After the birth of our Lord and Saviour Christ, one thousand and eighty-seven winters; in the one and twentieth year after William began to govern and direct England, as God granted him, was a very heavy and pestilent season in this land. Such a sickness came on men, that full nigh every other man was in the worst disorder, that is, in the diarrhoea; and that so dreadfully, that many men died in the disorder. Afterwards came, through the badness of the weather as we before mentioned, so great a famine over all England, that many hundreds of men died a miserable death through hunger. Alas! how wretched and how rueful a time was there! When the poor wretches lay full nigh driven to death prematurely, and afterwards came sharp hunger, and dispatched them withall! Who will not be penetrated with grief at such a season? or who is so hardhearted as not to weep at such misfortune? Yet such things happen for folks' sins, that they will not love God and righteousness. So it was in those days, that little righteousness was in this land with any men but with the monks alone, wherever they fared well. The king and the head men loved much, and overmuch, covetousness in gold and in silver; and recked not how sinfully it was got, provided it came to them. The king let his land at as high a rate as he possibly could; then came some other person, and bade more than the former one gave, and the king let it to the men that bade him more. Then came the third, and bade yet more; and the king let it to hand to the men that bade him most of all: and he recked not how very sinfully the stewards got it of wretched men, nor how many unlawful deeds they did; but the more men spake about right law, the more unlawfully they acted. They erected unjust tolls, and many other unjust things they did, that are difficult to reckon. Also in the same year, before harvest, the holy minster of St. Paul, the episcopal see in London, was completely burned, with many other minsters, and the greatest part, and the richest of the whole city. So also, about the same time, full nigh each head-port in all England was entirely burned. Alas! rueful and woeful was the fate of the year that brought forth so many misfortunes. In the same year also, before the Assumption of St. Mary, King William went from Normandy into France with an army, and made war upon his own lord Philip, the king, and slew many of his men, and burned the town of Mante, and all the holy minsters that were in the town; and two holy men that served God, leading the life of anachorets, were burned therein. This being thus done, King William returned to Normandy. Rueful was the thing he did; but a more rueful him befel. How more rueful? He fell sick, and it dreadfully ailed him. What shall I say? Sharp death, that passes by neither rich men nor poor, seized him also. He died in Normandy, on the next day after the Nativity of St. Mary, and he was buried at Caen in St. Stephen's minster, which he had formerly reared, and afterwards endowed with manifold gifts. Alas! how false and how uncertain is this world's weal! He that was before a rich king, and lord of many lands, had not then of all his land more than a space of seven feet! and he that was whilom enshrouded in gold and gems, lay there covered with mould! He left behind him three sons; the eldest, called Robert, who was earl in Normandy after him; the second, called William, who wore the crown after him in England; and the third, called Henry, to whom his father bequeathed immense treasure. If any person wishes to know what kind of man he was, or what honour he had, or of how many lands he was lord, then will we write about him as well as we understand him: we who often looked upon him, and lived sometime in his court. This King William then that we speak about was a very wise man, and very rich; more splendid and powerful than any of his predecessors were. He was mild to the good men that loved God, and beyond all measure severe to the men that gainsayed his will. On that same spot where God granted him that he should gain England, he reared a mighty minster, and set monks therein, and well endowed it. In his days was the great monastery in Canterbury built, and also very many others over all England. This land was moreover well filled with monks, who modelled their lives after the rule of St. Benedict. But such was the state of Christianity in his time, that each man followed what belonged to his profession -- he that would. He was also very dignified. Thrice he bare his crown each year, as oft as he was in England. At Easter he bare it in Winchester, at Pentecost in Westminster, at midwinter in Glocester. And then were with him all the rich men over all England; archbishops and diocesan bishops, abbots and earls, thanes and