Francis Palgrave.

The history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) online

. (page 15 of 60)
Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Alain op- warriors. They knew nothing of the rights ex-
. pressed or implied by any acts which had passed


between Alain and the Duke of Normandy.
Guillaume-Longue-epee might acknowledge Alain
Barbe- torte as his vassal ; but their honoured
Duke did not ask them to resign their inherit-

men occu-




ance, or kneel before the paltry Breton as their 936942
Seigneur: the Breton lands had been won by XlXZ^
themselves for themselves ; the Northmen re-
quired no help, they would defend their own.
Guillaume Longue-epee had merely permitted
Alain to regain Armorica, if he could ; and, dur-
ing the contests which ensued, the Duke did not
interfere on behalf of either party.

Unapprised of Barbe-torte's movements, the
Northmen were completely off their guard; no
sentinels posted at their gates, no mariners on the
look-out towards the sea. Had they even known
that the Bretons were coming, they would have
mocked at such an enemy. Alain Barbe-torte's Alain

T? n i |"\/1

small fleet appeared suddenly before D61 ; the torte de-
feats the

Northmen were celebrating a grand bridal, and Northmen
unquestionably as a bride-ale ought to be, with
store of strong liquor. The Bretons landed, fell
upon the merry-makers, and effected a good rid-
dance ; yet their main object was to inspire
alarm : therefore they did not occupy the position,
but re-embarked, and coasted further on, to Saiut-
Brieux. Another surprise, another slaughter;
the Bretons began to cancel the bloody scores
incurred during many a long year. The Breyzad
populations now flocked in from all parts, hailing
Alain Barbe-torte ; nay, it is said, that in the
first moment of enthusiasm, they proclaimed him
as their Sovereign.

The other Breton Counts would scarcely have



036942 acknowledged such a supremacy : nevertheless

, ^_, the people combating under Alain's commands,

fought sturdily and stedfastly. An universal in-

surrection against the Northmen ensued: they

abandoned their posts, and the interior country

The North- was cleared of them. The Northmen, retreating

men con-

centrate before the wide-spreading hostility, concentrated

i ore G s

Nantes their strength upon the banks of the Loire,
b y principally about Nantes. Here they intended
to make head against the Bretons, trusting in
the reinforcements which they expected from the
North, from Ireland, from Great Britain, from
Scandinavia. Nantes had been repeatedly burnt,
sacked and plundered, nought now remained of
the antient City save ruined walls in a wilder-
ness. The Northmen fortified themselves nigh the
site, and, notwithstanding their recent reverses,
they thoroughly despised their Celtic antagonists ;
but the Bretons were invigorated by the strenu-
ousness of their Leader, and they encamped in
front of the Danish entrenchments.

The Northmen resenting the defiance given
by adversaries, deemed so contemptible, rushed
forth and attacked them. The Bretons yielded
and fled rallied and turned against the assail-
ants the Danes were routed ; nevertheless they
retreated to their vessels without much loss, and
sailed away, but much provoked, and with the
full and ultimately satisfied desire, of wreak-
ing condign vengeance. Alain's first and rightful


impulse conducted him to the Cathedral of Saint 930942
Felix, or rather to the vestiges of the Sanctuary, TT^
originally of Roman construction. So completely 937 ~ 943
had Nantes been deserted in consequence of the
Danish ravages, that the sorrowfully dilapidated
edifice was surrounded by a thicket of rank vege-
tation, and the triumphant Count could not reach
the shattered portal, otherwise than by cutting
his path with his sword through thorns and briers.
Alain Barbe-torte was the re-founder of Nantes. Nantes re-

founded by

He summoned his Liecres to aid in restoring the Alain


walls, and he also built the huge Castle, in torte -
which the Dukes afterwards resided. The walls
which Alain raised constitute the core of the
lofty circuit, now coated by more recent ashlar,
upon which you may observe in faint emboss-
ments the Cordeliere devices of good Duchess
Anne, weather-crumbled almost to the level of
the field. Traders were encouraged to resort to
Nantes by Alain's w r ise institutions: ample privi-
leges were granted to the representatives of the
old Breyzad nobility : the clergy reaped the fruits
of his liberality. The new colonization flourished
rapidly on the shores of the ocean-commanding
sestuary ; and ere Alain died, Nantes had regained
her pristine opulence.

