M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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King of JVcJfex, having pulled it down to the ground,
raifed a ftately Church, and dedicated it to Chrijl, St. Pe-
ter and St. Paul. Several Perfons famous for their Piety,
moft of them Irijh, retired to this Church, where they
were maintained by Edgar's Bounty. From that time
there were always Devout Perfons, who made choice of
this Place for their Retreat (2).

After Dunjlan had been fome time at GlaJJenbury, Ed-
mund, Succeffor of Athelflan, having conceived an Efteem
for him, built there a Monaftery (3), and made him Ab-
bot. As Dunjlan was a Perfon of great Addrefs, he knew
how to manage this Prince fo dexteroufly, that he was very
much in Favour all his Reign. His Intereft at Court ftill
encreafed under Edrcd, to whom he was Prime Minijler,
Favourite and Father Confeffor. Dunjlan 's extreme fondnefs
for a monaftick Life, made him ufe, without any cau-
tion, all his Intereft to reftore the Monks to the Benefices
and eject the Secular Priejls, whom he heartily defpifed
and at length mortally hated. This Attachment to the
Monks, added to his haughty carriage, procured him
abundance of Enemies, and drew upon him the Difpleafure
of Edwy, SuccefTor of Edmund, as we have feen. The
hafte Edgar was in to recall this Abbot from Flanders,
is a clear Evidence, he was indebted to him for the Crown
o/of Mcrcia. Upon Dunjlan 's return to England, Edgar
promoted him to the See of IVorceJlcr. Some time after,
the Bijhoprick of London being vacant, he was entrufted
with the Management of it. This has led fome Writers
into the Miftake, of imagining he was Bifhop of IVorceJlcr
and London at the fame time. Edgar never ceafed to
give him frefh marks of his Efteem ; and his high conceit
of him was the more confirmed by the Miracles attributed
to him. The Monks took all imaginable care to fpread
the Fame of thefe Miracles every where, and were fo very
particular in their Circumftances, that one muft have been
much freer from Prejudice than they generally were in thofe
Days, not to have believed them. It is however very
unlikely, that Edgar himfelf, who was not of the number



of thofe weak People that fuffer themfelves to be fo eafily
deceived, was thoroughly convinced of the Truth of all
thofe Miracles. But perhaps he was of opinion, thofe
Pious Frauds were no detriment to Religion. Be this as it
will, he had a very great opinion of Dunjlan 's Sanctity.
After Athelms Death, Qdo, by Birth a Dane, was made
Archbifhop of Canterbury, but lived not long after his
Inftallation. To him fucceeded Elfin, who died as he
was going to Rome for his Pall (4). This happening in the „ ,,
beginning of Edgar's Reign, Bnthelm B,,hop of Baths, u'.' .
was elected, to the vacant See. But Edgar being defirous D "' '
of having Dunflan Archbifhop, called a general CouikH* 1 ]^/*
where he reprefented Brithelm as unqualified for fo great '
a Port; whereupon he was ordered to return to his old
Diocefe, and Dunjlan was chofen in his room. 'I hi;
Election not being exactly Canonical, it was thought fit
Dunjlan fhould go to Rome, on pretence of receiving his Pall,
that he might at the fame time juftify thefe Proceedings.
The Pope, who was not ignorant how great a Sway Dun-
jlan bore at the Court of England, and with what Zeal
he had cfpoufed the Intereft of the Church oj Rome and the
Monks, readily confirmed his Election, conftituting him
moreover his Legate for England, with a very cxtenfive
Authority. At his Return, Ofwald his Relation was through 9C3.
his means made Bifhop of IVorceJlcr, and Ethclwald his *«• Ann.
intimate Friend, of Winchejlcr. Thefe three Prelates, \ '
by holding together intircly governcJ the Church during "v.
this Reign. Edgar committing to them the Manage- <*fter, *nd
ment of all EccUfiaJlical Affairs, was not contented with Wmch ftt/
granting whatever they defired, but even took a pleafure
in doing them Favours, unasked.

