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sanctuary. In pursuit of these he one day entered the chapter of the monks with his armed knights, terrifying them with threats, and commanding them to give up to him the king's men with their horses if they valued the safety of their own wealth. But they, fearful of infringing the peace of God and their blessed patron Aldelm, refuse to obey these commands, till at length, (though unwillingly, and in order to appease his fury,) they deliver up the horses. After they had remained for a long time in the castle and had laid waste the surrounding country, the king came up with his army and besieged it for nearly three days. William de Ypres, as it is reported, a kinsman of this Robert, acted as the mediator upon both sides for the surrender of the castle, and at last obtained the king's consent that the castle should be delivered up upon the condition that everything should be surrendered to the king, and this was done. Robert therefore joined the earl of Gloucester, and remained for a while with him, all the while meditating treachery. Unknown to the earl, shortly afterwards, (for he was untaught by experience and bent on revenge,) he repaired with his men to Devizes, where an agreement having been first made between himself and his followers that the castle once taken should never be surrendered, he scaled the wall with cruel cunning, and giving the signal of victory to the king's soldiers who were within, he penetrated the outer defences unobserved, and acted the tyrant upon all. On the fourth day afterwards, by force and subtlety he gained possession of the inner tower, and in the pride of his heart he continually ravaged the whole neighbourhood everywhere, and whatever evil he could do he ceased not from doing. At length he went to John, a man illustrious in war, who was then the governor of the castle of Marlborough for the king's service, and he demanded with threats that he should be guided by his advice, yea, rather his instigation, and do the work of Satan against not only the king but the earl and every one else, assuring him that if he would not comply, he should immediately lose his head. John replied," By God's help I would sooner take a man than be taken by him," and immediately seized him and consigned him to prison, where turn for turn he caused every description of torture which he in his cruelty had inflicted upon others to be applied to himself. When all these things became known, the earl of Gloucester and Milo the exconstable, with many men, came to the said John, to whom the earl promised to give five hundred marks, with the agreement that he should deliver up to him the said Robert on an appointed day, and give good hostages for himself. John being pacified with the promised money and hostages, gave up Robert to him, with the understanding that within fifteen days he should be restored to him. This agreement completed, the earl returned to Gloucester, carrying the said Robert with him, and a discussion followed touching the surrender of the castle of Devizes, which he demanded should be freely given up to him; but Robert refused, lest he should break the oath which he had sworn to his comrades, to wit, that the castle should not be surrendered. But being terrified by threats of the gallows, he answered that he would yield to his
request, provided he might only escape death. Within the time appointed in the agreement this malignant Robert was led back to the presence of John, to whom the earl told everything which had happened, and how Robert, under the fear of his menaces, had promised to deliver up the castle. He also asked him again to permit Robert to accompany him to Devizes, with the understanding that if he should succeed in making himself master of the castle it should be placed in John's command under him; and upon his prayers being acceded to, the earl returned immediately to Devizes with Robert. In the meantime the said John despatched letters to all, both within and without the castle, swearing. that neither he nor the earl would do any injury to Robert, provided only they would firmly keep their oath in not surrendering the castle to any one. Leaving the ex-constable and a certain powerful personage named Humphrey, with some others, behind him, the earl returned to Gloucester, after giving directions to all that in case Robert refused to deliver up the castle of his own accord he should be hung.1 Robert did refuse, as did his comrades also, lest they should appear perjured. In short, he was taken and hanged as a warning to others, after his two nephews had shared the same fate. Glory be to God Almighty that He has delivered up the wicked!