knights. So very stern was he also and hot, that no man durst do anything against his will. He had earls in his custody, who acted against his will. Bishops he hurled from their bishoprics, and abbots from their abbacies, and thanes into prison. At length he spared not his own brother Odo, who was a very rich bishop in Normandy. At Baieux was his episcopal stall; and he was the foremost man of all to aggrandise the king. He had an earldom in England; and when the king was in Normandy, then was he the mightiest man in this land. Him he confined in prison. But amongst other things is not to be forgotten that good peace that he made in this land; so that a man of any account might go over his kingdom unhurt with his bosom full of gold. No man durst slay another, had he never so much evil done to the other; and if any churl lay with a woman against her will, he soon lost the limb that he played with. He truly reigned over England; and by his capacity so thoroughly surveyed it, that there was not a hide of land in England that he wist not who had it, or what it was worth, and afterwards set it down in his book110. The land of the Britons was in his power; and he wrought castles therein; and ruled Anglesey withal. So also he subdued Scotland by his great strength. As to Normandy, that was his native land; but he reigned also over the earldom called Maine; and if he might have yet lived two years more, he would have won Ireland by his valour, and without any weapons. Assuredly in his time had men much distress, and very many sorrows. Castles he let men build, and miserably swink the poor. The king himself was so very rigid; and extorted from his subjects many marks of gold, and many hundred pounds of silver; which he took of his people, for little need, by right and by unright. He was fallen into covetousness, and greediness he loved withal. He made many deer-parks; and he established laws therewith; so that whosoever slew a hart, or a hind, should be deprived of his eyesight. As he forbade men to kill the harts, so also the boars; and he loved the tall deer as if he were their father. Likewise he decreed by the hares, that they should go free. His rich men bemoaned it, and the poor men shuddered at it. But he was so stern, that he recked not the hatred of them all; for they must follow withal the king's will, if they would live, or have land, or possessions, or even his peace. Alas! that any man should presume so to puff himself up, and boast o'er all men. May the Almighty God show mercy to his soul, and grant him forgiveness of his sins! These things have we written concerning him, both good and evil; that men may choose the good after their goodness, and flee from the evil withal, and go in the way that leadeth us to the kingdom of heaven. Many things may we write that were done in this same year. So it was in Denmark, that the Danes, a nation that was formerly accounted the truest of all, were turned aside to the greatest untruth, and to the greatest treachery that ever could be. They chose and bowed to King Cnute, and swore him oaths, and afterwards dastardly slew him in a church. It happened also in Spain, that the heathens went and made inroads upon the Christians, and reduced much of the country to their dominion. But the king of the Christians, Alphonzo by name, sent everywhere into each land, and desired assistance. And they came to his support from every land that was Christian; and they went and slew or drove away all the heathen folk, and won their land again, through God's assistance. In this land also, in the same year, died many rich men; Stigand, Bishop of Chichester, and the Abbot of St. Augustine, and the Abbot of Bath, and the Abbot of Pershore, and the lord of them all, William, King of England, that we spoke of before. After his death his son, called William also as the father, took to the kingdom, and was blessed to king by Archbishop Landfranc at Westminster three days ere Michaelmas day. And all the men in England submitted to him, and swore oaths to him. This being thus done, the king went to Winchester, and opened the treasure house, and the treasures that his father had gathered, in gold, and in silver, and in vases, and in palls, and in gems, and in many other valuable things that are difficult to enumerate. Then the king did as his father bade him ere he was dead; he there distributed treasures for his father's soul to each monastery that was in England; to some ten marks of gold, to some six, to each upland111 church sixty pence. And into each shire were sent a hundred pounds of money to distribute amongst poor men for his soul. And ere he departed, he bade that they should release all the men that were in prison under his power. And the king was on the midwinter in London.
