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the king of France. Such was the superior genius of the
Norman for political organization.

William's end showed the influence of religion. He
sent for a holy man to be near him. In his last moment
he commended his soul to Mary the Mother of God, the
sound of whose church bells fell on his dying ear. If a
chronicle is to be trusted, his conscience called up in long
train the acts of his stormy life, the evil deeds which he
had done, and the blood which he had shed in the path of
his ambition. We see here the action of a moral restraint
unknown to Attila or Timur. Of this the church in virtue
of such Christianity as it embodied, was the organ. Yet
it had not availed to prevent the crime, and to the suf-
ferers, at all events, the deathbed repentance was little
worth.

When William expired, general panic ensued, and men
fled to their possessions, looking for a reign of anarchy
and pillage. The corpse of the Conqueror lay naked and
untended till a knight of the neighbourhood took it into
his pious care. So momentous was the king's peace, which
was suspended by the death of the king. The oppressed



II THE CONQUEST AND WILLIAM I 41

people of England had half forgiven the oppressor for the
good peace Avhich he had made.

At length the Conqueror reached his last resting-place
in his own magnificent church at Caen. Round the bier
stood the nobles and prelates of Normandy. The Bishop
of Evreux pronounced the funeral oration, rehearsing the
great deeds of the departed, and asking the prayers of the
assembly for the illustrious soul. But as the corpse was
about to be lowered into the grave, Ascelin Fitzarthur, a
private citizen, stood forth and forbade the burial, saying
that the ground was his and that he had been wrongfully
deprived of it. He was promised the full value of his
land. Underneath institutions or changes of institutions
and the conflicts between political forces lies the Teutonic
spirit which makes each man an Ascelin Fitzarthur or a
Hampden in standing up for his right. The Norman
conquest of England was at all events a conquest by
kinsmen, though kinsmen who had changed their name
and tongue.



CHAPTER III

THE SUCCESSORS OF THE CONQUEROR

WILLIAM II

Born 1060; Succeeded 1087; Died 1100

rflHE Conqueror on his deathbed left Normandy, as the
patrimonial domain, to his eldest son, Robert, an ad-
venturous and chivalrous soldier, but unfit for rule. Of
England, which required a strong ruler, he hesitated, or
affected to hesitate, to dispose, as it had been won by
bloodshed. But at last he nominated his second and
favourite son, William. With a letter to Lanfranc,
1087 William sped from the bedside at Rouen while his father
still lived. Lanfranc, having read the letter, did the
Conqueror's will by crowning William Rufus. William
thus mounted the tlirone by nomination, without, so far
as appears, any form of election, though Lanfranc pledged
him to good government.

With the reign of the Conqueror's successor comes a
struggle, first between the crown and the baronage, then
between the crown and the church.

In character as in person the red-faced and round-
bellied Rufus was a coarse and debased likeness of his
father. He shared the Conqueror's force. He had some-
thing of the Conqueror's greatness of soul. He puts to
sea in a storm and bids the seamen fear nothing, for no

42



CHAP, in WILLIAM II 43

king was ever drowned. He takes into his service the
gallant soldier who had unhorsed him in combat. The
enemy to whom his word has been plighted he lets go,
though braved and threatened by him, bidding him do
his worst. He curses his chamberlain for bringing him
boots which had cost too little, and is satisfied when a
pair is brought him which, though not better, had cost a
more royal price. He builds an immense hall at West-
minster and says that it is a bed-chamber to the palace
which he is going to build. He magnanimously refuses
to question the good faith of a knight. He had been a
dutiful son, always at his father's side ; and though he
was rapacious, and was not pious, he spent the treasure
bequeathed to him freely in masses for his father's soul.
It has been said with apparent justice that Rufus was a
man of honour with a caste code, who behaved like a
gentleman and kept his word to his own circle, while
he trampled on the rights of all below.