Before the Assumption of St. Mary [15th Aug.] the earl of Gloucester marched against Bath; but the king had long before this sent out spies to entrap the enemy, and defend themselves and their possessions to the uttermost. A hostile meeting consequently took place; on the one hand the soldiers of the king, among whom were two knights, John and Roger, both valiant and warlike men; on the other, the retainers of the earl. Many were taken prisoners,. and more were wounded and killed, among whom a certain knight named Geoffrey Talbot, valorous but crafty, now with the king, now with the earl, subtle in every action, was mortally hurt, and dying of his wounds on the 11th of the kalends of September [22d Aug.] was buried along with the canons at Gloucester. The royal troops however gained the victory. Before the Nativity of St. Mary [8th Sept.], Robert, son of king Henry, at the instigation of Ralph Paganel, having associated with himself the knights of the earl of Warwick along with those whom he had brought out of Gloucester, and many other common soldiers, suddenly assaulted the town of Nottingham, and finding it unprovided with military defence, commenced sacking it, while the citizens on every side fled to the churches. One of these, who had the reputation of being wealthier than the rest, having been taken prisoner, was led strongly bound to his own house and compelled to give up his gold. For this purpose he led the greedy pillagers into his cellar, where all his furniture was stored up. As soon as he perceived them intent upon pillage, and occupied in breaking open doors and locks, he craftily slipped away, and escaping through the chambers and hall, he closed all the doors behind him and fastened them with bolts.
1 Here ends the MS. in Corpus Christi College, Oxon. The remainder is translated from the editions, fol. Francof. 1601, p. 675, and of the E. H. S. ii. 127.
After this he set fire to the place, and consigned his houses and all his goods, together with the robbers, to the flames. It is said that upwards of thirty of the men who had entered the cellar perished in that fire, by which, as it is also reported, the whole town was burnt; for the knights and the whole army swore that they were innocent of having set to it. By this means the whole city was destroyed by the flames, and those inhabitants who were captured outside the churches were carried away prisoners, some even as far as Gloucester. The rest of the mob, men, women and children, who had entered the churches, fearing to sally forth lest they should be taken by the enemies, nearly all perished as the churches fell a prey to the raging conflagration. A cruel spectacle and most wretched, even to the enemy themselves, to behold the temples of God, which even the heathen would have spared, consumed by fire! In like manner was Nottingham destroyed, a most noble city, it having continued from the period when the Normans subdued England down to the present time in the enjoyment of the greatest peace and tranquillity, besides being populous and wealthy. The government of the abbey of Malmesbury was conferred by Henry, bishop of Winchester, legate of the holy Roman church, upon a certain monk, by name Peter, nobly endowed with learning and science. Having donned the garb of religion at Cluny, he had for some time held the Priory de Caritate, being removed from which he was appointed to the monastery of St. Urban the pope, in the diocese of Catalonia; but calamities increasing upon him, he was compelled to abandon that place, and at the persuasion of the above-mentioned bishop of Winchester he came to England, and this year undertook the rule of the church already mentioned.
A.D. 1141. Stephen, king of England, after prolonged labours in besieging castles in which (for the peace of the kingdom) he had toiled five years and six weeks, at last at the siege of Lincoln castle, on the day of the Purification of St. Mary, being Sexagesima Sunday [2d Feb.], was surrounded and taken prisoner, by the just judgment of God, by Robert, earl of Gloucester, the son of his uncle, and Ranulph, earl of Chester; and was carried first to Gloucester on Quinquagesima Sunday [9th Feb.], and then to the town of Bristol, and there consigned to prison. Many of his adherents were captured along with him and loaded with chains. In the meantime the empress, king Henry's daughter, was staying in the city of Gloucester, and rejoiced exceedingly at this event, she having now, as she thought, obtained possession of the kingdom which had been promised to her by oath; and having taken counsel with her followers, she departed out of the city on the fifth day after Ash-Wednesday [17th Feb.]; and accompanied by two bishops, Bernard of St. David's, and Nigel of Ely, Gilbert abbot of Gloucester, with many barons, knights, and attendants, she advanced to the city of Chichester, in which she first rested after the joyful intelligence, and of which she also assumed the dominion. Departing thence, when she had come nigh to the city of Winchester, there advanced to meet her, with magnificent
state and pomp, the prelates of nearly the whole of England, many barons and chief men, knights innumerable, and divers abbots with their retinues, two convents of monks of the city, and a third of nuns, all chanting processional melodies and praises, and the clergy of the town with the citizens and much people. The most noble city of Winchester thus surrendered to her empire, and the crown of the realm of England was delivered to her dominion; by the legate himself those were accursed who curse her, and those blessed who bless her; they who oppose her were excommunicated, and those who obey her command were absolved. Departing from Winchester with her attendants, she went to Wilton, where Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, was present to welcome her. So great a concourse of people flocked together, that the gates of the town barely sufficed for the multitude who entered. Thence, after the celebration of the festival of Easter, she came within the Rogation days [4th May] to Reading, where she was received with honours, the principal men and people pouring in from all sides in submission to her. One of these leading men, Robert D'Oyley, was there summoned by her touching the surrender of Oxford castle, and upon his consenting to it she came thither and received possession, and the homage of the whole city and surrounding districts. Setting out thence with great joy and exultation, she was received in the monastery of St. Alban's with processional honours and rejoicings, and many citizens from London visited her there, and held divers discourses touching the surrender of the city.
