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CHAP. VII. be more unjust. His old crimes could no longer be brought Injustice of its renewal. up against him with any fairness. The time when they might have been rightly urged was on the motion for the repeal of his former outlawry.1 But, whether wisely or unwisely, that outlawry had been legally reversed; Swegen had been restored to his Earldom, a restoration which of course implied the absolute pardon of all his former offences. Since his restoration we hear of no fresh crime on his part, unless it were a crime to have been a fellow-worker with his father, his brother, and the men of his Earldom in resistance to the wrongs inflicted by the strangers. To condemn Swegen afresh for his old offences. was a flagrant breach of all justice; to condemn him for his late conduct was a breach of justice equally flagrant in another way. Besides this, his condemnation on this last ground would carry with it an equal condemnation of Godwine and Harold. Swegen then was outlawed, and outlawed, as far as we can see, without a hearing; and Godwine and Harold were summoned to appear before the King, seemingly as criminals to receive judgement. Bishop Stigand, in whose diocese Godwine was then living, procured some delay; but Archbishop Robert took advantage of that very delay, still further to poison the King's mind against the Earl.3 Godwine, after the treatment which his eldest son had just received, declined to appear, unless he received an assurance of the King's favour, guaranteed by the placing of special hostages in his hands, as pledges for his personal safety during the interview. The King's answer was apparently a demand that the Earls should allow, or perhaps compel, all the King's Thegns who had joined them to go over

Godwine and Ha

rold sumbefore the



1 See above, p. 106.

2 Vita Eadw. 402. "Elaborante Stigando. . qui etiam tunc medius ibat, procrastinata est judicii dies, dum Rex suorum uteretur consilio."

3 Ib.


mons of

to the King's side. The demand was at once obeyed. CHAP. VII. By this time the tide was clearly turning against Godwine, and the force which he had brought with him to Southwark was getting smaller and smaller.2 The King again Final sumsummoned the Earls to appear, with twelve companions the Earls. only. We can hardly believe that Stigand was compelled, however against his will, to announce as a serious message to Godwine that the King's final resolution was that Godwine could hope for his peace only when he restored to him his brother Ælfred and his companions safe and sound. It is inconceivable that such words can have formed part of a formal summons, but it is quite possible that they may have been uttered in mockery, either by the King or by his Norman Archbishop. But whatever Their dewas the form of the summons, Godwine and Harold refused to appear, unless they received hostages and a safe-conduct duct is refor their coming and going. Without such security they could not safely appear in an Assembly which had sunk into a mere gathering of their enemies. They had obeyed, and they would obey, the King in all things consistent with their safety and their honour. But both their safety and their honour would be at stake, if they appeared before such a tribunal without any sort of safeguard and without

mand for a safe-con



1 Such on the whole I take to be the meaning of the very difficult expressions of the two Chroniclers, which I have discussed at length in Appendix R.

"And his wered wanode æfre pe leng þe

2 Chron. Wig. 1052. swiðor."

3 Vita Eadw. 402 "Eo [Rodberto] agente tandem a Rege prolata est in Ducem hæc indissolubilis caussæ quæ agebatur diffinitio; Illum scilicet a Rege tunc primum posse sperare pacem, ubi ei reddidit vivum suum fratrem cum suis omnibus et quæ eis viventibus vel interfectis ablata sunt cum integritate eorum."

Chron. Petrib. 1048. "Da geornde se eorl eft grides and gisla, þæt he moste hinde betellan æt ælc þæra þinga þe him man onlede."

5 William of Malmesbury (ii. 199), from whom I get the materials of Godwine's answer, makes them call the Assembly "conventiculum factio



CHAP. VII. their usual retinue as Earls of two great Earldoms.1 The demand was perfectly reasonable.2 Godwine and his son could not be expected to appear without safeguards of any kind in such an assembly as that which now surrounded the King. The adjourned Gemót had been summoned for the free and fair discussion of all disputes between two parties, each of which was declared to be in the full enjoyment of the King's peace and friendship. It was now turned into a Court, in which one son of Godwine had been outlawed without a crime or a hearing, in which Godwine himself was summoned to receive judgement on charges on one of which he had been years before solemnly acquitted. The hostages and the safe-conduct were refused. The refusal was announced by Stigand to the Earl as he sat at his evening meal. The Bishop wept; the Earl sprang to his feet, overthrew the table, sprang on his horse, and, with his sons, rode for his life all that night.+ In the morning the King held his Witenagemót, and by a vote of the King and his whole army, Godwine and his sons were declared outlaws, but five days were allowed them to get them out of the land. By this time Godwine, Swegen, Tostig, and Gyrth, together with Gytha and


Godwine and his

family outlawed.

1 Will. Malms. ii. 199. "Si veniant inermes, vitæ timeri dispendium ; si paucos stipatores habeant, gloriæ fore opprobrium."

