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Frenchmen, described as such. The national
appellation of "Francais" had already become
attached to all the Romane populations ; and the
Normans themselves did not repudiate the term,
so influential amongst the causes, and so im-
portant as the consequence, of that feeling which
has imparted an indomitable vitality to the Cape-
tian Realm. Republic, Kingdom, or Empire,
France, centuries before the Tricolor was un-
furled or the Eagle raised, felt herself one and
indivisible.

Jromthe y Richard did not wait to be attacked. The
Ric S ha e rT three gonfauous floating in the air distinguished

heads his

three squadrons which sallied forth ; whilst,



pre-eminent amidst them, was the Ducal standard,

put to flight.

marking the spot where Richard was wielding
his sword, spreading dismay amongst the enemy :
Saint Michael's banner inspired as much terror
as the Danish Raven. A desperate sortie,
made by the besieged, produced a sudden
rout of the besiegers. Eudes, himself, scoured
the field as a fugitive, rapidly as his father



BATTLE OF TILLIERES. 125

had clone after the defeat of Hermondeville. 1024-1035
He would have been captured had he not been
rescued by Walcran de Mcllcnt's aid, who con-
ducted him home in safety. All fled for their
lives, or next to it. Men had much to fight for ;
a fearful fate threatened the captive. Courtesy
to the vanquished, even in the days of chi-
valry, was very capricious ; the more distin-
guished, and therefore the more valuable, the
prize, the more jealous the custody. Had Eudes
been caught, he might have pined for months,
nay, for years, dropped in the dungeon pit, loaded
with chains, or sometimes, as an alleviation, ex-
changing those chains for a link clinking on
his right leg, dragging a clog.- -You may see
a brace of these clogs in the old Norman Keep
of Castle Rising: the biggest is called u roaring
Meg ; " her sister, somewhat smaller, " pretty
Bessy."

Hugh Count of Maine galloped away till his
horse stood stock still, the animal being com-
pletely winded : he also fell into a ditch, and
sustained other mischances, as the Trouveur
tells. The Normans were tracking him, and he
was fully aware that they were on the scent.
Off he cast his hauberk, and flung away his
spurs. A Shepherd sheltered him, and he
tended the sheep. The Normans continued
hunting the enemy, they bore a grudge against
him. He fled from the sheep-cote and concealed
himself in the woods, skulking till he reached



126 THE NORTHMEN IN BRITTANY.

1024-1035 Le Mans, his naked limbs all torn by the thorny
bushes and the flinty ways.

4. But the power of Chartres was not af-
fected by such a defeat, the discomfiture was a



Kings of

swede a u. and g raze ? not a wound. Richard was in a great
strait, and we are in a manner startled by the
appearance in the field of Olave the Norwegian
King, and another King who was denominated
King of the Swedes. English chronicles identify
him with the King Olave, who was subsequently
canonized. A Church is dedicated to the memory
of this King Olave in the " South-work," now
emphatically called the Borough ; and, in "Tooley
Street," we may be interested by the homely, nay,
almost vulgar fusion of the Scandinavian name.
m^n ilnd th o~n 5. Again the Northmen are pursuing their
Brittany 8 . devastations. The Danes having assembled their
armies, and probably sailing from England,
their fleet, so terrible to the miserable English,
assailed the shores of Brittany.

It seems they were driven in by a storm ;
and they immediately turned the mischance to
account. All along this northern coast con-
siderable changes have taken place, the land
gaining upon the sea. The vicinity now presents
many features susceptible of strategic improve-
ment, here available to the inhabitants, there
to an invader; but the Bretons were not a
match for the amphibious Northmen, whether



The Bridaie on land or water. The doleful bridale of Dole

of Dole.

had not taught them caution, and they allowed



DISCOMFITURE OF THE BRETONS. 127

the enemy to make the most of their oppor- 1024-1035
timities.

The story is reported to us amply though con- j^^ n | t de -
fusedly. The city of Dole is commanded by the E
Mount Dole, boldly rising from the plain, between
the city and the sea ; and here an examination
of the locality induces us to place the Danish
encampment. The Bretons, whose local chieftain
was a certain Count Solomon, a name which is
tolerably familiar in the Armorican genealogies,
rallied their forces, and summoned all absentees
to return and aid in the defence of their homes.
Their strength mainly consisted in their cavalry ;
the Northmen knew it, and slow and cautious
were the operations on either side. Preparing for



adopted by

an attack upon their entrenchments, to be made me e nf lth "
from, the level below, they dressed the field for
the fight, by adopting a stratagem not unfre-
quently employed. They scored the ground with
pit-falls, and planted them with stakes : the arti-
fice was stale and rude, and yet it usually suc-
ceeded. The Pirates soon afterwards practised
the same device in Acquitaine, to the great dis-
comfiture of the inhabitants, and we find it re-
peated upon English ground in the battle of
Hastings, and also in the famous battle of the
Standard, between the representative of Blois
and the Plantagenet, so celebrated in North-
umbrian history. The Bretons, unsuspicious of
the contrivance, were thrown into confusion.
Solomon took refuge in Dole; the Danes fired