In this year was this land much stirred, and filled with great treachery; so that the richest Frenchmen that were in this land would betray their lord the king, and would have his brother Robert king, who was earl in Normandy. In this design was engaged first Bishop Odo, and Bishop Gosfrith, and William, Bishop of Durham. So well did the king by the bishop [Odo] that all England fared according to his counsel, and as he would. And the bishop thought to do by him as Judas Iscariot did by our Lord. And Earl Roger was also of this faction; and much people was with him all Frenchmen. This conspiracy was formed in Lent. As soon as Easter came, then went they forth, and harrowed, and burned, and wasted the king's farms; and they despoiled the lands of all the men that were in the king's service. And they each of them went to his castle, and manned it, and provisioned it as well as they could. Bishop Gosfrith, and Robert the peace-breaker, went to Bristol, and plundered it, and brought the spoil to the castle. Afterwards they went out of the castle, and plundered Bath, and all the land thereabout; and all the honour112 of Berkeley they laid waste. And the men that eldest were of Hereford, and all the shire forthwith, and the men of Shropshire, with much people of Wales, came and plundered and burned in Worcestershire, until they came to the city itself, which it was their design to set on fire, and then to rifle the minster, and win the king's castle to their hands. The worthy Bishop Wulfstan, seeing these things, was much agitated in his mind, because to him was betaken the custody of the castle. Nevertheless his hired men went out of the castle with few attendants, and, through God's mercy and the bishop's merits, slew or took five hundred men, and put all the others to flight. The Bishop of Durham did all the harm that he could over all by the north. Roger was the name of one of them113 ; who leaped into the castle at Norwich, and did yet the worst of all over all that land. Hugh also was one, who did nothing better either in Leicestershire or in Northamptonshire. The Bishop Odo being one, though of the same family from which the king himself was descended, went into Kent to his earldom, and greatly despoiled it; and having laid waste the lands of the king and of the archbishop withal, he brought the booty into his castle at Rochester. When the king understood all these things, and what treachery they were employing against him, then was he in his mind much agitated. He then sent after Englishmen, described to them his need, earnestly requested their support, and promised them the best laws that ever before were in this land; each unright guild he forbade, and restored to the men their woods and chaces. But it stood no while. The Englishmen however went to the assistance of the king their lord. They advanced toward Rochester, with a view to get possession of the Bishop Odo; for they thought, if they had him who was at first the head of the conspiracy, they might the better get possession of all the others. They came then to the castle at Tunbridge; and there were in the castle the knights of Bishop Odo, and many others who were resolved to hold it against the king. But the Englishmen advanced, and broke into the castle, and the men that were therein agreed with the king. The king with his army went toward Rochester. And they supposed that the bishop was therein; but it was made known to the king that the bishop was gone to the castle at Pevensea. And the king with his army went after, and beset the castle about with a very large force full six weeks. During this time the Earl of Normandy, Robert, the king's brother, gathered a very considerable force, and thought to win England with the support of those men that were in this land against the king. And he sent some of his men to this land, intending to come himself after. But the Englishmen that guarded the sea lighted upon some of the men, and slew them, and drowned more than any man could tell. When provisions afterwards failed those within the castle, they earnestly besought peace, and gave themselves up to the king; and the bishop swore that he would depart out of England, and no more come on this land, unless the king sent after him, and that he would give up the castle at Rochester. Just as the bishop was going with an intention to give up the castle, and the king had sent his men with him, then arose the men that were in the castle, and took the bishop and the king's men, and put them into prison. In the castle were some very good knights; Eustace the Young, and the three sons of Earl Roger, and all the best born men that were in this land or in Normandy. When the king understood this thing, then went he after with the army that he had there, and sent over all England. and bade that each man that was faithful should come to him, French and English, from sea-port and from upland. Then came to him much people; and he went to Rochester, and beset the castle, until they that were therein agreed, and gave up the castle. The Bishop Odo with the men that were in the castle went over sea, and the bishop thus abandoned the dignity that he had in this land. The king afterwards sent an army to Durham, and allowed it to beset the castle, and the bishop agreed, and gave up the castle, and relinquished his bishopric, and went to Normandy. Many Frenchmen also abandoned their lands, and went over sea; and the king gave their lands to the men that were faithful to him.
In this year the venerable father and favourer of monks, Archbishop Landfranc, departed this life; but we hope that he is gone to the heavenly kingdom. There was also over all England much earth-stirring on the third day before the ides of August, and it was a very late year in corn, and in every kind of fruits, so that many men reaped their corn about Martinmas, and yet later.
