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gate of the city and cut down the fugitives as they fled.1 He had burned a hundred men alive in a wood near the town. The Normans were long since weary of this interminable strife, which brought with it no rewards. The savages of the north, as they called the Anglo-Danes, were waging no common war; many of them had sworn that they would never sleep under a roof till the stranger was expelled. Several of William's followers, among them the earl of Worcestershire, Hugh de Grente-Maisnil, had been recalled by their wives from service in England; the ladies of Normandy had threatened to take other husbands if their first remained longer absent.2 William himself, a year before, had sent back his queen, for whom England was now not a safe residence. The danger, which seemed to pass away with the first capture of York, re-appeared more menacingly than before when that city was retaken.


But William confronted and overcame the danger. ing with a just confidence on the fidelity of the southern cities, which remained unshaken, though, as at Exeter, the country around them was in revolt, he advanced by slow marches to the north. When the Danes had spent their first fury, and plundered the country they came to defend, their prince, Osbiörn, was induced, by a sum of money and permission to plunder the coasts, to set sail without giving battle to the Normans. He was afterwards outlawed in his own country for this dishonourable conduct; but by that time the fate of England had been decided. Deserted by their allies, the Northumbrians lost heart, and offered no resistance; their army withdrew into Scotland. The king took a terrible re

1 Thierry's view, which refers this exploit to the first and English storm of the town, seems more probable than Lappenberg's, which places it at the second occupation by William. The fact of any defence against William's army is doubtful. See Malmesbury, lib. iii., p. 427.

2 Orderic adds that William never pardoned those who left him thus so far as to restore them their dignities. Yet Hugh de Grente-Maisnil appears in Domesday richly endowed, and his wife was one of the few ladies privileged to hold manors.-Orderic, vol. ii., p. 186, note by M. le Prevost. Probably the story has been a little embellished from classical traditions.



venge. Marching from the Humber to the Tyne, he laid waste the country in every direction as far as his army could scour it. The corn and meat brought in from the villages were stored in houses, which were fired. On the road from York to Durham no inhabited village could be seen. Out of sixty-two villages in Amunderness, only sixteen retained any inhabitants. The wretched peasantry whom the sword spared, perished in the famine of nine years' continuance which succeeded the conqueror's progress; many sold themselves as slaves to procure food; the happiest were those who early wandered away to find a home in a foreign land. To complete their ruin, Malcolm of Scotland, no longer regarding them as allies since they had submitted, swept with his savage Highlanders and Galwegians through the yet undesolated districts on the western coast. The Scotch, infuriated by the news that a Norman army had harried the Lowlands, did the work of plunder even more pitilessly than the Normans. Henceforth William had nothing to fear from the north; a desert lay between himself and the Scotch king. But he tempered his vengeance with policy, and bought off his last formidable opponent, Waltheof, by marrying him to his half-sister, Judith, and by granting him the carldoms of Northampton and Huntingdon.

From this period, the position which William occupied with regard to his new subjects was changed. The constitutional fiction by which his title was derived from the people's consent, could not stand against the fact of repeated rebellions. The battle of Hastings was no longer a solitary event by which England had been delivered from a usurper; it was the first in a series of campaigns, which had ended in the subjugation of a free people. It is assuredly no accident that we find William, after ravaging the north, causing him

1 To make this was probably one deliberate object of his cruelties. The Domesday of Lincoln, which contains a large proportion of Anglo-Danish names, proves that William's power was never so firmly established in the north as in the south.



self to be crowned again by the papal legates, 1071 A.D.1 It is possible that in one charter he styled himself "king by the edge of the sword." Yet he never meditated the madness of overthrowing the English laws and liberties. He took guarantees for the safety of his followers by stringent penalties on assassination; he vested the whole judicial power of the country in the hands of foreigners, and reserved church preferment for men whom he could trust. But he maintained the old national laws and the local liberties;3 Norman and Englishman were equal before the law; each might claim to be tried by the customs of his country. The great wrong of which the conquered gentry had to complain, was the forfeiture of their freehold tenures; several thousand armed foreigners were quartered, so to speak, on the original holdings, whose owners became their tenants. This re-settlement of the country was effected gradually; and mostly took place in the fifteen years between William's second coronation and the completion of Domesday Book (1085 A.D.) The vast possessions of the Saxon crown, and of the great earls who incurred forfeiture by rebellion, were transferred at a blow, and in all cases of escheat, the tenant would forfeit the title which he had

1 Orderic, vol. ii., p. 199.

2 This charter, which Thierry quotes from Hickes, has not been reprinted by the last editors of Rymer's Foedera. I conclude, therefore, they consider it spurious. Out of eleven legal documents which they give, seven style William "king by the grace or gift of God;" one adds, "by hereditary right;" the other four say simply, "king of England."-Conquête d'Angleterre, tom. ii., p. 15.

