M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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

. (page 58 of 360)
Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 58 of 360)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

to return to our hiftory.

After Harold was crown'd, there was not a perfon in
the kingdom, but what owned him for fovereign, and
paid him obedience. But tho' he found no oppoiition at'/ ■ <•< hn~
home, it was otherwife abroad. Not to mention the'' '
Duke of Normandy, who, before he difcovcrcd, put him-
felf in a condition to execute his defigns, Earl Teflm was
preparing to difturb the King his Brother in the pofleffion
of his new dignity. He could not forgive him his ini-
partial proceedings, when, in favour v of the Northumbrians^ M.i.'ut ""
he difpolTefs'd him of his government. Though Harold's
acceffion to the crown lhould have rendered him more
formidable to him, this confederation ferv'd only to in-
flame his hatred the more, and put him upon uevifing all
poffible means to dethrone him. As he was not ignorant
of the Duke of Normandy's intentions, with whom he had
contracted a ftrict friendfhip, on account of their marry-
ing two Sifters, Daughters of the Earl of Flanders, he

(1) Saxaidmah, and Hwtdm , with fume other of the Englijh Writers. The Bi/hops were all for Hitald to a Man.

(2) William of Malmjiurj, and fuch as efpoufed the title of the Duke ot Normandy.

h) Huntirlgdonh. , f this opinion, and adds levtrjl were for fetting up Edgar AtUlmg. Ingulf hus more cautioufly fajs, BtnU forgetting his oath made
to Duke William, intruded himfelf into the throne.

(4) 1 bcliev tc tne an \y onc tnat ljld tn ; s _ Rapm.

(y S- e more of thefe >r, t;,- r s in the following diiTertatiOD under tbe bead of fit guccejjim ta tie Crmm,
(6) In the place mentioned in the Note before this.

2 wer.t

Book V.

2r. H A R O L D II.


and then in
the North.

Wirnld's be

hamiour to

went to him to concert mcafures with him againfl the
King his Brother. There is no doubt hut Duke William
encouraged him to execute his defigns. (l). But it does
not appear that he furnished him with any Money,
Troops, or Ships, of 'all which he had himlelf lb great
need againfl his intended invalion. Probably therefore it
was the Earl of Flanders, his Father-in-law, that fuppKed
Ttjlon with Ships, by means of which he infefted the
Ut blunders Englijh coafts, and plundered the Ifle of JVight. After
the He of which, he landed fome troops at Sandwich. But being
Wight, •""< [ n i ormel \ the King was marching towards him, he fet fail
for the North, and entering the Humbcr with his little
fleet (2), made a defcent on York/hire, and committed ra-
vages as if he had been in an enemy's country. Harold,
not thinking it advifeable to leave the fouthern parts, com-
miffioned Karl Morcard to go againfr his Brother ; who,
having been made governor of Northumberland in the
room of Tojhn, was particularly concerned to put a flop
-to his incurfions. As for the King, he remained at Lon-
don, that he might have an eye to Edgar's party, and
prevent them from exciting any troubles upon that young
Prince's account. This feem'd to him, at that time, to
be what he had moil to fear; being fenfible, the injullice
done Edgar fat heavy upon the minds of thofe who were
weil-aftecied to tlie ancient royal family. Accordingly,
to prevent their difcontents from breaking out into action,
he carefs'd the Prince as well as thofe of his party. He
even infinuated from time to time, that he had accepted
the crown purely on account of Edgar's youth, willing
they mould underlland, as it he meant to reftore it to the
Prince when he was of age to govern. With this view,
he created him Earl of Oxford, and feem'd to take a very
particular care of his education, as it were to qualify him
tor the government of the kingdom.