In these days a certain horrible event befel in Worcester, which we deem worthy of relation. On Wednesday before the octave of our Lord's Ascension [11th May], about the ninth hour of the day, at the town called Walesburn, distant one mile from Hampton, the bishop of Worcester's town, a violent whirlwind and most dreadful darkness arose, reaching from earth to heaven, and striking the house of a priest named Leofrid, which it prostrated to the ground and shattered to atoms, together with its offices; the roof of the church also was torn off and cast across the river Avon, and nearly fifty houses of the country people were in like manner thrown down and ruined. Hailstones of the bigness of a pigeon's egg fell, by the blows from which one woman was killed. At this sight all present were struck with terror and dismay.
The empress, as we have before related, after a treaty with the Londoners, hastened in security to the city, attended by many prelates and nobility, and was received with processional honours at Westminster, where she remained for a few days to set the affairs of her kingdom in order, having first, as was meet, provided for the interest of God's holy church, pursuant to the advice of good men. She gave the bishopric of London to a venerable monk of Reading, Robert by name, in the presence and by the orders of his reverend abbot Edward. God's affairs being thus accomplished, the queen of England interceded with Matilda for the king her husband, who had been taken captive and committed to prison. The first and greatest nobles of England pleaded the
same cause, offering to place at her disposal many hostages, castles, and great riches, in order that the king might be restored, not to his kingdom, but simply his liberty, promising also that they would persuade him, after he had been dismissed from the kingdom, thenceforth to serve God alone as a monk or pilgrim; but she heard them not. The bishop of Winchester, too, petitioned that the government which belonged to his brother should be given to his nephew, that is, to the king's son, but neither would she hear him. The citizens also requested that they might be permitted to observe the laws of king Edward, which were excellent, and not those of Henry her father, which were severe. But she refused good advice, being influenced by a spirit of too great severity, and so she would not consent; in consequence of which a great commotion arose in the city, and a conspiracy was formed against her, so that she whom they had received with honour was now ordered to be disgracefully apprehended. Being warned however by some of the citizens, she betook herself with her attendants to an ignominious flight, leaving all her own and their apparel behind them. Perceiving this, the bishop of Winchester, who was also legate of the holy Roman church, busied himself for the deliverance of his brother; and in order to effect this he secured the courage and good will of the Londoners in his behalf. In the meantime the fugitive lady came to Gloucester, where, having taken counsel with Milo, the ex-constable, she returned with him immediately to Oxford, intending to remain there until she could collect her scattered forces. And because she had chiefly been influenced by the advice, and been supported by the assistance of Milo, insomuch as up to that time she had neither eaten one day's meals nor had any provision for her table, except through his munificence or forethought—as we have heard from Milo's own mouth-in order that she might the more straitly bind him to her service, she bestowed upon him in reward the earldom of Hereford.
On the approach of the Festival of St. Peter ad Vincula [1st Aug.], her troops having now increased in valour and numbers, she came, unknown to her brother, the earl of Bristol, to Winchester, but finding that city already revolted against her, she took up her abode in the castle. Wondering at her unlooked-for arrival, and exceedingly troubled thereat, Henry, bishop of that city, escaped out at another gate, and then and there escaped. Discord now broke out among themselves, and this wealthy city, so long famous through all lands, was encompassed with a sudden blockade, in consequence of domestic quarrels, and was drained of its inhabitants and property, while common soldiers and destructive mercenaries rage furiously to and fro. Nor was even this sufficient for the pontiff's wrath, for, goaded by fury and wishing to strike terror and dismay into their minds, he gave orders that the whole town should be set on fire and burnt; and this he accomplished. Thus, on the second of the month of August, having fired the city, he reduced to ashes the monastery of the nuns with its buildings, more than forty churches, together with the larger and better