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welfare of the nation. Accordingly, at a great council of tie chief men of the kingdom, held at Gillingham, it was resolved, hy his advice, to invite Edward to come over and assume his father's crown; on condition, however, of his bringing with him as few Normans as possible.

In 1042, Edward returned to his native land, and was consecrated king in the cathedral of Winchester. One of his first acts was to mariy Edith or Ethelswith, the daughter of the peasant's son to whom he owed his kingdom. The beauty and the sweetness of this princess, as well as her love of learning, are celebrated in the chronicles of the time. "I have seen her many times in my childhood," says the monk Ingulphus, "when I went to visit my father, who was employed in the king's palace. If she met me returning from school, she would question me in my grammar, or my verses, or my logic, in which she was very skilful; and when she had drawn me into the labyrinth of some subtle argument, she never failed to give me three or four crowns through the hands of her woman, and send me to take refreshment in the pantry." "Godwin," the people said in their songs, contrasting the austerity of the father with the sweetness of the daughter, "is the parent of Editha, as the thorn is of the rose."

For a time all was peace and prosperity. Supported by the wise counsels of his father-in-law Godwin, and the immense power which he and his five sons, Harold, Sweyn, Tostig, Gurth, and Leofwin, wielded over the affections of the people, Edward rectified what was wrong in the state, established good laws, and earned for himself a reputation which outlasted his life, and appeared long afterwards in the deep feeling with which people talked of the happy state of England during the reign of the pious Edward the Confessor. Edward, however, could not root out the affections which thirty years' residence in Normandy had implanted in his heart; and forgetting the promise attached to his acceptance of the crown, he began to admit Norman strangers into the kingdom. The high offices of state were conferred on foreigners who had no interest of birth in the country. Fortresses were placed in the hands of Norman captains; Norman priests were promoted to vacant bishoprics; and the king's palace was filled with Norman favourites. The Anglo-Saxon language became unfashionable at Edward's court, so that even old Saxon nobles tried to learn Norman; Saxon mantles were laid aside tor Norman short coats; and the very form of handwriting which the Normans practised was studiously imitated. In vain did the people murmur; in vain did Godwin and his sons try to resist the tide of Norman influence; the evil increased to such an extent, that Normans, on arriving in England, felt as if they were still in their own country. Before detailing the consequences which resulted from this conduct of Edward, it is necessarv to give our readers a brief account of the origin and history of this singular people the Normans.


The Normans, though we are accustomed to regard them as Frenchmen, were, as their name Nor-mans or Northmen indicates, originally of the same Scandinavian stock as the Angles, Danes, and Saxons. In the end of the ninth century, there ruled over Norway a king called Harold Harfagher, or Harold with the Beautiful Hair, who set himself resolutely to destroy the system of piracy which the Scandinavian chiefs had practised for several centuries in all parts of the North Sea. Within his own dominions he attempted to enforce regulations for preventing the oppressive exactions of the nobles, especially for abolishing the custom of strandhug, as it was called, by which a chief, when he was in want of provisions for his ships, used to land on the nearest coast, and seize what he wanted without payment. One of the most eminent of Harold's subjects was Rognvald, who had a son called Rolf or Rollo, renownedfor his valour, and so tall, that, not being able to find a horse of the small Norway breed large enough for him to ride, he used always to go on foot. Returning from an excursion, Rollo ventured one day to land on the coast of a remote province, and exercise his right of strandhug. Complaint was made to the king; and a council having been assembled, Rollo was banished from Norway. The young Norwegian, collecting some vessels, commenced the congenial life of a pirate' or sea-king. Sailing round by the Hebrides, where he was joined . by many of his countrymen whose circumstances were similar to i• his own, he descended upon the coasts of France. Ascending the Seine, the bold adventurers took possession of the towns of Rouen, Evreux, and Bayeux, and in a short time were masters of the whole surrounding district—the inhabitants of which, however, they treated with more consideration than is usual in conquest. Rollo was chosen king, a title afterwards superseded by the French one of duke; and for many years the little Scandinaviankingdom of Normandy continued independent of the rest of France. At length, in 912, Duke Rollo of Normandy and Charlea the Simple of France had an interview, at which Rollo agreed to be the king's vassal for his territory of Normandy; in return for which Charles gave him the additional fief of Brittany, adjacent to Normandy, or rather gave him liberty to conquer it if he could, for Brittany did not acknowledge the French sovereignty. At this interview an incident occurred which will show the spirit of the two parties and of the times. When Rollo was about to retire, he was told that he ought to kneel and kiss the king's foot, in token of vassalage. "Kiss a man's foot!" replied the Norwegian with astonishment. Being told that it was a necessary and customary ceremony, Rollo at length beckoned to one of his soldiers, and bade him kiss the king's foot in his stead. The soldier, laying hold of the king's leg, raised the foot to his mouth,