Mean while Morcard, accompanied with his Brother
Edwin, Earl of Chcjfcr, march'd with all expedition a-
gainll To/Ion, who was now on the fouth-fide of the Hum-
ber. He came upon him unawares in Lincolnjhire, and
put his little army to flight, compelling him to betake
himfelf to his Ships. Tojhn finding he could do nothing
confiderable with fo fmall a number of forces, fleered to-
wards Scotland, in expectation of afliftance from thence ($).
But perceiving the King of Scotland was not difpos'd to iup-
port him, he puts to Sea again, with defign to make ano-

drives Tof-
ton to bis
Sax. Ann.

long been in expectation of, and which he could not bear
to fee on his Head without extreme regret. Though hi
Pival, in all appearance, was firmly feated in his throne,
the Duke imagined he was able to pull him down, fin.ee
the^ way by arms was flill open, when all other methods
lad'd. However, to proceed regularly, he fent ambaffa-
dors to Harold, to require him to deliver him up the
crown, and in cafe of refufal, to charge him with the
breach of his oath, and declare war againfl him. Harold
told the ambaffadors, " Their mafter had no manner
" of right to the crown of England : That fuppofing the
" late King had difpofed of it in his favour, a tiling
" the Englijh knew nothing of, it was contrary to the
" laws of the Land, which allow not the King to give
" away the crown according to his fancy, much 1-
" a Foreigner. As for his part, he had been elected by
" thofe, who had the power of placing tlie Kings on the
" throne, and therefore could not refien it, without the!
" breach of that truft repoled in him by the Englijh.
" As for the oath, the violation whereof he was charged
" with, it having been extorted from him at a time
" when he had not the pov/er to help himlelf, it was null
" and void, by the laws of all the Nations in the
" World. In fine, he added, that he knew how to de-
" fend his right againft any perfon that durfl difpute
" it with him." This quarrel being of too great con-
fequence to be decided without coming to blows, each
party took fuch mcafures as he judged moil likely to prove
fuccefsful (5).

The Duke's vexation to be deceived, the defire of^,
revenge, the fhame of renouncing his pretenfions, and liam «»-
the pleafing hopes of being mafter of England, fpum-i '
him on to ufe all poffible endeavours to fucceed in his^fd"*""
defigns. On the other fide, Harold finding he was like £<><•<
to have fo formidable an adverfa/y, thought nothing AgtRiwn ef
v/ould be of more fervice to him, than gaining the pco- oamlt. '
pie to his interefls. To tin's purpofe, he made himfelf Brompt.
more popular than ever. He lefiened the taxes, and
caufed juftice to be duly and impartially adminillred. In
fine, he forgot nothing that might ferve to confirm his
Subjects in the efleem and affection they already had
for him. His labour was not in vain. The Englijli,
charm'd with his firft proceedings, which afforded them fo
pleafant a profpeft, refolved to facrifice their lives and

He is driven
to Norway.
Sax. Ann.

ther defcent on England. Prevented by contrary winds, fortunes to fupport him on the throne to which they had

he was driven on the coafl of Noriuay, where he acciden
tally ftumbled upon what he had been feeking fo induitri-

Harold Harfagcr King of Norway, had lately taken
fome of the Orcadcs (4), which belonged to Scotland, and
was fitting out a more numerous fleet in order to carry on
his conquefls. Tojhn being informed of this Prince's de-
figns, went directly to him, pretending he was come on
purpofe to propofe to him a more noble undertaking. He
reprefented to him, that a favourable opportunity offered
to conquer England, if he would but turn his arms that
way. The better to perfuade him, he told him, there
were in the kingdom two powerful factions, both enemies
to the King, the one for Prince Edgar, the other for the
Duke of Normandy, and therefore, the Englijh being thus
divided, it would not be difficult to fubdue them. Ad-
ding, that he himfelf had a flrong party in Northumber-
land, which would very much promote the execution
of this defign. In fine, he made him believe the King
his Brother was extremely odious to the Englijh, and
would be certainly deferted by them, as foon as there ap-
peared in England a foreign army ftrong enough to fup-
port his enemies. Harfager, greedy of fame, and al-
ready devouring in his imagination fo noble a prize, want-
ed not much felicitation to engage in this project. Pre-
poffefs'd by To/Ion of the praclicablenefs of the thing, he

raifed him. Duke William, for his part, not bems isno-
rant of the refolution of the Englijh, perceived he had no
other way to attain his ends, but by fetting on foot forces
proportionable to thofe of the enemies he was refolved to

