In this year the King William held his court at Christmas in Glocester, and at Easter in Winchester, and at Pentecost in Westminster. And at Pentecost was seen in Berkshire at a certain town blood to well from the earth; as many said that should see it. And thereafter on the morning after Lammas day was the King William shot in hunting, by an arrow from his own men, and afterwards brought to Winchester, and buried in the cathedral130. This was in the thirteenth year after that he assumed the government. He was very harsh and severe over his land and his men, and with all his neighbours; and very formidable; and through the counsels of evil men, that to him were always agreeable, and through his own avarice, he was ever tiring this nation with an army, and with unjust contributions. For in his days all right fell to the ground, and every wrong rose up before God and before the world. God's church he humbled; and all the bishoprics and abbacies, whose elders fell in his days, he either sold in fee, or held in his own hands, and let for a certain sum; because he would be the heir of every man, both of the clergy and laity; so that on the day that he fell he had in his own hand the archbishopric of Canterbury, with the bishopric of Winchester, and that of Salisbury, and eleven abbacies, all let for a sum; and (though I may be tedious) all that was loathsome to God and righteous men, all that was customary in this land in his time. And for this he was loathed by nearly all his people, and odious to God, as his end testified: -- for he departed in the midst of his unrighteousness, without any power of repentance or recompense for his deeds. On the Thursday he was slain; and in the morning afterwards buried; and after he was buried, the statesmen that were then nigh at hand, chose his brother Henry to king. And he immediately131 gave the bishopric of Winchester to William Giffard; and afterwards went to London; and on the Sunday following, before the altar at Westminster, he promised God and all the people, to annul all the unrighteous acts that took place in his brother's time, and to maintain the best laws that were valid in any king's day before him. And after this the Bishop of London, Maurice, consecrated him king; and all in this land submitted to him, and swore oaths, and became his men. And the king, soon after this, by the advice of those that were about him, allowed men to take the Bishop Ranulf of Durham, and bring him into the Tower of London, and hold him there. Then, before Michaelmas, came the Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury hither to this land; as the King Henry, by the advice of his ministers had sent after him, because he had gone out of this land for the great wrongs that the King William did unto him. And soon hereafter the king took him to wife Maud, daughter of Malcolm, King of Scotland, and of Margaret the good queen, the relative of King Edward, and of the right royal132 race of England. And on Martinmas day she was publicly given to him with much pomp at Westminster, and the Archbishop Anselm wedded her to him, and afterwards consecrated her queen. And the Archbishop Thomas of York soon hereafter died. During the harvest of this same year also came the Earl Robert home into Normandy, and the Earl Robert of Flanders, Eustace, Earl of Boulogne, from Jerusalem. And as soon as the Earl Robert came into Normandy, he was joyfully received by all his people; except those of the castles that were garrisoned with the King Henry's men. Against them he had many contests and struggles.
In this year at Christmas held the King Henry his court in Westminster, and at Easter in Winchester. And soon thereafter were the chief men in this land in a conspiracy against the king; partly from their own great infidelity, and also through the Earl Robert of Normandy, who with hostility aspired to the invasion of this land. And the king afterwards sent ships out to sea, to thwart and impede his brother; but some of them in the time of need fell back, and turned from the king, and surrendered themselves to the Earl Robert. Then at midsummer went the king out to Pevensey with all his force against his brother, and there awaited him. But in the meantime came the Earl Robert up at Portsmouth twelve nights before Lammas; and the king with all his force came against him. But the chief men interceded between them, and settled the brothers on the condition, "that the king should forego all that he held by main strength in Normandy against the earl; and that all then in England should have their lands again, who had lost it before through the earl, and Earl Eustace also all his patrimony in this land; and that the Earl Robert every year should receive from England three thousand marks of silver; and particularly, that whichever of the brothers should survive the other, he should be heir of all England and also of Normandy, except the deceased left an heir by lawful wedlock." And this twelve men of the highest rank on either side then confirmed with an oath. And the earl afterwards remained in this land till after Michaelmas; and his men did much harm wherever they went, the while that the earl continued in this land. This year also the Bishop Ranulf at Candlemas burst out of the Tower of London by night, where he was in confinement, and went into Normandy; through whose contrivance and instigation mostly the Earl Robert this year sought this land with hostility.
In this year at the Nativity was the King Henry at Westminster, and at Easter in Winchester. And soon thereafter arose a dissention between the king and the Earl Robert of Belesme, who held in this land the earldom of Shrewsbury, that his father, Earl Roger, had before, and much territory therewith both on this side and beyond the sea. And the king went and beset the castle at Arundel; but when he could not easily win it, he allowed men to make castles before it, and filled them with his men; and afterwards with all his army he went to Bridgenorth, and there continued until he had the castle, and deprived the Earl Robert of his land, and stripped him of all that he had in England. And the earl accordingly went over sea, and the army afterwards returned home. Then was the king thereafter by Michaelmas at Westminster; and all the principal men in this land, clerk, and laity. And the Archbishop Anselm held a synod of clergy; and there they established many canons that belong to Christianity. And many, both French and English, were there deprived of their staves and dignity, which they either obtained with injustice, or enjoyed with dishonour. And in this same year, in the week of the feast of Pentecost, there came thieves, some from Auvergne133, some from France, and some from Flanders, and broke into the minster of Peterborough, and therein seized much property in gold and in silver; namely, roods, and chalices, and candlesticks.
