M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

The history of England : written in French (Volume 1) online

. (page 56 of 360)
Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 56 of 360)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and caufing his armour to be put on, expired in that po-
fture, declaring it difhonourable for a brave Man to die in
his bed (4).

After the death of Siward, the government of Northum- Tofton
berland was conferred on Teflon, Brother of Harold (5), " r "^'*
Edward not having refolution enough to refufe him that ma d e Earl
favour, though he dreaded nothing more than the advance- o/Northum-
ment of that familv. Some will have it, this was done berland -

,. T,/ . , -r.-. , r . . Sax. Ann.

out of policy. I hey pretend, the King, by feigning to ingulph.
gratify Harold, filled the vacant poft with the propereft Brcmpt.
perfon to give a check to his ambition, by reafon of the
mutual jealoufy between the two Brothers. But it does not
appear Harold and Tcjlon were then at variance, tho' it be
true, they became enemies afterwards. 'Twas therefore
great imprudence to trult any one family with two fuch
important polts as Duke of H effex, and Earl of Northum-
berland, which put one moiety of the kingdom in the
power of the two Brothers. Thus the King, tho' he flood
in the greateft dread of the Goodwin family, either out of
wcaknefs, or ill policy, did every thing to render them more

It was not only by the King's favours that Earl HaroldrlaroU's
daily got ground. His perfonal merit and liberal temper ,"'"
daily procured him fuch friends, as were able to fupport
him againit the attempts of the King himfelf. Though he
had married the Duke of Mcrcia's daughter, Alfgar his Alfgar
Brother-in-law carried it very coldly towards him, purely Leotric ' s i
out of envy at his greatnefs. This Lord, being of a reft- s ^ ^-^
lefs and turbulent Ipirit, entered into a dangerous confpi- Huntmgd.
racy, and privately held intelligence with Griffin King of s - Dunelm.
Jf'ales, to the detriment of the publick. Edward being
informed of it, caufed him to be accufed of treafon, and
condemned to banifhment. Alfgar retired to his friend R t ,; rt! „
Griffin, who received him with open arms, and cherifhed Wales, and
his difcontent to the utmoft of his power (6). Some time- , "" I J'"' £
after they made an inroad together into Herefordjhire and
defeated Radulph of Mantes Earl of that County, who had
attempted to drive them ther.ee. Encouraged by this fuc-
cefs, they began to make farther advances (7), when they
met Earl Harold, who ftopt their career. He had of his -They are
own accord levied an army in his governments, and bold- defeated bj
Iy marched towards them, to give them battle. They ° '
quickly found the difference between him and Radulph.
Harold, fuperior in valour and conduct, put them to rout,
and compelled them to retire into Wales, from whence
they durft not come forth any more. A peace being the
conlequence of this victory, Harold made ufe of all his in-
tereft to obtain a pardon for Alfgar, and got him at length
reftored to his eftate and honours. By this uncommon aCt A] f„ r „.
of generofity, he gained the friendfhip of Alfgar, andfoud.
exceedingly incrcafed the elteem people already had for

The reputation acquir'd by Harold in his laft expedition, 1 05 7.
his generofity to Alfgar, his affable and obliging behaviour, Ihtfapk
his beneficent temper, entirely gained him the hearts of u \f-{ eff.
the people. It began to be the publick difcourfe, that coding to

the Crown.


Im/lminfterCm, but without any authority, that King £<(Wr<* conauer'd all Scotland, and i bellowed it on Malcolm 'to .hold it of him.
fay he deft roved Macbeth, and made Malcolm King of Scotland. S. Dunelm. But moft probably it was only ol Cumberland.
I Flux. He was buried in the Cloyfter of St. Mary's Monaftcry, without the Walls 01 lori, which he had built. Brompt. p. 946.