Indiction XIII. These things thus done, just as we have already said above, by the king, and by his brother and by this men, the king was considering how he might wreak his vengeance on his brother Robert, harass him most, and win Normandy of him. And indeed through his craft, or through bribery, he got possession of the castle at St. Valeri, and the haven; and so he got possession of that at Albemarle. And therein he set his knights; and they did harm to the land in harrowing and burning. After this he got possession of more castles in the land; and therein lodged his horsemen. When the Earl of Normandy, Robert, understood that his sworn men deceived him, and gave up their castles to do him harm, then sent he to his lord, Philip, king of the Franks; and he came to Normandy with a large army, and the king and the earl with an immense force beset the castle about, wherein were the men of the King of England. But the King William of England sent to Philip, king of the Franks; and he for his love, or for his great treasure, abandoned thus his subject the Earl Robert and his land; and returned again to France, and let them so remain. And in the midst of these things this land was much oppressed by unlawful exactions and by many other misfortunes.
In this year the King William held his court at Christmas in Westminster, and thereafter at Candlemas he went, for the annoyance of his brother, out of England into Normandy. Whilst he was there, their reconciliation took place, on the condition, that the earl put into his hands Feschamp, and the earldom of Ou, and Cherbourg; and in addition to this, that the king's men should be secure in the castles that they had won against the will of the earl. And the king in return promised him those many [castles] that their father had formerly won, and also to reduce those that had revolted from the earl, also all that his father had there beyond, except those that he had then given the king, and that all those, that in England before for the earl had lost their land, should have it again by this treaty, and that the earl should have in England just so much as was specified in this agreement. And if the earl died without a son by lawful wedlock, the king should be heir of all Normandy; and by virtue of this same treaty, if the king died, the earl should be heir of all England. To this treaty swore twelve of the best men of the king's side, and twelve of the earl's, though it stood but a little while afterwards. In the midst of this treaty was Edgar Etheling deprived of the land that the earl had before permitted him to keep in hand; and he went out of Normandy to the king, his sister's husband, in Scotland, and to his sister. Whilst the King William was out of England, the King Malcolm of Scotland came hither into England, and overran a great deal of it, until the good men that governed this land sent an army against him and repulsed him. When the King William in Normandy heard this, then prepared he his departure, and came to England, and his brother, the Earl Robert, with him; and he soon issued an order to collect a force both naval and military; but the naval force, ere it could come to Scotland, perished almost miserably, a few days before St. Michael's mass. And the king and his brother proceeded with the land-force; but when the King Malcolm heard that they were resolved to seek him with an army, he went with his force out of Scotland into Lothaine in England, and there abode. When the King William came near with his army, then interceded between them Earl Robert, and Edgar Etheling, and so made the peace of the kings, that the King Malcolm came to our king, and did homage114 , promising all such obedience as he formerly paid to his father; and that he confirmed with an oath. And the King William promised him in land and in all things whatever he formerly had under his father. In this settlement was also Edgar Etheling united with the king. And the kings then with much satisfaction departed; yet that stood but a little while. And the Earl Robert tarried here full nigh until Christmas with the king, and during this time found but little of the truth of their agreement; and two days before that tide he took ship in the Isle of Wight, and went into Normandy, and Edgar Etheling with him.
In this year the King William with a large army went north to Carlisle, and restored the town, and reared the castle, and drove out Dolphin that before governed the land, and set his own men in the castle, and then returned hither southward. And a vast number of rustic people with wives and with cattle he sent thither, to dwell there in order to till the land.
