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of Ely, fearful for himself and his people, fled with an army to Devizes, that he might there find protection, the cause for which has been fully treated of in the foregoing pages, yet seems this year to have been repeated over again. A council being afterwards held, an order was issued that all towns, castles and fortifications whatever, in which secular affairs were mainly transacted, should yield to the right of the king and his barons; but that churchmen, the bishops, namely, (God's watch-dogs I call them,) should not cease to bark in defence and protection of their flock, and keep vigilant watch lest the invisible wolf, their malignant foe, should scatter and seize upon the sheep.
In the month of October, the earl of Gloucester, bastard son of Henry, formerly king of England, with his sister, by the father's side, formerly empress of the Romans, and now countess of Anjou, returned to England with a large army, and arrived at Portsmouth before the Feast of St. Peter ad Vincula, on the kalends of August [1st Aug.], the king being then engaged in the siege of Marlborough; by whose arrival terror pervaded all England. Upon hearing this, king Stephen was angry, and his wrath broke out upon those whose duty it was to have guarded the sea-ports. He is the king of peace, and would also that he were the king of vigour and justice, treading under foot his enemies, weighing all things in the equal balance of justice, and preserving and strengthening in the bonds of fortitude the friends of peace. When, however, he knew that the ex-queen had received the ex-empress with her large retinue at Arundel, he marched thither in displeasure. But she, dreading the king, and fearing she should lose the dignity which she held in England, swore that none of his enemies had reached England by her means, but that, saving her dignity, she had granted hospitality to men of authority as to persons once in her service. Whereupon the king, having dismissed her, commanded the ex-empress to be conducted to Bristol castle, to his brother the bishop of Winchester, with such honour as befitted his kinswoman; but he himself followed in pursuit of the earl. Hearing no certain news of him, however—for he had betaken himself into certain by-paths for a time-he marched his forces according to his previous determination. Milo the constable, after having sworn an oath of fealty to the king, went over with a large military force to his lord, while the earl of Gloucester promised him that he would faithfully assist him against the king. The misfortunes, however, which now sprang up throughout England, from this quarter, namely, the town of Bristol, are beyond the knowledge or eloquence of man to describe. For of those who resisted or obeyed the royal authority, as many as could be taken are made prisoners, and the captives all given up to chains and frightful torments; a variety of cruel punishments is devised, troops of soldiers are being hired on every side for the consummation of this work of destruction, and to these the husbandmen and the inhabitants of villages and towns, with all their property and substance, are given and sold for pay.
The queen remained in this place for more than two months, receiving homage from all, and dispensing the laws of the kingdom
of England according to her pleasure. Departing thence, she came on the 18th of the kalends of November [15th Oct.] to the town of Gloucester, where she assumed the command and took the homage of the citizens and the surrounding districts. But upon those who refused to submit to her, and preferred to remain faithful to the king, torments worthy of the age of Decius or Nero were inflicted, and death in many cases ensued; and the city, glorious in past ages, became filled with direful howlings and tortures, shocking to those who dwelt within it. In the midst of all these miseries the king laid siege to the hostile castle of Wallingford. Tired of the protracted blockade, after having erected castles against it, he marched thence and encamped at Malmesbury, where he enacted the same part against his adversaries, the workers of discord.