In this year, at midwinter, was the King Henry at Westminster. And soon afterwards departed the Bishop William Giffard out of this land; because he would not against right accept his hood at the hands of the Archbishop Gerard of York. And then at Easter held the king his court at Winchester, and afterwards went the Archbishop Anselm from Canterbury to Rome, as was agreed between him and the king. This year also came the Earl Robert of Normandy to speak with the king in this land; and ere he departed hence he forgave the King Henry the three thousand marks that he was bound by treaty to give him each year. In this year also at Hamstead in Berkshire was seen blood [to rise] from the earth. This was a very calamitous year in this land, through manifold impositions, and through murrain of cattle, and deficiency of produce, not only in corn, but in every kind of fruit. Also in the morning, upon the mass day of St. Laurence, the wind did so much harm here on land to all fruits, as no man remembered that ever any did before. In this same year died Matthias, Abbot of Peterborough, who lived no longer than one year after he was abbot. After Michaelmas, on the twelfth day before the calends of November, he was in full procession received as abbot; and on the same day of the next year he was dead at Glocester, and there buried.
In this year at Christmas held the King Henry his court at Westminster, and at Easter in Winchester, and at Pentecost again at Westminster. This year was the first day of Pentecost on the nones of June; and on the Tuesday following were seen four circles at mid-day about the sun, of a white hue, each described under the other as if they were measured. All that saw it wondered; for they never remembered such before. Afterwards were reconciled the Earl Robert of Normandy and Robert de Belesme, whom the King Henry had before deprived of his lands, and driven from England; and through their reconciliation the King of England and the Earl of Normandy became adversaries. And the king sent his folk over sea into Normandy; and the head-men in that land received them, and with treachery to their lord, the earl, lodged them in their castles, whence they committed many outrages on the earl in plundering and burning. This year also William, Earl of Moreton134 went from this land into Normandy; but after he was gone he acted against the king; because the king stripped and deprived him of all that he had here in this land. It is not easy to describe the misery of this land, which it was suffering through various and manifold wrongs and impositions, that never failed nor ceased; and wheresoever the king went, there was full licence given to his company to harrow and oppress his wretched people; and in the midst thereof happened oftentimes burnings and manslaughter. All this was done to the displeasure of God, and to the vexation of this unhappy people.
In this year, on the Nativity, held the King Henry his court at Windsor; and afterwards in Lent he went over sea into Normandy against his brother Earl Robert. And whilst he remained there he won of his brother Caen and Baieux; and almost all the castles and the chief men in that land were subdued. And afterwards by harvest he returned hither again; and that which he had won in Normandy remained afterwards in peace and subjection to him; except that which was anywhere near the Earl William of Moretaine. This he often demanded as strongly as he could for the loss of his land in this country. And then before Christmas came Robert de Belesme hither to the king. This was a very calamitous year in this land, through loss of fruits, and through the manifold contributions, that never ceased before the king went over [to Normandy], or while he was there, or after he came back again.
In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity at Westminster, and there held his court; and at that season Robert de Belesme went unreconciled from the king out of his land into Normandy. Hereafter before Lent was the king at Northampton; and the Earl Robert his brother came thither from Normandy to him; and because the king would not give him back that which he had taken from him in Normandy, they parted in hostility; and the earl soon went over sea back again. In the first week of Lent, on the Friday, which was the fourteenth before the calends of March, in the evening appeared an unusual star; and a long time afterwards was seen every evening shining awhile. The star appeared in the south-west; it was thought little and dark; but the train of light which stood from it was very bright, and appeared like an immense beam shining north-east; and some evening this beam was seen as if it were moving itself forwards against the star. Some said that they saw more of such unusual stars at this time; but we do not write more fully about it, because we saw it not ourselves. On the night preceding the Lord's Supper135, that is, the Thursday before Easter, were seen two moons in the heavens before day, the one in the east, and the other in the west, both full; and it was the fourteenth day of the moon. At Easter was the king at Bath, and at Pentecost at Salisbury; because he would not hold his court when he was beyond the sea. After this, and before August, went the king over sea into Normandy; and almost all that were in that land submitted to his will, except Robert de Belesme and the Earl of Moretaine, and a few others of the principal persons who yet held with the Earl of Normandy. For this reason the king afterwards advanced with an army, and beset a castle of the Earl of Moretaine, called Tenerchebrai136. Whilst the king beset the castle, came the Earl Robert of Normandy on Michaelmas eve against the king with his army, and with him Robert of Belesme, and William, Earl of Moretaine, and all that would be with them; but the strength and the victory were the king's. There was the Earl of Normandy taken, and the Earl of Moretaine, and Robert of Stutteville, and afterwards sent to England, and put into custody. Robert of Belesme was there put to flight, and William Crispin was taken, and many others forthwith. Edgar Etheling, who a little before had gone over from the king to the earl, was also there taken, whom the king afterwards let go unpunished. Then went the king over all that was in Normandy, and settled it according to his will and discretion. This year also were heavy and sinful conflicts between the Emperor of Saxony and his son, and in the midst of these conflicts the father fell, and the son succeeded to the empire.
In this year at Christmas was the King Henry in Normandy; and, having disposed and settled that land to his will, he afterwards came hither in Lent, and at Easter held his court at Windsor, and at Pentecost in Westminster. And afterwards in the beginning of August he was again at Westminster, and there gave away and settled the bishoprics and abbacies that either in England or in Normandy were without elders and pastors. Of these there were so many, that there was no man who remembered that ever so many together were given away before. And on this same occasion, among the others who accepted abbacies, Ernulf, who before was prior at Canterbury, succeeded to the abbacy in Peterborough. This was nearly about seven years after the King Henry undertook the kingdom, and the one and fortieth year since the Franks governed this land. Many said that they saw sundry tokens in the moon this year, and its orb increasing and decreasing contrary to nature. This year died Maurice, Bishop of London, and Robert, Abbot of St. Edmund's bury, and Richard, Abbot of Ely. This year also died the King Edgar in Scotland, on the ides of January, and Alexander his brother succeeded to the kingdom, as the King Henry granted him.
