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 Bishop of Bayeaux 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 Chastillon; 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 be erected over his grave. This tomb, as well as the monument of Matilda, which the nuns of the Holy Trinity 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 Sybille, a daughter of Count Conversana, by whom he had one son, named William.
His gallant deeds 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 his efforts were 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 confined 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 bunting in the depopulated districts of Hampshire, during the lifetime of his parents. According to some authors, the fever was occasioned by a gore from a stag. Ho was buried in "Winchester Cathedral, where, to this day, a stone slab marks the site of his grave.
William Rufus mounted the English throne on the death of his father, and was slain whilst hunting in the New Forest, in Hampshire, by the erring arrow of Sir Walter Tyrell, his royal bowbearer. He died on the second of August, 1100, and was succeeded on the throne of England by his younger brother, Henry, surnamed Beauclere, or the Scholar, on account of his great literary acquirements.
Cecilia, the eldest princess of 'William and Matilda, was veiled a nun in the abbey оf Fescamp, and afterwards became abbess of the convent of the Holy Trinity, founded by her mother, at Caen, where she exercised her high office for many years, and, in all probability, died at an advanced age, as a contemporary chronicler states that she was living in the reign of Henry I.
Constance, the second daughter, married Alan, Duke of Bretagne, and died during the lifetime of her mother.
Agatha, the third daughter, was, when young, affianced to Harold, and maintained so great an affection for his memory, that afterwards, when her father, for political reasons, agreed to marry her to Alphonso, King of Gallieia, she, with tears in her eyes, told him—"Her heart was so devoted to her Saxon betrothed, that she would rather die than become the wife of another ;" and, singular enough, she obtained her desire. On her journey to Spain, she passed to eternal life, without having seen the face of her intended husband. Her body was conveyed to Normandy, and inferred at Bayeux, in the church of St. Mary.
The fourth daughter, Adela, was married to Stephen, Earl of Blois. She had four sons. The third, named Stephen, succeeded to the English throne shortly after the death of his uncle, Henry I.; and the second was Henrv, Bishop of Winchester. On the death of her husband, she was veiled a nun, at Mareigney, where she died in 1137, and in the seventy-fifth year of her age. Her remains were conveyed to Caen, and deposited with those of her sister Cecilia, in the abbey of the Holy Trinity.
Gundard, the fifth and youngest daughter, was wedded to William de Warren, a powerful Norman noble, who was created Earl of Surrey, in England, by William Rufus. She had two sons, William, from whom many noble families sprung, and Rainold, who died childless. She died in childbed, at Castle-Acre, in Norfolk, in 1095, and was interred in St. Pancras church, at Lewes, in Sussex.