. 

Thomas Becket becomes 

Becket with Henry in 

French war. 
Becket, Archbishop of Can- 

Council of prelates at West- 


Jan. \ Great Council at Clarendon 
1164 j (Wilts). 
1164 Constitutions of Clarendon. 

1164 } C Uncil f ]Srortham P ton - 
iic/i / Becket' s flight to the Con- 
1164 \ tinent. 

Dec. \Return and murder of 
1170 / Becket. 

CHAP. IV. Henry's Reign after 
Becket's Death . . p. 139 

1 1 KK / [Ireland : Pope Hadrian 
1155 ^ Iy , g bull for conquest 

i -i co Invasion of Ireland from 
1168 j- Waleg by Fitz . st ephen. 

( Strongbow(De Clare, Earl of 
1170-;. Chepstow) takes Dublin 

( and Waterford. 
in ( Strongbow becomes king of 

1171 \ Leinster. 

1172 Henry II. in Ireland. 

, , - f Henry assumes lordship of 

1175 { Ireland. 

1177 Hugh de Lacy, lord-deputy. 

1185 Prince John, lord-deputy. 
( English dominion limited to 
I the English Pale Dub- 

1186-! lin, Waterford, Wexford, 

IDrogheda, Cork, and dis- 

--/ Queen Eleanor and the 
11 '* \ princes plot agains i king. 

1173 V Scottish and Flemish inva- 

1174 / sions repelled. 

1174 f Henry's penance at Becket's 

11 '*\ tomb. 

f William the Lion of Scot- 
I land prisoner : does ho- 

1175-; mage to Henry as liege- 
lord for Scotland (Treaty 
\ of Falaise). 

., n / Henry's legal reforms ; 

u -'\ judges of assize appointed. 

,,oo f King's sons jigain rebel in 

1183 1 France. 

11 OK /Knights Templars es^ab- 

1180 \ lished in London. 

Prince Richard wars with 
Henry in France. 

Death of Henry II. 


CHAP. V. Richard of the Lion 
Heart . . . p< 144 

Richard I , king. 

/ The Jews ill-treated: the 
( tragedy at York, 


{Claim to hom-'ge for Scot- 
land sold. 
Richard starts for Palestine. 

1191 } Richard in Hol y Land. 

1191 i Saladin defeated : Acre, As- 
*\ calon, and Jart'a taken. 
/Richard makes truce with 

1192^ Philip Augustus of France 
and Prince John plot 
\. against Richard. 

M93/ Richard a pri-.oner in Ger- 
\ many. 

Mar. \Richard arrives in Eng- 

1194 / land. 

1194 \ War in France agains. 

1199 / Philip Augustus. 

11 QO /Death of Richard I. in 

1199 \ France. 

Literature : Walter Map's 
satires, &c. : Ranulph 
(Ralph) de Glanvil's work 
on English law : the 
Chroniclers, William of 
Newbury, Roger de 
Hoveden, Gerald du Barri 
(Giraldus Cambrensis); 
Layamon (theBrut,a met- 
rical chronicle of Britain 
in early English). 

CHAP. VI. The Wicked King and 
the Good Charter . p. 151 


/ War in France : John keeps 

Anjou and Maine. 
John defeats his nephew 
Arthur in Poitou. 

1203 Prince Arthur murdered. 
(Philip Augustus of France 

1204 ! attacks John : Normandy 
( lost. 

C Anjou, Maine, Touraine, 

1205 4 Poitou, &c. , conquered by 
( Philip. 

1206 \ John's quarrel with Pope 
1213 / Innocent III. 

( Stephen Langton made (by 
1207^ Pope's influence) Arch- 

( bishop of Canterbury. 
1208 \England under Papal In- 
1213 / terdict. 

i John's deposition pro- 
claimed by Pandulf. 
War with France : French 
fleet partly destroyed. 
John submits to Pope as 
his suzerain. 

/French invading fleet de- 
I stroyed at Damme (Flan- 

1214{ ders) - 

Philip of France victorious 
I over John's league at 
\ Bouvines. 

Jan. \Langton and the barons 

1215 / meet in London. 

May \Baronial army gathered 

1215 / under Fitz-Walter. 

June\Magna Carta signed at 

1215 / Runnymede. 

VI 11 


1215 { 

John appeals to Pope : brings 
in foreign troops. 

( John victorious over barons : 
'1 Prince Louis of France 
( called in by barons. 


Rise of the House of Commons (1216-1272). 

CRAP. I. Henry the Third and 
Simon de Montfort . p. 164 

Jf^JHenry III., king. 
1216 X William Marshal, Earl of 
1219 / Pembroke, chief minister. 

/Battle of Lincoln: the 

I French expelled from 
, 017 / England. 
ia -'\ French invading fleet de- 

I stroyed off Sandwich. 

V Charter of Forests granted. 
1219 \ Hubert de Burgh, justiciary 
1231 1 and chief minister. 
12191 The country reduced to 
1224 1 order. 

1223, ), The Great Charter solemnly 
1225 f confirmed by king. 

1227 Henry assumes power. 

1228 Cardinal Langton dies. 
1231 De Burgh deprived of office. 
1231 ) Peter des Roches, Bishop of 
1241 f Winchester, in power. 

{Henry marries Eleanor of 
Influx of Poitevin and other 
French intruders. 
Peter of Savoy (queen's 
uncle) in power. 

1253 \ The king ' s ille al exactions. 
1242, \ Resistance of barons in 
1248 ] Parliament. 
19jl n/ Henry at war with Louis 
l ^\ IX. of France. 

19 . 9 / Henry defeated at Taille- ! 

1242 X bourg. 

, 0yl _ /Pai:al exactions strongly 

1245 X resisted. 

1250XQ ueen Eleanor at feud with 

1253 / city of London. 

_-/ Simon de Montfort, Earl of 
izoo ^ Leicester, heads barons. 
p , (Troubles on Welsh bor- 

loiw i ^ er ' Henry summons 

izob ( Parliament. 
June X The Mad Parliament at 
1258 / Oxford. 

IOKO f Provisions of Oxford reform 
1258 X the mode of rule. 
1 9fi3 1 ^actions among barons. 

Da Montfort returns from 


France and takes lead. 

CHAP. II. De Montfort and the 
House of Commons . p. 174 

1263 e } The barona> war Begins. 
SA ( Tne kin and Prince Ed- | 
ward swear to Provisions 


1241 j 


I Jan. 

( of Oxford. 

Mise of Amiens (award of 
Louis IX. of France) an- 
nuls Provisions. 
King and Prince Edward 
May defeated at battle of 

1264 Lewes. 

Mise (Treaty) of Leives. 
Jan. XDe Montfort summons bur- 

1265 / gesses to Parliament. 


Apr. X Reaction of barons against 

1265 J De Montfort. 

A C Renewal of war : De Mont- 
e JS- I fort defeated and slain at 
1Zba ( battle of Evesham. 

1272 } The rovalist reaction - 

iocc / The Dictum (award) de 

1266 1 KenUworth. 

1266 X Prince Edward restores 
1269 / order. 

1271 \ Prince Edward in Palestine 

1272 / (eighth and last crusade). 

gg- } Henry III. dies. 

CHAP. III. Learning and Reli- 
gion in Thirteenth Century 
p. 181 

-^./Franciscan Friars come to 
1224 \ England. 

(The Grey Friars (Francis- 
1230" cans) and Dominicans 

( active in England. 
1235 \ Robert Grosseteste, Bishop 
1253 / of Lincoln. 
1235 \Adam Marsh (de Marisco) 
/ teaches at Oxford. 

^ 2 ^ | Roger Bacon at Oxford. 

JIJJ!! Bacon's Opus Majus. 

cir. ^ Henry of Bracton's work on 
1260 / English law. 

J|^| | Matthew Paris, chronicler. 


England conquers Wales and attacks Scotland and France (1272-1377). 

CHAP. 1. England under Edward 
the First ... p. 186 
J 272 1 Edward I., king. 

1273 \ The king and queen (Eleanor 

1274 / of Castile) in France. 
Aug. X Edward and Eleanor land 
1274 / at Dover. 

12fi7 I [Llewellyn has title "Prince 

mt \ of Wales." 
1274 / Llewellyn refuses homage 

lf * I to Edward. 



invades North 

Llewellyn submits : marries 
Eleanor de Monfort 

David and Llewellyn of 
Wales revolt. 

Llewellyn killed in action : 
David taken and exe- 

Statute of Wales regulates 
1 the conquered territory. 

( Edward of Caernarvon, first 
1284 \ English "Prince" of 

( Wales."] 

1275 First Statute of Westminster. 
The great law-courts(lfmtf's 
1275 Bench, Exchequer, Com- 
mon Pleas, Chancery) 
finally settled. 
Statute of Mortmain (De 

Statute of Merchants (St. of 

Acton Bumel). 
Statute of Winchester. 
f Statute Quia Emptores deals 
I with estates. 
Jews, after much ill-treat- 
ment, banished. 
Death of Queen Eleanor. 
The first complete Parlia- 

[Edward does homage to 
French king for Guiennp. 
1286 Edward settles affairs in 




War with France : Guienne 

lost to England. 
French and Scottish alliance 

Barons resist the king's 


Confirmation of the Char- 
ters (statute). 

The Confirmation renewed. / Charter of Forests enforced 
1301 1 by barons. 
1305 -f Gw^^rwMrtibnagain extorted 

X by barons. 
, / [Scottish affairs : Kenneth 

M X Mac-Alpin, king, 
gth, \ 

ioth V Danish invasions, 
cent. ) 

cir. X Kingdom of Scotland com- 
1010 / pletely formed. 
1056) Malcolm III. (Canmore), 
1093 / king. 

i2th X Norman nobles settle in 
cent. / Scotland. 



1124 1 David I. establishes f euda- 

1153 / lity. 

116| I William the Lion, king. 

1175 Treaty of Falaise. 

1100 ( Treatv au nulled by Richard 

cir \ Border-line settled between 
1240 f England and Scotland. 

'fHaco of Norway defeated 
1 2 6 3 | atLargs. 
. i Hebrides annexed to Scot- 
1266 1 i aiu i. 

( Alexander III. dies. 
1286- Margaret, Maid of Norway, 

( queen. 

(Treaty of Brigham for 

1 marriage of Margaret 

i with Prince Edward. 
Oct. X The young Scottish queen 
1290 f dies ] 

( Parliament at Norham dis- 
1291 -I cusses Scottish succes- 

V. sion. 
( Scottish throne awarded 

-? bv Edward I. to John 
2 \ Baliol. 
, ftftc f Edward I. quarrels with 

1295 \ Baliol. 

C Edward invades Scotland. 
iSJi' - Capture of and massacre at 

1296 ( Berwick. 

1296 f Balio1 defeated at Dunbar. 
June ) Edinburgh occupied. 
1296 / Stirling Castle surrendered. 

1296 } Balio1 dethroned - 

(Scottish crown, sceptre, 
1296- and "stone of destiny" 

( brought to England. 



(Wallace takes the field in 

\ Scotland. 

Sep. 1 Defeat of English at Stir- 
1297 / ling. 

Edward invades Scotland. 
July \ Edward defeats Wallace at 
1298 f Falkirk. 

( Pope Boniface VIII. claims 
1300 - decision between England 

( and Scotland. 
,, ft ,/ English parliament rej< 
WU1 \ Papal interference. 
..../Stirling Castle taken bj 
loUo I Scots 

j Edward invades Scotlanc 
1304 ( and exacts submission. 
...... (Wallace taken and exe 

1305 1 cuted. 

Feb. 1 Robert Bruce takes the 

1306 J field. 

1306 } Bruce crowned at Scone. 

1306 f Bruce defeated at Methven 
May ) Bruce victorious at Loudoi 

1307 J Hill. 

.1 uly \ Edward I. dies at Burgh 
1307 / on -Sands. 

CHAP. II.- The Fight for Scottis 
Independence . . p. 22 

1327 1 Edward II., king. 

lore /Edward marries Isabella o 

16W I France. 

1307 1 Piers de Gaveston in power 
1312 / at intervals. 
mo I Lwds Ordaiiiers appointed. 
,,,,,( The barons cause reform of 
\ government. 
/ The barons in arms : Gave- 
1 ston beheaded. 
( [Scottish a/airs : Robert 
1309- Bruce supported by 

( Douglas. 

1310 \ The Scots retake their towns 
1312 / and fortresses. 
1312 Bruce invades England.] 
"ml 1 Edward invades Scotland. 
June \ The Scots victorious at 
1314 f Bannockburn. 
1312 ) The Despensers in power at 
1326 / intervals. 
,, f Edward coerced by Thomas 
14 1 of Lancaster. 
, f Lancaster president of 
316 \ Council. 
318 Berwick taken by Bruce. 
120) Northern counties ravaged 
.321 / by Scots. 

-Edward vainly invades Scot- 

Lancaster defeated at 
Boroughbridge, and be- 

The Ordinances repealed by 
- Parliament at York. 
^| | Truce made with Scotland. 
/Isabella and Roger Morti- 
X mer allied against king, 
j Isabella invades England. 
1(>c / The Despensers executed as 
326 1 traitors. 

an. X The king dethroned by 
327 j Parliament. 
Sep. f Edward murdered at Berke- 
327 .1 ley Castle. 
_-./ [Dissolution of Knights 
AIA \ Templars in England.] 


Scots recover fortresses : 
^ David 1 1. again on throne.] 
Oct. \Edward takes title "King 
1337 / of France." 
...-/"France vainly invaded by 
1339 1 Edward. 

.._/ French fleet beaten at 
1340 \ Sluys. 


1344} Truce witl1 

July X Ed ward invades Normandy : 

1346 / Caen taken. 

1346* } En lis h victol T at Crecy. 
Oct. \David II. of Scotland de- 
1346 f feated at Neville's Cross. 
1346 \ [David II. a captive in 
1357 / England.] 
H|- } Calais taken by Edward. 

CHAP. III. The Hundred Years' 
War begins . P- 232 

| 27 } Edward III., king 

[330 / power. 

C Treaty of Northampton ac 
1328-^1 knowledges Scottish in 

( dependence. 
1329 6 1 [Death of Robert Bruce. 

1329 David II. , king of Scotland. 

! Edward marries Philippa 
of Hainault. 
Mortimer made Earl o 
Edward assumes power 
Mortimer hanged as trai 

,000 i [Scottish a/airs: Civil wa 
1332 \ in Scotland.] 

fWar with Scotland : Scot 
.- I defeated at Halidon Hill 
1333-^ Berw i c k captured by Ed 


1333 ) [Edward Baliol vassal-kin 
1339 / of Scotland 

( Order of Garter instituted. 
349 { The Black Death rages in 
( England. 

(The Statute of Labourers 
Statute of Treasons. 
Statute of Provisory against 
Papal claims. 
Further anti-Papal legisla- 
! tion. 

355 War with France renewed, 
ept. \Black Prince victorious at 

356 / Poitiers. 

1CB ( French king John prisoner 

357 \ in London. 

360 Treaty of Bretigny. 

363 Statute of Apparel. 

364 French king dies in London. 
367 Black Prince in Spain. 

369 War in France renewed. 

370 French invade Gascony. 
m i Black Prince returns to 

1371 1 England. 
1371 X Du Guesclin in field against 
1374 / English. 

,0 (Spanish fleet holds sea 
1372 1 against English. 
._ ./Truce with France : English 
I possessions mostly lost. 

1370 1 Duke of Lancaster (John of 
L377 f Gaunt) in power. 

iom / William of Wykeham(Chan- 

1371 \ cellor) driven from office. 
10 _rThe Good Parliament im- 
1376-1 peaches evil anmggjlers. 

Black Prince dies. 
July \ Alice Ferrers and Lancaster 
1376 J again dominant. 
Jime\ Death of E(iwa rd III. 

CHAP. IV. Literature and Learn- 
inci under the Three Edwards 
p. 251 

.- nfi /Duns Scotus, the Subtle 
1308 1 Doctor, died. 

._ ( William de Occam, the In- 
I 347 1 vincible Doctor, died. 
....(Thomas Bradwardine, the 
1349 j profound Doctor, died. 
f Richard de Bury, Chancel- 
lor, and Bishop of DOT- 
1 345 1 ham, a patron of learning, 



The Age of Wyclif and Chaucer. The Lancastrian Kings and 



CHAP. I. England under Richard 
the Second . . .p. 254 
JJJJ j Richard IL, king, 

( [The religious revolt : Lol- 
1361 < lardry : Wyclif master of 

( Balliol, Oxford. 
13661 Wyclif, prominent against 
1378 / Papal claims. 
,of Wyclif rector of Lutter- 
1375 ( worth. 

,, 7ft /Wyclifs anti-Papal tract, 
ld ' \ Schism of the Popes. 

( Langland's Purs the Plow- 
IOOAJ man's Vision. 
UH) Wyclif s translation of Bible 

Wyclif denounces transub- 

stantiation at Oxford. 
Wyclif condemned as here- 

Wyclif dies.] 

1378\ War with France, Spain, 
1380 1 and Scotland. 
1M1 /The poll-tax: Wat the 
iMi \ Tyler's revolt. 

1390 \ [Anti-Papal legislation. 

1392 Statute of Praemunire.] 
., ( Richard marries Anne of 
1382 1 Bohemia. 

1384 V War with Scotland : border 

1387 / forays and invasions. 

( Earl of Suffolk removed 

1385 -j from power by Lords ai>d 
( Commons. 

fDe Vere, Earl of Oxford 
| (king's favourite), de- 
feated at Radcot Bridge. 
Chief-Justice Tresilian and 
others executed by Parlia- 
lent as traitors. 
,000 /Battle of Otterburn (Chevy 

1388 \ Chase). 

( Richard assumes power : 
1389- William of Wykeham, 

( Chancellor. 

,,04 f Richard II. quells revolt in 
1394 < Ireland. 

( The king turns upon nobles: 
1397 -N Gloucester dies in prison 

( at Calais. 

fRichard wields despotic 


1398- Dukes of Norfolk and 
Hereford (Bolingbroka) 

V banished. 

( Duke of Lancaster's (Boling- 
1399^ broke's) estates confis- 

( cated. 

July \Bolingbroke lands inarms 
1399 / at Ravenspur. 
Sept. \Richard forced to abdi- 

1399 / cate. 

Feb. V [Richard dies at Pontefract 

1400 f Castle.] 

1351 / [Literature : Gower's Vox 
l03 - 1 Clamantis. 


France (1377-1453). 


1394 Gower's Confessio Amantis. 

1386 1 Chaucer ' s earlier poems. 

1400 / 

Canterbury Tales written. 

n f 

1400 \ 
1409 / 

CHAP. II. Religious persecution 
under Henry IV. . P- 275 

} 39 jj Henry IV., king, 

Plots for Earl of March 
dealt with. 

Owen Glendower's revolt in 

Sir Edmund Mortimer de- 
feated by Glendower. 

Scots under Earl Douglas 
defeated at Homildon 

Rebellion of the Percies : 
battle of Shrewsbury. 

Revolt in north suppressed. 

Earl of Northumberland 
defeated at Bramham 

[Religious affairs: Statute 
De Heretico comburendo. 

Sawtrey burned at Smith- 



1413 j 

1410 { 

1370 { 


1402 { 




Persecution of Lollards. 

John Badby burned at 

[Scottish a/airs: David II. 


Robert II. (Stewart) died. 
Duke of Rothesay (Prince 

David), regent for Robert 

Duke of Albany in power as 

Prince James (James I.) a 

prisoner in England. 
James I. acknowledged as 

The Highland invasion de- 

feated at Harlaw. 
James I. crowned at Scone 

on release from Eng- 

Death of Henry IV. 

CHAP. III. Henry V. conquers 
France . . .p. 282 

Henry V., king. 

Sir John Oldcastle (Lord 

Cobham) escapes from 


Lollard plot crushed. 
[Cobham taken and executed 

as traitor.] 
Plot for Earl of March 


French war begins. 

Harfleur surrenders to 
Henry V. 

Victory of Agincourt. 

1413 -{ 


i /it n / 


Julyl Henry's second invasion of 

1417 / France. 

1417 Normandy towns taken. 


Rouen surrenders. 

Treaty of Troyes. 

( Scottish army helps French. 
1421 \ English defeated at Beauje 

e 1 He 

June 1 Henry's third invasion of 
1421 / France. 

1/100 / Henry and his queen (Catha- 
14 ^ \ rine of France) at Paris. 

^1' \HenryV.diesatVincennes. 

CHAP. IV. End of the Hundred 
Years' War , . p. 289 

| Henry VI., king. 





[Charles VI. of France dies. 

Dauphin crowned, asCharles 

VII., at Poitiers.] 
f Henry proclaimed "King 
I of France." 
Duke of Bedford commands 

in France. 

Earl of Salisbury defeats 
French and Scots at Cre- 
Bedford routs French and 

Scots at Verneuil. 
Bedford defeated by 

Oct. V Earl of Salisbury begins 

1428 / siege of Orleans. 

Mar. ) English win Battle of Her- 

1429 / rings (Rouvrai). 

Apr. 1 Jeanne Dare takes the 
1429 / field. 

May 2, ~\ Jeanne Dare, La Hire, 
1429 / and Dunois at Orleans. 
May 4, 7, \English defeated be- 
1429 / fore Orleans. 

^1429 8 ' I Siege of 0rleails 1-aised - 
June 1 Earl of Suffolk defeated and 
1429 / taken at Jargeau. 

1429 6 } English defeated a <> Patay. 
July 1 Charles VII. of Franco 

1429 / crowned at Rheims. 
May 1 Jeanne Dare defeated and 

1430 / captured at Compiegne. 


| Henry crowned in Paris. 


May ) Jeanne Dare burnt 
1431 / Rouen. 
14251//om a/airs: Quarrels of 
1447 / Beaufort and Gloucester. 

f Restriction of county fran- 
1430-! chise to forty - shilling 

I freeholders. 

lAAcf Henry married to Margaret 
1445 1 of Anjou. 

( Deaths of Duke Humphrey 
1447-^ of Gloucester and Car- 

I dinal Beaufort. 





Dukes of .Suffolk and 
Somerset in power. 

Richard, Duke of York, and 
Earls of Salisbury and 
Warwick head other fac- 
( Duke of Suffolk impeached 

1450 an ^ murdered. 

Rebellion of Jack Cade sup- 
t pressed. 


1450 | Dukes of Somerset and 

1452 / York at issue. 

I '[The French war : Congress 
of Arras : Duke of Bur- 
j.*o-v gundy abandons English 
j cause. 
VDuke of Bedford dies. 

i/ioc / English garrison overcome 
1436 -j in parls 

1437 ) Lord Talbot's successes in 
1440 / France. 

1448 Maine ceded to France. 
1450 / Normandy lost to Eng 

1^ lUlKl. 

( Lord Talbot (Earl of Shrews- 

1452 bury) defeated and killed 
^ at Castillon (Guienne). 

Oct. \ Bordeaux surrendered to 

1453 f French. 

1d c, r Calais sole English posses- 
1453 \ sion in France.] 


The Fight for the Crown (1453-1485). 

I. Henri/ succumbs to 
Edward of York . p. 304 


Prince Edward born : Henry 

insane for a time. 
Duke of York named "Pro- 
\ tector." 
Feb. ) King recovers : Somerset 
1455 / again in power. 
May \ Wars of Roses begin : first 
1455 f battle of St. Albans. 
1456) Duke of York in retire- 

1458 / ment. 

Sept. ) The Avar renewed : battle 

1459 / of Blore Heath. 

f Duke of York and Earl of 
Warwick win battle of 
Oct. \Duke of York claims throne 

1460 ) for his line. 

TDuke of York defeated and 
iffiz 1 killed at battle of Wake- 
60 1 field. 

/"Edward of York victorious 
-., j I at Mortimer's Cross. 


4 Earl of Warwick defeated 

at second battle of 
V Albans. 

Mar. | Edward of York becomes 
1461 f king. 

CHAP. II. ~ Literature of the Lan- 
castrian Period . . p. 311 
cir. ^ 

1420 >Lydgate's satirical poems. 

1505 f lhe Paston Letters written. 
iin I Occleve wrote satirical 
SB/ vei ' se ' 

1450 } 1>ecock ' s cllie * vvork (prose). 
1463 Fortescue's legal works. 

CHAP. III. England under Ed- 
ward the Fourth . p. 314 


Edward IV., king. 

Mar. ) Edward's victory at battle 

1461 f ofTowton. 

June | Edward crowned at West- 

1461 / minster. 

y ov TActs of attainder against 

Henry, Margaret, 
LTOi I other Lancastrians. 



1462 \ Lancastrian risings sup- 
1464 / pressed. 

Apr. \ Lord Montacute's victoiy 
1464 J at Hedgeley Moor. 
May \ Montacute again beats Lan- 
1464 f castrians at Hexham. 
1464 \Henry a prisoner in the 
1470 / Tower. 

Edward marries Lady Eliza- 
beth Grey (Woodville). 
Margaret of York marries 

Charles of Burgundy. 
Duke of Clarence marries 

Isabel Neville. 
""" | Warwick turns against 

V Edward. 
July \ Edward's army defeated at 

1469 / Edgecote. 

S Clarence and Warwick 
driven out by king. 
Warwick's league with Mar- 
garet of Anjou. 
Warwick and Clarence land 
at Dartmouth. 
Oct. V Edward flees to Flanders. 

1470 / Henry again on throne. 

/ ' 

ne ' ' Lord of the Isles 

1431 j Highland rising suppressed. 
1437 i James murdered at Perth. 
James II., king. 





Edward and Richard of 
Gloucester land with 
force at Ravenspur. 
Clarence joins king. 
Edward enters London as 


Edward victorious at Bar- 
Edward's final victory at 

Deaths of Henry VI. and 

Prince Edward. 
Margaret of Anjou a pri- 
soner in Tower. 
f Richard of Gloucester mar- 
ries Anne Neville. 
Edward invades France. 
, -. The ignoble Treaty of Pec- 
1475 1 quigny. 

...--/Margaret of Anjou released 
14 '1 from Tower. 
,..-/ Caxton begins printing in 

1477 \ England. 

Feb. ) Duke of Clarence dies for 

1478 f treason. 
--/Richard of Gloucester cap- 

148Z 1 tures Berwick. 

W83 } Death of Edward IV. 
1421\[Scottish a/airs: James I., 
1437 / king. 


1d . ft /Earl of Douglas murdered 

1 * tu \ at Edinburgh. 

1443 William Douglas in power. 

, ,K/ Douglas murdered (by king) 

1452 \ at Stirling. 

.. cft / James II. killed at siege of 

1460 \ Roxburgh. 

1488 f James m -> kill - 

1460 1 Kennedy, Bishop of St. 

1465 / Andrews, in power. 

( James III. marries Nor- 
lAflo ' wegian Prijicess. 
j.40-j Orkney and Shetland Isles 

V annexed. 

1472-f -^ rcn ^i sn P r i c f St. An- 
"*'( drews founded.] 

CHAP. IV.- The End of the House 

of York . . -p. 330 


June [Edward V., king. 
1483 J 
, o I Earl Rivers and Ed- 

P ?' V ward's supporters ar- 

148<J J rested. 
May \ Edward accepted in London 
1483 / as king. 
June 13, \LordHastingsbeheaded 

1483 / in Tower. 
June 26, \ Richard of Gloucester 

1483 ] proclaimed king. 
( Edward V. and his brother 


Richard III., king. 

..../Duke of Buckingham's re- 

oo-^ vo j^ am | execution. 

f Richard's only Parliament : 
I statutes first made in 

18 1 English and printed. 

t Richard's son, Edward, die?. 

Mar. ) Death of Richard's queen 

1485 } (Anne Neville). 

Aug. 7, ) Earl of Richmond lamb 
1485 / at Milford. 

Aug. 22, \Richard III. killed at 
1485 / Bosworth. 




Tudor Times. The New Learning and the New Church (1485-1558). 

CHAP. I. The Aye of Henry the 
Seventh . P- 339 

\ Henry VII. , king 

Jan. \Henry marries Elizabeth of 
I486 / York. 

( Lambert Simnel's impos- 
Q _J ture. 
148 ' Simnel's supporters routed 

( [Bartholomew Diaz doubled 
1487 1 Cape of Good Hope. 


Columbus landed in West 

'John and Sebastian Cabot 

reached Labrador. 
Vasco da Gaina reached 

India round Cape.] 

CHAP. III. Englandunder Henry 

the Eighth 

\ j Henry VIII. , king. 

P- 371 

June ) Henry marries Catharine 
of Aragon. 

^ at Stoke, near Newark. 
THenry's sham invasion of 
1492^ France : Treaty of Esta- 

f Pei-kin Warbeck claims j 1509 f 

1193 throne as Richard of j , K , n / Empson and Dudley exe- 
\ York. t cuted. 

Warbeck's English suppor- j .,/ Henry joins Holy League 

ters executed for treason. I "*! against France. 
Sir William Stanley exe- ( Battle of the Spurs (French 

cuted. 1*13' defeat near Calais). 

[Ireland : Poynings (Lord i0i ~\ Battle of Flodden : James 

Deputy 'ti)Law passed.] I IV. killed. 

[Scotland : James III. killed 1514 Holy League dissolved 




1513 - 

at Sauchie Burn. 
James IV., king.] 
?Act legalising allegiance to 

1502 { 

nftttJ de facto sovereign. 

1490 1 Warbeck welcomed in Scot- 

l land by James IV, 
June X Cornish insurgents de- 
1497 | feated at Blackheath. 

149?' I Warbeck captured. 

i ion / Warbeck and Earl of War- 

1as X wick executed. 

K f Arthur, Prince of Wales, 

i KM ' -{ marries Catharine of Ara- 

1501 \ gon. 

( Princess Margaret married 
to James IV. of Scotland. 
Apr. 1 Arthur, Prince of Wales, 

1502 / dies at Ludlow. 

i KM / Prince Henry becomes 

1502 1 Prince of Wales. 

Feb. \Elizabeth of York, the 

1503 / queen, dies. 

1509 } Death of Henry VIL 

CHAP. II. The Days of the Re- 
naissance . . . p. 357 
1434 X [Cosmo de Medici rules in 
1469 I Florence. 

J||J } Nicholas V., pope. 

1453 { Constantinople taken by 

IKIK ([Francis I. becomes king of 
1515 X France.] 
jJJ||[&0eZaME: James V., king. 

,/ Queen-mother marries Earl 

: \ of Angus. 

1458 { 

Greek taught at University 

of Paris.. 

1169 {Lorenzo de Medici in power 
1492 / at Florence. 
149l{ Grocyn tau S nt Greek at 

cir. XCroke taught Greek at Cam- 

1520 J bridge.] 

1413 1 [Seotland : St. Andrews' 

X University founded. 
1449 Glasgow University founded. 
1194 Aberdeen Univer. founded.] 



L524} Duke of Alba y' 

1515 \Wolsey in power as Chan- 
1529 1 cellor. 

IK-IK ( Wolsey made Papal legate. 

1516 j Princess Mary born. 

/ League of France, Spain, 
\ and England. 
-IK-IO/ [Charles V. becomes em- 

1519 \ peror.] 

1520 Field of Cloth of Gold. 

. K0 - /"Duke of Buckingham exe- 

1521 \ cuted. 

1520 [Luther burns Papal bull. 

. ,-. / Henry's book On Seven Sac- 

i0 ^\ raments.} 

i coo / Wolsey's contest with House 

1523 \ of Commons. 

IKOK/ General resistance to illegal 

1525 \ taxation. 

CHAP. TV. The Great Anti-Papal 
lievolt . . . . p. 383 
. co-/ First application to Pope 
1W 'X (Clement VII.) for divorce, 
, . ( Wolsey and Campeggio con- 
IKOQ^ sider divorce case in Lon- 
1529 ( don. 

July /The divorce case remitted 
1529 I to Rome. 

f Fall of Wolsey from power. 
1529-! Sir Thomas More becomes 

^ chancellor. 

f Death of Wolsey. 

I Cranmer comes into favour 
1530-^ with Henry. 

I Thomas Cromwell rises to 

V. power. 

( Clergy in convocation ad- 


nates abolished by 
Convocation surrenders its 

i legislative powers. 
Sir Thomas More resigns 
Cranmer becomes Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury. 
Henry marries Anne Boleyn 

May X Cranmer pronounces di- 
1533 / vorce from Catharine 
June X Anne Boleyn crowned at 
1533 / Westminster. 

1533 1 1>rincess Elizabeth born. 
Act of Supremacy separates 
English Church from 
Other important church 

Cromwell becomes Chief 

Secretary of State. 
Act of Succession legalises 
marriage with Anne 
- Boleyn. 

(Bishop Fisher and Sir 
) Thomas More executed. 
"] Cromwell made Vicai'- 
( General. 

/ Wales incorporated with 
X England. 





mit king 

Head of 

CHAP. V. Progress of the Reli- 
gious Revolution . p. 402 

. / Act suppressing lesser mon- 
10db X asteries. 

/"Execution of Queen Anne 
May I Boleyn. 

1536 | Henry marries Jane Sey- 
V mour. 

New Act of Succession bars 
from throne Princesses 
Mary and Elizabeth. 
Bible in English admitted 
from abroad. 

1536 J Coverdale's Bible placed in 

Parts of Liturgy used in 

Lincolnshire revolt and 

Pilgrimage of Grace. 
f Fresh risings in north sup- 
mmgaj pressed. 

106 ' I Birth of Prince Edward : 
I, death of Queen Jane. 

1537 \Greater monasteries dis- 
1539 J solved. 

1538 f Eelics > pilgrimages, and 





shrines suppressed and 

Act of Six Articles. 

Henry marries (and di- 
vorces) Anne of Cleves. 

Fall and execution of Crom- 

Henry marries Catharine 

Executions under Six Ar- 
ticles Act. 




(The Great Bible ("Cran- 
mer's Bible") placed in 
IX cl 

1541-' churches. 

I Execution of Margaret, 

Countess of Salisbury. 

CHAP. VI. The Last Years of the 
Reign . . . . p. 421 
./Execution of Queen Catha- 



vine Howard. 
The Bible removed from 

Henry marries Catharine 


(Invasion of France. 
Third Act of Succession 
j.rti-| leaves throne to Edward 
V (and heirs) and Princesses. 
(Anne Askew burnt at Smith - 
,-.,1 field. 

P^l Chantries, chapels, &c., 
\. suppressed. 

Ja i547 9 ' } Earl f Surrey execiltecl - 

J 1547 8 '/ Death of Heniy VIIL 
1534 ) [Ireland : Revolt of the 
1536 / Geraldines suppressed. 






Conquest proceeds : Henry 
VIIL, "King of Ireland."] 

[Scotland : James V. as- 
sumes power. 

Suppresses border-chiefs 
and pacifies Highlands. 

James marries Mary of Lor- 

raine (Mary of Guise). 
Scots defeated at Solway 
Moss : death of James V. 
Birth of Mary Stuart. 
Earl of Arran becomes 

English invade Scotland : 

Edinburgh taken. 
Cardinal Beaton in power. 
\Lowlands ravaged by Eng- 
1546 / lish. 

izjtcl Cardinal Beaton murdered 
"1 at St. Andrews.] 

I [Scottish Reformation : 
1408-! Reseby, a Lollard, burned 
^ as "heretic." 


MM* /Scottish Parliament forbids 
525 \ "Lutheranism." 

. ( Patrick Hamilton burned at 
( St. Andrews. 

into / Priests and laymen burned 
1538 ( at Edinburgh. 
iK44/ George Wishart, a "here- 
i(m \ tic," returns from exile, 
-e^,./ Wishart burned by Beaton 
1030^ a j. gf._ Andrews.] 

CHAP. VII. Social and Intellec- 
tual Condition of Early Tudor 
Times . . . . p. 433 

1514 Trinity House founded. 

1*MTC (Literature and Learning: 
IKOO"! Warham, Archbishop of 
1533 1 Canterbury. 

St. John's College, Cam- 
bridge, founded. 
Henry VIIL founds Regius 
Professorships at Cam- 
Trinity College, Cambridge, 

More's Utopia (in Latin, 

1516) in English. 
Lord Berners' translation of 


f Sir Thomas Wyatt's and Earl 
1557-! of Surrey's poems pub- 

\ lished. 

cir. \UdalFs comedy, Ralph 
1540 / Roister Doister. 

CHAP. VIIL- The Reformation 
under Edward the Sixth p. 438 

Jig 7 } Edward VI., king. 

1547XI>uke of Somerset, "Pro- 
1549 / tector." 

1547' } Scots defeated at Piukie. 
1liia ([Mary Stuart betrothed to 
10*0 1 French Dauphin.] 

1547 Six Articles repealed. 

1548 / I ma o' es > pictures, relics, &c., 
X suppressed. 





First Prayer-book of King 


Act of Uniformity. 
Western and Norfolk 

(Kett's) rebellions. 
1549 ( Lord Seymour of Sudeley 


Fall of Protector Somerset. 
Earl of Warwick (Duke of 

Northumberland, 1551) in 

Hooper and Ridley made 





1552 ( ^ econ< ^ Prayer-book of King 


^ 6 of Somerset executed. 


553 } Death of Edw ard. 

CHAP. IX. The Catholic Revival 
under Mary Tudor . p. 448 

| Mary I., queen. 

July \ Northumberland's scheme 

1553 / baffled. 

i KKO / Cardinal Pole made Papal 

1553 \ legate. 

Feb. 1 Wyatt's rebellion sup- 

1554 / pressed. 

f Duke of Suffolk, Lady Jane 
IKKA I Grey, &c., executed. 
1004 A Pl . inces s Elizabeth im- 

V. prisoned. 

July \Mary marries Philip of 
1554 / Spain. 
Nov. \ The reconciliation with 

1554 / Rome. 

1555 \The persecution by burn- 

1557 / ing. 

1555' } phili P leaves England. 
Feb. \Cranmer "degraded" and 

1556 / burnt. 

,.__/War with France: battle 
xoo '\ of St. Quentin. 

! Jjgj-Lossof Calais. 

; Nov. \ Deaths of Mary and Car- 

1558 / dinal Pole. 

Elizabeth. The Fight for Religion and Life (1558-1603). 

CHAP. I. The Opening Years of 
the Reign . . .p. 459 

Elizabeth, queen. 

15581 Sir William Cecil (Lord 
1598 / Burlei;.>h, 1571) in power. 

1559 \Parker, Archbishop of Can- 
1575 / terbury. 

'Mary Stuart claims English 


New Liturgy and Act of 
I Supremacy. 
\Act of Uniformity. 

1560 Renewal of debased coinage. 
MM /Penal statute against 

102 1 Catholics. 

icgo/ Thirty-nine Articles settled 
\ in Convocation. 



1559^ N 



1<y;7/ Persecution of Puritans 
I begins. 

Catholic rising in northern 
counties (for Mary 
Duke of Norfolk imprisoned 

in Tower. 

[French Protestants(Hugue- 
nots) defeated at Jarnac 
and Moncontour.] 
/Pope Pius V. issues Bull of 
1570-J deposition against Eliza- 

( beth. 

, -_. / New statutes against Catho- 
1571 1 lies. 

Aug. / [Massacre of St. Bartho- 
1572 \ lomew in France.] 
- K /Duke of Norfolk executed 
"*\ for treason. 


1 579 / Walsingham becomes Chief 

i0 ' d X Secretary. 

1573 1 Jesuits hunted down in 

1586 / England. 

, K01 / Further penal legislation 

1581 \ against Catholics. 

1583XWhitgift, Archbishop of 

1604 / Canterbury. 

/Renewed persecution of 

| Puritans (Nonconfor- 
1583^ mists). 

High Commission Court 

t fully established. 
1 K RS /Star Chamber begins cen- 

1 sorship of press. 
, /Sir Philip Sidney killed at 
IMJb | Zutphen. 
, .... / [Scotland. The First Cove- 
1557 X nant. 







John Knox returns to Scot- 

Popular attacks on Catholic 

churches and abbeys. 
Siege of French troops in 

Death of Mary of Guise 

Reformed religion estab- 

Mary Stuart arrives in Scot- 


Earl of Moray (Protestant) 
* w " I in power. 
, E/ , e I Mary marries Lord Darn- 

1565 \ ley. 

1566 } Murder of Rizzio. 

June \Birth of Mary's son (James 

1566 f VI.). 

Feb. \Darnley murdered by Both- 

1567 / well. 

1567 } Mary marries BothwelL 
June \ Mary's surrender at Car- 
1567 f berry Hill. 
July \ Mary abdicates Scottish 
1567 f throne. 

James VI. (infant), king. 
Earl of Moray, regent. 
presby terianism established 

by Parliament. 
Mary's defeat at Langside. 
Mary Stuart a prisoner in 

Regent Moray assassi- 


Earl of Lennox (regent) 

- --- 
loo / 




I Earl of Mar (regent) dies. 

158l} Earl of Mortou ( re S ent )- 
J Catholic reaction among 
\ nobles. 

f Earl of Morton executed. 
Earls of Lennox (Esme 
Stuart) and Arran in 





James (with Arran) estab- 
lishes Episcopacy. ] 

CHAP. III. The Crisis of Eng- 
land's Destinies . . p. 484 

_ ,-Q.J / Throgmorton' s plot detected 

fAct against Jesuits and 
_ Q . I Catholic priests. 
108 *1 "Bond and Association" 

1 for Queen's protection. 
Sept.\ Babington's conspiracy 
1586 / crushed. 
Oct. 1 Mary Stuart tried fcr share 
1586 / in plot. 

Nov. \Mary condemned in Purlia- 
1586 / ment. 

iifoi I Mary Stuart executed. 
loo i I 

}?J] [Drake's attacks on Spanish 
i son r commerce and ports in 
ll|>J America.] 

^J 1 Drake's attack on Cadiz. 

July ) Armada defeated and 
1588 / ruined. 

1590 1 English forces in France for 
1591 / Henry IV. 
moo/ Statute against Noncon- 
105W \ formists. 

15941 Hooker's Ecclesiastical Po- 
1597 / lity. 

ICQ/./ Essex and Lord Howard 
105M) \ take Cadiz, 
i coo /Deaths of Lord Burleigh 
10S8 \ and Philip II. 
-"" [Ireland: Shan O'Neil's re- 

Rebellion in Munster. 
Risings in Ulster. 


Burke's rebellion in Con- 
1577 / naught. 
157 g / Spaniards help Irish re- 

1 "581 / Spanish troops taken and 
1081 ( massacred at Smerwick. 
1591 Dublin University founded. 
-1*00 /Hugh O'Neil's (Earl of 
1088 \ Tyrone) rebellion. 



*"" \ rebels. 

1601 Essex executed for treasoi 

Ireland finally subdued 
Lord Mount] oy.] 

[First poor law passed. 

Another Act for poor relief. 
1t . Q _/ Parochial overseers ap- 
103 ' { pointed. 

<New poor law passed. 
Parliament legislates 

against monopolies.] 

1603 | Death of Q ueen Elizabeth. 
iQ ([Scotland: James VI. mar- 
108y \ ries Anne of Denmark. 
---/Scottish Parliament abo- 
105W t lishes Episcopacy. 

The Gowrie plot against 


CHAP. IV. England in the Eliza- 
bethan Age . , .p. 503 
, C _ A f Royal Exchange opened in 
1570 \ London. 

1576 \ Martin ' Frobisher's north- 
1578 / west voyages. 

1585 1 John Davis' voyages to 

1587 / North America. 

IKCA (Literature : Translations 

isnnl fromGree^Lati^French, , 

lbuu i. Italian. 

1570 Ascham's Schoolmaster. 

1577 Holinshed's Chronicle. 


1O8U ) ~ 

1580 Stow's Chronicle 
1583 Camden's Britan 
1590 Sidney's Arcadia. 

1 10ft ^ 

1596 f ^P enser ' s Faerie Queene. 

1612 f ^ acon s Essays. 

r fi , / The Drama,: First English 

\ tragedy (Gorboduc). 
1589t Snak espeare's earlier comc- 
1603 / dies and historical plays. 

159o} Marlowe ' s tra g edies - 
1603 / "^ en ^ onson ' s earlier pluys. 

The Great Contest for Freedom (1603-1689). 

CHAP. I. The Beginnings of 
Stuart Rule . . p. 517 
JJJH} James I., king. 

1603 The Main and Bye plots. 
1603 \Sir Robert Cecil (Earl of 
1612 / Salisbury) in power. 
ifiAo /Millenary Petition of Puri- 
' uo \ tans. 

f Hampton Court conference. 
1604K House of Commons asserts 

t its privileges. 
1605 Gunpowder Plot. 
ifiin/ House of Commons again 
XDAU \ asserts rights. 
1611 i 
1614 } No ^"M 801 ^* summoned. 

1R11 /Authorised Version of Bible 
1011 \ published. 

[Sir Arthur Chichester, lord- 
deputy in Ireland. 

-Colonisation of Ulster.] 

"Death of Prince Henry of 


Princess Elizabeth marries 
Elector Palatine. 

1603 - 


CHAP. II. The Rising Power of 
Parliament . . p. 525 

ifiid/ House of Commons 'again 
1614 \ resists James. 

1621 / ^ P ai 'li amen t summoned. 

1616 f 

1616 { 

1616 I 
1625 / 



Carr, Earl of Somerset, in 

Chief-Justice Coke removed 
from council. 

Villiers, Duke of Bucking- 
ham, in power. 

Bacon becomes Lord Chan- 

Execution of Raleigh. 

Thirty Years' War in Ger- 
many begins. 

Elector Palatine expelled 
from Bohemia. 

Parliament punishes mono- 
polists and other offen- 

Impeachment and ruin of 



) House of Commons votes 
/ the "Protestation." 
Pym, Coke, and other mem- 
bers imprisoned. 
Prince Charles and Buck- 
ingham at Madrid. 
Earl of Middlesex, Lord 
Treasurer, impeached and 
524A condemned. 

I Expedition to Palatinate 
\ fails. 

I ([Scotland: The king and 
517 1 Laud in Edinburgh. 
: _ / Five, Articles of Perth favour 
a8 \ Episcopacy.] 
6091 [Hudson's discoveries in 
610 J North America. 
616 Baffin explores his bay.] 
6011 [Literature, Science : Shake- 
608 / speare's great tragedies. 
608\ Shakespeare's later come- 
613 / dies. 

603 1 Ben Jonson's tragedies and 
.614 / comedies. 
071 Beaumont and Fletchers 
.616 1 plays. 
jj^j | Massinger's plays. 

,,./John Napier invents loga- 
i rithms. 

Bacon's Novum Organum 


7/ Hampden's case in Ex- 

' ( chequer Court. 
July 1 [Scotland : The Liturgy-riot 
L637 / in Edinburgh. 

L638 } Ilenewal of Covenant 

i Scottish people renounce 

.639^ Episcopacy. 

( Revolt in Scotland. 

CHAP. III. The House of Com- 
mons groics Defiant . p. 534 

jjgl Charles I., king. 

OK I Charles marries Henrietta 
P\ Maria of France. 

1625 V Duke of Buckingham, chief 
1628 f minister. 

co _f House of Commons shows 
( ^| distrust of king. 

1626 Buckingham impeached. 
June \Second Parliament dis- 

1626 / solved. 

1626 1 Arbitrary rule and illegal 

1628 f exactions. 

fWar with France: Buck- 

1627 ingham's failure at La 
V Rochelle. 

/"Third Parliament meets : 

I Petition of Right. 
icno ' Buckingham murdered at 
W ] Portsmouth. 

I Laud becomes Bishop of 

V. London. 

fWentworth deserts Com- 
icoo I mons for king. 
>zy i Wentworth made President 

[ of Council of the North. 
Mar. | Third Parliament dis- 

1629 / solved 

CHAP. IV. The Royal Road to 
Ruin . . .p. 541 

1629 | The eleven years of 
1640 / tyranny. 

fLaud becomes Archbishop 
lfi oo J of Canterbury. 
f* I Prynne punished by Stai 

t Chamber. 

1633 | Wentworth in Ireland as 
1639 f Lord Deputy. 

[Treaty of Berwick.] 

{Short Parliament meets 
and is dissolved. 

"| Riot in London against 

1640 J- Laud and High Commis- 
J sion Court. 

/[' f Scots invade England, 


I Treaty of Ripon. 
| Long Parliament meets. 
c/ii* I Straff ord impeached. 

Ltnl ) 

May \Strafford executed under 

1641 / Act of Attainder. 

{High Commission, Star 
Chamber, Council of 
North abolished. 

j Revolt in Ireland. 
Nov. \ The Grand Remonstrance 
1641 / voted in Commons. 
Dec. \Riots against bishops in 

1641 / London. 

Jan. 1 The king and the Five 

The king refused entrance 

to Hull. 
June \ Charles rejects hard terms 

1642 / of Parliament. 

Aug. 1 The royal standard raised 

1642 / at Nottingham. 

CHAP. VThe First Civil War : 
Events to end of 1643 p. 561 

, | Battle of Edgehill. 
June ) Hampden killed at Chal- 

1643 / grove 

1ftl .>l Parliamentary defeats in 
io* / west and south. 

f Earl of Essex raises siege of 
Sep. J Gloucester. 
1643 1 Falkland killed at New- 

l bury. 

fl~jf"\Crpmwell'B Ironsides show 
1643 f figllt in north - 

IMS 1 063 ^ 1 of ^y 111 - 

ic/io/ Westminster Assembly of 

1643 \ Divines. 

1643 1 English Church is Presby- 
1660 / terian. 

CHAP. VI. Progress and Close of 
the First War . . p. 567 

1644 } Battle of Maret 011 Moor. 
("The Independents form the 

1fi ._ I "New Model " army. 
"" D 1 Royal cause ruined in Scot- 
I land. 

L645 ) Royal cause ruined in Eng- 
L646 [ lanO. 

^ Uiing with Scottish army. 

1647 J 

Ifi47 /Army (Independents) wins 

I power over Parliament. 
./Republicans subdue Royal- 
\ ist reaction. 

1649 } Kin S's trial and execution. 

CHAP. VII. The only English Re- 
public . . . , p. 585 

L653 } Council of State in Power. 
L649 \Subjection of Ireland com- 

1650 / pleted. 

June \Charles II. arrives in Scot- 

1650 / land. 

165o} Battle of I)unbar - 

1651 Conquest of Scotland. 
ijJgjPj | Battle of Worcester. 
1651 Navigation Act passed. 

| Naval war with Holland. 

1653 (CromweH in power as Pro- 
Sep. I tector. 


i Union Parliament at West- 
/ minster. 

J^l War with Spain. 

,..._ f Blake's exploit at Teneriite : 

1657 \ his death. 

1658 English troops at Dunkirk. 

^ | Death of Cromwell. 

Sep. ^| 

1658 I Richard Cromwell as Pro 
May f tector 

1659 J 

Mav (" The yeai of auarcnv - 

1660 J 

May 29, \Charles II. enters Lon- 
1660 / don. 

CHAP. VIII. England under a 
Royalist Reaction . p. 605 


1635 < tt $2d2to imP Sed <>U IMS 6 } Battle f Naseby ' 






j- Charles II., king. 
\Convention Parliament set- 
f ties revenue. 
| Lord Clarendon in power. 
\First (the Cavalier) Parlia- 
/ ment 

{The Clarendon persecuting 
Code (Act of Uniformity, 
Conventicle Act, Five Milt 

| Dutch war. 
Plague of London. 
Fire of London. 

(Dutch fleet in Medway and 
Thames : Peace of 
Fall of Clarendon. 



CHAP. IX. The Cavalier Parlia- 
ment and the Catholics p. 621 


IgS } The Cabal Ministers - 

Jan. \The Triple Alliance against 

1668 | Louis XIV. 

1668 } peace f Aix-la-Chapelle. 

' / Secret Treaty of Dover with 
lb7U Louis. 


Shutting of Exchequer. 
Dutch war . 

(Test Act against Catholics. 
1673-J Lord Shaftesbury in opposi- 

^ tion. 

1674 > Earl of Danby, chief minis- 
1679 / ter. 

-,! The Orange marriage (Wil- 
lb77 ( liam and the Lady Mary). 

1678 Peace of Nimeguen, 
16781 The sham Popish plot of 

1679 / Gates. 

"Second Parliament meets. 
Danby dismissed : Temple, 
Halifax, Suuderland in 



Exclusion Bill introduced. 

Habeas Corpus Act passed. 

Charles dissolves the Parlia- 

CHAP. X. The Rise of the Whig 
Party . . . .p. 633 

icon /The Exclusion BUI before 

J - oau \ the country. 

Nov. \ Exclusion Bill thrown out 

1680 / by Lords. 

Mar. \ Third Parliament sits for 

1681 / a week at Oxford. 

1682 Triumph of the Court party. 

1682 \ Arbitrary government of 
1685 / Charles. 

1683 \ Municipal charters resumed 

1684 / by crown. 

IBM / Rve House plot : executions 
1683 1 of Whigs. 

IMK 1 Death of Charles II. 

JLboO ) 

1661 ) [Scotland : Persecution of 

1685 / Covenanters. 

icci /Execution of Marquis of 
1661 \ Argyle. 

May \ Archbishop Sharp mur- 
1679 / dered by Covenanters. 
TmiP f Covenanters beat Graham 
1R7Q 1 of Claverhouse at Drurn- 
10 ' 3 t clog. 

A I> | A - 1:> ' 

June \Monmouth defeats rebels 16601 Thomas Sydenham's n 

1679 / at Bothwell Bridge.] 1680 / cal works. 

1662 Royal Society founded. 
CHAP. XL Intellectual Progress : | 1676 \John Ray's works 

Rise of Colonies . . p. 643 
1629 ) Li terature : John Milton's 
1634 / earlier poems. 
1633 George Herbert dies. 

Chillingworth's Religion of 
Browne's Reliyio 


ibi8 ^ Protestants. 
,_./ Thomas 
1642 \ Medici. 
1644 Milton's Areopagitica. 
1648 Herrick's Hesperides. 

1649' } The Eik n Basilike - 

L/ Milton's Defence of the 
IbDU | People of England. 
1651 Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. 
- CKO f Hi chard Baxter's Saint's 
1653 \ Rest. 

1656 Harrington's Oceana. 
1661 Thomas Fuller dies. 

jjj| | Samuel Butler's Hudibras. 

.,.,, / Milton's Paradise Lost. 
lbb7 \Abraham Cowley dies. 

^1^1 John Dryden's plays. 
- fifi _/ Dryden's Essay on Dramatic 

1669 Jeremy Taylor dies. 

f Milton's Samson Agonistes. 
1671 -! Duke of Buckingham's R- 

^ hearsal. 

1 fifri I Thomas Otway's plays. 
1677 Isaac Barrow dies. 

f Andrew Marvell dies. 

Ralph Cudworth's Intellec- 
1678-J tual System. 

John Bunyan's Pilgrim's 

V. Progress. 

1ftQ1 / Dryden's Absalom and 
1681 \ AcUtopliel. 
1679 \Gilbert Burnet's History of 
1714 1 English Reformation. 
-<,,. /Dryden's The Hind and the 
1687 \ Panther. 
1689 ) Dryden's translations of 
1697 / Juvenal, Persius, Virgil. 
-gnQ/John Locke's Essay on 

\ Human Understanding. 
1697 Y Dryden's Alexander's Feast, 
1700 1 Fable*, &c. 
1702 \Lord Clarendon's History of 
1704 / Rebellion published. 

(Science: William Harvey's 
1628- work on Circulation of 

t Blood. 

1705 / Natural History. 
i,_ _rSir Isaac Newton's Priri 
\ 168 M cipia. 

' IT, I John Wallis, nmthemaj 
; 17 3 ( tician, died. 

1607 Colonies : Virginia founded. 
! , c<5ft / Pilgrim Fathers land ir) 
I 1WU | North America. 
I 1628 Massaclmsetts founded. , 
! 1633 ) Connecticut and Rhodt 

1636 / Island. 

1634 Maryland founded. 
fCarolinas founded. 

1664] New York and New Jersey! 
^ annexed. 

1682 Pennsylvania founded. 

CHAP. XII. Freedoms Battle 
Won ... p. 656 

James II., king. 

/ Argyle' s and Monmouth'q 
\ risings suppressed. 
'The king violates the Test\ 

James uses the " dispensing 

High Commission Court in 


Camp formed at Hounslow. 
Religious persecution in 


Catholic cabal in power. 
Catholics made dominant 

in Ireland. 
The Hydes (Clarendon and 1 

Rochester) dismissed. 
First Declaration of In- 
The Universities attacked 

by James. 
King's effort to pack 

Parliament fails. 
Apr. \ Second Declaration of In- 
1688 / diligence. 
Tn HP f Trial of Seven Bishops, 
ifiaa \ Birth of prince (elder Pre- 

w I tender). 
Nov. \Prince of Orange lauds in 

1688 / Torbay. 

16^8 /^ na ^ flight of James. 
Feb.\William and Mary accept 

1689 / English crown. 


The Revolution. Great Britain Free and Powerful (1689-1714). 

CHAP. I. The Last great King of 
Great Britain . . p. 693 

1702} WilliamIIL ' kin - 

1684 } Marv II>t Queen. 

i8Q / Mutiny Act, Toleration Act, 

189 \ Bill of Rights. 
1690 Act of Grace. 

3\\\y\[Scotland: battle of Killie- 
1689 / crankie. 
, RQn / Final establishment of Pres- 
Ib90 \ byterianism. 

^ 9 2 } Ma ssacre of Glencoe.] 
Aug. \[Ireland : Siege of London- 
1689 / deny raised. 

1690 } Ba ttle of Boyne. 

J^y} Battle of Aughrim. 

6 C 9 fc j] Capture of Limerick.] 

i69o e } Battle of Beach y Head - 

1691 | Louis XIV. captures 
1692 } Battle of La H g ue - 



French take Namur. 

|- 1 Battle of Steinkirk. 

ly \Battle of Landen (Neer- 
|g / winden). 
I j British failure at Brest. 
M ( Home-affairs : Marlborough 
K \ dismissed. 

National Debt begins. 

Bank of England founded. 

} Death of Mary. 
Sew Coinage Act.] 

IAP. II. The King's Diffictilties 
at Home and Abroad p. 711 

*|- 1 William captures Namur. 
! ^ | Barclay plot discovered. 
i P' j- Peace of Hyswick. 

98 j Trade-Acts against Ireland. 

97 ) [Scotland : Darien Scheme 
j 00 I fails.] 

; ,98 I First and Second Partition 
MOO/ Treaties. 
!> 01 Act of Settlement. 


Sep.f ( 
1701) - 

Grand Alliance 

James II. dies. 

William III. dies. 


CHAP. III. The Contest for "Ba- 
lance of Power " . .p. 723 

l}Anne, queen. 

May \ War of Spanish Succession 

1702 I begins. 

1704 Gibraltar taken. 

V704 I Battle of B l en h eim - 

1705 \ Earl of Peterborough's vic- 

1706 / tories in Spain, 
^jy | Battle of Ramillies. 

, n _ f British and allies defeated 
1707 1 atAlmanza. 
,_ A0 r Battle of Oudenarde: cap- 

1708 \ ture of Lille. 

1709 Battle of Malplaquet. 

; ,_../ General Stanhope sur- 

1710 \ renders at Brihuega. 
!._..) Marlborough deprived of 
: I 711 f command. 

; \Treaty of Utrecht 



Nov. ' 

[Home a/airs: The Great 


I" Storm.' 


Act of Security (Scotland). 


Whigs in power. 
Act of Union, 

1708 /Harley (Tory) dismissed 

from office. 

TDr. Sacheverell impeached. 
1710K Tory ministers (Harley, St. 

^ John, &c.).] 

1714 } Death of Queen Anne - 


[Literature : Congreve s 




Vanbrugh's plays. 


Farquhar's plays. 

f Jeremy Collier's Short 


Swift's Tale of a Tub. 

i The Tatler (Steele and Ad- 


dison) begins. 

,_, ) The Spectator (Addison and 
1711 f Steele) begins. 
,_, ( Swift's Conduct of the 
1711 1 Allies. 


Swift's Barrier Treaty. 
( Arbuthuot's History of John 


L Bull. 


Pope's Rape of the Lock.] 

The Eighteenth Century (1714-1802). 

HAP. I. England comes under 
Whig Rule . . . p. 742 

y\ George L, king. 
714 | Lord Townshend, chief 
716 f minister. 

(Riot Act passed. 


I Jacobite rebellion (Earl of 

1 Mar's). 

I Death of Louis XIV. 

716 Septennial Act passed. 
717) General (Earl) Stanhope, 
721 f chief minister. 

H -\ Triple Alliance (Great Bri- 

717 / tain, France, Holland). 

{Quadruple Alliance (by ad- 
dition of German Empire). 
Spanish fleet destroyed off 
Cape Passaro. 

_ / Jacobite invasion of Scot- 
ris \ land foiled. 
.720 South Sea Scheme. 
.721 1 Robert Walpole, chief mini- 
.742 / ster. 

L723 Bishop Atterbury banished. 
L723 ) The Drapier's Letters (Dean 
1724 f Swift's). 

(Earl of Macclesfleld (Chan- 
cellor) condemned. 
Treaty of Hanover (Great 
Britain, France, Prussia). 

CHAP. II. Sir Robert Walpole as 
Chief Minister . . p. 750 

George 1L, king. 

rWalpole's Excise Bill fails. 
1733 [ Bourbon Family Compact 
\ (France and Spain). 

_ /Porteous Riots at Edin- 
I7db 1 burgh. 
1737 Queen Caroline dies. 
1739 War with Spain. 
1740\Anson's voyage round 
1744 / world. 

/War of Austrian Succession 
174U \ begins. 

1742 Walpole resigns office. 
1742 ) Lord Carteret, chief mini- 

1744 / ster. 

1743 Second Family Compact. 

Battle of Dettingen. 

Battle of Fontenoy. 

1745 \Jacobite rebellion (Yoxing 

1746 / Pretender's). 

CHAP. III. Great Britain finds a 
Man at Need . . p. 761 

1744 \Henry Pelham, chief minis- 
1754 f ter. 

. f William Pitt (the elder) in 
1746 \ office. 

1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. 
,, f Frederick, Prince of Wales, 

1751 \ dies. 

1752 New Style adopted. 

1753 Marriage Act passed. 

. /Duke of Newcastle, chief 

1754 \ minister. 

.,__,. \Braddock's defeat in 
1/DO| America. 

{Seven Years' War begins. 
Admiral Byng's failure off 
JjjJ- 1 Pitt in chief power. 

,.. i Duke of Cumberland's sur- 
1787-5 render at Klosterseven. 
Louisburg (Cape Breton 

Island) captured. 
Battle of Minden. 
W T olfe's victory at Quebec. 
Admiral Hawke's victory at 
v Quiberon Bay. 

1760 Conquest of Canada. 
Opg- \George II. dies. 

CHAP. IV. Regal Power and its 
Effects. ... p. 769 

JJU I George III., king. 

l 7 g\Earl of Bute in power. 
, f Third Family Compact (of 

1761 \ Bourbons). 

? \Pitt resigns office. 
17bl } 

1762 } War with s P ain - 

May \Duke of Newcastle resigns 

1762 / office. 

,_( Havana and Manilla cap- 

1762 \ tured. 

11(8 } peace of Paris< 

1763 \George Grenville, prime 
1765 ] minister. 

1763 I wilkes Prosecuted for libel. 
Jan. { Wilkes expelled from House 

1764 f of Commons. 
,'^JGrenville's Stamp, Act for 
1765 1 American colonies. 



fjjjj?\Marquis of Rockingham, 

1766 I Pri' lie minister. 

1766 Sta ip A ct repealed. 

1766 ) Earl of Chatham (William 

1768 / Pitt) in office. 

| 7 g 7 / Charles Townshend taxes, 

X American colonies 
ITBSnVilkes 1 elections for Mid- 
1769 / dlesex. 

1768 1 Duke of Graf ton, prime 
1770 ) minister. 
1769 t Letters of Juniits pub- 
1772 / lished. 

Sept. X British troops quartered in | 
1768 / Boston. 

1768 X Massachusetts and Virginia 
1770 / resist taxation. 


Lord North, prime minister 

1771 / Right of reporting debates 

I acquired. 

177 ,/Tea riots at Boston (Massa- 
F 1 ! chusetts). 
.ept. \Congress meets at Phila- 

1774 / delphia. 

CHAP. V.ReVf>lt and Loss of 
American Colonies . p. 781 

Apr. X American war of independ- 

1775 / ence begins. 

1775 e } Battle of Bunker's Hill. 
i77fi/ British troops evacuate 

76 \ Boston. 
July 4, ) American Declaration of 

1776 / Independence. 
Oct.XBurgoyne's capitulation at 

1777 / Saratoga. 

1770 /France and Spain in alliance 
1 " X with United States. 

1778 } Death of Lord Chatham. 
Jan f Ro( liiey defeats Spanish 
1780 il fleet off Ca P e St. Vin- 

t cent. 

l^} ^ge of Gibraltar. 
1780 6 } Gordon riots in London. 


Apr. -"I Duke of Portland's coali 

Bee. J- tion ministry (Fox ant 

1783 J Lord North). 

1783 X William Pitt, prime minis 

1801 / ter. 

.-gfj [Ireland: Flood and Grat 

( tan demand reforms. 
1779 Irish volunteers raised. 
i7an/ Partial freedom for Irish 
1780 1 trade. 

/"Partial removal of Catholic 
I disabilities. 
The congress of volunteer:: 

at Dungannon. 
Irish free Parliament (Grat - 
tan's) begins.] 

CHAP. VI. Social Condition* in 
Eighteenth Century . p. 790 
:-ir. XThe Wesleyan movement 

l l 


ork On 

cir. .. _ 

1740 1 begins. 

1719 X Great London 

1746 / founded. 

- 777 / John Howard's w 

1777 X Prisons. 

17R1 / Robert Raikes founds first 

1/JU \ Sunday-school. 

17fil / Brindley's Bridgewater 
*X canal opened. 

JgQQJ Turnpike-roads made. 

1784 Mail-coaches established. 

,/ James Hargreaves invents 

I spinning-jenny. 
( / Richard Arkwright's spin- 

\ ning-frame. 

1774 /Samuel Crompton's mule- 
'1 jenny. 

1 785 / Edm undCartwright'spower- 
X loom. 

I7f50/ Dr - Roebuck founds Can-on 

UDU X ironworks. 

cir. X James Watt improves 

1769 / steam-engine. 

1760) Wedgwood's improved pot- 

1795 / tery. 


1789 } French Revolution begin* 
17Qn J Burke's Reflections onM 
1IW ( Revolution in FrancM 

1791 Tory riots at Birmingham 

1792 Fox's Libel Act. 

Feb. ) France declares war wi! 

1793 I England. 

Dec. | British forces driven fro 
1793 / Toulon. 
1793 Scottisl) trials for sedition 
June i, ) LordHowe's great victo: 
1794 / near Ushant. 

'British troops driven out< 


Habeas Corpus Act m 

17 J ] 

~\ p. 

Hardy, Home Tooke, 
V T 

Apr. "(Rodney's great victory in 

1782 / West Indies. 

Sept. \Final repulse of enemy at 

1782 / Gibraltar. 

Oct. X Cornwallis' capitulation at 

1781 / Yorktown. 

July l Lord ^ckingham, prime 

1782 / 

1782 I Earl of Shelburne. prime 
Feb. f minister. 

1783 J 

1700 / William Pitt, Chancellor of 

(. Exchequer. 
1783 Treaty of Versailles. 

i William Hogarth's work in 

J art. 

\ Sir Robert Strange as en- 

as en- 




1792 / graver. 

1760 X William Woollett 

1785 / graver. 

' 1768 , S oyal Academy founded. 
i i c ^'xl g - li , sh 8cul Ptre begins 
! 1780 / with Thomas Banks. 

1800 John Flaxman chosen R.A. 

CHA T P i> -7"'~ Great Sr *tam under 
William Pitt . . p 802 
fWilliam Pitt triumphs at 
1784^ general election. 

t Pitt's financial reforms 
1788 ( Ge r e m -'s first insanity : 
88 I the Regency Bill. 

. Thelwall acquitted. 
/Prince of Wales marrit 
hospitals , ..- * ,, Caroline of BnmswicE 

1796 | Buonaparte's victories i 

1797 / Italy. 

17QC /'Spain declares wai- amiim 

17yb t England. 

f British naval victories 
I Camperdown and St. Vir 

1797- cent. 

Naval mutinies at Snithe 
I and Nore. 

w^ir victoiT at th 

I Income-tax first levied. *, 
Buonaparte's repulse a 

French armies defeated 1 

Buonaparte becomes firs 

Duke of York again drivei 

from Holland. 

^ French again victorious li 
Italy (Marengo). 
Moreau beats Austrians a 

feb. X Peace of Luneville : Rhhn 
1801 / the boundary of France. 
1790 i ^- 1) ' el . and ' Society of Uiiite< 
X Irishmen founded. 

1792 I Some Catholic disalMlitie 

1793 / removed. 

1795/ Lord Fttzwilliam appointee 

\ and recalled. 
1796( French invading fleet dis 

[ persed. 
1797 / State of siege proclaimed ii 

I Ireland. 

1798 Rebellion suppressed 

1801 ACt f Union carried -] 

' 1304/ Addin ton > Prime mini 

( French troops in Egypt ; 
1301 J render. 

I Nelson's success at Copea 

I hagen. 

18D2 ( Pe , ace of Amiens : Napoleoi 
t Consul for life. 



The Great War for British Commerce and for Europe. 

("'II A i'. I. The Re viral of the 
Strife . . . . p. 823 

1803 } War declared with France - 

Jan* ritt again P rime minister. 

1806 J 

May \ Buonaparte becomes Em- 

1804 J peror Napoleon. 

lint f- French forces at Boulogne. 

loUO ) 

Oct ) 

1805 ) 

Dec. \ Napoleon's victory at Aus- 

1805 J terlitz. 

& 1 Death of William Pitt. 
loUO ) 
Feb. "j 

1806 [Lord Grenville (with Fox) 
Mar. f in power. 

1807 ) 

Sep. ~| Death of Charles James 
1806 / Fox. 

1806 }^ a P leon 's Berlin decree. 

( British orders in council. 
ion 7 J Napoleon's Milan decree. 

British slave-trade abo- 

I Br 

[ lished. 

Mar. \ 

1807 ! Duke of Portland, prime 

Oct. f minister. 

1809 J 

(' Treaty of Tilsit (France and 
Danish fleet and stores 
seized at Copenhagen. 

CHAP. II.- -Wellington and the 
Peninsular Wat-. . p. 829 


i afta / French occupation of Por- 

18U8 ( tugal and Spain. 

Aug. ) Sir Arthur Wellesley's first 

1808 / victories. 

iana / Convention of Cintra (Sir 
U8 \ Hew Dalrymple). 

1809 I Battle of Corunna - 
1ftfJQ /Lord Cochrane's exploit in 

>m \ Aix (Basque) Roads. 
July \ Napoleon victorious over 
1809 / Austria (Wagram). 

T Ij ^'\ Wellesley's victories at 
1809 j P rto and Talavera. 
ionn / Failure of Walcheren expe- 
1809 1 dition. 
Oct. ^ 

1809 I Mr. Perceval, prime minis- 
May j ter. 

1812 J 

Nov. \Massena's retreat from 

1810 / Torres Vedras lines. 
Feb. \Prince of Wales becomes 

1811 / regent. 

IQII /Battles of Fuentes d'Onoro 

1811 1 andAlbuera. 

May ij Mr. Perceval's assassina- 

1812 / tion. 

1812 \ Earl of Liverpool, prime 
1827 / minister. 

1815 } War with United states - 



; ^ Wellington captures Ciudad 
,' / Rodrigo and Badajoz. 

V Napoleon i 

invades Russia. 


July) Wellington's victory at 
1812 J Salamanca. 

1812 American naval successes. 

CHAP. III. Wellington's Inva- 
sion of France . . p. 839 

181 / Napoleon's defeats in Ger- 

1813 \ many 

June \ Wellington's success at 
1813 / Vittoria. 
1813 The battles of the Pyrenees. 
Nov. "| Wellington's victories in 

1813 I France (Nivelle, Nive, 
Feb f St. Pierre, Orthes, Tou- 

1814 J louse). 

1814 } Na P leon ' s nrst abdication. 
June ) Shannon frigate takes 

1813 / Chesapeake. 

101/1 / British force captures Wash - 

1814 \ ingtou. 

Dec. \Treaty of Ghent ends Ame- 

1814 / rican war. 

Jan. \ British repulse at New Or- 

1815 / leans. 

Mar. \ Napoleon returns from 
1815 / Elba. 

June 16 \Battles of Ligny and 
1815 I QuatreBras. 

Jl i^ c l8 i 
iolO J 

1815 1 ^ a P oleonsentto Sfc - Helena. 
1815 New Corn Law passed. 

Battle of Waterloo. 


Peace of Paris. 

1815 , 

1815 } The Holy Alliance - 

Aug. \Lord Exmouth's victory at 

1816 f Algiers, 

After the Struggle. Parliamentary Reform. 

CHAP. I. The EC flu Movements 

towards Reform . p. 847 , 

Nov. \Death of Princess Char- 
1817 / lotte. 

.-( Habeas Corpus Act sus- 
1817 1 pended. 

Dec. ) William Hone tried and 
1817 f acquitted. 
Aug. ) The ' ' Peterloo " trouble at 
1819 f Manchester. 

1819 \ Lord Sidmouth ' s Six Acts - 

1820 } I)eath of Geoi 'S e m - 

( 'HAP. II. England under George 
the Fourth . . . p. 859 

7 PT) ^ eor e I^"- > king. 
Feb. \ Cato Street conspiracy 
1820 / crashed. 

1001 / Proceedings against Queen 
K!i l Caroline foiled. 



1000 ( Canning takes Foreign 
1822 -j Office _ 

( Peel's new London police. 
1829 : Catholic Emancipation Act 

1823 ) Huskisson's free trade re- 

V. passed. 

1824 f forms. 

' * . 

1826 \ Commercial P an ic and ruin. 

CHAP. III. The First Reform 

Act . . . .p. 870 

Dec. ) Canning's prompt inter- 
1826 / ference for Portugal. 

J 8 || William IV., king. 

Apr. ^ 
Aug. V Canning, prime minister. 

1830 } Second Fre nch Revolution. 

1827 J 

Nov. \Belgium becomes inde- 

Sep. "| 

1830 f pendent. 

1827 1 Viscount Goderich (Earl of 

.--./Manchester and Liverpool 

Jan. f Ripon), prime minister. 

-uwu| Railway. 

1828 J 


g 2 ^| Battle of Navarino. 

1830 L Earl Grey, prime minister, 
j my i 

Jan. ^ 

1834 J 

1828 1 Duke of Wellington, prime 
Nov. f minister. 

Mar. 1 Lord John Russell intro- 
1831 / duces Reform Bill. 

1831 ) 

Sept. \Reform Bill rejected in 

-goo /'Test and Corporation Acts 
( repealed. 

1831 f Lords. 
Oct. \ Riotsat Derby, Nottingham, 

1831 / and Bristol. 



1832 6 } Reform Bill carried. 

1834 ( Sir Robert Peel, prim 


1835 Municipal Reform Act. 

Aug. "i Slavery abolished ii 
1834 f colonies. 

i Apr. f minister. 
1835 J 

IQOC/ Civil Marriage and Regi 
1836 X trationActs. 

ui/~ \Lord Melbourne, prim 
jgj J minister. 

, Apr. ^ 
1835 (Lord Melbourne, prim 

3 1837 Victoria, queen. 

Sept f minister 

1834 New poor law. 

1841 J 


Victorian Age of Progress. 

CHAP. I. Early Days of Vi 
toria's Reign , . p. 88 


gg^lilau, Balaklava, Inkei 

1866 X Fenian conspiracy in lit 
1868 f land. 

1838 ( Anti " Corn ^ aw Lfi agu 

1854 / man ' 

1867 X Second Franchise Reforr 
1868 / Acts. 

1 formed. 
18 , q / Education Committee o 

Serf f Sie e of Sebastopol. 

1868 Abyssinian war. 

"1 Council appointed. 
1839 (Chartist troubles. 


Dec. j-Mr. Disrael's first ministry. 

1842 /First China war. 

1855 [Lord Palmerston, prim 
Feb. f minister. 

1868 J 
1868 / Church Rates Abolitioi 

CHAP. 11. The Free Trade Battl 

1858 J 

^Stamp-duty on newspaper 
1855-! abolished. 

Dec.\ ACt> 
1868 (Mr. Gladstone's first mini 
Feb. f strv 

To* . . p. 89 

j Civil Service Commissioi 

1874 J 

1841 X Sir Robert Peel, prime 
1846 / minister. 
1842 I ncorne tax revived: Peel's 
free-trade budget. 
'O'Connell's agitation for 
1040 repeal of union. 
** Free Church (Scotland) 

I, appointed. 
1855 1 Capture of Sebastopol. 

CHAP. V.Lord Palmerston' s 
Period of Power. . p. 947 

18fiq / Irish Church Disestablish 
""H mentAct. 
4 Irish Land Act. 
Franco-German war : Rome 
capital of Italy. 
Elementary Education Act. 
Third French Republic 

, established 
iQdc Peel's further steps towards 
w free trade. 

1856 X Treaty of Paris enfls ^"s 
I sian war. 
.856 X (Second) Chinese and Per- 

f Army-purchase abolished. 
Religious tests in universi. 

jglY | Potato famine in Ireland. 

.857 / sian wars. 

, 871 J ties abolished. 
1871 1 Trade Union Act. 

1846 Corn Laws repealed. 
1846 X Lord John Russell, prime 

858 I Lord Derby's second mini- 
June j stry. 

Treaty of Washington (.4 fa- 
V bama claims). 

1852 / minister. 

859 J 

f Agricultural Labourers 

1847 Ten Hours (Factory) Act, 
1848 Third French Revolution. 

859 (Lord Palmerstons second 

1872 K Lnion. 
I Licensing Act : Ballot Act. 

CHAP. III. Lord John Russell's 
First Ministry . . p. 915 

>ct. i ministry, 
360 } -^hi r< l Chinese war. 

CHAP / VII. Disraeli become* 
Lord Beaconsfield . p. 068 
/"Employers and Workmen 

1849 Navigation Laws repealed. 

iQ*ft/ lmerston>s great foreign 
1850-^ policy speech. 
I Death of Sir Robert Peel. 

1851 } " Pa P al Aggression " stir. 
1851 /Great Exhibition in Hyde 

860 T Mr< Gladstone's second 
DU l great Budget. 
f Italy united under Victor 
obis Emanuel. 
^ I Repeal of the paper-duty. 
161 } Death of Prince Consort. 
161 1 Cotton famine in Lanca 

| Act. 
875^ Suez Canal shares pur- 
I Eastern question revived. 
gj j- Russo-Turkish war. 

8^| | Treaty of Berlin. 

Dec. j Louis Napoleon supreme in 

864 / shire. 

579 Zulu war. 

Dec. V Lord Derby's first ministry. 

1852 Duke of Wellington died. 

fifiJ M p laclstone rejected by 
1865-^ Oxford University. , 
I Death of Lord Palmerston. 
1856-! Pl l lssia becomes leading 
L German power. 

879 1 Gladstone's "Mid-Lothian 
880 / campaigns." 
pr. ] 
L880 (Gladstone's second mini- 

.885 e J S ly ' 

'iHon^y deen ' S C alitioU 


CHAP. VI.-A Neio Period of Re- ; 

Jorms - P. 957 : 

Vov ~\ 

.880 X Mr. Fawcett's post-office 
.833 f reforms. 

HJ } Boer war in South Africa, 

CH ^l'Hns~\Var Emstern *** 3 

m 1 L,,M Eussel , s second mini . f F1 Sf h "y an<! navy 

1853 P 1 ''; . Gladstone's great \ 
1 Budget. 

ace: y> 

ODD / 


** Second Irish Land Act. 
I Death of Lord Be aeon sfi eld. 
BM/ Phoenix Park murder.* i. 

i&ffi} TI w- P ' Ilssian ^ 01 ' ^ rimean ) - 

W>. [Sly Berl ' y S thirtl mini ' lu " k Dublin. 


1885J Egyptian ancl Soudan wars. 



1883 \ Dynamiters at work in Lon- 

,000 / Bribery Act : Bankruptcy 
1883 1 Act 

1884 ) Third Franchise Reform 
1885 / Acts. 

CHAP. I. DeginniiKjs of British 

India , . . P- 99 1 

ICftn /East India Company 
lbuy \ founded. 

1612 \ " Factories " established at 
1616 / Surat, <tc. 

,-. I Presidency of Madras esta- 
1654 \ blished. 

_ a . f Bombay bestowed by 
1668 \ Charles II. 
__ A _ ( Presidency of Calcutta (Bea- 

1707 \ gal) began. 

1708 Presidency of Bombay. 
1741 1 [War of Austrian Succes- 
1748 / sion.] 

17^6 Madras taken by French. 
,_.-< Madras restored (Treaty of 
1748 \ Aix-la-Chapelle). 

_ ( Clive's seizure and defence 
1751 \ ofArcot- 

June) The "Black Hole" of Cal- 
1756 / cutta. 
Jan : j Clive retakes Calcutta. 


1885 I Lord Salisbury's first mini- 
Feb. f stry. 

1886 * 

* Mr. Gladstone's third mini- 



Our Empire in Asia. 


Clive s victory at Plassey. 

1763 ! [Seven Years ' War -l 

J Eyre Coote defeats French 
bu 1 at Wandewaah. 



at Wandewash. 

I Pondicherry captured 
- Coote from French. 

785 { 

Warren Hastings leave 
. India. 

788 ) [Impeachment and trial of 
795 / Hastings.] 
CHAP. III. Cornwall!*, Wellesley, 
Bentinck . . P- 10 8 
786 \Lord Cornwallis, governor- 
793 ) general. 

789 \ War with Tippoo Sahib of 
.792 J Mysore. 

^of Tippoo cedes much terri- 
792 \ tory. 

1793 \ Sir John Shore (Lord Teign- 

798 f mouth),governor-ge 
_ Qe TLord Mornington (M 
an^k Wellesley), gov 

I. general. 
O j Tippoo renews war in Car- 
175)8 \ natic. 

f Capture of Seringapatam : 
death of Tippoo. 

17 9 9 1 Canara coast", 'Coimbatore, 

&c., annexed. 
}Sr \ Mahratta war. 

Arthur Wellesley's victories 

CHAP. II. India under Warier, 
Hastiiujs ... p. 997 
/Munro's victory over Nabob 

17t "\ of Bengal at Buxar. 

I | Clive, governor of Bengal. 

.__/' Bengal, Behar, Orissa cede 

17b l to Company. 

1760 \Hyder Ali strong in Car 

1781 1 natic. 

iT7o_f Warren Hastings, governo 

17 1 \ of Bengal. 

._-. j Regulating Act makes Has 

'*\ ings governor-general. 
,_.- f Nanda-Kumar (Nuncomar) 
1775 1 executed. 
I-/ Hastings supreme in Coun- 
1776 1 cil. 

^ Hyder Ali takes the field in 
Colonel Baillie defeated at 
Arcot taken by Hyder. 
Eyre Coote victorious at 
Porto Novo (Cuddalore), 
1782 Hyder Ali dies. 

f British power supreme in 
.--.I Carnatic. 
8 *} Pitt's India Act establishes 
Board of Control 

(Assaye, Argaum). 
J Lake's victory at Laswaree, 
\ and capture of Delhi. 

Delhi, Agra (provinces), &c., 
V_ annexed. 

1805 \ Sir George Barlow, governor- 

1806 f general. 

1806 Sepoy mutiny at Vellore. 

1807 \Lord Minto, governor- 
1813 / general. 

Q1 _ I Company's charter renewed : 
18iiJ 1 India trade thrown open. 
'Lord Moira (Marquis of 

Jnlj r> | 

1885 I Lord Salisbury's second mi- 
July f nistry. 
1892 J 

June \ Queen's Jubilee celebra- 
1887 / tion. 

War with Afghanistan. 
British and sepoy troops in 

The Khoord-Cabul Passdis- 


Sale's defence of Jellalu- 

1842 I Lord Ellenborough, gover- 

1844 / nor-general. 

Sept. \ British troops victorious at 

1842 / Cabul. 

{Sir Charles Napier's con- 
quest of Scinde. 
Mahratta power finally sup- 

18441 Sir H. Hardinge, governor- 
1848 / general. 

.,. f First Sikh war (Moodkee, 
JofcS Ferozeshah, Aliwal, So- 
1846 ( braon). 

18 18 \Lord Dalhousie, governor- 
1856 / general. 

/Second Sikh war (Ramnug- 
gur, Chillianwallah, Goo- 
Annexation of Punjab. 
/Second Burmese war: an- 
\ nexation of Pegu. 
1854 Annexation of Nagpur. 
1856 Annexation of Oude. 

J5JJ-I Hastings), governor-gen- 
134<J V. eral. 

1816 VPiudarees and Mahrattas 
1818 / conquered. 
1823 \ Lord Amherst, governor- 

First Burmese war. 
? Assam, Aracan, Tenasserim, 

1826 \ LoTcombermere captures ! J^ 6 '! 8 ^!^ 

^ Bhurtpore. 
18281 Lord William Bentinck, 


CHAP. V.Tle Mutiny and 
Change of Rule . p. 1029 

1856 \Lord Canning, governor- 
1858 ) general. 

1857 \Indian (sepoy) mutiny or 

1858 / war. 


c _ \ The rising at Meerut. 

loui ) 

May ^L Uc ij now an d Delhi seized 

18W I 1)y mutineers - 

June 27, \ First massacre at Cawn- 

1857 / pore. 

^ ul ?"\Havelock's march to Cawn- 
18.?7 f pore and Lncknow. 

' " ' massacre at 

1835 / governor-general. 

1833 \Macanlay frames the Crimi- 

1834 / nal Code. 

1857 enter Lucknow. 

Sept. - British siege of Delhi. 


( Company s charter renewed. JJJ^ Colin Campbell lands 
1857 j at Calcutta. 
Nov. 1 Campbell relieves resi- 
1857 / dency at Lucknow. 

I China trade thrown open. 
L96i-( N or th- Western Provinces 

^ separated from Bengal. 
CHAP. IV. The Afghans and the 
Sikhs. ... p. 1017 
1836 \Lord Auckland, governor- 
1842 / general. 

Nov. ^ 
37 I 


Campbell's general opera- 

Mar j" tions against rebels. 



M ar. I Campbell captures Luck- 
1858 / now. 

, a ,. a / Lord StrathnairnXSirllugh 
1808 I Hose's) campaign. 

f Campbell (Lord Clyde) re- 
ioco'-i ports suppression of re- 
1858 \ volt. 

Aug. X Act transfers Indian gov- 
1858 / eminent to Crown. 
_ - /East India Company (as 
1808 X political power) ceases. 
1858 fLord Canning, "viceroy" 

1862 / of India. 

J 8 ^ 2 , JEarl of Elgin, viceroy. 

1863 X Sir John (Lord) Lawrence 
1368 / in power. 



J^IJLord Mayo, viceroy. 


1876/ Lord Xorthbrook in offlce - 


1875 Prince of Wales visits India. 


188o} Lord L ytt n > viceroy. 


1880 / ^ econ ^ Afghan war. 


a f ( Sir Louis Cavagnari (Bri- 
iQ7o \\ tish resident) and suite 


18 iy { murdered at Cabul. 


July \British troops defeated at 


1880 / Maiwand. 


A f SirFrederick(Lord)Roberts' 

laanl march from Cabul to 

iOOU 1 n or ,,q v, OT , I 

1 Marquis of Ripon, viceroy. 

I Third Burmese war. 

Upper Burmah annexed. 
/[Ceylon coasts taken from 
\ Dutch. 

V Malacca provinces (Straits 
/ Settlements) annexed. 

Ceylon fully occupied. 

Singapore acquired. 

Aden occupied 

Labuan ceded to British. 

Perim occupied.] 

Colonial Empire in Africa, America, and Australasia 

CHAP. I. British Dominions in 

Africa . .p. 1039 

1 700 / New South Wales colonised 
1/88 X by convicts. 

17AO / Halifax (Nova Scotia) 
1TW 1 founded. 


(a.) West Coast. 

1803 Tasmania first settled. 

i7*fl/Cape Breton Island cou- 

British traders settle on 

IQOO/ Western Australia colo- 

1758 \ quered. 



1829 \ nised. 

17R , Prince Edward Island ac- 


First British possessions on 
Gold Coast. 
Sierra Leone a British 

1836 South Australia settled. 
1851 f Victoria a separate colony. 
( Gold discovered in VL toria. 

1763 quired. 
,,, Q [Hudson Bay Territory 
lo 8 settled. 



ia c Q / Queensland a separate 

, fi7n Hudson Bay Company 


Gold Coast a crown colony. 

1859 i colony. 
, o 79 /Overland telegraph esta- 

1670 formed 
- Q/ , Q Territory joins Dominion of 


f '*\ Wished. 

1809 Canada. 

1831, VWars with Ashantees. 
1Rfi , /Lagos ceded by native 
roi \ ruler. 
1074 / Ashantees finally dealt with 
1874 X byWolseley. 

(b.) New Zealand, &c. 

la-is /New Zealand first settled 
1815 I by British. 
IQ,M/ New Zealand a separate 
1841 I British colony. 

10 /Fiji Islands ceded to Bri- 
1874 1 ain 

T Red River insurrection sup- 
1870 { pressed, 
V Manitoba joins Dominion ] 
( [Vancouver's Island and 
1858^ British Columbia become 
t colonies. 
1871 /Vancouver and British 
10/1 \ Columbia join Dominion.] 


(b.) Inlands. 
r St. Helena occupied by East 

1885 i -British New Guinea ac- 
X quired. 

in / Newfoundland finally ac- 
1713 \ quired. 

India Comnanv 

182l} Napoleon at St - Helena. 

CHAP. III. British Rule in North 

CHAP. IV. West Indies and South 
America . . .p. io5o 


St. Helena a crown colony. 
Ascension occupied. 

America . , . p. 1052 

1612 Bermudas first settled. 

r Mauritius taken from 

(a.) Canada. 

1R9 o/ British colonists at St. 

X. France. 
(c.) Cape and East Coast. 
1306{ Ca ^ t( olon y taken from 

1 7c / Canada conquered by Bri- 
1763 X tain. 
17qi / Representative government 
l57J -\ granted. 

Igfjj} Rebellion in Canada, 

1623 \ Kitt's. 
T fi oc / Bridgetown (Barbados) 
1625 1 founded. 
ifidi /Sugar-cans brought to Bar- 
**\ badoes. 
1655 Jamaica taken from Spain. 


VWars with Kaffirs. 

1839/ Lor(1 Durnani > governor. 

[For other dates see text, 


(Upper and Lower Canada 

pp. 1061-1062.] 

1852 j 
1851 1 Cape Colony receives repre- 
" X sentative rule. 

united, with responsible 

17QI7 Trinidad conquered from 
1/3 ' Spain. 

1856 Natal a separate colony. 
1871 | Griqualand, West and East 
1874 / annexed. 
1890 } Bri - tish P r tectorate at Zan- 

1854 f ^" a1 ^ ^ ^^Sin in power. 
1843 1 Montreal riots. 

1858 / Ottawa made seat of govern- 
X ment. 

ieqd Slave emancipation in West 
18<i * Indies 
1842 Lord Elgin, governor of 
1846 Jamaica. 
ia<w Negro insurrection in Ja- 

CHAP. II. _ The Australasian 
Colonies . . . p . I043 

1867/ Conf ederation of Canadian 
\ Dominion begins. 

18W) maica. 
17a , British Honduras (Belize) 
1783 acquired. 

(a.) Australia. 

(b.) Other American colonies. 

J30 3 / British Guiana (Demerara, 


.Xsft i tan < l3taNe 

rm /^ew Brunswick and Nova 
40 I Scotia acquired. 

i &c.) ciCQiiirecl. 
iQoo/ Falkland Islands become 
100 X crown-colony. 



Egbert to Matilda of Scotland. 

Double Line, shows Succession of Kings. 







(858-860). (860-866). (866-871). (871-901), 

in. Ealhswyth. 

Had son 





?. ^Ifgifu (Elgiva). 

Had sons 






Had II sot 


Had son (by 
first wife) 

Had son (by 
Emma of Normandy) 

(April-Nov. 1016). 

Had son, Edward 

the Outlaw, who 


Edgar Atheling 
(last of Saxon male line). 

Margaret (m. MALCOLM III. of Scotland). 
Had daughter 

Matilda (in. HENRY I., uniting English and 
Norman lines). 

Note. Danish Kings reigned from 1016-1042. 



William I. to John. 

Duke of Nori 


in. Matilda of Flanders. 

Had 1 1 sous 

His daughter 


uandy. (1087-1100). (1100-1135), 
in. Matilda of Scotland. 

Had issue 

(in. Count of Blois), 

had 1 1 son 

William MATILDA (MAUD), 

(drowned, 1120). in. (i.) HENEY V., Emperor. 

(2.) Geoffrey, Count of Anjou and Maine. 

Had son 1 1 (by Geoffrey) 
i. Eleanor of Poitou and Aquitaine. 

Had sons who reigned 






(a.) Henry II. to Edward I. (1154-1272). 

MATILDA (daughter of HENRY I. and MATILDA of Scotland, 

see Tables I. and II.), ? (as second husband) 


Count of Anjou and Maine, 

and 1 1 had son 

in. Eleanor of Poitou. 



(crowned as Co-Kin^', 
d. n8 3 ). 

in. Berengaria of 
Navarre. No children. 

Had son 

(d. i 
m. Cons 


1 86), 
;ance of 



in. (secondly) Isabella 

of Angouleme. 


Duke of Brittany ; 
probably murdered by John. 

Had" issue 



Joan, Eleanor, 


Earl of Cornwall, 

m. Alexander II. in. Simon de Montfort, 

in. Eleanor of 

d. 1272. 

of Scotland. Earl of Leicester. 



Had son 

Had 1 1 issue 

Alexander III. of Scotland. 


He m. Margaret, 


daughter of Henry III. 


in. Alexander III. 
of Scotland. 

Had daughter 
in. Eric of Norway. 

Had daughter 

Margaret, "Maid of Norway,'' 

whose death (1290) caused disputed 

succession to Scottish crown. 

Note. HENRY III. had also a son. EDMUND (Crouchback), Earl of Lancaster, who had issue 

(i) THOMAS, Earl of Lancaster, &c., 
who was executed by his cousin, 
Edward II., atPontefract(Pom- 
fret) in 1322, 

(2) HENRY, who had a son Henry, 
Duke of Lancaster, whose 
daughter, Blanche, co-heiress 
of Lancaster, in. John of Gaunt 
(see &.). and so made him Duke 
of Lancaster. 




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Swynford (declare 


Duke of Lancaster, 
i this | line issue 

(2.) Henry Beaufort 
(Cardinal, Bishop o 
Winchester), d. 144; 

-I'll . 



*^ ""* 

i/?.. George, Duke of Clare 
(brother of Edward IV. 

Had issue 
(i.) Edward, Earl of Warv 
executed (1499) by Henry 
) Margaret, Cquntess of Sa! 
beheaded (1541) by Henry "* 


to *-> .5 

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by James IV. 

Henry VII.'s elder daughter, 

r .) James IV. of Scotland. 
.) Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, 

and had issue by Earl of Angus 

JAMES V. of Scotland ; 
he in. Mary of Guise. 

Had I daughter 

MARY STUART, Queen of Scots ; 

shew, (i.) Dauphin, afterwards 

Francis II. of France. 

(2.) Lord Darn ley. 


(by Lord 


James VI. of Scotland 
and I. of England. 

Margaret Douglas ; 

she m. Matthew Stuart, 

Earl of Lennox. 

Had sons 

Henry Stuart, 
Lord Darnley ; 

m. Mary, 
Queen of Scots. 

Charles Stuart, 
Earl of Lennox. 

His I daughter 

Lady Arabella Stuart, 
in. William Seymour 

(see Table VI.), 

and was imprisoned by 

James I. of England ; 

died 1615. 







S *A 

3 3^3 


M S^ wg'g 


il -' 

^of 2 ^ 




P Hi 













73 SO 
S cs"2 - 

.' "Ill 


iVo^. George III. 
Gloucester, mar 
grave, and anc 
of Cumberland, 
these matches t 
Royal Marriage 

LS mother of (i.) Duke 
e of George, Prince of 

c a 





"7 ^ 




ii C5 p 



5 j 


1-1 -Sj 





To George III. (17 

James I. 's daughter 
(Table VIII.), 
Frederick, Elector Palatine 
(the "Winter-King" of Bo 

They had issue 


Prince Rupert of 
Civil War. 

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William Augustus, 
Duke of Cumberland 
E Fontenoy and Cullodeu fai 

d. 1765. 

; she m. Duke of Bruuswic 
Bras ; (2.) Caroline of Brims 


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THE ELDER. 6. EDGAR. 7. ETHELRED II. 8. EDMUND IRONSIDE. 9. Edward the Outlaw. 
10. Margaret, wife of Malcolm III. of Scotland, n. Matilda, wife of HENRY I. 12. Matilda 
(Empress Maud of Germany), wife of Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou. 13. HENRY II. 14. 


The legitimate line (York). 

The illegitimate line (Lancaster). 

19. Lionel, Duke of Clarence. Edmund, 

Duke of York. 

20. Philippa, 
in, Edward Mortimer, Earl of March. 

21. Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. 

I i 

22. Anne Mortimer, *- married > Richard, 

Earl of Cambridge. 

had issue 

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 
had son by Catharine 

John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset. 

John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset. 

w. Edmund Tudor, 
Earl of Richmond. 

I, Dul 

23. Richard, Duke of York. 

25. Elizabeth of York, <- married - 
(lines of York and Lancaster united). 

Their | daughter, 

26. Margaret Tudor, 


(a.) James IV. of Scotland. 

27. James V. of Scotland. 

28. Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, < married 

(b.) Archibald Douglas, 
Earl of Angus. 

Margaret Douglas, 
m. Earl of Lennox. 

Lord Darnley. 

29. JAMES VI. of Scotland, I. of England. 
30. Elizabeth, m. Frederick, Elector Palatine. 

31. Sophia, m. Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick and Elector of Hanover. 

32. GEORGE I. 


34. Frederick, Prince of Wales. 


36. Edward, Duke of Kent, m. Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeiu. 






Meaning of 'history.' Development of English freedom. Beginning of Britain. 
Early names of islands and people. The Britons in time of Julius Caesar. 

A HIGH authority tells us that "history is the investigation of how 
that which is comes to be what it is." A real English or what 
British history should tell the people, the commons of these ^Jfjjfy 
realms, in a faithful and unbiassed narrative of public affairs, means, 
how they have grown out of slavery, out of feudal wrong, out of 
regal despotism, into constitutional liberty. We shall see in the history 
of England emphatically the history of progress. We shall see a great 
society of men and women, at the beginning of the twelfth century, in 
a miserable and degraded state. They are subject to the tyranny of a 
handful of armed foreigners. A strong distinction of caste divides the 
victor from the vanquished. The great body of the people live in a 
state of personal slavery and are sunk in brutal ignorance, while the 
studious few are engaged in acquiring what hardly merits the name of 
knowledge. Seven centuries pass away. "The wretched and degraded 
race have become the greatest and most highly civilised people that the 
world ever saw, have spread their dominion over every quarter of the 
globe, have scattered the seeds of mighty empires and republics over 
vast continents of which no dim intimation had ever reached the old 
geographers Ptolemy and Strabo. They have created a maritime power 
which would annihilate in a quarter of an hour the navies of Tyre, 
Athens, Carthage, Venice and Genoa together ; have carried the science 
of healing, the means of locomotion and correspondence, every mechani- 
cal art, every manufacture, every thing that promotes the convenience 



of life, to a perfection which our ancestors would have thought magical. 
They have produced a literature which may boast of works not inferior 
to the noblest which Greece has bequeathed to us ; they have discovered 
the laws which regulate the motions of the heavenly bodies, have 
speculated with exquisite subtlety on the operations of the human 
mind, have been the acknowledged leaders of the human race in the 
career of political improvement. The history of England is the history 
of this great change in the moral, intellectual, and physical state of the 
inhabitants of our own islands." In these words of one of the greatest 
of our historians we have set before us the noble task which awaits the 
writer of British history. 

We shall fail to grasp the true meaning of this great subject unless 
. . we observe that the history of every nation has been, in the 
oPgrowth main, a chain of cause and effect. Each of its phases has been 
in nations. ^ e conse q ue nce of some prior phase, and the natural pre- 
lude of that which succeeded it. All that upon which we justly pride 
ourselves, whether in our institutions or our national character, has 
resulted from the principle of growth, and not of creation. This great 
principle must especially be borne in mind with regard to English 
history. The Roman, the Saxon, the Norman, did not each of them, 
without interference of the other, mix their blood with the old British 
stock, nor did any of them alone bequeath to us our political constitu- 
tion. To the Roman we may distinctly trace our municipal institutions, 
in obedience to, or in connection with, a central authority, which rode 
supreme over the rights of individuals. To the Saxon we owe that 
principle of personal liberty which has survived, through twelve hun- 
dred years, every attempt to merge the freedom of the governed in 
the absolute control of the governors. From the feudal system of the 
Norman we derive those appropriations of territory which, however 
liable to abuses in their extent and their transmission, have afforded 
security to all property, during many generations, by their unassailable 
permanency. Amidst these influences, the power of the Church was 
sustaining the moral and spiritual elements of society, and was the 
parent and conservator of literature and art. It is not to any one 
particular epoch of this history of nineteen hundred years that we can 
point for the establishment of any one common privilege or immunity. 
We associate Magna Charta with King John, and the Bill of Rights 
with William III., but in the intermediate struggles of five centuries 
we must look for the true growth of constitutional government. It is 
only in following out the great law of progress that we can properly 
appreciate what we are, by comprehending what we have been. Nor 
must the observance of this law of progress be confined to the acts of 
kings and parliaments. The gradual emancipation of the serf, the 
assertion of the independence of the burgher, the submission of the 
priests to the civil law, the legal control of the baron in the castle by 
the resistance of the craftsman in the town, the right of the whole 


body of the people to be taxed only by their representatives are each 
intimately associated with the universal progress in industry and 
knowledge. Upon the Roman and early English civilisation were 
founded many of the great principles of government which have pre- 
served their vitality amongst us during the lapse of fifteen centuries. 
The Norman feudality could not destroy municipal institutions, nor the 
spirit of personal freedom. The Norman despotism was absorbed by 
the English liberty, a,nd feudality could only maintain itself by the 
recognition, however incomplete, of the equal rights of all men before 
the law. 

From the deposition of Richard the Second to the virtual abdication 
of James the Second, every act of national resistance was accomplished 
by the union of classes, and was founded upon some principle of legal 
right for which there was legal precedent. Out of the traditional and 
almost instinctive assertion of the popular privileges have come new 
developments of particular reforms, each adapted to its own age, but 
all springing out of that historical experience which we recognise as 
Constitutional. In the words of Macaulay, we are, in the history of 
England, "to contemplate the steps by which the England of Domes- 
day Book, the England of the Curfew and the Forest Laws, the England 
of crusaders, monks, schoolmen, astrologers, serfs, and outlaws, became 
the England which we know and love, the classic ground of liberty and 
philosophy, the school of all knowledge, the mart of all trade. The 
charter of Henry Beauclerc, the Great Charter, the first assembling of 
the House of Commons, the extinction of personal slavery, the separa- 
tion from the See of Rome, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus 
Act, the Revolution of 1688, the establishment of the liberty of un- 
licensed printing, the abolition of religious disabilities, the reform of 
the representative system, all these seem to be the successive stages of 
one great revolution ; nor can we fully comprehend any one of these 
memorable events unless we look at it in connection with those which 
preceded, and with those which followed it. Each of those great and 
ever-memorable struggles, Saxon against Norman, villein against lord, 
Roundhead against Cavalier, Dissenter against Churchman, Manchester 
against Old Sarum, was, in its own order and season, a struggle, on the 
result of which were staked the dearest interests of the human race." 

All the historical inhabitants of the British Isles, Celts, Romans, 
Teutons of Germany, Danes, and Normans, were men of the Earliest 

great Aryan race. Still existing remains show that there once dwellers 
P. , . J . , , ,, in the 

lived in our islands a non- Aryan people, a race or mere savages, Britisli 

who lived wholly by hunting and fishing. The contents of old Isle3 ' 
graves and other deposits prove that these people had spear-heads and 
arrows of flint, and axes and hammers of stone. Of the use of metal 
they knew nothing. To them w 7 e may probably attribute the old 
sepulchral monuments, called cromlechs, found in all parts of the 
British Islands. In these relics we see three or more columns of 


unhewn stone supporting a large tabular block, so as to form with it 
a rectangular chamber, beneath the floor of which is generally found 
a sepulchral chamber or cist enclosing a skeleton, with arms, stone 
implements, and other ancient remains. A well-known instance of such 
a monument is that called Kit's Coty House, near Aylesford, in Kent. 

When the veil is lifted and historical knowledge begins, we find 
Earliest the British Isles inhabited by men of Celtic race. The Celts 
inha>4- Cal appear to have been among the earliest of the comers from 
tants. Asia into Europe in the period of the great Aryan immigra- 
tions. There were two branches of this Celtic race. The Cimmerian 
or Cymric Celts settled first to the north of the Black Sea, between 
the Danube and the Don. East of the Don were the Scythian or 
Gaelic Celts, who afterwards pushed to the w r est and forced the Cymry 
before them. Both were, in turn, driven westwards by Slavonian and 
Teutonic immigrants. In the end, the Celts occupied in strength the 
coasts of what are now France and Spain, and it seems that these 
islands were first thinly peopled by Celts of the Gaelic branch, who 
came from Spain to the western coast of Ireland and the south-western 
shores of Britain. Cymric Celts, driven across the Channel by Teuton 
tribes who pressed on them, landed 011 the eastern part of our south 
coast, and then forced the Gaels to the westward. Thus it was that 
the Manxmen, Highlanders of Scotland, and Irish belonged to the Gaelic 
branch, while Britain was mainly peopled by Celts from Gaul, belong- 
ing to the Cymric branch of the race, now represented in blood and 
language by the Welsh. Belgae from Gaul, a people of German origin, 
also settled on the south and east coasts. 