Like the Norman Duke, the Breton Count
was drawn more and more into connexion with
the French monarchy. He entered into amica-
ble relations with Guillaume Tete-d'etoupe, and


93G 942 widened his own borders. South of the Loire,

^HZH^ opposite to the Nantois coast, there is a small

I37 ~ 943 but important district, over which Bretons and


Main Poitevins asserted a confused domination, con-

l J 'i T*1")P

torte ob- tending against each other, to the great profit of

tains the *

cession their common enemy, the Pagan Danes. Alain

from Tete-

Barbe-torte settled these grudges, obtaining ad-
vantageous terms. Mauge, Tiffauge, Herbauge,

L<5?e. of the and chivalrously sounding Clisson, being the four
Seigneuries confirmed to him by Tete-d'etoupe,
were united to the County of Nantes, together
with the adjoining Poitevin Marches.

On the side of Anjou, an extensive tract
towards the river Mayenne, antiently depending
upon Armorica, was claimed by Count Alain.

Alain's The Angevin Count, Foulques-le-Roux, advanced

claims upon

A i n J 1 ou s ^ mU in years, unwilling to admit the demand, and yet
is no * caring to enter into a contest, proposed
of that Alain should marry his daughter, the sage
" Roscilla, and hold the disputed territory as her
dowry. The vigorous Alain accepted the land
and the faded Lady. His second wife was a
daughter of Blois. We shall hear more about
these Princesses hereafter: we must always be
observant of Britanny, Britanny, linked to the
destiny of Hollo's inheritance, and the remote,
936, 937. yet efficient cause of that inheritance's loss.

3. Louis was called into activity speedily

after his accession. The station held in the Car-

gundy. lovingian Commonwealth by the Burgundian


Dukes or Counts was very illustrious : the indi- 930912
vicinal Princes of Burgundy are sufficiently iden- ^ZZXHT
tified, but the rights or tenures enabling them
to exercise their authority are ill defined and
obscure. Nor do the laborious historical En-
quirers by whom the subject has been discussed,
all at variance amongst themselves, enable
their readers to arrive at any satisfactory conclu-
sion. In tracing the succession of the early Bur-
guudian Potentates we encounter constant con-
flicts of opinion. Du Cange asserts this Count
to be hereditary, but Dom Plancher decorously
denies any ancestorial privilege. Concerning an-
other, there is an argument whether he was
official and removeable, or official and perma-
nent; whilst the dignity ascribed to a third, is
stigmatized as being suppositions or imaginary.

For our present purpose, however, it is suffi- ^^ s f
cient to accept the Dynasts as we find them, <fo^2j^
facto, immediately after the death of King Raoul. death -
Hugh-le-Noir, son of Duke Richard-le-Justicier,
and the late King's brother, then claimed the
superiority, not only of his father's dominions, ...their

T*l V 1 1 1 f 1 (* ^J

but of various districts and jurisdictions which

had been previously dismembered. Lane-res was

. Noir's por-

subjected to Hugh-le-Noir, together with the on f the
larger portion of the Diocese, so also the City
of vintages, rubicund Dijon.

Gilbert, the son of Count Manasses, Duke Gilbert's


Richard's son-in-law, he with whom Queen Emma

936942 had warred, having been reinstated in romantic

7 CT

, * , Avalon, was also called Duke of Burgundy. His
dominions included much of the modern Duchy.
Chalons-sur-Saone was held by Gilbert, Macon
also, the boundaries of his dominion being the
rivers Saone and Tille, and that shallow Vigenne,
whilom e choked by the Danish corpses.

claim of Huffli-le -Grand asserted constitutional pre-


Grand. tensions, of which the foundation cannot be ascer-
tained, to the whole Duchy, either in supremacy
or in demesne ; but he now sought to prevail by
shifting his ground. It was affirmed, that, upon
the death of King Raoul, the Duchy of Burgundy
had escheated to the Crown, and was conse-
quently in the King's gift. The first employ-
ment therefore which Hugh-le-Grand made of his
vastly influential position was, to render his royal
Pupil the instrument through whose agency he
could gain the much envied possession. Louis,
progressing through his kingdom for the purpose
of accepting the acknowledgments of his subjects,
advanced into Burgundy, his Guardian by his side.
Nobles and people, upon the approach of the
Sovereign, crowded to take the oath of fealty.
But there was one inimical defaulter. Hugh-le-
Noir, who had been summoned to appear, ap-
peared not ; and when Louis and Hugh-le-Grand


surrender came before Lang-res, the gates were closed.
toLouf s re This was a useless act of disobedience : after
re" Grand. " a brief but vigorous defence made by the garri-