In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity at Westminster, and at Easter at Winchester, and by Pentecost at Westminster again. After this, before August, he went into Normandy. And Philip, the King of France, died on the nones of August, and his son Louis succeeded to the kingdom. And there were afterwards many struggles between the King of France and the King of England, while the latter remained in Normandy. In this year also died the Archbishop Girard of York, before Pentecost, and Thomas was afterwards appointed thereto.
In this year was the King Henry at Christmas and at Easter in Normandy; and before Pentecost he came to this land, and held his court at Westminster. There were the conditions fully settled, and the oaths sworn, for giving his daughter137 to the emperor138. This year were very frequent storms of thunder, and very tremendous; and the Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury died on the eleventh day before the calends of April; and the first day of Easter was on "Litania major".
In this year held the King Henry his court at Christmas in Westminster, and at Easter he was at Marlborough, and at Pentecost he held his court for the first time in New Windsor. This year before Lent the king sent his daughter with manifold treasures over sea, and gave her to the emperor. On the fifth night in the month of May appeared the moon shining bright in the evening, and afterwards by little and little its light diminished, so that, as soon as night came139, it was so completely extinguished withal, that neither light, nor orb, nor anything at all of it was seen. And so it continued nearly until day, and then appeared shining full and bright. It was this same day a fortnight old. All the night was the firmament very clear, and the stars over all the heavens shining very bright. And the fruits of the trees were this night sorely nipt by frost. Afterwards, in the month of June, appeared a star north-east, and its train stood before it towards the south-west. Thus was it seen many nights; and as the night advanced, when it rose higher, it was seen going backward toward the north-west. This year were deprived of their lands Philip of Braiose, and William Mallet, and William Bainard. This year also died Earl Elias, who held Maine in fee-tail140 of King Henry; and after his death the Earl of Anjou succeeded to it, and held it against the king. This was a very calamitous year in this land, through the contributions which the king received for his daughter's portion, and through the badness of the weather, by which the fruits of the earth were very much marred, and the produce of the trees over all this land almost entirely perished. This year men began first to work at the new minster at Chertsey.
This year the King Henry bare not his crown at Christmas, nor at Easter, nor at Pentecost. And in August he went over sea into Normandy, on account of the broils that some had with him by the confines of France, and chiefly on account of the Earl of Anjou, who held Maine against him. And after he came over thither, many conspiracies, and burnings, and harrowings, did they between them. In this year died the Earl Robert of Flanders, and his son Baldwin succeeded thereto141. This year was the winter very long, and the season heavy and severe; and through that were the fruits of the earth sorely marred, and there was the greatest murrain of cattle that any man could remember.
All this year remained the King Henry in Normandy on account of the broils that he had with France, and with the Earl of Anjou, who held Maine against him. And whilst he was there, he deprived of their lands the Earl of Evreux, and William Crispin, and drove them out of Normandy. To Philip of Braiose he restored his land, who had been before deprived of it; and Robert of Belesme he suffered to be seized, and put into prison. This was a very good year, and very fruitful, in wood and in field; but it was a very heavy time and sorrowful, through a severe mortality amongst men.
In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity and at Easter and at Pentecost in Normandy. And after that, in the summer, he sent hither Robert of Belesme into the castle at Wareham, and himself soon142 afterwards came hither to this land.
In this year held the King Henry his court on the Nativity at Windsor, and held no other court afterwards during the year. And at midsummer he went with an army into Wales; and the Welsh came and made peace with the king. And he let men build castles therein. And thereafter, in September, he went over sea into Normandy. This year, in the latter end of May, was seen an uncommon star with a long train, shining many nights. In this year also was so great an ebb of the tide everywhere in one day, as no man remembered before; so that men went riding and walking over the Thames eastward of London bridge. This year were very violent winds in the month of October; but it was immoderately rough in the night of the octave of St. Martin; and that was everywhere manifest both in town and country. In this year also the king gave the archbishopric of Canterbury to Ralph, who was before Bishop of Rochester; and Thomas, Archbishop of York, died; and Turstein succeeded thereto, who was before the king's chaplain. About this same time went the king toward the sea, and was desirous of going over, but the weather prevented him; then meanwhile sent he his writ after the Abbot Ernulf of Peterborough, and bade that he should come to him quickly, for that he wished to speak with him on an interesting subject. When he came to him, he appointed him to the bishopric of Rochester; and the archbishops and bishops and all the nobility that were in England coincided with the king. And he long withstood, but it availed nothing. And the king bade the archbishop that he should lead him to Canterbury, and consecrate him bishop whether he would or not143. This was done in the town called Bourne144 on the seventeenth day before the calends of October. When the monks of Peterborough heard of this, they felt greater sorrow than they had ever experienced before; because he was a very good and amiable man, and did much good within and without whilst he abode there. God Almighty abide ever with him. Soon after this gave the king the abbacy to a monk of Sieyes, whose name was John, through the intreaty of the Archbishop of Canterbury. And soon after this the king and the Archbishop of Canterbury sent him to Rome after the archbishop's pall; and a monk also with him, whose name was Warner, and the Archdeacon John, the nephew of the archbishop. And they sped well there. This was done on the seventh day before the calends Of October, in the town that is yclept Rowner. And this same day went the king on board ship at Portsmouth.
This year was the King Henry on the Nativity in Normandy. And whilst he was there, he contrived that all the head men in Normandy did homage and fealty to his son William, whom he had by his queen. And after this, in the month of July, he returned to this land. This year was the winter so severe, with snow and with frost, that no man who was then living ever remembered one more severe; in consequence of which there was great destruction of cattle. During this year the Pope Paschalis sent the pall into this land to Ralph, Archbishop of Canterbury; and he received it with great worship at his archiepiscopal stall in Canterbury. It was brought hither from Rome by Abbot Anselm, who was the nephew of Archbishop Anselm, and the Abbot John of Peterborough.
