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he was in every way so bad a king that no one could sorry when his reign came to an end.


On the 2d August, 1100, he went out to hunt in the New Forest, and was shot dead by an arrow which Walter Tyrrel, one of his companions, aimed at a stag. No one seemed to care in the least; his dead body was left lying on the ground where it had fallen, till some poor charcoal-burners, who chanced to pass that way, took it up and carried it in their cart to Winchester.

Some years before the death of William Rufus, it had been settled that if his brother Robert outlived him, he should be King of England. But Robert was far away. He had gone with many other princes and warriors to the East, to deliver the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Saracens, a Mahometan people who had conquered Syria and all the neighbouring countries. (The wars made for this purpose were called Crusades; there were in all seven Crusades, but this was the first one.)

Robert being out of the way, his brother Henry persuaded the people to choose him for king. They were the more ready to do this because he took for his wife the Lady Maude, who was descended from the old royal family of England. The English loved this lady very much, and they hoped she would prevail with Henry to treat them better than his father and brother had done. He did make many fine promises, and said the English should be as free as they had been in the old times before the Normans came into England. But he promised much more than he performed. There was, however, one good thing in Henry's reign: he was often cruel and unjust himself, but he would

not suffer the barons to oppress the people as they had been used to do.

He was not long contented to be only King of England; in 1106, he seized upon Normandy, and shut up his unhappy brother Robert in prison for the remainder of his life. After this, Henry was often away in Normandy, taking care of his new dominions, while Queen Maude remained in England, and spent much of her time in ministering to the sick and poor. She died in 1118, greatly lamented by the English.

Maude left two children, William and Matilda; neither of them resembled their good and gentle mother. Matilda had been taken from her parents when she was a very little girl, to be married to the Emperor of Germany. She grew up to be a very haughty imperious woman. William had been heard to say that when he became king, he would have the English yoked to the plough like oxen; but he never He was drowned at sea lived to wear the crown.

in 1120.

Henry grieved bitterly over his son's death, and though he lived fifteen years longer, he was never seen to smile again. He tried to comfort himself by sending for his daughter Matilda, and made all the chief men promise that she should be Queen of England after his death. Her husband, the Emperor, was dead; her father found another husband for her, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, in France, and she had a son, called Henry Plantagenet, who became in time a famous king.

On the 1st December, 1135, King Henry the First died. He was fond of learning, and the Normans gave him the name of Beauclerc, which meant



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scholar." He was fond also of raising grand buildings, and began to build Windsor Castle. His brother William had built the first Westminster Hall; and several Norman barons and bishops had begun to adorn England with stately castles and abbeys.


(From 1135 to 1174.)

HENRY the First had a nephew named Stephen, who had promised, like the other chief men, that Matilda should be Queen of England when her father died. But instead of keeping his promise he persuaded a number of the barons to make him king. Dreadful misery came upon England now. Some of the chief men took Stephen's part, and some took Matilda's, and one-half of the nation fought against the other half. A war like this, between men of the same country, is called civil war, and it is the worst and most terrible of all wars.

Both parties hired foreign soldiers to assist them, and some of the barons filled their castles with armed men who went about robbing the people. If they thought any one had hidden some portion of his money or goods, they carried him away to one of these castles, and used him cruelly till he gave up everything or died-for very often there was nothing to give up. The country-people fled into the woods to hide themselves, and left the fields untilled year after and food became so scarce that many peryear, sons died of famine, besides the numbers who were

killed in battle. This wretched war lasted nearly fifteen years at last it was agreed that Stephen should be king as long as he lived, but that Matilda's son, Henry Plantagenet, should reign after him; and England was once more at peace. The following year Stephen died, October, 1154.

Henry Plantagenet was twenty-one years old when he became King of England. He was already a very powerful prince; he inherited Normandy and Anjou from his parents, and his wife Eleanor had brought him all the rich and beautiful provinces in the southwest of France. The English received him joyfully; he had shown already that he was very industrious and clever, and that he liked to go through the country to see whether the judges and officers were doing their duty or not. They hoped to be well governed now, and they were not disappointed; England prospered and was in peace during many years.

But Henry's reign was not so peaceful for himself as for his subjects. His first great trouble was a quarrel with Thomas-à-Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Becket was a very famous man. He was only the son of a London trader, but his genius and learning had raised him to the highest posts in the kingdom; no Englishman had ever stood so high since the battle of Hastings. He had been a brave skilful leader in battle, an ambassador, tutor to the king's eldest son, and chancellor of the kingdom. In every office he had served the king faithfully, and was besides his most favourite friend and companion. But all this favour and friendship came to an end when Becket was made Archbishop of Canterbury.

Henry raised him to that high office because he



hoped Becket would help him to alter the laws relating to the clergy. At that time the clergy were not subject to the same laws as the rest of the people. If a priest committed a crime, he was not tried by the king's judges like other men; he was tried in the courts of the bishops, and those courts had no power to sentence him to death, even when he had committed the greatest wickedness.

King Henry the Second wished the clergy to be subject to the same laws and judges as the rest of the people, and he thought Becket would assist him to bring this about. Becket told the king he could not help him, and would rather not be made archbishop. But Henry would have it so; and then came years of disputing. Neither the king nor the archbishop was always in the right, and both of them were men of violent temper. At last, the king said one day in a rage, "Does no one love me well enough to rid me of this insolent priest?" Four knights who heard these words, at once made haste to Canterbury, and savagely murdered the archbishop in his own cathedral, December 29, 1170.

Becket showed a brave willingness to die; and after his death every one was shocked at the crime which had been committed, and expected that some heavy judgment would fall on the murderers, and on the king himself if he had consented to the death of the archbishop. But Henry declared that he had never intended him to be killed, though in the heat of anger he had spoken as if he wished for his death. And to show his sorrow, he did penance according to the custom of those times, by going barefoot to Becket's tomb and submitting to be severely scourged by the monks.

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