son for the inhabitants were loyal, Hugh-le- 936942
Noir abandoned the Place ; hostages, selected by ,""~^ \
the Bishops and Nobles of Burgundy, were sent 936 ~ 937
to Paris : the young King was loudly and loyally
welcomed by the citizens ; Langres was his own.
By the King's assent, however, Hugh-le-Grand
received the City, which he occupied. Hencefor-
ward, the son of King Robert must be reckoned
as a Duke of Burgundy ; so that there were now
three concurrent Dukes or Counts of Burgundy,
Duke Hugh-le-Grand, Duke Hugh-le-Noir, and
Duke Gilbert, all claiming under diverse rights.
Hugh-le-Grand subsequently concluded a treaty
with Hugh-le-Noir : they agreed upon a partition
of territory, and the transaction was confirmed
by the King.

$ 4. Hugh-le-Grand thus gained his imme- 936937

diate object; but his success disclosed the weak the g youn-
points of his political position. Had it not been vernm<fnt.
for the young King's co-operation, Hugh-le-Grand
would have failed. Duke Gilbert would have de-
fied him from mountainous Avalon, and destroyed
all his enjoyment of the garners and wine-vats.
Powerful as Hugh-le-Grand was, the fact became
evident to the world, that he could not have
won his Burgundian Dukedom otherwise than
through the young King's aid. His installation
was the sequel of the King's joyeuse entree.
The Tutor was indebted to the Infant : the Guar-
dian had to lean upon the arm of his Ward.


936-942 Notwithstanding the length and breadth of
, - , Hugh-le-Grand ? s dominions, it seems that he could
not raise forces adequate for the expedition. His-
torical theory ascribes more potency to feudality
(at least at this sera) than can be authentically
verified by existing evidence. The lithographs of
the " Feudal Castle," with which popular history is
interleaved, exhibit grander aspects than the bat-
tlements would have displayed had we approached
them on their own ground. Precise information
escapes us when we endeavour to ascertain the
actual composition of such a feudal muster as
would have been marshalled by Hugh-le-Grand.
We cannot form any clear notions of the power
possessed by the "Dux Francorum' over his
lieges in the Duchy of France. Neither is it
easy to answer the question, whether the Fideles
holding the lands of Saint Martin were bound
to follow their redoubtable Abbot when, clad in
mail, he rode from the banks of Loire to the foot
of the Jura hills.

But, with respect to the King, the case is
otherwise. The King's name was a tower of
strength. The Crown imparted to Louis all the
prerogatives, whether Roman or Teutonic, which
had appertained unto his progenitors. The King
was Imperator : none denied the King's right to
summon the arriere-ban : none but the King-
influence could summon the arriere-ban. In the worst of
King! times the summons was obeyed. We have seen


how cheerfully the Lieges responded to the call 936942
of Charles-le-Simple, even after his dethrone-
ment. The success which attended the young
Louis, when, in the language of chivalry, he won
his first spurs at Langres, gave him confidence
in his own powers. His personal influence was
very pervading. In consequence of the steady
adherence to traditional jurisprudence, there was
absolutely no mode of obtaining a good legal
title to a Benefice or a Fief, except through the
King, as the channel of conveyance. No terri-
torial Honour was perfected without the Royal
confirmation. Even in the most disturbed state
of society, mere possession is not satisfactory,
unless when accompanied by some shew of right.
A Charles or a Louis might be affronted, despised,
defeated, degraded ; yet, unless the King took up
the pen and subscribed his elaborate monogram
to the Charter or Precept of Saisine, engrossed ^ y a f iv p e r s e "
by the royal Notarius, countersigned by the same *^! t r 1:
high Officer, and displaying the royal Seal, the
Count was not at ease.

These instruments were not issued as a matter
of course : the King might delay, demur, nay,
refuse ; therefore the Lieges throughout the
Realm had a direct interest in courting the King.
The people at large admired the fine young war-
rior. All these advantages were appreciated by
Louis. Deliberately and silently, feeling his
aplomb, knowing his own prerogatives, he de-



936942 termined, or most probably had determined from
^ ^__, the beginning, to cast off the incubus as soon
as the opportune hour should arrive.