f The Saxon Amah fay only, This year Earl Goodwin deceafed the 17th of the Kalends of May, and was buried in the old Monaftery of Wmchefier,
AnuoMLlII. Almoft all our Hiftorians fays, Kirif Edward celebrating the Feaft ol Eafter at rTinche/ler (fome fay /*W>>) Eari .Coodwm was taken
fpecchlefs as he fat at table; and being carried into the King's chamber by his Sons, he lay in a languifti.ng condition tour days, "and died the fifth. This
is the account ot his death: but the Norman Monks, and fuch as write in favour ol them, add the above-circumftances, which (how either Ins Guilt or
their Malice. He was a Man of an aflive or turbulent Spirit, not over cenfeientious in getting or keeping what he could. But had he not been lo great
a Lover of his Country, and an Enemy to Foreigners, thole who wrote in the Norman times would have given him a lairer character, i. fink p.
Cbr. Mailtos, p.

(2) Matthew t
Others feem to fay 1

(3) A bloody Flux. He 'was buried in the Cloyfter of St. Marys

"f If Sim- of Durham fays, Earl Siward's Son was (lain in the battle with Macbeth ; and Huntingdon adds, that when the News was brought him, he
alkVd, whether be bad received the Wound before or behind T and being told, Before; he only replied, I am glad to hear ,t. Brompton fays, he was a Man of
almoft tefrantick Stature, and gives us this ftrange account of his Grandmother the Daughter ot a certain Z)<«n/4 Earl. As Ihe was one day walking in a
Wood near her Father's Houfe, accompanied only with her Women, a huge Bear ruffling from among the Trees and trightning away her Attendants,
carried offthe young Lady alone ; and getting her with Child, (he had a Son by him, named Bernus, who was born with Bear s Ears; however by his
Mother's right he fucceeded to her Father's Earldom. In prosefs of time he proved a valiant Sold.er, and marrying, begot the brave Earl Svuard, who
came and fettled in England. Brompt. p. 9+5. ; . i . ± l-

(0 Bccaufe Waltbeof, Siward'sSun, was too young; but to make fome amends, Edward gave him the government ot the Counties of Northampton,
Huntingdon Sec. Brompt. Hunting, p. 366. Ingulph. p. 66. . ,,,,,,

f61 Hiftorians are divided in the.r opinions, whether this Earl was banilhcd juftly or not. The Sax. Ann. and Huntingd. (p. 366.) fay, that he was
eonvicled of treafon I But 5. Dunelm. (p. 1S7.) Brompton and Ingulph affirm, he was unjujlly bani/hed. Simeon of Duiham and Brompton Us, he went to
Ireland firft, and procuring eighteen Ships, went and joined Griffin. He was ban.lhed again in lO^S, but, by the Alllftance ol Griffin, and of a Norwe-
gian Fleet, was reftored. -S. Dunelm. p. 1S9. Ingulph. p. 66. .,,„,., ,„■ e- . ,1 u r, .- • u i- ■ „er tr e-j

(7) They took and facked Hereford, burning the Church and Monaftcry with the Relicks of King Elhelbert treachcroufiy Ham by King Ofa. Hereford
i. e.) tti Fud of the Army, was built as a Frontier in the time ef the Heptarchy. This was the only Mitfortune that ever happened to this City. Camden.


Book V.

to. EDWARD 111 the ConfeJJor.