2 Kemble, ii. 231. stances, to appear."

"They very properly declined, under such circum

3 Vita Eadw. p. 402. "Flente nimium episcopo Stigando, qui hujus legationis mœrens bajulus erat, reppulit a se mensam quæ adstabat, equis ascensis, viam ad Bosanham maritimam celerius tetendit." This little touch, coming from a contemporary and friendly writer, increases our confidence in the story of the Biographer, hard as it is at first sight to reconcile it with the Chronicles.

4 Chron. Wig. 1052. "For da on niht awæg; and se cyng hæfde pes on morgen witenagemot."

5 Ib. "Se cyng... cwad hine utlage, and call here." See above, p.


6 Chron. Petrib. 1048. "And sceawede him mann v. nihta grið út of lande to farenne." See vol. i. p. 499.


Judith the newly-married wife of Tostig had reached either CHAP. VII. Bosham or the South-Saxon Thorney. There could be Godwine, Swegen, little doubt as to the course which they were to take. &c., take Flanders, Baldwines land, was the common refuge of funders. English exiles, and Godwine and the Flemish Count are said to have been bound to one another by the tie of many mutual benefits.2 It was at the court of Baldwin that Swegen had taken refuge in his exile, and the Count was the brother of Tostig's bride, whose bride-ale had been so cruelly interrupted by these sudden gatherings of Gemóts and armies.3 For Bruges then they set sail in a ship laded with as much treasure as it would hold. They reached the court of Flanders in safety; they were honourably received by the Count,5 and passed the whole winter with him.6

Godwine then, with the greater part of his family," had found shelter in the quarter where English exiles of that age commonly did find shelter. But two of his sons sought quite another refuge. To seek shelter in Flanders,

1 To "Bosenham," according to the Peterborough Chronicler and the Biographer; to "Thornege," according to the Worcester Chronicler and Florence. As it is of course the South-Saxon Thorney near Chichester (see Lappenberg, 509) which is meant, the two accounts no doubt merely refer to different stages of the same journey.

2 Vita Eadw. 404. "Tum pro antiquæ fœderationis jure, tum pro multorum ipsius Ducis beneficiorum vicissitudine." One would like to know more of this connexion between Godwine and Baldwin. It is odd, when we think the war of 1049, that the Biographer (p. 403) calls Baldwin "antiquum Anglica gentis amicum."

3 See above, p. 132.

Chron. Wig. "Mid swa miclum gærsuman swa hi mihton þær on mæst gelogian to ælcum mannum." Cf. Florence and the Biographer, 402. "Cum conjuge et liberis et omnibus quæ illius erant ad manum."

5 "Cum magno honore." Vita Eadw. 404.

Chron. Petrib. "And gesohton Baldewines grið, and wunodon þær ealne pone winter." Vita Eadw. 404. "Hiemati sunt a Comite Baldwino in Flandriam."


7 The younger members of the family, Wulfnoth, Gunhild, Ælfgifu, and Hakon the son of Swegen, are not mentioned. They doubtless accompanied Godwine and are included among the "liberi" of the Biographer.

CHAP. VII. a land forming the natural point of intercommunication between England, France, and Germany, was the obvious course for one whose first object, as we shall presently see, was to obtain his restoration by peaceful diplomacy. Such were the designs of Godwine, the veteran statesman, the man who never betook himself to force till all other Harold de- means had been tried in vain. But Harold, still young,


on resistance.

of his conduct.

and at all times more vehement in temper than his father, had not yet learned this lesson. His high spirit chafed under his wrongs, and he determined from the first on a forcible return to his country, even, if need be, by the help of a foreign force. This determination is the least Estimate honourable fact recorded in Harold's life. It was indeed no more than was usual with banished men in his age. It is what we have already seen done by Osgod Clapa;1 it is what we shall presently see done by Elfgar the son of Leofric; it was in fact the natural resource of every man of those times who found himself outlawed by any sentence, just or unjust. If we judge Harold harshly in this matter, we are in fact doing him the highest honour. So to judge him is in fact instinctively to recognize that he has a right to be tried by a higher standard than the mass of his contemporaries. Judged by such a standard, his conduct must be distinctly condemned; but it should be noticed that, among the various charges, true and false, which were brought against Harold, we never find any reference to this, which, according to our ideas, seems He deter- the worst action of his life. In company with his young brother Leofwine, he despised the peaceful shelter of Bruges, and preferred to betake himself to a land where,

mines to


seek help from the Irish


1 See above, p. 99.

2 "Harold eorl and Leofwine," says the Worcester Chronicle; the Biographer has "Haroldus et Leofricus" in the printed text, but it appears from the fly-leaf of Mr. Luard's edition of Bartholomew Cotton that the true reading is "Leofwinus.” The Peterborough Chronicle mentions Harold only.

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