The young Louis vaulting into the saddle,
and keeping his seat on the curvetting steed,
typified by that action the spirit which animated
him when he received the Crown. Gallant, ar-
dent, energetic, cheerful, daring, full of resources,
dreading nothing, hoping for all ; but discreetly
adapting himself to circumstances, not taking his
leap too soon and therefore at the commence-
ment of his reign fully conforming himself to

In his public instruments Louis proclaimed
the Duke as the acting Viceroy. " Hugo dilec-
tissimus noster et Francorum Dux, qui est in
omnibus Regnis nostris secundus a nobis." But,
though thus styled the second in the government,
the treaty of Boulogne by which Louis bound him-
self always to obey the advice of Hugh, virtually
rendered the Duke of France the Premier of the
Healm: and Louis endured the subjection very
937 patiently. Without making any discernible pre-

Louis re- r > J ^

le iff S h m m ~ P ara ti n f r the coup d'etat, or exhibiting any

torateof ec " token of impatience, he waited till towards the

Gnf n h d! e ~ close of the first year of his reign ; and then,

declaring the Protectorate void, he entered upon

the full exercise of his royal authority. Louis

relied entirely upon his own wit and means.

No Prelate was summoned to aid by his wisdom.


He canvassed not for supporters amongst his 936-942
great Lieges in France. Athelstane's fleet would 1ZZCZX
have filled the channel at his demand ; but Louis
sought no succour from beyond the seas. Theogivare-

, . , called from

only mortal to whom he turned was his mother, England.
Ogiva, affectionate and wise, who came over from
England; and, until Louis was happily enabled
to win a still nearer and more intimate confidante,
continued his chief adviser and friend.

To be free for action, it was of the highest
importance that Laon should be placed under the
most trustworthy keeping, so that the King's place
might be supplied when he should be absent.
Laon was the only gem of the diadem which re-
mained in its socket. It was the fate of Laon to
be the theatre of female prowess. Raoul could
confide the City of the rock to none but his un-
wearied Emma. On behalf of wily Vermandois, c T m ^" d

f ' of the City

the fortress had been boldly defended by Hermen- J^ted t e n ~
garda. The Damoyseau Louis found as able
Lieutenante in his English mother; and to her
he gave the command of that famous stronghold,
whence, fourteen years before, she had escaped,
concealing him by that odd stratagem, of which
he loved to tell. Henceforward we behold the
young Louis as King, having to contend against
the ceaseless faithlessness, malice, and falsity of
those who were bound to him by allegiance, duty,
and consanguinity. Defrauded, troubled, harassed,
and betrayed, Louis nobly vindicated his station.


936942 He seemed destined to renovate the decaying Car-
, - , lovingian lineage, by his resolution, his prowess,
his quick, varied, and versatile talent.

5. Hugh-le-Grand forthwith proceeded to
organise his plans for recovering his vicarial su-
premacy. Whatever title he bore, the Dux Fran-
corum steadily pursued his intent of being as
much of a king as was possible, consistently with
the non-assumption of the Crown ; and he effica-
ciously, though cautiously, began to collect his
party a process to be effected, fully as much
by the conciliation of enemies as by acquiring
friends. Hostility against Louis was the main-
spring of this combination, not affection towards
Hugh ; and we shall see the confederates emerg-
ing, when, and as the opportunities arose for

annoying the King.
j>37 - 938 The firgt j tll w j lom g^gh concluded an


pilns d for a Mi ance was Herbert of Vermandois. It was a
forcible evidence of the power which still adhered
to the Crown, that these rivals, so cordially hating
each other, were compelled to coalesce for the pur-
pose of making head against the lad of sixteen,
who had but one city he could call his own ;
a shame thus to plot and intrigue against a
woman and a boy; but no feeling of conscience
or humanity ever enfeebled their hearts. The
opposition lately raised by Hugh-le-Grand during
the settlement of the succession, when he had so
energetically promoted the King's cause, testified


his animosity against the adverse Count of Ver- 936942
mandois. He had extolled Louis, lauded him, iZZXZI^
advocated the Restoration as the only safe course ; 937 ~ 938
his present conduct was an emphatic recantation:
Hugh-le-Grand, turning against the King whom
he had brought in, was performing the amende
honorable to his opponent ; and Herbert could do
nothing better than accept the compromise.

During the late reign, Herbert's schemes had Balance of
not, on the whole, satisfied his expectations : he gain in the


had profited scantily by all the exertions he had ? ffairs of

J Herbert of

made to gain the Archbishopric of Rheims.
The archbishopling, " Hugo Parvulus," had been
ejected from the See : and of all the vast tempo-
ralities, the custody whereof had been granted to
Herbert, he was only able to preserve Coucy, held
under him by Bernard de Senlis, the good uncle
of Guillaume-Longue-e'pee : - a noble domain cer-
tainly, yet only a morsel of what he coveted.