128 TEEATY OF COUDRES.

1024-1035 the town ; Solomon was slain, the country plun-
dered, and the Northmen now set to work upon

Danes sail

! - the business for which they had been called. They
hoisted their sails : favourable winds facilitated
their voyage through the Channel, they entered
the Seine, and their keels, pulling up to the
Norman capital, they were hailed by their friend
Richard.

^his transaction was simply a perseverance

r. in the policy which Kicharcl had notoriously



ance. King

Robert's adopted for consolidating his alliance with the

sagacity and

Northmen ; but the re-appearance on this occa-
sion of these plunderers by nature and breeding,
rendered his predilections more patent and more
alarming to the French than any previous act.
All the apprehensions excited by the black
Danish blood were revived ; and not unrea-
sonably : King Robert felt the full extent of the
impending danger. No one of his predecessors
or progenitors could have displayed more reso-
lution, nor a truer sense of his royal duties and
prerogatives, than this henpecked King.
1020 Forthwith he assembled his Peers, and having

The treaty of

advised with them he summoned the two warlike



stored by the .

iJfKh, ention l^igants to appear before him, at (Joudres in the
Evrecin. Thanks to the Roman road, the locality
was convenient to all parties, and the place, now
obscure, may then have been rendered more
important by the remains and relics of antient
grandeur. Traditions of the old times continue
to be rife at Coudres. There is a field there, which



PACIFICATION WITH BLOIS. 129

has been always known to the peasantry, as the 1024-1035
" Champ d'aryent" though no token appeared
above ground justifying the appellation. But
the tradition told truth. Scarcely thirty years
have elapsed since the plough turned up a vase,
filled with plenty of "argent" in the monetary,
though not in the metallic sense, large Roman
brass six or seven hundred coins.

Here King Robert, as Conservator of the [^7 nd
public peace, arbitrated between the contending
parties not by any means an easy task. He had
to snatch the bone from the jaws of two angry hun-
gry mastiffs. However, the litigants obeyed his
award. Dreux, thenceforward, became annexed
to the County of Blois and Chartres ; the town
of Dreux, the ample forest, and the noble Castle
towering above the plain, whose chapel now ex-
hibits, vainly or prophetically, according to the
political opinions of the observer, as he may be
guided by hope or fear, the thirty-two ceno-
taphs constructed by an exiled Monarch, and
destined by that Exile to receive the mortal re-
mains of his rejected Dynasty. Henceforward,
the antipathy between Blois and Chartres, and
Normandy, diminished. Anjou was becoming
more formidable to both parties. Stephen of
Blois, the son of Eudes by Hermengarda of
Auvergne, contracted a marriage with a Norman
Adeliza, Ditke Richard's daughter. And the
fear of Normandy encreased all around.

6. At the commencement of Richard's

VOL. III. K



130 BURGUNDIAN TRANSACTIONS.

1024-1035 military career, Burgundy, and Burgundy's Sove-
great reigns had afforded the most exciting motives,
51 " 1 ' and the most ample field, for the exertion of his
prowess : and now, in connection with Burgundy,
was that career concluded. Renaud, the sou of
Otho William, who obtained possession of the

daughter of

much coveted Franche Compte, was a worthy
and renowned Prince, and he sought the hand
of a Norman Atheliza. I shall not attempt to
open the oft recurring question, whether this
denomination, bestowed by historians upon dam-
sels of Regal or Sovereign race, be an epithet
or a name. The reputation of her virtues and
beauty extended far and wide : and, instead of
wooing through the medium of an ambassador,
Reuaud, conforming to Normandy's gallant eti-
quette, the bright dawn of ideal chivalry, re-
paired to Rouen in person, won her heart, gained
her hand, and triumphantly brought her home.

7. The Bishopric of Chalons continued
d to be the scandal of all France. Lambert, the

Count of

gon O f Robert the Count of Autun and Bishop
of Chalons, married Adelaide the daughter of
Count Robert his predecessor ; and their son
Hugh, inheriting his father's temporal preferment,
became Bishop of Auxerre, and took a wife, the
daughter of Geoffrey Grisgonnelle. This dis-
graceful breach of his vows may in some degree
be palliated, inasmuch as Hugh Capet had co-
erced him either into the marriage or into the
dignity, we can hardly tell which.