The word Britain appears to come from a Celtic word brifh or brit, 
Earliest meaning painted, with a reference to the people's custom 
aifdnames of stainin their bodies blue with the juice of a plant called 
of British 'ii'oatL The Gaelic name for the inhabitants is JBrython, the 
Roman names for the country and people being 'Britannia 
and Britanni. The name Albion, or white-land, is probably derived 
from the chalky cliffs of the coast. The Roman name, Caledonia, for 
the northern part of the chief island, is supposed to be formed from 
the British caoill daoin, ' people of the woods.' The name Scotland is 
from the Scoti, a tribe who emigrated from the north of Ireland. The 
A\ 7 elsh have always called themselves Cymry, whence the Roman name 
for Wales, Cambria; and Wales, Welsh, are old English f or foreign land, 
foreigners, the term applied by our Teutonic forefathers to those who 
spoke a language not understood by themselves. The native name 
for Ireland was Erin; the Greek, used by Aristotle, was I erne ; the 
Romans called it Hibernia, and Iverna or Juverna. It seems likely 
that in early times the Phrenician traders visited the Scilly Islands 
and the coast of Cornwall for the purpose of obtaining tin; and 
Herodotus refers to the Cassiterides or Tin Islands, in the north parts 
of the ocean. The first certain knowledge which the Greeks obtained 


of Britain was from the merchants of Massilia (Marseilles) about tho 
time of Alexander the Great, and soon after that period the Greek 
navigator Pytheas of Massilia sailed round a great part of Britain. 

The real history of these islands begins with the great Roman Caius 
Julius Caesar, the conqueror and governor of Gaul, who has left his own 
written account of what he saw and did in two invasions of the land, 
and of what he learnt from others as to the state and char- First in- 
acter of the people. On a day towards the end of the month cafsa? f 
of August B.C. 55, a gazer from the cliffs near Dover would B.C. 55! 
have seen a large fleet of war-galleys and ships of burden making its 
way across the narrow sea from a port between Calais and Boulogne. 
A Roman force was coming to punish the Britons for sending help in 
ships and men to one of the Gaelic tribes, the Veneti^ then at war with 
Csesar. The alarm spread inland. The Cantii, or men of what is now 
called Kent, gathered in arms upon the cliffs, and their numbers and 
position caused the Roman leader to turn northwards for the open 
beach near Deal. The defenders of the soil of Britain had followed 
the invaders, and when Caesar's men prepared to land, they saw the 
beach crowded with horses and chariots, and skin-clad, blue-dyed in- 
fantry, armed with great pointless swords, and uttering shouts of 
defiance. The Romans leaped into the water from their galleys at 
the bidding of the standard-bearer of the famous Tenth Legion, and 
Roman discipline and courage, after a fierce combat, drove off the 
natives. An advance of a few miles inland was then made by the 
Romans, and the usual fortified camp was formed, while cavalry from 
Gaul were awaited. A storm arose which scattered the horse-transports, 
and the rough weather, with a heavy spring-tide, greatly damaged the 
fleet lying off shore. Many vessels were swamped or broken up, and 
the Romans had to turn to the work of repairs. The Britons broke 
the truce and attacked their enemy again, but were soundly beaten. 
Caesar then returned to Gaul, after an absence of only seventeen 

Early the next year, Caesar crossed again with a force of five legions, 
or about thirty thousand men, and now landed without re- Second in- 
sistance. On the march inland, his cavalry fought the natives cafsa? f 
and drove them into the woods. The damage caused by B.C. 54. 
another storm brought Csesar back to the coast, and during this time a 
British leader named Cassibelan or Caswallon in Latin, Cassivelaunus 
gathered a great force. He was driven back to the Thames near 
Walton, where the place called Cowey-stakes is believed to mark the 
spot at which the Britons fenced the bank of the river, and the ford 
below the water, with sharp-pointed young oaks. The Romans forced 
their way across, and the brief campaign ended with the storming of 
Caswallon's forest-fortress at Verulam, near the place now called St. 
Al ban's. Caesar gives us the names of the tribes whom he encountered 
in this march. There were the Cantii (Kent), Trinobaivtes (Middlesex 


:vml JOssox), Cenimagni (or Iceni), of the country now called Norfolk, 
Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire, the Set/out iaci and Ancalites, of some 
part between the Upper Thames and the Channel, the Bibrod of 
Hampshire, Berkshire, and Wiltshire, and the Cassi of Hertfordshire. 
The Britons now gave hostages and promised to pay tribute, and the 
Romans quitted the country after a stay of a few weeks, to appear no 
more as invaders for nearly a hundred years. As Tacitus says, Csesar 
did not conquer Britain, but only showed it to the Romans. 

From this time forward, peaceful intercourse with Rome and various 
parts of her empire went on. Blocks of lead and tin from the mines 
of the south-west were exchanged, as of old, with the Phoenician traders 
State of and Greek merchants from Massilia and Narbo (Narlonne), for 
Britain, brass, salt, and earthenware, and the Britons also exported 
slaves, hunting-dogs, and skins. The epicures of Rome had a great 
liking for the oysters of Kutupise, the place now called Richborough, 
in Kent, lying two miles inland. In forming a picture to the mind's 
eye of the appearance of the country, we must banish from the view 
nearly all that we now see around us. The north and east and west 
and centre of the land were still covered by forest and by marsh. The 
British roads were rough tracks that followed the windings of the hills, 
with here and there a descent to the plain, and a way cut through the 
woods, or passing by a clearing made for corn. The towns were mere 
gatherings of wattled or timbered huts, placed in a tract of woody 
country, and surrounded by a deep trench, with a further defence of 
felled trees. The tilling of the soil, in the more civilised south-eastern 
district, the pasturing of cattle, and the hunting of the abundant game, 
were the chief means of living. The deer, the wolf, the boar, the bear, 
the badger were all tenants of the forest; on the plains large flocks of 
bustards could be seen ; the beaver built his home in the streams. The 
fisher had his coracle of skins stretched tightly over wicker work, as it 
may be seen to this day on the river Wye. A certain skill both in 
mechanics and in the art of war is proved by the construction and the 
use of the scythed chariots described by Caesar. The drivers went at 
speed down steep descents, and charged the enemy with a fighting man 
iipon the pole, who would alight and join the combat upon foot, using 
the car for his retreat in case of need. The contents of the sepulchral 
mounds or barrows tell us nearly all that we know of the artistic skill 
of the people. In the north of Wiltshire stands Silbury Hill, the 
largest artificial mound in Europe. There and in other tombs have 
been dug up arrow-heads and spear-heads of bronze, bodkins, necklaces, 
and beads, drinking-cups and urns. The rule of the people at the time 
of Caesar's visits was in the hands of many petty chieftains, often at 
war with each other. At a later period, but before the Roman conquest 
of the land, we find that this separate dominion of many kinglets had 
been merged in that of kings, each ruling over large parts of the island. 
Cunobelin, king of the Trinobantes, ruled a territory which included 


much of South Britain. His capital, Camalodunum, is represented 
either by Colchester or Maldon. Progress made in civilisation has 
been inferred from the fact that we have many coins of his reign, 
probably of British workmanship, and showing an acquaintance with 
Roman deities and customs. 

The religion of the ancient Britons at this time was the mysterious 
and gloomy form of pagan worship known as Druidism. Caesar 
tells us that ' this system is thought to have been formed in 
Britain, and to have been carried over thence into Gaul, and now those 
who wish to be more accurately versed in it go to Britain in order to 
become acquainted with it.' The Druids were the priests, the arbiters of 
disputes, and the judges of crime. Men placed under their interdict were 
held accursed, and were banished from human intercourse. Over this 
body of men one chief Druid presided. They were all exempt from service 
in war, and from payment of taxes. They believed in the immortality 
of the soul, and in the doctrine of transmigration. They made human 
sacrifices to their gods, offering up as victims either criminals or 
prisoners taken in war. The teaching of the Druids was not confined 
to matters of religion. They M 7 ere the instructors in all the rude 
knowledge of the time, save in matters of war. They held sacred the 
oak and the mistletoe, and it was in groves of oak that they practised 
their religious rites. 

The Gaelic nature was, at its best, that of an artist. The Gael was 
gifted with a bold and active fancy, skill in music, delight in 
vivid colour, a sense of honour, and a taste for literature. 
The Irish, Scottish, and Welsh Celts alike, the Gaels and Cymry too, 
are men who still delight in olden song that tells the glories of a 
legendary past. The instinctive wants of such a people were met by 
the attainments and performances of the class of men called Bards. 
Their task and their delight it was to act as the chroniclers, poets, and 
musicians of their tribe. To the strains of a rude harp they sang the 
genealogies and exploits of chiefs, the wonders of nature, and the 
praises of the gods, in lyric, epic, and didactic verse rich in simile and 

It has been shown that the early inhabitants of Britain were far re- 
moved from a merely savage state. The Britons, as known to Summary 
the Romans, were a people of high courage, subject to authority f v nisa- S]1 
and discipline, and yet impatient of subjection. They were tion 
acquainted with some important arts of life. They mined and smelted 
their native tin, and were not unskilled in the tillage of the soil. 
They were a warlike people, possessed of swords and shields and 
cars that could not be fabricated without some mechanical skill. They 
were a religious people, whose priests were their lawgivers and their 
teachers in whatever moral and mental training they possessed. They 
were lovers of instrumental music and song. They took an interest in 
the records of the past, and believed in another life after death. 




Roman and British leaders. Stout resistance of natives. Agricola in power. 
Hadrian and Severus in Britain. Early Christianity. Picts and Scots. With- 
drawal of Romans. 

THE Emperor Claudius was the ruler who first resolved to make Britain 
The a province of Rome. The man chosen to attack the country 

Roman from Gaul with his legions was Aulus Plautius. In A.J>. 
begins S 43 he landed without opposition. The Britons had retired 
Claudius to the marshes and woods, hoping to wear out the invader 
A.D. 43. by delay, and thinking that, like Caesar, he would withdraw 
from the country after a brief stay. At this time, Caractacus, son of 
Cunobelin, was the chief ruler in the south of the island. Plautius 
marched against him, and, with much loss to the Romans in the marshes 
and woods, drove the Britons away to the west. Then Claudius came 
in person with great reinforcements, and the capital, Camalodunum, 
was taken. The Emperor remained but sixteen days in the island, was 
saluted by the army as Iinperator, and then returned to Rome, to assume 
the name of Britannicus, and to be worshipped as a god. The memory 
of his Britannic triumph is preserved upon his coinage. 

The Britons met their formidable foes with a most tenacious and 
Obstinate determined opposition. That brave and rugged soldier, 
resistance Vespasian, born and bred a peasant in the Sabine Hills, and 
afterwards Emperor of Rome, was in high command under 
Plautius. He and his son Titus had all they could do to win for Rome, 
after many battles, the territory now forming Hampshire and the Isle 
of Wight. The Romans, however, kept pouring in fresh troops along 
the whole line of the southern coast, and by the estuaries of the Thames 
and the Colne, and thus, slowly but surely, the southern and south-eastern 
parts of the land were won. In the west and centre and east the natives 
maintained a fierce resistance. Their great leader was Caractacus or 
Caradoc, king of the Silures, a powerful tribe of South Wales. In A.D. 
47, Plautius and Vespasian, returning to Italy with well-won honours, 
were succeeded in the British command by Ostorius Scapula. Roman 
skill and discipline won their way in the east, and the Iceni were for a 
time overcome. Ostorius then marched west, and advanced as far as 
the Avon and the Severn. He next broke up the levies of the 
powerful tribe of the north, the Brigantes, who dwelt between the 
Humber and the Tyne. Caradoc himself was then brought to bay at the 
lofty hill in Shropshire which still bears the name of Caer- Caradoc, 
the town of Caradoc. The British forces were on a mountain-ridge' 


58-61 A.D.] BOADICEA. 

with a wall of stone for a rampart. At the foot of the hill flowed a 
river hard to ford, and when the hill was mounted, hosts of men 
guarded the intrenched position. The British arrows shot down the 
Romans by hundreds as they scaled the mountain-side. A terrible 
fight hand-to-hand ensued, as the legionaries advanced to the storming. 
The Roman discipline and short pointed two-edged sword prevailed at 
last against all the efforts of tumultuous valour. The position was 
taken, and Caradoc fled for refuge to Cartismandua, queen of the 
Brigantes. By her he was betrayed to the Romans, and after his 
nine years' resistance went as a captive to Rome in A.r>. 51. The 
noble bearing of the fallen chief of a warlike people induced Claudius, 
with a rare clemency, to spare his prisoner's life. Even the loss of 
Caractacus did not end the resistance made by the brave Silures. The 
Roman general Scapula died, worn out with the toil and trouble of a 
war that seemed endless. 

A few years roll on, and Nero wears the imperial purple. In A.D. 
58, Suetonius Paulinus took the command in Britain. There Suetpnius 
was at this time a female ruler in the eastern district, Boadi- and^ nUS 
cea, queen of the Iceni. The Roman officials and settlers Boadicea. 
had roused the wrath of the natives by extortions, licentiousness, and 
insult to the national worship. The British queen had bled under the 
rods of Roman lictors. Wrath and shame roused her and her people 
to plan a deadly revenge. The Romans held many of the towns, in- 
cluding London, even then a place of much trade, Verulam, and Cama- 
lodunum. The absence of the Roman governor in the north-west 
offered a great chance of success for a rising. A great host of natives, 
led by the queen in person, took the field in A.D. 61, and attacked 
the three chief towns. The ninth legion was destroyed at Camalo- 
dunurn, and many thousands of Roman settlers perished there, and in 
London and at Verulam. The British were for the time triumphant, 
and there for the moment we leave them. Suetonius had marched into 
North Wales with the fixed purpose of assailing Druidism in one of its 
principal seats. The religious system of the Britons was held to be 
one of the chief causes of their enduring hostility to Rome. TheDruiclical 
faith was deep-rooted, long-established, and universal, and to its votaries 
the mythology of Rome was at once hateful and contemptible. Their 
solemn superstition gave them daring courage and a fanatical spirit of 
revenge. It was the knowledge of this fact that led Suetonius to attack 
the stronghold of the Druids in Mona, now the Isle of Anglesey. He 
crossed the Menai Strait, and there encountered a strange host of foes. 
The shore was covered with armed men in dense array, and women with 
loose hair ran about with furious cries, clothed in dark attire, and 
waving lighted torches. Around stood bands of Druids, lifting hands 
of prayer to heaven, and by turns enkindling a desperate valour by 
frantic words arid gestures. The hardy Romans stood still at first, 
struck with unwonted awe. Then discipline came to their aid, and 


they dosed with the foe in the onslaught that hardly ever failed. 
Suetonius did his work well. The sacred groves of oak were cut down, 
the Druids were burned in their own wicker- idols, and a garrison was 
left amongst the remnant spared by fire and sword. Then came the 
terrible news from the south, and the Romans hurried back to the 
rescue. The exact spot of the decisive battle that ensued has never 
been determined. What is certain is, that the tumultuous hordes 
under Boadicea were utterly routed by Roman tactics directing the 
disciplined valour of ten thousand Roman legionaries. The revolt was 
ended at a blow. Boadicea died by poison. Unrelenting pursuit de- 
stroyed all chance of a rally, and the power of the natives in South 
Britain was thus broken for ever by A.D. 62. 

It would seem that scant justice has hitherto been rendered by 
modern historians to the character of these ancient Britons. 
British The great Roman writer, Tacitus, tells us that they were by 
character. nature f ierce an( j resolute; that they would pay tribute to 
their conquerors and submit to the Roman levies of men to serve in 
the legions, but would bear no insult or wrong ; they would obey, in 
short, but would not be treated as mere slaves. The bare, facts of the 
narrative amply refute the common opinion of the low state of civilisa- 
tion amongst a people who thus contended with one of the greatest 
military powers of all time. What must the spirit of the Britons 
have been, which, in a fierce and determined resistance, and in constant 
revolt after seeming subjection, could give the Romans twenty y,ears of 
work to subdue but the southern part of the island ? 

For sixteen years after the death of Boadicea little advance was 
The gov- made by the Romans in the secure possession of the country. 
Aico?a 0f -A-* l en g fc h> with a g& emperor, Vespasian, in supreme power, 
A.D. 78-84. a great man was placed at the head of affairs in Britain. Julius 
Agricola, father-in-law of Tacitus, whose eloquent eulogy is one of the 
finest things in literature, was both a great and a good man. He had 
already served in Britain under Suetonius Paulinus, and in A.D. 69 he was 
there in command of the twentieth legion. When he arrived in Britain 
as governor in the summer of 78, he found work ready to his hands. 
The Ordovices, a powerful tribe in North Wales, were in arms among 
the strongholds of the hills, after their sudden slaughter of a band of 
Roman horse in garrison on the borders. Agricola at once marched 
against them, gathered the scattered troops, routed the enemy in their 
fastnesses, and overran the old scene of conflict, Anglesey. The next 
year, 79, saw him again in the field, and waging war with a skill and 
energy that nothing could resist. He knew the country well, and 
could choose the proper lines of march and the places for effective 
attack. All that was won was firmly held by the planting of forts 
and garrisons at every strategic point. He welcomed as friends of 
Rome all that were ready to submit, and allured the chiefs into the 
towns to learn the Roman arts of life. In a few years the country 

84-120 A.D.] HADRIAN IN BRITAIN. 11 

was peacefully held from the mouth of the Thames to the Severn, and 
from the Humber across to the Dee. In the third and fourth summers 
of his command, the years 80 and Si, Agricola was engaged against foes 
in the north. He secured the territory south of the Clyde and the Forth 
by a line of armed posts extending between the estuaries. In 82 he 
made his way to the western coast, and in 83 marched to the north 
towards the Grampians. The Caledonian tribes were in arms, and 
made a daring attack on the camp of a Roman legion, which was barelv 
saved by Agricola's arrival. In 84 came the final conflict with the 
mountaineers, at the foot of the Grampian Hills. Thirty thousand 
warriors were in arms under Galgacus, and fought the Romans with 
the usual result. Ten thousand clansmen fell in the plain and on the 
hillside, and only night put an end to the slaughter. When morning 
dawned, not a foeinan was to be seen: all had vanished to a far distance, 
and the Romans marched back to winter quarters. Agricola was much 
more than a mere conqueror. Under his government was shown the 
tranquillising force of the ruler who can civilise and colonise as well as 
subdue. In his time Roman ships first sailed round the chief island, 
and proved to the world its geographical shape. He rescued the 
natives from official rapacity, and made a just and equal distribution of 
the burden of tribute. He taught the conquered people to build houses, 
temples, galleries, and baths in the Roman style. The sons of the 
chief men were taught the Roman language and the liberal sciences, and 
the scattered people were encouraged to congregate in towns, and live 
the life of citizens under municipal rule, The Britons had ample 
reason to mourn his loss when he was recalled in 84 by the jealous 
tyrant Domitian. 

For over three hundred years Britain remained a province of the 
Roman Empire. In the year 120 we find the Emperor Hadrian's 
Hadrian in the land, as he was carrying out his purpose of WalL 
visiting in person every portion of the vast dominion of Rome. The 
Britons had now fully submitted to conquest, and we hear nothing 
more of revolt, in the southern part of the island, against the ruling 
power. The chief trouble to the land for two centuries was caused by 
the incursions of the fierce predatory tribes in the north. We have 
seen that Agricola's conquest had stopped at the Firths of Clyde and 
Forth. Beyond this line were the hilly abodes of the unsubdued Picts 
and Scots. The Scots are known to be Gaelic immigrants from Ireland, 
the language spoken by some of the Scotch Highlanders to this day 
being the same tongue as the Erse spoken by the Irish. The Picts 
have been always a puzzle to ethnologists. They were probably of 
Celtic race, but their language differed from that of the British and 
Irish. The country between the -Tyne and the Forth was inhabited by 
restless tribes, and Hadrian found it needful to raise a strong inner 
line of defence. This was the origin of the famous Roman wall between 
the Solway Firth and the Tyne, of which many remains still exist. It 


consisted of a stone wall and an earthen rampart, in some places doubled 
and tripled, with the further defence of a ditch. Along the lines great 
camps of earthwork were formed, and the whole construction was meant 
not as a mere defence, but as a military base for operations on both 
sides of it. The castles along the works had gates opening to the 
north, and the coins found there prove that the ground north of the 
wall was held down to the end of the third century. 

Under Antoninus Pius, the successor of Hadrian, the line of forts 
Antoninus raised by Agricola between the Clyde and the Forth was 
JjdSeve- strengthened in 140, by a turf rampart known as the Wall of 
140-211. ' Antoninus. In 208, the warlike Emperor Severus came to 
visit his distant province, with his sons Caracalla and Geta. He soon 
found that there was work for his soldiers in the northern parts of 
the land. The wall of Hadrian, between Sol way and Tyne, was not 
only a rampart of defence against hostile incursions from the north, but 
a barrier to intercept dangerous friendships. The Brigantes, dwelling 
in what are now Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumberland, and Durham, 
amidst marshy valleys and barren hills, had been restless under the 
Roman yoke. The Meatse, a people in the south of Scotland, were 
ready to join with them in revolt. Driven back in the time of Anto- 
ninus, they often renewed attacks on the Roman military posts. The 
Picts and Scots also needed repression, and against all these foes Severus 
marched with a great army. The Roman forces had much toil in 
cutting down woods, making marshes passable, and building bridges, 
and even then they could not get to fair fight with the enemy. The 
warfare was one of ambuscades, and the Emperor himself was failing 
in health. We are told that he was carried to the far north of Cale- 
donia in the midst of his army on a litter, and that he returned after 
making a treaty with the chiefs. He then repaired Hadrian's wall, 
and died at Eboracum (York) in the year 211. 

For seventy years after the death of Severus, history is nearly silent 
Britain on ^ e affairs of Britain. During the third century the south - 
from A.D. eastern coasts began to be troubled by the descents of Saxon 

450 ' pirates. An incident of the time was the usurpation of sove- 
reign power in Britain by a man named Carausius. A Gaul by birth, 
appointed by the Emperor Maximian to command a fleet for the pro- 
tection of the Gallic and British coasts, he revolted in fear of punish- 
ment for misconduct in his command. In 287 he assumed in Britain the 
imperial purple, with the title of Augustus, and defied the co-emperors, 
Diocletian and Maximian. After vain attempts against him, which 
were repelled by his powerful fleet, he was acknowledged as colleague 
in the empire, and reigned till 293. Carausius was then murdered by 
his chief officer, Allectus, who ruled for three years, and then submitted 
to the imperial power of Constantius Chlorus. In 306 this emperor 
died at Eboracum, on an expedition against the Picts, and was there 
succeeded by his son Constantine, afterwards called " the Great," who 


was the first Christian emperor. We know not the precise date when 
the new religion was first brought into Britain. The Emperor Diocletian 
began his great persecution of the Christians throughout the empire in 
303, and in the following year the British martyr St. Alban died for 
his faith at "Veriilamiuin, close to the site of the town now called by his 
name. At the first Council of Aries, in the south of Gaul, held in 314, 
there were three British bishops, who presided over sees at York, 
London, and Caerleon. The heretic Pelagius, who lived a century 
later, is said to have been a Briton, whose real name was Morgan. 
St. Patrick, the apostle of Ireland, went forth from a monk's cell in 
France to preach the faith in the "Isle of Saints " about the year 430. 
There, and in Wales, the religion of the old British Church survived, 
when it was almost destroyed in England by our heathen forefathers. 

In the year 360, the warlike tribes of the north made their way in 
force within the wall of Hadrian. The hold of the Romans Renewed 
upon Britain had been gradually weakened by the withdrawal pjjts and f 
of troops to other parts of the empire, and by 368 the invading Scots, 
tribes had carried their ravages as far as London. A great general, 
named Theodosius, came over from Gaul with a large army, and drove 
the enemy back beyond the wall of Antoninus. The garrisons were 
re-established, the civil administration was reformed, and the country 
seemed likely to return to a period of safety and peace. The Roman 
legions, however, were again partly withdrawn, and the Picts, the Scots, 
and the Saxon pirates invaded the land anew. 

The Roman power went fast to decay, and by the year 410, all the 
troops had quitted the island. Britain was thus severed from End of 
the empire, though a Roman force came again in 418, and Roman 
gave the people some help against the northern invaders. 
They then quitted the country, and thirty years of confusion and 
misery, under the name of independence, followed their departure. In 
443 the unhappy people sent a letter, known as The Groans of the 
Britons, to the great Roman general Aetius. They begged for help 
against their cruel foes. "The barbarians," they wrote, "chase us 
into the sea; the sea flings us back on the barbarians; the only choice 
left us is to die by the sword or by the waves." Aetius, hard pressed 
as he was to defend the Western empire against the attacks of Conti- 
nental barbarians, was quite unable to help them. It would seem 
that the old British courage had somewhat decayed under Roman rule, 
and that the national spirit of combination in self-defence had lost 
much of its power. The withdrawal of the Romans from Britain had 
left the way open for the coming of the race who were to stamp a 
lasting character upon the language, the name, and the whole future 
of the land. 



Roman provinces, garrisons, towns, and roads. Prosperity of country in Roman 
times. Tokens of Roman presence. System of rule. 

BRITAIN, like the other distant provinces of the empire, was under 
Britain the control of the emperor, and not of the senate. It was 
under therefore ruled by successive legates of consular rank, ap- 
nile? n pointed by the emperor, and holding office for several years 
divisions toge ther. It was divided in the fourth century into five 
country, provinces. Of these, Britannia Prima extended south of the 
Thames and the Bristol Channel, from the North Foreland to Land's 
End; Wales formed Britannia Secunda ; Flavia Ccesariemi* included 
the whole territory between the Thames and a line from the Humber 
across to the Mersey; Maxima Ctvsarie?isis was composed of all the 
northern district from the Mersey and the Humber to Hadrian's wall, 
and beyond that Valentia reached to the rampart of Antoiiine. All 
beyond that was the unsubdued Caledonia. 

From the Notitia Imperil, a work compiled early in the fifth cen- 
Military tui 7 we learn that ^e re o u l ar Roman army then consisted 
arrange- of about twenty thousand men. There was a permanent 
ments. f orce of three legions, with their contingents of auxiliary 
troops, including natives from, all parts of the empire Spaniards, 
Gauls, Batavians, Dacians, and even Asiatics. We hear of a body of 
Parthian cavalry posted on the Severn. The military stations were 
selected with all the skill that economises military power. Fortresses 
were built on the coast, the great navigable rivers, and on all the 
chief roads. One legion, with a large force of auxiliaries, was always 
stationed at York for the defence of the northern frontier. When 
the Saxon pirates began to give trouble on the south-eastern coast, a 
special officer was appointed to meet the emergency. This was the 
Comes Littoris Saxonici, or Count of the Saxon Shore, which seems 
really to mean Director of coast-defence against the Saxon*. The 
district under his command extended from the north of Norfolk round 
to the middle of the coast of Sussex. On this line there were nine 
great castles held by Roman troops. The first was at Branodunum, 
now Brancaster, in Norfolk: then came Garianonum (Burgli Castle) 
on the Yare, Othona (Ithancester, just below the Blackwater), Ptegul- 
bium (Reculver, on the north coast of Kent), RutupisB (Richborough, 
near Sandwich), Portus Dubris (Dover), Portus Lemanis (Lymne), 
Andfirida (Pevensey), and Portus Adurni, which may be Aldrington, on 

410 A.D.] ROMAN ROADS. 15 

the Sussex coast, at the mouth of the Adur. The fortresses at Roul- 
Ijium and Rutnpise were built to guard tlie two mouths of the estuary 
which then cut off the north-east of Kent from the mainland, and 
made it in fact, and not, as now, in name alone, the Isle of Thanet. 
The names on the map of England suffice to show the positions of 
many of the fortified camps by which the Romans held the land 
against revolt of the natives or attack by foreign foes. The English 
conquerors changed many of the Roman names for others containing a 
corrupt form of the word castra. Hence come the present names of 
Chester, on the Dee, Castor, on the Nen, and Caistor, near Norwich, 
which represents the Roman town of Venta Icenorum. The termina- 
tions caster, Chester, cester, tell the same tale of Roman military occupa- 
tion. The important western city of Isca became Exan-ceaster, Ex- 
ceaster, and lastly Exeter, an instance of similar corruption being found 
in Uttoxeter, and in Wroxeter, on the Severn, where stood the ancient 

There were in Britain nine towns which ranked as colonial, where 
Romans were settled as possessors of the land, and the Roman institu- 
tions were adopted without any change in the forms or princi- Roman 
pies of local government. These were Londinium (London), towns. 
Camalodunum (Colchester), Rutupise (Ricliborougli), Aquae Solis (Batli), 
Isca Silurum (Caerleon, in Monmouthshire), 13eva (Chester), Glevum 
(Gloucester), Lindum (Lincoln), and Chesterford, near Cambridge. 
Verulamium (St. Albans) and Eboracum (York) were municipal cities, 
with special rights and privileges for the citizens. Venta Belgarum 
( Winchester) was also an important town. London, as the residence of 
the governor, was the seat of rule for the whole province, but York 
was, in this respect, of almost equal rank, as the centre of military 
command for the dangerous and restless North. 

The Romans, great in all the practical arts of life, are famous as 
constructors of straight and durable roads. Their highways Roman 
in Britain reached to the most distant parts of the province, roads. 
and there is hardly a county of England and Wales in which traces of 
them are not to be seen. A Roman road of the best kind was a paved 
causeway, formed by successive layers of earth, stones, and mortar, 
the whole topped either by stone or by a firm bed of lime and gravel. 
It was generally raised above the level of the ground on either side. 
Many of our Lest highroads run still on the solid foundation afforded 
by the lasting work of the Roman conquerors, and the perfect straight- 
ness of the course taken is a ready means of identification. In other 
cases, remains of their old roads may be seen as wide grass-grown 
tracks leading off our present highways, and sometimes serving as 
cart-roads from farm to farm. The makers of these roads rarely 
avoided a hill, but went straight from point to point. If a marsh 
came in the way, the engineers would drain it or fill it up, and no 
natural difficulties were allowed to interfere with the plan. The 


mountain called High Street in Westmoreland is so named from the 
fact that a Roman road ran along its summit at a height of nearly 
2000 feet above the sea. This network of solid road, with bold 
cuttings and firm terraces, just as the nature of the ground required, 
made the island one whole, according to the wants of the time. By 
these ways the Roman legions marched up and down the land, through 
all the five provinces, wherever there was a revolt to be subdued or 
payment of tribute to be enforced. They were also the means of com- 
munication used by a large population, who had not been without 
roads and towns in what was called their uncivilised state. Each of 
the great lines of highway was called a strata (for strata via, paved 
way), and the word street, adopted by the early English conquerors, 
is still found in the composition of the names of many places situated 
on these old lines of road. Hence came such words as Streatham, 
Stratton, and Stratford. In the city of London, just east of St. Paul's 
Cathedral, is a narrow way called Wailing Street, and here we have 
the survival of the name of one of the great and historical Roman 
roads. The Watliiig Street, as the English named it, ran from 
Rutupise through Canterbury and London, and then to Verulamium 
across the island to Chester, and along the coast of North Wales. 
We shall see that it formed afterwards, in Alfred's day, a main part 
of the boundary between the Saxon and the Dane. Eormen Street 
(Irmine or Ermin Street) was the name given to the great highway 
leading from Pevensey and Regnum (Chichester), through London, Lin- 
coln, and York to Scotland. The Fosse Wai/, said to be so called because 
it was ditched on both sides, ran through Ilchester, Bath, Cirencester, 
and so through Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Lincoln to the 
eastern coast. The Icknild Way or Street went from the Yare in 
Norfolk to the Tamar in Cornwall, crossing the Fosse Way in Devon- 
shire. Parallel to the Fosse Way was Rykenild Street, extending from 
north-east to south-west between Tynemouth and St. David's. 

There seems to be little doubt that the state of peace, law, and 
Increase order maintained by the Romans caused a great increase 
of wealth. o f material prosperity. The population largely grew by the 
influx of settlers and traders from Gaul and other provinces, and 
there is good reason to believe that, in the south-eastern parts of the 
island, a considerable English element was found among the people 
for a long period before the final retirement of the Romans. The 
land became so rich in corn as not only to supply its own wants, but 
to have an abundance for exportation. In the middle of the fourth 
century the Emperor Julian built warehouses in his Continental 
dominions to receive corn from Britain. The amount of supply in 
one season is shown by the fact that six hundred large vessels, as 
ships went in that day, built from the wood of the Ardennes Forest, 
made several voyages to the coast of Britain, and supplied the starving 
Jlhine provinces, desolated by war, from the stores of the fertile island. 


The Romans had doubtless improved the methods of agriculture, and 
the abundance of corn raised proves the existence of a large rural 
population. The mines were also vigorously worked. The tin-mines 
of Cornwall and the lead-mines of Somerset gave a rich produce for 
Roman use, and the pigs of lead in the British Museum, bearing the 
stamp of Domitian and Hadrian, confirm the words of Tacitus as to 
the mineral wealth of Britain. The mining and smelting of iron were 
also carried on by the Romans to a large extent. An iron district was 
then worked in the Forest of Dean, and within the last forty years 
Roman coins have been found in the pits from which the ore was dug. 
Besides the earthworks of camps and roads, there are still many 

visible si^ns of the presence and work of Romans in our _, 

11 mi n -r n r j . . Koman 

island. The remains or Koman walls are irom time to time buildings 

found in London, and are seen above ground at Lincoln, ^ Britain - 
York, Chichester, and Colchester. At Richborough, once the great 
military settlement Rutupise, walls yet stand in their lonely grandeur 
as they have stood for seventeen hundred years. They are nearly 
twelve feet thick at the base, and from twenty to thirty feet in height, 
and their outer masonry is in many places as perfect as when their 
alternate courses of stone and tile were first laid. The sea has with- 
drawn two miles from their base ; the estuary over which they once 
kept guard is but a broad dry ditch ; the area within them is now five 
acres of cornfield ; but they still tell something of a great age in tho 
life of the past, whose influence will abide when even these mighty 
ruins shall be gone. Another splendid example of Roman work is 
Burgh Castle, in Suffolk, at the junction of the Waveney with the 
Yare. Fifteen hundred years ago this great fortress was the station 
of the squadrons of the Stabulesian cavalry, a corps of Gallic horse 
whose duty it was to watch and curb the unruly Iceni dwelling near tho 
mouth of the Yare. The ivy-covered walls are very strongly built in 
deep courses of flints set in cement, alternating with thin layers of red 
tilework. They are about fourteen feet in height, and are probably 
the finest Roman work of the kind to be seen. In the long eastern 
wall are four solid circular towers, detached from the wall in most of 
their height, and only united at the top. The structure of the wall is 
nine feet thick, and the length of the eastern rampart is about 215 yards. 
The London of those times is supposed to have reached from Black- 
friars to the Tower, on the bank of the river, and in an otlier 
irregular shape from the river as far as Bishopsgate. In Roman 
digging for foundations deep below the present surface, the remams< 
workmen have found tesselated pavements, remains of baths, broken 
pottery and glass, worn-out soles of sandals, waxen tablets with the 
styles or pens of bone and wood, gouges, augers, saws, knives with 
the makers' names upon them, weaving-bobbins, and coins. In our 
museums may be seen the pins of bronze with which the Roman ladies 
and the British dames who followed their fashions fastened up the 


knots and plaits of their hair. At Bignor, in^Sussex, have been un- 
earthed the little-injured remains of a Roman villa, probably once the 
country-house of some important official of the neighbouring city of 
Chichester, the Reynum of the Romans! Here were found mosaic 
pavements and painted walls of bold and elegant designs, with colours 
still fresh. The plan of the house and its surroundings shows that a 
rich man dwelt there, with numerous chambers and spacious courts, 
baths, colonnades, and gardens. From the bed of the Thames have 
been taken small images of silver and bronze, supposed to have been 
the Penates or household gods of some Roman or Romanised family. 
One of the most remarkable discoveries of old Roman towns was made 
about thirty years ago at Wroxeter, in Shropshire. The excavations 
there made disinterred a large part of the ancient Uriconium. There 
were remains of streets, public buildings, and private houses; coins, 
objects in bronze, and stucco with fresco -pain tings of wonderful fresh- 
ness and tasteful pattern. 

There are good reasons for believing that the population of Britain, 
The popu= in the later times of Roman occupation, was of a very mixed 
Eoman m character. Not only did the Roman legions include large 
times. numbers of German soldiers, but the Roman government 
encouraged immigration from Germany, and it may be supposed that 
this element prepared the way for the subsequent inroads of our Teu- 
tonic forefathers. 

The government of Rome was essentially municipal, and the inhn- 
Roman hitants of the towns had important powers and privileges, 
govern- It is clear, however, that the Roman rule laid heavy fiscal 
burdens on the people. The procurator or revenue officer 
of the province had his subordinates in every city, to secure the rigid 
collection of the poll-tax, the funeral-tax, the legacy-duty, the auction- 
tax, the tax on the sale of slaves, the tithe of mining produce, and the 
tribute cf corn, hay, and cattle. There was a class of free artisans in 
the towns, and a large class of slaves. The municipal organisation 
included the mixed population above mentioned Romans, Britons, 
Germans, and Gauls. Over all was the great centralising power of 
Rome itself, suspicious, exclusive, rapacious, and selfish. It was a 
system of colonial oppression which outraged nationality, disarmed 
and fettered the people, and prevented the resources of the land from' 
being fully developed. With all this, we may remember that, amongst 
the elements of modern civilisation, the spirit of legality, of regular 
association, was derived from the Roman municipalities and the R,oman 
laws. When the Teutonic race came in and blended therewith the 
spirit of personal freedom, then we had the mingling of the two great 
elements in the political institutions of modern Britain and in the 
character of the British people the union of reverence for law and 
order with the utmost regard for personal rights and liberties. 

It seems that Britain received from her first conquerors only a faint 


tincture of Roman arts and letters. No writer of British birth is found 
among the masters of Latin poetry and eloquence. It is not Extent of 
likely that the people were ever generally familiar with the Roman 
Latin tongue. Over large tracts of country the Britons spoke ^British 
their own language, and the native tongue was only laid aside civilisa- 
by dwellers in the towns and by the small class of wealthy 
British landowners who dwelt in rural districts. While Latin drove out 
the original tongues of Gaul and Spain, and is at this day the basis of 
French, Spanish, and Portuguese, in this island it never won its way 
against the British, and could not stand its ground against the English 
of the new-comers. The words street and candle, and a few Latin words 
taken into the Welsh language, are almost the only words due to the 
Roman period in Britain. The names of our months are exceptions to 
this rule, and it was in vain that the English conquerors tried to change 
January for wolj '-month , and July into Itaij-monili. It is trivial yet 
interesting to notice Roman influence upon our traditionary customs 
and superstitions. Our parochial perambulations the "beating of the 
parish-bounds" recall the Roman festival Terminalia, in honour of 
Terminus, the god of limits and boundary marks. Our Mayday is the 
festival of Mora. Our marriage ceremonies are all Roman the ring, 
the veil, the wedding-gifts, the groomsmen, the bridesmaids, the cake. 
Our funeral symbols and customs are Roman the cypress and the yew, 
the sprinkling of dust on coffins, the flowers strewn on graves, the black 
for mourning. The lucky and unlucky days of a superstition now 
almost dead amongst us were the white and black days dies albi and 
dies atri of the Romans. If we have any faith in odd numbers, so had 
they. The dread once caused by the screech-owl's cry at night had the 
same source. The civilisation derived by the Britons from their Roman 
masters was. upon the whole view, scanty and superficial, and was 
nearly effaced by those who, in the fifth and following centuries, 
stepped into their place as masters of the soil. 




Our English ancestors. Their religious and social state. Heal cause of invasion. 
Historic doubts as to details. The certainties of the matter. Nature of con- 
quest. The parts left to Britons. 

THE greatest ancestor of the English race is the German hero Irmin or 
Our fore- Arminius, who in A.D. 9 made Augustus wail for the legions 
fathers. destroyed under the command of Yarns. It was that great 
and decisive victory that kept Germany free from the domination of 
Rome and made an England possible. The Romanised Celts whom 
our Teutonic forefathers found in the land did indeed influence the 
character of our nation, but the main stream of our people was and is 
Germanic. Arminius was the leader of the people called the Cherusci, 
who were of the race called Old Saxons, or Saxons of the interior of 
Germany. Closely akin to these were the Saxons of the coasts of the 
North Sea and the Baltic, from the Rhine to the mouth of the Oder. 
The Saxons, who were in a large measure our forefathers, dwelt amid 
woods and marshes on the lower courses of the Elbe, the Weser, and 
the Ems, and in the southern and narrower part of the peninsula 
which divides the North Sea from the Baltic. They belonged to the 
Low German race, as the people near the coast have been called, in 
distinction from the High Germans of the interior and hilly parts of 
the land. The name Saxon is supposed to come from that of the large 
knife or short sword, seax or sex, which they carried. A people called 
the Frisians, dwelling along the coast from the mouths of the Rhine to 
the Elbe, were absorbed by these Saxons, and the old Frisian tongue, 
a sister language of the modern Flemish and Dutch, was the Continental 
dialect which approached most nearly to the old English of our ancestors. 
The Angles may be identical with the powerful tribe called the Angri- 
varii (i.e., Angre or Angle-ware, the Angle people), whom Tacitus places 
on the Weser and the Elbe, in the rear of the Frisians and Saxons. It 
has been thought that they formed a more numerous and powerful part 
of the invaders of Britain, from the facts of their having peopled a 


larger district of the country, and having at last given their name 
to the whole. The Jutes came from the peninsula called after them, 
Jutland, and were also of Low Germanic race. These three peoples, 
the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes, were the chief makers and 
founders of England in blood, language, law, and freedom. 

While the Roman Empire had been converted to Christianity, the 
free German tribes had clung to their old Pagan faith. The R * . 
names of some of their chief gods are contained in our present of the 
names for the days of the week. Thus Thursday is the day race> 
of Thor, the god of thunder, air, and rain. He was a kind of Northern 
Jupiter, who smote down his foes with a hammer instead of a thunderbolt. 
Sunday and Monday were named after the two great lights of the sky. 
Tuesday comes from Tiw, the Taisco named by Tacitus as the national 
deity of the Teuton race, who has been compared to the Roman god 
Mars. Wednesday is the day of Woden or Odin, the god of war, but 
also inventor of letters and guardian of bounds and roads. His worship 
was common to all the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples. He was 
held to be ancestor of the kings or chiefs of every tribe, and was, in 
fact, a deified hero. Friday means FreycCs day, named after a goddess 
who was the Northern Venus and wife of Woden. Saturday is so 
called either from Saturn, or from a water-god named Saetere. There 
were many minor deities, perhaps relics of a still more ancient mytho- 
logy, such as Eostre, the goddess of spring or of morning, whence is 
derived the name of Easter as a church festival. The "weird sisters" 
of Macbeth come from Wyrd, the goddess of death, who wove the web 
of destiny. There were in this religion glimpses of a belief in a future 
life, and of a state of rewards and punishments. The heaven of war- 
riors who fell in battle was a bright palace called Valhalla, where they 
should lie on couches, quaffing ale or mead from the skulls of foemen 
who had fallen by their hand. 

The people dwelling on the German coast were a bold and hardy race of 
mariners, who lived by fishing and by piracy. They launched social and 
their ships or keels, and went forth to plunder commerce on political 
the sea or to harry the coasts of Gaul arid Britain. A Latin and cha- 
poet and bishop of the fifth century describes them as the racter - 
fiercest, most cunning, and most dangerous of foes. They feared no 
peril of shipwreck, storm, or war, and were ever ready to get booty at 
the risk of life. The inland folk were farmers, living by the use of 
pasture and the plough in little settlements called townships, from the 
tun, or hedge and ditch that formed its outer bulwark. They too were 
of a warlike spirit, and very jealous of their independence, both as 
regards the men of their own settlement and those who dwelt outside 
their borders. The arms for warfare were swords, spears, bows and 
arrows, battle-axes, heavy clubs with iron spikes, and a shield or target 
worn on the left arm. The great fact to be noted in the early political 
condition of our forefathers is that of their personal freedom. There 


were the eorlas (earls), men of high birth, the nobles of the community, 
from whom were freely chosen, by the mass of the people, those who 
should rule in time of peace or lead out to conflict in time of war. 
The main body of freemen were the ceorlas (churls), which simply 
meant "the men," as opposed to slaves. The usage of the freemen 
meeting from time to time at the mote-Mil of the township is worthy 
of special note. There disputes were settled, justice was rendered, and 
appointments made of men to serve the little state in offices of peace 
or war. It was a rude and early form of parliament, where self- 
government was carried on by the freemen in person instead of by 
their chosen representatives. 

The usual statement made is, that the Britons paved the way for 
their own subjugation by the German tribes beyond the North 
English Sea when they called on them for help against the Picts and 
invasion. g cots> ^hj s a pp ears to be a partial and superficial view of 
the subject. We have already seen that the Saxons had to some extent 
become peaceful settlers in Britain before the Roman legions were 
withdrawn. In. the south-eastern part of the island Roman and 
Saxon were dwellers side by side. The truth is that these invasions 
by successive bodies of Jutes, Saxons, and Angles formed a part of a 
great general movement. In the middle of the fifth century, the time 
at which we have now arrived, the Roman Empire was breaking up in 
all directions. The Goths and Yandals, the Franks, the Suevi, and the 
Huns were pressing in from north and east. Rome itself had been 
taken in 410 by the West Goths under Alaric. Our Teutonic fathers 
were only following the fashion. They already knew from previous 
settlers of their race in Britain that it was a fertile and a goodly land 
to conquer and possess. They were, perhaps, feeling at home the pres- 
sure of increasing population and the failure of old resources of plunder 
on the sea and on the coasts of Gaul. 

The story of the English conquest involves an account of victories 
The con- anc ^ defeats extending over a period of more than a hundred 
quest: years from 450 onwards. No more perplexing subject could 
of the fall to the lot of the historian. Macaulay holds that "in Britain 
subject. an a g e O f fable ( a t the time of the conquest) completely 
separates two ages of truth/'' and that "Hengist and Horsa, Vortigern 
and Rowena, Arthur and Mordred, are mythical persons, whose very 
existence may be questioned, and whose adventures must be classed 
with those of Hercules and Romulus." Authorities so high as Lappen- 
berg, Palgrave, and Kemble also regard the whole account of the English 
conquest as of no historical value, and maintain that M 7 e have no real 
history of the English conquerors until their conversion to Christianity 
at the end of the sixth century. In reply to this, a most able and learned 
critic can only say that "there are good reasons for believing that the 
commonly received account of the conquest is based upon historical facts.'* 
The truth is that there are two sets of traditions, those of the British, 


and those of the early English writers, and that their accounts vary in 
many important points. Under these circumstances, we can only decline 
to be drawn into a maze of difficulty, and must confine ourselves to tracing 
the main course of events. The great fact is that Germanic tribes by 
slow degrees possessed themselves of the greater part of Britain. 

In the year 450 a body of Jutes landed in Kent, in what was then 
the Isle of Thanet. At that time, and for long afterwards, Course of 
it was divided from the mainland by a broad strait. The (i ^^ 
Stour, now but a narrow stream, was then a wide river, Jutes, 
opening into an estuary between Sandwich and Ramsgate, in the 
direction of Peg well Bay. Ships from France and Germany used to 
sail up this estuary and through the river into the Thames by Re- 
culver. The Jutes, whether they came as friends to help the fight 
against the Picts, or as foes to help themselves, came ashore at a spot 
called Ebbes Fleet, a name now given to a farmhouse on a strip of high 
ground rising out of Minster Marsh. They are said to have driven off 
the Picts with ease, and then, determined to conquer for themselves 
and stay in their new quarters, to have sent for fresh forces of their 
own tribe, and of their Angle and Saxon friends. A great victory 
over the islanders was won at ^glesford (now Aylesford), on the 
Medwjiv. A massacre followed, and, as a rule, the pagan conquerors 
waged at first a war of extermination. The churches were burnt, the 
priests slain, and the few peasants who escaped the sword became the 
slaves of the conquerors. All this, however, was the work of more 
than twenty years. The Britons made a stubborn resistance, and rallied 
again and again. At last the work was done, and the Jutish kingdom 
of Kent was founded. It is the only part of the east of Britain which 
has kept the old British names. By a process often repeated during 
the conquest, the name of the capital, called by the Romans Durovernuw, 
was changed into Cant-wara-byrig, or Kent-mens-borougli, since shortened 
into Canterbury. 

The Saxons now appear upon the scene as conquerors and as founders 
of kingdoms of their own. In the year 477, a body of that ( 2 .) The 
people led by Ella landed at the place which they called Saxons. 
Shoreham, on the southern coast. Many battles followed, and it was 
not till 491 that they succeeded in taking the fortress of Anderida, the 
Roman walls of which are still to be seen near Pevensey. They slew 
the defenders, according to the chronicle, to the last man, and thus 
was founded the kingdom of the South Saxons, which maintains its 
name as the county of Sussex. The Roman town Regnum became the 
capital under the name of Gissan-ceasler, the camp or city of Cissa, 
who was son of Ella. It is, of course, the modern Chichester. This 
new dominion included a large part of Surrey. The third kingdom 
was also founded by Saxons led by Cerdic and his son Cynric ; they 
landed in 495 on the shore of Southampton Water. Slowly, in years 
of stubborn conflict, the invaders won their way. We hear of a great 

04 ARRIVAL OF ANGLES. [450-600 A.D. 

victory over the Britons at Cerdices-ford (Charford, in Hampshire), 
and that in 519 Cerdic took the title of king of the West Saxons or 
Wessex. The progress of these Saxons to the west is said to have been 
checked for many years by a great defeat from the Britons in 520. 
The scene of conflict was at Mount Badon, which was perhaps Badbury, 
in Dorset, and the British leader was the semi-fabulous King Arthur. 
After more than thirty years, the work of conquest M^as continued by 
Cynric, and in 577, under his son Ceawlin, the cities of Gloucester, 
Bath, and Cirencester became the prizes of war. Under later rulers 
Wessex lost all territory north of the Thames. The capital of this 
kingdom was Wintan-ceaster (Winchester), the Venta Belgarum of the 
Roman time. A fourth settlement of Saxon invaders had founded 
joint-kingdoms of the East Saxons or Essex, and of the Middle Saxons 
or Middlesex, in the year 526, with capitals at Colchester and London. 

As the Jutes and Saxons had possessed themselves of much of the 
(3 ) The southern part of the island, so the Angles came over in their 
Angles. ships and established themselves in the north, centre, and east. 
At an unknown date towards the end of the sixth century, invading 
bodies of Angles founded the kingdom of East Anglia, comprising the 
territory of Norfolk, Suffolk, and parts of Cambridgeshire and Hunting- 
donshire. Other Angles made their way by the rivers, as will be shown 
hereafter, into the centre of the land, which we now call the Midland 
Counties. This country got afterwards the name of Mercia, as being on 
the March or border between Englishmen and the Britons on the west. 
We know little of the details of conquest in the north. In Roman times 
the district from the Humber to the Tees was known as Deira. Then 
came a mass of forest between the Tees and the Tyne, in what became 
the county of Durham. The land from the Tyne to the Forth was 
called Bernida. This great territory was assailed by English invaders 
some time in the sixth century, both from the north, after landings in 
the Forth and on the coast, and from the south by those who made 
their way inland through the Humber and the Yorkshire Ouse and its 
tributaries. York and other towns were taken and burnt, and fire and 
slaughter sped through the land, amongst the villas of British land- 
owners and the flocks that fed on the wolds. Thus was founded the 
kingdom of Bernida, under a leader named Ida, with its capital at 
Bamborough, the impregnable rock-fortress whose ruins still frown 
from the steeps that face the Fame Isles. The kingdom of Deira had 
its centre at York. Towards the close of the sixth century these two 
were united to form the kingdom of Nortlmmbria. 

Such were the events which, in a struggle of nearly a century and a 
Nature of talf ' made Brifcain in to England. It was the most complete 
the con- of all the conquests effected by the German tribes who so 
largely shared in the breaking-up of the Roman Empire. In 
other lands, the conquerors adopted the language, the laws, the social 
life, and the religion of the conquered race. The followers of Cerdic 


and Ida brought with them to their settlements in Britain all the 
superstitions of the Elbe, and were still offering worship in the temples 
of Thor and Woden while the German princes ruling in France, Italy, 
and Spain were adoring the relics of Christian martyrs and discussing 
with bishops and councils points of Christian theology. In the Eng- 
land which thus arose on the ruins of Roman Britain the faith of 
Christ, so far as the sword of the conquerors was carried, vanished for 
a time from the earth. The name of the country was changed. The 
language of the new-comers, while adopting a few Celtic words from 
the Britons who survived as the hewers of wood and drawers of water, 
swept away all the Latin tongue of the dwellers in towns and the 
British dialects of the country parts. 

We have seen that the conquest of Britain by the Angles, Saxons, 
and Jutes was thorough, within limits to be hereafter noted. cir cuni _ 
Yet the acquirement of not more than two-thirds of the land stances 
from the Channel to the Forth needed nearly a hundred and con- 6 
fifty years. Some account of the reasons both for the com- Quest, 
pleteness and length of the work should be given. W^e may notice, 
first, the stubborn resistance made by the defenders of the soil, and 
the merciless dealing of the victors with the vanquished. The one 
caused the other, and the free use of fire and sword in one region, 
goaded in turn the dwellers in another to hold out to the last. Such 
a struggle ended either in annihilation of the British or in their flight, 
without hope of return, to the fastnesses of the north and west. A 
contest of such a kind could not but be protracted. The Romanised 
Britons, as well as the purely Celtic population, showed the same 
tenacious courage to the German invaders as their fathers had dis- 
played, four or five centuries earlier, in their contests with the legions 
of Rome. The resistance to conquest was also much aided by the 
possession, on the part of the Britons, of fortified strongholds and towns, 
left in their hands by the Romans. The semi- barbarian invaders 
had no siege-apparatus, and the solid walls erected by Roman or 
native hands under the direction of Roman builders and engineers 
could and did defy for years all attempts at capture by assault. The 
fortress of Lymne. near Hythe, was not taken until 473 by the Jutish 
invaders, who landed in 450. Anderida was only captured in 491 by 
the Saxons, who had arrived in 477. We must also consider the nature 
of the country with which the advance of the conquerors had to deal. 
It was, to an extent which we can hardly now conceive, of a woody and 
marshy character. The invaders had no corps of engineers, such as the 
Roman armies included in their ranks, to make firm causeways over 
marshes, to bridge streams, and clear a path through woods. Where 
the great roads' ran they could make a rapid march, but elsewhere their 
progress was slow. Thus it was that, though by the year 500 the coast 
from Hampshire to Lincolnshire was in the power of the new-comers, 
they could not for a long time, in many quarters, make their way 


inland. They were hemmed in by great masses of woodland and fen. 
Near the southern coast there was the great Andreds-weald, extending 
for over a hundred miles from Kent far into Hampshire, and north- 
wards almost to the Thames. It was a very difficult piece of country 
for the invaders to master, consisting of bush, moor and forest, which 
afforded excellent cover for those who were resisting an advance into 
the interior. On the other hand, the progress of the invaders was 
easy, in the ships of that age, wherever there were rivers flowing from 
far inland. Their way up the Thames had been barred at first by the 
fortress of London, but up the rivers which unite to form the Humber 
a way lay open to the heart of the country. As they passed up the 
Trent beyond Nottingham, they would come, near what is now called 
Kegworth, to the place where the Trent receives, at two miles apart, the 
waters of the Derwent and the Soar. The adventurous occupants of 
the barks would, if they took the northward turn, come by the Derwent 
to Derby and the country beyond. If their fancy led them south, the 
Soar would give them a road to Leicester. Those who kept up the larger 
stream, the Trent, would move 011 to the capture of Repton, and then 
a stream on the right, the Dove, might tempt them on to Uttoxeter and 
Rocester, If they still bore away up Trent, they would come within 
striking distance of Lichfield, and then, on re-embarking, could make 
their way through the heart of Staffordshire. 

The old Celtic inhabitants, when driven away to the west and north, 
Country f rme d several small states. A considerable part of England, 
retained the whole of Wales, and most of the Scotch lowlands, lay 
by B r ri- beyond the earlier limits of English dominion. From the 
tons. Clyde to the Land's End, the whole western side of the island 

remained yet unsubdued. This large tract of country was, from its 
hilly nature, best suited to afford a stronghold of independence to those 
who had lost the plains. In the south-west, by slow degrees, the con- 
querors who had settled in Wessex advanced from the Salisbury Avon 
first to the Exe, and then to the Tamar, but it was nearly two hundred 
years after the landing of Cerdic in Hampshire that the men of Wessex 
made their way into Devonshire. There was the British kingdom of 
Devon and Cornwall, which bore the name of Damnoma, or of West 
Wales, A large native population also remained in Somersetshire, 
Wiltshire, and Dorsetshire. In Cambria or Wales, still wholly British, 
there were several distinct petty kingdoms. From the Sol way to 
the estuary of the Clyde was the British kingdom of Strath-Clyde^ 
with its capital at Al-cluyd, now called Dumbarton. The kingdom of 
Cumbria included Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire, ex- 
tending from the Solway to the Mersey, and from the sea to the 
Pennine Hills. Its chief city was Caerleol, now Carlisle, 

StanforcCt 3-eogJ Efttib* LcmAcm.. 



Augustine and ^Ethelberht. First English bishops. The missionary-monks. Church 
of England begins. Archbishop Theodore. Advance of civilisation. 

IN the last years of the sixth century, Gregory I., or Gregory the Great, 

was Pope, and a powerful king named ^Ethelberht ruled in ,, . 

TT- T-T- i j > i i ,1 i i < i hstaDiisn- 

Kent. His sway extended tar beyond the borders or the ment of 

original Jutish kingdom, and included Middlesex and Essex, anity* 1 " 
and much of Mercia and East Anglia. He still held the faith Augustine, 
of his fathers, but he was no bigoted adherent of paganism. 
At this time friendship and intercourse had begun between southern 
England and northern Gaul or France. We hear of English traders 
with Rouen making their way to the great fair of St. Denis near Paris. 
The English monarch had formed a very close tie with the Franks in 
marrying Bertha, daughter of their King Charibert of Paris. By the 
terms of her marriage-contract she enjoyed the exercise of her Christian 
worship in a little church near Canterbury, called St. Martin's, built 
in the Roman times. She had brought with her a Frankish bishop 
named Luidhard, and he may have asked Gregory to send men from 
Rome to preach the Gospel in Britain. A Roman abbot, named Aug- 
ustine, was despatched with a body of about forty monks as mission- 
aries. As the only language of these men was Latin, they took with 
them interpreters from France, and landed in the Isle of Thanet in 
the year 597. The superstition of the English pagan of that age is 
shown by the fact that King ^Ethelberht took the precaution of admit- 
ting them to an interview only in the open air, where the charms or 
spells of those who might, for all he knew, be wizards, would have less 
power over him. The Christian visitors advanced, bearing a silver cross 
and a painted image of Christ, singing the litany, and offering up 
prayer for the success of their efforts. After hearing the discourse 
translated to him, he declared that their words were good, but that he 
could not give up the faith of his fathers. He allowed them, however, 
publicly to teach and preach their religion, and gave them a dwelling- 
place in his city of Canterbury. In the course of a year the king 
embraced the new faith, and many of his subjects were also baptized. 
Thus was laid the foundation of the Church of England. Augustine 
became in due time the first Archbishop of Canterbury, and built a 
church on the site where now stands the metropolitan cathedral of 
England. Some time afterwards the new faith spread over the kingdom 
of Essex, and its chief preacher there, Mellitus, became Bishop of 

28 PAULINUS. [627 A.D. 

London. A Christian church was built on the hill now crowned by 
St. Paul's Cathedral, and in Thorney Island, to the west, a church 
dedicated to St. Peter arose on the spot where we now see Westminster 
Abbey. In Kent the see of Rochester was founded by Augustine. 
This conversion of the English settlers to Christianity was a great and 
salutary revolution. Western Europe was at that time a great spiritual 
commonwealth united under the supremacy claimed by the Pope. Into 
this federation our ancestors were now admitted. The land was re- 
united with Western civilisation, and Latin became once more the 
tongue used in its religion and its literature. 

Early in the seventh century Edwin was king of Northumbria. 
Convert H ^ s voutn had been one of exile and suffering, but he had 
sionofthe regained his kingdom, and was married to ^Ethelburga, the 
Paulinus, Christian daughter of JEthelberht of Kent. The young wife 
627> had brought with her to her new country one of the companions 

of Augustine, a bishop named Paulinus. His efforts to convert the 
king met at first with no success, but at last Edwin called his council 
together, and the question was there discussed. We are told that the 
chief heathen priest, named Coin, declared himself against the old 
religion, on the ground that, in spite of all his devotion, the gods had 
not given him the worldly prosperity to which he thought himself 
entitled. An aged layman then stood up and complained that the 
priests of their present faith could tell them nothing of the future life. 
Might it not, he urged, be worth while to pay heed to a new doctrine 
which brought them something more certain 1 The discourse of Paulinus 
ended in the conversion of the king and the priest, and Coifi him- 
self went forth to hurl his lance at the chief idol and to set fire to 
the heathen temple. Edwin was baptized at York on Easter Day, 
627, in a wooden church erected for the purpose, and dedicated to 
St. Peter. Paulinus became the first Archbishop of York, and a stone 
cathedral arose on the spot now ennobled by the magnificent York 

St. David, the apostle of Wales, was a priest of the school of the 
St. David, Egyptian monks and son of a Cymric prince. He worked 
tury C6n " as a missionary in the sixth century, and became Bishop of 
Caerleon, and then of Menevia, afterwards St. David's. 

Even before this time the Christian faith had been preached in the 
St. Col- North. St. Columba, a native of Ireland, set up his famous 
umba, 565. school for priests at the island of lona in 565. He worked 
as a missionary among the wild Pictish tribes beyond the Forth. 

St. Aidan, a monk of lona, was an apostle, after Paulinus, of the 
St. Aidan, kingdom of Northumbria. The downfall of Edwin at the 
circa 640. hands of a heathen king named Penda brought with it, for a 
time, an eclipse of the Christian faith. A new king, named Oswald, 
sent to lona for missionaries, and Aidan had great success in his 
preaching. He became Abbot of Lindisfarne, as head of the monastery 

670 A.D.] ST. 'CUTHBERT. 29 

there, which gave the place its name of Holy Island. From this head- 
quarters of the faith, preachers went forth through the wilds of the 
northern region, zealously helped by the power and influence of the 
pious king. Aidan is regarded as the first of the line of the bishops 
of Durham. 

Ceadda, or St. Chad, Bishop of Mercia, is regarded as the founder of 
the see of Lichfield. He was a monk of Lindisfarne, who gt. Chad 
traversed the land on foot to preach the faith of Christ. circa 67 - 

St. Cuthbert, a famous father of the early English Church, is said 
to have been born near Melrose about 635. Brought up as a gt Cuth . 
shepherd in the land of the Teviot and the Tweed, he was bert 
inspired with longings for a religious life, and made his way to 6f 
some monks of Lindisfarne who had set up a mission-station at Melrose. 
He had many gifts which fitted him for success as a preacher among 
the peasants of North umbria and the Lowlands a hardy frame, a 
pleasant manner, sound sense, humour, patience, real piety, and faith. 
In 664 he became Prior of Melrose, and then took charge of the 
monastery at Lindisfarne. After this he withdrew as a hermit to 
the desolate isle of Farne, and was only drawn thence by the earnest 
entreaties of the king of Northumbria. Grievous trouble came on the 
land in a contest with the Picts of the north, and, after vain efforts for 
peace, Cuthbert gave up his post as Bishop of Lindisfarne, and retired 
once more to his hermitage at the islet, where he died in 687, in his 
hut amid the gulls and the seals. His body was buried, at his own 
request, in the monastery of Lindisfarne, but found its last resting- 
place, three hundred years later, in the Cathedral of Durham. This 
greatest of the Northern saints was held in deep reverence by the early 
English Church. Pilgrimages were made to his shrine, and a cloth 
which he had used at mass was formed into a standard borne by 
Northern armies when they went forth to fight the Scots. It waved 
over English heads at Flodden, and perished by a bigot's hands when 
it was burnt by Calvin's sister, wife of the first Protestant Dean of 

The Church of England was first organised in its present shape by 
a Greek monk called Theodore of Tarsus. A synod had been Theodore 
held at Whitby to decide a question of some importance which of Tarsus, 
had arisen in the Church of Northumbria. That Church 670 ' 
mainly owed its existence to the labours of the monks of Lindisfarne, 
who looked to lona as their spiritual metropolis. lona, again, looked 
to Ireland as the source of her Christianity, since her school of preachers 
was founded by St. Columba, an apostle of the Church of Ireland. 
On the other hand, there were those who claimed Northumbria for the 
see of Rome, on the ground that Paulinus, a colleague of Augustine, 
had been the founder of the see of York. At the Council of Whitby in 
664 a decision was given in favour of Rome, and the Pope in 669 sent 
Theodore as Archbishop of Canterbury to secure the newly- con verted 


land to his spiritual control. The new primate set himself to the work 
of setting in order existing dioceses and of forming new ones, all de- 
pendent on Canterbury as the mother-church. In due time, after 
Theodore's age, the parish system became established, the Jewish 
system of tithes provided a regular income for the clergy, and the 
Church was fairly started on its eventful, and, on the whole, beneficent 

In the train of Christianity came the learning which, at that time, 
Cliristia- belonged to the clergy alone. The poetry and eloquence 
civSisa- d of the Augustan age of Rome were studied in the religious 
tion. houses of the land. A school was founded by Archbishop 

Theodore at Canterbury, and it was there that the learned Bede or 
Beeda gained his knowledge of Greek, which few men in Western 
Europe then included in their range of study. Benedict, surnamed 
Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, did much to improve the art of building, 
and was the first glazier of English windows. Settlements of monks in 
the wilder parts of the land led the way in the clearing of forests and 
draining of marshes, and new towns arose around the religious houses. 
In the Fen country of the east, amid a reedy and misty wilderness, 
where the only dwellers were wild ducks "and moorhens, the cathedral 
and abbey of Medesh am stead gathered round them the houses which 
in a later age were called the city of Peterborough. Not far away 
were the abbeys of Ely and Crowland, whose monks also toiled at the 
reclaiming of the fen. All over the country the preachers and teachers 
of the Christian faith were almost the sole promoters of physical and 
intellectual good. 



Rise and fall of ^Northurnbria. Penda of Mercia. Offa of Mercia. Offa's Dyke. 
Rise of Wessex. Egbert unites the Kingdoms. The Celtic element. 

WHEN the conquerors had fairly settled down in that portion of the 
The kmd which they had won, they began to turn their arms in 

kSfg^ Sh J ealous rivalry against each other. For over two hundred 
doms: years we have a chronicle of fierce hostilities and treacherous 
Jnt - alliances, which Milton declared to have no more interest or 
value for the moderns than the "strife of kites and crows." It is not 
needful to take a view so extreme or contemptuous as this, but the 
full tale is wearisome, and we here give only the chief events of a 
struggle for supremacy, which was to end in bringing all the kingdoms 
under the control of the king of Wessex. The kingdom of Kent, as we 

613-675 A.D.] PAGAN REACTION. ;M 

have seen, had risen into greatness under King ./Ethelberht, who died 
in 616. Besides the part which he had played in the introduction 
of the Christian religion, he was distinguished in enacting the first 
written laws put forth by any of the conquering people. He followed 
in this the advice of his council of wise men, and his ordinances were in 
force, with variations of form, for several hundred years. They were, 
in fact, the common law of the Germanic tribes reduced to a statutory 
form. Soon after the death of ^Ethelberht the power of Kent passed 
away in a revolt of the people of the Midlands, and Esedwald, king of 
East Anglia, for a time was supreme to the south of the Humber. 

Northumbria became powerful under ^Ethelfrith, who began to rule 
in 593. In 613 he attacked the city of Chester, and by its . . 
capture divided the British kingdoms of Cumbria and Strath- uinbria, 
clyde from the kindred states in Wales. It was in this 588 ~ 685 - 
contest that occurred the slaughter of over a thousand monks of 
Bangor, a monastery in Flintshire. The Northumbrian king was a 
heathen, and as he was fighting with the Welsh near Chester, he saw 
many monks praying. Then he cried, "If these men pray to their 
God that we may be beaten, it is all one as if they were fighting 
against us," and so, at his command, they were smitten with the edge 
of the sword. He died himself, four years later, in fighting against 
Usedwald, king of the East Angles. We have seen how Edwin, king 
of Northumbria, welcomed the Christian faith to his land. He was 
an able and vigorous ruler, and under him the power of the Northern 
kingdom reached its highest point. The southern bank of the Forth 
was guarded by the city which he founded and called by his own name 
as Eadwine's burgh, now Edinburgh. He was loved and feared alike 
by those under his rule, and so strong were the law and order that 
prevailed, that men declared in his day that "a woman with her bairn 
could go safe on foot from sea to sea." 

In Kent, on the death of ^thelberht, a feeling in favour of the old 
religion had begun to have some power. The kings of East p 
Anglia and Essex became semi-pagans, but Penda, a powerful reaction: 
king of Mercia, was an open champion of heathenism, and fcUgo'f 
used his sword freely against the Christian kings. He Mercia, 
formed an alliance with a Welsh king, and in 633 defeated 
and slew Edwin of Northumbria. Cadwallon the Welshman captured 
York, but was defeated and killed near Hexham by Oswald of North- 
umbria, a son of the former King -<3th el frith. Oswald then, as we 
have seen, revived the Christian faith in Northumbria by the help of 
missionaries from lona, and for seven years ruled in power. In 642 
he, too, was defeated and slain by Penda, who was supreme over 
Wessex and Mercia, and most of the north, but could never capture 
the fortress of Bam borough. At last the powerful Pagan met his own 
doom. He had never, perhaps, been so much the foe of the Cross as 
of Northumbrian supremacy, and at one time he allowed preachers 


from Lindisfarne to carry the Gospel again among the Mercians. In 
655 there came the end of heathendom in the land when Penda was 
defeated and killed in battle with Oswin or Oswy of Nortlmmbria. 

In 670 Ecgfrith succeeded his father Oswy, and turned his arms 
End of with success against his British neighbours. He drove them 
North- first from Cumbria, and then attacked the kingdom of Strath- 
power 3 ' 11 clyde. Marching even beyond the Forth, he subdued some of 
685 - the southern Picts, and a few years later the bishopric of 

Abercorn was founded to the north of the Firth. In 675 he came 
south and routed the king of Mercia, and took from him the pro- 
vince of Lindiswaras or Lincolnshire. In 685 his life, and with it 
the power of Northumbria, came to an end at the hands of the Picts. 
A rising drew Ecgfrith again beyond the Forth, and at the moor of 
Nectansmere, in Fifeshire, he and most of his nobles fell in a lost 
battle. The fallen kingdom had done good work in the spreading of 
the Christian faith, and its monasteries became, for the ages to come, 
centres of both religious and intellectual life. 

We have seen that the pagan Penda had allowed his Mercian subjects 
(3) Mercia, ^ receive the Christian faith from the monks of Lindisfarne. 
659-828. Jn 659 Wulfhere became king of "Mercia, and ruled for sixteen 
years in energy and strength. He carried his arms with success to the 
Severn and the Wye, and in 66 1 severely defeated the men of Wessex. 
The kingdoms of Essex and Sussex acknowledged him as over-lord, and 
Mercia became supreme over all the centre of the land. Another king 
of Mercia brought Kent under his sway, and in 726 ^Ethelbald, a 
powerful monarch, who ruled for nearly forty years (716-755), began 
a long struggle with Wessex. In 733 he captured the royal town of 
Somerton in Oxfordshire, and became master of all England south of 
the Humber. In a charter of the year 736 he signs himself as " King 
of Britain." In 754 his power came to an end in a desperate battle 
with the West Saxons at Burford. Kent, Essex, and East Anglia thus 
became free from the power of Mercia, and Wessex resumed her lord- 
ship over the territory south of the Thames. The Mercian power re- 
vived under the great King Offa, whose reign takes us on from 758 
to 796. In 775 he gained a victory at Otford, in the now fertile vale 
bright with hops and corn near the town of Sevenoaks. He became 
master of Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Essex, and then turned his forces 
against the Welsh. About 780 he crossed the Severn, and took from 
the king of Powys, on the eastern side of North Wales, his capital, 
Pengwyrn. The rough state of the country in those days is shown by 
the change of the town's name to Scrdlibes-lbyrig, the town in the scrub 
or bush, now known as Shrewsbury. He then planted English settle- 
ments to the west of the Severn, between the river and the mountains, 
and secured his new frontier by the famous 0/a's Dyke. This was a 
rampart and ditch along the whole length of the Welsh border, from 
the mouth of the Dee to that of the Wye. When the Welsh broke 

688 A.D.] INA, KING OF WESSEX. 33 

through, the Mercian king drove them back and routed them with 
fearful slaughter near Rhyddlan, in Flintshire. In his reign and 
person we find an English king, for the first time in our history, 
entering into friendly relations with a Continental monarch. The 
English Church had sent forth missionaries to preach the Gospel to 
their German kinsmen, who still remained heathens. Bishop Wilfrith 
taught the faith among the Frisians, and "Winfrith, known as St. 
Boniface and as the Apostle of Germany, became the first Archbishop 
of Mainz. It was through these men that a friendship was brought 
about between Offa and Charles the Great, king of the Franks, and 
afterwards Roman emperor, wrongly known as Charlemagne. Letters 
and gifts were exchanged, and Offa, at his friend's request, sent to his 
court the scholar Alcuin, a Northumbrian monk of great fame for his 
learning. This excellent man became chief teacher or professor at the 
school founded by Charles for himself, his sons, his female relatives, 
his nobles, and his clergy. The murder of ^Ethelberht, king of East 
Anglia, when he was a guest at his court in 792, and the seizure of 
the dead king's realm, are stains on the memory of this greatest of 
Mercian kings. According to the fashion of the time, he strove to 
make amends by gifts to the Church. The monastery of St. Alban's 
claims Offa as its founder, and he paid the Pope a yearly sum for the 
support of an English school at Rome. A tax of a silver penny was 
laid for the purpose on each household. Being paid at Rome on the 
feast of Saint Peter, the contribution became famous under the name 
of Peters-pence^ and was claimed as a tribute by the Pope, which was 
generally paid until its final abolition under Elizabeth. After the 
death of Offa in 796, internal strife swiftly caused the ruin of Mercian 

Some of the people of Wessex had received the Christian religion 
early in the seventh century from a preacher named Birinus, ( 4 ) wessex, 
who came over from Gaul, and much more was done there 688-802. 
for the new faith under the supremacy of Oswald, the pious king of 
Northumbria. The king of Wessex was baptized, and a bishopric was 
founded at the city of Dorchester, now an obscure village in the south 
of Oxfordshire, but then an important place and royal town. After -a 
long period of weakness largely caused by internal strife, Wessex re- 
vived in power in the latter half of the seventh century. Her people 
forced back the Britons far into Somersetshire, and also conquered 
Sussex. Ine or Ina, who was king from 688 to 726, was a wise and 
just ruler, who treated with kindness the Britons whom he subdued 
in the west. He allowed them to keep their lands, and encouraged 
marriages between his Celtic and Saxon subjects. He is famous for 
his code of the laws of the West-Saxons, and founded a bishopric at 
Sherborne, to divide the work of the Church with the see of Win- 
chester. He was also founder of the church which became the 
cathedral of Wells, and of the great Abbey of Glastonbury. This 

34 EGBERT, "REX ANGLORUM." [802 A. D. 

greatest of the Wessex kings showed no less vigour in maintaining 
his position by force of arms. He became master of Kent, Essex, and 
London, and, in order to guard his conquests in the west, he built a 
fortress on the Tone which became the town of Taunton. In 715 he 
had a great battle with the men of Mercia, in which he at least held 
his own. The end of his reign was troubled by civil strife and re- 
bellion, and Ina gave up his royal power, and went as a pilgrim to 
Rome, where he died in 728. At a later period the power of Wessex 
was extended over Devon, and then a time of civil strife brings us 
to the days of Egbert. He was of the royal line of Cerdic, and had 
claimed the crown of Wessex, but was driven into exile, first with Offa 
of Mercia, and then at the court of Charles the Great, king of the 
Franks. As the friend and follower of this ablest monarch of his age, 
one of the great men of Christendom, Egbert learnt the military and 
political lessons which fitted him for the part he was to play in the 
history of England. He was for thirteen years under the training 
of a great conqueror, administrator, and civiliser of mankind. He 
inarched with his armies against Lombards and Huns, and took part 
with great hosts who swept the countries from the Rhone to the 
Danube, and came down in conquering force from the Alps on the 
plains of Lombardy. When peace came after victory, Egbert was 
doubtless a learner in the school founded by the great king who, as 
we have seen, borrowed Alcuin from Offa of Mercia. At last the 
exile's day arrived, and, recalled by the nobles of Wessex, he ascended 
the throne of his ancestors, in the year 802. 

The new king of Wessex had before him the task of reducing many 
Egbert, discordant elements to a state of harmony and order, and 
802-828. bringing all to submit to one dominant power. In 815 and 
following years he was at war with the Britons of Cornwall and 
Wales, and the rule of Wessex w r as extended in name to the Land's 
End, but the country was not occupied in force, and the people of 
Cornwall kept their Celtic tongue for centuries. In Mercia, a state 
of anarchy existed, and Egbert seized the chance presented. In 823, 
he defeated a Mercian army at Ellandun (Wilton) in Wiltshire, and 
became virtual master of the centre of the land. In 828 Northumbria 
yielded to him without a struggle, and East Anglia also was helpless 
against his arms. He was already ruler of all the south, by annexa- 
tion of Kent, Sussex, and Essex, and thus, for the first time, we have 
something like the reduction of the whole land from the Channel to 
the Forth under the power of one ruler. East Anglia, Mercia, and 
Northumbria were allowed to elect tributary kings, who were vassals 
to Egbert as their overlord. In some of his charters he styled 
himself simply "king of the W^est Saxons," but in others he claimed, 
as Rex Anr/lorum, to be ruler of all the English. 

^The common belief that the Celtic population of Britain was exter- 
minated, or driven into Wales and Brittany by the Angles and Saxons, 


has no historical basis. Some fanciful writers, and many credulous 
readers, have held that the conquerors made an end of all c er ti c 
the Britons, slaying man, woman, and child, and carrying element 
on throughout the land a work of havoc and desola- English 
tion. Our Teuton forefathers, with all their fierceness, were Cation, 
not so reckless, foolish, and cruel as this belief would imply. We 
hear, indeed, of great slaughter on fields of battle where the Britons 
were stricken by the invaders, but no massacres, after the fight was 
clone, are recorded, except in the single case of Anderida, when it was 
stormed by the Saxons in 491. The people who had come to possess, if 
they could, and to settle down in the land, were not likely to make it 
a desert. It is probable that, from the first, they made wives of many 
British women. It is certain that, as the work of conquest proceeded, 
large numbers of Britons remained among the conquerors, at the 
least as slaves and drudges, and it has been thought that many of 
these, who held the Christian faith, made it known in some measure 
to the women and children of their masters, and so prepared the 
way for the teaching of Augustine and his colleagues and successors. 
When the British kingdoms of West Wales, Cumbria, and Stratli- 
clyde were, in the later period of the English conquest, incorporated 
with Wessex and Northumbria, the result was, in the end, a consider- 
able admixture of Celtic with English blood. The Celt is still amongst 
us, unextinguished, not destroyed, in spite of the pressure and domina- 
tion of the stronger race. The blending of the Celt and Teuton began, 
from an early date in the north. The Britons of Northurnbria were 
not driven wholly away into Wales and the north-west. Bede, who 
wrote early in the eighth century, and is a writer to be fully trusted 
for matters within his own knowledge, describes the Britons of Nor- 
thumberland, where he lived all his life, as being in his day partly 
free and partly subject to the Angles. The legends, the language, 
the customs, the fairy tales, in many parts of England, prove the 
large Celtic admixture. In the hills of Cumberland and Westmore- 
land, and in the five south-western counties, Britons remained, for 
centuries after the conquest, the more numerous dwellers in the land. 
We are told that in the time of Athelstane, in the first half of the 
tenth century, Celts and Teutons, Britons and Englishmen, held 
divided and equal rule in Exeter. In the west and in the north, it 
does not appear that the Britons, though subdued, were enslaved. 
They accepted the fact of conquest, and lived as fellow-citizens with 
those who had won the day. If we come to the test of language, we 
lind that we still retain a large number of Celtic words, not only in 
the local names of natural features of the country, but also for things 
belonging to the ordinary arts of life, such as agriculture, carpentry, 
and general indoor and outdoor service. When we look at the intel- 
lectual and moral side of this matter, we shall find the Celtic element 
still at work in our midst. An eminent writer has declared that "the 


true glory of the Celt in Europe is his artistic eminence/' and that, with- 
out his intervention, we might not have had in modern times a church 
worthy of admiration or a picture or a statue that we could look at 
without shame. As the Teuton was practical and political, so the Celt 
was, above all, poetical. In the fusion of the two races he brought 
to the common stock the gift of genius. Stories borrowed from the 
Celtic times still hold their place in the most popular forms of English 
literature. By the Celt the poetical imagination of the English race 
was fired, and to Celtic influence is due some of the best matter in 
our literature. 



The home-life of our ancestors. The social system. The clergy and the monks. 
Literature and learning. 

BUDE simplicity marked the English way of life in the ninth century. 
The land was the great source of wealth, and few of the 
lisn way necessities or luxuries of life were obtained, as now, by trade 
of life. w ith other lands or districts. The cups of silver and gold, 
the furs and the silks of kingly houses, would be mostly presents from 
abroad. Every great household, whether of king or noble, was de- 
pendent on itself for what its people ate and drank, and wore. Thus 
the life even of the highest would not be free from cares and labour, 
but it called forth human ingenuity in many forms not thought of in 
states of society where every want is commercially supplied, where 
stores are abundant, and communication ready and rapid. Let us 
take as a sample the home of a Wessex noble (or eorl or eatdorman) 
in some fertile valley lying south of the Thames. The rich arable land 
yields ample store of wheat and barley, and the green slopes of the 
chalk-downs maintain the flocks and herds. The surrounding woods 
give the needful fuel, and food from oak and beech to the lord's herds 
of swine. Forest and moorland are rich in game, and here the noble 
and his sons and servants chase the deer and the wild-boar with trusty 
hound and spear, or hunt down the wolf that preys upon the lambs. 
The chief dwelling, mainly of wood, bears little likeness to the splendid 
modern house. It is a series of low buildings, extended from time to 
time, according to the wants of the family, and with nothing grand 
or beautiful about it. No well-tended lawns or picturesque trees, in 
avenues and clumps, give to its surrounding pastures the charm of our 
parks. Every arrangement is marked by a rough utility. The cattle 
feed in stalls close to the house ; and the dogs and the hawks have their 


kennels and their mews hard by the ladies' bower and the priest's 
chapel. The grinding-slaves at their hand-mills are working near the 
bakery, and the fragrant wort of the brewery mingles its steam with 
the thin blue smoke of the wood-fire in the hall. In huts round about 
are the rude tables, stools, arid pallets of the serfs who till the ground 
and tend the flocks, and work at handicrafts to meet the wants of all. 
There dwell the ploughmen, woodmen, herdsmen and shepherds, and 
there are the forge of the smith and the carpenter's bench. The 
women ply the spindle and throw the shuttle, making the yarn and 
weaving the cloth for the coarse garments of the household. Adjoining 
lands belonging to the lord are leased out on a tenure of rent-dues or 
of service. Rents come in, not in coin, but as flitches of bacon, barn- 
door fowls, geese, cheese, eggs, honey, and casks of ale. Hedging and 
ditching, ploughing and shearing, road-making and fishing, are done for 
service. The chief fare of the workers of the household consists of 
pork, fish, and game, eaten with barley-bread, and washed down with 
draughts of ale or of mead, a drink fermented with honey and water, 
and flavoured with the juice of fruits. Only the richest nobles and the 
king indulged in beef or mutton, wine and wheaten bread. That there 
were vineyards once in England is proved both by the names that 
linger yet in some cathedral- towns, and by the early English name for 
October, which was wyn-monat, or wine-month. The cultivation of the 
vine came to an end when commerce brought, at a cheap rate, the 
produce of lands better fitted than our own for such a tillage. Our 
ancestors were fond of hospitality and feasting, and the banquet was 
enlivened by singing and the music of the harp, which was handed 
round the board for each to take his turn. The refinements of more 
modern days were quite unknown. No forks were used, and servants 
carried round the roasted joints for every guest to cut his portion for 
himself with his own knife, and lay it on the wooden platter that stood 
on the bare board. Manners were rough, and, in the lack of the re- 
sources of the modern drawing-room, the drinking was prolonged, often 
until deep draughts caused loud brawls, and knives were drawn and 
blood was spilt upon the rush-strewn floor. The ladies of the house- 
hold used much time in embroidery and in spinning, and we find king 
Alfred calling the female part of his family " the spindle-side," in dis- 
tinction from the spear or male side of the house. 

In Alfred's translation of Boetius we have an interesting passage of 
his own, in which the good king writes thus: "These are D ev elop- 
the materials of a king's work, and his tools to govern with ^ n f a ^ 
that he have his land fully peopled, that he should have prayer- The 
men, and army-men, and workmen." With the workmen we Church, 
have dealt above, and the "army-men" will be hereafter noticed. The 
peopling of the land went on by natural increase and systematic occupa- 
tion. The hide of land was the estate of one family, but we find the 
amount of this to have varied locally from thirty to one hundred acres. 

38 C^:DMON AND BEDE. [672 A .n. 

As families multiplied, generation after generation, the enclosed land 
grew by degrees on every side. With regard to the " prayer-men," 
there were not only the monastic establishments and parish churches 
in large number, but resident priests in the houses of the rich and 
powerful. The services of the clergy were, in that age, essential to the 
temporal welfare and preservation of the state. The Church kept the 
island in touch with the European community under the ecclesiastical 
authority of Rome, and thus prevented it from halting while other 
lands were advancing. In their own localities, the monks did much 
for the practical arts of life. It was they who kept alive the emulation 
of tillers of the soil. They had the trimmest gardens and the most 
productive orchards. Their ponds were stored v ^th the choicest fish. 
They practised the healing arts before medicine and surgery were pro- 
fessions. They were the transcribers of books, and their breviaries and 
chronicles were adorned with illuminations and pictures, often more 
powerful than words. They were the musicians, the architects, and 
the only teachers of the time. From the Abbey of Whitby, on the cliffs 
that frown above the North Sea. where Hilda had ruled in strength 
and wisdom the house that she had founded, and from the cells of 
Jarrow, with its six hundred monks, the light of learning streamed 
forth upon the darkness of the age. 

The early English poet named Cssdinon was a tenant on the abbey- 
Litera- lands of Whitby, who became a lay-brother in the monastery, 
Caedinon a ^ *^ e ^ me f Hilda's rule as abbess. He had the inborn 
circa 660! gift of song, and in hie Paraphrase, as it is called, he turned 
into rude verse the Biblical accounts of the Creation and the Fall, the 
Exodus from Egypt, the story of Daniel, the incarnation of Christ, 
and other like subjects. In thought and in expression some passages 
resemble parts of Paradise Lo*t, for which they are supposed to have 
been the rough model. 

Bede, or Bseda, known as the Venerable Bede, and justly called by Burke 
Bed e> "the father of English learning," studied from the age of ten at 
G72-735. the monastery of Jarrow. There he passed his whole life of 
youth and manhood, for over fifty years, in what to him was the delightful 
work of ever learning, teaching, writing. He was our earliest theo- 
logian, scholar, and historian, and may be regarded as the pioneer of 
English education, as the instructor of six hundred learners whom his 
fame drew to the southern bank of the Tyne. He was possessor of all 
the knowledge of the time, including Greek and Latin, and every kind 
of scientific lore. The language in which he, like all the men of learn- 
ing of his day, expressed his thoughts, was Latin, and in this he wrote 
text-books on every subject for the monastery school. The most im- 
portant of his works is his Ecclesiastical History of Enaland, written in 
easy Latin. It is a book of great research, authority, and value, and 
tells us nearly all we really know of the history of England for about 
one hundred and fifty years before the date of its completion in 732, 

735-886 A.D.] ALCUIN AND ERIGENA. 39 

Bede was a man as good as he was clever, and not less modest than he was 
learned. He would never leave the abbey and his scholars ; he refused 
the dignity of abbot at Jarrow itself because, as he said, " household 
care would hinder the pursuit of learning," and he died, as he had lived, 
a simple unbeneficed priest, still learning and still writing, engaged on 
a translation into English of the Gospel of St. John. 

We have already seen something of the great scholar Alcuin, who 
maintained the fame of his country for learning after the Alcuin 
death of Bede. Alcuin was brought up in the monastery at 735-804.' 
York, and became there head of the school whose renown spread to the 
court of Charles the Great at Aachen (Aix-la,-Chapelle). Under the 
fostering care of Alcuin and his friends, the Archbishops Egbert and 
Albert, the library and school both grew in value and repute. On his 
return from a journey to Rome in 781, the English scholar met the 
Frank king in Italy, and in 782 he quitted York to become Charles 
the Great's minister of public instruction. He had charge of several 
monasteries, in which he caused the sciences to be taught, and was the 
founder or improver of most of the schools in France. One of the best 
known of these was the school in the Abbey of St. Martin at Tours, 
where Alcuin himself was chief instructor. He was the most learned 
man of his time, and understood Greek and Hebrew, and he rendered 
special service to literature by his efforts to increase the production of 
good books. The scriptorium, or writing- room, of the monastery was 
the printing-office of that age. In order to get skins for parchment, 
monks who were fond of hunting were allowed by Alcuin to go to the 
chase until the supply met the demand. He was great rather as a 
teacher and organiser than as an author, but, in addition to his many 
theological writings, he left behind him letters describing great events 
of his day and the inner life of the court of Charles. 

Joannes Scotus, known also as Ericjena (which is variously explained 
as a native of Erin or of Ayrshire), was of Celtic blood and ^ 
birth, either in Scotland or Ireland. He is remarkable as a circa 
learned layman in an age when few indeed but monks could 801 ~ 886< 
read, and as a good scholar in Greek, which was then known to few 
men in the Western world. He was a writer of originality and power- 
on the subjects of reason and revelation, which he strove to harmonise, 
thereby incurring the charge of heresy. For thirty years onwards from 
845 he lived at the court of Charles the Bald of France, as head of the 
palace school. The man's bold nature and fearless wit, as well as the 
manners of the time, are shown by his reply to a jest of his royal master. 
The scholar sat at table opposite the king, and was asked, on breaking 
some rule of etiquette, " the difference between a Scot (then meaning a 
native of Ireland) and a sot ? " " Just the breadth of the table," cried 




The northern Teutons. Attacks on England. Conquest and settlement. Alfred 
and the Danes. Treaty of Wedmore. 

EGBERT of Wessex had scarcely brought the land under a fair semblance of 
The Danes unitv ^ n submission to a single ruler, when his work was broken 
or North- up by the last great migration of the barbarians of Northern 
men ' Europe. These were the Danes, whose name was one of terror 

for many years to peaceful dwellers in. the north. In the year 830, 
Egbert had marched in victory as far as Snowdon, and had subdued the 
men of Anglesey. His power seemed complete and secure, but in 832 
the Northmen or Danes appeared in the land, and the fair prospect 
was shrouded in gloom. It is in Norway as well as in Denmark that 
we must look for the Danes of that age. They were the dwellers in 
Scandinavia and on the northern Baltic coasts. All the territories now 
called Denmark, Sweden, and Norway supplied these dreaded invaders, 
but England was chiefly assailed by men from Denmark, and the Nor- 
wegians made their descents mainly on Scotland and Ireland. The 
Danes were closely akin in race and language to the English and Saxon 
conquerors of these isles. They were sea-warriors and pirates, distin- 
guished by strength, courage, merciless ferocity, and hatred of the 
Christian name and religion. England, from her position, was the 
chief sufferer, as her coasts lay near to the ports whence they sailed, 
nor was any part of the land so far distant from the sea as to be secure 
from attack. They had pillaged the coasts of France even during the 
lifetime of the great Charles, and once, in the south of his empire, as 
he gazed from a port on the Mediterranean upon some Norman cruisers, 
he had shed prophetic tears over the coming fate of his peoples. This 
formidable foe, destined to make two successive conquests of England, 
came at first for pillage only to the estuaries of France and the British 
Isles. In a few years, the Dane or Northman came to both lands for 
territory, and in both lands his efforts were crowned with success. The 

832-866 A.D.] LANDING OF THE DANES. 41 

great point of difference between the English and their invaders lay in 
the maritime skill of the Danes. It is believed that the younger sons 
of the Scandinavian chiefs were driven to sea-robbery for a livelihood by 
the law of primogeniture, under which the eldest son inherited all the 
land and other family property. The term Viking or Wilting, applied to 
the leaders of the pirates or to the whole body, means men of the bays 
and creeks, in reference to the countless fiords or inlets on the west 
coast of Norway. The English had by this time, in their devotion to a 
life of tillage and pasture, lost their olden love for maritime pursuits, 
and were thus unprepared with a fleet to meet their foes on the seas. 
The pirates bore, as their national flag, the effigy of a black raven 
woven on a blood-red ground, and were armed with long heavy swords 
and battle-axes of formidable keenness and weight. The Danes, havin 
kept both to the worship of Odin and to their life of roving and robbery, 
felt a bitter contempt and hatred for the men of their own kin who had 
deserted the gods once worshipped in common by the race, and had 
quitted the free and independent life of sea-pirates for the growing of 
corn and breeding of cattle. 

We hear of ravages of the sea-robbers in Northumbria even before 
the end of the eighth century, but the first attack of the First 
Danes in the south occurred when, in 832, a body of rovers doings of 
came up the estuary of the Thames, plundered the Isle of Engfand^ 
Sheppey, and went off again in their ships with their booty. 832-858. 
In the following year, they landed on the coast of Dorset, and in 834 a 
great danger came when they joined the Britons of Cornwall. Egbert 
was equal to the crisis, and routed the allies with great slaughter at 
the battle of Hengestendun, now Kingston Down, to the west of the 
Tamar. The English ruler died in 837, and left the care of the country 
to his son Ethelwulf, who reigned till 858. The new king fought hard 
against the foe with varied success, and also drove back the Britons of 
North AVales, but the danger and mischief increased yearly. The 
coasts of Wessex and Kent were ravaged, and London, Rochester, and 
Canterbury suffered from pillage. In 855 a body of Danes, for the 
first time, wintered in the land, within a strong fort which they made 
in the Isle of Sheppey. In their hatred of the Christian faith, and their 
desire for plunder, they made the churches and abbeys special objects 
of attack. The priests were slain at the altar, and the rich vestments 
and vessels of silver and gold were carried off. The danger to religion 
roused some of the bishops to take up the sword, and lead armies 
against the ferocious pagans. 

Under three sons of Ethelwulf the Danes came over in greater force. 
The time of mere forays was over, and great hosts arrived of Ethelwulf 
men resolved to settle in the land. In 866 they came to East to Alfred, 
Anglia, and in the next year, after a victory under the walls 8 " 
of York, they overran Northumbria. The monastery once ruled by 
Hilda was burnt at Streoneshalh, and then the place, becoming a 


Danish settlement, received its present name of Whitby. JEthelred, 
the third son of Ethelwulf, reigned from 866 to 871. The Danes 
marched down from the north, and in the country of the fens the rich 
abbeys of Crowland, Peterborough, and Ely were plundered and burnt 
in 868. They then turned on East Anglia, and made a conquest of the 
country. The king, Edmund, who ranks as a martyr for the faith, 
was shot to death with arrows when lie refused to turn pagan, and the 
place of his interment has the name of Bury St. Edmunds, or the 
town of St. Edmund. An abbey was afterwards built over his 
remains, and his name was long revered in the region where he 
fell. In 870 Mercia submitted to the invaders, and consented to pay 
tribute. The whole of England north of the Thames had thus fallen 
under their power. At last, in the year 871, Wessex itself was in 
clanger. The invaders made their way up the Thames to Reading, 
and then pushed forward into the Vale of the White Horse. The king 
and his younger brother, Alfred, met them in a fierce battle at Aesces- 
dun, or Ash-tree hill, a place not clearly known, in Berkshire, and, 
in the greatest conflict yet fought, the Danes suffered defeat. They 
could only, however, be driven back to the river; and the arrival 
of fresh forces up the Thames made their position stronger than 
ever. At this juncture yEthelred died, and the rule of W T essex came 
to Alfred. 

Before this time, bodies of Norwegians and Danes had occupied the 
Other Shetland Isles, the Orkneys, and the Hebrides, and had made 
conquests settlements on the coast of Ireland. In 852 a Danish chief 
and D Nor- ruled in Dublin, and others held sway in the south and west, 
wegians. j n g6 o one o f the Vikings discovered Iceland, and ten years 
later it began to be colonised by exiles from Norway. 

Alfred, justly named the Great, stands first for real merit and glory 
Reign of in the line of English kings. He had not the large arena in 
Great* (if which to play his part that has been the lot of those who are 
871-878. held to be the foremost of the great men of history. No 
grand career of conquest gives him fame, nor did his policy and per- 
formances, as if with superhuman power, "shape the ends" and decide 
the future of any large part of the human race. It is in moral great- 
ness that, after the lapse of a thousand years, he stands without a peer 
in all our history. He ruled for thirty years without a thought of 
self, wholly and solely for the good of others the people whom he 
loved, the land which he rescued and restored. He was a warrior who 
fought always on the right side. His noble equanimity never left him 
in the hour of his darkest or his brightest fortune. No word or deed 
of pride, or cruelty, or injustice, has left a stain upon his memory. 
His calm and steadfast energy of will and work were shown as a ruler, 
a lawgiver, a scholar, a writer, a promoter of enterprise and trade, a 
doer of all good, a queller of all evil, that came within his reach and 
ken. In his relations with others as a, private man, he comes before 

871-878 A.D.] ALFRED THE GREAT. 43 

the view as spotless. He declared towards the end of life that "he 
had ever striven to live worthily," and that his great ambition was " to 
be remembered for good works." it is for his good works that his 
name is still held in the highest reverence by his countrymen, as that 
of a Christian hero of the noblest and purest kind. This good and 
great king was born at Wantage in 849, the youngest son, as we have 
seen, of Ethel wulf. In boyhood he passed some time at Home, and 
beheld the glories of that city in the ninth century, when the Coliseum 
yet stood whole, and many of the other noble monuments which 
have since been destroyed or defaced still retained their pristine 
magnificence. Of his early youth and education we know little, and 
here, as throughout his life, we have to reject many legendary stories 
which the admiration and affection of his own and later ages have 
gathered round his name. Much has been ascribed to him. which had 
either long existed when he came to power or had its birth in a later 
age than his; and we must never, if we wish to be historical, regard 
him as the founder of the University of Oxford, or the divider of 
England into shires, or the inventor of trial by jury. He returned to 
England from Rome while yet a boy, to live with his reigning brother, 
Ethelbert. We are told that the lad was devoted to the work of self- 
improvement, and sought the knowledge of all arts of life. His weak 
health was not allowed to keep him, who was learning to be a king, 
from hunting, reading, working as a craftsman in gold and wood and 
iron, and getting skill in management of dogs and horses. At twenty 
years of a^e, in 869, he married Ealhswyth or Elswitha, the daughter 
of an Ealdorman of Lincolnshire, and of a lady of the royal house 
of Mercia. In 871 he took the throne, in the hour of his country's 
darkest fortune. The Danes had now wintered seven years in England, 
and held by far the larger part of the country. From his brother's 
grave at Wimborne in Dorsetshire, Alfred marched to attack the 
enemy at Wilton, and an indecisive battle, with some payment of 
a tribute, caused the Danes to leave Wessex for a time. For some 
years the south was at peace, but in 875 Alfred won, against some 
Danish pirates, what is believed to be the first of our long and glorious 
roll of naval battles. In Swanage Bay "he fought seven ships, and 
one of them he took, and put the rest to flight." In. 876 the Danes 
marched again into Wessex, headed by Guthorm or Guthrum, king of 
East Anglia. The chronicle is obscure as to the events which followed, 
but we find that early in the year 878 the king had been driven to 
seek safety in the spot called by himself ^Etl^elinga-eigc^ or Isle of 
Princes. The modern Atlielney shows us, from the line of railway, a 
region of fertile meadows dotted over with thriving homesteads, and 
crossed by roads which join the villages and towns of West Somerset. 
In Alfred's age, it was a tract of fen-land, formed by the inundations 
of the rivers Parret and Tone, and surrounded by forest that made 
all access most intricate and difficult. In the centre of this solitary 


place the king and a small band of followers fortified a little piece of 
firm ground, and for some months carried on a war of sallies and sur- 
prises against the foemen, who were masters of the open country. We 
must suppose that meanwhile his friends and subjects were gathering 
themselves up for a great effort, provoked by the rapacity and insolence 
of the Danes. Seven weeks after Easter, Alfred came forth to meet 
the men of Somerset and Wiltshire, and a part of Hampshire, at a 
place called Egbert's stone, near Warminster. He then suddenly 
attacked the enemy in their camp at Ethandun, which has been probably 
identified with Edington, near Westbury, in Wiltshire. The Danes 
were utterly defeated in the open field, and fleeing to their fortress, 
were hemmed in for fourteen days and starved into submission. It 
was now that the king showed the wisdom of a statesman in knowing 
what it was possible to do. The Danes, he felt, were far too strong 
to be expelled from England. Let them remain in peace as perma- 
nent possessors of a portion of the land. Already they were becom- 
ing settlers and cultivators, and were beginning to be a part of the 
nationality of the country. It was likely that, with possession of the 
land secured by treaty, they would not be tenacious of their pagan 
faith. The result of his proposals was that Guthruni, with Alfred for 
his sponsor, and many of his chief men were baptized, and in becoming 
Christians, they were but following the example set them by many 
of the Danes of East Anglia. 

The treaty of peace made at Wedmore, near Athelney, between the 
Treaty of king ^ Wessex and the Danes " Alfred's and Guthrum's 
Wedmore, Peace" was a full recognition of Danish equality with English- 
men as possessors of a large part of the land. They had for 
some time already occupied the towns of Derby, Leicester, Stamford, 
Lincoln, and Nottingham, under the name of the " Five Boroughs" each 
town being ruled by its own earl, with an armed force, and each having 
Danish law administered by twelve judges, with a common court of 
justice for the whole. By the Peace of Wedmore they became in- 
dependent dwellers, with their own laws, usages, and institutions, in 
the great tract of country embracing all the east side of England from 
the Thames to the Tweed, and stretching far into the Midlands. Alfred, 
as king of Wessex, kept the south and west. The Danelagh, as the 
Danish portion of the land was called, meaning Dane's Law or com- 
munity, thus lay to the east and north of Watling Street. 




Restoration after ruin. Legislation, learning, progress, peace. Alfred and Hasting 
the Dane. The good king's example to Englishmen of all time. Literature. 
Alfred's own books. 

AFTER the making of the treaty of Wedmore, England was, in the main, 
at peace for about fifteen years. The task which Alfred now ^fr.^^ 
had before him comprised the most arduous, glorious, and bene- reign, (2) 
ficial work which could fall to the lot of a ruler. The land 878 ~ 893 ' 
had been sorely troubled for many years. Provinces had been wasted, 
churches and convents plundered and burnt, whole towns razed to the 
ground. Amid the conflicts of the time, peaceful industry had gone to 
decay, law and justice had been driven from their seats, and the only 
light of learning and the higher civilisation had suffered eclipse in the 
dispersion of the monks and the burning of the libraries. The repose 
which the king had won by his courage and policy was devoted by him 
to two great objects, the establishment of order and the enlightenment 
of ignorance. The first matter, however, was to provide for the safety 
of the realm. After rebuilding some of the ruined cities, among which 
London had been destroyed by the Danes in the time of his father 
/Ethel wulf, he took measures to establish both an army and a navy. A 
militia was obtained by the division of the country into districts, each 
required to send its supply of men for the king's service, on the king's 
summons, duly equipped with arms, and furnished with food and pay. 
He also, towards the end of his reign, reinforced his fleet by vessels far 
superior to the Danish craft in size and stability and speed, and trained 
the crews in all the work of sailing, rowing, and effective movement for 
naval warfare. The coast was guarded by 120 ships of war, furnished 
with the rude artillery of the age, and the number and power of the 
vessels, and the expertness of the crews, outmatched all efforts of the 
roving squadrons from the North and Baltic Seas who had so long kept 
the seaboard in alarm. In the work of legislation, and the administra- 
tion of justice, he took and made the best of what he found ready to his 
hand. His code of laws was a selection of what seemed good to him 
in those "which our forefathers held," whereby is meant, as he declares, 
the laws of Ina of Wessex, Offa of Mercia, and ^Ethelberht of Kent. 
To these were added many of the enactments of the law of Moses, and 
the precepts of Christ. In the religious sanctions of these laws of Alfred 
some have seen the beginnings of the union of Church and State, and 
in the increased importance given to the person of the king we find 
that a real monarchical power had grown out of the mere chieftain- 


ship of earlier rulers. The work of the judges in the courts was watched 
by Alfred with unceasing vigilance, and sharp rebuke and punishment 
were given to those who failed in knowledge of the law or in its just 
administration. In 885 the peace was broken for a time by a body of 
rovers from the ports of northern France, who sailed up the Thames 
and passed up the Medway to Rochester. Some of the Danes in 
Guthrum's kingdom helped their kinsmen, but Alfred handled the 
invaders and their allies with such vigour, that a peace made in 886 
gave him fresh territory in southern Mercia and half of the old king- 
dom of Essex. He then resumed his work of restoration. He had 
already sent for scholars from all parts of the land and from abroad to 
teach himself and others, that they in turn might give instruction to 
the people. His literary work will be hereafter noticed. He set up 
schools, encouraged all the arts and manufactures of the time, invited 
from abroad men of industry to work at and to teach their trades, 
rewarded all inventors and improvers, and prompted men to travel far 
and near by sea and land in search of wealth to be won by way of 
commerce. Bands of workmen were maintained, largely at his own 
cost, to rebuild the ruined towns arid abbeys. The restless activity of 
his intellect, and of his Christian care for others, are shown in the 
eager ear which he would ever lend to the accounts of travel, and in 
the despatch of envoys taking presents to the churches of Palestine 
and India. Add to all this the building of fortresses, the repair of 
roads, his private devotions and studies, and we wonder how such toil 
could be accomplished by a single man. It was by method arid a strict 
economy of time. Every hour, every minute, had its allotted labour. 
Ingenuity came to the aid of industry. In his famous lantern-clocks, 
whose sides of horn screened the flame from wasting gusts of air, he 
burnt wax candles made of equal weight and size, so that six would 
burn for four-and-twenty hours. The half and quarter hours were 
marked upon each candle, and thus the time was measured with a 
fair degee of accuracy. 