In like manner Herbert had failed to obtain
Laon ; but now, all his thwarted projects re-
vived. Although Herbert had been kept out of the
City, he contrived to retain possession of the
Chateau-Galliot, built on the slope of the rock ;
and he had increased the fortifications of that
stronghold, so annoying to the Crown. From this
commanding point he could always distress, and
perhaps re-acquire the great object of contention.
" Hugo Parvulus," as he grew up, had been going
on well : he was now a young tonsured clerk,


936942 well disposed; and during his enforced retire-


. - . ment from the archiepiscopal dignity, had im-
proved by his education. Disgracefully irregular
had been the acts of those who intruded him,
yet Hugo Fitz Herbert was not so incongruous
a candidate as when he commenced his prelatical

Herbert of Whilst the many feathers to be plucked from

Verman- .

dois allies the young King, would instigate Herbert to co-

himselfto . .

Hugh-ie- operate with the discarded Protector ; yet there

Grand *

against was as before, a still more vehement stimulus


inciting the Count to trouble Louis to diminish
his authority, nay, if possible, to deprive him
wholly of power, and perhaps not even to stop
there. Herbert could not wash himself clean
from the blood of King Charles. The dread of
retribution had caused him to obstruct the resto-
ration of the young son ; and, by Ogiva's recal, he
was exposed to the bitter vengeance of a widow.
The question might, to Herbert, be a matter of
life or death.
Herbert of R (3. Herbert first raised the standard of re-


doiscom- yoit. His forces were small, and he began his

mences his O

operations, operations, judiciously, with reference to the
future expansion of his dominions, and charac-
teristically, by tricking a deceiver. The Cham-
paign of Rheims, the " Campania Remensis 9 ">
a most appropriate descriptive denomination of
the region, an extension of the plains of Flan-
ders, but not yet employed politically as desig-


nating a province was protected against Count 930-942
Herbert on the Vermandois border by the Castrum
Theodorici Chateau Thierry, now best recol-
lected as the birth-place of the inimitable Fabu-
list, which Louis had entrusted to his liege-man, J
Gualo, or Walo. Herbert's profuse promises in-
duced the Commander to betray his duty. Gualo
became Herbert's Man ; taking the oath, and
placing his hands between Herbert's hands. Gualo
ordered the King's troops away from the Castle,
and, on Saint Valentine's day he opened the gate
for Herbert and his forces. Gualo expected to
be well rewarded, and confirmed in his post ; but,
as soon as the Count of Vermandois was in pos-
session, he spurned away the serviceable traitor
with ferocious contempt. Gualo, fettered and
chained, was cast into the dungeon ; where, for
aught we know, he continued during the remainder
of his life. Herbert, through this occupation of Herbert

founds the

Chateau Thierry, obtained the City of Troyes county of


and all the " Campania Remensis" which, under P a s ne -
his potent sway, was speedily developed into the
magnificent County of Champagne.

Herbert and his lineage held Champagne
during three generations, until some time after
the accession of the Capets, when the Grand Fief
passed from the House of Vermandois to the
House of Blois ; and the Counts having received
or assumed the Palatine title, were also elevated
to the high estate of the Douze-Pairs.




936942 But the civil war was suddenly staid. The day
^II^C when Herbert's troops entered Chateau Thierry,
was a marked Saint Valentine's day : for, on the
night of that day, ere faint daylight broke, the
north-eastern sky blazed resplendent with undu-
lating flames. A great calamity was anticipated ;
and, very shortly afterwards, the Magyars, having
crossed the Rhine at Worms, poured in like a flood,
spreading themselves all over Belgic Gaul, and all
over Celtic Gaul, all down into Aquitaine. The
937 country was dreadfully ravaged : the depredations
perpetrated by these insatiate Tartars were minor
- evils compared with their cruelties; priests
stripped stark naked and shot at, as marks ; in-
numerable captives starved to death. Louis sus-
tained deep humiliation from the indignities and
injuries thus inflicted upon his kingdom ; but,
unaided and pestered, he could not oppose the
barbarians. The Magyars, when they had done
their worst, rushed away through Italy, carrying
off multitudes of prisoners, who merged in the
mixed population of Arpad's kingdom, where they
settled peaceably : the fierce Magyars, so ferocious
whilst pursuing their invasions, were rudely hos-
pitable in their own land.
937,938 7. As soon as France was relieved from

deavours to the presence of the hideous Ogres, Louis con-

Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 60)