For instance: "Modo habet rex civitatem Hereford in dominio, et Anglici burgenses ibi manentes habent suas priores consuetudines."-Cons. Civit., Gale, vol. iii., p. 764. Hoveden and the Chronicle of Lichfield say that William intended to make the Danish laws of the northern and eastern counties universal throughout the kingdom, regarding them as best suited to his Norman subjects. But the remonstrances of the Saxons prevailed, and each province was allowed to retain its own customs.-Hoveden, Savile, p. 346; A. S. Laws, vol. i., pp. xi. xii., note.

4 Leges Gul. Conq., ii., 1-3; A. S. Laws, vol. i., p. 488. The principle was, that Englishman and Norman might each be tried by the custom of his country, Foreigners settled in the country before the conquest, were to be treated as English. As these men were mostly Normans (Francigenæ), the law shows that the position of Englishmen was not invidious.-Leges Gul. Conq., iii., 4; A. S. Laws, vol. i., p. 491.



derived from an attainted proprietor, unless he could prove his innocence of any share in his lord's treason. Considering the disturbed state of England, it must have been easy to find reasons which a Norman court would consider good for ejecting any Englishman. Yet there is a sprinkling of Saxon names among the tenants-in-chief, especially in the counties which remained quiet.' Even Harold's followers were in some cases allowed to retain their holdings. Sometimes a Saxon origin is disguised by the territorial titles which Norman custom introduced among the upper classes. In the second order of tenants, the small gentry, more than half were Englishmen when Domesday Book was compiled. Out of the sixty thousand and odd fees into which the country was divided, we may safely assume that the greater number were occupied by natives, though almost all owed service to a Norman.


But the misfortune of the English was not that the laws were suppressed or changed for the worse, but that they were seldom executed. The administration of justice was now more than ever local, and in the hands of the great lords, who were Normans, and favoured all the oppressions of their retainers. An appeal, of course, lay to the king, but it was not easy for William, even if he wished it, to resist the influences of his court. Often he was legally justified in placing a new bidder over the head of an old tenant; and the king's worst vice was avarice. The very number of complaints brought before him was an impediment to justice; William was wearied out, and ordered the litigants to compromise their respective

1 Aldred, in Sussex; Waleran, Croch, Alfred, Godric, in Hampshire; Sweyn, the sheriff of Oxfordshire, &c.-Kelham's Domesday.

• Morgan's England under the Normans, pp. 1, 2; Munford's Domesday of Norfolk, pp. 61, 62.

3 William Fitz-Osbern reduced the legal fine paid by soldiers for grave offences from twenty or twenty-five shillings to seven skillings, in his county of Hereford.-Malmesbury, lib. iii., p. 431. This is, perhaps, the strongest case on record of tampering with the laws to favour crime. Hugh of Chester, from his passion for the chase, "terram suam quotidie devastabat.”—Orderic, tom. ii., p. 219.



claims; the result of course was, that any man who could set up a title, and who was backed by a little interest, got half of his neighbour's estate. This was no new grievance in England; Godwin and Harold had acquired much of their enormous property unjustly; but men felt their wrongs more keenly when the spoiler was a foreigner, and the multitude of oppressors was increased ten-fold. The loss of land carried with it the loss of rank: the impoverished thanes became yeomen; the ceorls, serfs. Nor was personal property respected in time of war; when the vessels of the altar were confiscated, it could scarcely be hoped that the treasures which private men had placed in the churches as in asylums would be spared. But a wanton and licentious soldiery can inflict worse wrongs than plunder. Already in 1068 A.D., Gytha, Harold's mother, had fled with a number of noble Saxon ladies to Flanders, that they might escape intolerable insult. During the next few years, when William was straining every nerve to retain what he had won, the country was traversed by men to whom no licence was forbidden; and at the end of the campaign, grooms and varlets had frequently risen to be estated gentlemen. They treated the conquered people with coarseness, and often with violence. But the conqueror's love of legality produced one good effect: the Saxon women were in request as wives to confirm their husbands' titles; and the way was thus prepared for a fusion of nationalities.

Among the English men-at-arms some wandered into foreign countries; a few took service in Constantinople, where

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2 Orderic's strong words: "Nobiles puellæ despicabilium ludibrio armigerorum patebant," can only apply to times of war, or must be interpreted to mean that ladies were forced to marry below their rank. The Saxon chronicle praises the excellent order which William maintained.-A. S. Chron., A., 1085. Compare Leges Gul. Conq., i., 18; A. S. Laws, vol. i., p. 475. Instances of intermarriages occur in Domesday Book. "Robert d'Oyley married the daughter of Wigot, and so became tenant of her father's barony." "A young man named Richard married the widow of the sheriff of Gloucester, and so became a landed gentleman."-Morgan's England under the Normans, p. 5. In this latter case, wife and land were given by the king.-Domesday, 167, a. 2.

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