S. Dunelm.

fince t!ie King had no heirs, n6 one was more worthy to
fucceed him than Harold. The affection of the Englijh
for the Earl, very fenfibly touched Edward, who had all
alons; lived in expectation of an occafion to ruin him.
Hitherto this Prince feems to have intended to leave the
crown to the Duke of Normandy, fince he was not igno-
rant he had a Nephew in Hungary, and yet had never
once thought of recalling him home, and fecuring him the
fucccflion. But the moment lie found Earl Harold afpi-
red to the crown, or at leaft, that the people marked
him out for his fuccellbr, he judged it would be very dit-
ficult to fet up a foreign Prince, againft an Engiijh Earl of
Edward fo great power and credit. This confuleration probably
'; '!/';'„ Lm induced him at laft to fend for his Nephew Edward, Son
nfap^y" of Edmund Ironfide, out of Hungary ( 1 ). He fhould have
Sax. Ann. done this long before, had he not defigned to difpofe of
the crown in favour of another. Prince Edward came
into England in 1057, bringing with him his young Son
Edgar, with Margaret and Chrijliana his Daughters, who
were all three born in Hungary. The arrival of this
Prince, Son of a King of England, whofe memory was
dear to the Nation, could not but be very agreeable to the
Englijh; and therefore, without hefitation, they confidered
him as the King's preiumptive heir, their elleem for Ha-
rold giving place to their affection for the royal family.
Indeed, there was no contefling this young Prince's right
to fucceed his Uncle, fince, had he not been abient when
it was debated who fhould fit on the throne after Hardi-
canute, he would have been unquestionably preferred even
to King Edward \i\mklL Which confideration was proba-
bly the reafon of his Uncle's leaving him fo long in Hun-
gary, left his prefence might occafion fome dangerous com-
motions. Put this Prince, who feemed defigned for the
crown, died foon after his arrival in England, leaving his
juft, though empty title to Edgar his Son, firnamed Artic-
ling (»•

Lcofric, Duke of Mcrcia, quickly followed him, this
fame year (3). Hiftoiians give this Lord a great charac-
ter ; but efpecially they extol Godiva his wiie, above all
the Women of her time. It is related of this Lady, that
Adventure, in order to free the inhabitants of Coventry from a heavy
Brompt. tax laid on them by her Husband, fhe readily confented to
a very extraordinary condition, on which the Earl promi-
fed to eafe them of their burden, namely, that fhe fhould
ride ftark naked from one end of the town to the other.
This condition gave the Burghers little hopes of being re-
lieved. But Godiva perform'd it, covering her Body with
her hair, and commanding all pcrfons to keep within
doors, and from their windows, on pain of death. Not-
withftanding this fevere penalty, there was one, who could
not forbear giving a look, out of curiofity, but it coft him
his life. In memory of this event, there is a Statue of a
Man looking out of a window, always kept in a certain
houfe at Coventry (4). Alfgar fucceeded to his Father's
Earldom, by Harold's intereft, who earneftly interceeded
for him (5).

Harold's ambition and hopes were revived by Prince
Edward's, death. That Prince indeed had left a Son
who inherited all his rights, but fo young, that it feem'd
very eafy to fupplant him. Befides, he might poflibly die
Heftaga'gf- before the King. Accordingly, Harold refolved to im-
mai the king prove the prefent favourable conjuncture. But before he
by Goodwin. p Cn ]y difcovered his defigns, he thought it requifite to
get out of the hands of the Duke of Normandy, Ulnotli
his Brother, and Hacune his Nephew, whom the Earl his
Father had given for hoflages to the King. But tho'
he demanded them very urgently, alledging, fince Goodwin
was dead, there was no reafon to detain them, and un-
juftly deprive them of the benefit of an Englijh education,
yet he could not prevail with the King. Edward always
put him off" with faying, they were not in his power, but
the Duke of. Normandy's, and therefore to that Prince he

Dectrh of
Prince Ed-

and of Leo-
fric, Duke
Sax. Ann.
Godi va

M. Weft.

Sax. Ann.

Harold af-
pirci to the
Crown, and
demands the

tut rant ol
tain them.

muff make application. In fine, Harold perceiving he
could obtain no other anfwer from the King, dented leave
to go into Normandy, and folicite the Duke for their deli-
verance. His requelt was readily granted. Nothing could
be more agreeable to the King, than the Earl's relbluHon of
going to Normandy, where he did not quellion but the
Duke would detain him. At leaft, he hoped Duke Wil-
liam would take fuch meafures as would free him from all
oblfacles the Earl might lay in his way.