The main difficulty was, to raife a fum of money Duke Wil-
fufficient for the charge of fo great an undertaking. )ilm " J "~
His firft method was, to convene an affembly of the XL? "" S '
States of Normandy, to obtain their concurrence. But he
found them very backward to comply with his defires.
They told him, that " Normandy having been drained ^'States
" of Men and money by the late wars, they were fo ''£t,ll„.
" far from being in a condition to think of making Camd. Brift
«' new conquefls, that they were hardly able to defend Normans.
" their own territories againfl the attacks of a power- Brom F to,u
" ful Invader. Befides, how jufl foever the Duke's
" claim to England might be, they could not fee that
" any advantage would accrue to their country from this
" expedition. In fine, that they were not obliged by
" their allegiance to ferve in foreign wars, wherein the,
" State had no concern." This flout anfwer deflroying
the Duke's hopes of railing money in a publick way,
he bethought himfelf of an expedient, which fucceeded
to his wilh. This was to borrow money of private
perfons ; and gaining fome of the chief Men, the reft
were inlpired with an emulation who fhould be moft

refolved to employ all his forces in making fo gl/Tous a zealous in affifling their Prince. IVillian Fitz-osbern un-

TbeDutc cf
prepares jor
the Iwvafioti
of England.
M. Weft.


Whilfl the King of Norway was making his prepara-
tions, the Duke of Normandy was no lefs (erioufly think-
ing of means to wrell from Harold a crown, he had fo

dertook to fit out forty Ships at his own expence. The
moll wealthy, every one according to his ability, fub-
fcribed very large Sums : So that the Duke by this me-
thod raifed more money than he could have done by a pub-

(1) See Wil. Gcmiticen. p. 665. and Daniel HiJI. di France. Vol. III. p. 90.

(2) It confided of fixty Ships. Malmjb. p. 94. Sax. Ann. Others lay of forty. Brompt. p. 958. M.Wijlm. p. 433.

(3) He failed to Scotland, with twelve Ships, the reft having forfaken him j and there ftaid all the Summer. Sax. Ann. Malmjb. p. 94. S. Dunelm.
p. 194.

(4) They are now called the Ijles of Orkney. Whatever the Ancients have fr:d of their Number, there are but twenty-fix inhabited, the reft are u fed
onjy for Pafturage, and are called Holmes. Orkney lies North of Cutbnefs, in the Latitude of fifty-nine and fixty Degrees. Eagles arc in fuch plenty here,
and do fo much mifchief, that whoever kills one, is entitled to a Hen from e\cry Houfe in the Parifh. The ljigeft cf thefe Ifles is Mainland, anciently
Pomonia, twenty-four Miles long, whereon ftands the only remarkable Town, called Ktrktval, famous for St- Magnus's Church, and the Bifbep of Ork-
ney's Palace. The Ifles were firft inhabited by the Pitls, who kept poffeflion of them till deftroyed in S39, by Kenetb II. of Scotland, firm wh.ch time
they were fubject to the Scots, till delivered up by Donald Bar: the Ulurper in 1099, to Magnus King of Ncr-uay, but in 1263, they were furrendered ttf
Alexander 111. King of Scotland, by treaty With St. Magnus King of Norway, who is laid to build the ftately Cathedral at Kirhwal. They have lince
remained annexed to the Crown of Scotland. In Hoy, one of thefe Hies, lies a Stone called Dtcarfe Stone, thirty- fix Foot long, eighteen broad, and nine
thick, hollowed by Art with a fquare Hole of two Foot high for the Entry. Within, at one end, is a Bed big encugh tcr two Men, excellently hewn cut
ot the Stone, with a Pillow : at the other end is a Couch, and in the middle a Hearth for a Fire, with a Hole over it fcr the Chimney. Orkney gives ti-
tle to an Earl.