As foon as Dunjlan faw his Credit firmly eftabliihed, 964.
he returned to his grand Project in favour of the Monks, D "nii,m rc
which he had been forced to lay afide during the Reign of'r".'^r
Edwy. This Affair was not without its Difficulties. ThBpffLjfc
great Men of the Nation look'd upon it as a Misfortune, that Sku1 "
the guidance of the Churches mould be wrefted out of the ^'p'}.
Hands of the antient and lawful Governors. They wereS. Dunelm,
ftill lefs pleafed with its being committed to the Monks,
who, by the Rules of their Order, and according to the
Cuftom hitherto obferved, were excluded from the Pajlo-
ral Functions, in order to employ themfelves wholly in
Prayer within the Walls of their Monafteries. Befides,
they were of opinion, that inftead of encouraging and in-
riching the Monks, it would be much better to put a ftop
to the People's Zeal, who were perpetually bequeathing to
them confiderable Legacies, whereby Eftates were palled
away in Mortmain, to the great Prejudice of the Nation.
It was eafy therefore to fee this Project would meet with
great Oppofition from the Nobles. But on the other hand,
the People, who did not look fo far before them, were in-
tirely in the Intereft of the Monks, and extremely offen-
ded at the fcandalous Lives ofvthe Secular Clergy, who
applied the Revenues of the Church to ufes directly contrary
to the intent of the Donors (5). It muft be confeft, the
Clergy, at that time were very ill Livers, and that Pride,
Avarice, Gluttony, Drunkennefs, Luxury, openly reign-
ed among them. Dunjlan and his Party did all that lay
in their power to expofe thefe Irregularities, in order to
irritate the People againft their Pajtors. They fucceeded
fo well in their Defign, that Multitudes efpoufed the Caufe
of the Monks, purely out of contempt of the Secular Clergy.
But what did the Monks moft Service, was the King's be-
ing fo vigorous a Champion for them. His good Opinion of
them was ftill increafed by comparing them with the Secu-
lars, who indeed obferved no Meafures in their Exceffes.
And therefore this Prince thought to do the Church fio-
nal fervice in putting it under the Government of the
Monks, whom he looked upon as fo many Saints.
Edgar being thus inclined, Dunjlan found no Difficulty to
perluade him to countenance a Reformation he believed fo
advantagious to the Church. To give the finifhing ftroke
to this Work, he caufed a Council to be affembled, in
hopes their Authority, together with the King's, would
furmount all Obftacles. Edgar was pleafed to aflift in Per-
fon at this Council, and made a Speech, which plainly
fhowed how greatly he was prejudiced in their favour.
As this Harangue manifeftly difcovers the Difpofition of
the King, of Dunjlan, and of the other Directors of the
Affairs of the Church, with regard to the Secular Clergy, it



og0,



(1) Osbern. (2) They are faid to teach here the Liberal Science!, Mufuk, Engraving, and the like.

(3) Mr Camden fays Dun/Ian introdue'd into this Monaftery a new Order of Monks, w'js. Beredielim, who by the Bounty of Princes got fo much Wealth ss
exceeded that of Kings. After they had as it were reign'd here for above Sx hundred Years (for all their Neighbours were at their Beck) they were driven
out by Henry VIII, and the Monaftery, which was environ'd with a Wall of a Mile in compafs, and rcplcnilh d with ftately Buildings, was by Degrees en-
tirely demolifh'd. In his time here was a Wall-nut Tree in the Church-yjrd (but it is now gone, and a ycung < nc in its Place) that was faid never tj
hud before Barnabas Day II of June) and always to Ihoot out its Leaves on that very Day. And alfo a Haw-Tb.m-'Trte in ll'-.'ral Park hard by that
budded on Chriftmai Day as if it were in May. This Tree has been cut down many Years; but there are fome ftill growing in the Comfy from Branches
of the old Tree, particularly one in the Garden of William Stroud El'q; Pofleffor of the Grcund where the other flood, and another in the Garden of the
Jl'bitc-Hart Inn in Gbfterbury. Thefe Things feem to be Rclicks/jf Monkery.

(4) He was frozen to Death on the Alps, w hich the Monhjh Hiftorians interpret as a Judgment for his Dil'refpeft to Odi's Grave. Malmsb. I. j. de Ceft.
Pont. Angl. Others for his Simony. M. Weft.