BURGUNDIAN WAR. 131

Some time afterwards, a quarrel broke out i 1024 - 1035 ,
between the Count Bishop and Count Renaud.



Defeated and captured by the clerical warrior, j?;



Renaud was treated with great severity, loaded

. , much seve-

with chains and cast into a dungeon. Duke rit ^-
Richard despatched ambassadors to the Count
Bishop, earnestly beseeching that, for his sake,
he would be pleased to liberate his daughter's
husband. Renaud's Countess also interceded.
All supplications were fruitless. Hugh not only
augmented the duresse of the prison-house, but he
turned away money ; refusing the large proffered
ransom. Duke Richard forthwith determined
to revenge the affront by carrying the war into
the Bishop's dominions. A numerous Norman
army was mustered against the ambiguous Lord
of Chalons. Richard's eldest son and namesake Richard's

eldest son

was now a full-grown youth, prudent and bold, jyj g
though he had not yet attained his majority ;
but, young as he was, his father was well con-
tented to conjoin him in the enterprise.

If, as some authorities state, Robert, Duke
Richard's second sou, (so well known as Robert
le-Diable,) accompanied his brother, they parted
before the termination of the war.

King Robert facilitated the operations : Norman

army sent

and, it is important to remark, that the Norman gg



army could not have marched through France

command

otherwise than with the Sovereign's permission;
a circumstance testifying the extent of the royal
prerogative, as well as King Robert's vigilance

K 2



132 CONCLUSION OF THE BUEGUNDIAN WAR.

1024-1035 in guarding his rights. Furthermore, Duke
Richard purchased the alliance of the Count of
Peronne by granting to him certain fiefs in the
Hiesrnois. The Normans and their allies fiercely
ravaged the enemies' territory as they advanced,
and invested Mirmande, a locality named without
comment, as being familiarly known ; but the in-
cidents, like all connected with the Burgundian
affairs, are told so confusedly, that even the labo-
rious and learned Benedictines, whose history of
the country fills four folio volumes, are unable to
fix the date of these transactions, or discover any
such town in Burgundy. No "Mirmande" is
noted on the map, save and except Mirmande near
Valence, which never had belonged to the Count
Bishop; so distant also from the field of opera-
tions, that it could not have been in the route of
the belligerents at any period during the war we
are now detailing. Nor are we assisted in our
inquiries by the knowledge that the fortress was
also denominated La Merveille.

The mas- Mirmande, however, was certainly in Bur-

eacre at Mir.

gundy, and very defensible ; probably a position
somewhere amongst the hills. The garrison
resisted most sturdily, until the Normans gained
the Place by storm. All the inhabitants were
massacred, man, woman, and child; and the Nor-
mans, having burnt the town to the ground, con-
tinued their march, perpetrating all the mischief
in their power. The Count Bishop fleeing for his
life, took refuge in Chalons, but dreading an as-



DEATH OF RICHARD LE-BON. 133

sault from the combined forces, and fearing also 1024-1035
lest the tonsure, concealed by a helmet, might
fail to ensure ecclesiastical immunity, he did not
shrink from seeking pardon in the most humili-
ating guise.

Chalons' gate opened. Out trudged our
Bishop with a shabby old saddle slung round
his neck, and hanging down his back ; and, as
the Trouveur intimates, he offered Richard a ride.
Some authorities add, that he cast himself at the
young Duke's feet, rolling upon the ground.

8. Very joyful was the conclusion of this



humiliation
of the Count



Richard le-



campaign. Renaud, beino; delivered from cap- Bon.-

Richard III.

tivity, the young and victorious Richard returned MS successor.
home in triumph : and greatly was Richard le-Bon
delighted by his son's good fortune and valour.
But the Duke's time was come. He sickened;
and knew that he was dying ; and, like his father,
he chose to end his days at Fecamp. There, ac-
cording to the constitutional usage, he summoned
his Nobles, spiritual as well as temporal peers,
his children being by his bedside also. Having
confessed to the Bishops, he called in the Barons,
and declared his last will and testament.

He designated Richard as his successor ; and,
perhaps with some presentiment of evil, he ex-
pressed an earnest hope that the Normans would
be faithful to him. He is a good youth, said the
expiring father. To Robert, his second son, he
appointed the County of Hiesmes, otherwise the
Exinois ; and upon the express trust that he



134 EARLY NORMAN HISTORY.

1024-ioso should be helpful to his brother. Concerning
Mauger, an unfrocked monk, a character amongst
the vilest the most despicable, no directions are
recorded : he ultimately became Archbishop of
Eouen.