In this year was the King Henry on the Nativity at St. Alban's, where he permitted the consecration of that monastery; and at Easter he was at Odiham. And there was also this year a very heavy-timed winter, strong and long, for cattle and for all things. And the king soon after Easter went over sea into Normandy. And there were many conspiracies and robberies, and castles taken betwixt France and Normandy. Most of this disturbance was because the King Henry assisted his nephew, Theobald de Blois, who was engaged in a war against his lord, Louis, the King of France. This was a very vexatious and destructive year with respect to the fruits of the earth, through the immoderate rains that fell soon after the beginning of August, harassing and perplexing men till Candlemas-day. This year also was so deficient in mast, that there was never heard such in all this land or in Wales. This land and nation were also this year oft and sorely swincked by the guilds which the king took both within the boroughs and without. In this same year was consumed by fire the whole monastery of Peterborough, and all the buildings, except the chapter-house and the dormitory, and therewith also all the greater part of the town. All this happened on a Friday, which was the second day before the nones of August.
All this year remained the King Henry, in Normandy, on account of the hostility of the King of France and his other neighbours. And in the summer came the King of France and the Earl of Flanders with him with an army into Normandy. And having stayed therein one night, they returned again in the morning without fighting. But Normandy was very much afflicted both by the exactions and by the armies which the King Henry collected against them. This nation also was severely oppressed through the same means, namely, through manifold exactions. This year also, in the night of the calends of December, were immoderate storms with thunder, and lightning, and rain, and hail. And in the night of the third day before the ides of December was the moon, during a long time of the night, as if covered with blood, and afterwards eclipsed. Also in the night of the seventeenth day before the calends of January, was the heaven seen very red, as if it were burning. And on the octave of St. John the Evangelist was the great earthquake in Lombardy; from the shock of which many minsters, and towers, and houses fell, and did much harm to men. This was a very blighted year in corn, through the rains that scarcely ceased for nearly all the year. And the Abbot Gilbert of Westminster died on the eighth day before the ides of December; and Faritz, Abbot of Abingdon, on the seventh day before the calends of March. And in this same year....
All this year abode the King Henry in Normandy on account of the war of the King of France and the Earl of Anjou, and the Earl of Flanders. And the Earl of Flanders was wounded in Normandy, and went so wounded into Flanders. By this war was the king much exhausted, and he was a great loser both in land and money. And his own men grieved him most, who often from him turned, and betrayed him; and going over to his foes surrendered to them their castles, to the injury and disappointment of the king. All this England dearly bought through the manifold guilds that all this year abated not. This year, in the week of the Epiphany, there was one evening a great deal of lightning, and thereafter unusual thunder. And the Queen Matilda died at Westminster on the calends of May; and there was buried. And the Earl Robert of Mellent died also this year. In this year also, on the feast of St. Thomas, was so very immoderately violent a wind, that no man who was then living ever remembered any greater; and that was everywhere seen both in houses and also in trees. This year also died Pope Paschalis; and John of Gaeta succeeded to the popedom, whose other name was Gelasius.
All this year continued the King Henry in Normandy; and he was greatly perplexed by the hostility of the King of France, and also of his own men, who with treachery deserted from him, and oft readily betrayed him; until the two kings came together in Normandy with their forces. There was the King of France put to flight, and all his best men taken. And afterwards many of King Henry's men returned to him, and accorded with him, who were before, with their castellans, against him. And some of the castles he took by main strength. This year went William, the son of King Henry and Queen Matilda, into Normandy to his father, and there was given to him, and wedded to wife, the daughter of the Earl of Anjou. On the eve of the mass of St. Michael was much earth-heaving in some places in this land; though most of all in Glocestershire and in Worcestershire. In this same year died the Pope Gelasius, on this side of the Alps, and was buried at Clugny. And after him the Archbishop of Vienna was chosen pope, whose name was Calixtus. He afterwards, on the festival of St. Luke the Evangelist, came into France to Rheims, and there held a council. And the Archbishop Turstin of York went thither; and, because that he against right, and against the archiepiscopal stall in Canterbury, and against the king's will, received his hood at the hands of the pope, the king interdicted him from all return to England. And thus he lost his archbishopric, and with the pope went towards Rome. In this year also died the Earl Baldwin of Flanders of the wounds that he received in Normandy. And after him succeeded to the earldom Charles, the son of his uncle by the father's side, who was son of Cnute, the holy King of Denmark.
This year were reconciled the King of England and the King of France; and after their reconciliation all the King Henry's own men accorded with him in Normandy, as well as the Earl of Flanders and the Earl of Ponthieu. From this time forward the King Henry settled his castles and his land in Normandy after his will; and so before Advent came to this land. And in this expedition were drowned the king's two sons, William and Richard, and Richard, Earl of Chester, and Ottuel his brother, and very many of the king's household, stewards, and chamberlains, and butlers. and men of various abodes; and with them a countless multidude of very incomparable folk besides. Sore was their death to their friends in a twofold respect: one, that they so suddenly lost this life; the other, that few of their bodies were found anywhere afterwards. This year came that light to the sepulchre of the Lord in Jerusalem twice; once at Easter, and the other on the assumption of St. Mary, as credible persons said who came thence. And the Archbishop Turstin of York was through the pope reconciled with the king, and came to this land, and recovered his bishopric, though it was very undesirable to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
This year was the King Henry at Christmas at Bramton, and afterwards, before Candlemas, at Windsor was given him to wife Athelis; soon afterwards consecrated queen, who was daughter of the Duke of Louvain. And the moon was eclipsed in the night of the nones of April, being a fortnight old. And the king was at Easter at Berkley; and after that at Pentecost he held a full court at Westminster; and afterwards in the summer went with an army into Wales. And the Welsh came against him; and after the king's will they accorded with him. This year came the Earl of Anjou from Jerusalem into his land; and soon after sent hither to fetch his daughter, who had been given to wife to William, the king's son. And in the night of the eve of "Natalis Domini" was a very violent wind over all this land, and that was in many things evidently seen.