and the king was thrown on his back, amid peals of laughter from the unmannerly Scandinavians.

Rollo and his Normans soon embraced Christianity; and their children, amalgamating with the native population of the province which they had conquered, lost their own language, and gradually acquired the lingua Somalia, or French. In the course of a century this incorporation of the Normans with the natives was complete; the recollection of their Scandinavian origin was only preserved by the nobles; and the people of Norway and Denmark no longer recognised them as related to themselves by ties of kindred. In 1013, when Ethelred, the Anglo-Saxon king of England, took refuge, as before related, in the court of his brother-in-law Richard, the fourth in descent from Duke Rollo, French was the universal language of Normandy, and the Normans in all external respects were Frenchmen. Educated from their earliest years at this court, Alfred and Edward, the two sons of Ethelred, could not but contract a taste and liking for everything French; and when, in 1042, Edward was recalled to assume the crown of England, he was more a Norman than an Anglo-Saxon. Thirty years' residence in France must have made the language and the customs of his native country strange to him; and it was but natural that when his old Norman acquaintances came to pay their respects to him in England, he should give them a hearty welcome. The Normans, already noted for their restless and grasping disposition, availed themselves of Edward's weakness, as we have seen, and came over in great numbers.


Among the Frenchmen who came into England to visit Edward, was his brother-in-law Eustace, the hot-headed Count of Boulogne. In a frolic the count, riding armed with his men into the town of Dover, proceeded to insult the inhabitants, and to quarter themselves in the best houses they could find. One householder was bold enough to offer resistance; a Frenchman was killed in the fray; and his companions seeing this, drew their swords, gallopped through the streets like madmen, striking at all they met, and trampling down women and children, till, being opposed by an armed body of citizens, nineteen of them were slain. The rest returned to Gloucester, where Edward was holding his court; and here Eustace, making his complaint to the king, demanded vengeance upon the inhabitants of Dover for the injury they had done him. Edward gave orders to his father-in-law, Earl Godwin, to go and chastise those insolent subjects who had dared to insult his guests. The earl, however, knew the facts of the case better, and told the king that he oudit to protect his subjects against the foreigners, rather than punl-h them in so hasty and summary a manner for what inquiry might prove to have been no crime at all. The king, enraged at this act of disobedience, and urged on by his Norman favourites, resolved to bring Godwin to trial, and the result was a contest between the sovereign and his subject, in which the latter was able, by his popularity, to bid the king defiance. At length Edward managed to assemble a parliament, and, by keeping troops in the neighbourhood to overawe it, to procure a sentence of banishment against Godwin and his sons. Obeying this decree, Godwin, his wife Ghitha, and his three sons, Sweyn, Gurth, and Tostig, embarked for Flanders, while the other two, Harold, and Leofwin, took refuge in Ireland. The only member of this powerful family left in England was the Queen Edith; and, as if to complete their downfall, Edward was unmanly enough to allow her to be removed from the palace, and imprisoned in a cloister. "It was not right," his Norman associates said, "that the daughter should sleep on a down bed, while her father and brothers were in exile."