A remarkable specimen of the goldsmith's work of that age has been 
Alfred's preserved to the present day, and it gives a very favourable 
impression of the state of art at that period, and of the skill 
and ability of the artist. The beautiful relic called Alfred's jewel 
was discovered in the year 1693, at Newton Park, in the lowlands of 
Somersetshire, near the river Parret, somewhat to the north of the 
spot where the island and fortress of Athelney were formerly situated. 
There the king, in perhaps the most sorrowful days of his life, lost 
this token of his sovereignty, and it remained hidden in the marshes 
for over eight hundred years, until it was accidentally brought to light 
once more. It is now preserved in the Ashrnolean Museum at Oxford 
as a most precious memorial of the olden time and of the good king. 
It consists of a polished crystal of an oval form, rather more than two 
inches in length and half an inch thick, inlaid with a mosaic enamel 


of green and yellow. The enamel represents the outline of a human 
figure, which seems to be seated, and holds in each hand a sort of 
lily-branch in blossom. It may perhaps represent a king in his state 
attire. The reverse is covered by a plate of fine gold, on which a 
flower is engraved. The oval sides are bordered by beaten gold of 
admirable workmanship, and bear around them words showing, be- 
yond all doubt, who was the former possessor of the jewel : AELFIIED 
MEG HEHT GEWYRCAx, i.e., Alfred had rue made. The form of the 
letters entirely agrees with that of the capitals in the authentic 
manuscripts of Alfred's time, and the form of the two middle words, 
in their primitive orthography, bears witness to the age claimed by 
the motto. At the lower end, where the crystal and its border join 
the gold, is a well-worked dolphin's head in gold, whose empty eye- 
sockets must have once contained precious stones, while from the open 
jaws a small golden pin protrudes, which probably served as a fasten- 
ing to some beautiful staff, possibly Alfred's sceptre, on the point of 
which the jewel was placed. 

Thus passed, in peace and progress and incessant labour for his 
country, the life of Alfred from his thirtieth to his forty- 
fourth year. He had married young, and his elder children reign, (3) 
were by this time men and women. His eldest daughter, 893 - 901 - 
^Ethelflseda, was married to the Ealdorman or Earl of western Mercia, 
a portion of his realm which Alfred had placed in charge of an able 
and courageous deputy. Some of the closing years of his reign were 
now to be disturbed by attacks of the old foe. During the years of 
rest which England had won by Alfred's efforts, France had been 
buying off the Danes by paying tribute. The countries of the Rhine, 
the Scheldt, and the Meuse were overrun. Treves, Cologne, Maes- 
tricht, Liege, Aix-la-Chapelle, and many other strong and wealthy 
cities, that had flourished since the Roman times, were sacked and 
burnt. In 893 the northern provinces of France were suffering from 
famine, and a Danish leader named Hasting, who had made his way 
thither, turned his thoughts to England. He sailed with a fleet and 
army from Boulogne, and landed near to Romney Marsh, at the 
eastern end of the wild district called Andreades-wald. Wide-spreading 
ruin again threatened the land, but Alfred was, as ever, at his post. 
There was an end for him of quiet studies and of conference with 
Asser upon literary topics. The king took the field, and for a year 
the Danes in vain tried to force the strong position in which Alfred 
barred their way into Wessex. They then marched north across the 
Thames, and in the course of a further struggle of two years, they 
were defeated in the east in Essex, where their camp was stormed, 
upon the Severn in the west, and at Exeter in the south. By the 
year 896 the spirit of the invaders was broken, and Hasting left the 
country. The strengthened fleet of Alfred swept the coast, and a just 
severity was exercised against the pirates who were taken. The crews 

48 DEATH OF ALFRED. [901 A.D. 

of two ships were brought to Winchester and hanged. The Danish 
flag, with the dreaded raven, was seen no more in Alfred's time upon 
our shores. The remaining four years of the reign were spent in peace, 
and Alfred died in 901, at the age of fifty- two, and was buried at Win- 
chester. The character of one ruler never influenced more strongly 
the position of his country. He saved England from foreign domina- 
tion, raised her in the scale of nations, and- maintained her in the 
fellowship of Christian peoples. He was the first monarch in the land 
who clearly saw that there was a people to be civilised and taught. 
His exertions had a far-reaching effect. True that, in three genera- 
tions after his death, the English people were subdued by succes- 
sors of the men whom he had mastered. True that, in a century 
more, a kindred people came and made a yet greater conquest and 
imposed a yet heavier yoke. None the less had Alfred, in delivering 
Wessex from the Dane, rescued an England for the glories of the 
future. The indomitable courage, the religious endurance, the heart 
and hope of this great man, proved by every kind of trial, were a 
precious bequest to the crown and to the nation. He presented to 
his own age, and to all coming time, a model of our national character 
in its union of reflection with action. The world of thought and the 
world of deed are, in a high degree, combined in the achievements of 
our race. The leading principle of duty as the end of life, which was 
so strong in Alfred, survives amongst us still. No more vivid or more 
engaging personality than his, bright as it was and frank in feature 
and expression, dignified in form and in demeanour, kindly, humorous, 
truthful, simple, and at all points noble, ever won the affection and 
esteem of posterity. 

We learn from Alfred's own words what was the state of iritellec- 
Literature, tual darkness in Wessex when he came to the throne. He 
laments that "aforetime people came hither to this land in 
search of wisdom and teaching, and we must now obtain them from 
without, if we are to have them." He declares that there were very 
few priests on his side the Humber who could understand their daily 
prayers (i.e., explain their breviaries or service-books in English) or 
translate any writing from the Latin. The king sent for some learned 
men from among the Franks, and also sought the help of a Welsh 
churchman named Asser, who became Bishop of Sherborne, and died 
there about 910. Asser tells us that "he came into Saxony (as he 
calls Wessex) from the extreme limits of Western Britain (St. David's), 
summoned by the king." " After I had set out, I arrived in the country 
of ^ the South Saxons, which is called in Saxon Sufhseaxe (Sussex), 
guided by some of that nation. There I first saw him in the royal 
rill (villa) called Dene. After being kindly received by him he 
earnestly entreated me to devote myself to his service, and for his love 
to relinquish all my possessions on the other side of the Severn. He 
promised to compensate me richly, as he actually did." The learned 


Welshman would not forego his native cloister, but he promised to 
return, and give half his time to the king's companionship. A Life of 
Alfred from the pen of Asser is one of the results of this acquaintance 
formed between the king and scholar. With Asser as his guide and 
instructor, Alfred first improved and extended his own knowledge, and 
then, with pen in hand, became the diligent teacher of his people. 
He translated from Latin into the English of his day a book called 
Gregory's Pastorals. The author was Pope Gregory the Great. The 
object of the book was to show what the mind of a true spiritual 
pastor ought to be. A copy of this was sent to each bishop, with the 
injunction that it should remain in the minster, unless the bishop took 
it with him on his journeys, " or it be lent somewhere until somebody 
write another copy." In his preface he tells Bishop Wulsige his wish 
that "all the youth that is now in the English nation of free men, 
such as have wealth to maintain themselves, may be put to learning 
till at first they can read well English writing." He then urges 
strongly the further instruction of priests and others in the Latin 
tongue. By his own hand, and by others at his order, translations 
were made and published of the best existing works on history. It 
was thus that Bede's Ecclesiastical History was first made known to 
those who could not read it in the Latin, and then a work on general 
history was taken in hand. The manual used in the monastery 
schools, which had almost ceased to exist during the Danish incur- 
sions, had been the Universal History of Paulus Orosius. This Spanish 
priest, a native of Tarragona, and a friend of St. Augustine (of Hippo) 
and St. Jerome, wrote a book against the pagans in which he traced 
the history of the world from the creation down to A.D. 417. Modern 
criticism would make havoc of the work, but it was the best thing of 
the kind in that age. The controversial parts were omitted in Alfred's 
edition, and it was greatly altered and improved in order to provide a 
good summary of history and geography. Two northern navigators, 
from their personal narratives, enabled Alfred to prepare a clear and 
concise account of the parts of Europe which were the homes of the 
Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples. One of these men was Ohthere, a 
rich Norwegian, who made voyages for the love of discovery and adven- 
ture, not without an eye to the profits of the capture of the whale and 
walrus in the northern seas. From his account of voyages round the 
North Cape into the White Sea and on the southern coast of Norway, 
much interesting matter was obtained about the Lapps and their rein 
deer, and the natural wonders of the farthest regions of the north 
of Europe. From Wulfstan (or Wulstan), who travelled in the Baltic 
Sea and on its coasts, sailing from Schleswig to a place called Truso, 
probably in modern Prussia, Alfred heard of the Finns who lived by 
hunting and by fishing, and of the manners of the people of Eastland 
or Esthonia, where there were many towns, and the rich drank mare's 
milk, while the poor and the slaves quaffed mead. The chief historical 



monument of the time is the national record, which was continued 
down to a later age. known as the English or An<il>-Sa.r<t Chruniclf. 
it is through this valuable book, either in his own person, or by his 
inspiration of others, that Alfred ranks as the creator of English 
prose-writing. The ballads and the songs of battle had now for their 
competitor a narrative of originality and vigour in another style. The 
Chronicle includes a set of seven parallel records, kept in different 
monasteries, of which three were at Canterbury, while the others were 
the work of monks at Abingdon, Worcester, Winchester, and Peter- 
borough. This last comes down to the year 1154. Most of the 
records begin with the landing of Csesar, and, after the time of Bede, 
the document becomes one of the great sources of knowledge for the 
early history of England. It is at the year 851 that we have the 
beginning of original contemporary authorship in the use of the first 
person, and of the phrase "the present day." Alfred appeal s to have 
gathered the different accounts into the one book, which was published 
by authority at Winchester, and ''fastened by a chain, for all who 
wished to read it." The account of his own reign was added in the 
lively narrative which showed that the language had gained a new 
power of expression. For the moral instruction of his people the king 
turned into English the famous Latin book of Boetius, entitled De 
Contolatione Philosophice. This Roman statesman, early in the sixth 
century, was imprisoned by the Emperor Theodoric the Great for his 
resistance to oppression, and it was in his dungeon that he wrote, in 
five books of prose, intermingled with verse, the noble work which has 
given him a lasting renown. The author was the latest Roman of any 
note who understood the language and studied the literature of Greece. 
The work translated by Alfred is pure in style and of a high tone of 
thought. No allusion is made to Christianity, but the writer had a 
real belief in Providence and prayer. He was executed by Theodoric 
about 525, and the Church claimed him as a Christian martyr, and 
canonised him as a saint in the eighth century. Through this book, 
rendered into English, the king taught his people to recognise a wise 
God as ruler of the world, to fix their minds and hearts upon what 
does not fade and die, and to remember that, as viewed from above, 
only the good are happy. 




The landed system. Origin of towns. Orders of society. The early form of Parlia- 
ment. The courts. Criminal law. Civil officers. The army. The poor. 

THE laws and customs, like the language and people of England, were 
mainly of Teutonic origin. The germ of all was the family Early Eng- 
bond. In the early times, each family had a hide of land, i isn ; insti- 

j c ^1 / j. .,-11 mi I tutions: 

supposed to consist or thirty acres fit tor tillage. This private a.) The 

property in land was called boc-land or book-land, because its * and - 
possession was secured by a writing or deed. It was free from all public 
burdens except liability to military service and to the repair of bridges 
and fortresses. Part of the land remained the property of the state, and 
was called folc-land, land of the folk or people. It was either common 
land, or might be assigned to individuals for a term, at the end of which 
it reverted to the state. The tithing is supposed to have been a cluster 
of ten families, and the hundred a community of a hundred free families, 
sending a hundred fighting-men for the militia, and a hundred men to 
sit in a court presided over by the Ealdorman. There was a system of 
surety, for the securing of justice against an offender, which was known 
as fas peace-pledge. By an early mistake of one Saxon word for another, 
the name became corrupted into frank-pledge or free pledge. A body 
of ten neighbours guaranteed to bring to justice any one of their 
number who should break the law. If he fled, compensation for the 
wrong was made, first out of his property, and then, if needful, out of 
that of the guarantors. Thus each member of a community had an 
interest in the due administration of justice, and in this system we see 
the origin of the modern statute by which the hundreds are made liable 
for damage done by rioters acting feloniously. The division into shires 
or counties is certainly older than the time of Alfred, as we find it in 
connection with Wessex and the laws of King Ina. The smaller king- 
doms became shires as Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Essex, and Middlesex. 
In part of the Saxon period there were, it seems, but thirty-two counties 
in England ; but the present number existed at the time of the Norman 
Conquest. The county of York had three divisions called trithings, 
still existing under the name of ridings. The division of Wales into 
counties only began under Edward I., and was completed in the reign 
of Henry VIII. 

A cluster of homesteads formed a village (mcus, iviclc), and, with 
regard to its enclosure, the toicn or township. Townships seem to corre- 
spond to what, after the Norman Conquest, were called manors. The early 


English if/nan meant, to enclose, and fun was originally the enclosure or 
(2.). Town- hedge, whether of the single farm or of the enclosed village. 
(3 h )*Bor- The terminations -ham and -by contain the same idea. The 
ough. term was gradually extended to the whole of the land which 
formed the domain ; and out of these townships, when an increasing 
population gathered, grew the towns of later date. The word burli 
meant at first the fortified house of the powerful man, and was then 
used for the fortified town in the form of burgh, borough. A high 
authority holds that "the basis of our political organisation must be 
sought in the township. The historical township is the body of allodial 
(freehold) owners who have advanced beyond the stage of land com- 
munity ; or the body of tenants of a lord, who rules them, or allows 
them to rule themselves, on principles derived from that stage of social 
existence." The towns of England of a later date arose from the 
gathering of numerous poor settlers around the dwelling of a great 
landowner. These people obtained a living by work upon the land. 
Then came the idlers who were attracted by his luxury, ostentation, 
and ambition. These were followed by the craftsmen who supplied 
the wants of the lord and his family and friends, and then by slow 
degrees found a new market for their wares at a distance. In like 
manner, around the cathedral and the abbey, bodies of men gathered 
who were glad to claim the protection of the religious corporation, to 
share in their charities, and aid in supplying their wants. It is pro- 
bable that when the town grew in size and importance, different trades 
occupied different portions of the area, named from the occupations of 
their inhabitants. In the earlier times, these several parts of the 
town or city were often fortified, and served as strongholds, "behind 
whose defences, or sallying forth from which, the craftsmen fought 
the battle of democracy against the burgesses or the neighbouring 

In crossing the sea from Germany to his new home in the Britain 
(4.) The which he was about to make an England, the Angle or Saxon 
kins- chieftain became a king. The word is a corruption of cyning, 
and means " Father of the Family." The old Teutonic chief, elected 
by the tribe as a leader in war, now presents himself to view as in- 
vested with a higher and more exclusive power. Although chosen 
from a royal race, the sovereign was of old little raised above his 
ealdormen. It was as ealdormen, indeed, that Cerdic and his son 
Cynric came in 495 ; but in 519 Cerdic erected the rice or kingdom of 
the West Saxons, and became king of Wessex. Moreover, the office 
now received a certain hereditary character, with which it had not once 
been invested. If it was nominally still elective, the crown was kept 
in the royal house, though with no fixed rule of succession. If the 
eldest son were the fittest to rule, he would be chosen by the great 
council or Witan: if not, he might be set aside, and another choice 
made from among his brothers or other kinsmen. The "hallowin<?" 


of the king gave a religious sanction to his office and authority, and 
included coronation and unction, performed by bishops of the Church. 
The king took an oath to govern rightly, and at a later date, as the 
royal power grew, an oath of allegiance was taken by the people. The 
king, like the great body of the freemen, was a landowner. He had 
larger hereditary possessions than others, and was at the head of the 
state, as highest of the nobles and as the chief magistrate. Under 
the system of tcer-gifd, to be noticed hereafter, meaning man-money or 
man-payment, the king, 'like his subjects, had a fixed price for his life. 
This was put at a higher value than any other, and Alfred increased 
the payment for the king's life, and made the compassing of his death 
a capital offence, attended with confiscation. The royal princes, or the 
next heirs, were called cvthdings, or nobles. The king's consort was 
called cwen (queen), meaning the wife, or was styled hlaefdicje, the lady. 

The royal revenue was derived from tolls upon markets and dues 
upon mines ; also from voluntary gifts, and a portion of the fines 
levied upon offenders. The crown-lands which he held were, of course, 
distinct from any private estates which he might purchase for himself. 
His duties lay in presiding over public deliberations, calling out the 
militia or national levies for attack or defence, and calling together 
the Witan and laying before them measures concerning the welfare of 
the state. His privileges included a distinction of dress in wearing his 
golden circlet or crown, and the right of maintaining a force of house- 
hold troops. 

The ealdorman (alderman) was originally the elder of the Teutonic 
tribe, and so the title meant chief. He ranked, in our early (5.)Ealdor- 
monarchy, next to the king. He was the leading man or gov- men - 
ernor of the shire, invested with both judicial and executive authority. 
The title corresponds to the dux (duke) of the Latin chroniclers 
and the comes (count) of the Normans. One of his most important 
functions was that of leading the armed force of the county. His 
chief civil duty was that of holding a shire-moot (shire-court, county- 
court] twice in a year, and presiding therein along with the bishop. We 
may notice here, in anticipation, that under the Danish kings in the 
eleventh century, the word eorl lost its former sense of good birth, and 
became an official title, equivalent to ealdorman, applied to the governor 
of a shire or province. The word eorl and the Danish jarl both were 
lost in earl, and earl, as a title of nobility, was supplanted by thane, so 
that thane became opposed to ceorl, as eorl had been opposed in earlier 
times. The modern sense of the word alderman, as magistrate of a city 
or borough, came after the Norman Conquest. 

The thane came next in degree to the ealdorman. The name has 
been derived from thegnian, to serve, as if it meant the king's / 6 N Tlianes 
servant. Others give the sense as warrior, and then, as the 
king's attendants in war, the idea of service conies in. Both ealdorman 
and king had thanes in attendance, the Idng^s thanes being the highest 


class. The lowest class of thanes possessed, as a qualification for the 
rank, some hundreds of acres (the number is not certain) of land. This 
class of minor nobles was one arising from office or service, but at 
last property alone qualified, and a ceorl became a thane if he had 
the needful amount of land, and a dwelling-house duly supplied with 
chapel, hall, kitchen, and bell. The thane was liable to military service, 
in which he would rank as an eques or knight. His duties also lay in 
the king's personal service and in the administration of justice. 

The ceorl (Norman-French, villain) was a freeman who came in rank 
(7 ) Ceorls between the thane and the serf or slave. Such a man was, 
of churls. i n general, not an independent freeholder, but under the 
protection of a large landholder, whose ground he helped to till, not 
in the state of a labourer, but as a kind of tenant-farmer. He was 
obliged, however, to remain on the estate. A ceorl might acquire land, 
and by becoming owner of the legal number of acres, he would rise 
to the position of a thane. If a ceorl obtained possession of a smaller 
amount of land, and became an independent freeholder, he was in 
the rank of those called &ocmen in Domesday Book. These men are 
regarded as the social ancestors of the English yeomanry, or class of 
farmers tilling their own land, a body of men whose independence has 
stamped with peculiar features both our constitution and our national 

The serfs (theowas) or slaves were of two classes penal and hereditary. 
The larger number were probably Celts taken in war, or their 
descendants ; the free Angle or Saxon could only become a 
slave by the commission of crime or by default in paying the money 
penalty of crime. The serf had no redress against his master for any 
violence, including injuries causing death, but his master could exact a 
money penalty from another man who had injured his " property " or 
" chattel." The work of the country was almost wholly done by serfs. 
The ploughman was the highest labourer on the soil; the smith was 
the most valued craftsman. The Church stepped in to soften the hard 
lot of the slave, and often maintained old and outworn men whom their 
masters had set free when they became useless. The Christian day of 
rest was another boon procured for this class of men by the authority 
of the clergy. On the whole, it is not probable that the lot of the serfs 
was so bad as it might appear. They were often set free by the will 
of their master at his death, and were allowed to make savings by 
working for other masters, so as to be able to buy freedom for them- 
selves or their children. 

The influence and power of the clergy were very great in an age of 
(9.) The ignorance, when they were almost sole possessors of knowledge, 
clergy. anc [ the veneration paid to their priestly character and office 
was heightened by superstition. The higher clergy had a share, as 
now, in the deliberations of the national council, and the bishop took 
part with the ealdorman and thane in the administration of justice. 


This Wisc-ineib'is OHtembly, as the name means, was the great national 
council. It had no representative character, in the modern (10.) The 
sense, as its members were not elected, but became such by SnStfor 
blood, rank, and office. Its members comprised the sethelings Witan. 
or royal princes, the ealdormen, the bishops and abbots, the king's 
thanes, and perhaps the sheriffs. It is quite certain that, in the earlier 
time of our monarchy, before the Norman Conquest, the Witan possessed 
an elective power as regarded the king, and that, in consequence of 
the use of this power, the strict hereditary succession to the crown 
was not always kept. The Witan had a consultative and advising 
voice with the king in great public questions, such as peace or war, 
making new laws, levying taxes, raising armaments, making grants of 
land, and in civil and criminal jurisdiction. In these and other affairs, 
they had, as a deliberative body, a concurrent authority with the king. 
It would seem that the assembly was of small number, and that the 
time and place of meeting depended on the king's pleasure. It is 
obvious that the power wielded by such a body would vary-greatly with 
the force of character and the ability of the sovereign. 

The highest court, apart from the Witan, which was a high court 
of appeal, was the shire-mote (shire-court, county-court), held ( U ) ^Q 
twice a year, in May arid October. In this all the thanes had courts, 
a seat and a vote. Its duties were judicial, and it was presided .over 
by the ealdorman. or earl and by the bishop, the dioceses at that time 
being of the same area as the counties. The hundred-court had monthly 
meetings as a court of justice for the settlement of minor causes. It 
was held under the writ of the sheriff, and was for suitors who lived 
within the limits of the hundred. Its duties became at last confined 
to dealing with small offences and the maintenance of the peace by a 
system of local police. As to the methods adopted for the administra- 
tion of justice, we find that in the county-court the finding of a verdict 
was intrusted to a committee of thanes, consisting usually of twelve, but 
sometimes of twenty-four or thirty-six, and the verdict of two-thirds of 
the number sufiiced. Their decisions were revised by the whole court. 
There was nothing that at all resembled a modern jury, an institution of 
much later date. There was no evidence, circumstantial or direct, for the 
jurors to balance. The accused person, if he chose to rest his case upon 
testimony to character, made oath as to his innocence, and called upon 
a certain number of neighbours, whose worth, or money-value, was duly 
assessed, to give the like testimony. These persons were called his 
compurgators, or fellow-clearers, and if a certain number made oath of 
their belief in the innocence of the accused, he was acquitted of the 
charge. The accuser also produced compurgators to swear that he did 
not prosecute from vindictive or interested motives. Trial by ordeal, 
which was held to be a Divine judgment in the case, was resorted to 
when the accused could not produce compurgators or when his previous 
character was against him. There were many kinds of ordeal In 


that by boiling water, the accused had to plunge his naked arm into it, 
and if the wound were perfectly healed by the third day, he was pro- 
nounced innocent; if not, guilty. In that by fire, the decision as to 
innocence or guilt rested upon the accused being able to walk with bare 
feet, uninjured, over red-hot ploughshares, or to carry for nine paces 
a red -hot bar of iron. It is hard to see how any person could escape, 
except by collusion of his judges, and the whole system seems to be one 
open to the grossest frauds. 

A peculiar feature of these early times in England was the wer-gild, 
or life-price, which was established for the settling of feuds. 
punish- 6 A sum, paid either in kind or in money, was placed upon the 
ments. jjf e o f ev ery freeman, according to his rank in the state, his 
birth, or his office. A corresponding sum was fixed for every wound 
that could be inflicted on his person; for nearly every injury that 
could be done to his civil rights, his honour, or his domestic peace, 
and greater or lesser fines were appointed according to aggravating or 
extenuating circumstances in the offence. From the operation of this 
principle no one was exempt, and the king as well as the peasant was 
protected by a wer-gild, payable to his kinsmen and his people. The 
sum paid in amends was called bot, whence our phrase to boot. In all 
cases of default of payment the remedy was prompt and effective. The 
offender became a penal slave. By this principle of compensation for 
all offences, however rude it may seem, society was preserved from the 
evils of private feud, which may be seen still existing in Corsica and 
Albania. The wer-gild was a substitute for personal vengeance by 
members of the family of the slain or injured man or woman. As 
to the value put upon the lives of different classes of men, we find 
in one code of early English laws that the ceorl's life was estimated 
at 200 shillings (a sum equal at least to .200 now) ; for the smaller 
thane the wer-gild was 600 shillings, for the royal thane 1200, for the 
ealdorman double this last sum ; for an setheling, three times, and for 
the king six times the price of the royal thane. The value of a man's 
oath was in accordance with that of his property. The evidence of a 
thane in a court of justice was equal to that of twelve ceorls, and that 
of an ealdorman counterbalanced the oaths of six thanes. In cases of 
wilful murder, arson, and theft, capital punishment might be inflicted, 
if the relatives of the slain person, or the injured person himself, 
declined to accept the wer-gild. The punishment for treason was death, 
and banishment was a punishment for great crimes. The person so 
punished became an outlaw, and was said to have a wolf's head; he 
could be killed by any one with impunity if he returned from exile. 
One cruel punishment for theft was the amputation of hand or foot. 
The scir-(jerefa (shire-reeve, sheriff) was, in a great degree, the deputy 
(13.) f the ealdorman or county governor, and he was also subject 
Officials, to the control of the bishop. He was the executive officer and 
fiscal officer of his shire, and his duties were to carry out the decisions 


of the county court, levy fines, and collect taxes. In virtue of bis office, 
he had a portion of land allotted to him, known as reeve-land. The 
sheriff was in that age a very important official, as presiding in the 
shire-court along with the ealdorman and bishop, or alone, in their 
absence, and he was, practically, the shire-court judge. He was ap- 
pointed by the king, and was subject to his removal. The chief magis- 
trate of a town was the town-reeve, and we hear also of burgh-reeves and 

The only regular army known to the early English times was the 
militia referred to above as organised by King Alfred. It / 14 \ 
was a development of the posse-comitatus, or power of the The army. 
county, the body of citizens summoned to assist in suppressing a riot 
or executing any legal process. The national levies were headed by 
the king, his ealdormen, and the thanes. The freemen, as a body, 
constituted the armed force of the shire, and the ealdorman of the 
shire was their chief. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle we constantly 
read of the ealdorman winning or losing a battle, of the ealdorman 
being slain, or of the king and the ealdormen being engaged in warfare 
with each other. The divisions of the country into shires, hundreds, 
and tithings, made the calling out of these levies a matter of well- 
ordered arrangement. During a period of alarm, such as existed in 
Danish times, every town and village must have had its band of army- 
men organised and disciplined, ready to follow the summons of their 
legal chief. The burghers were associated in their guilds under their 
port-reeve or their bishop. 

There was no poor-law in England until the time of Henry VIII. 
As the serf was obliged to remain in one place and one ( 15- ) 
service, his lord was also obliged to provide for him. All The poor, 
other persons who had no resources of their own depended on private 
benevolence. There was, indeed, a fund for the poor which was a part 
of the tithe of the Church, and there were the oblations at the altar. 
The Church, by food given at the doors of the monasteries, played a 
large part in the relief of the indigent. In times of general or local 
distress, the lord and the lady distributed alms at the hall-door. An 
old illumination, rude in style but of undoubted authenticity, shows 
us a royal or noble house, with its attendant warriors, its priests, 
and its chapel, with the poor receiving food from the heads of the 





The Lady of Mercia. Power of Edward the Elder. Athelstau's strong rule. D 
stan great in Church and State. Edgar's rule. Ethelred and the Dane*. The 
Danes again strong in England. 

EDWARD, the eldest son of Alfred, succeeded to bis father's power and 
Alfred's office. He is known as Edtcard tho Elder, by way of distinc- 
successors, tion from kings of the same name who came at a later period 
Edward of our history. The new king had been carefully trained for 
the Elder. his high position, and was as good a soldier, though not so 
good a scholar, as his illustrious sire. He had already won distinction 
in battle against the Danes, and was readily chosen by the Witan to 
hold the royal dignity. His cousin, Ethelwald, son of his father's elder 
brother, Ethelred, claimed the throne, and gave trouble in a civil war 
for some years, but fell at last in a battle in East Anglia. King 
Edward then set himself to the work of bringing the whole country 
under his sway, and herein he had the able and vigorous help of his 
sister, ^Ethelflseda, who had been left a widow by the death of her 
husband, the Ealdorman of Mercia. An innovation, probably due to 
the energy, wisdom, and courage which she was known to possess, left 
her the holder of an ealdorman's authority, and she takes a place in 
history as "The Lady of Mercia." She ruled her land in perfect 
accord with her brother, and furthered his plans by the erection of 
fortresses at various points. The city of Chester, which had been left 
desolate for three hundred years, became again a place of strength to 
guard the north-west. Bridgenorth, Stamford, Tamworth, Warwick, 
Hertford, Withaiu (in Essex), and other points were fortified with 
works of stone; and not only were Danish risings quelled;, but the 
king and his sister made steady encroachments on the dominion of the 
Danelagh. In 917 the Lady took Derby, and in 918 she forced tho 
garrison of Leicester to surrender. In 920 her death came at Tam- 
worth, and Mercia was then annexed to Edward's kingdom of Wessex. 
The king had already gained the towns of Bedford, Huntingdon, and 
Northampton, and after reducing East Anglia, he became master of 
Nottingham and Lincoln. The whole of the Five Boroughs and their 
territory were thus in his hands, and, as he advanced to attack Nor- 
th umbria, a conflict was made needless by the willing submission to 
his power of all the Northumbrians and the Britons (Welsh) and the 
Scots of Strathclyde. Edward the Elder died in 925, and the kings 
who came after him took the title either of King of the Angles or King 

925 A.D.] ATHELSTAN. 59 

of Britain, or assumed some style which implied the lordship of all 
the land. 

Athelstan, son of Edward, had been a pet of his grandfather, Alfred, 
who dedicated him, as it were, to war and dominion, by bestowing 
011 the handsome boy a scarlet cloak, a diamond- studded 
belt, and a Saxon sword in a golden scabbard. He reigned 
for fifteen years (925-940), and was an able and vigorous ruler. The 
glory and power of England under native rulers before the Norman 
Conquest now reached their highest point. Athelstan had a name 
across the seas, and appears, in the earlier part of his reign, as the 
protector and defender of deposed and exiled princes from. Brittany, 
Norway, and France. A treaty of alliance between France and Eng- 
land is a remarkable fact in the history of the two countries. Foreign 
potentates approached the king with splendid presents, amongst which 
we read of perfumes, jewels, caparisoned horses, and a ship from 
Norway with golden beak, purple sail, and gilded shields. A con- 
federacy was formed against him of some peoples who had felt or were 
jealous of his power, and in 937 the English king had to meet the 
united forces of the Danes, the Strathclyde Britons, and the Scots. 
The great battle of Brunanburh, fought at an unknown spot in Nor- 
thumberland, was a complete victory for Athelstan, and his success 
was sung in a poem to be found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. He 
also waged vigorous war with the Welsh of Wales and Cornwall, forcing 
the princes to do homage at Hereford, and to pay a tribute of gold, 
silver, hunting- dogs, hawks, and oxen, and fixing the Wye as the 
boundary between England and Wales. Ho drove the men of West 
Wales out of Exeter, and made the Tamar the boundary between them 
and the English. Among his many laws was one which gave the rank 
of thane to any merchant who had made three lengthy voyages as a 
trader on his own account. Athelstan died in 940, and was buried in 
the Abbey of Malmesbury, where his memory even now lingers as the 
giver of the common rights of pasture and the founder of the town- 
school. A copy of the Gospels in Latin which he presented to Canter- 
bury Cathedral is to be seen in the British Museum. 

Athelstan's half-brother Edmund, surnamed the Elder, reigned from 
940 to 946. He had much trouble with the revolted Danes Edmund 
of Mercia and Northumbria, but had the better of them in t&e Elder. 
the end. The circumstances of the young king's death give a picture 
of an age of physical force. He is keeping in his hall at Puckle- 
chiirch, in Gloucestershire, the festival of St. Augustine. An outlaw 
whom he had banished dares to come and seat himself among the 
guests. The wine-cup goes round ; Edmund espies the intruder and 
orders his removal. The man resists ; the king rushes at him, seizes 
him by the hair and flings him to the ground. The outlaw draws a 
dagger and stabs Edmund to the heart. The bystanders draw, and 
hack the assassin, whose name was Liofa, to death. The murdered 

GO DUNSTAN. [ 925 A.D. 

king was buried in the Abbey of Glastonbury by the care of Abbot 

The mention of this canonised saint, around whose name so many 

Wends gathered, presents us with the greatest man of the aee. 
Dunstan . -, i i j. TIM 

lived circa Dunstan was an able statesman and ecclesiastic, who, like 

925-988. Becket and Wolsey, Lanfranc and Laud, played a great part 
in the events of his time. Born at Grlastonbury and educated in 
the famous abbey, he became a man of learning in theology and philo- 
sophy, and an artist skilled in music, painting, carving, and working 
in metals. He made a figure at the court of Athelstan as a precocious 
youth of noble birth, and then embraced a monastic life, and took the 
vows at Glastonbury. He lived, according to some stories, an ascetic 
life in a wretched hut near the abbey, and at an early age for such a 
charge, became head of the house by the appointment of K-ing Edmund. 
He had many of the gifts of a courtier in a quick wit, a strong memory, 
a pleasant address, and ready and fluent speech. For thirty years he 
was virtual ruler of England. Edred, the brother of Edmund, became 
king in 946, and Dunstan was appointed his chief minister in affairs 
both of church and state. There was much trouble with the Danes of 
jSTorthumbria and other parts, but they were finally subdued by the 
year 954. The vigour of the administration of affairs was shown in 
the imprisonment of Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, who had taken 
part in a rising, and Northumbria was placed in charge of a governor, 
with the Danish title of Earl. Edred died in 955, leaving infant 
children, and the Wit an chose his nephew, Edwy, son of Edmund, as 
his successor. Dunstan had already planned, and begun to carry into 
effect, a revolution in the affairs of the Church. His object was to 
establish in England the full strictness of the monastic rule and the 
concurrent supremacy of the power of the Pope. The celibacy of the 
clergy was the leading principle to be striven for in making the 
Church Romish instead of national. Dunstan strove to enforce celi- 
bacy on the secular or non -monastic clergy, and also to get the cathe- 
drals and other great churches into the hands of monks, instead of 
secular priests or canons, who had taken no monastic vows. His 
object was to reform the lives of the priests, and to raise the power of 
the monks, or regular clergy, as they were called from the strict rules 
of life laid down by their founder, St. Benedict. Such a policy as this 
could not but raise up many foes for the active reformer of abuses. 
;md Dunstan was banished by Edwy. A revolt in Mercia and Nor- 
thumbria followed, and at this juncture the king died in 959, and was 
succeeded by his brother Edgar. 

Under King Edgar the power of Dunstan was at its height. The 

Edgar, new sovereign gave him the sees of Worcester and London, 

9 ' 975 - and in 96 1 he became head of the Church as Archbishop of 

Canterbury. Whatever may be thought of his policy in replacing the 

married parish priest by the monk from his cloister, there can be no 


doubt as to the services rendered by Dunstan in civil affairs. During 
the sixteen years of Edgar's reign, he kept the country free from 
external attacks and from domestic disturbance. It was a time of 
peaceful supremacy for the king, who is said to have caused eight 
vassal princes of Wales to row him in his barge on the river Dee, 
The rovers of the sea were kept at bay by a fleet of armed cruisers. 
The Danes in the land were settling down to a life of quiet industry, 
and Dunstan gave some of them, high posts in the service of the king 
and the Church. Laws were enacted for the settlement of weights, 
measures, and coinage, and the growth of trade made the streets of 
London busy with traffickers from Germany and France. Edgar gave 
his minister a zealous support in all his measures for the revival of 
monasticism, in which one of the chief objects of Dunstan was the 
promotion of literature and learning. The favour shown by Edgar to 
the monks, who were then the only historians, has been thought to 
have secured for the king too high a meed of praise for his share in 
the good work of the reign. 

It is of more moment to notice two facts of the time. These are 
the decline of slavery through the influence of the Church, ^ ^ 
and the increase of the power of the king. Many of the The 
higher clergy, by precept and example, brought about the slaves - 
manumission of slaves on a large scale. The wider dominion which 
had come to the ruler of England in the person of Egbert had, in 
succeeding reigns, raised the sovereign far above the nobles, who had 
once been nearly on a level with him. 

The old nobility of blood, in the persons of the ealdormen, was being 
fast pushed aside by the new nobility of thanes, who held other 
office about the king's person, and were rewarded with high changes, 
posts in civil and ecclesiastical affairs. At the same time, the old 
English freedom and independence were dying out for the bulk of the 
smaller landowners and free tillers of the soil. The days of Norman 
feudalism were being, in a measure, forestalled when the free farmer, 
in order to live safe amid troubles caused by the Danes, gave up his 
freehold to some lord, and received it again as a feud or fief, with 
service to be rendered in place of rent. Edgar died in 975, leaving 
two sons by different wives. He was succeeded by the elder, named 
Edward, then aged thirteen. 

Edgar had left a younger son, Ethelred, and a strong party of the 
nobles demanded that the choice between him and Edward Edward 
should be determined by election. Dunstan, by one of his Martyr, 
vigorous movements, quelled the dispute, and presenting 975-979. 
Edward to the assembled thanes and ecclesiastics at Winchester, 
consecrated him on the spot. The question for Dunstan, between 
Edward and Ethelred, was the question, not of one brother or the 
other, but of a secular or monastic Church. A reaction in favour of 
the married priests began. The Benedictines had expelled the secular 

( )L > EDWARD THE MARTYR. [975 A.D. 

clergy from the conventual churches, arid the married priests had 
been driven from their parishes. Now one caldoriimii expelled the 
monks from the monasteries, whilst another upheld them in their 
possessions. Many of the secular clergy returned from exile in 
Scotland. At Calne, in Wiltshire, a Witan was assembled in 978 
to debate the points which divided the Church and threatened 
the kingdom with civil war. An accident occurred to the room of 
assembly. The floor gave way, and many of the opponents of 
Dunstan were killed and injured. The Archbishop was left safe, 
standing on a beam which kept its place, and all his friends cried 
out that a miracle had been wrought in his favour. In that age 
superstition gave great weight to such an occurrence, and the enemies 
of Dunstan's reforms were driven to desperation. It was determined 
to attack the young king, who was under the minister's control. The 
opponents of monastic domination applied to his step-mother, Elfrida, 
who hated him for standing in the way of her son's elevation. He 
was murdered in 979 by her orders at Corfe Castle, in Dorsetshire, 
a royal manor, where she and her son resided. It was his youth, 
innocence, and cruel death that procured for him the surname of 

With the death of the young king the career of the great Archbishop 
Ethelred came to an enc ^ ^-is enemies were now triumphant, and 
II., 979- Dunstan, after placing the crown on the new sovereign's head 
1016 ' at Kingston, retired to Canterbury, and died there nine years 

later. Ethelred II. , who now came to the throne at the age of ten, 
has been the victim of an attempt at wit made by some of his later 
historians. His name means nolle in counsel, and in his policy as 
regards the Danes he has been accused of ruining the country by 
unraed want of counsel or evil counsel. Hence comes the epithet of the 
Unready, meaning counselled or of bad counsel. Certain it is that his 
reign was a time of disaster and disgrace which might well arouse the 
anger and shame of those who had to record its troubles. The realm 
raised to greatness by the wisdom and energy of Alfred, Edward the 
Elder, Athelstan, Edgar, and Dunstan was now to be assailed, and in 
the end subdued, by the old foes of the land. The Danish troubles 
since the days of Alfred had been mainly caused by the restless spirit 
of Danes long settled in England, or, at the worst, by inroads of their 
kinsmen who came over from Ireland. The time had now come for the 
Northmen to appear again from over the North Sea in ever- increasing 
force. The Scandinavian peoples had been lately growing in political 
strength and cohesion. The subjects of many petty chiefs had settled 
down into the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. 
New strength begat new ambition and restlessness, and the rovers 
were once more abroad. In 980 Southampton was "ravaged by a 
ship-force, and the most part of the townsmen slain and led captive." 
In 981 "was much havoc done everywhere by the sea-coast, as well 

932. \.n.~) KTHELRED THE UNREADY. 60 

amongst the men of Devon as amongst the Welsh." Thus far the 
Chronicle. In 982 three ships of pirates landed among the men of 
Dorset and ravaged the Isle of Portland. In the same year London 
itself was burnt. No effective resistance was made, for the men of 
Dorset, like the men in other parts of the unhappy country, were 
quarrelling about the occupation of the monasteries, instead of arming 
for the defence of their homes. The invaders took back news of the 
defenceless state of England, and in 991 a body of Norwegians landed 
in East Anglia. There a sturdy resistance \vas made, but the invaders 
Avon a battle fought at Maldon, and the town of Ipswich was plundered. 
The cowardly device was adopted of paying the Northmen to go away, 
or, if they pleased, to settle quietly in the land. Ten thousand pounds 
of silver bought a respite, and then, in 993, S \veyn, king of Denmark, 
and Anlaf or Olaf of Norway came in great force up the Humber, 
and ravaged on every side. The next year London was assailed by a 
fleet sailing up the Thames; but the citizens were united, and their 
brave defence drove off the enemy. Attacks in other quarters were 
bought off by payment of larger sums, and the price of redemption was 
ever rising. It was the payment of this shameful tribute that gave 
rise to the tax called Dane-geld or Dane-money, which became a source 
of revenue to reckless kings long after the Danish period. For a 
quarter of a century, the history of England becomes one of treachery, 
cowardice, imbecility, and bloodshed. The truth is, that the energies 
of a martial race were paralysed by national discord, by treachery 
and rivalry in court and camp, and by the failure of discipline in the 
army. The impoverishment of the land by the payment of tribute to 
the invaders may be seen when we contrast the old with the present 
value of money. In twenty years one hundred and thirty-four thousand 
pounds of silver were paid to the Danes. A pound of silver then 
would purchase eight oxen or fifty sheep. The Danish tribute was 
equal in value to the fee-simple, at the prices of that day, of 
nearly-one tenth of the whole acreage of England, This enormous 
charge represents, of course, but a part of the loss sustained. The 
invaders, wherever they went, lived at free quarters, and famine 
followed their steps. In the year 1002, Ethelred was threatened 
with a new invasion by Svveyn, who was now ruler of both Norway 
and Denmark. The English king sought help in a marriage alliance 
with Normandy, and wedded Emma, sister of Duke Richard the Good. 
8he was a beautiful and clever woman, who was to take an active part 
in the next fifty years of our history. With this notable marriage 
Norman influence in England began. The Norman- French tongue 
was first used at court, and the friends of Emma were put into high 
civil and ecclesiastical posts. The king of England was now to resort 
to a method of defence against his foes more shameful than the weak- 
ness of paying tribute or the cowardice of fleeing from battle. There 
were many of the old Danish settlers who had become a part of the 


nation, and had intermarried with the English. It ^vould seem that 
the Danish element, in the new successes of their kinsmen from 
abroad, had become insolent and overbearing, so that, as a chronicle 
declares " the common people were so oppressed, that for fear and 
dread they called them, in every house as they had rule of, Lord 
Dane." There were also Danish mercenaries whom our kings had long 
had in their pay, and these men were guilty of many acts of violence 
near their quarters up and down the country. A feeling of strong 
resentment had been roused in the breasts of the English, and 
Ethelred took advantage of this to give secret advice or orders for 
a general slaughter of the Danes in Wessex. The perpetration of 
the crime began in November, on the feast-day of St. Brice. The 
extent of the murders committed has been grossly exaggerated by 
the writers who represent the massacre as carried through England. 
In Northumbria and East Anglia, to say nothing of Mercia, the 
Danes were in far too great numbers for such a thing to be possible. 
In Wessex, some thousands of Danes may have perished, and amongst 
the victims was Gunhilda, sister of Sweyn of Norway and Denmark. 
She had become a Christian, but this did not save her from seeing 
her husband, who was a Danish earl, and her little children, butchered 
before her face. With her dying words she warned her murderers of 
vengeance to come from over the seas for this great national crime. One 
form of retribution came on our forefathers in the fact that, when 
William the Conqueror wished to rouse Normans against Saxons, his 
frequent cry was "Remember St. Brice's day." Sweyn swore, when 
he heard of the terrible event, that he would make himself master of 
England. The retaliation denounced by Gunhilda was being wreaked 
from the year 1003 to 1007. One ravaging followed another, and 
tribute after tribute was exacted. At last the people would pay no 
more Dane-geld to buy off the hosts sent and led by Sweyn. Some 
attempt at armed resistance was made, and a soldier was to be fur- 
nished for every eight hides of land, and a vessel for each three 
hundred and ten hides. The claim for ship-money in later days, 
which became so prominent under Charles I., is held to have had 
its precedent in the latter contribution. But men and ships are of 
no avail without faithful hearts and able leaders, and the king and 
his people were ruined by incapacity and treachery on every hand. 
One of the few brave and loyal subjects in high place was ^Elfheah, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, commonly known as St. Alphege. He 
encouraged the people of the episcopal city to make a good defence 
for twenty days ; but treachery was again at work. The gates were 
opened to the enemy. Many people were slain, the city was plundered 
and the minster was burnt. Ransom was demanded for the life of 
the primate, but he nobly said that he had no goods of his own to 
offer for ransom, and that the goods of the Church should not be 
given up for his own life. He was dragged from his prison, and done 

1014 A. i).] CANUTE. 05 

to death by drunken Danish revellers, who pelted him with stones 
and with the bones and ox-horns of their coarse banquet, and then 
finished the work with the stroke of an axe. The Church of St. 
Alphege at Greenwich, where this cruel deed was done, is the memo- 
rial of the event. At last, in 1013, the king of Denmark and Nor- 
way sailed up the Humber, not only to plunder and destroy, but 
to conquer and to hold. Ethelred drove him off from London, with 
the help of his Danish officer, Thurkill, and Sweyii retired to Bath. 
All the Danish part of England, however, to the north and east of 
Watling Street, had already submitted, and Ethelred found himself 
helpless. He fled first to the Isle of Wight, and then over to Richard 
of Normandy. The thanes of Wessex submitted to the conqueror, 
and then London opened her gates. Winchester and Oxford were in. 
Danish hands, and the efforts of Wessex, like those of Mercia and 
Northumbria, to form a united England under the sway of a Wessex 
king, had finally and signally failed. Sweyn of Denmark died a few 
weeks later, in 1014, before he could be crowned, and he is not reckoned 
among the Danish kings of England, being called by the Chronicle 
Siceyn the Tyrant or the Usurper. His army proclaimed his son Cnut 
(Canute) as king, but Ethelred was recalled by the Witan, and pro- 
mises of good behaviour were exchanged by king and people. Cnut 
was in possession of a large part of the land, and the only real helper 
for the English king was his son Edmund, surnamed Ironside for his 
bodily strength and his courage and energy. Cnut sailed away for a 
time to Denmark, but treachery was again at work in the person of 
Edric, an old betrayer of his partial master, Ethelred. In 1015 Cnut 
returned with a large force, and ravaged much of Wessex, being 
joined now by Edric. In April 1016 King Ethelred died, leaving the 
country forlorn. 

The citizens of London at once proclaimed Edmund king, and a 
council at Southampton took the oaths to Cnut. Edmund Edmund 
fought hard, and with no small success, but the Danish and J^f d ' 
English nobles caused the rivals to divide the kingdom. November 
Cnut was to keep Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia, and 1016 - 
Edmund take the rest. A month later the brave Edmund died, through 
foul play, it is said, at the hands of Edric. Cnut was thus left in sole 
possession of the long-harassed land. 




The good rule of Cnut. The influence of the Danes on English nationality and 
character. The last Danish king. 

THE Witan were induced by Cnut to annul the division of the kingdom 

Danish anc * se ^ as ^ e ^ ne infant sons of Edmund Ironside, who were 
kings in named Edmund and Edward. The Danish king tried to get 
Crnuf me- rid of them, but in the end they reached a safe asylum in 
1035. ' Hungary, and both grew to manhood. Edmund became the 
father of the prince whom we shall see hereafter as Edgar Atheling, 
and of Margaret, the queen of Malcolm of Scotland. There were two 
other claimants in the persons of Edward and Alfred, sons of Ethelred 
by his wife Emma of Normandy. Duke Richard asserted their lights, 
but Cnut settled the dispute by marrying their mother with Richard's 
consent. The new king wielded his power at first with a masterful hand. 
His Danish followers were rewarded with the lands of proscribed Eng- 
lishmen, and severe measures were used to prevent the assassination 
of Danes by the English, who were now under their yoke. Cnut soon 
showed, however, the policy of a statesman, and of a king who knew that 
solid strength for a ruler lies in the attachment of the governed people. 
One of his first measures was to make a new division of the country 
for administrative purposes. He divided the whole into four great 
earldoms. Leofwine became ruler of Mercia, Eric the Dane was Earl 
of Northumberland, Thurkill, also a Dane, of East Anglia, and in 1020 
Godwin, an Englishman, was made Earl of Wessex. Cnut had already 
become by profession a Christian, and he now sought to conciliate the 
clergy by liberal gifts to minsters and by showing favour to monks. 
He made at least one pilgrimage to Rome, with staff in hand and wallet 
on back, and was diligent in enforcing payment of Peter's pence and 
other dues of the Church to the Pope. In a remarkable letter addressed 
from Denmark to his English subjects, he declares that he is resolved 
" to govern his kingdoms with justice, and to observe the right in all 
things. Therefore I beg and command those unto whom I have in- 
trusted the government, as they wish to preserve my good-will and 
save their own souls, to do no injustice either to poor or rich. Let 
those who are noble, and those who are not, equally obtain their rights, 
according to the laws, from which no deviation shall be allowed, either 
from fear of me, or through favour to the powerful, or for the purpose 
of supplying my treasury ; I want no money raised by injustice." Cnut 
ruled England with a firm hand, and the country, after the long arid 


terrible troubles of tho past, gained much from internal peace. Towards 
the end of the Danish king's reign, Malcolm II., king of Scots, invaded 
Northumberland and won a battle, but Cnut marched north and brought 
him to thorough submission. He died in 1035 at Shaftesbury, leaving 
three sons, among whom his dominions in Norway, Denmark, and Eng- 
land were divided. 

In writing of the time when we find Danish kings ruling in England, 
we are led to inquire into the probable extent of the Danish D^^ in 
element in our composite race. There can be little doubt that, fluence on 
in order to give the constituent parts of the English nation in En ^ land - 
their due order of importance, the poet's line should run "Saxon, and 
Dane and Celt are we." Beyond all question, the main bulk and body 
of our nation is English and Saxon. At the period which we have now 
reached, the contest of two centuries between Saxon and Dane has come 
to an end, and the Danish population may be regarded as a part of the 
great English or Anglo-Saxon family. In blood and language, the 
Danes had been kinsmen from the first of those whom they had sub- 
dued, and were now by degrees becoming identical, in intermarriage 
ever growing more frequent, and in the possession of a common country 
and a common religion. Yet the local nomenclature of England bears 
very strong marks of the presence of the Dane in every region in 
which he settled. At the end of Alfred's reign, the Danish or Scan- 
dinavian immigrants, as we have seen, had full possession of a large 
tract in the north and north-east of England. Even as late as the twelfth 
century, the language of laws shows the difference of this district from 
the rest of England in respect of dialect, law, and nationality. A statute 
of Henry I. says that "all England is divided into three parts, Wessex, 
Merda, and the province of the Danes," In the north and north-east, 
we have words and endings of words which are almost unknown in the 
southern and south-western parts of England. The terminations -&?/, 
meaning first a farm, and then a town or village; -tJiorpe, a village; 
-thwaite, a cleared spot; -ness, -e//, an island; holme, beck, dale, &ndfoss 
(or force), a waterfall, are all Danish ; and a common map shows nearly 
three hundred such names in Lincolnshire alone, and above four hundred 
in Yorkshire. The fact is good evidence of there having been a consider- 
able proportion of Danish inhabitants in the neighbourhood of such 
places at the time when the names were bestowed. The strength of the 
Danes in East Aiiglia is proved by the number of Danish names in Nor- 
folk. Derby and Rugby show the Dane in the Midlands, Denbigh in 
North Wales, and Tenby in South Wales. In Cumberland and West- 
moreland the like evidence proves Danish settlement in great force. 
Dale, the Scandinavian daal or dal, is found throughout the Scotch 

>wlands. The result of such an examination of the map shows that the 
idinavian area includes the eastern coast district from the Wash 
lorthwards, and the western side of the country from the Dee to the 

)lway Firth, with the greater part of lowland Scotland, and a narrow 


strip along the east, between the hills and the sea, northwards to the ex- 
tremity of the island. The Danish element of the nation is also found, 
as a main constituent, in the Orkneys and Shetlands, the southern 
Hebrides, the islands in the Firth of Clyde, and parts of the Welsh 
coast. It is a more difficult task to attempt to decide what the moral 
influence of our Danish ancestors has been upon our race. If to the 
Angle and the Saxon we owe quiet energy, a spirit of stubborn resist- 
ance to wrong, love of freedom and of monarchy, and respect for law, 
it may well be that to the Dane are due a fierceness of courage in o ( ir 
soldiers as assailants, and an enterprise, a daring, and an adaptation to 
their element, the sea, in our sailors, which have contributed not a little 
to the extension and maintenance of the empire. 

The successors of Cnut did not sustain the repute of their father. 
Harold I. ^ ne TFVte decided that Harold, surnamed Harefoot, should 
1035-1039. have Mercia and Northuinbria, with London, and that Hardi- 
canute (or Harthacnut) should take Wessex. Edward, son of Ethelred, 
came over with a Norman force, but was soon glad to retire, and his 
brother Alfred was enticed over by a forged letter, and then seized and 
murdered. Harold's character and reign are without significance, and 
he died in 1039. 

Hardicanute now became king of all England. He was a mere 
Hardi- ty rant > w hc- began his reign by disinterring the body of his 
Canute, half-brother Harold, and then having it beheaded and flung 
1039-1042. -J^Q fa e r j; names n e behaved, however, with some kindness 
and courtesy to his half-brother Ethelred. His chief vice was that of 
drunkenness, and he died soon after a heavy bout of drinking at a 
marriage-feast in Lambeth. The bride was the daughter of one of his 
chief thanes, Osgod Clapa. 

1042 A.D.] 




Early history of Normans. Norman character. Earl Godwin and Edward the 
Confessor. Their quarrel. William of Normandy. Harold, son of Godwin. 
His oath to William examined. 

AT the death of Hardicaimte the English people had been under 
foreign domination for a quarter of a century. The glories Edward 
of the race of Cerdio had vanished amid intestine conflicts, f^ s e s ^ on " 
exhausting war, payment of tribute to rapacious foes, and 1042-1066. 
subjection to Danish rulers. There was still, however, a people with 
the memories of Alfred, and the first Edward, and Athelstan, preserved 
in their national traditions and songs. A man of the race of Cerdic 
was at hand, and by the general voice, backed by the powerful influ- 
ence of Godwin, the old line of English monarchs was restored in the 
person of Edward the Confessor. The distinctive name is derived from 
his mild religious character. He was the second son of Ethelred and 
his second wife, Emma, the Norman princess. If strict hereditary rule 
had been followed, the new king would have been Edward, the son of 
Edmund Ironside, who was an elder son of Ethelred ; but he was away 
in Hungary, and Emma's son was chosen at once in London. The 
choice was confirmed at a meeting of the Witan held at Gillingham, 
in Dorsetshire, early in 1043, and at Easter the new king was crowned 
at Winchester, the capital of Wessex. His chief adviser and minister 
was the eloquent and powerful Earl Godwin, who in January 1045 
became also the king's father-in-law by the marriage of his daughter 
Edith to Edward. Little love existed between Edward and his mother, 
Emma, who had always shown a preference for the children of her 
second husband, Cnut, and one of the first acts of the new king was to 
make her powerless for harm. A meeting of the Witan was held at 
Gloucester in November 1043, and then the king and his three great 
earls, Godwin of Wessex, Leofric of Mercia, and Siward of North- 
umbria, rode to Winchester and seized her treasures of gold, silver, and 
jewels. She lived on at Winchester in a kind of honourable captivity 
until her death in 1052. 

6 9 


The people of England had chosen an English king in blood, at least 
Norman on his father's side, but the man of their choice was really a 
mSer nC8 foreigner in language, tastes, and policy. The repute of this 
Edward, last king of the old English stock gained much in after time 
by contrast of his day with the period of Norman domination and the 
harsh rule of the two Williams. Men talked of the "good old times 
of Edward the Confessor," and told stories of his piety and meekness 
until they fancied him a saint, and made his tomb within the walls of 
his abbey-church of St. Peter at Westminster into a shrine for pilgrim- 
age and prayer. For twenty-seven years Edward had lived in exile 
among his mother's relations in Normandy. He had no vigour of 
character, and his training had been rather that of a monk than one 
fitted for the descendant of a long line of kings who was himself to 
reign. He was a stranger now among his English people, a man 
familiar with other customs and another language than theirs. In his 
mind the great idea of nationality had but little place. There was, 
however, at his side an Englishman of high ability and of almost 
supreme power, who had an intensely national feeling. Earl Godwin 
knew that on the opposite shores there had grown up a nation that 
would be a more formidable enemy to England than any of the Scan- 
dinavian peoples. He knew that the conquest of England had long 
been the secret aspiration of the Norman. He saw his royal master, 
who spoke the Norman-French tongue and was a Norman in ideas and 
sympathies, putting Norman favourites on every occasion into high 
places in Church and state. English sees and English estates were 
bestowed on Normans. The court at Westminster was full of Norman 
speech and Norman fashions, and the court of Rouen became to the 
court of Edward the Confessor what the court of Versailles was, over 
six centuries later, to that of Charles the Second. The conquest of 
England by the Normans had begun in the holding of place and power 
by men of Norman race. 

The Northmen or Normans were the very pick and flower of the 
Who were Scandinavian peoples. What the Aryans were to the primitive 
the^Nor- races of mankind in the plateau of Central Asia, what the 
Hellenes were to the Pelasgic tribes who came into the olden 
land of Greece, that were the Normans to their brethren on the coasts 
of the northern sea. They had in their highest form all the best 
qualities that were inherent in the race. They were the foremost in 
courage, military discipline and skill, and in the power of embracing 
and improving on the culture with which their conquests soon made 
them familiar. They had now become the foremost people in Chris- 
tendom. Towards the close of the ninth century, a party of Northern 
rovers, led by their chieftain Eollo, had sailed up the river Seine. In 
the Latin of the Chronicles, Hollo is the form of the Danish name Rolf, 
and this man was called fiolf the Ganger, that is, the Goer or Walter, 
because he was too tall to ride the small steeds of his country. The 

913-1050 A.D.] ORIGIN OF THE NORMANS. 71 

invaders carried their arms even as far as Paris, but they were unable 
at first to get a firm footing in the land which they coveted. At last 
one of the feeble heirs of Charles the Great made a compact with Hollo. 
The rover was to settle down in the province called Neustria, a land of 
fertile soil, watered by a noble river, and with an extensive coast on 
the favourite element of his people. He was also to become a Christian 
and cease to ravage the country. In return for these concessions, Hollo 
should marry the daughter of the French king, Charles the Simple, 
and hold the province in fief of him, by homage done to Charles. Thus 
was founded, in 913, the Duchy of Normandy, and it soon became a 
powerful state. Its influence was spread by degrees over the neigh- 
bouring principalities of Maine and Brittany. Hollo obtained fresh 
grants of land from his suzerain, and, on his death in 931, he had 
firmly settled his people in the country. The hardy Northmen, estab- 
lished in a fertile region, under a warmer sky than that of their former 
home, adopted at last the speech, usages, and faith of those whom they 
had subdued. They did not lay aside the dauntless valour which had 
made them the terror of their foes on every coast from the Baltic to 
the Mediterranean. They gained and absorbed all the knowledge and 
the culture which they found existing in their new home. They were 
safe by their courage and arms from all foreign assailants, and they 
brought peace and order to the land of the Franks. They became 
almost fanatical holders of their new faith, and they improved and 
polished their new language, called from them the Norman-French, 
into the most refined tongue of the age, well adapted for high uses in 
legislation, poetry, and romance. The chief delight of their fathers, 
next to the conflicts of war, had lain in deep potations. The new 
Frenchmen of Normandy exchanged a coarse intemperance in meat 
and drink for the refined luxury of delicate banquets, where the 
products of skilled cookery were seasoned by the flavour of exquisite 
wines. A tribe of pirates became a nation of civilised people, devoted 
to tillage, handicrafts, trade, letters, and arts, but skilled also and 
courageous in war, and full of the chivalrous spirit which has worked 
with such power and effect 011 the morals, manners, and politics of the 
chief nations of Europe. The pride and magnificence of life in this 
formidable nation were shown by their nobles in large, strong, and 
stately castles, rich armour, fiery steeds, choice falcons and hawks for the 
chase, and in the mimic contests of armoured knights with couched 
spear in hand, where warriors and courtiers strove in tourney for the 
smiles of graceful dames. The gentlemen and nobles of Normandy 
were famed for their polished manners and winning demeanour, for 
elegance of speech and diplomatic skill. But the chief renown of the 
Normans came from their military exploits. On the field of battle none 
could withstand their skill and valour, and an improvement which they 
made in the art of war set their gentry to fight on horseback, defended 
by heavy armour and armed with swords and long heavy spears. 


Such were the men whom, as Godwin felt, England had now to 
Earl God- dread. He headed the English party that was jealous of 
win and Norman influence and encroachments, and, in his own per- 
the king. gon an( j through his family, was far more wealthy and power- 
ful than the king. At the accession of Edward, Godwin held the 
greatest earldom of the south, including Sussex, Kent, and part of 
Wessex. He and his sons, Sweyn and Harold, were the lords of all 
the land from the Humber to the Severn. They had thus the com- 
mand of the richest half of England. Sweyn had an earldom which 
made him governor of the north of Wessex and the south of Mercia, 
and Harold, the second son, was earl of East Anglia, including Essex. 
Earls Leofric and Siward looked askance at the growing power of 
Godwin, but they joined him, at the beginning of the reign, in up- 
holding the throne of Edward. They drove traitorous Danes from 
the country, and asserted the English supremacy against Magnus, 
king of Norway, who claimed the throne as successor of Hardicanute. 
The king went on promoting Frenchmen and other foreigners. A 
Norman monk, Robert, Abbot of Jumieges, was made Bishop of 
London. The see of Dorchester (in Oxfordshire), a diocese which 
reached from the Thames to the Humber, was given to another 
Norman. In 1050 the Archbishopric of Canterbury was bestowed 
by Edward on Bishop Robert of London, in spite of Earl Godwin's 
prayer for the appointment of an Englishman named ./Elfric. Since 
the earliest days of the Church in England, there had been no foreign 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and scarcely a foreign prelate at all. At 
the same time, numbers of Normans flocked hither from across the 
Channel, in search of booty to be made by way of favour at court. 
The king's sister was the wife of a Frenchman, Drogo, Count of 
Mantes, and an earldom was made for their son Ralph out of a part of 
the province of Mercia. At this time, too, Norman nobles began to 
prepare for the coming days of their power and oppression by build- 
ing the first of the strong stone castles of which the ruins may still 
be seen. Normans held the chief posts in the king's household, and 
were appointed to the command of troops and fortresses. They 
"directed" the royal conscience and held the richest abbeys. Even 
the seal of wax, which Edward was the first to affix to his charters, 
instead of the mark of the cross made by earlier kings, was an offence 
to the English party. In the palace where Edith, daughter of God- 
win, was queen, her father and brothers spoke their country's speech 
and wore their country's long mantle, whilst Edward gathered around 
him the short-cloaked Normans, and bade his subjects address their 
petitions to his clerks or secretaries, who only understood Norman- 
French. The Norman favourites made jests at the expense of the 
English earls, and the English looked for a day of vengeance on the 
Norman courtiers. 

The other earls had come, as we have stated, to regard with suspicion 


the influence of Godwin and his family. The eldest son, Sweyn, 
had been guilty of atrocities which indicate a period when Rupture 
violence is the ready instrument of power. He carried off an between 
abbess, and for this crime he was outlawed. He then took to andUod- 
the old trade of piracy, and became a terror on the sea. His w * n 1051< 
brother Harold and his cousin Beorn opposed the king's wish to 
pardon him, and then Sweyn seized and murdered his cousin. Even 
after this, the weak-minded Edward restored Sweyn to his honours and 
estates. The matter was not forgotten, and the character of Godwin's 
family was sensibly lessened in influence. Their strength was now to 
be measured, not merely with the envy of rivals, whether Norman or 
English, but with the authority of the king. Eustace, Count of 
Boulogne, had married Edward's sister, widow of the Count of Mantes. 
He came over with a great retinue to the court of his brother-in-law, 
and appears to have thought, from what he there saw and heard, that 
England was a mere tribute-land for the Normans, and the Saxon a 
born slave. On his way back to Boulogne, he was to stay a night in 
Dover. Before entering the town, he ordered his men to put on their 
hauberks, and in this guise, at the head of his followers, he demanded 
quarters of the householders. The burghers resisted the insolent Nor- 
man, and one of them, who refused entrance to his house, was cut 
down by the foreigners. A cry for vengeance arose, and the Count 
charged the people with his spearmen, so that many fell under the 
French lances. But their ringed mail could not save the intruders 
from the swords of the infuriated men of Kent. The townsmen armed 
in haste, formed in military order, attacked the Normans, and killed 
about twenty. In the end, Count Eustace and his men were driven 
out of the town. They rode off to the king, who was then staying at 
Gloucester, and gave their own version of what had occurred. The 
mild Edward was, for once, roused to great wrath. He sent for 
Godwin, in whose earldom the affray had taken place, and bade him 
visit the men of Dover with summary vengeance. The Earl told the 
king plainly that he would do nothing of the kind. They should have 
legal trial in their town-court, and he would see that justice was done, 
but he would not punish, without a hearing, those whom the king was 
bound to protect. For the moment, awed by the demeanour of his 
powerful subject, the king sullenly yielded. Then his Norman advisers 
came round him, and won him over to the belief that Godwin was 
acting as a rebel. He was summoned to appear before a Witan at 
Gloucester. There can be no doubt that, as the law then stood, the 
Earl had done his strict duty in defending the people of Dover against 
an illegal chastisement. The eloquent outburst of Lord Chatham was 
as true for Englishmen in the eleventh century as when the words were 
uttered seven centuries later. "The poorest man in his cottage may 
bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail, its roof 
may shake, the storm may enter it ; but the king of England cannot 


enter it. All his power dares not cross the threshold of that ruined 
tenement," The Anglo-Saxon had the legal right to resist, even to the 
death, any one who presumed to intrude into his dwelling, as follower 
either of baron or of king. Godwin resolved to obey the king's 
summons before the Witan, but to go to the west in arms for defence 
against the king's Norman followers and friends. A great host under 
Godwin and his sons, Earl Sweyn. and Earl Harold, assembled on the 
top of the Cotswold Hills. The demand was made that Count Eustace 
and his men should be delivered to their custody. Edward appealed 
for help to Earls Siward and Leofric, and to his nephew Ralph, the 
Norman earl. They raised what forces they could, and a civil war 
seemed at hand. The advice of Leofric and others averted armed 
strife, and it was agreed that, with an exchange of hostages, Godwin 
and the king should meet and confer in London. The only object of 
the king's party was to gain time for raising larger forces. Godwin 
fell into the trap, and disbanded most of his army. When the Wit an 
met in London, Edward was there with a host of men wholly under 
Norman command, and Godwin and his sons, Sweyn and Harold, re- 
fused to attend without a safe-conduct, in the pledge of the king's 
word, and the delivery of hostages to secure the observance of the 
promise of safety. This demand was refused, and they declined to 
come at all. Then the Witan declared Sweyn an outlaw, and sentenced 
Godwin and Harold to banishment, to depart out of England within 
five days. Harold and his brother Leofvvine sailed from Bristol for 
Ireland, and passed the winter in Dublin with Dermot, king of Leinster. 
Godwin and his wife Gytha, and their other sons, Sweyn, Tostig, and 
Gyrth, took refuge in Flanders at Bruges, with the famous Count 
Baldwin. The most powerful subjects of the king were thus driven 
from their homes and possessions. The saintly Edward now turned in 
revenge on his own wife, the daughter of Godwin. The innocent Lady 
Edith w^s stripped of money and lands, and robbed of every womanly 
ornament. -From the court she passed away to a virtual prison in the 
monastery of Wherwell, where Edward's own sister was abbess, and 
might be trusted to keep her safe. The Norman influence in England 
was fast ripening into Norman despotism. 

The departure of Godwin had left the way open for the coming of an 
Duke illustrious visitor to the court of Edward the Confessor. This 
William was the king's cousin, William, Duke of Normandy, a natural 
mandy, son of Duke Robert, and born at Falaise in 1027 of a woman 
1051. named Herletta or Arlotta. The death *bf his father in 1035 

left him a child-ruler, surrounded by turbulent nobles, some of whom 
disputed his right to the dukedom. When he grew to early manhood, 
he had to fight in the assertion of his claims, and he so bore himself 
both in. action and in council as to give the world assurance that a new 
star of the first 'rank had risen above the political horizon. William 
the Norman was the greatest man of his time, and one of the great 


men of all time. His bodily size and strength, and the fierceness of 
his courage, made him a prodigy of achievement in an age abounding 
in warriors brave and strong. No man could bend his bow, no man and 
horse could resist his lance. With iron mace in hand, either on horse 
or on foot, he would smite his way through a crowd of men, and, when 
a battle seemed lost to his best and bravest followers, his desperate 
valour rose to its height, rallied the fainting hearts, and bore them on 
to a final victory. As a ruler and a man, he was, on occasion, iierce of 
look, fearful in wrath, pitiless in revenge. His skill in strategy and 
tactics proved him to be a great general, and his manner of dealing 
with the political difficulties of his position and his age showed the able 
statesman. When he was twenty years of age, in 1047, he beat his 
rebel nobles in a Iierce cavalry- battle at Yal-es-dunes, near Caen, and 
in a year or two more had strengthened his position into a complete 
mastery of his duchy. It was in 1060 that William reached his full 
greatness among the princes of France. His genius, and the rapid 
growth of his power, had excited the jealousy of his neighbours, and 
Geoffrey Martel, Count of Anjou, roused against him the enmity of the 
king of France. Normandy was invaded in 1054 by a powerful French 
army, but William met the attack with a cautious skill which soon rid 
him of danger. One division .of the enemy was destroyed at the battle 
of Mortemer, and the other was glad to retire. In 1058 another French 
army was utterly defeated at the battle of Yaraville. Geoffrey Martel 
died in 1060, and then Maine and Brittany fell, almost without a struggle, 
into William's hands. He had reached this high position by the exer- 
cise of a fixed purpose and unbending will, and by a display of won- 
derful ability in mastering great and varied difficulties. He had had 
against him insecurity of title to the duchy, youth and inexperience, rival 
claimants, a turbulent people, envious neighbours, and a jealous, sus- 
picious, and finally hostile suzerain ; and over all he had won a signal and 
complete triumph. His country, from a divided state open to the attacks 
of every foe, became under him a loyal and well-ordered land, respected by 
all its neighbours, and putting most of them to shame by its prosperity. 
Tillage and trade were protected and encouraged, the Church was 
reformed in the appointment of fit men to high positions, and, under 
Lanfranc of Pavia, the school of the Abbey at Bee became the most 
renowned in Christendom. The virtues of William's private life as a 
husband, brother, and father are most highly esteemed by those who 
best know the profligacy and cruelty of the age in which he lived. Such 
was the man who, in the year 1051, came and saw the land which he 
was thereafter to conquer. There can be little doubt that what he then 
beheld convinced him that the country was well worth the winning, and 
that he resolved that, when the time came, he would undertake the 
enterprise. He would believe, too, that his work was in great part 
done. Godwin and his sons, the heads of the English or national 
party, were banished. The king had a Norman court about him. 


Most of the few strongholds had Norman governors, and were garri- 
soned by Norman men-at-arms. The policy of the English did not 
repress foreign settlers, and there were Normans in every town. 
The nobles and the franklins or free farmers, the burghers and 
the churls, were large feeders and deep drinkers, and here was a 
people to be first surprised and conquered, and then plundered and 

If such were the thoughts of Duke William, he was for once wide of 
Return of ^ e mark. The subjection of England was to prove neither 
Godwin, so near nor so easy as he might suppose. Godwin and Harold 
1052> and his brethren were not forgotten in England, and their 

exile was not lasting. In 1052 Harold and Leofwine sailed from Ire- 
land into the Severn. They landed at Porlock, in Somerset, and de- 
feated the opposing thanes. Godwin came with a fleet from Flanders, 
and met with a warm welcome from the people of his old earldom of 
Wessex. Harold came round the coast and joined his father at Port- 
land. They sailed for the Thames, and, on reaching London, found a 
strong popular feeling in their favour. The forces of the party of 
Godwin were drawn up in order of battle on the ground where the 
Strand now roars with the ceaseless traffic of men and wheels. In 
that day, the silent wavelets of the tidal river broke gently on a pebbly 
beach, with field and forest stretching far inland. Edward found 
himself helpless, and the Witan decreed the restoration of the earls 
to their offices, dignities, and estates, and declared them innocent of 
whatever treason had been laid to their charge. The Norman bishops, 
and Norman laymen who held civil and military offices fled in haste 
abroad, and the national cause, for the rest of Edward's reign, was 
secured against the foreigner. Godwin did not long survive his return 
to power, but died in 1053, while dining at the king's table in the 
royal house at Old Windsor. 

Sweyn, the eldest son of Godwin, was by this time dead, and Harold, 
Harold, the second son, succeeded his father as Earl of Wessex. The 
Godwin, earldom of East Anglia, now vacated by Harold, fell to 
1053-1066. ^Elfgar, son of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. Harold, who was as 
ambitious as his father, and his superior in ability and tact, soon 
became the greatest man in the kingdom, and was the real ruler in 
Edward's name. He gained the king's goodwill' by his quiet de- 
meanour and skilful management, and Edward was glad to leave to 
him the chief conduct of affairs, while he devoted his own time to the 
building of churches, the gathering of relics, and the reciting of 
prayers, varied only by the pleasures of the chase. In 1055, the 
death of Earl Siward of Northumbria removed from Harold's path 
his most important rival. The earldom was conferred by the king 
and the Witan on Harold's brother, Tostig. 

The matter of the succession to the throne had begun to trouble the 
childless king, and in 1057, by his invitation, Edward, son of Edmund 

1065 A.D.] HAROLD. 

i i 

Ironside, arrived in England from Hungary, bringing with him his 
young children, Edgar, Margaret, and Christina, The uncle The suc- 
and nephew did not meet, for Edward the ^Etheling died in cession. 
London a few days after his arrival, leaving the young Edgar, who 
now became ./Etheling, the sole male survivor of the old line of Cerdic. 
In the same year, the deaths of Earl Leofric of Mercia, and Balph, the 
French earl, increased the influence and power of Harold. Hereford- 
shire, the government of Ralph, w r as intrusted by the king to Harold 
himself, and Harold's brother Gyrth had most of the earldom of East 
Anglia, on ^Elfgar's succession to his father Leofric in Mercia. Essex, 
Kent, and the other shires about London were made into an earldom 
for Harold's other brother, Leofwine, and thus the sons of Godwin had 
most of England in their hands. In 1063 Harold did good service 
against a powerful chief in North Wales, who had much troubled the 
adjacent English territory. His palace at Rhuddlan and his ships were 
burned, and, after being thoroughly beaten in the field and pursued 
to the recesses of the mountains, he was deposed and killed by his 
own people. In the end, the land of Wales was, for the time, thoroughly 
subdued. In the year 1065 Harold gained more popularity by sup- 
porting the cause of the Northumbrians against his brother Tostig, 
who had driven them to revolt by his tyranny. Morcar, grandson of 
Leofric, became the new earl, and Tostig took refuge with Count 
Baldwin of Flanders. 

In the year 1065 we find Harold the foremost man in England, 
enjoying the confidence of the king, full of ambition, idolised rp^e suc _ 
by the English for his generosity, and for the courage and Jl essi 9?, : 
military skill displayed in conflict with their old foes, the oath to 
Britons of Wales. He was not only possessed of the energy William, 
of the warrior, but of the forethought of the statesman, and the supple- 
ness of his policy was shown in his gentle and submissive demeanour 
to the king, whom he managed and swayed to his own purpose and 
will. It was bub the natural result of Harold's character and position 
that he looked for the crown of England to become his on the death of 
Edward. His possible rivals were young Edgar the -<35theling and 
William of Normandy, and here we meet with one of the vexed and 
insoluble questions of history. We are told by some of the Norman 
chroniclers, who are by no means to be trusted in such a matter, that 
Edward the Confessor, when his death drew near, sent a message to 
William, by Harold's own mouth, that William was to fill the throne 
of England. William always declared that Edward promised him the 
succession, and this promise has been ascribed to the time of William's 
visit in 1051. As regards the right conferred by such a transaction, 
it is enough to say that an English king could not, by the law of cus- 
tom and usage, appoint his successor. He could only recommend the 
Witan to choose this man or that, and the real choice rested with 
them, the nobles and prelates of the land. The Norman chroniclers 


are also the sole authorities for the story about Harold's oath to 
William, that he would support the Duke's claim and receive him as 
king of England on Edward's death. The English^ writers say nothing 
whatever about the matter, and the lack of their contradiction has 
been held to give consent to the -substance of the Norman, assertion. 
The affair of the oath was the chief ground on which William after- 
wards based his claim, and justified his invasion of England. The 
story is well known, but the Norman writers are at variance in details 
of time, circumstance, and place. The accounts state in effect that 
Harold was driven by a storm on the coast near the mouth of the 
Somma Guy, Count of Ponthieu, was lord of the territory, and he 
claimed Harold and all the effects which he and his retinue had about 
them as his own property under the law of wreck which held in the 
county of Ponthieu. There would be goodly store of armour and 
jewels, embroidered mantles, and well-filled purses. Harold was held 
to ransom, and William of Normandy paid the money and invited 
Harold to his court at Rouen. Then, as the minstrel sang, to the 
strains of the lute, of the gallant deeds of Roland and Charlemagne, 
or as host and visitor rode forth to the chase, with hawk on fist 
and the dogs leaping before them, William told Harold his story of 
Edward's promise of the succession, and induced his guest to give 
his support. Harold was then required to swear, and he did swear, 
placing his hands to right and left upon two cabinets called reliquaries, 
which Harold supposed to contain some relics of a common sort, such 
as parish priests in England kept upon their altars. When the cloth 
of gold, which had hidden the relics from view, was removed by 
William's order, Harold found, to his horror, that he had taken his 
oath over the bones of certain saints and martyrs, which gave it 
a peculiar sanctity and force. As to the right of William to the 
English throne conferred by such a transaction, it is sufficient to say 
that Harold was not a free agent. He was in name a guest, and in 
fact a prisoner. He well knew what ambition in those days was 
capable of doing with men, however highly placed, whom it had 
within its grasp. The peculiar sanctity of the oath taken was bestowed 
on it by a kind of fraud, and, lastly, Harold's promise and oath, with 
whatever moral force invested as regarded Harold himself, could not 
bind, either morally or legally, King Edward and the Witan. 

Edward the Confessor died on January 5, 1066, in the sixty -fifth year 
Edward ^ n ^ s a g e anc ^ twenty-fifth of his reign. He was buried in the 
feSor"?" ^ Westminster Abbey, the first Norman church erected in 
death, England, which was consecrated only a few days before his 
0661 death. It was almost demolished in the thirteenth century, 

when Henry III. cleared the site for his new minster, the present 
Abbey, built in honour of the Confessor, whose tomb was placed in 
what is still called "The Confessor's Chapel." About a century after 
his death, he was canonised, with the surname of " The Confessor" by 


a bull of Pope Alexander III. He was the sovereign who first used 
"the healing benediction," known as 'touching for the king's evil, 5 ' by 
which persons suffering from the disease called scrofula were brought 
for the king to give the touch which was believed to effect a cure. 
The practice survived until the days of Queen Anne, and the special 
service may be found in the prayer-books of her reign. This pious 
king deserves honour for his regard to the due administration of 
justice, and for the help which he gave thereto in the compilation of a 
code from the laws of Ethelbert, Ina, and Alfred. It is admitted that, 
on his death-bed, Edward commended Harold to the choice of the 
Wit an as his successor, though some authorities state that this .nomina- 
tion was only wrung from him by the importunity of Harold and his 
friends. The only royal personage in the way of the great earl was 
the ^Ctheling Edgar, who was quite unfit from his youth, and his lack 
of other qualities. The Wita?i, for the first and only time, chose an 
Englishman not of royal blood, and on the day of Edward's burial, 
Harold was crowned and anointed king, in the new West Minster, by 
Archbishop Ealdred of York. 



William's claim and preparations for conflict. Harold at Stamford Bridge. 
Harold's march to Senlac field. The great wager of battle. Harold's death 
and burial. 

WHEN the news of Harold's accession reached William at Ptouen, he 
was moved to the deepest wrath. None dared speak to or Harold II., 
approach him, as he clenched his teeth, strode up and down octoSer^ 
his palace-hall with unequal and hurried steps, and half- 1066. 
drew his sword from, its sheath. But his anger did not make him 
forget his political craft. His first object was to gain to his side, 
so far as might be, the public opinion of Europe. He actually claimed 
the English crown as his by right of kin, through his cousinship with 
Edward. This, however, could impose on but few, as William was 
not of the royal house, as a descendant of Cerdic, or Egbert, or Alfred, 
and his kinship was only through Edward's mother, Emma. Then he 
put forward Edward's promise of the crown, and Harold's profanation 
of his solemn oath. Complaints were also made about Ethelred's 
massacre of the Danes, and of the injustice done to Normans in 
England by Godwin and his sons. The result was, that very many 
people, more distinguished by ready sympathies than by clear heads, 
had a strong impression that William was the victim of grievous 


wrong. The Duke proceeded from words to actions, and sent an 
envoy to Rome to lay the matter before Pope Nicholas II. He called 
for an interdict to be laid on England the England that had chosen 
a perjurer for king, that had expelled a Norman archbishop whom 
Rome had consecrated, that had ceased to pay the Peter's pence, 
which her pious kings of old had willingly yielded. The Pope was 
asked to bless his enterprise, and William promised, in case of suc- 
cess, to attach England more loyally and closely to the Roman See, 
and to pay again the regular dues. The moving spirit in the coun- 
cils of Rome at this time was Archdeacon Hildebrand, afterwards 
the famous and powerful Gregory the Seventh. The prospect of the 
increase of the Papal power in England was just the bait to catch 
Hildebrand, and a solemn decision was given by the Pope and the 
cardinals that England belonged to the Norman duke. A banner 
blessed by the Pope was sent to head the invasion, and a hair of St. 
Peter in a ring gave further strength to the hearts and arms of the 
faithful. Two separate envoys had previously come from William to 
Harold to remind him of his oath, but the English king replied that 
he had taken it under constraint, and that he had promised that which 
it was not in his power to perform. Then. William publicly denounced 
him as a perjurer, and proclaimed his intention of asserting his own 
rights by the sword before the year should expire. 

The clergy throughout the Continent preached up William's enter- 
The in- P r i se as one undertaken in the cause of God, and the Duke's 
vasion proclamation of reward to all who should serve him with 
prepare . S p earj SWO rd, or crossbow gathered together all the ad- 
venturers of Western Europe. They came in crowds from Anjou 
and Maine, from Brittany and Poitou, from Burgundy and Aquitaine, 
from Flanders and France. They were all inspired with the hope of 
getting land and money, of wedding English heiresses, and rising 
to the rank of "gentleman." William had at first some trouble in 
persuading his own Norman nobles to follow him to the war. They 
contended that their "knight's service" bound them only to the 
defence of their own country. They were slowly won over by the 
eloquence and craft of William's great supporter, Fitz-Osbern, sene- 
schal of Normandy, and by a judicious expenditure of gold as a helper 
in private conference with William. Throughout the spring and 
summer of 1066 the axe was ringing in the woods of northern France 
as trees were cut down to furnish vessels for the troops, and all the 
seaports of Normandy, Brittany, and Picardy were busy with the 
building and equipment. At last a fleet of nearly one thousand small 
vessels was ready, and the armament, long detained by contrary winds, 
was mustered, in the last days of September, at St. Valery on the 
Somme. Many of the craft had been forced ashore by a gale, and 
the coast was strewn with the bodies of the drowned. The Norman 
host began to murmur that Heaven was against the enterprise. They 


little knew that the north-east wind which had for a month hindered 
their passage, and the westerly gale which had driven them into St. 
Valery, had both alike been working well for the issue. 

Harold had gathered for defence the greatest naval and military 
force that had ever been known in England. The coast Harold . g 
was strongly guarded at all points where the Norman Duke doings in 
might attempt to land, and if he had not been detained En s land - 
for a month by the wind, William would have met, in August, with 
an opposition that would probably have changed the whole course of 
events. But Harold's army was mainly composed of militia or the 
general levy of soldiers, who could not long be kept from their homes. 
The farms were being left untended, and when September came, the 
host was disbanded, either to reap the later portion of the harvest, 
or to perform the usual autumn ploughing. The fleet which had 
been cruising in the Channel to intercept the Normans had also been 
obliged to disperse for the time in order to refit, and to fill up with 
fresh stores of provisions. This was the great crisis in the history 
of England, and thus did the elements work for the success of William 
of Normandy, and for the ruin of Harold, son of Godwin. 

The Norman Duke was not the only foe who was threatening the 
peace of the country. The banished Tostig, eager for revenge Th . 
on the brother who had preferred justice to the oppressed sion in the 
before the fraternal claims of the oppressor, had been ravag- Nortn - 
ing the southern coast in the spring. He then sailed off to Scotland, 
and spent part of the summer with King Malcolm. He next engaged 
the king of Norway to join him in a fresh and formidable attack on 
the north of England. Harold Hardrada was the greatest warrior of 
northern Europe in that age, and had won wide repute as a man who 
had served in the hosts of the Greek Emperors of Constantinople, had 
warred in Sicily and Africa, and seen as a pilgrim the Holy City. 
Hardrada met Tostig near the mouth of the Tyne. He had brought 
with him the most powerful fleet that ever left the Norwegian ports, 
and all the best fighting men of his country. The very north-east 
wind which had kept William on the coast of Picardy brought the 
invaders of Norway to the coast of Yorkshire. When Harold heard 
of their landing, he hurried north with the only regular force of the 
country, his lius- carls, or household troops, and gathered on the way all 
the men who were able to join him. After a severe battle at Fulford, 
near York, Earls Edwin and Morcar, the governors of Mercia and 
Northumbria, were completely defeated by the Norwegian king and 
Tostig. York opened her gates, and the whole of Yorkshire submitted 
to the invaders. Wl\en Harold of England came upon the scene, a 
desperate battle was fought at Stamford Bridge, on September 25th. 
It is remarkable that Harold won the day by the same stratagem as 
proved fatal to his men a few days later. He tempted the Norwegians, 
by a pretence of flight, to break their ranks and pursue. The English 


faced round, and a complete victory was won. Harold Hardrada and 
Tostig fell, and the slaughter of nearly all the chief nobles made it a, 
kind of " Flodden field " for Norway. 

The splendid success which had saved the north had been bought 
William's D 7 Harold at the price of fatal mischief to north and south 
landing, alike. On the morning of September 28th the Norman fleet 
arrived at Pevensey Bay in Sussex. There was no man there to oppose 
the landing, and the invaders were soon quartered within and around 
the walls of the old Roman city of Anderida, stormed by the Saxons 
under Cissa nearly six hundred years before. On the next day they 
marched along the shore to Hastings, and there an entrenched camp 
was formed. The whole country for miles inland was ravaged to pro- 
cure rations, in order to save the food brought over in the ships, and 
also to provoke Harold to risk an early encounter. 

The English king was seated at a banquet in the city of York, after 
Harold's *" s victory over the Norwegians, when a thane, who had seen 
march. the Normans land, arrived in hot haste. He had ridden day 
and night with his news of fearful import, and he was soon followed by 
a churl who had seen the invaders erecting a timber fort at Hastings. 
The king started at once for London, after sending out men in all 
directions to summon troops to his standard. He had lost many of 
his best officers and men in the fight at Stamford Bridge, and now, at 
this most critical time, he was to feel the effects of the jealous dis- 
union and the treachery which had often, in the time of Danish attacks, 
been so baneful to the interests of England. The men of Wessex and 
East Anglia came readily to join him, and many parties were picked 
up from the midland shires, as Harold sped on his way south. But 
the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria, Edwin and Morcar, who had 
just been saved from destruction by Harold's victory, left him now 
in the lurch, with the base hope that William of Normandy might 
conquer Wessex, and leave them to independent rule in the north. 
His brothers Gurth and Leofwine gave him a loyal support, and were 
at his side in the hour of peril. The king rejected the advice of some 
of his captains to lay waste the country between the Thames and the 
coast, and then await William's attack in London. It might have been 
the safer course, but Harold's blood was up, and, moreover, he could 
not bear the thought of burning the houses and ravaging the land of 
his own people. He resolved to fight a defensive battle in a position 
of his own choice, and he knew that the conflict could not be long 
delayed. The English fleet had now re-assembled, and cut off the 
invader's communications with Normandy. William's store of pro- 
visions was slender, and his only alternative was to defeat the army 
which barred his way inland, or be starved out in his intrenchments 
at Hastings and Pevensey. 

On October 13, 1066, the army of Harold was encamped near a place 
then called Senlac. From the high ground north-east of Hastings, a 


line of hills rims inland for nearly seven miles. Their course is from 
south-east to north-west, and then comes a valley. Beyond Scene of 
that rises a high ground of some extent, facing the south- o? e Hast- le 
east. This high ground was that occupied by Harold's army. ings. 
Its right was covered by marshy ground, and a part at least of the 
front was protected by a trench and palisade, and had a further defence 
of wicker-work and felled trees with their interlacing boughs. The day 
was partly passed in futile negotiations, in the course of which Harold 
declined three proposals made by his foe to resign his kingdom in 
favour of William, to refer the matter to the Pope as arbiter, or to 
meet William in single combat. Then the Norman Duke sent an offer 
to divide the country with Harold and Gurth, and, in case of that not 
being accepted, branded him as a perjurer and a liar, and threatened 
excommunication, "The Pope's bull for which," he declared, "is in my 
hands." When all was of no avail, the Duke announced at night to 
his men that he should attack on the following morning. 

The great struggle now to be described has obtained the popular name 
of Hastings, but is more fitly called the battle of Senlac, from Ttle1[ , attle 
the name of the hill on which the English force was posted. October 
The army commanded by Harold was, in the main, a motley 14> 1066 ' 
host of hasty levies, stout of heart, but many of them poorly disciplined 
and armed. The men of Kent stood in the front, for, as the Norman, 
writer tells us, " the men of Kent were entitled to strike first." The 
men of London, by the right they claimed, were guarding the king's 
body and standard. The left centre of the position, from the gentler 
slope of the ascent, was the most exposed part, and there, beside the 
royal standard, sparkling with gold and jewels, stood Harold and his 
brothers Gurth and Leofwine, with many thanes, supported by the 
hus-carls or household-troops, who were men in full armour, carrying 
heavy axes. The English mode of fighting in that age was on foot, in 
close order, with shields held in a firm wall of defence. An attack 
was met by a shower of javelins, and then, at close quarters, use was 
made of the sword drawn from the girdle, or of the great hatchet slung 
at the neck. The militia, rudely equipped with pikes and forks, and 
some few with bows and arrows, held the ground on both wings. The 
churchmen of the day were well disposed to Harold, and his ranks 
included the king's uncle, Abbot of Winchester, with twelve of his 
monks wearing armour over their gowns, and Leofric, Abbot of Peter- 
borough. Alongside the royal standard was planted the old flag of 
Wessex, with the golden dragon as emblem. The battle-cries of the 
English were "God Almighty" and "Holy Cross." Strict orders were 
given by Harold to fight only on the defensive. All would be well, he 
declared, if his men stood still and cut down every Norman who tried 
to force the barricade. 

Such was the array that, as the mist cleared, saw the Norman host 
approach at about nine o'clock on that eventful Saturday morning. 


They were inarching in three divisions along the ridge of hills beyond 
the valley at the foot of the ground held by Harold. They moved 
down to the lower ground, and there formed with a view to assault 
the English position from one end to the other. The air rang with 
trumpets, horns, and bugles as the Norman army prepared for attack. 
Of the numbers in each force we have no certain knowledge. In 
equipment and method of warfare the great advantage lay with the 
Normans. They were far better armoured, and a main part of their 
force was made up of cavalry, horse and man defended by mail, and 
the rider armed with heavy lance, sword, and mace of steel hung at 
the saddle-bow. This mounted part of the force included the Duke, 
his chief officers, and all the barons and knights. William's army 
also contained a large number of excellent archers, firing heavy arrows 
with great force from powerful bows. On the left were the men of 
Brittany, Maine, and Poitou, led by the Duke's nephew, a Breton 
noble named Alain. On the right were the hired troops and adven- 
turers from Picardy and other provinces. The leader of this wing 
was a famous Norman hero named Roger de Montgomeri. The centre, 
composed of the Norman mail-clad knights and barons, with their men- 
at-arms, and the Norman armoured foot, was led by the Duke himself, 
riding a powerful Spanish steed. By his side rode his half-brothers, 
Robert, and Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, the latter armed only with a mace, 
as fighting priests were not allowed to slay with either sword or spear. 
Close at hand, a knight carried the holy banner sent by the Pope. 

The battle began with volleys of Norman arrows, followed by the 
advance of the armoured foot, in whose rear came the horsemen. In 
front of all rode a minstrel and jester named Taillefer, who'had gained 
leave from William to strike the first blow, He came on, singing of 
Charlemagne and Roland, and of the paladins and peers who died in 
fight at Roncesvalles ; then, putting his horse to the gallop, he struck 
an Englishman dead, pierced through by the lance ; then he laid on 
another with his sword, but was soon hemmed in and slain. The Nor- 
man host pressed on at all points, with shouts of " Dex aide" or " God 
lielp us" and a furious battle arose along the front of the barricade 
The utmost courage and efforts of the enemy could nowhere force an 
entrance against the English defenders. Every man who came within 
reach was cut down by their axes. Hour after hour the contest raged, 
and no impression was made by the assailants. In vain did the Norman 
archers fire their volleys of arrows. The English shields repelled them 
all, and the lines of the assailants, at one time, turned and fled, rashly 
pursued by some of the English. A cry arose among the Normans 
that the Duke was killed, but he pulled off his helmet to show his face, 
crying, " I live, and by God's help I will win the day." William and Odo 
then rallied their men, and the pursuing English were severely handled 
before they regained their place on the hill. It is hard to elicit the 
truth from confused and conflicting accounts, but it seems that an 


English charge at one time drove back the Norman horse upon a ditch 
or fosse which crossed the plain. Men and horses were rolling over, 
and much slaughter of the enemy was made. The Norman Duke re- 
formed his men for another determined assault on the post held by 
Harold and his best troops. Again and again William had tried to 
force his way to the standard and meet the king face to face. In this 
new attack he came so near that Gurth killed the Duke's horse with a 
javelin, and then William pressed forward on foot, and slew Gurth in 
a hand-to-hand encounter. Earl Leofwine was the next English leader 
to fall, and Roger de Montgomeri, with the troops on the right, cut 
down with swords and hatchets a part of the English barricade. 
Harold and his men, however, still made so desperate a defence that 
the Normans again withdrew, and then William gave the order for the 
famous pretended flight which mainly secured him the victory. Another 
assault was made, and when the Normans turned, a large part of the 
English rushed out in pursuit. The line was at last broken, and the 
hill at many points was left without defence. The Norman horse 
charged up the slope, but again the brave Harold formed his men with 
their wall of shields, and the English axes still did great execution. 
At many parts of the field, a confused fight of single combats and small 
parties was now going on, with varied success. It was no lost battle 
yet, and, while Harold lived, none could say that the English would 
not win the day. The twilight was coming on, after nearly nine hours 
of conflict, when a device of the Duke's invention brought a sudden 
turn in the fortunes of the fight. The Norman archers began to fire 
in the air, so that the arrows fell like hail on the heads of the troops 
round Harold. Some were pierced in the neck and face, and all were 
driven to hold the shield above the head, so as to expose the body, and 
prevent the free use of the axe. At last the English king, as he moved 
his shield aside to make a blow with his axe, had his right eye pierced 
by an arrow. In the agony of his wound, he plucked at the shaft and 
broke it off, and then fell helpless between the royal standard and the 
Dragon-flag of Wessex. With a furious cry of joy a score of Norman 
knights rushed on to grasp the standard, but most were at once cut 
down. The royal banner was beaten down by the survivors, and the 
Dragon was borne off. Harold, as he lay on the ground, was killed 
with several strokes, and the last hope of the English was gone. Even 
then the stubborn English courage which has given splendour, in rare 
defeat and in many a final victory, to our hard-fought battles, held out 
against the Normans. The royal guard died, as it seems, to the last 
man ; the Abbot of Winchester and his twelve monks perished, and 
Abbot Leofric of Peterborough only left the field when disabled for 
fighting by a wound, of which he soon afterwards died within the walls 
of his own abbey. The remnant of the English at last dispersed, and 
even in flight caused much loss to the Norman horse by enticing them 
on, here to steep, and there to swampy ground, where many broke 


their necks, or were choked in the marsh, or fell by the hand of the 

The conquering Norman Duke had fought like a hero throughout the 
day. He had lost three horses killed under him, and could show his 
shield and helmet dinted in by blows. He ate and drank at night 
among the dead, and slept upon the scene of action. He had gained 
one of the great and decisive battles of history, after a struggle 
honourable to victors and vanquished alike, in which the leaders had 
shown the utmost skill and valour, and had been supported by the 
finest courage and endurance in the men whom they led. It was fought 
out to the very end, and it was worthy of its great and far-reaching 
political and social results. The old historian Daniel well sums up 
this momentous event : " Thus was tried, by the great assize of God's 
judgment in battle, the right of power between the English and Norman 
nations ; a battle the most memorable of all others, and, however 
miserably lost, yet most nobly fought on the part of England." Two 
years later, William founded an abbey on the ground where Harold 
and the standards had been posted during the day. The old name of 
Senlac was changed, arid the foundation was called L'A b baye de la Bataille, 
whence we have the modern Battle Abbey and the little town called 

The body of the English king had been much disfigured by blows 
inflicted after death by the fury of his slayers, and it was with some 
difficulty that it was found on the day after the battle. Two of 
the monks of Waltham Abbey, which Harold had founded not long 
before his election to the throne, had followed him to the battle, and 
they begged his corpse for burial in his own minster at Waltham. 
Harold's mother, Gytha, widow of Godwin, joined in this request, with 
the offer of the body's weight in gold for its ransom. The Duke re- 
fused to allow a perjured and excommunicated man to be buried in holy 
ground, and for a time the body lay on the sea-coast at Pevensey under 
a great cairn of stones. At a later date, after his coronation, William 
permitted its removal to Waltham, where the tomb could be seen until 
the dissolution of the monastery in 1540. The place was then pulled 
down, and the monument of the brave Harold vanished from mortal 
view amid the destructions and desecrations of the time. 




Coronation of William I. English revolts. Completion of the conquest. Effects 
of the conquest on English institutions and character. 

THE fall of Harold and his brothers had decided the fate of England. 
There was no man left to lead the brave and stubborn 
islanders in effective resistance to the victor of Serilac field. qj| s tcom- 
Nearly five years were to pass away before the conquest of fi^Jt. 
the country was complete, but there was no pitched battle, 
and no general opposition made by the whole nation in arms. The 
ungrateful traitors Edwin and Morcar, on hearing of Harold's death, 
came up to London, and found the people not prepared to acknowledge 
that the foreign winner of one field should be the king of England. 
There was in their midst the lineal descendant of their ancient kings, 
Edgar the .ZEtheling, grandson of Edmund Ironside. The Archbishops, 
Ealdred of York and Stigand of Canterbury, joined Edwin and Morcar 
in calling together some of the surviving members of the Witan. The 
assembly, backed by the citizens of London, chose the young Edgar as 
king, but he was never crowned, and his position from the first was 
that of a mere puppet. 

The Norman Duke, after the battle, took steps to secure his position 
in the south-east of the country. While he was encamped at William s 
Hastings, he heard that a portion of his army which had march to 
landed at Romney had been attacked by the people of the London - 
place, and driven off with much loss. Stern measures were needful, 
and he marched in force to Romney, and made much havoc among the 
townsmen as a punishment. The next point of attack was Dover, 
where a strong castle stood on the cliff. The garrison surrendered at 
once, but the town was fired by the Normans, and nruch damage was 
done. The Duke showed his wisdom in paying the owners for the loss 
caused by his troops. He claimed the throne of England as his right, 
and, while he had severely punished those who had opposed him at 
Romney, he treated as loyal subjects the submissive men of Dover. 
There was much sickness among his men, and he waited for reinforce- 
ments from Normandy. Then he marched inland, along the Watling 
Street, towards London. The people of Canterbury opened their gates, 
but the Duke's advance was now delayed for some weeks by his own 
illness. During this time the Lady Edith, widow of Edward the Con- 
fessor and sister of Harold, made her submission to the Norman Duke, 


and agreed to pay him tribute for her dower-city of Winchester. The 
next move was straight to London, where his advance-guard of five 
hundred horse drove off some of the citizens, and burned, on the south 
side of the river, the suburb or outwork called Southwark. The people 
of London saw the flames with dismay, and the arch-traitors, Edwin 
and Morcar, were already planning another crime of cowardly desertion 
of duty. As William had no vessels by which to cross the river, he led 
his army up the south bank as far as Wallingford, where he crossed 
without resistance at either the ford or the bridge. He then moved on 
into Hertfordshire, and pitched his camp at Berkhamstead, with the 
view of cutting off the two Earls from the north. Edwin and Morcar 
at once hurried away with their forces, and left their young king and 
the men of London to their fate. They may have still thought that 
the kingship of Wessex would satisfy William, and that they would 
thus divide the country with him. How they fared will be shortly 
seen. They enjoy the rare distinction of having been faithless to four 
successive kings Edward the Confessor, Harold, son of Godwin, Edgar 
yEtheling, and William the Norman. 

There was nothing left now for the people of the south but to submit. 
Stigand and Mildred gave in their adhesion to William, and then the 
chief nobles and the young Edgar came to his camp and acknowledged 
his authority. Other bishops and many thanes, with the chief citizens 
of London, also swore oaths of allegiance, and thus, by such a show 
of consent from the semblance of a Wiian, the Duke of Normandy be- 
came king of England. He was anointed and crowned by Archbishop 
^]ldred on Christmas day, 1066, in the new church of the late King 
Edward, called the West Minster. He received soon afterwards the 
submission of other chief nobles who had not been present at his coro- 
nation, including Edwin and Morcar. Harold's standard was sent to 
the Pope, with other gifts of value, and rich presents were made to 
the churches and religious houses of Normandy, where the clergy and 
monks had offered prayers for the success of William's arms. 