In this year was the King Henry at Christmas in Norwich, and at Easter in Northampton. And in the Lent-tide before that, the town of Glocester was on fire: the while that the monks were singing their mass, and the deacon had begun the gospel, "Praeteriens Jesus", at that very moment came the fire from the upper part of the steeple, and burned all the minster, and all the treasures that were there within; except a few books, and three mass-hackles. That was on the eighth day before the ides of Marcia. And thereafter, the Tuesday after Palm-Sunday, was a very violent wind on the eleventh day before the calends of April; after which came many tokens far and wide in England, and many spectres were both seen and heard. And the eighth night before the calends of August was a very violent earthquake over all Somersetshire, and in Glocestershire. Soon after, on the sixth day before the ides of September, which was on the festival of St. Mary145, there was a very violent wind from the fore part of the day to the depth of the night. This same year died Ralph, the Archbishop of Canterbury; that was on the thirteenth day before the calends of November. After this there were many shipmen on the sea, and on fresh water, who said, that they saw on the north-east, level with the earth, a fire huge and broad, which anon waxed in length up to the welkin; and the welkin undid itself in four parts, and fought against it, as if it would quench it; and the fire waxed nevertheless up to the heaven. The fire they saw in the day-dawn; and it lasted until it was light over all. That was on the seventh day before the ides of December.
In this year was the King Henry, at Christmastide at Dunstable, and there came to him the ambassadors of the Earl of Anjou. And thence he went to Woodstock; and his bishops and his whole court with him. Then did it betide on a Wednesday, which was on the fourth day before the ides of January, that the king rode in his deer-fold146; the Bishop Roger of Salisbury147 on one side of him, and the Bishop Robert Bloet of Lincoln on the other side of him. And they rode there talking together. Then sank down the Bishop of Lincoln, and said to the king, "Lord king, I die." And the king alighted down from his horse, and lifted him betwixt his arms, and let men bear him home to his inn. There he was soon dead; and they carried him to Lincoln with great worship, and buried him before the altar of St. Mary. And the Bishop of Chester, whose name was Robert Pecceth, buried him. Soon after this sent the king his writ over all England, and bade all his bishops and his abbots and his thanes, that they should come to his wittenmoot on Candlemas day at Glocester to meet him: and they did so. When they were there gathered together, then the king bade them, that they should choose for themselves an Archbishop of Canterbury, whomsoever they would, and he would confirm it. Then spoke the bishops among themselves, and said that they never more would have a man of the monastic order as archbishop over them. And they went all in a body to the king, and earnestly requested that they might choose from the clerical order whomsoever they would for archbishop. And the king granted it to them. This was all concerted before, through the Bishop of Salisbury, and through the Bishop of Lincoln ere he was dead; for that they never loved the rule of monks, but were ever against monks and their rule. And the prior and the monks of Canterbury, and all the other persons of the monastic order that were there, withstood it full two days; but it availed nought: for the Bishop of Salisbury was strong, and wielded all England, and opposed them with all his power and might. Then chose they a clerk, named William of Curboil. He was canon of a monastery called Chiche148 . And they brought him before the king; and the king gave him the archbishopric. And all the bishops received him: but almost all the monks, and the earls, and the thanes that were there, protested against him. About the same time departed the earl's messengers149 in hostility from the king, reckless of his favour. During the same time came a legate from Rome, whose name was Henry. He was abbot of the monastery of St. John of Angeli; and he came after the Rome-scot. And he said to the king, that it was against right that men should set a clerk over monks; and therefore they had chosen an archbishop before in their chapter after right. But the king would not undo it, for the love of the Bishop of Salisbury. Then went the archbishop, soon after this, to Canterbury; and was there received, though it was against their will; and he was there soon blessed to bishop by the Bishop of London, and the Bishop Ernulf of Rochester, and the Bishop William Girard of Winchester, and the Bishop Bernard of Wales, and the Bishop Roger of Salisbury. Then, early in Lent, went the archbishop to Rome, after his pall; and with him went the Bishop Bernard of Wales; and Sefred, Abbot of Glastonbury; and Anselm, Abbot of St. Edmund's bury; and John, Archdeacon of Canterbury; and Gifard, who was the king's court-chaplain. At the same time went the Archbishop Thurstan of York to Rome, through the behest of the pope, and came thither three days ere the Archbishop of Canterbury came, and was there received with much worship. Then came the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was there full seven nights ere they could come to a conference with the pope. That was, because the pope was made to understand that he had obtained the archbishopric against the monks of the minster, and against right. But that overcame Rome, which overcometh all the world; that is, gold and silver. And the pope softened, and gave him his pall. And the archbishop (of York) swore him subjection, in all those things, which the pope enjoined him, by the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul; and the pope then sent him home with his blessing. The while that the archbishop was out of the land, the king gave the bishopric of Bath to the Queen's chancellor, whose name was Godfrey. He was born in Louvain. That was on the Annunciation of St. Mary, at Woodstock. Soon after this went the king to Winchester, and was all Easter-tide there. And the while that he was there, gave he the bishopric of Lincoln to a clerk hight Alexander. He was nephew of the Bishop of Salisbury. This he did all for the love of the bishop. Then went the king thence to Portsmouth, and lay there all over Pentecost week. Then, as soon as he had a fair wind, he went over into Normandy; and meanwhile committed all England to the guidance and government of the Bishop Roger of Salisbury. Then was the king all this year150 in Normandy. And much hostility arose betwixt him and his thanes; so that the Earl Waleram of Mellent, and Hamalric, and Hugh of Montfort, and William of Romare, and many others, went from him, and held their castles against him. And the king strongly opposed them: and this same year he won of Waleram his castle of Pont-Audemer, and of Hugh that of Montfort; and ever after, the longer he stayed, the better he sped. This same year, ere the Bishop of Lincoln came to his bishopric, almost all the borough of Lincoln was burned, and numberless folks, men and women, were consumed: and so much harm was there done as no man could describe to another. That was on the fourteenth day before the calends of June.