His force, the king had soon occasion to show. The 1088
Anglo-Norman nobles again displayed their superior
genius for political organization by breaking out into feu-
dal anarchy. They did not want to be cut off from Nor-
mandy, and they preferred the weak Robert to the strong
William. But they found their master. Rufus called
for aid, not only on the tenants of the crown, but on the
national levy of the English generally or in some dis-
tricts. His call was heard, and Odo of Bayeux, the
soldier-prelate of the conquest, and one of the worst
oppressors of the conquered people, left his fortress,
which he had been compelled to surrender, amidst the
jeers of an English host. The subject race for a moment
lifted its head and tasted revenge. Rufus put his feuda-



44 THE UNITED KINGDOM chap.

tories down and held them down. All that his father
1091 bequeathed to him he kept. He added Cumberland,
which he wrested from Scotland, forcing the king of
Scots to pay him homage. He restored and fortified
Carlisle ; he carried the conquest into South Wales.
1095 Unhappily he afterwards became master of Normandy,
which fell into his hands through the thriftlessness and
recklessness of his brother Robert, and thus renewed a
connection destined to be the source of endless woe. A
second rising of the great barons was put down with the
same vigour as the first.

William of St. Carileph, Bishop of Durham, had been
implicated in the rebellion. When he was called to
account he pleaded ecclesiastical privilege, thus raising
the question between church and state. The king and
the great council overruled his plea. He was ejected
from his see and banished from the realm.

While the great Lanfranc lived, his pupil seems to have
kept some bounds. When Lanfranc died, the evil nature
of Rufus broke loose ; it broke loose with a vengeance,
as an evil nature is apt to do when the restraint is not
conscience but an external authority or a formal system,
such as that of the medieval religion. The king became
a monster of tyranny and lust. He filled his coffers with
the fruit of his lawless exactions, and his dungeons with
the victims of his injustice. He did not marry; his
bachelor palace was a den of sensuality ; he gathered
there a circle of young nobles whose habits were as in-
famous as his own, and among whom, when the lights
were extinguished at night, unspeakable scenes of de-
bauchery ensued. He became impious as well as tyran-
nical and immoral, scoffed at religion, set Christian



Ill WILLIAM II 46

priests and Jewish rabbis to tilt against each other in
argument before him, declaring himself open to convic-
tion, and for a fee undertook to reconvert to Judaism a
Jew who had been converted to Christianity. So the
chroniclers tell us. The vices and the effeminate fashions
to which the young Normans are said to have been
addicted are a strange comment on the alleged superi-
ority of the ruling race. Nor do the unchecked de-
baucheries and impieties of the king say much for the
moral authority of the Norman episcopate or of the papal-
ized church. What sinner, what heretic even, was to be
excommunicated, if Rufus was not ?

A minister of his extortion Rufus found in Ranulph
Flam bard, or the Firebrand, a clever and knavish priest,
who at last, as Bishop of Durham, partly atoned for his
roguery by his share in building the mightiest and most
impressive of the old English cathedrals.

Flambard, as justiciar, is credited with having re-
organized and perfected for the purpose of fiscal exaction
the whole system of feudal claims and dues. The theory
of Flambard and the feudalists was that the fief was still
a benefice or grant, reverting to the lord as grantor on
each demise of the tenancy, and for the renewal of which
the lord was entitled to levy a fine or relief. To prevent
intermission of the service due to the lord through the
minority of the heir, the lord was entitled to the custody
of the fief. That heiresses might not marry an enemy of
the lord, he was entitled to dispose of their hands in
marriage. Regular aids were to be due for the ransom
of the lord from captivity, for knighting his eldest son,
and the marriage of his eldest daughter. Besides all this
there were to be escheats upon failure of heirs, forfeitures



46 THE UNITED KINGDOM chap.

for breach of fealty, fines for failure of service. The
whole formed a code of feudal property laws, and in such
hands as those of Flambard, a network of chicane.
Rufus and Flambard exacted excessive reliefs, pillaged
the estates of minors, sold the hands of heiresses, and im-
posed exorbitant fines. The royal rights of forest could
not fail to be abused for the purpose of fiscal extortion, as
well as through the cruelty of the forest laws, carried to
the highest pitch by a monarch whose passion was the
chase. Rufus seems also to have been taught by his
justiciar to make himself executor-general to his subjects,
and in that capacity to have seized on the personal effects
of the deceased. Another instrument of extortion was
the Jew, who had prowled as usual on the track of con-
quest, and, being protected by the king, whose chattel he
was deemed to be, in the practice of usury which was for-
bidden to Christians, acted as a sponge which when filled
could be squeezed by the arbitrary hand of the king.
What the tenant-in-chief owed to his lord, the under-
tenant owed to the mesne lord, so that oppression might
work downwards through the whole feudal chain from the
lord paramount to the tenant paravail.