The position of the new king of England was one of great difficulty. 
William's ^ ie vicfaoij at Senlac was riot the conquest of the realm. He 
early had to satisfy the greed of his followers, and also to win, if he 
could, the affection of his new subjects. The estates of the 
crown were his, and he had confiscated the possessions of all the family 
of Harold, and of those nobles and thanes who had fought against him 
in the great battle near Hastings. It is said that he claimed from the 
first, by right of conquest, possession of all the public land (/0Zc-7am/), and 
also of all the estates of the conquered. It is certain, however, that the 
lands, in many cases, were either left from the first in the hands of 
their owners, or were returned to them upon submission, or on payment 
of a fine or a sum of money for purchase. In fact, only the southern 
part of England was yet at his disposal, and it was needful to be wary, 
and give no wanton provocation. Edgar ^Etheling was kindly received 


at court, and other nobles were welcomed as they came to give in their 
adhesion. Peace and order were restored, trade resumed its activity, 
and no change of the laws and customs of the realm was made. The 
liberties and privileges of London and other cities were maintained by 
royal writ. But, with all these wise proceedings, the king could not, 
from the very nature of his position, resist the employment of a stronger 
arm of government than mere conciliation. It was at this time that 
arose the beginning of the venerable fortress, hereafter to become also 
a palace and a prison, known to all the world as the Tower of London. 
Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, was the architect of the castle now 
known as "the Keep" or "the White Tower," which was built by 
William's order to overawe the chief city. Like fortresses were built 
at Winchester, Hereford, and other important places, and Normans 
were put in command of these and other strongholds. William Fitz- 
Osbern, as lieutenant of the south, lived in the castle of Winchester, 
and Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, was at Dover Castle, as governor of Kent. 
The title of Conqueror, which was now given to William, did not 
involve the modern sense of the forcible subjection of a people. It 
simply meant "an acquirer," whether by bequest of property or by 
purchase, or in any other way apart from regular inheritance. William 
had always said that Edward, the late king, had left the crown to him, 
and so he became its " conqueror " in a legal sense. Later events made 
the first Norman king William the Conqueror in the popular meaning. 
The conduct of the new ruler, on his assumption of power, had already 
begun to give confidence and hope to the English people, and quiet was 
maintained as long as the king was present to control his Norman 

In the spring of 1067, William took ship at Pevensey, in order to 
keep the festival of Easter in his own country of Normandy, wmiam 
The rule of the south of England was left in the hands of j*2g. 
Fitz-Osbern and Odo, and, in order to lighten their work, begin- ' 
some of the chief Englishmen were taken over the Channel troubles, 
in the king's train. They would thus at once swell the pomp 1067-1068. 
of the victor by the splendour of their equipage, and be hostages in his 
hands for the peace of the country which they were quitting. Among 
these leading men were Edgar the .^Etheling, the Earls Edwin and 
Morcar, Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury, and Waltheof, son of 
Si ward. This last noble had been created Earl, in 1065, of the shires 
of Northampton and Huntingdon, and he became, through David I. of 
Scotland, an ancestor of our royal line. The festival was kept at Fecamp 
with great splendour, and the Norman historian, William of Poitiers, 
who was present on the occasion, tells us of the admiration excited 
by the English nobles for their graceful persons, flowing hair, silver 
plate, and rich embroideries. The summer and autumn were passed 
by the king in the administration of his Norman affairs, and then evil 
tidings brought him back in haste to England. The Normans there 


had taken advantage of their master's absence to let loose their evil 
passions upon the conquered people. Odo and Eitz-Osbern paid no 
heed to the constant complaints of robbery and of gross insult and 
wrong inflicted on men and women alike. The tyranny of the con- 
querors drove many of the best and bravest English into exile. The 
Anglo-Saxon of Kent and East Anglia became the Varangian of 
Constantinople. Varangians (a term supposed to mean confederates) 
was a name given first to the Norwegian vikings, and then applied to 
those Saxon and Danish exiles who entered, a.s household-guards, the 
service of the Greek Emperor at Constantinople. These men had 
quitted their country for ever, but other Englishmen were looking for 
deliverance to themselves or to foreign aid. Sweyn, king of Denmark, 
was invited to come and re-possess the land of which Cnut had been 
king. The people of the south-west rose in arms, and, with the help 
of the men of Wales, held out against Fitz-Osbern. William left the 
rule of Normandy to his queen Matilda and his son Robert, and sailed 
from Dieppe for Winchelsea on December 6, 1067. He kept his 
Christmas in London, and then prepared to take the field in force, and 
act with vigour against all who opposed his sway. 

In the four years which succeeded his return from Normandy, the 
William's sub j ection f tne English people was completed. We are 
char- henceforth to see a dark change in the moral aspect of this 
great man. At the same time our admiration for his intellec- 
tual power, for his skill as a statesman and a soldier, will rise higher 
than ever. None but a man like him could have mastered both 
conquerors and conquered, and have made his will the only law for 
Englishmen and Normans alike. Both conspire and rebel against 
him, and the king holds his own against revolters at home and 
invaders from abroad. He quells all opposition by fire and sword, 
but, when order is once restored, he allows none other to disturb it. 
To chastise the robber by any means, by any punishment however 
merciless, was then held to be the first duty of a ruler, and William 
fulfilled it well. No man who was not of the greatest of mankind 
could have passed with success through such a career as that of 
William, but we shall now see in full play the unscrupulous and cruel 
part of his character. He never appears as one of the hateful tyrants 
who delight in oppression and injustice for their own sakes, but he 
stuck at no injustice or oppression which was needful to carry out his 
purpose. His will was fixed to keep the crown of England at all 
hazards and at all cost, and he was driven by opposition and revolt 
into the establishment and exercise of one of the most tremendous 
tyrannies on record. Oppression, exaction, and confiscation make up 
much of the history of the time. He could be merciful when mercy 
was not dangerous, but he could shed innocent blood without remorse 
if its shedding seemed to add safety to his throne. The repeated 
revolts of the harmless Edgar ^Etheling are forgiven as often as they 


occur, but Waltheof, caressed, flattered, and promoted, is sent to the 
scaffold on the first convenient pretext, because he is held to be 
dangerous. From that hour, we shall see the first Norman king's 
prosperity forsake him, and he passes through ignoble quarrels with 
his son, and petty, inglorious warfare, to a lonely bed of death from 
an injury caused by his own savage cruelty. The four eventful years 
in which William completed the subjugation of the English fill us 
with wonder at the surpassing energy of the man. He is in his forty- 
second year, capable of enduring the most severe fatigue, regardless 
of seasons or weather ; marching with unheard-of swiftness from south 
to north, and west to east; leaving the high-roads to lead his men 
by shorter paths over barren mountains and through dangerous fords ; 
always fearless and self-confident. At the Christmas of 1067 he is 
feasting in London. In those days the climate of England then 
covered with thick forests and dreary marshes, and intersected by 
rivers that often overflowed their banks was far colder in the winter 
and spring than in the cultivated England of our day. Yet in Janu- 
ary his army is before Exeter, a walled city which had been growing 
great since the days of Athelstan. In eighteen days, after a stout 
defence, the place surrendered, and was saved from pillage, but hence- 
forth was held by a garrison. Cornwall made no resistance, and the 
king returned to keep Easter (1068) at Winchester. At Whitsuntide 
his queen, Matilda, who had now for the first time come over from 
Normandy, was crowned in that capital of the south. She had 
brought with her the famous Bayeux tapestry, wrought by the hands 
of herself and her ladies, as a picture-history of the great events of 
the time. It is a roll of brownish linen, two hundred and fourteen 
feet in length, and twenty inches broad. It is worked in coloured 
thread with figures and letters perfectly bright and distinct, as may 
still be seen in the Hotel-de-Yille of Bayeux. Odo, the Bishop of 
Bayeux, is supposed to have presented it to the cathedral of the town, 
where it was discovered in 1728. This valuable relic of mediaeval art 
supplies several details of the invasion of England by William which 
are not found in the chroniclers, and gives an exact picture of Norman 
manners and garb. 

When Edwin the Earl had gone in William's train to Normandy, he 
saw and loved at Rouen one of the king's daughters, and Tlie great 
her father had promised to give him her hand in marriage, revolts of 
It has been thought that the Norman nobles looked upon 1061 
such an alliance as debasing to a civilised lady. In their eyes the 
Englishman was a barbarian, and, though the Norman might well 
marry the Englishwoman, if she had beauty or wealth, it was a 
dangerous precedent to allow the Englishman to marry the Norman 
woman, and that woman a princess. From whatever motive, William, 
in 1068, refused to fulfil his promise, and allow the marriage to take 
place, and Edwin and Morcar left the court of Westminster in wrath. 


They summoned the English and Welsh to their standard, and sent 
messengers in every direction to rouse the people to rebellion. Gos- 
patric, Earl of Northumbria, beyond the Tyne, and Malcolm, king of 
Scotland, were ready to give help. The provinces beyond the Humber 
were the first to rise, but the prompt vigour of the king put down the 
insurrection before it became general. He marched northwards into 
the heart of the Midlands, and Edwin and Morcar dared not face him 
in the field. Then York was taken, and Gospatric, with the zEtheling 
Edgar, and his mother and his sisters, Margaret and Christina, fled to 
the court of Malcolm, where they were received with much kindness. 
The sons of Harold had landed on the western coast, but were driven 
back to Ireland. In 1069 a far more formidable effort was made 
against the Normans. Bobert de Comines, a Norman baron, had been 
made Earl of Durham, and held the bishop's palace and the city with 
a body of five hundred men. In the stillness of night, the English 
assembled in great force outside the town, and, bursting in before day- 
break, they fired the palace and slew nearly all the Norman garrison. 
The people of York then rose upon the Norman holders of the city. 
The king again took the field in person, and this premature rising was 
put down with great slaughter. Amid the troubles of the time, the 
queen, Matilda, had given birth to a prince at Winchester, who after- 
wards became Henry I. She now returned to Normandy, and was 
safe from the worse evils which were to come. Sweyn, king of Den- 
mark, became a chief ally in the cause of freedom. He had for two 
years been preparing for invasion, and the appearance in the Hum- 
ber, in August, of a powerful Danish armament was the signal for 
a general revolt in the north, the west, and the south-west of the 
country. Edgar yEtheling and Gospatric came from Scotland to join 
the Danes, and the whole army marched on York. A new Norman 
castle had been erected there, and a garrison of three thousand 
Normans held that and the town, under the command of a knight 
named William Malet. Archbishop ^Eldred was there, his heart filled 
with anxiety for the issue of affairs. Malet declared that he would 
hold out to the last, and that the castle could never be taken, nor the 
walls of the town forced by men without engines. ./Eldred, however, 
well knew the temper of the townsfolk, and feared for what they 
might do. Malet had just sent forth a messenger to ride to the king, 
and tell him that the Normans could hold York for a year, if needful, 
when the enemy's masses came rushing up in columns at every gate of 
the city. The townsmen rose, attacked and overcame the Norman 
guards, and flung one of the gates open. A wave of helmets, spears, 
and axes came surging down the street, and Malet sent his men out 
en masse, with orders to clear the place. It was a brave act, but a 
fatal mistake. The Norman soldiers were hampered in the narrow 
streets, and the houses, closed against them, were held by the English 
and Danes. A shower of missiles from above and around, and the 


attacks in front and rear of overwhelming numbers, slew the greater 
part of the Normans. A poor remnant escaped to the castle, where 
they were closely besieged by the enemy. Then the Normans, in their 
rage, shot fire into the wooden houses. The Archbishop died of grief, 
as the flames were spreading through the city, and, on the eighth day 
of the fire, the Minster itself was alight over his new-made grave. 
The town was reduced to ruin, and Malet, with the few remaining 
men-at-arms, made his escape by night. 

William was hunting in the Forest of Dean when the terrible news 
arrived. He swore that not a Northumbrian should escape William's 
his vengeance, and started for the north with a great army, success. 
But with force and anger he joined craft and cool policy. He sent 
agents amongst the Danish chiefs, to try the power of gold, and their 
men soon retired to their ships and sailed away. The English fell 
back to the Tyne, and, after much delay caused by swollen rivers, the 
king and his army entered the abandoned remains of York, where 
the festival of Christmas (1069) was kept. The insurgents of the 
south-west, where the men of Somerset, Devon, and Dorset had come 
in swarms round Exeter, were repressed by William Fitz-Osbern, and 
the Welsh on the westerly border of the midlands had been already 
put down by the king. Waltheof and Gospatric submitted, and 
Edgar ^theling again sought refuge with Malcolm of Scotland, who 
soon afterwards married Edgar's sister Margaret. She was a woman 
of admirable character and culture, who did much to civilise the Scots. 
She became the mother of Matilda, whose marriage with Henry I. 
united the English and Norman royal lines. 

In the early spring of 1070, William issued his orders for the 
wasting of the whole country between the Humber and Events of 
the Tees. Every living man was to be destroyed, and every 107 - 
article that could help to sustain life. Houses were to be burnt, the 
implements of husbandry to be broken up, and the whole land made 
a desert. In the famine which came thereafter, it is believed that one 
hundred thousand innocent persons perished. This ruthless deed has 
been regarded both as an act of mere vengeance and terrorism, and as 
a military measure of precaution against the invasions of the Danes 
and the Scots. So completely did the commanders of the separate 
divisions of troops carry out the king's orders, that, when the survey 
for Domesday-book was completed, fourteen years later, the lands of 
all the lords, and of the sees of Durham and York, were entered in 
the record as wasta laid waste. The chronicler William of Malmes- 
b'ury, writing half a century afterwards, tells us that " the ground for 
more than sixty miles remains bare to the present day." 

The king then turned to the west, to make an end of resistance 
and revolt on the northern border of Wales. In March he complete 
led his army to Chester, and his conduct on this expedition conquest 
displayed the character of the man. The weather encountered was 


fearful, and hardship amid the snows and rains, on hills and moors, 
with scanty food that drove the troops to eat their horse-flesh, brought 
the men to the verge of mutiny. Some of the mercenaries from 
Brittany and Anjou were sent home, and William pressed on with 
the Normans who were faithful. In every difficulty, he showed the 
indomitable energy and vigour of his body and spirit, and his arrival 
at Chester quelled the last hopes of the revolt. The bulk of the land 
was now thoroughly subdued, and the work next taken in hand was 
the erection, at all commanding points, of the strong stone castles 
which are still the most vivid memorials of the time. At Oxford, 
Nottingham, Warwick, Stafford, Shrewsbury, and Cambridge, and at 
many another borough doomed for a time to feel the Norman power, 
rose a castle, with its tall square tower or keep within, its bailey 
around, and all the appliances of the science and art of fortification, 
of which Dane and Saxon were alike ignorant. The general insur- 
rection against Norman power had now rendered a large part of the 
lands of English lords liable to confiscation, and they passed by the 
king's gift into the hands of Normans and other foreigners. William 
also began to make great changes among the holders of office, and 
many posts, both civil and ecclesiastical, were now held by Normans 
instead of Englishmen. At Easter, 1070, three legates from the Pope 
presided at a council of prelates and abbots held at Winchester. 
Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, was deprived of his high office, and 
the learned and able Lanfranc became primate in his place. Most of 
the other English bishops were by degrees replaced by Normans, and 
Norman monks took possession of the monasteries and expelled the 
Saxon clergy. We are not to suppose that all the Norman barons and 
clergy were men of mere greed and oppression. The spirit of Chris- 
tianity had some power over the evil of the age. When Ingulphus, 
one of the king's secretaries, became head of the rich Abbey of Croy- 
land, in the south of Lincolnshire, in 1076, he behaved with a brotherly 
kindness to his ejected predecessor. Many of the Norman bishops and 
abbots stood between the conquerors and the people, to mitigate 
oppression and to save the property of the Church for charitable uses 
from the grasp of private rapacity. If the wicked and cruel Ivo 
Taillebois, a Norman lord in the fen-country, hunted the conquered 
English like wild swine, another baron of the same parts enclosed 
the marshes of Deeping, shut out the overflowings of the Welland by 
a great embankment, and made a waste of impassable bogs into a 
pleasure-garden of fertile fields. Such were some of the healing 
influences of a time of trouble and wrong. 

The restless Edwin and Morcar joined in a last English struggle 

The last made in 1071. Edwin was killed, in some obscure way, on 

He?e g ward, ^f s journey to Scotland, where he would again have sought 

aid from King Malcolm. Morcar fled to the camp of refuge 

of Here ward in the Isle of Ely. This hero of romance, styled " the 

1071 A.D.] HEREWARD THE WAKE. <>r> 

last of the English," had called around him there the bold spirits of 
the time, and made a final and most determined stand against the 
subjugators of his country. He drove away from Peterborough the 
foreign abbot and his monks, and repulsed again and again Ivo 
Taillebois and large bodies of Normans. The district which he held 
was then really an island, amid a waste of morasses and reed -beds. 
The gallant Englishman, a man of rank, who had returned from a 
long exile to defend his patrimonial lands against the conquerors, had 
the honour of drawing to the scene of action the greatest general of 
the age. No inferior man to William himself, and he only by the 
exertion of his utmost energy and skill, could subdue this last brilliant 
effort of the champions of English freedom. The king gathered a 
large naval force in the Wash, and blockaded every arm of the sea 
that was an inlet to the fens. Wherever a road led into the district, 
he closed all access by his troops. The camp of Hereward was en- 
trenched in the midst of waters, in some places stagnant and thick 
with reeds, in others swiftly running, but in all places dangerous for 
the passage either of horse or foot. The assailant began the build- 
ing of a great causeway, but at every pile which the workmen drove, 
Hereward came suddenly upon them, and the work made slow progress. 
After a blockade of three months, William was helped to subdue Here- 
ward by treachery. The monks of Ely began to feel the scarcity of 
wheaten bread and fresh meat, and they made terms with the king 
for the discovery of a passage into the fens. The Norman troops 
entered the isle and occupied the monastery, and finally stormed the 
entrenchments. Hereward escaped to his own lands, and long kept up 
a guerilla warfare, but his after-fate is uncertain. Morcar became a 
prisoner, and died long afterwards in Normandy. Edgar the yEtheling 
submitted, and lived in quiet as a pensioner at Bouen. Malcolm oi' 
fScotland gave way only when William, at the head of his whole force, 
marched northwards to the Tay. He then came into camp and swore 
faith as William's vassal -king. The work was done at last, and the 
Norman conquest, in its outward form of military possession and sub- 
jection, was finished after five years of fitful warfare and resistance. 

For a century and a half after the Norman Conquest, there is, in the 
proper sense, no English history. England becomes, for the Effects of 
time, annexed to the Norman dominions of her foreign kings. Norman 
The Conqueror and his descendants to the fourth generation Con( l uest - 
were not Englishmen. They were mostly born in France : there they 
passed the greater part of their lives : they spoke a foreign language, 
and almost every high office in their gift was held by foreigners. The 
more territory the foreign kings of England acquired in France, the 
more estranged they became from their dominions on this side of the 
Channel, and if they had succeeded in becoming rulers of all France, 
the whole future of these islands might have been changed. The total 
loss of territory in France under the worst of these alien monarchs was 


the turning-point in our history. Thenceforth the Norman nobles had 
to choose between England and France as their home, and, as they 
finally settled down in the country where their chief material interests 
lay in the shape of their lands, their castles, and their retainers, they 
became English in feeling, in language, and in all their aspirations and 
hopes. By intermarriage of the races the Norman element became by 
degrees blended with the English, and thus a great people was formed, 
with all its national peculiarities of character, and our forefathers 
became what we are, a nation of islanders, not merely in geographical 
position, but in politics, feelings, and manners. Two hundred years 
after the Conquest, the amalgamation of the races was all but com- 
plete, and the English nation was at last formed by the mixture of 
three branches of the Teutonic family of mankind with each other 
and with the aboriginal Britons. We have dealt with all the other 
elements in their places, and have now to consider what were the 
effects of the Norman Conquest upon the land and the people whom 
the foreigners subdued, and by whom the foreigners were finally ab- 
sorbed. The temporary effect was bad, the ultimate and permanent 
results were highly beneficial. Even from the first, good was effected 
in the enforcement of political unity. There was an end of the 
jealousies and struggles of provincial rulers against each other and 
against the crown. William the First and several of his successors 
were strong men, who kept the barons in check, and maintained an 
internal peace which was of great benefit to the country. We have, 
indeed, for a time, the spectacle of two nations, as it were, living side 
by side on the same soil, a nation of conquerors and a nation of con- 
quered people. They keep aloof from each other, the one in haughty 
scorn, the other in sullen abhorrence. There is no animosity worse than 
that of nations which, morally separated, are yet locally intermingled. 
On the one side we have, for a long time after the Norman conquest, 
the race of the rich and the idle, men of the army and of the court, 
knights and nobles, and dames of high degree. On the other part 
we see the poor and serving English, vexed by heavy dues, men of 
pain and labour, small farmers and artisans. On the one side are 
luxury and insolence, on the other misery and envy not the envy of 
the poor at the sight of opulence to which they cannot attain, but the 
envy of the despoiled in presence of the despoilers. The Norman Con- 
quest planted far and wide, as a dominant class in the land, a mar- 
tial nobility of the bravest and most energetic race that ever existed 
in modern times. They came at first as oppressors. A hundred and 
fifty years pass away, and the descendants of these " iron barons " are 
English nobles, who stand forth as the champions of freedom for every 
class of the nation, and, sword in hand, extort the nation's rights from 
the vilest of tyrannical kings. It is thus in a large measure true 
that England owes her liberties to her having been conquered by the 
Normans. The Saxon institutions were indeed the primitive cradle of 


English liberty, but by their own intrinsic force they might never have 
founded the free English constitution, The Conquest infused a new 
virtue into those institutions, and the political liberties of England 
arose from the situation in which the English and the Norman popu- 
lations found themselves placed in this island relatively to each other, 
They had a common interest against a common foe in the person of an 
evil ruler who sought to plunder and oppress them both, and they com- 
bined to wring, from the wickedness of John and from the weakness 
of his son Henry, first the Great Charter, and then the germ of the 
House of Commons. The latest conquerors of this country were also 
the bravest and the best. It was not merely by extreme valour and 
ready subordination to military discipline that the Normans were pre- 
eminent among all the conquering races of the Gothic stock, but also 
by their instinctive faculty of appreciating and adopting the superior 
civilisation which they encountered. They thus became the foremost 
race of the mediaeval world, and though the brilliant qualities of their 
chivalrous character were sullied by pride, cruelty, craft, and contempt 
for the rights and feelings of those whom they held to be people of a 
lower class than themselves, they must be considered, on the whole, as 
noble specimens of mankind. Their gradual blending with the English 
softened these harsh and evil points of their national character, and in 
return they fired the duller English mass with a new spirit of animation 
and power. One of our great lyric poets has declared that the Normans 
" high-mettled the blood of our veins," and this witness is true. The 
field of Senlac, won with glory and lost with honour, was the first 
step by which England was led towards her height of greatness and 



Norman feudality. The conquerors and the conquered. The new Councils. The 
legal and financial systems. The Church of England. Domesday Book. Nor- 
man way of life. The Forest Laws. 

FEUDALISM, or the feudal system, was the most strongly marked 
feature of society during the Middle Ages, and the comple- Norman 
tion of the system in England, in its peculiar Norman form, jjjjj* 11 " 
is one of the chief facts connected with the Conquest. It (i.) Feu- 
was of mingled Eoman and Teutonic origin. The Roman *&** 
government used to grant possession of lands, in the military colo- 
nies or settlements, on condition of military service. The Teutonic 
tribes had the custom of men following a chief as their personal lord. 
The warriors who went with him to fight against other chieftains, 



or to make forays on the lands of neighbouring tribes, devoted their 
lives to his service, and were ever ready to meet his summons to 
the field. In the earliest times, these companions, called in German 
Gesellen, whence comes the mediaeval Latin ^ vasallm, received no pay 
except their arms, horses, and provisions, with a share of booty made 
in garments, arms, furniture, and slaves. When the Roman Empire 
broke up under the invasions of Teutonic tribes, and vast territories 
were conquered by their inroads, large districts fell into the hands 
of the chiefs, and they gave certain portions of the territory to their 
followers, to enjoy the possession for life. These estates were called 
beneficia, and in these we have the first fiefs, feuds, or fees, which 
were the basis of the feudal system. A fee, feud, or fief was a piece 
of land held on certain conditions, which always included that of 
doing military service when required. The holder of the fief was 
his lord's man or vassal, liegeman or retainer, and the feudal lord was 
his suzerain or liege. As the son of a vassal commonly devoted him- 
self to his father's lord, he received the father's fief on his death, and 
thus between the ninth and eleventh centuries fiefs became hereditary. 
The system was extended to the Church, and bishops and abbots held 
fiefs from the king, the right of succession belonging to those who 
succeeded the last holders in their ecclesiastical office. The feudal lords, 
barons, or tenants-in-chief, who held their lands directly from the 
king, made grants of land in turn to under-tenants, also called their 
vassals, on the like condition of military service. This feudal militia 
was the predecessor of the modern standing army, and it was the only 
means at the king's disposal for maintaining order in his dominions 
or for waging war against foreign foes. The vassals who held lands 
under a baron or tenant- in-chief could, in turn, sublet portions of 
land to inferior vassals, and thus there was a system of concentric 
circles of landholders, each under the influence of the next inner circle, 
and all moving in theory around a common centre, the king, as the 
supreme feudal lord. By the eleventh century, the whole of France 
and the German Empire had thus become one vast feudal possession. 
The system was well suited to the maintenance of right and privilege 
against the power of the crown. It ensured to a brave and free 
nobility, when the people were poor and disunited, the support, in 
a moment of need, of a powerful military force, and this fact had, 
in England, a most important effect upon the development of the 
liberties of the whole nation. Besides his claim to military service, 
the feudal lord had other rights and privileges touching the time and 
money of his vassal, in the shape of service from him as assessor in 
his courts, of various fines and payments, and of confiscation of his 
lands for crime. A great source of profit was laid open to him in 
the fact that he held the wardship of all minors, and the right of 
disposal of heiresses in marriage. The vassal could in his turn claim 
protection from the feudal lord in case he were attacked. When the 


tenant was invested with possession of his feud or fief, he acknow- 
ledged his dependence on his lord in a ceremony called homage (from 
homo), by which he declared himself to be his lord's man for help 
and service. An oath of fealty or fidelity was taken by the vassal 
in a kneeling posture. He wore no spurs or sword, and placed 
his hands between those of his lord while he repeated the words of 
the oath. It is an error to suppose that the Norman Conquest was 
the first introduction of feudalism into England. We have seen that 
an approach to the system had already been made in the status both 
of the thanes and ceorls, holding land with liability to service; the 
thanes from the king, as officers of his armed force, and the free 
farmers, or ceorls, as fief-holders under a lord, to whom service was 
rendered in place of rent. 

The Conquest had made the king the supreme lord and owner of 
all the land, and most of the manors were bestowed upon Norman 
the Normans. The whole territory of the kingdom was fjjjjjj? 1 
divided into 60,215 fiefs? of which half were granted to the ism. 
king's civil and military servants and followers, and half reserved 
for the crown and the Church. The possessors of these fiefs were 
required to equip and support a number of heavy-armed horsemen, 
in proportion to the size of the estate. The term of free service, 
without pay, was forty days in the year, There were about 1400 
tenants-in-chief, or great vassals, of the crown, including the monasteries 
and other religious foundations. They were absolute proprietors of 
the land, which, in the words of the royal ordinance, was granted 
to them in fee, with right of inheritance. All their sub-vassals had 
the same right of holding in perpetuity. The estate, however, re- 
verted to the crown, if the race of the original feoffee, or first holder, 
became extinct, arid this reversion was called an escheat. Forfeiture 
to the crown also occurred in cases of treason or of felony, the proper 
meaning of which is, a refusal to perform feudal service, or any other 
violation of the vassal's sworn fealty. The tenure of their lands by 
the tenants in capite or tenant s-in-chirf, who held immediately of the 
king, was known as Imight-service, and every estate of ^20 yearly 
value was considered as a knight's fee, and bound to furnish one 
mounted soldier or man-at-arms. The peculiarity of the Norman 
system of feudality one of great importance was, that the vassals 
of the great barons, or tenants-in-chief, were required to take an oath 
of allegiance, not only to their immediate feudal superior, but also 
to the king as the superior of the whole country, and thus all the 
vassals were bound together by the common obligation of military 
service to the crown. The vassals of the great barons consisted 
chiefly of proprietors of middle rank, who had formed the gentry or 
inferior thanes among the Anglo-Saxons. The greater thanes had 
been mostly expelled from their holdings by the Norman invaders. 
The result of the special Norman arrangement was, that the Norman 


king of England had a far greater power than that possessed by the 
feudal sovereigns of the Continent. An army of sixty thousand mailed 
horsemen could, with little delay, be called into the field. This 
military organisation, however, effective as it was to enable William 
to keep in subjection the land which he had won, might be used 
against the crown by the haughty and jealous nobles whom he had 
with difficulty controlled in their native Normandy. The wise states- 
manship of the first Norman king devised a means of precaution 
against this danger. Whenever he granted large estates to any 
noble, he gave them in the form of manors dispersed in different 
counties, and thus no baron could have a great number of hereditary 
vassals gathered in one mass around his castle. The great earldoms 
of Anglo-Saxon times ceased to exist, and the counties were placed 
under the government of sheriffs appointed by the crown. The barons 
of England thus never obtained the excessive power wielded by those 
of Continental countries, nor did they attempt to exercise the right 
of carrying on private war amongst themselves, and thus setting at 
defiance the royal jurisdiction. 

We find in Domesday Book, below the Norman vassals, two classes of 
men who were also liable to military service. These were the 
quered freemen (liberi) or franklins and the soc-men. The book gives 
English, their numbers as respectively 12,000 and about 23,000 in the 
year 1085, They were the small English freeholders or ceorls, below 
the rank of thanes, but it is not possible now to determine what was 
the precise status of each class under the Norman kings. What is 
certain is, that their condition became now semi-servile, and they were 
the subjects of great oppression and extortion at the hands of the 
Norman landowners. The petty ceorls of Anglo-Saxon times became 
little better than slaves, unider the name of serfs and villeins. They 
became at last incapable of holding any property of their own, and 
were liable to be sold by their masters ; one class of them, however, 
being only transferred to a new owner along with the lands to which 
they were attached, the other being liable to sale in open market, like 
any goods or chattels. This degraded class of villeins, by means here- 
after to be told, became, at a later stage, the free peasantry of the 

The old English Witenarjemot was now replaced for legislative pur- 
(2 ) The P oses by the Great Council of the Norman kings. This body 
Great was called Curia Her/is, or the king's court, and Commune 
C1 ' Concilium Regni. To this council of state were summoned the 
archbishops, bishops, and greater abbots, and the barons called greater 
barons. They were those who held lands from the crown on a form of 
tenure called grand serjeantry. They had thereby the right of both 
civil and criminal jurisdiction over their vassals in their own courts, 
while the lesser barons had only the civil jurisdiction. It was they 
alone who attended the king in his court (or, as we should now say, 


were peers of parliament), as well as with their companies of knights iu 
war. The position of the lesser barons in this regard may be illustrated 
by that of the peers of Scotland and Ireland who are not " representative 
peers," or elected by the whole body to sit in the House of Lords. The 
Parliament of the Norman and early Plantagenet kings was therefore 
composed of a House of Lords alone. It is very important to notice 
that, by the constitution of old usage, the Norman kings could not levy 
money on the immediate tenants of the crown, or on their tenants, 
without the consent of the barons obtained in this Great Council. We 
here have the principle, which becomes of supreme importance under 
the Stuart kings, that taxes cannot be levied on the subject without the 
consent of Parliament. It is impossible to determine what legislative 
authority was possessed by the members of this council. The degree of 
control which it could exercise would vary, no doubt, with the amount 
of force of character possessed by its president, the king. There was, 
however, in these times little or no legislation in our sense of the word. 
Charters bestowing new rights, or conferring ancient privileges, were 
granted by the king, but it is not till the time of Henry II. that we 
find what we should call enactments. 

The highest administrative and judicial business of the realm was 
carried on by the king with the assistance of a council, called (g ) The 
also Aula or Curia Regis, the king's court. It was in attend- king's 
ance on the sovereign's person, and included the chief officers counc 
of state. These were the steward, treasurer, chamberlain, marshal, 
constable, chancellor, and chief justiciary. This last was the most im- 
portant official under the Norman and early Plantagenet kings. He 
was president of the council, and, ex officio, regent of the kingdom in 
the sovereign's absence or incapacity from illness. There were other 
members specially appointed by the sovereign, and the whole body was 
the original of the present Privy Council. As the supreme court of 
justice in the realm, it answered, in some measure, to what is now the 
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. 

William had come to be king of England, according to his own claim, 
as the legal successor of Edward. As such, his policy was to (4.) courts 
retain, as far as might be, the olden judicial and administrative of law - 
system. In accordance with the oath which he had taken when he was 
crowned, that he would maintain the good and approved laws of Edward, 
he appointed men who had a knowledge of the law to ascertain what 
laws and customs had been in use in the time of the Saxon kings. He 
then commanded that the law should be administered according to the 
same forms and principles as before the Conquest. Along-side of the 
county-courts and hundred-courts, there were now the courts of the 
barons, as lords of the manors, and from these an appeal was allowed to 
the Aula Regis. The old practices of compurgation by the oaths of 
friends and of trial by ordeal were retained under the Norman kings, 
but the latter was gradually replaced by the judicial combat or wager 


of battle in criminal cases, in which the result of the duel was held to 
settle the question of guilt or innocence in the accused. 

One of the chief elements of the power possessed by the Norman 
(5.) Re- kings was their large, fixed, independent revenue. The royal 
venues demesnes or crown-lands were their first source of income, 
crown. In addition to the fixed rents, an extravagant king oppressed 
those who lived within his demesne by levying, at his own pleasure, 
heavy taxes called tallages. If any of the tenants in capite failed to 
furnish a man-at-arms for every knight's fee of land which he held, he 
was obliged to pay the king a money-fine called escuage or scutage. The 
tax called Danegeld was also levied upon all estates at the king's dis- 
cretion long after all fear of the Danes had passed away. The sovereign 
raised a large revenue from the feudal fines to which his tenants were 
liable. A relief, which corresponds to the Saxon heriot, was a sum of 
money paid by the heir to his feudal lord on succession to a fief. The 
king was entitled to an extra payment of this kind, called primer seisin, 
on the death of any of his tenants-in-chief, provided the heir had reached 
his majority. This payment amounted to one year's profits on the land 
to which the heir succeeded. If a tenant transferred his fief to another 
holder, he was obliged to pay his lord a fine upon alienation. The escheat 
was the reversion of a fief to the superior lord, when no heir to the 
estate was left. One great grievance of the feudal system was the aids, 
which were contributions demanded by the lord from his vassal when- 
ever he found himself subject to any extraordinary expense. Magna 
Charta retained three of these aids, being payments made by the vassal 
to the lord when the lord's eldest son was made a knight, or on the 
marriage of his eldest daughter, or to ransom his person from captivity. 
By wardship the feudal lord took charge of the vassal's estate and 
person during the minority of the heir, and was entitled to certain 
payments from the estate. Another source of great abuse and extortion 
was the right of the feudal lord over an heiress in her minority. As 
her guardian, he could offer her a husband, and, if she declined to take 
him, she forfeited whatever sum the greedy suitor had been prepared to 
pay the guardian for the honour and pleasure of the alliance. This 
was in time extended to male wards. 

In the ordinance issued by William on the subject of free service, we 
Oppres- find the words, " We will that all the freemen of the kingdom 
sSts r of possess their lands in peace, free from all tallage and unjust 
feudality, exaction." This excellent theory almost utterly failed in 
practice. The exorbitant reliefs and aids extorted by the crown from 
the great vassals were demanded by them, in turn, from their feudal 
dependents. The estate of inheritance, which looks to be so generous 
and equitable an arrangement, was a constant grievance to the pos- 
sessor, who could neither transmit his property by will, nor transfer 
it by sale. The only legitimate successor was the heir, however remote 
in blood. The wardship and marriage grievances lasted down to tha 


time of the Stuarts. A gigantic system of oppression existed, in which 
the crown strove to grind down the greater vassals, and they, in their 
turn, made worse victims still of their tenants. If the freemen thus 
suffered in the tenure of their property, the landless were still worse 
off, and their whole personal property was at the mercy of their lords. 
This whole system was the working out of the theory, that the entire 
land of the country was the property of the king. The great body of 
the people was held in entire subjection, and it required the struggles 
of six centuries to cast off the chains which were riveted on the land by 
the success of William the Norman. 

We have seen that the English Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury 
was replaced by William's friend Lanfranc, and that most of Tne 
the higher English ecclesiastics made room for Norman bishops Church, 
and abbots. It seems that the new monarch, judged from his appoint- 
ments, really desired the religious improvement of the kingdom, and 
strove to secure good and wise men to fill the higher posts in the 
Church. One great change, the future evil effects of which were not 
foreseen, was made by William. In the times before Senlac, the 
bishops sat in the shire-courts along with the earls and thanes, and 
civil and spiritual causes were brought before the same tribunal. 
Separate courts were now established for the trial of all cases affect- 
ing ecclesiastical persons or things. The king's intention may have 
been to efface the idea of the original equality of the religious with the 
civil power. The king, at all points, kept a firm grasp on his ecclesi- 
astical subjects. Every bishop, as a feudal lord holding lands from the 
crown, was obliged to do homage to the king, and he was not permitted, 
without the royal leave given, to excommunicate any of the king's 
tenants. The king's permission was required for any Church synod to 
be held, and his assent was needed for the validity of its legislation. 

It is most important to observe that no change was made by the 
Conquest in the status of the Church of England as regarded i n a epe n- 
the Papal power. The Normans did not introduce a new dence 
Church, or new methods of discipline or worship, but brought church of 
over their own Norman clergy, as they had brought their England. 
Norman nobles, and these men simply stepped into the places of 
English nobles and ecclesiastics. The churches in England were ad- 
ministered according to the ancient customs. Little change of the 
holders of office took place in the smaller benefices of the Church. 
The records of the time prove two important facts that up to the 
coming of Duke William, and all through his reign, perfect inde- 
pendence from foreign jurisdiction was maintained by the English 
Church, and that the English Church, before the Conquest, was the 
possessor of vast estates, which the new king did not interfere with 
beyond appointing Norman clergy to benefices. The great inventor 
and promoter of the theory of Papal supremacy was the able and 
energetic Hildebrand, who became Pope, as Gregory VII, in 1073. 


The purpose of his life was to give effect to principles which he thus 
expressed : " There is but one name in the world, that of Pope. 
He alone can use the symbols of empire. Every prince ought to kiss 
his feet. He alone ought to nominate and degrade bishops, and assem- 
ble, preside over, and dissolve councils. No one can sit in judgment upon 
him." Hildebrand had been able to extend this spiritual autocracy 
over most of the Continent, but Britain had kept out of his grasp. We 
have seen above that the hope of increasing Papal power in England 
had induced Hildebrand, before his elevation to the Papal chair, to urge 
Pope Alexander II. to bless the enterprise of the Norman Duke. The 
conquest of England promised fair for his hopes with regard to the 
extension of the Papal power beyond the Channel. Three legates were 
sent to England, who demanded homage from King William in respect 
of his new realm, as he had already rendered homage for his Norman 
dukedom. The Conqueror's reply to Pope Gregory VII. is worthy of 
note. " Homage to thee I have not chosen, nor do I choose, to do. I 
never made a promise to that effect, neither do I find that it was ever 
performed by my predecessors to thine." It is clear from this that, 
prior to the reign of William, and during that reign, " the Bishop of 
Rome had no jurisdiction in this realm of. England," but that English 
kings were supreme in their own dominions. Before the twelfth cen- 
tury, English primates always considered themselves ecclesiastically 
supreme in their own province, and no Papal decrees exist which can 
show that the Popes even claimed jurisdiction in the British Isles before 
the date of the Conquest. We see that William the Conqueror gloried 
in this independence, and he took care that the Norman clergy who 
were appointed by him to vacant bishoprics and abbeys in England 
should loyally maintain it. The Norman clergy realised their new 
position as Englishmen by adoption. They entered at once on all the 
claims of their English predecessors, and declared that, so far as their 
power went, the churches under their charge should suffer no detriment. 
Just as the Normans adopted the English codes of civil laws, amalga- 
mating and re-stating them without material change, so the Norman 
prelates strove to consolidate, but not to supplant, the numerous and 
often diverse forms of public worship which they found in use in 
different parts of the land. The service-book called the Use of Sarum, 
drawn up by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, in 1080, became more 
generally used than any other liturgy. It was not a new prayer-book 
introduced from Normandy, but a compilation, for the use of his own 
diocese, out of the existing Uses of Britain. Thus did the Church of 
England, for long after the Conquest, remain what it always had been, 
an independent branch of the Catholic Church. The creation of a 
separate tribunal to judge ecclesiastical delinquents proved, however, 
to be one of the few mistakes of the policy of William, the wise and 
strong Norman king. The clergy were thereby raised into a distinct 
caste, not amenable to the common law of the land. The new court 

1084-1086 A.D.] DOMESDAY BOOK 105 

should have been confined to purely spiritual matters, and then the 
serious trouble which arose between Church and State in the reign of 
Henry the Second would have been in large measure avoided. 

The document called Domesday Book is one of the most famous 
memorials of the reign of William I. At Christmas, 1084, Domesday 
the king called together his Great Council at Gloucester. Book. 
Much discussion ensued concerning the land, how it was held, and 
by what men. As a methodical and sagacious administrator, the 
king determined to know all about his subjects and territory. His 
main object was to have a sure basis for the purposes of his revenue, 
and the information acquired for this end is still most valuable in 
showing us the state of England at that epoch. There are really two 
books, one a folio, the other a quarto, written on vellum, in characters 
beautifully clear. The division into counties proves that this arrange- 
ment of the country was then universally established. The survey 
does not include Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, and West- 
moreland, nor any part of Wales or Monmouthshire. Commissioners 
were sent out to make inquiry, upon oath, from the sheriff of every 
county, the lords of each manor, the presbytery of every church, the 
reeves of every hundred, the bailiff and six villeins of every village, 
into these particulars : the name of the place, who held it in the time 
of King Edward, who was the present possessor, the amount of land 
in the manor and in the demesne, how many homagers (free vassals 
bound to do homage to a feudal lord), how many villeins, how many 
socmen and serfs, what quantity of wood, how much meadow nnd 
pasture, what mills and fish-ponds, what the gross value in King 
Edward's time, what the present value, and how much property each 
freeman and socman has or had. All was to be triply estimated 
first, as the estate was held in the time of Edward ; secondly, as it 
was bestowed by King William ; thirdly, as its value stood at the 
time of the survey. The jurors were also to state whether any ad- 
vance could be made in this value an instruction which seems to 
reveal what was a main purpose of the whole work. The descriptions 
of land mentioned in the books are arable land, open country, 
wood, feeding of hogs, pasture, meadow-land, marsh or fen, and vine- 
yards, of which thirty-eight at least are mentioned, belonging to most 
of the great monasteries. Other particulars refer to mills, salt-works, 
iron-works, lead-works, stone-quarries, and fisheries. The work was 
not intended to record population, like a modern census, so that we 
can form from it no precise estimate of the numbers of people in the 
whole country, or in particular counties or towns. We gather, how- 
ever, that the counties of Lincoln and Norfolk had then the largest 
population, that York may have had io,ooc inhabitants, and London 
at least three times that number. Many curious glimpses are afforded 
of the condition of the people in cities and towns. Dover was an 
important place, commanding the use of four hundred and twenty 

106 DOMESDAY BOOK. [1085 A.D. 

mariners for the king's service in war. At every turn, we meet with 
petty or serious exactions made by the king or the nobles. The city 
of Hereford was the king's demesne, and when he went to war or 
to hunt, men were to be ready for his service. If a burgher's wife 
brewed her husband's ale, he had to pay a tax of tenpence. The 
smith who kept a forge was forced to buy his iron from the king's 
iron-works. In. Hereford there were seven moneyers or coiners, who 
were bound to coin as much of the king's silver into the pennies of 
the period as he demanded. At Cambridge, the burgesses were com- 
pelled to lend the sheriff their ploughs. Leicester was bound to find 
the king a hawk, or pay ten pounds. In Shrewsbury, there were 
two hundred and fifty houses belonging to burgesses ; but they com- 
plained that they were called upon to pay as much tax as in the 
time of King Edward, although Earl Roger (de Montgomeri, a hero 
of Senlac field) had taken possession of extensive lands for building 
his castle. Chester was a port in which the king had his dues upon 
every cargo. A wholesome provision there was that the king had a 
fine paid by every trader detected in using a false measure. The 
modern lover of a draught of sound English ale will approve the 
regulation by which the fraudulent female brewer of adulterated beer 
was placed in the cucking-stool. This was an arrangement for ducking 
the offender in dirty water, a degradation afterwards reserved for 
scolding wives. In that day of wooden houses, particular care was 
taken against fire, as we see by the Curfew, which has been ignorantly 
denounced as an instance of Norman oppression. At Chester, the 
owner of a house which caught fire not only paid a fine to the king, 
but forfeited two shillings (equal, probably, to forty shillings now) 
to his nearest neighbour. We also remark, that in all the cities and 
towns, the inhabitants are described as belonging to the king, or a 
bishop, or a baron. This survey of 1085 gives the most complete 
evidence of the extent to which the Normans had possessed themselves 
of the landed property of the country. The ancient demesnes of the 
crown consisted of fourteen hundred and twenty-two manors, and, in 
addition to these, William held as his own, by confiscation, the pro- 
perties of Godwin, Harold, Edwin, Morcar, and other great Saxon 
earls, and thus his revenues became enormous. Ten Norman nobles 
who held land under the crown are mentioned in Domesday Book as 
possessing among them two thousand eight hundred and twenty manors. 
With the era of peace and order in the land, came the time of castle- 
building, and Domesday contains notices of forty-nine castles, whereas 
only one is there mentioned as having existed under Edward the 
Confessor. Repeated mention occurs of houses destroyed, and lands 
wasted, for the erection of these strongholds of Norman domination. 
At Cambridge, twenty-seven houses were demolished to clear a site for 
the fortress which was to overawe the fen-districts. At Lincoln, a 
hundred and sixty-six houses were destroyed, " on account of the castle," 

1085 A.D.] NORMAN LIFE. 107 

In the ruins of all these castles we may trace their general plan. 
There was an outer court, an inner court, and a keep. Hound the 
whole area was a wall, furnished with parapets and loopholes. The 
entrance was defended by an outwork, or barbican. The most re- 
markable thing about these fortresses was the prodigious strength of the 
inner keep or citadel, and thus many of these towers remain, stript 
by time of every interior fitting, but as untouched in their solid con- 
struction as the mounts upon which they stand. When we mount the 
steps which lead to the ruined keep of Carisbrook, our minds are full 
of recollections only of its helpless captive Charles I., but this fortress 
is registered in Domesday Book. 

The life of luxury in the royal and baronial castle and demesne, as 
well as the life of labour in the town and in the field, is Norman 
vividly presented in the naming of the offices and occupa- England, 
tions of men which occur in this interesting record. There we read 
of the king's lord-chamberlain, lord-steward, and chief butler, of the 
" providers of the king's carriages," and of his standard-bearers. The 
sports of the supreme feudal lord, and of his barons, were provided 
for by hawk-keepers, bow-keepers, foresters, and hunters. The stern 
work of warfare, and the sportive, though often rough and dangerous, 
contests of the tournament, come before us in the persons of the 
farriers and "armourers." The minstrels made more gay with song 
the hours of revelry, and the goldsmiths used their skill in framing 
plate for the banquet, and jewels for the persons of the Norman ladies. 
The wants of all were met by smiths, carpenters, potters, millers, 
bakers, tailors, and barbers. The list of occupations includes lawmen, 
mediciners, launders, salters, and moneyers or coiners. The country-life 
is seen in ditchers, bee-keepers, ploughmen, shepherds, neat-herds, goat- 
herds, and swine-herds. This last class of men was one of much im- 
portance in that age. Bacon and pork were favourite kinds of food, 
largely consumed by all classes, and in this connection we notice the 
exactness with which the amount of woodland upon every domain was 
registered. The timber was, of course, largely used for building, but 
it had no great commercial value, from the lack of means of ready 
transport. The value of the woods lay largely in their production of 
acorns and beech-mast, upon which great herds of swine subsisted, so 
that the trees were of essential importance for keeping up the supply 
of food. We constantly, in Domesday Book, meet with such entries 
as "a wood for pannage of fifty hogs." There are woods described as 
capable of feeding from a hundred hogs to thrice the number, and 
on the Bishop of London's demesne at Fulham a thousand hogs could 
fatten. In the Saxon time, the value of a tree was determined by the 
number of hogs that could lie under it, and in this survey of the 
Norman period we find entries of useless woods, and " woods without 
pannage," which to some extent were held to mean the same thing. 
The entries show that in some woods there were patches of cultivated 

108 DOMESDAY BOOK. [1085 A.D. 

ground, where the tenant had cleared the dense undergrowth, and had 
his corn-land and his meadows. The fen-lands were of value because 
the rents were paid in eels. We find that the fisheries, in general, 
were important sources of rent. Payments of eels by hundreds and 
thousands are mentioned. The monasteries consumed vast quantities 
of herrings. Sandwich, which was then a town upon the coast, yielded 
forty thousand herrings yearly to Christ Church in Canterbury. The 
great seats of the fishery were then Kent, Sussex, and Norfolk. The 
Severn and the Wye had their salmon-fisheries, whose produce furnished 
rent to king, bishop, and baron, and the religious houses had their well- 
stocked piscina} and -vivaria, their stews and fish-ponds. There is little 
mention of forests in the record, because they were no objects of assess- 
ment for taxation. The New Forest is one of the few which are named, 
and the mention of this famous piece of territory, still so charming in 
its sylvan beauty, brings forward what has been held to be an instance 
of the wanton selfishness and cruelty of the great king. The Anglo- 
Saxon Chronicle declares that William " so much loved the tall deer as 
if he had been their father." It is not likely that he, or his successors, 
would have much scruple about clearing a district, if the presence of 
human beings interfered with their sport. There is, however, good 
reason to believe that much exaggeration has been used in reference 
to the destruction of buildings, and the unhousing of men and their 
families, in order to form the New Forest. We hear of William's 
having "laid waste more than sixty parishes, compelling the inhabi- 
tants to emigrate to other places," and that " he substituted beasts of the 
chase for human beings, that he might satisfy his ardour for hunting." 
The district between Winchester and the sea was woody from of old, 
and there was no forest artificially planted by William, as some have 
imagined. The chases through the ancient thickets were opened up, 
and hamlets and solitary huts were demolished, but it is not likely 
that a large population ever existed in that quarter of the country, 
as the soil is generally barren, and fitted for little else than the growth 
of timber, the lower lands consisting of marsh, and the upper of sand. 
Domesday Book proves that the rental value of the cultivated parts of 
the district decreased, owing to the extension of the forest, from ^363, 
under Edward the Confessor, to ^"129, at the time of the Norman 
survey, and this fact does not point to any great "devastation" of 
cultivated lands or of human habitations. The Forest Laws were, 
beyond doubt, of great severity. William increased the force of the 
penalties which had existed before the Conquest, so that the killing 
of a deer, or boar, or hare was punished with the loss of the slayer's 
eyes,, at a time when manslaughter could be atoned for by a money- 
fine. These laws soon created the race of adventurous and gallant 
outlaws described in song and legend dealing with the names of RoUn 
Hood and Little John; men who led bands of skilful bowmen, waging 
ruthless war against the king's or barons' deer, and plundering all the 

1086 A.D.] DOMESDAY BOOR, 109 

wealthy travellers, whether laymen or ecclesiastics, who came within 
their reach. A careful register of mills in Domesday Book is a matter 
of some interest, as connected with the oppression of the time. They 
were invariably the property of the lords of the manors, and the 
tenants could only grind at the lord's mill. We are reminded here 
of one of the grievances of rural France before the Kevolution, and 
of the pilfering attributed, in popular belief and proverb, to the whole 
race of millers. There is a repeated mention of salt-works, which were 
either pits upon the coast for procuring marine salt by evaporation, or 
were established in the places of inland salt-springs. The most nume- 
rous works of this kind, then as now, were in Cheshire, and their name 
of wiclies gave us Middlewich and Nantwicli. The Domesday register 
was completed by July 1086. William was now possessed of an exact 
knowledge of the possessions of the crown ; a complete list of all land- 
owners; a means of knowing precisely the military strength of the 
country ; a knowledge of the extent to which, if needful, the revenue 
might be increased; and an authoritative document to which appeal 
might be made in cases of disputed property. It was in the following 
month (August 1086) that William received the oath of fealty from all 
the holders of land in the kingdom, enforcing thus direct homage to 
himself, as well as to their immediate lords. The Great Council was 
assembled for this purpose at Salisbury, and the Norman form of 
feudalism was there and then established. 



William I. and his nobles and sons. War with France. Death of William I. 
William II. and the barons. Character of Rufus. Dealings with his brothers. 
Archbishop Anselm. The king's mysterious death. 

THE completion of the conquest of England did not bring repose to 
William. In 1073 he was quelling a revolt in Maine with William I., 
an army composed both of Normans and English. Then his 1071-1087. 
barons in England (1075) began to plot against him. The king, with 
the tyranny over the domestic rights of families which lasted down to 
Stuart times, had forbidden the marriage of Emma, sister of Roger 
Fitz-Osbern, Earl of Hereford, and son of the minister William Fitz- 
Osbern, to the Breton noble Ralph de Guader, a warrior created Earl 
of Norfolk for his services at Senlac. No heed was paid to the prohibi- 
tion, and, in the king's absence abroad, the bridal-feast was held at 
Norwich. Saxons and Normans united in murmurs which ended in a 
conspiracy. The English Earl Waltheof refused to take an active part, 


but his wife Judith, the king's niece, basely betrayed his private know- 
ledge of the matter, and inflamed William's mind against him by every 
kind of false suggestion. Lanfranc induced Waltheof to go over 
to Normandy and confess his knowledge of the plot, but his wife's 
wickedness had already destroyed him, in the king's secret purpose. 
The conspirators took the field, but were utterly defeated in Norfolk 
before William's return, and the ordinary prisoners had their right feet 
cut off, "in order to mark them for the future." William then came 
over from Normandy to decide the fate of the chief rebels. De Guader 
had escaped beyond the sea. The Earl of Hereford was thrown into 
prison, and all the estates of both were forfeited. Waltheof had been 
kindly received by William in Normandy, but was arrested on his 
return, and, after a year's imprisonment, he was tried, condemned, 
and executed at Winchester in 1076. The monks of Crowland Abbey, 
enriched by the Earl's benefactions, received his body for burial. 
Waltheof, who was regarded by the English as their last hope and 
defender, was greatly mourned by them, and regarded as a martyr and 
a saint. Men observed that from that time the career of William 
was attended by trouble and comparative ill-success. His half-brother, 
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, was the next offender who plotted against the 
royal power. He was arrested by William's own hands, when the 
officers shrank from seizing a prelate, and he expiated his treason by 
loss of all his treasure and imprisonment till the king's death. Then 
trouble arose with William's children. Richard, the second son, was 
killed by an accident while he was hunting in the New Forest. The 
eldest son, Robert, had been named, before the Conquest, as heir to 
the dukedom of Normandy, and he wished to succeed to power during 
his father's lifetime. The French king, Philip I., urged him to open 
revolt in 1078, but Robert was soon driven from the field by an 
English army under William and his old Norman officers. Later on, 
father and son met in a single combat under the walls of the castle of 
Gerberoi, and William was unhorsed by Robert, who then begged 
forgiveness. In 1079, Robert commanded an army against Malcolm 
of Scotland, and built the fortress on the Tyne which gave its name of 
Newcastle to the flourishing modern town. Then a new quarrel with 
the king sent Robert over to France, and they never met again. To 
the last, William maintained a stern rule over his nobles and the land 
which he had won. To resist his will with defiance was to court 
immediate ruin. Layman or priest, earl, abbot, or bishop, was stripped 
of lands and power. With all this, England found good in this hard 
sway. The country was kept in peace, and, amid all the legal and 
illegal exactions of the feudal barons, the householder and the way- 
farer, under William the First, had little to dread from burglars or 
brigands. It is only here bare justice to record the king's humanity in 
matters not concerned with the maintenance of his despotic rule. He 
made an end of the punishment of death under sentence of a law-court, 


and the only man executed in his reign \vas the weak and hapless 
Waltheof. He also abolished, for his time, the cruel and disgraceful 
traffic in slaves which was carried on at Bristol. In 1086, the king 
held his court at Westminster, where his youngest son, Henry, now 
eighteen years of age, was knighted by his father. He was called 
Beau Clerc, as being the lettered and cultured prince of the family, 
and he had been brought up under the tuition of the learned and 
sagacious Lanfranc, the king's faithful subject and friend. Early in 
1087, William went over to Normandy, where he had to settle a long- 
standing dispute, concerning a piece of territory, with Philip I. of 
France. The English king had been growing stout of late, and for 
some time he was kept in bed by sickness. A coarse jest of Philip's 
roused William to fury, and he mounted his war-horse, and took the 
field with his army. As he marched from Rouen along the Seine in 
August, the ripe corn was burnt by his troops, and the laden vines 
were trodden down. The town of Mantes was taken by assault, and 
all within was given up to fire and sword. The king's horse stumbled 
and fell with him, as he rode among the smouldering ruins, and the 
injury done to the rider sent him back to Rouen to die. His sons 
"William and Henry were with him. To "William the dying king 
handed his ring, with the injunction to .start at once for England, and 
engage Lanfranc's aid to secure for him the succession to the crown. 
To Henry was bequeathed a sum of five thousand pounds weight of 
silver a fair fortune, in that age, even for the son of a king. Robert, 
the eldest, was at the court of the king of France, and now became 
Duke of Normandy. Earl Morcar and Odo were released from prison 
by William's order, and the chroniclers tell of a death-bed repentance 
for cruelty in England, and of atonement made by rich presents to 
churches and abbeys. On the gth of September 1087, as the minster- 
bell of Rouen sounded at dawn the hour of prime, the great Duke of 
Normandy, who had gained the English crown, suddenly passed away. 
He was in his 6ist year of life, in the 2ist of his reign over England, 
and in the 54th of his rule over Normandy. A moral that needs no 
enforcement lies in what has now to be told. The moment the breath 
was out of his body, the late mighty king's servants set to work at 
plundering the room. Robes and linen, plate and armour, were seized 
by greedy hands, and the body was found by some humble friends 
lying bare on the floor. At their cost he was borne for burial to the 
church of St. Stephen at Caen. The scanty dust now left lies under 
a stone in front of the high altar, bearing in Latin an inscription to 
" William, Duke of Normandy, king of England." At the great French 
Revolution the republican mob, in their fanatical hatred for all kings, 
broke open the grave, and the bones of him who had been the terror 
of all men of his time were scattered to the winds. In passing finally 
away from this proud, stern, cruel, brave, and most sagacious warrior 
and monarch, we must record that, harsh as he ever was with those 

112 RUFUS. [1087 A.D. 

who resisted, he was ever gentle and gracious with meek and pious 
souls like Anselm, and the Saxon chronicler contrasts his ferocity to 
rebels with "his mildness to good men who loved God." William the 
Norman needs, like all other men of great mark in the world, to be 
judged with a sober regard to the times in which he lived, and the 
material and moral forces with which it was his lot to contend. 

William II., surnamed Rufus, or the Red King, from the colour of 
w .,,. his hair, was crowned by Archbishop Lanfranc at Westminster 

II., 1087- on September 26, 1087. Lanfranc, the firm friend of the 
father, had moved the whole power of the Church in behalf 
of the son, or there would have been serious difficulty in the second 
William's succession. His own prompt action had helped to clear his 
way to the throne. He arrived in England before the news of his 
father's death, and in his name took command of the fortresses of 
Pevensey, Hastings, and Dover, and also secured the large treasure 
lying in the royal coffers at Winchester. According to the hereditary 
principle recognised by the Normans, the elder brother, Robert, had a 
clearer title, and, beyond this, the severance of the crowns of England 
and Normandy was greatly disliked by many of the barons. The 
known weakness of Robert's character would have made him a much 
more acceptable ruler than William, in the choice of whom as successor 
the wisdom of his father was once more displayed. Bad as he was, 
the Red King was a man who much resembled his father in the bold, 
haughty, and energetic part of his character, nor was he wanting on 
the crafty side of policy and rule. The separation of England from 
Normandy was very grateful to the conquered people, as a recognition 
of their nationality. 

This division of rule was, on a special ground, odious to the Norman 
Conspi- barons. They had large possessions in both countries, and 
racy of would now owe allegiance to two feudal lords. If they clung 
barons. ^ Q William, their suzerain in England, their Norman estates 
were exposed to severe exaction, or even to confiscation, from Robert : 
if they held rather with Robert, they were still more likely to incur 
ill-treatment from the rapacious and masterful William. The more 
powerful barons also envied the influence of Lanfranc, and at once 
engaged in a conspiracy to overthrow king and primate alike. The 
plot was headed by the Conqueror's half-brothers, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, 
and Robert, Count of Mortaigne. The pretext put forward was that of 
adherence to the claims of Robert, to whom Odo and some of his sup- 
porters made a formal tender of their allegiance. When the insurrec- 
tion broke out in various quarters of the country, the king found his 
safety in the strong and almost unanimous support of his English 
subjects. They had learnt to hate the oppressive Norman barons, and 
the cunning William had already promised general mildness of rule, 
with a special reference to an amendment of the severe forest-laws. 
The English retainers of the crown and of many of the barons came 

1089 A.D.] DEATH OF LANFRANC. 113 

forward in great numbers to join the king's standard, and he was soon 
at the head of a powerful army. Odo, Eustace of Boulogne, and other 
leaders of the plot, with five hundred Normans, were besieged in 
Rochester Castle. It was the height of summer (1088), and the 
crowded state of the garrison, with the lack of due sanitation, soon 
produced an outbreak of disease, along with a fearful plague of flies. 
The rebels gave in their surrender, and marched out to the cry from 
the English of "A gallows for the bishop!" The king allowed his 
uncle to disappear from the country for ever, and confiscated all his 
vast estates. A rising in the west of England was suppressed by 
Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, now the only prelate of English race, 
and the whole trouble was quickly ended. 

In 1089, Lanfranc died, and the king's adviser was gone, whose 
influence had secured the throne for his master and former Death of 
pupil, and whose firmness had for a brief space kept in check Lanfranc. 
the more prominent evils of the king's character. William appointed 
no successor to the archbishop, and began a system of Church- plunder 
by holding the revenues of the see in his own hands. The treasure left 
by his father had been dissipated by the son's profligate and wasteful 
mode of life, and see after see, and abbey after abbey, were left without 
rulers, that the king might have the incomes for his own use. 

The promises of good rule, made to the English upon his accession, 
were flung aside by a resort to the old oppressive exactions, William's 
and the tyranny now set up was intensified by the brutal tyranny, 
violence of the ruler's temper. William had soon found a more con- 
genial minister than Lanfranc. There was in his court a Norman 
clerk, of the name of Ralph. He was handsome in person, fluent of 
speech, sensual in life, and ambitious in his aims. He received the 
nickname of Flambard, or the Torch, because, as the chronicler says, 
"like a devouring flame, he tormented the people, and turned the daily 
chants of the Church into lamentations." This man had a genius for 
inventive and extortionate finance, and contrived to swell the royal 
revenues by a stricter assessment of lands, especially those of the 
Church, than the commissioners had used in compiling Domesday 
Book. The laity were regarded by Flambard and his master as mere 
objects of spoil. The robber could loose the halter from his neck by 
the promise of gain to the king in disclosure of ill-gotten hoards. The 
barons made prey of the substance of the people, and the court was a 
scene of vice and of the most effeminate folly in dress. 

From his own subjects, in search of fresh objects of plunder, William 
turned to his brother Robert of Normandy. He invaded his The king's 
dominions in 1090, and captured some of his fortresses, but the brothers, 
nobles on both sides brought them to terms, and in the end anarrangement 
was made that, if either brother died without issue, the survivor should 
inherit all his dominions. The youngest brother, Henry, had been so 
using the money bequeathed to him by his father as to become an object 

1U ENGLAND UNDER RUFUS. [1092-1099 A.D. 

of some jealousy to his elders. Amongst other fortresses, he became 
master of the formidable Mont St. Michel, where the castle, on its lofty 
rock, stood twice a day amidst a plain of sand, and twice encompassed 
with tidal Avaters. He was there besieged by Robert and William, and the 
characters of the king and the duke are illustrated by an incident which 
occurred during the blockade. Henry could defy assault in his strong- 
hold, but had no resource, after a time, against famine and want of 
water. When Robert heard of his distress, he allowed Henry to obtain 
a supply of water, and sent in some casks of wine. William expressed 
his disgust at such misplaced tenderness, but Robert exclaimed, " What ! 
shall I suffer my brother to die of thirst? and where shall we find 
another if we lose him ? " Henry was forced at last to surrender from 
want of supplies, and was brought for the time to a state of poverty. 
Amid all these quarrels between the brothers, the people of England 
were the chief sufferers. The taxes levied for the contest in Normandy 
took away the very means of tillage, in compelling the people to use 
the seed-corn, and in 1092 the lands were left without cultivation. 
A severe famine followed, and pestilence came upon that. As a 
soldier, the Red King was, on occasion, an able and energetic leader. 
In the year 1092 he marched against Malcolm of Scotland, who had 
invaded the northern counties, and imposed on him terms of peace. 
Malcolm did homage to the English king, and Cumberland passed 
from the position of a Scottish fief to that of an English county. 
The castle of Carlisle was built as a fortress to hold the new acqui- 

In 1096, a new arrangement was made between the rulers of Nor- 
Robert mandy and England, which was destined to unite England 
and Nor- and Normandy again under one king. The great stirring 
mandy. Q f ^ e m j n( j an( j heart of Europe, caused by the preaching 
of Peter the Hermit, had issued in the organising of the expedition 
known as the First Crusade. Robert was eager to join the enterprise, 
but lacked money for the equipment of a force, and so agreed to pawn 
his Norman dominions to William for the space of five years. The mort- 
gage-money of ten thousand marks was raised, of course, by further taxa- 
tion of William's unhappy subjects. He thus became virtual possessor 
of Normandy and Maine, but he had some trouble with his new sub- 
jects. An old quarrel of his father's with the king of France was 
renewed, and one of the chief barons of Maine resisted William's 

In 1099, the Red Iving was hunting in the New Forest, when the 
Revolt news arrived that the baron had defeated the Norman troops 
in Maine. an( j surprised the city of Le Mans. The occasion was a 
trifling one, but it enabled the king to show his inherited energy 
and self-confidence. He galloped off at once to the coast, and jumped 
into a vessel lying at anchor. The day was stormy, and the sailors 
feared to put to sea. " Sail instantly, ""cried Rufus, "kings are never 


drowned." On reaching the opposite coast, he put himself at the head 
of his troops, and his enemy fled without a battle. 

We go back in the narrative for a few years in order to trace 
William's further dealings with the Church. In 1093 he 
had been, for four years, appropriating the revenues of and the 
Canterbury and of other vacant sees. In that year, he fell Cllurcn> 
dangerously ill, and fear of death did what conscience had striven in 
vain to effect. The remorseful king resolved to fill up the vacant 
see of Canterbury. There was a man ready for the post, who hap- 
pened then to be staying in England. Anselm, Abbot of Bee, in 
Normandy, was the brightest ornament of the Christian Church in 
his own day, and ranks among the most illustrious saints of all ages 
of Christendom. He was born at Aosta, in Piedmont, in 1033, and 
in 1060 became a monk at the Abbey of Bee, then under the rule of 
his famous countryman Lanfranc. Eighteen years later, he was raised 
to the dignity of abbot, and during the fifteen years of his administra- 
tion the abbey became the chief seat of learning in Europe. Anselm's 
acuteness of intellect was matched by his tenderness and largeness of 
heart, his gentle manners, and sincere piety. As a thinker and a 
scholar, he may be regarded as the founder of the scholastic medi- 
aeval theology. All his efforts as a writer are directed towards the 
foundation of a reasoned system of Christian truth. Such was the 
man who, with great reluctance, accepted from William in 1093 the 
charge of the highest post in the English Church. He made it a 
condition that the king should acknowledge Urban II. as Pope, instead 
of the anti-pope Clement, whose cause William had espoused. 

When health returned, the rapacious king dealt with the Church 
in his olden fashion. He kept benefices vacant, in order to William 
appropriate the revenues, and was guilty of the grossest ^StS 18 
simony in the sale of spiritual dignities. From the first, Anselm. 
he kept in his own hands the revenues of the see of Canterbury. The 
meek and patient primate cared nothing for his own worldly interests, 
but he could be bold and firm in behalf of his order, and of the 
independence of the Church, which in that day represented, in no 
small degree, the cause of national freedom. He protested against 
the brutal despot's lawless exactions from ecclesiastics, and when 
William, as feudal superior, demanded from Anselm, as baron and 
vassal, his quota of soldiers for an expedition into Wales, the Arch- 
bishop replied by a request that the revenues of the see of Canter- 
bury should be restored. Anselm appealed in person to Pope Urban, 
and also thought it better for his own safety to remain out of the 
kingdom until William's death. It was during this absence from his 
see that the great theologian wrote his famous treatise on the atone- 
ment, entitled Cur Deus Homo. The book has ever since been 
esteemed the standard-work on one of the cardinal doctrines of the 

116 DEATH OF RUFUS. [1100 A.D. 

The rule of William, the Red King had been such as to arouse 
Death of a & a ^ nst nim g enera l hatred, and it has been supposed that 
William he owed his death to assassination by the hand of one of 
II., 1100. j^g victims. The scene was the New Forest, the cause was 
an arrow-shot in the breast. As the sun went down on the evening 
of August 2nd, and shone with level rays of red amid the ferns and 
leaves of the woodland, the king fell from his horse a dying man, 
on a spot, as tradition tells, where now is seen a sweet sequestered 
glade, open to the west, but sheltered on the east by a grove of beech. 
The contemporary chronicler, Florence of Worcester, ascribes the 
occurrence to an accidental shot of Walter Tyrrel, a French gentleman, 
who was hunting that day in the king's retinue. The arrow, it is 
said, was aimed at a stag, and glanced from a tree upon the king, 
who had just fired a shot, and was shading his eyes from the sunlight 
as he looked at the stag which he had wounded. Tyrrel made off 
at once to the coast, crossed to France, and joined the Crusade. The 
body was carried to Winchester for burial, on the cart of a charcoal- 
burner named Purkess, who lived in the village of Minstead, where 
his descendants were still residing in the memory of the present 
writer. The only useful acts recorded of the monarch who thus 
perished are connected with the builder's art. A new bridge was 
erected by Rufus across the Thames at London, with a wall around 
the Tower, and a great room, with its roof supported by pillars, on 
the site of the present Westminster Hall, whose walls encase some 
of the old timbers. 




The first charter. The King's marriage unites Norman and English lines. Henry's 
conquest of Normandy. The King and the Church. Henry and his family- 
affairs. The Angevin marriage. 

THE death of William was the lucky chance of the ready and un- 
scrupulous younger brother Henry. He was in the hunt on Henry I., 
that eventful day, and, as soon as he certainly knew the fact 1100-1135. 
of the king's death, he started at full speed on a ride of twenty miles 
to Winchester. His mark was the royal treasure stowed away in the 
castle, and a mixture of persuasion and force obtained for him the 
key from the treasurer, William de Breteuil. He then hurried off to 
London, and was saluted there as king by some barons and- bishops 
of his party. On August 5th he was crowned at Westminster by the 
Bishop of London, and thus became king of England by a plain act of 
usurpation. The rightful heir was Robert, by the arrangement made 
between him and Ruf us. He was now on his way home from Palestine, 
provided with ample moneys, obtained by marriage with a Norman 
heiress, to redeem his mortgaged dukedom of Normandy. The barons 
in general were greatly opposed to Henry as their ruler. They pre- 
ferred the character of Robert, and were specially desirous of an unity 
of rule which would bring their Norman and English estates under 
the sway of the same supreme feudal lord. 

The shrewdness of the new king, who had some of his father's higher 
qualities, showed him that the path of safety for an usurper, Henry L's 
who was unwelcome to the Norman barons, lay in the con- charter. 
ciliation of his English subjects. Their support was essential to a 
king who was to be in conflict, not with English resistance, but with 
Norman disaffection. In the reign of Henry I. we have a period of 
gradual progress towards the blending of the two races into one nation. 
A strong and sagacious ruler did much to raise the subjected, and to 
keep in check the dominant, class of the people, and a long rest from 
war greatly helped the towns to grow into wealth and importance. 

118 HENRY I. [1101 A.D. 

One of the first acts of the new sovereign was to purge the realm of 
the evil ministers to his brother's vicious pleasures, and of the corrupt 
administrators of his tyrannical exactions. The hated Flambard, now 
Bishop of Durham, went as a prisoner to the Tower, whence his friends 
helped him to escape to Normandy. The next step was to recall the 
good and popular An selm. In noi Henry made a large concession 
to the national good, in the publication of a Charter of Liberties To 
the people he made engagement that he would govern by the laws of 
Edward the Confessor, a vague expression, which meant that he would 
rule in all things well. The Church received the promise that he would 
not keep in his hands any vacant benefices, nor sell them, nor farm 
them out. To his own immediate vassals the king promised a future 
freedom from arbitrary exactions in the form of reliefs or aids, and 
from feudal interference with the marriage of their daughters, and 
with the matrimony of heiresses and widows. The barons were 
enjoined to grant, in their turn, the same benefits to their sub-vassals. 
A charter was granted at the same time to the city of London, and 
this is held to have been the first step towards the place becoming a 
municipal corporation. 

The choice of a wife made by Henry was such as to prove to all his 
Henry's strong desire to earn the goodwill of the great body of his 
marriage, people. The Princess Maud, or Matilda, was daughter of 
Malcolm, king of Scotland, and of Margaret, sister of Edgar ^Etheling. 
She thus, as a descendant of Edmund Ironside, was heiress of the old 
royal race of England, and her union with Henry I. joined the Norman 
and English lines. She had worn the veil of a nun in the convent of 
Romsey, as a protection from the violence of Norman barons, but had 
not taken the vows. Anselm made inquiry at a council of bishops and 
barons, and judgment was then solemnly given that " the lady Edith," 
as the English called her, was not bound to celibacy. The good Arch- 
bishop performed the ceremony, amid a scene of great splendour, and 
with the strong approval of the English part of the nation. The 
haughty Norman barons gave offensive nicknames to both bride and 
bridegroom, whose union they regarded much as a Southern planter, 
in the slavery-days of the United States, would have looked on a 
marriage between one of his class and a coloured girl of African 

Towards the end of noo, Robert returned to Normandy, and was 
Robert encouraged by the exiled Flambard, and by Norman barons 
and in England, to assert his claim to the English crown by force 

of arms. On hearing of the threatened invasion, Henry care- 
fully disciplined a large force of English troops, whom his own wise 
policy, backed by the influence of Anselm, had gathered under his 
standard. When Robert landed at Portsmouth in August uoi, he 
found himself confronted by this hostile array, and for some days the 
armies lay encamped in sight of each other. Both brothers shrank 

1101-1106 A.D.] HENRY AND THE BARONS. 119 

from a contest which might prove ruinous, and the interposition of 
Anselni brought about a conference. Robert agreed to relinquish his 
claims upon England for an annual pension of 3000 marks, or 2000 
pounds sterling, and it was settled that, if either died without issue, 
his dominions should fall to the other. A general amnesty was accorded 
to the adherents of each party, and a treaty of amity was made between 
the brothers. 

When Robert had retired with his forces to Normandy, the English 
king, in despite of the amnesty, turned upon the barons who H 
had favoured his brother's cause. One of the chief offenders and the 
was Robert de Belesme, Earl of Shrewsbury, son of Roger de barons ' 
Montgomeri, who had fought under William at Senlac. Of all the 
Norman chieftains in England, he was the most rapacious, cruel, and 
powerful, and when he refused to meet Henry's charges in a formal 
trial, and fled to his strongholds on the Welsh border, the king followed 
him with the whole military force of the country. Bridgenorth, after a 
long siege, surrendered to the royal troops, and then the king marched, 
with sixty thousand English foot, to attack the rebel at Shrewsbury 
itself. A wood which protected the town on one side was cut down, 
and a sound broad road was made for the passage of the troops. De 
Belesme was prudent enough to save his life by a prompt surrender, and 
the banishment of the oppressor, with the confiscation of all his lands, 
was received with joy by the English throughout the country. For the 
rest of his reign Henry had no more trouble with discontented nobles. 

The weak character and dissolute life of Robert soon laid him open 
to his brother's ambitious schemes. Under the Norman Conquest 
Duke's rule, his country had become a prey to every kind of 
disorder. De Belesme, ruined in England, had vast estates in 1106. 
Normandy, and defied the Duke's power. He and other mailed free- 
booters ravaged the land, and made themselves a terror both to ecclesi- 
astics and to laymen. The traders were great sufferers under Robert's 
feeble administration, and the king of England was called upon to give 
help and redress to the peaceful classes. The state of things across the 
Channel was a perpetual danger and trouble to Henry. Many of the 
Anglo-Norman barons were also vassals of Robert for their estates in 
his territory, and there was thus a conflict of interests and a discord of 
policy in the two countries. In 1105, Henry landed with an army in 
Normandy, and was soon master of Bayeux and Caen, the one by 
assault, the other by surrender. A conference was held between the 
brothers, but 110 agreement was made, and the state of Normandy was 
worse than ever for the people. Henry returned to England for rein- 
forcements, and, landing again across the Channel in 1106, he gained 
a decisive victory over Robert at the battle of Tenclielray. Thousands 
of prisoners were taken, and the unhappy Robert became a captive in 
Cardiff Castle until his death in 1134. This event shows us the last 
of the English heir, Edgar JEtheling. Ever fighting in a feeble way 


against the established power of some de facto king of England, always 
failing and always forgiven, he now became Henry's prisoner, and at 
once received his freedom and a pension. He lived to a great age in 
England, in peace, comfort, and contempt. He had the gift of personal 
courage, but his lack of all other resources of character made his career 
one of ignominious length and safety. 

The victory of Englishmen over Normans on the field of Tencliebray 
_ was gained on September 28th, the anniversary of the great 

English William's landing near Hastings forty years previously. The 
revival coincidence of date was of happy and significant omen for the 
future of our country. The discomfiture at Serilac was already, in a 
measure, wiped away from our military annals, and the spirit of the 
lately subjugated islanders, who saw a queen of their own royal race 
on the throne, was stirred with a new and wholesome pride in the 
prowess of their own right arms. This revival of English feeling came 
at a time when the towns of England were beginning, by slow and 
silent steps, to prove their importance in the history of English freedom. 
An influx of Norman traders and craftsmen had been raising in com- 
mercial importance the cities of London and Norwich, and the charter 
which Henry granted to London was the first formal recognition, since 
the Norman conquest, of the old borough rights. The citizens now had 
the privilege of trying their fellow -townsmen, by old English law, in 
the weekly hustings or town-court, and we begin to hear of wards and 
aldermen, in the modern sense, and of the merchant-guilds and craft- 
guilds which played so important a part in the Middle Ages. In 
England, they were closely connected with the democratic element of 
the constitution, and came afterwards to possess a strong influence 
in the choice of representatives, and in the municipal administration. 
Other charters, modelled upon that of the city of London, were granted 
by Henry during his reign to the townsmen in several boroughs, and 
the rights thus conceded became the basis of a claim for the purchase 
of greater freedom in the time that was to come. 

The dispute between Henry, on the one side, and Ansel m and Pope 
Henry I P ascna l H> on the other, respecting the right of investi- 
and the' ture, marks an epoch in the history of the English Church. 

113:0 Investiture, in the feudal law, was the open delivery of a 
feud by a lord to his vassal. The ceremony consisted in the presenta- 
tion, before witnesses, of some symbol of the property to the person 
who was invested with its feudal possession. In the primitive Church, 
after the election of a bishop, the early Christian emperors claimed 
the right of confirming the appointment, and Charles the Great seems 
to have introduced the practice of investing the newly-consecrated 
bishop by placing in his hands a ring and a crozier. The estate and 
honours of a bishop were held to be of the nature of aj^e/, and for 
these prelates were required to do homage to the sovereign. These 
claims of the supreme feudal lord were of great political moment. 

1110-1126 A.D.] FAMILY OF HENRY. 121 

When the chapter elected a bishop, the king might refuse to grant 
investiture or to receive homage, and thus practically veto the election, 
and keep in his own hands the power of appointing bishops. In 1075, 
Pope Gregory VII., whom we have seen as a sturdy supporter of the 
ecclesiastical power, issued a bull forbidding, under penalty of ex- 
communication, all lay-investiture. Anselm refused to do homage to 
Henry for his see or to receive investiture at his hands, and Pope 
Paschal strongly supported the English primate. After a long dispute, 
the matter was settled by a compromise, in which Henry agreed to 
forego the ceremony of investiture, by which the spiritual office was 
held to be conferred, and the Pope allowed bishops to do homage for 
their temporal property. Anselm only survived by two years the 
arrangement thus made in 1107. 

The conquest of Normandy was a troublesome gain to the king of 
England. The cause of the young William, son of the cap- He 
tive Robert, was taken up by the French king Louis, and and Nor- 
open war came at last between France and Normandy. In man " v ' 
1119, the French were defeated at Noyon, between Rouen and Paris, 
but trouble did not cease till the death of the king's nephew in 1128, 
and the English people were greatly burdened by exactions to support 
the expense of Henry's warfare. 

The private life of Henry was not such as a wife like the " good 
Queen Maud " could regard with approval, or continue to Tlie kin , 
share with self-respect, and, at the time of her death in 1118, domestic 
she had long retired from the palace to reside in the mona- affairs - 
stery of Westminster, where she spent her revenues in the relief of 
the sick, and her time in acts of penitence and piety. The issue of 
her union with Henry had been a daughter and a son. The daughter, 
Matilda, known as "the Empress Maud/' was married in n 14 to the 
Emperor Henry V. of Germany, who left her a childless widow in 
1125, The son, Prince William, perished by drowning in 1120, in 
the terrible and well-known catastrophe of the loss of the Blanclie-Nef 
or White Ship. A gang of drunken rowers, and a steersman full of 
wine, were the agents in driving the vessel upon a rock as she left the 
harbour of Barfleur. She filled and went down at once, taking with 
her the young prince and nearly a hundred and fifty young nobles 
of the chief families in England and Normandy. The event was a 
dreadful blow to the king, and he felt it to the end of his life. In. 
1 121, Henry took a second wife in Adelais, daughter of the Duke of 
Louvain, but no children were born, and the question of the succession 
began to trouble the king, as the next male heir was his nephew 
William, the son of Robert. He therefore took measures to secure 
the throne for his daughter Matilda, and at Christmas, 1126, a council 
was held at Windsor of barons, bishops, and other great tenants of 
the crown. The ex-empress Maud was declared next heir, if the king 
died without any male children, and all swore to maintain her succes- 


sion. Amongst those who took the oath were Stephen, Count of 
Boulogne, a nephew of the king, as son of his sister Adela, and 
Robert, Earl of Gloucester, one of Henry's natural children. David, 
king of Scotland, was there as an English earl, and also swore to 
maintain the succession of his niece Matilda, In order to further his 
daughter's cause, Henry procured her marriage with the young Geoffrey 
Plaritagenet, son of Fulk, Count of Anjou. He was one of a line of 
men remarkable for a combination of intellectual power as statesmen 
with great moral depravity. Fulk the Black, the greatest man of the 
Angevin house, died in 1040, after fifty years of successful wicked- 
ness, which left Anjou the most powerful of all the provinces of 
France. The Count Fulk of Henry's time was the most formidable of 
the foes of the English king, and it was for this reason that he sought 
to disarm the father by a marriage-alliance with the son. The young 
Geoffrey had already become Count of Anjou by his father's cession 
of the province and title, and his habit of wearing in his helmet the 
common broom of Anjou (the planta genista) had gained for him the 
surname Plantagenet, destined to become immortal in its connection 
with our history. The marriage of Matilda with Geoffrey of Anjou 
took place at Rouen in 1127, but did not prove a happy one, and was 
a constant source of trouble to the father-in-law, Henry A son, how- 
ever, was born in 1133, an( ^ received the name of Henry, after the 
king, his grandfather. The oath to maintain the succession was again 
taken by the barons, and the king then appeared to have firmly 
secured a peaceful succession to his daughter and her son. 

The chief advantages derived by England from the rule of Henry I. 
Henry's were that, along with his own arbitrary and oppressive con- 
adrniSs- duct, ^ e maintained peace in the land, and restrained the 
tration. tyranny of the barons. A new class of nobles arose, whom 
the vigorous administration of Henry made use of as sheriffs of the 
counties and judges in the courts. The Norman system of govern- 
ment, which had been inaugurated by William I., was extended into 
the complete form which has been already sketched. The king's 
severe treatment of thieves and marauders gave him the popular 
name of "the lion of justice." In 1124, forty-four robbers were put 
to death, after trial and conviction at a court held in Leicestershire. 
The coin was much debased and worn, and the currency was greatly 
imitated by coiners of sham silver. The counterfeiters were dealt 
with by mutilation, and, at one trial, out of fifty accused persons, four 
only escaped the loss of the right hand. The evil side of Henry's 
government was the severe taxation of all classes. The small tiller of 
the land suffered along with the baron, the bishop, and the monastic 
bodies. We are told that the very doors were taken off the houses, 
when the people could no longer pay ; and a writer of the time relates 
that a troop of wretched cultivators came once to the king's palace, 
and flung down their ploughshares, as the capital was all exhausted 

1135 A.D.] DEATH OF HENRY. 123 

which alone could set the ploughs to work, lleniy added to the 
severity of the forest-laws which had been enforced by his two pre* 
decessors. The chronicler tells us that " he reserved for his own sport 
the beasts of chase in the forests of England, and even caused all dogs 
that were kept on the verge of the woods to be mutilated by having a 
claw cut off," and that it was "with reluctance that he licensed his 
own particular friends, and a few of the greater nobles, to have the 
privilege of hunting in their own forests." The high position attained 
by London is shown by the fact that, among those who had this 
privilege, were the nobles, bishops, and burgesses, who, according to 
Henry's charter, were warranted to "have their hunting-grounds, as 
was best and most fully enjoyed by their predecessors, that is, in 
Chiltern (the wooded hilly district in Bucks), in Middlesex, and in 

After a reign of nearly h've-and-thirty years, in which the country 
had made undoubted progress, largely due to the effective way Death of 
in which a despotic and rapacious ruler had put down all Henry I. 
petty tyrants, Henry I. died on December i, 1135, at his favourite 
hunting-seat near Rouen, known as the Castle of Lions. He was in 
the 6yth year of his age, and the cause of his death was a fit of illness 
following upon over-indulgence in lampreys, a fish resembling the eel, 
and well known, according to Pliny, to the epicures of Rome. Henry 
was buried at Reading, in the abbey of which he was founder. 



Stephen the usurper. Matilda and her supporters. Battle of Northallerton. The 
King and the Church. Matilda's brief rule. Feudal characters. Horrors of 
the civil war. Archbishop Theobald. Literature of the age. 

THE internal tranquillity which had existed during most of the reigns 
of the three first Norman kings was now to come to an end, Stephen, 
and to be followed by a period of disorder and misery so US5-H64. 
dreadful, as to transcend all that would be invented by the most 
daring writer of fiction. The late king had, by his will, left his 
daughter Matilda, or "the Empress Maud," heir to all his dominions. 
No mention was made of her husband, Geoffrey Plantagenet. The 
late king's nephew, Stephen, Earl of Boulogne, son of the Count of 
Blois, was the nearest male heir to the throne, with the exception of 
his own elder brother, Henry. Robert of Normandy had died in 1134, 
still a captive at Cardiff, and his son, the cousin of Stephen, was also 
deceased. Great favour had been shown to his two young kinsmen by 


the late king. Henry of Blois was appointed Bishop of Winchester, 
and Stephen became a great landed proprietor. He had lived much 
in England, where he was an universal favourite. The chronicler 
states that "from his complacency of manners, and his readiness to 
joke, and sit and regale even with low people, he had gained so much 
on their affections as is hardly to be conceived." Stephen was now to 
show how little of moral principle went along with his charming good- 
humour, and his lavish generosity to boon companions and friends. 
He had sworn, as we have seen, to support the succession of Matilda. 
From the death-bed of his uncle he started at once for England, and 
landed, with great propriety, as an omen of his reign, during a winter- 
storm of thunder and lightning. He had come to carry out a long- 
prepared and well-organised plan, and, when the gates of Dover and 
Canterbury were closed against him, he went boldly on to London. 
His brother Henry had been working in his favour on the minds of the 
dignitaries of the Church, but the first people to welcome Stephen as 
successor were the citizens of London. Their aldermen presided at a 
meeting of the people, and he was by them chosen and hailed as king 
amid tumultuous applause. Oaths of allegiance and of good govern- 
ment were interchanged, and this irregular proceeding seems to have 
been confirmed by a certain number of bishops and barons. There is 
no doubt that many of the nobles, and of the English people also, felt 
a strong objection to the rule of a female sovereign. The idea of a 
lady as ruler was out of harmony both with old traditions and with 
warlike habits. Under the feudal system, the king was the great 
military chief, as well as the dispenser of justice and the guardian of 
property. Two hundred and fifty years had passed since Alfred's 
sister, the Lady of Mercia, had shown her energy and wisdom as a 
ruler, and no thane or baron had yet knelt before a queen, and sworn 
to be her "liege-man." Many of the barons, who had been kept in 
check by the strong hand of Henry, hoped now to have a better time 
under a king of easy temper and generous disposition. In order to 
give a show of legality to usurpation, and to make excuse for flagrant 
perjury, it was pretended by the partisans of Stephen that the oath to 
support Matilda had been extorted by Henry, and that on his death- 
bed he had revoked, by word of mouth, his appointment of Matilda as 
successor, and declared Stephen heir to all his dominions. 

The sovereign who thus obtained the throne was crowned on Decem- 
Stephen's ^ er 2 ^^ n > the day sacred to the memory of Stephen the first 
first pro- martyr. The new king had become possessed of great wealth 
l3nss ' in Henry's I.'s accumulated treasure, and with these resources 
he hired a large mercenary force from Flanders, Brittany, and other 
parts of the Continent. The evils of despotism had been already fol- 
lowed by the worse mischiefs of anarchy. The forest-laws had been 
the chief grievance of the late king's reign, and the news of his death 
was the signal for an outburst of fury against the animals whom those 


harsh enactments had protected. A general rush to the woods was 
made, and for a time the deer and boars and hares seemed, in their 
sudden disappearance, to have suffered utter extirpation. Stephen 
went in person against these and other marauders, but he soon had 
to deal with troubles far more serious. David, king of Scotland, came 
forward as the champion of the wronged Matilda, whose claim he 
had sworn to uphold, and his troops made their way to Carlisle and 
Newcastle, but they retired on the approach of Stephen with a great 
army at his back. In Normandy, all went well at first for the new 
sovereign, as the nobles gave him their allegiance on hearing of his 
succession to the English crown. In order to secure his position in 
England, Stephen made a lavish distribution of crown -lands to a large 
number of tenants-in-chief, who were intended by him to counteract 
the power of the greater barons. These new nobles were permitted 
to build castles as their strongholds, and in every quarter rose the 
keeps of men who became, in the coming evil time, mere robber-chiefs, 
surrounded by gangs of their armed vassals, or of mercenary soldiers 
attracted by regular pay or by the hope of booty. The land soon 
became a prey to disorder, in which bands of marauders sallied forth 
from towns to seize the cattle at the farms, and every highway swarmed 
with brigands, who kidnapped wealthy travellers, and held them to heavy 
ransom under pain of torture and death. 

Robert, Earl of Gloucester, a son of Henry L, had done homage to 
Stephen, but he soon began to intrigue against his power, and The civil 
to gather round him partisans of Matilda. In 1138, a rising ^ ar - 
of the barons in the south and west of England was put down by 
Stephen, but a more formidable attack upon his power came in the 
north. David of Scotland again took the field, and crossed the border 
into England with a tumultuous array of forces, largely composed of 
men from Galloway and the Highlands, who were of the original 
British stock. They were little better than savages, and the worst 
cruelties marked their advance into Yorkshire. 

These " Scottish ants," as a chronicler calls them, swarmed over the 
whole country, and fire and bloodshed were ever the signs of Battle of 
their presence. Thurstan, Archbishop of York, an aged but i^ r ^ al " 
vigorous man, gathered a large force to resist them, and, in 1138. 
appealing to the people of his province, he called them to join the 
banners of their old English saints. The warlike Bishop of Durham 
headed the army, which included Norman mailed horsemen and English 
archers. In their midst was a tall cross, raised upon a car and sur- 
rounded by the banners of St. Cuthbert of Durham, St. Wilfrid of 
Ripon, St. John of Beverley, and St. Peter of York. The struggle 
which ensued has hence been called The Battle of the Standard. The 
enemy's host had within its ranks many Norman knights from the 
Lowlands, and at their head charged Prince Henry, the king of Scot- 
land's son. The Scots were generally armed with darts and long spears, 


but all their fierce attacks made little impression on the solid mass of 
Normans and English who were gathered round the standard. Repulse 
was followed by successful counter-attack, and the invading army fled, 
leaving thousands of men on the field. King David himself and his 
son narrowly missed capture. 

The character of Stephen was merely that of a gallant feudal warrior, 
Stephen's and his lack of a statesman's qualities brought him into diffi- 
wtttTthe cu ^7- -^ or ^ our vears ne na d been kept on the throne mainly 
Church. by the influence of the Church, and prudence would have 
caused him to refrain from giving offence to the clergy. The rapid 
and steady growth of ecclesiastical power in England from the time 
of the Conquest is one of the remarkable facts of that age. Nearly 
all the great offices of the Church were held by Normans, and for more 
than seventy years the Church possessions had been ever growing in 
value. Not only had the bishops and monasteries large endowments 
from the lands of the crown and the confiscated estates of the English 
earls, but it was a passion with Normans, both laymen and "clerks,' 
to erect stately churches and abbeys, and provide the means of main- 
taining them. The court-jester of Henry I. erected the priory and 
hospital of St. Bartholomew on a part of .the king's market of Smith- 
field. Flambard, the rapacious minister of Rufus, built the great 
priory of Christchurch. A religious revival had been of late stirring 
the minds of men in England. Late in the reign of Henry, the 
Cistercian order of monks had begun to settle here. They sprang 
from the Benedictines, and had their name from their first religious 
house at Citeaux (Cistercium), near Dijon. Their rule w T as austere, 
their lives being wholly given to labour and prayer, and their one 
frugal daily meal was eaten in silence. Whilst other religious orders 
had their abbeys amidst large communities, the Cistercians asked for 
grants of land in the most solitary places, where the recluse could 
meditate undisturbed by aught except the cry of birds on the desolate 
moors, and the voices of the woods and the waters in the wild gorges 
of the hills. In such a spot "Walter 1'Espee, \vho had fought at Northal- 
lerton, founded for the new order Rievaulx Abbey among the York- 
shire hills. The Norman knight had lost his son, and he found solace 
in seeing the monastic buildings rise under his munificent care, and 
the waste lands become fertile under the labours of the devoted monks. 
The Norman prelates were men of learning and ability, magnificence 
and taste, and much of the vast revenues of the great sees was applied 
to noble uses. After the lapse of seven centuries, we still tread with 
reverence those portions of our great cathedrals in which the early 
Norman architecture is visible. It was in this age that the massive 
grandeur of the rounded arch was shown in the stately cathedral of 
Durham, the building of which, begun under Rufus, continued through 
the reign of Henry I. Eleven years after the Conquest, Rochester 
Cathedral was built, and its present nave is an unaltered part of the 


original structure. Norwich Cathedral was founded in 1094, and its 
erection was carried forward so rapidly, that in seven years sixty monks 
were located there. Winchester, in its oldest parts, dates from the 
same period. The grand conception and solid execution of these nohle 
structures suffice of themselves to show the wealth and activity of the 
Church during the reigns of the Conqueror and his sons. It was with 
this powerful body that Stephen now, in his rashness, ventured to 
quarrel. The bishops were not only priests and lawyers, but were 
often also military leaders, as we have just seen in the fight at Nor- 
thallerton. As barons of the realm, they were surrounded with armed 
retainers, and a king had always reason to fear lest provocation should 
make a prelate put forward the proud feudal baron instead of the 
priestly side of his character. Some of the bishops had, in self-defence, 
been erecting strong castles like so many of the lay-barons. Roger, 
Bishop of Salisbury, once a parish priest at Caen, had become chancellor 
and chief justiciary under Henry I. He had helped Stephen to the 
throne, and received from him lavish rewards, Besides his castle of 
Salisbury, the bishop had lately built strongholds at Devizes, Sher- 
borne, and Malmesbury. The bishops of Lincoln and of Ely were his 
nephews, and the former, almost as powerful a man as his uncle, had 
built castles at Sleaford and Newark. In July 1139, a great council 
was held at Oxford, and the three bishops arrived with a large military 
escort. A quarrel and a fight ensued between their retainers and those 
of Alain of Brittany, and the king arrested the bishops of Lincoln 
and Salisbury, while the Bishop of Ely fled to his uncle's castle at 
Devizes. The prelates were forced to surrender their fortresses, and 
indignant shame caused the death of the justiciary, Roger, Bishop of 
Salisbury, before the year was over. Stephen's action turned against 
him his brother Henry, Bishop of Winchester, who was now Papal 
Legate in England, and the result was an invasion of the country by 
Matilda, and Robert, Earl of Gloucester. 

They landed at Arundel in September 1139, with a small force, and 
the adherents of both parties prepared for what proved to be T . . ., 
a long and stubborn contest. The strength of Matilda lay in war, 1139- 
the west, while Stephen was supported by the eastern shires 1146< 
and the men of London. During 1140, a war of partisans and plunder- 
ing went on, and bodies of freebooters came over from Flanders to take 
their part in the general pillage. The Legate and the bishops hurled 
curses and excommunications at the plunderers of churches and abbeys, 
but the lawless ruffians who filled the land laughed at all anathemas. 
The atrocities of the time are almost beyond belief, but rest on good 
contemporary evidence. One baron rubbed his prisoners over with 
honey, and then exposed them naked to the stings of bees and the 
burning shafts of the sun. The treachery of friend against friend 
caused nobles who came as guests to be detained as prisoners, and 
feudal barons hanged like serfs men of their own rank. 

128 CIVIL WAR. [1141 A.D. 

In 1141 the castle of Lincoln, held for the king, was seized by sur- 
prise, through the gross treachery of two nobles who had 
Lincoln? supported Stephen, and then turned to Matilda's side. The 
1141. king marched to Lincoln, and laid siege to the fortress, and 

Robert of Gloucester and other barons went to its relief with a great 
army. A terrible fight ensued, in which Stephen, one of the bravest 
men of feudal times, fought like a lion amidst a host of foes. His 
heavy battle-axe rose and fell until it was shattered to pieces. Then he 
drew his long sword, and smote away till that was broken, when he 
was surrounded and made prisoner. He was closely kept at Bristol 
Castle, and for eight months Matilda was queen. 

The defeat of Stephen was a triumph for the bishops, and it was 
used by them with great arrogance,, In a council held at 
asV Winchester, Henry the Legate denounced his brother, falsely 
ruler> declaring that the right of choosing a sovereign chiefly belonged 
to the Church, and hailed Matilda as queen of England and Normandy. 
The men of London, who vainly asked for Stephen's release, gave a 
reluctant allegiance to Matilda, and she entered London with great 
state. Her rash and imperious conduct soon gave great offence, and 
Stephen's brave and faithful queen, also. named Matilda, daughter of 
the Count of Boulogne, raised an army and marched on London. The 
citizens took up arms to assist her, and the ex-empress fled to Win- 
chester Castle. Henry had now changed sides, and, holding his palace 
at Winchester, carried on a contest with Maud which caused the de- 
struction of the ancient capital of Wessex by fire. Thus the rivalry 
of Winchester with London was brought to an end, and from this time 
London may be regarded as the capital of England. Maud was forced 
by famine to flee from Winchester Castle, and in the retreat her great 
supporter, Robert, Earl of Gloucester, who was also her half-brother, 
fell into the enemy's hands. He was then exchanged for Stephen, and 
the war went on as before during 1 142. 

The four chief characters of the time are specimens of the feudal age. 
7he In Matilda, brave, haughty, vindictive, and cruel, we have a 

feudal striking picture of the proud feudal dame, who shrank from 
no peril by reason of her sex, but made the homage of chivalry 
to woman a powerful instrument for enforcing her absolute will. In 
Robert of Gloucester we see the feudal baron at his best. Brave he 
was, of course, but he was also of a free, generous, loyal, and steadfast 
nature. Wise in counsel, and a lover of literature, he had as few as 
might be of the vices of that age, and most of its higher and engaging 
qualities. Stephen himself may claim the merit of being able, not 
merely to win, but to keep firmly the love and admiration, both in 
good and in evil fortune, of the great body of the nation. After the 
struggles of six years, in victory, in defeat, amid the hostility of the 
Church, in capture and imprisonment, the attachment of the people of 
the great towns to his person and government remains unshaken. In 

1142-1153 A.D.] HENRY OF ANJOU. 129 

Henry, Bishop of Winchester and Papal Legate, we have the mingled 
churchman, statesman, and soldier of the time, a determined supporter 
of his clerical order and of the Pope's authority in England/ The 
whole panorama unrolled before us in the reign of Stephen justifies the 
remark of the philosophical historian, Sir James Mackintosh, that "it 
perhaps contains the most perfect condensation to be found in history 
of all the ills of feudality." 

In 1142, Matilda was besieged by Stephen in the strong castle of 
Oxford. After three months' leaguer, as the year drew to its The war 
close, famine pressed the garrison, and Maud was forced to 11*2-1150. 
escape by night over the frozen snow that covered the ground, and the 
ice that made a road of the river. The great fact of the time was the 
universal misery of the people. Famine was rife, towns were deserted, 
and foreign mercenaries, left unpaid by their baronial employers, pillaged 
the farms and the monastic houses. A change in the fortunes of 
Matilda's family had meanwhile occurred. Her husband, Geoffrey of 
Anjou, had become master of Normandy, and its barons had given their 
allegiance to her son Henry as their duke. The lad was now in England, 
under the care of his uncle, the Earl of Gloucester. This wise guardian 
was lost to him by the Earl's death in 1145, and the next year Matilda 
gave up the contest in England and retired to Normandy, leaving the 
land in extreme misery. 

Henry, the king's brother, had been superseded as Papal Legate by 
the excellent Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury. He was The 
strongly opposed to Stephen, and in this he had the support agaSn- 
of the powerful Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. This great prelate tervenes. 
now came forward in the interests of peace. In 1 1 50, Stephen desired 
that his son Eustace should be recognised as heir to the kingdom. 
Theobald absolutely refused this claim in the interests of Henry of 
Anjou. This young prince, in courage and prudence, toil and tact, 
was already giving assurance to his party of the great eminence he 
was hereafter to reach as a ruler and a statesman. He was seventeen 
years of age in 1150, and was already Duke of Normandy. His 
father Geoffrey's death, in 1151, gave him the rule of Anjou, Touraine, 
and Maine. In 1152, he made a marriage of ambition, rather than 
affection, with Eleanor, divorced wife of Louis VII. of France. This 
lady was the daughter and heir of William, Duke of Guienne and 
Count of Poitou, and the alliance with Henry gave him control of 
those territories and of Aquitaine. He was thus master of all the 
western side of France, from the Somme to the Pyrenees, with the 
sole exception of Brittany. At the end of 1152, he came to England 
with an army, and some fighting had taken place with the forces of 
Stephen when the Archbishop, and Henry, brother of Stephen, in- 
terposed to prevent further bloodshed. The death of Stephen's son 
Eustace in August was an important factor in the arrangement. In 
1153 the Treaty of Wattingford brought peace to the land. Stephen 


led the young prince in solemn procession through the streets of 
Winchester, and, as the chronicler tells us, " all the great men of the 
realm, by the king's command, did homage, and pronounced the fealty 
due to their liege lord, the Duke of Normandy, saving only their 
allegiance to King Stephen during his life." On October 25, 1154, 
Stephen himself died, preceded to the tomb, three years before, by his 
constant and heroic queen. 

The monastic chronicles, due to the brains and pens of the monks 
Litera- in the scriptorium or writing-room of the monastery, are 
the 6 f found at their best in the reign of Henry I. In these 
period. valuable independent records, made from personal knowledge, 
or based on the evidence of eye-witnesses, we have our authorities for 
the history of England at that date. Florence, of Worcester, a brother 
of the monastery in that city, continued another man's chronicle from 
1082 to 1117, the year before his death. Ordericus Vitalis was son 
of a married priest from Orleans, who came over to England with 
lioger de Montgomeri, Earl of Shrewsbury. He was born in 1075, 
at Atcham, on the Severn, and was educated at a Benedictine abbey 
in Normandy. There he became a monk, and spent all his life devoted 
to literary pursuits. His work was an Ecclesiastical History of Eng- 
land and Normandy. The last half of the book gives a trustworthy 
account of the political events of his own time in the kingdom and 
the duchy. He has no literary skill, but is valuable for his facts and 
genuine copies of documents. The work is brought down to 1142, 
which is the supposed date of the author's death. In William of 
Malmesbury we have a writer of a much higher stamp. He was born 
in Somersetshire near the end of the eleventh century, and was of 
Norman-English parentage. He became a monk of Malmesbury 
Abbey, and was there made librarian. His De Gestis Regum Anglorum 
is a general history of England, from the coming of the invaders in 
449 to 1126 : he also wrote an account of events from that year to 
the escape of Maud from Oxford in 1142. The De Gestis was dedi- 
cated to his patron, Robert, Earl of Gloucester. He shows great 
diligence, modesty, and good sense as a writer, and in his grouping 
of events and liveliness of style rises far above the mere annalist or 
chronicler, and takes rank as our earliest historian after the Con- 
quest. Geoffrey of Monmouth, a Welsh monk of the Benedictine 
order, became Bishop of St. A : saph in 1152, and died in 1154. His 
Latin History of British Kings was dedicated to the cultured Robert, 
Earl of Gloucester, and became very popular from, the introduction 
of a large element of romance and fiction. The writer had the poetic 
genius of the Cymric race, and to him we are indebted for the legends 
of Arthur and his knights, for the fiction of Sabrina, " virgin daughter 
of Locrine," in Milton's Comus, for the subject of Kiny Lear, and for 
the story of Gorboduc, the theme of the first English tragedy. The 
historical part of the book was extracted into an abridgment made 


by Alfred of Bei'erley, and the full work was turned into French verse 
for those who could not read Latin. Wace was a man born at Jersey, 
who was writing romances at Caen towards the end of Stephen's reign! 
He also turned Geoffrey's chronicle, with additions of his own, into 
a French romance in verse called Brut. Another work of his was 
Roman de Ron, a picturesque and animated adaptation in French 
verse of a Latin chronicle about the deeds of William the Conqueror. 
Henry of Huntingdon, born near the end of the eleventh century, was 
an English historian who became archdeacon of the town whence he 
has his name. He compiled a chronicle ending with the death of 
Stephen, and at the end of his life produced a little work entitled 
De Cont&inptu Mundi, containing many curious contemporary anec- 
dotes of kings, prelates, and nobles. In the time of Stephen, we have 
the earliest extant Miracle Plays, the acting of which was probably 
begun in this country soon after the Conquest. The authors and 
performers were ecclesiastics, and the name arises from the fact that 
the miracles of the first founders of the faith, and of the saints and 
martyrs, were set forth in a dramatic form. They were represented 
at church on occasion of solemn festivals. Hilari-us, an Englishman 
living in France, wrote two such dramas in the time of Stephen. A 
similar kind of plays was that called Mysteries, because they repre- 
sented the mysterious doctrines of Christianity. We have one Mystery 
of Hilarius, called the Raising of Lazarus, composed for the enforce- 
ment of the doctrine of resurrection. 