After the banishment of Godwin and his sons, the Normans poured in upon England in still greater numbers. A Norman, Robert of Jumieges, became archbishop of Canterbury, another Norman became bishop of London; and Norman noblemen were appointed to all the highest posts of the kingdom. Among the crowd of Norman visitors who came into England about the year 1051, was one whose name was afterwards to be better known— William, the young Duke of Normandy, called at that time William the Bastard. William was the illegitimate son of the last Duke Robert, called, from his violent temper, Robert le Diable, by Arlete, a young girl, the daughter of a tanner of Falaise, whom he chanced to see one day washing linen in a brook. He was born in 1024, and brought up with all the honours of the duke's son. In 1031, when he was seven years of age, his father, Duke Robert, resolved to set out on a pilgrimage of penance to the Holy Land; but before he went, he made the Norman nobility elect young William their duke, and swear fealty to him as such. The boy, as he grew up, manifested a spirit worthy of the descendant of Rollo; ambitious, fierce, and even cruel, he had yet qualities which endeared him to his subjects in Normandy, and made them ready to follow him in any enterprise which he chose to engage in. From his earliest youth he had been occupied in war, especially against the neighbouring provinces of Anjou and Brittany. During the king of England's long exile in Normandy, he had of course become acquainted with the young duke his cousin; and indeed, during a portion of it, he had been indebted to him for liberty to reside in the country, William's accession to the dukedom having taken place ten years before Edward left Normandy. There was, therefore, nothing extraordinary in the circumstance of William's now paying a visit to the dominions of his former guest. The visit, hoteever, was attended by very important results. "In riding through the land," says the historian Thierry, "the Duke of Normandy might have easily persuaded himself that he had not quitted his own dominions. The captains of the English fleet which received him at Dover were Normans; they were Norman soldiers who composed the garrison of the castle on the neighbouring cliffs; crowds of governors and dignified clergy who came to pay their respects to him were Normans; Edward's Norman favourites respectfully ranged themselves round their feudal chief, so that William appeared in England almost more a king than Edward himself." All these circumstances conspired to nourish in the young duke's mind an idea which he had already begun to entertain, that, on the death of Edward, he might be his successor. No hint, however, escaped him of what was passing in his mind; and after enjoying the hospitalities of Edward for some time, he returned to Normandy.

Meanwhile the banished Godwin and his sons were not idle. In constant correspondence with the Anglo-Saxon party in England, they soon learnt that the state of affaire there was favourable to their return. Accordingly, in 1052, raising some vessels at Bruges, they sailed for the coast of Kent, and after holding communication with the inhabitants, they ventured to land. Immediately finding themselves supported by the population, they marched towards London, and at length compelled Edward to consent to an assembly of the chiefs for revising the sentence of banishment which had been pronounced against them. This assembly reversed the sentence, and readmitted Godwin and his family into England, Edward and he giving each other hostages as a security tor their future amicable conduct towards each other. Edward's wife, Edith, now resumed her honours as queen; and all the members of this powerful family were restored to their former dignities, except Sweyn, who, stung with remorse for some crimes which he had committed in his youth, one of which was the abduction of a nun, had resolved to atone for them by walking barefoot to Jerusalem. This painful pilgrimage he accomplished, but it cost him his life.

The Normans at the court of Edward had taken to horse, and fled at the first rumour of Godwin's reconciliation with the kins:; and in a short time there was not a Norman of consequence remaining in the island. Among the first to fly, as if for their lives, were Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, and William, bishop of London. They and their followers embarked in some fishing-boats, which carried them to France; and so hurried had been their flight, that the archbishop left behind him his Imllium, the symbol ot archiepiscopal authority with which the pope had invested him. A few Normans, special favourites of the king, were, contrary to Godwin's advice, permitted to return to England; but a sentence of banishment was pronounced against the rest, as enemies to the public peace and to the English nation. Stigand, the Saxon bishop of East Anglia, was appointed arch

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