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TO 1100.]



the foot of the stern and vigorous father, had, under the son, to sustain the greater evils which arise from misgovernment and oppressive taxation. The king met with firm but respectful opposition from Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, a man worthy of love and veneration for his virtue, piety, and learning.

The king's chief amusement was hunting, in which he was accustomed to indulge in the New Forest. To form this forest, William the Conqueror had caused villages, churches, and fields of corn, covering thirty miles of ground, to be swept away. In it one of the Conqueror's sons had already been killed, and there too William Rufus met a similar fate, being shot, as it was believed, accidentally by Sir Walter Tyrrel. It is fair to add, that Sir Walter, who had lost no time in leaving England for the Holy Land, denied the charge on oath some years after, but no one valued Rufus so highly as to take much trouble in investigating the matter.

Cotemporary Events.-Hassan Sebek, the old man of the mountain, the founder of a religious sect in the East called the Assassins (1090). The Cid, a great Spanish leader, fought against the Moors, his character and feats giving rise to much ballad and epic poetry (1099. A great impulse was given to architecture; clocks with wheels were first made; musical notes were invented, and windmills were introduced. During the eleventh century the Papal power was greatly extended, and the Guelph and Ghibelline or imperial and papal factions arose. The distinguished Popes of the century were Leo IX., Gregory VII., and Urban 11.

Questions.-1. Describe the characters of Robert duke of Normandy and William Rufus. 2. What was the character of William's government of England? 3. Write the story of his death. 4. What great movement agitated Europe during this reign, and what was its object?

3. Henry I. (The Scholar.)

A. D. 1100-1135.


HENRY I., called Beauclerc or the Scholar, was the Conqueror's youngest son. By right of birth, the throne should have

passed to Robert, duke of Normandy, but as he had not returned from the Crusade, Henry, by prompt measures, secured the vacant seat for himself. Immediately after his coronation, he issued a charter calculated to conciliate his subjects of all ranks, Norman prelates, Barons, and Anglo-Saxons. To the church he promised that he would neither retain, sell, nor farm vacant benefices. Vassals were in future to be free from arbitrary exactions in the form of reliefs, and the king was to exercise with moderation his powers as their feudal superior. Further, to propitiate the English,1 he re-enacted the laws of Edward the Confessor (see p. 18), except in so far as they had been amended by his father, and married the Saxon Princess Matilda, daughter of Malcolm III. and Margaret of Scotland, and niece of Edgar Atheling.

In spite of Henry's prudent policy, Robert (who had arrived in Normandy about a month after William's death) found powerful adherents in England, who invited him to vindicate his title. He accordingly landed with his forces at Portsmouth, but through the mediation of Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, a pacific agreement was concluded, by which Robert surrendered his claim on condition of being allowed a pension of 300 marks for himself, with a general pardon for his partisans, and security for the possession of their lands. On Robert's return to Normandy, however, Henry easily found pretexts for banishing the disaffected noblemen, and confiscating their estates. Robert came over to remonstrate, but found himself in such a position that he was glad to escape with the loss of his own pension, which he agreed to surrender. When he returned to Normandy, he proved his utter incapacity for governing. Being of an indolent and easy nature, he allowed the province to fall into a state of anarchy. The Normans in consequence invited Henry's interposition, who crossed the channel with an army, and carrying with him a vast sum of money, determined by force or by bribery to obtain dominion over the province. A battle was fought at Tinchebrai (1105), in which Robert and his principal

1 In the earlier portion of the history, "English" is equivalent to "Anglo-Saxon," as distinguished from the old "Britons" and the "Normans."

A.D. 1120.]



adherents were taken prisoners, and Normandy fell again under the English crown. Robert was confined in Cardiff Castle, where he lived to the age of eighty. Henry's possession of Normandy was some years afterwards contested by Robert's son William, supported by Louis VI., king of France. But Henry again triumphed, defeating both competitor and champion in the battle of Brenneville (1119). William inherited Flanders, but was soon after slain in battle by a rival claimant for that country.

Henry was next involved in years of tedious negotiation with the Pope upon the subject of investitures, the great politicoecclesiastical question of that day. Kings asserted the right of nominating bishops, and of conferring the crozier and ring (which ceremony was called Investiture), the bishops taking the oath of fealty, and paying homage to the Sovereign. The Popes denied

this right, affirming that no temporal power could confer spiritual dignity, of which the crozier and ring were symbolic, and charging kings who maintained that practice with simony.