(5) Brampton fays, Duke William fent a fecond Meftage to King Harold, offering to defift from his Claims, provided he would marry his daughter. But
this is very improbable ; tor belides that our belt Hiftjr'ans tell us the young L3dy was dead, it is not tikei) the Duke's ambition would be fo eafily Uni-


1 40


Vol. I

lick tax. But as this was not fufficient, he engaged fe-
of the neighbouring (1) Princes to furnifh him with
and tranlports, on condition


net- led
; ■ cced
b ■-: .b-



. . n.



Harold dif-
Vt'JJ'ei bh

Army upon
a falfe ir.~
,-i< marion.

Sax. Ann.

lie Battle


of their having
Lands afiigned them in England after the conqueft. He
even demanded the affiftance of France; but it was not
the intereft of that crown that the Duke of Normandy
fhuuld become more powerful. Very fortunately, King
Philip, who was then a Minor under the care of the Earl
of Flanders, obftructed not his proceedings, which a Prince
that had been old enough to have known his own inte-
refts, would infallibly have done. It is true indeed, the
court of France endeavoured to difiuade the Duke from
this enterprife, but to no purpofe (2).

Mean time Duke William, who was too wife not to
be fenfible of the weaknefs of his title, omitted nothing
that might ferve to give it fome colour of juftice. With
this view he bethought himfelf of an expedient very pro-
per to blind the eyes of the world ; which was, to pro-
cure the Pope's approbation of his undertaking, to whom,
it is faid 5 he made a promife of holding the kingdom of
England of the Apollolick See. However this be, the
Pope very heartily efpoufed his caufe, and fent him a con-
fecrated Banner (3), as a mark of his approbation. More-
over, willing that all Chriftians fhould know that reli-
gion was concerneJ in this affair, he folemnly excommu-
nicated all that fhould dare oppofe the Duke in the execu-
tion of this project. This approbation was of great fer-
vice to the Duke, as it furnifhed him with means to juf-
tify his intended expedition, and at the fame time remo-
ved the fcruples offuch, as he was endeavouring to engage
in his quarrel. But it had not the fame effect in England.
Whether the Englijh knew nothing of the Pope's excom-
munication, or looked upon it as a great piece of partia-
lity, it prevented not Harold from equipping a large fleet,
a'.id railing a numerous army, with which he refolutely
expected his enemy.

The charge of keeping fo confiderable an armament,
could not but be very burthenfome to the people, a thing
the King would have been glad to avoid. After he had in
vain expected fome months the arrival of Duke William,
finding he did not appear, and the autumnal Equinox ap-
proached, he imagined, purfuant to fome falfe informa-
tions he had received, that the Duke had deferred his ex-
pedition till the Spring. Accordingly, he thought he
might fafely lay up his Ships for the Winter, and disband
his troops (4), to fave an unneceflary expence.

But as he was returning to London out of Kent, where
he had given his laft orders for disbanding the army, news
was brought him that the King of Norway, accompanied
with Earl Tojlon, was entered the Tyne, with a fleet of
five hundred fail (5). Surpriz'd at this unexpected inva-
fion, he haftily drew his army together again, which were
difperfing theinfelves. But before they were ready to
march, the Norwegians had made a great progrefs. Ha-
ving fack'd the Counties on both fides the Tyne, they put
to Sea, and entering the Humbcr, landed their forces on
the North fide (6), and ravag'd the country with inex-
preilible cruelties. Morcard and Edwin, who were upon
Jrd and the fpot, endeavoured to flop their career, with fome
troops levied in hafte ; but were fo beaten, that their whole
army was deftroyed (7). Flufht with this fuccefs, the
Norwegians advane'd towards York, and laid fiege to the
City, which they quickly became matters of; the inha-
bitants, who were unprovided with all things neceflary
for their defence, chufing rather to furrender upon terms,
than expofe themfelves to certain ruin. Mean while, Ha-
rold having drawn his army together, advane'd with all
expedition, to give the Norivegians battle, who having
left their fleet in the Humbcr, were marching towards the
North, to compleat the reduction of Northumberland, be-
fore they proceeded to other conqueffs. As they marched
but flowly, and as Harold made all pofllble hafte, he
came up with them at Stanford Bridge, on the River
Derwent, a little below York (s). The Norwegians, upon
his approach, intrench'd themfelves in fo advantagious a
polT, that it feemed impofllble to force them. They