Henry II. ; his person and character. Thomas Becket as statesman and church- 
man. The great conflict between Church and State. Becket's exile, return, and 

THE first monarch of the famous line which reigned in England for 
over three hundred years was the greatest king of his own Henry II., 
age, and one of the ablest rulers who appear in all our annals. 1154-1189. 
Henry II. and his two sons and successors are known as the Angevin 
kings, from, their origin in Geoffrey of Anjou, and their close connection 
with France, where that territory formed a part of their inherited pos- 
sessions. The new king, at twenty-one years of age, was welcomed to 
the throne by all classes of a nation which had hopes of a quiet future 
in receiving a ruler possessed of an undisputed title. He was crowned 
at Westminster on Sunday, December i9th, with his queen, Eleanor of 
Guienne. The extent of his Continental dominions has been already 

132 HENRY II. [1154 A.D. 

shown. They comprised nearly a half of France, and were far superior 
in wealth and size to the territories under the real control of the 
French monarch. 

The intellectual powers of the king, as a shrewd and prudent states- 
man, were well matched by his athletic form, expressive face, 
ter a of lively speech, restless energy, and wonderful capacity for 
Henry II. wor ] > He was a thorough man of business, pleasant in de- 
meanour, strong of memory, vigilant, firm, and methodical. He was 
tenacious in his likes and dislikes, and would, when provoked, give way 
to furious bursts of rage. His reign forms a memorable period in our 
history, when a cruel and turbulent baronage was subjected to the solid 
power of an energetic and able monarch, and a great advance was made 
in the equal administration of justice. Under his sway, the English and 
Normans were more closely drawn together in the bonds of commerce 
and intermarriage, and a new national feeling arose. Henry had no 
poetical regard for any of the traditions of his elders. His sole object 
as ruler was to work out a system of good government, in which pri- 
vilege would be swept aside if it barred the way to the end in view, 
and public administration would be carried out by men acting under 
the eye and by the orders of the sovereign who chose them. The great 
contest in which he engaged was that for maintaining the supremacy 
of the civil power over that of the Church. A dramatic interest is 
given to his reign by the contrast of the brilliant morning of his career 
with its dark and stormy close. 

The work ready to Henry's hand was that of restoring internal peace, 
kin 's ^ IW} anc ^ or( ^ er 5 after the late dreadful anarchy. Herein he 
first pro- was well backed by the help and advice of the good Archbishop 
ceedmgs. Theobald. The foreign mercenaries were driven from the land ; 
the castles lately made the abodes of mere robbers and rebels were de- 
molished. The crown-lands alienated by Stephen were resumed, and 
the coinage of the realm, grievously debased, was restored to a proper 
form by the abolition of the private mints of the barons, and the issue 
of new money as the exclusive right of the sovereign. In 1158, Henry 
added the county of Nantes to his French dominions, on the death of 
his brother Geoffrey, and seven years later took possession of the duchy 
of Brittany, as lord and guardian of his third son, Geoffrey, who had 
married the Duke's daughter. 

Gilbert Becket was a citizen of London in the reign of Henry I., and 
Thomas his son Thomas was born there in 1119. He was educated in 
Cnancel- boyhood in the Abbey of Merton, and then passed, for in- 
lor, H57. struction in logic and rhetoric, to one of the schools of London. 
He went to Paris to complete his training in the accomplishments of 
the time, and acquired there a knowledge of philosophy and divinity, 
with a thorough mastery of the French language, and a conquest of 
the English accent distasteful to the Norman ear. His abilities soon 
attracted notice, and he became Archdeacon of Canterbury, by the 

1157-1162 A.D.] THOMAS BECKET. 133 

patronage of Theobald. Henceforth his rise was swift and sure. He 
was twice sent on important diplomatic business to Rome, and was the 
right hand of the Archbishop during the troubles of Stephen's reign. 
He had all the qualifications for a successful courtier in a fine person, 
a cultivated mind, a pleasing address, readiness of wit and speech, and 
a taste both for the sports of the field and the revelry of the banquet. 
In 1157, he became chancellor, and was ever about Henry's person as 
the sealer of his writs, and as his secretary and adviser in affairs of the 
highest moment. He was now the first subject of the kingdom in 
influence, and held several baronies, which brought him great wealth. 
Like other churchmen of the age, Becket did not shrink from active 
service in war, and in 1159 fought bravely at the king's side, leading 
the knights of his own household in a campaign against King Louis of 
France. In 1162, Becket became Archbishop of Canterbury, and there 
can be no doubt that, in making the appointment, Henry reckoned upon 
finding him a supporter in the battle which he had resolved to fight 
with the Church. 

We have seen that one of the rare mistakes of William the First's 
policy had been the separation of the civil and ecclesiastical . .. 
tribunals. The power of the Church, backed by Papal influ- and the 
ence, had long been encroaching on the civil authority, and clmrcl1 ' 
it was a special scandal of the time that those who belonged to the 
priesthood were not subject to the laws of the state for the punish- 
ment of crime. They claimed to be tried by their own courts, and 
those courts were partial. This was one of the inequalities which 
Henry had fully resolved to redress. We learn that Becket paused a 
year before he accepted the primacy, and expressly warned the king 
not to expect from him, as archbishop, the same devotion to the royal 
interests which he had shown in his office as chancellor. When 
Becket at last became the leading man in the Church, his conduct 
came upon the king as a most unpleasant surprise. Becket had -made 
up his mind to bring about a contest between the Church and the 
State, and he relied for final victory on the support of the see of 
Rome. He well knew the character of the king with whom he would 
have to contend, and could form, a just estimate of the power of the 
nobles who would be banded against him. But the authority of the 
Church Catholic had already made kings hold the Pope's stirrup, and 
Gregory VII. had excommunicated an emperor of Germany, and forced 
him to wait his pleasure, for three winter days, in his outer court at 
Canossa, with all the humiliation of naked feet and the penitent's 
woollen shirt. What Pope Gregory was in the eleventh century, Pope 
Alexander would be in the twelfth, if Henry were contumacious. 
With these views, Becket at once resigned his office as chancellor, and 
exchanged his life of luxury for one of extreme asceticism. The gay 
attire of a courtier was laid aside for a monk's frock and a hair-shirt, 
and the pomp of a train of nobles, and belted knights for a body- 


guard, gave way to the feeding of the poor in his private chambers, 
to waiting on them, and washing their feet. The friendship between 
Becket and the king was at an end, and they both prepared for the 
inevitable struggle. The importance of the matter to be dealt with in 
the separate jurisdiction of the courts may be judged from a few facts. 
The clergy claimed an exemption from all civil judicature. Whilst 
the murderer and robber were punished with death, if tried in the 
courts of the crown, the vilest offender, if a clerk or clergyman, 
escaped often with a mere fine. The number of persons in holy orders 
was enormous. The great increase of religious houses, and of eccle- 
siastical revenues, had opened the doors of the Church, as a profession, 
even to the Saxon serf. The bishops and abbots, as feudal lords, had 
men in their retinues who were half-priest and half-soldier, and many 
of these were guilty of conduct most shameful to their priestly char- 
acter. After the appointment of Becket to the primacy, a flagrant 
case of murder by a priest came to light in Worcestershire. The 
offender was demanded for trial in the king's courts. Becket shielded 
the criminal in the interests of the Church, and passed on him only a 
sentence of degradation from the priestly office. The king then called 
a council of prelates at Westminster in 1 163, and asked them " whether 
they were willing to submit to the ancient laws and customs of the 
realm?" The reply, framed by Becket, was that they would observe 
them "saving the privileges of their order." Becket, at the instance 
of his friends, afterwards gave his assent to the demand of the indig- 
nant Henry, but the king resolved to have a more formal assertion of 
the principle which he maintained the equality of the clergy and the 
laity before the law. 

A Great Council was summoned in January 1164, to meet at Claren- 
Constitu- don, near Salisbury, and there was passed a series of resolu- 
"cSSceS- tions which have since been known as the Constitutions of 
don, 1164. Clarendon. They formed, in fact, a statute, and had the 
force of law. After three days' earnest debate, the consent of Becket 
himself was obtained, upon what pressure from within or without the 
council, it is now difficult to determine. The Constitutions were a 
formidable attack upon the power of the clergy at home, and upon the 
interference of the Papal See with the affairs of the English Church. 
The preamble declares them to be a record and recognition of the 
ancient laws and customs which ought to be observed in the kingdom. 
The great point of contest that of clerical exemption from the secular 
arm or civil law was thus decided : " Ecclesiastics accused of any 
matter shall, upon summons of the king's justiciary, come into his 
court, to answer there concerning what shall appear to the king's 
court to be there cognisable ; and shall answer in the ecclesiastical 
court, concerning what shall appear cognisable there; and if an 
ecclesiastic shall be convicted, or confess his crime, the Church ought 
not any longer to give him protection/'' All pleas of debt were to 

1164 A.D.] COUNCIL OF NORTHAMPTON. i :>,.-, 

belong to the king's judicature, as well as rights of advovvson, and 
questions of the tenure of property arising between ecclesiastic and 
layman. Another clause provides that no dignified ecclesiastic should 
leave the realm without license of the king. It was also provided that 
none of the king's chief tenants or officers should be excommunicated 
without the king's permission. The clauses which enabled the king- 
to send for the principal clergy of a church, upon the vacancy of a 
bishopric or abbacy, and, with the advice of such prelates as he should 
choose, to give his assent or otherwise to the election of a new bishop 
or abbot, and to receive homage from the person chosen all these 
were a distinct assertion of the principle for which Henry I. had con- 
tended against Anselm. The Constitutions were sent to the Pope for 
confirmation, but Alexander III. refused to ratify them. 

Immediately after giving a reluctant consent at Clarendon, Becket 
had repented of his action, and he refused to affix his seal conduct 
to the Constitutions. He was the victim of a vacillation of of Becket. 
mind due to his fear of the king and the barons on the one hand, 
and to his zealous regard for the interests and dignity of the Church 
on the other. He took an oath to observe the Constitutions, and then 
imposed on himself a penance for taking the oath, suspending himself 
from offering mass, and writing to the Pope for absolution. When 
the Pope refused to ratify the statute, Becket grew bolder, and began 
a course of determined hostility. He twice endeavoured to leave the 
kingdom, but was intercepted and detained. Henry saw him, and 
tried to pacify him, but Becket returned to his see at Canterbury, and 
began to set the statute at defiance. 

The king, on his side, was just as firmly resolved as the Archbishop. 
In the Council of Northampton Becket was arraigned for council 

havinsr broken his fealty to the sovereign, in not having of Nor- 

5 , . J ., . , , . b ' . , . 6 thampton. 

appeared in person to a suit against him concerning certain October 

lands. On this charge he was condemned, and all his posses- 116 ** 
sions were confiscated. Henry was not satisfied with this, but pressed 
Becket for large balances of money declared to be due to the crown 
in connection with his former administration as chancellor. As the 
danger grew, the boldness of Becket increased. On the last day of the 
council, he preached at the morning service from the text, "Princes 
sat and spake against me," and then went in solemn procession to the 
king's house, bearing the archbishop's cross in his own hands. As the 
primate entered the hall, the king retired, followed by the bishops and 
nobles, and Becket took his seat, with a few of the humbler clergy 
grouped around him. The wrath of Henry was roused, and, in fear for 
what might happen, the Bishop of Exeter came, and flung himself on 
his knees before Becket, beseeching him to have pity upon himself and 
his brethren. His answer was " Fly, then, thou canst not understand 
the things that are of God." The other bishops then came and re- 
nounced their obedience to him, on the ground that he had sworn falsely 

136 FLIGHT OF BECKET. [1165 A.D. 

to observe the Constitutions, and had then resisted them and broken his 
fealty. " I hear what ye say," was the only reply. The barons then 
pronounced a sentence of imprisonment against him, and the Earl of 
Leicester came into the hall to read it. The Archbishop broke in with 
11 Sir Earl, hear you first," and then he disclaimed the king's judgment, 
and that of the barons, Ci being only to be judged, under God, by our 
lord the Pope." He then cited the bishops (who had chosen, as he 
said, to obey men rather than God) to appear before the Pope. As he 
rose to depart, a cry of " traitor" was heard, and the man's old warrior- 
spirit flashed out in the words, " If my holy office did not forbid it, I 
would make answer with my sword." Thus Becket passed out of the 
king's hall, and at dead of night left Northampton, in the garb of a 
monk, with but two attendants. Fifteen days later he embarked in a 
small fishing-boat at Sandwich, and was set ashore near Gravelines. 
He had a narrow escape, for Henry had given order that all the 
seaports should be watched. Thus the bold Archbishop went into a 
voluntary exile of six years. The king at once banished several hun- 
dreds of his adherents and kinsfolk. 

The Archbishop was received with the greatest distinction by Louis 
Becket's VII. of France and by the Pope, and then took up his abode at 
proceed- ^e Abbey of Pontigny, in Burgundy. He abated nothing of 
ings. his rancorous hostility to Henry, and in 1166, on the festival 

of the Ascension, he made a striking display of feeling at Vezelay, near 
Auxerre. Mounting the pulpit, he denounced all those whom he called 
the enemies of the Church. Then the bells tolled, the crosses were 
inverted, the priests stood around with lighted torches, and the dreadful 
form of excommunication was pronounced against certain dignitaries 
of the Church in England, against Jocelin de Baliol, the king's chief 
justiciary, and against all who should abet, enforce, or obey the Consti- 
tutions of Clarendon. This sentence was not pronounced by Becket 
against Henry himself, but he was called upon, by name, to repent, and 
to atone for the usage which he had offered to the Church, on pain of 
all the curses included in excommunication. Then the torches were 
extinguished, in token of the utter perdition of the souls of those cut 
off from the Church. The Abbey of Pontigny, where Becket was 
residing, was a Cistercian house, and Henry replied to Becket by a 
threat that he would confiscate all the estates of the Cistercians in 
England, if the Archbishop were still harboured in their monastery 
abroad. Becket then withdrew to another asylum at Sens, whence he 
kept up the contest by fervent appeals to the Pope, to Henry, arid to 
various English prelates. It is believed that Henry kept himself free 
for a time from a Papal interdict, which might have shaken the alle- 
giance of his subjects, by the free use of gold at the Papal court, where 
the metal proved more potent than the letters of Becket, in which the 
king of England was denounced as a malicious tyrant. At last the 
scandal was brought to an end by the intervention of Louis of France. 


In July 1170, Becket and the king met in conference abroad, and an 
outward reconciliation was made. It was observed, however, that 
Henry, though he held Becket's stirrup when he mounted his horse, 
did not give him "the kiss of peace." This token of amity, dating 
from early Christian times, was invested with a peculiar solemnity 
when given by the lips of a king in the feudal age. The Archbishop 
was to be restored to his see, with all his lands, benefices, and honours, 
and Henry was content with Becket's agreement to love, honour, and 
serve him " in as far as an archbishop could render in the Lord service 
to his sovereign." Thus they parted to meet no more on earth. 

At the time when Henry was looking for excommunication at the 
hands of the Pope, he had thought it well to provide the The mur- 
realm with another to rule in case of need. In June 1170, jacket 
his eldest son, Prince Henry, fifteen years of age, had been 1170. 
crowned, and, during his father's absence in France, he was acting in 
England with royal authority. To him the king sent a letter com- 
manding that Becket, and all his people who had been banished, 
should now peaceably and honourably have all their possessions. When 
Becket landed at Dover on December ist, he came provided with a 
new quarrel. The ceremony of consecrating Prince Henry as co-king 
had been performed by the Archbishop of York and the bishops of 
London and Salisbury, and they had thus usurped an office pertaining 
to the see of Canterbury. Thomas Becket was not the man to endure 
the least encroachment of this kind, and he had previously inhibited 
all the bishops from assisting at the ceremony, and had backed his 
inhibition by a Papal mandate. As these were disregarded, he came 
to England armed with a sentence of suspension from his office against 
the Archbishop, and of excommunication against the two bishops. The 
returning exile was received at Canterbury with acclamations by the 
burgesses and the poor, but none of the nobles or higher clergy came 
forth to meet him. The same reception awaited him at Rochester and 
other towns, but in Southwark he was met with the warmest welcome 
from the clergy and laity of all classes. It is impossible to know the 
exact feelings and intentions of the king towards the Archbishop, but 
it is clear that Becket, by his aggressive and arrogant demeanour, 
rushed upon his fate. He was a man of such ardent temperament, 
that he preferred death to indignity, and the excommunication of 
those who gave him offence was to him as the breath of life. On 
Christmas-day (1170), he preached in his cathedral, and then delivered 
the curses of the Church against a man named Ranulph de Broc, 
whom he charged with wasting, as sequestrator, the property of the 
Canterbury see. In the meantime, the Archbishop of York and the 
two bishops had crossed over to Normandy, and laid their grievances 
before the king at Bayeux. Henry flew into a violent rage, and cried, 
" Is there no one to deliver me from this turbulent priest ? " We may 
or may not believe that the angry monarch meant the imperious sub- 

138 MURDER OF BECKET. [1170 A.D. 

ject's death, but the zeal of some of his courtiers turned the words into 
a sentence of doom. Four knights of Henry's court at once formed 
their plans, and started by different routes for Kent, all failing to be 
overtaken by the messenger whom the king sent after them, with a 
charge to do no personal harm to Becket. Their names were William 
de Tracy, Hugh de Morville, Richard Brito, and Reginald Fitz-TJrse. 
They met at Saltwood Castle, the residence of De Broc, on the night 
of December 28th, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, and there made 
their final arrangements. On the next day they hurried to Canterbury, 
and had a stormy interview wdth the Archbishop at his palace. Becket 
refused either to leave the country or to withdraw the excommuni- 
cation of the bishops. In the evening he went to vespers in the 
cathedral, passing from the conventual buildings into the cloister, 
and, as he entered the church, the tramp of armed men was heard 
mingling with the slow tread of the monks. As he stood before St. 
Bennet's altar, De Tracy cried, " Where is the traitor ? where is the 
Archbishop ? " Becket replied " Here am I, the archbishop, but no 
traitor!" "Thou art a prisoner," said the other, and took him by 
the sleeve, but the old martial temper was roused, and the Archbishop 
threw him off with violence. The assailants tried to drag him from 
the place, in order to escape the guilt of murder upon holy ground, 
but Becket resisted all efforts, and Fitz-Urse then used his sword. 
As it came down on the prelate's head, his faithful cross-bearer, 
Edward Gryme, received the blow upon his arm, which fell severely 
wounded, and the stroke spent its last force on the side of Becket's 
head and on his left shoulder. Then blow after blow brought him to 
his knees, and to the ground, where he fell flat on his face, after 
murmuring his readiness to die for Jesus and the Church. A tre- 
mendous blow from Brito came down upon the skull, and the frightful 
crime was complete. The martyrdom of " St. Thomas of Canterbury " 
brought pilgrims for many a year to worship at his shrine, and gave 
to England's first great poet the framework of his finest poem. A 
foul murder had ended the contest between the fanatical churchman 
and the able statesman. The result appeared to be a drawn battle 
between the powers of Church and State. A natural reaction of 
feeling, compounded of pity for the dead man, and horror at the worst 
of sacrilege, wrought on the public opinion of the age, and forced 
Henry to make submission to the Pope, and formally annul some 
of the provisions of the Constitutions of Clarendon. The election of 
bishops and abbots became nominally free, but was practically still 
in the king's hands, and the ecclesiastical courts remained subordinate 
to the Aula Regis. The time was yet distant when, between Crown 
and Church, should arise the majestic form of an enlightened and power- 
ful nation, to teach them that both existed for the common good of all, 
that the reign of brute violence was at an end, and that piety could 
c/xist without superstition, and freedom reign along with law and order. 

Stanford's Geog^Sstab* London. 



Early history of Ireland. State of the country. The nominal conquest. The King 
and his family. Rebellions in England and France. War with Scotland. 
Great legal reforms. Henry's later troubles and death. 

Ix the reign of Henry II. began that direct connection of Ireland with 
the government of England which has lasted nearly seven 
hundred years a connection which has involved as much and Ire- 
misrule and oppression, misery and revolt, as ever belonged to land> 1172< 
a struggle between alien races and rival creeds. We have seen that 
the Celts of Ireland were early converted to Christianity, and before 
the ninth century the people had famous schools of learning, and were 
becoming slowly civilised. The invasions of the Danes then drove them 
back into a state of semi-barbarism. Learning had all but vanished, 
and the Church, devoid of a proper system, had ceased to influence the 
people for good, or control the disorders of rival clans. There was no 
central kingly authority, and now, towards the end of the twelfth century, 
we see five kings of Munster, Leinster, Ulster, Connaught, and Meath, 
besides many small tribes. The towns of Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, 
and Cork were of Danish origin, and the people were usually in a state 
of hostility with the Celtic tribes around them. They had some inter- 
course with England towards the close of the eleventh century, acknow- 
ledging the . supremacy of the see of Canterbury, and seeking thence 
ordination for their bishops. We learn something of the state of the 
country from a chronicler who travelled there in the train of Henry's 
son, Prince John. The people preferred pasture to tillage, and disliked 
all sedentary pursuits. They were brave in an impetuous way, very 
excitable, and fond of music. Lands descended to all the sons of a 
family in equal shares upon the death of a father, and, upon the deatli 
of each possessor, they were thrown into the common stock, and a new 
division was made. Under a system so absurd, no improvement could 
take place in the cultivation of the soil ; there could be no accumulation 
of capital, and no profitable industry. At an early part of liis reign, 
Henry had thought of the subjection of Ireland, and in 1155 he had 
obtained a bull for the purpose from Pope Hadrian IV., whose lay- 
name was Nicholas Breakspear, and who was the only Englishman 
that ever reached that exalted post. In theory, the enterprise was to 
be a kind of crusade, in which Henry was to implant a real Christianity, 
win the land for the Papal see, and enforce the payment of Peter's pence. 
Many causes prevented the immediate execution of the plan, and it was 
not until 1168 that the opportunity came. Dermot, king of Leinster, 


driven out of the island by a rival chief, had gone to Aquitaine in 1167, 
rendered homage to Henry, and obtained leave to enlist adventurers 
for the recovery of his dominions. He obtained the help of a Norman 
noble, Richard de Clare, Earl of Chepstow, who bore the name of 
Stronyboiv, and of two knights of South Wales, Robert Fitz-Stephen and 
Maurice Fitz-Gerald. De Clare was a man of ruined fortunes, who, in 
return for the use of his sword, was to marry Dermot's daughter, and 
become heir to the kingdom of Leinster. Fitz-Stephen was the first 
to cross, with a small force of knights and men-at-arms, and a few 
hundred Welsh archers. He easily scattered the ill-armed Irish rabble, 
and took the town of Wexford. In 1169 Fitz-Gerald arrived with 
fresh men. and in the next year Strongbow landed near Waterford 
with a large force, captured that town and Dublin, married Dermot's 
daughter Eva, and, on her father's death, became king of Leinster 
(1171). The jealousy of Henry was aroused, and he recalled Strong- 
bow and his followers, but the Earl appeased him by doing homage for 
his kingdom. In 1172, Henry went to Ireland with an army, and re- 
ceived homage from most of the chiefs, but soon returned. In 1175 ne 
claimed the lordship of Ireland, under Pope Hadrian's bull, and then the 
king of Connaught was made his deputy, with rule over the other chiefs, 
all paying tribute to Henry. In 1177 a lord-deputy named Hugh de 
Lacy was sent over from England, and had much success in reconciling 
the natives to a foreign sway. In 1185 he was succeeded by Prince 
John, who went over with a large force, and proved a thorough failure. 
His wise father, during his six months' stay in Ireland, had placed the 
native chiefs at his own table, and treated them with all the courtesy 
of chivalry. The wanton insolence of the king's youngest son, when 
the chiefs of Leinster came to do homage, encouraged his silk-clad 
attendants to ridicule their dresses of home-spun wool, and to pluck 
their bushy beards. The country was soon roused to revolt by com- 
bined insult and oppression, and the prince was recalled in less than a 
year. The country was in no wise really made subject to England at 
this early period. A small amount of territory was held by the new- 
comers round the towns of Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, Drogheda, 
and Cork, and this was known as the English Pale, while outside these 
limits the chiefs were virtually independent. 

The king, in 1172, had four sons living. Henry, the eldest, was in 
Henry II ^ is e ig nteentn y ear > Richard, in his fifteenth, Geoffrey, in his 
and his ' fourteenth, and John, in his sixth. These were the children 
of Queen Eleanor. A lady named Rosamund Clifford, known 
as Fair Rosamund, in connection with whom we have the romantic 
stories of the secret bower at Woodstock, and the queen's revengeful 
visit with a dagger and a bowl of poison, as a choice of the means of 
death for her rival, was the mother of William Longsword, Earl of 
Salisbury, of whom Henry was father. The eldest son had been named 
by the king as his successor in England, Normandy, Anjou, Maine, and 


Touraine ; Richard was to have Guienne and Poitou ; to Geoffrey was 
assigned the duchy of Brittany ; to John was given the shadowy posses- 
sion of Ireland, which gained him the taunting surname of Lackland. 
The king had offended the barons by measures designed to enable him 
to become independent of their military support. The smaller feudal 
vassals of the crown were allowed to make a money-payment called 
scutage, or shield-money, in lieu of their personal service, and with the 
resources thus acquired Henry kept under arms a body of mercenary 
troops. In 1173, a powerful confederacy was formed against him, and 
in this plot the Queen, provoked by Henry's domestic conduct, and 
the princes Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey, were involved. Henry was 
married to the daughter of the king of France, and now demanded 
that his father should resign to his control either England or Nor- 
mandy. Richard also claimed possession of Aquitaine, and Geoffrey 
that of Brittany. They fled to the court of the French king, and 
were about to be followed by their mother, but her husband arrested 
Eleanor, and kept her a close prisoner. 

The rebellious sons of Henry were backed by Louis of France, and 
by many of the nobles of Normandy, Brittany, and Aquitaine. Tr . l 
In England itself, some of the nobles were disaffected, arid of the 
William the Lion, king of Scotland, and Philip, Earl of kins ' 
Flanders, were parties to this formidable league. Henry had need 
of all his great qualities to avert the severance of his dominions. He 
quickly gathered an army of twenty thousand adventurers, soldiers of 
fortune, who were ready, for pay and plunder, to support any cause. 
He soon routed his foes in Normandy, but England, meanwhile, was 
itself in danger. The Scots invaded it from the north, and there 
were revolts in Yorkshire, and the Midlands, and the east. The 
northern incursion was repelled by Richard de Lacy, the justiciary, 
and Humphrey de Bohun, the lord-constable, and then they turned 
south to encounter the Earl of Leicester, who had brought over the 
seas a large body of Flemings. The rebels met the royal forces in 
October 1173, at Fornham, near St. Edmundsbury, and suffered entire 
defeat. In 1174 the trouble was worse than ever. The Scots again 
entered England in great force, and the risings in the counties were 
renewed. A fleet was ready at Gravelines to bring over the young 
Henry, and all seemed crumbling into ruin. On July 8th, the king 
took ship in Normandy, and crossed the Channel during a heavy 
storm. During the long and difficult passage, his usual gaiety of 
heart and demeanour was overclouded by deep thought. He was well 
aware that many of his subjects held him responsible for the murder 
of Becket, and that they believed the disasters now coming to be 
Heaven's judgment upon him for crime. Free from superstition him- 
self, he was too wise a statesman to disregard its power over others, 
and he now resolved to do his best to recover the good opinion of 
the faithful. The man who had fallen dead at the shrine of St. 

142 LEGAL REFORMS. [1175 A.D. 

Bemiet at Canterbury had just become, by the Pope's act, a canonised 
saint himself, at whose tomb miracles were wrought which noble and 
churl equally believed. On arrival at Southampton, Henry rode off to 
Canterbury, and entered the city barefoot in penitential garb. Then 
he knelt at Becket's tomb in deep humiliation. The Bishop of London 
preached, and called on all to observe that the king had thus avowed 
his freedom from blood-guiltiness. Then the king, before the assembled 
monks and chapter, poured forth his contrition for the passionate utter- 
ance which his knights had so rashly and wickedly misapplied, and next 
he was scourged with a knotted cord. After spending the night in the 
dark crypt, he rode fasting to London, and there he fell ill. 

On the fifth night of his fever he received good news from his 
Eenr minister, Rannlf de Glanvill, commanding in the north. On 
and Scot- the very morning when Henry was before the tomb of Becket, 
land. William of Scotland had been surprised at Alnwick, and taken 
prisoner in a lost battle. The insurrection was soon at an end in 
England, and the rebels hastened to renew their allegiance. Then the 
king took his army of mercenaries over to Normandy, raised the siege 
of Rouen, and brought his sons to obedience. The king of Scotland 
was a prisoner for several months in the castle of Falaise, in Normandy, 
and, by the advice of his nobles and prelates, he rendered homage to 
Henry as liege-lord. The Scottish clergy and barons were also to take 
an oath of fealty to the English king. This treaty was ratified at 
York in 1175, and the acknowledgment made to the English king of 
his being lord-paramount of Scotland becomes of importance in the 
future relations of the two countries. 

When he was once more firmly established in power, Henry began a 
Henry II ser ^ es f reforms which may be regarded as the foundation of 
and legal our judicial legislation. The Curia, or Aula, Regis Court of 
ns- King's Bench is held to have been confirmed and fully estab- 
lished by Henry, if not first instituted by him. In the reign of Henry 
I. there were itinerant justices of assize, with occasional commissions, 
but it was Henry II. who set on foot the present system. In 1176, a 
Great Council was held at Northampton, and there the kingdom was 
divided into six regular districts or circuits, each having three itinerant 
justices or judges. When it was found, three years later, that these 
men were guilty of corruption in their office, the king removed from 
their posts all the justices in eyre, as they were called, except Ranulf 
de Glanvill, who held assizes, with five others, to the north of the Trent. 
This, able man afterwards became chief-justiciary, and we shall see 
him hereafter as a writer on law. The old Saxon principle of lot, or 
pecuniary compensation for crime, had been superseded by criminal 
laws, administered with stern severity. We have now some approach 
to the mode of trial by jury. An enactment at Northampton in 1176 
orders the king's justices to make inquiry by the oaths of twelve knights, 
or other lawful men, of each hundred, together with four men from each 

1186 A.D.] AFFAIRS IN THE EAST. 143 

township, into all murders, robberies, and thefts, since the king's acces- 
sion to the throne. But these men did not, like modern jurors, decide 
upon the credibility of evidence, or hear questions of law and fact dis- 
cussed and argued. They were both witnesses as to the facts, however 
their knowledge might be acquired, and judges as to the value of the 
charge, and bore some resemblance to the modern "grand jury," whose 
business it is to present prisoners for trial, after hearing evidence in 
favour of the prosecution only. At the same time, the old English 
practice of corn/purgation came to an end, while the ordeal was retained 
until its abolition by the Council of Lateran in 1276. 

In 1183, the tranquillity of the king was again disturbed by the 
conduct of his sons. The unquiet Plantagenet blood was Last 
again asserting what Richard called " the birthright of their gemy? 
race to be at variance. 1 ' The king had commanded Richard reign, 
to do homage for Aquitaine to his elder brother Henry. On his 
refusal, Henry invaded his territories, but they were reconciled by the 
father, and then Henry and Geoffrey rebelled against him. Then the 
young prince, or king, Henry fell ill, and died penitent, pressing to 
his lips a ring which his father had sent him in token of love and 
forgiveness. Next came a war between Richard and Geoffrey, and, 
when this was settled, the worthless Geoffrey made war upon his father. 
In 1 1 86, he was killed at a tournament in Paris, and Richard and John 
alone remained to show " how sharper than a serpent's tooth " is filial 
ingratitude. Religious affairs in the East were now drawing the 
attention of the whole Christian world. The Christian kingdom of 
Jerusalem, founded in 1099 by the great Godfrey de Bouillon, pattern 
of all chivalric virtue, had fallen under the assaults of the famous 
Sultan Saladin. The Holy City fell into his hands in 1187, and a new 
Crusade was planned. In England there were already two powerful 
bodies sworn as defenders of the Cross the Knights-Hospitallers and 
the Knights-Templars. In 1185, Heraclius, patriarch of Jerusalem, 
consecrated the church of the new house of the Templars in London. 
In the quiet courts, now so changed in character of buildings and 
of dwellers, but looking out upon the placid stream of the same broad 
river, lived the prior, the knights, and the serving brethren of the 
great order of Templars. In that round church, restored now to its 
primitive beauty, the chaplains of the community prayed for the fall 
of the infidel. There the knights who had fought for the Cross against 
the Crescent were buried with monumental honour as they were in 
other churches distinguished by the crossed legs which showed that 
the Holy Land had witnessed the performance of their vows. The 
special mission of Heraclius to England had been to urge King Henry 
to rescue the sacred city. The Great Council decided, on the king's 
reference of the question, that it was his duty to remain and govern 
the nations of which Heaven had given him the charge. In 1180, 
Louis VII. of France had been succeeded by the great Philip Augustus, 

144 DEATH OF HENRY. [1189 A.D. 

and this monarch, in 1188, after the fall of Jerusalem, engaged Henry 
at last to accompany him to Palestine. The king returned to England, 
and raised a great sum by taxation, of which about one half was ex- 
torted from the Jews. Just at this crisis, trouble came again from 
his rebellious sons. Richard had been intriguing with the French king, 
to whose sister he was betrothed, and a dispute about some lands ended 
in their making a joint war upon Henry in 1189. The English mon- 
arch's health was failing, and he was unable to show his usual energy 
in conflict. He lost fortress after fortress, and was obliged to make 
submission to King Philip. Then came a final blow. He was lying 
on a bed of sickness when he signed the treaty with Philip, and he 
then asked for the names of those of his barons who had joined the 
French king. The written list was handed to him, and the first 
name that met his eye was that of his youngest and favourite son, 
John. He looked no further. The world and all its hopes and troubles 
faded from his view. Turning his face to the wall, he cried, "Let 
everything go as it will." He was then carried on a litter to his 
pleasant castle of Chinon, near Saumur, where he died on July 6, 
1189. One son, Geoffrey, afterwards Archbishop of York, the offspring 
of Fair Rosamund, had watched over his death-bed with real affection. 
On the next day the king's body was carried out for burial in the 
church of the nuns at Fontevraud, and his late rebellious, now re- 
morseful, son Richard met the sad procession. He shed bitter tears 
and uttered many penitential words for what he could never undo. 
One atonement for the past he could and did make. He drove from 
his presence with disgust all persons, clerical or lay, who had sided 
with himself against his father, and richly rewarded those who had 
been Henry's faithful servants. 



The Jews in England. Richard's character. His part in the Third Crusade. 
Richard's noble foe, Saladin. Conduct of Prince John. Richard's return to 
England. His warfare in France. Literature of the time. 

RICHARD was crowned at Westminster on 3rd September 1189. The 
spirit of the age is shown in the treatment accorded to the Jews by the 
Richard I Christians of the time. At the coronation, their chief men in 
n89-ii99. ' London came to offer presents to the king, in spite of an order 
issued against their attendance. Some of the mob attacked 
the heretics, and "cast them forth out of the king's hall, with wounds 
and blows." The citizens of London then fell upon the Jews in the 

1189 A.D.] THE JEWS IN ENGLAND. 145 

city, murdered a number of them, and burnt their houses. Some of 
the offenders were hanged, by the king's command, but the chronicler 
informs us that he punished the rioters " not for the sake of the Jews, 
but on account of the houses and property of the Christians which they 
had burnt and plundered." Under Henry II., the Jews had only been 
robbed. A number of Jewish traders had followed William I. from 
Normandy, and, under royal protection, they and other immigrants of 
their race settled in separate quarters, or Jewries, of the chief English 
towns. There, as in other countries, they were deprived of the civil 
rights of Christians, and could hold no public office. They had no right 
of domicile, nor could they belong to any guild or corporation, but, in 
consideration of the payment of certain sums of money, they enjoyed 
the immediate protection of the sovereign, who resorted to their aid in 
his financial troubles. The Jew's life and goods were entirely at the 
king's mercy, and for law he was obliged to resort to a royal judge, 
as he had no standing in the local courts. The Jews were the great 
accumulators of personal property, as lenders of money, for which 
they charged a high interest in times so insecure, and it is probable 
that their own usury and the rapacity of the Christians, rather than 
religious hatred, were the true causes of persecution. Vulgar prejudice 
ascribed to the race all kinds of hateful opinions, and they were 
believed to be cruel murderers of innocent children, as well as rapacious 
plunderers of insolvent barons. In the Russia of the present day 
we may behold, in this respect, our forefathers of the Plantagenet age. 
The mastery of commerce attained by this people, as well as their com- 
mand of money, enabled them to render substantial service, not only to 
kings and nobles, but to the nation at large. A great impulse was 
given to trade, and the sovereign had in the Jewish capitalist a ready 
resource for the needs of foreign war or domestic revolt. Nor must we 
forget the culture which distinguished the mediaeval Hebrews. Astro- 
nomy, philosophy, mathematics, and medicine were eagerly studied by 
them in the schools of Spain and the East, and the twelfth century was 
ennobled by the learning of the great Rabbi Maimonides, a native of 
Cordova, who studied Jewish and Arabic literature, and was acquainted 
with Greek philosophy in an Arabic version of Aristotle. Some of 
this learning found its way to England, and the skill and energy of the 
race were also shown in the improvement of domestic architecture by 
the building of the first stone houses in our towns, in place of the wooden 
or lath-and-plaster huts of the period. Under the Angevin kings of 
England, it is likely that a fanatical feeling against the Jewish race was 
aroused by the events which were the cause of the Crusades. After 
the riot in London, the spirit of persecution spread through the king- 
dom, and in many a town the Jews were ill-treated and massacred. 
Richard and Philip of France had agreed to start for the Holy Land 
after the Easter of 1190, and large bodies of Crusaders were already 
gathering in England. As they marched to the coast for embarkation, 


they incited the people to plunder and murder the Israelites. At York, 
the persecuted people showed a sublime heroism, worthy of the best 
days of the ancient children of Zion. A body of armed men, emulating 
the deeds of rioters at Lynn, Stamford, Lincoln, and Bury St. Edmunds, 
entered the city, and began to plunder and murder the Jews. The 
leaders of the mob were some thriftless profligates, who wished to cancel 
their debts by killing their creditors, and to recover their bonds de- 
posited in the public office. Some priests and monks were hounding on 
the mob, and five hundred of the Jews, including women and children, 
took refuge in the castle. The dreadful issue was partly due to the 
suspicious fears of the besieged, who distrusted the protection given to 
them by the Norman governor, and, in his absence, overpowered the 
guard and closed the gates against him. The fortress was attacked on 
all sides, and offers of ransom were refused. Then the desperate men 
put their wives and children to death, and nearly all fell by their own 
hands. The few survivors were at once butchered, and the instigators 
of the riot went to the register office at the cathedral, and committed 
to the flames the bonds there deposited. 

Richard's first object was to raise money for his great adventure in 
The king tne East. -^ ne crown demesnes were put up to auction, and 
and the earldoms and public offices were sold. For the paltry sum of 
Crusade, ten thousand marks the king disposed of the claim of homage 
1190-1194.' w hi c h his father had asserted against, and won from, the king 
of Scotland. "I would sell London," cried the fighting monarch, "if 
I could find a chapman." It is only fair to his repute for practical 
wisdom to state, that, on his return from the East, he forcibly resumed 
the crown-lands which he had sold, and turned out the public officers 
who had purchased their places. Of all the Norman line there was 
none who cared so little for the duties of a king as this brave and 
reckless Crusader. He passed but a few months in England during 
the ten years of his reign, and is hardly worthy of consideration in 
any character but that of a feudal knight. He was, like all his race, 
an unscrupulous, crafty, and violent man, but in personal beauty, 
physical strength, courage, and other attractive qualities, he was a 
noble specimen of a warrior. He had one large, passionate idea, which 
he carried out with surpassing bravery, and with the loftiest contempt 
of danger and privation, nor was he incapable of bursts of generous 
feeling. He appears in romance as the great hero of chivalry, but, as 
king of England, his chief value lies in the fact that he hastened, by 
his prodigal expenditure and useless warfare, the separation of England 
from the continental dominions of her kings, and so promoted the 
union of Normans and English into one powerful nation. Kings 
Philip and Richard, with an united host of a hundred thousand men, 
met on the plains of Vezelay, near the borders of Burgundy, in July 
1190, and then, on quitting Lyons, took different routes to the East. 
We have little concern with the English monarch's adventures by the 


way. He soon began to quarrel with his powerful ally. Richard had 
been betrothed to the French king's sister Adelais, but he now deserted 
her for the daughter of the king of Navarre, a lady named Berengavia, 
Her mother and she sailed for Palestine, and the marriage took place 
at Limasol, in Cyprus, of which the Crusader made conquest by the 
way, as a punishment for ill-treatment of his stranded sailors by the 
king. On reaching the Holy Land in July 1191, the English hero 
found work ready to his hand. Acre had been for two years vainly 
besieged by a Christian host. The army of Saladin was posted on the 
distant hill?, but Richard's arrival changed the course of events. The 
troops of Philip were repulsed in an assault, and then Richard, on 
recovery from a fever, took the siege in hand with vigour. The 
battering-ram and the rude artillery of the age were used against the 
walls, and the besieged rained " Greek fire :) upon the assailants. All the 
attacks of Saladin from without upon the Christian lines were repulsed, 
and he failed to throw supplies into the famine-stricken town. At last 
the place surrendered, and then the French king, jealous of Richard's 
exploits, and offended by his haughty demeanour, returned to France 
in pursuit of his own schemes. The generalship of Richard was now 
put to the test in a march of a hundred miles along the coast from Aero 
to Ascalon. His army had been reduced to thirty thousand men, and 
for eleven days they were exposed to incessant attacks from the host 
commanded by Saladin. On September 7, 1191, Richard gained a 
signal victory over the Saracen hero, and Ascalon and Jaffa fell into 
his hands. He was almost within sight of Jerusalem, when he was 
forced to abandon the enterprise. The autumn rains were beginning, 
provisions were scarce, and sickness rife. Disunion had arisen in the 
Christian army. Richard had quarrelled with and grossly insulted 
the Duke of Austria, and the Duke of Burgundy had deserted the cause. 
Saladin was still in the field at the head of a great army, and there 
was nothing left but retreat. It was fortunate for Richard's repute as 
a Crusader, and perhaps for his personal safety, that his prowess had 
won the respect, and almost the personal affection, of his gallant and 
powerful foe. Saladin was the greatest Mahometan ruler of his time, 
and is one of the noblest characters in the whole history of Islam. 
Pure in life, just in judgment, courteous in demeanour, boundless in 
liberality, brave as a lion in battle, he presents us with the brightest 
example of Eastern knighthood. Crescent against Cross, keen and 
gleaming sabre against heavy battle-axe and inace, he had met Richard 
in battle, and learnt to admire and esteem him. In the hour of his 
enemy's need, he accorded generous terms, and a three years' truce 
was concluded in 1192. The honour of the English king was saved by 
stipulations that Acre, Jaffa, and other seaports should remain in 
Christian hands, and that pilgrims should be unmolested in their visits 
to Jerusalem. On October 9th he sailed from Acre on his return 
to England. 


The cowardly Prince John had begun to play his brother false as soon 
Events as he left England. The government had been left mainly in 
Eichafd's cnar g e f William de Longchamps, Bishop of Ely, who was 
absence, also justiciary and Papal Legate. Against him John formed 
a party, and at a council held in London he was removed from his office 
as justiciary, and sentenced to banishment. It was a remarkable 
assumption of authority, and is regarded as the earliest instance of 
ministers being made responsible to Parliament. John was chosen as 
justiciary in October 1191, and a great popular meeting of the citizens 
of London took a significant part in the movement. Philip of France 
had also been intriguing against Richard, and the English king's mis- 
fortune on his homeward journey gave his rival great opportunities for 

Richard became the captive of his enemy Leopold, Duke of Austria, 
and was by him sold to the German Emperor, Henry VI. A 
king's letter of the Emperor's to Philip made Richard's captivity 
return. known in England, and general indignation was aroused. 
His deeds in Palestine had won the admiration of his subjects, and they 
hated Prince John, who was now openly hostile to his brother. He 
gave up to Philip some parts of the Continental dominions, and did 
homage to him for the rest, and then returned with a band of mer- 
cenary troops, and a story that Richard had died in prison. The 
prelates and barons stood firm against John, and Longchamps, the 
exiled justiciary, took up Richard's cause, and succeeded in having him 
brought before the Imperial Diet at Hagenau in March 1 193. Richard's 
eloquence greatly impressed the German princes, and they forced the 
Emperor to set the captive free for a large ransom raised in England. 
It needed some months to get together a hundred thousand pounds, but 
at last John received a letter from Philip with the words, "Take care 
of yourself, for the devil is let loose." In March 1194, Richard landed 
at Sandwich, and was received with joy by his subjects. The barons in 
council deprived John of all his English possessions, and Richard was 
again master of his realm. He had come back to an impoverished land. 
The churches had been stripped of their sacred vessels, the traders taxed 
to the utmost, and the tillers of the land had sold their stock, to gather 
the amount of the king's ransom. 

The Continental dominions were in danger, and loudly called for the 
Richard presence of the warrior-king. His visit to England, on his 
in France, return from Palestine and his German captivity, only lasted 

~ 1199 ' two months. For the first fortnight of this time, he was 
engaged in taking castles held by the partisans of John, Then 
came the Great Council at Nottingham, when judgment was given 
against the treacherous brother, and a land-tax was decreed, and 
knight's service demanded, to enable Richard to carry an army to 
Normandy. About the middle of May, he landed at Harfleur, and was 
soon in the field against Philip. In a few months his enemy's troops 

1194-1199 A.D.] DEATH OF RICHARD. 149 

were driven out of Normandy, Touraine, and Maine. The government 
in England was in charge of Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
whose chief duty, as a civil ruler, was that of raising money, by per- 
sistent and crushing taxation, to supply the wants of the king in his 
foreign contest. Year after year, with occasional truces, when both 
combatants were for the time drained of resources, the inglorious war 
went on. The military skill of Richard was shown in the erection of a 
fortress designed to protect the borders of Normandy on the south, 
and to bar the approach to Rouen from Paris. At the bend in the 
Seine where Les Andelys lies with its green valley, the English king 
constructed a series of works, forming, in conjunction, the greatest of 
mediaeval strongholds. The river itself was barred by a bridge of boats, 
a stockade, and a fort on an island in mid-stream, and near at hand, on 
the hills three hundred feet above the Seine, towered up the mighty 
castle known as Chateau Gaillard. Its remains still attest the grandeur 
and the solid strength of its construction, and the security which was 
afforded to Normandy aroused the wrath of Philip and the just exulta- 
tion of Richard. 

It is well to note the devices by which the " lion-hearted " king raised 
money from his wretched subjects to pay the cost of exploits ^^ Q kin 
which surround his name with a halo of military and chivalric of chi- 
fame. The modes adopted by his ministers, and approved by valry ' 
himself, appear to combine the attributes of the tyrant and the swindler. 
In the name of the " magnanimous " Plantagenet king, the great seal 
was broken, which had been affixed to deeds of grant, and then it was 
declared that no grant made under that seal should be valid, unless the 
fees due to the crown were paid a second time for affixing the new seal. 
The undoubted fact is symbolic of much besides itself that concerns the 
"age of chivalry." To look steadily at the solid and real through a 
blaze of glory and success, is to discern sordid crime and atrocious 
cruelty alongside of much that does honour to human nature. 

The death of Richard was not worthy of the past of the great Crusader. 
A vassal of the king's in Aquitaine, the Viscount of Limoges, Death of 
had discovered on his estate a treasure of silver and gold. Richard. 
The king claimed it all, and the Viscount offered a large part, and then 
suffered siege in his strong castle of Chaluz. Richard was wounded in 
the arm by an arrow, and the clumsy surgery of the day failed to 
extract the barbed iron head. Gangrene of the wound ensued, and the 
king felt his end approaching. He bequeathed England and all his 
other dominions to John, and died on April 6, 1199. His remains were 
buried at the feet of his father in the abbey-church of Fontevraud. 

The accumulation of wealth by the Church, and the idleness en- 
gendered by riches, had given rise to a corruption of morals Litera ture 
among the clergy which provoked the shafts of satire. Walter of the 
Map t or Mapes, a native of the Welsh Marches, was born p ' 
about 1150, and studied at the University of Paris, then in its earliest 


days of repute. He became a favourite at the court of Henry II., and 
was appointed Archdeacon of Oxford in 1 199. Map was a man of the 
world, a royal chaplain, judge, and ambassador, endued with high 
purpose, and with the Celtic genius for literature in a vein of wit and 
poetry. The Confession of Bislwp Golias is a sharp attack on the evil- 
livers among the clergy, in the shape of some Latin poems, wherein the 
bishop, a glutton and a wine-bibber, now glories in his self-indulgence, 
and then, with despairing candour, exposes his moral condition, and 
declares that he will die drinking at his inn. Map's book entitled 
De Nugis Curialium, " On the Trifles of the Courtiers," is a note-book 
of court-gossip, valuable as an illustration of the limes, and containing 
satirical remarks against zealous Crusaders who left home-duties un- 
done, and attacks on the vices of the court of Rome, and even on the 
forest-laws of his patron, Henry II. He also has the credit of impor- 
tant additions to the cycle of romances connected with the story of the 
British hero Arthur, including Lancelot of the Lake and the Quest of 
the Holy Graal. Sir Galahad, the spiritual knight, son of Lancelot, 
and Mort Artus, the " "Death of Arthur," are inventions of the same 
bright fancy. Ranulph, or Ralph, de Glanvil or (Glanville\ has been 
seen as a Norman warrior and justiciary in the reign of Henry II., and 
as the captor of William the Lion of Scotland at Alnwick. He went 
with Hichard I. to the third Crusade, and died at the siege of Acre in 
1190. His Latin work Upon the Laivs and Customs of the Kingdom of 
England, completed towards the close of Henry's II. 's reign, is the 
earliest treatise upon English law. It contains a sketch of the forms 
of procedure in the king's courts and of the most common principles 
of law there arising. 

Among the chroniclers of the time we find William of Neicbury, a 
Yorkshireman of Bridlington, who became a monk of the abbey of the 
Austin friars at Newbury, in the North Riding. His Latin chronicle, 
the "History of English Affairs/'is a trust worthy account of events under 
Henry II. and Richard I. The historian Roger de Hoveden, or Ilowden, 
was also a Yorkshireman, having his name from a village in the East 
Riding. He flourished under Henry II., was a lawyer and professor 
of theology, and was employed by the king to collect the revenues of 
religious houses on the death of their abbots or priors. His Latin 
work called "Annals" was begun under Richard I., and brings down 
affairs from 731 A.D, (the last year of Bede's History) to 1201, the third 
year of John. He was a diligent and faithful writer, who acquired 
such authority that Edward I. caused careful search to be made in all 
the libraries for copies of his book, in order to ascertain the homage 
due from the Scottish crown to England. At the close of the reign of 
Henry II., and during the reigns of Richard and John, we have a 
notable writer of history in Gerald du Barri, or Gerald of Wales, usually 
known as Giraldus Camlrensis. He was the son of a Norman noble 
settled in Pembrokeshire, where Gerald was born about 1146. He 


studied at Paris, entered the Church, and became Archdeacon of St. 
David's. In 1184 he was appointed chaplain at the court of Henry II., 
and in the following year accompanied Prince John on his visit to 
Ireland. He retired to Lincoln in 1192, and devoted himself to lite- 
rature, dying at some period after 1220. His Latin "Topography of 
Ireland" has much valuable information, along with many proofs of 
the writer's ready credulity. The best of his writings is the History 
of the Conquest of Ireland, a critical and careful work in its narrative 
of events, and having much shrewd and lively observation of character. 
The novelty of his style, and the vivacious way in which he uses tho 
Latin tongue, give a strangely modern air to his descriptions of travel, 
and to the controversial pamphlets on matters of Church and State, 
in which he pours forth jest, quotation, and anecdote in audacious and 
pungent satire. 

We go forward a few years, into the reign of John, in order to 
mention the earliest noted writers of English after the Conquest. 
Nearly all writing had hitherto been in Latin or Norman-French, but 
at last books appeared in the language of the people. Lat/amoji, a 
Worcestershire priest, who flourished under John, was author of the 
End, a metrical chronicle of Britain, from the fabled arrival of Brutus 
until the death of King Cadwalader in 689. It is mainly a translation, 
with additions, of the French work of Wace. The book came forth 
early in the thirteenth century, and is chiefly linguistic in value. The 
English belongs to the period of transition, in which the groundwork 
of Anglo-Saxon phraseology and grammar still existed. AVe are helped 
by it to trace the process by which the Anglo-Saxon was gradually 
turned into the English of Chaucer. In over thirty thousand lines but 
fifty Norman words appear, and we see the tongue of the conquered, 
unaffected by over a century of subjection, beginning to triumph over 
that of the conquerors, whom the speakers and readers of English were 
soon to absorb in the mass of the nation. 



Character of King John. Effect of his doings upon England. John and the Pope. 
England under interdict. The king's tyranny. The Barons take arms for free- 
dom. The meeting with their sovereign at Runnymede. Provisions of the Great 
Charter. The royal vengeance and timely death. 

ON May 27, 1199, John was crowned king at Westminster. By 
strict hereditary succession, the kingdom would have gone to jolm, 
Arthur, Duke of Brittany, now twelve years of age, son of ] 
Geoffrey, the third son of Henry II., instead of to John, the fifth son 

152 CHARACTER OF JOHN. [1199 A.D. 

of Henry. The interests of the young prince were overpowered by the 
fitness of age in John, who was now thirty- two ; by the promises pre- 
viously made by the justiciary and the Archbishop at a Great Council 
held at Northampton ; and by respect for the will of Richard. 

The reign of the new king forms an epoch of great importance in the 
history of England. The utter badness of the man is in 
is an ' wonderful contrast to the good wrought out by the thorough 
epoch. failure of all his clever and wicked schemes. The island was 
now to be separated from France, and the interests of her ruling classes 
were to be concentrated under one monarchy. The interest of England 
had been quite at variance with that of her first six French kings. 
Their talents, and even their virtues, had been only a curse to her, in 
enabling them to maintain their Continental sway. The follies and 
vices of John made the House of Plantagenet succumb to the strength 
of mind and the ability of the first great monarch of France. The loss 
of Normandy forced the Norman nobles of England to look upon this 
as their country, and upon her people as their fellow-citizens. The two 
races, so long hostile, had now common interests and common foes, and 
thus the descendants of those who had fought at Senlac under William, 
and of those who had maintained the brave contest under Harold, began 
to draw together in friendship. The Great Charter was the fruit of 
their common hatred and united exertions against a bad king, and, as 
it was framed for their common benefit, so it was the first pledge of 
their amity. 

In his outward presence and demeanour, the new king had a large 
The king's share of the charming qualities of his race. He was the 
character, cleverest of the Angevin kings, and a careful and diligent 
Nor- ruler in the details of government. His inner character, as 

mandy. revealed by conduct, has no lights and shades. It is the 
blackness of utter depravity, unillumined by one gleam of virtue. In 
all relations of life, he was bad as man can be. Treacherous, false, 
cruel, profligate, impious he cared naught for the lives or the honour 
of either men or women, and his utter want of moral principle caused 
his intellectual quickness to lead him ever into deeper infamy. A man 
of his own time, who knew of what he was writing, declares that the 
presence of John after death would be a defilement to the region of 
lost souls. In Normandy, Aquitaine, and Poitou, John was readily 
admitted as ruler, but Maine, Anjou, and Touraine did homage to 
Prince Arthur, and the English king, alarmed at the position of affairs, 
was in Normandy before the end of June. Philip of France had taken 
up the cause of Arthur, solely with a view to his own advantage, and 
had invaded Normandy, and placed garrisons in the towns and fortresses 
of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine. Constance, the mother of Arthur, 
having her suspicions of Philip, took her son out of his hands, and 
placed him in the care of John. At the same time, she took measures 
to rouse revolt against the French garrisons, and John was soon in 

1199-1203 A.D.] MURDER OF ARTHUR. 15:; 

possession of the three disputed provinces. In May 1200, peace was 
made between the two kings. The cause of Arthur was abandoned 
by Philip, and the young prince was compelled to do homage to John 
for the duchy of Brittany. All seemed to be safe, but the wicked 
passions of the English sovereign soon involved him again in trouble. 
John had been married for nearly twelve years to the daughter of 
William, Earl of Gloucester. He now fell in love, if the word may be 
so abused, with another man's betrothed. Isabella, daughter of the 
Count of Angouleme, was betrothed to the Count de la Marche. John 
had been struck by the lady's beauty when he met her in Aquitaine, 
and persuaded her father to violate honour and decency, and give his 
consent to a match. The English king procured a divorce from his 
wife, who was connected with him in blood, on the usual plea of con- 
sanguinity, and Isabella was crowned as queen of England in October 
1200. The nobleman robbed of the lady appealed to Philip for redress, 
and headed a vain revolt against John in Poitou and Aquitaine. In 
1202 Philip took the field again, along with many barons and knights 
of Poitou, who demanded redress for the infamous wrong done to the 
Count de la Marche. Constance, the mother of Arthur, was now dead, 
and Philip induced the young Duke of Brittany to join him against 
John. He married the French king's daughter, and was invested anew 
with Anjou and Maine. The quickness of John, who had all the mili- 
tary skill of his house, brought the revolt to an end. Arthur was 
besieging his grandmother Eleanor in the castle of Mirabeau, near 
Poitiers, and an ill watch was kept against relief from the outside. 
John suddenly appeared at the head of a large force, took the town 
by surprise, and captured his nephew Arthur, along with two hundred 
nobles and knights who had followed his unhappy fortunes. Another 
chance of security was now offered to the English king, and he fiung it 
away with the reckless wickedness which was ever betraying its per- 
petrator. Arthur, with perfect safety, might have been released, and 
sent back to his duchy of Brittany, to ponder the lesson lately received 
in the art of war at the hands of his elder relative. The course taken 
by the uncle was to cause the nephew to be murdered, at or near Rouen, 
in 1203. Of the details of this foul deed nothing certain is known. 
The other prisoners of rank taken at Mirabeau were treated with a 
cruelty that rarely disgraced the times of chivalry, which generally 
dealt fairly by men of the dominant order. They were loaded with 
irons, and kept in Norman and English dungeons. Twenty-five of the 
number were confined in Corfe Castle, and most of them were there 
starved to death. Arthur's eldest sister wore out her life as a prisoner 
at Bristol. The gathering hatred of all mankind soon found a reward 
for the brutal and cowardly despot. A meeting of the states of Brit- 
tany at Vannes demanded justice against John from Philip, their and 
his feudal lord. He was summoned to appear as a vassal of France, 
and, on his refusal, was declared guilty of felony and treason in the 

154 LOSS OF NORMANDY. [1205 A.D. 

murder of Arthur, and adjudged to forfeit all the lands which he held 
by homage. The king of France at once invaded Normandy, and 
carried all before him. Town after town sin-rendered at the first 
summons, while John, amusing himself at Rouen with his young wife, 
looked on disaster with indolent levity, as if he fancied that he could 
recover with ease the power that was slipping from his grasp. The 
Norman people, in their failure to resist, appeared to welcome French 
rule, and John did not stir until the enemy were drawing near to Rouen, 
and about to capture, after a long siege, the stronghold of Chateau 
Gaillard. Then he took the field at last, and showed great military skill 
in the plan which he formed for raising the siege. The assault on the 
French lines failed from, lack of concert in the two attacking bodies, and 
the grand fortress erected by Richard fell into Philip's hands. John's 
last hope was gone. His resources were at an end, his troops passed 
over to the enemy, and his ignominious flight to England was followed 
by the capture of Rouen. The whole duchy of Normandy was thus 
reunited to the crown of France, about three centuries after its cession 
to Rollo by Charles the Simple. Anjou, Maine, and Touraine were soon 
reduced by Philip, and most of Aquitaine followed the same course. 
In 1206, John made a vain attempt, after a landing at Rochelle, to 
recover his lost dominions, and with this ended English rule in France 
to the north of the Garonne. 

The rise of a new spirit in the English Church, after its subjection 
John's by Henry II., had been shown in 1205, when Hubert Walter, 
quarrel the primate, joined the powerful baron William Marshal, 
Pope, Earl of Pembroke, in a vigorous protest which withheld John 
1205-1213. from a renewed effort in France. A short time later, the see 
of Canterbury became vacant by Hubert Walter's death, and John 
saw a chance of asserting himself against the Church. A dispute 
arose between him and the chapter as to the appointment of a new 
archbishop. Some of the monks elected their sub-prior, Reginald, 
and at once dispatched him to Rome to have his election confirmed 
by the Pope. The king caused the chapter to elect a friend of his 
own, John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, and a deputation of monks was 
sent off to Rome in support of the new choice. John was to find 
himself now in collision with a power beyond that of monks, bishops, or 
barons. The Pope of the time, Innocent III., was one of the most 
resolute and ambitious men that ever filled the Papal chair. His 
design was to use the spiritual power as an instrument for controlling 
temporal power in every Christian state. He declared that "regal 
dignity should be but a reflection of the Papal authority (as the moon 
owes its 'splendour to the sun), and entirely subordinate to it." He 
had already decided between rival claimants to the imperial crown of 
Germany, setting up one prince and then deposing him. He had, by 
the dreadful weapon of excommunication, punished Philip of France 
for an unlawful marriage, and forced him to take back his repudiated 

1205-1212 A.D.] JOHN'S QUARREL WITH ROME. 155 

wife. The Pope now decided that the right of election, as against the 
king, lay with the monks, and he set aside both choices, commanding 
the deputation there and then to choose, as the new Archbishop of 
Canterbury, the illustrious Stephen Langton. This blow, aimed at the 
rights both of the Church and the crown in England, was delivered 
by the Pope in 1207. Langton, an Englishman by birth, was educated 
at Paris, and rose by sheer merit to be Chancellor of the University. 
On his going to reside in Rome, his learning, talents, and virtues 
raised him so high in Innocent's favour that he became Cardinal in 1206. 
John turned against the monks of Canterbury the anger aroused in 
him by the Pope, and drove them from the place, with the loss of all 
their revenues. In March 1208, Innocent placed the whole kingdom 
under an interdict. Nothing more terrible can be conceived than such 
a sentence in such an age. The consolations of religion were eagerly 
sought for by the great body of the people, who earnestly believed that 
a happy future would be a reward for the patient endurance of a 
miserable present. They were also firmly persuaded that the blessings 
conveyed by religious rites could be suspended by the mysterious power 
which the Pope wielded as head of the Church. Under an inter- 
dict, 110 knell was tolled for the dead, for the dead were committed to 
unhallowed ground without the office of a priest. No merry peals 
welcomed the bridal procession, for no couple could be joined in wed- 
lock inside the church. The mother might have her child baptized, 
and the dying receive extreme unction, but public worship, and the 
use of all other sacraments, were in a state of suspension. After 
pronouncing the sentence of interdict in Passion Week of 1208, the 
Bishops of London, Worcester, and Ely fled from the country, and 
were followed by other prelates, till only one was left in the land. 
The weight of this crushing blow fell mainly on the laity. The monks 
and nuns had their religious offices within their own walls, but all the 
churches were closed to the people, though sermons were preached on 
Sundays in the churchyards. This anomalous condition of society 
lasted for more than six years. The English king retorted by seizure 
of the property of all clergy who observed the interdict, and was 
threatened in 1209 with excommunication. When this sentence fell 
three years later, John treated it with defiance, but soon found himself 
face to face with a new danger. The Pope declared his deposition, 
absolving his vassals from their fealty, exhorting all Christian princes 
and barons to unite in dethroning him, and excommunicating those 
who held any intercourse with him. W T e shall see that the conduct 
of John towards his subjects, during the years of the interdict, had 
not been such as to enable him, with the least feeling of confidence, to 
call on them for resentment against such an attack as this. John 
looked on and listened with contempt when Cardinal Pandulf, the 
Papal Nuncio, proclaimed his deposition in 1212, before a Great Council 
held at Northampton. 


Then Innocent called upon the French king to carry into effect the 
... sentence of deposition, and promised to grant him the king- 
France) clorn of England. Philip prepared a great army at Rouen, 
1212 ' and a vast number of ships in the Channel, for the invasion 

of the country. John was roused to exertion by mingled wrath and 
fear, and gathered a great fleet at Portsmouth, while every man that 
could bear arms was summoned to the coast of Kent. The threat of 
invasion had roused the spirit of Englishmen. The fleet, instead of 
waiting for Philip, crossed the Channel, destroyed many ships at 
Fecamp, burnt Dieppe, and dispelled all danger for a time. The 
diplomatic skill of John was then shown in forming against France 
a powerful league, including Flanders, Germany, and the barons of 
Poitou, but, in the moment of apparent triumph, he was forced to 
give way. 

Pandulf the Legate again appeared in England, and revolts in 
John's Wales, plots among the barons, and the hostility of Scotland, 
sSrato" pl ace d Jh n * n a helpless position. On May 13, 1213, he 
the Pope, subscribed a deed in which he promised to obey the Pope, 
in admitting Langton to the see of Canterbury ; to recall the exiled 
bishops, and all other opponents; to reverse outlawries, and restore 
property unlawfully seized. On these terms, the interdict and excom- 
munication were to be revoked. May i4th was spent by the king 
in secret council with the Legate, and the next day witnessed an act 
without parallel in all our history. In the hope of turning the 
spiritual thunders of Rome against his rebellious barons, John had 
resolved upon a complete and most degrading submission to the Pope. 
He laid the kingdom of England at his feet. He did homage to 
Pandulf, as representative of the see of Rome, and took an oath of 
fealty as the Pope's vassal. He put an instrument into the Legate's 
hands, granting to Innocent and his successors the kingdoms of Eng- 
land and Ireland, and agreed to hold these dominions of the Church 
of Rome in fee, by the yearly payment of a thousand marks. 

During the six years of the interdict, John appears to have conducted 
John's affairs with more vigour and decision than at any other part of 
rule from his reign, but his tyrannical and licentious behaviour towards 
1205-1213. a jj c i asses O f the people, especially towards the baronage, 
made him the object of general hatred. The partial conquest of Ireland 
had only increased the evils under which the country suffered. The 
semi-barbarous natives were at war among themselves, and showed the 
utmost hatred for the small body of adventurers who kept them at bay, 
outside the narrow limits of the Pale. The feudal conquerors sank in 
character almost to the level of the natives, and, in conflict with each 
other, and cruelty both to the Irish and to the English settlers within 
the Pale, created a scene of anarchy which was a practical defiance to 
the English sovereign. In 1210, the king took a great army over, 
and his stern measures created for a time a state of order. He also 


made some useful reforms, in dividing into shires, each having its 
sheriff and other officers, the portions of the country held by England, 
in the coinage and circulation of English money, and in the establish- 
ment of English law. John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, a man of 
wisdom and ability, was left there as chief -justiciary, and for the rest 
of the reign the country had something like peace and prosperity. The 
expedition to Ireland was followed in 1211 by an attempt to repress 
the incursions of the Welsh over the English border. A powerful 
prince, named Llewellyn, had received homage from the other Welsh 
chiefs, and he aimed at complete independence of the rule partially 
established by the early Norman kings of England. John had once 
before advanced with his army to the foot of Snowdon, but was unable 
to reach the enemy in his fastnesses, and was at last obliged to re- 
treat before the assaults of climate and famine. In a second attempt, 
he again reached Snowdon, and forced Llewellyn to make a nominal 
submission and to give hostages. The Welshmen, however, rose again 
when John became embroiled with his barons, and the country was not 
subdued until near the end of the thirteenth century. In 1209, an im- 
portant work was completed in London. This was the London Bridge 
which stood against flood and frost for more than six centuries, until 
it was replaced by the present solid and stately erection in the reign of 
William IY. The architect of the old structure was a London priest, 
Peter, chaplain of St. Mary Colechurch, in the Poultry. The oppres- 
sion of the nobles by John was such as, in the end, to rouse the proud 
barons to a resistance of the highest value to the cause of English 
freedom. Not only were they plundered by heavy and illegal taxation, 
but their honour was outraged by the wicked king's gross behaviour to 
their wives, their sisters, and their daughters. Their jealousy had also 
been aroused by the favour shown to smooth-tongued, greedy French- 
men, refugees from Anjou, Maine, and Poitou, with whom the king 
had filled the court, and on whom he bestowed the lands and offices 
within his power. For their benefit, rightful owners were robbed 
of their possessions, and the king used in their behalf his own feudal 
rights as to wardship and marriage. 

Upon the absolute submission of John to the Pope's authority, it was 
notified by Pandulf to Philip of France that the king of Jo ^ and 
England had been received as a repentant son of the Church, HjUfr* 
and that no attempt must be made upon his dominions. Wroth 
as a wolf robbed of prey, Philip proposed to invade England without 
Papal sanction. He was foiled in this design by the courage of English- 
men. A fleet under William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, attacked 
the French in their own ports, and gained a signal victory over their 
fleet in the Flemish harbour of Damme, near Bruges. The ships were 
either taken or burnt, and all fear of invasion came to an end. In 
1214, John landed at Rochelle, in Poitou, gathered the nobles around 
him, and, after crossing the Loire, succeeded in taking Angers, the 


capital of Aiijou, the land of his own ancestry. At the same time, the 
members of the league formed by John began to act against the king 
of France. Philip's country was invaded from the north by a great 
combined army under John's nephew, Otto IV., emperor of Germany. 
The Emperor's own troops were aided by the men of the Count of 
Flanders and the Count of Boulogne, and by a body of English mer- 
cenaries under the Earl of Salisbury. The united forces exceeded a 
hundred thousand men, and the case of France was one of great peril. 
But the men of France were equal to the need, and their great king 
came safely out of this crisis of his fate. The battle of Bouvines was 
fought on July 27, 1214, at a village between Lille and Tournay. A 
complete and glorious victory was gained by the French army. The 
Flemings, the Germans, and the English were all broken in the shock 
of battle, and the Earl of Salisbury was taken prisoner. It was by 
far the greatest conflict of those times, but its interest to us lies in 
the lasting effect which it produced upon the fortunes of our country. 
Never was battle more beneficent to the sacred cause of freedom. The 
hopes of John for successful coercion of the baronage of England were 
staked upon the issue of the fight. The discomfiture of Philip would 
have meant for John the restoration of all his French dominions, and 
the vengeful tyrant would have returned to England with a force at his 
back that would have put baronage and people alike at his mercy. 
When the fatal news reached Poitou, the nobles at once abandoned the 
king, and in October he returned in a helpless state to England. 

Two great men were the leaders of the English nobles and the English 
The nation in the enterprise now undertaken. Stephen Langton 

trnd n d. k a d come to assume his office as Archbishop of Canterbury, 
against and already, before the king's departure for Poitou in 1214, he 
the king, ^ad stood forward in the cause of freedom. The barons had 
refused to sail with John, on the just ground that their term of feudal 
service was expired, and at a Great Council held at St. Alban's they 
issued a proclamation in the royal name, commanding the laws of 
Henry I. to be observed. When John threatened vengeance on those 
whom he called "traitors," the Archbishop told him that it was not 
for a king to punish any man without trial, and that the barons were 
ready to answer in the king's court. The other chief champion of 
English liberty was William Marshal, eldest son of the Earl of Pem- 
broke. They and other bold and earnest churchmen and laymen saw 

not at all. They knew the difficulties in their path. The restored 
position of John in Papal favour might greatly influence the clergy. 
The royal castles were held by mercenary troops. They would have to 
deal with the most crafty, cruel, and violent of despots. But these 
great patriots shrank from no danger that seemed to lie in the way 


of duty, and tney quietly formed a league that would be strong enough 
to enforce their just demands, even if the issue were put to the arbi- 
trament of civil war. On November 20, 1214, the barons met at St. 
Edmuiidsbury. There, with hands on the altar, they solemnly swore 
to withdraw their allegiance from the king, if he should resist their 
claims to just government. Then they marched to London, where 
John had shut himself up within the precincts and sanctuary of the 
Temple. In a meeting at St. Paul's in London, before the battle of 
Bouvines, Langton had produced a copy of the charter of Henry I., 
and it was resolved to use this as a basis of further reforms. On 
the present occasion, January 1215, when the deputies of the barons 
came before John, he first mocked at their claims, and then asked for 
delay. The Archbishop, Pembroke, and the Bishop of Ely undertook 
that a proper answer to the barons' demands should be given before 
Easter. The king used the interval in trying to win over the clerical 
magnates by promising a free election of bishops, by vowing to go to 
the Crusade, and by seeking help from the Pope. The Pontiff ordered 
Langton and his associates to make their peace with the king, but they 
disregarded the command, and, soon after Easter, met in great force at 
Stamford. John was then at Oxford, and Langton and Pembroke were 
with him. They were dispatched to ascertain the demands of their 
peers, and they brought back the written articles afterwards signed by 
John. He flew into a violent rage, and vowed he would never grant 
liberties that would make himself a slave. The barons girded them- 
selves up for war, and choosing Robert Fitz- Walter as general, gathered 
a force which they styled The army of God and Holy Church. With 
this they marched on London, whose gates were thrown open to wel- 
come them on May 24th. At this time John was at Winchester, and 
passed to and fro between the old capital of Wessex and Windsor. 
Exeter and Lincoln followed London in adherence to the patriotic 
cause, and the barons of the north took the field against John. The 
tyrant was forced, in sheer helplessness, to capitulate to an armed 
nation, and the result was seen at Runnymede. 

To that long low plain, bounded on one side by the Thames, on 
the other by a gentle line of hills, King John summoned The Great 
the barons in council. The very name of this spot, of sacred jlSJ*?^ 
and undying memory in the history of freedom, proves that 1215. 
it was not then used for the first time as a place of solemn delibera- 
tion. In this council-meadow for Rune-med means the "mead of 
council" king and earl had often met in Wilan, before the Norman 
planted his foot on the island. A great mixed race had kept the old 
traditions of liberty, which belonged to the days before the Conquest. 
The spirit of the ancient institutions had blended with the feudal 
principles, and this coalition, of excellent use for varying states ^ of 
society, was now to become the priceless inheritance of generation 
after generation of Englishmen. The barons encamped on the marshy 

160 THE GREAT CHARTER. [1215 A.D. 

field of Runnymede, and the king on the opposite side of the river. 
The deputies of both met in conference on a little island between 
them, which still bears the name of Magna Carta Island. There was 
no need for long discussion. The barons could neither be coerced nor 
cajoled, and on that one great day, June 15, 1215, the Great Charter 
was accepted and signed by the king. Its surpassing and supreme 
importance in our history has not sufficed to save it from miscon- 
ception of its essential meaning. It is commonly regarded as the 
original basis of English freedom. It is, in reality, a code of laws, 
expressed in simple language, and embodying two principles. The 
first of these principles includes such limitations of the feudal claims 
of the king as would prevent their abuse. The second involves a 
statement of the general rights of all freemen, derived from the 
ancient laws of the realm, however these rights had been neglected 
or perverted. The Great Charter contains no assertion of abstract 
principles of freedom or justice, but meets unquestionable evils by 
practical remedies, and is based, as all English freedom has been 
based, upon something which went before it. It was, therefore, not 
a revolution, but a conservative reform, demanding no limitation of 
the regal power which had not already been admitted, in theory, by 
every king who had taken the coronation-oath. It made that oath, 
hitherto regarded, at least by some kings, as a mere form of words, 
into a binding reality. It defined, in broad terms of practical applica- 
tion, the essential difference between a limited and a despotic mon- 
archy, and preserved all the proper attributes of kingly power, whilst 
guarding against all tyranny. In the clauses which concerned the 
barons of England as a feudal aristocracy, the charter limited the 
royal practice of exacting arbitrary sums under the name of reliefs, 
of wasting the estates of wards, of disposing in marriage of heirs 
and heiresses during minority, and of choosing husbands for widows. 
One clause declared that the consent of the Great Council of the 
tenants -in -chief was necessary for the levying of an aid upon the 
tenants of the crown, in any case beyond the legal ones of ransom 
for the king from captivity, the knighting of his eldest son, and the 
marriage of his eldest daughter. The chief tenants also agreed that 
" every liberty and custom which the king had granted to his tenants 
should be observed by the clergy and laity towards their tenants." 
Other clauses secured the freedom hitherto enjoyed by the city of 
London and other cities and boroughs, and enacted that no aids were 
to be required of London, except by consent of the Great Council. 
One weight and one measure were to be used throughout the kingdom, 
and freedom of commerce was granted to foreign merchants. An im- 
portant clause provided for the regularity, accessibility, and independ- 
ence of public justice by requiring that the Court of Common Pleas 
should be stationary, instead of following the king's person as he 
moved about the country. The great glory of this famous document 

1215 A.]).] THE GREAT CHARTER. 161 

shines forth in the clauses which, in language of noble simplicity, 
secured to Englishmen the two chief rights of citizens in any free 
society of men personal freedom and security of property. The 39th 
article runs thus : " No FREE MAN SHALL BE TAKEN, OR IMPRISONED, OR 

inflict upon him or cause him any harm) UNLESS BY THE LEGAL JUDGMENT 


revised version of the charter, as issued by Henry III., the word dis- 
seised is followed by the words " of his freehold, or liberties, or free 
customs." This article really contains the writ of habeas corpus and the 
trial by jury, which are the most effectual securities against oppression 
that the wit of man ever devised. It also asserts the great principle 
that justice is a debt of every government, a due which cannot be paid 
to the people governed, unless law be cheap, prompt, and equal. A 
general and a particular proof may be given of the corruptions of the 
time in the administration of law. The rolls of the Exchequer afford 
constant evidence of sums of money received by the king, to procure 
a hearing in his courts. Some suits, through this corruption, were 
made as lengthy and ruinous as Chancery-suits became, in times yet 
recent, through neglect and vicious formalities. There was a dispute 
about a marsh between the Abbot of Croyland and the Prior of Spald- 
ing. This matter lasted through the reign of Richard I. and a great 
part of John's reign. The Abbot and the Prior went on, during these 
years, outbidding each other to obtain a hearing, and security was at 
length given for the payment of the bribe, as if the transaction were 
perfectly regular. 

Not only did the barons of England provide for their own security 
and that of the body of the nation, but even the villeins were B aron i a i 
not forgotten. The 2oth section of the charter provided that care for 
the freeman should be amerced only according to the degree 
of the fault, saving always to the freeman his tenement, and to a 
merchant his merchandise. After this security against excessive and 
ruinous fines, the clause proceeds, "And a villein shall be amerced after 
the same manner, saving to him his wainage, if he falls under our mercy." 
The expression, salvo wainagio suo, in mediaeval Latin, saves to the 
villein his implements of husbandry in the shape of carts and ploughs. 

When the king's assent and signature to the terms of the Charter 
were given, the next work of the barons was to provide for its The 
execution and continuance. Copies were sent to every diocese, ^ J^ hn 
and the most accurate and complete copy now existing is that 
preserved in Lincoln Cathedral. The document was ordered to be 
publicly read twice a year. The king was compelled to surrender the 
city and Tower of London, to be held by the barons till August i5th, or 
until he had completely executed the charter, which was at present 


only in the form of a rough draft of its articles. John was also 
obliged to consent that the barons should choose twenty-five of their 
number to be guardians of the liberties of the kingdom, with powers, in 
case of any breach of the charter, and the delay or denial of redress, to 
make war on the king, to seize his castles and lands, and to distress and 
annoy him in every possible way (saving only the persons of himself, 
the queen, and children) until justice was done. The character of the 
man, as judged by those who had the best means of knowing it, comes 
out in strong colours in this most stringent and insulting provision. 

No sooner had John submitted thus to the barons in arms, than he 
John cast about, with his usual treachery, for the means of evading 
barons ^he performance of what he had undertaken. He appealed to 
1215-16.' Pope Innocent for aid, and he sent persons abroad to enlist 
foreign troops. The king now found the benefit which he had looked for 
in becoming the Pope's vassal. A bull was issued by the feudal lord of 
the kingdom, in which the Charter was annulled, as being obtained 
illegally, and on the ground that the king had no right to surrender 
the privileges of the crown without the consent of his feudal superior. 
The barons were also made subject to excommunication. Langton, the 
Archbishop, was a thorough patriot, as well as a great statesman, an 
honest churchman, and a good man. He refused to excommunicate the 
barons, and was suspended from office by the Pope. The interference 
of Innocent in temporal concerns was generally held by the nation to 
be without warrant, but John found a stronger ally in the foreign 
mercenaries, who began to arrive in the autumn. Troops were landed 
from Flanders and Brabant, Gascony and Poitou, and gathered in great 
force round the king at Dover. The barons appear to have been taken 
by surprise, and the king, after revoking the charter in accordance 
with the bull sent from Rome, was able to give full vent to his passion 
for revenge. He marched on Rochester Castle, reduced it by famine 
after eight weeks' siege, and put to death a part of the garrison. The 
country was then overrun by his fierce hirelings. He marched to the 
north with fire and sword, and entered Scotland, to punish her king, 
Alexander II., for the alliance which he had formed with the barons. 
The abbeys were burnt without distinction, and John, after staying the 
night at a village, would set fire, with his own hand, to the house in 
which he had rested. His half-brother, the Earl of Salisbury, was 
committing havoc in England upon the estates, tenants, houses, and 
parks of the barons. Neither age nor sex, nor things sacred nor pro- 
fane, were spared by the ferocious soldiery. The nobles, in their despair, 
sought help from France, offering the crown to Louis, the eldest son 
of Philip. In May 1216, Louis came over with an army, reduced 
Rochester, and marched upon London, where he received homage as 
king from the citizens and barons. The position of affairs was one of 
great danger for the freedom of Englishmen. The tyrant still held 
most of the castles, and the fortresses at Dover and Windsor offered a 

1216 A.I..) DEATH OF JOHN. 163 

stout resistance to the troops of Louis and the barons. The great 
support of their cause lay in the character of John and the universal 
hatred which he had aroused in the hearts of the nation. The proceed- 
ings of the foreign deliverer then began to arouse doubt and suspicion. 
He was dispensing honours and lands to his own countrymen, and 
there was disunion in the camp of the confederates. 

From the danger of foreign subjugation and the horrors of civil war 
the country was now happily delivered by the sudden death Death of 
of John. He had been reduced at first in strength, on the John, 1216. 
arrival of Louis, by the desertion of his French mercenaries, who would 
not fight against their own prince. He retired, first to the west, 
and then to the north, and showed his military skill in puzzling his 
opponents by swift and eccentric movements, and in raising the siege 
of Lincoln. On October nth, he was at King's Lynn, whence he 
marched to Wisbeach, in order to cross the Wash for a new movement 
to the north. The passage over the sands was safe at low water, and 
part of the army had crossed, when the inflowing tide and the strong 
descending current of the Welland cut off the baggage. At a spot still 
known as King's Corner, between Lynn and Cross Keys Wash, the 
waggons and sumpter-horse?:, with the treasure, provisions, armour, and 
clothes, were swallowed up by the waters, and the king, on the 
northern shore, looked on in helpless despair. That night brought 
him to the Cistercian Abbey at Swineshead, where fatigue and anguish 
of mind laid him low with a fever. He was borne in a litter to 
Sleaford, and thence to the Castle of Newark, where he died on October 
1 8, 1216, in the fiftieth year of his age, and the eighteenth of his 
reign. His body was buried at Worcester Cathedral, where his tomb 
stands in the midst of the choir. He left two sons, Henry, a boy of 
nine, and Richard, Earl of Cornwall. 

[1217 A.D. 




The French expelled from England. Pembroke and Hubert de Burgh. Character 
of the king. Des Roches and the foreign intruders. Royal and Papal plunder- 
ing. The barons roused to resistance. Simon de Montfort a national leader. 
A curb put on the king. 

THE boy -king Henry came to the throne at a critical time. A foreign 
Henry III., prince and army were in the land. Louis would not readily 
1216-1272. ' forego the power which he had attained, and the barons were 
seen in separate camps. A long civil war was in prospect, but an able, 
faithful, and patriotic man was at hand for the direction of affairs. 
William Marshal, now Earl of Pembroke, was official head of John's 
army, and to his hands the rule now passed. He took the young king 
to Gloucester, where he was crowned by the Papal legate on October 
28th, in the presence of a few bishops and barons. Homage to the 
Pope was exacted, and the rendering of fealty to the Papal see gained 
an ally of great importance at such a juncture. On November i2th, at 
a Great Council held at Bristol, Pembroke was chosen liegent of the 
kingdom, and the Great Charter was re-issued and confirmed, with the 
omission, for the time, of certain clauses. 

The first business of the new government was to free the land from 
rpkg the foreigners. The barons began to leave the camp of Louis, 

French inspired by a national feeling which now began to show its 
intruders. s t ren gth, and by pity for a young king, devoid of share in his 
father's guilt. Gualo, the Papal legate, put the ban of the Church on 
Louis and all his adherents, and the young king's cause daily gained 
strength. Early in 1217, the French prince crossed the Channel and 
returned with reinforcements, but Pembroke, in the meantime, had 
been winning over the barons, and a general confidence was felt in his 
honour and sagacity. 

Battle of ^^ e Londoners, however, adhered to the foreign prince who 
Lincoln, had come to help them against the tyranny of John, and the 
prospect was still doubtful, when the vigour and skill of 
Pembroke brought matters to a happy issue. In April 1217, a large 
French army, under the Count of Perche "wicked French free- 
booters," as a chronicler calls them with some English barons and 


1219 A.D.] DEATH OF PEMBROKE. 165 

knights under Robert Fitz- Walter, marched from London to besiege 
the castle of Lincoln, which was held by the king's party. Pembroke 
called out the tenants of the crown, and gathered a force from the 
garrisons of the royal castles. He was in far inferior strength, and 
might have been crushed in the open field. The French, however, 
remained within the walls of Lincoln, where the castle held out against 
all their attacks. Pembroke boldly entered the town while a sortie 
was made from the castle, and in the narrow streets the French 
cavalry were unable to act. A complete victory, called, from its easy 
accomplishment, The Fair of Lincoln, was won by the assailants, on 
May 20, 1217. The Count of Perche fell, with thousands of his men, 
and the rest became prisoners. 

The contest at Lincoln was followed up by a great naval success. 
Under the command of a famous pirate, known as Eustace Defeat of 
the Monk, an armament of eighty large vessels put to sea French 
from Calais on August 24th, bringing reinforcements to the fleett 
Thames for Prince Louis. Hubert de Burgh, the justiciary, a resolute 
and able man, gathered forty vessels in the Cinque Ports, and set sail 
from Dover. He met the enemy off Sandwich, and the battle was soon 
over. The French were blinded by showers of quick-lime thrown by 
the English, shot down in heaps by their arrows, and brained by the 
axes of the boarders. The ramming of the French vessels by the 
strong prows of the English ships completed the foe's discomfiture, and 
the invading fleet ceased to exist. The cause of Louis was hope- 
less, and he quitted the kingdom, under treaty, in September 12 i*j. 
The country was soon pacified, and Pembroke completed the work of 
the Great Charter by causing the king to issue a Charter of the Forests, 
in which the terrible penalties for destroying the king's deer were 
abolished, and fine or imprisonment were appointed. 

The death of this excellent statesman in 1219 was a great misfortune 
for the country and the king. He left a noble example of Death 
the principle upon which alone the blessing of just laws can br^ke* 1 " 
be made permanent a constant reparation, instead of a sweep- 1219. 
ing change. The Great Charter and its subsequent improvements were 
essentially practical reforms, and thus they resisted every attempt to 
overturn them during a coming century of struggles, and stood boldly 
up either against a weak Henry or a powerful Edward. One of the 
services of Pembroke was a provision that the charter should live in the 
popular mind of England, by being read periodically in the county- 
courts. His monument is still to be seen in the Temple Church in 

Pembroke was succeeded in power as regent by Hubert de Burgh, 
aided by a prelate of Poitevin birth, Peter des Roches, Bishop Hubert ^ e 
of Winchester, and by Cardinal Langton, the primate, who Burgh, 
had now made his peace with Rome. Pandulf resided at 
court as Papal legate, and for a part of the reign, Papal interference 

166 DEATH OF LANGTON. [1223-1228 A.D. 

greatly hindered good government. De Burgh was a man of English 
independent spirit, with a strong prejudice against foreign interlopers 
and Continental wars. He had high notions as to the royal prerogative, 
and the omission, from Henry's version of the Great Charter, of the 
clause against the imposition of scutaye or aid without the consent of 
the Great Council, gave the crown an opening for illegal exactions. 
But a spirit had been aroused in the nation, which exercised a restrain- 
in* influence. Money was often obtained by the sovereign only on 
redress of some grievance, though many arbitrary taxes were levied 
upon the industrious classes, especially in London. In 1223, De Burgh 
obtained a bull from the Pope, declaring Henry competent to do all 
royal acts, and in 1224 a war occurred in Poitou, where the king's 
uncle, the Earl of Salisbury, checked the forces of Louis VIII., who had 
succeeded Philip Augustus. England had been reduced to peace by the 
stern measures of De Burgh against turbulent barons and lawless 
foreigners. The Earl of Chester, a powerful rebel, yielded to Hubert's 
armed forces and Langton's threat of the ban of the Church, and Faukes 
de Breaute, a Frenchman who held possession of several royal castles, 
Was quelled by the hanging of four-and-twenty knights, with all their 
retainers, who had held for him the fortress at Bedford. 

The good Archbishop Langton was a staunch and valuable champion 
Arcli _ of freedom in the earlier part of the reign. He watched with 
bishop care over the Great Charter, of which he was so largely the 
Langton. au ^} lorj an ^ on ^ wo occasions, in 1223 and 1225, he headed 
the barons in demanding its solemn confirmation by the king. He 
died in 1228, to the great grief of all lovers of liberty, arid his removal 
from the scene opened the, way for exactions from the clergy, which the 
Pope demanded on the basis of feudal right, according to the surrender 
made by John, and continued by his son and successor Henry. 

At twenty years of age, Henry declared himself fit to rule, and 
Henry began his independent course by stating his power to " inter- 
assumes |>ret, enlarge, or diminish the aforesaid statutes, and their 
1227. ills several parts, by our own free will, and as to us shall seem ex- 
cnaracter. p ec lient for the security of us and our land." The "statutes " 
here mean the charters. This cool assumption of the suspensory and 
dispensing power, which became familiar in Stuart times, has a formid- 
able look, but there was, even in the thirteenth century, a national spirit 
which deprived it of its fangs. In addition to this, the king who put 
forth the claim was a thoroughly weak man in character the tool of 
the last favourite, unstable, capricious, frivolous, fond of display, void 
of control over temper and tongue. His chief aims in home and 
foreign policy were quite beyond his reach, but his efforts to attain 
them were productive of much temporary harm, issuing in permanent 
good for the nation. In England, he strove for the exercise of absolute 
power : beyond the Channel, he dreamed of regaining the lost French 
dominions. He was a man of taste in literature and art, and to him 

1229-1249 A.D.] RULE OF HENRY III. 167 

we owe the larger portion of the existing Westminster Abbey, which 
he began to erect in 1220, and almost completed in 1245. 

In 1229, the king was at issue with his able and faithful minister. 
De Burgh had felt bound to oppose the king's designs against Fall of 
France, and Henry, in wrath, accused him of treason. In d^Bur !! 
1230, the king received homage in Poitou and Gascony, but 1231. 
failed there and in Brittany in his military efforts. De Burgh was 
blamed for this, and just at this time the Pope charged him with 
having contrived an outbreak of popular wrath against the Papal tax- 
gatherers, who were mercilessly robbing the clergy. The justiciar 
was driven from office in 1231, and a brief imprisonment in the Tower 
left him without future influence for good. 

Des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, now held power for a time, and 
the court was soon filled with his countrymen from Poitou, mfc'* !, 
and with other greedy Frenchmen, on whom the king be- rule, 1231- 
stowed offices, castles, and lands, to the great disgust of Eng- 1253 ' 
lish knights and barons. In 1236, Henry took a wife in Eleanor, 
daughter of the Count of Provence, and this event brought over hosts 
of her relatives and friends to plunder the unhappy country. Her 
uncle, Peter of Savoy, became the king's chief counsellor in 1241, 
arid built the splendid palace in the Strand, called after his country's 
name. On the death of Edmund Rich, in 1240, Peter's brother, 
Boniface of Savoy, was made Archbishop of Canterbury, but his gross 
insolence and violent conduct roused a riot in London, which drove 
him for safety out of the country, A few years later, the king 
welcomed another tribe of hungry aliens. These were children, by a 
second marriage, of his mother Isabella of Angouleme, who died in 1246. 
One son, William of Valence, was created Earl of Pembroke ; another, 
Aimar de Valence, received the rich bishopric of Winchester, though 
he had not yet arrived at the canonical age for the office. Never was 
royalty more degraded, apart from gross vice, than in the rule of 
Henry III. Kingship with him was a mere trade for extracting 
money from the people, to supply his own extravagance, and to shower 
favours on worthless foreign dependants. He appears on the page of 
history as an extortioner, or as a beggar. The records of the Ex- 
chequer prove that, for forty years, there were no contrivances for 
obtaining money so mean or so unjust that he disdained to practise 
them. When his son Edward was born in 1239, Henry sent out all 
over the country, asking the rich for presents. "God gave us the 
child," a Norman was driven to exclaim, " but the king sells him to 
us." In 1249, the king exacted New Year's gifts from the citizens 
of London. " Lend me a hundred pounds/'' said Henry to the Abbot 
of Ramsay, and the poor man was forced to go to the money-lenders, 
and borrow the sum demanded. When the sovereign did not beg, he 
turned robber under the old system of purveyance, by which the king's 
officers took, at their own price or at none at all, all kinds of neces- 

168 EXTORTION OF HENRY. [1248-1250 A.D. 

saries for the use of the royal household. This abuse was expressly 
regulated by the Great Charter, yet we learn from a remonstrance 
made by the Great Council in 1248 that the king "seized by force on 
whatever was used in the way of meat and drink especially wine, and 
even clothes against the will of those who sold these things." Even 
justice was poisoned at its source, in order to raise money. The judges 
went forth on their regular circuits, not for the punishment of offenders, 
but to compound for offences, real or falsely imputed, by the payment 
of great fines. The Jews, according to the ideas of the age, were legi- 
timate objects of plunder, and Henry spared them no more than his 
wicked father John. The rich merchants of London also received the 
costly attentions of the king. On one occasion he asked the abbots 
of all the Cistercian houses for a year's value of their wool, and when 
they refused the payment, he forbade them to export it. The fleeces 
remained in the monastery-lofts, and the monks were obliged to forego 
their share of the wines of Germany and of the broadcloths of Flanders. 
Under the royal prerogative of interference with trade, Henry, in 1248, 
sought to punish the Londoners by holding a fortnight's fair in West- 
minster. During that time, all traffic in the city was suspended by 
royal proclamation, and traders were forced, in October, to expose 
costly merchandise in booths around the new Abbey-church. It was 
a time of wind and rain, and the soaking of the canvas caused the 
rotting of the goods. The hatred of the citizens was roused by such 
tyranny as this, and a mean apology made to them by the king in 
1250, at Westminster Hall, did not at all mend matters. Queen 
Eleanor was also at feud with the burgesses of London. She claimed 
that all vessels navigating the Thames should unlade at Queenhithe, 
and there pay her heavy dues. During Henry's absence in Gascony, 
in 1253, she was Lady Keeper of the Great Seal, and, armed with this 
power, she vigorously enforced payment, and committed the two sheriffs 
to prison for resisting her demands. 

In all the violations of the letter and spirit of the Great Charter, in 
Papal ex- which the king indulged himself, he also aided and abetted 
actions. the Pope and his officials. At the Council of Lyons, held in 
1250, the English representatives declared that the number of foreigners 
to whom the Pope had given preferments in England was so great that 
60,000 marks (or forty thousand pounds, equal to about eight hundred 
thousand of present value) were carried out of the country yearly by 
foreign clergy. The best bishoprics and livings were bestowed on 
Italians, and sometimes on mere boys, and on men of evil life. The 
excellent Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, was suspended for 
refusing to induct, to a rich living in his diocese, a boy from Italy 
presented by the Pope. The clergy were harassed by constant demands 
for money as a gift or on loan. Appeals to Rome on all Church- 
disputes were encouraged and expected, and heavy fees were extorted 
in the Papal courts. The Pope claimed the goods of all intestate 

1242-1245 A.D.] MISGOVERNMENT OF HENRY. 169 

ecclesiastics ; all legacies left for pious purposes ; and all property 
unjustly gained, if the true owner could not be found. The Papal 
collectors were ever passing through the country, and arousing the 
deepest hatred by their insolence and greed. 

The arbitrary acts done and permitted by the crown, by which the 
Great Charter was broken at every turn, were not committed The 
without remonstrance from Parliament, as the Great Council andthe 
had now begun to be styled. In 1242 they refused a supply king, 
of money for Henry's war in Poitou. In 1244 they sent messengers to 
Home to remonstrate with Innocent IV. against the doings of " Master 
Martin," who in the Pope's name was demanding rich gifts and seizing 
vacant benefices. In 1248 another Parliament rated and threatened 
the king about his lavish gifts to foreigners, his abuses of purveyance, 
and his appointment of evil men to rule. Sometimes the barons vented 
their wrath in another fashion than by mere words or refusal of 
supplies. In 1245 a powerful baron named Fulk Fitz-Warrenne pre- 
sented himself before Master Martin, and ordered him at once to leave 
the country. The Italian demanded in whose name the order was 
given, and was answered, " I speak in the name of all the barons of 
England. If you are wise, do not stay till the third day, lest you and 
all your company be cut in pieces." Martin went off to the king in 
great fear and trembling, but got scanty comfort there, being told by 
Henry that he could scarcely keep the barons from rising against him- 
self. The Italian then put spurs to his horse, and made his way to Dover. 

The foreign enterprises of Henry had no such measure of success as 
might have caused any class of his subjects to endure mis- Henry's 
government at home with patience. In 1242, he was engaged foreign 
in a quarrel with Louis IX. of France respecting the county wars< 
of Poitou, which the French monarch had bestowed on his brother 
Alfonso. Henry III. had assigned the same territory to his brother 
Richard, Earl of Cornwall. The English king's mother, Isabella, after 
King John's death, had married her former lover, the Count de la 
Marche, one of the most powerful of the Poitevin nobles, and they 
persuaded Henry to take up arms. In May 1242, he landed at the 
mouth of the Garonne, and met his mother at Saintes. Louis came 
against him, at the head of a much greater force, and on July i9th the 
armies were both close to the town of Taillebourg, on opposite sides of 
the river Charente. The English king had none of the military skill 
or courage belonging to some of his ancestors, and he shrank from an 
encounter. At the request of Henry's brother, Earl Richard, who had 
just returned from the Crusade, Louis granted a truce for a day and 
night, and Henry fled to Saintes with all his men. The French followed, 
and drove him from the town, the king only escaping capture through 
the courage of Earl Simon de Montfort and a few English nobles. His 
treasure was all taken, and he retired to Bordeaux. There he concluded 
a five years' truce with France, on condition of giving up all claims to 


Poitou, and returned to England in September 1243. Humiliation 
did not teach him prudence, and at a later date he was involved in 
trouble through accepting the kingdom of Naples and Sicily for his 
son Edmund, a boy of nine. Pope Alexander was the bestower of this 
territory, which needed to be conquered, before it could be held, from 
the son of the German emperor, Frederick II. The only result was 
that the English king became largely in debt to the Pope for expenses 
incurred, and the nation was insulted by a Papal agent coming before 
the Parliament, with a demand for instant payment, and threats of 
excommunication and interdict. 

In 1253, the aspect of the kingdom was becoming serious. A Parlia- 
Growing ment was held, at which the king asked for a grant to enable 
of S the tent ^ m * undertake a Crusade. A part of it was given, and 
nation. afterwards lavished in expenses at Bordeaux, beyond which 
Henry did not proceed. The king was forced, before receiving promise 
of the money, to undertake, with great solemnity, that he would observe 
the charters. The prelates, abbots, and nobles all held burning tapers, 
and the Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced excommunication against 
" all violators of the liberties of the Church, or the ancient and approved 
customs of the kingdom, and especially the liberties and free customs 
which are contained in the charters of the common liberties of England 
and of the forests." Then the lights were all flung down, with a 
frightful curse on whoever should incur the sentence just declared. 
The king arose, and said, " So help me God, all these terms I will 
faithfully observe, as I am a man, a Christian, a knight, and a crowned 
and anointed king." The money obtained on false pretences was 
employed as we have seen, and more Parliaments, more false promises, 
and more ill-spent grants of money went on for some years longer. It 
was clear that some change was impending. Not only was the burgess 
class rising into importance, but the great tenants of the crown, the 
barons, the natural leaders in any strong expression of resistance, or 
any sweeping measure of reform, had now wholly become English. 
They might not be English yet in language or in feeling, and the 
courtiers might still call the citizens "rustics," implying that the 
Saxon blood of the tillers of the soil flowed in their veins. The laws 
might still be administered in Norman-French, but the tenure of pro- 
perty was making an undivided nation. In 1244, the king of France 
had declared that "as it is impossible that any man living in my 
kingdom, and having possessions in England, can consistently serve 
two masters, he must either inseparably attach himself to me, or to the 
king of England." Those who had possessions in England were thus 
called upon to relinquish them, and keep those they had in France, or 
to give up their lands in France, and keep their English domains. The 
separation made the barons of England patriots, and we are now to see 
a great and good man of French birth standing forth as a champion of 
English freedom. 