Richard departed quietly ; and Fecamp
Abbey received his body. But, in a subsequent
generation, Henry Beauclerc caused the remains
of Richard Saus-peur to be removed from the
sarcophagus under the spouting gargoyle, and
deposited in the adjoining Basilica. A new tomb
was provided for father and son, near the High
Altar ; and Master Wace informs us, that, when
the translation took place, he had the opportunity
of contemplating both the corpses.

9. The early history of Normandy, con-
torj ' stituting the period anterior to the Conqueror's
reign, Normandy with all her specialities, Nor-
mandy self contained, rests mainly upon two
authorities ; the conscientious and laborious
Dean of Saint Quentin, and the much perplexed
and perplexing Guillaunie de Jumieges, whose
abounding information must be accepted as a
compensation for his deficiency in historical skill.

Important adjuncts to these memorials, and
grounded upon them, are those bequeathed to us
by the Trouveurs, Master Wace, and Benoit de
Saint More ; the metrical form which their pro-
ductions assume, not to be considered as detract-
ing from their trustworthiness.

With respect to the prose writers, honest and



EARLY NORMAN HISTORY. 135

hard working though they be, they lack the 1024-1035
method and solidity which distinguish the Car-
lovingian Monastic Chronicles properly so called.
The style of the Capetian compositions is uni-
form. Dates most scanty. Recollections recol-
lected, constitute their basis, not the collections
resulting from research or study. Narratives
of this class bear a strong affinity to the later
French memoircs, of which they are the mediaeval
precursors; Sagas: sayings, tolerably vera-
cious so far as they extend, and always more
animated than desk work, grounded upon the
muniments or volumes before you.

The subject would widen upon us were we Traditional

J history.

to discuss it in all its length and breadth.
Sternly and acutely has the general credibility
of antient history been investigated, sifted,
criticised, and assailed in our times. Even Bru-
tus and Tarquin are elided from the schoolboy's
manual, and classed with the grand-dame's tale ;
majestic Clio crouches in the hearth-nook be-
side the garrulous Crone.

It is a mortifying example of unconscious rea-
soning, that, in the English language one and the
same word has become equivalent to truth and
to fiction a History is a Story as though un-
truthfulness were an inherent element. The
discussion of the moral or mental causes lead-
ing to this amphibology, must be left to that
cotemporary expositor who has so ably demon-
strated how the study of words involves the



136 RICHARD III. INAUGURATED.

1024-1035 most valuable moral lessons, and the most trans-
cendental philosophy. Without pursuing the
investigation, it is sufficient to observe, that the
Tale-teller will frequently omit matters pecu-
liarly prominent in his mind, upon the suppo-
sition, that the Hearer is already acquainted
with them. The silence of the multiplicity of
authorities in cases where you might expect the
record of a particular fact, should not neces-
sarily cast doubt upon the incident or event
recorded by one competent authority. Ample
as may be the information we possess concern-
ing Eichard le-Bon, we scarcely know anything

scantiness of relating; to his sons Eichard the Third and

our informa-

tSwhrt Robert, (their births being merely noticed pa-
renthetically,) until we reach the concluding
Burgundian Campaign ; when, depending upon
French sources, we collect that the third Eichard
was sufficiently qualified to warrant his being
trusted by his father with the command of
the Norman forces. Differences subsequently
arising between him and his brother, the latter
took affront, and returned home during the cam-
paign, at the very crisis when hearty co-opera-
tion was most needed.

Be this as it may, Eichard le-Bon' s appoint-
ment of the elder brother as his heir was accepted
without cavil or difficulty, and the third Eichard,
hailed by the Baronage, who became his Men,
was inaugurated at Eouen, and we may view
him as invested with the Coronal of the Duchy.



MARRIAGE OF RICHARD III. 137

Tims, having received the submission due 1024-1035
from his own vassals, Richard forthwith fulfilled 1026 _



nil-hard III.



the obligations which he on his part owed to his

< homage en

Suzerain for the Dukedom ; he repaired to Paris



and performed homage "en par age" the ac-
knowledgment of personal superiority to the
equal in degree.

10. Further consequences arose from this
State visit. Duke Richard became affianced to "
his Sovereign's daughter, then a baby in the
cradle. Unnoticed by historians, whether French
or Norman, the engagement is proved by very
satisfactory evidence. The transcript of the ori-
giual settlement is extant, whereby " ' Richardus

the Cotentin.