(5) It muft be obferved, that after the demolilhing of the Abbeys in Alfred's Time, the Secular Clergy repair'd fome of the Monafteries, took Pof-
fcfVion of them, were incorporated under certain Regulations, pertorm'd Divine Service in their refpeitive Churches, iiv'd lingle or married as they thought
tit, and flood in the fame. Condition with our prefent Probendana,



Will



tte BISTORT of ENGLAND:



Vol. I.



will not perhaps be amifs to give the Reader the whole of
it; and the rather, as it relates to one of the principal
Events of this Reign.



Ifttfi " Almighty God having vouchfafed of his infinite

fbrmpu » « Mercy to tew his Goodnci's to us in a remarkable

fethelrcd,



, 'tis moil reafonable, Reverend Fathers, we
s, " ftiould exert our Endeavours to make a luitable Re-
f. 360. ' « turn . That we are in polleffion of this plentiful
«' Country is not owing to any Strength of our own,
" but to the help of his all-powerful Arm, who has
" been pleafed to manifeft his Loving-kindnefs towards
« us. 'Tis but juft therefore we fhould bring our felvesy
" our Souls, and Bodies, in Subjedion to him, who has
" fubdued all things for us, and fhould take care that
" all that are under us fhould be obedient to his Laws.
"It is my Office, Reverend Fathers, to adminifter
" Jul! ice without refpedl of Perfons ; fupprefs the Re-
" bellious ; to punifh the facrilegious ; to protect the
" Poor and Weak from the hand of the Opprefior.
" It is my Bufinefs alfo to take care that the Church
«' and her Minifters, the holy Fraternities of the Reh-
" aious, have all things necefiary to their Subfiftence and
" well being; But it is your Duty to examine into
" the Life and Converfation of the Clergy. To you it
" belongs to fee that they live agreeably to their Pro-
" jeffibn: That they are fober, temperate, chafle, hof-
" pitable to the Poor and the Stranger : That they are
" careful in the Adminiftration of their Office, conftant
" in their Inftruaions to the People. In a word, that
" they are worthy of the glorious Character of the Mi-
" nifiers of Jefus Chrift. With fubmiffion be it fpoken,
« Rrjerend Fathers, had you taken due care of thefe
" things, I fhould not have had the Diflatisfaftion of
" hearing from all hands the enormous Crimes daily
" committed by the Clergy of this Land. I infill not
» on the Smallnefs of their Tonfure, contrary to the
" Canons of the Church, or their Effeminacy m their
" Habits, or their Haughtinefs in their Geftures, on their
" immodeftDifcouifes, which plainly fliew all is not right
«' within. I omit their Negligence with regard to Di-
" vine Service : Hardly will they vouchfafe their Com-
" pany at the public k P ravers, and when they come to
" Church to celebrate the "Holy Myjlcries, one would think
« they are going to ait a Play. But the chief Subject of
" my Complaint, I fpeak it with extreme Regret, is what
" minifters occafion of Grief to the Good, and of Joy to
" the Prophane, I mean the lewd and fcandalous Lives of
" the Clergy. They fpend their Days in Diverfions, En-
" tertainments, Drunkennefs and Debauchery. Their
" Houlls may be (aid to be fo many Sinks of Lewdnefs,
cc ,- HI ; ",, , R i jj/tacles of Libertines. There

" the) have Gaming, DaWmg and obfeene Singing. There
" thev pafs the Night in Rioting and Drunkennefs. 'Tis
" thus, Reverend Fathers, 'tis thus the Bounty of my Pre -
" deceflbrs to the Church, and their Charities for the
" Maintenance of the Poor, and what is more the ador-
" able Blood of our Saviour, are confumed. Was it for
" this that our Anceftors exhaufted their Treafures ? Was
" it for this they were fo liberal of their Eftates ? Was it
" to deck the Concubines of their Priefts, to provide for
" them fplendid Entertainments, to furnifh them with
" Dogs and Hav.'ks, that our Forefathers difplay'd their
" Munificence to the Church ? thefe are the Crimes
" which the People complain of in private, and theSol-
" diers in puhlick ; which are fung in the Streets, and
«' adted on the Stage ; and yet they are forgiven, they are
" ovcrlook'd, they are conniv'd at by you ! Where is
" now the Sword of Levi, and the Zeal of Simeon ?
" Where is the wrath of Mofes againft the Worfhipers of
«' the Golden Calf '? Where is the Indignation of St Peter
" againft Simon the Magician ? Imitate, Reverend Fa-
" thcrs, imitate the Zeal of thefe holy Perfons, and fol-
" low the way of Righteoufnefs, fhewn you by the
" Lord. It is high time for you to draw the Sword of
" St. Peter, whilft I make ufe of the great Cou/lantine's.
" Let us join our Forces to expel the Lepers out of the
" Temple, to cleanfe the Sanctuary and to caufe the
TJcut.xxxu. " Lord to be ferved by the true Sons of Levi, who faid
?• "to his Father, and to his Mother, I know you not, and