Harold having obtained the King's confent, embarked ''''•£'
for Roan, without the leaft fufpicion of the danger he was , n andy.
running into, being ignorant of the King's intention con- Malmlb.
cerning the fucceffion (0). Hardly was he at Sea, when |? r< ' mpt '
a tempeft arole, which drove him into Picardy, and com-
pelled him to put in at one of the Ports of the Earl of f .. ..
Ponthieu, where he was immediately feized. As foon as 'beEarlcf
he was known, he was carried to the Earl of Ponthieu, P»nthj«u
who, glad to find himfelf matter of fo rich a prize, re-
folved to fet a round price on his head. It would have
been difficult for Harold to get off, had he not, whilft he
pretended to treat about his ranfom, found means to in-
form the Duke of Normandy of the accident befallen him.
As foon as the Duke received the new?, he fent and de-
manded the prifontr of the Earl of Ponthieu, telling him
he had no right to detain a ftranger that was coming to
Roan, and by a tempeft cait on his coaffs. The Earl hfit "' !■'"
not daring to difpute with the Duke, fet the prifoncr at/^'J
liberty, who immediately went on to Roan. Duke Pvil- R ran .
Hem not being ignorant of Harold's defign with refpect to 71" pute at
the crown of England, was at a lofs how to behave. He" -g "
had but two ways to take, both equally dangerous. Ha-
rold was either to be detained by force, or gained by fair
means. If he took the firft method, he was apprehen-
five of declaring too foon, fince it was not for his intereft:
the Englijh fhould yet know, he had any thoughts of the
crown. Befidcs, Harold had fo many friends in the
kingdom, that it was to be feared, his detention would oc-
cafion a rupture between England and Normandy, which
would break all the meafures the King fhould take in his
favour. And indeed, in cafe Edward died during the
war, how was it poffible for him to leave the crown to
a Prince actually in arms againft the Englijh Nation ?
Moreover, Harold being Duke of Weffex and Earl of
Kent, all the ftrong places in the fouthern parts v. ere in
the liands of his creatures, and it was this chiefly that
could mofl obftrudt the Duke's defigns. In fine, the
Duke had not perfect information what fteps Harold had
made to pave his way to the crown ; as on his part, Ha-
rold was ignorant of the defigns of the King and Duke.
The Duke confidered further, that by detaining Harold, he
fhould break the mod: facred rights of hofpitality, which
a great Soul cannot be guilty of without offering extreme
violence to it felf. Thefe confiderations induced him to He enica-
take the other courfe, tho' it was no lefs dangerous. By *"!",?

... .... . rr 1 1 1 • • 1 ■ gam bim,

dilcovenng his intentions to Harold, he put it in his power fyd.^/nr
to prevent their execution. However, believing he fhould '» *"" *"
gain him by this proof of his confidence, he plainly told &'/'£"'•
him his hopes, of one day mounting the throne of Eng-
land, founded on the Good-will the King bore him (7).
This difcovery was followed with promifes, in cafe he
would fupport his pretentions, and the aflurance of a re-
ward proportionable to fo important a fervice. He let
him know moreover, that his ambition to afpire to the
crown, tho' not of the royal family, was no fecret to
him, and endeavoured to make him fenfible, how diffi-
cult it would be to attain his ends. To divert him from
his purpofe, he reprefented to him all the oblfacles he was
of courfe to expect, as well from Edgar, as the other Eng-
lijh Lords, who would look on his ambition with a
jealous eye. To thefe confiderations he added another
that was no lefs urgent. He plainly told him, tho' he
fhould be fo fortunate, as to furmount all other obftacles,

(1) Slldrcd Blfcop of Worceflcr was fent to fetch him. Brompt. p. 945.

(2) (i.e.) Truly noble, to denote his being ol Royal Blood. His Father, Prince Edward, firnamed the Out-law, was buried at St. Paul's Lcrdcn. Sax.
Ann. MLV1I.

(3) He was buried in Covcntry-Mon^ftcry which he and Godiva built ; and to which they gave fo much Gold, Silver, and precious Stones, that it was
reckoned the richeft in Eng land. Huntingd. p. 566. S. Duntlm. p. 189.

(4) But whether this be io or no, there is a Proctfliott or Cavalcade ftill made there every year, in memory of Gcdiva, with a Figure rcprefenting a
naked Woman riding through the City. The Pictures of Leofnc and Godiva were alio fet up in the Window sot 'Trinity Church, with this inlcnption:

/ Luric, for tbe Love of thee,
Do jet Coventry Toll-free.