In the midst of these events, sad tidings came to the ears of the citizens of Worcester; and it was generally reported that their city was to be sacked, pillaged of its wealth, and destroyed by fire. When the citizens heard this, they were terrified, and consulted as to what were best to be done. Whereupon they put themselves under the protection of God, the most High Father, and his most holy Mother, and under the tutelage of the confessors Oswald and Wolstan, bishops of that city, and thus committed themselves and all belonging to them to the divine protection. Any one there present might have seen the whole furniture of all the citizens carried into the church. Oh! miserable sight! Behold, the house of God, which should have been entered with sacrifices, where the sacrifice of praise should have been offered up and the loftiest vows recorded, seems now but a warehouse for furniture. Behold the mother church of the diocese converted into an inn and council-chamber of the citizens! By reason of the number of chests and sacks, but little space remained to the servants of God in such an hostelry. Within chanted the monk, without might be heard the sobbing of the infant, and the wail of children at the breast, and cries of sorrowing mothers mingled with the voices of the singers. Oh! misery of miseries to behold! The high altar stood robbed of its decorations, the cross pulled down, and the image of Mary, the most holy Mother of God, removed from sight. Curtains and palls, albs and copes, stoles and other vestments, were hidden within the shelter of the walls. At the celebration of divine service on saints' festivals, dignity, honour, and all the wonted magnificence were wanting. Out of fear for the enemy, everything was so arranged; lest the foe, stealing upon them unawares, should bear off whatever he could find, and thus iniquity should prevail. At daybreak one morning in the beginning of winter, namely, on Tuesday, the 7th of the ides of November [7th Nov.], whilst we were engaged in divine service within the church, and had already chanted our primes, behold, our apprehensions were realized, a great army, strong and valiant, marched from the south. The city of Gloucester, having furnished itself with a countless host of horse and foot soldiers, marches to invade, sack, and burn the city of Worcester. We, however, in our appre
hension for the ornaments of the sanctuary, clothed ourselves in our albs, and carried the relics of Oswald our most benignant patron, we tolled all our bells, and marched in humble procession out of the church; and as the enemy were rushing in from gate to gate, we proceeded through the cemetery. Our enemies hasten to make their first united attack upon a certain fortification of great strength, situated in the southern portion of the city near the castle, which was manfully and courageously resisted by our people. The foe were repulsed at this point; but a beacon opposite the north was set on fire, and then they stormed the north side of the town; here, meeting with no resistance, an excited and unbridled rabble rush in and fire the buildings in many parts. Woe is me! much of the town was destroyed by the flames, though the larger portion remained standing and uninjured. An immense booty of various furniture was carried off from the city, and of oxen, sheep, cattle, and horses, from the country. Many people were taken in the streets and courts; they were bound in couples like hounds, and carried away unto a miserable captivity. Whether they possessed the means or no, whatever sum was fixed by their cruel captors for their ransom, that they were compelled upon their oath to promise to pay, and to pay. The deeds done on the first day of winter were very grievous. And now the prey being secured, and numbers of buildings destroyed by fire, the maddened and drunken rout retrace their steps, never to return on a like depraved errand. On the 30th day of November, the earl of Worcester came to the city, and when he had beheld the ravages of the flames, he grieved and felt that the blow had been struck for his own injury, and wishing to revenge himself for this, he marched with an army to Sudely, for he had heard that John, the son of Harold, had deserted from the king, and had gone over to the earl of Gloucester. If it be inquired what the earl did there, the answer must be such as should hardly be handed down to memory; for he returned evil for evil, by seizing and carrying off from the men there great booty of their goods and cattle, with which, on the morrow, he returned to Worcester.
After these things, the king with a large army marched from Oxford to Worcester; and what he had previously heard of its misfortunes, he now beheld with his eyes; and he grieved thereat. Having stayed there for three or five days he bestowed the honour of royal constable, of which he had deprived Milo of Gloucester, his enemy, upon William, the son of Walter de Beauchamp, sheriff of Worcester. A lying report reached the king that his enemies, having violated their sworn promises of peace, had invaded Hereford, and penetrated into the monastery of St. Ethelbert, king and martyr, as if it had been a fortified castle. Whereupon, setting out thither, he encamped at Little Hereford, or Leominster, where certain of the inhabitants swore fealty to him advisedly, while others refusing, thus spoke, "If the king will not believe our oaths, he may at least, if he will, rely upon our faithful words." When the solemn days of the Lord's Advent were at hand [3d Dec.], a treaty was made and confirmed on both sides, after which the king
returned to Worcester, where a certain clerk, (a man of exemplary piety,) Maurice by name, had been elected by the clergy and the people to the church of Bangor, and was presented to the king in the castle by the bishops Robert of Hereford and Sigefrid of Chichester; these made oath that he had been canonically elected, and would be worthy of the see, and the king confirmed their election. Being urged by the bishops to do fealty to the king, Maurice answered that he could in no wise do so. "There is a man of religion amongst us," said he, "whom I hold for my spiritual father, and who was archdeacon to my predecessor David, and he forbade me to take this oath." To which they made answer, "Reason requires that you should do what we demand." Then he exclaimed, "If you, who are men of great authority, require this, far be it from me to delay doing so," and so he swore fealty to the king.