" to his Brethren, I know not who you are? Let the Dif-
" refpeel to the Relicks of the Saints, and the daily Pro-
" phaning of the holy Altars, roufe you up. Be moved
" at the great Abufe of the Piety of our Forefathers. One
" of my Anceftors, you all know, dedicated to the
" Church the Tithes of the Kingdom : The glorious Al-
" fred, my great Grandfather, laid out his Revenues in
" religious Ufes. You are not ignorant of the great Be-



u nefa&ions of my Father and Uncle, which it would be
" highly difhonourable fo foon to forget, feeing the Al-
" tars are ftill adorned with them. You, Dunjlan,
" Father of Fathers, raife your Imagination a little I pray
" you, and fancy you behold my Father looking down
" from Heaven, and expoftulating with you in this Man-
" ner : // was you that advifed mc to the Building of fo many
" Churches and Mov.ajl cries, It zvas you I made Choice of
'■'■for my fpiritual Guide, and the Infpetlor of my Beha-
" viour. Did not I always obey your roice ? Did I not
" always prefer your Advice before IVealth? Hoiv frankly
". did I lay out my Treafures, when you faid the I Ford?
" My Charities were always ready when you called for them.
" Whatever was defer ed for the Churches was immediately
" granted. If you complained the Monks were fiort in their
" Conveniencies, they were forthwith fupplied. You ufed to
" tell me, fetch Liberalities brought forth immortal Fruit,
" and were highly meritorious, fence they were expended in.
" fupporting the Servants of God, and maintaining the Poor.
" And is it not an intolerable Shame they fljould be laid out
" in adorning and decking a Pack of Prajlitutcs? Are thefe
" the Fruits of my Benefactions ? Are thefe the Effects of
" your glorious P.romifes ? Thefe, O Dunflan, are the
" Complaints of the King my Father. What can you an-
" fwer to this Charge? I am convinced that you have
" hitherto been unblameable, when you few a Thief you
" confented not to him, neither have you been partaker with
" the Adulterer. No, you have endeavoured to cor-
" reft thefe Abufes. You have argued, exhorted, threat-
" ned. But fince thefe means have proved in vain, 'tis
" time to apply more effe£tual Remedies. You have here
" ready to affift you the Reverend Father Etbelwold Bifhop
" of ' IVinchejler, and the venerable Cj/iw/V Bilhop of IVor-
" ceftcr. To you three I refer the Management of this
" important Affair. Exert the Epifcopal in Conjunction
" with the Regal Authority, to expel from the Church of
" God the diforderly Clergy, and put in fuch as live regu-
" larly in their Room (1).

After the King had made fo full a Declaration of his
Mind, the Friends of the Seculars durft no longer oppofg
Duii/lan's Defigns, perceiving it would be to no purpofe.
Shortly after, the fecular Priejis were expelled from the 964.
Monafteries, and the Regulars put in their place. Ethel- -'Ann. Sax.
wold Bifhop of Winchejhr leading the way ih his Diocefe, |^ msb "
was quickly followed by Dunflan and Ofevald, and all thes.Dunelnv
other Bifhops, who being Monks, without much folici-
tation, imitated thefe three Prelates. The antient Hifto-
rians, for the moft part, reprefent thofe Days as the Golden
Age, and as the happieft England ever knew.