There does not seem to have been any resistance to the
tyranny on the part of the lay feudatories or people.
The council of barons apparently exercised little power.
Ranulph Flambard filled the treasury and enabled the
king to keep bands of mercenaries, of which unsettled
Europe supplied plenty, in his pay. Such resistance as
there was came from the head of the English church, and
it forms a memorable episode in the history of relations
between church and state.

Among other devices Flambard asserted that the



Ill WILLIAM II 47

estates of bishoprics and abbeys, as fiefs, not only were
liable to the same services as other fiefs, which in reason
they were, but were subject to lapse during vacancies into
the hands of the lord, as lay fiefs were subject to ward-
ship. Bishoprics and, still more, abbacies were kept
vacant, the king refusing to nominate, while the profits
of the estates, raked in by Flambard, swelled the revenues
of the crown. The simoniacal sale of bishoprics was also
an item in Flambard's budget.

The archbishopric of Canterbury was vacant on the 1089
death of Lanfranc. The king kept it vacant for four
years and drew the revenues of the see. He was thus
rid, moreover, of the archbishop's authority ; and, as
there were two popes in the field, and he had not ac-
knowledged either Urban or Clement, he was rid of
church authority and restraint altogether. The church
of England was without a head ; her corporate life was
suspended ; no synod could be held, no canons could be
made, nothing could be done to reform the scandalous
manners of the court. Popular grievance missed its
tribune ; there was no one who could appeal with author-
ity for the suffering people to the conscience of the king.
They besought the king to fill the see. They tried to
prevail with him in a delicate way by begging his leave
to have prayers said that his heart might be turned and
that he might be moved to give the church a chief shep-
herd. He said they might pray as much as they j)leased,
but he swore by the holy face of Lucca, his favourite
oath, that there should be no archbishop in England but
himself.

Rufus, however, fell sick, and, as his free-thinking was 1093
of the heart, not of the head, it gave way, and he had a fit



48 THE UNITED KINGDOM chap.

of repentance in which the prison doors were opened and
promises of amendment, restitution, and reformed govern-
ment were made. He consented also to fill the see of
Canterbury. Ansehn, the abbot of the famous Norman
Abbey of Bee, was then in England, and had been con-
sulted in the case of the king's soul. The general wish
of good churchmen designated him for the see. He is
one of the most beautiful and sweetest characters of the
middle ages, a saint indeed, not a fakir of asceticism, com-
bining piety, meekness, humility, simplicity, freedom from
everything carnal or worldly with active benevolence and
virtue ; so at least his loving attendant and biographer,
Eadmer, has painted him. Born at Aosta, beneath the
spiritual glories of the Alps, he had conceived longings for
the perfect life, that is, the life of the monk, which led
him to leave his parents, who fondly opposed his desire,
and his home. He wandered to Normandy, where he
entered the Abbey of Bee, Lanfranc's abbey, and became
its prior, then its abbot. His name was now in all the
churches as theologian, as educator, as spiritual director.
As a theologian he was the precursor of the school divines,
yet evangelical, and the author of a metaphysical proof of
the existence of God which long held its place in relig-
ious philosophy ; nor have his works been consigned to
^blivion. As an educator dealing with the school which
according to custom was attached to his monastery, he
was the, apostle of a gentler and better method than flog-
ging, the established treatment in those days, and when a
schoolmaster complained to him that though he was
always flogging his boys they did not get on, he answered
that the reason why they did not get on was that they
were always being flogged. As a spiritual director he