All this year was the King Henry in Normandy. That was for the great hostility that he had with the King Louis of France, and with the Earl of Anjou, and most of all with his own men. Then it happened, on the day of the Annunciation of St. Mary, that the Earl Waleram of Mellent went from one of his castles called Belmont to another called Watteville. With him went the steward of the King of France, Amalric, and Hugh the son of Gervase, and Hugh of Montfort, and many other good knights. Then came against them the king's knights from all the castles that were thereabout, and fought with them, and put them to flight, and took the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase, and Hugh of Montfort, and five and twenty other knights, and brought them to the king. And the king committed the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase, to close custody in the castle at Rouen; but Hugh of Montfort he sent to England, and ordered him to be secured with strong bonds in the castle at Glocester. And of the others as many as he chose he sent north and south to his castles in captivity. After this went the king, and won all the castles of the Earl Waleram that were in Normandy, and all the others that his enemies held against him. All this hostility was on account of the son of the Earl Robert of Normandy, named William. This same William had taken to wife the younger daughter of Fulke, Earl of Anjou: and for this reason the King of France and all the earls held with him, and all the rich men; and said that the king held his brother Robert wrongfully in captivity, and drove his son William unjustly out of Normandy. This same year were the seasons very unfavourable in England for corn and all fruits; so that between Christmas and Candlemas men sold the acre-seed of wheat, that is two seedlips, for six shillings; and the barley, that is three seedlips, for six shillings also; and the acre-seed of oats, that is four seedlips, for four shillings. That was because that corn was scarce; and the penny was so adulterated151, that a man who had a pound at a market could not exchange twelve pence thereof for anything. In this same year died the blessed Bishop Ernulf of Rochester, who before was Abbot of Peterborough. That was on the ides of March. And after this died the King Alexander of Scotland, on the ninth day before the calends of May. And David his brother, who was Earl of Northamptonshire, succeeded to the kingdom; and had both together, the kingdom of Scotland and the earldom in England. And on the nineteenth day before the calends of January died the Pope of Rome, whose name was Calixtus, and Honorius succeeded to the popedom. This same year, after St. Andrew's mass, and before Christmas, held Ralph Basset and the king's thanes a wittenmoot in Leicestershire, at Huncothoe, and there hanged more thieves than ever were known before; that is, in a little while, four and forty men altogether; and despoiled six men of their eyes and of their testicles. Many true men said that there were several who suffered very unjustly; but our Lord God Almighty, who seeth and knoweth every secret, seeth also that the wretched people are oppressed with all unrighteousness. First they are bereaved of their property, and then they are slain. Full heavy year was this. The man that had any property, was bereaved of it by violent guilds and violent moots. The man that had not, was starved with hunger.
In this year sent the King Henry, before Christmas, from Normandy to England, and bade that all the mint-men that were in England should be mutilated in their limbs; that was, that they should lose each of them the right hand, and their testicles beneath. This was because the man that had a pound could not lay out a penny at a market. And the Bishop Roger of Salisbury sent over all England, and bade them all that they should come to Winchester at Christmas. When they came thither, then were they taken one by one, and deprived each of the right hand and the testicles beneath. All this was done within the twelfth-night. And that was all in perfect justice, because that they had undone all the land with the great quantity of base coin that they all bought. In this same year sent the Pope of Rome to this land a cardinal, named John of Crema. He came first to the king in Normandy, and the king received him with much worship. He betook himself then to the Archbishop William of Canterbury; and he led him to Canterbury; and he was there received with great veneration, and in solemn procession. And he sang the high mass on Easter day at the altar of Christ. Afterwards he went over all England, to all the bishoprics and abbacies that were in this land; and in all he was received with respect. And all gave him many and rich gifts. And afterwards he held his council in London full three days, on the Nativity of St. Mary in September, with archbishops, and diocesan bishops, and abbots, the learned and the lewd152; and enjoined there the same laws that Archbishop Anselm had formerly enjoined, and many more, though it availed little. Thence he went over sea soon after Michaelmas, and so to Rome; and (with him) the Archbishop William of Canterbury, and the Archbishop Thurstan of York, and the Bishop Alexander of Lincoln, and the Bishop J. of Lothian, and the Abbot G. of St. Alban's; and were there received by the Pope Honorius with great respect; and continued there all the winter. In this same year was so great a flood on St. Laurence's day, that many towns and men were overwhelmed, and bridges broken down, and corn and meadows spoiled withal; and hunger and qualm153 in men and in cattle; and in all fruits such unseasonableness as was not known for many years before. And this same year died the Abbot John of Peterborough, on the second day before the ides of October.
All this year was the King Henry in Normandy -- all till after harvest. Then came he to this land, betwixt the Nativity of St. Mary and Michaelmas. With him came the queen, and his daughter, whom he had formerly given to the Emperor Henry of Lorrain to wife. And he brought with him the Earl Waleram, and Hugh, the son of Gervase. And the earl he sent to Bridgenorth in captivity: and thence he sent him afterwards to Wallingford; and Hugh to Windsor, whom he ordered to be kept in strong bonds. Then after Michaelmas came David, the king of the Scots, from Scotland to this land; and the King Henry received him with great worship; and he continued all that year in this land. In this year the king had his brother Robert taken from the Bishop Roger of Salisbury, and committed him to his son Robert, Earl of Glocester, and had him led to Bristol, and there put into the castle. That was all done through his daughter's counsel, and through David, the king of the Scots, her uncle.