Perhaps it will feem ftrange that the fecular Clergy fhould Rmatis 0*
at this time be more bitterly inveighed againft than in the "W/nc-
following Centuries, when the Lives of the Priefts were ti L?f*¥"^
no lefs fcandalous. To account for this, it muft be ob- C/irry.'
ferved, the Popes had for fome time prohibited the Clergy
from manying, and were very fevere to all who refufed to
comply with their Decrees. This Prohibition, wiiich at
prefent is a fundamental Article in the Church of Rome,
met at firft with great Oppofition, efpecially in England,
which fet the Popes upon ufing all means to bring the Eng-
lifli Priejis to a Compliance. Duti/lan's Intereft, and his
Addrcfs to ingage Ee/gar iii the Project, were mightv Helps
to them. We muft therefore carry in our Minds this
Prohibition againft the Clergy's marrying, in order to com-
prehend the Occafion of the Complaints of the Monks and
their Favourers againft the Seculars, and to judge how far
they are to be credited. Though it is but too true, the
Priefts at that time led very diforderly Lives, yet that was
not the thing that drew this Storm upon them. It was
their Marriage which gave the Offence, and which their
Enemies would fain have to be thought a more heinous
Crime than Concubinage, or any other they could lay to
their Charge. Their Wives were always called Concubines,
or by a more opprobrious Name. But notwithstanding all
the Endeavours of the Court of Rome, this pretended Abufe
could not be reformed till the End of the twelfth Century,
when the Celibacy of the Clergy was eftablifhed after a
three hundred Years Struggle.

The Monks were bound in Gratitude to make a fuitable Obftrvauat
Return for the fervice Edgar had done them. Accordingly, s " £d.™ - s
the Alonkijh Hiftorians have endeavoured by their exceffive a „j j„, ',..,.
Commendations, to make him pafs for a real Saint. But»!p«i
whether for want of Attention, or fome other reafon, '. ;'• ' '7 th '
they have related fome Particulars of his Life, which beget
not that Idea they intended to give of him. Indeed, to
confider only his Political A&ions, it muft be confeft, he
was a great Prince. But a great King and a great Saint,
are two very different Characters. For inftance, it is dif-



(1) C'JIUr (bferves this Speech is rais'd and polilh'd in the Oiicinal nbove the LI cut i en of the T.-.ll Century; and therefore f.iy, he fhould have fiip-
pos'd J-jjiim mijht have work'd the Maun he l^nd into a brighter Form, had he not met with this Haianjue in RicvaUi ; an 11 c ant Hiitorian.
1.3. p. J jo.

• rleult



Book IV.



12. EDGAR the Peaceable



109



Edrar's
Amvurt.



Ma'mlb.

1- 2. i. S.



iVfjlmfh.

Ibid.



Edgar's
Marriage.
Malmsb.
I 2- c. 8.

Biomft.



ficult to juftify, by the Rules of the Gofpel, a bloody Ex-
ecution ( 1 ) done by Edgars Order in the Ijfe of Thanet,
upon a very flight Occafion, as Hiftorians do allow. What
might not thefe fame Hiftorians have faid of his unruh
Luft, and vicious Inclination to Women (2), of which I
am now going to give a kw Inftances, who publifti'd
to the World that the Soul of his Brother Edivy was about
to be dragged into Hell, for having had but a {ingle Mi-
flrefs ?

It Was eafy to fee if Edgar had not purchafed the good
Opinion ot the Monks by his exctfllve Complaifance, they
would have given him no better Quarter than his Prcdc-
ceflbr, who was much lefs faulty in that refpect.