Ill WILLIAM II 49

was the most consummate of the fishers of men. The
jealousies and cabals of which monasteries were the hot-
bed, and which his appointment at first stirred, soon dis-
appeared before him. The malice of a young novice who
had persecuted him was by his gentle skill turned into
passionate and, if a monastery could admit romance,
romantic friendship. By force of sympathy he could
work what a simple age took for miracles in conjuring
away the hideous phantoms bred by the morbid fancies
of men, some of whom had turned monks after a life of
wild crime, some from impulses half insane. He was
active also in the infirmary. His benevolence embraced
even suffering animals, the hunted hare and the captive
bird. He had visited England in the last reign, had
found Lan franc turning the English saints out of the
calendar as the English bishops had been turned out of
the sees, and had stayed his hand, telling him that Elpheg,
whom Lanfrarfc was about to discard as a martyr not to
religious truth but to patriotism, in being a martyr to
righteousness was a martyr to the truth. In the saint's
presence the Conqueror had put off his pride. On his
deathbed he had sent for Anselm, whom sickness pre-
vented from answering the call. Anselm had now come
to England, partly on the business of his abbey, which
held English estates, partly to assist Hugh Lupus, or the
Wolf, the fat earl of Chester, a licentious soldier of the
conquest, in the reorganization of a monastery to redeem
the earl's soul. Rufus, before his sickness, suspecting
that Anselm had an eye on the archbishopric, had made
him the butt of his jests ; but when he was sick he
resolved to appease heaven by a holy nomination. We
may believe Eadmer when he says that Anselm was

VOL. 1 вАФ 4



60 THE UNITED KINGDOM chap.

unwilling to be made archbishop. Even the temporal
business of his abbey had been a burden to him ; how
could he, saint, philosopher, and philanthropist, wish to
be lord and manager of a great fief with all its obligations,
military as well as civil, and at the same time head of the
English church and chief counsellor of a king, that king
being William Ruf us ? To put him at the side of such a
monarch was, as he foresaw, to yoke an old and feeble
sheep with an untamed bull. But they dragged him to
the king's bedside, they forced the pastoral staff into his
clenched hand, they raised the Te Deum over him, and
bore rather than led him, still resisting and at last
fainting, into the church. Anselm continued to struggle
against the dangerous promotion, objecting his allegiance
to the Duke of Normandy, his duty to his abbey. His
objections were swept away and he was consecrated and
1093 enthroned as archbishop. Flambard, according to Ead-
mer, obtruded his insolence even on the consecration day,
by commencing a vexatious suit against the archbishop.

Rufus got we'll, and his last state, according to the
chronicler, was worse than the first. All the oppression
and extortion began again, and the prison doors closed
upon the captives. When a bishop remonstrated, the
king's answer was, "By the holy face of Lucca, God
shall never receive good at my hands for the evil I have
received at his." Soon he began to quarrel with his
saintly archbishop. First he tried to extort blackmail
for the induction of Anselm into his see. Anselm, fearful
of the reproach of simony, nevertheless for the sake of
peace offered five hundred pounds. Rufus, by malignant
advice, rejected the gift, and the archbishop fell from the
king's grace.



Ill WILLIAM II 61

Anselm now addressed himself to the moral disorders
of the young courtiers, their effeminate extravagance in
dress, and their flowing locks. He preached on Ash
Wednesday, we are told, with such effect that many
debauched heads were submitted to the barber. But
when, seating himself by the side of the king, who was
bound for Normandy, he prayed him to restore religion
and let a synod be called to that end, the king's answer
was rough. Still rougher was it when Anselm conjured
him to let the abbacies be filled that monastic order might
be restored. Anselm sought the advice of the bishops.
The bishops, men of the world, who had probably bought
their own mitres, could only suggest the offer of a round
sum. It was thus that they read the riddle of the king's
answer to Anselm 's prayer for restoration to royal favour,
" that he would not do it because he knew of no reason
why he should." Anselm declined to shear his already
close-shorn tenantry. The king refused to take Anselm 1095
back to his grace, broke out into a storm of hatred, and
departed for Normandy without the primate's blessing.

Anselm now asked the king's leave to go to Rome and
receive the pallium from Pope Urban. The king had
returned in a bad humour from an unsuccessful expedi-
tion. His wrath flamed out. Urban had not been recog-
nized by him, and the primate, he held, was committing
treason against the custom of the realm which forbade the
acceptance of any pope who had not been recognized by
the king. As to the custom, Ruf us was right ; but
Anselm, while he was Abbot of Bee, had recognized
Urban^ and before his consecration as archbishop he had
stipulated that this recognition should hold good. It
seems he had put up with an ambiguous answer; if he