This year held the King Henry his court at Christmas in Windsor. There was David the king of the Scots, and all the head men that were in England, learned and lewd. And there he engaged the archbishops, and bishops, and abbots, and earls, and all the thanes that were there, to swear England and Normandy after his day into the hands of his daughter Athelicia, who was formerly the wife of the Emperor of Saxony. Afterwards he sent her to Normandy; and with her went her brother Robert, Earl of Glocester, and Brian, son of the Earl Alan Fergan154; and he let her wed the son of the Earl of Anjou, whose name was Geoffry Martel. All the French and English, however, disapproved of this; but the king did it for to have the alliance of the Earl of Anjou, and for to have help against his nephew William. In the Lent-tide of this same year was the Earl Charles of Flanders slain in a church, as he lay there and prayed to God, before the altar, in the midst of the mass, by his own men. And the King of France brought William, the son of the Earl of Normandy, and gave him the earldom; and the people of that land accepted him. This same William had before taken to wife the daughter of the Earl of Anjou; but they were afterwards divorced on the plea of consanguinity. This was all through the King Henry of England. Afterwards took he to wife the sister of the king's wife of France; and for this reason the king gave him the earldom of Flanders. This same year he155 gave the abbacy of Peterborough to an abbot named Henry of Poitou, who retained in hand his abbacy of St. John of Angeli; but all the archbishops and bishops said that it was against right, and that he could not have two abbacies on hand. But the same Henry gave the king to understand, that he had relinquished his abbacy on account of the great hostility that was in the land; and that he did through the counsel and leave of the Pope of Rome, and through that of the Abbot of Clugny, and because he was legate of the Rome-scot. But, nevertheless, it was not so; for he would retain both in hand; and did so as long as God's will was. He was in his clerical state Bishop of Soissons; afterwards monk of Clugny; and then prior in the same monastery. Afterwards he became prior of Sevigny; and then, because he was a relation of the King of England, and of the Earl of Poitou, the earl gave him the abbacy of St. John's minster of Angeli. Afterwards, through his great craft, he obtained the archbishopric of Besancon; and had it in hand three days; after which he justly lost it, because he had before unjustly obtained it. Afterwards he procured the bishopric of Saintes; which was five miles from his abbey. That he had full-nigh a week156 in hand; but the Abbot of Clugny brought him thence, as he before did from Besancon. Then he bethought him, that, if he could be fast-rooted in England, he might have all his will. Wherefore he besought the king, and said unto him, that he was an old man -- a man completely broken -- that he could not brook the great injustice and the great hostility that were in their land: and then, by his own endearours, and by those of all his friends, he earnestly and expressly entreated for the abbacy of Peterborough. And the king procured it for him, because he was his relation, and because he was the principal person to make oath and bear witness when the son of the Earl of Normandy and the daughter of the Earl of Anjou were divorced on the plea of consanguinity. Thus wretchedly was the abbacy given away, betwixt Christmas and Candlemas, at London; and so he went with the King to Winchester, and thence he came to Peterborough, and there he dwelt157 right so as a drone doth in a hive. For as the drone fretteth and draggeth fromward all that the bees drag toward [the hive], so did he. -- All that he might take, within and without, of learned and lewd, so sent he over sea; and no good did there -- no good left there. Think no man unworthily that we say not the truth; for it was fully known over all the land: that, as soon as he came thither, which was on the Sunday when men sing "Exurge quare o D-- etc." immediately after, several persons saw and heard many huntsmen hunting. The hunters were swarthy, and huge, and ugly; and their hounds were all swarthy, and broad-eyed, and ugly. And they rode on swarthy horses, and swarthy bucks. This was seen in the very deer-fold in the town of Peterborough, and in all the woods from that same town to Stamford. And the monks heard the horn blow that they blew in the night. Credible men, who watched them in the night, said that they thought there might well be about twenty or thirty horn-blowers. This was seen and heard from the time that he158 came thither, all the Lent-tide onward to Easter. This was his entry; of his exit we can as yet say nought. God provide.
All this year was the King Henry in Normandy, on account of the hostility that was between him and his nephew, the Earl of Flanders. But the earl was wounded in a fight by a swain; and so wounded he went to the monastery of St. Bertin; where he soon became a monk, lived five days afterwards, then died, and was there buried. God honour his soul. That was on the sixth day before the calends of August. This same year died the Bishop Randulph Passeflambard of Durham; and was there buried on the nones of September. And this same year went the aforesaid Abbot Henry home to his own minster at Poitou by the king's leave. He gave the king to understand, that he would withal forgo that minster, and that land, and dwell with him in England, and in the monastery of Peterborough. But it was not so nevertheless. He did this because he would be there, through his crafty wiles, were it a twelvemonth or more, and come again afterwards. May God Almighty extend his mercy over that wretched place. This same year came from Jerusalem Hugh of the Temple to the king in Normandy; and the king received him with much honour, and gave him rich presents in gold and in silver. And afterwards he sent him into England; and there he was received by all good men, who all gave him presents, and in Scotland also: and by him they sent to Jerusalem much wealth withal in gold and in silver. And he invited folk out to Jerusalem; and there went with him and after him more people than ever did before, since that the first expedition was in the day of Pope Urban. Though it availed little; for he said, that a mighty war was begun between the Christians and the heathens; but when they came thither, then was it nought but leasing159. Thus pitifully was all that people swinked160.