This City had its Name either fiom the Convent new-built and richly endowed by Leofric, or as fome will have it from a Rivulet running through, now
called Sberburn, but in an old Charier of the Priory, Cuentford. This City was famous for its Walls, which were demolished in Charles the lid's time,
and the Gates only left ftanding. In one of which named Gcjfard, is to be fecn the vaft Sbicld-boneoi a Boar, which they tell you was flain by Guy Earl
of Warwick, aftLr he had with his Sn:ut tuvn'd up the Pool or Pond now called Swancjwetl Pool, but in antient Charters, Swine/well. Here is alio a fine
Cicfi built (33 Hen. VIII.) by Sir William Hollies Lord-Mayor of London. Camd.

(5) He died in 1059, and was buried at Coventry, by his Father. Ingulph. p. 66.

(6) Harold's going to Normandy is varioiifly related as' to the Time, Manner, and Occafion of it. With our Author agree Simeon of Durham, Brompton,
and Eadmer, only with this addition, that King Edward foretold him what would happen to him. Malm/bury fays the occafion ol it was this. Haiatd
being at his Houfe at Bojcnbam in SuJJix, had a mind to go out in a Fiftter-boat for his diverfion, but failing turther than he was aware, a tempeft arofe
and drove him as is here related by Rapin. Matthew Paris believes alfo he was driven by a tempeft to Normandy, where to gain his liberty he
was tme'd to do as is here related. So uncertain are traditional Actounts ! Our Author's conduit through this w hole affair feems to be the moft natural
and likely.

(7) SimcmtfDuiham fays, the Duke told Haiold that Edward, whilft at his Court, promifed to fettle the Crown of England on him, /. 196.


*3 6


Vol. I.


tit Matter f
and promt-
jei to pan d
6y tic Du&e.

takes new
Meafures to
feettre the
SuceeJJion to


Harold /«6-
duu the
S. Dunelm.
Flor. Wig.
Sax. Ann.
S. Dunelm.

he would Still find in him an enemy, who wanted neither
money, nor arms, nor friends to Support a right he was
refolved to defend to the laft drop of his blood. In fhort,
he represented to him, that if he was bent to purfuc his
firft project, inftead of fecuring, as it was in his power, a
grandeur, fecond to none but the fupreme, he hazarded a
certain good, for a very uncertain proSpect.

Harold was too wife not to fee, that, on this occafion,
he had but one courfe to take ; which was, to pretend to
be convinced by the reafons the Duke had alledged. He
returned him therefore in anfwer, that indeed, before the
• arrival of Prince Edward, he had believed if the King
died without heirs, he was as worthy to afcend the throne
as any other nobleman of the kingdom. He even owned,
he had begun to take fome meafures, which infpired him
with hopes of Succels ; but had dropt his defign fince the
coming of Edward, being fenfible there was no room to
pretend to the crown, as long as there were Princes of the
royal family in England. He added, fince he was ac-
quainted with his pretenfions, and the King's pleafure,
which till then he had been ignorant of, he had much ra-
ther the kingdom fliould be governed by fo great a Prince
as the Duke, than by Edgar Atheling, who fcarce knew
how to govern himfelf. To convince him the more of
his fincerity, he required certain conditions, and among
others, demanded one of his daughters in marriage, as a
reward for his future fervice. Whatever Harold required
was immediately and gladly complied with. But as the
Princefs, the Duke dellgned for him, was too young, the
intended marriage was deferred till a more convenient
time. Mean while, Duke William not trufting wholly
to Harold's bare word, made him (wear on the Gofpels,
that he would punctually perform his promifes, efpeciaily,
that he would never attempt to mount the throne of Eng-
land. This agreement being made, they parted both of
them extremely well fatisfied in outward appearance, and
Harold returned into England (i).