In this year, during Lent, was the King William at Glocester so sick, that he was by all reported dead. And in his illness he made many good promises to lead his own life aright; to grant peace and protection to the churches of God, and never more again with fee to sell; to have none but righteous laws amongst his people. The archbishopric of Canterbury, that before remained in his own hand, he transferred to Anselm, who was before Abbot of Bec; to Robert his chancellor the bishopric of Lincoln; and to many minsters he gave land; but that he afterwards took away, when he was better, and annulled all the good laws that he promised us before. Then after this sent the King of Scotland, and demanded the fulfilment of the treaty that was promised him. And the King William cited him to Glocester, and sent him hostages to Scotland; and Edgar Etheling, afterwards, and the men returned, that brought him with great dignity to the king. But when he came to the king, he could not be considered worthy either of our king's speech, or of the conditions that were formerly promised him. For this reason therefore they parted with great dissatisfaction, and the King Malcolm returned to Scotland. And soon after he came home, he gathered his army, and came harrowing into England with more hostility than behoved him; and Robert, the Earl of Northumberland, surrounded him unawares with his men, and slew him. Morel of Barnborough slew him, who was the earl's steward, and a baptismal friend115 of King Malcolm. With him was also slain Edward his son; who after him should have been king, if he had lived. When the good Queen Margaret heard this -- her most beloved lord and son thus betrayed she was in her mind almost distracted to death. She with her priests went to church, and performed her rites, and prayed before God, that she might give up the ghost. And the Scots then chose116 Dufenal to king, Malcolm's brother, and drove out all the English that formerly were with the King Malcolm. When Duncan, King Malcolm's son, heard all that had thus taken place (he was then in the King William's court, because his father had given him as a hostage to our king's father, and so he lived here afterwards), he came to the king, and did such fealty as the king required at his hands; and so with his permission went to Scotland, with all the support that he could get of English and French, and deprived his uncle Dufenal of the kingdom, and was received as king. But the Scots afterwards gathered some force together, and slew full nigh all his men; and he himself with a few made his escape117. Afterwards they were reconciled, on the condition that he never again brought into the land English or French.
This year the King William held his court at Christmas in Glocester; and messengers came to him thither from his brother Robert of Normandy; who said that his brother renounced all peace and conditions, unless the king would fulfil all that they had stipulated in the treaty; and upon that he called him forsworn and void of truth, unless he adhered to the treaty, or went thither and explained himself there, where the treaty was formerly made and also sworn. Then went the king to Hastings at Candlemas; and whilst he there abode waiting the weather, he let hallow the minster at Battel, and deprived Herbert Losang, the Bishop of Thetford, of his staff; and thereafter about mid-Lent went over sea into Normandy. After he came, thither, he and his brother Robert, the earl, said that they should come together in peace (and so they did), and might be united. Afterwards they came together with the same men that before made the treaty, and also confirmed it by oaths; and all the blame of breaking the treaty they threw upon the king; but he would not confess this, nor even adhere to the treaty; and for this reason they parted with much dissatisfaction. And the king afterwards won the castle at Bures, and took the earl's men therein; some of whom he sent hither to this land. On the other hand the earl, with the assistance of the King of France, won the castle at Argence, and took therein Roger of Poitou118, and seven hundred of the king's knights with him; and afterwards that at Hulme; and oft readily did either of them burn the towns of the other, and also took men. Then sent the king hither to this land, and ordered twenty thousand Englishmen to be sent out to Normandy to his assistance; but when they came to sea, they then had orders to return, and to pay to the king's behoof the fee that they had taken; which was half a pound each man; and they did so. And the earl after this, with the King of France, and with all that he could gather together, went through the midst of Normandy, towards Ou, where the King William was, and thought to besiege him within; and so they advanced until they came to Luneville. There was the King of France through cunning turned aside; and so afterwards all the army dispersed. In the midst of these things the King William sent after his brother Henry, who was in the castle at Damfront; but because he could not go through Normandy with security, he sent ships after him, and Hugh, Earl of Chester. When, however, they should have gone towards Ou where the king was, they went to England, and came up at Hamton119, on the eve of the feast of All Saints, and here afterwards abode; and at Christmas they were in London. In this same year also the Welshmen gathered themselves together, and with the French that were in Wales, or in the neighbourhood, and had formerly seized their land, stirred up war, and broke into many fastnesses and castles, and slew many men. And when their followers had increased, they divided themselves into larger parties. With some part of them fought Hugh, Earl of Shropshire120, and put them to flight. Nevertheless the other part of them all this year omitted no evil that they could do. This year also the Scots ensnared their king, Duncan, and slew him; and afterwards, the second time, took his uncle Dufenal to king, through whose instruction and advice he was betrayed to death.