In this year sent the King to England after the Earl Waleram, and after Hugh, the son of Gervase. And they gave hostages for them. And Hugh went home to his own land in France; but Waleram was left with the king: and the king gave him all his land except his castle alone. Afterwards came the king to England within the harvest: and the earl came with him: and they became as good friends as they were foes before. Soon after, by the king's counsel, and by his leave, sent the Archbishop William of Canterbury over all England, and bade bishops, and abbots, and archdeacons, and all the priors, monks, and canons, that were in all the cells in England, and all who had the care and superintendence of christianity, that they should all come to London at Michaelmas, and there should speak of all God's rights. When they came thither, then began the moot on Monday, and continued without intermission to the Friday. When it all came forth, then was it all found to be about archdeacons' wives, and about priests' wives; that they should forgo them by St. Andrew's mass; and he who would not do that, should forgo his church, and his house, and his home, and never more have any calling thereto. This bade the Archbishop William of Canterbury, and all the diocesan bishops that were then in England, but the king gave them all leave to go home. And so they went home; and all the ordinances amounted to nothing. All held their wives by the king's leave as they did before. This same year died the Bishop William Giffard of Winchester; and was there buried, on the eighth day before the calends of February. And the King Henry gave the bishopric after Michaelmas to the Abbot Henry of Glastonbury, his nephew, and he was consecrated bishop by the Archbishop William of Canterbury on the fifteenth day before the calends of December. This same year died Pope Honorius. Ere he was well dead, there were chosen two popes. The one was named Peter, who was monk of Clugny, and was born of the richest men of Rome; and with him held those of Rome, and the Duke of Sicily. The other was Gregory: he was a clerk, and was driven out of Rome by the other pope, and by his kinsmen. With him held the Emperor of Saxony, and the King of France, and the King Henry of England, and all those on this side of the Alps. Now was there such division in Christendom as never was before. May Christ consult for his wretched folk. This same year, on the night of the mass of St. Nicholas, a little before day, there was a great earthquake.
This year was the monastery of Canterbury consecrated by the Archbishop William, on the fourth day before the nones of May. There were the Bishops John of Rochester, Gilbert Universal of London, Henry of Winchester, Alexander of Lincoln, Roger of Salisbury, Simon of Worcester, Roger of Coventry, Geoffry of Bath, Evrard of Norwich, Sigefrith of Chichester, Bernard of St. David's, Owen of Evreux in Normandy, John of Sieyes. On the fourth day after this was the King Henry in Rochester, when the town was almost consumed by fire; and the Archbishop William consecrated the monastery of St. Andrew, and the aforesaid bishops with him. And the King Henry went over sea into Normandy in harvest. This same year came the Abbot Henry of Angeli after Easter to Peterborough, and said that he had relinquished that monastery161 withal. After him came the Abbot of Clugny, Peter by name, to England by the king's leave; and was received by all, whithersoever he came, with much respect. To Peterborough he came; and there the Abbot Henry promised him that he would procure him the minster of Peterborough, that it might be subject to Clugny. But it is said in the proverb,
May God Almighty frustrate evil designs. Soon after this, went the Abbot of Clugny home to his country. This year was Angus slain by the army of the Scots, and there was a great multitude slain with him. There was God's fight sought upon him, for that he was all forsworn.
This year, after Christmas, on a Monday night, at the first sleep, was the heaven on the northern hemisphere162 all as if it were burning fire; so that all who saw it were so dismayed as they never were before. That was on the third day before the ides of January. This same year was so great a murrain of cattle as never was before in the memory of man over all England. That was in neat cattle and in swine; so that in a town where there were ten ploughs going, or twelve, there was not left one: and the man that had two hundred or three hundred swine, had not one left. Afterwards perished the hen fowls; then shortened the fleshmeat, and the cheese, and the butter. May God better it when it shall be his will. And the King Henry came home to England before harvest, after the mass of St. Peter "ad vincula". This same year went the Abbot Henry, before Easter, from Peterborough over sea to Normandy, and there spoke with the king, and told him that the Abbot of Clugny had desired him to come to him, and resign to him the abbacy of Angeli, after which he would go home by his leave. And so he went home to his own minster, and there remained even to midsummer day. And the next day after the festival of St. John chose the monks an abbot of themselves, brought him into the church in procession, sang "Te Deum laudamus", rang the bells, set him on the abbot's throne, did him all homage, as they should do their abbot: and the earl, and all the head men, and the monks of the minster, drove the other Abbot Henry out of the monastery. And they had need; for in five-and-twenty winters had they never hailed one good day. Here failed him all his mighty crafts. Now it behoved him, that he crope in his skin into every corner, if peradventure there were any unresty wrench163, whereby he might yet once more betray Christ and all Christian people. Then retired he into Clugny, where he was held so fast, that he could not move east or west. The Abbot of Clugny said that they had lost St. John's minster through him, and through his great sottishness. Then could he not better recompense them; but he promised them, and swore oaths on the holy cross, that if he might go to England he should get them the minster of Peterborough; so that he should set there the prior of Clugny, with a churchwarden, a treasurer, and a sacristan: and all the things that were within the minster and without, he should procure for them. Thus he departed into France; and there remained all that year. Christ provide for the wretched monks of Peterborough, and for that wretched place. Now do they need the help of Christ and of all Christian folk.
This year came King Henry to this land. Then came Abbot Henry, and betrayed the monks of Peterborough to the king, because he would subject that minster to Clugny; so that the king was well nigh entrapped, and sent after the monks. But through the grace of God, and through the Bishop of Salisbury, and the Bishop of Lincoln, and the other rich men that were there, the king knew that he proceeded with treachery. When he no more could do, then would he that his nephew should be Abbot of Peterborough. But Christ forbade. Not very long after this was it that the king sent after him, and made him give up the Abbey of Peterborough, and go out of the land. And the king gave the abbacy to a prior of St. Neot's, called Martin, who came on St. Peter's mass-day with great pomp into the minster.