He was no fooner at liberty, but he looked upon his
oath as extorted, and confcquently not binding. He
could not underftand upon what foundation the Duke of
Normandy pretended to the crown of England, or by
what right Edward could transfer it to a foreigner. And
therefore, fo far was he from any thoughts of Handing to
his engagements, that he refolved to take advantage of the
Duke's confidence, and contrive jufter meafures to frus-
trate his defigns. From thence-forward he ufed a double
diligence to Strengthen his party in fuch a manner, as
fhould put it out of the power of the King or Duke to
lay any obftacles in his way. Jf hitherto he had enter-
tained any fcruple with regard to Prince Edgar, it entirely
vanifhed upon confideration that in mounting the throne
himfelf he fhould do no injury to that Prince, fince the
crown would be otherwife dil'pofed of even by his uncle
the King. He laboured therefore more and more to Se-
cure an intereft in all the great Lords of the kingdom, to
which he found the way very open. The Duke of Nor-
mandy was abfent, and but little known in England, where
moreover the Normans were extremely odious. Prince
Edgar, by reafon of his youth, was in no condition to
oppofe defigns fo detrimental to him. As for the King,
he was fo unrefolved in the affair of the Succeffion, that
he promoted the intereft neither of the Prince his ne-
phew, nor of the Duke. He was no doubt at a lofs how
to reconcile his promife to the Duke of Normandy, with
his recalling his nephew from Hungary. He thought only
of paffing his days in peace, without troubling himfelf
about what fhould happen after his death. Thus every
thing concurring to favour Harold's defigns, he neglected
nothing that might ferve to confirm the good opinion con-
ceived of him by the Englijh. Two opportunities that of-
fered themfelves prefently after, were extremely favourable
to him.

The JVelJh renewing their incurfions under the con-
duel of Griffin their King, Harold and his Brother To/Ion
joined their forces to repulfe them. They were fo for-
tunate in their expedition, that, after Several advantages

gained upon the IVelJl), they compelled them to dethrone
Griffin, and become tributary to England. Griffin being
afterwards reftored, and renewing the war with the Ln-
glijh, Harold marched to the frontiers, and Struck fuch a
terror into the Weljh, that they fent him the head of their
King (2). This event which Showed how formidable
Harold was to the enemies of the State, confirmed the
Englijh in their opinion, that he, who knew fo well how
to defend it, deferved to wear the crown.

Harold had another opportunity to add new luftre to Tofton
his glory, as it enabled him to give proofs of his mode- *>*>"«* 0]
ration and equity, as he had lately done of his valour and berLni""
conduct. Tojlon his Brother, Earl of Northumberland, Sax. Ann.
treated the Northumbrians with fuch feverity, and com- J' I ji rnfb :
mitted fo many acts of injuftice, that at laft, the people Erompton.'
not being able to bear his oppreffions any longer, took up
arms againft him , and expelled him Northumberland.
This action being oSa dangerous confequence, Harold was Harold/rar
ordered to chaftife them, and reftore his Brother. As Soon tanfitrt
as he approached the borders, the Northumbrians Sent de- "'"' ' , ..
puties to inform him of the reaSons of their inSurredtion. in being dn-
They told him, they had no defign of withdrawing their •=*« <""■
obedience from the King, but only from an unjuft and
cruel governor, who exercifed over them a tyrannical
power, to which neither they nor their Sorefathers had Malmft.
ever been Subject. Intimating withal, they were reSolved
to hazard their lives, rather than Submit to the like power
again. However, they Solemnly protefted, provided the
King would Set over them one that would govern them
according to the laws and cuftoms oS their country, no-
thing Should be able to Shake their fidelity. To thel'e
remonftrances they added a long lift of the grievances they
had fuffered under Tojlon, intreating Harold to prefer the
Good of the publick before the interefts of his own fa-
mily. Harold finding this affair related chiefly to Tojhn,
and that the King was not directly concerned in it, fent
an impartial account of the whole matter to the court.
At the fame time he interceded for the Northumbrians,
and not content with obtaining their pardon, procured
them Morkard, Son of Alfgar Duke of Mercia, for their
governor (3). By this equitable proceeding, he entirely

Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 56 of 360)