Global Folio Search
uses Google technology and indexes only and selectively internet - libraries having books with free public access
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Previous    First    Next


Francis Lancelott Esq.    Matilda of Flanders, Queen of William the First, usually styled William the Conqueror

page 2

 

demanded the presence of their sovereign, when he invaded the dominions of his ward with powerful forces, and fomented internal strife, by inciting all who could boast of a descent from Rollo—the founder of the Norman ducal line—to become rival claimants for the crown. The Normans, however, bravely beat back his armies, and his political projects were all defeated by the youthful William, who, during the contest, displayed great talents, and overpowering energies. Henry of France was, however, too jealous of the rising fame of the Norman Duke, to cease giving him trouble. Hut, fortunately for William, immediately after his marriage, the French King, who", with all the chivalry of France, was preparing to attack his dominions, suddenly died; leaving his infant son and successor, Philip the First, under the guardianship of Matilda's father, the Duke of Flanders, who immediately established peace between the suzerain and his vassal. Having now nothing to fear from France, William lost no time in crushing all remains of rebellion amongst his subjects. Guy of Burgundy, the Earls of Anjou, of Eu, and of Montagne, and others, who had vainly endeavoured to snatch the ducal crown from his head, were speedily overpowered, and either reduced to subjection or banished, and peace and happiness restored to the land. Meanwhile, the thundering maledictions of Mauger, archbishop of Rouen, an illegitimate brother of the late Duke Robert, threatened William and his bride with alarming dangers. This prelate, who by tact and ambition had risen to the primacy, and who had always been to William a bitter foe, under the plea that the marriage stood within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity, and that, therefore, the union, without the pope's consent, was illegal, solemnly excommunicated the cousins, and absolved the Normans from their oath of alle­giance to their royal duke. On receiving intelligence of this wicked outrage offered to himself and his fair cousin, William was so provoked, that he swore "by the splendour of God"—his usual oath—"he would be revenged." With­out delay, he dispatched Lanfranc, then an obscure monk, with submissive letters to the pope; and the Holy See, conciliated by his modest representations, immediately issued a hull, nullifying the archbishop's anathemas, and confirming the marriage of the royal pair, on condition that they should each build and endow an abbey as the price of this dispensation. In compliance with this bull, the stately abbeys of St. Stephens, and Holy Trinity, were founded at Caen. The former was endowed by William, for monks; and the latter by Matilda, for nuns. The hour had now come for William, in compliance with his solemn oath, to take vengeance on the haughty Mauger. Calling a convocation of all the bishops of Normandy, at Lisieu, he caused the archbishop to be accused before them of selling the church plate and consecrated chalices to supply his own personal luxury. Of these crimes Mauger was solemnly convicted, and deposed, and Maurillus elected in his room; but his judges were probably no less guilty than himself, as, at that period, although forbidden by the canons, it was the usual practice of the great dignitaries of the church to deal with the property of their sees as if it were their own. Having thus reduced or quieted all his foes, William, by the enlightened counsel of his beloved Matilda—who perfectly comprehended the advantages of the arts and commerce to a nation— afforded every encouragement to learning and refinement, and, by constructing roads, bridges, and harbours, and organizing fleets of merchantmen, enlarged the trade and increased the happiness of his subjects. During this period of repose, the royal pair enjoyed great domestic happiness, and occupied much of their time in the education of their children. Their eldest son, who was named after his grandfather—Robert, was born about ten months after their marriage. The choice of name singularly coincided with his enterprising spirit and illstarred fate, as, like his ancestor, Duke Robert, he journeyed to the Holy Land, and, after a series of misfortunes, died miserably. The birth of Robert was followed by that of Richard, William Rufus, and six daughters, all of whom were of remarkable beauty and promise. Shortly after his marriage, William entrusted his duchess with the reins of his government, and, taking advantage of the banishment of Earl Goodwin and his sons from Britain, made a visit to his kinsman and friend, Edward the Confessor, of England, who had no children, and who, in memory of the hospitality he had received, during his exile, at the court of Normandy, had already given William some hope of being his heir. By all accounts, the Norman duke was most honourably received by his cousin, the English king, who loaded him with presents, and promised him to make a will in his favour; and this will, although it never appeared, was the pretence made by William, fourteen years afterwards, for invading England. Even at this period, William's designs upon England were, doubtless, well known to his father-in-law, the Earl of Flanders, and more than suspected by Harold, his Saxon rival. Tostig, the second son of Earl Goodwin, during his exile from England, married Judith, the sister of Matilda, and the daughter of Baldwin, and from that period became a deadly foe to his brother Harold, whose downfall might not have happened but for his unnatural conduct. From this period, no remarkable incident occurs in the chronicles of Matilda's court, till 1062. In that year, Harold undertook a voyage to Normandy, in an open fishing-boat, to demand the release of a brother and a nephew, whom Earl Goodwin had given to the king as hostages. But hardly was he at sea, when a tempest arose, and drove him into the mouth of the Maye, a port belonging to the Earl of Ponthieu, who made him prisoner, in the hope of obtaining a large sum for his ransom. In this dilemma, he sent to the Duke of Normandy for aid; and William, delighted at the advantage to be obtained from the unexpected incident, promptly procured his release. On reaching the Norman court, at Rouen, Harold was received with every outward demonstration of goodwill. William agreed to resign the hostages, and, as if ignorant of the secret intentions of his guest, informed him of his own adoption by Edward the Confessor as heir to the crown of England, and Harold, being virtually his prisoner, he made him solemnly swear to acknowledge him (William) as the successor to Edward's crown, upon relics of the most venerated martyrs, which, in those days of dark superstition, rendered an oath doubly binding. When the reluctant Harold had sworn just what his wily host had chosen to dictate, William professed the profoundest friendship towards him. But satisfied though the Norman Duke pretended to he, he

Previous    First    Next

 
Back To Section     
 
 
 
 
 
 

"Monsalvat"
© Idea and design by Galina Rossi

All materials from this site are permitted for non commersial use unless otherwise indicated. If you reduplicate documents from here you have to indicate Monsalvat as a source and place link to us.

Global Folio         Cyprus Explorer        Medievalist         Smart Trader   Библиотека Медиевалиста   Ломоносов: жизнь, творчество, эпоха
              Яндекс.Метрика