To conclude the Reign of Edgar, which was difturbed
neither by foreign nor domeftick Wars, it remains only
that I give an account of his Amours, which are fomc-
thing uncommon, and fliew his good Qualities were not
without a great mixture of Failings. His fiift Miftrefs
was a Nun (3), whom he took by Force out of a Con-
vent, and could not he ptevail'd with to (er.d back again
by the Solicitations of Dunfian. He had a Daughter by
her nam'd Edith a, who was greatly celebrated for her
Sanclity. It is true, he aton'd for his Crime by not
wearing his Crown during the fpace of (even Years. A
fevere Penance indeed for a fault his Confellbr ought to
have looked upon as a Sacrilege! But this is not the firft
time the Sins of Princes have been extenuated, and the
rigour of their Penance magnified. His fecond Miftrefs,
whom fome however call his lawful Wife, was Elfeda
firnam'd the Fair, from her Complexion. By her he
had a Son cali'd Edward, who fucceeded him. An ex-
traordinary Adventure gain'd him a third Miftrefs. Going
one day by Andover, he took up his lodging at a Lord's
Houfe, who had a very beautiful Daughter, with whom
he fell paflionately in love at firft Sight. As he was
very violent in his PaiTions, he refolv'd to gratify his
Love without delay, fo commanded the young Lady to
be brought to his bed, without troubling himfelf to obtain
her Confent. The Mother of the Lady being utterly
againft her Daughter's being the King's Concubine ; but
withal, dreading by her Denial, to draw down his Dif-
pleafuie upon hetfelf and Family, devis'd this Expedient.
She prevail'd upon one of her waiting Women to lie
with the King inftead of her Daughter. At break of
Day the King perceiving his Bedfellow was going to
rife, would not let her, by which means fhe was foic'd
to difcover the Cheat. He was at firft very angry at
being thus deceiv'd. But the good-liking he had taken to
the Girl, moderating his Anger, and giving him time to
reflect on the Difftonour he intended his Hoft, he readily
forgave the Trick he had been ferv'd. He kept this Girl
as his Miftrefs till he married.

As all Edgar's Amours, it feems, were to have fome-
thing particular in them, fo his very Marriage was not to
be in the common way. He was informed that Ordang,
Earl of Devon/hire, had a Daughter the greateft Beauty in
England, upon which he refolved to marry her, if the an-
fwered the defcription given of her. However, as he was
unwilling to make any advances he might have reafon to
repent of, he communicated his Defign to Earl Ethekvold his
Favourite, and ordered him to go upon fome pretence, and
fee whether the Lady's Beauty was as great as Fame re-
ported. Ethclwold being arrived at the Earl of Dcvonflnrcs,
had no fooner caft his Eyes on Elfrida his Daughter, but
he fell defperately in love with her. His Pailion was fo
fudden and violent, that forgetting all the King his Ma-
iler's Favours, he demanded Elfrida for himfelf. His Suit
being granted, he was married as privately as poflible,
making his Father-in-Law believe he had important reafons
for not divulging his Marriage. Returning foon after to
Court, he told the King there was nothing extraordinary
in Elfrida ; that he was amazed the World fhould talk fo
much of her Charms; that probably, the Fame of her
Beauty was owing more to her Father's riches than any
thing elfe. This report, which was far from inflaming
the King's Love, had the EffecT: Ethclwold expected. Ed-
gar, growing out of conceit with the Match, laid afide
all thoughts of it. Ethclwold perceiving the King was
grown perfectly cool upon the matter, reprefented to him
one day, that though the Fortune of the Earl of Devon/hire's
Daughter was nothing to a King, yet it would be the
making of a Subject ; and therefore humbly defired his



Leave to make his addreffes to her, as being the greateft
Heircfs in the Kingdom. Edgar who had loft all Incli-
nation to Elfrida, very willingly eranted his Favourite's
requeft, and even appeared extremely well pltafed that he
was likely to marry to fo great an advantage. Ethehuoli;
as foon as he had obtain'd the King's confent, rctum'd to
his Wife, and publickly folemni/.'d his Wedding. But fear-
ing hi, Spoufe fhould appear too beautiful in the King's
eyes, he kept her on fome pretence at his Country Seat,
without fullering her to come to Court,

How cautious foever Ethclwold had been, it was _ not
poftiblc his Treachery fhould be long a Secret. Favourites
are feldom without private Enemies, who defire nothing
more than to have an opportunity of ruining them. Edgat
at length was informed of the 'J 'ruth ; but diflembli
Refcntment, he was willing, before he fhewed it, to be
fatisficd with his own eyes of the Truth of what had
been told him. To that end, he took occafion to go into
thofe Parts where Ethclwold kept his Wife, and when he
came near the place, told him he had a mind to vifit his
Lady, of whom he had formerly heard Co many iir.c
things. Ethclwold was thundcr-ftruck at this, and did



Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 45 of 360)