02 THE UNITED KINGDOM chap.

did, his bashfulness cost him dear. The dispute came to a
head, and to settle it and condei:^in Anselm, if he was guilty
of a breach of allegiance, the grand council of the tenants-
in-chief, including the prelates and abbots, was called.
101)4 It met at Rockingham Castle, on the verge of a wild for-
est, where Norman power was most terrible, though a
churchman would generally be secured against violence
by his order, even in a tyrant's hold. The council was
held in the castle chapel. In a chamber apart sat the
king with his two chief councillors, William of St. Cari-
leph, Bishop of Durham, who had now changed his convic-
tions as to the relations of the church to the state, and
Robert, Earl of Mellent, the Achitophel of his age, pros-
perous under every star, and the glass of fashion as well
as of statecraft. The bishops, under the influence of the
crown, perhaps also in some measure from political con-
viction and desire of peace, did their best to persuade
Anselm to give way. Give way on the principle he
would not, though he was anxious to do anything for
peace and fervent in his expressions of loyalty to the
king. As the bishops would not stand by him and give
him faithful counsel, he declared that he would betake
himself to the angel of counsel, the universal shepherd,
the pope ; he would render to Cijesar the things which were
Caesar's, to God the things which were God's ; in things
which were Caesar's obey the king, in things which were
God's obey Peter. As Peter was not God, but an Italian
priest, this was an avowal of divided allegiance. While
his enemies were in consultation Anselm retired into a
corner and fell asleep, a sign which was not lost upon
Robert, Earl of Mellent. If we may believe Anselm's
biographer, he received a proof of popular sympathy from



Ill WILLIAM II 53

a knight who, stepping forth from the crowd, knelt before
him and bade him be of good cheer and emulate the
patience of Job. After two days' debate the king called
peremptorily on the bishops and barons to pronounce sen-
tence of deposition. Here he found the moral limits of
his own power. The bishops dared not depose their pri-
mate, the barons shrank from launching against the eccle-
siastical chief of their own order a bolt which might recoil
upon themselves. The king's wrath was vented on the
bishops, in whose shame Anselm's biographer triumphs.
The end was an adjournment of the council and a truce
which the king at once broke by a persecution of Anselm's
friends.

The king and his party now changed their tactics.
They Avould recognize Urban as pope, and get him to
rid them of Anselm. Here they were playing against
Italians more than a match for them in subtlety. Two
clerks of the king's chapel, William of Warelwast and
Girard, went on a path, afterwards well trodden by
kings' envoys, to Rome, to see how the day was going
between the pope and the anti-pope. They returned,
bringing with them as the pope's representative Cardi-
nal Walter, Bishop of Albano, the first papal envoy seen
in England since the legates who had done Rome's part
in the conquest. The cardinal dallied till Anselm's
friends took fright and began to cry out against the
venality of Rome. But in the end the king got from
him nothing but courtly and unctuous words. Rome
understood her game too well to sacrifice Anselm. Not
even a large bribe which Rufus offered could tempt her
to sell the keystone of her arch of power. There was
nothing for it but a reconciliation, which took place



54 THE UNITED KINGDOM chap

after a vain attempt on the part of the bishops to cajole
Anselm into buying back with money the king's favour.
The courtiers tried to persuade the cardinal at least to
pay the king the compliment of letting him bestow the
pallium. The Italian knew better. He laid the pallium
on the altar at Canterbury and let Anselm take it thence,
as it were from the hand of Peter. Two of Anselm's
enemies among the bishops avowed their penitence and
were absolved. There ensued a hollow peace with an
outward show of amity which gave Cardinal * Walter
occasion for saying how blessed a thing it was to see
brothers dwelling together in unity.
1096 The peace did not last long. Robert of Normandy
going on crusade to raise funds for his outfit, mortgaged
his duchy to Rufus. To raise the loan, Rufus laid his
hands on everything, sacred or profane, on the reli-
quaries, the holy vessels, the golden facings of the mis-
sals. Anselm was pressed for his contribution. With
the advice of two bishops, he took from the treasury
at Canterbury two hundred pounds, making it up to
the church by a mortgage of one of his own estates.
Rufus, however, presently renewed his persecution of
Anselm, on the pretence that the Canterbury fief had
not furnished its contingent duly armed for a campaign
in Wales. Meantime there was no hope of reform. The
spoliation of churches and monasteries still went on.
Vice still reigned, and the king was still the chief sin-
ner. Anselm resolved to go and cast his burden on
Peter. Attending the court at Whitsuntide, he asked
the king for a license to leave the realm, and was met
with a scoff ; " he had committed no sin needing abso-
lution, and for advice, he was better able to give it to



in WILLIAM II -65



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