1231-1248 A.D.] SIMON DE MONTFORT. 171 

Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, was a man of rare ability, lofty 
purpose, resolute mind, and keen political foresight. The gi mon de 
Simon de Montfort who, in the first decade of the thirteenth Montfort. 
century, had led, at the command of Pope Innocent III., the Albigensian 
crusade against the heretics of Provence, became, through his mother, 
Earl of Leicester. His fourth son, born in France, at Montfort, between 
Paris and Chartres, about 1208, was also called Simon. Forced to leave 
France for England by political troubles, he was kindly received by 
Henry III., always ready to welcome French immigrants, and in 1231 
he did homage to the king as Earl of Leicester. The young man was a 
fine specimen of the feudal noble in face and iti athletic frame, in war- 
like skill and courage, and in 1238 he married the king's sister Eleanor, 
Henry himself giving the bride away in the royal chapel. She was the 
widow of the famous William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and was in 
character worthy of both her husbands. The English barons were in- 
dignant at the high position thus acquired by a foreigner, and trouble 
was averted only by De Montfort's submission to Earl Richard of Corn- 
wall, the king's brother, whose anger was soothed by soft words, lavish 
promises, and hard cash. The king presented the castle of Kenilworth 
to his sister, and in June 1239 De Montfort was one of the godfathers 
of the king's eldest son, Edward. A few weeks later, the fickle Henry, 
for some unknown reason, showed such anger against Simon, that he 
went with his wife into voluntary exile. He had the happiness of 
knowing that he left behind him a faithful friend in the noblest man 
that England then contained, Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln. 
This learned, wise, holy, and independent prelate was an honour to the 
Church which he served, and his friendship is a high testimony to the 
character of the Earl. In 1240, Simon went to the Crusade with 
Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and gained repute in Palestine for military 
skill. The service which he rendered to Henry in Poitou in 1242 re- 
stored him to full favour, and the royal castle of Kenilworth was now 
bestowed on De Montfort himself. From 1243 till 1 248 he dwelt there 
in peace, with his devoted wife, the Princess Eleanor, and five sons were 
born, intrusted in clue time to the care of Bishop Grosseteste. Through 
the prelate Earl Simon and his wife became known to the famous 
Franciscan friar, Adam de Marisco, whose faithful friendship made 
him offer the soundest advice to the noble amid the difficulties of his 
life. The three men, bishop, baron, and friar, were devoted to the 
common aim of social and ecclesiastical reform. They were firmly 
united against regal and Papal oppression, and the Earl became, through 
the great friar, known to the reforming party among the burgesses of 
the towns, who were to serve him well in the coming time of trouble. 
During his retirement at Kenilworth, De Montfort had quietly watched 
the king's gross inisgovernment, arid was forming resolves for future 
action. In 1248, he was appointed governor of Gascony, the only re- 
maining French possession of the English crown. The province was 

172 THE KING AND THE BARONS. [1252-1258 A.D. 

wavering in its allegiance, but the firmness and energy of De Montfort 
did much to reduce the turbulent barons to submission. He was, how- 
ever, ill-supported by the king, whose weakness and caprice forgave too 
readily those whom the Earl had punished, and listened too eagerly to 
complaints and false charges from disorderly nobles. At last the un- 
grateful monarch's violence and injustice to a faithful servant caused an 
open rupture. One of De Montfort's few faults was a quickness of 
temper which made him resent fiercely all imputations upon his honour. 
Early in 1252, he was put on his trial before the Great Council on 
charges of oppression brought by Gascon barons. He defended himself 
with great ability, and the judgment was given in his favour. The 
king for the time acquiesced, but the next day, in the course of a dis- 
pute, called Simon to his face "a swindler and traitor." The Earl, hot 
with passion, gave the king the lie direct, and rebuked him severely for 
unchristian conduct. De Montfort then returned to his command, and 
took a noble revenge in a severe defeat given to the rebel barons, five 
of whose leaders were sent captives to Henry. Late in the year, he 
retired into France, whence he returned in the autumn of 1253, and 
with troops raised at his own expense rescued Henry from a position of 
danger and distress in Gascony. Such was the man who at last headed 
the barons in strong action against an evil rule which had become in- 

By the year 1258, the state of affairs in England was very menacing. 
The Pro- Prince Edward, the king's eldest son, married in 1254 to 
Oxford* f Eleanor of Castile, and now taking an active part in public 
1258. life, had lately been defeated by Llewellyn on the Welsh 

border, and the English lands near the frontier were turned by 
ravages into a mere desert. The harvest of 1257 failed, owing to 
excess of rain, and the price of corn went up from two shillings to 
twenty shillings a quarter. A severe famine followed, and thousands 
of people had died in London, when corn- ships arrived from Germany, 
and a royal proclamation forbade merchants to buy for storing up. The 
king was needing supplies of money to deal with the rebellious Welsh, 
when he summoned his barons to a Parliament at Westminster, in the 
Easter of 1258. A large body of nobles met in the great hall, each 
clad in complete mail. As the king entered, there was a clatter of 
swords, and Henry, looking round in alarm, cried " Am I a prisoner 1 ? " 
"No, sir," said Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, an old opponent of 
Henry's, "but your foreign favourites and your prodigality have 
brought misery upon the realm ; wherefore we demand that the powers 
of government be delegated to a committee of bishops and barons, who 
may correct abuses and enact good laws." De Montfort spoke strongly 
to the barons in the same sense, and Henry was forced, in adjourning 
Parliament on May 2nd, to agree that a commission of twenty -four 
members, twelve to be elected by himself, and twelve by the barons, 
should be appointed to draw up a plan for reform. On June nth, 

1258-1261 A.D.] THE PROVISIONS OF OXFORD. 173 

the Parliament met again at Oxford. The barons came with their 
retainers at their backs, and, in remembrance of the foreign troops 
brought in by John, they had garrisoned the Cinque Ports, or the five 
harbours of Dover, Winchelsea, Romney, Sandwich, and Hythe, which 
faced the French coast. This assembly has been called The Mad 
Parliament, from the novelty of its proceedings. It was far more 
largely attended than usual, about a hundred barons being present, 
instead of thirty or forty, and they went to work with vigour against 
the political evils of the time. The articles known as the Provisions of 
Oxford made some important reforms. A permanent council of fifteen 
members was to advise the king on all matters of administration, and 
to them the justiciar and chancellor, and other great officers of state, 
were to be responsible. The Great Council or Parliament was to meet 
thrice in the year, with or without royal summons. The freeholders 
of the counties were to choose "twelve honest men" to come to the 
Parliaments, and treat of the wants of the king and of his kingdom. 
Other committees were to reform the Church, and settle financial aids 
to be granted to the king. On June 22nd, a decree was made that 
all the king's castles held by foreigners should be given up, and Earl 
Simon himself resigned his castles of Odiham and Kenilworth. An 
armed resistance was made by some, but all the foreign intruders 
were soon driven out of the land, except the queen's uncles, Peter of 
Savoy, and Boniface, Archbishop of Canterbury. At Michaelmas, a 
proclamation was issued in the king's name to order the observance 
of the Provisions. Hitherto all legal and political documents had been 
drawn up in Latin, but this was issued in English and French, the 
two languages then commonly used in England. This fact proved 
the determination of the reforming barons that all men should be 
acquainted with what had been clone, and also the growing influence 
of the bulk of the people. The new baronial government settled other 
affairs by the expulsion of all Papal collectors, by refusing to fulfil Henry's 
arrangement with the Pope concerning the kingdom of Sicily, and by 
malting peace with France, in renouncing Henry's claims to the provinces 
lost under John. The royal power was thus usurped by the barons, and 
the whole foreign and domestic policy of the king was reversed. 

Early in 1259, the king's brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, returned 
to England, and was forced on landing to swear support Disunion 
to the Provisions of Oxford. He then headed an opposition ^S-ons 
to the committee of government, and the barons were soon 1259-1263. 
divided into two factions. Earl Simon headed the party of earnest 
reformers, and the reactionary body was led by Robert de Clare, Earl 
of Gloucester, and Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. The king was en- 
couraged to resist, and he took up his abode in the Tower, where he 
strengthened the works, and also began to levy mercenary troops. 
The Pope issued a bull declaring the Provisions to be null and void, 
and absolving Henry from his oath to observe them. Early in 1261, 


the city of London was in the king's hands, and all citizens were 
forced to take an oath of allegiance. The Earl of Leicester had 
withdrawn for a time to France, and Henry took the government 
again into his own hands. The death of the Earl of Gloucester 
brought about the return of De Montfort in 1263, and the young 
Earl joined his cause with all his retainers. Leicester was once more 
the powerful head of a baronial party resolved to sweep away arbitrary 
rule, and he had upon his side all the middle classes the knights, the 
lower clergy, and the citizens of London and the larger towns. The 
Earl raised an army, and, after driving back Welsh marauders, formed 
an alliance with Llewellyn. He then marched to Dover, and seized 
the place in order to prevent foreign troops from coming to assist the 



Henry III. and the bai'ons at war. Battle of Lewes. The Commons meet the Barons 
in Parliament. Prince Edward and the Battle of Evesham. The king vic- 
torious. Close of reign. Prince Edward in the East. 

IN June 1263, on receipt of a letter from De Montfort, the citizens of 
The London gave their adherence to him and the cause of the 

Bagms' Provisions, and Henry, with his court, was almost a prisoner 
1263-65. in the Tower. The Earl marched on London. Prince 
Edward, before his arrival, made his escape to Windsor, where he held 
the castle with a trusty garrison. Queen Eleanor, his mother, tried to 
join him there, but her barge was attacked by the people on London - 
bridge. She was loudly abused by the crowd, and pelted with stones 
and rotten eggs, but the Lord Mayor came to her relief, and took her 
away in safety. On July 15th, the Earl was received in London with 
a hearty welcome from the citizens. The king once more accepted the 
Provisions, and at a Parliament held in St. Paul's in September, Prince 
Edward renewed his oath to observe them. Simon de Montfort, for a 
time, was the virtual ruler of England. Then the influence of Prince 
Edward, and, according to some authorities, the haughty and arbitrary 
conduct of De Montfort himself, began to disintegrate the reforming 
baronial party. A regular civil war was at hand, when an attempt at 
settlement was made by a reference of all points in dispute to the 
decision of Louis IX. of France. 

Delegates from both parties met the French king at Amiens soon 
Mise of after Christmas, and he gave his decision, known as a Mise 
January or settlement, on January 23, 1264. His award was en- 
1261 tirely in favour of Henry. The Provisions of Oxford were 

annulled. * All the royal castles held by the barons were to be restored 


to the king, who was also to have the power of appointing and dis- 
missing all his officials. Foreigners were to be again admitted to the 
country and to office. On the other hand, " all privileges, charters, 
liberties, statutes, and laudable customs of the realm of England which 
existed before the time of the Provisions" were still to be in force. It 
was not likely that the Earl and his party would consent to such a, 
decision as this, and their honour was saved by the fact that the French 
king's award, in the arbitrary power which it gave to the king, was 
itself a violation of the old " privileges, charters, and liberties." It was 
now a case of the English nation and its freedom against the king, the 
Pope, and the foreigner, and Earl Simon prepared at once for the 
arbitrament of the sword. 

The citizens of London, and many of the Oxford students, armed 
themselves to support De Montfort. Even then, the barons The war. 
tried to make terms with Henry at a conference held at Lewes f 
Brackley, near Oxford, and agreed to accept the Mise of May 1264. 
Amiens, if the king would banish foreigners from office, and allow the 
country to be ruled by and for the English. This offer was refused, 
and there was nothing left but to fight. At first the struggle went 
against the barons, and Northampton, with a number of De Montfort's 
knights, was captured by the royal forces in the first days of April. 
Earl Simon marched to Rochester, and captured the town, but was 
recalled from the siege of the castle to the relief of London. Prince 
Edward, after the success at Northampton, had taken Leicester and 
Nottingham, and, being joined by the forces of some Scottish barons, 
he made a rapid march on London. De Montfort saved the city from 
his grasp, and the royal army, with fire and sword, pressed on to 
Tunbridge, where they took the Earl of Gloucester's castle, and then 
failed in an attempt upon the Cinque Ports and the ships there in 
harbour. The king, Prince Edward, and the royal army marched 
next into Sussex, and on May nth Henry's head-quarters were in the 
Priory of Lewes, while Prince Edward occupied the castle. Already 
many of the barons had deserted the Earl's cause, but their loss was 
more than compensated by a reinforcement of 15,000 Londoners. On 
the night of May i2th, De Montfort's forces, marching straight from 
London, were quartered in and around the village of Fletching, nine 
miles north of Lewes. A last attempt at a peaceful settlement was 
rejected with scorn by the royalists, and at the dawn of May i4th, the 
barons' army marched for Lewes along the summit of a ridge of hills, 
De Montfort's men wore white crosses stitched on their breasts and 
backs, as the army of God and the Church wore them on meeting John 
at Runnymede. Earl Simon took up a position on the hills to the east 
of the town, and, when the battle began, Prince Edward, leading the 
right wing of the royalists, routed the men of London, who faced him. 
The heavy-armed mounted knights at once broke the raw levies of light- 
armed foot, and the Prince, in his hatred of the citizens for their 


insults to his mother, Queen Eleanor, pursued them hotly, with great 
slaughter, for four miles. He returned to find the battle lost. De 
Montfort had thoroughly beaten the other divisions, and captured 
the king and Bichard, Earl of Cornwall. The impetuous valour of 
Edward had made the Earl of Leicester virtual king of England. 

Moderate terms were imposed by the victors in the Treaty, or Mise, 
The Mise of Lewes. All differences were to be settled by arbitrators, 
of Lewes, ^Q -were to be partly French and partly English barons, 
1261 l along with the Papal legate. All foreigners were to be 
excluded from office in England, and strict economy was to be used in 
managing the royal revenues. An amnesty, and the release of all 
prisoners, were included in the conditions. Prince Edward became a 
hostage, and was sent to the castle of Dover. The king, treated with 
all outward respect, was really a prisoner in the hands of the Earl, who 
arrived with him in London on May 28th. 

De Montfort now showed that he could be wise as well as strong, 
Tlie and came forward as a constitutional reformer of the highest 

Commons class. The statesman, the man of real political sagacity, in 
Parfia- any country which possesses elements of freedom, does not 
ment, 1265. bring in exotic plants, and vainly strive to make them flourish 
in an alien political and social soil. Earl Simon had nothing in 
common with an Abbe Sieyes, and had no idea of sitting down to 
"frame a constitution." He was the real founder of the House of 
Commons, which is flourishing now in its seventh century of life, just 
because he took what he found ready to his hand, aimed at improving 
and developing a native growth, and adapted to higher uses existing 
institutions. The shire-courts, as local institutions of the county, had 
been always representative, and had gradually grown in importance. 
At these shire-moots, or county-courts, groups of elected men sent from 
various parts of the county, and also from the towns, represented the 
whole free folk of the country districts and the boroughs. They trans- 
acted business for them, in conference with the king's commissioners 
or the king's justices, when they began to go on circuits through the 
land. The Parliament of England arose in the mingling of the Great 
Council of the kingdom with these county-courts. When men were 
sent to the Great Council to represent the people of the shire, in the 
same way as they had long been deputed to represent different districts 
of the shire in the county-court, then a Parliament, in its true sense, 
began to exist. " Knights of the shire " had been summoned by King 
John in 1213, and again to Parliaments of 1254, 1261, and 1262. This 
custom the great Earl of Leicester now made a definite, and, as it proved, 
a permanent institution. 

Before keeping Christmas in his splendid castle of Kenilworth, De 
Montfort had issued writs from Worcester in the king's name, sum- 
moning a new Parliament to meet in London. A reaction against the 
Earl had now made great way amongst the barons, and of the lords he 


only called such as he had reason to believe would support his measures. 
Five earls, including himself, Gloucester, and Norfolk, and eighteen 
barons, along with Baliol and Bruce (Scotch lords who held lands in 
England), and eight northern barons, were the only lords in the 
assembly, and ten of the number were friends of his own. His chief 
supporters, of the higher class, were among the clergy, and writs were 
issued for the attendance of above a hundred bishops, abbots, priors, 
and deans, along with the Archbishop of York and the Master of the 
Temple. The sheriffs of the counties were ordered to send from each 
shire "two of the more discreet knights of the aforesaid county, elected 
for this purpose by the assent of the county." They were to treat with 
the king about such matters as he would lay before them. But the 
Earl went a step further, and, knowing that his great supporters were 
the people of the towns, he also issued writs calling on the citizens of 
York, Lincoln, and the other boroughs of England, and on the men of 
the Cinque Ports, to send up two of their " more discreet, loyal, and 
honest men " to confer with the king. 

This was the origin of the House of Commons. This summons to 
Parliament was the first that ever called for representatives House of 
of towns. It is true that, by the Plantagenet system of rule, Commons, 
the local government in the towns, as well as in the counties, had been 
already brought to bear on the central administration of affairs, and 
that the direct summons of delegates chosen by the towns to sit in the 
Great Council of the realm, or " Parliament," was nothing more than 
a natural extension of the summons of their representatives to meet the 
royal commissioners or justices on circuit. It is in this very fact that 
the genius of De Montfort is shown. The thing was natural ; it gave 
no shock to people's minds ; it caused no surprise. Thus it was that 
it lived, and grew, and became a thing abiding, as we see it now, and 
destined, it may well be hoped, to flourish with greater good than ever 
to all the subjects of the realm. Henceforth, in spite of reaction, 
which ever fades away to nought before the power of real progress, the 
trader and the merchant were to sit along with the baron, the bishop, 
and the knight of the shire, and deliberate on measures for the good 
of all. All classes in the state were represented, and so there was a 
true and complete Parliament. 

The power and life of the Earl of Leicester did not long survive his 
great achievement. His natural and acquired superiority Battle of 
provoked jealousy amongst the barons. The young Earl of ^ugliS" 1 ' 
Gloucester turned against his friend, charged him with de- 1265. 
signs upon the crown, and withdrew from Parliament to organise revolt 
in the west of England. The royalist party grew daily stronger, and 
only needed a leader to enable them to take the field in formidable 
strength. The position of De Montfort, as custodian of the persons of 
his sovereign and Prince Edward, had aroused the loyal feeling of all 
classes, and the Parliament, in March, released the Prince from actual 



confinement within the walls of the castle of Kenilworth, and directed 
that he should remain in <; free custody " at Hereford. Communications 
\vero opened between him and the royalists, and, in spite of the oath 
which he had lately taken to maintain the new system, the Prince 
resolved to make his escape, if possible, and fight for the king's 
restoration to power. Earl Simon was in the west of England early 
in Mav, when soine of his greatest enemies landed from abroad at 
Pembroke with a body of men. These were the king's half-brother, 
William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, and De Warenne. On May 
28th, Prince Edwar4 was riding with his attendants outside Hereford, 
and, after wearying their steeds in riding races with him, he mounted 
another fresh horse which had been kept hidden at a certain spot, in 
readiness for his attempt. Bidding the lords " good-day," he galloped 
off, ancl met the Earl of Gloucester and Earl Warenne at Lucllow. 
The whole west of England at once declared for Prince Edward and 
the king, and Pe Montfort's position became serious. His son Simon 
marched to his aid with a large force from London and the south, and 
upon their junction everything was staked. The Earl's cause was 
ruined by t\ie carelessness of the younger Simon. On August ist, 
through ill-watching, he and his men were surprised in their beds at 
Kenilworth by Prince Edward. Simon himself barely escaped within 
the castle, and a great booty was takers. De Montfort was moving 
from, Hereford to meet his son, and on August 4th he and his army 
]\ad reached Evesham. They were encamped in a position of great 
clanger for receiving battle, on a tongue of land almost encircled by the 
river Avon. The barber of the Earl, says the Chronicle of Evesham, 
went ivp the clock-tower of the Abbey-church, and came down in glad- 
ness to tell that he saw the banner of De Montfort on the distant road 
in advance of a mighty host. Again he went up to scout, and this time 
he descended pale and trembling, with the news that the royal banners, 
with the leopavds, of Prince Edward, were visible in the rear of the 
column. The chronicler relates that the Earl's cry was " God have our 
souls all, our days are all done." He did not know his full danger 
until he saw the other two divisions of the Prince's army hemming in 
his flanks and rear. He at once prepared to die, when his son Henry 
begged him to retire, and leave the fight to him. This he stoutly re- 
fused to do, and all his friends were resolved to share his fate. 

The battle raged from six to nine in the morning, De Montfort 
Death of %hti n g "like a giant for the liberties of England," until his 
De Mont- horse was killed under him, and then, on foot, dealing with 
both hands tremendous sword-strokes on every side. He 
refused every summons to surrender, and fell at last amidst a host of 
assailants. His son Henry was also killed, and Guy de Montfort 
became a prisoner when he was covered with wounds. Henry the 
king had a narrow escape, as the visor of his helmet was closed, and he 
was attacked by his own friends in Prince Edward's arm}'. At length 

1265-1269 A.D.] DEATH OF DE MONTFORT. 170 

pt slight blow caused his visor to fall, and with the cry, " I am Heriry of 
Winchester," he was known, and led away to his victorious son. The 
barbarity of the age was shown in the treatment of the dead Earl's 
body. The hands and feet were cut off, and sent to different towns to 
be exposed to public view. The head, after mutilation, was sent to the 
wife of Roger Mortimer, a royalist who commanded one of Prince 
Edward's divisions. The trunk alone was given up to the dead man's 
friends, and buried by the monks of Evesham in front of the high 
altar. Earl Simon was regarded by the people, not as a slain rebel, 
but as a glorious martyr for the Church and the common weal. It 
was commonly held that miracles were wrought at his tomb, and it was 
thought needful by the royalists to enact that "no man should hold 
Simon, Earl of Leicester, for a saint or just one," and " that the vain 
and foolish miracles related of him by certain persons shall not pass 
any man's lips." The foreigner who became so thorough an English- 
man, as to use all his endeavours against Papal interference and 
foreign favourites, had perished at the right moment for his future 
fame. His work was done when he bade the sheriffs to send men 
from the towns and cities to meet the nobles of the land in council. 
That which he had then so well begun was carried to completion thirty 
years later by the royal Edward, who had really been his pupil both in 
politics and war. 

The death of Simon de Montfort restored the king to his lawful 
power, and new sheriffs of his appointment were sent into all 
the counties. All acts of the government since the battle of royalist 
Lewes were declared invalid, and a confiscation was made of clfse^of : 
the estates of all rebels who had fought at Kenilworth and the reign, 
Evesham. The city of London was mulcted in a heavy fine. 
Resistance was still maintained in some quarters by the adherents of 
the dead Earl. The castle of Kenilworth, which had been strongly 
fortified by De Montfort, and furnished with all the engines of war, was 
held by a garrison of 1300 men in the name of his widow, the Princess 
Eleanor. It defied all efforts, and the resolute defence caused the 
king and Parliament to make certain concessions in October 1266. 
By the Dictum de Kenilworth, or Award of Kenilworth, the dispos- 
sessed barons were allowed to receive back their lands on payment 
of a fine, proportioned to their guilt, with the exception of the son of 
the late Earl. The castle only surrendered, from famine, in the 
following December. In the same Parliament at Kenilworth, the 
king was required to adhere to his oath to preserve the liberties of the 
Church, and the charters. Simon de Montfort, the eldest son, long 
defied the king's armies in the Isle of Ely and the Isle of Axholm, 
and the Cinque Ports, strongly attached to the interests of the great 
Earl Simon, resisted Prince Edward until he took Dover and Win- 
chilsea at great cost in men and money. At last the troubles were at 
an end, and in 1269 the victor of Evesham, with many barons and 

180 DEATH OF HENRY III. [1272 A.D. 

knights, took the cross at Northampton, before setting out on a 
Crusade to help Louis IX. of France, It is likely that a prince so 
politic as Edward had in this, for one of his motives, the purpose of 
removing with himself, to a safe distance from England, many of the 
turbulent spirits of the time among the barons and knights. It is 
certain that many of the chiefs in the late civil war, and amongst 
them the .troublesome and capricious Earl of Gloucester, were in 
Edward's expedition to the Holy Land. A grant of a tithe of the 
Church-revenues for three years, and a subsidy of a property- tax of 
one-twentieth of their value on the goods of the laity, defrayed in part 
the cost of the enterprise. We are to observe that such a tax was 
levied upon all the people's movables, from the valuable stock of the 
wealthy tanner, down to the commonest utensil of the poor housewife, 
and the simplest tools of the working carpenter. Quicquld delirant 
reges, plectuntur Acliivi. Prince Edward, in 1270, found his friend 
Louis IX. dead of disease in his camp at Tunis, and in 1271 went 
forward himself, with his faithful wife, Eleanor of Castile, and landed 
with the expedition at' Acre. Some fighting occurred, in which the 
English prince showed his courage, and took Nazareth by storm. In 
the autumn of 1272, he and his wife left Acre for Europe. During 
his absence, King Henry died at Bury St. Edmunds on November 
1 6, 1272, in the 66th year of his age, and the 57th of his reign. 
He was buried four days later in his new Abbey-church at West- 
minster. Immediately after the rites, Earl de Warrenne, and all the 
clergy and laity present, swore fealty to Edward, the eldest son of the 
late king, on the great altar of the church. A splendid deputation 
of the clergy and barons met the new king in Burgundy, on his 
leisurely progress home. At Paris, Edward did homage to Philip III., 
the new French king, "for the lands which he held, by right, of the 
crown of France," and part of his time abroad was spent in settling 
the affairs of his province of Guienne, and in making a commercial 
treaty with the Countess of Flanders concerning the trade in wool, 
which England largely exported for manufacture into cloth by the 
ingenious and industrious Flemings. 




Grosseteste, Adam Marsh, and the Friars. Franciscans and Dominicans. Roger 
Bacon. Henry of Bracton on the limits of royal power. The historians of the 

WE have already seen the learned and pious Robert Grosseteste, or 
Greathead, Bishop of Lincoln from 1235 to 1253. Born of Re iigi 0n 
humble parents at Stradbroke, in Suffolk, about 1175, he and 
studied first at Oxford and then at Paris, acquiring the learnmg> 
mastery both of Greek and Hebrew. On his return to Oxford, he be- 
came, in 1224, the first president or rector of the Franciscan school 
there, and had a great reputation for his skill in languages, logic, 
natural philosophy, music, and medicine, and for his knowledge of the 
Scriptures. As a bishop he was most zealous in the reform of abuses, 
ever striving to introduce order in the monasteries and among the 
clergy. Within a year of his consecration, he had removed from office 
seven abbots and four priors, and he was throughout a steady opponent 
of pluralists, of Papal interference, and of the corruptions of the court 
of Rome, where, as he declared once in the Pope's hearing, " there was 
nothing that money could not do." 

One of the great religious and social influences of the age was that 
wielded by the new orders of Franciscan and Dominican The 
Friars. St. Francis of Assisi, in Umbria, born in 1182, Friars, 
was the son of a rich merchant. In 1208 he devoted himself to 
religion and a life of the most rigorous poverty. His followers 
formed the order of Franciscans or Minorites, under the sanction of 
a Papal bull. Their name of Fratres Minores was given them by their 
founder in token of humility, and they were also called Grey Friars, 
from the colour of their sole garment. Bound to absolute poverty, and 
to a livelihood only obtained by labour or by alms, their chief work in 
life was the bodily and spiritual care of the poorest and most ignorant 
people, from whom the secular or non-monastic clergy held too much 
aloof. The order spread with marvellous speed, and a party of Fran- 
ciscans first landed at Dover in 1224. Four of the party of nine were in 
orders, three being Englishmen ; the five lay-brothers were four Italians 
and one Frenchman. A part settled at Canterbury, and the rest went 
on to London, and settled on the spot afterwards known as "The Grey 
Friars," where Christ's Hospital arose at a later day. They were 
welcomed and assisted by several wealthy citizens, and had further 
success at Oxford, when some brothers of the increasing order tried 
their fortunes there. Henry III. greatly patronised them, and within 

18:3 THE FRIARS. [1256 A.D. 

a few years they had houses in Norwich, Lincoln, York, Shrewsbury, 
and many other cities and populous towns. By the year 1256, the 
Franciscans had nearly a hundred monasteries or stations, and the 
number of enrolled members exceeded twelve hundred. All lived 
mainly upon the alms of the benevolent, whose good- will was drawn 
to them by their self-renunciation and the resolute poverty of their 
lives. They were placed thereby in a position of strong contrast to 
the worldly wealth of the monks and the dignified clergy, and they 
exercised a powerful influence over the people of the towns. The 
source of their power lay in their work among the poor. The sick 
and the miserable blessed the men who fearlessly entered the worst 
haunts of the plague, leprosy, and other scourges of men's bodies in 
that insanitary age, and who, from their knowledge of medicine, 
brought healing to those who had no other physicians. In open-air 
preaching, with a most effective use of homely word and jest, and 
burning eloquence in personal appeal, they brought the Gospel to the 
toilers of the towns, and to the busy throng at market and at fair. 
They thus became the founders of a new spiritual life among the body 
of the people. Their study of nature's secrets in the cause of healing 
led many Franciscans into other paths of physical investigation, and 
some of the Grey Friars became as famous for their learning as for 
their poverty and pious self-devotion to the good of others. In order 
to meet objections made by hearers of their preaching, the study 
of theology became a cherished pursuit of the abler men among 
the brethren. Many lecturers or readers of the order were soon 
established at the chief towns, and the Universities at Oxford and 
Cambridge had a succession of their teachers or professors. Robert 
Grosseteste was followed at Oxford by his pupil, the famous and 
learned Franciscan, Adam Marsh, or Adam de Marisco, and the repute 
of Oxford soon became such as to rival that of Paris, and to cause 
teachers from her schools to be sent for to the seats of Continental 
learning. Another famous and important order was that of the 
Dominicans or Preaching Friars, founded by St. Dominic, a Spanish 
monk, in 1215. The theory of Dominic was that for the heretic there 
was no salvation in heaven, and there should be no mercy on earth. 
The object of the work of the Dominicans was the extirpation of all 
heresy by preaching and teaching. They also became a mendicant 
order, and grew so rapidly in numbers that their establishments were 
found in all parts of Europe, and on the coasts of Africa and Asia. 
One great result of the work of the Friars among the people was the 
restoration for the Church of the religious influence which had greatly 
lessened from Papal ambition and extortion, from the disuse of preach- 
ing, the ignorance of parish-priests, and the corrupt life engendered 
among monastic orders by the possession of great wealth as landowning 
corporations. In political affairs, the sympathies of the wandering 
and begging brethren were almost wholly with the body of the people 

1240-1290 A.D.] ROGER BACON. 183 

against the crown, and, as purveyors of news and kindlers of feeling, 
they played no small part in the struggles of this and the following 

The best intellectual light of the time shone forth in the illustrious 
Rotjer Bacon, a monk to whose genius and labours due Roger 
honour has not beeii always rendered. He was born in Bacon. 
1214, of a rich family in the county of Somerset, and was noted from 
his childhood for an inquisitive spirit and his love of learning. A 
student at Oxford and Paris, he became a thorough master of Latin, 
Greek, and Hebrew 7 , and, returning to England in 1240, he entered 
in course of time the order of Franciscans, and took up his abode 
at Oxford. Bacon's chief delight lay in natural philosophy, a study 
needing an expenditure far beyond the means of a man who had 
already made away with two thousand pounds in the search for know- 
ledge. His family embraced the king's side in the civil war between 
Henry III. and the barons, and the matter ended in their ruin and 
exile. The difficulties with which this great student had to contend 
were enormous. The works of Aristotle were now beginning to be 
studied, and copies of those, as of the philosophical writings of Cicero 
and Seneca, were most expensive and difficult to procure. It was 
only by the help of generous friends of science that Bacon could 
obtain books, and instruments wherewitli to make needful experi- 
ments. He was especially given to the study of optics, and left 
behind him in his writings new and ingenious views on the refraction 
of light, with exact descriptions of the nature and effects of convex 
and concave lenses, showing his acquaintance with the principle of 
the telescope and microscope. The ignorance and prejudices of tho 
age were hostile to his work. The subtleties of the scholastic philo- 
sophy were far more regarded than the pursuit of real knowledge in 
the questioning of nature, and the wonders which he revealed caused 
his imprisonment for a time on the charge of dealing in magic. At 
last, Pope Clement IV., hearing of his rare attainments and philo- 
sophic mind, ordered him to write down his knowledge and views on 
philosophy, and %vithin a year and a half he produced, in 1268-69, the 
work called Opus Majus. This was followed by a supplement, Opus 
Minus, and the Opus Tertium was a summary and introduction to 
the whole, with an account of the difficulties which had beset the 
author in his pursuit of knowledge. This great man was again the 
victim of an age quite unworthy of his genius. Under Clement's 
successor, Pope Nicholas III., Bacon's imprisonment for ten years, 
by the general of the Franciscans, was permitted, and near the close 
of the thirteenth century he died, forgotten by a world which could 
not appreciate its greatest scholar. The glory of Roger Bacon has 
been till lately overshadowed by that of his namesake who adorned 
the Elizabethan and the early Stuart age. The truth is, that the 
great thinker and student of the thirteenth century was at least 

184 HENRY OF BRACTON. [13th cent. A.D. 

equal in ability and merit to the philosopher whom he preceded by 
more than three hundred years. The "Greater Work" of Roger is 
an encyclopaedia of all the knowledge of his time. The man's learning 
is less admiiable than the principles which, with truest insight, he 
lays down for the pursuit of all real knowledge. He declares that 
there are four chief grounds of human ignorance submission to 
custom ; popular opinion ; reliance on inadequate authority ; and 
false pretence, or the attempt to hide real ignorance under a show 
of wisdom. He insists upon the need of reading books in the original 
text, and upon regard for linguistic accuracy of interpretation. The 
study of mathematics is, according to the elder Bacon, the basis of 
all real scientific acquirement, and Nature must be studied by experi- 
ment, if we are to get fairly at the secrets which she has to reveal. 
Grammar and philology, geography and climate, chronology and music, 
arithmetic and astrology, all pass under review, and, if he did believe 
in prediction by the stars, and now and again use alchemy to find the 
philosopher's stone, these vanities are but as spots upon the splendour 
of his fame. Henry of Bradon, a judge for over twenty years under 
Henry III., is one of our earliest writers on jurisprudence. His Latin 
work Upon the Laws and Customs of England, shows him to have been 
profoundly skilled in Roman law, and contains a scientific and reasoned 
system of the English law of his time. The progress made in con- 
stitutional principles is proved by the remarkable passage : " The king 
must not be subject to any man, but to God and the law, for the law 
makes him king. Let the king, therefore, give to the law what the 
law gives to him, dominion and power; for there is no king where 
will, and not law, bears rule." 

The thirteenth century produced the greatest of the historians who 
Litera- wrote the annals of their time in the monastic cells. Matthew 
ture. Parts, born at the close of the twelfth century, became in 

1217 a brother in the Benedictine monastery of St, Albans, where 
he succeeded, in 1235, Roger of Wendover as chronicler to the house, 
In the following year he attended the marriage of Henry III. at 
Westminster. He obtained much information on affairs from the 
frequent visits of the king himself to the Abbey of St. Albans, and 
from numerous correspondents highly placed in Church and State, 
such as Hubert de Burgh and Bishop Grosseteste. His principal 
work is his Historia Major, written in Latin, and containing the annals 
of eight kings, from the beginning of William the Conqueror to the 
end of Henry III. He seems to have been a man of real attainments 
in art as well as literature, and left behind him many manuscripts 
with illuminations of his own execution. From 1235 to 1273, the his- 
tory is his own account of his own times, and is very valuable from 
its impartiality, and its quotation of the original public documents 
of the age. He is also remarkable for the bold tone which he adopts 
with regard to the doings both of Pope and king. He writes as an 

1235 A.D.] MATTHEW PARIS. 185 

Englishman might do who had no connection either with the Church 
or with the court, and in his pages may be clearly traced the growing 
influence of a national opinion. As we pass from Roger de Hoveden 
to the work of Matthew Paris, we see that the struggle against the 
wrong suffered from kings and popes has aroused an energy of public 
spirit to which the nation was hitherto a stranger. In one passage 
he declares that "the Pope and the king favoured and abetted each 
other in their mutual tyranny." 

[1272 A.D. 





Conquest of Wales. Great legislative reforms. Full establishment of Parliament. 
The king and the barons. Continental warfare. Early history of Scotland. 
Edward I. and Scottish affairs. Wallace and Robert Bruce. Social life of 
England in thirteenth century. Commerce of the period. 

ON August 3, 1274, the man who was to prove the greatest of English 
Edward I., kings, and was the first since the Conquest to bear an English 
ffis cnar- name j landed with his queen among his subjects at Dover, 
acter. On the I9th they were both crowned at Westminster, and the 
hospitality of the age was shown in the feasting for fifteen days of rich 
and poor at tables gathered round the Great Hall. Oxen, sheep, pigs, 
and poultry were consumed in prodigious quantity, and the Pipe Rolls 
record that three hundred barrels of wine were purchased for the great 
occasion. The new monarch was a thorough Englishman in his virtues 
and in his faults of heart, mind, and temper. Just and truthful, tem- 
perate, toilsome, self-respecting, conscientious, devoted to duty, reverent 
of a higher power than man's, the first Edward was also proud, self- 
willed, obstinate, self-assertive as to his rights and his opinions, some- 
what slow to understand, limited in range of sympathy for others. 
Like his ancestors of Anjou, he was liable to gusts of passion which 
swept pity away, but these were rare exceptions to the usual generosity 
of his essentially noble nature. His reign is one of vast importance in 
our history for the solid strength gained by the realm through measures 
and achievements affecting our territory, constitution, laws, and social 
condition. The courage, watchfulness, industry, and enterprise of a 
warlike and politic ruler were devoted for over thirty years to the best 
interests of his people, and the latest generations of Englishmen will 
have reason to revere his name. He was at all points a great general 
and soldier strategist, tactician, organiser, and fighter. His headlong 
courage was shown alike in the melee of fierce tournaments where the 
knights fought as if on the battle-field, and in the desperate charges of 
real warfare against a host of foes. The deeds which have laid this king 

1 86 

1272 A.D.] EDWARD I. 187 

open to just reproach, such as the execution of Wallace and of David of 
Wales, and the slaughter of the citizens of Berwick, were due to the 
influence of the debased " chivalry " of the age a compound of cruelty 
and kindness, physical daring and moral cowardice, sensitive honour 
and broken faith. The good feeling shown by nobles and knights was 
mainly confined to those of their own class, and the sufferings of the toilers 
in the towns and the tillers of the soil were viewed without compassion. 
From the same source came the narrowness of spirit with which, accord- 
ing to the legal technicalities of the age, he sometimes treated rights 
and. liberties, both English and Scotch ; which rested on a broader basis, 
and should have been dealt with in a nobler fashion than by appeal to 
the letter of a treaty or a charter, or by reliance on the chicanery of 
law. In person, as in the main elements of his character and in the 
purity of his life, Edward commanded the admiration of his subjects. 
His handsome face, fringed by golden hair, surmounted a tall athletic 
frame that could exert the greatest effort in the hour of combat, and 
endure the utmost hardships of the long campaign. His dignified and 
courteous demeanour completed the charm of his presence. Coming to 
the throne as he did at thirty-three years of age, he was equipped with 
much experience of rule gained during his father's weak administration, 
and with much knowledge of the world and its ways acquired during 
his lengthened stay abroad. In expending the resources of his country, 
he did not waste, like his father, the moneys which, sometimes by the 
exercise of arbitrary power, he obtained from those he ruled, but was 
economical or lavish, just as need required. Like another of our 
greatest sovereigns, Elizabeth the Tudor, he could bend his haughty 
will upon occasion to a determined expression of his people's wishes. 
The ruling principle of his life was love of justice, and he took care that 
his judges, and all other servants of the crown, should dispense the 
same with rigorous exactness. The one word which sums up his policy 
is consolidation. A main purpose of his life was that of bringing the 
whole island under one crown, and though the patriotic courage of the 
Scots made this a failure, under his successor's feeble rule, yet he left 
behind him at his death a well-knit kingdom, supplied with an admir- 
able judicial, legal, and parliamentary system of government. 

The hospitalities of his coronation were scarcely ended when Edward 
repaired to Chester. The state of Wales presented a tempting Conques f; 
occasion for the exercise of his politic ambition. Politically of Wales, 
and socially, the country had sunk into seeming barbarism 1275 ~ 1 
under the evil influence of internal feuds and border warfare with their 
powerful neighbours. The mass of the people knew nothing of the 
use of bread, and were wild herdsmen, feeding on the milk and flesh 
of their flocks, and clothing themselves in the skins. They were 
divided into numerous clans, waging pitiless, revengeful, and treacherous 
warfare with each other. The only sign of culture lay in the poetry 
of their bards, whose Celtic nature burst forth in song of real literary 


merit, expressed in a language which, at that early age, had reached a 
definite form, and was used with great richness of imagery to manifest 
the poet's sense of the beauties of nature and to reveal the emotions of 
the heart. The utterances of the Welsh singers were not confined to 
the region of romance. The passionate patriotism of their race roused 
them to fling out in many an ode their people's hatred of the Saxon, 
and the land was stirred with a new and feverish strength to its last 
contest with the English invaders. The southern part of the country, 
in its more level regions along the Bristol Channel, was occupied by 
Norman barons after the Conquest, and Henry I. settled, as colonists 
in Pembrokeshire, a number of Flemings, who brought with them their 
habits of industry, and their skill in the weaving of woollen cloths. 
In the last century of Welsh independence, some princes named 
Llewellyn were in power. The last of these had been in arms against 
Henry III. in the Barons' War, but had promised fealty to the king 
before Prince Edward went on his crusade. Llewellyn had conquered 
Glamorgan, and, in recognition of his strength, he was allowed in 1267 
to take the title of "Prince of Wales," and to receive homage from 
the other Welsh chieftains. He was deeply attached to the family of 
De Montfort, and, in their prosperous days, when receiving hospita- 
lity at Kenilworth from the Countess of Leicester, he had pledged his 
hand to her daughter Eleanor. When he was summoned as a vassal 
of the English crown to do homage at Edward's coronation in 1274, 
he refused to attend without a safe-conduct. When Edward was at 
Chester, Llewellyn was again summoned, but refused to meet the king. 
He further declined to appear at a Parliament held at Westminster in 
1275. Before the death of De Montfort's widow in that year, the 
young Eleanor was married by proxy to the Welsh prince, who kept 
the faith to the poor and exiled orphan which he had vowed in the 
days of her prosperity. In 1276 she sailed with her brother Almeric 
to join her husband in Wales, but the vessel was taken by an English 
cruiser off the Scilly Isles, and Eleanor and her brother became the 
captives of their cousin Edward. Llewellyn demanded the release of 
his bride, and again refused to attend a Parliament in 1276. In the 
following year, Edward marched to North Wales with an army, and 
the contest, for the time, was soon over. The castles of Flint and 
Rhyddlan were taken and garrisoned, and a fleet from the Cinque 
Ports patrolled the coast, and cut off from the Welsh all supplies of 
provisions. Llewellyn could not meet his foe in the open field, and 
the advance of Edward's army drove him into the mountains, where 
every outlet was guarded. The arrival of winter forced him to sur- 
render from famine, and Edward dictated a treaty at Rhyddlan Castle, 
by which the country was surrendered to England as far as the river 
Conway, Llewellyn retaining the rule of the district of Snowdon and 
the Isle of Anglesea, with the title of " Prince of Wales," which was, 
however, to cease at his death. Then the Welsh prince at last received 

1278-1283 A.D.] CONQUEST OF WALES. 189 

his bride, and they were married, now in person, at Worcester, in 1278, 
in the presence of the king and his court. The Welsh ruler did riot 
appear to know when he was well off. His brother David, who had 
abandoned his cause and joined the English king in the late brief 
struggle, persuaded him to revolt in 1282. David took Hawarden 
Castle by surprise, carried off a justiciary, Roger de Clifford, to the 
fastnesses of Snowdon, and put to death his retinue of knights and 
servants. Llewellyn laid siege to the castles of Flint and Rhyddlan, 
and all North Wales was in a flame. Edward again took the field, 
with the stern resolve to make a speedy and complete end of Welsh 
independence. He had gathered the military tenants, and sent to 
Gascony for a force of Basque mountaineers from the Pyrenees, accus- 
tomed to all the difficulties and hardships of hill- warfare, fleet of foot, 
expert at climbing, and able to penetrate where the English, men of 
the plain, and heavy-armed infantry, could not make their way. The 
English leader advanced with due caution, and at first met with some 
reverses. A force of horse and foot perished at the passage of the 
Menai Strait into the Isle of Anglesea over a broad bridge of boats, a 
hasty retreat occurring on the advance of a Welsh force from ambush 
in the hills. The ring-bolts to which Edward's bridge was fastened 
were lately to be seen on the Caernarvonshire side of the Strait, which 
was never bridged again until the opening of Telford's beautiful 
structure in 1826, for the more enduring purpose of peaceful passage 
from Holyhead to Ireland. Llewellyn and his men were driven at 
last, as winter approached, to the recesses of the Snowdon group of 
mountains, and Edward sent for a new army from South Wales to 
complete his circle of investment. The danger was pressing, and the 
Welsh prince sallied forth to meet this new foe, leaving his brother 
David to defend the Snowdon passes. He had lately lost his wife, 
the Lady Eleanor de Montfort, and he was destined to quickly follow 
her. His party was surprised at Builth, in the valley of the Wye, 
and Llewellyn fell in the skirmish. His head was sent to Edward, 
who placed it on the walls of the Tower of London, crowned with a 
wreath of ivy. This was done in mockery of a prediction attributed 
to the Welsh prophet and magician, Merlin, who is held to have 
flourished in the fifth century. The English king, in his care for the 
people, had issued a new copper coinage of round half-pennies and 
farthings, to meet the want which had caused them to cut the silver 
penny into halves and quarters. The prophecy declared that, when 
the English money should become circular, the Prince of Wales should 
be crowned in London, and such was the patriotic zeal and superstition 
of the Welsh, that on this ground many had been induced to hope for 
success in the struggle. For six months longer David held out against 
the invaders, or rather, failed to be captured, as he was hunted from one 
retreat to another. He was at last betrayed to the enemy, imprisoned at 
Rhyddlan Castle, tried before a Parliament at Shrewsbury in September 


1283, and put to death as a traitor. This was the end of Welsh inde- 
pendence. The other chiefs laid down their arms. Strong castles were 
built at Conway and Caernarvon, and English nobles received much of 
the land as their own, on the usual feudal terms. After the death of 
Llewellyn, Edward remained more tKan a year in Wales. The story of 
his slaughter of the bards, as sowers of sedition, which was made the 
subject of a noble ode by Gray, is nothing but a fable. Queen Eleanor 
was with the king during his abode in Wales, and there, at Caernarvon 
(not at the castle, then scarcely begun) her son Edward was born in 
April 1284. His elder brother, Alfonso, died in the following August, 
and it was then that the infant prince received the Principality as his 
appanage, and was invested with the dignity and title of "Prince 
of Wales," since generally given to the sovereign's eldest son. In a 
Parliament held at Rhyddlan Castle in 1283, Edward had taken various 
measures to regulate his conquest. The country was, to a large extent, 
divided into shires and hundreds, and some of these, including Angle- 
sea, Caernarvon, Merioneth, Flint, Cardigan, and Carmarthen, were 
kept in the hands of the crown. P>y the Statute of Wales, in 1 284, Eng- 
lish laws, judges, sheriffs, and courts were introduced into these new 
districts, with a partial retention of old Welsh laws and customs, for 
the avoidance of undue offence to a most susceptible race. Many 
fortresses were built to guard against revolt, and some of the chief 
towns received a large influx of English settlers. Complete incorpo- 
ration with England came at a later time, in the reign of Henry VIII. 
It was the royal task of Edward I. to develop and to organise much 
Edward's ^ na ^ came down to him from preceding times. In judicial 
judicial matters, he finished the work so well begun by the first 
lative 6 ??- Plantagenet king. The superior courts of justice known as 
forms. } ie Kjny'g Bench, Exchequer, and Common Pleas were each 
supplied by Edward with a special staff of judges. The jurisdiction 
of the royal council, the highest court of appeal, was invested with 
powers which gave rise to the Court of Star Chamber of the Tudor and 
Stuart times, and were the model for the Judicial Committee of the 
Privy Council in the present day. The equitable jurisdiction of the 
Court of Chancery now began to provide for the redress of grievances 
not reached by the remedies which the common law provided, and to 
deal with the rights and wrongs of wards and other helpless persons. 
The king's regard for the correction of abuses and the due administra- 
tion T't)fs justice was especially shown in the statute of 1275, called the 
First Stain4?, () f Westminster. In this elaborate Act of fifty-one chapters 
all kinds of maL&L rs are dealt with the oppression of religious houses 
by barons and grea$ men demanding hospitality on travel ; the law of 
wrecks; freedom of flection of sheriffs, coroners, and other county- 
officers, and of represent tives ^ n Parliament. No king's officer was 
to take any reward to do hii? duty. Devisors of slanderous news were 
threatened with punishment, i ' ind J uries who g ave false verdicts. 

1279-1285 A.D.] LEGISLATIVE REFORMS. 191 

Edward was resolved to maintain, like his predecessor Henry tho 
Second, the rights of the crown against the Church. His 
real view was that of making it a truly national institution ainTthe 
by compelling it to contribute to the expenses of government, clmrcl1 - 
and by checking and diminishing its subservience to the Papal see. 
The Statute of Mortmain, passed in 1279, was directed, as its title De 
Religiosls shows, not mainly against the bishops and clergy, but against 
the monastic bodies, or corporations of vditjiosi, meaning those bound 
by monastic vows. All members of such bodies were reckoned dead in 
law, and so land held by them was said to be in mortua manu. There 
were two great reasons for the legislation now undertaken. An appre- 
hension existed that a large part of the lands of the kingdom might 
come by conveyances, prompted by the piety or superstition of owners, 
into the hands of religious bodies, and thus become exempt from taxa- 
tion, as all lands held in mortmain were freed from the usual feudal 
services. The other, and more practical reason was, that existing land- 
owners conspired with the monastic bodies to defraud the crown of 
its rights in taxation by a pretended conveyance of lands from 
lay owners to religious bodies. It was enacted by the new law that 
no lands or tenements should be bequeathed or otherwise alienated to 
religious corporations without the express license of the crown. The 
king also dealt firmly with the bishops who strove to withdraw from the 
royal courts causes in any way dealing with the property of churchmen. 

The interests of trade were not forgotten in the watchful care of 
the king for the true welfare of the realm. The Statute of Trade 
Merchants, passed in 1283, and called also, from the place legisla- 
where the Parliament was then sitting, the Statute of Acton tlon- 
Burnel, recites that " merchants which heretofore have lent their goods 
to divers persons be greatly impoverished, because there is no speedy 
law provided for them to have recovery of their debts at the day of 
payment assigned." It was provided by the new Act that the debts of 
traders should be registered, and that when a debt had been acknow- 
ledged before a proper officer, and a day of payment fixed, execution 
might follow on default of payment, the amount due being recovered 
by seizure and sale of the debtor's goods, and pressure exerted on him 
by the imprisonment of his person. 

The Statute of Winchester, in 1285, dealt with the grave question of 
public order, and revived old arrangements for defence against Law and 
invasion and against internal marauders. The hundred was order, 
made answerable for robberies committed within its limits. In the 
great towns, furnished with walls and gates, the gates were to be closed 
from sunset to sunrise, and watch was to be kept all night. In order 
to save wayfarers from sudden attack by robbers, it was enacted that 
the highways leading from one market-town to another should be 
enlarged, so that, within two hundred feet of each side of the main roau, 
there should be no bushes, woods, or dykes, with the exception of great 

192 THE JEWS UNDER EDWARD. [1278-1290 A.D. 

trees, and, if the lord of the land would not make such clearance of the 
cover that might harbour thieves, he was to be answerable for any 
felony commitced. To enforce the observance of the Act, knights were 
appointed in each shire under the name of Conservators of the Peace. 
They were the original of the useful local magistrates now known as 
justices of the peace. It was also provided that " every man have in his 
house harness, for to keep the peace after (i.e. according to) the ancient 
assize," and the nature of the arms to be kept whether sword, knife, 
or bow and arrows is regulated according to the property of the house- 
owner. The allusion to " the ancient assize " seems to refer to Henry the 
Second's Assize of Arms for the gathering of the militia, and other pur- 
poses of the public peace. The Act of Edward I. required subjects to be 
ready with arms against invasion or revolt, and for the pursuit of felons 
on due notice. In the same year, 1285, we find the statutes for the city 
of London enjoining " that none be hardy to be found going or wander- 
ing about the streets of the city, after curfew-bell tolled at St. Martin's 
le Grand, with sword, or buckler, or other arms for doing mischief," and 
that " none do keep a tavern open for wine or ale after the tolling of 
the aforesaid curfew." 

It was in this reign that the Jews were banished from England, 
The n t to reappear until the days of Cromwell. They had been 

Jews. rigorously treated, in accordance with the bigotry of the 
age, before the final step was taken. In 1278, they were seized upon 
a charge of clipping the coin, and a record of the time states that 
" of the Jews of both sexes two hundred and eighty were hanged in 
London, and a very great multitude in other cities of England." The 
Christians guilty of the same offence were only fined. In spite of all 
their disabilities and persecutions, and of frequent plundering, they 
continued to amass great wealth. In 1286, the Bishop of Hereford 
excommunicated certain Christians of that city for attending a marriage- 
feast given by a rich Jewish family. On another occasion, the whole 
body in the kingdom, including women and children, were imprisoned 
until they paid a heavy fine as ransom. At last, by proclamation 
dated July 27, 1290, the whole of the Jews were banished, to the num- 
ber of over sixteen thousand. Their real estate (lands and dwell- 
ings) was forfeited to the crown, but they were allowed to take away 
their coin and other movables. The king had made some efforts for 
their conversion to Christianity, and his motive for their exile is be- 
lieved to have been to set them free from persecutions which he found 
himself unable to check, though others allege that he issued the order 
in return for a large subsidy made to him by Parliament. 

It was under this greatest of the Plantagenet sovereigns that the 
Parlia- House of Commons definitely acquired its complete form as a 
SJjJfer representative body, and became established as a great and 
Edward I. permanent institution of the state. Here, as in the case of 
municipal freedom, it may be truly asserted that the people of England 


bought their full measure of rights and liberties. The king was 
always in need of money for state purposes, and as the only sure, safe, 
and speedy method of obtaining it was by the grant of the whole 
nation as represented in Parliament, that body was summoned with 
more frequency and regularity than in the previous days of a partly 
arbitrary rule. When Parliament came together, the knights of the 
shire, or county members, and the deputies from the towns, or borough 
members, who together represented the lower nobles and the commons 
of the realm, were at last only ready to grant money on redress of 
certain grievances, and thus the assembly by degrees acquired the 
power of originating legislation for the good of the whole realm. It 
was convenience that, in the first instance, caused Edward to resort 
to a more regular summons of the House of Commons. A grant of 
money made in the Great Council, or the assembly of the lay barons 
and higher clergy, answering to our House of Lords, could only en- 
force payment from the class who gave the subsidy. The clergy 
could only be reached by bargains made, through the officers of 
the Exchequer, with the archdeacons in each diocese, and the same 
process of negotiation had to be conducted by the crown officials 
with the borough-reeves and the shire-courts, in order to get money 
from the men of the towns and counties. The increase of the wealth 
of the country, through trade, agriculture, and handicrafts, had made 
it very desirable for the king to raise money promptly from the 
personal property, or "movables," of his subjects, just as a Chancellor 
of the Exchequer now is ready to fly, in a time of urgent need, to the 
income-tax on the middle classes which brings in so large and sure a 
revenue. It was this that caused the full Parliament to be summoned 
by Edward in the year 1295. The king needed money for a rebellion 
in Wales and a war with France. He stated in the writ of summons 
that " what concerns all should be approved of by all, and that common 
dangers should be met by measures provided in common." A more 
truly constitutional admission was never made by any monarch. The 
assembly that gathered at Westminster in the autumn of 1295 was * n 
every way a national Parliament. It contained the three estates of 
the realm the lords spiritual (archbishops, bishops, and higher abbots), 
the lords temporal (the lay barons) and the commons, with the sove- 
reign as head of all. The representatives of the cities and boroughs 
were now first made a permanent part of Parliament, and so the year 
1295 is the true date of the House of Commons. Its full powers are 
a matter distinct from its full establishment as a part of the constitu- 
tion : these were acquired, as has been stated, by degrees. The lords 
often remained to pass laws in conjunction with the sovereign, after 
the retirement of the Commons, who at first were only summoned for 
the purpose of granting money. At first, also, both Houses sate ^ in 
the same chamber, but they each gave separate votes, in the imposition 
of taxes each upon its own order. The voters for the election of 



knights of the shire consisted of the whole body of rural freeholders, 
a restriction being afterwards made in the reign of Henry VI. It is 
curious to note, in contrast with the present system, that the crown, 
in gathering two burgesses "from every city, borough, and leading 
town," to sit in Parliament, kept in its own control the number of 
boroughs to be represented, and that the sheriff could, at the wish of 
the king, disfranchise at his pleasure any number of boroughs within 
his own shire. It is still more strange, to those who regard the 
enormous power now wielded by the House of Commons, and the 
eager competition for the privilege of admission within its portals, as 
a member chosen by the free will of the borough-voters, that in those 
early days the towns were often unwilling to send up representatives, 
and shrank from the task as a burden upon their resources. Travelling 
in that age was a matter of great trouble and cost, and the men of 
the boroughs could ill afford the two shillings per day paid to their 
burgess for the charge of his maintenance. Little, indeed, could they 
foresee the time when the sons of the proudest nobles in the realm 
would offer themselves, with all due show of humility, to the men of 
the towns, and spend large sums of money, and incur infinite trouble 
in intrigue, canvass, and oratory, in order to become members of a 
House that should hold the chief share of power in ruling a world- 
wide dominion. Under Edward I. and his nearest successors, it was 
often needful to enforce attendance by heavy fines laid, in default, on 
representatives chosen either by town or shire, and for a long series of 
years the sheriff of Lancashire would not admit that his county con- 
tained any " boroughs " at all. The fact is again in vivid contrast to the 
present condition of that busy hive of towns teeming with wealth, the 
products of whose countless looms go forth to the farthest parts of the 
globe. We must also note the action of the lower clergy in reference to 
the Parliament as constituted by Edward I. The king, in the writs of 
summons issued in 1295, had ordered the personal attendance of all 
deans of cathedral churches, proctors of cathedral chapters, with two 
representatives of the parish clergy in each diocese, and all the arch- 
deacons. They refused, when they did attend, to sit with the other 
representatives, and they would not grant any aids, or supplies of 
money, except in their Convocations of York and Canterbury. By 
degrees they ceased to come at all, and thus committed a kind of suicide 
as regarded the legislative powers which, in course of time, would have 
devolved upon their very numerous and wealthy order. It remains to 
observe that the word "Parliament," or "talking body," meant any assem- 
bly that meets for the purpose of debate, and that the word, as applied 
to the national council, first appears in a document of 1244, where it 
is used of the meeting at Kunnyrnede. The place of meeting for the 
great assembly of the nation's representatives became by degrees con- 
fined to Westminster, instead of the summons being issued, as the 
names of statutes show, for conference at Oxford, Winchester, Nor 

1274-1297 A.D.] EDWARD AND THE BARONS. 195 

thampton, and other provincial towns, as well as in the capital of the 

The power of the nobles had been greatly increased by their own 
vigorous action in the reigns of John and Henry III. They 
had gained an acknowledged position in the government of and the 
the country, and their assent was needed for legislation, barons - 
taxation, and war, They had also acquired the full trust of the body 
of the nation in having become Englishmen instead of Normans, and 
by the patriotic course which they had adopted at Runnymede in*? 
claiming right and justice for other classes than their own. For a * 
time, under Henry III., and after his death, a council of barons had 
been the actual rulers of the land, and their conduct had proved their 
fitness for so high a trust. They were now to show, even against such a 
monarch as Edward I., the strength which they had won in the constitu- 
tional system. The king, not long after his assumption of power in 
1274, dispatched commissioners to make inquiry into the amount of 
feudal revenue due to him from baronial estates, as to encroachments 
made on the crown domain, and into various rights and possessions 
claimed and held by barons. As a result of their discoveries, judges 
were sent out with writs of quo warranto in 1278, demanding by what 
right or warrant estates were held by present possessors. The spirit 
of the feudal nobles was shown by Earl Warenne, who drew his sword, 
and threw it on the table before the judges, when a sight of his title- 
deeds was required. "This, my lords," he cried, "is my title. My 
ancestors won their lands, under William, by the sword, and with the 
same I will defend them." Throughout his reign, the king had much 
trouble in repressing the military violence used by great barons towards 
each other, and the lawless treatment of traders in the towns and on 
the highway by depredators from the strongholds of the nobles, and by 
roving bands of marauders. On the whole, order was maintained by 
the imprisonment and heavy fining of the greater offenders, and the 
hanging, or summary slaughter by the sword, of minor miscreants. 

In 1297, the resistance of the nobles to Edward's unconstitutional 
exactions of money led them to a measure of great importance Tlie C q n _ 
to the future freedom of the nation. Foreign war, with France firmation 
and Scotland, had utterly exhausted the king's resources, and charters, 
he was driven by sheer need to violate the letter and the spirit 1297> 
of the Great Charter, in order to obtain prompt supplies from his 
subjects. The high notions of the royal prerogative held by his 
predecessors were by no means extinct in this excellent monarch, but 
the force wielded by the barons of England guided affairs to a good 
issue. The Church was made the first victim, in 1294, and refusal 
of Edward's demand for one half of the annual income of the clergy 
was punished by the loss of all protection from the law. The courts of 
law were closed against them and all others who refused to furnish 
aids of money. The clergy were driven to submission, but the moneys 


furnished by them did not long suffice for the ravenous demands of 
war. In 1297, the Scots were in arms against Edward, and the war 
with France demanded the king's presence in Flanders, at the head of 
a large force, for an attack on the enemy's northern frontier. Previous 
exactions had roused against Edward all classes of his subjects. The 
country squires had been plundered by being forced to accept knight- 
hood, with its burdensome fees and duties, or to pay sums of money for 
declining the uncoveted honour. Heavy tallages had been levied from 
the towns and tenants of the royal domain, and an enormous duty 
had been imposed on the export of wool, then the chief article of 
produce in the land, which was sent abroad to be worked up into cloth 
by the looms of the artisans of Flanders. The growers of the country 
and the merchants of the ports were alike interested in setting limits 
to the power of taxation. The exactions made from the Church and 
the laity came near to kindling another civil war. The treasures of 
monasteries and cathedrals had been seized, and agricultural produce 
had been taken, without present payment, in the most wanton exercise 
of the royal right of purveyance. At this juncture, two bold barons 
led the way in a successful resistance to tyranny. Humphrey Bohun, 
Earl of Hereford, and Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, openly disobeyed 
the king's command that they should sail with a reinforcement of 
troops to his army in Gascony, though their offices as Marshal and 
Constable of the realm made it their duty to act as leaders in war. 
The enraged Edward swore that Bigod should "either go or hang." 
The stout Earl retorted that he would "neither hang nor go," and even 
the great Edward shrank from the ultimate issue to which he was 
thus challenged. The king, helpless as he was, summoned a Parliament 
to meet at Westminster, and there, in the Great Hall, met his subjects 
face to face, and humbled himself before them. Wounded in his pride 
by the rebuff which his passion had provoked, and with a heart sore at 
what he deemed to be ungrateful treatment, Edward shed tears while 
he confessed that he had taken his people's goods without right in law. 
He then declared that he had imposed these heavy burdens, not for 
selfish ends, but for the sole purpose of protecting them against the 
Welsh, the Scots, and the French, who were seeking his crown and 
thirsting for his subjects' blood. Such a scene enacted by the weak 
Henry, his father, would have moved nothing but contempt, but the 
lords and commons alike knew the noble nature of the monarch who 
stood before them, and an assent was given to the prosecution of the 
war. Edward then sailed for Flanders, but the barons were resolved 
to turn the stirring occasion to a practical use for the future. They 
met in arms at London, but strictly preserved the peace, and, along 
with the Primate and the citizens, on October loth, caused the young 
Prince Edward in council to assent to the famous statute known as 
the Confirmation of the Charters, meaning the Great Charter and the 
Charter of the Forests. All taxation was prohibited until the king's 


consent to the Act was obtained, and the document was sent to Edward 
at Ghent, with a demand for his signature by December 6th. The 
state of foreign affairs was such as to prevent the king from dreaming 
of resistance or delay. The Scots had gained a victory at Stirling, 
and Edward was opposed in Flanders by a superior force of the French 
king. On November 5th, he signed the Act which for ever invested 
Parliament with the sole right of raising supplies of money from the 
people, apart from fixed feudal claims. Certain clauses were added to 
the Great Charter in which the king promised to take from his people 
henceforth "no aids . . . but by the common assent of the realm, saving 
the ancient aids . . . due and accustomed." The true meaning of this 
would be that the Crown, from that time forward, could not, without a 
vote of Parliament, lawfully raise money except in the shape of the 
usual feudal payments. It was also required that pardon should be 
given to the barons and their followers who had refused to go to 
Guienne, and that they should again enjoy the king's favour. Edward 
issued, along with the Confirmation, letters patent granting a full pardon 
to Humphrey de Bohun, Roger Bigod, and others, "for certain dis- 
obediences," and "certain alliances and assemblies of armed people, 
made against our will and prohibition," and setting aside " all manner 
of rancour and indignation," which he "had conceived against them." 
The ground thus won was never lost in the ten remaining years of 
Edward's reign. In 1299, he was obliged, at the request of the barons, 
to renew the Confirmation, and in 1301 the nobles, again in arms, 
forced him to carry out to the full the Charter of the Forests. In 
1305, absolution was secretly procured at Rome from all oaths and 
engagements as to the keeping of the charters, but again the barons 
wrung an assent to the Confirmation and prevailed against the united 
forces of the Pope and the crown. 

For a time Edward I. remained at peace with his feudal superior, the 
king of France. In 1279, he visited Philip III. at Amiens, Edward s 
and at this meeting some of the causes of dispute between the Continen- 
crowns were removed. Edward did homage, and received tal wars - 
formal possession of Guienne, and also made formal resignation of 
Normandy. This French king died in 1285, and was succeeded by his 
son Philip IY. In 1286, Edward visited Paris, and rendered homage 
to his new feudal lord. He remained abroad for three years, arranging 
terms of peace between the French king and the king of Aragon, and 
settling matters in his own province. During his absence, a Welsh 
rising, in 1287, was subdued by his justiciary. The English people 
had been greatly suffering from the rapacity of judges, sheriffs, and 
other officers, and the king, according to his wont and nature, dealt 
sternly with the offenders. He summoned a Parliament in 1290. The 
offending judges were tried, and all except two were convicted, fined, 
deposed from office, and either imprisoned or banished. In 1293, 
trouble arose with France through an accidental fight in a Norman 


port between some French and English sailors. An Englishman was 
killed, and then reprisals began on both sides, and were carried to such 
an extent that the Channel and the Bay of Biscay were scenes of con- 
stant conflict. A large fleet of Norman traders, going southwards in 
'the bay, attacked English ships, plundered them, and slew the seamen. 
The English ports in the Channel gathered a strong force, met the 
Normans on their return, and almost destroyed their whole flotilla. 
Then Philip IY. summoned the king, as his vassal-ruler of Guienne, to 
appear in his court in Paris, and answer for the conduct of his Eng- 
lish subjects. French trickery involved Edward in a seeming neglect 
of feudal duty, and the forfeiture of Guienne was formally declared. 
Edward's army sent to recover it met with no ultimate success. The 
real importance of the matter lay in the long-enduring union here- 
by brought about between France and Scotland. Philip formed an 
alliance with Baliol, who renounced his allegiance to Edward, and 
caused a war between the two countries of England and Scotland. 

Whilst Edward was abroad in Gascony, Alexander III., king of 
Edward I. Scotland, died in 1286, leaving no descendant except Margaret, 
fand SCOt ~ a g ran d-daughter, child of his own daughter Margaret, and 
1290-1307, Eric, king of Norway. This princess, known as The Maid 
of Norway, was Edward's grand-niece, through the marriage of his 
sister to Alexander of Scotland. She now became heir-apparent to the 
Scottish throne, and her right had been solemnly acknowledged at 
Scone in 1284. Nothing seemed less likely than that trouble should 
arise concerning the succession to the crown of Scotland. 

A brief review of previous Scottish history here becomes needful. 
Past The people of Scotland included men of the same diverse races 

Scottish as those who dwelt in England, but in very different relative 
ory * numbers, and not so closely blended, as with us, by inter- 
marriage and political union. In Scotland there were Celts, Teutons, 
Danes, and Normans, but there were also Picts. For some centuries 
after the departure of the Romans from the island, the predominant 
race in Scotland was the Picts. Their country extended from the Firth 
of Forth along the east coast to the Pentland Firth. It was bounded 
on the west by that of the Scots, a Celtic people from Ireland, who, 
as we have seen, settled in Argyle, and then spread their dominion 
northwards along the western coast. The Teutonic conquest gave the 
country English people as the holders of Lothian, or the district lying 
between the Tweed and the Forth. Another Celtic people lay between 
the Firth of Clyde and the Solway Firth. These were the Britons of 
the kingdom of Cumbria, which at first stretched southwards to the 
river Dee. The victory of the Picts over Ecgfrith in 685 has been 
related as a turning-point in the history of the English kingdom of 
Northumbria. The conquerors in that battle afterwards made their 
way west, and became supreme in the land northwards of the Forth 
and the Clyde. About the beginning of the ninth century, the Scots 


were making rapid progress in numbers and civilisation, and, in 843, 
their king, Kenneth Mac-Alpin, became possessor also of the Pict 
sovereignty. He waged war stoutly for many years against the 
English of Lothian, the Danish pirates under Ragnar Lodbrog, and 
the Britons of Cumbria. He is notable as having removed the pal- 
ladium of the Scots, their "stone of destiny," from Argyle to Scone, 
and for the transference of St. Columba's remains from lona to Dun- 
keld, where he built a church, and made the town his ecclesiastical 
capital. Under Mac-Alpin's successors, the country became subject to 
most serious attacks from the Danes, who had by this time made good 
their footing on the Irish coasts. The Scottish coasts were assailed in 
all quarters by the fleets which hailed from Dublin and other Irish 
harbours. The Danes came pouring into the firths on the eastern and 
the western shores, and for many years the land was in a state of con- 
flict with these formidable foes. It was by this process, however, that 
the Picts and Scots were hammered and welded into political union. 
In the tenth century, we find the Scots in alliance with their old foes, 
the Danes, and their great defeat at Brunanburh by the English 
king, Athelstane, in 937, has been already recorded. A great political 
advance for Scotland came from the action of an English king. 
Edmund the Elder conquered the southern part of the old kingdom of 
Cumbria, and gave the modern Cumberland and the northern part of 
Westmoreland to King Malcolm I. of Scotland, upon the condition of 
his defending the north of England against Danish incursions. A kind 
of alliance thus arose between the two countries, but nothing could 
have been implied in the form of a feudal vassalage. At a later date 
the Scottish kings became possessed of Northern Cumbria, or Strath- 
clyde, and, under either Edgar or Cnut (the precise time and terms of 
cession being unknown), the kingdom of Scotland was completed in its 
territory by the cession of Lothian. Edinburgh became a chief town 
of the country, and the Scottish king and court were thus brought into 
close connection with English culture. Malcolm III. of Scotland, who 
reigned from 1056 to 1093, is the one known as Canmore ("large 
head "). He was a man of good natural abilities, improved by train- 
ing at the court of Edward the Confessor. We have already seen how, 
after the Norman Conquest, he gave refuge to Edgar Atheling, the 
heir of the English line, and to many of the English nobles, and how 
he married Margaret, the sister of the fugitive prince. The number 
of the people in the Lothians was increased by many refugees of their 
own kin from England, under the rule of William the Conqueror, and 
the influence of the good Queen Margaret was very beneficial to the 
Scottish king, court, and people. The marriage of Henry I. of Eng- 
land with the Scottish Princess Matilda not only joined the Norman 
and English royal lines, but had an important influence on Scotland 
in tho introduction of the Norman element into the ranks of her 
nobility. David of Scotland, a younger son of Malcolm, had married 


a Norman heiress, daughter of the Earl of Northumberland, and in 
1108 was created Earl of Huntingdon. From that time till his acces- 
sion to the Scottish throne in 1124, he had lived chiefly at the English 
court as a wealthy and powerful English noble, and had formed many 
friendships among the Norman barons at the court where his sister 
Matilda was queen. It was he who, as king of Scotland, brought Nor- 
man nobles and Norman feudalism into the land. A Celtic chieftain of 
the territory known as Ross and Moray was defeated by David's forces, 
and his lands were then subjected to feudal forfeiture. They were 
portioned out by David to Norman and other nobles, to hold of him as 
vassals of the crown, and it was thus that Norman adventurers became 
heads of great Highland families, and the chiefs of Celtic clans. The 
Norman feudal law was brought into Lothian, and the connection be- 
tween the two countries grew ever closer. 

After his discomfiture at Northallerton in the Battle of the Stan- 
dard in 1138, David of Scotland spent the rest of his reign in peace, 
and strove with success to improve the social, moral, and ecclesiasti- 
cal condition of his people. To his time we trace the chief Scottish 
bishoprics, and the famous Abbeys of Holyrood, Jedburgh, Kelso, 
Melrose, and Dryburgh. The rich endowments which he bestowed on 
the Church so taxed the royal domains, that, being canonised, he was 
bitterly styled by one of his successors, James I., as a "sair sanct 
(sore saint) for the crown." All along the eastern coast of the country 
were planted Norman, English, and Flemish colonies. From these 
centres the interior of the country, inhabited by Celts, was further 
settled, and thus the language, manners, and literature of people mainly 
Teutonic were spread through much of the land. A system of written 
law was introduced, and this by degrees took the place of the old Celtic 
traditionary usages. 

The capture of William the Lion at Alnwick, and the doing of homage 
to Henry II. for the crown of Scotland, by the Treaty of Falaise, in 1 1 74, 
with the annulling of that treaty by Richard L, have been already dealt 
with. William continued a faithful ally of England until his death 
in 1214, after a reign of forty-nine years, the longest in Scottish his- 
tory. His son, Alexander II., married Henry III. of England's sister, 
Joanna, and in this reign the boundary-line between the two countries 
was settled almost as it now exists. The two lands were generally at 
peace for nearly a hundred years, and the question of vassalage to the 
English kings, not for lands held by Scottish kings in England, but 
for the Scottish realm, was left conveniently vague. It was in the 
reign of Alexander III., who certainly never did homage to Henry III. 
for his Scottish kingdom, but only for his English estates of Tyndale 
and Penrith, that the last Danish attack on Scotland took place. The 
Danes had got possession of all the isles from Orkney and Shetland to 
the Isle of Man, and had even occupied Argyle, where the Scots from 
Ireland had first established the Scottish monarchy. The chiefs in 


these parts, when they did not claim independence, professed allegiance 
to Norway rather than to Scotland, and the Scottish kings had long 
desired to make the chiefs of Argyle and the Isles admit their depen- 
dence on the Scottish crown. Haco, king of Norway, resolved to 
assert his headship over the western isles and districts, and assembled 
a powerful fleet at Bergen in 1263. A large army was taken on board 
1 60 ships, and the invader passed southward by Lewis and Skye, levying 
contributions and exacting submission from the chiefs as he sailed along. 
At length the great armament swept round the Mull of Cantyre, and 
came to anchor between Arran and the coast of Ayrshire. A detach- 
ment under Haco's son-in-law, Magnus, king of Man, dragged their 
vessels across the isthmus of Tarbet, launched them on Loch Lomond, 
and then landed on the eastern shore and ravaged the rich district of 
Lennox. Haco refused to give up his claim on the western mainland 
and inner Hebrides in return for a free surrender of the outer isles, 
and there was nothing left but to fight. The winter was approaching 
as the Scots gathered on the heights above the Ayrshire coast. Thence 
they saw storms wreck a large part of the enemy's fleet, and the Scots 
totally defeated a considerable force which was landed near Largs. It 
was a great clay in Scottish history. Haco retired to Norway, and died 
at the end of the year. The new king, Magnus, gave up Man and all 
the Western Isles to the king of Scots in 1266, and in 1281 peace 
was further established by the marriage of the Scottish Princess 
Margaret to Eric, eldest son of the Norwegian king. In 1286, as 
the Scottish king was riding in the dusk along the coast of Fife, 
near the village of Kinghorn, his horse started or stumbled, and he 
was thrown over a precipice and killed on the spot. 

We have now seen how the Scots came from Ireland and settled in 
Argyle, how their kings extended their sway over Pictland, state of 
north of the Forth, Stratlicylde, between the Solway and the Scotland 
Clyde, and Lotliian (or Northumbria), between the Forth and ^ 1286< 
the Tweed, and thus formed the kingdom of Scotland. The Scottish 
kings, through intermarriages with English and Norman princesses, 
had almost ceased to be of Celtic race, and from this and other causes 
the court and the nobility of Scotland had become chiefly Norman and 
English, while the feudal system had come to prevail over the older 
laws and customs of the land. The distinction of races is clearly 
marked in official documents of the Scottish kings, wherein they 
address their subjects as Francs, Angles, Scots, and Gahvegians, or 
men of Galloway. The Francs were the Norman settlers ; the Angles 
were the refugees from England after the Conquest, and the people 
of the Lothians ; the Scots were the inhabitants to the north of 
the Forth; and the Galivegians were the people of the districts 
bordering on the Solway. These various races had laws and customs 
of their own, but the general system of government was feudal. 
In great questions, the king administered justice, and there were 


judges and sheriffs appointed by the crown, but we can understand 
'many parts of Scottish history only when it is remembered that 
these offices often became hereditary, and almost independent of 
the central authority. Thus it came about that decisions often de- 
pended less on written law than on the arbitrary will of the feudal 
lord. Alexander TIL did much to remedy these evils by making an 
annual progress through his kingdom, attended by his justiciar, chief 
nobles, and a military force, and he then heard all appeals for justice 
that were brought before him. Wrong-doing and oppression were thus 
checked in his time, but in Scottish history we find the conduct of the 
nobles marked by a singular turbulence and disregard of the royal 
authority, and the king had little control over the Celtic chiefs beyond 
the Forth, and the people who, in a later age, became known as the 
Highland clans. There was no capital city in Scotland, such as 
Winchester and London were in England, but the kings had favourite 
royal residences, which became centres of wealth and civilising influence. 
Among these were Stirling, Scone, Forfar, Aberdeen, Inverness, Edin- 
burgh, Roxburgh, and Berwick. To these and many other towns charters 
were granted by the kings, and they were called Royal Burghs. The 
spirit of these towns, where the dwellers were governed by laws of. their 
own, and enjoyed special privileges under their charters, was strongly 
opposed to feudalism. Every royal burgh, like the great barons, held 
its lands and tenements directly from the crown, but their inhabitants 
were on a footing of equality, and had trading and industrial inte- 
rests in common to strengthen and protect against the overbearing 
and encroaching spirit of the great nobles who surrounded them. 
They thus became democratic communities, and were favoured and 
encouraged by the kings as a counterpoise to the defiant power of the 
great feudal nobles. In the time of Alexander III., the trade of some 
of these towns had become very extensive. Berwick, from its wealth 
and commerce, was looked upon as a northern rival to London. There 
was a great trade done in skins, furs, fish, the fruits of Southern Europe, 
and even in the spices of the East. The luxuries consumed in Scotland 
included wine nnd wheaten bread, and comfortable clothing was a sign 
of progress in civilisation. The state of agriculture was displayed in 
the hamlets, granges, and farmsteads scattered over much of the country 
in the midst of pasture-land and corn-fields. There were some good 
hard roads, and some of the great rivers, as well as small streams, 
were spanned by bridges, as the South Esk, at Brechin, the Tay, at 
Perth, and the Forth, at Stirling. At the death of Alexander III., 
Scotland had become more prosperous and civilised than she was des- 
tined to be again for more than four centuries, marked by foreign 
war and by religious and political strife. 

We are thus again brought to the advent on the scene of the young 
Maid of Norway, heir to the Scottish crown, by the death of her grand- 
father, Alexander IIT. She was at once acknowledged as queen by the 

1290 A.D.] THE MAID OF NORWAY. 203 

Scottish nobles and people, and Edward, who had lately become master of 
Wales, now saw an opening for the f ulfilment of one of his great rj,^ 
life-projects, the union of the whole island under one crown. Scottish 
His proposal for the marriage of his eldest surviving son, vacant, 
Edward, Prince of "Wales, with the young queen, was well re- 129 - 
ceived by the Scottish Estates, or Parliament. Long negotiation followed 
as to terms, and it was not till July 18, 1290, that the Treaty of Brighom, 
near Berwick, was signed. The strong national feeling of the Scots was 
carefully provided for in the terms of the treaty. It was declared that 
the laws and liberties of Scotland should be strictly observed, and that 
the kingdom should remain free and without subjection. The English 
king could call for no military aid, as if he were feudal lord, and no 
Scotch appeal was to be carried to an English court. The young queen 
then set sail from Norway, but the voyage was rough, and she was 
landed, in a state of exhaustion, on one of the Orkneys, where she died 
in October. Never was the death of a child more disastrous to the 
interests of two nations. The decease of this young girl was the im- 
mediate cause of three long centuries of estrangement and strife, of 
the loss of many thousands of the lives of Scottish and English warriors, 
and of infinite mischief, material and moral, caused by the constant 
forays and " cattle-lifting " of the border- warfare between the kindred 
peoples on both sides of the Sol way Firth, the Cheviots, and the Tweed. 
Thirteen pretenders to the crown of Scotland at once appeared, but the 
number was soon reduced to three, as the only real claimants. The}' 
were all descended from daughters of David, Earl of Huntingdon, 
brother of King William the Lion. From the eldest daughter, Margaret, 
came John Baliol, Lord of Galloway, David's great-grandson. Robert 
Bruce, Lord of Annandale, was son of Isabel, the second daughter. John 
Hastings, Lord of Abergavenny, was grandson of Ada, the third daughter. 
Bruce was nearer to the original stock, as daughter's son : Baliol, as 
grandson of an eldest daughter, was from a higher branch, but was one 
step farther removed. Both their claims were clearly superior to those 
of Hastings. But another question then arose. Baliol and Bruce each 
claimed for himself the whole kingdom : Hastings declared that, by 
Scottish law, the kingdom was divisible among the three claimants. A 
civil war was in prospect, when the Scottish Estates referred the claims 
to Edward's decision. The English king saw his opportunity, and was 
ready with a new claim on his own behalf when, with many barons arid 
their armed retainers, he met the Scottish Parliament on May 10, 1291, 
near Norham Castle, in Northumberland. There were ten conferences 
held, from May loth to June I3th. At the first meeting, Roger do 
Brabancon, chief -justice of England, addressed the assembly in the 
French language, setting forth that Edward, king of England, was 
come, as superior and direct lord, to do justice to the claimants of the 
crown of Scotland, but that he first required the assent of the States to 
his own claim to feudal superiority. The English king had come supplied 

204 BALIOL, KING OF SCOTLAND. [1292-1296 A.D. 

with extracts from monastic chronicles in proof of homage done by 
Scottish to English sovereigns. The Scots were taken aback by the 
king's demand, but at last the two chief claimants, Bruce and Baliol, 
and the rest of the Scottish nobles, admitted the claim. The Scottish 
commons rejected it, but they were of little account at that day in their 
Parliament, and no heed was paid to their opposition, Edward then 
assumed possession of the country as suzerain of a disputed feudal hold- 
ing, and commissioners were appointed from both nations, with a large 
majority of Scots, to decide upon the claims. In November 1292, they 
reported in favour of Baliol. Edward confirmed this decision, and on 
December 26th, John Baliol did homage to Edward, and became king 
of Scotland. It is most difficult for us, at this day, to decide upon the 
delicate question of feudal law which is involved in the subsequent treat- 
ment of Baliol by the English king. It is certain that, by the treaty 
of Brigham, Scotland was to be judicially independent, and that no 
appeal from a Scottish court to that of an English king had been made 
for a long period. The pride of the Scots, both king and nation, was 
grievously wounded when Edward proceeded to assert this right of 
appeal. They shrank at first from open resistance, and Baliol had, in 
a case of his own, to endure the indignity of standing at the bar in the 
king's court at Westminster as a private gentleman. Scotland began 
to look towards France for help, and, as we have seen, when Edward 
became embroiled with Philip IV., a French and Scottish alliance was 
made, and war began between England and Scotland in the spring of 

On March 28th, the English king crossed the Tweed, with an army 
The first of five thousand horse and thirty thousand foot. The fate of 
Scotland 1 Berwick was a dreadful one. This important town, a free 
1296. ' harbour, whose customs amounted to a fourth of those of all 
England, was taken by assault. Its inhabitants, to the number of 
many thousands, were massacred, and the whole place was given up to 
pillage. The town never recovered from the blow, and became, as it 
remains, a small local port. The king and his army stayed there for 
a month. A messenger from Baliol reached Edward at Berwick, re- 
nouncing his fealty, and refusing to obey the summons to appear. 
" The felon fool," cried Edward, " since he will not come to us, we will 
go to him." A part of the army was sent forward to Dunbar, and a 
battle was fought, ending in the defeat of the Scots. The castle sur- 
rendered to Edward himself on April 29th, Roxburgh castle was taken 
next, and Edinburgh was reached on June 6th. The castle was at 
once besieged, but, without waiting for the result, the English king 
moved on to Stirling; and on June i4th received the surrender of its 
fortress without the least resistance. The garrison, according to the 
chronicle of the time, " had run away, and left none but the porter, 
which did render the keys." Montrose was reached on July 7th, and 
there the feeble Baliol, wholly unfit to be ruler of so proud and inde- 


pendent a nation, " came to Edward's mercy, and did render quietly the 
realm of Scotland, as he that had done amiss." This ignoble person 
was taken a captive to London, imprisoned for three years in the 
Tower, and then liberated. He retired to France, and died there an 
exile in 1314. It was well for Scottish fame that he had left behind 
him men of a far different stamp. Edward made his way to Aberdeen, 
then "a fair castle and a good town on the sea," and is believed to 
have gone as far north as Elgin, penetrating, as he proceeded, into 
nearly desolate parts, "where there was no more," says the writer of 
the time, "than three houses in a row between two mountains." He 
returned to England at the end of September, leaving John de Warenne, 
Earl of Surrey, as governor of Scotland. At Berwick he received, now 
as king of Scotland, as a fief forfeited by treason, the homage of the 
bishops, barons, and knights of the land. The first " conquest of 
Scotland " had been little more than the triumphal march of an irre- 
sistible foe. The victor brought back to England the crown and 
sceptre surrendered by Baliol, and carried away from Scone the sacred 
" stone of destiny," on which the Scottish kings were seated at their 
inauguration. This venerable relic is now to be seen in Westminster 
Abbey, in a recess beneath the seat of the chair on which, for ages 
past, the English sovereigns have sat for coronation. The prophecy 
that " where that holy stone is found, Scottish kings shall e'er be 
crowned," was fulfilled again in 1603. The castles, hostages, and 
regalia of Scotland were Edward's, but he had not won the hearts of 
the people, and the end was not yet. 

In 1290, Edward lost, by her death at Hareby, in Lincolnshire, his 
beloved wife Eleanor, of whom he wrote to his friend the Death of 
Abbot of Cluny, in seeking his prayers for her soul, " We i 9 e queen ' 
loved her tenderly in her lifetime, and we do not cease to Peace 
love her in death." Her body was brought in solemn pro- France, 
cession from Lincolnshire to London, and buried with great 1298 - 
honour at Westminster. At every place of halting for the night, the 
king afterwards erected one of the famous "Eleanor Crosses." The 
finest of all was that at Waltham Cross, in Hertfordshire : the erection 
of the last, at the village of Charing, near to the final destination at 
Westminster, gave its name to the thoroughfare now ever alive with 
the traffic of the world's greatest town. Three of Eleanor's four sons 
had died young : the survivor, Edward of Caernarvon, became his 
father's successor. In March 1298, the contest between France and 
England came to an end. Pope Boniface VIII. acted as mediator 
between Philip IV. and Edward. Guienne was restored to England, 
and her king renounced his alliance with the Count of Flanders. The 
Prince of Wales was betrothed to Philip's young daughter Isabel, 
whom he afterwards married, and Edward married Philip's sister, 
Margaret, in 1299. She became the mother of two sons, Thomas, 
Earl of Norfolk, and Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent. 

206 WILLIAM WALLACE. [1297-8 A.D. 

A new struggle for Scottish independence was now to begin under 
Second the leadership of one of the most famous of all patriots 
Scottish an( j popular heroes, William Wallace. In addition to Earl 
1297-1305. Warenne, Edward had left, in charge of Scotland, Cressingham 
as treasurer, and Ormsby as justiciary. The Scottish nobles had tamely 
submitted to English rule, and the people were now to come to the 
front. It is said that the exactions of Cressingham were intolerable, 
and that the English troops who held the land were guilty of outrage. 
It is likely enough that many of the more turbulent Scots hated the 
rule of law and order which checked internal feuds and forays. It 
is certain that the tillers of the Lothians and the toilers in the 
towns the Scottish Commons, whose protest had been set aside by the 
nobles at Norharn in 1291 were indignant at English supremacy, and 
quite ripe for revolt. The hour had come, and, with the hour, the 

Setting aside the legends about Wallace, his gigantic stature and 
Battle of strength, his wrongs and his revenge stories whose only 
Stirling, basis is the minstrelsy of "Blind Harry," who sang to the 
Sept. 1297. p eo p} e o f two centuries later we can safely record that 
Wallace, first the leader of a band of outlaws, took the field near 
Stirling with a powerful force in September 1297. De Warenne 
advanced at the head of 40,000 men, and the armies met on September 
nth. Wallace was skilfully posted on the hills to the north of the 
river. The English host advanced over the narrow bridge, and the 
Scots rushed down on them when only a part of the foe were across, 
and before deployment could be made on the farther side. The result 
was a total rout. The hated Cressingham was killed, and De Warenne 
made a swift retreat into England. Wallace followed up his success by 
ravaging over the border, and made his way to Newcastle. Then he 
returned and captured Stirling Castle. Edward was at this time in 
Flanders, and had just subscribed the Confirmation of the Cliarters. The 
Scottish victor held power in the name of the deposed John Baliol, as 
is proved by a charter of March 29, 1298, where "William Walleys, 
miles" (knight), is styled "Gustos regni Scotise," or guardian of the 
kingdom for John. Edward came over the sea, and entered Scotland 
with a great army in June. 

The nobles held aloof from Wallace, and his ariny was mostly com- 
Battfe of P ose d of footmen. The strength of Edward lay in his numerous 
Falkirk, mailed cavalry and skilful archers. The terrible energy of the 

y 1298. jjnglish king and leader, now in his sixtieth year, is shown by 
the fact that, as he advanced to the field of Falkirk. he was thrown 
from his horse and broke two of his ribs, but persisted in leading the 
cavalry forward to the encounter. The only hope of Wallace was in a 
formation that the English horse could not shatter, and he drew up his 
men, armed with long spears, in four great masses, presenting on all 
sides a bristling array of points. Before the attack, he cried to his men, 

1301-1305 A.D.] EDWARD AND THE POPE. 207 

" I have brought you to the ring, now let me see how you can dance." 
For a time, the resistance was a perfect success. The most desperate 
repeated charges of the mailed chivalry of Edward could force no open- 
ing, and his best knighthood recoiled from the deadly spears of the 
Scots. But Edward was not a man to be beaten by one or more re- 
pulses at the outset. The Welshmen had left the field, and a panic was 
beginning among the English, when Edward ordered his archers to the 
front. The Scottish formation now only offered a mark that could not 
be missed to deadly showers of shafts. The spearmen fell by hundreds, 
and it was impossible to fill up the gaps. The English horse dashed in 
at the openings, and soon broke up the masses. Thousands of Scots 
fell, and Wallace barely escaped capture. The south of Scotland was 
soon subdued, but the courage of Wallace had now shamed many of the 
nobles into keeping up the war. Edward's army was forced to retire by 
famine, and a commission of regency under John Comyn, Lord of Bade- 
noch, headed the party struggling for Scottish independence. Wallace 
had ceased to be " Guardian," and for some years little is heard of him 
and his doings. Edward was occupied by English affairs, and the 
Scottish regency appealed for help to Pope Boniface. In a letter sent 
to the king in 1300, the Pope claimed a right of deciding between 
England and Scotland. 

In January 1301, the English monarch called a Parliament at 
Lincoln. Over three hundred persons met prelates, abbots, dward j 
barons, knights of the shire, and burgesses. A plain answer and the 
was sent to the Pope's pretensions against English independ- Po * }e ' 
ence. He was informed that "with respect to the king of England's 
temporal rights, the king would not plead before him, nor submit in 
any manner to his judgment, nor suffer any inquiry, nor send agents 
to the Papal court." It is curious to note, alongside of the bishops and 
abbots who thus boldly spurned the temporal interference of their 
spiritual head, a worthy merchant or tradesman of Lincoln, who sat as 
a burgess. This was Stephen Stanham, who dealt in sugar, figs, herrings, 
and stockfish. 

Early in 1303, Stirling Castle was taken by the Scots, and an Eng- 
lish army was defeated at Roslin. Edward entered Scotland _ .. f 
with a force that could not be resisted, and a fleet, with Wallace, 
supplies of food on board, now followed his land armament. 1305< 
In February 1304, the Scottish leaders, including the Regent Comyn, 
gave in their submission, and the second conquest of Scotland was 
completed by the surrender of Stirling Castle from famine, in the 
summer of the same year. Wallace was betrayed in August 1305, by 
Sir John Menteith, Edward's governor of Dumbarton, and taken to 
London for trial as a traitor at Westminster Hall, crowned with a 
wreath of oak, as a king of outlaws. "Traitor," he cried, "I could 
never be, for I was not a subject of King Edward." He was con- 
demned, and executed with the horrible barbarity which survived to a 

208 ROBERT BRUCE. [1306 A.D. 

later age. His head was struck off after death by hanging, and placed 
upon a pole fixed on London Bridge. The special cruelty of the age 
divided his body into four quarters, which were taken and exposed 
to public gaze at Newcastle, Berwick, Perth, and Aberdeen. In the 
same year, Sir Simon Fraser, one of the partisans of Wallace, was put 
to death in London, and his head was placed on London Bridge beside 
that of his brave leader. In other respects the English king used his 
success with clemency and wisdom. No other victims were sought, 
and a scheme of government was drawn up which left Scottish law 
predominant, and placed rule in the hands of Scottish nobles, including 
Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, grandson of the former claimant of the 

The name of Robert Bruce is the noblest in Scottish history, but it 
Robert seems that ambition, rather than patriotism, was the first 
Bruce moving cause of his action against Edward I. He had long 
fieldf 6 regarded himself as the rightful heir to the Scottish crown, 
1306 * but policy had made him swear allegiance to Edward, and 

even bear arms against his countrymen. He was of English lineage, 
and being born at Westminster in 1274, was brought up at the court 
of Edward. Another possible claimant of the Scottish throne was 
John Comyn, known as the Red Comyn, son of John Baliol's sister 
Marjory. As such, he was regarded with jealousy by Edward. It 
seems that Bruce and he made a bargain, by which Comyn was to help 
Bruce to gain the crown of Scotland, and, in case of success, receive 
Bruce's lands as Earl of Carrick and Lord of Annandale. In order to 
further his private schemes, Comyn betrayed the plan to Edward, and 
the life of Bruce, who was then in London, was in danger. A friend 
gave him a hint by sending him a purse of money and a pair of spurs. 
Bruce fled for Scotland with two attendants, and, as snow lay on the 
ground, they all rode with their horses' shoes reversed, so that the 
tracks resembled those of steeds making for the capital. On their way 
they met and slew a messenger of Comyn's, and found on him written 
proofs of his master's treachery. In the church of the Greyfriars at 
Dumfries, Bruce killed the traitor, after an angry altercation, and this 
deed of sacrilegious violence made a course of the utmost boldness the 
only possible one for safety. He took up arms in February 1306, sent 
out people on all sides to rouse the country, and on March 2yth was 
crowned king of Scots at Scone. The "stone of destiny" was wanting, 
and a circlet of gold was used as a crown. The clan Macduff had the 
right of placing the crown on the head of a Scottish king, but the 
chief was not present, and his sister, the Countess of Buchan, dis- 
charged the duty in his place. For this bold act she was afterwards 
exposed to the pity or scorn of passers-by in a cage suspended from 
one of the outer turrets of the walls at Berwick. The great English 
king was now failing in health, but at a solemn festival in London he 
conferred the degree of knighthood on his son Edward, and on many 

1307 A.D.] DEATH OF EDWARD. 209 

young nobles. He heard of the new revolt with the deepest rage, and 
when, at the banquet, a dish of two swans was placed on the table 
before him, the king rose and swore " before God and the swans " to 
have a deadly vengeance for the murder of Comyn. Such were the 
fantastic vows of chivalry, which were often thus taken at the feast of 
the peacock. 

The first efforts of Bruce met with ill-success. Aymer de Valence, 
Earl of Pembroke, one of Edward's commanders in Scotland, routed 
his forces at Methven, in Perthshire, on July 22nd, and the king was 
forced to take to the hills with a few followers. After a narrow escape 
from the vengeance of Comyn's friends, Bruce sailed for the isle of 
Rathlin, off the north coast of Ireland, and spent there the winter of 
1306-7. Unsparing punishment was dealt out to the patriotic party 
in Scotland. Priests, knights, and nobles alike went to execution by 
hanging and the block, and the wife, daughter, and two sisters of Bruce 
were flung into prison. 

In the spring of 1307, Bruce was again in Scotland, and in May 

severely defeated Pembroke at the lattle of London Hill. The ,. 

-r, ,. / , . , , , ., , , , J , . , . Death of 

English king had meanwhile been slowly making his way to- Edward I., 

wards Scotland, with health fast declining. He lay long on 1307> 
a bed of sickness, but at last reached Carlisle, and, thinking his health 
improved, he hung up his litter in the cathedral as a thank-offering, 
and once more mounted his war-horse. But the king's work in life 
was done. At Burgh-on-Sands, in sight of Scotland, he died on July 
7, 1307, giving orders that his flesh should be stripped from his bones, 
and that these should be carried before the army till Scotland was 
subdued. The new king sent his body to Westminster, where it was 
buried with the inscription " Here lies the hammer of the Scots" 

At the period now under review, we have clearly visible signs of the 
development of various kinds of freedom among the class of 
toilers both in town and country. This process continued, newliber- 
with ever-growing strength, until the end of the time during *i|| S eS d 
which the Plantagenet kings ruled the land. The rise of the under 
towns of England has been already noticed. They all became, and^Ms ' 
like the land outside them, the property, in a certain sense, succes- 
either of the king or of some great landowner thane, baron, 
bishop, abbot, or earl. Each was ruled by an officer of the lord's 
appointment, the lord's or king's reeve, whose duty it was to summon 
the town-meeting or borough-moot, and there render justice to the 
townsmen in the presence and with the assent of their fellow-burghers ; 
to get in the moneys due to his lord for rent; and to see that the 
"services" were duly rendered to him by the town. The townsmen 
were hereby compelled to make use of the lord's mill, to gather in his 
harvest, and to pay for the right of sending out their cattle and swine 
into the lord's pasture and woodland. From fair and market he also 
gathered a revenue of tolls and fees, and his income was swelled by 



various forfeitures and fines from his tenantry of the town. Apart 
from all this, they were free men, who managed their own affairs in 
the same way as a local board or municipal council does at the present 
day. It was by no revolution of violence, no rising or revolt, that the 
men of the English towns got rid of the feudal services and payments 
due to their over-lords. A slow and silent process, in the growth of 
sound opinion, good feeling, and good sense, made some of these signs 
of subjection lapse by degrees into desuetude. Other burdens were 
thrown off by the just and manly process by means of which the 
thrifty artisan in our own times becomes his own landlord, the pos- 
sessor of the tenement in which he and his family dwell. The towns- 
men in olden times worked and traded, acquired wealth, and bought 
out their lords. They paid in sums of hard- won money for the privi- 
leges and immunities which make up the noble thing known as 
municipal freedom. An adventurous or fanatical lord starts on a 
Crusade, or returns from the land of the Payriim a penniless man, 
with armour rusty and worn, ragged shirt and hose, and a remnant of 
followers hungry for pay deferred. A jovial, spendthrift lord scatters 
his means at tournament, banquet, and revel. A litigious lord makes 
away with his cash in suits before judges, of Church or laity, who are 
open to the soft persuasions of extra-fees for a quicker hearing, or 
bribes for a wrongful award. A quarrelsome lord is ever at war with 
neighbouring barons, and gets the worst in the conflict, to the loss of 
real of personal property. A warlike lord becomes captive in a foreign 
campaign, and is held to heavy ransom. A religious lord is lavish of 
gifts to the Church in the shape of shady monastic cloister and cell, or 
the splendour of some stately shrine. An abbot or prior erects a new 
minster for the house which he loves and rules. The supreme feudal 
lord, the Plantagenet king of the day, needs supplies for a contest 
abroad or the brilliant extravagance of his court. In all these cases, 
and many more, resort must be had to the milch-cow the burghers, 
who, in the quiet life of the town, have been creating wealth instead of 
destroying it, winning in place of spending. Their lord, from whatever 
cause, has an empty coffer which needs to be quickly filled. "Nothing 
for nothing " is the trader's motto, and he looks for good to himself and 
his heirs and successors in the present needs of his lord. Money 
there is with him ; and his lord receives a portion in return for the 
deed or charter which for ever sweeps away some feudal right over the 
town's justice or government or trade. It was thus that our fathers, 
by the sweat of their brows, and their own sturdy good sense, bought 
the rights which created the class of municipal freemen who played so 
great and glorious a part in winning national freedom in after- times, 
by blows dealt on the field of battle. 

The population of the towns was not, however, composed only of 
the burghers who conducted its trade, and were the owners of the land 
within its limits, subject to the claims of the feudal lord. For purposes 


of local government, and the management of the trade of the town, 
they were gathered into the bodies called merchant- guilds. As -p^e 
co-dwellers with themselves, but without any share of muni- towns, 
cipal right or rule, they had around them a mass of other settlers. This 
body was composed of poor "landless" men, serfs escaped from their 
masters in different parts of the country, hucksters and petty traders, 
and all kinds of artisans. Among the less wealthy burghers, and the 
smaller traders and craftsmen, there arose, in distinction from the 
merchant-guilds of the higher and richer burghers, a number of craft- 
guilds, or trade-guilds, exercising a sway resembling that of the modern 
trades- unions. Charters obtained from the crown, by the usual method 
of purchase, gave these guilds a legal control, each over its own trade, 
and they assumed, by slow steps, a position of formidable rivalry with 
the older and more powerful merchant-guilds. In time they became 
predominant, and all power having at length passed from the ancient 
oligarchical bodies to the modern associations with their more numerous 
members, the basis of municipal freedom was widened, and the local 
government of the towns took a far more popular form. 

During the thirteenth century, we note the growth of a numerous 
class of landowners, who became the social ancestors of the The new 
squires and landed gentry, as opposed to the nobles of the iand- f 
highest class in wealth and power. The mass of the feudal owners, 
tenants who held land, in smaller portions, directly from the crown, 
became known, even under Henry the First, as the "Lesser Barons," 
as opposed to the "Greater Barons," the holders of numerous manors, 
forming, in all, great landed properties. It was these barons who 
usually attended the Great Council, the only Parliament of that age. 
From the ranks of the lesser barons, or knights (who had the right 
of attendance, as direct holders from the crown, but who did not care 
to incur the trouble and expense of answering to a summons), came 
the knights of the shire, or county-members, of the true later Parlia- 
ment. By the time of Edward I., a marked decrease had occurred in 
the ranks of the greater barons. In the natural course, and by losses 
through foreign and civil war, the families of many earls and barons 
had become extinct, and their estates had lapsed to the crown. Other 
greater baronies had their lands divided among female heiresses, from 
lack of male representatives, and so had ceased to exist. At the same 
time, the "lesser baronage" was ever growing in numbers and impor- 
tance. A great increase had taken place in the wealth of the country 
through the growth of trade, the increased production of wool, from 
which large profits were derived in exportation to Flanders, and through 
superior methods of tillage. The possession of land became a passion 
with the owners of hard cash. The holding of landed property, to a 
far greater degree in that age than in our infinitely complex social 
system, conferred political and social importance on its possessor. 
Wealthy traders sought admission to the ranks of the landed gentry, 


by Applying to tenants of the greater barons for the sub-letting of land 
on the usual feudal terms. The statute Quia Emptores, passed in the 
reign of Edward I., strove to check this subdivision of the large estates, 
by enacting that these sub- tenants should hold the land directly from 
the great lord, and render to him the feudal services, and afford him 
the feudal profits in reliefs, escheats, aids, fines, forfeitures, wardship, 
and marriage, instead of holding from their immediate tenant. The 
Act had a precisely opposite effect to that which those who passed it 
had contemplated. The tenant who had sub-let the land often desired 
to be virtually quit of a holding which brought him neither pleasure 
nor profit. He therefore handed over his estate, with its burden of 
feudal " services," for a round sum of money, to the man of wealth and 
enterprise who thought he could manage to make the investment pay, 
A number of small estates, held direct from the crown or other great 
feudal lord, was thus created, and the new class of landowners rapidly 
grew in the repetition of the same process. A class of small farmers 
also began to arise from among the ranks of the higher class of villeins. 
Common lands began to be enclosed, and the large landholders adopted 
the plan of leasing out portions of their estates to men who were the 
forerunners of the tenant-farmers of the present day. 

The ceorl of the older English system, who was the villein of the 
Gradual time after the Conquest, had become, under Anglo-Norman 
disap- legislation, the serf of a feudal lord. He lived in a portion 
ance'of of l an d which he tilled under the lord, and to that lord and 
serfdom i an d he was bound. To the lord of the manor he was forced 
lower to render services as a kind of rent paid in labour, by reaping, 
viUenage. WO od-cuttmg, shearing, thatching, and other rural toils. He 
could not leave the estate, to change his mode of life for that of an 
artisan or trader, without the leave of his lord, on pain of becoming an 
outlaw. From this kind of bondage, removed indeed from what we 
understand by the position of a slave, the serf was slowly freed by the 
operation of various causes. The Church did what she could in in- 
ducing feudal lords, in the time of health, or on their death-beds, to 
emancipate their serfs. Many made their way to towns possessing 
charters of freedom, and the law was that such a fugitive, if he lived in 
such a town for a year and a day, became one of its free citizens. 
Others ran off to distant parts of the country, and took service as free 
workers for pay under a town or country employer. In other cases, 
the lord changed the service of forced labour into a fixed money 
payment. Many industrious serfs or villeins obtained freedom by the 
same method as that by which, as we have seen, the burghers of the 
towns acquired municipal rights. They saved money and bought their 
freedom from a needy lord. Many a brave and hardy serf was freed 
by a grateful feudal master for good work done in a home or foreign 
war, or on the long and dangerous Crusade. Even the king was 
known, in case of his need, to sell manumissions for hard cash to serfs 


on the royal domain. Thus, by a silent and almost imperceptible 
process, was effected, under the Plantagenet kings, the revolution 
which put an end to the peculiar kind of property of man in man 
known as villenage or serfdom. The causes of the change were moral 
and noiseless. There was no physical force, no special statute, and no 
man can fix the precise time at which the political distinction between 
master and serf ceased to exist. We only know that, when the Tudors 
began to reign, it had vanished, as things dark and dreary do vanish, 
like the shadows of night from the sky, before the mounting sun of an 
enlightened public opinion. 