Henry had but two legitimate children, a son and a daughter. To secure his son's undisputed succession both to the kingdom and to the duchy, he caused him to be recognised as successor during his own lifetime, and for this purpose took him to Normandy to receive the homage of the barons. On his way back to England, this son, to the inexpressible grief of his father, was drowned. cotemporary chronicler thus narrates the sad event, which cast a blight on Henry's plans :-" The young Prince William and his companions had gone on board, full of merriment and wine, and the rowers and the steersman being unable to manage the vessel, she struck upon a rock and began to fill. The water washed some of the crew overboard, and entering the chinks, drowned others, when the small boat having been launched, the young prince was received into it, and might certainly have been saved by reaching the shore, had not his illegitimate sister, the Countess of Perche, now struggling with death in the larger vessel, implored her brother's aid, shrieking out that he ought not to abandon her so barbarously. Touched with pity, he ordered the boat to return to the ship that

he might rescue his sister, and thus the unhappy youth met his death through excess of affection; for the skiff, overcharged with the multitudes that leapt into her, sank and buried all indiscriminately in the deep. One rustic alone escaped, who, floating all night on the mast, related on the morrow the dismal catastrophe of this tragedy."

Henry's only surviving child Matilda had been married to Henry V., emperor of Germany, but was at the time of her brother's death a widow and childless. Henry accordingly negotiated a marriage for her with Geoffrey Plantagenet, count of Anjou, and had her formally recognised successor to his dominions both in England and Normandy.

Henry I. died at Rouen of indigestion (1135). He was a great politician, possessed keen insight into character, and had no scruples about the means he employed to attain his ends, in which he invariably succeeded; while he himself trampled on justice, he severely punished its violation by others. The laws against robbery and rapine were rigidly observed in his reign: he restrained the violence of the nobles, and thus strengthened the regal power. Although his successes in Normandy were mainly due to the valour of his English troops, he showed no favour to his English subjects, all ecclesiastical and civil offices continuing to be monopolized by the Normans. His game laws, like those of his father and brother, were severe, death being the penalty of their infringement. He reduced to fixed laws many good customs that had in the two preceding reigns been arbitrary. Not the least important of his acts was his granting a special charter to the city of London, conferring valuable privileges-a clear indication that the power of towns, and their importance in the state, were already beginning to be recognised.


The Norman masters of England dispossessed the Saxon thanes, and, abolishing the Saxon free tenure (see p. 10), substituted Norman barons and the feudal system. The king, assuming to be sole





owner of the soil, distributed the lands amongst his barons, who in return were bound to render him military service; that is to say, at the king's command, all barons, knights, and freemen, were obliged to present themselves, provided with arms and horses, ready to fight his battles against all manner of men. The king's vassals in turn conferred lands upon inferior vassals, and received their oath of fealty, .which bound them in like manner to perform military service to their feudal superiors. This organization was universal throughout the kingdom-every tenant in chief doing homage to the king-every superior tenant doing homage to his lord—every villein (our present peasant) the bondman of the free, and every slave (domestic servant) the chattel of his master. Thus the various ranks of society were closely knit together by mutual interests. Such a system, no doubt, embodied many of the best principles and sentiments of our nature-devotion of man to man, and the feelings of loyalty and honour in its chivalrous days, the obligations of the strong towards the weak were recognised. But the evils of the system far outweighed the great advantages attending it. The holders of an almost absolute power were too numerous, and tyranny, turbulence, and injustice were the too frequent results. These were the elements of evil which ultimately worked the ruin of this constitution of society, and we shall see them in full operation in the next reign. It was a fortunate thing that, side by side with feudal institutions, there silently grew up the power, wealth, and influence of the towns, which had an organization as strict and all-pervading as that of the feudal system itself. Through their means the monarch was able to check the arbitrariness of the feudal power, and the middle classes gradually to assert their importance. The town-organization took the form of an association of the various crafts into guilds, which laid down and enforced their own laws and regulations. These bodies, as we shall find, first stepped into political existence in the reign of Henry III.

But to the Church our chief debt of gratitude is due though no longer possessed of her primitive purity, she not only bore the ark

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