In this year was the King William the first four days of Christmas at Whitsand, and after the fourth day came hither, and landed at Dover. And Henry, the king's brother, abode in this land until Lent, and then went over sea to Normandy, with much treasure, on the king's behalf, against their brother, Earl Robert, and frequently fought against the earl, and did him much harm, both in land and in men. And then at Easter held the king his court in Winchester; and the Earl Robert of Northumberland would not come to court. And the king was much stirred to anger with him for this, and sent to him, and bade him harshly, if he would be worthy of protection, that he would come to court at Pentecost. In this year was Easter on the eighth day before the calends of April; and upon Easter, on the night of the feast of St Ambrose, that is, the second before the nones of April121, nearly over all this land, and almost all the night, numerous and manifold stars were seen to fall from heaven; not by one or two, but so thick in succession, that no man could tell it. Hereafter at Pentecost was the king at Windsor, and all his council with him, except the Earl of Northumberland; for the king would neither give him hostages, nor own upon truth, that he might come and go with security. And the king therefore ordered his army, and went against the earl to Northumberland; and soon after he came thither, he won many and nearly all the best of the earl's clan in a fortress, and put them into custody; and the castle at Tinemouth he beset until he won it, and the earl's brother therein, and all that were with him; and afterwards went to Bamborough, and beset the earl therein. But when the king saw that he could not win it, then ordered he his men to make a castle before Bamborough, and called it in his speech "Malveisin"; that is in English, "Evil Neighbour". And he fortified it strongly with his men, and afterwards went southward. Then, soon after that the king was gone south, went the earl one night out of Bamborough towards Tinemouth; but they that were in the new castle were aware of him, and went after him, and fought him, and wounded him, and afterwards took him. And of those that were with him some they slew, and some they took alive. Among these things it was made known to the king, that the Welshmen in Wales had broken into a castle called Montgomery, and slain the men of Earl Hugo, that should have held it. He therefore gave orders to levy another force immediately, and after Michaelmas went into Wales, and shifted his forces, and went through all that land, so that the army came all together by All Saints to Snowdon. But the Welsh always went before into the mountains and the moors, that no man could come to them. The king then went homeward; for he saw that he could do no more there this winter. When the king came home again, he gave orders to take the Earl Robert of Northumberland, and lead him to Bamborough, and put out both his eyes, unless they that were therein would give up the castle. His wife held it, and Morel who was steward, and also his relative. Through this was the castle then given up; and Morel was then in the king's court; and through him were many both of the clergy and laity surrendered, who with their counsels had conspired against the king. The king had before this time commanded some to be brought into prison, and afterwards had it very strictly proclaimed over all this country, "That all who held land of the king, as they wished to be considered worthy of protection, should come to court at the time appointed." And the king commanded that the Earl Robert should be led to Windsor, and there held in the castle. Also in this same year, against Easter, came the pope's nuncio hither to this land. This was Bishop Walter, a man of very good life, of the town of Albano; and upon the day of Pentecost on the behalf of Pope Urban he gave Archbishop Anselm his pall, and he received him at his archiepiscopal stall in Canterbury. And Bishop Walter remained afterwards in this land a great part of the year; and men then sent by him the Rome-scot122, which they had not done for many years before. This same year also the weather was very unseasonable; in consequence of which throughout all this land were all the fruits of the earth reduced to a moderate crop.
In this year held the King William his court at Christmas in Windsor; and William Bishop of Durham died there on new-year's day; and on the octave of the Epiphany was the king and all his councillors at Salisbury. There Geoffry Bainard challenged William of Ou, the king's relative, maintaining that he had been in the conspiracy against the king. And he fought with him, and overcame him in single combat; and after he was overcome, the king gave orders to put out his eyes, and afterwards to emasculate him; and his steward, William by name, who was the son of his stepmother, the king commanded to be hanged on a gibbet. Then was also Eoda, Earl of Champagne, the king's son-in-law, and many others, deprived of their lands; whilst some were led to London, and there killed. This year also, at Easter, there was a very great stir through all this nation and many others, on account of Urban, who was declared Pope, though he had nothing of a see at Rome. And an immense multitude went forth with their wives and children, that they might make war upon the heathens. Through this expedition were the king and his brother, Earl Robert, reconciled; so that the king went over sea, and purchased all Normandy of him, on condition that they should be united. And the earl afterwards departed; and with him the Earl of Flanders, and the Earl of Boulogne, and also many other men of rank123. And the Earl Robert, and they that went with him, passed the winter in Apulia; but of the people that went by Hungary many thousands miserably perished there and by the way. And many dragged themselves home rueful and hunger-bitten on the approach of winter. This was a very heavy-timed year through all England, both through the manifold tributes, and also through the very heavy-timed hunger that severely oppressed this earth in the course of the year. In this year also the principal men who held this land, frequently sent forces into Wales, and many men thereby grievously afflicted, producing no results but destruction of men and waste of money.
