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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 30

took it by violence from my father to found this abbey upon—yea, this very grave was the site of my father's house ; and I charge ye all, as ye would avert the wrath of God and his holy saints, on the great judgment-day, not to lay the bones of the heartless plunderer on the hearth of my oppressed parent," This impressive appeal struck the superstitious assembly with horror. A pause in the ceremony ensued. The claims of Fitz-Arthur were examined, and acknowledged by Prince Henry, who paid him sixty shillings for the grave, and agreed, in the presence of the monks and mourners, to pay a further sum of one hundred pounds of silver for the purchase of the ground on which the Conqueror had, as a dispensation for marrying his cousin Matilda, founded the abbey of St. Stephen's. The agreement being arranged, the obsequies were again proceeded with. But ere the coffin reached its final resting-place, it was accidentally overturned, and the lid displaced, when, according to the chronicler Speed, such a nauseating odour arose therefrom, that monks and mourners again fled in dismay from the royal remains ; and it was only after the church had been purified with clouds of incense, that the interment was effected. Such was the funeral of William the Conqueror, and never was the corpse of a mighty monarch, dying in all the plenitude of power, so neglected by his kindred, his ministers, and his people ; his very obsequies being accompanied by scenes that render truth stranger than fiction—history more interesting than romance. William Rufus caused a stately monument, adorned with gold, silver and precious stones, to be erected to the memory of his father, before the high altar in the abbey of St. Stephen's. In 1542, the Dishop of Bayeux opened the tomb, and found the body in such an excellent state of preservation, that he caused a portrait to be painted of the royal remains, after which the tomb was again carefully closed. As previously stated, the monument of the Conqueror was destroyed, and his sepulchre ransacked, in 1562, by the Calvinist soldiery under Chastilion ; but his bones, which had been strewed about the church by the religious zealots, were afterwards carefully collected and again deposited in his coffin by the monks of St. Stephen's, who, in 1642, caused a plain altar tomb to he erected over his grave. This tomb, as well as the monument of Matilda, which the nuns of the Holy Trinitv had caused to be restored, remained entire until the close of the last century, when the fiery French revolutionists swept them both so completely away, that not a vestige remains to mark their sites. William and his queen, Matilda, had four sons and five daughters. Robert, surnamed the Unready, from the fact of his never being prepared to seize the golden offerings of fortune, succeeded to the duchy of Normandy after his father's death. On his accession, he mortgaged his dukedom to his brother, William Rufus, for the sum of six thousand six hundred and sixty-six pounds of silver, and joined the crusade under Godfrey of Boulogne. Whilst returning from Palestine, he espoused the fair Syhille, a daughter of Count Conversane, by whom he had one son, named William. His gallant deeda at the taking of Jerusalem, won for him the distinguished honour of King of the Holy City. But the death of William Rufus, which occurred about this time, induced him to reject the holy circlet and return to England, where he expected to obtain the insignia of royalty. When he reached England, his brother Henry had already supplanted him, and secured the late king's treasure. Being determined not to yield to his younger brother's usurpation without a struggle, he raised a powerful army ; but hia efforts wrere unsuccessful, and he was at length defeated and made prisoner at the battle of Tinchebray, by the victorious Henry, who stripped him of the dukedom of Normandy, and conimcd him in Cardiff Castle, where he expired, after a painful captivity of twenty-eight years. Richard, the second son, died, whilst yet in the flower of his youth, of a fever, caught in hunting in the depo

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