An authentic document of singular interest and value gives us the 
power of producing a picture of many parts of our social Life, 
system, in an age which has not received, from our writers of aSurade 
either history or fiction, the same degree of attention as that in Eng- 
bestowed on similar matters belonging to the Tudor and Stuart Juuired 
times. The Household Roll of Bishop Swinfield of Hereford, years ago. 
during part of the years 1289 and 1290, is the account of the prelate's 
domestic expenses, kept upon parchment by his house-steward, John 
de Kemeseye, from day to day, week to week, and month to month. 
The separate skins used by such an official formed, when they were 
tacked together, one roll, complete for a given period, generally one 
year. Two months of the year have been lost to us in the present case, 
by destruction of two skins of the record, and we thus miss the interest- 
ing period of the corn-harvest in 1290. We trace, as the roll remains 
to us, the life of the Bishop and his household from September 30, 
1289, to July 23, 1290. Bishop Swinfield appears to have been a 
good specimen of the Church ruler, not ambitious, luxurious, or idle, 
but a watchful administrator of his diocese. He had risen to his high 
rank from a humble beginning, having been chaplain and secretary to 
his predecessor. His regard for the people of his flock is shown in his 
friendly feeling towards those whom we have seen as the devoted 
servants of the poor the Franciscan or Minorite Friars and in his 
preaching during his episcopal journeys, a duty which bishops seldom 
troubled themselves to discharge. A feature of the time, to which 
allusion has already been made, is revealed in the fact that the good 
Bishop, who naturally sought to maintain the rights of his order, was 
not on the best terms with the burgesses of Hereford. They were 
striving for municipal freedom, and constantly disputed the feudal right 
of the Bishop to control them. Half the city was his fee or feudal 
holding, and his jurisdiction was constantly clashing with that of the 
civil magistrate. The Bishop of that age was a far more wealthy man 
than the prelate of the present day, who, though a peer of the realm as 
a spiritual lord, receives but a moderate stipend for the position which 
he is obliged to maintain. The feudal baron, Bishop Swinfield, had a 
palace at Hereford, a house in Worcester, and a house in London. At 
Ledbury, Prestbury, Boss, and several other places, he was the owner 


of manor-houses, each with a farm or demesne attached. Stables there 
were for his numerous horses, kennels for his hounds, mews for his 
hawks. On the Welsh border, he had his episcopal fortress-house, 
called Bishop's Castle. The household consisted of forty-one members, 
including the steward, De Kemeseye, some confidential servants of gentle 
blood, two clerks, a butler, a messenger, a launder, a palfreyman (in 
charge of the Bishop's own riding-horse), a porter, two farriers for the 
forty horses, two carters, a falconer, a cook, and twenty-two other 
domestics, among whom we find garciones (gossoons) and pages. All 
these persons were fed, clothed, and lodged, and received half-yearly 
wages ranging downwards from ten shillings to sixpence, amounts 
respectively equal to about ten pounds and ten shillings of present 

In the discharge of his official duties, the Bishop moves about from 
Tlie one manor-house to another. At each of these abodes, the 

manor- great hall is his feudal court. Here he sits in baronial state 
houses. Q rece j ve the homage of tenants, to sentence ecclesiastics to 
penalties for offences against the canon law, and to threaten or ex- 
communicate lay offenders against public morals. Here he entertains 
the suitors of his court, and his dependents, on high festivals. The 
internal arrangements of such a house in that age are remarkable. 
The hall, from which the whole manor-house derives its name in 
modern usage, is the one great room of the establishment. There 
was only one principal private chamber, devoted in this case, of course, 
to the use of the Bishop himself. The large hall was the common room 
for all other purposes. There the guests dined, the wine was drunk, and 
both guests and upper servants slept on the wooden floor, strewed with 
dry rushes in winter, and with green fodder in summer, or, at times, 
with hay or straw. The clerks and squires of a bishop, or the knights 
who surrounded a great baron, there took their rest. The lower servants 
slept in the stables. There were no separate dormitories, as is proved 
beyond dispute by the remains of houses of the period, and by documents 
which detail the apartments of which a house was to consist. We can- 
not enter into a detailed description of the method of erecting a manor- 
house in that age. The materials and style of such a building, as well 
as the furniture, were rough and inartistic. The thirteenth century has 
left us, in the Cathedral of Salisbury, and in the latest part of W T est- 
minster Abbey, some of the finest examples of ecclesiastical architecture, 
but that age was very little advanced in the construction of elegant, or 
even comfortable, houses. The truth is, that it was a period of transition 
from the baron's embattled fortress to the hospitable hall of the later 
Plantagenet times. 

We will now accompany the prelate in some of his journey ings. A 
The marked difference between that and later ages is shown in 

travelling, the bare condition of a noble's different places of abode. In 
making a change of residence, the great man of the thirteenth century 


did not merely send word to air rooms and prepare for himself and 
guests : he took his household -gear along with him. On December 
20, 1289, the Bishop and his retinue set out from Prestbury, on a 
journey to London, The baker of the household has gone in advance, 
to have a store of bread and pastry ready for the travellers when they 
reach the halting-place. Many of the household-servants are well 
armed, to meet the possible attacks of robbers. Sumpter-horses carry 
clothing and bedding. There are carts laden with meat and wine, and 
with the domestic utensils the brass and iron pots and pans, and good 
store of earthenware. The Bishop's establishment seems to have been 
especially rich in crockery. The use of earthenware was not common 
in that age, when wooden trenchers and leathern "jacks " or drinking- 
mugs appeared at every board. The crockery was a great charge in 
the household expenses, from frequent and large breakage, in moving 
from place to place along rutty roads, where a cart might easily be 
upset. There are fifty-one horses in the troop. " Harbingers " precede 
the party to look out for quarters. On the first night, they lodge at 
a vacant manor-house of the Abbot of Gloucester. Here they eat the 
food which they have brought, and the house-servants furnish brush- 
wood for the fires, oats for the horses, and bed-litter for the floor. 
There were scarcely any hostels or taverns, for the supply of food arid 
beds, till the middle of the fourteenth century. At his meals by the 
way, the Bishop would have his silver cup, out of which to quaff his 
Bordeaux wine, of which the steward, in the record, declares his 
master's liking. He would use spoons of silver, and silver forks were 
also known in that age. Each man of the household carried his own 
knife, and finger and thumb supplied the place of the fork. In the 
smaller houses at which the prelate slept on his journey, he would have 
no glass window, such as he had constructed, at the cost of six shillings 
and eightpence (about seven pounds now), for his luxurious chamber 
at Bosbury. On December 3oth, they arrive at Wantage, and thence 
make their way to Reading, over roads made difficult by constant 
rain. At the great Abbey of Reading, praised for its hospitality by 
William of Malmesbury, the whole party remain for four nights. Hugh, 
the harper, plays in the hall, and receives for his skill a fee of twelve 
pence (a sovereign now) from the Bishop, who also gives a dole of bread, 
to the value of seven or eight pounds of our money, for the poor of the 
town. Thus he repays his generous host, the lordly Abbot of Reading. 
By the time the travellers reach Staines, where they cross the river by 
the ferry, their store of food is done, and they have to buy at Cook- 
ham, where sprats from the London market are obtained. 

On January 7 th, they arrive in London, at the Bishop's house in Old Fish 
Street, by Queenhithe, a dwelling pertaining to the see. During London 
his absence from town, the prelate let it to a "pepperer," or 
grocer. At the feasting on arrival, we hear of gurnets, sturgeon, and 
oysters, hares, rabbits, and a side of venison sent by the king. London 


and Westminster at this time, in January 1290, were full of court 
visitors, as Convocation and Parliament were both sitting. On Sunday, 
January 8th, the Bishop goes by river to Westminster, to make a visit 
of state to Edward. His retinue ride thither, to be ready for attendance 
on him at the palace. From the house in Old Fish Street, they would cross 
the river Fleet by the bridge ; pass the great convent of White Friars ; 
and leave on their left the splendid house and church of the Templars. 
Thus they would go through the great wooden bar known as Temple, 
and reach the Strand. In passing along to the city of Westminster, 
through the village of Charing, they would have to cross three bridges, 
over as many streams which intersected the road on their way to the 
great river. The houses which they passed would be mostly of wood : 
some were of wooden framework filled up with clay. There were but 
two stories, and staircases were seen outside, leading from the footway 
to the first floor. On reaching court, the Bishop presents the king 
with a purse containing 66, 135. 4<i., an amount representing nearly 
^1400, and the queen with half that sum. In the feast given that 
Sunday in Westminster Hall, the roof rang with the sounds of the 
harp, the dulcimer, and the viol, and the prelate bestowed twenty 
shillings on each of the king's two chief harpers. 

On his return journey, we find that, on a certain day, only five miles 
were accomplished. The way was over clayey roads, where 
Bishop's the shoes were dragged off the horses' feet, and there were 
return. many halts for the farrier, who accompanies the train, with 
a great store of shoes and nails. At one place of halting, the Bishop 
has to get an important business off his rnind. He must address a 
long letter to the Pope, on the grave subject of canonisation for his 
predecessor, Bishop Cantilupe. A letter in that age was a solemn 
document, fairly written on the whitest parchment, concerning which 
we have a record, in this very Roll, that a hundred and fifty skins were 
bought at Oxford for three shillings and fourpence. After two days' 
seclusion, for the purpose of writing his letter, the prelate crosses the 
Wye, and visits the rich abbot and brethren of the Cistercian house of 
Tintern, whose stately ruins now charm the eye of the tourist. In the 
age of which we are writing, the vaulted roof echoed back the loud 
chant of the monks, and the long procession moved up the aisles where 
we now tread on the softest and greenest sward. It is pleasant 
to read of the good Bishop that, on this return journey from a visit to 
the capital, he was met by two students who were maintained at his 
charges at the University of Oxford. Their names were Kingswood, 
and there was a servant of that name in the Bishop's establishment. 
During the vacations, they usually visited their patron. The two cost 
the prelate a sum amounting to nearly three hundred pounds a year in 
our coin. 

On October 3oth, the episcopal household comes to Sugwas, one of 
the Bishop's manors, on the left bank of the Wye, about four miles from 

THE FOOD. 217 

Hereford. Here are a mill, a dovecot, and a fishery. The river yields 
salmon, and the tenants pay dues of eels. Friday, Saturday, 
and Wednesday are days of abstinence. On Sunday, Novem- 
ber 2nd, the household is abundantly feasted. The consumption includes, 
besides beef and mutton, half a pig, eight geese, ten fowls, twelve 
pigeons, nine partridges, and unnumbered larks. The Church fasts 
of that age caused the consumption of enormous amounts of fish 
and eggs. We have sticks of eels, sold by twenty -five on a stick, 
according to the statute; salmon, tench, lampreys, and lamperns. Salt- 
herrings and salted cod are always in store, and dried cod is brought 
from Aberdeen. In winter, oysters are bought by the gallon ; in May 
and June, the fresh mackerel supplies a new delicacy. The trout is 
produced at the table in the season of the May-fly, At Easter-time we 
find fourteen hundred eggs brought in for the use of the Bishop's house- 
hold, and paid for at the rate of eight for a farthing. It was only for 
a part of the year that the richest people, in the thirteenth century, 
could see fresh meat, or "shambles-meat," as it was then called, set 
upon their tables. There was no stall-feeding for cattle, and the 
animals were only fit to kill after good feeding on the spring and 
summer grass. There was, therefore, a great salting of provisions for 
use during the winter months. One of the chief places of abode for 
Bishop Swinfield was his manor-house of Bosbury, on the site of which 
are still some vestiges of strong buildings. In the Roll we find him 
there at Martinmas, when the salting- tubs are being filled. Fifty-two 
beeves have been brought in from the different farms, and sheep and 
swine in large numbers, for the purpose of being salted down. The 
salt was purchased at Worcester, being brought thither from the pits 
at Droitwich, and, when the supply ran short, 100 Ibs. was borrowed 
from a house belonging to the Knights -Templars. The modern epicure 
will shudder to learn that the fattest venison of the Bishop's parks and 
chases shared, at this season, the fate of beef, mutton, and pork, in 
being salted down. The stud-groom, the huntsmen and their hounds, the 
stable-helpers, the boys of the farm, were driving the deer out from 
their thick coverts, to fall before the shafts from the cross-bows. The 
hides produced by the slaughter of all the animals, wild and domestic, 
were partly sold, and partly made into leather in a rude fashion for 
household use. The superfluous fat of the animals was turned into 
home-made candles, of which we find in the record that 80 Ibs. were 
made on one day of this time of slaughtering. An attempt was made 
to provide for the lack of vegetables for winter use, in the absence of 
the Tudor- found potato, by the salting of greens, in the shape of certain 
kinds of cabbage. Of the luxuries of the time we learn something in 
reading of the provision made for the Bishop's Christmas-feast at Prest- 
bury, one of his larger manor-houses. At Bosbury, five casks of wine 
had been laid in, having been brought from Bristol, one of the chief 
marts in the west for the wines of Gascony and the Mediterranean. 


The Bishop's servants conveyed it by boat up the Severn, and a cask 
was sent from Bosbury to Prestbury for the Christmas revels. In 
December there was also a great brewing, managed in those times by 
women. The sempstress, the breweress, and the house-cleaner are the 
only females of whom we catch a glimpse in the Bishop's great estab- 
lishment. All things had been set in order at Prestbury before the 
coming of the lord of the household. The kitchen, always detached 
from the house, and the ovens, had been repaired, and a penthouse, 
with a dresser, had been built from the kitchen to the hall-door. 
Charcoal for cooking had been burned, and brought in from the woods. 
Loads of thorns from the coppices had been drawn in to heat the 
ovens, and to crackle under the pots. Canvas had been given out to 
repair the kitchen-strainers. The spice-box had been filled with cloves, 
mace, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cummin, aniseed, and coriander. The 
foreign spices came, as they do so largely still, from the East, reach- 
ing Europe then by way of Arabia, Egypt, and Venice, Amongst 
the spices we find given out by the steward a pound or two of the 
valuable article called sugar. The Crusaders found sweet honeyed 
canes, called zucra, a word of Persian origin, growing in the meadows 
near Tripoli, in Syria. The article seems to have been imported into 
Venice late in the tenth century. In the twelfth, it was brought to 
Northern Europe in small quantities from Sicily and Egypt. At the 
time of which we are writing, the end of the thirteenth century, sugar 
had so far come into use by the wealthy that on one occasion 100 Ibs. 
are purchased in London by Bishop Swinfield's agent. In the pro- 
vincial town of Ross, a single pound is bought for eightpence, which 
represents a price of nearly fourteen shillings a pound in the present 
day. The article now within reach of the very poorest was thus a rare 
luxury for the rich. A difference of taste is marked by the existence 
of a tub for the especial reception of saffron, an indispensable article 
of cookery in the Plantagenet age. When all things are in order, and 
the Christmas feasting begins, we can form some idea of the prodigal 
hospitality of a great baron in those days. We must remember that 
there was no poor-law, and that, besides the domestic household of over 
forty persons, a man like the Bishop of Hereford would have many 
humble dependents. Only on the agreeable theory that the rich of 
that age gave very largely of their leavings, in themselves a bounteous 
feast, to the humble folk around them, can we explain the enormous 
consumption of food. Christmas-day, in 1289, fell on a Sunday. There 
appear to have been guests at the manor-house, from the additional 
horses found in the stables. The bill of fare for the day consisted of 
two carcases and three quarters of beef, with calves, does, pigs, fowls, 
bread, cheese, ale, and a very large supply of red and white wine. As 
a separate matter suggested by rich living, we may mention that during 
the year in which, through his steward's care in keeping his parch- 
ment roll of accounts, and the skill and diligence of his modern editor, 


the Reverend John Webb, we have our Bishop under a microscope, he 
seems to have borne well both the fatigues of travel and work, and the 
plentiful feeding of the time. On one occasion he burns a "mortar" or 
night-light in his chamber, a thing usually done only in cases of illness. 
Once a physician came to the manor-house, receiving a fee of half a 
mark, or six and eightpence, in our coinage over six guineas. There is 
no record of fees paid to the barber for bleeding, the universal remedy 
for every ailment of the time. Some valet of the household was, no 
doubt, the blood-letter for bishop and clerks, grooms, pages, gossoons, 
and breweresses. 

Vegetable food and fruit were not so plentiful as they became after- 
wards in Tudor times. We find, however, that green-peas 
and beans make their appearance at table in June and July, ( 
and that the gardens yield leeks, onions, garlic, and certain " pot-herbs." 
Of lettuces we have no trace. Apples are once mentioned. Pears and 
cherries were then grown in England. The famous warden-pie, which 
the fanciful ignorance of many writers of poetry and romance has 
represented as a huge pasty of venison or other meat, suited to the 
appetite of the '' wardens " of feudal days, was really a pasty containing 
the good baking-pear, grown first by the monks of Warden, in Bedford- 
shire. Gooseberries were known, but the gardens had no raspberries 
or strawberries. The Bishop had a vineyard at Ledbury, the grapes of 
which yielded, in 1289, seven casks of white wine. There is no mention 
of bees, and once only, in his travels, does the Bishop taste metheglin, 
or mead, the old English drink. It would seem that there was little 
cultivation of flowers, as no gardener is included in the household. 
No doubt the cottages of the bailiffs would have blooming around them 
the rose and the gillyflower, with the wallflower and the " fresh per- 
winke " (periwinkle) of Chaucer's verse. 

The clothing of a large household was an expensive item under 
Edward I. During the visit to London already described, 
one of the upper household, Thomas de la Dene, buys up a 
large stock of goods for future use, which the capital could best supply 
cloth, furs, wax, and spices ; also boots and shoes for his lord, and a 
pair of boots for himself. We find that in cloth and furs he expended 
about a thousand pounds of present value. The Bishop and his clerks 
wore the same material, a coarse but high-priced woollen cloth, made 
up into long robes. The bishop's brother, who was a layman, wore a 
short cloak. The squires and bailiffs were attired in striped cloth of 
good value, and the serving-men, grooms, and pages wore a cheaper 
striped material. It was the furs that chiefly marked the rank of 
the wearer. The Bishop had a winter overcoat of deer-skin, and a 
furred cap, to keep off the cold during his journeys in winter and 
spring amongst the Herefordshire hills. For oflicial costume, his 
hoods were of minever, and his mantles were trimmed with the same 
costly material. The chaplains had also trimmings of valuable fur; 


the squires and lay-clerks were distinguished by lambskin. The skins 
of foxes, taken in the chase, were dressed for use in this careful house- 
hold. At Whitsuntide, summer cloths were bought, of lighter texture, 
but still of woollen material, called " bluett " and "russet." The Bishop 
and his clerks had still the same quality of stuff; the servants are 
again marked by their striped dresses. A peculiarity in the cloth of 
the period was the length of its nap : when the garment was rather 
shabby, the nap was freshly shorn. The same sort of woollen cloth 
was worn, as the ordinary dress, both by men and women. Under 
Edward I., there was already a well-established manufacture of woollen. 
Totnes was the great clothing town of the western district, Beverley of 
the northern, and Lincoln, of the midland. Linen, fine enough for 
the Bishop's rochets, garments for ecclesiastical dignitaries, like a 
surplice with tight-fitting sleeves, was bought at Aylsham, in Norfolk. 
A large part of the wool grown in England was, however, exchanged 
for foreign manufactures, and woollen and linen cloths were imported 
from France, Flanders, and Spain. 

In the Roll of Bishop Swinfield, amidst the entries of wages paid, 
Story of we have no notice of the many farm-labourers who must have 
a villein, been employed in an age when hand-labour derived little help 
from the tools and machines of modern days. They were the serfs, 
the born thralls, the bondsmen of one manor, chained by law to the 
one spot from the cradle to the grave. The chroniclers of the time 
notice their condition as little as that of the cattle which these people 
tended. We have already noticed their passage, by slow degrees, into 
the state of free labourers. Upon one of the farms of the Bishop's 
manor of Ross was a bailiff named Robert Crul. His parents were 
mere serfs, but he had, by his industry, thrift, and intelligence, ac- 
quired property which he was allowed to accumulate whilst he worked 
for his lord. That property he held only upon sufferance. He was 
in a position superior to that of the ordinary villeins. Of their oppres- 
sion in many ways we learn from a " Song of the Husbandman " of the 
time. The singer complains of the persecutions of the hay-icard, the 
wood-ward, and the bailiff. The beadle, he tells us, comes for a tax, 
and says, " Prepare me silver for the green wax." To get silver for 
the king, he had to sell his seed, and his cattle were taken from the 
field. In 1302, by a solemn deed, Robert Crul was manumitted by 
the Bishop, and " Robert Crul, of Hamme, and Matilda his wife, with 
all his offspring, together with all his goods holden and to be holden," 
was rendered " for ever free and quit from all yoke of servitude." He 
bought his freedom for forty marks, or ^26, 135. ^d., a sum equivalent 
to over ^500 now. This manumission of a virtual slave in the thir- 
teenth century was destined to ameliorate the lot of the wretched in 
the eighteenth. Robert Crul, the churl of Hamme, the bailiff of good 
Bishop Swinfield of Hereford, was the ancestor of John Kyrle, an 
English gentleman who possessed an estate of ^500 a year at Ross, 


where he died in 1724, after a life devoted to good works, at the age 
of ninety. This is the man immortalised by Pope, in the Moral Essays, 
by the splendid eulogy on the Man of Ross, who, at his own charges, 
and by the contributions of others who were stirred by his zealous 
exertions, " hung with woods " the " mountain's sultry brow ; " " whose 
Causeway parts the vale with shady rows, Whose seats the weary 
traveller repose." The power of good to propagate itself has rarely 
been more nobly shown than in the work of the admirable body 
called, after his illustrious name, the Kyrle Society, which devotes 
itself to the provision of gardens for the wholesome recreation of the 
toilers in the Victorian age of London. 

The tenants who leased lands were subject to many exactions. The 
feudal lord's bull and boar were free, under the conditions of __ 
the tenures, to range at night through their standing corn mers and 
and grass, and the tenant's sheep had always to be folded on tlie land ' 
the lord's land, for a reason easy to conjecture. We learn something 
of the condition of farmers and cottier tenants from a survey of 
the village of Hawsted, in Suffolk, in 1288. The place contained fifty 
houses. Small allotments were given at a nominal rent, or were held 
without rent, in return for labour done for the lord, and the labourers 
were fed besides, chiefly upon porridge. At Hawsted, there were seven 
farmers, holding amongst them nine hundred and sixty-eight acres of 
arable land, which, with a little meadow, averaged a hundred and forty 
acres ; thirty-six small cultivators held an average of eleven acres. 
The method of tillage must have been rude, when the highest rent was 
sevenpence (now about twelve shillings) an acre, and some land was let 
at a farthing, or five-pence, an acre. 

The city of London, in the middle of the thirteenth century, was a 
great commercial port, carrying on trade with the French ports Tr d 
in the Channel, with Germany and Flanders, and with some of the 
parts of Italy. The merchants of Almaine (Allemagne, Ger- P eriod - 
many), as they are called in the charter of the 44th year of Henry III., 
had their hall in London, afterwards known as "The Steelyard." This 
" factory," in the sense of a goods-depot in a foreign country, under the 
charge of factors or agents, belonged to the Hanse traders, hence known 
as "the Merchants of the Steelyard." It was on the bank of the Thames, 
a little above London Bridge. The Hansa, or Hanseatic League, was 
the great commercial organisation of that age. It was a confederacy 
formed between many trading towns for mutual protection, and the 
furtherance of their common interests, when commerce was greatly 
exposed to piracy on sea, robbery on land, and illegal exactions from 
king and baron. In the middle of the thirteenth century, Hamburg 
and Liibeck first formed such an alliance. During its best period, the 
Hansa embraced ninety towns, inland and on the coast, spread over 
Germany and the Netherlands, from Revel to Amsterdam, and from 
Cologne to Cracow. The chief town in the League was Liibeck, and 


the principal centres for trade were at Novgorod, Bergen, London, and 
Bruges. The Hanso merchants in England were, to a large extent, 
exempted from duties on exports, and so acquired a monopoly of some 
articles in foreign markets. In London, they were large importers of 
grain, flax and hemp, pitch, and steel. In 1241, we find that tin was 
imported from Germany at a lower rate than it was obtained from 
Cornwall. The merchants of London grew very rich, and in 1248, 
when they bought Henry III.'s jewels, the king declared that " if the 
treasure of Augustus were for sale, these ill-bred Londoners would suck 
it all up. They possess a surfeit of riches. That city is an inexhaustible 
well." It was one into which, at times, he dipped his bucket deeply, 
in this and that exaction. Southampton was the great port for the 
wine of Bordeaux, though Bristol, as we have seen, stocked the cellars 
of the Bishop of Hereford. The silks of Italy, the muslins and spices 
of India, the refined sugars of Alexandria, found their way to London 
and Southampton chiefly through the Netherlands. The Italians had 
become the great mercantile capitalists of England, after the expulsion 
of the Jews in 1290, and conducted the banking transactions with 
foreign countries, by making arrangements for remittances. They 
were also money-lenders in England, and we see Jacob de Brabason, 
of Sienna, in Central Italy, coming to the manor-house of Bosbury, 
with two grooms and a page, to transact a little business with our 
good Bishop de Swinfield. 



Edward II.'s weak character. Royal favourites. The barons rebel. The king in 
Scotland. Bruce and Bannockburn. The Despensers in power. Queen Isabella 
and Mortimer depose Edward. His terrible death. Parliament. The Knights 
Templars dissolved. 

EDWARD II. was proclaimed king at Carlisle on July 8, 1307, being then 
twenty-three years of age. The new monarch was by no means 
II. 1307- devoid of mental ability, but in moral power and worth lie 
cMntcter s ^ an( ^ s ^ n pitiful contrast to his illustrious sire. He had lost 
and his excellent mother, Eleanor of Castile, when, he was but 

policy. seven years old, and, in the excesses of his youth, the son 
appeared to have wholly forgotten her whose memory was so tenderly 
cherished by her husband. The young Edward became at an early age, 
and remained during his reign, the victim of favourites, who aroused 
against the throne the wrath of the barons whom his father had not 
been able to bend to his haughty will. The son's purpose, as it seems, 
was to wrest the government from the hands into which it had mainly 

1307 A.D.] EDWARD II. 223 

fallen since the close of Henry III.'s reign, and to supersede the nobles 
and prelates, who largely represented the nation, by men of a lower 
class, who should take their orders from him and be subservient 
to the interests and the will of their sovereign Edward II. had, in 
some degree, a kindly nature, but his character was weak, impulsive, 
and passionate, and wholly unfitted to contend with the men who were 
the people's natural leaders, and the difficult times in which his lot 
was cast. The barons of England and Bruce of Scotland would have 
taxed between them the mental and moral resources of the Conqueror 
himself, and, in presence of foes so formidable, a man like Edward of 
Caernarvon could only come to an ignominious end as a ruler. He was 
most unhappy in taking to wife such a woman as the Princess Isabel 
or Isabella, branded by the poet as the "she- wolf of France." We 
know not what provocations this wicked woman may have received 
from the "mangled mate" whom she first assailed as a rebel, and 
then, at least by connivance, did to death as a murderess. Under the 
year 1300, the chronicler states that Edward I., "for complaint that 
was brought unto him by Master Walter Langton, Bishop of Chester, 
of Sir Edward, the king's eldest son, for that he, with Piers of Gave- 
ston and other insolent persons, had broken the park of the said 
bishop, and riotously destroyed the game within it, therefore im- 
prisoned the said Sir Edward, his son, with his accomplices." This 
" Piers of Gaveston " was the evil spirit, not only of the prince of 
sixteen years, but of the man and king. When the young Edward 
was in his twenty-first year, his conduct towards the same Bishop of 
Chester caused the king to forbid him entering the palace, and to issue 
an order to the Exchequer that sustenance should be denied to him and 
his followers. A penitential letter from the Prince followed. He had 
been before this better engaged, having the courage of his race, in 
fighting his father's Scottish foes in 1301 and 1303. In 1306, his 
cruel devastation in Scotland brought him a rebuke from the king, 
and his wicked companion soon led him into further trouble. In a 
Parliament held at Lanercost in February 1307, an order was issued 
that Piers Gaveston should be banished for ever from the kingdom, as 
a corruptor of the Prince of Wales. Five months later, the Prince of 
Wales became king, and at once revoked the sentence of his sagacious 

Edward II. did not seriously attempt to execute the late king's 
dying injunctions. Some Scottish nobles rendered homage opening 
at Dumfries, and Edward marched northwards as far as of the 
Cumnock, in Ayrshire. He then returned to London, accom- reisn 
panied by Gaveston, who had hastened over from France, and joined 
him in Scotland. Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, was left 
there as guardian and lieutenant. The new minister's presence and 
influence were soon felt in England. Before Christmas came, the 
chief officials of the crown were changed : the favourite was loaded 

224 PIERS GAVESTON. [1309-1311 A.D. 

with wealth and honours, married to Margaret, the king's niece, and 
appointed regent of the kingdom on Edward's departure for France, 
to fetch home his bride Isabella, daughter of Philip IV. The 
marriage took place at Boulogne, and on February 24, 1308, the 
coronation came at Westminster. At the very inauguration of the 
new monarch, the barons of the realm were insulted. All the old 
claims to precedence at the coronation of English kings were dis- 
regarded, and the place of greatest honour to carry the crown and 
walk before the king in procession was given to Gaveston, now 
created Earl of Cornwall. 

This Piers de Gaveston was a Gascon of many chivalric accomplish- 
Gaveston ments. At the tournament he overcame his opponents with 
Sarong 6 ^ e ease afforded by strength and skill. In Ireland and in 
1308-1312. Scotland he gave signs of courage and ability as a ruler and 
commander. Amidst his prodigal splendour of life, he showed taste in 
dress and equipage ; but he had all the gay and audacious insolence 
of his race, and it was his reckless tongue that brought him to ruin. 
Within three days after the coronation, the jealous nobles had petitioned 
for the favourite's banishment, and the king sought delay in referring 
the matter to a Parliament to be held after Easter, Gaveston was 
then banished, and compelled to swear that he would never return. 
He was appointed by the king, in order to break his fall, to the 
government of Ireland. A few months later, in 1309, Edward per- 
suaded a party of the nobles to consent to his recall, and the Pope 
dispensed Gaveston from his oath. Then the court became a scene of 
revelry, and Gaveston ruled with more power and insolence than ever. 
The barons had now a leader in Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, who was 
the king's cousin, as being son of Edmund, second son of Henry III. 
This great noble held also the three earldoms of Derby, Leicester, and 
Lincoln. On him the foreign upstart bestowed the nickname of " the 
old hog." The Earl of Pembroke was " Joseph the Jew," and the Earl 
of Warwick was styled "the black dog of the wood." We can better 
now understand the hatred that must have been aroused, than we can 
see the point or wit of such appellations. In March 1310, the barons 
came in arms to a Parliament at Westminster. They then and there 
forced the king to appoint a governing Committee, under the name of 
Lords retainers, to provide for the better regulation of the king's 
household, and to remedy the grievances of the nation. Their moving 
principle in this strong measure was, beyond doubt, a hatred of 
Gaveston. Edward went off to Scotland, wintered in Berwick, and 
returned to London, leaving Gaveston in command. The twenty-one 
Ordainers, in October 1311, presented to the king their articles of 
reform. These required that all grants made since the previous year, 
and all future grants, without the consent of the barons, should be 
invalid : that purveyance, except what was ancient and lawful, should 
be punished as robbery : that the great officers of the crown should be 


chosen by the advice and assent of the baronage : and that Parliaments 
should be held once in each year, or oftener, if needful. Then came a 
clause decreeing the banishment of Gaveston, for giving bad advice to 
the king, embezzling the public money, obtaining blank charters with 
the royal seal affixed to them, and estranging the king's affections from 
his subjects. The attitude of the barons was not to be mistaken, and 
their power not to be resisted. The protests of the king about "the 
just rights of the crown" only ended in Gaveston's exile to Flanders. 
In January 1312, the favourite was again in England, and Edward 
issued a proclamation, declaring that the exiled man was a true and 
loyal subject, and had returned in obedience to the royal command. 
The barons at once took up arms, and marched on York, where the 
king had been joined by Gaveston. Onward they followed their 
sovereign's flight to Newcastle, and thence back to Scarborough, which 
Edward had reached with Gaveston, by sea, from Tynemouth. The 
Earls of Surrey and Pembroke besieged the castle, and Gaveston 
surrendered, under a pledge of safety, which had been given on his 
behalf to the king. He was then taken by the Earl of Pembroke to 
Dedington in Oxfordshire, and the next morning found himself face to 
face with " the black dog," his enraged foe, the Earl of Warwick. He 
was placed on a mule, and conveyed to Warwick Castle a prisoner. As 
he entered the walls of Guy's lofty tower, he came in presence of the 
haughty barons whom he had insulted and despised. His skill as a 
knight at the tourney, his splendid apparel, his jewelled rings, his 
titles, his reliance on the power of a king all became worthless in this 
terrible hour. His enemies sent him to death, and at a little knoll, 
near Guy's Cliff, called Blacklow Hill, with the Avon gliding in peace 
beneath, Piers de Gaveston, in defiance of honour, but in grim and 
just warning to foreign favourites who trust to kings and break the 
laws, had his head struck from his body. The vengeful and triumphant 
nobles afterwards made a mock submission to the king at Westminster, 
and Edward sought redress in constant efforts to avoid, year after year, 
the execution of the terms imposed on him by the Ordainers. 

Kobert Bruce was a man who was taught wisdom and moderation 
in the school of danger and suffering. In his earlier struggles gcottis j l 
for recognition as king, and for the independence of Scot- affairs, 
land, he had been at times a fugitive, hunted by bloodhounds, 1307 ~ 1323 ' 
and wading in swift streams to elude their deadly scent ; defying his 
enemies single-handed in mountain -pass and at river- ford. In 1309 
he was recognised as king by the clergy at a general council held at 
Dundee. This had a great effect on the nobles, and the powerful 
Douglas, the " Good Lord James " of Scottish story, heartily took up 
his cause. The family of Douglas has a famous name in Scottish 
history. Of unknown origin, they were already great nobles when 
the elder Bruce and Baliol were competitors for the crown. Their 
Scottish estates lay upon the borders, and thus they became guardians 


of the kingdom against the encroachments of the English, especially of 
their great border rivals, the Percies of Northumberland. The James 
Douglas of this period was son of a William Douglas who had been 
in the field with Wallace, and an inherited patriotism, made him 
one of the chief supporters of the great Bruce throughout his career. 
The troubles which had arisen between Edward II. and his barons 
were the turn of the tide for Scotland. A truce made in 1309 ended 
in August 1310, and border- warfare began. Then Bruce took the 
field in earnest, and fortress after fortress fell. Randolph recovered 
Edinburgh. Douglas retook Roxburgh and his own castle of Douglas. 
Bruce seized Perth and Aberdeen, and Dundee, Dumfries, and other 
places fell into the hands of the Scots, In 1312, Bruce crossed the 
Tweed with a large force, burnt Hexham and part of Durham city, 
and made his way even to Chester, Counter-raids were made by the 
English, and the lands on both sides of the border became a desert. 
At last a crisis came which roused the attention of England. A show 
of reconciliation between Edward and the barons had taken place at ;., 
Parliament in October 1313. The Scottish forces were besieging the 
great fortress of Stirling, the last of the castles to remain in English 
possession. It was the key of the country, and Edward Bruce, the 
king's brother, was in command of the assailants. The English gover- 
nor, Mowbray, made an arrangement by which the place was to be 
surrendered, if not relieved before June 24, 1314. The Scottish king 
was displeased, but for the sake of his brother's honour agreed to abide 
by the bargain. A direct challenge was thus given to English pride, 
and it was promptly taken up. 

Edward summoned the military tenants of the crown to meet him 
Battle of at Berwick on June nth, and levies of foot were made in the 
fourn C ^" nol 'thern counties and in Wales. On June i6th, only eight 
June'l3l4. days before the time fixed for the surrender of Stirling, the 
English king marched from Berwick at the head of a hundred thousand 
men. The main strength of the host lay in its thirty thousand horse- 
men. There was a vast train of provision- waggons, and of carriages 
and horses laden with tents, pavilions, and the splendid equipments of 
a royal court. The English army reached Edinburgh on June 2ist, 
and Bruce took up a strong position to cover Stirling. His left rested 
upon high ground above St. Ninians, and his right on the stream 
destined to endless fame as Bannock Burn. A morass partly defended 
his centre, and his army, composed of thirty thousand men, nearly all 
on foot, could only be approached on a narrow front, a fact which 
tended greatly to equalise the contending forces. On the left of the 
Scottish army there was a level tract over which the English horse 
might pass to the gate of Stirling Castle. On this ground Bruce 
caused pits to be dug, in which were inserted pointed stakes, lightly 
covered with turf and rushes. All that skill and labour could do to 
ensure success was accomplished, and the Scottish hero and his men 


calmly awaited their enemy's approach. On the eve of June 23rd, 
their great host was seen advancing in magnificent array. Countless 
flags flew in the breeze, and the burnished steel armour of the many 
thousands of horsemen glittered in the rays of the sinking sun. An 
attempt of the English advanced guard to steal past to Stirling was 
foiled by Bruce's nephew, Randolph, who repulsed all their charges 
with a small body of spearmen. The feat of Bruce himself in slaying 
the English knight Henry de Bohun further raised the spirits of the 
Scots. At daybreak on June 24th, both armies prepared for battle. 
When the English van was within bowshot, the Abbot of Inchaifray, 
barefooted, and with crucifix held aloft, walked slowly down the 
Scottish line, while the men knelt a few moments in prayer. " See,'' 
cried the English king, "they beg for mercy." "They do," replied 
Umfraville, a Scottish baron in Edward's army, "but it is from God, 
and not from you." The charge was sounded, and the Scottish squares 
of spearmen received, as at Falkirk under Wallace, the attacks of the 
English horse. But the issue was now different. The English archers, 
whose fire at first was very severe, were scattered by Bruce's small 
body of horse, kept in hand for the purpose, and then all the desperate 
efforts of the mailed knights could make no impression on the squares. 
The Earl of Gloucester, Edward's nephew, fell. The ranks of the 
English became confused. The Scots moved slowly forward, still keep- 
ing their firm array. At this moment the wavering English caught 
sight of what they thought to be a fresh army in the Scottish rear. 
On a hill since called the Gillies'' Hill, from the camp-followers or 
servants, who had been stationed behind it, appeared a motley host of 
thousands of men, armed with pikes and ox-goads, with rude pieces of 
cloth fixed on tent-pales in place of heraldic banners. They were but 
coming to cheer on their countrymen, but they really made an end of 
the fight. The English were struck with dismay, and Bruce, with the 
eye of a skilful warrior, ordered a general charge. A panic set in, and 
the battle was won. The English king refused to flee, but the Earl of 
Pembroke seized his bridle rein, and hurried him from the field. He 
fled with a party of horse to D unbar, and there took ship for England. 
About four thousand Scots had fallen, and more than double that 
number of English. The spoil which the victors took was enormous. 
There were herds of cattle, droves of sheep and hogs, loads of corn 
with portable mills, and casks of wine. Thousands of suits of costly 
armour, military engines, money, vessels, and rich apparel, captives of 
rank to hold to heavy ransom, were taken on the field and in the 
camp of the vanquished. The total booty may have been worth three 
millions sterling, a noble prize for so poor a country as the Scotland 
of that age. The most honourable reward of that great day was the 
fortress of Stirling, which Mowbray, true to his word, delivered up on 
the day after the battle. In exchange for some of his English captives, 
the victorious king of Scots recovered at last his wife, daughter, and 

228 ENGLISH AFFAIRS. [1312-22 A.D. 

sisters, with the Bishop of Glasgow and the Earl of Mar. Thus 
complete was the victory that made Scotland a nation ; thus splendid 
was the achievement that won undying fame for the "Bruce of 

This victory so roused the Scots, that, in 1315, Edward Bruce landed 
Aft at Carrickfergus, with intent to drive the English from 

Bannock- Ireland, in concert with the native chiefs. The Welsh rose 
burn. against England, and formed an alliance with him. The 
enterprise ended in failure. After reigning for a time in Ulster, 
Edward Bruce was defeated and slain in 1318, in a battle near Dun- 
dalk. Robert Bruce captured Berwick in the same year, and held 
it in 1319 against English efforts by land and sea. The northern 
counties of England, including Yorkshire, were ravaged by Scottish 
forays, and great booty was taken of gold and plate, of furniture and 
church ornaments. Edward's new invasion of Scotland with a great 
army in 1322 failed from famine, as Bruce retired through the pur- 
posely wasted Lowlands, and on May 30, 1323, a truce between the 
two states was concluded for thirteen years. 

For some years after Gaveston's fall in 1312, the country was in a 
Internal terrible condition. There was constant feud between the king 
affairs, and the barons as to the observance of the Ordinances, and 
The Des- the realm was cursed by virtual anarchy. A succession of 
pensers. j^ harvests, and murrain amongst the cattle, brought famine 
on the wretched people. The nobles drove from their castles the 
hungry retainers for whom they could find no food, and the land 
swarmed with robbers. The Scots ravaged in the north, and the 
people, for the time, lost all heart to resist. The result of Bannock- 
burn greatly shook Edward's position at home, and Lancaster, in a 
Parliament held at York in September 1314, forced him to dismiss 
from the Council several of his advisers, and to replace them by friends 
of his own. One of the men removed was Hugh le Despenser the 
elder, a man of ability, experience, and high character, and the conduct 
of the powerful Earl in this instance shows that he was unfitted for 
the position which he held. In 1316, Lancaster became president of 
the Council, a post of almost absolute power, which he still failed to 
use wisely. The capture of Berwick by Bruce in 1318 was another 
humiliation for Edward, who was now compelled to recognise the 
Ordinances, and give an amnesty to all his opponents among the 
barons. Then the weak king took a new favourite in Hugh le 
Despenser the son, who became his chamberlain in 1318. Edward 
soon roused the jealous anger of the barons by his lavish bounties to 
this second Gaveston. He gave him to wife the daughter of the Earl 
of Gloucester, who had fallen at Bannockburn, and the young Despenser 
thus became owner of most of Glamorganshire. His wealth in cattle 
and other possessions, as recited in a parliamentary document, was 
enormous. He soon became embroiled with his neighbours, the lords 

1321-23 A.D.] THE DESPENSERS. 229 

of the "marches," who attacked his castles and harried his lands. A 
league was formed against the Despensers, of whom the elder, though 
deprived of office, was the possessor of wealth far beyond that of his 
son. The barons demanded their banishment, which Edward indig- 
nantly refused. They then marched in arms to London, and in 1321 
the Parliament there passed a statute of exile against both the Des- 
pensers, on a number of charges as to their evil influence over the 
king. In a few months a reaction came. The feeling of the people 
was roused in favour of their helpless sovereign, and Edward took up 
arms in October. An insult had been offered to Queen Isabella, in the 
closing against her of the gates at Leeds Castle, in Kent. The castlo 
was taken by the king, and he then marched for Wales to attack his 
enemies there. Lancaster and the Earl of Hereford fled to the north. 
The king followed, and in a Parliament held at York in the spring of 
1322, the exile of the Despensers was annulled, and they both returned 
to England. Lancaster, long suspected of traitorous correspondence 
with the Soots, had lately declared himself their ally, and this foolish 
act put him outside the pale of public sympathy. At Boroughbridge, 
near Ripon, his diminished forces were defeated by the governors of 
Carlisle and York. The Earl of Hereford was killed, and Lancaster 
went a prisoner to his own castle of Pontefract, at the gates of which 
he had stood in 1319, and jeered Edward as he passed by on his return 
from the failure to recover Berwick. The king now made a speedy 
end of his rebellious kinsman. Lancaster was condemned as a traitor, 
taken out of his own hall, placed on a grey pony without a bridle, and 
beheaded outside the town of Pontefract. Eighteen other confederate 
barons suffered death in the hour of Edward's brief triumph. A 
Parliament at York then revoked all the Ordinances, and repealed 
''all provisions made by subjects against the royal power of the an- 
cestors of our lord the king." This seems to be aimed at the liberties 
won by the charters, and to undo the work of previous ages, but 
another part of the same enactment tends to prove that the legislative 
power lately assumed by the baronage alone, apart from the commons, 
was attacked, and that it was now laid down that a part of the king's 
subjects were not to take upon themselves to dictate their will to the 

The unfortunate Edward was now to meet with his bitterest foe in 
his own household. One of the chief supporters of Thomas Fall of 
of Lancaster had been Roger Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore, in n^SJ. 
Herefordshire. He was spared the last penalty of treason, 1327. 
and confined in the Tower of London. In 1323, ho escaped, and 
proceeded to France. In Paris he met the English queen Isabella, 
who had gone thither to settle some differences concerning Guienne 
between her husband Edward and her brother Charles IY. of France. 
Mortimer was a married man, as graceful and charming in person and 
demeanour as he was hateful in moral character. These attractions 

230 MORTIMER AND THE QUEEN. [1325-27 A.D. 

proved irresistible, and he became the queen's avowed lover. In May 
1325, Isabella made her treaty with the king of France. It was to 
the effect that Edward should transfer his foreign possessions of 
Uascony and Ponthieu to his son Edward, now thirteen years of age, 
and that the young prince should forthwith go to Paris, and do homage 
for them to the feudal lord, Charles IV. Edward suspected nothing, 
and sent over his son. Isabella and Mortimer, filled with a common 
hatred of the Despensers, had met in France with many exiled mem- 
bers of the Lancastrian party. A league against Edward was formed, 
and a correspondence maintained with those of the same views in 
England. The king requested the return of his wife and son in several 
letters still existing. The queen gained favour in England by an open 
statement that she would never return till the Despensers were 
banished from the king's councils. Her brother, Charles IV., invaded 
Gascony. Isabella had been sent from France, at the instance of the 
Pope, and took refuge with the Count of Hainault, to whose daughter, 
Philippa, the young Edward was soon betrothed. The Count's help 
supplied her with an armed force, and on September 24, 1326, she 
landed at Orwell, in Suffolk, with two thousand men. Many Lancas- 
trian nobles were in her train, and powerful barons and prelates, includ- 
ing the king's half-brothers, the Earls of Kent and Norfolk, joined her 
on her arrival. A proclamation was issued, stating that the queen, the 
Prince, and the Earl of Kent were going to free the nation from the 
tyranny of the Despensers. Edward in vain applied for help to the 
citizens of London, and then fled to the west with his two friends. 
The elder Despenser was taken and executed in October. Edward 
tried to reach the fortified Isle of Lundy, but was driven by a storm to 
the Welsh coast at Swansea. The younger Despenser was captured 
and hanged as a traitor at Hereford, and the king was put in prison 
at Kenilworth Castle. On January 17, 1327, a Parliament met at 
Westminster. The young Edward was declared king, and a deputa- 
tion was sent to Kenilworth to demand his father's assent to his own 
deprivation of royal power. The hapless monarch received from Sir 
William Trussel, the procurator or proctor of the nobles assembled at 
Westminster, their renunciation of allegiance, and then Sir Thomas 
Blount, the steward of the household, broke his staff of office, a 
ceremony always observed at a king's death. On January 24th, the 
accession of the new king was proclaimed with the title of Edward III., 
and the coronation followed on the 2gih. 

It might have been supposed that a king, deposed and utterly 
Murder of ne lp^ ess > would be allowed at least to live in peace and 
Edward obscurity. It is certain that some dark mystery lies below 
the violence and cruelty shown in the treatment of Edward 
II. So far as we know, he had not wronged his wife or son : he had 
simply been a weak and incapable king, a chooser of advisers not 
always evil, as the favour shown to the elder Despenser proves. He 


had been lavish of money, and unfortunate in war. Yet in the hour 
of his fall, he has not a single friend or supporter. The atrocious and 
indescribable cruelty used in his murder at Berkeley Castle in Sep- 
tember 1327, marks the crime as the most odious infamy perpetrated 
in all our history. The villainous Mortimer confessed, afterwards, at 
the point of death, that he had ordered its commission, and stated 
that Thomas Gournay and William Ogle were the doers. The "shrieks 
of an agonising kiug ;; seem yet to ring through the ages, arousing 
ceaseless wonder as to what evil in a crowned and anointed monarch 
could have provoked so terrible a doom. 

In the course of the fourteenth century, there was a marked growth 
in the power and importance of Parliament. During the first p ar ji a . 
fifty years of the life of the institution, since the days of De ment 
Montfort, it became settled that solemn acts of change in the Edward 
method of rule must be done by this body, and also that Parlia- IL 
ment alone could legally enforce the payment of any tax. Under 
Edward II. , we find the Commons voting taxes only on condition of 
the redress by the king of grievances which they brought before him. 
The action of the barons throughout the reign shows, however, that 
they held the proper sphere of the Commons to be confined to asking 
for redress and ordering payment of taxes to the king by the class 
which they represented. High matters of state, such as the making 
of peace and war, and important changes in the government, such as 
the passing of the Ordinances, were regarded as belonging only to the 
nobles of the land. 

It was during this period of violent change that the great military 
order of the Templars was dissolved, after holding high T) iggolu 
authority and influence in Europe for nearly two hundred tion of 
years. In 1307, Philip IY. of France, desirous of acquiring Knigfcts- 
for himself the great wealth of the Order, seized the palace of Templars, 
the Temple in Paris, and threw into prison the Grand Master 1324> 
and all the Knights. The total ruin of the body, so famous for their 
deeds of arms, and so obnoxious for their luxury and pride, was soon 
completed throughout Europe, under sanction of the Pope. In France, 
the utmost cruelty was used, and the Grand Master, with many Knights, 
perished at the stake. In England, a milder course was adopted. In 
1308, by sealed directions sent to all the sheriffs in England and Ireland, 
about 250 Knights were arrested, and all their property was seized. 
Before a tribunal of prelates and Papal agents, many of the Knights 
boldly maintained their innocence. The use of torture was urged upon 
the king in a letter from the Pope, but the honour of the country was 
saved by the Archbishop of York declaring that torture was unknown 
in England, and that there was no machine for such a purpose to be 
found in the kingdom. The Knights were 'kept in prison, and in 1324 
a statute was passed reciting that, the Order of the Templars having 
been dissolved, their lands and tenements had been taken into the 


hands of the king and of divers other feudal lords ; but that now, as 
the Order of ohe Brethren of St. John of Jerusalem is instituted and 
canonised for the defence of Christians, the lands and all appurtenances 
of the Templars should go to that Order, to be employed, as the Templars 
should have employed them, in relieving the poor, in hospitalities, in 
celebrating divine service, and in defence of the Holy Land. The 
Hospitallers, or Knights of St. John, had a great priory in Clerkenwell, 
where they maintained as much state as the Templars had done on the 
banks of the Thames. The held their wealth in England till the sup- 
pression of the Order by Henry VIII. In the reign of Edward III. 
the students of the law took possession of the great house of the 
Templars in London, and their preceptories in the rural districts fell 
into decay, or became the homesteads and barns of the descendants of 
the Saxon villeins whom the proud Norman knights had oppressed and 



Scotland left independent. Edward III. assumes power. The new king's character. 
The war with France. Cre"cy, th'e Black Prince, Poitiers. Home-affairs. The 
Black Death. Legislation. Treaty of Bretigny. Loss of French territory. Death of 
Black Prince. Parliament and John of Gaunt. Parliament under Edward III. 

ON the deposition of Edward II., Parliament named a council of regency, 
Edward and Henry, Earl of Lancaster, was made guardian and pro- 
1377 132? ~ tector f the young king's person. Edward was now but 
Early fourteen years of age, and the rule of the country was really 
reign f * n ^ ne h ana< s of Mortimer and Isabella. The success with 
1327-1330. which they wielded the power so wickedly acquired was not 
such as to win the admiration of the people. The first trouble that 
arose came from the side of Scotland. The truce for thirteen years, 
concluded in 1323, had come to a legal end in the deposition of Edward 
II., and war soon began. A Scottish army under Douglas and Randolph 
crossed the borders and ravaged Cumberland. The young king went 
against them with a great host of English knights and archers, aided 
by foreign troops from Hainault, but the result was utter failure. 
Edward was all but captured in a daring night-attack made upon his 
camp by Douglas, and the Scots then slipped away in safety to their 
country. This was the king's first lesson in warfare. He was out- 
generalled by a foe of far smaller numbers, and it is recorded that he 
wept at his discomfiture. The days were coming when he should wage 
war, with a far different issue, against other foes than the Scots. King 
Robert Bruce was now to receive the reward of his long and heroic 
struggle for the independence of his country. In a Parliament held at 

1330 A.D.] FALL OF MORTIMER. 233 

York in January 1328, a treaty was prepared in which the English 
king declared for himself and his heirs that the kingdom of Scotland 
should remain " to the great prince Lord Robert, by the grace of God 
illustrious king of Scotland, and that Scotland shall be separated from 
the kingdom of England, and from all claims of subjection or vassalage." 
The treaty was concluded at Edinburgh in March, and ratified by the 
English Parliament at Northampton in April, being thus known as the 
Treaty of Northampton. 

Bruce did not long survive this grand success. He died at Cardross, 
near Dumbarton, in June 1329, and was buried in the Abbey Death of 
of Dunfermline. In pursuance of his vow to bear arms Bruce, 
against the infidels, he had charged Lord James Douglas to carry his 
heart to Jerusalem and bury it there. The heart was placed in a silver 
casket, but Douglas was killed in 1330, fighting in Spain against the 
Moors of Granada. As he saw himself surrounded, he flung the casket 
before him, with the cry, "Onward as thou wert wont, noble heart! 
Douglas will follow thee ! " The heart of the great king was recovered 
near the body of his faithful friend, and placed in the church of Melrose 
Abbey. Bruce was succeeded by his young son, David, a boy of five, 
crowned at Scone in 1331 as David II. 

In 1328, the young King Edward was married to Philippa of 
Haiuault. The treaty with Scotland had severely wounded Fallof 
English pride, and Mortimer's power began to decline. By a Mortimer, 
base deception, the upstart brought, to the scaffold the young 1330> 
Earl of Kent, and the Earl of Lancaster, the nominal head of the 
regency, became alarmed for his own safety. Mortimer had been 
created Earl of March in 1328, and his pride and unscrupulous conduct 
had aroused universal fear and hatred. The young king, in 1330, 
determined to act for himself. He was in his eighteenth year, and 
had lately become a father by the birth of the boy who was to be 
hereafter the renowned "Black Prince." A Parliament was to be held 
at Nottingham, and Queen Isabella took up her residence in the castle 
with Edward and Mortimer. The place was filled with guards, and 
the keys of its gates were taken every night to the chamber of Isabella. 
But there was a subterraneous passage, leading from the w r est side of 
the sandstone-rock on which the castle stood, the entrance to which 
from the road is still known as " Mortimer's Hole." Edward had gained 
to his interest the governor, Sir William Eland, and on October 10, 
1330, a force of soldiers was introduced at midnight, who made their 
way to Mortimer's room, slew the knights who defended the entrance, 
forced the door, and carried off their victim, amidst Isabella's shrieks 
of "Spare my gentle Mortimer!" On the next morning, Edward 
issued a proclamation, declaring that for the future he would himself 
govern his people by right and reason, as became his own dignity, and 
with the advice of the common council of the realm. In November, 
Mortimer was condemned as a traitor in a Parliament at Westminster, 

234 MARKS OF THE PERIOD. [1330 A.D. 

and hanged on a gibbet at Tyburn, in a district near London, on the 
great western road, now covered with the abodes of the affluent, after 
being for a long period the scene of execution for common felons. The 
ex-queen passed the rest of her life, until 1357, in strict confinement 
at her manor of Rising, near King's Lynn. Once or twice a year the 
king paid her a formal visit, and then rode away, leaving her to the 
memories of the past. 

The famous king who now comes fully before the view was a man 
Character ^ g rea * ambition and energy, with a large capacity for civil 
of Edward affairs, and skill and courage in war. His rule over nobles 
marks o^ and people was, in the main, firm, vigorous, and success- 
ive period. f u L !J e } ia d the chivalrous virtues of munificence and cour- 
tesy, and won, in his best days, the love and esteem, of barons and 
commons. His long reign was, on the whole, glorious for triumphs of 
the English arms, for constitutional progress, for the advancement of 
trade, and for the assertion of English rights against the Papal power. 
If it closed in outward disaster and gloom, it did not the less leave 
behind it enduring and beneficent results. The great English nation 
was now formed, and was about to show its strength and prowess on 
Continental fields. The islanders whom Norman knights and barons 
had once regarded with disdain were to cross the sea, and, with their 
cloth -yard shafts from bows of native yew, effect for a time the con- 
quest of France. The great contest known as the " Hundred Years' 
War" was to begin; and though, happily for England, it closed with 
our expulsion from the soil that we had coveted, the struggle taught 
the yeomen and peasants their strength and value, and the power of 
their own right arms to resist the aggression and to curb the spirit of 
baron and of king. Physical force must ever be the last hidden re- 
source of all moral restraint, and the liberties of England would have 
perished all untimely, if her sons had not, upon the soil of Picardy, 
and on the western plains of France, proved that, against amazing 
odds, they still could fight and win. The triumphs of the age were 
not limited to those won upon the field of battle. It was in the reign 
of the third Edward that our Parliament assumed its present form, 
and established, in the main, its present rights. Then, too, our noble 
language finally asserted its claims with success, and won its way to 
general use throughout the nation. The nobles laid aside the iise of 
French, and, early in the next reign, all the grammar-schools were 
teaching English to the young learners. In 1362, the native tongue 
was ordered for use in the law-courts, from sheer general ignorance 
of the Norman-French hitherto employed in the proceedings. The 
language of the people, enriched from French and Latin sources, be- 
came the copious and forcible medium for the expression of thought 
which was about to give instruction and delight in the -prose of John 
Wycliffe and the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer. In this reign, too, the 
towns and trade of the country displayed the vigorous life and rapid 

1330-32 A.D.] EDWARD AND SCOTLAND, 235 

growth which belong to an age of extended freedom and of new ideas. 
In turning towards the picturesque side of the period, we find that 
chivalry, before its coming decline, puts on its most attractive features 
of courtesy and courage, the knightly qualities set forth in colours so 
seductive by the great chronicler of chivalry, Sir John Froissart. The 
reign of Edward III. was the golden age of that romantic display, 
beneath the surface of which so many evil things lie lurking for the 
inspection of the close observer. Of all these things the chronicler says 
nought. Froissart delights in setting forth the peaceful graces of the 
life of king and noble ; the minstrelsy and tales of glee ; the dances 
and the carols. He goes forth to the chase with hawk and hounds. 
He sees the fairest maiden bestow the silken scarf upon the victor in 
the tourney. He hears without a shudder the herald's cries of " The 
love of ladies," " Glory won by blood." He does not see the bleeding 
horse, the gasping knight. There are death-wounds in the meetings 
of the melee, but the wine is sparkling, and the harp is sounding, 
in the lighted hall. Thus, too, does he describe the course of warfare 
the charge of horse, the unbroken ranks of foot, the fatal volleys of 
the archers, the solemn confession before battle, the elation of heart 
at the cry of " Banners advance ! " the knighting on the field. The 
horrors are passed over in a few brief sentences, made grim by the em- 
phatic words, " burnt " " robbed " " wasted " " pillaged " " slain " 
"beheaded." Such as it was, the age of chivalry shows at its best 
not long before its brightness paled, like stars before the sun, in the 
dawn of higher and better things. 

One of the first cares of Edward, on assuming the regal authority, 
was to reduce the land to a state of peace and order. Robbery Edward 
and murder were rife, and bands of evil-doers were maintained gcotfand 
by the nobles for employment in their mutual feuds. Bodies 1330-1342.' 
of troops were set to work under the king's own personal direction, and 
a vigorous use was made of the office of the hangman. He then found 
his attention called to the affairs of Scotland. The Regent Randolph, 
who had ruled with vigour and prudence since the death of Bruce in 
1329, died in 1332, and was succeeded in his office by the Earl of Mar. 
Trouble then arose through the action of Edward Baliol, son of the 
former king of that name. He came over from France to the English 
court, and was well received by Edward. Great discontent prevailed 
among the Scottish nobles, many of whom had not received back, in 
accordance with the Treaty of Northampton, the estates which they 
had held in England. The case of many English nobles, who had 
been possessors of lands in Scotland, was the same, and both parties 
hoped that a change of rule in Scotland would favour their desire 
to recover their lost possessions. Both parties therefore supported 
Edward Baliol's claim to the throne. Edward is believed to have' 
secretly encouraged, though he openly forbade, the enterprise. In 
August 1332, Baliol sailed from the Hum her with a small army, and 

236 HALIDON HILL. [1333-1341 A.D. 

landed on the coast of Fife. His success was wonderful in its swift- 
ness and completeness. A far larger Scottish force, under the Regent 
Mar, was routed at Dupplin, the Regent being among the slain. The 
young king, David Bruce, fled to France, and Baliol was crowned at 
Scone. In the very moment of success, he ruined his own cause with 
the people of Scotland by a renewal of the vassalage to England, and 
the formation of an alliance with Edward. The younger Randolph, 
who had succeeded Mar, made a sudden attack which drove Baliol in 
helpless flight to England. War then began between the two countries, 
and in the summer of 1333, the siege of Berwick by a great army 
under Edward brought on a crisis. A brave defence was made by the 
garrison, but the attack on the land side was pressed so hard that the 
governor promised to surrender unless he were relieved by July 2oth. 
A Scottish force, which was coming to the rescue, attacked Edward on 
the 1 9th at Halidon Hill, a tract of rising ground to the north-west of 
the town. The result was for the Scots a severe defeat, in which the 
Regent, Lord Archibald Douglas, and many Scottish lords were killed. 
The issue was largely brought about by the terribly effective fire of the 
English archers on the Scots who advanced to the assault of the Eng- 
lish position. The town of Berwick was surrendered the next clay. 
Baliol then resumed the kingship as Edward's vassal, and ceded to him 
the possession of the south-eastern counties of Scotland, or the district 
known as the Lothians and Merse (the March). Many of the Scottish 
nobles still adhered to the cause of David Bruce, and the position of 
Baliol was very uneasy. When the English king became closely en- 
gaged with France, the support of his forces was, to a large extent, 
withdrawn from his Scottish feudatory, and in 1339 Baliol was glad 
to retire to England. Perth, Cupar, Stirling, and other fortresses 
were recovered by the Scots, and when Edinburgh fell into their hands 
in 1341, David returned from France, and was welcomed by all his 
subjects. This event was, in fact, the finally successful assertion of 
Scottish independence. 

The friendship of France and Scotland, shown in the substantial aid 
England given to King David against England, was the immediate 
France cause of Edward III.'s conflict with his powerful neighbour 
1328-1349. and suzerain, Philip VI. Edward had already put forward a 
Years*War shadowy claim to the French crown, based upon his being the 
begins. son o f Isabella, daughter of Philip IV. The last of her three 
brothers who were kings of France, Charles IV., died in 1328, leaving 
no male issue. The English king claimed the throne on the ground 
that, though the Salic law excluded females, it did not preclude the 
claim of a male through a female. It seems that this point had never 
yet been determined, but, granting it to Edward, there was a claim 
prior to his that of Charles, king of Navarre, descended from Philip 
IV, through a daughter of Philip's son, Louis X. The French throne 
had been taken by Philip of Valois, cousin of the deceased Charles IV., 

1337-1340 A.D.] ENGLAND AND FLANDERS. i>:37 

and on two occasions, in 1329 and 1331, Edward had fully recognised 
his pretensions by doing homage to him for Guienne as Philip VI. of 
France. The English king was greatly irritated by the French help 
afforded to Scotland, an interference which had, as he conceived, 
mainly caused the loss of his prey when it was fully within his grasp. 
There was a vast difference in the apparent strength of the two com- 
batants. The territory and population ruled by Philip far exceeded 
those of the English sovereign, and Edward sought to equalise matters 
by Continental alliances. In October 1337, he took the title of king 
of France, and openly prepared for invasion. Large sums of money 
were spent in buying up the help of petty German and other states on 
the northern and eastern borders of France, but they proved of little 
service, and Edward found, like other English rulers after him, that 
it was better to trust to his own subjects. In two respects, the position 
of Philip was inferior to that of Edward. The nobles of France did 
not form, like the barons of England, a strong collective body. The 
people of France were not, like the people of England, animated by 
the vigorous impulses of a rising spirit of freedom. There was one 
democratic country across the sea in which Edward might, as he hoped, 
find substantial help for his cause. We have seen how largely the 
wool of England was sent to Flanders for manufacture, and how bodies 
of Flemish weavers were brought over to settle in England, and teach 
their art to our people. This interchange of the good offices of com- 
mercial intercourse had been already largely extended by Edward, who 
settled many Flemish immigrants in the eastern counties, and derived 
a revenue of over thirty thousand pounds a year from the export duties 
on English wool. The people of Flanders, as democrats, were hostile 
in advance to the feudal nobles of France : the people of the towns, in 
particular, as weavers of wool, were largely dependent on England for 
their raw material. The burghers and trade-corporations of Ghent, 
Bruges, and other Flemish towns, were, as a body, the richest people in 
Europe, and their power and spirit were such as to enforce respectful 
treatment from the sovereign, count, and nobles of the land. 

An invasion of France from the north by Edward in 1339 had failed 
from the supineriess of the Emperor and other German allies, War toe _ 
and he now turned to his commercial friends. The great enemy gias 1339. 
of the liberties of the people of Flanders was the king of France. He 
had defeated the revolted burghers at Cassel in 1328, and the Flemings, 
now under their great leader, Jacob van Artevelde, were prepared for 
the strictest alliance with England. A treaty was concluded by Edward 
with them and the Duke of Brabant, and both sides prepared for war. 

In 1340, Edward had gone over to England, leaving his queen, 
Philippa, at Ghent, when he was informed that Philip had Battle of 
gathered a great fleet in the harbour of Sluys, at the mouth Sluys, 
of the Scheldt. He set sail from Orwell with a powerful June 
armament, and when he arrived off Blankenberg, "he saw," as Froissart 


tells us, " so great a number of ships, that their inasts seemed to be 
like a great wood." The action which ensued was long and fierce. 
The first English success was the recapture of a large vessel, the 
Christopher , which had been taken in the previous year. The fighting 
was very close, and the English archers did terrible execution. After 
a contest of many hours, victory declared for Edward's men. Over 
two hundred French ships, or more than half the fleet, were taken, 
and the enemy lost many thousands of men. Edward then besieged 
Tournay with a great host, but want of money forced him to desist. 
A truce was made with Philip, and the war practically ended till 1344. 
The murder of Van Artevelde in a popular rising at Ghent deprived 
Battle of -^dward of his chief ally, and he prepared to renew the struggle 
Cr6cy, with reliance mainly placed upon his English nobles, knights, 
1346. peasants, and yeomen. One of his best captains, the famous 

Sir Walter Manny, had already done good service with Englishmen, in 
forcing the French to raise, in 1342, the siege of the castle of Henne- 
bonne in Brittany, bravely defended by the Duchess, Jeanne de Mont- 
fort. Her husband was a prisoner in Paris, and the chronicler tells us 
of her being in extremity with her garrison, when she looked down 
from a window of the castle over the sea, and "smiling for great joy," 
cried, "I see the succours of England coining!" In 1346, Gascony 
was being threatened by a great French army, when Edward gathered 
a large fleet and land force at Southampton, with intent to sail to its 
relief. The winds detained him in harbour so long that he resolved to 
make for France at the nearest point, and cause a diversion by attack- 
ing the enemy from the north. On July 10, the English king landed 
near Cape la Hogue, in Normandy, with 30,000 men. His eldest son, 
Edward, Prince of Wales, now sixteen years of age, and the chief nobles 
of England, were there. The chief strength of the army lay in the four 
thousand mail-clad men at arms and the ten thousand archers. The 
rest were Welsh and Irish infantry. The mounted nobles of France 
were now to be put to the test, and a secret was to be revealed which 
few yet suspected the real want of military power in the haughty 
world of feudalism. The town of Barfleur was surrendered and de- 
spoiled, and then, passing by the strong castle of Cherbourg, the Eng- 
lish came to Carentan, where the fortress was taken by assault. The 
fleet sailed along shore, and received on board wealthy burgesses that 
were taken and held to ransom. Caen was taken with some loss from 
missiles hurled down by the townsfolk on the men marching through 
the streets, and the fleet was now sent home, laden with prisoners and 
plunder. Edward and his men were thus fully engaged in a hostile 
country, and there was nothing before them but victory, capture, or 
death. By Evreux and Louviers, with avoidance of castles and wallecl 
towns, the march for the Seine went on. The English king's object 
was to cross the river at Rouen and march on Calais, there to meet an 
army of Flemings. Philip, however, was before him at Po>uen ; and 

1346 A.D.] BATTLE OF CRECY. 239 

had broken the bridge of boats. Edward then went straight for Paris, 
and came, by the left bank, through Yernon and Mantes, to Poissy. 
His position was one of great peril. He was separated by two rivers, 
the Seine and the Soinme, from his Flemish friends, and Philip was 
fronting him on the opposite bank. Some of the English made their 
way to St. Germain and Neuilly, while the rest repaired the bridge of 
Poissy. The Seine was then crossed by the army, and Philip took up 
a position at St. Denis. Edward then marched for the Somme, by 
way of Beauvais, and the French arrny hurried to Amiens. Their de- 
tachments on the right bank of the Somme were guarding every ford 
and breaking down every bridge, in pursuance of Philip's plan of 
shutting up the enemy in the nook between the Somme and the sea. 
At Pecquigny and Pont de Remy, Edward's advance-guard was inet 
and confronted by an overwhelming force, and they returned to report 
to him at Airaines that no passage could be found. The chronicler 
tells us that thereupon "the king of England was right pensive.'' 
From Airaines the invaders made in haste for Oiseinont, while the 
scouts hurried on to Abbeville and St. Valery. At last a peasant was 
found who knew of a spot below Abbeville where the Somme, there 
tidal, could be forded at low water. The bottom was hard, with white 
stones, giving the place its name of "Blanchetaque." At sunrise on 
the morning of Friday, August 25th, the English, marching from 
Oisemont, reached the critical point, to find themselves confronted by 
twelve thousand men. A fight took place at the crossing of the ford, 
and some loss was caused by the Genoese crossbows, but the' English 
archers cleared the way with their steady volleys, and that night our 
army encamped in the fields near Crecy. The French king, who had 
now 100,000 men in hand, had his head-quarters at Abbeville. 

The village of Crecy has behind it ground gently rising into a broad 
ridge, and there Edward posted his men. The army was formed iu 
three divisions, all on foot, with the horses and baggage-carts parked 
behind them in a wood defended by entrenchments. The flanks were 
also entrenched, and a ditch protected the front. The ground behind 
this was held by two divisions, the right commanded by the Prince of 
Wales, having with him the Earl of Warwick and the valiant Chandos : 
the left was commanded by the Earls of Northampton and Arundel. 
Above them were stationed the reserve, under the king's immediate 
command. Each brigade included men-at-arms and archers, but the 
force had been so reduced by the marching, fighting, and disease of 
seven weeks, that only about eight thousand archers and men-at-arms, 
with a few thousand of the Welsh and Irish foot, were left to face n 
host of seven times their number. The English king was at the famous 
windmill, on the highest point of the position. At nine o'clock on the 
morning of August 26th, our army, having broken their fast, lay down 
to await the foe. It was afternoon before they appeared, wearied by a 
march of fifteen miles, and some of Philip's advisers wished him to rest 

240 BATTLE OF CRECY, [1346 A.D. 

for that day. This counsel was left unheeded, and the battle began 
with volleys from the crossbows of the Genoese. It was now five 
o'clock in the evening, and the sun shone brightly out, after a storm 
of thunder and rain, full in the eyes of the French, and on the backs 
of the English. A well-aimed volley from our bowmen routed the 
Genoese at once, and then the French cavalry came on. The flying 
shafts shot down men and horses, and the light-armed Welsh and 
Irish dashed in with their knives. The chivalry of France were not 
to be beaten by one or two repulses, and the battle raged fiercely. 
The Prince of Wales was hard pressed, but his father let him fight on, 
and "win his spurs." The incessant volleys of our archers caused a 
slaughter so dreadful that the French at last wavered and fell into 
disorder. The Count of Alenon, the king's brother, the Count of 
Flanders, and many other nobles had fallen ; knights by hundreds and 
footmen by thousands lay on the field. Putting aside as doubtful the 
use of cannon by the English, and the story of the blind king of 
Bohemia's feathers and motto, we can safely affirm that before dark 
the French king had left the field with the remains of an army utterly 
beaten, and to a large extent destroyed. He stayed not till he reached 
Amiens, leaving behind him over thirty thousand slain men. By 
torchlight on the field Edward embraced his brave son, who became 
the terror of the French from that hour as the Black Prince, from the 
colour of the mail worn by him on this great day. The battle of Crecy 
was a struggle of even more than national importance. The bow and 
bill of that age were exchanged for the matchlock and the pike of Tudor 
and Stuart times, and these again for the musket and bayonet of the 
battles of Marlborough and Wellington, but the serene and stubborn 
courage of the men who wielded the weapons was now first proved 
on a great scale, with success almost portentous. The bearing of that 
success on the position and repute of feudal nobles, until then held 
to be the only real fighters, has been already noticed as involving a 
political and social revolution. The evil side of this warlike glory won 
on the " famed Picard field" was the hostility, of nearly five centuries' 
endurance, thereby engendered between two great nations. The loss 
of the French, dreadful as it was, including eleven great nobles, and 
nearly thirteen hundred knights, was not confined to that suffered in 
the great battle. On the next morning, Sunday, August 2yth, there 
was a heavy fog, and an English detachment of five hundred lances 
and two thousand archers went out to scour the country. They fell in 
with two separate French forces, and almost destroyed them. The whole 
English loss in the battle of Crecy amounted to but a few hundred men. 
The spirit of the nation was now fully aroused. David II., the king 
Neville's ^ Scotland, took advantage of Edward's absence to cross the 
Cross, border, in the hope of striking a good blow for his friend 
King Philip. On October lyth, he was encountered to the 
south-west of Durham city by an army under Henry Percy, Again 

1347 A.D.] SIEGE OF CALAIS. 241 

the glory of the day rested with the English archers. The Scots were 
utterly defeated, with the loss of many thousands of men, and King 
David was taken prisoner. He remained a captive in England till 
1357, when he was released on the Scottish Parliament undertaking to 
pay a heavy ransom. Sir Ralph Neville, who had commanded the 
English along with Percy, erected a cross to commemorate the victory, 
and the event became known as the Battle of Neville's Cross. 

The English forces in G-uienne, under the Earl of Lancaster, attacked 
Philip's dominions on the south, and ravaged the country as The war 
far as the Loire. On August 3ist, Edward began the long in France, 
siege of Calais, which was blockaded by land and sea. The French 
king, with a new great army, took the field at Whitsuntide, 1347, and 
started to raise the siege c On approaching Calais, he found the English 
force so strongly entrenched that attack was hopeless, and Edward was 
too wise to be tempted forth by a challenge to meet again in the open 
field. The French army was disbanded after a stay of six weeks, and 
the men of Calais were forced to surrender from famine, after con- 
suming all their horses and dogs. The burghers who volunteered for 
death, in order to save the lives of their fellow-citizens, were saved 
by the earnest entreaties of Queen Philippa, who was there with the 
ladies of her court. The taking of Calais occurred on August 3, 
1347, and the place remained in our hands for over two centuries, being 
held as a Channel port and a door of entrance to France. Edward 
made all the inhabitants leave, and settled there an English trading 
colony, who formed a great depot for wool and leather, lead and tin, 
the chief articles of our commerce in Continental markets. The French 
king's resources were now exhausted, and Edward also was glad of a 
respite. After the capture of Calais, a truce was made between the 
two monarchs, and there was no more regular warfare till 1355. 

Edward returned to England in October, and proceeded to Windsor, 
where he had both romantic and practical work to perform. Edward 
He was naturally ready to associate the memory of his great Windsor 
victory with the ostentation of chivalry. He had summoned Castle, 
illustrious knights to a "Feast of the Round Table "at Windsor, before 
his invasion of France. It was soon after his return that he founded 
the highest and most ancient order of knighthood the Order of the 
Garter. It is stated that Richard I., at the siege of Acre, caused some 
of his bravest officers to tie leathern thongs round their legs as a 
distinction, and that Edward III. therefore made the Garter the badge 
of his knightly order. Its common title, until the reign of Edward VI, 
was the Order of St. George. The badge suspended from the collar of 
gold is called "the George/' and consists of a figure of St. George OR 
horseback, fighting the dragon. This " holy knight," the patron saint 
of England, is a semi-mythical personage of the early Church the 
story of whose exploits struck the imagination of the Crusaders. They 
adopted him as one of their patrons, and introduced his worship into 


242 THE BLACK DEATH. [1348 A.D. 

Western Europe. In 1222, the Council of Oxford ordered that his 
day, April 23, should be observed as a national holiday in England. 
In 1349, the victor of Creey solemnly established the statutes of the 
Order. High festival was held at Windsor, and the king, with twenty - 
iive companion-knights, went in procession to the Chapel of St. George, 
where the ceremonies of installation were performed. Edward III., 
who has been styled, from his dealings with the wool-trade of Eng- 
land and Flanders, "the royal merchant," was also a great builder. 
His chief architect was William of Wykeham, the famous founder of 
Winchester School and of New College, Oxford, and the rebuilder of 
Winchester Cathedral. In 1336 he became Bishop of Winchester, 
and, in the following year, Chancellor of England. The king always 
had a strong affection for Windsor, which he mentions, in a letter to 
the Pope, as the place of his birth. He resolved to make the town 
one of royal residence, and in 1356 appointed William of Wykeham to 
superintend the erection of a new castle. The old building, with the 
exception of three towers on the west, built by Henry III., was pulled 
down, and a new palace, of which little now remains, was taken in 
hand. It is worthy of notice, as a sign of the semi-serfdom of the 
working-class, that letters-patent were issued by the king to press 
hewers of stone, carpenters, and other artificers, and that the same 
principle of impressing workmen was put in force during twenty years. 
At the palace of Westminster, the famous Chapel of St. Stephen had 
been completed with great magnificence in 1347. This building be- 
came, under Edward VI., the House of Commons, which was destroyed 
by fire in 1834. 

The people of England had scarcely ceased to exult in the Continental 
The successes of their arms when the land was stricken by the 

Death" most terrible plague of sickness that has ever ravaged Europe. 
1348-49. Such was the impression caused, that many charters and other 
documents of 1349 are not dated as issued in the "23rd year of 
Edward III.," but in "the year of the Great Pestilence." Within a 
month after the jousts, banquets, and dances of Windsor, the disease, 
having first come to our shores at the close of 1348, was raging with 
full intensity. It first appeared in 1346 in Upper India and China, 
and thence made its way through Asia and into Europe. The habits 
of an age which knew nothing of the destructive nature of " dirt in the 
wrong place," or of the merits of pure water and pure air, rendered 
every street and house in the towns a hotbed for the propagation of 
fever in the most deadly forms. The visitation of Italy by the pest in 
1348 has been vividly described by Boccaccio in his introduction to the 
Decameron. There was no country in which at least one-third of the 
inhabitants were not destroyed. The population of England was then, 
as far as can be judged, rather under four millions, and of these about 
one-half were now swept away. The crops were left to rot for want of 
labourers to cut them, and town and country were full of desolation, 


mourning, and woe. Most of the land became untilled for lack of 
labour, and so great was the emigration of persons possessed of capital, 
that, on December i, 1349, a roj^al order, addressed to the mayors and 
bailiffs of all the seaports, directed that no man should be suffered 
to leave the kingdom, except he were a messenger, a notary, or a 

The Black Death had far-reaching economical and legislative results. 
For the first time in the history of the country, the free j^g. 
labourers of England had the mastery in their hands, and lation of 
the age of trades-unions was anticipated by five centuries. le rei 1L 
War was declared by labour against capital. Hands were wanted on 
all sides, not only to till the soil, but to tend the sheep and cattle. 
The sudden rise of wages disorganised the whole industrial system, 
and the land-owners of the country and the employers of craftsmen in 
the towns saw nothing but ruin before them. An appeal to the arbi- 
trary power of immediate legislation produced, in 1349, a royal order, 
and in 1351, the famous enactment known as the Statute of Labourers. 
The first of these required that all persons, men and women, bond and 
free, under sixty years of age, who had no land of their own to till, 
or no other means of livelihood, should work for any employer who 
might demand their services. For such employment only such wages 
could be asked as were given in his or her neighbourhood two years 
before the appearance of the plague The penalty of imprisonment 
was attached to any refusal to work. The Statute of Labourers went 
far beyond this. A scale of wages was set forth to be paid by em- 
ployers to all labourers in husbandry, and to all carpenters, masons, 
tilers, arid others engaged in building. The labouring-class were also 
once more bound to the soil, as in the old days of strict villenage and 
serfdom. Imprisonment was the penalty for any toiler who might 
leave his parish in search of better wages elsewhere. The struggle 
which ensued between capital and labour was long and stubborn. The 
statute was repeatedly passed, and reaction went so far as to decree 
the branding of a fugitive labourer, and to revoke the old privilege of 
escape from serfdom by residence within a chartered town. Attempts 
were also made by landowners to bring back the full form of feudalism, 
as regarded villenage, by annulling manumissions and insisting on the 
performance of the feudal " services," in the way of unpaid labour, 
from which exemption had long been obtained. The natural result of 
the feeling thus aroused among the toilers will be seen in the armed 
revolt of labour in the next reign. A premonition of this rising was 
given in 1360, when a Kentish priest named John Ball began to preach 
to the labourers and small farmers of his county the doctrine of social 
equality, and to inquire why, since all came from Adam and Eve, 
some were to be lords and others labourers, some to toil and others 
to idle and enjoy, some to be clad in velvet and others in filthy 


In 1351, the liberty of the subject was further defended against the 
Other attacks of arbitrary sovereigns by the popular and excellent 
statutes, enactment called the Statute of Treasons. The crime of treason 
had hitherto been left vague. It was now laid down that, in order to 
incur the penalties of treason, a subject must (i) compass (i.e. contrive) 
the sovereign's death : (2) levy war against him within his realm : (3) 
adhere to his enemies in his realm, or give them "aid and comfort" in 
the realm or elsewhere : (4) counterfeit the great or privy seal : (5) 
slay the chancellor, treasurer, or any of the king's higher judges when 
in execution of his official duties. -In the same year, a blow was aimed 
at Papal claims by the Statute of Provisors, which forbade all appli- 
cations to the court of Rome for presentation to any benefice in 
England, and further secured the rights of English patrons of church 
preferment. An enactment of 1353 declared any person to be out- 
lawed who should carry any law-case to the court of Rome on appeal 
from the decision of an English court. 

Philip of Yalois, or Philip VI. of France, died in 1350, leaving the 
j throne to his son, John the Good. The country was harassed 
of war by internal strife between the king and the partisans of 
France Charles, king of Navarre, when the truce with England ended 
and Scot- in 1355. The north and centre of France were in a condition 
an ' 3 ' of mere anarchy, with troops disbanded, brigands roaming on 
every side, a bankrupt treasury, and defenceless towns and castles. 
The king of England did not forego the chance thus offered to his 
arms. From north and south, by Calais and Guienne, unhappy France 
was ravaged by her foes. Edward himself issued from the northern 
fortress, and swept the country as far as the Somme, retiring then 
from sheer lack of food. The seizure of the town of Berwick by the 
Scots called him home. He marched northwards in the depth of 
winter, retook the town and carried havoc through the Lothians, 
Want of provisions here again caused retreat, when his fleet, laden 
with stores, could not, for stress of weather, reach the port of Leith, 
His son, Edward the Black Prince, had before this led an army from 
his head-quarters at Bordeaux, and ravaged the country to the foot 
of the Pyrenees. He then took a northern and easterly course, 
laid in ashes cities and towns, and filled with desolation a fertile 
land, which, for a hundred years of gay and prosperous life, had 
seen nothing of the cruelties of war. The army, with its train of 
greedy Gascons, returned laden with pillage seized 'in town, castle, and 

In July 1356, Prince Edward again quitted Bordeaux, marching 
Battle of nor th and east into Limousin and Auvergne. The crops that 
Poitiers, stood in the soil were turning from green to gold, and the 
ep . 1356. y j nes were thickly hung with clustering grapes. All was 
destroyed by the advancing force, whom the Prince wished to lead as 
far as Normandy, there to join an English army that was aiding the 


1360, and till 1453 

TVott Longitude O* East Longitude 

Stanford* &eog*-E*tob*, London. 


friends of the king of Navarre. The invaders were already north of 
the Loire, when the Black Prince had news of a great army advancing 
against him. The French king, John, was in the field with sixty 
thousand men, marching by routes unknown to his foe. Prudence 
counselled a prompt retreat to Bordeaux. The English leader, with 
but eight thousand men, found the way barred near Poitiers by the 
great host of the enemy. The scene was one full of glorious memories 
for France. At Vougle, near to Poitiers, eight and a half centuries 
before, Clovis had utterly routed, and slain with his own hand, the 
second Alaric, king of the Yisigoths, conquerors whose dominions were 
then at their greatest extent. On the same fertile plains, in the broad 
tract of land stretching north from Poitiers to Tours, watered by many 
a fair stream that pays its tribute to the Loire, one of the great 
triumphs of the Cross was won against the Crescent. More than six 
centuries earlier than the day when the English prince found his 
course stopped in retreat, Charles Martel had won the signal victory, 
over a Saracen host, which rescued Europe from the power and faith 
of Islam. Omens and odds alike were strong against the entrapped 
invader, and for some hours he shrank from an encounter. When 
Cardinal Pcrigord came from the French king to urge capitulation, 
the Prince offered to give up his booty, and to engage not to bear arms 
against France for the space of seven years. The personal surrender 
of himself and a hundred knights was demanded, but this was promptly 
refused. The English and Gascons were drawn up with great skill 
on ground encumbered by hedges, vines, and bushes, and could only 
be approached by a road with room for but four horsemen a-breast, 
bounded on each side by high banks topped with hedges thickly lined 
by England's deadly bowmen. On Monday, September 19, the great 
encounter came. The French horse, after forcing their way with 
severe loss along the lane, were charged on the open ground by the 
Black Prince at the head of a picked force, including Chandos, and 
Lord Audley, and the Earls of Warwick and Suffolk. Great dis- 
order ensued. The four thousand archers in the little English army 
had never ceased their volleys, and, at the critical moment of confusion, 
a body of men-at-arms and bowmen, detached for the purpose, fell on 
the French flank and rear. A panic ensued, and several commanders 
set their divisions the example of flight. King John fought with great 
valour, but was at last forced to surrender, with his young son Philip. 
The conqueror gained higher fame in chivalry by the noble courtesy of 
his demeanour to the captive king. A truce for two years was made, 
and in May 1357, the Black Prince led his "friend the enemy" into 
London, where Edward III. and his people received him with every 
mark of respect that could assuage the pain of defeat and captivity. 
The loss of the vanquished in this famous battle was over eleven 
thousand slain and disabled, besides two thousand men-at-arms and 
hundreds of nobles and knights taken prisoners. 

246 THE FRENCH WAR. [1358-1360 A.D. 

While the French king was an honoured guest in England, lodged 
Treaty of ^ 1>s ^ ^t John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster's, palace of the 
Bretigny, Savoy, and then at Windsor, his country was brought to the 
State 13 of' extreme of misery. Heavy sums needed to be raised for 
France. ransom of the prisoners of Poitiers, and the tillers of the 
soil were ground down to the lowest point of penury by the lords 
of the soil who had fled in terror before the English bowmen. In 
May 1358, began the terrible insurrection of the French peasants 
known as the Jacquerie, from the nickname of Jacques BonUomine 
bestowed on the poor villeins of the land. The army of furious 
ravagers, whose cry was " Death to the nobles and gentry/' reached 
at last the number of one hundred thousand men, butchering and 
burning in town and hamlet, chateau and farm. The highways were 
strewn with dead, and wolves followed in the track of men as pitiless 
as themselves. Aid was sought from Flanders and Hainault, and the 
furious insurgents were also attacked by knights headed by Gaston 
de Foix, one of Froissart's chivalrous heroes, and by Captal de Buche, 
one of Edward III.'s Gascon knights, who rushed to the rescue of 
the Duchesses of Normandy and Orleans. They had fled, with hundreds 
of other ladies, for refuge in the castle of Meaux. A great slaughter 
of the peasants was made, and the rising came to an end. In 1359, 
the country was again attacked and ravaged by English troops. The 
want of provisions forced Edward's retirement from before the walls 
of Paris in March 1360, and a peace was concluded on May 8th at 
a little place near Chartres. The chief terms of the Treaty of Bt'e- 
tigny were these : The king of England resigned his pretensions to the 
crown of France, and to the territories of Normandy, Anjou, Maine, 
and Touraine. He was to be full sovereign lord of Aquitaine, including 
Guienne, Gascony, Saintonge, Poitou, the Limousin, and Angoumois. 
All conquered places were to be restored, except Calais, Guisnes, and 
the county of Ponthieu, a part of Picardy, on the Lower Somme. The 
French king was to be set free on promise of payment, within six 
years, of three million gold crowns, amounting, as is supposed, to 
about a million and a half pounds sterling. He met Edward at Calais, 
where the peace was solemnly ratified, and they then parted with 
many expressions of esteem and good-will. John was unable to raise 
the money for his ransom from a country so drained of resources, 
and the honour of chivalry bade him return to captivity. In the 
first days of 1364 he was again in London, and this unfortunate 
monarch soon afterwards sickened and died at the palace of the Savoy, 
leaving to his son, Charles V., a country that moved the pity of all 
humane persons who beheld her hapless condition. The close of the 
war had flooded the land with bands of discharged soldiers, the Free 
Competitions, who for twenty years had been fighting as separate bodies 
under their own captains. Froissart tells us of the mischief done by 
these gangs of pillaging " Almains (Germans), Brabanters, Flemings, 

1361-1366 A.D.] HOME AFFAIRS. :M7 

Hainanlters, Gascons, and bad Frenchmen," and Italy's great lyric poet, 
Petrarca, then upon ambassador's work at Paris, declares that when he 
viewed the land, he could not persuade himself that it was the same 
he had formerly beheld fertile, rich, and nourishing. " Touched by 
such mournful effects of the rage of man," he cries, " I could not 
withhold my tears." 

In 1361, a second attack of pestilence caused numerous deaths, but, 
with this exception, the seventh decade of the century was a 
prosperous time for England. She had her troubles in this affairs, 
age of transition from serfdom to free labour, but her posi- 1361 " 67 - 
tion was in strong contrast with that of the land beyond the Channel. 
Not only were our fields left free from the ravages of war, but when- 
ever a tax was demanded for carrying on the struggle, there was a 
Parliament which ever turned round steadily upon the king, and for 
money demanded money's worth extension of freedom or redress of 
grievances. Again and again, as in 1340, 1348, and 1351, a firm 
stand was made against illegal levying of money or men-at-arms, and 
it was no longer a struggle merely between the king and the nobles. 
The Commons had by degrees gained a real share in the government, 
and before the end of the reign we shall find them strong enough to 
remove an administration, and to impeach those whom they held to 
be evil advisers of the crown. The powers thus obtained did, indeed, 
remain long in abeyance under later monarchs, but, in our constitu- 
tional system, the importance of the creation of precedents can hardly 
be over-rated. They are the good seed from which springs a priceless 
crop of established rights. There was a great increase of parliamentary 
activity in the work of legislation, and one enactment is curious for 
the evidence which it affords of the many distinctions of rank then 
existing amongst the laity. The Statute of Apparel, passed in 1363, 
had for its main purpose to restrain "the outrageous and excessive 
apparel of divers persons against their estate and degree." Its pro- 
visions afford the clearest proof of material prosperity in that age 
amongst the class of mechanics, commercial servants, and labourers 
in husbandry. 

The sun of glory won by conquest for the English arms was now to 
set in gloom. The new king of France, Charles V., was of Loss of 
a widely different nature from his brave and chivalrous father, ^franco 
Devoid of personal courage, he had shown his prudence on the 1367-1374. ' 
field of Poitiers in leaving his younger brother Philip to fight unaided 
at the king his father's side. His practical sagacity, however, was 
of much more value than any heroism in a contest with such foes as 
Edward III. and the Black Prince. "There never was a king," cried 
Edward, " who cared so little about arming himself, and yet gave me 
so much to do as this Charles." During the few years of peace which 
followed on the treaty of Bretigny, the French monarch was always on 
the watch for a renewal of the contest to his own advantage. The 

248 THE BLACK PRINCE IN SPAIN, [1367-1371 A.D. 

Prince of Wales, with the title of Prince of Aquitaine, was governor of 
the southern provinces ceded to England, and the cunning of Charles 
V. aimed at incitements to revolt among the Gascons which should 
afford him some chance of striking in against the English domination. 
The imprudence of the Black Prince was his chief ally. The haughty 
bearing of their ruler gave offence to the nobles of Guienne. The 
people of the conquered provinces were indignant at their transfer in 
complete sovereignty to England, and wise policy would have kept an 
English ruler from adding to the causes of offence. In 1367, the 
Black Prince became entangled, by his own act, in the affairs of Spain. 
Peter I., king of Castile and Leon, had been driven from his throne 
by his half-brother, Henry, assisted by a band of Free Companions, 
under the command of the famous French leader, Bertrand du Guesclin. 
The English prince determined to restore him, and led from Bordeaux 
a great army of English, Gascons, and Normans, entering Spain by the 
pass of Roncesvalles. The army of Henry and Du Guesclin was 
totally defeated at the battle of N a jar a (or Navaretfa, two villages on 
the right bank of the Ebro), in which the English leader showed even 
more than his wonted skill. Never was a success more fatal to its 
author. The restored tyrant Peter was soon again dethroned, and the 
Black Prince was left unpaid for the heavy charges of his fruitless 
expedition. He returned to his head-quarters in Bordeaux with a 
starving army, and a frame infected with the malady that was to bring 
him to the grave in the very prime of life. His necessities compelled 
him to increase the heavy load of taxation for the Gascons, and then 
the king of France blew the sparks of discontent into a flame of revolt. 
In violation of the treaty of Br^tigny, Charles assumed the position of 
feudal lord over Guienne, and summoned the English ruler to appear 
before him. The Black Prince retorted that he would come to Paris, 
but with sixty thousand lances at his back. In 1369, the war with 
France was thus renewed, and the French ruler showed his real ability 
in his method of conducting the struggle. All great encounters in the 
open field were shunned. The Duke of Lancaster, who had landed at 
Calais with a large force, was suffered to march on and do his worst. 
In 1370, the French invaded Gas cony, and the failing health of Prince 
Edward kept him from active exertion in the field. His temper had 
been soured by his troubles, and a savage act of vengeance wrought 
upon helpless and innocent people left a dark stain upon his memor} r . 
The town of Limoges had been betrayed by the inhabitants to the 
French, and the Black Prince, retaking it by storm after a month's 
siege, ordered a massacre in cold blood of three thousand men, women, 
and children. In the following year, 1371, ill-health recalled him to 
England, and with his departure our interests in France went fast to 
ruin. The brave Du Guesclin, the greatest hero of the age next to the 
Black Prince, was in command against the Duke of Lancaster, the new 
governor of Gascony. The French could not be tempted to any great 

1369-1376 A.D.J JOHN OF GAUNT. 249 

engagement, and in 1373 the English leader swept through France 
from Calais to Bordeaux. A war of skirmishes and surprises, with the 
capture of town after town, and fortress after fortress, as the chance 
occurred, was most effective in the wearing-down of English power. 
The campaign of the Black Prince in Spain had aroused the deadly 
enmity of the new king of Castile, and a Spanish fleet, in 1372, was 
for the time triumphant on the sea, and severed Gascony from that road 
of communication with England. The forces of Du Guesclin were 
constantly successful, and, in 1374, the king of England was glad to 
make a truce. All his possessions in France were gone, save Bordeaux, 
Bayonne, and Calais. 

In 1369, Edward III. lost his queen, Philippa, his faithful wife for 
more than forty years. He then fell under the evil influence Home 
of a woman named Alice Ferrers, and in this, his time of affairs, 
dotage, the chief power was in the hands of his fourth son, JOL^O? 
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The internal history of Gaunt, 
the country is largely made up of his contests with a portion of the 
Parliament, in which the power of the Commons was yearly growing. 
The barons mainly followed the lead of Lancaster, and the political 
situation was one in which the lay-barons asserted themselves against 
the bishops, who had, as was conceived, by far too large a share of the 
administration. At the same time, the baronage were always ready to 
make a stand with the crown against the knights of the shire and 
the burgesses. The material power and wealth of the Church had 
greatly advanced, as her moral influence over the people declined. In 
1371, the Duke of Lancaster's party drove from office the chancellor, 
William of Wykeham, and other leading prelates. The Black Prince, 
feeling his end near, and jealous of the power of John of Gaunt, who 
was thought to aspire to the crown, took measures to assert the rights 
of his son, Richard of Bordeaux, whose mother was his father's cousin, 
Joan of Kent. 

The Parliament of 1376, known as the "Good Parliament," from 
the boldness of the stand made by the burgesses and county t^ e 
members against the barons and the crown, began its vigorous "Good 
work in April. The leader of the Commons, Peter de la Mare, nSenV 
holding the office, though not the title, of " Speaker," came JJJJ^ of 
forward to face the barons in a bold attack upon the ministers, Black 
or lords of the king's council. The evil conduct of the war, Prince - 
the heavy and useless taxation, and the misappropriation of the public 
moneys, were strongly denounced, with special mention of the Duke of 
Lancaster's responsibility. The contemptuous outburst of wrath in 
which the Duke indulged was all unheeded, and two of the ministers 
impeached, Lord Latimer, the chamberlain, and Richard Lyons, were 
condemned by the lords to heavy fines and imprisonment. Alice Ferrers 
was also sentenced to banishment from court and forfeiture of all her 
ill-gotten wealth. This was followed by demands for the redress of 

'250 DEATH OF EDWARD 111. [1317 A.D. 

many grievances. The Commons asked for freedom of election for the 
county members, and for yearly meetings of Parliament. On June 8, 
the Black Prince died, and his son Richard was at once presented to 
Parliament, and accepted by all as heir to the throne. When Parlia- 
ment was dismissed in July, the influence of Lancaster resumed its 
sway. Alice Perrers and the king's evil counsellors were recalled; Peter 
de la Mare went to prison, and William of Wykeharn was despoiled of 
his episcopal income. The good effected seemed to be all undone when 
a packed House of Commons, early in the following year, annulled its 
predecessor's legislative work ; but the powers once asserted by the 
Commons were not forgotten, and the very next reign was to witness 
a further advance towards constitutional freedom for the people as 
against the arbitrary power of the crown. 

The king died on June 21, 1377, in the 65th year of his age and the 
Death of 5 IS ^ ^ ^ s re ^ n > an( ^ ^is remains were interred in the Abbey 
Edward Church at Westminster. Of the seven sons and five daughters 
1377. His born of Queen Philippa, the greater part died young. Only 
children, three sons survived their father, John of Gaunt (born at Gand 
or Ghent), Duke of Lancaster and father of Henry IV. ; Edmund, Duke 
of York; and Thomas, Duke of Gloucester: The third son, Lionel, Duke 
of Clarence, had died in 1368, leaving one daughter, married to Edmund 
Mortimer, Earl of March. 

A statute of the year 1322, passed in the I5th year of Edward II. 's 
Parlia- reign, had fully recognised the power of the Commons, by 
ment declaring that "matters to be established for the estate of the 
Edward king and his heirs, and for the estate of the realm and of the 
people, shall be treated, accorded, and established in Par- 
liament by the king, and by the assent of the prelates, earls, and 
barons, and the commonalty of the realm, according as has been before 
accustomed." Under Edward III., the knights of the shire, who had 
been hitherto political allies of the barons, with whom they were socially 
connected, became the close associates in Parliament of the borough 
members, and this connection, at an early part of the reign, caused the 
two bodies to be together styled "The Commons." The actual division 
of Parliament into the two Houses of Lords and Commons took place 
in 1341. From this time we have a Parliament such as we know it 
now a body in which, upon the whole, a certain community of political 
sentiment and procedure is secured by the presence in the Commons of 
a large number of landed gentry who are socially connected with the 
peers. The House of Commons thus consists both of men representing 
all shades of feeling in the commercial and the working classes, who 
form the great bulk of the nation, and of those who, from their social 
interests, friendships, and relations, are certain to be stout opponents 
of revolutionary change. The legislative powers of the Commons were, 
like other constitutional reforms in this land of the slow and steady 
growth of long-enduring things, a matter of gradual development. The 

1272-1377 A.D.] LEARNING OF THE PERIOD. 251 

petitions of the Commons for the redress of grievances, ns a condition 
of the granting of supplies of money by taxation, were, in effect, demands 
for legislative change. These were sent up to the king, and his answers 
were duly made. Each petition and its answer were, at the close of 
every session, embodied in the form of a law, and entered on the roll 
of statutes. The sovereign, in his replies to the petitions of the Commons, 
would often change the sense therein expressed, and thus he used a 
power of modifying bills before they passed into enactments. The 
reign of Edward III. saw the establishment, in our system of govern- 
ment, of three great principles. The first was, that money cannot 
be legally raised, by taxation or otherwise, without the consent of 
Parliament. The second was, that the concurrence of the two 
Houses is required for all changes in the law, and in all matters 
affecting the interests of the king, his heirs, and the people. The 
third was, that the House of Coimnons has the right to inquire into 
public abuses, and to impeach (that is, to accuse at the bar of the Lords) 
any public counsellor or minister of the crown, for corrupt official 
conduct, misgovernment, or other cause. 



The scholastic Doctors ; Duns Scotus, Occam, Bradwardiue. Richard of Bury's 
noble encouragement of learned men. His Pkilobiblon. 

THE scholastic philosophy, which served the cause of sound learning and 
human progress by its enforcement of verbal precision, lucid Learning 
method, strict proof, and the superior claims of reason against and lite- 
authority, produced some shining lights in the century of time O f the 
that covers the reigns of the three Edwards. The labours of P^oo 1 . 
these men prepared the human mind to reap due benefit in coming time 
from the great revival of learning, and set an example to the world of 
a bold defence of freedom of thought and opinion. John Duns, com- 
monly called Duns Scotus, or the Subtle Doctor, was a native of the 
British Isles, and died in 1308. He was first a Franciscan friar at 
Newcastle, and then became a student at Merton College, Oxford. 
His skill in theology, logic, mathematics, and the civil law caused his 
appointment in 1301 as professor of divinity, and his fame drew large 
numbers of students to the University. In 1304, he was a teacher of 
theology at Paris, and died, in the same capacity, at Cologne. William 
de Occam was born about 1270, in the Surrey village of that name. 
He, too, was a Franciscan monk, a pupil of Duns Scotus, and gained 

252 LEARNING OF THE PERIOD. [1272-1377 A.D. 

the name of the Invincible Doctor. Little is known of the earlier half 
of his life, in which he is said to have been a student at Oxford, and 
then to have held preferment in the Church. The latter and more 
distinguished part of his career was spent on the Continent. He 
showed remarkable courage, for a monk of that age of history, in 
supporting Philippe le Bel of France, when he asserted against the 
Pope the independence of temporal princes in all secular affairs. He 
was condemned by the Council of Avignon, and compelled to flee 
from Paris, in 1328, for denouncing the vices of the rival Popes of the 
day. He took refuge in Bavaria, where he died at Munich in 1347. 
Occam was one of the best logicians of the Middle Ages, and deserves 
high honour as a maintainer of liberty of thought against prejudice 
and power. Tliomas Bradwardine, born in Sussex about 1290, was one 
of the best men and ablest writers of the fourteenth century. His 
great theological work, Tlie Cause of God pleaded against Pelagius, a 
"heretic" who denied "original sin" in man, earned for him the title 
of the Profound, Doctor. After being chancellor of the University of 
Oxford, he became chaplain and confessor of Edward III., whom he 
attended during his French wars. He was twice chosen Archbishop of 
Canterbury by the clergy of the cathedral, but the first election was 
annulled by the king, who declined to part with his services, declaring 
that he " could ill spare so worthy a man." When the see again became 
vacant, Bradwardine became Primate by the unanimous choice of the 
Chapter, now confirmed by Edward. He was a noble example of the 
union of religious contemplation and profound piety with active bene- 
volence. The second year of the Black Death, 1349, was the date of 
his elevation, and the new archbishop died of the plague within a few 
weeks of his consecration, and before he was enthroned. Richard of 
Bury, whose true name was Richard Aungervyle, was born in 1281 at 
Bury St. Edmunds. He was one of the most distinguished men of the 
age for learning, high character, and practical ability. After a brilliant 
career at Oxford, he was made tutor to Prince Edward, afterwards 
Edward III., under whom he became in succession Bishop of Durham 
and Lord Chancellor. An able envoy, a generous user of great influence 
and wealth, and a statesman who ever laboured for peace, Richard de 
Bury is most to be honoured for his great devotion to learning. He 
wrote a Latin treatise, called Philobiblon, on the love of books and the 
right use of them. In the course of his life he collected the largest 
library in England, by the use of his private fortune and of his political 
and ecclesiastical influence, which caused the owners of valuable manu- 
scripts to seek his favour by presents of what he most loved. For him 
the libraries of foreign monasteries were searched by travelling friars, 
and to him suitors in Chancery would offer a rare volume, in order to 
gain a quicker hearing of their causes. De Bury's real love of literature 
is shown by the noble use which he made of his treasures. He was the 
friend of all scholars, and threw freely open to them the doors of his 

1272-1377 A.D.] LEARNING OF THE PERIOD. 253 

library at Durham, where they became his guests during the period 
of their study and research. When he quitted political life for the 
exclusive care of his diocese, he surrounded himself with the best 
English scholars of the age as his chaplains and friends. One of these 
was Bradwardine, who owed to him his appointment by Edward III. 
to the post of confessor and chaplain. De Bury's books were bequeathed 
to Durham College, Oxford, and there remained for the use of the 
University until the dissolution of the house under Henry VIII. It 
is remarkable, as a sign of the times which were soon to show forth a 
AVyclif, that, in the Pliilobiblon, a bishop and ex-chancellor strongly 
denounces the degraded moral state of the clergy, and the mental dark- 
ness and evil life of monks and friars. 





The new spirit of the time. Wyclif and the Lollards. Wyclif as a reformer. The 
peasant-revolt. Legislation against Papal claims and action in Church and 
State. Richard II. and Parliament. Foreign affairs. The King's tyranny and 
deposition. His mysterious death. Literature : Gower and Chaucer. 

DURING the minority of the young king, known as Richard of Bor- 
deaux, from his birth in 1366 at the town where his father, 
IL? the Black Prince, held sway as ruler of Guienne, the direc- 

1377-1399. j.j on p U bii c affairs was mainly in the hands of John of 
Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the king's uncle, and of a council of nobles 
appointed at the instance of the House of Commons. During the 
earlier years of the reign, foreign affairs were going from bad to worse. 
All attempts to recover French dominion failed, and united French 
and Spanish fleets were defiant on the sea. 