From Worcester the king went to Oxford, and thence, with his court, to Salisbury, where he intended to celebrate his Christmas, and, as was the royal custom, to wear his crown. The canons offered two thousand pounds to him on his arrival, upon which he conferred upon them the entire exemption from all taxes upon their land; moreover he gave them twenty marks for their own use, and forty for roofing the church, and he promised that if he should obtain peace, he would refund to them what they had bestowed upon him.
A.D. 1140. A few days after Christmas the king came with his court to Reading, where fate gave a lesson teaching us of what value is the kingly dignity. There by advice of his attendants he provided two abbeys, Malmsbury and Abbotsbury, with their own pastors. These bishop Roger in his lifetime had held, after having stripped them of their honour and privileges. Malmsbury he bestowed upon a monk called John, a man of great probity, and the abbey of Abbotsbury he gave to Gosfrid. Then for the purpose of securing peace and tranquillity he marched his forces to Ely, a measure which in my opinion was entirely unnecessary, and which at the same time was a deplorable business, thereby sanctioning the thirst of vain glory among his soldiers, by permitting them to harass his army. They all agree to the proposal, they array themselves for war, the conqueror takes from the conquered everything specified in the detestable bond of avarice, and, if I may compare great things with small, they whisper to one another like Juda and his brother Jonathan dwelling in the land of Gilead, to Joseph and Azarias,—" Let us also get us a name, and go fight against the heathen that are round about us." They slaughter one another with sword and spear, little heeding what will become of the wretched souls of the slain! During the rebellion of the king's opponents, many on both sides were wounded, taken prisoners, and consigned to captivity. The bishop of Ely, perceiving the valorous charge of the king and his troop, gave ground, yea, fled like a hireling, and he taking himself to the neighbourhood of the town of Gloucester, went over to earl Robert. Nor is this wonderful, for it had been to him as the loss of his right hand
when his uncle Roger, bishop of Salisbury, died. The king, however, got possession of Ely castle, and posted his men therein. Thurstan, archbishop of York, the twenty-sixth in succession, a man of advanced age and full of days, having laid aside the old man put on the new; for bidding farewell to secular pursuits he dons the monkish habit at Pomfret, on the 12th of the kalends of February, [21st Jan.], and on the nones of February [5th Feb.], he departed this life in a good old age, and there he was buried. Milo, the ex-constable, having collected a great army, invaded Winchcombe on Thursday the 2d of the kalends of February [31st Jan.], burned the greatest part of the town, plundered it, and carried off the spoil, the mammon of unrighteousness being (albeit unjustly) required of them. Thence he marched to Sudely. Whilst he was in mind to attack it, the troops which were in the town made a stand and compelled him to retreat, leaving, as it is said, two of his men killed and fifteen taken prisoners. The king and the earl of Worcester came with a great army to Worcester, and after the lapse of a few days, first the earl and afterwards the king advanced with a vast host to Little Hereford, purposing to drive out their enemies. During the king's stay in these parts the earl, remembering the injuries inflicted upon his townsmen, invaded Tewkesbury with a large force of armed men, and burned the magnificent house of the earl of Gloucester, and everything in its vicinity, together with those of some other persons within one mile's distance of Gloucester; but at the supplication of the lord abbot of Tewkesbury and his brethren, the conqueror spared their goods. Having taken no small booty, both of men and their apparel and cattle, he mercifully commanded that the prisoners be speedily released from their fetters, and return to their own houses; and on the morrow he set out for Worcester, protesting to all that he had scarcely ever either in Normandy or England accomplished such a burning. But the king on his return to Worcester hastened his march to Oxford. The before-mentioned Maurice and Uhtred were consecrated bishops of Bangor and Landaff, by Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, in the presence of the bishops of Hereford and Exeter. The king, on his arrival at Winchester, by advice of his barons, bestowed the bishopric of Salisbury upon his chancellor Philip, and the abbey of Fescamp upon Henry, a monk, his kinsman. An eclipse of the sun takes place while the moon occupies the tail of Draco, the sun itself illuminating the head. By advice of the barons of Philip king of France, and Stephen king of England, it was settled that the son of the latter should take to wife the French king's sister. The betrothal took place abroad in the month of February, in the presence of the queen mother of England, and before a large number of the barons of both kingdoms. A certain knight, by name Robert, was the son of a nobleman named Hulbert. fearing neither God nor man, but relying entirely on his own strength, with his many cunning devices, assailed the castle of Malmesbury. Whereupon many of the king's troops which were within fled to the church of the holy bishop Aldelm, as to a