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RAVAGES OF GRUFFYDD.
Precautions of this kind against the return of one for CHAP. IX. whose return the mass of the nation was longing must have been unpopular in the highest degree. And if anything could still further heighten the general discontent with the existing state of things, it would be the events Ravages of Gruffydd which were, just at this time, going on along the Welsh of North border. The Norman lords whom Eadward had settled in Wales. 1052. Herefordshire proved but poor defenders of their adopted country. The last continental improvements in the art of fortification proved vain to secure the land in the absence of chiefs of her own people. Gruffydd of North Wales marked his opportunity; he broke through his short-lived alliance with England, and the year of the absence of Godwine and his sons was marked by an extensive and successful invasion of the land of the Magesætas.1 Gruffydd doubtless took also into his reckoning the absence of the local chief at Sandwich. He crossed the border, he harried far and wide, and he seems not to have met with any resistance till he had reached the neighbourhood of Leominster. There His victory he was at last met by the levies of the country, together minster. with the Norman garrison of Richard's Castle. Perhaps, as in a later conflict with the same enemy in the same neighbourhood, English and foreign troops failed to act
1 Chron. Wig. and Flor. Wig. 1052. This incursion seems not to be mentioned in the Welsh Chronicles. Its perpetrator is described only as "Griffin se Wylisca cing," "Walensium Rex Griffinus;" but the King intended must be the Northern Gruffydd.
2 The Worcester Chronicle says, pæt he com swype neah to Leomynstre." Florence speaks of the harrying, but does not mention the place.
3 Chron. Wig. “And men gadorodon ongean, ægðer ge landes men ge Frencisce men of dam castele." So Florence, "Contra quem provinciales illi et de castello quamplures Nortmanni ascenderunt." "The castle" is doubtless Richard's Castle. Florence, who had mistaken the meaning of the Chronicler in the entry of the former year (see above, p. 142), now that he had got among Herefordshire matters, understood the description. Here again the expressions witness to the deep feeling awakened by the building of this castle.
CHAP. IX. Well together; at all events the Welsh King had the victory, and, after slaying many men of both nations, he went away with a large booty. Men remarked that this heavy blow took place exactly thirteen years after Gruffydd's first great victory at Rhyd-y-Groes.2 Though the coincidence is thus marked, we are not told what day of what month was thus auspicious to the Welsh prince; but the dates of the events which follow show that it must have been early in the summer.
petitions for his
Godwine must by this time have seen that the path for his return was now open, and it was seemingly this last misfortune which determined him to delay no longer.3 It was not till all peaceful means had been tried and failed, that the banished Earl made up his mind to attempt a restoration by force. He sent many messages to the King, praying for a reconciliation. He offered now to Eadward, as he had before offered both to Harthacnut and to Eadward himself, to come into the royal presence and to make a compurgation in legal form in answer to all the charges which had been brought against him.1 But all such petitions were in vain. It marks the increasing intercourse between England and the Continent, that Godwine, when his own messages were not listened to, sought, as a last resource, to obtain his object through the intercession of foreign princes. Embassies on his behalf were sent by his host
1 Chron. Wig. 1052. “And man þær ofsloh swybe feola Englisera godra manna, and eac of pam Frenciscum." (The French get no honourable epithet.) All this evaporates in Florence's "multis ex illis occisis."
2 See above, p. 56, and vol. i. p. 502.
3 I infer this from the way in which Harold's expedition is spoken of as happening almost immediately ("sona," "parvo post hoc tempore") after Gruffydd's victory, as if the two things had some connexion with each other.
* Vita Eadw. 405. "Mittit tamen adhuc pacem et misericordiam petere a Rege domino suo [cynchlaford], ut sibi liceat cum ejus gratiâ ad se purgandum legibus venire coram co." See above, p. 140, and vol. i. p. 510.
5 Ib. "Hoc quoque pro ejus dilectione et suo officio missis legatis suis,
GODWINE ATTEMPTS TO NEGOTIATE.