The great fact of the time was the stir of thought and feeling, which 
first sought and found expression in the published words of 
religious powerful writers, and then in the armed revolt of ignorant 
social an( ^ passionate men striving for redress of social inequality, 
spirit of The Church in England had grown corrupt from excess of 
' wealth and power. The loose lives of many of the clergy, 
monks and parish- priests alike, had brought contempt upon their 
office. The arrogance of a privileged class, and the rapacious claims 
made for dues payable to the church-courts, which held control over 
many suits of deep import to the laity, had aroused a bitter feeling. 
A public opinion was forming to the effect that the Church dignitaries 
and the religious orders were more intent upon their own aggrandise- 
ment, and the gratification of their own luxurious tastes, than upon 
the upholding of the faith and duties of the Gospel. On no estates 
did slavery linger so long in England as on those of the Benedictine 
abbots and their convents, and the churchmen who, in better times, 
had been urgent in obtaining freedom for slaves, were now the hardest 
masters of these poor dependents. The friars, who had once been so 



devoted to the preaching of the Word, and to the personal relief of the 
sick and the indigent, were now either dwellers in stately houses, 
which rivalled the old monasteries in splendour, or, for the sake of 
profit from fees, had usurped the places of the rectors and curates of 
parishes. The system of seeking alms from house to house had been 
so far abused that, long before the time of Wyclif, loud and deep 
complaints were heard from all classes against the lusty begging friars. 
Alongside of these evils connected with the Church, were the fierce 
attempts of the lords of the soil to resume the old feudal control over 
the peasant population. 

The disorders in both Church and State are the subjects of keen 
comment in the writings of the age. Chaucer aims his satire Piers the 
against the monk, " full, fat, and in good point," the Friar, JJaE 
" a wanton and a merry ; " the Prioress, of courtly manners, Vision, 
with her love-motto inscribed on her brooch ; the Sumpnour, or 
summoner, the minister of extortion for church-courts; and the 
Pardoner, with his wallet " full of pardons come from Rome all hot." 
The popular poet, William Langland, was a poor " clerk," born about 
1330, who came to London in early manhood, and made a precarious 
living by the performance of small ecclesiastical duties at funerals and 
other church-offices. His Vision of Piers Plowman is a long allegory, 
in the form of dreams, setting forth the divers conditions of men in 
this life, and the duties to which they are severally bound as pilgrims 
in search of Truth. The world of the poor, as it appeared to a poor 
man in the latter half of the fourteenth century, is vividly brought 
into view. The cold, cheerless hearth of the hungry toiler, the 
narrow, wretched, and monotonous life of those who were at the 
bottom of the social scale, are in sharp and saddening contrast with 
the world of gaiety and wealth depicted in the page of Chaucer. A 
cloud of dull despair broods over the social landscape of Langland, as, 
amid suffering and sin, he urges all to earn bread by honest labour, 
and threatens hunger to the idle and the wasteful. He warns the 
knight that in the grave he cannot be known apart from the churl, 
and that in heaven above the hireling may be more nobly placed than 
he who paid, or who, perchance, withheld his wages upon earth. It is 
declared to be safer to trust, for gaining heaven, to well-doing than 
to passes from the Pope. The avarice arid luxury of churchmen are 
denounced, and John of Gaunt receives a certain meed of praise as 
leader of the nobles who, eager to curtail the wealth and power of the 
Church, were to that extent, and for selfish ends, the defenders of the 

The rising spirit of disaffection to the Church, caused both by 
corrupt practices in her system and in the lives of her Lollardry 
ministers, and by the application of free thought to some 
parts of her doctrine, was shown forth in the sayings and doings 
of the people called "Lollards." The name is a term of reproach 

256 WYCLIF. [1366 A.D. 

bestowed by opponents on those who were thereby charged either 
with "sowing the tares" of heresy, or with uttering "vain babble." 
Like the Puritans of a later age, the Lollards aimed at political and 
social, as well as religious changes, and their ranks were reinforced 
from every class by persons who were at issue with the real or fancied 
evils of the time. The poor peasant that dreamed of social equality, 
the fanatic eager for moral and religious reform, the noble who hated 
the arrogant prelate, or who coveted ecclesiastical wealth, all were 
adherents of the widespread movement that embodied the discontent 
of the age. 

The champion, if not the founder, of Lollardry, on its religious side, 
was that great Englishman, John Wyclif. He was born 
yc ' about 1324 at a village near Richmond, in Yorkshire, and 
acquired his vast store of learning as a student in the " Arts," and in 
the School of Theology at Oxford University. His rare knowledge of 
the Scriptures obtained for him the title of the Evangelical Doctor. 
In 1361, he was chosen master of Balliol College, and some years later 
became a Doctor or Professor of Divinity. He was a worthy successor, 
as a philosopher of bold originality of thought, of the great English 
schoolmen, Duns Scotus and Occam, and, in piety and purity of life, as 
well as in literary skill, he rivalled his predecessor Bradwardine. But 
Wyclif was no mere scholar, "schoolman," or dialectician. He was 
the hardest worker and the ablest statesman of the time. Tall and 
spare in form, of quick and restless temper, ready wit, and winning 
manners, the shrewd Yorkshireman, subtle in logic and eloquent in 
speech, was full of the energy and courage, the firmness of conviction, 
and the hatred of hypocrisy and wrong, that should be found in him 
whose life-work it is to attack abuses, to be foremost in controversy, to 
defy the world, if need be, in doing battle for moral, intellectual, and 
religious reform. The literary gifts of this illustrious man included a 
style now charged with persuasive power, and, in due season, keen in 
irony, and strong in the invective that pleases the popular taste. With 
all these resources he combined the worldly wisdom that enables the 
skilled politician and partisan to make every kind of man an instrument 
for his chosen work, and to refrain from playing into the hands of 
those who oppose him. 

It was in the fourteenth century that occurred the second great 
Wyclif rising of the human intellect against the spiritual domination 
Papa? 16 f R me - The great revolt, in Languedoc, that marked the 
See. twelfth century, had been crushed by the Albigensian crusade, 

and for the two succeeding generations the power of the Papacy had 
been at its height. When Pope Boniface the Eighth fell before the 
violence of Philip the Fourth of France, the seat of the Papal court 
was carried beyond the Alps, and for severity years, at Avignon, the 
Bishops of Borne became dependants of France. This age of schism 
in the Western Church saw two Popes, each with a doubtful title, 

1366-1378 A.D.] WYCLIF. 257 

hurling at each other curses and invectives, as Rome declaimed against 
the corruptions of Avignon, and Avignon flung well-deserved retorts 
at Rome. The spiritual influence of the Papacy could not but rapidly 
wane, and there were special reasons for such a decline being strongly 
marked in. England. The people whose warriors had vanquished with 
ease the soldiers of France on the fields of Crecy and Poitiers could 
not, in their national pride, brook the control of French Popes, whom 
all believed to be working in the interests of the national foe. It was 
in 1366 that Wyclif took a prominent place in this matter, and from 
that time till 1378 he stands forth as the great champion of English 
independence against the claims of Rome. The king, Edward III., 
strongly supported by Parliament, was at issue with the Papal court 
with regard to the homage and tribute exacted from King John. 
Wyclif 's skilful reply to a monk, who came forward in the Papal cause, 
made him well known at court, and procured for him the favour of 
John of Gaunt. In 1374, he was one of the royal commissioners sent 
to Bruges, to confer with the nuncio of Gregory XI. on the statute of 
Provisors, and, being consulted by the government as to some fresh 
claims made upon the kingdom during the tutelage of Richard II., he 
pointed out in plain words " the asinine folly " of helping our enemies. 
The position of Wyclif was in full agreement with the national spirit, 
which rose in disgust against the annual export of large sums 
of money collected by Papal agents in England for the enrichment 
of Popes who were the creatures of France, and against the system of 
Papal " provisions," by which foreigners were placed in possession of 
English benefices. In defiance of English law, parishes were thus left 
destitute of priests, and the rights of patrons were flung aside. In 
1375, he was rewarded by the royal presentation to the rectory of 
Lutterworth, which will ever be associated with the name of "the 
morning-star of the Reformation," and by nomination as the king's 
private chaplain or secretary. In 1378, Wyclif reached the height of 
audacity as an assailant of the Papal see. On the death of Gregory 
XI. , a double election to the vacant chair took place. The Papal court 
had now returned to Rome, and the people caused the cardinals, most 
of whom were Frenchmen, to elect an Italian, as Urban VI. The 
French cardinals afterwards annulled this choice, and made another 
Pope of their own body, as Clement VII. A civil war ensued, in 
which Clement's party were defeated, and he made his escape to 
Avignon, where he was supported by France, Spain, and Scotland, 
while Germany, Italy, and England adhered to the claims of Urban. 
Wyclif at once issued his spirited tract, called The Schism of the Popes. 
In this he declared that Christ had "cloven the head of Antichrist, 
and made the one part to fight against the other," and called upon 
emperor and king to put down the temporal sovereignty of the Pope, 
and take away the territory of the see in Italy, as being the source of 
the evils that afflicted the Church. 


One of the deepest feelings of Wyclifs nature was his hatred of the 
Wyclif monks. In their corrupt state, the monks were regarded at 
Church Oxford with the same dislike as in modern times has been 
reformer, displayed against the Jesuits. Surrounded as he was by 
all the abuses of a feudalised hierarchy, the great pioneer of Church 
reform looked on the wealth of the Church as an evil. In his famous 
treatise on "The Kingdom of God" (De Dominio Divino) he declares 
that they only have a right to exercise dominion who are in a state of 
grace, and that mortal sin breaks the condition on which authority is 
held from God. At the same time, he upholds the duty of obedience 
to the civil power in all cases. He strikes at the feudal position of 
the Church by showing that the spiritual office is a minister ium, and not 
a dominium, and by declaring that kings may lawfully confiscate the 
temporal wealth of churchmen who abuse its possession. Wyclif had 
excited the wrath of the orthodox churchmen of the day by publicly 
teaching in the theological school at Oxford that the Church of Rome 
was not the head of Christian churches, and that no more power was 
given by Christ to St. Peter than to any other apostle. He also 
taught that the Gospel is sufficient as a rule of life for any Christian, 
and that nothing of perfection can be added thereto by any rules laid 
down for the use of religious orders. 

It was the reformer's attack on the temporalities of the Church that 
Wyclif, brought him into alliance with John of Gaunt. The Duke 
John of of Lancaster was the leader of the baronial party that was 
and tne jealous of the political power of the bishops in the Council, 
bishops. anc | ea g er rob the Church of some part of her vast wealth. 
When Wyclif startled the prelates by the boldness of his utterances in 
speech and writing, and enraged the monks by his attacks upon their 
lives of affluence, luxury, and ease, both parties joined in assailing him. 
The bishops also sought to strike through him at his patron, John of 
Gaunt. In February 1377, while the old king was yet alive, Wyclif 
was summoned before Courtenay, Bishop of London, to answer for his 
heretical declarations as to the rights of the civil nower over the 
Church possessions. The cathedral was densely crowded when the 
accused man made his way to the Consistory Court of St. Paul's, 
having at his side the Duke of Lancaster, Lord Percy the Earl- 
Marshal, and other powerful nobles. The matter came then to a 
speedy and turbulent end. High words arose between the Bishop 
and the Duke, who is said to have threatened Courtenay with personal 
violence, and a tumult arose among the' people, who hated John of 
Gaunt for his supposed designs on the crown at his father's death, 
and were indignant at the insults offered to their bishop. In. the 
following May, Pope Gregory XL issued three bulls, addressed to the 
chancellor and University of Oxford, to Simon of Sudbury, Archbishop 
of Canterbury, and to the Bishop of London, commanding them to take 
proceedings against Wyclif, In the following month, Edward HI. died, 


and in the end this attack also proved abortive. At the close of the 
year, the reformer appeared before the Archbishop at Lambeth, but 
the fierce attitude of the people, and a strong hint from the court- 
party not to meddle with Wyclif, brought the session to a sudden 

The political career of Wyclif came to an end through the great 
rising of the peasants in 1381. Fear of the people caused a wyclif 
reaction, in which the nobles, lately so hostile to the Church, as a 
were banded with the Church against the popular cause and i?|al 
all who were held to be its partisans. He had long been reforn ier. 
sending through the country the men known as his " poor preachers," 
or " poor priests," to do the work once undertaken and well discharged 
by the begging friars. The party hostile to all reform declared that 
these men were sowers of sedition,- and part of the odium fell upon 
Wyclif. He was himself a man. of the people by birth, and in dress 
and daily habit of life he was what the founders of the friars had 
been, and what the friars had ceased to be. His true and final 
position as a Protestant theologian is manifested by his two most 
important acts as a divine the translation of the Bible into English, 
and the denial of the doctrine of transubstantiation. By the former, 
as an opponent declared, Wyclif " made the Gospel a common thing, 
and more open to laymen and women who could read than it was wont 
to be to clerks of moderate learning." By the latter, he struck a blow 
at the fabric of priestly power. Just as all the mediaeval world, in its 
social and political relations, hung upon the belief in natural distinctions 
of rank, so did the mediaeval Church depend, for its control over the 
minds and hearts of mankind, upon her claim to interpret Scripture, 
and to work a miracle in the service of the mass. This great literary 
work of translation, which, along with his English tracts, has justly 
given to its author the title of "Father of English prose/' was soon 
in great request, and copies were swiftly multiplied. The people 
seemed to be of Wyclif's own opinion, as put forth in his preface, that 
" Christian men and women, old and young, should study fast in the 
New Testament, and that no simple man of wit, no man of small 
knowledge, should be afraid immeasurably to study in the text of Holy 
Writ." It was in 1380 that his translation of the Bible appeared, and 
in 1381 he openly delivered, in the divinity school at Oxford, certain 
Conclusions, in which he affirmed "that the consecrated host which 
we see upon the altar is neither Christ, nor any part of him, but an 
effectual sign of him." Being suspended from office as teacher of 
divinity, by a decree of twelve doctors, who were chiefly members of 
monastic orders, Wyclif appealed to the king in Parliament. The 
matter ended with his condemnation as a heretic in 1382, through the 
action of Courtenay, who had now become Archbishop of Canterbury. 
Great disturbances took place at Oxford, where the reformer had 
numerous followers among the students, but at last royal authority 

260 DEATH OF WYCLIF. [1384 A.I>. 

intervened with an order for the banishment from the University of 
all his supporters, and the burning of all Lollard books. A synod 
held at the house of the Black Friars in London declared that it was 
heresy to affirm that the material substance of bread and wine remain 
after consecration in the sacrament of the altar. Thus, for the first 
time, the Church of England formally adopted the doctrine of transub- 
stantiation, which, though generally received, had hitherto rested only 
upon the Papal authority. 

The great reformer, driven from his beloved Oxford, where free 
Wyclifs opinion was being crushed by Courtenay, and abandoned by 
aiSun- John of Gaunt and by the more timorous of his own disciples, 
fluence. retired to his rectory at Lutterworth to die. Before the end 
came, he completed and revised his translation of the Scriptures, and 
sent forth pamphlet after pamphlet, in which he maintained his view 
as to the Eucharist, and declared that the cause of men's falling into 
this heresy (the doctrine of transubstantiation) was their want of faith 
in the Gospel, and their taking, in its place, apocryphal legends and 
the laws of Popes. This, he says, is the worst of all unfaithfulness, 
and "the most direct apostasy from our true father abbot, the Lord 
Jesus." A stroke of paralysis gave him cause to decline appearing 
at Rome, on the summons of Urban VI., to defend himself from the 
heresies laid to his charge. He was assisting at the celebration of the 
holy communion in his church at Lutterworth on Innocents' Day, 
December 28, 1384, when he was laid low by a second stroke, and 
died on the last day of the year. The influence of his doctrines was 
felt even in the distant kingdom of Bohemia, whither they were carried 
by some natives of that country, who came into England with the first 
queen of Richard II. In 1408, Archbishop Arundel, the successor of 
Courtenay, condemned all Wyclifs writings in a synod held at Oxford, 
and it was then made " heresy " to possess any version of the Bible not 
authorised by the Church. Two years later, the University passed the 
same sentence, and committed copies of his books to the flames. 
Arundel's zeal for the cause of orthodoxy next induced him. to apply to 
the Pope for permission to burn Wyclifs bones, but, for once, Rome was 
more merciful, and less foolish, than Canterbury, and a refusal of this 
request was accorded. The Council of Constance, in 1415, issued a 
decree for the act of posthumous vengeance, and Pope Martin Y. sent 
an order into England for its execution. At last, in 1428, nearly forty- 
four years after the great offender's death, his mouldering remains were 
taken up and committed to the flames by Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, 
who had in early life favoured his doctrines. The ashes were thrown 
into the little river Swift, which flows by Lutterworth, and is a 
tributary of Shakespeare's Avon. In the words of Thomas Fuller, 
" This brook conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn 
into the narrow seas, they into the wide ocean ; and thus the ashes of 
Wyclif are the emblem of his doctrine, which is now dispersed all the 

1377-1381 A.D.] RICHARD II, 261 

world over." As Milman says, " He was the first that shook with any 
lasting effect the dominion of the hierarchy; the harbinger at least, 
if not the first apostle, of Teutonic Christianity." This great man 
illustrates a brief period of free national life, and we may search the 
history of England without finding, in her ecclesiastical affairs, any 
character so complete and original, any intellectual force so vigorous, 
vivid, and versatile, as the intellect and the character of the old Master 
of Balliol and Rector of Lutterworth. 

The accession of the boy-king, Richard II., was celebrated with much 
splendour. On June 22, 1377, the day after the death of insurrec- 
his grandfather, he made his entry into London, amidst jJheVe^s- 
pageants and devices in every street, and conduits running ants, 1381. 
with wine. On July i6th he was crowned at Westminster with un- 
usual magnificence, and the beautiful son of the people's idol, the 
lamented Black Prince, was welcomed to the throne amid a chorus of 
praises of his goodness and wisdom, which were to be sorely belied in 
the coming time. The reign opened with trouble and ill-success in 
foreign affairs. France and Spain were active in hostilities, and the 
Scots, in 1378, burnt Roxburgh and captured Berwick. The Duke of 
Lancaster failed in an attack upon St. Malo, to the relief of which the 
brave and vigilant Du Guesclin came with a large army, compelling the 
English to retire to their ships. The cost of our failures was heavy, 
and taxation caused great discontent. In addition to heavy duties on 
wool and leather, a capitation-tax was granted by the House of Com- 
mons in 1379. This, in principle, was an income-tax, affecting every 
householder, from the Duke, assessed at 6, 135. 4^., equivalent to 
more than a hundred pounds of present money, to the labourer, who 
was called upon to pay fourpence for himself and his wife. In 1380, the 
charges of a fruitless expedition to Brittany caused the imposition of 
the famous poll-tax, which proved the last straw to the endurance of 
the suffering peasantry. It was a levy of " three groats from every 
person in the kingdom, male or female, of the age of fifteen, of what 
state and condition soever, except beggars." This tax was as a match 
applied to a mine in which explosive materials had long been accu- 
mulating. We have seen that the system of serfdom or villenage 
was tottering to its fall, and that the great class of labourers, and 
small cultivators as tenants and yeomen, were finding out that they 
had rights to maintain. The immediate cause of the worst outbreak 
was an incident that occurred at Dartford, in Kent. A man named 
Wat the Tyler, from his trade, was visited by a collector of the poll- 
tax, who grossly insulted his daughter in a dispute as to her age, 
when it was claimed that she was liable for the tax. The enraged 
father laid the ruffian dead with a blow. The whole rural population 
of the county at once flew to arms. The men of Essex had already 
used violence to the tax-gatherers, and the same spirit of revolt 
existed in Norfolk and Suffolk. Sussex, Surrey, Hertfordshire, and 


Cambridgeshire, and even men from distant Somerset, swelled the 
ranks of the insurrection. Wat the Tyler put himself at the head 
of the men of Kent, after calling to his side the itinerant preacher, 
John Ball, who had been excommunicated for preaching "errors, and 
schisms, and scandals against the Pope, the archbishops, bishops, and 
clergy." To him is assigned the authorship of the famous couplet 
which runs in modern spelling, "When Adam delved and Eve span, 
Who was then the gentleman 1 " Without waiting for any answer to 
this inquiry, the insurgents proceeded forthwith to exterminate the 
" gentlemen " and their goods. Another priest, who assumed the name 
of Jack Straw, was connected with the revolt in Essex. The doctrine 
of Wyclif, that the clergy ought not to hold property, seems to have 
become perverted by the ignorant, or by designing men who misled 
them, into a theory that all property was unlawful. It seems, from 
the simultaneous outbreak in counties far removed from each other, 
that the insurrection had been carefully planned. The revolt extended 
from the coast of Kent to the Humber, and was organised by letters 
sent about the country, bearing the signatures of Jack the Miller, Jack 
the Carter, Jack Trueman, and other assumed names. It is to be 
noted that, in the rising of Hertfordshire, the slaves on the lands of 
St. Alban's and other abbeys flocked to join the revolt, and to demand 
their freedom from the monks. 

The men of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, under Tyler and Ball, marched 
The in- on London, assembling on Blackheath in June to the number, 
in r Lon- tS ^ * s >sa ^> ^ a nnn clred thousand. One feature of the out- 
don, break was the destruction of legal documents, in the hope of 
removing all records that could be used in support of feudal claims for 
the bondage or services of the labouring class. The hostility shown to 
the clergy was probably based on the fact of their being keepers of such 
documents as maintained the disabilities of the people, and it was in his 
secular character as Chancellor, rather than as Archbishop, that Simon 
of Sudbury fell a victim. As the great host neared London, the king, 
with the members of his council, took refuge in the Tower. The young 
monarch, now in his sixteenth year, showed at this crisis the courage 
of his race. He had left Windsor to meet the danger, and descended 
the river in his barge on June i2th. On passing London Bridge, he 
was met with loud cries from the insurgents on the Rotherhithe bank. 
On that night, Southwark and Lambeth saw the demolition of the 
houses of the Marshalsea and of the King's Bench, and the sack of the 
palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the following morning 
the rebels crossed London Bridge into the city. An especial hatred 
was felt towards John of Gaunt, and, along with the destruction of 
Newgate and the buildings of the Temple, they burnt the Duke's palace 
of the Savoy. With the usual prejudice against foreigners, they 
butchered the Flemish artisans, wherever they were found. Separate 
bodies of the men of Essex and of Hertfordshire had also come down 


on the capital from the north and from the east. During the fearful 
outrages of June 13th, the king remained in the Tower, hut on the 
next day, when Tower Hill was filled with the multitude, a proclamation 
was made by a herald that the king would meet them at Mile End, on 
the Essex road. He there had conference with the men of Essex and 
some of the Kent insurgents, and received the petition which they had 
drawn up. Their demands included the abolition of slavery, the re- 
duction of the rent of land to fourpence (from four to five shillings) 
an acre, liberty to buy and sell, without tax or impost, at all markets 
and fairs, and a general pardon for offences lately committed. The 
claim as to markets and fairs was an assertion of the freedom of trade, 
which was greatly hampered by the charters of towns, and by the tolls 
which the lay and ecclesiastical lords exacted in every city and borough. 
As there was no means of resistance at hand, these demands were 
agreed to by the king, and the remaining hours of the day, and all 
the succeeding night, were employed by many clerks in drawing up 
charters, in the sense of the petition, for every parish and township. 
They were then sealed, and the main body of the insurgents from 
Essex and Hertfordshire then retired towards their homes. Meanwhile, 
the Kentish rebels had continued a course of outrage in the city. The 
Tower-gates were forced, and Simon of Sudbury, Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, Sir Robert Hales, the treasurer, and other persons of high 
position, were seized and beheaded. On June iyth came the famous 
meeting in Smithfield between Tyler, heading his followers, and the 
king, attended by a small retinue. The rebel leader was flushed with 
success, and his tone and demeanour provoked the Lord Mayor, Sir 
William Walworth, to draw his sword and strike him. The insurgents 
bent their bows when their leader fell, and a massacre was imminent, 
when Richard rode up to the angry multitude, and offered himself as 
their leader in place of Tyler, who had now been dispatched by the 
swords of the attendants. This courageous conduct induced them to 
follow him out to the fields about the rural village of Islington. A 
force of veteran troops and of armed citizens of London had by this 
time gathered, but the king forbade them to attack the insurgents, 
whom he dismissed to their homes with the same charters of freedom 
as had been granted to their fellows from Essex and Hertfordshire, 
In the eastern counties the movement was put down by Henry Spenser, 
known as "the fighting Bishop of Norwich." This man is a represen- 
tative of the martial churchman of mediaeval times, alluded to by 
Shakespeare when he writes of Hotspur leading "ancient lords and 
reverend bishops on To bloody battles and to bruising arms." He 
soon afterwards levied troops, and led what was called a crusade against 
the French and Flemings, to assert the cause of Urban VI. against his 
French rival, Clement. After a series of actions and sieges at Grave- 
lines, Dunkirk, and other towns in the Low Countries, he returned 
with the reputation of great personal courage. 


On the retirement of the insurgents from London, the rebels in 
End of other counties either laid down their arms and dispersed 
the to their homes, or were put down by force. The king then 

revolt. summoned the nobles and gentry, with their retainers, to his 
standard, and took the field with a powerful army. The charters 
were revoked, and the terrors of the law were let loose on the unhappy 
peasantry. John Ball and many others were executed after trial by the 
judges on circuit, but, in many parts of the country, the insurrection 
was suppressed by means as violent and illegal as the outbreak. This 
is proved by the fact that a statute of indemnity was passed in Parlia- 
ment, for the benefit of those who " made divers punishments upon 
the said villains and other traitors, without due process of the law." 
The Parliament refused the king's request that they would pass a law 
for the formal abolition of villenage or serfdom, but the institution 
had, none the less, received its death-blow, and, when the reaction 
caused by terror had subsided, the general movement towards personal 
freedom for Englishmen went on in its appointed course. 

We have seen that, by the Statute of Pro visors, a legislative resist- 
Anti- ance had been made under Edward III. to the Pope's claim 
Fe^nsla- ^ *ke right f appointment to benefices in England. Under 
tion. Richard II., in 1380, it was declared by Parliament that the 

statutes in this regard were not effectual, and that "benefices have 
been given, against the will of the founders, to divers people of an- 
other language." This protest against the appointment of Italians 
and other foreigners to English livings complained that such persons 
were non-resident, and were so unable "to hear confession, to preach, 
and to teach the people." It was therefore provided that none should 
farm benefices for such aliens, nor remit them money, or merchandise, 
or letters of exchange, without license of the king. A few years 
later, the court of Rome came to an open rupture with England upon 
this question. In 1390, a statute was passed, declaring that if any 
one brought into the realm any summons, sentence, or excommunica- 
tion arising out of the statute of 1380, he should be punished with 
" pain of life " and forfeiture of goods. In 1391, the Act of Edward I.'s 
reign against giving lands in mortmain was renewed and enlarged. 
The Pope, Boniface IX., set at defiance the statute of 1390, and 
appointed an Italian cardinal to a prebendal stall at Wells, to which 
the king had previously presented. A suit was instituted in England, 
in which judgment was given for the king. The bishops supported 
the decision of the king's court, and executed judgment accordingly. 
The Pope excommunicated the bishops. Then the Commons of Eng- 
land spoke out. They declared that the things so attempted by the 
Pope were ''clearly against the king's crown and his regality," and 
avowed their determination " to stand with our lord the king in the 
cases aforesaid, and in all other cases attempted against him, in all 
points, to live and to die.'' The House then desired the king to 

1386 A.D.] HOME AFFAIRS. 265 

seek the opinion of the Lords. The Lords temporal declared that 
they would support the crown. The Lords spiritual followed suit, and 
declared that they would " loyally uphold his crown, and in all other 
cases touching his crown and his regality, as they were bound by 
their allegiance." Then came the famous Statute of Praemunire, which 
was, in fact, an assertion of what is now called the " royal supremacy," 
commonly thought to have been first introduced at the Reformation. 
This great Act of Parliament was passed in 1392. The name is given 
from the opening words of the writ issued against the offender guilty 
of a contempt against the sovereign and government praemunire 
facias A. J3. etc. (cause A. B. to be forewarned that lie appear before 
us, etc.). Then the word praemunire was used to denote the offence of 
maintaining the Papal power, by paying that obedience to any order or 
process of the court of Rome which belongs to the king alone. The 
statute declares that "whoever procures at Rome, or elsewhere, any 
translations, processes, excommunications, bulls, instruments, or other 
things, which touch the king, against him, his crown, and realm, and 
all persons aiding therein, shall be put out of the king's protection, 
their lands and goods forfeited to the king's use, and they shall be 
attached by their bodies to answer to the king and his council ; or 
process of praemunire facias shall be made out against them, as in any 
other case of provisors." 

The internal history of the first half of the reign is much concerned 
with intrigues, family quarrels, and open variance, ending in Home 
civil war, caused by the efforts of Richard to cope with the affairs, 
authority assumed by his uncles John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, 
and Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester. The king called to 
his aid various ministers and favourites, including Michael de la Pole, 
the chancellor, a man of low origin, who was created Earl of Suffolk, 
and the dissolute Robert de Yere, Earl of Oxford. John of Gaunt was 
again and again accused of conspiracy to dethrone his nephew, but no 
proofs were forthcoming, and in 1386 he left England to assert his 
claim to the crown of Castile, in right of his second wife, Constantia, 
daughter of Peter the Cruel. His eldest daughter by his first wife 
married John, king of Portugal. His daughter Catharine, who had 
succeeded to her mother's claims, was wedded, in 1387, to Henry III. 
of Castile, and the issue of John of Gaunt thus bore rule in Spain for 
many generations. It would seem that the king was vainly impatient 
of parliamentary control, and it is certain that the' Commons, in parti- 
cular, persisted in asserting their rights. The king had married, in 
1382, the Princess Anne of Bohemia, a prudent and amiable lady, who 
restrained many of the impulses of his levity and fitful passions, but 
there was one thing which she could not check the unbounded extra- 
vagance of her husband's personal expenditure. In 1386, the Commons 
demanded that the state of his household should be yearly looked into, 
and amended at the discretion of certain high officials, but Richard 

260 INTERNAL TROUBLES, [1387-1389 A.D. 

rejected the proposal with disdain, and replied that he would not, at their 
instance, remove the meanest scullion in. his kitchen. They then im- 
peached the Earl of Suffolk for corruption, and forced the king to part 
with his services for the time. The Commons then went a step farther, 
and caused the king to appoint a Commission of Regency for one year, 
armed with very large powers. The Duke of Gloucester bore a leading 
part in this humiliating treatment of Richard, and it was bitterly 
remembered against him by his nephew, when the time came for 
revenge. In the summer of T387, the king made progresses in Cheshire 
and Yorkshire, and was well received by the people. In August, he 
held a council at Nottingham, which included De Yere, now created 
Duke of Ireland ; the Earl of Suffolk ; the Chief-Justice Tresilian ; and 
Sir Nicholas Brember, Lord Mayor of London. The king tried through 
them to induce the sheriffs of many counties only to return to the 
next Parliament such knights and burgesses as he should nominate, 
but this attempt failed, and he then fell back upon the judges. The 
Chief-Justice extorted from them an opinion that the Commission of 
Regency was illegal, and that those were traitors who had promoted 
its appointment. On November 10, Richard entered London, and was 
received with acclamations by the citizens, owing to the influence of 
the Lord Mayor. The Duke of Gloucester had been taking his measures, 
and advanced on the capital with a large army, supported by the Earls 
of Arundel and Nottingham, and by Henry of Bolingbroke, the future 
king, now Earl of Derby, son of John of Gaunt. On November 17, 
these nobles, called " lords appellants," accused of high treason before 
the king at Westminster the councillors who had taken part in the 
meeting at Nottingham. The Earl of Suffolk fled to France, but De 
Yere, under authority of royal letters, raised an army and took the 
field. His defeat at the battle of Radcot Bridge, on the upper Thames, 
near Lechlade, drove him away to Ireland, and left the king helpless. 
Tresilian, the Chief-Justice, and Sir Nicholas Brember, died on the 
scaffold as traitors. Other executions, banishments, and confiscations 
took place, under the authority of Parliament. 

In 1389 a sudden change came over the scene. At a council 
The kin ^eld i n May, the king suddenly asked his uncle Gloucester 
becomes "How old am I?" The reply was, "Your highness is in. 
master. y 0ur twenty-fourth year." Upon this, Richard declared his 
opinion that he was old enough to manage his own affairs. No re- 
sistance was made. Gloucester and his partisans retired from the 
council, and William of Wykeham became Chancellor. The Duke of 
Lancaster had returned from Spain, after selling his claim to the 
crown of Castile for a round sum, and both he and his son, Boling- 
broke, regained their influence under the king. In the Parliament of 
1390, the Chancellor declared the king to be of full age, and that he 
intended to govern his people in peace and quiet, to do justice to all 
men, and that clergy and laity should enjoy all their liberties. We 

1384-1388 A.D.] CHEVY CHASE. 267 

shall see that all these professions only masked the purpose of grasp- 
ing absolute power, or, if sincerely made at the time, the spirit which 
dictated them was overridden by the development of a proud and 
tyrannous disposition in the king's inconstant character. 

In 1384, a truce was concluded with France, in which Scotland was 
included by the French negotiators, but the Scots refused to Foreign 
desist from warfare, as the English, under the Earls of Nor- affairs, 
thumberland and Nottingham, had just made a destructive foray over 
the border, slaughtering and burning as far as Edinburgh. A body 
of knights from France arrived at this juncture, and marched with a 
large Scottish army into England. The lands of the two Earls were 
ravaged, and the Scots returned, driving before them a valuable booty 
of cattle and prisoners. In 1385, the French sent an expedition of 
a thousand horse and a thousand foot to Scotland, and a large sum 
in gold, with a thousand stand of arms and armour, to encourage 
another invasion. The English government, enraged by the news of 
this French assistance, raised a great and well-furnished force, with 
which the king marched northwards in person. Their numbers caused 
the immediate retreat of the invading Scots and Frenchmen, who 
moved aw^ay into Cumberland and Westmoreland, burning and plun- 
dering on every side. Richard advanced into Scotland, and took 
Edinburgh, finding no foe to oppose him, but was then forced to 
retreat from lack of supplies. The Duke of Lancaster advised him 
to return by way of Cumberland, and cut off, as he easily might, the 
Scots and Frenchmen. Then the favourite, De la Pole, interposed 
with a suggestion of treachery on the part of the Duke, and thus the 
chance was lost. Such was the cruel and senseless warfare, without 
any decisive result, waged for successive ages between the two neigh- 
bouring nations. One incident of the fitful struggle has acquired fame 
from its celebration in the ballad of " Chevy Chase." It arose out of 
the hereditary enmity between the English and Scottish feudal lords, 
the Percy and the Douglas. Lord Henry Percy, the young hero 
styled Hotspur, had been appointed to keep the frontier of Nor- 
thumberland. In the summer of 1388, the Scottish lords and knights 
planned a great foray, and a detachment of three hundred men-at-arms 
and two thousand footmen crossed the Tweed, under the command of 
Douglas, and made their way to the gates of Durham. As they 
returned laden with booty, they fell in with Percy and his men near 
Newcastle. A skirmish ensued, in which the leaders met as if at a 
tournament. Earl Douglas and Percy fought hand to hand, and the 
Scottish leader took Percy's pennon, which he boasted that he " would 
set 011 high on his castle of Dalkeith." Percy retorted that he should 
not carry it out of England. The Scots then marched to Otterburn, 
thirty miles from Newcastle, on the way to the Cheviots, and there 
awaited the English attack. The marshy valley, and the hill where 
the Scots fixed their camp, may still be traced. Harry Percy came on 

268 MISRULE OF RICHARD II. [1394-1397 A.D. 

to the attack, with the moon shining as bright as day, in hope of 
winning back his pennon. A fierce engagement ensued, in which the 
English were routed, and Percy taken prisoner, while the gallant 
Douglas lay dead on the field. After the battle, the Bishop of Durham, 
another warlike churchman of the age, came up with a large force, but 
did not venture to attack the Scottish position. For the rest of the 
rei^n, successive truces kept peace, in the main, between the two 
countries. In 1394, Richard went to Ireland with a great army, and 
remained there nine months. There had been revolt of the native 
chiefs, and disaffection among the colonists, but the king's presence 
and display of power pacified all for the time. He was thoroughly in 
his element, while he gave sumptuous entertainments at Dublin, and 
showed his regal magnificence to a wondering people. 

In the same year, Richard lost by death the guiding influence of his 
Kichard queen, called by the people " the good queen Anne." From 
**' >S v'and that time, his course was a downward path to destruction, 
downfall. In 1396, the king sought to confirm the existing terms of 
truce with France by marriage with Isabella, daughter of Charles VI., 
a child but eight years of age. The Duke of Lancaster favoured the 
alliance, but Gloucester, always openly or secretly hostile to his nephew, 
made use of it to resume his intrigues, and stir up feeling against a 
king who showed friendship to the old enemy of the nation. It is 
said that the Count de St. Pol, a French envoy to England at this 
time, encouraged Richard to take a bold course against his enemies, and 
promised the help of the king of France. Since 1389, the English 
monarch had acted with moderation, and remained on good terms with 
Parliament, but now, from whatever cause, he aimed at, and, for a 
time, achieved the possession of absolute power. In February 1397, 
the House of Commons again made a remonstrance as to the extra- 
vagant expenses of the king's household. Cowed by Richard's wrath at 
their daring interference, they passed a bill to the effect that " whoever 
moved the Commons of Parliament, or any others, to make remedy or 
reformation of any kind appertaining to the king's person, rule, or 
royalty, should be held for a traitor." The king soon turned on his 
enemies among the nobles with the ferocious suddenness of a cmip 
d'etat. In July, the Earls of Warwick and Arundel were arrested and 
put into ward at Tintageland Carisbrook castles. The Duke of Glou- 
cester was seized at his castle of Pleshey, in Essex, hurried to a barge in 
the Thames, and then shipped off to a prison at Calais. On September 
lyth, Richard met his now subservient Parliament, which seems to 
have been packed with members who would vote anything that might 
be demanded. Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, brother of the Earl 
of Arundel, was impeached by the Commons for treason, and banished 
for life. His brother the Earl was beheaded, and Warwick was con- 
demned, but his life was spared. On the 24th, news came from Calais 
that the Duke of Gloucester had died in prison, and Lancastrian par- 

1398-9 A.D.] MISRULE OF RICHARD II. :_><;!) 

tisans affirmed in the next reign that he was murdered there by the 
king's orders. In all these proceedings, the king's uncles, the Dukes 
of Lancaster and York, and his cousin Bolingbroke, were concurrent, 
either from a prudent fear or from choice. In 1398, a statute was 
made, which is really a solemn record of the establishment of a despotic 
power, under the sanction of parliamentary forms. The proceedings 
of 1387 in Parliament were annulled, as things done traitorously and 
against the king's crown and dignity. It was declared that only such 
business could be done in Parliament as the king approved, and that 
impeachment of the king's officers was treasonable. A subsidy for life 
was then granted in the shape of a tax upon wool and leather. Lastly, 
the Lords and Commons handed over their powers to a small junto of 
peers and commoners nominated by the king, who were to legislate 
upon " all petitions, and matters contained in the same, as they shall 
think best by their good advice and discretion." Thus armed with a 
tyrant's power, the doomed king used it like a tyrant. " He kept in 
his wages," says Froissart, "ten thousand archers, night and day that 
waited on him," and "there was none so great in England that durst 
speak against anything that the king did or would do." A quarrel 
arose between the Duke of Norfolk and Bolingbroke, who had now 
become Duke of Hereford. Each accused the other of treason, and the 
king professed to allow them both to try the matter by "wager of 
battle" in the lists at Coventry, in September 1398. When the dny 
came, Richard flung down his warder and stayed the matter, as the 
two champions were about to charge, and then banished the disputants, 
Hereford for ten years, and Norfolk for life. Three months later, 
John of Gaunt died, and Hereford became Duke of Lancaster. He was 
much loved by the people, and the king acted with insane folly when 
he confiscated all his estates. He had now made a deadly foe of his 
most powerful subject, who might also be an able leader of other dis- 
affected persons. In truth, the proceedings of Richard IT. had raised 
up for him enemies in every quarter. Though an amnesty for all 
offences had been granted, he robbed rich subjects by heavy fines for 
imputed offences in connection with the brief rebellion in 1387, and 
extorted money, on the same grounds, from several counties. The 
course of justice was interrupted, and the whole people groaned under 
a misgovernment which allowed robbers in great companies to roam 
through the land, despoiling merchants of their goods, travellers of 
their purses, and cultivators of the produce of their fields. In 1399, 
Richard suddenly resolved on another visit to Ireland, to avenge the 
loss of the Earl of March, who had been surprised and slain by a party 
of the lawless natives. He left as regent his uncle, the Duke of York, 
and parted with his child-wife Isabella at the door of St. George's 
Chapel, Windsor, where they had been to hear mass. Lifting her up 
in his arms, and kissing her, the king cried, "Adieu, madam, adieu till 
we meet again." His absence left the way open for the action of his 


greatest enemy. The banished Archbishop Arundel journeyed from 
Cologne to Paris, where Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, was then 
residing at the French court. On July 4th, they landed at Ravenspur, 
in Yorkshire, with a small party of men-at-arms. Richard is astounded, 
amid a life of plenty and splendour at Dublin, by news that Henry of 
Lancaster is in England, that the Percies and other great nobles have 
joined him, that the regent, the Duke of York, has given a forced 
adhesion to the rebel, and that the whole kingdom is at Lancaster's 
feet in willing submission. The king landed on the Welsh coast, and, 
after helpless wanderings, surrendered to the Earl of Northumberland 
near Flint Castle, The Duke of Lancaster arrived next day with a 
great force, and carried the king a prisoner to London. On September 
29th, Richard subscribed a deed of resignation of the crown, in which 
he absolved his subjects from their allegiance, and recommended his 
"cousin of Lancaster" as his successor. On the next day, the Parlia- 
ment, gathered in Westminster Hall, passed an Act of deposition, and 
the Duke of Lancaster came forward, and claimed the throne on the 
ground of his descent from Henry the Third, and of his having been 
sent, " by God of his grace," to save a realm on the point of being 
undone by evil ruling. He was then led by the two archbishops to the 
royal chair of state, and his claim was solemnly recognised by Parliament, 
The nearest heir was Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, a child in his 
seventh year, son of Roger Mortimer, lately killed in Ireland. In thus 
choosing a successor of the royal line, but not the next heir, according 
to the rules of descent for ordinary estates, the Lords and Commons 
were wielding the powers employed of old by the Witan, \ The de- 
position of Richard II, was, in truth, a national act. The king, who 
had misgoverned the country, and taken to himself arbitrary power, 
was treated as a public delinquent, and the general good was set forth 
as the ultimate end of all government.! The revolution of 1399, which 
placed Henry IY. on the throne, wasTne result of a general agreement 
of various orders of society, having a common interest in the main- 
tenance of freedom. It is a striking proof of the growth of public 
opinion, the power of which saved England from the despotism that, in 
other countries, grew out of the mediaeval institutions. It was given 
to this nation gradually to modify the spirit of their ancient consti- 
tution without destroying it. At the very time when the Commons of 
England would permit no tax to be levied without consent of the 
people, the nobility of France had suffered the crown to impose taxes 
at its will, provided they themselves were exempt. From that time, 
the paths of the two nations diverged. The one advanced towards its 
saving Revolution of 1688, and the other moved on, with inevitable 
progress, slow but sure, towards the violent disruption and dissolution 
of 1789. 

It was decided by the new king and the peers that the deposed 
monarch should be kept imprisoned " in safe and secret ward." Nothing 

1400 A.D.] DEATH OK RICHARD II. -ill 

more is known of his fate than that in February 1400, it was stated 
that he had died in Pontefract Castle. A body was conveyed Richard's 
thence to London, and shown as his at St. Paul's, where death, 
the funeral obsequies were performed in the presence of Henry IV. 
The corpse was then interred at King's Langley, and afterwards 
removed to Westminster Abbey, by order of Henry V. It is likely 
that Richard was put to death, as alleged, at Pontefract, and beyond 
that nothing can be safely affirmed, from the lack of all trustworthy 

During the first twelve years of the reign of Richard II. there was 
a constant growth of the power of the House of Commons. p a rlia- 
The great constitutional principles of our government were ment 
strikingly shown in their practical effect. The power of the Richard 
Commons was more signally displayed than at any previous IL 
period, in demanding administrative reform as the condition of voting 
supplies; in the impeachment of those who were held to be evil ad- 
visers of the crown ; and in insisting that the public liberties, as laid 
down in charters and enactments, should not be infringed by the king. 
The powers thus asserted by the Commons fell, for a time, into partial 
abeyance under the last Plantagenet and the Tudor sovereigns, but 
this retrogression was of minor importance in a country where the 
champions of freedom made constant appeal to precedent, and de- 
manded that the rights won in the past should be made the basis for 
more changes in the way of constitutional reform. The three kings of 
the House of Lancaster, who owed their throne to a parliamentary 
title, saw further progress made in the power of the Commons, which 
will be duly noticed under the reign of the last of those rulers. 

John Gower, born about 1325 and dying in 1408, was the con- 
temporary and friend of Chaucer, who calls him " the moral 
Gower," from his grave and sententious style, even when he 
writes upon topics which might well be treated in a lively and 
manner. The French romances were the courtly reading Chaucer, 
before Chaucer and Gower came with their more attractive English. 
The demand for poetry and fiction is shown by an incident connected 
with Gower's chief work, the Confessio Amantis. Richard II., the 
luxurious king, is in his barge on the Thames, when he sees the poet 
in a boat, invites him to come on board, and there desires him to 
"book some new thing." Gower was a gentleman by birth, living in 
the pleasant land, now blooming with hop-vines, at the village of 
Otford, in Kent, where, in his time, the Archbishop of Canterbury 
had a favourite old seat. He was a man of learning, who wrote with 
ease in French and Latin, as well as in his native tongue. His best 
poem, the Vox Clamantis, is an allegorical account, in Latin elegiacs, 
of the peasant-revolt in 1381. Its object was that of setting men of 
culture to the task of diagnosing the diseases of the body politic. The 
vices of the higher clergy of the time are denounced their lives cf 

272 CHAUCER. [1359-1386 A.D. 

pride, wealth, and ease, and their utter contrast with their master^ 
Christ. He declares that the friar of the day obeys the devil's rule, 
and gives some plain advice to the boy-king Richard, setting before 
him the good example of his father, the Black Prince. The Papal 
claims to absolute power in things temporal and spiritual are also 
freely canvassed. The Confession of a Lover consists of seven sets of 
stories in verse, directed against the seven deadly sins pride, envy, 
anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony, and lust. In Geoffrey Chaucer, the 
"Father of English poetry," we have one of the great names of our 
noble literature, a born poet of high genius and invention, keen per- 
ception of human nature, dramatic power, and brilliant accomplish- 
ments as a writer. He was the son of a London vintner or wine 
merchant, but the date of his birth is unknown, and the authorities 
differ as widely as 1328 and 1340. Of his early training little is 
recorded. He seems to have held a post in the household of Prince 
Lionel of Antwerp, second son of Edward III. The poet himself and 
his work are specially connected with the friendship and patronage of 
John of Gaunt. In that age the influence of Italy over literary form 
was spreading through western Europe in the works of her great 
writers Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. The stanza of Chaucer was 
based on the octave rhyme of this last brilliant author, and the Italian 
prose of The Decameron, in its hundred stories of adventure and 
character, suggested the design of the immortal Canterbury Tales. 
Chaucer's earlier work was framed on French models in the shape of 
court-poetry, but in the middle of his career the power of the great 
Italian writers asserted itself in the development of the more matured 
productions of the Englishman. The varied life and experience of 
Chaucer gave him opportunities of insight into men and affairs which 
his ability turned to great advantage in his literary work. He was 
a courtier, a soldier, an envoy, a high official in the customs, and a 
member of the House of Commons. In 1359, he sailed for France in 
the great army of Edward III., and was taken prisoner, but released on 
ransom in 1360, when the Peace of Bretigny was signed. In 1366, 
he appears in a list of the king's esquires; in 1370, he was again 
abroad on the king's service, arid in 1372 he was one of the com- 
missioners who went to Genoa for the purpose of making a commercial 
treaty with the great Italian republic. On his return, after two years 
of work, travel, and observation, he was appointed, through the kindly 
offices of John of Gaunt, to the post of Comptroller of the Customs for 
wool and hides in the port of London. The revenue of this office, 
along with a court-pension, grants from the Duke of Lancaster, and the 
guardianship of a wealthy crown- ward, made the poet a wealthy man. 
In 1376 and the following year, he was twice employed by the king on 
secret service, and reached his highest position as a citizen in 1386, 
when he sat in Parliament as one of the members for Kent. He 
was now known throughout the land, and that not merely as the 

1386 A.D.] CHAUCER. 273 

courtier - poet who wrote The Court of Love, The Assembly of 
Foules (or Parliament of Birds], and the Book of the Duchess, 
lamenting the death of Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt, whom 
he celebrates as a model of womanly grace and of wedded love. 
His Troilus and Oressida had shown a great power of character- 
painting, and a new freedom of expression, derived from the close study 
of the Italian masters of poetry and prose. The House of Fame was a 
brilliant effort of imaginative power, and The Legend of Good Women 
showed the high esteem for womanly truth and purity felt by the poet, 
who declares that, of all the flowers that bloom, he loves, and ever will, 
the Daisy best. The Canterbury Tales is a great unfinished work, on 
which the poet was employed, at intervals, for many years of his life. 
Herein the wise, shrewd, and humorous author, with the forked beard, 
face of kindly cunning, portly frame, and genial ways albeit silent 
and devoted to his books displayed a power of insight into human 
character, and a knowledge of the human heart, which have been 
surpassed, in all our literature, by one man alone, and that the greatest 
writer of the world. The joyous freedom of his song is full as pleasant 
to the modern reader as it can have been to those who hailed it with 
delight five hundred years ago. While the poetry of Chaucer reflects 
the manners of an age which was, for all but the lowest class of toilers, 
one of mirth, vivacity, and talk, it also sets before us, with amazing 
power, the divers characters of men and women, discriminated by 
countless subtle strokes of action and expression. The wide range of 
the poet's sympathies, the dramatic skill of his portraiture, and the 
lively style of his descriptions, charm the reader at every turn. Among 
the pilgrims from the Tabard Inn at Southwark to the shrine of St. 
Thomas at Canterbury, we have men and women of various ranks in 
English society, riding together in the hearty fellowship brought about 
by union in a religious undertaking which set aside, for the time, the 
usual distinctions of worldly position. The " ploughman " is really 
the small farmer, a man of "goods and chattels," no longer at the 
bidding of a feudal lord. The attendant on the knight is a yeoman, in 
"coat and hood of green," with his sheaf of arrows and mighty bow. 
He has on his breast a silver image of St. Christopher, the patron of 
field-sports, and is a specimen of the bold race that won Cr^cy and 
Poitiers. He and his fellows, in hours of leisure, were shooting at the 
butts on every common in England, while the French peasantry, de- 
barred from manly exercises, were playing at dice and draughts like 
their lords. The handicrafts of the time are represented by the 
haberdasher, carpenter, weaver, dyer, and tapiser, or maker of tapestry. 
Each is clothed in the livery of his craft-guild, and wears at his girdle 
a knife mounted with silver. They have chattels and rent enough to 
be aldermen, a dignity which their wives long for the husbands to 
attain, in the hope to be called Madame. The franklin is the esquire 
of the time, a great householder, whose hospitality was so lavish that 


274 CHAUCER. [1386 A. D. 

" it snewed in his house of meat and drink." He was a public man, 
as a knight of the shire, and only below the knight in rank. The 
sergeant-at-law is there, with impressive deportment and wise words ; 
and the physician, in bright purple cloak and furred hood, with talk of 
the ascendancy of the planets and of natural magic, but still learned 
in his master Galen. The wife of Bath, one of the liveliest of the 
group, was a cloth-maker, with great custom, wearing a head-dress of 
finest quality, and scarlet hosen. The fantastic men's dress of the day 
is shown in the young squire, the knight's son, who has been with his 
father to the wars, but now has his locks curled, and wears a short 
gown which has long, wide sleeves, and is embroidered with white and 
red flowers " as it were a mead." One of the finest portraits is that 
of " the poor parson of a town," " rich of holy thought and work," benign, 
patient, gentle to sinners, but sharp with the obstinate ill-doer ; a man 
who " taught the lore of Christ and his Apostles, but first he followed 
it himself." Six more of the company belong to the ecclesiastical estab- 
lishment a prioress, a monk, a friar, a " clerk " of Oxford, &sompnonr or 
summoner of delinquents to the Church-courts, and a pardoner, who 
dealt in pardons from the Pope. There are a " slender and choleric 
reeve, 7 ' employed by some lord as steward or bailiff ; a merchant, in his 
Flanders hat, " sounding alway the increase of his winning ; " and a ship- 
ma?i, or sailor, in a tunic of coarse cloth, with a dagger or short sword 
hung by a lace about his neck and under his arm. A cook, and a 
manciple, or provider of victuals for the Inns of Court, make mirth 
for the company by their quarrels and their jokes. A miller, big and 
bony, one who "could well steal corn;" mine host of the Tabard, 
Harry Bailly, a " right merry man ; " and the poet himself, whom the 
host describes as one of elvish face, who " looked upon the ground as 
he would find a hare," are the other chief persons of the motley array. 
We have our ancestors restored to us, not as phantoms from the field 
of battle or the scaffold, but in the full enjoyment of their social life. 
The man who drew them for our entertainment and instruction lies 
buried in the south aisle of the Abbey of Westminster, amid other 
illustrious dead, and was described in after-time by Spenser, who lies 
near him, as "That renowned Poet, Dan Chaucer, well of English 
undefyled, On Fame's eternal beadroll worthy to be fyled." 

1399-1401 A.D.] HENRY IV. 



Owen Glendower, the Percies, and the Scots. Battles of Homildon Hill and Shrews- 
bury. Other rebellions. The Lollards and Archbishop Arundel. Sawtrey, Badby, 
and other victims. Scottish affairs. The Regent Albany. Prince James of 
Scotland (James I. ) a prisoner in England. 

THE first king of the house of Lancaster was soon called on to defend 
by arms the throne which he had acquired by will of Parlia- Henrv 
ment, representing the nation. The young Earl of March IV., 1399- 
was in safe charge at Windsor Castle, but in less than three JSa r^- t3 
months from Henry's accession, a number of nobles resolved hellions, 
to attempt the restoration of Richard. The plot only hastened his 
death, and the king scarcely needed to raise an army against the 
plotters. The people took matters into their own hands. When the 
conspirators marched to the west, proclaiming " King Richard " on 
their way, the burghers of Cirencester attacked them in their quar- 
ters, and the Earls of Kent and Salisbury were taken and beheaded. 
The men of Bristol secured and dispatched Lords Lumley and Despenser. 
Richard's half-brother, the Earl of Huntingdon, was killed by the 
tenants at Pleshey, in Essex, and a few executions took place after 
sentence by the courts of law. These events occurred in January 
1400. The next trouble arose in Wales, where the late king had been 
much beloved. The people there had been moved to pity by his fall and 
death, and greatly angered by severe measures passed in Parliament 
against the whole nation, on account of certain marauders who had 
stolen cattle and robbed traders in adjacent English counties. No 
Welshman was to be allowed to purchase land in England, or to become 
a citizen or burgess in any English city or town. In 1401, another 
Parliament enacted that no Welshman should bear arms or defensive 
armour. The people rose at once, and found a leader in the famous 
Owen Glendower. This gentleman was a great-grandson of the last 
Prince Llewellyn, and had been an esquire in Richard II. 's household. 
Educated at one of the Inns of Court in London, he possessed an 
amount of knowledge which seemed portentous to his simple and 
unlettered countrymen, who regarded him as invested with magical 
powers. Some of his land had been seized by Lord Grey de Ruthyn, 
a neighbouring English baron, and when Glendower applied to Parlia- 
ment for redress, his petition was treated with contempt by the peers 
as that of a " barefooted rascal." He then took arms, seized Lord Grey, 
and wasted his barony. The spark of private feud blazed into a national 
revolt, and the songs of the Welsh bards were sounding again on the 
hills, as they hailed the new hero who was to restore the olden glory 

276 HENRY IV. [1399-1402 A.D. 

of the Britons. The Welsh students at Oxford and Cambridge hurried 
home in 1401 to aid the rebellion, and Welsh labourers employed in 
England escaped to join their countrymen. The English forces engaged 
against the insurgents were under the charge of Harry Percy (Hotspur), 
son of the Earl of Northumberland, and the nominal command of the 
king's eldest son, Henry of Monmouth, then in his fourteenth year. In 
1402, Sir Edmund Mortimer, uncle to the young Earl of March, went 
against Glendower, but was utterly defeated, and taken prisoner, in 
[Radnorshire. The king then took the field in person, but the expedi- 
tion entirely failed. It was the month of August, and, when the royal 
army was exposed to storms of rain, snow, and hail in that tempestuous 
summer, Glendower was alleged to have raised them by his wicked 
sorcery. It was strategy, helped by the season, and not sorcery, that 
baffled the English troops. Glendower carried on the war according 
to the traditions of his forefathers, and, offering no chance of an 
action in the open field, defied the enemy from his strongholds in the 

On all sides Henry IV. was surrounded with difficulty and danger, 
according to the maxim put into his mouth by the great 
king's dramatist, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." 
position, an( } Scotland refused him recognition as the sovereign 

of England, and declared that their truces were with Richard, and not 
with an usurper. Isabella, the child-widow of the late king, had been 
taken back to Calais with ceremony almost as splendid as that which 
attended her marriage five years before, but Henry, sorely needing 
money himself, declined to restore the dowry which she had brought 
with her to England. The French nobles and princes, regarding the 
deposition of Richard as the act of the English nation, cried out for a 
war of vengeance on a people so <; dangerous through its pride and 
insolence." But France was rendered helpless by the condition of her 
own affairs. Her king, Charles VI., father of the ex-queen Isabella, 
was more or less insane, and the Armagnac and Bourguignon civil war 
was raging between the factions of the Dukes of Orleans and Burgundy. 
Against Scotland the king's forces gained a marked success. After a 
useless invasion made by Henry in 1400, when the English army, 
according to precedent, dwindled away at last from lack of supplies, the 
Scots invaded England, under the command of Earl Douglas, in 1402. 
He made his way to Durham, as his father had done before the fatal 
fight of Otterburn, and was then marching back to Scotland with his 
booty, when he found his way barred by a large force under the Percies, 
the Earl of Northumberland, and his son " Hotspur." The spot called 
Homildon Hill lies about a mile north-west of Wooler, in Northumber- 
land, near the foot of the Cheviots. There the Scottish warriors, ten 
thousand of the best men in the land, took up their position for defence. 
The English advanced to the attack, and their archers alone won the 
day. The flight of their shafts was so terrible in its sustained swift- 


ness and strength that the enemy had no chance agaipst them. As 
they stood in their ranks on the hill-sides, they were shot down by 
hundreds, and, when they charged, the English bowmen retired a little, 
and renewed their deadly fire. No English men-at-arms drew a sword 
on that day of defeat for Scotland. Douglas was severely wounded, and 
taken prisoner, along with many nobles and knights, including the son 
and heir of the Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland. A total rout 
followed, and great numbers of the Scots were drowned in attempting 
to pass the Tweed. This victory was won on September i4th. 

Various reasons have been assigned for the discontent, ending in 
open revolt, displayed by Northumberland and his son Hot- 
spur. It is certain that they had incurred great expenses in of the 3 
resistance to the Scots, and that the king's government, un- jgattl^'f 
able to find money even to pay the troops in Wales, could Shrews- 
not at the time reimburse the northern lords. The true cause bury > 1403> 
was probably ambition, encouraged by the king's embarrassments, 
which prompted them to set up another ruler, possibly the young Earl 
of March, under whose nominal sway the Percies would be even greater 
men than they were. The plans of the rebels were laid with such 
secrecy that, while the king was marching northwards to join them in 
invading Scotland, Harry Percy was coming down on Wales, by Lanca- 
shire and Cheshire, proclaiming that Richard was alive. The Eurl of 
Northumberland was lying ill at Berwick, but Douglas and his followers, 
released by their captors, were in the army as Percy's allies against the 
English king. Glendower, who was in the plot, was advancing from 
Carmarthenshire to meet Percy and Douglas, and the issue of events 
depended on the hindrance of the junction. The king had reached 
Burton-upon-Trent before he knew of the revolt, and turned at once 
to the westward, entering Shrewsbury on the 2oth of July. The Prince 
of Wales had already joined him with his forces from the borders. 
The battle was fought on Hately Field, three miles east of Shrews- 
bury, on July 23rd. The armies each numbered about 14,000 men, 
and a most obstinate struggle, of three hours' duration, ensued. The 
king and his son, young Harry of Monmouth, fought with desperate 
valour for throne and life. The Northumbrian archers, still flushed 
with the brilliant success of Homildon Hill, now drew their bowstrings 
against their English brothers, and the king's men fell "like leaves in 
autumn on a night of frost." The Prince of Whales was shot in the 
face, but fought on in the thickest of the battle. Percy and Douglas 
charged home, but the royal troops rallied, and behaved with great 
courage. The king himself was struck down by Douglas, but he was 
raised by his attendants, and plunged again into the contest. At 
length Hotspur fell, pierced by an arrow in the brain, and a panic set 
in among the rebels. Douglas was taken prisoner, and few of the 
Scots escaped death. Nearly half of the forces engaged lay dead or 
wounded on the ground. The Earl of Worcester, brother of Northum- 

278 PLOTS AND REBELLIONS. [1405-1408 A.D. 

berland, and two other men of mark, were executed at Shrewsbury 
market-cross as traitors. The politic Henry pardoned Northumberland 
without inflicting even a fine. 

The troubles of the king and country were not ended by the 
Further great success at Shrewsbury. French descents harassed the 
rebellfoi? southern coasts, and France made a treaty with Glen dower 
1405-H08. ' as " Owen, Prince of Wales." The other " Prince of Wales " 
kept up the war against him with some success, and the king was 
about to join him with a large force in 1405, when a new revolt called 
him to the north. The restless Northumberland was again in the 
lield, and now in the plain interests of the young Earl of March, whom 
he sought to place on the throne. He was joined by the Earl of 
Nottingham, Lord Bardolf, and Scrope, Archbishop of York. Scrope 
and Nottingham were entrapped, under pretence of a conference, by 
the Earl of Westmoreland, and were then tried, condemned for treason, 
and executed. This was the first instance of an archbishop dying by 
sentence of the law. The Chief -Justice, Gascoigne, refused his sanc- 
tion, on the ground that the lay-courts had no jurisdiction over a 
prelate, and the Pope excommunicated all who were concerned in his 
death, but afterwards withdrew the sentence. Northumberland and 
Bardolf escaped to Scotland for the time, and invaded Northumberland 
in 1408. Sir Thomas Ilokeby, sheriff of Yorkshire, defeated them in 
battle at Bramham Moor, near Tadcaster. Northumberland died light- 
ing, and Bardolf, taken prisoner, succumbed to the wounds received in 
the action. This was the end of English attempts to get rid of the 
energetic, vigilant, and able Henry of Lancaster. The great Welshman, 
Owen Glendower, never yielded at all. Henry, the Prince of Wales, 
by the efforts of four campaigns, subdued the southern part of the 
land, but the bold chieftain was in arms amongst the hills of the 
Siiowdon group, making occasional raids against his enemies, until his 
death in the course of the next reign. 

The lovers of religious freedom have always looked askance at the 
Persecu- reign of the English king under whom was passed the first 
the* f ^ aw by which men were put to death for their religious 
Lollards, belief. It was a desire to conciliate the Church that led 
Henry 1Y. to approve and to execute this statute. He had come to 
the throne with the almost unanimous support of the hierarchy, his 
great upholder being Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury. The son 
of John of Gaunt, a strong supporter of Wyclif as an assailant of the 
corruptions of the Church, was now used by the primate as an instru- 
ment for the destruction of the Lollards. The activity of this half- 
religious, half-political party did not cease with the death of Wyclif. 
They were as restless and fanatical as the Puritans of a later age in 
our history, and alarmed the government, though not the Church, 
MS much by their meddling with public affairs as by their " heretical " 
views in matters that concerned the religion of the day. Some of 


the chief followers of Wyclif, such as Philip Repington, who after- 
wards rose to be Bishop of Lincoln and cardinal, and the learned 
and accomplished Nicholas Hereford, had recanted their opinions, 
either wholly or in part, under pressure from the bold and energetic 
Courtney. Nevertheless, the new opinions continued to spread amon** 
all classes, and a chronicler of the time, Knyghton, a canon of 
Leicester, complains that there you could not meet two persons in 
the street but one of them was a Lollard. Among the laity of high 
rank who favoured or openly adopted " Lollardry," were Montague, 
Earl of Salisbury, who died in the first revolt against Henry, Sir- 
Lewis Clifford, Sir Thomas Latimer, Sir William Neville, and others 
whose r mes denote the possession of the best blood in England. 
The death of Courtney in 1396 had raised to the primacy the im- 
perious Arundel, a great bigot of small learning. We have seen 
that he played a leading part in the usurpation of Henry IV., and 
he preached the coronation-sermon from the text "This man shall 
reign over my people," taking occasion thereby to contrast the manly 
virtues of Bolingbroke with the childish follies of the fallen Richard. 
The greatest danger to the Church lay in the gradual development 
of a belief in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, as the sole 
trustworthy source of religious truth. With this impalpable, but most 
real, peril to the traditional and established faith, it was impossible 
for persecution to cope. The seat of the malady could not be reached, 
but religious bigots, like other quacks, care only for the suppres- 
sion of symptoms, and to this work Arundel, with the full support of 
the king, addressed himself with the utmost zeal. In 1401, Parlia- 
ment passed the famous law De lieretico comburendo. It was directed 
against all who should preach, write, or teach against the faith of 
Holy Church, and all having in their possession books or writings of 
such wicked doctrines and opinions. Offenders were to be proceeded 
against by the bishop, and all persons who should refuse to abjure, 
or, after abjuration, fall into relapse, should be left to the secular 
court. The meaning of this was shown to be that the sheriff of a 
county, or mayor or bailiffs of a city or borough, should receive such 
persons after sentence, and cause them to be burnt before the people, 
" that such punishment may strike in fear to the minds of others." 
The first victim was William Sawtrey, a parish priest of St. Osyth's 
in London, and formerly rector of St. Margaret's Church at King's 
Lynn. He died by burning in February 1401, at the Smith field 
which was hereafter to witness so many like scenes. The prisons in 
the bishops' pnlaees, which had been hitherto simply places of con- 
finement for ecclesiastical offenders, were now often provided with 
instruments of torture. The Lollards' Tower at Lambeth Palace is a 
memorial of the times, retaining in one room the iron rings to which 
its prisoners were chained, and other signs of the captives whom it 
once immured. The Bishop of Lincoln, in his palace at Woburn, had 


a cell in his prison called Little-Ease, because it was so small that 
those who were confined in it could neither stand upright nor lie at 
length. The bishops, now armed, through the secular courts, with the 
power of life and death, could still, at their discretion, inflict fine, 
imprisonment, and other penalties. The persons who were convicted 
of heresy were often doomed to the old Church penalty for homicide, 
perpetual imprisonment within the walls of a monastery. Others 
were branded on the cheek with a hot iron, and, if they dared to 
hide the mark, they were liable to burning as relapsed heretics. 
Others, again, were condemned to wear the device of a faggot worked 
upon the sleeve of their clothing, in token of their narrow escape 
from burning. One result of the persecution was that the Lollards 
became less disposed to act the part of good subjects, and added to 
their "heretical" opinions more and more of political disaffection. 
Their friends in high places made a stir in their behalf. The Lords 
and Commons, as a body, were jealous of any extension of the power 
of the Church, and not a few were eager to share in Church plunder. 
A party in the House of Commons were known as "the Lollard 
members," and twice during the reign the House presented a petition 
to the king for the sequestration of all Church property. One part 
of the document is notable as containing the first proposal for a poor- 
law, in suggesting that every township " should keep all poor people 
of their own dwellers, which could not labour for their living." In 
1410, the Commons prayed the king that the statute against "here- 
tics " might be either repealed or mitigated. He replied that it was 
not severe enough, and at once signed a warrant for the burning of 
John Badby. This poor artisan of Evesham had been sent up to 
Archbishop Arundel by the Bishop of Worcester, for refusing to abjure 
the Lollard opinion as to the Eucharist. He was condemned to be 
burnt at Smith field. The Prince of Wales, as President of the 
Council, \vas there to witness the burning, and tried to persuade him 
to recant and save his life. The offer was stoutly refused, and Badby 
died as a martyr. Several more burnings took place during the reign, 
as is proved by a grant, in the first year of Henry V., of the restora- 
tion of forfeited property to the widows of four other victims of the 
statute De Heretico, who had suffered before his own accession to 
the throne. 

The Stewart line of kings had now ascended the Scottish throne. 
England ^ n ^ e death ^ David H. i n I 3?o> without leaving any issue, 
and Scot- he was succeeded by Robert Stewart, son of Walter the High 
land. Steward and Bobert Bruce's daughter, Marjory. Bobert II. 

died in 1390, two years after the battle of Otterburn, and was followed 
by his eldest son, John, who was crowned as Bobert III. He was a 
ruler infirm alike in body and character, and quite unable to control 
the turbulent nobles of his time. In 1398, Prince David, the king's 
son, created Duke of Bothesay, was made regent for three years, with 

1370-1424 A.D.] ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND. 281 

full powers to restrain and punish disorder, and the Earl of Fife, the 
king's brother, was made Duke of Albany, and appointed one of the 
council by whom the Regent was to be guided in administration. This 
is the first appearance of the ducal title in Scottish history. One of 
these first holders of the rank, the Duke of Albany, was a man of 
great and unscrupulous ambition. In 1402, he caused the king to 
imprison Rothesay in Falkland Palace, Fifeshire, where he soon after- 
wards died in a dungeon. The general belief of the time accused 
Albany c c causing the end of his nephew by starvation. The duke 
then became Regent. His way to the throne, on the king's death, was 
barred by the existence of Prince James, a lad of eleven. The king 
resolved to send him to France for safety, and he sailed from the Forth 
in March 1405. Many persons believed that the contrivance of Albany 
was seen in the fact of the vessel which bore the prince being taken 
by an English ship-of-war off Flamborough Head. The prisoner was 
taken to London, and put into the hands of Henry IV., who kept him 
in defiance of the truce existing between the two countries. He re- 
mained in honourable captivity for nineteen years. In 1406, when his 
father, Robert III., died of grief at the fate of his two sons, James 
was acknowledged in Scotland as king, with the title of James I., and 
Albany continued to govern as Regent. The young monarch was well 
treated by his English captors, apart from the fact of detention away 
from his country and his throne, and both he and his people were, in 
the end, the better for his mishap. The Scotland of that age was not 
a land distinguished by devotion to order, law, and culture. At the 
English court, under the rule both of Henry IV. and Henry V., the 
young James Stewart received an excellent training in all the learning 
and accomplishments of the time. He observed the practice of English 
politics and the working of English law. Under Henry V., he shared 
the society and learned the views and experience of the ablest statesmen 
both of England and France, and he was thus fitted to become in due 
season the able and enlightened ruler of his own people, lamented in 
his death, and enshrined with high and just eulogy in the records of 
his country. The year 1411 was marked by the defeat at the battle of 
Harlaw of a great host of Highland marauders, led by Donald, " Lord 
of the Isles," who was bringing the ravages of fire and sword to the 
south and east of the Grampians. The Scottish king, in his retirement 
at Windsor, saw and loved the Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of the 
Earl of Somerset, and niece of Henry IV. His poem in her honour, 
entitled The King's Quair (or, little book), is a charming production 
written in the style and stanza of Chaucer, and has given to its author . 
a niche in the history of our literature. James married the lady, was 
released on ransom, and crowned with his queen at Scone, in 1424. 

The health of the king had been declining for some time before the 
approach of the year 1413. Prince Henry, who enjoyed great public 
favour, is said to have aroused his father's jealousy, and to have been 

282 THE LOLLARDS. [1413 A.D. 

for that reason excluded from all public employment, but there is little 
D th f trustworthy evidence as to the relations existing between him 
Henry and the king. The first Lancastrian monarch died at West- 
IV., 1413. m i ns ter on March 20, 1413. Besides the Prince of Wales, 
he left three sons, also children of his first wife, Mary de Bohim. These 
were Thomas, Duke of Clarence ; John, Duke of Bedford ; and Hum- 
phrey, Duke of Gloucester. His second wife, Joan of Navarre, was 



The king and the Lollards. War with France. The English armament. Capture 
of Harfleur. The victory of Agincourt. The helpless state of France. Capture 
of Rouen. Treaty of Troves. The king's marriage and death. 

THE gallant, accomplished, and energetic Henry of Monuiouth came to 
Henry ^ ie throne ^ n n ^ s 2 5 tn year. In face, form, demeanour, and 
V. 1413- speech he was gifted with all that could charm his subjects, 
1422t whether citizens or soldiers, and there was only one party in 

the state that was likely to be a source of trouble. The new monarch 
met his Parliament in May in a friendly spirit, and showed a wise 
magnanimity in the first acts of his reign. The Earl of March was 
freed from prison, and the son of the late rebellious Henry Percy was 
restored to his inheritance. 

The matter of the Lollards, both as a religious and as a political 
T . party, at once came to the front. The clergy hated them for 

Lollards, heresy, and the civil power feared them for disaffection. 
1413-1418. Among the men of good position in the country who had 
become strong supporters of Lollardry was Sir John Oldcastle, a Here- 
fordshire knight. He married the heiress of Lord Cobham, of Cow- 
ling Castle, near Rochester, and, as Lord Cobham, he had summons to 
Parliament in right of his wife's barony. He had been in the public 
service under Richard II. and Henry IV., and was highly esteemed 
by the new king both in his military and his private capacity. At 
the instance of the bishops, Henry spoke to his friend at Windsor, but 
Cobham used strong language against the Pope, and the king then 
allowed the archbishop to proceed according to law. The Lollard lord 
.avoided service of summons by shutting himself up in Cowling Castle, 
and set the ecclesiastical power at defiance. Henry then felt obliged 
to intervene, and Cobham went as a prisoner to the Tower. A court 
held at the chapter-house of St. Paul's, and then adjourned to the 
house of the Black Friars, could not induce him to recant, and the 
obstinate defendant finished his speech by declaring that " the Pope 

1413-1415 A.D.] THE FRENCH WAR. 283 

himself, the archbishops and prelates, are the head and tail of Anti- 
christ." He was then condemned as a heretic, and delivered over to 
the secular power for execution. A respite of fifty days was granted 
by Henry, and Cobhani, in September 1413, made his escape from 
the Tower. Rumours then arose of a Lollard plot to destroy king, 
lords, a r d clergy, and in January 1414, Henry went forth from the 
city-gates with a great force into St. Giles' Fields, then open country 
stretching out to the hills of Hampstead and Highgate. He found a 
few score persons assembled. Sir Roger Acton, a friend of Cobham's, 
and Beverley, a Lollard preacher, with some others, were taken, con- 
demned, and beheaded as traitors. Cobham escaped for the time, but 
was taken in Wales in December 1417, after a desperate resistance, 
and brought up to London, a wounded prisoner. The king was in 
France at this time ; but Parliament was sitting, and by them he was 
sentenced to be hanged and burnt as a heretic and traitor. The 
Lollard leader was then drawn on a hurdle from the Tower to a 
gallows erected in St. Giles' Fields. On this his body was fastened 
horizontally in chains, and he was burnt to death in that position. 
This was the end of Lollardry as a political force. The persecution of 
their religious heresy was continued by the bishops, and the disease, 
according to precedent, was thus driven inwards, where it lurked and 
worked until the later days of open rupture with the court of Rome. 

An evil ambition, and a fair opportunity, urged the warlike young 
king into a renewal of the old struggle with France. That .^ 
country was still sorely troubled by the lunacy of her inon- French 
arch, Charles VI., and by the desolating contest for the war> 1415< 
regency that was being waged between the factions of the Burgundians 
and the Armagriacs, headed by the king's cousin, the Duke of Bur- 
gundy, and the king's brother, the Duke of Orleans. The English 
nobles and people were both eager for war, and in 1414 Henry put 
in a claim to the crown of France, based upon the old pretensions of 
Edward III. Nothing could be more absurd than such a contention, 
for, granting that Edward's claim was well founded, the inheritance of 
the old French dominions belonged to the Earls of March, the family 
of Mortimer, descended from Lionel, third son of Edward, instead of 
to the Lancastrian line, which was reigning in England by a Parlia- 
mentary title only, and was descended from Edward's fourth son. The 
attack of Henry V. on France was, in fact, the mere wantonness of 
aggression, in which nation and king sought to revive olden glories, 
and to wipe out the stain of humiliation received under Richard II. 
All his claims were rejected by the French, including one for the 
cession of Normandy. Maine, and Anjou, and on April 16, 1415, Henry 
announced at a great council his determination to recover ''his inheri- 
tance." The supply of money just granted by Parliament was used 
for the purpose of invasion, though it had been expressly limited as 
given "for the defence of the kingdom of England and the safety 

284 THE FRENCH WAR. [1415 A.D. 

of the seas." The king's brother, the Duke of Bedford, was named 
"lieutenant" of the kingdom during Henry's absence, and for the 
next three months preparations for war were made. 

The party opposed to the Lancastrian line now engaged in a last 
A new attempt to obtain the throne for the Earl of March. The 
crushed chief conspirators were the king's cousin, Richard, Earl of 
July 1415. Cambridge, younger son of Edmund Langley, Duke of York, 
who died in 1402; Lord Scrope, Henry's "familiar friend," and Sir 
Thomas Grey, of Heton. The plot was revealed by the Earl of March 
himself, for which he was taken into favour, and permitted to join the 
French expedition. Cambridge, Scrope, and Grey were convicted and 
beheaded as traitors. 

The feudal terms of service for forty days in the field had now 
The anna- become exchanged for those of enlistment with regular pay, 
agldnst according to the usage of modern armies. When Henry V. 
France. raised his great force for the invasion of France, it was settled 
that a duke should receive one mark, or 133. ^d. per day; an earl, 
half-a-mark, 6s. 8d, ; a baron, 4$., a knight, 2s. every other man-at-arms, 
or mailed horseman, is., and an archer, 6d. Great nobles and others 
contracted to furnish large bodies of troops at this rate, well mounted, 
armed, and arrayed. The first quarter's wages were required to be 
paid in advance, and pledges were given for the payment of the second 
quarter. Contracts were made for carpenters and other artisans, and 
for waggons, bows, and arrows. For the performance of some of these 
contracts the king pledged jewels, and he raised large sums as loans 
upon jewels and plate. Ships and sailors were impressed for the 
service, and a staff of surgeons was provided. Many officers of the 
royal household were to attend the king, with a band of fifteen 
minstrels. On June i8th, Henry set out from Westminster, going 
in procession to St. Paul's, accompanied by the Lord Mayor, and 
citizens walking in array of their guilds. At Winchester he waited 
the arrival of an embassy from France, but all efforts for a settlement 
failed, and on July 26th the envoys returned to Paris, reporting that 
all Henry's peaceable professions covered a malicious purpose. The 
king's will was made, concluding with the words in his own hand 
"This is my last will, subscribed with my own hand, R. H. (i.e. Rex 
Henricus). Jesu mercy and gremercy Ladie Marie help. 7 ' 

The truce with France expired on August 2nd, and the army then 
The in- embarked on fifteen hundred small ships, gathered in South- 
vasion. ampton Water. On Saturday, August loth, Henry stepped 
on board his own vessel, the Trinity, lying between Southampton and 
Portsmouth. The ships of the numerous fleet varied in bulk from 
twenty tons to three hundred. On Sunday all put to sea. Tuesday's 
noon-day sun saw the royal ship entering the mouth of the Seine, and 
the whole fleet came to anchor about three miles from Harfleur. The 
army was landed on the following day without resistance, and then the 


siege of Harfleur began. The town was defended by embattled walls, 
having three strong gates with bulwarks, and wide ditches, deeply 
filled by the waters of the Seine. A close blockade was maintained on 
the side of the sea, and the place was soon invested in all quarters. 
Cannon and other engines were used for battering the works, and mines 
were maae, met by countermines, in which the workers fiercely fought 
underground. The rude artillery of the time made little impression 
on the defences, and disease raged in the English camp. Courtenay, 
Bishop of Norwich, and the Earl of Suffolk, died in the middle of 
September, and Henry, seeing his men perish by thousands from 
dysentery, resolved on a desperate attempt to storm the town. The 
garrison, summoned to submit, would not risk, the horrors of a suc- 
cessful assault, and agreed to yield on September 22nd, if no relief 
came from outside. The French government was not yet ready with 
an army to take the field, and Harfleur was surrendered on the day 
appointed, after a siege of thirty-six days. 

The capture of Harfleur found the invader in a position of terrible 
risk. Only nine thousand men fit for service were left of an Battle of 
army that started with six thousand men-at-arms, and twenty- Agin- 
four thousand foot. A council of war was held on October October 
5th, and there the king was strongly urged to return by sea at 2 ^ 1415t 
once to England, with the remnant of his forces. The French, it was 
truly said, were gathering every day, and nothing but death or sur- 
render was before the English army. This advice was not only 
specious, but thoroughly sound, in a military sense, and yet Henry of 
Monmouth did not dare to follow it. How could the warrior-king 
return, in virtual defeat, with but one-third of the host that had 
.followed him for the conquest of France ? The resolve of Henry seems 
to savour of reckless folly, but it was the only course open to such a 
man in that age. He sent away the fleet, with orders to await him 
at Calais, and on October 8th started on his daring march through 
Normandy, Picardy, and Artois, all in full possession of the enemy's 
troops. Provisions were taken from Harfleur, and no plunder or 
ravage was permitted, save the seizure of bare food and other neces- 
saries. The line of march lay near the coast, by Fecamp and through 
Dieppe. At Eu an attack was easily repulsed, and Abbeville was 
reached on Sunday, October 1 3th. Henry V. was now confronted by 
the same difficulty as that which met Edward III. before Crecy the 
passage of the Somme. The old ford at Blanchetaque was found of no 
avail, as the road was broken up, and the French were in force beyond 
the river. The search for a passage lasted during a two days' march 
to Amiens, where a little bread, and plenty of wine from the new 
vintage, were obtained. At Corby, a soldier was hanged for stealing 
a sacred vessel from the church. There the king gave his famous 
order that every archer should provide himself with a stake, sharpened 
at each end, to plant in the ground when about to be attacked by 


cavalry. More than forty miles above Amiens, the river was at last 
crossed in safety, and Henry started again, in perfect order, for Calais. 
A French army of sixty thousand men was in advance of him, falling 
ever back, until they made a stand on the plain near the villages of 
Ruisseauville and Agincourt, in Artois, ten miles north-west of the 
town of St. Pol. The English king lay on the night of October 24th at 
the village of Maisoncelles. There was little sleep in the camp of men 
whose destruction on the morrow seemed sure. While their priests 
were confessing penitents, and the armourers were working on weapons 
and rivets, the confident knights in the French host were playing at 
dice, with the ransoms of expected prisoners for the stakes. The scene 
of action was but twenty miles from the field of Crecy, and it was 
from the memories of Crecy that the French commanders took counsel 
in their arrangements for the day of Agincourt. There the army of 
greater numbers was beaten in attack, and defence was to be now the 
order of the day. A host of men, at least six to one of the nine 
thousand English, was drawn up in great depth on a narrow front 
between the woods of Tramecourt and Agincourt. In advance were 
nearly the whole of the French nobility, with eight thousand knights 
and esquires, and a force of archers and cross-bowmen. The main 
body was crowded together in a way that largely affected the issue. 
The English king rose with the dawn on October 25th, the feast of 
St. Crispin; and, having heard three masses, was fully armed for the 
encounter, wearing for distinction on his helmet a splendid crown. 
He drew up his little force in one line, with men-at-arms in the centre, 
and archers posted on the wings, their stakes fixed before them. 
When the enemy would not stir, after several hours' waiting, Henry 
ordered an advance. The fire of his archers was such as to force the 
French from their defensive attitude, and their forward movement 
was the first step to ruin. The English bowmen halted, planted their 
stakes firmly, and poured in volley after volley. The charging French 
horsemen were hampered by the heavy soil of clay, wetted by recent 
rain, and the sting of the shafts drove back the steeds upon the 
second line. Confusion was setting in, when Henry rushed to the 
encounter with his mounted men, followed by his archers, who flung 
away their bows, and fought with sword and bill. Other English 
bowmen kept up a fire from the flanks, and not an arrow could miss 
the crowded foe. A desperate contest ensued between the French and 
English chivalry. Henry behaved like the hero that he was. Struck 
down once by a blow from a French mace, he rose, rallied, and fought 
fiercely on. The crown on his helmet was split by the sword of the 
Duke of Alen^on, who was then killed by Henry's followers, in spite of 
the king's efforts to save him. The struggle of three hours became at 
last a mere massacre. The rear took to flight when the best French 
fighters were all killed, disabled, or taken, and the great field of Agin- 
court was won. The losses of the vanquished were enormous. Seven 

1416-1419 A.D.] CONTINUANCE OF THE WAR. -_S7 

princes of the blood had fallen, with over a hundred other nobles, eight 
thousand of the French gentry, and some thousands of lower' rank. 
The prisoners included the Dukes of Orleans and Bourbon, and far 
exceeded in number the whole of the victors. Of the English, about 
sixteen hundred fell, among whom were the Duke of York arid the Earl 
of Suffolk. Four days later, the bells of every church in London were 
ringing in response to the triumphal shouts of joy from the citizens, 
and the return of the king from Calais to Dover on November i yth was 
welcomed by a crowd who rushed into the sea, and carried their hero 
ashore in their arms. A triumphal entry into London a few days 
later presented a spectacle of splendour such as the capital had never 
yet witnessed, while maidens and youths, from arches and towers 
erected for the occasion, showered boughs of bay and leaves of gold 
upon the head of the conquering king. 

During 1416, the war continued in Normandy with the siege of 
Harfleur by the French, the garrison being reduced to great c .. 
straits until relieved from blockade by capture of the French ance*?? ~ 
fleet at the mouth of the Seine. The state of France, amidst the war< 
civil broils and general brigandage, was mere chaos, and Henry was 
preparing for a new effort at conquest of that distracted 'land. On 
July 23, 1417, he embarked again at Southampton with the greatest 
force that had ever left English shores. More than forty thousand 
men, having with them miners and cannon, landed at the mouth of the 
Seine in the first days of August. The king's immediate object was the 
mastery of Normandy, and, as he advanced, he strove to rouse the 
people by reminders of his descent from their great chieftain Rollo, and 
of their duty of sympathy with those who were connected in blood with 
the Norman conquerors of England. To such appeals no answer was 
now forthcoming. Three centuries and a half had passed away since 
the great exploit of Duke William, and the men of Normandy had now 
become a part of the great French nation, just as the descendants of 
William's followers had for many a year grown English in language 
and feeling, with a large mixture of English blood. The argument 
drawn from the past failed, but the arms of England, directed by Henry 
with masterly skill and patient resolution, proved more successful than 
ever. It was a war of assaults and blockades. On September 4th Caen 
was taken by storm, and then Bayeux opened her gates. Falaise and 
Alencon next succumbed, and the reduction of Louviers, Lisieux, Evreux 
and other towns of lower Normandy, paved the way for an attack on 
Rouen, the capital, then the greatest and richest town of France. 
Large reinforcements had arrived from England, and Henry, crossing 
the Seine at Pont de 1'Arche, invested the place on July 30, 1418. 
The town was powerfully defended, and only surrendered from sheer 
famine in January 1419. The king built a .palace, in which he held 
court as Duke of Normandy, and then strove to bring the French 
government to terms, as he advanced with his army towards Paris. 

288 THE TREATY OF TROVES. [1420-1422 A.D. 

All negotiations failed, and the disorders of the unhappy country 
culminated in the treacherous murder of the Duke of Burgundy by 
the Dauphin, Prince Charles, on August i2th, in a conference held 
at Montereau. 

The French were now helpless in presence of Henry's formidable and 
Peace victorious army, and the new Duke of Burgundy, Philip "the 
made. Good," having in his hands the French king, queen, and 
princesses, hastened to make terms which should exclude the Dauphin 
from the throne. The Treaty of Troyes was concluded on May 21, 1420, 
and was a complete triumph for the English king. Henry was to 
marry, as he did a few days later, the French king's eldest daughter 
Catharine, and to be at once Regent of the kingdom. On the death of 
Qharles VI., he was to succeed him on the throne of France. Such was 
the abyss of ruin into which factious nobles had plunged a great and 
powerful nation. The bridal month of Henry and his queen was passed 
in the reduction of towns held by the Dauphin. In November, the two 
kings rode side by side into Paris, and the three estates of France 
solemnly ratified the treaty of Troyes. Early in 1421, Henry held 
a Parliament at Rouen, and coinage was issued bearing the inscription 
" Heres Franciae." The king and queen then went to England, and 
Catharine was crowned at Westminster, with feasts and pageants of 
great splendour. Many estates in Normandy had been bestowed on 
English lords, and the danger of continental dominion from which 
England had been saved by the weakness of John was now, as it seemed, 
to be renewed by the strength of Henry V. A speedy death of the 
conqueror, an infant successor, a civil war, a woman's courage and 
fanaticism, and a revival of patriotic feeling in France, were to be the 
instruments of solid good for England, evolved from a storm of disgrace 
and disaster in the following reign. 

The English king and queen were making a progress through the 
Tne kingdom, and had arrived at York, the northern capital, 

Scots in when ill news from France caused Henry to return thither 
France. w jth all speed. The Dauphin's party in France had appealed 
for help to Scotland, the old ally, and in 1421 a force of seven thou- 
sand Scots, evading the English cruisers, landed under the command 
of the Earl of Buchan. Henry had left his brother, the Duke of 
Clarence, as his lieutenant in Normandy, and he, while he was 
engaged in wasting Anjon, was surprised, defeated, and slain, on 
March 22nd, at the battle of Beauje". The French were encouraged to 
new efforts, and Henry landed at Calais, with a new army of nearly 
thirty thousand men, on June i2th. Meaux was taken after a long and 
expensive siege, and in the end the English were masters of most of 
France to the north of the Loire. 

The queen had already borne a son, and joined the king in Paris, 
where there was a brief time of festivity at Whitsuntide, 1422. 
Henry was at the height of fame, won by the most brilliant success 

1422 A.D.] DEATH OF HENRY V. 289 

in policy and war, when the hand of death was laid upon him. He 
had long been suffering from pleurisy, which he met with Death of 
the same iron will as he had ever shown against difficulty Henry V. 
and danger. He was on his way to raise the siege of Caen, when he 
was mastered by a fresh attack, and was carried back on a litter to 
Vincennes. He died there on August 31, 1422, showing the same 
composure as had been ever noted by those who were with him in the 
hour of battle. The regency of France was delivered to his brother 
John, Duke of Bedford, one of the best soldiers of the age. England 
was commended to the charge of his brother Humphrey, Duke of 
Gloucester; the care of the infant king Henry was assigned to the 
Earl of Warwick. The remains of the young hero and statesman, after 
a solemn service at St. Paul's, in presence of the Lords and Commons, 
were laid in the Confessor's chapel at Westminster. His widow, 
Catharine, married a Welsh gentleman, named Owen Tudor, and from 
this union sprang the line of kings and queens. The great service 
rendered by Henry V. to the nation which he ruled in his brief career 
of glory was the final establishment of the fact of English prowess in 
the face of France and all the European world. No dream could now 
arise that the island where such a people dwelt, indomitable in courage 
and trained to .arms, could be the victim of subjugation from abroad. 
The coming civil wars of the land never tempted a king of France to 
the thought of avenging Agincourt by wearing the crown of England 
in right of conquest. For the safety of our fields from the ravages of 
foreign foes, and for the power to work out her future unhampered by 
foreign intervention, the nation was in no small degree indebted to 
the strong arms and well-aimed shafts of those who drew the bow at 



England under a Regency. France makes an effort for freedom. Jeanne Dare at 
Orleans. French successes. Fate of the heroine. Affairs in England. Character 
of Henry YI. Loss of French dominions. Troubles at home. Jack Cade. 
The nobles. Parliament under Henry YI. 

THE succession of the infant Henry of Windsor gave occasion for 
the assertion of a great constitutional principle, that a king Henr y 
could not appoint a regent for the minority of his successor, VL, 
and that no person could exercise the royal prerogative l 
during a king's infancy, except by the choice of Parliament, and 
under the limitations prescribed by the Lords and Commons for the 
conduct of the executive government. In spite of Henry Y.'s personal 
popularity, the arrangements made by him on his deathbed were 
altered by the Parliament which was called together by some of the 


290 HENRY VI. [1422 A.&. 

leading peers, as soon as his death was known in London. It was 
now decided that the Duke of Bedford, or, in his absence beyond sea, 
the Duke of Gloucester, should be "protector and defender" of the 
kingdom. This title was chosen with the intended exclusion of such 
terms as "lieutenant," " governor," or "regent," and of any other 
name that should import governance of the land. The growing power 
of Parliament is strikingly shown at this juncture. Gloucester was to 
be chief of the council in the absence of Bedford, but the substan- 
tial powers of government were invested in a committee of nineteen 
members of the Lords and Commons. The reign of Henry VI. can, in 
truth, only be well understood when we .regard it as one long minority, 
first of a child of tender years, and then of a man of feeble mind and 
character. The result was that the great families and leading nobles 
had more power in the state than they ever possessed before, or 
have ever wielded since. The state became for a season merely an 
arena for their struggles, stirred by the passions of ambition, jealousy, 
and revenge. Nevilles, Staffords, Beauforts, De la Poles, Yorkists, 
Lancastrians, are ever striving for mastery in a scene at once con- 
temptible and tragical, first of intrigue and treachery, and then of 
cruel and relentless warfare, followed by the most dastardly displays of 
cold-blooded and pitiless retaliation. The regency of France remained, 
as the late king had appointed, in the hands of the Duke of Bedford, 
but the person and education of the young king were entrusted to the 
chancellor, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, and afterwards 
Cardinal. He was the ablest of John of Gaunt's three sons that were 
born of Catharine Swinford, and were made legitimate by royal letters- 
patent, and by an Act of Parliament, under Richard II. Beaufort 
was a great opponent of Gloucester, and the internal politics of the 
earlier part of the reign are much concerned with the fierce quarrels of 
these ambitious and unscrupulous men. Beaufort's eldest brother, John, 
was Earl of Somerset, and his youngest, Thomas, was Duke of Exeter. 
In less than two months after the death of Henry V., the insane king 
French ^ France, Charles VI., whose reign of forty-two years had seen 
affairs, so much disaster, also passed away, and the Dauphin, ruling 
2 ' south of the Loire, was crowned at Poitiers as Charles VII. 
The little Henry of England had also been proclaimed at St. Denis as 
" King of France and England," and may be regarded as king to the 
north of the Loire. The Duke of Gloucester favoured the policy of 
striving to conquer all France ; Beaufort insisted that Bedford's duty 
was to keep, if he could, on terms of peace with the new French king, 
and secure the possessions already won by England. Bedford was not 
only an able general, but a man of skilful policy. He was in alliance 
with the Dukes of Brittany and Burgundy, and he sought to detach 
the Scots from their friendship with France, or, at least, to conciliate 
Scottish goodwill for England, by bringing about, through the English 
Council, the release of their captive king, James I., and his marriage to 

1428-29 A. D.] THE SIEGE OF ORLEANS. 1^91 

Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset. The assump- 
tion of royalty in France by Charles VII. was an open violation of the 
treaty of Troyes, and Bedford maintained the war with vigour, in tho 
hope of subduing the whole country for England. In 1423, the Earl 
of Salisbury signally defeated the French and their Scottish allies at 
Crevant, in Burgundy, and in the following year Bedford utterly 
routed the French and Scots at Verneuil, in Normandy, in an engage- 
ment recorded in the rolls of Parliament as " the greatest deed done 
by Englishmen in our days, save the battle of Agincourt." The greater 
part of the Scottish brigade fell in the action, and the French never 
forgot the help received from the northern part of our island. Out 
of the remnant of the Scottish warriors the famous Scots Guard was 
formed, and a right of common citizenship was established between the 
two countries. In 1427, the forces of the English duke sustained a 
severe defeat, and were compelled to raise the siege of Montargis, but 
the cause of the French king was little advanced by this success, and 
Bedford, in the following year, prepared to cross the Loire, and carry 
his arms into the south-west of France, the territory ruled of old by 
English kings. 

A crisis in the history of France and England now came in the 
siege of Orleans. That town commanded the passage of the The 
Loire, and was the key of southern France. If the fortress orSani? 
fell, it might well be feared by the French that complete con- 1428-29. ' 
quest would ensue. The adherents of the French king were at strife 
among themselves, his coffers were empty, his people suffering from 
famine and disease. The one gleam of hope lay in the fact that, while 
nobles were faithless or faint-hearted, a feeling of patriotism had begun 
to reappear among the common people, to whose affection, in lack of 
other help, the French monarch had lately addressed himself. The 
Earl of Salisbury, one of the bravest, best skilled, and most experi- 
enced of the English generals, trained to war under Henry V., was 
chosen by Bedford for the task of reducing the last stronghold of the 
French national party. On October 12, 1428, he appeared with his 
army before its walls. Zealous preparations had been made for defence. 
The city of Orleans itself was on the north, or right bank, of the Loire, 
but its suburbs extended far on the southern side, connected with the 
town by a strong bridge, defended at its southern end by works, in- 
cluding two towers called the Tourelles. This post was carried by 
storm on October 23rd, and the French then broke down the bridge at 
its northern end, and cut off access to the town. It was in this siege 
that, for the first time, any great use was made of artillery, and the 
possession of the Tourelles enabled the English to inflict great loss 
on the defenders by a battery which, firing its balls across the river, 
commanded some of the principal streets. The hopes of the men of 
Orleans rose when Dunois and La Hire, two of the bravest French 
commanders, arrived with reinforcements, and the English general, 


Salisbury, died of a wound received from a cannon-ball. He was suc- 
ceeded in the command by William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk. The 
thought of capturing the place by force was renounced by the English 
leaders, and they now aimed, like most besiegers of that age attacking 
a well- walled town, at compelling the surrender of Orleans by famine. 
By the spring of 1429, a line of entrenchments round the town was 
nearly completed, and the approach of want began to be felt by the 
besieged. One incident of the long and obstinate struggle was the 
famous Battle of Herrings. The English were badly off for stores and 
provisions, and the Duke of Bedford despatched for their relief an 
immense convoy from Paris. The French determined to cut off this 
supply, which was guarded by a force of sixteen hundred men, under 
the command of the able and resolute Sir John Fastolfe. The attack 
was made by a body of eight thousand men, partly detached from the 
garrison of Orleans, and partly composed of French and Scots outside 
the walls. The assailants were brilliantly defeated at Rouvrai, and in 
the first days of Lent the store of salted fish, with other large supplies, 
arrived in the English camp. The fate of Orleans seemed to be settled, 
as the place must soon submit to famine, when a young woman, backed 
by the power which the pious exalt as faith, and sceptics decry as 
superstition, came to the rescue of the beleaguered city, with an issue 
that amazed the world, and won for herself a deathless name. 

Mingled wonder and contempt were felt by the English leaders when, 
Jeanne ^ n the ^ as ^ week of April, a herald brought a letter couched in 
Dare. strange terms, from a girl of whom they had long heard as 
La Pucelle, or The Maid. In this missive the king of England, " and 
you, Duke of Bedford, who call yourself Regent of the kingdom of 
France ; you, William de la Pole, Count of Suffolk ; you, John Lord 
Talbot, and you, Thomas Lord Scales, who call yourselves lieutenants 
of the said Duke of Bedford," were commanded to "do right to 
the King of Heaven," and to render to "the Pucelle, who is sent 
hither by God, the keys of the good cities you have taken and 
plundered in France." The English soldiers were then bidden to go 
their way to their own country," for, said the Maid, "I am sent by 
the King of Heaven to drive you out of all France." The rough 
yeomen in the English camp were awestruck at her advent. A pro- 
phecy had long been current that a damsel from Lorraine was to save 
France. Stories were rife of miracles wrought by the wondrous girl, 
and many priests and friars had been passing through the towns and 
rural districts of the land, proclaiming that the people must seek 
from Heaven a deliverance from the pillage of the soldiery, and the 
insolence of the foreign oppressors. The Church of that age taught, 
and the people of that age believed in, special interpositions of unseen 
powers of good and evil. The French hailed the Maid as an in- 
strument of Heaven, the English dreaded the power of one leagued by 
witchcraft and sorcery with the great enemy of man. The girl named 

1429 A.D.] THE MAID OF ORLEANS. 293 

Jeanne Dare, absurdly rendered in English as "Joan of Arc," was 
daughter of a small farmer in the hamlet of Domre'my, on the borders 
of Champagne and Lorraine. Her youthful mind, keenly susceptible, 
was nurtured on legends of saints and tales of fairies, and her lonely, 
dreamy life in the fields, as she tended her father's flocks, was well 
suited to develop in such a character all the fervour of enthusiastic 
belief. She was gentle, compassionate, and devout beyond all the girls 
of the countryside, and her tender nature was moved to pity for the 
miseries of her people, mingled with anger against the English foe. 
Day and night she mused and dreamed of delivering France from the 
grasp of her enemies. At the age of thirteen, as she declared in after 
days, with death by burning before her view, she began to hear "a 
voice from God," and to see "a bright light." Then St. Michael, 
St. Margaret, and St. Catharine appeared from time to time, and told 
her that France would be saved, arid that she was to save it. She 
was in her eighteenth year when tidings of the siege of Orleans 
reached Domremy. She was moved to make her way to the king 
of France, and announce her heavenly mission. No tears, entreaties, 
ridicule, or threats from her parents or others could prevail, and 
she journeyed, in soldier's garb, to Chinon, in Touraine, and reached 
the presence of Charles. The king heard her story, but would not 
profess belief, or accept her offer to lead an army to the rescue of 
Orleans, until full inquiry had been made as to her truth and purity. 
He feared to incur the odium of being in league with a sorceress. 
The most rigid investigation made by learned doctors of the Church, 
and by shrewd counsellors of the laity, proved beyond a doubt that 
Jeanne was perfectly orthodox in belief, and strictly virtuous in 
life. The state of affairs at Orleans was now such that no failure 
of attempts at relief could possibly harm the defenders, and the 
king and his advisers resolved to employ the strange instrument that 
had come to their hands. The people and the soldiery fully believed 
in her mission as one inspired and aided by Heaven, and she was sent 
to head a small force which had been assembled at Blois under La 
Hire, Dunois, and other chiefs. A convoy of provisions was prepared, 
and the Maid rode into the camp at Blois, clad in a new suit of white 
armour, mounted on a black war horse, and bearing a lance in her 
right hand. Her unhelmeted head displayed to all her fair, expressive 
features, deep-set and earnest eyes, and long black hair. A small 
battle-axe, and a consecrated sword, taken at her bidding from one of 
the shrines of St. Catharine, completed her personal equipment. A 
page carried before her a banner of white satin, strewn with the lilies 
of France, and bearing the words " Jhesus Maria." She won at the 
outset the hearts of the troops who saw her comely figure, the skill 
with which she managed her horse, and her grace and ease in handling 
her weapons. In truth, the famous Maid of Orleans owed her success 
iu no small degree to natural powers of body, and to shrewdness of 

294 THE MAID OF ORLEANS. [1429 A.D. 

inind, such as belong to many of her sex who are not destined to win 
fame as heroines and deliverers of their country, She had well 
employed her brief time of training in the use of arms. Her good 
sense taught her to leave technical details as to the movement of 
troops to Dunois and other skilled leaders. Her only leadership was 
to bid the soldiers go straight at the enemy, and then dash in boldly 
herself. In one point, however, she rendered essential service to the 
French army. She insisted upon a strict discipline, and upon the out- 
ward display, at least, of regard for morality and religion. All loose 
characters were driven away from the camp. Generals and soldiers 
made regular confession, and her own chaplain and other priests said 
mass at every halt. A new spirit was thus given to men who hoped 
by a changed life to earn, like the Maid, the favour of Heaven. 

On the night of April 28th, amid a storm of thunder and rain, the 
The Maid renev i n force entered Orleans, and boats loaded w r ith sup- 
enters plies made their way up the river. Four days later, another 
Orleans, body of soldiers and a fresh supply of stores openly entered 
the town, escorted by Jeanne and La Hire, while the English remained 
behind their works, and did not venture an attack. The moral effect 
wrought on the besiegers was such that a keen observer could already 
foresee the end. On that very day, Dunois assaulted one of the English 
forts. A fierce resistance was made. The assailants had recoiled, and 
were streaming back to the city gate, when Jeanne rode out to meet 
them. At sight of the white banner they rallied and went on again, and 
the post was at once stormed. Two days later, two of the English 
"bastilles " to the south of the river were taken after severe fighting, 
and the Tourelles was the only post left to the besiegers on that side 
of the town. It was a place of formidable strength, and on its pos- 
session now turned the issue of the siege. A fresh English army under 
Fastolfe, the victor of Rouvrai, was approaching, and time was of the 
greatest value. Five hundred archers and men-at-arms, under Sir 
John Gladsdale, occupied the fort. On the morning of May yth, the 
French advanced to the attack. A stubborn fight ended in a repulse, 
and the Maid was wounded in the neck by an arrow as she mounted 
the first ladder planted against the wall. Dunois ordered the trumpet 
to sound a retreat, but Jeanne, when her hurt was dressed, insisted 
upon another attempt, after an interval for rest and food. She then 
headed a new assault, in which the English, who thought her slain, 
were confounded at her reappearance. The French pressed furiously 
on, and a party of their friends in the town attacked the enemy on the 
opposite side. As Gladsdale withdrew his men from an outwork by a 
drawbridge, a cannon-shot from the walls carried it away, and the bold 
English leader perished in the river. The English then yielded the 
post, after three hundred men had fallen. The pealing of bells from 
the churches of Orleans was as a knell of doomed failure to the be- 
siegers. After a night lit up by the blaze of bonfires in the town, the 


English generals resolved on retreat. The great wooden forts in the 
lines were set on fire, the stores and munitions were destroyed, and on 
Sunday, the 8th of May, the baffled foe slowly and sullenly retired. 
in eleven days, by sheer boldness in attack, and contempt for the 
cautious measures of military science, the Maid had used the forces of 
enthusiasm and superstition, aided by shrewdness and sound sense, to 
strike terror into a foe that had been the dread of France for eleven