• K«S°f
Norway rJ-
•vagel Nor-
5>. Duneim.



were polled on the other fide of the river, where ti.erc
was no attacking them but by the bridge, of which
they were mailers. Notwithflanding this, Harold, who
was very fenfible how much it behoved him to come to
an engagement, ordered the bridge to be attacked without
delay. The Norwegians ffoutly defended it, but cuuld M ■'■'
not withfland the efforts of the Englijh, though anima- J^'.'
ted by the affonilhmg valour of one of their own Men,
who defended the bridge alone againll the Englijh army
for a confiderable time. At length, the brave Norwegian
being flain (9), Harold became mailer of the bridge, and
pafs'd his army over. Then furioufly failing upon the
enemy, after an obitinate fight, entirely routed them.
There had never been feen in England an engagement be-
tween two fo numerous armies, each having no lefs than
threefcore thoufand Men. The battle, which was very
bloody, lafted from feven in the morning till three in the
afternoon. Harfager and Tojton were both flain, and Ha- Harfag?r
rold obtained a compleat viciory. Of the whole army "" d . ' oll ° n
that came from Norway in five hundred Ships, the re- '"'
mains were carried off by Olatis, Son of Harfager, in
twenty Veffels, with the Conqueror's leave. The booty
which was taken upon this occafion was very great, fince
there was found in the camp all that the Norwegians had
brought from home, and all they had plundered in the
kingdom ( 1 o). But Harold having been fo impolitick as Malmft.
to retain the ipoil to himfelf, railed fuch difcontents in his
army, as proved of very ill confequence to him after-
wards (11). One would think this Prince, who was na-
turally generous, fhould have fecured the hearts of his Sol-
diers, by a liberality which would have coll him nothing,
efpecially at a time when he flood in fo great need of their
fervice. But he confidered, the expending this booty in
the war againll the Duke of Normandy, would very much
eafe the people, whofe affection he was defirous to preferve
at any rate. Neverthelefs, he fhould have confidered the
gaining the hearts of his loldiers was no lefs neceflary.
Doubtlefs it would have been better for him to cultivate
their affection, as he too plainly difcovered to his cofl on
another occafion. It has been often obferved, that fol-
diers are never fo little regarded, as when by their bravery
they have procur'd their Matters fome fignal advantages,
becaufe their own victories ferve to render them ufelefs.
But 'tis no lefs certain, that fooner or later a difcontented
army give their Prince or their General caufe to repent of
ufing them ill.

Whilfl Harold wan bufied in the North, in rectifying the 7lr Dll hof
diforders occafioned by the Norwegian invafion, the Duke of Normandy
Normandy, who had long waited for a wind at St. Valery > r - v * i "
fet fail about the end of September, and had a fpeedy paflage I"*' Ann.
to Pevenfy (1 2) in Suffix. 'Tis affirmed, that in leaping S. Duneim.
afhorc, he fell all along on his face ; at which one of the Mi WelK
foldiers raid merrily, See, our Duke is taking pffeffon „y Malmib '
England; which the Duke took as a good omen. No
body appearing to oppofe his landing, his firfl care was to
run up a Fort near the place where he difembarked (1 3), to
favour his retreat in cafe of neceffity. Some however will
have it, that he fent his Ships back to Normandy, to let his
army fee they had nothing to trull to but their valour (1 4).
After fome days flay at Pevenfy, he marched along the
fhore as far as Ha/lings (15), where he built a ftronger Fort Huntingd.
than the former, refolving there to expect his enemy of
whom he had no intelligence. 'Twas here he publifhed a HepMifiet
Manifeflo, mowing the reafons of his coming into Eng- Maxtjip.
land; namely, firfl, to revenge the death of Prince Al- Car l d °"'
fred, Brother of King Edward. This, if ever any, was a F
frivolous pretence, fince Earl Goodwin, the contriver of
that murder, was dead, and Harold never charged with it.
Secondly, To reftore Robert Archbifhop of Canterbury to
his See. This was no better reafon than the firll, for
Robert was banifhed by the general aflembly in Edward's
reign, and confequently the prefent King could not be
blamed for it. 'Tis very likely this article was inferred in
the Manifeflo on the Pope's account, to ferve as a cover
for his partiality to the Duke. Thirdly, and principally,
to offer the Englijh his affiflance to punifh Harold for pre-