Count Baldwin and by the King of the French. Baldwin, CHAP. IX. who had so lately been at war with England, might seem an ill-chosen intercessor; but Godwine's choice of him for foreign princes on that purpose may have been influenced by Baldwin's close his behalf. connexion with the Court of Normandy. William was just now earnestly pressing his suit for Matilda. The ally of the great Duke might be expected to have some influence, if not with Eadward, at least with Eadward's Norman favourites. King Henry, it will be remembered, claimed some sort of kindred with Eadward, though it is not easy to trace the two princes to a common ancestor.1 But King and Marquess alike pleaded in vain. Eadward was surrounded by his foreign priests and courtiers, and no intercessions on behalf of the champion of England were allowed to have any weight with the royal mind, even if they were ever allowed to reach the royal ear.2
The Earl was now satisfied that nothing more was to Godwine be hoped from any attempts at a peaceful reconciliation. on a return He was also satisfied that, if he attempted to return by by force. force, the great majority of Englishmen would be less likely to resist him than to join his banners. He therefore, towards the middle of the summer,3 finally determined to attempt his restoration by force of arms, and he began to make preparations for that purpose. His con- Estimate duct in so doing hardly needs any formal justification. It duct is simply the old question of resistance or non-resistance. If any man ever was justified in resistance to established authority, or in irregular enterprises of any kind, undoubtedly Godwine was justified in his design of making
of his con
Rex petit Francorum, et ipsum cum quo hiemabat idem persuadebat
1 See above, p. 17. Eadward and Baldwin had a common ancestor, though certainly a very remote one, in the great Ælfred. See above, p. 301. 2 Vita Eadw. 405. "Sed et illi hoc suggerebant satis frustra; obstruxerat enim pias Regis aures pravorum malitia."
Ib. Mediante proximâ æstate."
CHAP. IX. his way back into England in arms. So to do was indeed simply to follow the usual course of every banished man of those times who could gather together the needful force. The enterprises of Osgod Clapa 1 at an earlier time, and of Ælfgar at a later time, are not spoken of with any special condemnation by the historians of the time. And the enterprise of Godwine was of a very different kind from the enterprises of Elfgar and of Osgod Clapa. Ælfgar and Osgod may have been banished unjustly, and they may, according to the morality of those times, have been guilty of no very great crime in seeking restoration with weapons in their hands. Still the question of their banishment or restoration was almost wholly a personal question. The existence or the welfare of England in no way depended on their presence or absence. But the rebellion or invasion of Godwine was a rebellion or an invasion in form only. His personal restoration meant nothing short of the deliverance of England from misgovernment and foreign influence. He had been driven out by a faction; he was invited to return by the nation. The enterprise of Godwine in short should be classed, not with the ordinary forcible return of an exile, but with enterprises like those broke of Henry of Bolingbroke in the fourteenth century and of (1399) and In all three cases
son of God
William of William of Orange in the seventeenth.
the deliverer undoubtedly sought the deliverance of the country; in all three he also undoubtedly sought his own restoration or advancement. But Godwine had one great advantage over both his successors. They had to deal with wicked Kings; he had only to deal with a weak King. They had to deal with evil counsellors, who, however evil, were still Englishmen. Godwine had simply to deliver King and people from the influence and thraldom of foreigners. He was thus able, while his successors were
1 See above, p. 99.
GODWINE DETERMINES TO RETURN BY FORCE.
not able, to deliver England without resorting to the death, CHAP. IX. deposition, or exile of the reigning King, and, as far as he himself was personally concerned, without shedding a drop of English blood.
The narrative of this great deliverance forms one of the most glorious and spirit-stirring tales to be found in any age of our history. It is a tale which may be read with unmixed delight, save for one event, which, whether we count it for a crime or for a misfortune, throws a shadow on the renown, not of Godwine himself, but of his nobler son. Harold and Leofwine, we have seen, had made up their minds from the beginning to resort to force, whenever the opportunity should come. They had spent the winter in Ireland in making preparations for an expedition.' They were by this time ready for action, and now that their father had found all attempts at a peaceful reconciliation to be vain, the time for action seemed clearly to have come. It was doubtless in concert with Godwine that Harold Harold and Leof wine and Leofwine2 now set sail from Dublin with nine ships. sail from Their crews probably consisted mainly of adventurers from the Danish havens of Ireland, ready for any enterprise which promised excitement and plunder. But it is quite possible that Englishmen, whether vehement partizans or simply desperate men, may have also taken service under the returning exiles. The part of England which they chose for their enterprise would have been well chosen, if they had been attacking a hostile country. They made for They enter the debateable land forming the southern shore of the Channel. Bristol Channel, where no doubt large traces of the ancient British blood and language still remained.
1 See above, p. 150.
2 Leofwine is not mentioned in the Chronicles, but his name is given by Florence, and the Biographer (405) speaks of "duo prædicti filii.”
The language of the Biographer is here remarkable. He had just before spoken of the people of the East and South of England as "Orien.