« PreviousContinue »
*These numbers are continued from the table on p. 6.
Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou,
2nd husband of Maud
(House of Plantagenet)
and a folio, which are still preserved in the Record Office. Camden calls it the Tax-book of King William.'
37. The Feudal System.-Under this system, which was now developed in England,* the supreme lord of the soil was called the Suzerain (sovereign); the Vassals were those to whom he assigned parts of his land, upon their engaging to supply him with military aid during a stated period of every year, and to assist him with their counsel. The land held by the vassal was termed a Fief. There were several other obligations of vassalage, which it is not necessary to recapitulate here.
The Tenants-in-Chief, or superior vassals, in their turn, parcelled out their lands on the same terms to under-tenants. William greatly increased his power by requiring the oath of fealty from the under-tenants, as well as the tenants-in-chief. As a general rule of feudalism, the vassal had only taken the oath to the lord from whom he held. (See p. 76).
38. WILLIAM II. (Rufus), 1087-1100.-Was the third son of William the Conqueror. Robert, the eldest, inherited the Dukedom of Normandy, which he subsequently mortgaged, in 1096, to his brother, in order to join in the Crusades with Stephen, Count of Blois, the husband of his sister Adela. The second son Richard had been slain in the New Forest by an accident.
The 'Bachelor King,' as he is sometimes styled, was able and energetic, but of a perfidious, violent, and tyrannical nature. He is commonly supposed to have been killed while hunting in the New Forest by a chance arrow from the bow of Sir Walter Tyrrel.
39. HENRY I. (Beauclerc), 1100-1135.-Was the youngest son of the Conqueror, and for his scholastic attainments styled Beauclerc. He, too, was able, but astute and cruel. To conciliate his Saxon subjects, he married (1) Maud, niece of Edgar Atheling, (1100). After her death he married (2) Adelais of Louvain * A sort of feudal system existed among the Saxons. Thus uniting the Saxon and Norman lines :
Edmund II. (Ironside)
(See Table, p. 6)
Malcolm, K. of Scotland.
(1121). His brother Robert, having returned from the Holy Land, laid claim to the throne, and invaded England in 1101; but he was ultimately induced to resign his pretensions for an annual pension. Henry, however, subsequently invaded Normandy, defeated Robert at the Battle of Tinchebrai, 1106, and confined him in Cardiff Castle until his death, in 1134, a period of twenty-eight years. William, Henry's only son, was drowned in returning from Normandy in 1120, and the crown was left to Matilda, his daughter, exEmpress of Germany, and then married to Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou.* Henry granted his subjects a Charter of Liberties, which is regarded as one of the first concessions of the crown to the people. (See p. 19, s. 55.)
40. STEPHEN (of Blois), 1135-1154.-Youngest son of Adela, third daughter of the Conqueror; married Matilda of Boulogne (1134). Upon Henry's death, he laid claim to the crown. He was warlike, but cruel. In his reign some 1200 castles were built in England.
41. Battle of the Standard, 1138.—David, King of Scotland, uncle of Matilda, took up arms in her cause and invaded England, penetrating into Yorkshire as far as Northallerton, but he was there met by Stephen and defeated at the Battle of the Standard, so called from a large wooden cross round which the English fought.
42. Civil war with Matilda, commonly called the Empress Maud, 1139.-Matilda landed with an army under the command of the Earl of Gloucester. In 1141, Stephen was taken prisoner at the Battle of Lincoln, and Matilda assumed the throne. But her rule was so unpopular that the barons again took up arms in the king's favour, made the Earl of Gloucester prisoner, and exchanged him for Stephen, who was finally permitted, under the Treaty of Wallingford, 1153, to retain the crown during the rest of his life, on condition that it should pass, at his death, to Henry Plantagenet, Matilda's son. Matilda has been called the first queen regnant, but, in point of fact, she never reigned, having never received coronation at the hands of the Church and nation.
*It will be seen that there were three Matildas, who must not be confused with one another. They were (1) Maud or Matilda, niece of Edgar Atheling, and first wife of Henry I.; (2) Maud or Matilda, commonly called 'the Empress Maud,' daughter of Henry I.; and (3) Matilda of Boulogne, wife of Stephen.