(1) The Earls of Anjou, Poifhu, Maine, Boulogne, and Alan Earl of Bretagne. Camd. Inttcduc. p. clvii'. Ccr.an Earl of Bretagne, Alans father, de-
manded, and threatned to invade Normandy, in order to divert William from his attempt on England ; but William had him poifoned. ll'il. Gmmctnfit
1. 6. c 33. P. Daniel. Vol. III. p. 91, 92. Which /hews what a terrible Monfter is an ambitious Prince !

(2) William, and tha Emperor Henry, entered into a League, by which Henry bound himfelf to march with all the German forces, againft any one that
mould attack Normandy, during William's expedition into England. P. Danttl. Vol. III. p. 93.

{3) With a Golden Agnus Da, and one of St. Peter's Hairs.

(4) This was about September 8. R. de Diceto. p. 479. Brompt.

(5) Malmjb. Huntmgd. and Sax. Ann. fay it confifted only of three hundred j and Ingulpb fays of two hundred, p. 69,

(6) At a Place called Ricbale in the Eajl-Ridmg of Yorkjbirc. S- Duneim. p. 194. Camden.

(7) The Place was Fulford near York. S. Duneim. p. 194.

(S) Which Camden fays, is alio called Battle-Bridge, frum this engagement between Harold and the Norwegians. In Latin, Pot: belli.

(9) He is laid to have killed forty Men with his own hand. Brcmpt.

(10) Adam Bremen/is fays, they took fo much Cold among the Spoil, that twelve young Men could hardly bear it on their moulders. This battle ww
fought nine days before William the Conqueror landed.

(nj It was thccuitom in thofe days lor all the Spoils to be fairly divided among the Officers and Soldiers.

(12) Now Pi-mfey. He landed September 29, atter having been near a Month upon paifage. Sax. Ann. Main fv. p. ico. Kntgitin faj-*, that he land-
ed pnrt of his Forces at Pevenjey, and the other part at Sandwich, p. 2341.

(13) In which he lay ftill fur fifteen days, and kept his Soldiers from plundering the neighboujine parts. Mal^Jb- p, 100,

( 14) Camden fays, he ordered his Ship^ to be burnt.

(I^j The chief of the Cin$u t 'Ports, whofe Burgees main the old title of Bartns,

Book V.

21. H A R O L D U.



fuming to fei/.c the Crown, without any right, nnd direct-
ly contrary to his Oath. It is to be obierved, he mnde no
mention cither of Edward's Will, or verbal Promil'c, and
that his Silence on that head renders this third motive ve-
ry trifling. For indeed, without fijeh a Will or Promife,
what pretence could the Duke of Normandy, have to con-
cern himfelf with the affairs of England? Some affirm he
founded his right on his Kindred to Edward; but he was
no way related to the late King, only by Emma of Nor-
mandy, who had never any title to the Crown ; and betides,
he was himfelf a Baffard. But he did not fo much build
his hopes on his Manifefto, as on the ftrength of his Army.
He was very fenfible, if he obtained the Victory, his rea-
fons would be readily admitted. Mean while, not to ter-
rify the Englijl), he charged his Army to injure none, but
fuch as were actually in Arms againff him. But neither

Online LibraryM. (Paul) Rapin de ThoyrasThe history of England : written in French (Volume 1) → online text (page 58 of 360)