Normannonun Du<v' bestows upon ee Domina
Adela" a noble dowry, the Seigneurie of the
whole Peninsula of the Cotentin, besides various
communes and baronies in demesne ; Cher-
bourg, whilom Harold Blaatand's Castle ; Bruot
or Bruis and the neighbouring Chateau d'Adam,
the real cradle of Scotland's royal line, of which
only one fragment subsists, scarcely discernible
in the tangled copse, and shapeless as the rock
upon which the wall is founded ; pleasant Caen,
and all members thereunto appertaining ; Ya-
lognes and Cerisy ; and the Pagus of the Hogue.
Egglandes or Ogiandes also ; Moion or Mo-
huu ; and " Piercei," a name grotesquely con-
strued in England as signifying " Pierce-eye,"
and commemorating the deed whereby Hotspur's
mythic ancestor, having more regard to success



138 ROBERT DISCONTENTED.

1024-1035 than good faith, is fabled to have rid himself of
an imaginary enemy.

It may appear singular that amongst the
domains selected by Richard for the purpose of
affording a secure and adequate provision for
his future spouse, many should respectively have
sent forth families to either side of the Tweed.
But they are for the most part situated in the
Cotentin or its vicinity ; a district from which
the nobles and gentlefolk may be said to have
turned out bodily, when the Conqueror's great
expedition was proclaimed.

Robertn! of ^o ^ T ) we ^- But ^ ne c l ou( i s gathered simul-
taneously with the rising sun. Robert became
savagely discontented, and Richard was not
without blame. The fine County of Hiesmes was
regarded as an important apanage ; but Falaise,
a separate Bailiwick, though a portion of the
Hiesmois, was withheld. Robert resented the

Mysterious loss. His dissatisfaction, not entirely causeless,

character of

fhe m Breton. 8 was fomented by a certain Ermenoldus, a Breton,
who appears and vanishes, veiled in a species of
mystery. To the epithet " Theosophist," as-
signed to him in the dubious account of his
treasons, no definite meaning can be ascribed.
The obscure denomination of " Philosopher,"
also applied to him, is rendered more intelligible
by the charge of dealings with the Fiend, which
would lead to the supposition, that, like Gerbert,
he excelled in physical science.

Ermenoldus was a doughty champion. Having



POPULATION. 139

impeached certain Norman nobles of conspiracy 1024-1035

against the Sovereign, they severally challenged

him to the ordeal combat. All the Appellors Knncnoidu.

/lain in thO

were defeated ; but he himself succumbed in a
duel with a Forester, whom he had accused.
The death of the mischief-maker did not allay
the bad feeling. Eobert had many instigators,
who urged him to do justice to himself by the
strength of his own arm, and vindicate his
rights and his reputation. Ready enough were
those who gave the counsel to aid him in exe-
cuting such counsel. Robert was very popular
amongst the class whom Napoleon termed chair
a canon. The distinctive energy of the Scandi-
navian Races has continued in full vigour amongst
us, and still continues unexhausted. No country
testifies to the potent influence of Scandinavia's
blood more than our own. However mingled
our Populations, each emigrant ship steaming
from our shores bears away a large proportion
of passengers who may claim real Danish an-
cestry. Many are the Danish Havelocks in our
ranks, undistinguished by that heroic name, re-
nowned of old in the Trouveur's lay.

HAVELOC tint en sa baillie
Nicole et tote Lindesie ;
Vingt anz regna, si en fu rois
Assez conquist par ses Danois ;
Moult fu de lui grand parlance.
Qi auncien par remenbrance
Firent un lai de sa victoire
Qe touz jours en soit la inernoire.



140 POPULATION.

1024-1035 11. As in frozen Iceland, so in fertile
Neustria, the land everywhere unable to house
ner children. Normandy was overflowing with
the unemployed, encreasing according to the



means of

subsistence, formula which has now become technical in the
science of political economy beyond the means
of subsistence. Large families gathered round
the hearth, for whose keep the father could not

Angio-saxm provide. The land cut up into quillets ; not a

Common-

vofn.p. mete-home., a feeding farm, as it was called in
old English, to be had, upon which a man and
his family could live, universal unease there-
fore prevailing. The great Norman military
emigrations were now commencing, - - not dif-
fering in essential character from those which
appalled the Empire, in the ages when the epi-
thet of Vagina gentium was first applied to the
teeming North. Fair Apulia yielding to the
Flibustier pilgrims, unrestrained by faith or
truth, but whose robberies, enhauncing the re-



Online LibraryFrancis PalgraveThe history of Normandy and of England (Volume 3) → online text (page 10 of 41)