In this year was the King William at Christmas in Normandy; and afterwards against Easter he embarked for this land; for that he thought to hold his court at Winchester; but he was weather-bound until Easter-eve, when he first landed at Arundel; and for this reason held his court at Windsor. And thereafter with a great army he went into Wales, and quickly penetrated that land with his forces, through some of the Welsh who were come to him, and were his guides; and he remained in that country from midsummer nearly until August, and suffered much loss there in men and in horses, and also in many other things. The Welshmen, after they had revolted from the king, chose them many elders from themselves; one of whom was called Cadwgan124, who was the worthiest of them, being brother's son to King Griffin. And when the king saw that he could do nothing in furtherance of his will, he returned again into this land; and soon after that he let his men build castles on the borders. Then upon the feast of St. Michael, the fourth day before the nones of October125, appeared an uncommon star, shining in the evening, and soon hastening to set. It126 was seen south-west, and the ray that stood off from it was thought very long, shining south-east. And it appeared on this wise nearly all the week. Many men supposed that it was a comet. Soon after this Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury obtained leave127 of the king (though it was contrary to the wishes of the king, as men supposed), and went over sea; because he thought that men in this country did little according to right and after his instruction. And the king thereafter upon St. Martin's mass went over sea into Normandy; but whilst he was waiting for fair weather, his court in the county where they lay, did the most harm that ever court or army could do in a friendly and peaceable land. This was in all things a very heavy-timed year, and beyond measure laborious from badness of weather, both when men attempted to till the land, and afterwards to gather the fruits of their tilth; and from unjust contributions they never rested. Many counties also that were confined to London by work, were grievously oppressed on account of the wall that they were building about the tower, and the bridge that was nearly all afloat, and the work of the king's hall that they were building at Westminster; and many men perished thereby. Also in this same year soon after Michaelmas went Edgar Etheling with an army through the king's assistance into Scotland, and with hard fighting won that land, and drove out the King Dufnal; and his nephew Edgar, who was son of King Malcolm and of Margaret the queen, he there appointed king in fealty to the King William; and afterwards again returned to England.
In this year at Christmas was the King William in Normandy; and Walkelin, Bishop of Winchester, and Baldwin, Abbot of St. Edmund's, within this tide128 both departed. And in this year also died Turold, Abbot of Peterborough. In the summer of this year also, at Finchamstead in Berkshire, a pool welled with blood, as many true men said that should see it. And Earl Hugh was slain in Anglesey by foreign pirates129, and his brother Robert was his heir, as he had settled it before with the king. Before Michaelmas the heaven was of such an hue, as if it were burning, nearly all the night. This was a very troublesome year through manifold impositions; and from the abundant rains, that ceased not all the year, nearly all the tilth in the marsh-lands perished.
This year was the King William at midwinter in Normandy, and at Easter came hither to land, and at Pentecost held his court the first time in his new building at Westminster; and there he gave the bishopric of Durham to Ranulf his chaplain, who had long directed and governed his councils over all England. And soon after this he went over sea, and drove the Earl Elias out of Maine, which he reduced under his power, and so by Michaelmas returned to this land. This year also, on the festival of St. Martin, the sea-flood sprung up to such a height, and did so much harm, as no man remembered that it ever did before. And this was the first day of the new moon. And Osmond, Bishop of Salisbury, died in Advent.